Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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5,251 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,251
Reviews: 1,897
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 244
Gots: 568 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
American Brown Ale |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Forget about the car companies, this is the original hybrid. A cross between a Scotch Ale, an India Pale Ale and an American Brown, Indian Brown Ale is well-hopped and malty at the same time (It's magical!).

The beer has characteristics of each style that inspired it: the color of an American Brown, the caramel notes of a Scotch Ale, and the hopping regiment of an India Pale Ale. We dry-hop the Indian Brown Ale in a similar fashion to our 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPA. This beer is brewed with Aromatic barley and organic brown sugar.

50 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-07-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,251 | Reviews: 1,897 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MLasoski
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brown ale is unique. I have to give props to Dogfish Head for brewing so many good beers, and unique ones at that. As it stands right now, unless i'm informed otherwise, this brewery is one of the best I've come by.

Served: In a bottle, poured into an ale glass.

A: Almost completely opaque, it's a dark, dark brown, almost like stained wood. Settled in my glass with a generous 2.5 inch head. Very frothy.

S: The hops, bitters, and caramelized malts float up from the head. It also smells slightly smoky.

T: Wow. I can taste the hops, bitters, caramelized malts, and roasted malts which gives it the smoky smell. The smoky taste is even better. It has a sweet side to it as well.

M: Every sip, the smokiness is there, the hops are there, and the malts make it easier to go down. It's smoothe, but slightly heavy.

D: I would not mind one or two of these per sitting, but that'd be about it. It's a heavy one. It's a great complementary dinner beer. I can imagine myself grilling up gourmet hamburgers and serving this one with it.

Photo of MS2k
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with ruby highlights. Very frothy tan head that dissipates into a light lace.
S: Chocolate, coffee, and alcohol. Almost like a good porter.
T: Roasted coffee and alcohol, sharply bittered by hops, with caramel malt and traces of dark chocolate. Somewhat sweet like molasses, and just as rich
M: Heavy, hard, creamy.
D: Not exactly my glass of beer, but I can see how it can be enjoyable.

Photo of stingrayvr6
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Local 44 in Philly. Poured a thick, dark brown with a thick creamy head that barely faded. Smell was malty and toasty with some sweetness. Taste was intense and full, creamy toffee and chocolate, coffee and toasty. Incredible balance and warming alcohol. Incredibly smooth. I could have these all night, phenomenal brown ale.

Photo of cdkrenz
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, dark brown body with about a half inch of medium tan colored head with some serious stamina.

S - Coffee and brown sugar.

T - This is a unique flavor that everyone should have the chance to enjoy. There's caramel, subtle coffee, malt, and robust hops.

M - The feel is slightly coarse throughout which assists in bringing out the multitude of flavors.

~ This is the best brown ale I've ever had. I wish I had more than just the one. Thanks Krista, I love you baby!

Photo of superdedooperboy
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a couple sixers of this brew at a local Kroger grocery store, marked down to an absolutely amazing $4.95 a piece. Less than five dollars for one of my favorite brews? How could I resist?

12 oz. brown bottle with Bottled On date of 06/18/2008 clearly visible. Poured into a pub glass.

A beautiful clear, deep mahogany beer supports a thick two fingers of mocha-colored foam. The head recedes somewhat quickly to a well-sustained cap that sticks around but fails to leave more than a few patches behind on the walls of the glass.

Aroma is a wonderful and inviting mix of earthy, citric hop notes and sweet, caramel-chocolate malt, with just a hint of nuttiness.

Body is nice and medium-full, with a welcome middling level of tingly carbonation. The initial greetings come from sweet, chocolatey and nutty malt flavors, with a full spectrum of bitter, grassy, fruity and citric hops rounding out the middle, with a rather dry and lingering semi-sweet, semi-bitter finish.

Amazingly drinkable for a beer of its caliber, with every sip calling for another, but by the time the whole bottle's gone, the 7.2% ABV begins to make itself known.

All-around, this one is extremely tough to pinpoint stylistically. A hopped-up brown? The nuttiness suggests it, but perhaps a cone-infused Doppelbock fits the bill. It's tough to say, but either way, this is one world-class brew, even if (or perhaps because) it defies worldly standards.

Photo of number1bum
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany color, vibrant scarlet hues when held to the light, and a creamy two fingers of tan head. Keeps a mostly full lace and leaves some rings of stick on the sides.

Smells of sweet brown sugar, caramel and nuts, along with a bit of earth and some citrus hops. Has a bit of chocolate and coffee in it, as well, and the hops are mainly complementary to a very nice malty nose.

Taste has a bit more hop flavor than the smell and a bit less robustness from the malt. Hops are citrusy and play nicely on a still very nice malt base of caramel, chocolate, coffee and brown sugar. It has a slight nuttiness to it, as well, and overall has very nice flavor and balance. Some hop bitterness lingers in the finish along with some bitter coffee grind flavor.

Mouthfeel is on the plus side of a medium body. Carbonation is maybe a tad more aggressive than I'd like, although it's still pretty smooth with a nice creaminess.

I'm not sure why I've taken so long to make my way to this beer. I love a good brown ale, and a hoppy brown ale is even better. I certainly won't make the mistake of passing by this again.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a shaker "pint" glass. Appears a clear, dark chestnut color with about two fingers of dense creamy ecru foam. Notes from the aroma and flavor are of milk chocolate coated caramels, brown sugar, a touch of fresh roasted bitter coffee, molasses, figs, and sweet malts. Maybe a notch above medium bodied with ample carbonation. One of my favorite brown ales.

Photo of JonMich13
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A= Very dark oily brown. Almost like a stout. Slight dark reddish around the sides. Small light brown head. No lacing.

S = Some malty and chocolate hints but mostly earthy hop notes.

T = Very bold sweet sugary malts blast up front. Caramel, chocolate, roasted malts. So sweet it burns, almost salty sweet like teriaki sauce. Alcohol burn there as well. Finishes with light bitterness from the hops. I enjoyed the taste, especially as it warmed, but it was a bit heavy-handed. The sugary sweetness comes like a hammer and drops into a hop at the end. A bit rough around the edges, and could use some mellowing and smoothing.

M = Syrupy mouthfeel with subdued carbonation. Slightly coating.

D = A bit too harsh to be considered overly drinkable. Maybe the cellar would do this one good.

Photo of joshuadlight
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep dark brown, looks almost like a porter. Nice tan head. Nice lacing.

S - Sweet malts with brown sugar. Notes of cinnamon and chocolate.

T - Wonderful. Sweet with a hop spice waiting in the wings. The hops are what make this thing. Most brown ales are relatively mild mannered, but the slight bitterness in this ale make it special.

M - Great. Velvety and smooth. Nice moderate use of carbonation.

D - I don't know if 7.2% ABV could be masked any better, but it would catch up to you if you didn't watch it.

Highly recommended.

Photo of ralree
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark reddish brown with a bossy tan head. Nice retention and not much lacing.

S: Lots of hops and some nice sugary brown ale malt backing. Some dark fruit. Brown sugar.

T: Hops and brown sugar malt flavor go together very nicely. A little hint of sweet chocolate as well. Barley is fairly apparent. Flavor is light enough to go down really smoothly, but strong enough to taste good.

M: Goes down smooth, carbonation is good, slightly astringent. Medium-light body.

D: Drinks well. I will get again.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown with a pretty good, long-lasting head.

S: Definitely finding the combination of beers here--plenty of hops as well as sweet, dark malts with chocolate and carmelized sugars. Dark fruit underneath.

T: Much like the smell with a little bit of molasses thrown in. The dark fruits are a little more prominent in the taste.

M: Medium bodied and very smooth. Chewy.

D: Very nice beer. Perhaps my favorite of the year-round, six-pack offerings.

Photo of IronCitySteve
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice cola like color, very brown with some hints of amber mixed in. A decent 1/2 finger foam head with no lacing.

S: Big smell of brown sugar, caramel and coffee flavors. Some vague hints of hops.

T: A smooth rich blend of coffee/sugar/caramel all mixed in with a nice hop bitterness. Combination is very clean.

M: A decent medium body, very smooth on the palate. The carbonation was just about right, but a little more than expected which gives it a tad of a thin feel.

D: A really good offering from DFH, worthy of a try to change up the pace a bit.

Photo of Birmingham
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Big Aroma... raisins, dried fruits, coffee

Appearance: Pours deep brown, tan head.

Flavor: Full flavored with a strong bias towards the malts. It has a complex flavor which includes roasted grains, coffee, caramel, molasses and dried fruits.

Mouth feel: Full body with effervescence in the back of the mouth

Overall Impression: Great beer with big complex flavors and aroma. This is fun beer to drink, taste and enjoy as it doesn't match any particular style. I am in wonder to where the hops were hid. For a 50 IBU beer I would expect the hops to be more prominent. It's fun to try and define, yet is doesn't match any style. It takes the best characteristic from different beers and combines into a great beer.

Photo of MrIncognito
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle at Magnolia's in Purcellville, VA

A - Almost stout-like in appearance. Very dark brown and actually appears black in low-level light. 2-finger off-white head that is sticky and chunky then subsides to a nice 1/4-inch lace. Great lacing on the glass.

S - I had a difficult time smelling this one. I definitely get carrob and dark chocolate notes. Slight alcohol and more so when it warms. Relatively sweet in the nose but the dark malts keep it from becoming overly sweet.

T&M - My first impression is lightly burnt dark brown sugar and then chased with dark chocolate and rum-soaked prunes. A nice nutty flavor that kind of reminds me of a deep hazelnut. Malty and sweet and some spice from the alcohol. I enjoyed the flavors more and more as it warmed. Alcohol played a nice role all the way through. Lower carbonation makes this a smooth beer and a little thick.

D - I loved sipping this beer. It was really tasty and would go well with a sticky bun or other dessert.

Photo of HopoPotomus
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I gave this particular brew a 5 for drinkability. I know what you're thinking, it's a 7.2 % beer. Whenever this beer is around I seem to blissfully forget about this fact. So then yes is has great drinkability if you don't mind getting very drunk. All in all the aromatic malt and the generous hopping create a unique and lifting taste.

Photo of projectflam86
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours deep brown color with thin beige head that shrinks to a lace and leaves a few scattered rings.

S- Deep malty coffee nose with caramel and roasted nut scents. Some dark chocolate and very few hop smells.

T- Strong roasted coffee initially giving rise to a sweet nutty malt. Slight hop bitterness in the finish but very mild. Has a bit of a stout feel with some caramel and brown sugar malt flavor.

M- A bit lighter bodied than expected. Smooth and very little carbonation. Roasted flavor lingers a bit.

D- Nice brew that was lacking some in the hops department but still very drinkable.

Photo of IMincedTheKing
2.55/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours an opaque dark brown with cranberry-red at the edges and a short, tawny head.

The aroma is dark and sweet, maybe too sweet, like burnt sugar and dried fruits. Caramel malts dominate, with hops lurking in the background.

Sweetness galore! Syrupy and cloying, it tastes of toasted grains and burnt sugar. Though the label says "well-hopped", I don't find anything here to balance out the flavor. It kind of reminds me of eating a icing with a spoon--yeah, it's that sweet.

I'll probably keep trying, but Dogfish Head keeps letting me down.

Photo of mwa423
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark with a ruby red hue with a small cream color head that quickly disappeared.

S - Lots of malt, chocolate, some nut and coffee flavors

T - Very rich, chocolate aftertaste, nut and malt on the front. I was surprised that there was next to no hops in the beer at all.

M - Very smooth, bold and robus. Good!

D - I couldn't drink more then a few, both because of the abv and the strong flavor.

Photo of ThaBobfather
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a basically black color with very beige head. Almost flat.
Our smell has some nutty malt flavor with some smoked hints.
Our taste is malted with a very smoked flavor. Some nutty toffee, maybe a roast flavor.
The smoked flavor stays around with a medium lasting flavor.
The smoke doesn't make it really drinkable, but it is incredibly drinkable for what it is.

Photo of degerbah
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a pub glass. Poured an extremely dark brown, almost black with very little head. The smell is sweet and just a little smokey.

The taste is complicated and has a slightly smokey aftertaste. A thoroughly pleasant beer to drink. Disturbingly high alcohol content for how easily the beer drinks. This and 90 minute are probable the only dogfish head beers I've had that I would drink every day.

Photo of Gosox8787
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a glass with a minimal beige head. Appearance is dark brown with reddish hues when held up to the light. Aroma is primarily of roasted malts. The taste hits upfront with a sweet, malty flavor. The flavor from the caramelized brown sugar, as indicated on the bottle, does lend a new sweetness. Chocolate and coffee notes hit next. The flavor finishes with the Liberty and Goldings. I can see how this is noted as a combination of a brown ale, scotch ale, and an IPA. The flavor certainly melds together nicely. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a lot of carbonation, although I'm not sure it's necessary. Drinkability is not that high as the flavor is heavy, although pleasant. The alcohol is not that noticable in the beer however.

Overall, this is an enjoyable brew, unlike any I have had before. The balance of the sweetness and bitterness is great. Definitely an interesting combination of styles. Worth trying.

Photo of drcarver
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A deep brown elixer pours forth from the bottle releasing a lively amount of carbonation that accumulates into a modest head.

Rich toasted malts with a hit of hop waft up from the brew. Deep toasted malt flavors flow through the entire drink from start to finish. The alcohol burn appears at the front end, but gets washed away. The flavor hangs around far after your last sip. The carbonation is lively in the mouth as you drink this full bodied beer. Goes down smooth and leaves the desire for more.

Photo of jkbusman
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark brown, relatively opaque with a short creamy head that sticks around; nice lacing on the glass

S: a malty aroma with earthy notes of hop and grain and hints of dark coffee/chocolate

T: all the full bodied maltiness of a stout with hints of the earthy bitterness of an IPA; a brilliant combination

M: nice full mouthfeel but with a decidedly crisp finish

D: good drinkability for a 7.2% ABV

Photo of Badssinblack
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured dark brown/black almost completely opaque, dark brown with redish hue when held to light. Head was smooth about one finger and dissipated shortly leaving beautiful tan lacing.

S - Dark chocolate malt, reminiscent of stout. Alcohol was not prevalent in the initial nose but as it warmed up it was there.

T - Roasted chocolate malt molasses almost stout like, but with bitterness from the hops, the flavoring hops are there but their character cannot be discerned from the malt that this brew is dominated by.

M - Has a lot of body to it light on carbonation. Thick makes me want to drink slow and really enjoy the taste.

D - Thick and hearty, good to sip on, pretty heavy for an brown ale. But it fits the style, one that dogfish created and calls a cross between an IPA, Scotch Ale, and Brown Ale. I enjoyed this a lot, the price is high but it is worth it, this is my first Dogfish brew, I am now interested in trying more.

Photo of gatornation
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this brown ale pours pours a very dark brown with a coffee head it looks like a stout or porter the smell is of coffee and caramel and malt and hops really great smell... the taste is the same it coats the tongue in brown sugar and malt and coffee is this a coffee stout? or a brown ale? the taste is great its coffee/malt forward with a nice hop finish this is one great brown ale it sort of reminds me of a Scottish ale mixed with a light stout ... its dark and delicious

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,251 ratings.