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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,692 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,692
Reviews: 1,853
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 198
Gots: 327 | 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: 4,692 | Reviews: 1,853 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JBStith

North Carolina

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

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale is quite a good example of the American Brown Ale style.

A: Great deep brown and ruby. A bit disapointed in the lack of head, but that could have been the way I poured. No head to speak of.

S: Very malty and hints of dark fuit and chocolate. No hop bitterness present in the aroma.

T: Taste was very malty at first and then moves toward chocolate bitterness, and nuts. All flavors stand up to each other and finish together. Well balanced.

M&D: Moderate body with full flavors. A very drinakable beer

I enjoyed this a great deal and I believe it is one of the better brown ales I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2006 23:31:00 | More by JBStith
Photo of Dithyramb


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

Sampled on tap last night at the 9:30 Club. Pours a slightly reddish mahogany with a light brown head. Great lacing for a plastic cup. Bready and candied fruit aroma.

Spicey, bready and dark malt. Great mix of flavors coming through. Had a nice mix that several other browns I've had have been showing. Not even close to several boring brew pub browns dotting the country. This one is interesting and useful. Doesn't have the obnoxious hops or overwhelming ETOH/sugar one could get with a DFH brew. Save this one to win over nonbelievers.

Washes away pretty quick, making you want several. High ABV is silent.

Serving type: on-tap

06-23-2006 12:43:41 | More by Dithyramb
Photo of rtratzlaff

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Darker brown, copper colored beer with a small head.
Smells of sweet malt, slight hoppiness, and caramel.
Taste is pretty sweet, but balanced by a coffee type bitterness. Different from any brown ale I've had. It was rather complex. Much thicker mouthfeel than expected. The drinkability was pretty good. Enjoy this beer as a good desert.

Serving type: on-tap

06-17-2006 18:35:11 | More by rtratzlaff
Photo of mattpetti

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This a very drinkable brown ale that encompases, coffee, roasted malts, burnt brown sugar, molasses, and a nice crisp hop bitterness in the nose and taste. Its thicker than many brown ales, slighly cloying, but very smooth. Not too acidic and the 7.2 percent alcohol goes down very easily. This beer has many porter qualities to it which make it unique and enjoyable. Everything is well balanced. An excellent beer for session and food parings. Glad i bought a sixer.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2006 22:20:07 | More by mattpetti
Photo of Drew966


4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Indian Brown Ale pours a dark mahogany color with ruby highlights and an off white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. Aroma is a cocoa/toffee and coffee smell. Taste also reflects the same. Aftertaste is on the bitter side, but not too extreme. This is a very tasty beer. Has a lot of porter or stout like qualities but definitely is not one. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2006 23:00:25 | More by Drew966
Photo of bennetj17


3.38/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark, clear coffee/amber color. Light 3/4 inch head with decent retention. Smell is a bit weak, with toasty/roasted coffee aroma and a touch of chocolate and light grassy hops. The taste is semi-sweet with a coffee malt and hop blend. Finish is clean, dry and roasty, carrying a medium bitterness. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, and carbonation could be a little stronger. The constant light tangy bitterness of this brew is not really that intriguing and loses its staying power after awhile, worth a try though...

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2006 04:20:54 | More by bennetj17
Photo of RedHaze


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

Pours a very dark brown with some reddish highlights around the edges. There's a half inch tan head that fades slowly to a thin cap, leaving behind a tattered lacing.

Smell; dark chocolate with roasted, almost smoky malts. There's a bit of coffee, and a touch of hops.

Taste; the chocolate and coffee come out nicely along with a slightly nutty flavor. The sweetness from the malts are there, as well as th smokiness I picked up in the aroma. Finishes with a bit of a hop bitterness that balances out the sweet. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and very easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2006 01:11:15 | More by RedHaze
Photo of bignick


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

I have had this at the Kinsale in an imperial pint glass and, more recently, at TPH on 5/24/06 out of a DFH glass.

It pouts a luscious, viscous brown. The smell is malty, with overtones of dried fruit. The mouthfeel is a but sludge-like at first, but as it warms it becomes more drinkable. The high alcohol content is undectable, and this is a very drinkable beer over the course of the night.

Serving type: on-tap

05-30-2006 06:05:34 | More by bignick
Photo of MSchae1017


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

This beer was tasted in a pint glass from a bottle.

The beer pours a dark mahogany with a creamy off white head. The head laces nicely and sticks around all day. The smell is full of nutty roasted aromas along with some faint hop and vanilla aromas. The taste hits you with those roasted nutty flavors right off the bat then hits you with the hops and follows with almost an oak aged wiskey flavor. This is quite good. The mouthfeel is good, nice carbonation, good thickness. Overall a highly drinkable brown. Easily one of the best out there.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2006 00:05:37 | More by MSchae1017
Photo of tonistruth


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

A- pours brown with a good size fluffy tan head. Retnet is good.

S- roasted malts, sweet, rich chocolate as well

T- sweet and bitter flavors going on, sweet is more dominant though. Roasted flavor along with some grain flavor, after is the same.

M- suprisngly thin for how much taste is in here, very smooth

D- would love to get a hold of a six pack of this stuff. Awesome take on the brown ale style.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2006 19:39:22 | More by tonistruth
Photo of oolite


3.33/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I always get the 6 packs of Dogfish Head when I can, because they do not seem to be too consistent among each. It is hard to be too objective here, because I myself am not a constant, but the fact that this only seems to happen with Dogfish Head seems to indicate it isn't just me. Still, this should not be taken as an insult or even a negative by default; Kraft cheese is very consistent but that certainly doesn't help it. Craft brews, I imagine, are much less likely to be consistent than mass produced beers.

Dark reddish brown, transparent, with a short light brown head, and some lacing. The overall appearance is one of strong richness. Not a bad looking brown ale.

The initial scent is a bit of a burnt bread crust, which I also got from their Raison D'Etre. I am not sure if this is from the way it's bottled, an ingredient shared, or something else. It is much stronger in this bottle than others.

A variety of spices come through, but that burnt bread crust is really at the forefront for me. Not so much for the previous bottles I've had (from previous nights, I assure you!). I don't sense anything really exciting here.

Drinkability is nice. Enough flavor to be worthwhile, but not too rich in flavor or strong in strength to limit you to a mere bottle a night (unlike some of their other beers - again, not necessarily a complaint).

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2006 00:32:59 | More by oolite
Photo of DarkerTheBetter


4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured what looked like a clear iced tea, but when held to the light, it beamed a beautiful dark cherry. The dark manila head fell to a thin film around the edges of my pint in no time.

The smell is faint, but what I do get reminds me of caramel and coffee with a light touch of pear.

Tastes light and smooth with some charred caramel that releases a hint of smoke. There’s also a light sweet prune and green grape sweetness floating behind the dryer elements. Finishes with a bit of coffee from the smoke and a touch of dry hops.

The mouth feel is light to medium bodied with a small swarm of little bubbles.

Every once in a while, I would get a shock of alcohol both in the nose and flavor. I couldn’t find it when I looked for it, but when I wasn’t paying attention, I found it.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2006 20:07:25 | More by DarkerTheBetter
Photo of ReDave


3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: dark cream head that doesn't last long. no lace going down. Dark brown with no red color. It tastes as described, mostly scotch ale, with American pale, and a little extra hops, but not at the back-end aftertaste, that is slightly sour. can taste a little of the alcohol burn at the back of the throat.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2006 18:45:58 | More by ReDave
Photo of VoodooBrew

South Carolina

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

Deep brown with brilliant ruby notes. In the nose, medium-dark malt mixes with fruit, joined by notes of alcohol. I've had this beer a few times before, but never really took the time to explore the aromas, which may be the beer's strongest point. On the palate, dark, roasty malts take the fore, with mild coffee flavors. Bitterness slowly rises, cresting mid-palate before receding into the finish. The hops and roasty malt provide bitterness and astringency that hang out on the tongue, along with a sub-viscous malt presence and a latent moderate tartness. This beer requires some time and several sips to unfold. It starts off average but finishes well above-average.

Shared by Texashammer.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2006 01:36:06 | More by VoodooBrew
Photo of BeerRun13


4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Lackenhauser for this one.

Pours a deep garnet-brown. A nice creamy off white head laces nicely.
Strong toasty malt and a good amount of chocolate. Almost burnt toffee like.
Dark malty flavors, burnt toffee/chocolate, slighly nutty, and a wonderfull undercover hop presence balances this one out nicely.
Medium bodied. Flavor eminates outwards on the palate.
F'ing Fantastic. I seem to really like these American Brown Ales... this one possibly being the best so far.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2006 17:40:16 | More by BeerRun13
Photo of Phatz


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

Appearance: Pours a deep smooth brown color, thick and sticky looking with very little head but lots of lacing.

Smell: Sharply sweet caramels, brown sugar and nuts. Very toasted malt and sugary aroma.

Taste: It is not quite as sweet as the aroma would suggest. Nice and malty and pleasantly caramel sweet, but not cloyingly sweet. The alcohol shows through slightly and serves as a balancing agent, along with a bit of spiciness; and then there is also a hop presence in the finish and the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very nice and smooth. It is not quite sticky but it is thick and almost chewy. I like that aspect of sweet brown ales.

Drinkability: As a fan of the style I was expecting to be pleased. DFH rarely lets me down and this is no exception. It is a very decent sweet Brown Ale that I found quite easy to drink. I would not however consider it sessionable as it would end up being too sweet after a few.

Hope this is helpful.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2006 03:32:02 | More by Phatz
Photo of WeisGuy

New York

4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a - dark brown color, head is tan and doesn't last long, not much by way of lacing

s - coffee, roasted malt, brown sugar, perhaps a little caramel too, faint alcohol, a very complex, interesting smell

t - roasted malt, very sweet, a bit of coffee

m - kind of oily in the mouth, a bit of carbonation

d - quite drinkable, moderate alcohol level is not very detectable

Overall, another solid beer from Dogfish, but not one of my favorites. Best thing about the beer was definitely the smell for me.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2006 00:50:50 | More by WeisGuy
Photo of zjungleist


3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown and color, slightly reddish when held to the light, with a realatively weak, off-colored head. Smell is a touch faint, mainly brown sugar/caramel. Taste is similar, but with a hint of bitter hops in the aftertaste (not much aroma hops). I'm not a hop head by any stretch of the imagination, but I bought it thinking it would be a brown IPA, you know, because they call it Indian Brown Ale and all. I really have to say I expected more hops. Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin and watery side, cut by a small amount of stinging bubbles. Overall I did enjoy this beer, but it was not at all what I epected.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2006 05:23:28 | More by zjungleist
Photo of AaronHomoya


4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz brown bottle.

Has a dark brown color with decent, lasting though not large, head.

Smell is sweet, roasted malt, very nice.

Taste is a beautiful blend of sweetness from malt and brown sugar with some roasted bitterness and a bit of hops. The alcohol gives it just a bit of warmth and flavor, and there is also a smooth carmalized flavor in there.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with not too much carbonation. Smooth.

Very drinkable, even at 7.20% ABV, and sooo tasty. Shared this with a friend, but we both really wished there had been more. Definitely something I would regularly buy.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2006 16:58:35 | More by AaronHomoya
Photo of KyleVick4


2.55/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz

A: A very nice deep dark ruby color with good head. Not enough lacing though. But, nonetheless, is a very good looking beer

S: Wow there is a lot of coffee in this one. Reeks of coffee. Cant get past this overpowering aroma to distinguish any others. Maybe? a hint of spicy hops? Maybe? My opinion I want complexity, and I dont think a heavy coffee aroma should be present in a typical brown ale...

T: Coffee. Tastes to me what a mild russian impy stout would taste like. Does have some chocolate tastes from Im assuming chocolate malt. Not that impressed here especially that its supposed to be a blend of brown ale and IPA. Seems like the hop presence is lacking, or overpowered by the coffee/roast/chocolate malt. The sweetness found in the taste is kinda bittersweetness due to the amounts of coffee/roastedness in the grain. Oh well.

M: Nicely carbonated. I am a fan of the smoothness of the body. Its medium bodied but carries a good taste (just one that doesnt suit me). But not syrupy and the high alcohol is very nicely blended to the point where you dont know it packs a 7.2% punch.

D: I am an advocate of sweet tasting brown ales, so I didnt much approve of this type of style. But it was a tasty brew. I did find myself repeatedly sipping the coffee/chocolateness of this brew. Couldnt see my self having another tonight though.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2006 04:56:26 | More by KyleVick4
Photo of Zorro


4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled through dnrobert24 and 2MBBIF.

Pours a clear dark brown ale with a nice light brown head. Nice red highlights to this one when held up to the light.

Sweet and fruity smelling ale with a good amount of chocolate aroma. Pleasant toasted grain scents along with caramelized sugars. Some aromas of figs and fainter coffee smell. Quite nutty in aroma this is one ale that is not one dimensional or basic.

Taste is sweet and fruity at the start with a wonderful toasted grain flavor to start. Chocolate and coffee and smoky flavors kick in next and they compliment the other flavors nicely. Nuttiness shows up after a bit and is similar to toasted wheat berries in flavor. Bitterness is very subdued here for the style and that is a good thing, the dark roasted malts bring a fair amount of it that doesn't need a lot of hops. Damn tasty beer here.

Mouthfeel is very good.

What we have here is a really great beer that I have avoided for a long time just because I don't like badly executed versions of the style. A super drinkable beer that you must try even if you don't normally care that much for Brown Ales. The only thing that excludes this from being a session ale is the alcohol hit it provides. This is the only Brown Ale that I really LOVE. Very very close to perfect.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2006 03:18:49 | More by Zorro
Photo of oelergud


4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby clear body with plenty of carbonation. Creamy light brown head that could use more retention and lace.
Smell is strong caramel and molasses with a spicy hop kick. Very inviting.
Concentrated roasted coffee, dark chocolate beans, caramel and toasted malts make up the flavor. Aftertaste is very much like the initial flavor with added hop notes and nuts. Subtle and somewhat lenghty.
Slightly dry and good coating.
Good drinkability and not a hint of alcohol.


Serving type: bottle

04-16-2006 21:58:49 | More by oelergud
Photo of mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

2.5/5  rDev -39%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A - A slight auburn brown with very little head that dissipates very quickly, moderate carbonation and a tiny bit of lacing will stick if you work hard to force it there. A paltry showing at best.

S - Very nutty odor with a bit of coffee and a lot of earthy undertones all around. Pilsner-esque grassy hops aromas strike too.

T - Alcohol is rather prominent. Granted it is a strong brown, but I don't like this much. Some nuts, grass and lighter coffee with a hint of legume blandness and a touch of commercial solvent. The aftertaste is a mild bitterness and a bit of chemical twinge.

M - Thick, creamy, gummy, and drying.

D - Not too good here. It's mouthfeel really kills it for drinkability. A bit strong to session. The taste is nothing great on top of that. I never know what to expect from a DFH beer, but it is almost always more than I end up getting. This is easily among the most disappointing of their beers I have come across. Even the more bizzarre ones at least leave me confused. This isn't a terrible beer, but it isn't one that I would expect a quality brewery to release. Edit: I had some medium cheddar with the second half of my glass. The pairing was fantastic. So if drank with a medium cheddar, The drinkability rises.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2006 00:25:23 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of Vancer


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

Awesome lil brew – mahogany / oak pour with a nice tan head. Quite a load of chocolate malt in the aroma and taste. Finishes with a hoppy kick, but not overbearing. Wish they would note a bottling date!

Very rich and tangy, this could be a nice session brew, but the abv is just a tad big (7.2%), so 2 or 3 bottles might be a better choice. Overall, a very satisfying brew.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2006 14:19:39 | More by Vancer
Photo of akahn


3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark ruby color with a rocky brown sugar-colored head. This head recedes to slight skim and leaves some lace here and there inside the glass.

Pleasantly sweet aroma, strongly roasted and chocolatey. Reminds me more of a stout or a porter than a typical brown ale.

Flavor is mellow. Mildly sweet, with definite chocolate notes. Dark malt flavor, and maybe a bit of a roasted flavor. Once again, this is more reminiscent of a porter than a brown ale to me! As it warms up it really comes together and the flavor and body become fuller and sweeter, with brown sugar notes appearing. The use of hops here are extremely subtle, only showing up late in the finish and as a slight dryness in the exhale. Perhaps fresher (this was bottled in November 05) there was more hop flavor. Maybe that would be tasty, but it doesn't seem to be lacking.

This beer at first seemed somewhat watery, until it warmed up. Now it is a solid medium body. Very smooth. Mild carbonation makes sure not to get in the way of the flavor.

This beer is fairly heavy and fairly sweet, so it isn't especially drinkable. I had two of these in a row without difficulty, though.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2006 01:52:13 | More by akahn
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 4,692 ratings.