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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.

5,021 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,021
Reviews: 1,878
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 224
Gots: 478 | 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: 5,021 | Reviews: 1,878 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Spidey13
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale pours an almost-black brown that shows dark red highlights when held to the light. A dark tan head sits on top. The smell is very nice, with sweet roastiness with hints of dark chocolate and coffee. You can also smell some piny hops in there if you concentrate on them.

The taste starts with that sweet roastiness and dark fruitiness. This is followed by a bit of nice hop flavor. The hop bitterness shows up a few seconds after the swallow. The mouthfeel is nice and full.

This is a very nice, complex beer. And damn good.

Spidey13, May 25, 2008
Photo of clayrock81
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass and received a dark, syrup brown body with a solid one-finger head that slowly receeded. Some grassy hops mixed with sweet and roasted malts, plus some caramel and honey, although that is a stretch. A mix of hops with a drying sensation and caramel and other sweet malts, plus some sweetness derived from something like bubblegum or cotton candy. A smooth and creamy medium-bodied beer, this alternates from being a sweet ale with other malts like chocolate and bread to a drying stout with a tad bit of coffee malt. Throw in some fruit and you have a great tasting beer that I would love to have again.

clayrock81, May 23, 2008
Photo of JToad
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint.

Pours a dark rich brown.

Smells of roasted barley and chocolate, more than I expected.

Tastes of chocolate and coffee, almost Stout like. Slight bitterness that comes with a Dogfish brew, but yet balanced.

Thick and viscous, the beer lingers on the tongue.

All in all, this was outstanding. I wish I hadnt waited so long to try it. Not at all what I had expected, in a good way.

JToad, May 21, 2008
Photo of gmcfarre
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into traditional pint glass

A - Pours a solid dark brown color with ruby highlights. and a good 1/2 inch dense, tan head. Lacing forms in quick falling sheets when tipped, but doesn't leave much of a trace.

S - Strong roasted malt with some bitter chocolate and espresso flavors. A bit of smokiness. Focus is on the roasted flavor, but there is some dark fruit with hop bitterness.

T - Starts with sweet malt that quickly shows it strong roasted flavors that are similar to the scent. Roasted bitter chocolate with some earthy smokiness. Finishes with a nice fruity hop bitterness that dries well.

M - Very dry with a medium body and slightly drying in the finish. Residual sweetness sticks around throughout.

D - A pleasing and well-hopped version of one of my not-so-favorite styles. Tasty and drinkable with a well hidden alcohol content.

gmcfarre, May 11, 2008
Photo of Ben4881
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Indian Brown Ale
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Indian Brown Ale pours a clear dark chocolate brown with reddish hues. The foamy head is just slightly off white, almost cream. The head dissipates nice and slowly, leaving outstanding lacing.

It smells nutty and chocolaty with a roasted toasty malt aroma. Bread-like yeast notes creep in at the very end to add complexity.

This is a spicy one. The front end is very smooth, nutty, and toasty. Then the taste morphs into a coffee and alcohol concoction, similar to a Bailey's and coffee. The coffee taste persists and is accompanied by subtle hop flavored notes. The pairing of the coffee and hop bitterness is in perfect balance and dries out very nicely. Some of the alcohol flavor lingers, but dries out as well.

Surprisingly, this beer is thicker than I expected, which is a nice surprise. Carbonation is minimal, leaving the body a little heavier.

7.2% ABV is at the higher end of the scale for a brown ale. The bitter finish and heavier body give this brown ale complexities found in IPA's and stouts. Since it's not as bitter as most IPA's and not as thick as most stouts, this beer is certainly drinkable for me. This is another outstanding effort from the folks in Milton, DE.

Ben4881, May 10, 2008
Photo of AChamberlain
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is suppper drinkable. A smooth and luscious mouthfeel combined with good flavor make it an essential brown ale. I poured it from a 12oz bottle from Central Market. I took a big drag looking for an aroma. Not much. Hops, which I guess is expected from a hopped brown. The flavor is pretty dope. A bit of hop bite with a sweet malt finish. A tad roasted flavor, not as much as I would like in a brown. A must try for sure.

AChamberlain, May 01, 2008
Photo of wiseguy142
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 6-pack of this after being very impressed with it on tap. Reviewing as I'm drinking to see how it lives up.

Pours a rosy, deep brown with a thin film of tangy yellow head on top. Smells immediately of chocolate malt, oranges, even a sort of "soy sauce" character (don't ask me why, it's just what it smells like- appealing nonetheless). Head quickly dissipates within a minute of pouring.

Tastes a little stronger and more medicinal than I remember it. It has the alcohol and dark malt kick of a RIS, but subdued by its significantly lighter body. Is leaving a great lacing around the glass. The taste isn't quite as shockingly amazing as I remember it the first time- possibly because I'm serving it colder, but it's definitely near flawless. As it warms more earthy roasted malts come out to trump the alcohol. Hops are nicely present in the background to steer the beer away from the otherwise chocolate-malt dominated flavor. The bittering hops are fairly strong as well- they enhance the alcohol taste of the beer by being the only other slightly acidic flavor in the beer that balances the otherwise heartily "brown" taste of the beer. The finish has an addicting quality to it where you're simultaneously intrigued and slightly unnerved by its strength.

The mouthfeel seems appropriate for a British style beer with a Dogfish Head touch- low carbonation, with the rest of the beer predominately shaped by the specialty malts, and then Dogfish throws in the extra 3 or 4 % alcohol to make it interesting.

If anything, I regard this as slightly less drinkable just because I realize now that it's a fairly strong beer, both alcohol and flavor-wise. Either way, if I were to walk into a random bar and see this I'd be excited that they had it on tap.

wiseguy142, Apr 28, 2008
Photo of donteatpoop
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with a nice inch of tan head on top. The head receeded somewhat quickly, but maintained a thin layer atop the beer throughout.

The smell is somewhat vague, hints of toasted malts and coffee.

Taste was excellent, the coffee taste, the toasted malts, and some maple syrup were dominant. It had a very earthy taste.

Definately a nice full mouth-feel, a bit creamy, and a good carbonation level. The aftertaste is of burnt wood and not at all unpleasant.

I was very satisfied with this beer and will definately drink more of it in the future.

donteatpoop, Apr 28, 2008
Photo of quad07
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

$8.99 for a six pack of long neck dark brown bottles with pry off caps from UFS. Freshness date on bottle.

It had a nice wisp to it when I pried the cap off. This stuff poured into my large 23oz beer glass a dark muddy brown color with a modest light brown head. The carbonation was ok. It had dark amber or copper highlights around the edges of the glass when held up to the light.

It smelled of dark malts, coffee and a hint of molasses. Not a real good hop smell to it but that may be intentional.

I could taste a strong malt flavor and a hint of burnt coffee grounds. Some vanilla and raison. Kind of a musty hop taste. You could taste the nip of alcohol but not too strong.

It was a dirty heavy thick feel in my mouth with just enough carbonation to leave your mouth feeling clean.

This beer is ok but not at the top of my list from Dogfish Head. A couple with meals would be all right but I could not drink all six in one sitting.


quad07, Apr 26, 2008
Photo of codyw
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with some redness when pushed into the light.

S: slight coffee and chocolate and roasted malts. Smells like it should taste good.

T: Definite roasted malts and bitter chocolate. Definitely a full bodied brown ale. Slight alcohol taste.

M: Nice balanced feel. At times a little too portly for a brown ale in my opinion.

D: Great Brown ale, but I have had better. Worth drinking

codyw, Apr 21, 2008
Photo of fatalbert
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown in appearance, almost opaque. With a very nice white head with largish bubbles. Head stayed around for most of the beer leaving a nice lace in the glass.

Great aroma, the hop character comes through first, then is followed by an intense maltiness.

Nicely balanced between the bitter and sweet. The darker crystal malt character is very good, without overpowering the beer. The beer finishes fairly dry so you want to keep drinking it.

Overall a great beer.

fatalbert, Apr 21, 2008
Photo of treyrab
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One of the last Dogfish beers I have yet to try. Picked up a six pack in State College Tonight.

A: Dark "Indian" brown in color, yet not opaque. Held up to light, a red hue can be seen through the crystal clear beer.

S: Strong smells of roasted and chocolate malts. Heavy essence of coffee and similar notes with lesser of a smell of dark fruits and raisins.

T: The alcohol flavor definitely comes through, though not too much. Very strong tastes of coffee and dark malts. A more than significant taste of earthy hops as well.

D: Good dinner beer, though three or more would be unlikely.

Overall a very good beer. Very flavorful and rich in dark malts if that is your style. Though I would not go as far as to say that this is one of the better Dogfish beers.

treyrab, Apr 18, 2008
Photo of marcpal
3.13/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz poured into pilsner glass, not sure why. I have had before, just noticed in the back of fridge and that I havent given a review. So here it is.

A: Very dark brown, nearly black. Light brown head with thin lacing and little carb.

S: Very malty and espresso like. Raisins and brown sugar flavors most prominent.

T: Definite coffee and molasses. In line with the aprihop, the hops are a bit less than advertised which lets me down some. Malt dominant and through end much like chocolate covered raisins. Just dont catch the bitterness at all.

M: Extremely thick with thin carbonation. Somewhat chewy for a brown.

D: Pretty drinkable but nothing that stands out with this one, good or bad. Not very Dogfishlike.

Not my favorite from dogfish. Picked up some Palo Santo today so I figured I would have this one first before getting into those.

Had a half/half at brewpub with their punkin, that was nice.

marcpal, Apr 18, 2008
Photo of osi
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Great tannish head with and the brew had a dark cherry wood body (Dark brown with ruby hues). Spider web lacing on parts of the glass.

S - Wow. The aromas seem to travel. You do not have to be close to get a good whiff. Very complex smell with coffee, dark chocolate caramel, dark malts and earthy hops. Minimal alcohol.

T - Caramelized brown sugar as advertised on the bottle, toffee, dark malts and with a bitter hop finish at the end. There was a toasted element as well. Dark bready, raisins, molasses too. If there wasn't a slight alcohol taste I would give a 5.

M - Medium carbonation with a medium body.

D - Very very good beer. I almost drank the whole thing before I could finish the review. Extremely tasty with many many elements. I really recommend this if you like brown ales. Again excellent.

osi, Apr 12, 2008
Photo of ScottUCF84
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into a pint glass.

A- Very, very dark brown with ruby and violet hues.Pours with a thick, creamy tan head that fizzles down into a skin, except for where it meets the glass, where it is noticably thicker. Not much lacing at all.

S- Immediately when you pour the beer, it's aroma bursts into your nostrils from a distance. Roasted caramel malt, cocoa, brown sugar, a touch of prunes and coffee.... this smells like a dream!!! Very potent! I didn't pick up much hops in the nose.

T- Indescribably matches the smell dead on. Surprisingly roasty, but not overwhelming... I wouldn't say it's in stout territory. Flavors: roasted caramel malts, brown sugar, coffee, toffee, cocoa powder. There is definitely hop presence throughout; and it blends magnificently. The beer finishes bittersweet from the hops and brown sugar. I have to keep reminding myself this beer has a 7% ABV.... the alcohol is masked completely by the flavor. Delicious.

M- I would say this is a full bodied beer. Very creamy, medium t low carbonation.

D- Goes down with the best of 'em. I kept going back gulp after gulp to discover new flavors... and before I knew it the glass was nearly empty. This is easily one of my favorite beers. I've tried plenty of beers that are ranked higher on this site that are simply blown away by this baby.

ScottUCF84, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of SIRIUS2
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark walnut brown, clear on the pour, with a thin light brown head that receded quickly to a frothy ring. Light lacing.

S: Earthy smells, peat & wood chips combine with dark rich malts.

T: Coffee flavors are the foremost in the malt but there is also some nice chocolate and caramel undertones, and some nut flavors as well. Not sure what the bittering is coming from but it brings the brew just shy of balance, leaving way for some of the complex malt sweetness to come through. The finish relatively long and malty.

M&D: Nice heavy full mouthfeel matches perfectly with the flavors at hand. The carbonation is light and tight, making for a very smooth and creamy texture. I'm not a huge "Brown Ale" guy but this really was good.

SIRIUS2, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of BrewMonkey
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Maybe its just me, but I keep trying lots of imperial brown ales, and they all seem too close to stouts for me. When I think brown ale, I think caramel and a smooth finish, but more and more I get a mouthfull of roasted malt. Not to suggest any of those beers taste bad, just not what I expected, and this one is similar.

Pours very dark brown with little tan head that recedes quickly. Seemlingly low carbonation. Aroma of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and light caramel. Taste is quite roasty and pleasant. Moderate bittering is the only sense of hops I get from this, most of it is in the malt despite the label. Mouthfell is bubblier than expected from the pour.

Pretty tasty, but again a bit outside the style I was expecting, but I won't hold it against this beer, but I might hold on to the beer.

BrewMonkey, Apr 08, 2008
Photo of charlzm
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 04/07/08.

Pours a rich, almost impenetrable brown. A thin tan head forms then dissipates not long after, leaving only a ring of foam around the edges. Suds cling to the sides as the fluid level goes down.

Aroma is rich and sweet: caramel, toffee and toasted grain (reminds me of raisin bread toast).

Mouthfeel is thick but not chewy.

Flavor is more bitter than any brown ale I have had before, but that's by design, of course. Some nut flavor, traces of raisin and sweet caramel malt are apparent, but oily pine hop flavor and accompanying moderate-to-heavy bitterness follow soon after. A touch of alcohol burn is present as well. Carbonation is present and balanced. Slight tingle on tongue at the end of each sip.

As beer warms, bitterness becomes less noticeable. Oddly, though, other flavors do not seem to change proportion or emerge. Drinkability is awesome for a beer with this ABV.

A delicious variation, possibly my favorite brown ale. Thanks, DFH.

charlzm, Apr 07, 2008
Photo of Avryle
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

---On tap at Mahar's----

A- Super dark brown. Very little light getting through creating deep copper highlights. Stoutish in appearance. While really pretty, not exactly appropriate for the style... but then again, it is Dogfish.

S- Malt bomb with chocolatly aromas

T- Malt, molassas & coffee with a nuttiness lingering in the background. Finishes with a nice hop note too.

M- Full bodied for a brown, again defying the style which makes ranking based on style guidelines difficult.

D- Pretty easy drinking for such a full bodied beer

Avryle, Apr 07, 2008
Photo of sholland119
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Stone Levitation glass (why not).

A-Pours a delicious dark brown with ruby red highlights around the edges. A thin brown head that has nice stickiness.

S-Roasted coffee and malts, some dark chocolate flavors.

T-A very nice hoppy bite all the way through with some nice caramel and roasted coffee flavors. Very well balanced complex flavors.

M-Smooth with nice moderate carbonation. The maltiness lingers on the tongue.

D-A good go to beer. Very drinkable.

This is one of my favorite DFH beers, certainly my favorite moderate ABV choice. A thoroughly enjoyable beer, very drinkable. My favorite brown ale.


sholland119, Apr 07, 2008
Photo of currysage1
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours gives 1/2 finger head, light brown at the edges, mahogany towards the center.

Smells of rum soaked brown sugar, some freshly split oak wood.

Taste is faint alcohol off the bat with bitter malts, enjoyable. This flavor is very woodsy, can't place it all. Sort of like chewing on sassafras root, enjoyable but bitter. This may be one of my new favorites from DH.

Mouthfeel has a wonderful dry creaminess to it, sharp feeling carbonation at first but you grow accustomed.

currysage1, Apr 05, 2008
Photo of turbine2475
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown with ruby hues that shoots around all of the edges. Two finger mocha head that disipated slowly leaving a light lace.
S - Light coffee and chocolate hints that give way to buttery toffe and some dark fruits.
T - Dark coffee and chocolate that was found in the nose is joined by a mice balance of caramel and a light raisiny sweet that finished with tiny hop bite.
M - Clean mouthfeel with a good carbonation.
D - Looked at this beer several times on the shelf and never grabbed it now I'm pissed I never have. Excellent balance and taste. Definately going to pick more up tomorrow!

turbine2475, Apr 05, 2008
Photo of indiapaleale
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Personally, this is one of my favorite Dogfish Head beers. Don't get me wrong, I love the 60 Minute IPA. This beer however has grown on me over the years and has become a go to six pack when I can't find anything new to try. I guess, for me, its the great mix of styles that keeps bringing me back time and time again.

Pours dark and earthy brown with a nice head that looks like it was born on the top of the beer. Its such a great looking top to a very perfect looking glass of beer. The smell is very strong coffee and dark toasted malts. Its a smell that is very inviting. There is not a lot of hop in the nose but the malty sweetness and dark roasted smell is just a great combo.

Tastes sweet, malty and with a nice hop bitterness at the end. There is a bit of a sweet brown sugar taste that really stays with your taste buds. I also get the same taste that I get from a cup of very dark coffee that has sugar collected at the bottom. Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad thing. I really enjoy this beer. Its a unique style that I think works very well.

indiapaleale, Apr 03, 2008
Photo of RickSawyer
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark coffee black with ruby'd edges. Fluffed one finger head forms then surrenders to a single ring around the glass. Smell is sweet malty syrup, biscuits, and plum. Taste is nice! Big, sweet malty chocolate grains, raisin, maple, a bit milky and coffee with a floral grape finish. Very good. Mouthfeel is creamy and a bit soapy. All and all very good, but a bit strong in the abv for a brown ale.

RickSawyer, Apr 03, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep brown color ale with a nice foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of nutty caramel malt with some dry hops. Taste is also dominated by some toffee and caramel malt which are well balance by some dry light bitter hops. Good body with some good carbonation. Very well done for a session ale that can still retain some character.

Phyl21ca, Mar 31, 2008
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,021 ratings.