1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

4,897 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,897
Reviews: 1,870
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 219
Gots: 429 | FT: 7
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Indian Brown Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,897 | Reviews: 1,870 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of armock
4.1/5  rDev 0%

Okay so there I was standing in the beer alse staring at this brew with a split decission in my mind I hate IPAs but I do love a good brown ale. So I thought to myself its an ale how so bad could it be, so I bought it. So heres the rating on first glance it looked great but that inch of foam in my glass dissapered pretty quickly but it did leave a lacing on my glass. The smell to me was great with a taste of coffee and hops. Yet again to me the taste was similar to a stout but less harsh and alittle hoppy but not too strong and smooth. In my mouth it was very smooth not much carbonation and easy going. The abv in this brew is higher than most beers but its still very drinkable, so I would recomend this with a good meaty meal like a steak or something of that nature.

armock, Oct 01, 2007
Photo of hellcatsjg
4.1/5  rDev 0%

Appearance: Deep dark brown, much darker than many brown ales I have had. Not much in the way of head.

Smell: Nutty and caramely scent with a bit of malt.

Taste: Tasty sweet nut and caramel flavor hits you right away. Not too sweet, just sweet enough. Ends with a good malty flavor. The nutty flavor comes forward more as you go on.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and easy to drink. Not much in the way of carbonation. Good thickness as well.

Drinkability: High drinkability. Smooth and tasty, decent ABV, not much carbonation. Could easily have several of these in a night. Good brown ale.

hellcatsjg, Sep 25, 2007
Photo of jjayjaye
4.1/5  rDev 0%

Pours an opaque darkness with a full finger loose tan head that resists fading. Visible surface pools of effervescence and a sheet of lacing that's along the full length of the glass. The smell is really rich; a creamy smoked roast malt and sweet chocolate aroma. Medium-full bodied, the mouth feel is creamy yet adequately carbonated with a nice hop tingle. The flavor is quite good, but its not a big full flavor, like Empire Downtown Brown. The nose is bigger than the flavor. I'm enjoying that the roasted characteristic is 'in the zone', meaning that its not not 'burnt' or overwhelming. This is a really nice drinker. I'm surprised that its weighing in at 7.2% ABV.

jjayjaye, Sep 24, 2007
Photo of Rootdog316
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%

A cross between a Scotch Ale, an I.P.A., and an American Brown, this beer is well-hopped and malty at the same time. Super deep brown color with a nice size tan head. Rich caramel start with a toasted malt and slight coffee taste. Rich roasted malt flavor with a hint of some darker fruits. Goes down smooth with a bit of an alcohol bite in the aftertaste.

Rootdog316, Sep 19, 2007
Photo of tapman
4/5  rDev -2.4%

A- A dark, dark brown in appearance with a creamy, tan head. Really dark for an Indian, Brown, or Indian Brown Ale. Shows a lot of promise.

S- Sweet caramel and chocolate barley malts dominate to nose on this brew. Tangy hops compliment the malts well as they are not grassy , but bitter. Musty, dusty aroma that makes one nostalgic for old chicago museums.

T- Caramel and toffee malts. There's a hint of chocolatey smoothness though not quite chocolate, just a bland mixing agent to tie everything together. Hops are a little lost in the alcohol, but when it warms up a little they are quite sour and bitter. The mix of sweet and sour are a staple of the DFH IPAs.

M- I want to say that the mouthfeel, thanks to all of the sugar from the light/medium malts is chewier than most. With the alcohol in the back the finish has a sharp bite to it that one gets used to and begins to happily anticipate after every sip.

D- While not as high for me as with the 60 minute IPA, which is very surprising since I love American Brown Ales and their ilk, the extra alohol hurts drinkability. Its more of a sipper, though not so strong that it isnt refreshing and enoyable.

tapman, Sep 18, 2007
Photo of DavidSeanNJ
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%

Enjoyed with some spicy chinese food...

A- A dark brown color- small, thin, tan head- no lacing at all.

S- Smell was of roasted coffee and chocolate.

T- Taste was very pleasing. Roasted nuts, coffee beans, dark chocolate, malts, molasses, some cinnamon.

M- Mouthfeel was thick but sleek and smooth.

D- Because of all the spices and the heavy nature of the brew, I could not drink too many of these.

Great beer- excellent flavors.

DavidSeanNJ, Sep 16, 2007
Photo of ruleof72
4.1/5  rDev 0%

Pours a nice dark copper color with thinnish creamy head and decent lacing. Smell is nutty with a hint of hops and caramel. Taste nutty first with some good tasted/caramel flavor. The hops is there but not prominently. There was a bit of a bitter/burnt aftertaste which detracted some from the overall taste.

The beer had good medium body and carbonation. It felt good on the palet and was fairly drinkable. Another good quality beer.

ruleof72, Sep 14, 2007
Photo of beergynt
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%

Poured into an Imp pint. Dark brown with orange/red tinges. Nice inch of mocha colored head that settled down into a thick lumpy blanket... Molasses dominates the nose for me, with caramel, cocoa, and a hint of the heat that is to come... Taste sweet molasses and chocolate up front, followed by a not so subtle hop profile and warming heat from the fairly high ABV... Definitely leaves the mouth something to think about for a while after it's gone. Smooth and silky contrasted by abrasiveness of the hops and alcholic heat... I'll never sit and drink a 6 of this beer, but the 3 that I had were nice for the first cool night of the late summer/early fall.

beergynt, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of david131
4/5  rDev -2.4%

A- A clear, very dark orange beer. Light can be seen making its way through the beer at the edges where you can also see some constant streams of rising carbonation. The head is pretty beige and is pretty thin, but it does maintain itself as a thin covering.

S- Definitely some chocolate, molasses, and a little nutty. Coffee on the tail end.

T- Just like the smell, but with a little more kick. Really pretty smooth- flavor wise. Just a tad bid of warming from the 7.2% alcohol, but nothing that really bothers me. Quite a long lasting tasting beer.

M- Smooth overall with the carbonation adding the extra lightness at the end to enhance the flavor.

D- For the ABV, I found this to be a surprisingly tasty and easy to drink beverage. This is not normally my style, but I am impressed.

david131, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of saintwarrick
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

This brew pours a deep opaque brown with ruby edges if you hold it up to the light. Head is decent, rings the glass and leaves a nice thin lace over the beer. Aroma is milk chocolatey, roasted malts, cocoa and molasses. Taste is nice and sweet before the hops show up – a bit more bitter than this style is typically, but it is not too the detriment of the brew. Nice spicy kick from the hops.

A great beer, taste-wise for this style I would rank it behind only Sam Smith’s Nut Brown. A great beer.

saintwarrick, Sep 10, 2007
Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into my Dogfish Head pint glass.

A: Pours a nice root beer color that turns ruby when held to the light. A generous two finger head formed, which turned to a lovely tan lace within moments.

S: I can smell the brown sugar on this thing a mile away. Smells of a generous amount of sweet, roasted coffee malts too, with an earthy, fruit/raisin backbone. No real hops detected, though there's something herbaceous about this brew. Not a lot of alcohol in the nose either for an ABV of 7.2%

T: There are those bitter hops mentioned on the label. The hops wash down pretty quickly, but leave a burn in the back of my throat. In its wake are sweet malts and an earthy, coffee finish. Really complex and enjoyable, although a bit unbalanced. (or off-centered, as they would say)

M: Mouthfeel is lighter than the taste or smell. It enters on the light side, but finished sort of heavy. I think that's a plus for me; I like some hearty substance from an American Brown.

D: It's easy to drink one or two, but I wouldn't recommend too many more than that. The flavor will overpower your palate after a few brews, so take it for what it is, or enjoy one or two on a cool evening.

I'm a sucker for most things Dogfish Head, and their mad scientist brown ale is no exception. The whole-leaf hop flavor may deter some, but for IPA fans dabbling in American Browns, you'll feel right at home.

Gambrinus1184, Sep 07, 2007
Photo of jdubjacket
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%

A solid beer. Pours a cola/coffee color from the bottle. The most prevalent aroma is coffee. Taste is coffee/cola and is slightly unbalanced. I can't put my finger on it, but by the time I get to the end of this beer, I've had enough.

Overall, this is a good beer, but one is enough.

jdubjacket, Aug 29, 2007
Photo of SSBrennan
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%

Pours a consistent cola brown with a rocky tan head and medium carbonation.

The smell is strongly of malt with a roasted smokiness reminiscent of a Scottish ale and hints of coffee

The taste follows closely with a roasted nutty sweetness followed by a slight hopiness and distinct coffee flavors in the finish. The aftertaste may be the best aspect after some initial alcohol and excess sweetness.

The mouthfeel is fairly clean.

I think more than one might be too sweet for me but in terms of weight and bitterness it's fine just a little unbalanced.

SSBrennan, Aug 27, 2007
Photo of mountdew1
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%

Poured into a tulip pint glass. Was a nice brown color, very dark, mostly light blocking. Had a nice thick foamy milky head. The head had a layer the whole pint, with traces left down the sides of the glass. Aroma smelled of fresh wheat bread, with hints of apricot. Tasted slightly sweet, layers of brown wheat. Felt good in the mouth. Slightly tingly on the tongue, coated the mouth well. Pleasant to drink, went down very smoothly.

mountdew1, Aug 23, 2007
Photo of 1fastz28
4.43/5  rDev +8%

pours a very dark brown color with a slight hint of amber color, little head is present. smells absolutely fantastic, suggary caramel scent is great, has also a slight piney hopness to it, i'm a big fan of malty beers so i'm looking forward to tasting it, and i'm not dissapointed, has a phenomenal taste to it, just great, lots of malty warm goodness, mouthfeel is good, my ownly complaint is that it could use a little more body, but thats just trying to be nitpicky, as allways dfh does not dissapoint

1fastz28, Aug 22, 2007
Photo of jdoncbus
4.1/5  rDev 0%

Bottle poured into a tankard. Deep, dark brown with a brown, chunky head. Heavy lacing.

The nose is heavy with brown sugar and coffee flavors. Woody and earthy fragerance as well; almost an espresso with half n half. Can also make out a grassy, earthy tone as well.

Pallette is hit with a roasty, brown sugary flavor followed with a nice round of hops and chocolate finish. Chewy mouthfeel that ends with a tart finish on the roof and back off the mouth. Nice ride.

Really enjoyed this beer but feel that I should have purchased this gem in the autumn to winter months,. nevertheless I dig this offering. First time I tried something besides the DFH IPA's (60, 90, 120 min), another solid offering from DE.

jdoncbus, Aug 19, 2007
Photo of hunteraw
4.1/5  rDev 0%

Appearance: dark garnet with a big off-white head, good retention and lacing. Attractive.

Smell: Clean - almost lagery so at first - but as it warms all kinds of aromas start coming out: nuts, sweet caramel malt - vaguely cola-y, and roast coffee.

Taste: Much more than I was expecting. Nuts and caramel quickly give way to a clean bitterness and roasty aftertaste. Hops are more than enough to compensate for the sweet malts here - I appreciate that I can actually taste the hops, unlike some other brown ales. Finishes clean and dry. Flavorful, but still light enough on the palate to be quaffable.

Mouthfeel is light-medium, carbonation just right, drinkability is high, despite the alcohol content (which is well-masked, anyway). Exceeded expectations: the perfect summer "dark" beer?

hunteraw, Aug 15, 2007
Photo of tugdriver7
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%

I'm not a huge fan of higher ABV beers simply due to their drinkability, but this one was amazing and well deserved of the high rating. Deep, rich brown color, a bit of hops in the nose and a rich, smooth mouthfeel. Taste is rich brown malt with just enough hops (and a bit of astringent alcohol taste) to keep you wanting more. A perfect blend of bitterness and fruitiness, balanced with the roasted malts. Phenomenal and so fresh (since its brewed so close). Recommended by my friend Ian at I.M. Wine. Good suggestion!

tugdriver7, Aug 15, 2007
Photo of franksnbeans
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%

Served to me a very dark brown, resembling a stout with a thin layer of head that remained and laced throughout. Smells of sweet malt, toasted nuts and a breath of fresh hops. Starts off tasting of some toasted malt, some coffee and a beautiful hop finish. Mouthfeel is nice and full, some carbonation and a tasty bite from the hops that lingers on the toungue. For a stout this is good, for a brown ale this is fantastic. Very smooth and filling, if it were winter right now this would be a pint of $3 liquid crack. A must try on tap (my only experience)

franksnbeans, Aug 13, 2007
Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%

Served cool from a 12 oz amber bottle into Boston Lager glass.

Pours crystal clear medium to dark brown, with a nice half inch dark tan head to complement, left good lacing.

Aroma is sweet and alcoholic (fermented warm?), with a hint of spicy hops.

Tastes hot, with rummy caramel note and subtle coffee note. Excellent strong bitterness on the front with a somewhat dull finish lingering.

Drinkability is pretty good, worth trying, but I'd grab something else for the next round. This might be their tweaked rendition of Tony Simmons' recipe for Poor Richard's Ale created for the Brewer's Association to commemorate Ben Franklin's 300th birthday. Given the hot alcohol bite and dull finish, I'd have placed DFH Indian Brown in the Old Ale category instead of American Brown.

BattleRoadBrewer, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of ojiikun
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%

Had on tap in (ugh) a pint glass at Collins Pub is Seattle. Body is as dark a brown as I can imagine without being black and vaguely hazy. Head is super-thin and light khaki. A few big chunks of lace by the end.

Smell is toasted German bread and bittersweet chocolate. Molasses at first and then something vaguely herby riding on booze. More like a stout than I expected.

Taste is at first much sweeter than expected, but fades to a bitterness that carries the darky, toasty malts' chocolate and charcoal flavours very well. Hopping is more obvious with some alphas on the tongue. Less herbal and more oily, but not piney or soapy in either case.

Feels a little heavy on the palate after each sip. Drinks like I'd expect a winter warmer to - upfront and pushy, sedating and full. A well balanced hybrid of brown ale and stout from DFH.

ojiikun, Aug 09, 2007
Photo of roller
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%

Pours a rich reddish brown with purple hues when held up to light and is accompanied by a two-finger tan head that leaves little lacing. The smell is roasted malt with coffee notes followed by alcohol. The taste reminds me of molasses. Not as hoppy as I'd expected, but I don't feel that it's lacking either. Again, coffee taste in the finish. Medium body with a crisp finish. A very tasty brown ale that I would have again.

roller, Aug 08, 2007
Photo of BitteBier
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%

Dark but clear red-tinged brown color, topped with a finger's worth of fine and reasonably persistent light brown head. The smell is denser and more complex than is typical for the style. Part of that is the hops, but even the chocolaty, roasted malt base invokes a porter or even a stout more than a brown. There's a lot going on in the taste as well, which is malty (per the nose) and sweet (sugars and dark fruit) up front before parting for the hops. The alcohol is evident but by no means overwhelming. Smooth, medium-bodied mouthfeel gets dryer in the finish. A really interesting brown ale.

BitteBier, Aug 08, 2007
Photo of MarkSCCOT
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%

This is my first review of a Dogfish product. Hope to get more of their beers soon!

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle with no freshness info into a pint glass.

A. Beautiful dark brown (can barely see light through it) with a small rapidly receding head.

S. Nice piny hops.with just a hint of malt.

T. This is very smooth for such a dark brew. The hops are perhaps the best I have tatsted in a long time, well balanced with the malt.

M. A very creamy heavy finish.

D. Very drinkable beer for the amount of alcohol.

A great beer!!

MarkSCCOT, Aug 07, 2007
Photo of hustlesworth
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%

first IBA (or ABA?) i've ever had (i think). bought on a vacation to NC, i was VERY surprised when i poured it into my pint glass...

A- i expected brown, but i didn't expect this deep dark reddish brown with about 2 1/2in of dense sticky tan head that looked strikingly similar to quick-set foam insulation. over all it looked like coca-cola until i held it up to the light letting rays of red shine through. the foam settled slowly to about 1/2in leaving almost no lace on my pint glass.

S- as soon as i opened the bottle i got dark chocolate, but when i stuck my nose in the glass there was fine dairymart-style arabica coffee, more bittersweet chocolate, burnt toast, burnt grains and something in the background that was fruity and floral at the same time, maybe the liberty hops?

T- coffee, more like cappuccino with a lil cream and an effervescent glob of dark chocolate dropped in. roasty caramelized malts followed by unripe plum and dried fig with a bitter coffee aftertaste. when i burp it's plum and fig all the way baby.

MF- smooth and creamy, i'd like a lil bit more carbonation so i know that i'm drinkin beer, not some fancy alcoholic caramel-mocha-chino.

D- i'm not one that goes for coffee or dark chocolate flavors, but i know now what to expect from a quality organic brown ale. it's complex and aromatic and it reminds me of sitting by the fire with a pretty girl in the dead of winter. right now, in the heat of summer, not so much. despite my prejudices, i can't seem to put the glass down.

hustlesworth, Aug 01, 2007
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 4,897 ratings.