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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.

4,842 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,842
Reviews: 1,868
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 213
Gots: 400 | 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
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Ratings: 4,842 | Reviews: 1,868 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Budlum


4.22/5  rDev +2.9%

Pours with a nice, viscous quality producing one inch of sturdy, tan head. Deep brown, garnet and ruby body. Excellent head retention and lacing on the glass.

Deep, roasted barley notes lead off a very attractive smelling beer. Clean, malty aromas provide a very balanced brown sugar sweetness. Some noticeable dark chocolate smells before a very subdued hop presence. Very nice.

The flavors are started by a strong, almost over-toasted barley presence. The dark malt flavors are almost on track with a the flavors of a porter. Malt complexity provides a deep chocolate and coffee flavor. Very light and crisp hop presence provides some bitter relief from the potent malts. Long, toffee laden finish. A finely crafted ale.

Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated and very creamy. Very porter-like on the tongue.

Drinkability is excellent considering the powerful toasted malt presence of this beer. Very well balanced and delicious.

10-04-2006 02:07:36 | More by Budlum
Photo of mpyle


3.73/5  rDev -9%

A deep brownish red color with a relatively thin but long lasting light cream colored head.

Smell is interesting - a bit roasty and smells somewhat like an American porter. As would expect from Dogfish, this beer has big flavor and isn't a delicate little flower. Very much on the malty side of brown ale, with the darker malts contributing to the flavor profile. Hoppy aroma/flavor is not evident to my taste buds.

Mouthfeel is robust and pleasant, but perhaps a bit too heavy for me to down a bunch of them in a row.

10-01-2006 00:51:41 | More by mpyle
Photo of auntfloyd

New York

3.9/5  rDev -4.9%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a very dark, almost opaque mahogany, with half a finger of light brown tan head.

The nose is very sweet, full of caramel and sweet malts.

The taste is also very sweet, with caramel and brown sugar hitting you upfront. After an alcohol finish, there is a very brief flirtation with a hoppy bitterness, but that will definitely be erased by your next sip.

The mouthfeel is rather good for this style. I find most brown ales to be a bit on the dry and unpalatable side, a trend which this beer completely reverses.

This is definitely the sweetest, and most "Belgian" American brown ale I have tasted. If you are a fan of the more traditional, laid-back brown ale (as done by Brooklyn or Sierra Nevada, for example), this ale will surprise you. If you are a fan of sweet-ish Belgian-style ales, then this beer may also surprise you, especially since you won't expect this flavor from a brown ale.

09-26-2006 01:33:37 | More by auntfloyd
Photo of BeerSox


4.1/5  rDev 0%

12oz bottle into mug. Bottled 5/18/06.

Nearly opaque brown with small amounts of dark red light showing through. Light brown head mildly-retaining head. Thorough lacing along the glass.

Very sweet molasses like flavors emerge along with sweet brown sugar. Bits of dark malts and hops make their way through. A touch of warming alcohol makes its way through.

Deep roasted flavors with a touch of hops in the ack of the mouth. Sweet caramel flavors are mixed in coming from the caramelized brown sugar. Some hidden alcohol comes in toward the end.

Close to full bodied with a small amount of carbonation. Dry alcoholish finish along with the bitterness of the malts.

I'm very satisfied with this beer. A well rounded dark brown ale, almost like a porter. A good beer for the beginning of fall.

09-24-2006 21:40:11 | More by BeerSox
Photo of treehugger02010


4.43/5  rDev +8%

For some reason I thought Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale tasted like an Irish Stout. I don't know if it was just the mood I was in or what, but the bottom line is I have never had an Indian Brown Ale before and really enjoyed this one. It kind of reminded me of Guinness, but I would be careful of taking that as Gospel. The smell was pretty appealing, but what really got to me was the texture of the beer, it was a nice smooth feeling with a kind of creamy ambiance to it. Enjoy.

09-20-2006 21:06:17 | More by treehugger02010
Photo of cash22


3.85/5  rDev -6.1%

Indian Brown Ale - 'A clean, well-hopped brown ale with aromatic barley, caramelized brown sugar, and whole-leaf Liberty & Golding's hops.' Sort of a Indian Pale Ale and Stout/Porter mix. Strong alcohol breath of alcohol after each sip. Nice dark copper color with a strong smell of sugary, malty, carmalized goodness. Agree that it has a bit of a smoky taste/smell as well.

Live us to the DFH name!

09-14-2006 23:18:17 | More by cash22
Photo of thelagerheads


4.33/5  rDev +5.6%

I've always been put off by the Dogfish Head labels. They look a bit cutesy and for some inane reason this has stopped me from purchasing their products. But I'm glad that I finally did. This is one of the more well-balanced hopped (of which I'm not a very big fan of) and malted (though the bottle says carmelized it tastes malty) beers that I've had. A little smoky, a little brown, a little hoppy, and a little stouty ale-ish with big flavor and a breathy alcohol finish. The first sip was especially smokey and chocolatey but after that I was gulping it down like a pirannha eating this meaty cocoa ale though it became a little watered down from the original coma of hearty stoutness. Maybe it was the BASS mug fighting the DOGFISH HEAD for supremacy. AH AHAHAHA. Whatever, fool. Definitely the best brown I've had. I'm HOOKED.

09-14-2006 04:50:31 | More by thelagerheads
Photo of FuzzyGuy84


3.08/5  rDev -24.9%

12 oz. bottle into a chilled glass.
Bottled 04/10/2006 (perhaps past the drink best by date)

A - Very little head. Dark in color, even for a Brown Ale. Still translucent, not at all cloudy.

S - Smells of barley and hops. Mild and pleasant, but unremarkable.

T - Somewhat dissapointing. You can really taste the alcohol, especially on the front of the tongue. Very strong taste of barley. What I do like is that the hoppiness of the beer really comes through, which is refereshingly different for this style of beer. All things considered, a little above average.

M - Thin, rather unremarkable.

D - I'm going low here, because I was tired after finishing just the one, and with the higher alcohol content and taste, I can't imagine wanting another soon.

09-12-2006 19:52:25 | More by FuzzyGuy84
Photo of psinderson


4.15/5  rDev +1.2%

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Deep red brown when held up to the light. Thick caramel colored head. Good lacing.

Smell: Very malty with strong roasted aromas. Little hop aroma.

Taste: This is where the hops appear. Malt sweetness up front, Hop flavor and a twinge of alcohol in the middle, strong roasty bitterness in the end. A second taste revealed a slight fruitiness. Very complex.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and chewy.

Drinkability: Considering the ABV, this goes down pretty well. It hasn't hit me yet, but I'm sure it will.

09-12-2006 01:17:47 | More by psinderson
Photo of sraimondi


4.22/5  rDev +2.9%

Had this one recently at My Place in Newtown, CT. A wonderful dark brew. Brown sugar nails you at the start, but is smoothed out by hops in the finish. Very tasty with medium carbonation. One of my fave offerings from Dogfish Head. While a bit high on the ABV, you don't really notice it from the taste.

09-10-2006 13:28:12 | More by sraimondi
Photo of steinlifter


4.75/5  rDev +15.9%

I had this one at the "Connecticut River Brewfest" on-tap, was friggin awesome!...my favorite brew there.
The pour was cola-colored,rich tan head with lots of retention.
smell was sweet, chocolate & molasses.
taste was incredibly delicious, chocolate/coffee, and sweet molasses, balanced out nicely with mild hopping.
drinkability is off the chart!...this stuff is "All that!"...plus a bag O' chips!...highly recommended.

09-10-2006 08:48:25 | More by steinlifter
Photo of atozymurgy


3.23/5  rDev -21.2%

Appears deep brown, nearly opaque with ruby highlights. Small, tan head fades fast. Smells of lots of toasted, biscuity malt, chocolate, a little roasted barley. Then hops take over, very fruity, flowery, citrusy. Also some yeasty, estery fruitiness, banana-like.

Flavor has a strong malty sweetness as a backbone, but hops dominate. Quite bitter for the style. Also too much citrusy American hop flavor for the style, detracts from what should be a roasty/toasty maltiness. There's also too much roasted barley flavor for my taste, almost stout-like and out of place here.

This is very full-bodied, with medium carbonation. Perhaps a hint of alcohol warmth.

While this beer is not unpleasant, I don't think it's very successful. I get the idea of an IPA crossed with a brown ale. But in the end I don't think the combo works. There's none of the refreshing crisp bitterness of an IPA because of the sweet maltiness, and little of the comforting richness of toasted malt since it's overwhelmed by the hops. Also, the roasted barley flavors are out of place in either style, and detract from this beer. It doesn't taste bad, just muddled.

09-09-2006 13:42:58 | More by atozymurgy
Photo of rarevos

New York

3.83/5  rDev -6.6%

Poured into pint glass.

A: Deep, dark brown with hints of amber around the edges. 1 finger of tan head. Very light lacing left behind.

S: Nutty and slightly coffee-like. Has a hint of maple buried within a very heavy brown sugar aroma. This is one sweet-smelling beer.

T: Brown sugar is up front, along with some indeterminate fruitiness. Finish is slightly bitter, but is really another place for the malt to hang out. Malt in the finish is coffee-like, sweet, and roasty.

M: Medium-bodied. A bit porter-like, only a little more syrupy.

D: At 7%+ abv, it's not something I'd be likely to put back a few of. But it's a nice take on a brown ale, a bit sweeter than the norm.

09-05-2006 00:58:43 | More by rarevos
Photo of nicefix


4.05/5  rDev -1.2%

Poured very dark brown, almost black unless you hold it up to the light. Nice one finger light brown head after a pretty strong pour which receded after a couple minutes to a nice ring with decent lace.

Smells of dark fruit, sweet with some citrus and a floral touch.

Tastes of fruits up front with a creamy smooth mouthfeel and in the finish I get some more fruits and a mild chocolate malty finish. Very balanced and smooth and I think it has just the right amount of carbonation.

I drank three of these and didn't want more, only because of the high alcohol. But halfway through the first beer, I really started to enjoy and recognize the wonderful flavours going on.

I'm not to familiar with the style but I really did enjoy this beer.

09-02-2006 03:54:08 | More by nicefix
Photo of quasimoto


4/5  rDev -2.4%

A - pours a nice deep brown with ruby highlights. The head lasted a little bit but left some nice lacing around the glass.

S - Strongly hopped brown sugar, chocolate, molasses and very little coffee. if any at all.

T - It is a rather sweet brew with a bitter finish. First the aforementioned brown sugar, chocolate etc. are there but they all turn bitter/dry out nicely on the finish. Everything is so well balanced.

M - light and smooth at first. There is no carbination bite to speak of . the bitterness dry it out in the end. Very very clean.

D - I have yet to have a bad beer from here. I LOVE DOGFISH!!!

08-30-2006 22:53:54 | More by quasimoto
Photo of Wasatch


4.38/5  rDev +6.8%

A - Pours a dark brown/black color, lots of carbonation, a slight fizzy head which quickly dissappears, some lacing around the edges.

S - Scents of sweet malts, slight roasted scent, and slight toffee/caramel.

T - The taste is kinda sweet and roasted malts, with a dry finish.

M - Medium body.

D - Very drinkable. This is an awesome Brown Ale from DFH. Highly recommended. At 7.2% watch out, lol

08-29-2006 00:28:48 | More by Wasatch
Photo of notown


3.98/5  rDev -2.9%

Ruby brown with tan head and little retention. Mild aroma of hops blended with coffee and caramel. Moderately bodied roasted barley with slight coffee and caramel flavors evident. Lingering maltiness and slight alchohol warmth and finishes slightly thin.

08-28-2006 18:35:46 | More by notown
Photo of mcarroll10177


4.72/5  rDev +15.1%

on tap at the Moan and Dove

A- dark brown with a quickly disapating white head, tons of lacing on the glass

S- some malts with some nut flavored undertones. a nice clean smell

T- wow, there is some nice complexity to this beer in the from of some earthy nut flavors and a nice hop profile. Yet this beer is very very clean and crisp and very refreshing

M- balanced with just the right carbination

D- a beer I could easily drink all night long. Complex yet smooth, flavorful and refreshing. I also had no idea that this beer has 7.20% ABV. Where is it. the alcohol is completly hidden. I had no idea untill I lookt at its stats here that it was anywhere near that. A true triumph of a beer.

08-28-2006 02:08:25 | More by mcarroll10177
Photo of shbobdb


2.68/5  rDev -34.6%

Well, if it isn't WWS's disabled younger cousin!

While I wasn't much impressed by WWS, I figured maybe this little guy'd be different, plus there was some recent fanfare in beertalk about it,

Not my style at all. The mouthfeel is 'creamy', which I really don't care for.

The taste is brash. The brown malts mix with too much brown sugar. I'm getting dried out and getting a cavity while I drink this beer. The hops try to balance out the malt, but the flavours are too roasted for the hops to really compliment.

Yeah, not my style. I can see a lot of BA's really liking it, but this one sure doesn't.

08-25-2006 20:08:06 | More by shbobdb
Photo of jackorain


4.18/5  rDev +2%

A-Dark brown, when light gets through it highlights a really attractive black cherry color. 1 inch thick, medium dense buble head, tan in color. Excelent retention, great lacing all the way down the glass to the last sip.

S-Wow, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, even coffe, light hop backbone. There is alos some alcohol coming through, this is a very nice aroma, complex

T-As with most of the DFH bigger beers, it is very complex in flavor. There is a lot going on. Caramel, brown sugar, molasses, piney and floral hops. Almost coffe with cream or Latte on the finsh. Alcohol shows itself on the finish almost like that latte I mentioned with drop of whiskey. Excellent

M-Full body, sticky, oily. great here too.

D-Big-could not be session, but very drinkable, left me wanting another, that is for sure.

08-24-2006 16:20:42 | More by jackorain
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev -13.9%

A: Cola-coloured with a light, tan head. Not a lot of retention, but it leaves a little lace.

S: Pours with a piney, American hop aroma & toffee. After it breaths, it's more of a malty aroma (caramel, nut, dark raisin, brown sugar, dark bread).

T: Lots of caramel (too much), a little burnt, dark bread, molases; a little earthy & piney. Strong bittersweet flavour seems to mask the alcohol content.

M: Body is a little heavier than moderate; slightly syrupy, yet the alcohol leaves a fairly dry finish. Moderate carbonation.

D: Interesting/unique, but this hop syrup doesn't really work for me. I couldn't drink more than one.

08-23-2006 23:53:41 | More by Derek
Photo of SixpointJMH

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -11.5%

Pours a nice looking ruby to brown colour with a creamy, mildly sticky head.

The aroma is a bit earthy, a bit berry-like, with some sweet yet rugged chocolate in the mix as well.

The flavour is basically more of the same, however, there's a bit of tartness that comes through here that is not present in the aroma. There's also a touch of alcohol thrown into the mix that doesn't blend perfectly with everything else. It's not bad, it just kicks the flavour down a touch from what was hoped for from the aroma. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and somewhat creamy overall.

This one is pretty good. If the everso slight flavour issue was tweaked a bit, this one would be even nicer.

08-22-2006 02:37:48 | More by SixpointJMH
Photo of mjc410


3.88/5  rDev -5.4%

Had this at a bar, and I was happy to pour it myself into the supplied nonic. The head rises up to two fingers, then falls pretty quickly to a surface ring. The head is light tan. Beer's body is black when not back-lit, otherwise a dark ruby-brown.

Smells strongly of caramel, burnt sugar, molasses, cocoa, a little bit of biscuit, and citrus hops.

Taste is brown sugar, milk-stout-like somehow, biscuits, dry finish, lingering coffee aftertaste.

Pretty thick in the mouth, carbonation is too high.

A nice drinker, a first for me, and one that I will re-visit due to the complex taste.

08-21-2006 14:47:13 | More by mjc410
Photo of Kendo

New York

3.98/5  rDev -2.9%

Poured dark brown with crimson hues underneath. A foamy tan 1-finger head lingered for awhile, giving way eventually but leaving good lacing clinging to the side of the glass.

Smelled of roasted malt, sweet burnt sugar, alcohol and a faint hint of something fruity -- perhaps figs, prunes or raisins.

Tasted somewhat port-like, with raisins and burnt sugar up front. Hops bitterness finishes it somewhat dry and chalky. Alcohol taste was noticeable on the sides of the back of the tongue and the warmth stayed with me as it traveled down my throat. As it warms, the flavors become a little more mellow and balanced.

Mouthfeel was slightly chalky and fairly fizzy and the body on this one is substantially heavier than your average Brown Ale.

Drinkability? This is not a session Brown Ale a la Newcastle, but it's an interesting take on the style and is full of flavor. I could have a couple in a row, but probably wouldn't want to drink it all night.

All in all this beer is a bit of a conundrum. I think it pushes the Brown Ale style about as far as it can go. To me the biggest weakness was the lack of melding of the flavors; there was a lack of balance and a bit of harshness from that burnt sugar taste, and the hops, instead of balancing the taste, seemed to end up entering the picture separately. In the end, I guess what it comes down to is this brew isn't "smooth" -- though like I said above, it does seem to mellow and improve in that regard as it warms.

**Note: I see this morning on the beer forum that DFH has come out with a new recipe for their Indian Brown. I am certain the one I reviewed was bottled pre-5/15/06 and thus is not this new recipe. Looking forward to trying it, though. . . . **

08-20-2006 12:16:22 | More by Kendo
Photo of SetarconeX


3.8/5  rDev -7.3%

Extremely dark brown, almost like it wants to turn black. Wonderfully strong, malty, raisin aroma that you can smell from a couple feet away. Lacing that clings unusually tightly to the sides of the glass.

Thick and raisiny again on the taste, but with a harsh astringency that curtails the drinkability. A little bit of an over-roasted, almost charred taste underneath. Gets points for uniqueness, but I'm not sure I really like it all that much.

A decent session beer, perhaps, but probably undrinkable in large amounts.

08-17-2006 22:49:01 | More by SetarconeX
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 4,842 ratings.