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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.

5,170 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,170
Reviews: 1,888
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 234
Gots: 530 | 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: 5,170 | Reviews: 1,888 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thekevlarkid
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yum. A great aroma of caramely-hinted malt pervades as I pour this wood-stain colored ale. Not much head but its fades to a nice ring that clings to the glass. Little lacing. Very, very tasty for 7.2% ALC. Chocolate & coffee like a stout, balanced hops and malt. Delicate carbonation, medium/heavy body and a smooth finish all make this a quaffable brew. A great brew for novices and sybarites alike. Share this with you friends, tell 'em Kevlar told you to!

thekevlarkid, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of KarlHungus
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a sturdy brown color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes very slowly into a firm cap of lacing. The aroma is of molasses, brown sugar, and hints of chocolate. The taste has the malty goodness of the aroma with the addition of the green hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this beer is a little too hoppy of a brown ale for my liking. It is good for what it is, however, and I could drink it again.

KarlHungus, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of TrevorGW
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great brew!

Deep malt flavor is countered by a huge hop presence. Dry center with a nice creamy finish. Truly unique in that it fails to have the thin body of a lot of brown ales. This one doesn't back down.

I brought this to a BBQ and tried it for the first time. It was a big hit and I was loving the bitter chocolate flavor.

I will certainly be getting this again and again.

TrevorGW, Aug 18, 2008
Photo of wahooman
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 ounce bottle into a tulip pint.

Pours a dark rich color, almost appears black at first but then shows deep red when held up to the light. The lacing is decent but the real appeal to me is the head that settles from 2.5 fingers down to .5 and lasts the entire length of your experience with this ale.

Smells of roasted malts and bitter hops. The smell definately helps to create anticipation for the flavors to come, it represents them well.

Tastes of caramelized sugars and roasted malts at first and then finishes with an enjoyable strong hoppy flavor.

This is a very thick and powerful beer and yet it still is smooth on the palate.

Despite the high alcohol percentage, one hardly notices such characteristics in this beer. Not a session beer, but one to be enjoyed and savored.

Overall, this is a very flavorful beer that I highly recommend to anyone. Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale is my idea of a quality brew.

wahooman, Aug 18, 2008
Photo of daliandragon
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional off the pour: copper brown color and impressive off white head with visible lace remnants once bubbles retreat. Sweet caramel malt is held in check by medium hopping and a pleasant sour note. As it warms acquires a definite roasted coffee bean flavor. Nice.

This is definitely my favorite Dogfish Head beer. This beer features a solid balance of roasted malt and full flavored hops with serious coffee and dark fruit tones. This went down smooth and surprisingly refreshing.

daliandragon, Aug 15, 2008
Photo of kuykendall
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A= Dark almost black with a creamy head

S= A heavy sweet malt tastiness right up front with a slight current of hops behind it.

T= It rolls over the tongue igniting different tastes there is a slight alcohol after taste but it only comes after barley and sugar have waltzed through.

M= Chewy, almost nugety (is that an authorized beer word?)

D= this is my first time with this particular beer, but it reminds me why I picked brown ale for my first home brewing recipe. It's like looking at an old photo album with you grandparents when all the photos have turned with sepia. Every page is some exciting story you didn't know existed until you heard them. This brown ale is a return to a simpler time, but finding that something you thought you knew complete had a whole nother side you could have even contemplated.

kuykendall, Aug 15, 2008
Photo of ommegoose
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 4/24/08.

Pours a dark brown color that lets little light though. Cherry wood color when held to the light. A quarter inch of frothy tan head stays after the pour, and most of the way down the glass. Leaves medium spiderweb lacing. The rare beer where the head outlasts the liquid beverage at the end.

Dark caramel and spicy hop aroma. Brown sugar. A lot richer than what the style usually offers.

I can sum this beer up in two words: brown sugar. There's more going on than that, but it's the dominant characteristic. In addition to the caramelized brown sugar, the sweetness is almost root beer-like. Hoppy, but not bitter. Liberty and Golding hops give a spicy back end and a very mild bitterness. They lend a strong presence but are not overpowering. Perhaps they are a bit more bitter when this beer is fresh, but at around three months they take a definite backseat to the malt. I get a little cocoa powder and smoke. Any nuttiness is subdued at most. Finishes with a touch of molasses and earthy, spicy hops. The big flavor is the only thing that suggests 7.2% abv.

In typical DFH fashion, mouthfeel is creamy and full. This is lightly carbonated.

This is a great brown ale, one that I will probably revisit. Quite different from the nut brown ale style, and far more interesting than those typically. The hefty malt is needed to keep the hops from getting out of hand. This is hardly sessionable; I would top out at two. The alcohol plays a role in this, but I felt it more than tasted it. The brown sugar starts to get cloying after a while too. Still, an impressive beer worth trying at least once, and probably more. A very strong effort by DFH.

ommegoose, Aug 13, 2008
Photo of RobH
3.18/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

This was the fourth of four beers in a flight of malty brews >> Monty Python's Holy Grail, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Brooklin Brown, and then DFH Indian Brown.

This was my last bottle from a 6-pack that I had for a while because, well, this isn't my cup of tea due to the high level of hop bite.

That said, it made a great caboose on this malt train I was on, and by the time I got to this one the impact from the prior beers made the hops more palatable.

In fact, it worked well for me in this scenario and I played it right by doing this one last.

Still not my cup of tea, but I can readily see how this beer can be the hop head's Brown Ale.

RobH, Aug 12, 2008
Photo of ckeegan04
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark brown with dark ruby edges. Thick foamy brown head. With excellent retention and lacing.

S - Very nutty aroma with hints of alcohol as well. Also hints of chocolate and coffee. Alcohol smell is surprisngly strong given the relatively low ABV.

T - Tastes somewhere between stout and porter. Strong nutty chocolate taste with light hints of alcohol. Hops provide a nice spicy and earthy backing but the roasted malts are the star of this beer.

M/D - Full bodied and incredibly smooth and easy drinking. Not sure if this really falls into the realm of "brown ale" but whatever it is it is damn tasty.

ckeegan04, Aug 10, 2008
Photo of barefootbrewer
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown with a thick brown fluffy head.

S: Malty and sweet - molasses comes to mind.

T: Malty and slightly bitter. Caramel is noticeable as well as a hint of spice - some hop notes as well.

M: Full and lush.

D: This is a damn smooth brown ale!

barefootbrewer, Aug 05, 2008
Photo of cnally
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer has a great chocolate coloring. Slightly fizzy as well. The smell is full of a malty, molasses air. The color is representative of the slightly mocha taste. There is also a hint of nutmeg. Great light feel on the tongue, surprising for such a dark brew. Good drinkability and it packs a pretty decent alcohol punch.

cnally, Jul 31, 2008
Photo of kzoobrew
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown color, some ruby color can be noted in the light. Nice creamy tan head with great retention.

Dark malt and baker's chocolate hit my nose first. Slight earthy hop aroma. Some pleasant smokiness as well.

Roasted malt and burnt brown sugar/molasses flavors up front. Definite nutty flavor. Hops do more to compliment the other flavors then stand out. Slight chocolately flavor, after taste is however sticking to the malt and burnt sugar.

Definite full mouth feel but incredibly smooth almost creamy.

Super drinkable and super enjoyable. Dangerously so.

The taste is very close to a scotch ale while still staying near the brown ale label. No matter what you call it, damn it tastes good.

kzoobrew, Jul 31, 2008
Photo of jushoppy2beer
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If I were drinking this in a dark tavern I would have thought it superb. The flavor is very nice, with a bit of smokiness on the palate and a rather bold finish, but without being too heavy. It drinks a bit like a Scottish brown ale. The nose is a bit weak, but has a subtle maltiness. But sitting in the sunlight, the color is a bit dull, it is too dark to show off its effervescent carbonation, and there is practically no head. Overall, a good solid beer if you're in the mood for something a bit out of the ordinary.

jushoppy2beer, Jul 28, 2008
Photo of tbeck
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured a dark, reddish-brown with a thin light brown head. The aroma was coffee with a hint of malts. The taste was odd, bitter, like a cup of cold coffee. After a couple tastes I kept thinking of burnt sugar. It wasn't a turnoff but I didn't really enjoy the flavor. It has good texture. It is on the heavy side, but if I enjoyed the flavor I could see drinking a six pack with no problem.

tbeck, Jul 26, 2008
Photo of timbro81
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark blackish brown with hues of amber on the edges. Standard 1/4 off white head that settles to a fine layer within a minute. Smells of rich malty carmelly hoppy goodness, that's the easiest way for me to put it. Nice roasted caramel malts greet the tongue. Upon swallowing the taste transitions to an earthy, piney hoppiness. Medium to light bodied with a silky mouth feel. The "burntness" of the grains mingles well with the tingling of the hops. A very well structured beer. I approve.

timbro81, Jul 21, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown in color with ruby highlights around the edges. No head on the pour, only a slight froth around the perimeter of the glass. Smell is dark, roasted malts and a hint of piney hops. Wow, there is a lot more coffee in this brown than I was ever expecting. Caught me off guard. This is a very good brown ale. Full and roasty on the mouthfeel. There's just a bit of a harsh roasted coffee aftertaste. Other than that, this is a winner.

FtownThrowDown, Jul 19, 2008
Photo of Donnie2112
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

very dark brown in color, just a little film of head

very sweet a bit of smoke on the nose

rather sweet, there are some notes of raisins and caramel lots of roasted malts a bit smoky and just a bit of bittering hop flavor

smooth, medium carbonation and a bit of roasted malt and astringence

this is very drinkable, not extremely special but tasty nonetheless.

Donnie2112, Jul 18, 2008
Photo of mynie
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Odd that I never ran across this brew until just the other day. Eagle River Liquors in Fulton, Illinois (the best beer store in the area) had some sixers at a very reasonable price.

Pours very, very dark for a brown. Darker than most American stouts, actually. Opaque when sitting in the glass but ruby translucent near the bottom when you hold it up to light. Maybe it'd be brown in daylight. Who knows. Anyhow I don't typically judge a pour on the color so we can thankfully avoid any controversy over whether or not this looks appropriate for a brown. There's not much of a head, though, and it's kind of sitting in my glass like soup.

Smells like a regular old brown ale with just a bit more hops than I'm used to. The malt is biscuity and nutty and very strong, and then you got a little burst of west coast hops along with everything. Solid, but not the kind of mad rush I was hoping for.

Tastes better than it smells. Actually, now that I've sipped it I don't know what I was really expecting from the aroma. The hops can't be overwhelming, here, unless they were to drown out the brownaleiness of the malt. Anyhow, the brownaleiness is a lot stronger than you get in your average brown. It's like a goddamn hazelnut explosion. And that smooth intensity is backed up very well by a nearly perfect blend of hops. Nice nice nice.

Browns are usually one of my least favorite styles. Usually the problem is that the malt profile is off, for one, and then it's also usually not balanced in the least. Well, Dogfish have gone and made a strong, supremely drinkable brown that's almost perfectly balanced. Kudos.

mynie, Jul 14, 2008
Photo of Reagan1984
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer on tap at the Falls Church, VA Ale house.

The beer came with a fairly thin off white head that did dissipate over time. The beer was dark brown/amber in color with some reddish qualities. Also fairly clear, yet dark.

Aroma was wonderful and had lots of components. Chocolate, Brown Sugar, roasted malt, brown bread.

The flavor followed suit and was very nice. Nice balance and wonderful roasted malt flavor combines with chocolate, brown sugar and deep sweet flavors.

Mouth feel is medium bodied and very smooth, velvety. The beer has a very smooth finish.

I enjoy this beer and its drinkability.

Good one.

Reagan1984, Jul 11, 2008
Photo of Buebie
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an Ommegang snifter. 2 finger fizzy cola-like head. Quickly dissipated with some retention. Laceing is mild to none.
Color is a dark brown with a redish glow and hardly any transparency, only when held to light do I get that glow.

Big coffee smell with some mild chocolate oder. This smells like a roasty Belgian. Decent roasted caramel aroma too with a charred tone.

Taste is a burnt toast, caremal, with a toasted nuttiness and some earthy hop quality at the swallow.
Dry hop linger with more charred woody tones.
Its almost a porter in its smokey overtones and charred caramel like character.

Watery mouthfeel with a bit of overcarbonation.
Drinkable, but not what I was expecting.
Very much overly malty with more coffee flavor and aroma then I wanted. I was hoping for more, but got average.

Buebie, Jul 11, 2008
Photo of Yesac
3.13/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Dark caramel, thin off white foamy head. Unorganized lacing

S - Dark roasted nuts, some chocolate hints, alchohol

T - Overbearing alcohol, dark wood/fruits

M - Dark roast up front, sticky palate

D - To much of an alcohol taste for me to drink more than one of these. Not as complex as I thought it should be. I was expecting much more from DFH.

This brew get way better as it warms up.

Yesac, Jul 11, 2008
Photo of beerthulhu
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Poured a dark brown (ruby when held up to the light) with a average size sandy colored head that diminished to a light speckled layering leaving no lacing.

S: a light roasted character, chocolate and a noticeable strong hop bitterness.

T: For flavor there was a burnt molasses and caramelize sugars that was soon offset by a strong hop bitterness tying things together. Some dry chocolate, breadiness and a light vanilla bean is detected as well before finishing with a moderate dry hop bitterness. Was at times a tad to bitter which distracted from the "brown" nature of the beer.

M: a nice fullness, creamy, with a noticeable carbonation presence and dry nuttienss and malting.

D: A good attempt but really didn't care to much for this on a personal level. A moderately good drink none the less but combining the two only diminished and muddled a potentially good brown.

beerthulhu, Jul 10, 2008
Photo of dhd1491
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another really good beer from Dogfish Head.

Pours dark brown with short tan head. Crystal clear, with no sediment left in the bottle, but very dark, semi-opaque. Not as dark or thick as a stout, but with many similarities. Taste is robust with loads of caramelized brown sugar and smoke. Good solid hops backbone (they use Liberty and Goldings). Some floral accents, but no butteriness...mouthfeel is mostly oily, but not in a bad way. Just nicely coats the tongue.

This would be a nice one to have on hand for the full flavor of a stout, but in a little smoother, more drinkable brew.

dhd1491, Jul 08, 2008
Photo of boralyl
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - It pours 1 and 1/2 fingers of tan(almost brown) head. The beer itself is a very dark brown with ruby red highlights when held to the light. It is slightly opaque. The head sticks around for a little bit and leaves some decent lacing.

S - A very powerful smell. As soon as it's poured into the glass you can get a waft from several feet away. It has a very sweet, heavy malt aroma. I can make out brown sugar, caramel, coffee and some other roasted malts. I can't make out any hops whatsoever.

M - A medium-full bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation and a slight smooth feeling to it.

T - Up front come the sweet roasted malts and a smoked flavor in the middle. It finishes slightly sour and bitter with the hops. A very good combination of flavors.

This is a great beer. Dogfish Head continues to impress. It's on the heavy side and has a higher alcohol content which brings down it's drink-ability. It's pretty well rounded, looks great, smells amazing and the taste matches the aroma. Would definitely get again.

boralyl, Jul 08, 2008
Photo of BrewerB
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Aroma includes prominent caramel sweetness, honey, toast, and some grapefruity hop. Good variety on the malt side but if you call this an "Indian" something, I should be noting more hop aroma. Great brown ale aromas, missing the hops for India-status.

Appearance is spot on - deep amber brown, clear, with a light tan head which holds up well.

Upfront caramelly sweetness with a toasty malt character. This maltiness lingers into the semi-dry finish. There's a presence of citrusy hop character and a small amount of lingering bitterness. Like aroma, I expect more of the "India" character in this beer. Otherwise, nicely balanced and great flavor.

Medium to medium-full bodied, slightly creamy. Moderate carbonation. Light warming sensation.

Very drinkable and well-balanced. Could be a little drier. Would benefit from additional hop character or dropping the I from IBA. Good beer, I could drink a few.

BrewerB, Jul 07, 2008
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,170 ratings.