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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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5,321 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,321
Reviews: 1,916
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 258
Gots: 624 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-07-2001

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,321 | Reviews: 1,916 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mempath
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very nice on all counts...pours deep dark as expected, thick sheet-like lacing...smell just didn't jump out, but the taste is right there in your face...rich,caramel burnt hops...maltiness asserts in a drag race with those hops...but i think the burnt cerealiness is what wins out. mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a nice carbonation keeping it almost 'crisp' but that's almost oxymoronic...! drinkable, but not a session beer.

best drunk in twos as a meal. and a nibble of dark chocolate.

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

Nice looking dark brown with ruby tint. Tall pour delievered a one finger tan head which soon turned into a thin film and left a good amount of lacing.

The aroma was of coffee and chocolate, although I also picked up what smelled like laundry detergent.

Tasted along the same lines, but without the detergent. Not especially complex but pleasant nonetheless. I liked the fact that it wasn't over the top with the coffee. No sign of alcohol.

Mouthfeel was medium and smooth.

This is a pretty drinkable brew. Nicely balanced and one I'll probably revisit again.

Photo of drink1121
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer looked great from the start. Ridiculous lacing at the top with a great 4 finger head tat dwindled as I drank.

I smell a good amount of caramel and hops, with some malt too.

The taste is real hoppy with a pipe tobacco and caramel finish.

Not too too much carbonation, just right.

For how this beer is, its surprisingly easy to drink. This is my first high abv browny and its dope.

Photo of gpogo
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Clear dark brown. Held up to the light there is ruby tint. Small tan head that dissipated almost immediately.

A- Notes of chocolate. Caramel malt aromas. Upon opening I got this brief smell reminding me of IPAs, but I'm having trouble smelling anything too hoppy over the malt aroma.

T- Very interesting flavor. Very clean and smooth and then along comes a strong coffee flavor. No noticeable alcohol flavor. Nice hoppy bitter finish.

M- Medium body. Rather smooth with a dry more resiny finish. Moderate carbonation. Slight alcohol warmth.

D- Wonderful brown ale. Almost a mixture of an IPA and a brown ale, but not overly hopped. With a smooth malty coffee taste of a brown ale. The alcohol is a bit high to drink a few of these at a time, and it's hard to notice.

Photo of SaucyA
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled on 1/07/09

A - Root beer body with a root beer head, amber highlights. Light lacing.

S - Big malts up front bring forth a caramel, with notes reminding me of waking up to coffee brewing a few rooms away. I'm bummed I read the description at the top of the page because all I'm smelling is a scotch ale now. Good smelling brew tho.

T - It's a big brown at 7.2%, and it's not the cleanest 7.2% I've ever ran into.... However, the bitterness is nice and not very expected with the style. Bold malts and a nice hop-profile make this a stand out, but it could be toned down a bit to lend towards drinkability.

M - Fizzy at first but once it mellows it rounds itself out a little more. Good body, but the carbonation... not so much.

D - ABV hinders an otherwise pretty drinkable beer. If this were a little more subdued I'd be all over it. I like the hop profile a lot but there are a few browns I'd pick over this.

Notes: I don't know what I should review this as. It's hardly a brown. It's as much a brown as it is a porter, a strong ale, an ipa, a scotch ale... I guess it looks brown?

Photo of drizzam
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a pint glass. Stamped that it was bottled on 08/01/08.

Appearance - Poured a creamy 2 finger tan head. Head retention was excellent and left good lacing. This brew is a clear ruby red/brown color.

Smell - Smells of caramelized malts with a hint of cocoa. There is also a slight odor of alcoholic esters...smells slightly boozy.

Taste - There is some complexity here. Definitely a bitter hoppy finish. Starts malty with a bitter chocolate background. I'm also getting the nuttiness of the brown. All of the flavors frolic together in a brown meadow of deliciousness. Complex and tasty!

Mouthfeel and drinkability - Smooth as velvet. Creamy with a medium body. Carbonation is light in this one. Overall this is one tasty little brew. The ABV is a little high for what I would consider a session brew. Complex and yummy...this is one I will be recommending to my friends!

Photo of whoneeds8
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass dark brown with a nice two finger off-white head that stuck around for a while. Nice lacing all the way down the glass. Smell's of roasted malts and sweetness. There's also a strong note of alcohol, but it doesn't take away from the other scents. The taste is fantastic for a brown. In fact, I thought I was having a Porter. Which it would be a nice porter, but it's a fantastic brown. The mouthfeel is has the same hint of alcohol that the scent gave off, which does take a little away from the experience. Overall, this is probably my favorite brown ale.

Photo of Bartian
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought 3 Dogfish Head types today to see a cross section of what they had to offer. My sights are pretty high and the first experience didn't disappoint.

The Indian Brown Ale pours smooth, with a dark brown that shines a deep ruby red in the sun. A slight head with little lacing shown a nice tan.

The smell was the highlight of the drink. A sweet, malty caramel that was reminiscent of a chocolate stout; little hop was noted.

The Ale tasted much like the smell, sweet like candy, that permeates the mouth and wakes up all the senses. I didn't note any significant note of hops, though a bit of bitterness is present in the aftertaste.

The drinkability was good but a little too sweet for more than two at a time.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle split. 6 oz poured into Sprecher taster glass.

A - No head on the dark copper color. It could have been the split pour.

S - Totally distinct smell from any other beer I've had. Very sweet maltiness with roasted coffee beans, tootsie rolls, caramel, and molasses. Where were the hops?

T - Heavy maltiness with a bittersweet chocolate. Instantly the Brown Ale flows across the palate and is quickly followed by the taste of the Scotch Ale and a bitter finish from the IPA.

M - Crisp, bitter, and dry sums up the mouthfeel of this beer. Its a little on the harsh side.

D - Because of its experimental nature and flavors, its drinkability is affected. The blend of styles makes it a once and a while beer but certainly a good one you shouldn't miss.

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

A: Dark brown semi transparent with a good 2 finger head that lasts a long time.

S: Heavy malt and brown sugar smells with a hint of mocha.

T: Mildly bitter, nice malt taste and a hint of hops. Leaves a slight bitter aftertaste but nothing that lasts too long.

MF: Mild carbonation, not to heavy body.

D: Very drinkable. Would get another.

Notes: Poured from bottle to pint glass. Bottled on 10/20/08

Photo of Hokies
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a nice semi dark color with red highlights and a nice one inch off white head with a decent lace left on the glass.

Aroma is filled with brown sugar and caramel malts with some light hops in the background. Their is also a semi-sweet coffee and roasted malt aroma.

The taste is bold and full flavored with the same semi-sweet coffee taste followed by the caramel malts and then it finishes with a balanced hop taste that blends well with the fellow notes.

A very nice session beer and one that I would seek again.

Photo of BigMike
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

!2oz. bottle with bottled on date on the back.

Pours a beautiful dark brown with ruby red highlights and two fingers of creamy head.

Smells sweet. Brown sugary and syrup like.

First i taste some caramel and brown sugar. It finishes up tasting like coffee icecream. A lot of tasty roasted flavors going on here. i can also sense a few hints of vanilla.

Mouth feel is light and fluffy. Very smooth and creamy. This is one of the best Brown ales i've ever tasted.

The drinkability is wonderful. The 7.2% is well hidden and this one goes down smoothly.

Photo of midnite2sixman
3.66/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours much the same color as a regular IPA, but this one is special. Gobby lacing.

Resinous hops smell up front, a touch of skunk on this one, kind of Heineken like smell, sugary sweet malts on the nose too.

Taste is big up front like an IPA, but this is where the wonder kicks in, somewhere in the middle you get a brown ale taste, and it finishes up again like a smooth ipa.

Mouthfeel is nice and wet. Not too bitter, smooth finish.

An interesting beer from an interesting brewery. Pretty solid stuff.

Photo of Brenden
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color is a deep dark brown that leaves a pillowy brown head and some very nice lacing. The smell is brown sugar and molasses with some malt and floral hops. The taste is more malt with a nice range of coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, nut and toasty sugars that aren't too sweet. Hops add some herbal flavors along with a nice balancing bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth and thick with a medium to full body. The finish is thick with toasted malt and molasses lingering on the tongue. Drinkability is pretty good, hampered a little by the thickness and the headiness, plus a fairly high ABV. A very nice, complex and flavorful brew well worth trying.

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

Poured into a normal pint glass this beer produced a dark brown body with a espresso colored head. The smell is hops, sugar, and malts. The bottle that I was trying was from 08/08 and you could tell that the hops had faded. Regardless, the malt presence was very nice and made this beer very good. I would recommend anyone try this beer as it is one of my favorite Indian Brown Ales.

Photo of Pauly2X
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep ruby chestnut, one and a half finger head.

S- Loads of toffee, caramel and a hint of roast.

T- Big malt flavor up front. It's not all sweet, there's a good marriage of sweet caramel, with hints of roast and mocha as well. A floral hop character which provides a balancing bitterness is present at midpoint but takes a backseat. Finishes very clean.

M- Smooth and rich yet still relatively light on the palate.

D- This went down a little fast.

Although good, sometimes browns can get boring. Well this beer says "hoof" to that, big time. If you're about to give up on browns, dont' and give this a try.

Photo of dEM1972
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Darker brown, with a fluffy head; fruity malt laced aroma and whiffs of robustness popping from the depths; strong, full bodied taste, a bitterness coming from the darker roasted elements with caramel tones which are somewhat drowned out by the dark roast; almost like a stout but not a think or bitter, but tending in that direction.

Photo of BaltimoreMike
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Seriously one of the best beers that I've had that gets the perfect balance of hops, alcohol, and flavor that I look for in a beer. It has a strong flavor that is not overwhelming, yet it has a nice kick without that dry alcohol kick afterwords, honestly I feel it is the perfect blend of the two, Only problem is that it's a little hard to come by. I live in the DC area which is relatively close to Delaware, and I've only seen it in a few places. Overall grade from me is an A.

Perfect for the true beer lover, and can go with almost any occasion.

Photo of buschbeer
4.64/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I poured into a pint glass to an inch of head. Beautiful brown color with a hint of red. I love the smell, coffee, chocolate, earthy smells. I was hesitant to taste for fear of disappointment but was far from disappointed. It has a nice coffee taste with some chocolate, very smooth. I am impressed. I am very pleased with this selection.

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.08/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 8/6/2008 (bottle):

Pours a lightish brown colored body, very clear looking, with a foamy off-white colored head, creamy & lasting. Grapefruity, nutty aroma. Grapefruity, dusty, somewhat nutty aroma. Nutty taste, some hops. Somewhat bitter aftertaste. Okay.

Photo of Gyle41386
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottled 11/08.

Pours a dark brown with red highlights. Two finger creamy light brown head. Good lacing.

Smell is mostly of roasted coffee. Dark malts and chocolate hints as well. Also some hops. Smells a lot like a porter, actually.

This one is rich. Tons of roasted malt gives a pretty big coffee flavor, much like is present in the nose. The smoky, roasty quality is one I usually don't like, but I find it to be pleasant in this particular beer. Sharp hop bite.

Somewhat dry finish, but there's still a lingering taste of coffee bitterness. Body is probably closer to full than medium, feel is soft and very smooth.

While I probably wouldn't call agree with its categorization (I have no idea what to call it), Dogfish Head Indian Brown is a big, rich, complex brown ale.

Photo of jsp2
4.73/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass. Deep, rich brown color that the light barely gets through with a medium sized creamy, lacy brownish head.

Smells of toasted barley, coffee, vanilla, and a little bit of sweetness.

Taste is at first slightly tart and carbonated, then a rich coffee bittersweet flavor follows with a hint of alcohol. Toasty goodness of coffee, vanilla, and barley. The malted barely character is extremely pronounced and exceptional. It is the star of this one. Nice bitterness on the finish contrasts with the malt sweetness.

This beer is somewhat well cabonated but has a silky milk feel quality to it that is pretty unusual but nice. It would be wrong to do other than sip this one, it is one where you could spend a long time enjoying it.

I love barley and this brew puts it out there in a strong and complex way. Other prominent flavors give it an interesting profile and every facet of it seems to be well crafted. This is a beer I will certainly purchase regularly and drink at their pub.

Photo of Jimbo87
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a US pint glass.

Very dark brown but reddish highlights when held between your eyeball and a lightbulb. Pale head, some lacing at the end.

Smell is roasted coffe, sweet grain, and hops. Coffee dominates.

Taste is coffee, a cantelope note, chocolate, burnt sugar, caramel. Floral hops. Very porter/stout-like. Great flavor.

Good carbonation and has nice body.

Drinkability is high. A great brew. Best brown ale I've had.

Photo of webmanspidey
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown appearance. Fizzy and well carbonated with a slowly fading tan head. An odd smell.. muddy coffee, bitter hops, and something fresh, clean, and piney. Taste contains some very well balanced flavors of hops, brown sugar, coffee, and something pretty out there that reminds me of celery.

Drinkability is excellent. A well put together beer than seems very out of the ordinary to me, but something that I seem to always expect with DFH beers.

Photo of markaberrant
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - colour is dark brown, brilliant clarity, low head doesn't leave much lacing.

S - smell is malty, light chocolate, and some herbal hop notes

T - lightly burnt sugar, sweet caramel, mild nuttiness, hints of chocolate in the background finish, with herbal hoppiness not overly assertive, but weaving it's way throughout

M - above medium body, the weight of it helps brings the maltiness to the forefront, creamy, dry finish, soothing alcohol warmth is most welcome

D - definitely one of the best American Browns out there

I find DFH to be hit or miss, and this regular offering is a huge hit. Just terrific. Wow. If you think most brown ales are boring, you NEED to try this one. It's hoppy than most browns, but not overdone, and I like the decision to not use citrus hops, the Liberty/Golding combo works very well.

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,321 ratings.