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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,394 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,394
Reviews: 1,929
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 267
Gots: 686 | 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: 5,394 | Reviews: 1,929 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bbothen
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12 oz bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours a clear medium brown color with a thick creamy 2 + finger deep tan colored head. Looks great.

Smells sugary sweet, some faint chocolate, caramel, and a noticeable medicinal aroma.

Malty sweetness, chocolate, mid palate hoppiness, cakey, nice balance between sweet & bitter here. Tasty, I likey jack.

Medium bodied, nicely carbonated, crisp.

Wish I had access to this all the time. Could drink plenty.

Photo of mugglesandhops
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle Poured a super dark brown body with a thin off white head with decent lacing. Smells of caramel, bready, spices. Taste was very spicy, slight alcohol burn, dark fruits, nutty, and coffee in the finish. Medium to full fizzy bodied. This was a pretty hot beer for 7.2%

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

A-Pours a deep brown with a large foamy head. Decent retention with good lacing.

S- Notes of sweet caramel, coffee, chocolate, butterscotch, hops with a fair amount of alcohol warmth.

T- Wow! This is one amazingly complex brew. I'm tasting burnt coffee, dark chocolate, caramel, and butterscotch. The finish is full of dark chocolate and coffee as well as a pleasant balancing hoppiness.

M- Medium to full bodied with a considerable amount of carbonation.

D- Excellent. A complex and robust brew but still very easy to drink. I could drink these till I went blind. Well worth a try.

Photo of unibrew
4.88/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Let me first say that I'm a BIG beer lover and I have long been searching for a session beer. At 7.2%, it's a bit much perhaps, but, it's so drinkable I WANT to have a few of these in a night, along with a Chocolate Yeti or something truly big. That's good drinking! It's been a long time since I bought a case of any beers, but, I did for this one. To me, it has a near perfect combination of flavors. The malts and hops just blend so perfectly well. Have you ever walked into a brewery and smelled it, and realized you wanted a beer that tastes like THAT smell. Well, here it is! Excellent brew Sam. Excellent.

Photo of Aenema
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 3/18/09
Appearance - Pours a very dark mahogany a thin, quickly-dissiapating tan head. Some splotchy lacing.
Smell - Roasted, caramel malts and floral hops.
Taste - Roasted malts, more of a floral hop presence than the nose. Some chocolate and caramel add depth.
Mouthfeel - Smooth, yet slick feel; medium-bodied, yet still a bit thick. Moderate carbonation.
Drinkability - Pretty easy drinking, could definitely relax with 2-3 of these.
Overall - Very solid brown ale with a nice hoppy bent.

Photo of bwhite105
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful dark red almost black. Cream color head with a red tint.
S: coffee, molasses, dark chocolate
T: Rich and complex. Roasted malts, coffee, bitter chocolate, toffee and a hint of raisin on the front end. On the back, the beer is exceptionally hopped for a crisp, refreshing finish. Although the beer is 7.2% alcohol, there is not a dominating alcohol aftertaste.
M: Wonderfully smooth. The perfect amount of carbonation.

This is an amazing and unique beer. One of my favorite American craft beers. A masterpiece!

Photo of bsp77
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Dark brown which glows a nice ruby when held up to the light. Very nice fluffy head, which leaves behind layers of lacing.

Smell: Toffee, caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit, English hops - smells like a big English Brown.

Taste: Major malt explosion upfront - strong caramel, fruit and roasted notes, maybe even a slight smokiness. Bitter at the end, much more so than other Browns, with a persistent bitter aftertaste. DFH describes this as a cross between a traditional Brown, a Scotch Ale and an IPA; throw Porter or Stout into the mix (because of the roasted character) and that may be just about right. I didn't know a Brown could handle this much taste.

Feel: This is a very smooth beer with a full body and moderate carbonation. Slightly warming.

Drinkability: Great sipping beer. Almost too much flavor for multiple beers. This is a Brown Ale on crack.

Photo of williamherbert
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is a dark ruby red color. Bubbly cauldron of bubbles. Slow carbonation. Head shrinks but doesn't disappear.

The smell is nutty brown aroma; dry mocha and hazelnut. Comes across as a malty brown in the nose, or even like a mild porter. The hops are woody, but slight.

The taste is a heavy nutty, bready malt. Heavy malt flavor, sweet and sugary but dry. Dry oaky hop comes through as well, but as an accent. Hops do increase with warmth.

The feel is milky but thick. A little ashy, but fits perfectly for style. It's so dry and rich that repeats are a must.

Photo of Kraken
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.
Consumed 6/9/09

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my trustee Floreffe chalice. Moderate pour yields 1/8 inch head that fades fairly quickly. Very nice thick lacing. Color is a dark brown mahogany with ruby to light tan edging.

Nose- Carmel, molasses and deep piney hops. Nuances of coffee, coco, and maple syrup, decadent.

Palate- Wow. A mouthful of dense caramel and molasses. Essence of coffee, coco, some maple syrup sweetness. Punch of piney hops. Finishes dry and slightly cloying.

Mouthfeel- Dense, mildly chewy, active and dry.

Drinkability- Good but would be better by a roaring fire, or after having raked leaves on a crisp day.

Photo of NorCalYeti
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

taste- bitter hop flavor

color- deep brown

smell- carmelized barley aroma

body- smooth mouthfeel

overall impression- very drinkable

notes and comments- nice balance...the beer exhibits characteristics of each of the three beer styles that inspired it...american brown, scottish ale, and india pale ale.

Photo of brow1901
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- A bit darker than an average brown ale, but its still lets some light through when held to a lamp. A nice foamy pale tan head leaves fair lacing with a little retention.

S- Lots of toasty malts, pleanty of carmel, some toffee, and a hint of vanilla. But wow nice hop character, this helps seperate this beer from the others. Some sweet alcohol scents.

T- Awesome tasting brew. Sweetness from the carmelized malts and brown sugar. This balances wonderfully with the hop bitterness. Mild alcohol warming finishes the beer perfectly.

M- Full bodied but a little over carbonated in my opinion. But that helps keep it more drinkable.

D- A great tasting complex beer so its certainly enjoyable to drink, the high abv prevets it from being a great session beer. Overall Indian brown is an excellent beer.

Photo of Natural510
3.61/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark, black-brown with thick head and nice coat of lacing on the pint glass.
Smells of roasted malt; slightly sweet.
Roasted malt with loads of bittersweet chocolate and some caramel. Not nearly as sweet as I expected. Very thick; you could almost eat it with a fork.
Quite creamy in the mouth, not to mention smooth. Dry finish.

Okay, as a drink on its own it's not bad, but I have a hard time calling this a brown ale. It's much more porter-like, and is not at all sessionable. Very rich, this would make a nice dessert beer paired with chocolate, or tobacco for that matter.

Photo of DaveFL1976
2.89/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What I like about this beer is that it breaks barriers. Lots more malt than your average brown ale would ever dream about having. Lots more alcohol, too.

But I don't find it particularly enjoyable. There's something in the middle palate of this beer that just doesn't work for me. A sort of medicinal, soury sort of taste. And the alcohol is not well hidden, either. This is the third time I've had this beer (different batches, too) and it just doesn't suit me, unfortunately. I find that sort of sad and suprising, because I love most of DFH's beers. Well, at least they have plenty of other flavors for me to drink!

Photo of javelinarhae
3.45/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is not a first-beer-of-the-day-while-you're-sitting-on-the-verandah-feeding-birds kind of beer. This is a malt whirpool in your mouth, eye-crossing siren of a creation that you should work yourself up to, armed with a stomach lined by a beer and pretzels with hot mustard. It's recommended that you take it sitting down.

The beer poured out of the bottle nice and dark with a significant fine foamy head, and I had to let it sit for a little while and warm up to room temperature because I'd opened it straight from the liquor store. Do not drink this beer when it is in any way too cold or it will taste like you are noshing on maple syrup for a dare. Even when warm, there isn't much of a noticeable aroma. This beer holds its secrets close.

The first sip fills the entire mouth with a dark molasses-like boof of an explosion, like a Hawaiian basaltic lava that's inevitably going to cover your house and your dog and your ex-wife and your sandals but is taking its sweet, gentle time about it. The flavor reaches up into your nose, and that's where the hop flavor can be detected as a hovering will-o-the-wisp atop a bog of delicious despair.

It took me a really long time to finish the first one. Then I took a break involving an IPA and a sandwich with corned beef in it. I came back to this fellow after the break to give it another try, and could barely finish the second one. This is not a session beer, this is a full body experience, an odyssey of a beer fraught with taste and peril.

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

Served on tap at Smokin With Chris in Southington. Pours a medium brown in color with a nice fluffy head. Minimal lacing. A deep roasty flavor, with hints of dark fruit and some caramel properties. This one taste as it smells, nice and robust with a smoky, chewy malt profile. Good dose of malt with minimal hop tinge. This was had decent carbonation, but a nice round body that stayed in tact on the tongue. This was one of my favorite DFH from the tap, glad I tried it.

Edit Note: This has got to be my favorite DFH brew, from the time I had it on tap to me having it in the bottle has solidified this notion, it is nicely hopped and really cleans up the flavors to make this such a sessionable beer. A brew that should be tried by every craft beer lover alike. Absoloutley a home run!

Photo of bonsreeb85
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - black w/ large tan head and crazy nice lacing

S - very sweet. caramel toffee and roasted malts. smells like maple syrup. w/ notes of coffee, and a bit of hops as it warms

T - insanely rich. very sweet and malty taste. but a balancing hop bitterness is not to be overlooked. along with the earlier metioned aromas, i also taste brown sugar, raisins, chocolate and a lingering coffee flavor. very complex this one. delic-i-o-so!

MF - low- medium carbonation gives this one and even bigger fuller body. really heavey, but it tastes so good, it goes down easy.

D - this is definately not a session beer, too rich and high in abv. but i could have 2 or 3 with ease.

side note ...Best brown i've ever had!

Photo of dogfishhead1117
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alright so this is damn good beer,

Pours an almost black, rich, malt and just perfect pitch, little bit of a head and it smells like heaven, bunches of hops that are muted slightly by the barley and grain and hickory that are well showcased in this IBA

Taste is just great, starts as a little bit of an oily, crusty blend and gives way to a great oaken flavor that just warms you up if it's cold out there, heavy on the grains and the hops are beautifully balanced against an exquisite malt brew with a lot of nutty flavors mixed in with some chocolate themes, thumbs up and high fives to sam and the guys at DFH for making what's essentially the year round version of their chicory stout

Photo of watkins
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a pint glass. Freshness date: 2.10.09 - kinda old, bought in Chapel Hill, NC

A: Pours a nice deep brown color with ruby highlights, and a tan head of medium density. Decent lacing.

S: Like most Dogfish ales, this has that signature "brown sugariness" aroma, though brown sugar is actually listed as an ingredient in this one. Also bitter chocolate and caramel exist.

T: Immediate tastes of chocolate and malt sweetness are then countered with a nice clean bitterness from the hops in the mid-palate and finish. Nice bitter aftertaste, reminiscent of after eating dark chocolate, just a little hopped. Not too sweet, not too hoppy - a nice balance.

M: Smooth, lightly-carbonated, medium-bodied. A nice feeling brown for sure. A slight heat lingers.

D: For its abv this beer drinks rather easily. Its sweetness isn't excessive and is cleaned up by the hops, making a good anytime beer. If only these were available in this state...and a little fresher.

Photo of nate4g63
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured my 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Much darker than I thought it would be. Not much light gets through, very similar to a porter in color. Decent foaming head at first.

S - I felt it smelled much boozier than it tastes. Has a burnt smell to it that I really liked, almost like hot coffee.

T - Seems to me this is more of a porter than a brown ale. Starts out kinda sweet with the hoppy finish. Nice bitterness at the end. Has some burnt chocolate flavoring to me.

M - Good carbonation I thought. Very smooth and not boozy at all, although it smells that way.

D - Very drinkable, I only wish it was a little lower in ABV cause its so good you dont wanna put it down. I think this is probably going to be a beer I have in the fridge all the time. If you have the chance to try this, you wont be disapointed.

Photo of merryjoulton
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep dark brown with a nice creamy brown head that laces well. Smells of chocolate, smoke, malt, molasses, tree fruits. Taste is malty and nutty, there is a nice bitterness as well, overall I'm not impressed with the taste too much. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy. Drinkability is just above average.

Photo of SuperSpy
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

The beer is a crystal clear brown with rich amber highlights when held to the light. There is a dark tan, one finger head. As the foam dies down it leaves a thick lace along the sides of the glass and creamy film over the top of the beer.

The aroma is full of chocolate, roasted grains, a touch of vanilla, light roasted coffee and even a very faint hint of licorice. In short this smells incredibly yummy.

The flavor is immediately chocolaty upfront and followed with sweet caramel and roasted malt. The flavor as the last drops leave the the tongue and the carbonation hits the back of the throat is a mixture of the caramel and vanilla followed by a well sweetened light roast coffee. What hops are there balance the sweetness just enough to keep this beer from becoming too sweet. This flavor is complex, harmonic and absolutely delicious.

With a medium-light body and a nice crisp amount of carbonation this beer is a little lighter than I had anticipated. With that being said I think this beer goes down very easily but making it a little heavier wouldn't hurt.

With the complexity of flavor in this beer, you should sit down and drink it slowly and you may want to have more than one just so you can go back to when it was first poured and relive every moment of that initial glass.

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

Appearance: Pours a chocolaty translucent brown color with tons of reddish light coming through the sides. An off-white finger of head doesn't stick around very long. There is some great lacing around the edges of the glass as the beer disappears.

Smell: Chocolate, roasted grains, some notes of barley, a sprinkling of vanilla, and peek or two of coffee. This is a yummy smelling brown ale.

Taste: In a surprising reflection of the nose, the taste bears hints of chocolate, roasted grains, coffee, and vanilla.

Mouthfeel: This is a very light and crisp American Brown ale. The hops provide a nice bite, but the finish is smooth and very unsticky.

Drinkability: At 7.2% ABV, this American Brown might be on the high edge of the sessionable beers, but the smoothness and variety of flavors definitely make me want to sample a few of these.

Photo of oldirtycaffrey
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Christened my new Sam Adams 'Turbulator' pint glass with this excellent brew. Pours a dark brown/near black color with a small, foamy tan head. The smell is pretty amazing -- deep, dark, sweet, roasted chocolate with hints of toffee. It really is more like a porter/stout, in my opinion. The taste is also sweet, a little bitter, with a nice coffee aftertaste. Its bitterness coupled with a potent 7.20 % ABV makes it perhaps a difficult beer to have more than one or two, but it really is a beautiful beer to sit back and enjoy slowly.

Photo of hedgiewan
4.77/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- heavy light-brown head becomes a thin film. Beer is a clear reddish-brown.

S- Caramel, tobacco, light grass with a bit of brush-smoke (not wood-smoke).

T- Grass and greenery on the front, solid brown malt flavor, mid-hop finish. Relatively low bitterness.

M- Midrange, slightly sharp but consistent.

F- Lingering smokey hop flavor. Clean, not sweet or muddy.

Overall: I could drink this every day. This is a brown ale that transitions well to summer heat with a strong hop presence, but without the acrid taste of many IPA's. The day I first had this beer the outside temp was hovering around 90F and it was brilliant, but I can see it carrying over well into the cooler months with its heavier-than-average (for a brown) body and slightly smoked character. I would recommend this especially to people hesitant to try extremely hoppy beers.

Photo of damienblack
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium-thick dark brown, like a lighter stout. Not much in the way of head or lacing. Smells pretty hoppy at first, so I think, uh oh. But then I get a whiff of a sweet brown sugar, and all is well. Taste is just like a hoppy but well balanced brown. Maybe a little less burnt malt and a little more caramelized instead. Got a bit of a sweet kick buried in there. But all of the sweet is balanced out by some healthy hopping. Maybe a little low in carbonation, but not that big of an issue. After a bit, is pretty easy drinking. Definitely a different beer, and one worth checking out.

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,394 ratings.