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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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5,434 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,434
Reviews: 1,937
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 271
Gots: 721 | 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: 5,434 | Reviews: 1,937
Photo of thekanna
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark maroon with a nice chocolate (like hot chocolate) head and heavy lacing.

S: A nutty, almost hazelnut-like chocolate smell with some espresso and a cacao-like bitterness floating in the background.

T: Nutty, roasted malt flavor leads to a whole host of other tastes: coffee, caramel, cacao, toffee, pralines. Then a gorgeous dark roasted malt taste takes over and ends on bitterly sharp note.

M: Slightly watery at first, then becomes strong, heavy, and full-bodied. The aftertaste lasts forever.

D: Very nice to sip; somewhat like a toned-down version of the Palo Santo Marron. However, this is an extremely heavy brown ale, and definitely has a lot more gravity than say, English brown ales that I can think of.

Photo of mklinger
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a shaker pint glass.

a: Deep garnet. You need a bright light to shine through this one. One finger head composed of largeish bubbles that fairly quickly dissipated leaving behind nice tan colored lacing.

S: Toffee and hops, both malty and bright. The dualing aroma elements balance each other out nicely.

T: I found the taste to be a bit less well balanced. The toffee and plum flavors are strong and distinct with a nice hoppy bitterness and flavor, However, to me these two flavors were both present but not married together to create a unified taste experience.

M: Rich, luxurious mouthfeel. Nice carbonation and nice lingering smack of hop bitterness that persists.

D: My ultimate test here is how badly I want more after drinking some, and frankly I'm satisfied but not so excited about more. It was nice, just not all I was expecting. I actually like the Terrapin India Brown quite a bit better.

Photo of dudecandle
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle poured into pint glass:

A: Deep, dark brown, near black body with a great mocha head which left an everlasting, full cap all the way down.

S: Chocolatey-sweet with a hint of coffee

T: Chocolate with great coffee, caramel, and hazelnuts, along with a wonderful hop bitterness on the end. Amazing.

M: Good, whole body, with a great, long finish.

D: Wow. I came to the end of my 12 oz and wished there were 24 more. It's complex, it's smooth, it's sweet, it's bitter. This beer is everything a brown ale should be, and then some.

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

I had heard a lot about the Dogfish Head beers from Cap'n Bishop - but unfortunately for me, you can't get them here in ABQ all that often. So, I had to go to Durango to get it. My buddy G.I. Joe wasn't up for an IPA, so we opted for this Indian Brown Ale as a compromise. From what I knew about the 90 Minute IPA, this would be a potent beer.

And it was.... There is a very malty, tart alcohol flavor to the beer, and it offers up a strong aftertaste to boot. You can really taste the roasted, nutty oat flavor. And it was surprisingly hoppy, but not so much you'd assume you accidently poured a dirty IPA. I should have figured an IBA would have some hop in it. With a 7.2% ABV, it had a kick to it....

Beer Score version 2.0 is going to kick in with this beer, so any comments - very welcome. This will be a similar scoring system to Beer Advocate (so I can double post), but also will feature some other aspects of the beer that my lovely wife thought would be helpful.

Look - 4.0/5.0 - A really nice brown color for the beer, with an almond-esqe creamy head
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - You can really smell the oats and malt, but the alcohol aroma is a bit more than I would have liked.
Taste - 4.5/5.0 - A wonderful blend of hop with a brown ale that created a very unique taste
Feel - 4.0/5.0 - Robust flavor and strong aftertaste.
Drinkability - 4.0/5.0 - Would have this one again - the hybrid of the brown ale and IPA makes for an interesting flavor.

Light (1) - Dark (10) - 7...This is a brown ale, so it's not as bitch black as a stout or porter, but it's a pretty dark beer.
Clear (1) - Cloudy (10) - 3...while this beer is not transparent (b/c it's dark), it isn't cloudy/unfiltered.
Sweet (1) - Bitter (10) - 7....due to the hybrid nature of this beer, the brew is higher than you'd expect in a brown, but still not as bitter as you'd expect in an IPA.

Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.09/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Sams Perfect Pint glass. One of the prettiest looking beers in general I've ever seen. Pours an extremely dark brown, with slight hints of red on the edges when held up to the light. Has a thick head with small bubbles that linger throughout, this beer also produces excellent lacing. The aroma wasn't very strong, has a smell more like a porter than any type of ale. Has the smell of some chocolate malts, then some hops which are not as strong as the malts. I found the taste interesting. Much like the smell, but seems to have a bit more, maybe some dark fruit and/or barley. Extremely full bodied beer, not much of a carbonation bite to it, left my mouth feeling a bit dry though, found the beer fairly drinkable. I was really excited about this beer, but was a little dissapointed. Overall I found the beer very interesting, I'm not opposed to trying it again, maybe I got an odd batch.

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

12 oz in tulip

Ar: roast and dark chocolate, citrus, alcohol, coffee, roast without excessive burnt character, dark fruit
Ap: clear deep mahogany/brown, light tan head, good retention
F: coffee, heavily toasted bread, dark chocolate, fruity (citrus, plums, cherries in dark chocolate), complex dark malt character, good hop bitterness/resin, ends a little rough with burn character and alcohol
M: full mouthfeel,, mid/low carb, viscous and resinous, hot alc
O: reasonably good, one of the better DFH beers i think i've had, rough for 7.2%

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

It's hard to beat Dogfish Head's Indian Brown ale when you're venturing into the darker ranges of craft brews, as this higher-BAC, affordable porter / stout mishmash certainly offers one of the more complex, delectable experiences around. Poured into a stemless snifter from a 12 oz bottle, purchased at Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Dogfish Head's Indian Brown pours a deep, rich brown, barely translucent at certain angles to reveal a thick brown amber shade. The scent leans surprisingly to both floral and fruity notes, hinting at a crisp alcohol-laced naturalness that makes the brew feel very earth to the nostril. It sticks with you, especially the hop-infused bite at the end of each quaff. With an aggressive pour, it'll render a ½ inch cream-colored head that lingers for only a minute or so. That creaminess causes a bit of lacing as the beer level falls lower and lower in the glass.

With each taste, Dogfish Head's flagship dark ale will enchant with each sip. It'll grasp your tastebuds a bit, as the alcohol content is a bit higher than other porters and brown ales of its ilk. But the slightly sweet, floral essence from the quaffs translates over to each sip, all while keeping a nutty flavor at the core of its flavor. What's especially impressive is the hop-styled bubbly punch that hits the mouth with each taste, something that stays memorable after the bottle has been finished. Each mouthful is moderately thick with a hint of sweetness, masking the alcohol flavor well. There's complexity present in this brew, a level of layered flavoring that's both rich and pleasant.

Though labeled as a style of "brown ale", Dogfish Head's Indian Brown consistently reminds one more of a porter-like brew infused with a bouquet of impressive, complex hops and earthy notes that impresses with each bottle. It's a personal favorite, and easily one of Dogfish Head's best brews - which, conveniently, happens to be one of their least expensive as well.

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

a - pours a nice dark brown color with a good tan head.
s - huge malty aroma. It has tons of coffee, brown sugar and molasses to the nose
t - The flavor is much the same. Roasted coffee beans and nutty brown sugar with some chocolate in there. These malt flavors are paired with a great hop flavor to make for a well rounded beer.
m - The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and there is a bit of hot alchohol
d - I love to drink hoppy brown ales like this.

Photo of msubulldog25
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had skipped this beer even though it's been available in Portland for years. 'Discovered' it on a recent visit to Hank's Oyster Bar in DC, so I had to grab one once I returned home. 12 oz. bottle, poured to a pint.

Laser printed on the neck: "Bottled on 03/18/09 C"

A: Looks 'brown' after the pour, but shines with a brilliant ruby-mahogany clarity when held to light. Few bubbles wriggle upward, lazily. Head is a pile of dusty tan cream, cresting right at two-fingers. Cream dies down over a couple minutes, becoming a thinner blanket of suds, leaving coating drapes up the sides of the glass.

S: Baked cookies, chocolate and caramel. Traces of vanilla and coffee beans. Malts don't win entirely, but are more predominant than the balancing grassy hops. A faint solvent alcohol whiff.

T: Very heavy roast builds as the seconds pass post-sip. A bold mix of sugared espresso, dark chocolate (slight lemon tang), caramel chews, black tea, and adequate hop spicing/bittering (Liberty & Goldings used, so says the label). Picks up a trace of smoke and a little of that sugary 'liquour' booziness.

M: Coating feel, zesty carbonation, oddly leaves me salivating/seeking the next taste. Body is considerably heavier than the 'typical', but most brown ales aren't 7+%...most brown ales also aren't hybrids, combining such big malt roast and ample hop bittering...both last for many minutes after.

D: Very good brew, interesting to the point of being unique (perhaps?). Nice balance and flavors that match my palate (my wife's too: she loved it as much as I did when we tried it in DC...err, I 'tried' and she downed two pints...). Recommended!

Photo of rfgetz
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Varga Bar

A: Chestnut brown, thin but whispy off-white head, decent lacing.

S: Amazing blend of toasted nuts, dark carmel, roasted coffee and toasted bread.

T: Tremeandous malt backbone... like the smell the toasted/roasted nuts, hints of roasted coffee and cocoa balance perfectly and some nice sweet and bitter flavors on the backend. ABV is hidden well.

M: Medium bodied, slightly mouth coating, prefect carbonation level.

D: delcious, complex and well hidden ABVs. Outstanding, one of the best Dogfish beers and one of my personal favorites. Would love a case of this to drink regularly.

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

This is a damn fine beer. As the description states, though, this is not a pure ABA. That is fine by me. I make this note only to let anyone reading this know that this is not being graded on its adherance to style. Though, if you have read any of my other reviews I rarely punish a beer for its deviation from style as I contend that 'style' is open for interpretation.

A: Deep felt brown body with a rock-solid head.

S: Bakers chocolate, burnt sugars, caramelized onions, and floral hoppy goodness. A whiff of alcohol and molasses enter on occasion.

T: Oily bitter hops are the stars here. They are not the most abundant flavor, but they play a pivitol role in rounding out this beer that I call them stars. Nutty malt flavors comingle with the bakers chocolate flavor as well. Very tasty with a hop bitter finish.

M: Complex and full-bodied. Enjoyed the spot on carbonation. A slightly alcoholic feel to it though.

D: This is a brown ale on steroids and I LIKE IT!

Photo of BirdFlu
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap seems to pour and sit darker than from bottle.. deep dark pour. Sits like a porter. Aroma is quite light some dark malt and hop but too light and not nearly as aromatic as the bottle. Taste is sort of black coffee-like, which is interesting because I never noticed that too much from the bottle. All the key flavors are certainly present with same complexity as bottle-brown, scotch ale & ipa. Very deep and rich. Mouth is full and a bit thick. Very tasty. Very good all around though it could be tough to drink a bunch.

Photo of parkeak0
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Continuing my venture into brown ales, I picked this one up to sample this evening. Can't believe I've never had this before... I see it everywhere.

Pours a very dark brown/nearly back. Looks more like a porter than a brown ale, IMO. Smells of sweet, caramalized barley, some hops, and some sweet dark fruits. Taste is more or less in line with smell... lots of toasty caramel, a tad drier than the nose suggested, but still sweet enough. Mouthfeel is heavier than normal for a brown ale... again I find myself thinking "porter" as I swirl a sip around my mouth. Definitely thicker and creamier than most brown ales. Drinkability is decent, but the 7.2% and heavier mouthfeel make me more inclined to sip rather than session. Definitely a sessionable beer though.

This is a big, tasty brown ale. Lots going on here. I will definitely be purchasing this again.

Photo of McNealc31
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A deep brown, nearly black color. The head isn't huge, but it's certainly there. The aroma and flavor both have a roasted nuttiness and almost fruitiness to it. There's almost a cooked brown sugar lingering flavor that is a little bitter. It's pretty complex, but the mouth feel is surprisingly light. The alcohol is well hidden, too. Seems pretty similar to a porter and I'm really enjoying it!

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

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Bottled on 02-20-09.

(A)- Pours an incredibly dark brown color. Has some ruby highlights. Huge light brown head that slowly dissipated to a respectable level. Minimal lacing.

(S)- Rich roasted malts with dark fruits and some bready aromas. A good nuttiness in the background. Almost has a molasses/cinnamon thing.

(T)- Roasted malts a plenty with lots of brown sugar and nuttiness of a walnut or almond. Minimal coffee flavors, but still present.

(M)- Smooth and balanced despite respectable abv and rich flavors. Great carbonation level. Rather thick for its style, but no complaints here.

(D)- A great Brown Ale. More potent than most, but definitely up there in my favs of the style, however, I remember this to contain more hop presence. Could it be that the age on it diminished it? Nonetheless, it is balanced with good attributes. A perfect fall beer in my opinion. Will review it again when I find a fresher one.

Photo of puboflyons
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle marked Bottled On: 02/10/09. Sampled on August 11, 2009. It has a handsome dark brown pour with about a quarter inch beige head that dissolves. The lacing sticks well to the side of the pint glass. The aroma is a fabulous nutty and malty mixture with no immediate sense of the 7.2% ABV. The mouthfeel is creamy and medium. The taste is sweet and nutty with little along the lines of hops as advertised. But this is a fine brown ale.

Photo of benclimbs
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured in a goblet....dark brown with pretty minimal head and very slight lacing, not too thick looking.

Smell isn't that intense but pleasant - chocolate malts and some nuts.

Taste is very similar but with a healthy dose of coffe added in there, nice taste actually, mocha with hazelnuts and amaretto..a little alcohol on the finish before the dry hop kick.

Mouthfeel and healthy carbonation keeps this beer from feeling syruppy and heavy, thankfully.

Overall, this beer is a nice nutty, sweet porterish brown, but not unique enough to stand out in it's class.

Photo of barnzy78
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz blind tasting. Poured brown with reddish hues when held to the light. A foamy beige head held great retention and left some sticky lace on the glass. As it dissipated, it left a thin layer of foam atop the ale. Aromas were of baker's chocolate and brown sugar. Tastes were of milk chocolate, brown sugar, and molasses leaving a slightly bitter finish although it still finishes sweet. Mouth-feel was full bodied, smooth and creamy. I enjoyed this offering much more than previous times, so maybe the blind tasting offered a fair playing field.

Photo of BB1313
4.57/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

This is an amazing beer. Strong coffee aroma. Lots of burnt brown sugar in the aromas and flavors. Coffee and expresso in the mix. Lots of caramel and more carmelized brown sugar. Very robust. More than anything it's unique! Pours dark brown w/ great head and lace. This is definitely my favorite DFH offering that is year round. Slightly hoppy. Smooth and right amount of carbonation. This beer is balanced perfectly and can go well w/ dessert as well.

This beer is a homerun. I will always love and drink this beer. Try some!

Photo of realmpel
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown color. It's got the characteristic brown ale flavor with some caramel and a big dry hop punch. I like brown ales, and I like hops, but the flavors seemed unintegrated to me. I would have preferred they blend more. Not my favorite Dogfish Head brew, though it was refreshing served cold on a hot day.

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

A- Poured into a 160z tumbler... Has a nice creamy, slightly of white head that recedes very slowly and leaves nice lacing. Beer is very dark... appears black until held up to light where you can actually see its true dark reddish brown color

S- Smells sweet... more like a scotch ale than a brown ale

T- Starts out very sweet with a caramel flavor. Definately has more of a scotch ale taste than brown ale. Finishes smooth with a hint of hoppiness

M- Medium bodied with some carbonation. Can feel the sweet malt flavor clinging to your mouth

D- Very. Might be a little over exagerated... I'm a sucker for scotch and brown ales. Did definately enjoy


Photo of jera1350
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep chocolate brown color with slight maroonish hugh, creamy tan colored tight head. Some lacing and decent head retention.

Deep roasted malt, big chocolate scent, some cream and a hint of coffee.

Almost exactly like the nose. Reminds me of chocolate milk with some coffee. Very rich and satisfying. A nice hop presence at the end.

Satiny and extremely creamy mouthfeel. Similar to drinking high fat chocolate milk. Medium bodied.

This beer is like a porter and maybe even a stout. This would make an outstanding after dinner drink. Enjoyable to drink and maybe the best beer I've had from DFH.

Photo of KTCamm
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass. Pours an opague deep dark brown with 1 finger of light brown foam. Laces well down the side.

Smells sweet - definitely roasted chocolate, caramel, and coffee hints.

Taste starts sweet, like caramel in a traditional nut brown, but closes quickly to a strong hop. More than I've seen in most brown ales, but it never overpowers the sweetness. Kind of a peppery finish. Well carbonated in the mouthfeel - the hop doesn't really pop until the beer is swallowed.

Not as drinkable as other browns I've had, but definitely tasty.

Photo of david18
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A little hoppy to put in the brown ale category but I guess it wouldn't fit anywhere else. I'm not as much a fan of brown ales as I am ipa's so, among the brown ales, this is one of my favorites. Pretty much what you would guess; a brown ale with almost as much hops an an ipa. Good to try, not my favorite.

5/26: Had this again and really liked it. Maybe better. The roasty aroma was great. I will be changing my numbers.

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

A- Poured a dark mahogany color with a thin tan head, which slowly dissipated over time, leaving a bit of nice lacing behind. Good carbonation... interestingly enough, the carbonation seemed to help replenish the head throughout the drink.

S- Nice roasty nose... a bit nutty... and some hints of metal in there (I get copper and iron every few whiffs). The nose also seems to allude to a sweeter taste on the way...

T- I am getting some nice roasty flavors here (not overpowering) and a prominent flavor of candied nuts... specifically candied cashews and almonds. Beautiful. There's some low-alpha hops here in the middle, adding a touch of bitterness to the brew- just enough to balance the chewy malt. Finishes clean with the sweet malt, nuts and hops... none of which overpowers the other in the finish.

M- Creamy and full bodied... I wouldn't call it "silky"... just creamy. Lots of unattenuated sugar here and a good amount of carbonation keep this sugar from feeling to sticky.

D- VERY VERY drinkable. Could drink this all day.

Notes: Had this beer along with a chocolate and pralines torte. Absolutely exquisite pairing!

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,434 ratings.