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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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5,324 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,324
Reviews: 1,916
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 258
Gots: 627 | 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: 5,324 | Reviews: 1,916 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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

Almost black brew with dark cream head. It has a nice aroma of roast, brown sugar, hops, hint of alcohol, some earthy cocoa undertones. The balance jumps out at ya; hops and malt flawlessly opposite like yin and yang. Roast, real brown sugar (no synthetics here!) hops toward the finish to swipe the malt out of the mouth and get you ready for your next swig. Light grape notes and subtle cocoa. Great light-medium body with a slick finish. High drinkability holds hands with pretty high ABV while skipping through any season. One of my favorite beers ever.

Photo of Rhynes2
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This is a very toasty brew. Very prominent toasted characteristics are the focus of this brew. I'm not quite a brown a brown ale guy but this is one of my favorites of this style. Deep brown color with a great foamy head. Lacing down the sides stayed around for a while. Mouthfeel was damn near perfect. Strong aftertaste that would probably go good with toasted marshmallows.

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

This poured into my pint glass darker than most brown ales I've sampled. Also, slight red hues were noticeable. The smell was of malty caramel. I didn't really get the chocolate taste that I've read in other reviews. I found the alcohol to be conpletely hidden. I did get the coffee hints and the silky smooth swallow. I'll be seeing more of this!

Photo of chilly460
3.09/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Very nice, darker than expected, nice two finger tan head that only slightly dissipated. Nice lacing.

S - Surprisingly, very little scent at all. Some roasted malt, but that's about it.

T - Very mild, not any malty backbone that I could detect, just some mild roasted malts and a bitter hops finish.

M - Average, nothing exceptional

D - Fairly easy beer to drink with the mild flavor.

I don't know if this beer was stale or what, but I found it just didn't have any "pop" as far as flavor...considering the reviews. Not bad, but not particularly noteworthy for me. Didn't really increase flavors as it warmed up either.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 ounce bottle with a pork chop and Santa Fe rice dinner, on to the beer:

Leather brown color in the glass, it has a persistent head and a wonderday display of lacing clinging to the glass. Mild aroma, mostly toffee, and some Goldings hops. The taste is a superb blend of Brown Ale and IPA. First it's the brown, then it's the IPA. Neither one gets too cloying. Starts sweet, with toffee and burned sugar. The hops begin to kick in with a squirt of orange flavor. Strangely, this feels lighter than the listed ABV, and it goes down the hatch without a hinch.

I'm not normally overly fond of hoppy browns, but DFH Indian Brown has the balance down on this one. One bottle with dinner was not enough for me, and I currently feel stupid for not buying more.

Photo of coldmeat23
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Dogfish Head Shaped Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
BOTTLED ON: 12-15-08

Pours a dark brown color, with a seriously dark ruby tint. Three fingers of light brown foam rest on top. Retention is very good. Lacing is minimal.

Big, deep, nose of toasted malts. Hints of dark chocolate and lightly roasted coffee notes (???). Nice smokey presence.

Okay, that's not like any brown ale that I've ever had before. Otherwise, I'd be a much bigger fan of them.
This much darker and more flavorful than I expected.
Big toasted malts come shining through. Nice level of coffee flavor. Bittersweet chocolate notes. Slight traces of vanilla and caramel. Great presence of smokiness. Good hops spiciness provides a nice kick.
A nicely, and surprisingly, complex brew.

On the higher end of medium thickness. The carbonation is just slightly too sharp, IMO. Otherwise, it's fairly creamy and smooth.

Yes, I could drink this one on a regular basis. Totally enjoyable, tastewise. I can't even find the alcohol in this one.

Photo of jlandis
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On the initial pour there was about a one finger head that didn't last for more than a minute or two. Very deep brown, almost black in color. Deep malty flavors (at first I almost thought I was drinking a porter or a stout). Simple hop flavors nothing over the top. Hints of chocolate and nutty flavors and maybe some coffee. I found it hard to describe, because I kept thinking I was going to be drinking an American Brown.

As the beer warmed the alcohol was more prevalent, but never overpowering.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle cold into Duvel glass and allowed to warm several minutes before tasting. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: Tan head approximately ¼" goes quickly leaving behind hardly any lacing. Rim of foam and some islands of foam around edges of liquid. Clear but very dark brown. Sipping leaves speckled lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: Molasses and dark chocolate with hops spicing up the aroma.

Taste: The flavor is complex with dark bittersweet chocolate malt and strong undertone of hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with light carbonation and a long finish that starts out with malt turning to bitterness and then ending with mild bittersweet malt that just disappears.

Drinkability: A delicious beer and I could easily drink more than one. This one is great with hamburgers and for after the meal as well.

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

Surprisingly, I've never reviewed this beer. Purchased from Liquid Solutions (even though I live 4 hours from the brewery).

A: The ale is a dark maroon color, so deep red that appears black from afar. Let's call it a black cherry color.

S: The nose is malty, thick with a smoky undertone that drips with peat. Caramel malts add further heft to the body.

T: A smoky brown hop bomb, all rolled into one. Darker malts, toasted with chocolate, coffee and caramel, lead the way. They are followed almost immediately with a palpable smoky flavor. The result is thick and almost as full as an honest-to-goodness wee heavy. A citrusy hop flavor manages to peak through the malts and smoke but just barely. A very enjoyable drink.

M: The mouthfeel is full, smoky and thick, but not so heavy that it is burdensome. I was edxpecting a run of the mill brown ale but, knowing DFH, I should have known otherwise.

D: I'd disappointed that I never tapped into this one before. The complexity is remarkable, a nice scotch ale (screw the brown ale appelation).

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

a: attractive khaki head upon pouring with good retention, dark chocolate brown in color

s: begins with big aromas of charred barley, nutshell, and tree bark, chocolate malt with glimpses of dry cocoa, very nice roast profile, well spiced with earthy pine hops, mild ethanol in the background

m: medium carbonation and light-medium body

t: an astringent burnt barley flavor precedes light notes of dry cocoa, only the slightest perceived sweetness, earthy evergreen hops, charred nut flavors linger long as a moderate bitterness marks the finish, and interestingly hopped-up brown

d: easy, dry and drinkable...the roast dominance is nice, and it's a flavor I enjoy very much, but some range of malt flavor would really set this off

single from Trader Joe's, Newport News, VA...dated 12/15/08

Photo of colts9016
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Traquairlover for this bottle.

Appearance: A dark copper brown color in the beer. There was a two finger head that dropped to a one finger foamy tan head. The clarity of the beer is slightly opaque but there is some clarity in the beer showing brownish copper highlights. The head on the beer drop to a quarter inch ring around the glass. There is, however some lacing left on the glass from the beer.

Nose: A rich caramel malt notes with some subtle sweetness in the beer. There is a nice toasty aroma with a subtle sweet coffee and chocolate note. There is some hops in the beer, there are floral esters and a slight note of citrus and nuts.

Taste: A nice smooth caramel malty notes with subtle hints of chocolate espresso, and a nuttiness. There is a subtle sweetness with a floral esters and a citrus note.

Overall: The mouth feel is medium body and some carbonation. The finish is light and lingers for a moment. This beer encompasses a whole range of flavor in a nice uniform flavors. This American brown ale is rather refreshing and there is a nice hop notes in the brew. It is a well rounded beer that can grab your attention. I enjoyed this brew, it is well made. Thank you for this beer.

Photo of SammyDavisJrJrJr
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had with dinner @ Brickhouse, bottled on 10/07/08... Served in a Pilsner glass...
A - Brown, with mahagony tints. Cream colored head with great retention and good lacing.

S - Sweet chocolate, almond, quite assertive. Sweetness balanced by raosted malts. Hops are present, but don't overwhelm the malt. Great balance.

T - Smooth nutty and custard like entry, with building chocolate sweetness. Hops add some grassy flavors and a slight tang. The finish shows the hops building to a grapefruit bitterness that somehow blends with the semi-bitter chocolate malts very well. The finish is quite clean considering, and left me wanting to drink deeply.

M - Good body for style, not fantastic, but good. Soft and fluffy mouthfeel.

D - Great little twist on a classic style. I would say this ranks up with the greatest of session beers, but no matter what you mouth says, this guy is above 7%... If you havn't had yet, you're missing out.

Photo of JAA
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The label looks incredibly similar to World Wide Stout.(hmmm) maybe i can pull a fast one at total wine. J/K, i would never do that ;)

Poured into one of those bad ass upside down bowling pin glasses from Sam Adams. Perfect head every time in that glass.

Looks like a brown ale, vibrant red in natural light. Smells alright, didn't get me too excited. Not too complicated, black tea stands out with a little caramel. Nothing overpowering. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel and drinkability is where this beer excels. The alcohol is not noticeable at all. It feels like drinking their 5% chicory stout. Very easy to down a few very quickly.

Overall a good Brown. This is what Newcastle wants to be when it grows up.

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

12oz bottle into a regular pint glass. Pretty fresh bottle.

A- Indian Brown Ale pours out of the bottle brown and settles into the glass an even browner brown. A quarter inch tan/mocha head was seen leaving before it got to say hi. A ring around the glass and a skim of foam are at the surface.

S- IBA has aromas of roasted malts, standard chocolate, slight coffee and hops(goldings) in the background. A bit of caramel from the malts and some nuttiness. Very impressive for a brown.

T- Almost drinks like a porter/stout but has the brown ale qualities with the dogfish twist. Some burnt sugar and roasted malt & caramel sweetness. The chocolate is faint and not overly sweet. The hops hold this one together with a twinge of bitterness. Maybe some dark fruit in the way back.

M- Rich smooth and medium to full bodied % one of the finest browns to grace my mouth. Just a touch of alcohol on the tounge with nice carbonation. A very lively brown ale.

D- Not sessionable, but i would go for a few as the taste is impressive. One of my favorite DFH offerings, I could drink this year round and have. I dont go for american brown ales often as most offerings are butchered but this one stands above them.

Photo of JohnQVegas
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into Sam Adams Lager glass.

Pours a very dark clear brown with hints of red escaping, and a one-finger, pillowy khaki head that doesn't want to go away. Solid wall of heavy lacing.

Nose is a nice combination of roasty coffee, bit of caramel sweetness, molasses.

Taste starts off with a dry, roasty bready note, hints of molasses and even cola sweetness, with dark fruit and molasses coming out more around mid-palate, hints of cocoa. Roasty coffee note starts to take over right before the finish, with just a hint of floral hops, and the finish is very dry and lingers fairly lightly on the palate.

Mouthfeel is fairly creamy, medium bodied. Seems more like a combination of a dry porter and a brown than anything. Good beer, but not my favorite take on the style.

Photo of sauron681
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light black, brick red color with 3/4 inch head that fizzles out quickly, give it a swirl and it comes right back. Acceptable lacing, especially for the style. Aroma of chocolate, dark scorched caramel malt, maybe even raisins?
Nice and thick, smooth, and silky in the mouth. Quite satisfying. In taste I picked up nutty, toasty and bitter malt, somewhat syrupy in the finish. Im not a huge fan of brown ales, but this has re-sparked my interest

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

A - Very dark maroon, thick tan head that breaks down to a ring around the glass with some spots of foam in the middle.

S - Prunes, chocolate, roasted malt, faint hops.

T - Very complex, molasses, coffee, chocolate, bitter finish that makes you have to swallow a few times after you drink it.

M - Thick and chewy, well carbonated, silky and mouthcoating goodness.

D - I kept taking sips of this in rapid succession to taste the complexity, DFH has done a great job with this beer and I would drink a few more if I had them!

Photo of OStrungT
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark mohogany color with a creamy tan head that fades very slowly, leaving a good lace.

This beer has a nice swet nutty aroma. I can also smell some molasses. It has a mild caramel aroma as well.

This beer tastes much like it smells. Some sweet caramel and nut flavor. It has a nice molasses flavor also. I can taste the roasted malts too.

This beer is smooth and refreshing. It leaves a sweet nutty aftertaste. Carbonation is great.

This beer would probably make a great session beer. It tastes mild enough, but the alcohol content is just a little bit high.

Overall: As with everything I have ever had from DFH, this beer was great. I would drink it again and again.

Photo of tzieser
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep brown color with a nice foamy tan head that settles into a decently thick lacing around the glass. very nice.

smells good. sweet, rich malts up front with a lingering sweetness (maybe brown sugar?). i really like the malt presence on this one.

tastes great. sooo much malt on this one, but theyre balanced very well thanks to a light touch of hops that balances everything nicely. the brown sugar i mentioned before is certainly noticeable. they alcohol is also slightly noticible when the beer warms...slightly biscuity taste as well. delicious

mouthfeel is a 5 on this one. velvety smooth---it goes down great.

drinkability is great. highly drinkable

overall-- this beer is delicious. it'll drive the malt fans crazy (like me), but the name Indian Brown Ale might confuse some people thinking its a brown IPA or something. I think it's definitely more Brown Ale than Indian Brown Ale--- but i dont really care what they call it...its delicious.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with "Bottled on: 12/16/08" stamped on it.

A- Poured into a 16 oz pint glass. Thick beige head that receded into a thin white foam on the top of the glass. The beer itself is deep brown, with a dark reddish tint when held up to a light. Very clear. Doesn't leave much lacing on the glass.

S - Smells strongly of toast. Earthy and caramel notes back it up. Very little hop aroma. A very heavy, rich aroma.

T - Up front: sweet caramel notes, with smoky notes. Follows up with a more bitter, earthy and burnt toast flavor. Finishes quite dry with a clean bitterness that lingers in the mouth afterwards.

M - A fairly full-bodied beer. The earthy flavor heaviness and weight to it. Low carbonation helps with the heavier body.

D - Quite drinkable. Hides its 7.2% ABV quite well. The complex flavors play well together, with nothing dominating. It's on a bit of the extreme end of the American Brown ale, but within the style.

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a six pack of this at Arctic Liquors in Steamboat, CO. Around $10.

A: Clear dark brown with some ruby highlights. Off white head about half an inch thick that reduced to almost nothing. A few spots of lacing on the sides. Not a whole lot though.

S: Coffee, roasted burnt malts, a faint hint of chocolate, slight nuttiness,

T: Coffee, and sweetness, a faint hint of booze, roasted malts are really present. Strong roastiness. A bit of chocolate, but its really more focused on the coffee end of the dark spectrum, slightly bitter, citrus rind really comes out as it warms, grapefruit. Really interesting.

M: A little thin for me, and really carbonated, I didn't expect that at all, and it sort of detracts from the beer a bit. A little bit of alcohol warmth.

D: Ok, I'd probably drink two or three of these. It is a tasty beer. Lots of interesting things going on. I've really enjoyed it. I can see the comparison of a brown ale and an IPA, I don't quite get the scottish ale though. I'd recommend it to anybody that likes IPAs though.

Photo of tittymcj
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This one poured a deep mohogany brown, which lets little light through. Very little head, quickly dissipates. Some lacing, but not much.

Smell is very much of sweet malt and caramel. Very sugary and sweet smell.

A little bit of chocolate and coffee in the taste. Lots of sugary sweetness as well.

Very thin in the mouth, but at the same time feels very full flavored. Very sweet.

Good drinkability. Lots of sweetness, but that makes it light and refreshing, which is good for drinking multiples.

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,324 ratings.