Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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5,248 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,248
Reviews: 1,897
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 244
Gots: 566 | 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: 5,248 | Reviews: 1,897 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bobsy
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost solid brown, but with some ruby highlights on closer inspection. The pour produces two fingers of white head, which gradually fades to an attractive film, leaving some sticky lace on the way. Lots of roasty aromas, with some chocolate and coffee coming out of it, as well as a decent dose of leafy hops. Lots of really nice dark roasted flavour, with some bitter chocolate, strong coffee and smoky malts. Great bitter leafy hops come through in spades, making this the most hopped brown ale I've come across. All of this culminates in a nice warm finish, which packs a wonderful reminder of the great flavours you've experienced. Nice smooth mouthfeel, hovering around medium, with a restrained, but present, carbonation.

A characteristically unique offering from Dogfish Head!

Photo of beckje01
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From Notes:

Very dark brown color with no activity. The nose is interesting, brown sugar smell. The flavor is light with a touch of the sweet from the sugar. There is some bitterness but it's nice and works well with the sweet a good beer overall.

Photo of TLove
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I got the chance to review this beer in bottle a week or two ago and must take the opportunity to re-review this beer on tap, for the difference is distinct enough to necessitate another review.

The most obvious distinction between this beer on tap and this beer in bottle was its color and substance. The maltiness, richness, and complexity of the beer vastly out-does the carbonated, bottled version.

The hoppiness and fruitiness was drowned out by a rye, raisiny beer with a fantastic brown color and a rich, malty taste.

Clearly best on tap, this beer is almost incomparable in any other respect.

Photo of Shumista
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Chimay goblet.

A- Pours a thick dark brown, with a medium sized light tan head. Tons of lacing sticks to the side of the glass after each sip.
S- The first thing I thought when I smelled this was that the smell reminds me of red wine. I'm not sure where this came from, and after a few more smells that idea left my head. I get lots of roasted malts, coffee and chocolate, and a light hoppy bitterness. Smells boozier than 7.2% abv.
T- Tastes very much like it smells. Roasted malts, coffee and chocolate. There is a really nice bitterness from the hops at the end that lingers as an aftertaste. Not too sweet either. Like in the aroma, I'm surprised the alcohol content is only 7.2%, I would think it was up closer to 9% probably if I didn't know before hand.
M- Medium/full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. While the alcohol was noticeable in the taste, I don't get much alcohol warmth in the mouthfeel.
D- Pretty good considering how big the flavors are, and it won't put you under the table to quickly.

Another interesting beer from DFH, definitely worth a try. They blur the lines between styles in a good way again with this one. If given to me in a glass not knowing what it was before hand, I probably would call this a porter/imperial porter rather than a brown ale.

Photo of hoppheadIPA
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass an opaque black that's slightly amber when held up to light. Thick tan head that went down fairly quick.

Smells of roasted coffee and chocolate. YUMMY

Tastes just like it smells. Almost like rouge shakespere stout, with a hint more coffee. This is one of my favs by DFH!!!!

Mouthfeel is outstanding. great carbonation.

Not a session beer a little too thick, but outstanding after dinner.

Photo of deereless
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, appears more like a stout than a brown ale, a finger of brown foam - 4.5, S: Scrumptious odor, ripe plums, hearty malt with nice hops - 5.0, T: Extremely coffeeish, a thick sweetness, reminds me a something akin to molasses followed by a wonderful hops bite on the end - 4.5, M: Creamy body - 5.0, D: A very solid beer all around, Dogfish Head continues to impress me - 4.5

Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this on-tap at Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly hazy dark brown color with a two-finger tan head. The head dissipates into a patchy layer of bubbles on top and a medium-sized ring around the glass. Lacing is decent.

Smells of robust malt, a combination of caramel and roasted malt, with some light hop aromas in there as well.

Taste similar to how it smells, the malt flavors are balanced nicely by the hops. Slight roasted malt flavors up front that mellow out as the beer warms, and I can taste just a tiny bit of citrus flavors at the end of the beer.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a very good thickness with carbonation keeping it light.

Drinkability is good. I'm not the biggest fan of browns but I could drink a few of these.

Overall this is a good beer that's worth a shot.

Photo of gdfan47
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this at the abbaye

it pours a dark malty brown

its just a good brown ale, not as nutty tasting as some ive had , and not as sweet as newcastle

i really dont /have drank too many brown ales but i would def drink this sone again
i like it and the high abv is nice

Photo of RixBeer
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a very deep dark mahogony with notes of ruby. A nice crowning 1/4" of egg-shell colored head

Nice aroma of hops and some sort of underlining chocolate or even coffee bean.

The first sip confirms the coffee and nice creamy rich fruity chocolatey malt. It's a sweet combo that really works well with the hops. This is the only brown with any real hop flavor that I have had to date.

This beer has a thickness not normally associated with a bruwn that isn't a nut-brown.

That thickness however does not stop this from being a very easy drinking brown!

Photo of Jayli
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a nice dark brown color with a thick, creamy off white head. Not much head retention. The smell is of caramel and chocolate. The first taste is of caramel and chocolate sweetness which are then offset by hops flavoring. The beer is incredibly smooth and goes down very easy. This is a great beer to sit down to for an evening!

Photo of aubuc1
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured in to an imperial pint tulip glass.

Pours a deep brown with a two finger tan head.

Smokey, roasty malt smell- very smooth.

Taste is sweet, milk chocolate. Great taste, very balanced, little alcohol.

Smooth, but not distinguishable mouthfeel.

Pleasantly surprising beer, that is more mellow than the average dogfish head brew. Great beer.

Photo of tpd975
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have drank this one a thousand times without a review. It is finally time to give it its due.

A: Pours a nice deep dark black/brown with a 1/2 finger creamy tan colored head. Retention is okay, and the head dies to a nice solid ring. Tons of big bold sheet lacing all the way down the glass. Reminds me of some beautiful Belgian lace.

S: Bold malt aromas with hints of caramel, toffee, coffee, and nuts. Light hints of citrus hops can be detected as well.

T: One of the best brown ales around.... if you like hops that is. It starts out bold an malty. It drips with caramel malt and rich nutty toffee. Hints of darkened brown sugar can be detected along with coffee. Touches of dark fruit with a bold hop finish. Wonderful.

M: Medium in body, smooth with a nice bitter hop bite in the finish.

D: Wonderful, one of the best brown ales in the world, if not THE best.

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

Indian Brown Ale, (Dogfish Head), 10/22/08
Reviewed as a American Brown Ale (aka catch all style American dark ale with coffee/nut notes)
7.2% ABV, served as a bottle > large wine glass
S 4.0 - Super malty aromas, nutty hints sneak in...
T 4.5 FULL FLAVOR - Malts with hop balance, minor bitter finish, notes of nuts, brown sugar, COFFEE!
MF 4.0 - Medium heavy full body, mild carbonation, oaty slickness
D 5.0 - POW! Not a full session beer but this one is worth drinking, one complex sip at a time. It's a consistent effort for A-S-T-MF & D, excellent work by the Dogfish Head Team. Craft beer as it should be! If I want a bold/complex brown ale, I will sip on this one again.
Thanks to CurtDoggYo for the tasting sponsorship from our homebrew session!

Photo of beersheppard
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: dark almost opaque brown, tan head with a few big bubbles that lingers for a few minutes, great lacing.

Smell: caramel, molasses, chocolate, brown sugar, toasty malts.

Taste: caramel, molasses, chocolate, brown sugar, raisins, toasty malts, and a smatering of hops in the finish.

Mouthfeel: substantial, good tingle, a little alcohol lingers in the palate-which is fine in my book.

Drinkability: Do you like robust and delicous brown ales that are full flavored? If you do this is a beer for you. This is one of my all time favorites in the brown ale category and overall. I really think this is the unsung hero of the Dogfish line.

Photo of mnj21655
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. Bottled on:10/07/08 - doesn't get too much fresher than that!

Pours a very dark mahogany, darn near black, in color with ruby hints at the edges and maybe a finger of khaki colored head. When held to the light this beer is quite clear and a dark reddish-brown. Looks great but too dark for the style. Aroma is quiet nice, malty and sweet. At first it seems to be fairly roasty but this soon gives way to more chocolate and caramel aromas with a touch of fruityness and maybe just a hint of hops. Taste is very good, I again find some roasted notes that seem out of place in a brown ale. More chocolate and caramel as well as a bit of toast. Medium+ hop bitterness and a pleasant hop flavor, not American hops as one would expect here but more of a noble-esque hop flavor (the bottle states that Liberty and Goldings hops are an ingredient and if I recall correctly Liberty is a US grown Hallertau derivative). Mouthfeel is pretty good, medium+ body with moderate+ carbonation and a relatively dry finish with some mere indications at the respectable 7.2% ABV. Drinkability is excellent. This beer seemed to be more of a porter at times but was immensely enjoyable. If I rated strictly to style it wouldn't have fared quite as well but given DFH's penchant for innovation I drank this with an open mind. The ABV is too high to be a session beer but I think this makes a pretty good everyday drinker.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown in color, nearly black. Has a fine bubbled tan head that has great retention.

What a great smelling brown ale! Nearly stout like. Heavy chocolate malts and roasty earth tones. Fresh and crisp hops are detectable, but ride along in the backseat.

Roasty, toasty bitter grainy flavor. Sweet chocolate then takes over in mid-palate. Finishes off with a nice, dry hop shot. Well balanced and perfectly carbonated.

This is a full flavored, full bodied, great tasting beer. Takes the brown ale to a new level. Easy and quite fun to drink. This is pretty close to BR Tribute Brown as my favorite brown ales of all time.

Photo of jcwenzel1
4.88/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer blew me away from the first site of it. The name Indian Brown Ale lead me to believe I was going to enjoy a solid original Brown Ale, yet I should have known different coming from Dogfish Head. This brew pours beautifully with a decent, reasonably long lasting, thick, cream coloured, head. The head lingers slightly along the sides giving a minor cascading effect. The initial colour is deep, deep, brown then as more is added it becomes an almost black colour.

The aroma is tantalizing... roasted malts with a large hint of chocolate, and small hints of coffee. (I felt like I had walked into a coffee/chocolate shop in France.) The aroma is not sweet however. It is more thick and robust.

The taste is exceptional. This is by far my favorite Dogfish Head Brew. Grabbing the font tastebuds with a burst of rustic nuts, then hitting the back of my mouth with lingering malt, slight alcohol taste. The taste is exceptional for a beer with a decent kick to it. Never would have guessed the alcohol level of this one.

It is thick and packs a bit of a punch which takes away a little from it's drinkability, but for me I could easily find room for one more! This is a must have!

Photo of CampusCrew
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Well, I am really disapointed. It has an overwhelming hoppy/molted roasted flavor. Very strong taste and after taste. If this is your style you'll like it. But not me. I guess pairing it with some spicy meat would have been better. I actually slow cooked with a roast last night and it was great.

drinkability - very low for Dogfish standards

Photo of JBushEsq
3.05/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Before I get to some more specifics, I should say that I tend not to be a fan of hoppy beers, so I am probably a bit biased against this one.

A: Pours a dark rich brown that is almost burgandy

S: Equal parts sweet, oaky and hoppy/floral

D: Fairly dry, with a fair amount of malt and a hoppy finish

M: I liked it at first, but the aftertast was hoppy and bitter

D: For me, it was just to hoppy to warrent wanting more than one to try.

Overall, an interesting beer, a bit to hoppy for me to really get into it though.

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

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the 12oz bottle to a standard pint glass. this was bottled about 8 months ago, so not sure if this would taste different if it were a little bit more fresh.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, with an inch or so of tan head that lasted for some time.

Smell: Toasted malts and sweet.

Taste: Sweet with a hint of roasted coffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: Pretty drinkable. Not my favorite brown ale, but I would definitely have again.

Photo of allergictomacros
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear but very dark red/brown with a creamy tan head. Laces well.

S - Toasty and fruity. Coffee, raisins, molasses,

T - Some up front tartness. Lots of dark fruit, toastiness, some coffee and a hint of orange.Very bitter finish. Somewhat sweet though.

M - Little bit chewy and smooth carbonation.

D - Kind of porter-ish. Dark tasting with good toast and some acidity, but with a strong bitter finish.

Photo of botham
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic. pours a deep chocolate brown with distant amber highlights and two fingers of tan head that takes a few minutes to subside, and light lacings.

aroma is lightly roasted, with notes of chocolate and a touch of coffee. a smooth nutty base adds a hearty quality that holds the aroma together. nicely composed in the nose.

taste is more of the same with a distinct coffee note, alongside malt notes of chocolate and munich. the nutty base remains in the background, allowing the coffee to emerge onto the front of the palate. finishes mildly bitter with a light bite of coffee and alcohol.

mouthfeel is medium bodied and rather heavy for a brown ale, along with a mild presence of alcohol, and a subtle bitterness that works well with the overall profile.

drinkability is great. for 7.2% APV, this brew is smooth and mellow on the palate without coming off overpowering or overly heavy on the palate. a wonderfully warming brown ale, with malt depth and hop bitterness. cheers!

Photo of AMoceri7
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer screams desert. So I had it with a nice bowl of cookie dough ice cream. Excellent pair!

A: Might as well be called Indian Black Ale. This puppy is dark. Bottom line.

S: Hops and chocolate malt in the nose. First expected malt, then expected stout, but the hops come back.

T: Wow, very similar to DFH Palo Santo Marron with a little less bite. Great, very malty backbone. Coffee, burnt sugar, malt and finishes with the Goldings hop taste. Nothing short of impressive.

M: Perfect carbonation, never had a problem with DFH. Kind of shoots straight down the palate though with a slight alcohol burn not noticeable at all. A bit metallic in the finish.

D: Had two, I believe thats enough, great with ice cream!

O: Sam meets my needs.

Photo of Domingo
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is pretty much a go-to beer for me that I have in my fridge almost all of the time.
Pours a very dark brown that reminds me more of a stout than a brown ale. It has a little bit of head with a normal pour and a bit more with an aggressive one, but it does manage to lace your glassware more than you might expect.
The main flavors are of milk and dark chocolate, roasted nuts and coffee beans, molasses, caramel, and a sharp (but pleasant) floral bitterness in the finish due to the hops.
This stuff doesn't drink like something over 7% abv. It feels stronger and more potent than a typical brown ale, but there's no real booziness to it at all.
This reminds me of a few regional craft ales that don't seem to have a category, but they're kind of like strong brown ales. There aren't many bottled, but this one carries that torch with no problem. It might be my favorite of the genre anyway.
This makes a great pairing with hearty foods or even desserts.
Grab it!

Photo of jraycee
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is dark brown like unsweetened chocolate. Medium light brown head that fades a little then shows good retention.

Smell is coffee, roasted grains, caramel.

Taste has a strong roasted coffee base throughout, caramel, dark breads, with just a bit of the hops at the end.

I gotta say that I expected more hops from this one judging by the description, but its still pretty impressive for a 7.2%. The malt flavors are the strong side here, almost covering up the hops altogether.

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,248 ratings.