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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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5,428 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,428
Reviews: 1,936
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 271
Gots: 718 | 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: 5,428 | Reviews: 1,936
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a very dark brown with ruby highlights when held up to light. Nice half-inch tan head with good lacing/retention.

S- A really nice aroma of chocolate, coffee, almonds... robust and very good.

T- A pretty good brown ale... a big coffee flavor followed by some piney/leafy hops... a bit one dimensional I guess, but I like it. Robust flavor that lingers. Slight bitter finish. A bit woody/smokey at times as well. Some alcohol comes through too, giving it a sweet kick too.

M- Creamy and coating. Medium carbonation that works well.

D- A fine brew here from DFH, probably one of my favorites from them. I'd have a good night with a few of these.

Photo of magine
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this brew on tap at DFH in Rehobeth Beach.

Pours a dark brown, almost black with tan head and great lacing.

Smells of roasted coffee & nuts, has a very earthy nose. Some sweet undertons in the nose as well.

This brew tastes of roasted malts and coffee. Some sweetness and licorice tastes in there as well. Perfectly balanced. Creamy smooth and has a spice to it in the flavors/mouthfeel.

A great brew indeed - a very balanced, very drinkable brew from DFH. One of the best from DFH. Stellar indeed.

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

Poured into a pilsner glass...

A: Dark, brown in color with a deep amber hue.

S: Sweet roasted malts, herbal hops, carmel and maybe a faint bit of chocolate.

T: Bitter herbal hops that are nicely spiced. An earthy, nutty, mildly roasted malt sweetness and a bit of cofee/espresso flavor that adds a bit of an acidic taste. Overall, this is pretty complex...

M: Medium, creamy with just the right carbonation.

D: In spite of the abv, this is a dangerously drinkable beer. Good, good stuff here...

Photo of BenJames1984
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First time trying this...wow, another great beer from Dogfish Head, I must say.

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance- Nice, frothy tan head. Color is a deep, burnt mahogany with a splash of red.

Smell- Sweet, malty notes. Just gettin over a cold, so my smell isnt the best right now.

Taste- Amazing. Very nice, delicate sweet sensation...sweet bread, a tinge of hop, and a nice aftertaste of coffee.

Mouthfeel- Medium body, with low carbonation. Goes down quite well.

Drinkability- I could see myself drinking 3, maybe even 4 of these bad boys in a session.

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

Deep amber brown with tan head about 2-fingers high.

Malty, spicy, caramel and chocolate nose - keep s developing the longer I let the beer sit.

Malt more than hops on the palate. Creamy, chocolatey - a little like having a malted egg cream. Gets more interesting as it sits.

Very drinkable. Alcohol is well integrated. This one can really sneak up on you.

The brew keeps changing in the glass. It gets more complex and interesting as you let it sit which becomes an increasingly difficult feat to accomplish.

Photo of CHADMC3
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep mahogany brown with a foamy light tan head that leaves a sticky layer of lacing in its wake.

Smells of barley, hops, brown sugar, possible spices and even vanilla; this beer has a very lively nose.

The brown sugar and spice aromas are mirrored in the palate. In addition, the flavor also has a nice caramel malt presence that blends well with the earthy hops at the finish and additional coffee notes as it warms.

Very smooth with a medium body and medium to moderate carbonation, and just a hint of alcohol warmth at the end.

What an excellent beer. I had never tried this before and am blown away how good it is and easy to drink. Not a style I typically reach for, but this is a winner.

Photo of stevecee2003
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presntation: standard Dogfish Head bottle.

APP: Very dark brown, almost black. This will have that burnt coffee taste I can tell. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. A nice full foam head, even in the bottle after a pour.

Smell: First smell is the malt, then comes the coffee- even burnt coffee, and after that the hops come into play. Aromatic. Enchanting. A whole mysterious fantasy lies within the bottle, waitiing to be discovered. This just might be a grand experience.

Taste: After some really fine Abbey Brown Ale's this one is different. This is.. different. Deep tasting. Lots of Malt-Hops-Coffee flavour. Wow! Another swallow, another taste. Wow. There's chocolate now, and raisins. Perhaps the coffee bitterness is balanced by a berry or currant taste leading to sweet. Its at the tail end. Try to see if you can taste the currant. Its there- right there at the end. Very nice. Very full.

General overall: I am an IPA fan, yet not always a lover of brown ales, yet this very nicely combines the two. One damn fine beer. And at 7.2 % it is truly top shelf. So full tasting. So deep in flavour. Fantastic.

Photo of MunchkinDrinker
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark clear ruby with a foamy frothy cream colored head. Very inviting. Great foamy sticky lacing.

S - This does not smell like a brown ale to me. This smells like a stout. Dark cocoa, burnt chocolate flavor. Not sweet, but not bitter, and creamy. Not complex, but solid.

T/M - Burnt burnt burnt. Slightly bitter burnt chocolate malts. Still tastes like a stout, not a brown ale. Not as creamy as the smell. Leaves a dry feeling in your mouth, but is frothy.

D - I can't say I'd be too eager to pick up another one. Drinks down ok, but better than average.

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

What a great discovery. I have considered buying this for some time but thought "Indian Brown Ale" sounded like an overly hoped brown ale and didn't grab me completely. The appearance is a dark dark brown, when held up to the light it's the color of an old penny. The two finger head was tan and reduced to half in a few minutes. The nose was coffee, caramel, raisin, brown sugar. The taste was the same with a bit of booziness in a good way. There is a hint of lactose too. The mouthfeel is silky and smooth, extremely drinkable. Wow, what a tasty beer, maybe my favorite brown ale. Dogfish Head scores again!

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!

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,428 ratings.