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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

4,904 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,904
Reviews: 1,870
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 219
Gots: 432 | 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:
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: 4,904 | Reviews: 1,870 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Saw this at an Old Chicago in Denver, had to try it.
Poured a nice caramel brown color with a stubborn head that just wouldn't go away.
Smell of light coffee and caramel. Sweetness of molasses and malt are more present. I sense some hops as well, more earthy than pine/citrus. Hints of raisin and doughy yeast.
Not quite sure this fits in the ABA, a little too dry. It is good, yet I thought the finish was a bit weak.

Mebuzzard, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of uconnalum2
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At first glance, this beer appears black as a stout. However when held up to the light, it is a dark ruby-brown. A slight tan head dissolves to a ring around the glass after a few minutes. This is an attractive looking beer. The smell has a pleasant roasted and caramel aroma. The taste is delicious. The brown sugar is evident in the sweetness but there is also roasted malt, caramel and some hops bitterness. Nicely balanced. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with some noticeable carbonation. This is very drinkable for a 7.2% ABV. Overall, this is a very enjoyable beer. It has a nice combination of flavors that work well together.

uconnalum2, Jan 06, 2007
Photo of treedoctor5002
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Scored this one from my father-in-laws beer cooler for the holiday's. I was suprised to see it there since he's a consistent BMC drinker, maybe he's starting to listen a little. Anyway...
This beer poors a nice dark amber color with a beautiful head. Smell is wonderful with hints of caramel, molasses and a nice roasted(almost smokey) malt smell. Plenty of hops are in this one thus the "Indian" designation on the bottle. They really go well with the darker malt in this one. Mouthfeel is medium and drinkability is excellent. Goes well with a sharp cheese or even chocolate. I really like this effort from DFH. Will drink again if I come across it.

treedoctor5002, Dec 31, 2006
Photo of riversider76
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice brown,with a redish hue. Thin tan head. Not much retention, decent lacing. Aroma is of nut and malt. Nice,but I thought it was on the week side. Body is medium,with some carbionation. Taste was too sugary. I felt the malt/hop balance was off a bit creating a unbalanced flavor. Not awful, but a disapointing.

riversider76, Dec 28, 2006
Photo of pmatz2
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this before and after the recipe change

Pours a clear reddish brown, with a thich head light tan in color. For a Brown ale the lacing is pretty impressive .

Nutty aroma with a hint of hops. Not as strong a hop aroma as I remember

taste - I like this better than the early versions. There's a less pronounced hoppines than I remember. The hops balance well now. Before I thought the hops were out of place.

Mouthfeel is great Smooth and velvety. This beer has a great balance from beginning to end. This is definitely not a session beer.

I'll say it again I like this version better than the old recicpe.

pmatz2, Dec 18, 2006
Photo of hckyfn9999
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown with some ruby and golden hues when held to light. A small off-white head is present and it lasts for a good while. There is also some lacing present in the glass.

Smell is pretty sweet. With some brown sugar, caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, alcohol, and hops all in there. Very pleasant smell.

Taste is sweet and nutty with brown sugar noticeable on the palate along with some roasted bitterness and caramel. Very good.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth with a great carbonation level.

A very drinkable beer despite the high alcohol level. I really dig this beer. I will definitely repeat my purchase even though I have to go out of my way to do so since DFH isn't available in St. Louis.

hckyfn9999, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of flexabull
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice brown color, head is a bit light.

Smells are sweet... with a caramel like note to it.

Tastes a very good. Right along the line of what you'd expect from a well done brown ale. A lot of malty sweetness with a hint of a toasted quality.

Mouthfeel is well done, rounded and full.

This is a very drinkable brew. This could be an easy session beer for me, even with the 7.2% abv... I really enjoyed this one.

Another DFH courtesy of MuenchenerKindl.

flexabull, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of gmfessen
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is a very dark amber brown with a creamy one finger head. Smell is of darker toasted malt, almost chocolaty and slightly of hops. Taste is bitter throughout, with the sweet roasted notes coming out only ever-so-slightly. The alcohol is pretty apparent. The mouthfeel is full bodied with quite a bit of carbonation. Overall, this beer is pretty drinkable but I don't think I would go out of my way for another.

gmfessen, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of Musky
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This smooth beer poured a dark brown with an inche of brown tinged head. The receding head left a nice lace around the glass. Stronger than usual hop aroma from a brown, sweet yet nutty taste with hints of chocolate malt. Tangy mouthfeel, starting sweet and ending bitter hop character comes out during aftertaste.

Musky, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I didn't examine the bottle closely, but from its name I figured this beer would be a very hoppy brown ale, and I was a bit mistaken in this expectation.

The beer poured a dark color with an abundant fluffy tan head. It definitely resembled a porter more to me than a brown ale, but was still a handsome thing to behold.

Odor was of caramel with some coffee notes, with just a whiff more hops than I would expect from a stout or porter.

Flavor mirrored aroma, as the product tasted very good with abundant caramel malt character and coffee taste notes, with some hops evident at the finish.

Mouthfeel was pleasant. Drinkability was not hugely high...I had a several beers prior to this one, and after this one my evening was over.

This product was very good, however given my previous experience with Dogfish Head beers, I expected something different, bolder, or more unusual. I thought this beer would be super-hoppy, and it wasn't. A fine beer, but not what I expected.

BeerBelcher, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of Sycodrummer
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the 12oz. brown bottle into a shaker pint the beer was a dark brown color with ruby highlights near the edges. A big billowing two-finger tan head formed and retained very well. Thick rings of lace lined the entire glass.

The nose has a huge chocolate flavors with lots of sweet malt, carmel, and a pronounced toffee aroma. Freshly baked bread and dough come through nicely and some traces of brown sugar and molassess.

The innitial taste is semi-sweet malt with a stronge milk chocolate like flavors and a carmal sweetness in the finish. A toasted malt flavors adds some depth and body to the beer that is at first very malt dominated. Toasted bread and toffee and brown sugar flavors are all prominant. The hop character sneaks into the taste slightly and does not linging. A quick zip of bitterness on the back of the tounge and the taste finishes as malty as it began. A rounded creamy finish and hits of alcohol.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Slightly creamy in the finish and slightly heavier as it warms.

A very enjoyable and drinkable beer. A unique malt, hop, malt sandwich of flavors. Very complex and slightly robust as the beer sits for a bit. I thought this almost boardered on a brown porter in terms of depth and toasted malt flavors.

Sycodrummer, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of Flashy
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Brown ale is probably my least favorite "real" beer. Always found them to be so middle of the road I would always think "why did I bother ordering this", chug it down and order something else.
Not DFH Indian Brown Ale brother. Poured from a tap, dark brown (my wife looked at it and said "I don't like stout").
Deep malt smell, no hops anywhere I can tell. Rich and smooth with just a bit of a bite. The thing that amazes me the most is the mouthfeel. which is present like I've rarely seen.
The alcohol content is a bit high for drinking on a night out, a little more kick in flavor and I would add this to my top ten of all time. As is I put it in my top 20.
Bartender another beer here!!!

Flashy, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of xav33
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale
12 oz bottle
Medium pour in an English pint
Bottled 05/06, fished out 11/06

Poured a clear dark brown mahogany with an average creamy light brown somewhat lasting head.

Smelt of strong coffee, brown sugar, leather, nuts.

Taste was upfront moderate bitter nuttiness and sweet burnt sugar followed by a strong bitter ginger, soy, burnt nuts, pine hops with moderate sweet burnt sugar on a long finish. Palate was medium bodied, softly carbonated, soft and creamy, and moderately astringent.

Overall, this is like a juiced up brown ale. Tasty!!!

xav33, Nov 23, 2006
Photo of JasonA
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Corridor Wine and spirit in Laruel MD into a pint glass.

Pours a dark dark brown which lets just some light through. Not much head but does have lacing.

Smells a nice warm ale. Alcohol, malt maybe a little spice. I think I can smell the 7.2abv. I am not getting any hops.

Taste is a lot smoother than the smell predicts. Nice and warm with malt, maybe clove. Still no hops, maybe im just missing them.

Feels pretty good. Above average for the style, ill go as far as a 4 since the carbonation seems to mask the alcohol a bit.

Very drinkable. Nice and warm to the tummy. I would think this beer is right on the boarder of sipping and drinking. Id prolly put it on the drinking side.

Would like to try again.

JasonA, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of Neehan
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a nice mahogany with little head and not much retention. The smell was quite pleasant with a nutty, roasted aroma with a mild and appealing character. The taste is exceptional with the smell repeated but with a more bold texture with the nutty and smooth flavor very well balanced and the alcohol intertwined nicely. The balance leads to a solid mouthfeel and a quite drinkable brew. Not overly complex, but the balance makes it an easy-drinking choice.

Neehan, Nov 18, 2006
Photo of tcfishler
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very deep brown-black with good lacing.

Expressive nose of mocha, roasted coffee, and molasses.

In the mouth, starts off dry, then suddenly becomes sweet, then ends in an absolutely delicious sweet-bitter balancing act, with a lot of brown sugar character.

Lots of flavor in this brew. The flavors manage to be interesting, too, without losing their balance. Great beer; not one that I'd necessarily session with, but great nonetheless.

tcfishler, Nov 16, 2006
Photo of BBM
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark brown (almost black) with a thin white head that disappears pretty soon (probably because of the ABV). The aroma is outstanding; An array of dark chocolate, dark fruits, caramel, and hops. This is one fine smelling beer.

The taste is just as impressive. A complex combination of roasted nuts, coffee, unsweetened chocolate, with a caramel malt backbone, and a distinctive hop bitter kick at the end. The flavors dance on the taste buds together, in a loud way. Mouthfeel is clean and crisp. Even at a fairly high ABV, this one is dangerously drinkable. Another great beer from Doghead Fish.

BBM, Nov 15, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very deep brown amber in the glass topped with a half finger of tan bubbles that melt to very sticky tan lacing.
Aromas are molasis, brown sugar, and a dark floral hop.
Mouthfeel is creamy and tingly from the carbonation and ABV %
Taste is dark unsweetened chocolate, molasis and candied brown sugar, nuts and dark brown bread. Hops come on in the end just to drive any sweetness out and leave your mouth clean.
Aftertaste of nutty dark bread lingers.
Nothing seems to overpower, however...just a really big brown ale.

IntriqKen, Nov 13, 2006
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

AP: Deep, dark, burnt brown color with deep mahagony hues. Created a very dense, thick and smooth cream colored head that displays excellent retention qualities. The lacing is like a wall on the edge of the glass. Interesting look for a brown ale.

Nose: Sweet carmalized roasted barley hits the nose first with brown sugar, oak and mocha-style coffee underneath it all.

Taste: A roasted, mildly bitter coffee like malted barley flavor with some burnt sugar and a hearty, earthy, slightly spicey and leafy hop finish. I would call this the most complex brown Ale I've ever had.

MF: Full body, thick and very heavy for a brown ale. Sticky on the lips and very heady on the palate and does not lack a decent bite.

DA: Very nice for the style, this is certainly the most extreme version of a Brown Ale I've had...the 7.2%ABV will keep this one limited to no more than four though.

GratefulBeerGuy, Nov 13, 2006
Photo of dfried
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep mahogany in color, a lot of ruby highlights, tan head foams up but drops mainly to a ring. Juicy dark fruit aroma, like plums and dark cherries, caramelized sugar/molasses malt, and some earthy hops. The flavor was much the same, caramely and brown sugar. Hops are there but not overpowering, there is just enough to balance, and there is almost a berry like flavor that comes from the hops and malt together. Full bodied, but not as much as the 7.2% ABV might lead you to believe. Pretty easy to drink. All in all I was expecting a little more from the hops given the name and the brand, but pretty good overall.

dfried, Nov 10, 2006
Photo of MrVisegrips
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour was a deep amber with dark red hue. The head was a thick deep tan lasted forever and left a very thick lacing. Aroma was deep with dark caramel and a light waft of hops. Flavors were excellent if not a bit overwhelming on the first pulls. Brown sugar and caramel were very prevalent finishing with just enough bite from the hops to keep you thirsty without being overwhelming. Mouthfeel was a bit thick for this style but still nice. Average drinkability. Overall, not was I was expecting from this brew, good thing it was on the side of pleasantly surprised.

MrVisegrips, Nov 08, 2006
Photo of BuckSpin
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gotta love living in a state that allows you to buy one beer out of a pack....

A very deep, dark, rubyesque amber, light dimly shining thru...very pretty. Head was a finger of tight almond hued foam that faded quickly, but did not disappear over the course of tasting. Lacing was faint at best.

The nose was one of the better ones I have experienced in a while. Caramel, sweet brown sugar resonates, hops, wisps of pine & resin, the sharp hint of alcohol rose as the beer warmed.

On the tongue its syrupy, sweet, thick, even in richness, very malted, some mild toffee is there, perhaps caramel. The hops rise on the pallete, some bitterness, a peak, then a slide into a muted finish....wait....hmm...interesting. Not many beers "echo", but well after the swallow a nice, warming, teeth tickling resonence of alcohol & hops, leaving a bittersweet taste....nice.

I like dark ales, and this one was surprising. I really enjoyed all aspects of this, and would definitely recommend it, especially if you like the various genres of darker ales. Its great for a autumnal beer, and would pair well with a good, strong cheese or something hearty and peppery. Would make for an interesting choice during a beer dinner. I'll drink this again no problem.

BuckSpin, Nov 07, 2006
Photo of beveritt
3/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: The first thing I notice is very little head. With a hard pour at the end I got maybe 1/4 of an inch. This fell pretty quickly to just the barest of coatings. Beer is clear, a rich dark brown/red color. Almost opaque. Almost.

Smell: Very strong malty flavor. Full of caramel and nutty smells. A little bit of hop bitterness on the nose, but not a lot of citrus hop flavors.

Taste: Malty sweet with a bitter finish. This reminds me of a Scotch ale, like it went through an extremely long boil. Lots of caramel, raisins, and mediciney flavors.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly thick and syrupy. Decent CO2 bite at first.

Drinkability: Not what I would expect from a "typical" brown ale. But, given that it is from DFH, I guess I shouldn't expect anything typical. Interesting beer, but I won't revisit this one. Doesn't really fit the style, much like a lot of DFH offerings, it is an extreme version of a brown ale.

beveritt, Nov 07, 2006
Photo of ultralarry2006
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves an espresso foam colored two finger head with excellent retention and excellent lacing. Body is the deepest possible brown. This is simply beautiful to behold.

Smell - malt bread, malt bread crust, figs, dates, plums, hint of both sweet and sour cherrries, spicy hops, and medicinal alcohol. Mouthwatering.

Taste - not nearly as flavorful as the smell promises. Mostly just the malt bread with spicy hops and medicinal alcohol and sweet cherries on the aftertaste. It is still very good and tasty, just not as much as I expected given the mouthwatering smell.

Mouthfeel - a strange sort of fluffy fullness, and yet semi-dry.

Drinkability - this is good overall, and somewhat sessionable as abv is 7.2%.

ultralarry2006, Nov 06, 2006
Photo of yelterdow
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Scored a very fresh six pack from Total Wine & More, River Edge... bottled on 10/12/06, this isn't even a month old.

Served in a DFH pint glass at several degrees over fridge temperature.

Appearance- Pours a clear reddish chestnut, the light tan soapy head evolves to about two fingers and settles tightly to a thick cap. The lacing's sticky character is a nice surprise... it's a good looking beer.

Smell- Wonderfully bright, fresh hops ring out of the glass... not at all citrusy or piney, they're "sticky" smelling... I don't know how else to explain it. Resiny.

Taste- Complex and really interesting... there's a lot going on. Where many DFH brews use their hops as a big part of the flavor, namely 60/90/120 IPA and even Shelter, this beer is all about barley malt and caramelized brown sugar for taste... the hops are more for aroma and the very end after the swallow. The flavor is huge and mouth-encompassing, it's actually a bit too overpowering to session. It feels like a 500 calorie beer with its heavy, syrupy weight... delicious but a bit fat. Fantastic A+ hop burps.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The most perfect transition of mild prickliness to sublime seafoam... this beer's texture is divine. Smooth and slippery during the swallow, it simply can't be improved. With all of the accolades and overall balance, it just sits a bit too heavily in the stomach and therefore drinkability must be addressed and scored as such. No regrets here.

yelterdow, Nov 05, 2006
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 4,904 ratings.