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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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5,391 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,391
Reviews: 1,929
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 266
Gots: 686 | 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: 5,391 | Reviews: 1,929 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of abstractpablo
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was excited to find this beer available in my local Whole Foods. I'd seen several ads in BA.

A: Deep brown with very little head.

S: I get a whole lot of Tootsie Roll in the aroma.

T: Mainly an acidic sweetness. A hint of vanilla and coffee with some brown sugar. There's an earth tone finish that helps balance out the sweetness.

M: Slightly viscous, but overall very smooth

D: This is a great Brown Ale. Highly recommended. It doesn't get overly sweet as you continue to drink as other Brown Ales.

Photo of Beefeater57
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Solid dark chestnut brown, some cherry color in light. Tan, thin head, not much retention or lacing.

S: Nutty smell, like cashews or salted peanuts. Some bready malts as well. Faints traces of sugar.

T: Syrupy sweetness up front, definitely getting the brown sugar. Some dry acidity comes up, and finishes with a growing earthy hop flavor. Hops are there, but not strong. Good balance, very smooth beer.

M: Good body, has almost a syrupy, slight chewiness to it. Some hop oil on the tongue.

D: Very good beer. Has a nice balance, and goes down really easy. I like the hops in this, which is different for a standard brown ale, but very welcome. Great beer...

Photo of PirateUlf73
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Clear, crimson-brown hue with a decent off-white head.

S: Sweet caramelized sugar aromas, with an underlying roasted quality that's almost like chocolate. Very rich and pleasant nose.

T: Big roasted barley and caramel up front. Just enough bitterness to cut through the sweetness, with some earthy hop aftertaste. Some chocolaty notes come through as well. Wonderfully blended and a pleasure to taste.

M: Sturdy and full-bodied. Ever-so-slightly sticky mouthfeel and a sweet, clean finish.

D: Addictive taste and superb balance make for a very drinkable brew.

I really like this beer. To my tastes, it is a symphony of contradictions that works very well as a whole. Probably too expensive to buy all the time, but it's so damn smooth that I may make it a regular. Almost everyone will find something to like (if not love) about this beer. Two thumbs up!

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

A: 12 oz. brown bottle. Dark brown body with reddish hues as the light passes through. A light tan 1" head leaves no lace to speak of.

S: Big roasted malt aroma with a solid hop character in the background.

T: Same as the nose; BIG dose of roasted malt flavor with brown sugar bringing up the rear. More hop flavor in the background.

M: Full; much more so than I expected from a brown ale.

D: Great brown ale. It's still one of my favorites.

Photo of redneckchugger
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a tobacco brwon, tall head, some lacing.
smells of roast malt, and earth hops, some sweetness as well, like brown sugar coated bread.
tastes like hoppy bread, really like you put hop flavor in a loaf of pumpernickel.
Great tasting beer, drinks very well. It my go to bbq beer. Seem to always drink a few of these when i am grilling, or just entertaining outside.

Photo of dbtoe
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint
Look is very dark brown with a finger of head that reduced a little but stayed until the end.
Smell is very roasty and I can smell some hop.
Taste is roasty and smokey with some good bitter hops. I really thought I was having a porter.
Feel maybe a little too much carbonation, prickly
Drink a good beer for having one or two I really wouldn't want to have an all nighter with this.
Comment I think this is a very good beer just not what I think a brown ale is. I'd say it is a great porter.

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This did have a date of 12/16/08 on the bottle.Pours brown with burgundy lightness to it. No lacing ring's but did leave a top cover all throughout the tasting.

Smells like chocolate, and caramel also a slight aroma of hops.

Taste has a very gritty brown sugar,and chocolate taste. With a nice big malty finish to it.

Mouth is very crisp,clean and a sting on the tongue. Full bodied,with great carbonation and a stickiness is left behind on the lips.

Drink is very good for 7% ABV. I really didn't even realize the ABV when I had it and before you know it I had 3 of these bad boys and they went down without any trouble...

Well I had too re-review this beer the next day. I did everything backwards this time I set the beer on it's side in a drawer in my fridge. I then analyzed it when it was damn near frozen. So now I adjusted my ratings.

The appearence was spectacular. I actually took pictures afterwards it left micro-tiny bubbles,(all thick and creamy looking) that left rings after every gulp I took.( I have never seen this before ). The Taste didn't leave that grittiness I talked about it was much smoother,a more roasted flavoring as well. The smell dumbed down a little bit not much came through. Mouth and Drinkability stayed the same. I have found a new favorite from Dogfish Head !!!

Photo of MeisterBurger
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, dark ruby mahogany with a honeycomb lacing. Great head retention.

Smells chocolaty, coffee-y, fruity and piny.

Taste is bitterness and prunes. Caramel and cold black coffee. Grassiness and nuttiness and sweet citrus fruits and brown sugar. There's almost a smoky booziness in the background. The alcohol is apparent and nicely warming. A very complex contrast of complimentary flavors. Kind of an odd duck for the style, sort of like a bitter scotch ale mixed with a baltic porter and a good handful of c-hops thrown in for good measure. But that just makes it an interesting and enjoyable drinking experience.

Has a creamy and medium mouthfeel while being slightly crisp.

Wonderfully quaffable if slightly intoxicating at 7.2%.

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

What an awesome beer. It pours a very deep brown with a tight foamy head that persists well into the glass and smells like herbal hops, some molasses, and dark alcoholic fruits.

The taste packs a lot of different malts--brown sugar, roasted nuts, a dark bread (?)--with some chocolate/coffee and a bit of hops to round it off, with a lingering thought of smoky caramelized sugar.

The mouthfeel is maybe a bit oily but leavened by carbonation and the warm alcohol which seems to bring everything out more. I can see this pairing nicely with a lot of different foods--right now I really want a burger with caramelized onions.

Absolutely a go-to beer, one of my standards.

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

Appearance: Thin head, dark brown with deep copper hues. Small amount of spotted lacing in the glass.

Smell: Sweet and bready. A little spicy hop aroma.

Taste: Alcohol and burnt brown sugar right away finishing with a mild bitter hop flavor with a wonderful aftertaste that combines the caramelized sugars with the hops. Toasted dark grain as well.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium body that coats the palate very nicely with a bit of juicy hop oils and carbonation.

Drinkability: The taste and feel of this beer, I could have one or two every day.

This is a beer that's got some character. I will willingly pay another $10 for a six pack of this stuff!

EDIT: By the way... Honey Roasted peanuts with this beer... Oh yeah.

Photo of tai4ji2x
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz, bottled on date of 12/02/08. tasted in early april 2009

dark reddish brown. dark ruby clear tones under the light. moderate to large, tan head, fades to thin layer. some webby and splotchy lace.

aroma of raisins, dates, brown sugar and caramel. touch of leafy hop. light alcoholic booziness. some roast notes.

similar flavors, with more hops coming out. moderate bitterness to offset the sweet fruit and caramel. touch of acidity near finish, along with hint of roast. alcohol isn't too boozy, but still noticeable, with medicinal hint in the aftertaste.

medium body, smooth with acidic note later one. moderate carbonation is lightly prickly upfront, with moments of creaminess.

Photo of hardy008
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I saw this beer in the "Beer Wars" documentary and knew I had to give it a try.

Appearance - Pours a dark brown color which allows some light to show through. Had a tan foamy two finger head. Leaves a nice lace on the glass.

Smell - Dark roasted malt, chocolate, piney and earthy hops, smoke, and coffee.

Taste - Dark roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, cocoa, smoke, coffee, piney hops, and caramel.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, creamy, with average carbonation.

Drinkability - Very good drinkability. A nice beer.

Re-reviewed on 12/30/2013.

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

Very nice brown ale that almost borders on a double brown ale.

Dark copper-brow with a tan coloured head that is thick, but not out of control. Nice rich malt and caramel smell with traces of fruit, raisins and bread. Good hop character.

Slightly sour taste with a sweet background. Toffee and a faint apple hint. There is also a bit of smokiness to this.

Nice carbonation, and despite the higher ABV a nice sipper.

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

A=Deep dark amber brown but clear when viewed to light. pours an off white one finger head that quickly dissipates

S=Balanced, some hops on the nose, but very even with malts as well

T=My favorite thing about this beer is the balance in the taste. Starts with some citrusy, bitterness and the hops but leaves a nice even hops aftertaste.

M=very nice even carbonation

D=excellent, I could sit and drink these all night. I have give full disclosure, this is and always will be one of my favorite beers.

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

I am really enjoying this "style" this is smoother and thicker porter unlike the overy hoppier terrapin IBA. Which I liked allot also.

A: Poured it at 45 degrees into my big mug, very brown porter like, poured a huge 2" head of lace that quickly settled to about 1/4". Looks like chocolate porter in the glass.

S: Very rich chocolate with no alcohol, I did not detect any hops. Some smokey esters.

T: I see where some say its like a scotch ale, its like a porter chocolate with a red/brown ale maltyness and just a hint of hops. that is all I can taste.

M: rich, thick, heavy body

D: I found it quite drinkable myself, in fact its time for another one

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

This brown ale is unique. I have to give props to Dogfish Head for brewing so many good beers, and unique ones at that. As it stands right now, unless i'm informed otherwise, this brewery is one of the best I've come by.

Served: In a bottle, poured into an ale glass.

A: Almost completely opaque, it's a dark, dark brown, almost like stained wood. Settled in my glass with a generous 2.5 inch head. Very frothy.

S: The hops, bitters, and caramelized malts float up from the head. It also smells slightly smoky.

T: Wow. I can taste the hops, bitters, caramelized malts, and roasted malts which gives it the smoky smell. The smoky taste is even better. It has a sweet side to it as well.

M: Every sip, the smokiness is there, the hops are there, and the malts make it easier to go down. It's smoothe, but slightly heavy.

D: I would not mind one or two of these per sitting, but that'd be about it. It's a heavy one. It's a great complementary dinner beer. I can imagine myself grilling up gourmet hamburgers and serving this one with it.

Photo of MS2k
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown with ruby highlights. Very frothy tan head that dissipates into a light lace.
S: Chocolate, coffee, and alcohol. Almost like a good porter.
T: Roasted coffee and alcohol, sharply bittered by hops, with caramel malt and traces of dark chocolate. Somewhat sweet like molasses, and just as rich
M: Heavy, hard, creamy.
D: Not exactly my glass of beer, but I can see how it can be enjoyable.

Photo of stingrayvr6
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Local 44 in Philly. Poured a thick, dark brown with a thick creamy head that barely faded. Smell was malty and toasty with some sweetness. Taste was intense and full, creamy toffee and chocolate, coffee and toasty. Incredible balance and warming alcohol. Incredibly smooth. I could have these all night, phenomenal brown ale.

Photo of cdkrenz
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, dark brown body with about a half inch of medium tan colored head with some serious stamina.

S - Coffee and brown sugar.

T - This is a unique flavor that everyone should have the chance to enjoy. There's caramel, subtle coffee, malt, and robust hops.

M - The feel is slightly coarse throughout which assists in bringing out the multitude of flavors.

~ This is the best brown ale I've ever had. I wish I had more than just the one. Thanks Krista, I love you baby!

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

Picked up a couple sixers of this brew at a local Kroger grocery store, marked down to an absolutely amazing $4.95 a piece. Less than five dollars for one of my favorite brews? How could I resist?

12 oz. brown bottle with Bottled On date of 06/18/2008 clearly visible. Poured into a pub glass.

A beautiful clear, deep mahogany beer supports a thick two fingers of mocha-colored foam. The head recedes somewhat quickly to a well-sustained cap that sticks around but fails to leave more than a few patches behind on the walls of the glass.

Aroma is a wonderful and inviting mix of earthy, citric hop notes and sweet, caramel-chocolate malt, with just a hint of nuttiness.

Body is nice and medium-full, with a welcome middling level of tingly carbonation. The initial greetings come from sweet, chocolatey and nutty malt flavors, with a full spectrum of bitter, grassy, fruity and citric hops rounding out the middle, with a rather dry and lingering semi-sweet, semi-bitter finish.

Amazingly drinkable for a beer of its caliber, with every sip calling for another, but by the time the whole bottle's gone, the 7.2% ABV begins to make itself known.

All-around, this one is extremely tough to pinpoint stylistically. A hopped-up brown? The nuttiness suggests it, but perhaps a cone-infused Doppelbock fits the bill. It's tough to say, but either way, this is one world-class brew, even if (or perhaps because) it defies worldly standards.

Photo of number1bum
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany color, vibrant scarlet hues when held to the light, and a creamy two fingers of tan head. Keeps a mostly full lace and leaves some rings of stick on the sides.

Smells of sweet brown sugar, caramel and nuts, along with a bit of earth and some citrus hops. Has a bit of chocolate and coffee in it, as well, and the hops are mainly complementary to a very nice malty nose.

Taste has a bit more hop flavor than the smell and a bit less robustness from the malt. Hops are citrusy and play nicely on a still very nice malt base of caramel, chocolate, coffee and brown sugar. It has a slight nuttiness to it, as well, and overall has very nice flavor and balance. Some hop bitterness lingers in the finish along with some bitter coffee grind flavor.

Mouthfeel is on the plus side of a medium body. Carbonation is maybe a tad more aggressive than I'd like, although it's still pretty smooth with a nice creaminess.

I'm not sure why I've taken so long to make my way to this beer. I love a good brown ale, and a hoppy brown ale is even better. I certainly won't make the mistake of passing by this again.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a shaker "pint" glass. Appears a clear, dark chestnut color with about two fingers of dense creamy ecru foam. Notes from the aroma and flavor are of milk chocolate coated caramels, brown sugar, a touch of fresh roasted bitter coffee, molasses, figs, and sweet malts. Maybe a notch above medium bodied with ample carbonation. One of my favorite brown ales.

Photo of JonMich13
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A= Very dark oily brown. Almost like a stout. Slight dark reddish around the sides. Small light brown head. No lacing.

S = Some malty and chocolate hints but mostly earthy hop notes.

T = Very bold sweet sugary malts blast up front. Caramel, chocolate, roasted malts. So sweet it burns, almost salty sweet like teriaki sauce. Alcohol burn there as well. Finishes with light bitterness from the hops. I enjoyed the taste, especially as it warmed, but it was a bit heavy-handed. The sugary sweetness comes like a hammer and drops into a hop at the end. A bit rough around the edges, and could use some mellowing and smoothing.

M = Syrupy mouthfeel with subdued carbonation. Slightly coating.

D = A bit too harsh to be considered overly drinkable. Maybe the cellar would do this one good.

Photo of joshuadlight
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Deep dark brown, looks almost like a porter. Nice tan head. Nice lacing.

S - Sweet malts with brown sugar. Notes of cinnamon and chocolate.

T - Wonderful. Sweet with a hop spice waiting in the wings. The hops are what make this thing. Most brown ales are relatively mild mannered, but the slight bitterness in this ale make it special.

M - Great. Velvety and smooth. Nice moderate use of carbonation.

D - I don't know if 7.2% ABV could be masked any better, but it would catch up to you if you didn't watch it.

Highly recommended.

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

A: Dark reddish brown with a bossy tan head. Nice retention and not much lacing.

S: Lots of hops and some nice sugary brown ale malt backing. Some dark fruit. Brown sugar.

T: Hops and brown sugar malt flavor go together very nicely. A little hint of sweet chocolate as well. Barley is fairly apparent. Flavor is light enough to go down really smoothly, but strong enough to taste good.

M: Goes down smooth, carbonation is good, slightly astringent. Medium-light body.

D: Drinks well. I will get again.

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,391 ratings.