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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.

4,831 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,831
Reviews: 1,866
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 212
Gots: 397 | 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: 4,831 | Reviews: 1,866 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ski271


4.05/5  rDev -1.2%

Pours a dark reddish brown with a light tan, very small, creamy-looking head that diminishes to a thick film with great retention. Some weak lacing. The smell is of brown sugar, milk chocolate and toffee, herbal hops, some light earthy yeast, and a very light citrus…. Quite inviting! The flavor is wonderfully complex and the flavors you pick out differ greatly with what else you’ve eaten lately… I think my perception of it even changes with my mood. That’s complexity for you! While the aroma was more malt dominant, the hops have a much more noticeable presence on the palate. It has a sweetness that’s balanced out by an herbal bitterness. Dark fruit, molasses, soap, resin, brown sugar, cherry, nuts and alcohol. The finish is long, dry and mildly astringent with citrus peeking out from behind the lingering malts. An impressive beer that I have bought several cases of over the years. Quite impressive and unique.

11-23-2005 12:43:09 | More by ski271
Photo of mashmstr2


4.1/5  rDev 0%

Only Dogfish could pull off this intensity in a Brown Ale……

Dark Brown in color. Clear with nice tan head and good lacing.

Aroma is very intense! Deep, deep Chocolate with a heavy Munich nose. Smokey, toffee and molasses.

Intense flavors of chocolate, roast, Munich and sweet hints of molasses and treacle. Big rich med-full bodied mouth feel. Hops are fairy balanced, but the malt is very intense and sweetly apparent. It’s a burst of dark malts! It’s fine line away from a Porter….. But there is a Walnut nuttiness that comes through with an almost chocolate raspberry note.

The finish is also very malty and hangs on the palate…….

Nicely done “Imperial Brown?”

11-22-2005 09:43:37 | More by mashmstr2
Photo of BrewMaster


3.45/5  rDev -15.9%

Presentation: 12 oz bottle, no freshness markings but it was in my beer cellar for about 4 months before I opened it tonight.

Appearance: Pours a medium brown color with tawny hues when backlit. Creamy tan head with good retention and neat lacing.

Smell: Sweet and malty with a sweet roasty and black cherry scent. Alcohol, anise, and a light floral quality round out the nose.

Taste: Roasty with a bold maltiness. There's no escaping the intense sweetness to this beer. It is cloying with flavors of brown sugar, figs, cherries, and toffee. Because the beer is incredibly sweet the ending is drier than I expected. The only hop bitterness is in the middle and it's very light and quick before being clobbered by the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and well carbonated. A syrupy medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: This beer is just too dang sweet for me. The ripe fruit flavors are nice but the sufar kills the other flavors in what could be a very good beer.

11-22-2005 04:06:42 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of PenguinBeerFan


4.72/5  rDev +15.1%

Poured from 12 oz bottle into Samuel Smith pint glass.

Definetely on the dark side of brown ales, mahogany-like when held to the light. This beer just looks beautiful. Nice 1/2 inch of tan head that thinned out after a few sips but never went away completely.

Smell is smokey and sweet with some faint hop bitterness.

Taste is exceptional. For me this beer sets the bar for brown ales. Tastes like smokey molasses with hoppy bitterness in the finish, more than most in this style, but definetely not a huge part of the beers character. Fantastic mouthfeel, nice and syrupy without being too sweet. Where's the 7.2%? Masked completely by the taste.

Far and away my favorite brown, though I've yet to get my hands on the Rouge Brown Nectar. Highly recommended. A good beer to give to your macro drinking friends or the most demanding connoisseur.

11-18-2005 22:27:54 | More by PenguinBeerFan
Photo of Pegasus


4.33/5  rDev +5.6%

Appearance: Deep murky brown with profuse sediment. The huge, off-white head retains superbly, the lacing is thick, broken, and sticky.

Aroma: Extraordinary complexity, first vinous notes, then bitter cocoa, caramel, lesser dark fruits, and hints of coffee. Floral hops are noticeable as it warms.

Taste: Opens with a hint of molasses and smokiness, giving way to bitter chocolate and coffee. A nutty characteristic is present throughout. Spicy, floral hop notes are present, but are fairly restrained. Finishes with a lingering burnt roastiness and a mild metallic bitterness.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, quite full, pleasant, quite warming.

Drinkability/notes: Superb. Well suited to sipping, rather than quaffing, would serve well as an aperitif, or dessert beverage. Would be most appealing on a cold, blustery day.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve ounce brown glass longneck, served in a standard pint tap glass.

11-13-2005 17:54:15 | More by Pegasus
Photo of Shovelbum


4.13/5  rDev +0.7%

Nice creamy tan head over a ruby-brown head. Decent retention and lace. Light hop and malt aromas-- a bit of alcohol in there as well. Tastes of sweet, winey malt, caramel and chocolate. A big hop presence for a brown ale. Full-bodied and complex for the style. Smooth in the mouth with a lingering hop aftertaste. A tad drying.

An interesting take on the Brown Ale. Definately more hops and booze than usually encountered in the style, but a nice change of pace.

11-12-2005 03:20:15 | More by Shovelbum
Photo of SaCkErZ9


4.43/5  rDev +8%

Poured a very dark magenta/brown color with a small head that actually stays around for a while and leaves the slightest wisps of lacing down the glass. Very clear, no haze, and just a hint of action below the surface by the way of a bubble or two every now and again.

Smell is of toastiness. Toasted malts, choc malts, roasted marshmallows over a campfire, roasted peanuts or walnuts, caramel, and again more coffee. I tried to extract some hop aroma but just couldnt. Smells very sweet as well.

Taste is great. I think nuttiness is the overall flavor here. Definite chocolate and coffe as well. I can detect the slightest citrusy hops in there as well. This tastes like a great beer to have for breakfast or even with a peanut butter cookie or three.

Smooth mouthfeel with very little hop bitterness. Alcohol is barely noticeable but it is there. Overall a very solid beer.

11-11-2005 20:44:22 | More by SaCkErZ9
Photo of wcudwight

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +6.8%

A: Light to dark brown. A small fizzy head. Lightly laced.
S: Smells like a sweet coffee.
T: WOW! This brew attacks your tastebuds. Dark strong coffee with some very nice hop bitterness. This is much more hoppy than I expected. Mild caramel aftertaste.
M: Crisp and fizzy on the tongue.
D: Very tasty and well balanced. If there ever was a breakfast beer this would have to be it. Wafflehouse should carry this on-tap.

11-11-2005 14:41:53 | More by wcudwight
Photo of Enola

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev -10.2%

Poured a rich mahogany color. Smell is similar to a good stout. A somewhat bitter taste. The drinkability on this one is pretty good. This is yet another high alcohol beer that has become available in NC. I have tried several Dogfish beers and have been pleased with them all.

11-10-2005 21:23:38 | More by Enola
Photo of scooter231

New York

4.38/5  rDev +6.8%

Dark brown color at the bottom of the glass, lighter as you go up- cappuccino- resembling almost. Appealing at worst.

Smell is bitter and coffeeish, slightly barely chocolatey- very "drink me". Taste... is espresso. And chocolate. Very, very tasty. I want another... and another. Mouthfeel is very, very smooth and creamy. Drinkability is... well, you get the point. "Very" is a word I would use frequently with this brew. Downright yummy. And at less than $10 for a 6pack, a very bang for your buck beer. Fabulous.

11-08-2005 10:31:48 | More by scooter231
Photo of Bcant


4.1/5  rDev 0%

It has been a while since I have had the IBA and it was a pleasent return. Cheery wood color, small tope head, some light lacing, delicatly carbonated. The nose is dominated with toffe/caramel effects but you can detect french roast coffee below. Complex malt flavors followed by nice hop balance. Finises with the dark roast coffe that you are teased with in the bouquet. Chewey and refreshing. Not the most agressive DFH but a stirdy ale for a cool evening.

11-08-2005 05:12:45 | More by Bcant
Photo of Mitchel


3.73/5  rDev -9%

Dogfish seems to make many truly excellent products. This is no exception. Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale is what you might expect out of a beer like this. Very nicely hopped (maybe a little too much for some people) and very fragrant malty beer. Although the label states that it is a ‘clean’ tasting beer, I find that it leaves a very noticeable after taste. Not necessarily a bad taste, just not what I would call a ‘clean beer’. It is a bit thicker than I was expecting, but I like it that way. There are hints of toasted coffee and brown sugar.
My biggest complaint about this beer is the elevated amount of carbonation. It makes me think of a soft drink. Overall, I would suggest, but it might be a little much for a non-dark beer drinker.

11-07-2005 21:08:21 | More by Mitchel
Photo of Joey7F


4.22/5  rDev +2.9%

Dogfish is an amazing brewery. I have liked every beer they have made that I have tried.

This brown ale is no exception

A - so brown it is almost black
S - can something smell creamy?
T - Malty base with hops everywhere. In fact, that is the only reason this beer didn't get a 5 on taste. The 7.2abv also sneaks up on ya and is not as well concealed as others... another reason why it got docked.
M - This beer feels like it get thicker as swirl it around in your mouth. Fantastic!
D - I could easily reach for another.

Highly recommended!


11-07-2005 04:54:58 | More by Joey7F
Photo of wingnutter


4/5  rDev -2.4%

Pours a dark ruby with a fizzy head that was gone in a minute or so. Lacing was decent but all but gone when I finished the last sip.

Smells nutty, caramelly, I can smell a bit o hops, and alcohol is lingering in the backgound....

Taste: Robust. Toffe, coffee, brown sugar...bitterness in the background, but the softness of the sweetness overlaps it and mellows it out. Very smooth beer. Halfway though the glass and I detect a tiny bit of warming effect from the alcohol, but its not too much. It may get smoother as it warms up a bit.

Feels rich but not heavy. It feels a bit thicker than it actually is.

I could drink a few of these no problem. Nice drinkability. DFH is quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries.

11-04-2005 04:52:21 | More by wingnutter
Photo of pentathlete


4.43/5  rDev +8%

Dark brown with a large dark beige head. Sizeable malt nose and a mellow hoppiness hiding in there. Taste is sweet malt, coffee, and hops roll into the picture about midway through. Outstandingly smooth. Mouthfeel is medium...great for a brown ale. Easy to drink, but this is a big beer but the alcohol never asserts itself (which can lead one into danger.)

11-03-2005 21:55:56 | More by pentathlete
Photo of ommegangpbr

New York

4.28/5  rDev +4.4%

Trailblazing for the style... we have IPA's, maybe we should have IBA's. This is to brown ales as IPA's are to APA's it seems to me.
Very porter/stout like in profile but a lighter drinking experience relative to those.
A pretty monstrous yet sneaky 7.2% going on here. The alcohol is very well masked by the rich flavors.
Kinda like a smokey Raison D'etre? The carmelized brown sugar things going on in the flavor are very similar in the two brews.
I was not expecting anything like this at all. Very bold stuff. Badass, even.
Or goodass.
That works, too.

11-02-2005 06:38:54 | More by ommegangpbr
Photo of Gritsak

West Virginia

4.1/5  rDev 0%

A- dark brown with a big light tan head. settles to a nice film that laces well.

S- roasted coffee, chocolate, toffee, caramel

T- roasted grain, coffee, chocolate with a very intense smoke flavored finish. hops are present but not overwhelming. 7% is very well hidden in this.

M- medium body with mild carbonation. very creamy and smooth.

D- i only have one to drink, but would gladly take a couple more.

overall- probably the best "brown" ale that ive had. seems to be more like a porter to me though, but regardless of what its called its a great beer. at over 7% with no alcohol presence this couple sneak up on you quickly.

11-02-2005 04:17:55 | More by Gritsak
Photo of redwolf1

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +5.6%

Poured a rather nice amber brown with a head that did not dissipate fast. I am currently halfway through it and the head is still present, laced around the sides of the glass. A rich nutty flavor throughout with a very subtle hint of sweetness from, I guess, brown sugar. A true ale based on the level of hops, but the hops are not overpowering the beer at all, like some beers. There is a very nice balance between the hops and toasted feel of the beer, creating a very enjoyable beer in itself. I would definitely buy this one again. I have only tried a few beers from Dogfish Head, but have yet to find a bad one in the bunch.

10-29-2005 23:36:25 | More by redwolf1
Photo of jmz62565


4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

This is a very dark beer with a nice tan two finger head.This has a real roasted,nutty smell that is very,not great.
The flavor is not like tradition brown ales.This is very hoppy,nutty,and a little bit of carmel can be tasted.Make sure you take this out of the fridge and let it sit a while.This will bring out the carmel and nuttyness more.It's pretty hoppy,but you can also taste the brown sugar.This has a nice full m/f and is so good you could drink this everyday.Dogfish Head does it again!

10-26-2005 03:30:37 | More by jmz62565
Photo of bobstockwell


4.38/5  rDev +6.8%

Was talking to a clerk at Austin Liquor's in Shrewsbury.I was looking at the Newcastle Brown because it was on sale, and I had never tried it.The clerk asked what I usually drank and when I told him I was partial to porters and stouts he recomended I try the Dogfish Indian Brown Ale instead. THANK YOU. Bought a 6 pack of 12 oz bottles @7.99 pricey but worth it. The ale poured a dark rubyish brown, with nice carbonation but not much of a head. The flavor was malty sweet w/ choc. molasses , and some coffee overtones. Very smooth mouthfeel...almost too smooth... I didn't taste the relatively high alcohol content..but started to feel it on my 3rd glass. Goes down so smooth you could easily lose track during a session. It tastes an awful lot like my favorite porters but not as thick and filling. The hops balance the malts nicely especially as the beer warms a little. Clerk said this style wasn't really a true Brown Ale...but it joins Storm King and Anchor Porter
as my go to beers of choice.

10-23-2005 03:27:42 | More by bobstockwell
Photo of Px2GrafX


4.35/5  rDev +6.1%

presentation: 12oz. bottle with a screened image of tonsa barley in the background with the dogfish head india brown ale logo on top. the shark in the center has bite marks in it. "a clean, well-hopped brown ale with aromatic barley, caramelized brown sugar and whole leaf liberty and goldings hops". 7.2% abv displayed, but no freshness date.

appearance: pours a very dark, not quite opaque, brown with deep red-brown highlights in a pint glass. nice 1 inch light tan head that dropped to a capper after a couple of minutes. hardly any lacing.

smell: fairly clean nonchalant aromas. touch of floral hops and some caramelly molasses. nutty and bready.

taste: good earthy herbal hoppiness with a chocolate flavor. roasted nuttiness. caramelly sweet with molasses towards the end of the sip. there is definitely a spicy hop bitterness in the finish and aftertaste. well balanaced for a brown ale. i'm actually getting some coffee as the brew warms. nice bittersweet chocolate and hops in the finish.

mouthfeel: very smooth medium mouthfeel. lots of carbonation prickling the tongue and swallows very smooth. love this mouthfeel for an american brown.

drinkability: oh, yeah, this one's drinkable. the alcohol is well masked and this is quite the tasty brew with a brilliant mouthfeel. aftertaste keeps you drinking.

overall: delicious beer. a little confusing, though with the coffee and chocolate flavors. a lot like more like a stout than an american brown. very good, though. rogue makes some great browns, but this one comes across much more balanced. a little outside the style, but a damn good brew.

10-18-2005 04:06:11 | More by Px2GrafX
Photo of xoqx


3.95/5  rDev -3.7%

Appearance – A dark garnet-brown brew with a cream-colored foamy two finger head with moderate retention. Loopy thin lace surrounds the glass.

Smell – A very porter-ish sugary malty caramel smell abounds from this dark brew.

Taste – Very sweet deep caramelly malts and caramelized brown sugar tastes could be helped a touch by a slightly bolder hop profile, but this is still a good brew by any measure. The taste compliments burgers or steaks very well.

Mouthfeel – Medium mouthfeel and very creamy and rich on the palate. Soft.

Drinkability – Though edging toward too-sweet, this still a very drinkable beer. The 7.2% alcohol is nicely disguised.

10-17-2005 04:02:31 | More by xoqx
Photo of Gagnonsux


3.98/5  rDev -2.9%

The color is dark chestnut brown with a small head that has weak retention. The aroma is of sweet, rich dark chocolate malt. The taste is of strong malt flavors, chocolate flavors dominate, but caramel and roasted flavors add layers of complexity. A touch of nutty flavor separates this stylistically away from porters. Indian Brown is a very good beer, however given Dogfish's reputation I was expecting a little more. If this beer weren't around $8 a sixer, it would show up in my fridge with regularity.

10-14-2005 18:13:36 | More by Gagnonsux
Photo of unknownlamer

North Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +8.5%

The beer smelled strongly of roasted malt and brown sugar with a bit of hops. The first taste to hit me was the somewhat syrupy sweetness that I have found in every Dogfish Head beer. This was wonderfully thick and the brown sugar came out very strongly as it sat in my mouth. It went down very smoothly with a nice smooth hops flavor and a bit of alcohol becoming noticeable as it went down my throat; leaving a mixture of sweetness, a very mild hop bitterness, and the alcohol behind. The alcohol is very much present in this beer, but it is very well blended with the other flavors.

Definitely an awesome brown ale. It goes down really easily for a strong brown ale, and I could drink these all night if it weren't for the highish alcohol content.

10-13-2005 04:48:33 | More by unknownlamer
Photo of NClifestyle

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +5.6%

one helluva brown ale. i've been somewhat bothered by browns lately, and this one does the trick. somewhat similar to duckrabbit's brown, liberal use of hops to take it away from that coca-cola sweet blah.
great dark brown color, with lots of head, not a ton of lace. smells like a brown should, but a hint of alcohol and floral hop add to the mix.
beautiful brown/malt/chocolate taste, but the hop won't go away, which is a good thing.
like i said, i'll be drinking this more and more often this fall. a great autumn beer.


10-12-2005 03:45:10 | More by NClifestyle
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 4,831 ratings.