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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.

4,699 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,699
Reviews: 1,853
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 199
Gots: 331 | 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: 4,699 | Reviews: 1,853 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kegerator


3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I enjoyed this offering...
Poured a deep brown color, mahogany...
smelled a bit bitter, spicey maybe some coffe notes. A little sweetness comes thru as well
tasted just about like it smelled, but I noted more sweetness in the taste that finished off on the bitter side from that coffeeish note.
mouthfeel was nice, smooth but I did note a slight chalkiness
I liked this brew overall, I most likely would not get it again based on the other much better offerings from Dogfish but It was an enojyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2004 15:29:29 | More by kegerator
Photo of scriabin


4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a nice reddish brown color and modest yet thick head. Taste is a complex mix of coffee, chocoloate, a bit of caramel, and brown sugar with a hint of bitterness. Some other flavors in there too that will keep me coming back for more. A very good brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2004 23:20:26 | More by scriabin
Photo of ppoitras


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

12ozer bottle bought as a single from Spirit Haus, Amherst, MA.

Poure dinto an imperial pint glass, formed a small 1/4" light tan head that faded to a layer of foam over the deep reddish-amber brew. Acceptable lacing, and this offering has a hearty grainy aroma tempered with a bit of hops. Taste is a lightly nutty mouthful of malt, with a balancing amount of hops, which while unusual for a brown, is exactly as advertised on the label. Very smooth, and leaves a slight tinge of alcohol on the tongue. Wish it was a bit heartier in makeup, but a joy to behold nonetheless. One of the more sedate style-breaking ales from Dogfish Head.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2004 21:47:09 | More by ppoitras
Photo of IceAce


4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Mahogany brown body topped with an off-white two finger collar of tiny bubble foam. The head was slow to dissipate and left a beautiful trail of lace on my beer-clean footed pilsner glass.

AROMA: Deep aroma of Porter-like roasted malt.

TASTE: A superb balance of malt in the foretaste and hops (Liberty & Goldings) on the finish. The follow-through leaves a pleasant hint of milk sugar or lactose coating on the tongue.

MOUTHEEL: The balance and ingredients combine to give this brown an outstanding, full-beer experience.

DRINKABILITY: This baby would be a welcome addition to any great beer-drinking session.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2004 07:25:28 | More by IceAce
Photo of rajendra82


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

Poured out of the 12 oz. bottle into the pint glass with reddish brown body with a tan colored 2 inch tall rocky head. Initially the beer had a lot of carbonation streamers which died down shortly taking the head with them. There was quite a bit of lace around the glass. The aroma was very Porter-ish, with tones of dark roasted malt, coffee, and alcohol. The taste was nuttier, sweeter, and drier than a Porter with lots of hop bitterness. There was also a good deal of complexity mid palette with hints of licorice, raisins, rum, and caramel. The aftertaste was very dominated by alcohol. In my opinion this beer defies being shoehorned into any style, with elements of Porter, Barleywine, IPA, and Brown Ale all jumbled together. A very good find at Riverside Beverage in Chattanooga, Tennessee (but Ziggy’s had it too).

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2004 03:13:21 | More by rajendra82
Photo of iokals


3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Deep brown with reddish-amber hew. Brown head disappeared quickly.

Aroma: Strong smell of molasses and spice.

Taste: Interesting, but the high bitterness from the hops seems to be more in conflict with the malt and molasses than in harmony with it. It creates an interesting character, but it keeps it from being a beer that's "easy" to enjoy.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is spot on. Good balance, not too syrupy or too light.

Overall: Its character keeps it from being something I could enjoy more than one of at a time. Definitely more complex than a standard brown, with strong forces from both the hop and malt end of the spectrum. Easier to appreciate with a clean palate, looses a lot when trying to enjoy it with something else.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2004 14:01:57 | More by iokals
Photo of BeerResearcher


4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle. Confusing dating with only the month notched between the 1 & 2).
An amber-hued teak color with a fast dissipating beige head and some sticky and trailing lace.
A sweet caramel malty aroma is upfront. Smells of chocolate, citrus and alcohol follow.
This is a malty brew! Big roasted biscuity malt offers up flavors of dark chocolate and coffee.
Grapefruit and lemony bitterness create a nice counter sharpness to the sweet full-bodied malt. A bit of peppery spice gives this brew an extra edginess. A potent, though within the boundaries of big flavors, is the well-proportioned alcohol kick. Nice Brew! The draught version is even better.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2004 03:25:24 | More by BeerResearcher
Photo of Southernbrew


4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice dark brown with a big bubbly head.

Crisp caramel sweetness in the nose, with a bit of alcohol coming through as well.

Medium-full body, smooth with nice carbonation. Sweet caramel flavors along with alcohol up front move to a light bitterness. Finishes with sweet alcohol flavors.

A nice brown ale, a little more alcohol than I'm used to but good nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2004 02:58:01 | More by Southernbrew
Photo of yeagerbm


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

Pours a brownish red with a tan head.
Smells malty, nutty with some hops there too.
Taste- Nice caramelized, very malty flavor with a good hop balance which makes this taste a lot better than your newcastle. Very good mouthfeel, excellent balance.... can I have a few more???

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2004 04:09:36 | More by yeagerbm
Photo of merlin48


4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark mahogany color with a two finger, beige head that leaves enormous, patch and sheet lacing on the glass.
Aroma has a sweet caramel maltiness up front, with notes of toffee and coffee in the background. Very roasty to the nose.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, well carbonated, and has a mild, peppery, hop bite on the tongue.
Taste has some delightful complexities. Roasted malts dominate, with assertive coffee and toffee notes up front. All kinds of hops emerge midway through, with spruce pine and grapefruit lingering in the background. Some smoky hazelnut makes a brief appearance, but that's about all the nuttiness that I detected. Finish is bitter hops, in a grapefruit rind sort of way. Alcohol remains concealed deep in the various flavor profiles.
Overall, an interesting brown ale that I will buy again. Leave it to Dogfish Head to create these "push the envelope" ales. I always try to keep a few DFH ales cellared, in the event I crave something "over the top". Well done brown ale here, and I highly recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2004 19:05:39 | More by merlin48
Photo of Mitchster


3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

7.2% ABV, 50 IBU. Made with caramelized brown sugar, Liberty and Goldings hops. Described by DFH as "A cross between a Scotch Ale, an I.P.A, and an American Pale"

Pours out to a clear, very dark ruby-brown, forming a very large whipped light-tan head atop small bubbles. Retention is superior, and lacing is clumping. The head is peaking and carbonation is very firm, giving a solid "Psssht" upon releasing the cap. Aroma is inviting with strong notes of brown sugar and milk chocolate, vanilla, toffee and caramel. There is a suggestion of alcohol in the nose. Mouthfeel is syrupy, yet bright with carbonation, and has a medium-dense body. Tasting more like an Abbey Double than a brown ale (in part due to the judicious use of brown sugar), the flavor echoes the aroma with a discrete hop presence (which is overshadowed by the syrupy malts). The subtle bitterness becomes noteable in the toasty, yet woodsy finish. Thankfully, I'm not upset by the small amount of diacetyl present, unlike the Shelter Pale Ale which was disturbing. No smoke or peat, though I'm picking up on some subtle bilious sourness. The alcohol esters are easily perceptable in flavor, and unfortunately increase as it warms, giving it an amateur homebrew twang that I'm not partial to. As the beer breathes, the toast in the finish evolves, and the spritzy mouthfeel softens. The bitterness interweaves perfectly with the toast, leaving a satisfying composure.

Rough around the edges, yet still a quite interesting brew which seems to cross boundries of style. The funky alcohol esters don't ruin the beer for me, but they do limit it's likability.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2004 23:58:47 | More by Mitchster
Photo of farHillsBrewer


4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Satisfying in all categories. Pours a deep brown with a slight reddish hue. A creamy off-white head that laced the glass well, signifying the ample hop content. Rich caramel and hazelnut flavor notes underlying a smooth malty profile. Tasted sweet with a chewy mouthfeel that transforms into a tangy, nutty hoppiness at the finish. The alchohol is up there but is sneaks right by. A nice compliment to corn beef and cabbage on St Patty's day.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2004 03:21:18 | More by farHillsBrewer
Photo of CBFanWish

New York

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

Dogfish Head has never let me down. The Indian Brown Ale is almost as good as any beer out there. It pours what looks to be dark brown, but in the light, it's a deep blood red. The head, a thick creamy, frothy cloud. Beautiful. The aroma is sweet with hints of chocolate and carmelized brown sugar. The taste is of caramel with a nice dose of hops mixed in. This is a great beer. I will be back to the store this weeken to buy some more.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2004 16:11:00 | More by CBFanWish
Photo of PSUDREW


3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark ruby/ brown. It has a nice balanced feel to it, little head and very little lace. Highly quaffable, and very drinkable for a Scottish Ale. There is a definite hop presence through and through this Ale, and it mixes very nicely with the malt background. It has a smokey carmel/coffe flavor throughout the drink, which mixes with both the hop and malt aspects of this beer. While it may seem very heavy upon the first couple of samplings, it comes out balanced and highly drinkable. DFH boys have constructed a mighty fine brew here and this may have possibly been one of the better conversion brews available on the market today.

Serving type: on-tap

03-14-2004 07:03:11 | More by PSUDREW
Photo of FormatKid


4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked this up in a 12oz bottle from Bacchus in Chattanooga. It was a nice suprise to find out he carried something from my home state when I feel so far from home sometimes.

Pours a deep, dark brown. Immediately a thick, bubbly, tan head erupts about three fingers high. The head reminds me of a bowl of oatmeal in its consistency. Lacing slides lazily down the sides of the glass and clumps up sporadically about the glass. Upon holding it up to the light a more amberish brown shines through, but it holds its darkness well.

The smell is great. The malts are immediately present, I pick up toasted coffee, and caramel. The bitter edge of hops sits there faintly as well.

The first thing I notice as I imbibe is just how creamy the mouthfeel is. It feels awesome going down, and works perfectly with the taste. The taste leads in bitter and then to sweet and caramel coated, bitter chocolate flirting at the edges. Slightly toasty background and just the absolutely faintest alcohol after-taste is present. This beer hides its ABV well, I have a bigger case of the warm and fuzzies than I would expect after just one. Then again it is the middle of the day and I have an empty stomach.

I have to say I really look forward to trying this one again, and would absolutely LOVE to find it on tap somewhere. To be honest if I had one or two more laying around I'd probably have another. As this is both my first beer from both Dogfish Head and my first of the Brown Ale style I have to say it made a great impression.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2004 22:44:27 | More by FormatKid
Photo of silenius


3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this at the Real Ale fest in Chicago.

This beer pours a translucent reddish brown with head that looks odd with large bubbles.

It smells like chocolate covered coffee beans with a hint of root beer in the way back.

The taste is very similar to the nose, except the root beer note is now front and center. I enjoyed this change of pace for the night, but I do not think this style is for me over the long haul. I could have more than one, but I might end up choosing an alternate beer for my next if given a choice.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2004 16:31:28 | More by silenius
Photo of TheJudge

New York

3.05/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This brown ale poured a nice rich color, with a very thin head which did not last past the first sip or two. The first thing I noticed as I went to drink it was a sourish smell, something that you sometimes get with barleywines, and something that I wasn't ready for in a brown ale. Probably due to the relatively high alcohol content. This taste carried into the mouth as well. It didn't help it. Thinking that perhaps it was a bad bottle, I poured another. Although this one seemed slightly smoother, it was basically the same. If I see it on tap somewhere, I will have it again, just to be sure it wasn't me. But this is not beer that you can sit and have 5 or 6 of.

I thought that I would like this more. Maybe I just didn't get a good batch.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2004 14:31:50 | More by TheJudge
Photo of Bierguy5


3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium to dark brown liquid with a beige foamy head. Try as I might, I could not even manage 1 finger of head. The small amount head that was present, disappeared rather quickly. There is very little lace on the sides of the glass. Ok, not impressive so far. Smells of toasted, almost a roasted malt. Taste is very nice, slightly buttery but a nice toasted malt flavor, with a dry subtle amount of hops. This is a good tasting brew. Mouthfeel was medium, which is nice. A bit higher in alcohol which is slightly noticable. I could drink several of these. Another solid brew from DFH. It can sometimes be hard to get excited about a brown ale, but this is one worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2004 01:28:11 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of jahred


3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tried this at the Feb. Goose Island "Beer Academy."

Pours a dark brownish red color with a small-sized white head. There's an odd, bitter vinegary scent that I can't quite place. The taste initially is bitter, chalky and stout-like. I definitely couldn't find any sweetness in this beer. There's also a very slight hint of coffee and/or espresso flavors.

The alcohol makes its presence known right away, but otherwise there are no dominating or exciting flavors in this beer, which was kind of disappointing (I was expecting more from DFH).

Serving type: bottle

02-29-2004 16:46:54 | More by jahred
Photo of BierReise


3.35/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Finally DFH is available in Florida! This one poured a deep mahogany brown with a fairly good size head that has some staying power. Aroma is a nutty malty one with a slight roastiness and a bit of yeast as well. Body is medium and very smooth. Flavor is lacking a bit. Some roasted malt but no sign of brown sugar detected. Alcohol is well masked. A tad too bitter also. Overall a fair brew yet not something I'd drink on a regular basis.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2004 12:34:41 | More by BierReise
Photo of Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Here's a brown ale that doesn't particularly impress me. Appearance is medium with a sticky head that is thin as a film from the beginning, not quite what I look for in a beer of this type. Aroma is hops and chocolate. The taste is very malty, quite chocolate and toffee sweet, but plenty of balancing hop character keeps it off being cloying. 7.2% ABV is to be found nowhere. The medium body is pretty good and fitting as well. Still, I must say I'd have prefered a more intense aroma. I also found it less and less interesting after each sip, perhaps the balance is not so good after all. It remains stylish and original like any Dogfish, but it's definitely not one of their best. Thank you Egajdzis

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2004 19:57:36 | More by Rastacouere
Photo of UnionMade


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

The beer is a deep, dark, nutty brown, topped with a thick bone white froth. Great head retention, keeping more or less steady through the entire 23oz mug, leaving a think film of belgian lace all the way through. Very impressive. Good clarity, with just a touch of a chill haze. Some bubbles meander their way up, slow and lazy-like.
The aroma is very odd. I'm not sure if I've smelled anything like this before. Perhaps Ipswich's Dark Ale comes close. Smoothly blended aromas, with moderate biscuit and chocolatey malt balanced by an impressively aggressive hopping. Earthy, with a slightly citric aroma. Some british varieties? A bit of apple and pear fruitiness wafts up, along with a vague brown ale nuttiness, adding to the complexity. Distinctly british feeling, with an american twist. Brown ale for hop heads?
The flavor starts with a pleasant chocolate malt, mildly roasty with some caramel sweetness. A hint of coffee flavor, with light floral and apple esters settling on the top of the tongue, adding a pleasant fruity sweetness. Bold hopping takes up the finish, slightly oily and grapefruity, with plenty of citric and herbal flavor. A bit of earthy hopping is accentuated by malty brown ale nuttiness. The chocolate malt flavor continues through, standing up against the hops to present some malt in the finish. Some grapefruity hops and a bit of roasty malt washes into the aftertaste. Impressively smooth, despite the strong hopping. Definitely easy drinking, with no alcohol presence that I could perceive. Medium bodied, with mellow carbonation and a pleasantly smooth mouthfeel.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I ordered this, and it certainly snuck up on me after 46 ounces. A mix of brown ale and IPA? Who'da thunk.

Serving type: on-tap

02-15-2004 06:47:37 | More by UnionMade
Photo of necoadam


4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dogfish Heads' label for some reason feels like it's on resume paper. Hey, at least they tell you what's in it right? Well anyway, this beer poured out a deep brown color with a nice head that went away quickly. In a way, it almost looks like a light porter. Smell consists of hops at first and some bitter chocolate. Taste is really nice. Some hops hit you at first then some caramel and bitter chocolate finishes the brew. Even some roasted flavors filter in the aftertaste. Gotta becareful with this brew, 7.2% is to laugh at and could probably down a few of these, but it might get to you. A very solid brew from Dogfish Head. Go get a few of these.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2004 01:27:10 | More by necoadam
Photo of ngandhi


3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one's a tear-jerker. The 50 IBUs come off as more intense than they actually are and I don't know if that's because they are or because you wouldn't expect so much bitterness in a brown ale. The Liberty and Goldings contribute an aggressive but very clean bittering that goes well with the malt and added sugars.

This is a pale ale with dark malts added to it (instead of a hoppy dark beer) on the palette, a robust brown ale on the mouthfeel, and a clean British mild on the nose. Though quite complex, the alcohol shines through a little too loudly on this beer and lends a metallic note to the nose and palette. The flavors fail to develop into anything past the alcohols, but the rich cocoa, molasses, and British hops up front are gorgeous. Muted yeast on the finish.

Characteristically a brown ale and a pale at the same time, Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale leaves me with but one recurring thought in my head:

"Damn it feels good to be a gangsta . . ."

Relax, relax.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2004 01:14:24 | More by ngandhi
Photo of Lupe

New York

4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown in color with a thin beige head that leaves some lacing. Roasted chocolate aroma with some floral hops. Creamy and smooth on the tounge with light carbonation. Flavor is of bittersweet chocolate, brown sugar, and rounds out with a sharp hop kick. Much better then the usual bland browns. Alcohol hides itself well but warms the belly a bit toward the end. A very different, and tasty brown ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2004 22:26:12 | More by Lupe
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 4,699 ratings.