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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.

5,156 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,156
Reviews: 1,887
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 235
Gots: 524 | 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: 5,156 | Reviews: 1,887 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of spiffysamurai
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 22oz Liberal Cup

A: The beer came out in a dark brown almost black. The beer was a very asthetic brown ale.

S: The beer smelled of strong brown sugar. There was a little carmelized but dominated by the brown sugar.

T: The beer tasted a little bit of brown sugar but the hops were what standed out and were perfect.

M: The mouthfeel was nice. IT was not the best I have ever had, but it was nice.

D: For 7.2% ABV, the beer went down easy. Though it is not beer that one can just drink in a quick sit down. This is the perfect beer for sitting down, chilling and shooting the old times.

spiffysamurai, Dec 02, 2007
Photo of BlackBearForge
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz. bottle poured into a 16 oz. pint glass.

Appearance: Poured a deep opaque brown with ruby highlights around the edges. A one finger tan head faded fairly quickly.

Smell: Sweet malt and caramel with a touch of chocolate with a hop presence as a sweet earthiness, perhaps a touch resiny.

Taste: Strong coffee flavours dominate, roasted coffee even, with strong malt and hop flavours perfectly balanced. Taste is almost stoutlike to me with a somewhat bitter aftertaste and a medium alcohol warmth that doesn't overpower.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, silky smooth even, medium body and nice carbonation.

Drinkability: At 7.2 ABV probably not the greatest session beer but man does it go down smooth. I could easily down several of these and probably will as the oppurtunity presents itself. A very interesting and delicious brown with stoutlike qualities, as my wife says "Awesome!".

BlackBearForge, Dec 01, 2007
Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Obtained through a trade with Dertbert, thanks man.

"Bottled on 09/20/07"
12 oz brown bottle.

"A clean, well-hopped brown ale with aromatic barley, caramelized brown sugar, and whole-leaf Liberty & Golding hops."

a: Pours a dark brown with hints of red around the edges and a tan head.
Zero lacing.

s: Enticing aroma of chocolate, caramel, coffee and a hint of hops.

t: Sweet caramel, brown sugar, and chocolate reach the tongue first, but a nice layer of spicy hops provide the finish, giving this brown ale a unique balance.

m: Smooth, creamy and as the bottle says, "clean."

d: Love the chocolate/hops combo in this one, another unique offering from DFH.
My Tigers are #1 for the first time in 47 years and they're playing Oklahoma for the Big 12 Championship in 6 hours so this will likely be the first of many reviews today. This brew was a great start.

BradLikesBrew, Dec 01, 2007
Photo of fitzy84
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Moan and Dove. The drink had a very dark appearance with a medium head. Aromas of caramel, small amounts of chocolate and little malt lifted from this beverage beautifully. The taste was great: a creamy, sweet drink in general. This ale had a low-medium body which made it thick but light-tasting in texture. Overall, this was a delicious brown ale from Dogfish Head.

fitzy84, Nov 29, 2007
Photo of Halcyondays
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle, bought by my sister at AJ's Fine Foods, in Glendale, AZ,

A: Pours a dark brown, with a thick tan head, with good retention, not much lacing though.

S: Nice full smell of caramel malt, with a distinct French roast coffee smell, and a bit of floral hops, interesting.

T: Caramel malt and brown sugar/Rapadura hit the tongue first, which is then balanced by a spicy hop character, leaving a sense of grass on the tongue. Even though this isn't a porter or a stout, there is a distinct coffee element to this beer as well, very tasty, the malt flavours in this beer are just beautiful.

M: Full-bodied, smooth and creamy, a little bit of resin is carried on the tongue as the beer finishes as well.

D: This is a very good beer, possibly the best Brown Ale made in America, or the best that I have had. I wish I had another bottle of this, but I guess as Miles says in Sideways, I'll just have to live bottle to bottle, until Dogfish moves back to CA.

Edit - Had another bottle of this 8/1/10 in AZ, still as good as I remember it, my cousin raved as well.

Halcyondays, Nov 29, 2007
Photo of Lothore
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a reddish brown hue with a 1.5 finger light brown head which fades fairly quickly leaving little to no lacing.

S- Smell is faint but coffee is distinct as well as roasted barley, perhaps a bit of chocolate.

T- Taste is much hoppier than expected. Starts off with piney hops and ends with bitterness but also a deep roasted flavor.

M- A bit thick and sticky with quite a bit of carbonation.

D- Decent tasting but for a brown it’s definitely extremely hop forward and that coupled with the thickness lowers the drinkability in my book.

Lothore, Nov 29, 2007
Photo of Beerbuddha
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a nice brown color with ruby highlights and a fluffy off white head. The smell was very sweet with hints of hop. The taste was also of malty sweetness with an iron taste to it. The mouthfeel was heavy with low carbonation. Overall drinkability was ok. The iron taste I'm not too fond of.

Beerbuddha, Nov 22, 2007
Photo of Metalmonk
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick tan head that lasts a long while. Color is a beautiful, glistening, ruby-hued deep brown. Plenty of lace left on the sides of the glass...one very good-looking beer.

Aroma brings up toffee, brown sugar, coffee grounds and sweet baking chocolate. As with most browns, it's too faint to wildly shake the nostrils. Just...kinda...decent.

Flavors are rich and round, animating what the nose picks up, also offering big dark fruits for even more flavor. As it warms, a light anise and burnt grain nuttiness arrive, sitting in the back but politely raising their hands for attention. Letting it warm a little also reveals a flare of alcohol warmth. Juicy hold in the mouth and a clean finish with more sweet baking chocolate coming through.

This comes real close to a porter in feel and flavor...whatever you call it, it's really good, superbly balanced on all fronts. If I'm going to go with a brown ale, I'd probably make it this one over the multitudes of ho-hum browns out there. Best American Brown Ever? Could Be.

Metalmonk, Nov 21, 2007
Photo of rallison
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A well hopped brown ale? Sounds interesting..

Pour is a dark brown with a 2 finger light tan head that recedes to a nice lacing.

Smells of molasses and caramel with some roasted notes.

Taste is altogether good for a brown ale. While often a very boring style in the US, this helps provide some substance to the style. Molasses and some breadiness in the flavor with a nice dose of hops after the initial sweetness. Roasted qualities. The flavors don't linger that long. I'm liking the use of hops here.

Mouthfeel has medium to full carbonation, ending pretty cleanly. Drinkability is good on this - despite being an over 7% brown.

Recommended. Nice to see some attention to a style that is often overlooked. Not the best beer around, but a good one overall.

rallison, Nov 19, 2007
Photo of ksbrainard
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep ruby red and caramel brown. It is clear as can be. The head is very thin, and exists only at the sides of the glass as the glass empties.

Smell: Immediately chocolate and caramel aromas hit me. Then my nose is flooded and I can't smell anything. As it warms, a more direct dark roasted malted grain smell is in there, like a bag of crushed specialty grains. I can't smell any hops.

Taste: The first impression is an assault of hops, alcohol, and dark malt. There are dark fruit-like flavors in there, but it is not overdone. I suspect a relatively restrained fermentation temperature, which is to its advantage. There is a nice balance of roast, fruit, alcohol, and hops. Even though this is not a Belgian, it is Belgian-esque in its sublime balance in all directions coupled with deep complexity. And it just gets more full and delicious as it warms up throughout the glass. The alcohol edge even softens as it warms. A bit of a smoked quality even emerges in the middle of the glass.

Mouthfeel: Full and rich all around, but not too sticky. It ends bitter from hops and alcohol, which dries it out a little, but not too much. Again, as it warms it gets softer, fuller, and more satisfying.

Drinkability: This is very enjoyable, but not a session beer. I can see pairing this with a big hearty beef stew, or maybe a spicy rack of ribs.

ksbrainard, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of jsimon816
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on date 9/11/07. 2 months, 6 days at review.

A - deep brown with nice head that slowly dissipated

S - sweet caramel with strong malt character

T - rich and pleasant with a sweet roasted aftertaste

M - like most brown ales's, little to no carbonation

D - great beer to kickoff those crisp fall days. Alcohol content of 7.2% will definetly do the trick.

jsimon816, Nov 17, 2007
Photo of DIM
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was a year and a half old.

a: This appears black unless held up to the light to reveal dark brown/ruby highlights. Pours witha half inch light tan head.

s: Malty dark chocolate dominates. Some hops are still noticeable, along with a hint of alcohol.

t: At a year and a half this beer drinks more like a stout. Very dry dark chocolate is dominant. The hops are almost completely gone. A relatively short time in the cellar changed this beer quite a bit. Not an improvement, but not a step back either.

m: Dry and sticky. The malts linger for quite a while.

d: 7.2? Really? This beer is dangerous.

DIM, Nov 15, 2007
Photo of Viggo
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear chestnut brown/red, very thick beige head, nice lacing, settles to a thick layer, looks nice. Smell is neat, grainy malts, chocolate, toffee, bread, light roast/coffee, pine and floral hops, some fruit, very nice. Taste is great, mocha, toffee, some chocolate roast, bread, floral hops, strawberry finish, almost a lacto finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, low carbonation, some heat in the finish, very smooth though. Pretty good, I think I want to brew something kind of like this.

Viggo, Nov 14, 2007
Photo of kimcgolf
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice chocolate brown with thin off-white head that lingers wewll and leaves okay lacing. Aroma is a sweet mix of caramel, toffee and roasted nuts, but the mouthfeel of this fairly thin bodied beer is somewhat watery. Flavor is a continuation of the sweet caramel and nuts, with a finish that is warming, but somewhat on the sweet and watery side for my liking.

Not a bad beer, but DFH makes better.

kimcgolf, Nov 10, 2007
Photo of mdm4584
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up at AJ's in Scottsdale, AZ.

Roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, and a nutty complexity dominate the nose. Taste is top notch... coffee and chocolate linger.

The complexity and alcohol of the brew could exhaust the drinker. After a few I would go to something lighter.

mdm4584, Nov 10, 2007
Photo of blackhammer
3.1/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a dark brown, almost black color in the kitchen. Did notice a nice reddish hue when held up to light. Big lingering head, with lots of lace on the glass.

S: Heavy roasted malt --very strong, almost like burnt sugar on a Creme Brulee. I would have mistaken this for a porter or Imperial Stout if someone had handed me a pint. There also seems to be a slight cherry smell behind the malt but it's buried so deep beneath the malt that it's hard to appreciate it. Unlike other reviewers, I did not detect any hops aroma to balance out the malt at all.

T: Very dominant bitter, coffee flavor, with some carmel sneaking in upon taking a second, deeper sip. Some hint of the alcohol content but not so strong as to overwhelm the flavor.

M; I suggest letting this one sit and warm a little. It seemed overly carbonated and heavy on the mouth at first sip. A little more time in the glass and it took on a nice smoothness, with a bit of a dry finish.

D: Overall, a difficult beer for me to decide on. A bit harsh at first, almost like old coffee. But it improved nicely with some time in the glass as I drank it. Or maybe that was the alcohol content. Not something that I will probably buy again, but I can't say I'm completely opposed to having another. My experience with this beer seems very different to me from that of other reviewers, so I might find myself compelled to try it again.

blackhammer, Nov 10, 2007
Photo of HoustonTX
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Indian Brown Ale pours beautifully with a nice dark brown body. Frothy off-white head.

Aromatics of burnt/charred malt, Goldings veggie derived hoppinesss, some small coffee and smoke scents.

A very solid Brown all the way around. Very smooth and easy to drink. It has a lot of roasted chocolate characteristics. Along with some pleasant herbal floral hopping. Finishes with a nice pucker of sticky dark malt.

A great beer all the way around. Dogfish Head does it again!

HoustonTX, Nov 10, 2007
Photo of malcontent
3.38/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of my earliest reviews, with over a year under my belt I'd say it's time to start revisiting some of the oldies.

Chestnut brown body with reddish highlights, capped with a massive off-white head. Looks great.

A surprisingly (or maybe not so much, considering the source) hop-laden nose. The bottle advertises "whole-leaf Liberty and (Kent) Goldings" hops, but I'm only picking up the former. Smells nice but off for the style.

Mild roasted flavors and brown sugar are almost completely overwhelmed by the hops. This IS Dogfish Head, so I shouldn't be surprised. Caramel aftertaste lingers, redeeming the beer a good deal.

Mouthfeel is full, bordering on creamy. All-in-all, it's a typical "let's see if this works" approach by the boys from Milton. It's actually a pretty good beer, but when trying to fit it into the brown ale category it fails somewhat...perhaps it's just over-ambition. Hell, I'll take that over the alternative any day.

malcontent, Nov 09, 2007
Photo of Slatetank
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to tenderbranson69 for this bottle. poured cool into a nonic.
A - Cola brown w/ a light tan head of approx 3 fingers. Rings of lace halo the glass.

S - Malty, nutty caramel and wooday aromas w/ sugary scents and a slightly boozy hoppy odor.

M - Dry gently roasty w/ a bit of boozy brown malted feel. A residually sweet biscuity toasted texture in the sweet finish.

T - Rich nutty sweet malt w/ roasted barley flavors an a taste of light brown sugar w/ gentle fig like flavors. A boozy sugary rum quality is apparent w/ a slight tinge of belgian yeast in the taste. The hops are there but not obtrusive, very mild and slightly spicy.

D - A fine brown ale w/ candy sugar and rich maltiness w/ a nice touch of alcohol int the flavor. A nice hop accent adds a bit of spice. I consider this to be a nice brown, but not highly drinkable w/ the noticeable abv and sweetness.

Slatetank, Nov 07, 2007
Photo of burnstar
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a light tan head. Aroma is dark roasted malt and floral hops. Some caramel and coffee notes. Taste is assertive roasted malt. Burnt malt and coffee flavors. Plenty of hops provide balance to the underlying sweetness. Some bitterness from roasted malt and hops. Somewhat imperial stout like. Full bodied. Pretty drinkable. Really nice beer overall.

burnstar, Nov 07, 2007
Photo of smurphy77
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mocha colored beer with sprightly bubbles and a medium-sized tan head. Smells of sweet, caramelized sugar. Flavors of roasted coffee and roasted malt are most prominent. The body and carbonation give this beer a very light feel despite it's darker, bold flavors. Equally enjoyable paired with a juicy burger, a bit of chocolate for dessert or as a standalone beer. Great case to keep on hand.

smurphy77, Nov 04, 2007
Photo of OKCNittany
3.86/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: 1/2" tan head with great retention, leaving lacing everywhere. Dark brown, almost black body.

S: Notes of molasses, roasted coffed & roasted malt. Alcohol was also present as it warmed.

T: Much more alcohol and hop presence than any other brown I've tasted (although to date that's a fairly short list). Notes of coffee & chocolate (both milk & dark) too.

M: Medium bodied and quite smooth. Bitter finish with an alcohol burn.

D: Big flavor. A beer I'll gladly return to, but the alcohol presence cuts into the drinkability.

Edit: Found two sets of old notes on this one. Averaged the scores. The notes themselves were similar, except the 2nd (higher rated) review made no mention of noticeable alcohol.

OKCNittany, Nov 03, 2007
Photo of mnstorm99
3.35/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice dark brown color with a small tan head that laces well throughout. Aroma's of spicy hops stand behind a very sweet malty touch of carmel. Taste is first and foremost of the brown sugar (I know it says it on the bottle) which is tough to get past, not a flavor I am very fond of. There is a tinge of the hops, but this beer has a great mouthfeel and I enjoyed the aroma, so I will definately be cellering a couple of bottles to see how it does.

mnstorm99, Oct 29, 2007
Photo of Folderol
3.38/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I remember this beer being better when I sampled it a year and a half ago. Now it seems somehow off-balance, like there's nothing in it but dark malt and hops. It's not as sweet as I remember, and the taste is just a constant battle between roasted, charred astringency and dry hop bitterness. Reminded me of porter that's missing some ingredients. Maybe this batch was just too young.

Folderol, Oct 29, 2007
Photo of praufs01
3.25/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Dark Brown with a clear deep red ruby glow when held to the light. Small tan colored head with light lacing.

Aroma - Light hop aroma that was overpowered by a burnt sugar and molasses smell with faint hints of alcohol.

Palate - Medium carbonation with a sticky up front feel followed by a dry chalky finish.

Flavor - Moderate bitterness with a burnt sugar taste. There are some noticeable alcohol notes here with an almost bourbon like quality.

Final thoughts - I can appreciate what the brewer was trying to achieve. However, although the brew is unique it is not great. To me its not session beer but I am glad I tried it.

praufs01, Oct 28, 2007
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,156 ratings.