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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.

4,899 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,899
Reviews: 1,870
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 219
Gots: 431 | 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: 4,899 | Reviews: 1,870 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of zjungleist
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%

Dark brown and color, slightly reddish when held to the light, with a realatively weak, off-colored head. Smell is a touch faint, mainly brown sugar/caramel. Taste is similar, but with a hint of bitter hops in the aftertaste (not much aroma hops). I'm not a hop head by any stretch of the imagination, but I bought it thinking it would be a brown IPA, you know, because they call it Indian Brown Ale and all. I really have to say I expected more hops. Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin and watery side, cut by a small amount of stinging bubbles. Overall I did enjoy this beer, but it was not at all what I epected.

zjungleist, May 10, 2006
Photo of AaronHomoya
4.55/5  rDev +11%

12 oz brown bottle.

Has a dark brown color with decent, lasting though not large, head.

Smell is sweet, roasted malt, very nice.

Taste is a beautiful blend of sweetness from malt and brown sugar with some roasted bitterness and a bit of hops. The alcohol gives it just a bit of warmth and flavor, and there is also a smooth carmalized flavor in there.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with not too much carbonation. Smooth.

Very drinkable, even at 7.20% ABV, and sooo tasty. Shared this with a friend, but we both really wished there had been more. Definitely something I would regularly buy.

AaronHomoya, May 09, 2006
Photo of KyleVick4
2.55/5  rDev -37.8%

12 oz

A: A very nice deep dark ruby color with good head. Not enough lacing though. But, nonetheless, is a very good looking beer

S: Wow there is a lot of coffee in this one. Reeks of coffee. Cant get past this overpowering aroma to distinguish any others. Maybe? a hint of spicy hops? Maybe? My opinion I want complexity, and I dont think a heavy coffee aroma should be present in a typical brown ale...

T: Coffee. Tastes to me what a mild russian impy stout would taste like. Does have some chocolate tastes from Im assuming chocolate malt. Not that impressed here especially that its supposed to be a blend of brown ale and IPA. Seems like the hop presence is lacking, or overpowered by the coffee/roast/chocolate malt. The sweetness found in the taste is kinda bittersweetness due to the amounts of coffee/roastedness in the grain. Oh well.

M: Nicely carbonated. I am a fan of the smoothness of the body. Its medium bodied but carries a good taste (just one that doesnt suit me). But not syrupy and the high alcohol is very nicely blended to the point where you dont know it packs a 7.2% punch.

D: I am an advocate of sweet tasting brown ales, so I didnt much approve of this type of style. But it was a tasty brew. I did find myself repeatedly sipping the coffee/chocolateness of this brew. Couldnt see my self having another tonight though.

KyleVick4, May 09, 2006
Photo of Zorro
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%

Sampled through dnrobert24 and 2MBBIF.

Pours a clear dark brown ale with a nice light brown head. Nice red highlights to this one when held up to the light.

Sweet and fruity smelling ale with a good amount of chocolate aroma. Pleasant toasted grain scents along with caramelized sugars. Some aromas of figs and fainter coffee smell. Quite nutty in aroma this is one ale that is not one dimensional or basic.

Taste is sweet and fruity at the start with a wonderful toasted grain flavor to start. Chocolate and coffee and smoky flavors kick in next and they compliment the other flavors nicely. Nuttiness shows up after a bit and is similar to toasted wheat berries in flavor. Bitterness is very subdued here for the style and that is a good thing, the dark roasted malts bring a fair amount of it that doesn't need a lot of hops. Damn tasty beer here.

Mouthfeel is very good.

What we have here is a really great beer that I have avoided for a long time just because I don't like badly executed versions of the style. A super drinkable beer that you must try even if you don't normally care that much for Brown Ales. The only thing that excludes this from being a session ale is the alcohol hit it provides. This is the only Brown Ale that I really LOVE. Very very close to perfect.

Zorro, Apr 18, 2006
Photo of oelergud
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%

Deep ruby clear body with plenty of carbonation. Creamy light brown head that could use more retention and lace.
Smell is strong caramel and molasses with a spicy hop kick. Very inviting.
Concentrated roasted coffee, dark chocolate beans, caramel and toasted malts make up the flavor. Aftertaste is very much like the initial flavor with added hop notes and nuts. Subtle and somewhat lenghty.
Slightly dry and good coating.
Good drinkability and not a hint of alcohol.


oelergud, Apr 16, 2006
Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.5/5  rDev -39%

A - A slight auburn brown with very little head that dissipates very quickly, moderate carbonation and a tiny bit of lacing will stick if you work hard to force it there. A paltry showing at best.

S - Very nutty odor with a bit of coffee and a lot of earthy undertones all around. Pilsner-esque grassy hops aromas strike too.

T - Alcohol is rather prominent. Granted it is a strong brown, but I don't like this much. Some nuts, grass and lighter coffee with a hint of legume blandness and a touch of commercial solvent. The aftertaste is a mild bitterness and a bit of chemical twinge.

M - Thick, creamy, gummy, and drying.

D - Not too good here. It's mouthfeel really kills it for drinkability. A bit strong to session. The taste is nothing great on top of that. I never know what to expect from a DFH beer, but it is almost always more than I end up getting. This is easily among the most disappointing of their beers I have come across. Even the more bizzarre ones at least leave me confused. This isn't a terrible beer, but it isn't one that I would expect a quality brewery to release. Edit: I had some medium cheddar with the second half of my glass. The pairing was fantastic. So if drank with a medium cheddar, The drinkability rises.

mrasskicktastic, Apr 15, 2006
Photo of Vancer
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%

Awesome lil brew – mahogany / oak pour with a nice tan head. Quite a load of chocolate malt in the aroma and taste. Finishes with a hoppy kick, but not overbearing. Wish they would note a bottling date!

Very rich and tangy, this could be a nice session brew, but the abv is just a tad big (7.2%), so 2 or 3 bottles might be a better choice. Overall, a very satisfying brew.

Vancer, Apr 10, 2006
Photo of akahn
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%

Pours a very dark ruby color with a rocky brown sugar-colored head. This head recedes to slight skim and leaves some lace here and there inside the glass.

Pleasantly sweet aroma, strongly roasted and chocolatey. Reminds me more of a stout or a porter than a typical brown ale.

Flavor is mellow. Mildly sweet, with definite chocolate notes. Dark malt flavor, and maybe a bit of a roasted flavor. Once again, this is more reminiscent of a porter than a brown ale to me! As it warms up it really comes together and the flavor and body become fuller and sweeter, with brown sugar notes appearing. The use of hops here are extremely subtle, only showing up late in the finish and as a slight dryness in the exhale. Perhaps fresher (this was bottled in November 05) there was more hop flavor. Maybe that would be tasty, but it doesn't seem to be lacking.

This beer at first seemed somewhat watery, until it warmed up. Now it is a solid medium body. Very smooth. Mild carbonation makes sure not to get in the way of the flavor.

This beer is fairly heavy and fairly sweet, so it isn't especially drinkable. I had two of these in a row without difficulty, though.

akahn, Apr 10, 2006
Photo of EStreet20
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%

12 ounce bottle poured into a 20 ounce nonic pint glass.

A - Pours out a nice dark brown color with a reddish hue. A thick two finger, bubbly tan head sits on top and immediately begins to dissipate but sems to stay around a bit in minimal form. Not much lacing.

S - A lot of fruit and a very sweet character. A yeasty smell as well.

T - A fruity taste initially then gives way to big time smoky flavors. Has some nice alcohol melded into the taste, as well as the aftertaste.

M - A nice smooth warming feel in the mouth. Medium bodied and a fair amount of carbonation.

D - Quite drinkable, a very interesting mix of flavors. Has some character of a strong ale, just not as intense, melded with with the smokiness. The yeast smell actually reminds me of a Belgian.

Notes: Quite atypical for a brown ale but good nonetheless.

EStreet20, Apr 04, 2006
Photo of Optimat0r
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%

appearance - dark reddish, not too thick, minimal foaming

taste - wow...like a dopplebock, but with more hop presence. first thing was coffee and sugary malts...finishes with a perfect crisp mild hop taste.

drinkability - good. imo the perfect abv, stays interesting enough, although after a while it gets a bit sweet....maybe a bit too much brown sugar in here.
i didnt know what to expect with this beer, my first sampling of a dogfish head brew...i was impressed, this is a really good beer. if you like darker, dopplebock types you will enjoy this one.

Optimat0r, Apr 02, 2006
Photo of JasonCoop
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%

pours a dark brown with hints of ruby and black. very dark, nice off-white, beige head. looks excellent.

smells like brown sugar and maltiness. smells awesome. hops are there, but dominated by brown sugary sweet caramel malt smell. great.

taste - how to sum it up? sweet and malty up front. brown sugar, caramel and almost chocolatey like taste. everything i want in a good brown ale. sweet, malty and awesome. almost a stout like quality to it, but not quite. finishes fairly hoppy, but sweet malts dominate throughout as they should. nicely balanced and just awesome. very impressed.

mouthfeel is nice and full, very creamy and pleasant. just great. drinkability is pretty good. fairly high abv is nicely masked. i am blown away by this brown ale. don't drink them too often, but after trying this one maybe i will. a nice full malty ale.

JasonCoop, Mar 31, 2006
Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.25/5  rDev -20.7%

An interesting approach to a brown ale that departs from the standards in some creative ways...

The pour is a deep brown with a plentiful, thick tan head. Lots of clumping and lacing as the glass is drawn down. So deep brown that it looks more like a porter and borders on opaque.

Smell is all malt with strong notes of molasses and caramel. A light hop boquet of flowers and herbs creates an interesting invitation to a sip.

The flavor is sweet - overly so with strong notes of brown sugar, prune and caramel. Only the slightest toasted grain notes and none of the yeasty characteristics you'd find in an English Brown. Some hop bittering at the end of the sip but the sugar overpowers it for the most part. This tastes almost like a Russian Imperial that didn't completely cycle rather than a brown ale. (Thankfully, no diacetyl - a pleasant surprise)

Mouthfeel is heavy and oily which is within the style. Again, more like a sweet porter than an English Brown. Plentiful carbonation and some hop bitterness keeps it from being completely cloying but it's still pretty damn cloying.

I'm rather mixed on this beer... It's interesting and tasty in many ways but I can think of many other beers that could take its place. If I enjoyed the porter like qualities I could have chosen a real porter. If I wanted a brown ale there are many better. The added hops makes it interesting but a Red Seal Amber would have been much more satisfying for that "fruity but hoppy" bite.

RedwoodGeorge, Mar 25, 2006
Photo of Gruntlumber
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%

I scored this when I was in Colorado close to one year ago; just been waiting for a good, random time to break it out. Reminded me a lot of Sam Adams Double Bock only with more hop. And not quite as strong as the almighty Double Bock. Very solid beer. Nothing extraordinary like some of DFH's other offerings, but certainly satisfying.

Gruntlumber, Mar 24, 2006
Photo of benito
4.43/5  rDev +8%

Garrett Oliver, in The Brewmaster's Table, calls this a brown IPA. From my seat, this may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. This hybrid brew combines some of the best elements of a sweet brown ale
with a just-so hop bitterness at the end.

This pours a deep garnet with a small head and little carbonation. The bouquet is chock full of cinnamon toffee, rum, and licorice and immediately reminds me (probably for the nuttiness) of Anchor's 2005 OSA. I would give this a five if the bouquet were slightly stronger--as it is, it is a light whiff of the wonders hidden in the rest of this beer.

The other element that this shares with OSA is a beguiling flavor profile--again, the toffee is distinct as is the distinct gingerbread flavor. The hops pull through at the back of the tongue and leave a slightly
off-sweet bitterness to linger in anticipation of the the next swig.

The medium-body, combined with the unique flavor profile, is just right and announces a complex and challenging beer. Kudos the DH for bottling up such a tremendous brew as one of their flagship products.
I could drink this all day--again, a top notch offering.

benito, Mar 23, 2006
Photo of dogfooddog
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Pretty dark reddish brown beer pours 25% head in nonic pint glass.

I was recently very impressed with the 60m ipa from this brewery and thus am trying some of their others tonight. This beer has a pronounced hoppy smell with some sense of underlying roasted malt, reminds me of the smell of a red ale (american, not flemish).

The taste reminds me some of a porter, pronounced burnt notes, the front of the taste is a strong bitter hoppy flavor but it fades quickly.

Further into the bottle my palate or the beer adjusts and there is more hoppy sour notes in the taste and the roast element doesn't appear until finish and aftertaste. frustrating as I enjoy the roast more, but when does the palate listen?

The aftertaste is somewhat burnt with a hoppy bitter element that isn't too intense. Very pleasant. The 7.2% is invisible.

I am very impressed with the general quality of product produced by this brewery and look forward to trying some other products of their's in tonight's scheduled tasting. This beer is very pleasant and very easy to drink for the abv it has - I could drink this like a session bitter.

dogfooddog, Mar 22, 2006
Photo of russpowell
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%

Pours brown/light red with a 2" light tan fluffy head. Average lacing and head retention

Smell: Caramel sweetness and slight toasty notes

Taste: Rich toasty notes, caramel, super fruitty & a slight nutiness. Fruitty crisp finish

MF: Rich and well balanced, perfect carbonation levels

Extremelydrinkable, I'd guessed this was about 5%abv. Very quaffable fot the abv. Expensive, but a really tasty brown. Another winner from DFH!

russpowell, Mar 21, 2006
Photo of timtheenchanta
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%

Light brown with a good amount of red shining through. Medium sized head with little retention but a good deal of thin lacing.

Heavily roasted malt and chocolately peanut butter are big in the nose from the start. Slight smell of alcohol and dark fruits.

Huge roasted malt taste. Slightly nutty and followed by sweet chocolate.

Very smooth feel with good carbonation and loads of creamy waves.

timtheenchanta, Mar 19, 2006
Photo of DuqTroops
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%

Appearance - Looks a lot like a porter rather than an ale. Dark and very brownish.

Taste - Balance of malts and barley with a good contrast of hops within the body of the drink

Mouthfeel - Chocolate and coffee control the flavor. Great mixture of ales and lagers to create this classic.

Drinkability - Could encounter a few more over the next few nights

DuqTroops, Mar 19, 2006
Photo of Liquids
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Dense brown with deep reddish hues in the light. Smallish, foamy head that holds on for a while. Smells chocolately, full, and distinctly alcoholic -- the glorious aroma filled my senses as soon as I opened the bottle. Thick brown sugar sweetness that holds on but morphs into a notable burnt-malt porter-like flavor. Hops are muted in this pour due to extended storage but are still full and citrusy, and only more so when fresher. Much like their 90 Minute IPA, the hops could dominate here and wash all else away, but the malt is so intense that it is some how both "extreme" and "balanced." Carbonation is lively -- on par for a brown ale but more than ususal for the porter this brew suggests at moments. Complexities of flavor beyond description -- nothing straight ahead or booring about this delicious brew. Alcohol is noticable but well hidden and serves only to add another layer to the complexity of other flavors. I treat this beer as special and like to drink it infrequently to preserve the gratification factor despite its year-round availability and high drinkability. A must have.

Liquids, Mar 18, 2006
Photo of watermelonman
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%

This poured to a nice deep brown with hints of red. The head was medium, shrank to a thin layer, and left a fair amount of lace.

The smell is dominated by malt and caramalized sugars. The taste starts with malt and a hint of nuts, while hops come through pretty strong. The mouthfeel is full and pleasing without being heavy, while drinkability is very good.

watermelonman, Mar 14, 2006
Photo of rodrot
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%

Indian Brown pours a very dark brown color with hints of ruby red when I hold the glass up to the light. A half inch head leaves pretty lacing along the sides of my glass. Aroma is malty with whiffs of chocolate and hops in the nose. Taste is wonderful with flavors of chocolate, brown sugar, molasses and cookie dough on the palate and a nice hop bitterness in the backround. The malt seems to take centerstage here with the hops a little subdued. Alcohol is not noticeable. This is an excellent interpretation of a Brown ale and once again shows why DFH is such a well respected craft brewery.

rodrot, Mar 13, 2006
Photo of tweeder263
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%

Poured out a dark brown /red brew with a one finger head. Smell of licorice and malt not much hoppage at all.Taste of dark malts,,dry beer with cofee type hints towards the end of the sip. Mouthfeel pretty good. Drinkability good ,,alcohol hidden well at 7.2 %.

tweeder263, Mar 10, 2006
Photo of kgotcher
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%

Pours a very dark brown with a mohagany amber look. Nice dense offwhite head that has good retention.

Rightaway you can catch the aroma of this one, bold toasty, chocolatly malt and a chunk of fresh earthy hoppyness. Taste is big with strong toasted malts, chocolate, raisins, sweet syrup and some coffee, also a bit of alchoholic ester. Earthy hop bitterness finish all of this out. Nice full mouthfeel with just a hint of alcoholic warming.

A bit perplexed as to the catagory of this beer, not really a brown ale if you ask me, a bit too bitter and malty, I taste a bit of a porter, some IPA and a good strong brown ale. Kind of makes it difficult to review to style. Either way it is good and a great example of how Dogfish Head brewery is mixing things up these days.

kgotcher, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of scruffwhor
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%

Appearance- Pours a nice tan had that slows to a light foam on the surface. The color is like 7-11 coffee with ruby highlights when held to light.

Smell- Reminds me of brownies and grassy hops.

Taste- Starts out with some watery roasted malts that then blend with the earthy hop bitterness. An al right balance of flavors.

Mouthfeel- A light and semi-sweet chocolate seem to dominate the profile of flavors. A good does of hops helps make this English style beer a true American.

scruffwhor, Mar 05, 2006
Photo of gbarron
3.65/5  rDev -11%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle, didn't get a chance to look at it closely for any dating info.

A - dark brown, but not opaque. Small, off-white head forms quickly but goes away just as fast. No lacing.

S - wow, interesting aroma. Malty sweetness, sugar up front. Little bit of hop aroma in there, but malt leads. What hop aroma there is consists of pine, citrus, grass. Lots of big, sweet, malty, bready aromas.

T - initial malt sweetness is quickly replaced by sharp hop bitterness. The aroma leads you to think this will be a very malty tasting beer. It is at first sip, but hops kick in shortly after and balance this beer out very nicely. Still, it's rather odd - the malt/hops line in this beer is very clear, the flavors don't really seem to come together that well. Instead, it goes from toffee malt sweetness, straight to big hop bitterness - sharp, spicy pine, citrus.

M - medium to medium light bodied. Low carbonation, it seems.

D - a tasty, unique beer you should try, but not something I am going to order again. I just felt like the malt/hops distinction here was too stark.

gbarron, Mar 05, 2006
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 4,899 ratings.