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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,315 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,315
Reviews: 1,914
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 258
Gots: 620 | 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: 5,315 | Reviews: 1,914 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of donteatpoop
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with a nice inch of tan head on top. The head receeded somewhat quickly, but maintained a thin layer atop the beer throughout.

The smell is somewhat vague, hints of toasted malts and coffee.

Taste was excellent, the coffee taste, the toasted malts, and some maple syrup were dominant. It had a very earthy taste.

Definately a nice full mouth-feel, a bit creamy, and a good carbonation level. The aftertaste is of burnt wood and not at all unpleasant.

I was very satisfied with this beer and will definately drink more of it in the future.

Photo of quad07
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

$8.99 for a six pack of long neck dark brown bottles with pry off caps from UFS. Freshness date on bottle.

It had a nice wisp to it when I pried the cap off. This stuff poured into my large 23oz beer glass a dark muddy brown color with a modest light brown head. The carbonation was ok. It had dark amber or copper highlights around the edges of the glass when held up to the light.

It smelled of dark malts, coffee and a hint of molasses. Not a real good hop smell to it but that may be intentional.

I could taste a strong malt flavor and a hint of burnt coffee grounds. Some vanilla and raison. Kind of a musty hop taste. You could taste the nip of alcohol but not too strong.

It was a dirty heavy thick feel in my mouth with just enough carbonation to leave your mouth feeling clean.

This beer is ok but not at the top of my list from Dogfish Head. A couple with meals would be all right but I could not drink all six in one sitting.


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

A: Dark brown with some redness when pushed into the light.

S: slight coffee and chocolate and roasted malts. Smells like it should taste good.

T: Definite roasted malts and bitter chocolate. Definitely a full bodied brown ale. Slight alcohol taste.

M: Nice balanced feel. At times a little too portly for a brown ale in my opinion.

D: Great Brown ale, but I have had better. Worth drinking

Photo of fatalbert
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown in appearance, almost opaque. With a very nice white head with largish bubbles. Head stayed around for most of the beer leaving a nice lace in the glass.

Great aroma, the hop character comes through first, then is followed by an intense maltiness.

Nicely balanced between the bitter and sweet. The darker crystal malt character is very good, without overpowering the beer. The beer finishes fairly dry so you want to keep drinking it.

Overall a great beer.

Photo of treyrab
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One of the last Dogfish beers I have yet to try. Picked up a six pack in State College Tonight.

A: Dark "Indian" brown in color, yet not opaque. Held up to light, a red hue can be seen through the crystal clear beer.

S: Strong smells of roasted and chocolate malts. Heavy essence of coffee and similar notes with lesser of a smell of dark fruits and raisins.

T: The alcohol flavor definitely comes through, though not too much. Very strong tastes of coffee and dark malts. A more than significant taste of earthy hops as well.

D: Good dinner beer, though three or more would be unlikely.

Overall a very good beer. Very flavorful and rich in dark malts if that is your style. Though I would not go as far as to say that this is one of the better Dogfish beers.

Photo of marcpal
3.13/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz poured into pilsner glass, not sure why. I have had before, just noticed in the back of fridge and that I havent given a review. So here it is.

A: Very dark brown, nearly black. Light brown head with thin lacing and little carb.

S: Very malty and espresso like. Raisins and brown sugar flavors most prominent.

T: Definite coffee and molasses. In line with the aprihop, the hops are a bit less than advertised which lets me down some. Malt dominant and through end much like chocolate covered raisins. Just dont catch the bitterness at all.

M: Extremely thick with thin carbonation. Somewhat chewy for a brown.

D: Pretty drinkable but nothing that stands out with this one, good or bad. Not very Dogfishlike.

Not my favorite from dogfish. Picked up some Palo Santo today so I figured I would have this one first before getting into those.

Had a half/half at brewpub with their punkin, that was nice.

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

A - Great tannish head with and the brew had a dark cherry wood body (Dark brown with ruby hues). Spider web lacing on parts of the glass.

S - Wow. The aromas seem to travel. You do not have to be close to get a good whiff. Very complex smell with coffee, dark chocolate caramel, dark malts and earthy hops. Minimal alcohol.

T - Caramelized brown sugar as advertised on the bottle, toffee, dark malts and with a bitter hop finish at the end. There was a toasted element as well. Dark bready, raisins, molasses too. If there wasn't a slight alcohol taste I would give a 5.

M - Medium carbonation with a medium body.

D - Very very good beer. I almost drank the whole thing before I could finish the review. Extremely tasty with many many elements. I really recommend this if you like brown ales. Again excellent.

Photo of ScottUCF84
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into a pint glass.

A- Very, very dark brown with ruby and violet hues.Pours with a thick, creamy tan head that fizzles down into a skin, except for where it meets the glass, where it is noticably thicker. Not much lacing at all.

S- Immediately when you pour the beer, it's aroma bursts into your nostrils from a distance. Roasted caramel malt, cocoa, brown sugar, a touch of prunes and coffee.... this smells like a dream!!! Very potent! I didn't pick up much hops in the nose.

T- Indescribably matches the smell dead on. Surprisingly roasty, but not overwhelming... I wouldn't say it's in stout territory. Flavors: roasted caramel malts, brown sugar, coffee, toffee, cocoa powder. There is definitely hop presence throughout; and it blends magnificently. The beer finishes bittersweet from the hops and brown sugar. I have to keep reminding myself this beer has a 7% ABV.... the alcohol is masked completely by the flavor. Delicious.

M- I would say this is a full bodied beer. Very creamy, medium t low carbonation.

D- Goes down with the best of 'em. I kept going back gulp after gulp to discover new flavors... and before I knew it the glass was nearly empty. This is easily one of my favorite beers. I've tried plenty of beers that are ranked higher on this site that are simply blown away by this baby.

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Dark walnut brown, clear on the pour, with a thin light brown head that receded quickly to a frothy ring. Light lacing.

S: Earthy smells, peat & wood chips combine with dark rich malts.

T: Coffee flavors are the foremost in the malt but there is also some nice chocolate and caramel undertones, and some nut flavors as well. Not sure what the bittering is coming from but it brings the brew just shy of balance, leaving way for some of the complex malt sweetness to come through. The finish relatively long and malty.

M&D: Nice heavy full mouthfeel matches perfectly with the flavors at hand. The carbonation is light and tight, making for a very smooth and creamy texture. I'm not a huge "Brown Ale" guy but this really was good.

Photo of BrewMonkey
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Maybe its just me, but I keep trying lots of imperial brown ales, and they all seem too close to stouts for me. When I think brown ale, I think caramel and a smooth finish, but more and more I get a mouthfull of roasted malt. Not to suggest any of those beers taste bad, just not what I expected, and this one is similar.

Pours very dark brown with little tan head that recedes quickly. Seemlingly low carbonation. Aroma of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and light caramel. Taste is quite roasty and pleasant. Moderate bittering is the only sense of hops I get from this, most of it is in the malt despite the label. Mouthfell is bubblier than expected from the pour.

Pretty tasty, but again a bit outside the style I was expecting, but I won't hold it against this beer, but I might hold on to the beer.

Photo of charlzm
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 04/07/08.

Pours a rich, almost impenetrable brown. A thin tan head forms then dissipates not long after, leaving only a ring of foam around the edges. Suds cling to the sides as the fluid level goes down.

Aroma is rich and sweet: caramel, toffee and toasted grain (reminds me of raisin bread toast).

Mouthfeel is thick but not chewy.

Flavor is more bitter than any brown ale I have had before, but that's by design, of course. Some nut flavor, traces of raisin and sweet caramel malt are apparent, but oily pine hop flavor and accompanying moderate-to-heavy bitterness follow soon after. A touch of alcohol burn is present as well. Carbonation is present and balanced. Slight tingle on tongue at the end of each sip.

As beer warms, bitterness becomes less noticeable. Oddly, though, other flavors do not seem to change proportion or emerge. Drinkability is awesome for a beer with this ABV.

A delicious variation, possibly my favorite brown ale. Thanks, DFH.

Photo of Avryle
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

---On tap at Mahar's----

A- Super dark brown. Very little light getting through creating deep copper highlights. Stoutish in appearance. While really pretty, not exactly appropriate for the style... but then again, it is Dogfish.

S- Malt bomb with chocolatly aromas

T- Malt, molassas & coffee with a nuttiness lingering in the background. Finishes with a nice hop note too.

M- Full bodied for a brown, again defying the style which makes ranking based on style guidelines difficult.

D- Pretty easy drinking for such a full bodied beer

Photo of sholland119
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Stone Levitation glass (why not).

A-Pours a delicious dark brown with ruby red highlights around the edges. A thin brown head that has nice stickiness.

S-Roasted coffee and malts, some dark chocolate flavors.

T-A very nice hoppy bite all the way through with some nice caramel and roasted coffee flavors. Very well balanced complex flavors.

M-Smooth with nice moderate carbonation. The maltiness lingers on the tongue.

D-A good go to beer. Very drinkable.

This is one of my favorite DFH beers, certainly my favorite moderate ABV choice. A thoroughly enjoyable beer, very drinkable. My favorite brown ale.


Photo of currysage1
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours gives 1/2 finger head, light brown at the edges, mahogany towards the center.

Smells of rum soaked brown sugar, some freshly split oak wood.

Taste is faint alcohol off the bat with bitter malts, enjoyable. This flavor is very woodsy, can't place it all. Sort of like chewing on sassafras root, enjoyable but bitter. This may be one of my new favorites from DH.

Mouthfeel has a wonderful dry creaminess to it, sharp feeling carbonation at first but you grow accustomed.

Photo of turbine2475
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown with ruby hues that shoots around all of the edges. Two finger mocha head that disipated slowly leaving a light lace.
S - Light coffee and chocolate hints that give way to buttery toffe and some dark fruits.
T - Dark coffee and chocolate that was found in the nose is joined by a mice balance of caramel and a light raisiny sweet that finished with tiny hop bite.
M - Clean mouthfeel with a good carbonation.
D - Looked at this beer several times on the shelf and never grabbed it now I'm pissed I never have. Excellent balance and taste. Definately going to pick more up tomorrow!

Photo of indiapaleale
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Personally, this is one of my favorite Dogfish Head beers. Don't get me wrong, I love the 60 Minute IPA. This beer however has grown on me over the years and has become a go to six pack when I can't find anything new to try. I guess, for me, its the great mix of styles that keeps bringing me back time and time again.

Pours dark and earthy brown with a nice head that looks like it was born on the top of the beer. Its such a great looking top to a very perfect looking glass of beer. The smell is very strong coffee and dark toasted malts. Its a smell that is very inviting. There is not a lot of hop in the nose but the malty sweetness and dark roasted smell is just a great combo.

Tastes sweet, malty and with a nice hop bitterness at the end. There is a bit of a sweet brown sugar taste that really stays with your taste buds. I also get the same taste that I get from a cup of very dark coffee that has sugar collected at the bottom. Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad thing. I really enjoy this beer. Its a unique style that I think works very well.

Photo of RickSawyer
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark coffee black with ruby'd edges. Fluffed one finger head forms then surrenders to a single ring around the glass. Smell is sweet malty syrup, biscuits, and plum. Taste is nice! Big, sweet malty chocolate grains, raisin, maple, a bit milky and coffee with a floral grape finish. Very good. Mouthfeel is creamy and a bit soapy. All and all very good, but a bit strong in the abv for a brown ale.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep brown color ale with a nice foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of nutty caramel malt with some dry hops. Taste is also dominated by some toffee and caramel malt which are well balance by some dry light bitter hops. Good body with some good carbonation. Very well done for a session ale that can still retain some character.

Photo of Proteus93
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark brown with a strong ruby presence. Nice pale brown head, quite creamy looking, pulls back to a thin blanket that sticks around.

S: Strong malty nose, roasted malts, dark chocolate notes, and perhaps even a bit of an espresso quality with an herbal hops blended in.

T: Hops make their presence known right away here... a herbal flavour, along with bitter coffee bean, all the while sharing the stage with unsweetened dark chocolates, deep roasted malts, and some burnt sugar taste. All the tastes nestle together nicely, to make for a great balance of flavours.

M: A nicely rounded medium body sporting a bit of oily slickness that makes for a nice, smooth sensation through the mouth. Finish leaves a persistent taste that will linger for some time, allowing it to be savoured.

D: It's got enough punch both in flavour and ABV that I'd likely only do a couple at a time, though it's certainly a tasty brew that I will enjoy thoroughly for those couple. Quite nicely done, and I'd pick up more without hesitation.

Photo of happygnome
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: pours a very dark brown color that is barely transparent produces about a half inch of head that dissapears fast leaving a good amount of lacing carbonation is barely visible
s: strong scents of roasted grains cocoa, coffee, this is more like a porter or a stout
t: strong flavors of a coffee and cocoa, very reminiscent of a porter or stout except that fact that there is a little more hop bitterness to it
m: medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation

overall, i really enjoyed this brew, a fantastic creation

Photo of kurtissellen
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Emptied into a goblet producing about a finger of head that quickly fades away to a small film just covering surface. Not much lacing present. Dark brown almost black with a sweet coffee smell to it. It hits you with big roasted malts, coffee and dark chocolate taste. From the brown ales that I'm used to drinking this is quite extreme tasting almost like a stout. Didn't notice lots of carbonation from looking at it but it felt like there was plenty while in the mouth. This is one from Dogfish Head that I can afford to drink more regularly and will.

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

I've had this brew dozens of times but for some reason I've never gotten around to reviewing it, so here goes...

This tasty brown ale pours a deep, rich mahogany brown with some lush nutty ruby highlights. The beige head recedes in an average fashion and leaves a thin, messy ring of lace sticking to the walls of the glass.

Toffee and nutty, sweet caramel malt stick out in the nose at first. Light chocolate and buttery dark toast. A faint dark fruit character arises as well. Earthy with a hint of weak coffee and molasses. A nice mix of dark, moderately roasty aromas.

Crisper and bright with those same roasty flavors along with a significant spicy hop note. A slight metallic flavor is present but not unappetizing. Caramel, molasses and mild mocha hang around in the finish and accompany a faint warmth. Nutty and sweet with a good balance of bitter roast and hops. Progressive, full flavored, and thoroughly American in style while still maintaining balance and that traditional English charm (i.e. - subtle roast characters and Golding Hops). Extremely tasty and well crafted; as to be expected from DFH.

More lively and bright than first expected with bright carbonation and a slight twang in the finish. Mild buttery finish with just a hint of dryness. Medium bodied and decently creamy (especially once warmed up a bit) throughout with a lingering roasty bitterness. A well rounded and extremely flavorful brown ale. One of the pound-for-pound best examples of the style out there.

Photo of AgingWarrior
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice deep dark brown, almost black with a tiny bit or translucence into my tulip glass. A hard pour gave me a nice two finger plus reddish brown head with plenty of lacing. It looked great!

The smell is of roasted malts and some brown sugar or molasses. Definitely a bit of sweetness in the aroma.

The taste is terrific. Nice balance, malty, smooth and creamy with just a bit of a bite to it. Taste great on the tongue and even better on the finish.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation.

I could drink a few of these at a time... and probably will.

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

Got a bottle of this poured into a GI Pint Glass.

A - the color is a very dark reddish brown as very little light can penetrate this brew. There are also some golden hues to it and it poured with a nice one thumb frothy head that looks nice on the top of this one and not at all even.

S - a light nutty, caramel, chocolate smell comes off of this one which is very enticing. There is also a light hops bitterness that also seems to stand out a bit thru the sweeter flavors.

T - wow, now this might be one of the best brown ales I have ever had. The first taste I get when I put this on is a huge whiff of the caramelized brown sugar that this bottle says is in there. Also think it taste like sucking on a big toffee candy. Gives a nice sweet taste to the brew that comes on strong and big. There is also a light brazil nut and coffee roastiness that comes on later and is a nice contrast to the sweet. There is also a nice hop bite that comes on strong as well but everything is well balanced. The aftertaste is a light coffee roasted taste that I would expect more from a stout than an Indian Brown Ale.

MF - Has a medium syrupy body that gives this one a bit of ummph and heft to it. it goes well with the sweet caramel flavors and it even leaves a bit of a sticky feeling on the mouth. Very lightly carbonated as the main feeling is the sticky body and the after feeling is a nice warm alcohol tingling feeling sitting in the mouth. Actually wish it was just a bit thicker in the mouth.

D - overall this is a very good beer from DFH and restores my faith in them. After Raison D'etre and Golden Era, I didn't see what all the hoopla was about regarding this brewery but this beer changes that. This is one delicious beer that I would definitely pick up whenever I saw it and would have at any time. It has so much flavor and hides its alcohol so well that this would be one dangerous brew that could sneak up on you. Good job to DFH.

Photo of beerphilosopher
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown color with subtle red hues in the light. The head is tight, yet thin and presents itself a pale choclate color. A vigorous swirl of the large snifter brings the head to life for a brief moment and then it settles down again into a thin layer on the surface of the beer. The nose is rich and inviting, with dominant chocolate and roasted coffee notes intermingling with a slightly sweet caramel character. Aromatic and floral hop notes balance the richness of this beer making for a very complex array of aromas in the nose. The palate is also dominated by dark semi-sweet chocolate, espresso, and a very subdued dark caramel malt sweetness that balances the beer well against the bittering chocolate notes and the mildly acidic hop profile. I'm pleasantly surprised by a terrific "butterscotch-like" characteristic that makes this beer all the more interesting to me. The mouth feel is smooth, rich and never cloying. Adequate, but not aggressively carbonated, this beer is a study in the balance of sweet and dry flavors without leaning too heavily on either in my opinion. At 7.2% ABV, you might expect the alcohol to assert itself, but really never does except for the finish, which is pleasantly warm and smooth without being boozy. Otherwise the finish is quite dry with lingering notes of espresso in the mouth. A very, very complex brown ale in every regard. Once again, Dogfish Head had managed to take what I typically think of as a rather mundane beer style and kick it up several notches. This is not your father's brown ale. Incredibly rich, complex and challenging ... I'd be hard pressed to think of a brown ale I've ever had that I enjoyed nearly as much. I'm a fan. Possibly too high in alcohol to be considered a sessionable beer, but I could drink this one often and be thrilled about it. Dogfish Head - changing one man's opinion of brown ale, one beer at a time. I'll need more than one six-pack of this one. Terrific!

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,315 ratings.