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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.

4,913 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,913
Reviews: 1,870
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 218
Gots: 435 | 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: 4,913 | Reviews: 1,870 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Backer2004
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

At 7.2% ABV, this has to be one of the strongest beers ofr the style. This, however, does not make it any better than Cottonwood's Low Down Brown or a few others I've reviewed in this style. Though probably my least favorite from this brewery, it's still a very good beer (from a great brewery). A bit on the pricey side versus its counterpart for the style but not in comaprison to other higher gravity beers. Nice combination of a caramel malts, nuts, and chocolate. Glad I tried it but will probably look at others before this one.

Backer2004, Dec 19, 2005
Photo of MurphyMacManus
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. brown bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: dark brown with cream-colored head that fades to thin foam and then sticks all over the sides of the glass.

Smell: A distinct, overpowering metallic note in the nose. I can't really smell the malt or the hops.

Taste: No trace of the metallic note here; sweet up front with caramel and roasty flavours and pleasant hop bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thick and chewy, but the carbonation keeps it drinkable.

Drinkability: The alcohol content of this one is what would eventually do me in, but I think if I were to pace myself appropriately I could drink this all day.

MurphyMacManus, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of sinistrsam
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not very familiar with American browns as much as I am with other styles, but this was a very pleasant experience. It poured a dark amber brown with a very little head. The aroma was malty, nutty, posibly some coffee and sugars.
The taste was very unique; lots of sweetness, roasted malts, slightly smoky at times, coffee, honey-like caramel hints. Overall very smooth, and full-bodied. Hats off again to Dogfish Head; not one of my favorite styles but the more I learn the more I like.

sinistrsam, Dec 15, 2005
Photo of bucko
2.55/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This beer pours a translucent dark brown color, not unlike the color of a beer bottle. The head is thin and tan. The aroma of the beer brings out some roasty notes and carmel. The taste reminds me more of a Scotch ale than a brown and is heavy on the sweet, toasty malts which overshadow any hop presence. The mouthfeel is slightly heavy, again not unlike a Scotch ale. Overall, I would have expected more balance, perhaps a more notable hop presence. Not exactly what I would have expected from DFH.

bucko, Dec 15, 2005
Photo of rebel1771
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with little head. Smell consists of coffee, caramel, with a hint of hops. The taste starts out with chocolate and coffee flavors and clean crisp hop flavors appear towards the end. I gotta say that this brewery has yet to let me down, all of their brews are great. I'm glad I picked up a six of this one and will likely pick up another afther I'm done with this one.

rebel1771, Dec 09, 2005
Photo of masikon
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark brown with copper highlights into pint glass. Head was small and quickly faded leaving just a ring with little lacing. Smell was fantastic in my opinion, deliciously appetizing with complex aromas which were heavy on the barley notes with coffee as well as a hoppy and alcoholic zing that cleanses the sinuses. Taste was also much more than I would expect from a brown ale. Very complex with light porterlike coffeetones followed by a sweetness presumably from the caramelized brown sugar but balanced with a bitter bite and aftertaste that sticks around nicely. Drinkablility suffers because of how complex this is as well as the high ABV, one or two in a night would probably be enough for most.

masikon, Dec 03, 2005
Photo of hopsaplenty
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pint glass arrives headless and deep brown with ruby-highlights . It smells of roasted malts and hints of molasses. Mildly carbonated with a medium mouthfeel, this is malty sweet, but there is still a considerable hop punch to balance. Finishes on the sweet side, overall, well balanced.

hopsaplenty, Nov 27, 2005
Photo of ski271
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

ski271, Nov 23, 2005
Photo of mashmstr2
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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?”

mashmstr2, Nov 22, 2005
Photo of BrewMaster
3.45/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

BrewMaster, Nov 22, 2005
Photo of PenguinBeerFan
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

PenguinBeerFan, Nov 18, 2005
Photo of Pegasus
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Pegasus, Nov 13, 2005
Photo of Shovelbum
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Shovelbum, Nov 12, 2005
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

SaCkErZ9, Nov 11, 2005
Photo of wcudwight
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

wcudwight, Nov 11, 2005
Photo of Enola
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Enola, Nov 10, 2005
Photo of scooter231
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

scooter231, Nov 08, 2005
Photo of Bcant
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Bcant, Nov 08, 2005
Photo of Mitchel
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Mitchel, Nov 07, 2005
Photo of Joey7F
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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!


Joey7F, Nov 07, 2005
Photo of wingnutter
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

wingnutter, Nov 04, 2005
Photo of pentathlete
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.)

pentathlete, Nov 03, 2005
Photo of ommegangpbr
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

ommegangpbr, Nov 02, 2005
Photo of Gritsak
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Gritsak, Nov 02, 2005
Photo of redwolf1
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

redwolf1, Oct 30, 2005
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 4,913 ratings.