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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.

5,033 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,033
Reviews: 1,880
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 226
Gots: 488 | 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: 5,033 | Reviews: 1,880 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sraimondi
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one recently at My Place in Newtown, CT. A wonderful dark brew. Brown sugar nails you at the start, but is smoothed out by hops in the finish. Very tasty with medium carbonation. One of my fave offerings from Dogfish Head. While a bit high on the ABV, you don't really notice it from the taste.

sraimondi, Sep 10, 2006
Photo of steinlifter
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this one at the "Connecticut River Brewfest" on-tap, was friggin awesome!...my favorite brew there.
The pour was cola-colored,rich tan head with lots of retention.
smell was sweet, chocolate & molasses.
taste was incredibly delicious, chocolate/coffee, and sweet molasses, balanced out nicely with mild hopping.
drinkability is off the chart!...this stuff is "All that!"...plus a bag O' chips!...highly recommended.

steinlifter, Sep 10, 2006
Photo of atozymurgy
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appears deep brown, nearly opaque with ruby highlights. Small, tan head fades fast. Smells of lots of toasted, biscuity malt, chocolate, a little roasted barley. Then hops take over, very fruity, flowery, citrusy. Also some yeasty, estery fruitiness, banana-like.

Flavor has a strong malty sweetness as a backbone, but hops dominate. Quite bitter for the style. Also too much citrusy American hop flavor for the style, detracts from what should be a roasty/toasty maltiness. There's also too much roasted barley flavor for my taste, almost stout-like and out of place here.

This is very full-bodied, with medium carbonation. Perhaps a hint of alcohol warmth.

While this beer is not unpleasant, I don't think it's very successful. I get the idea of an IPA crossed with a brown ale. But in the end I don't think the combo works. There's none of the refreshing crisp bitterness of an IPA because of the sweet maltiness, and little of the comforting richness of toasted malt since it's overwhelmed by the hops. Also, the roasted barley flavors are out of place in either style, and detract from this beer. It doesn't taste bad, just muddled.

atozymurgy, Sep 09, 2006
Photo of rarevos
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into pint glass.

A: Deep, dark brown with hints of amber around the edges. 1 finger of tan head. Very light lacing left behind.

S: Nutty and slightly coffee-like. Has a hint of maple buried within a very heavy brown sugar aroma. This is one sweet-smelling beer.

T: Brown sugar is up front, along with some indeterminate fruitiness. Finish is slightly bitter, but is really another place for the malt to hang out. Malt in the finish is coffee-like, sweet, and roasty.

M: Medium-bodied. A bit porter-like, only a little more syrupy.

D: At 7%+ abv, it's not something I'd be likely to put back a few of. But it's a nice take on a brown ale, a bit sweeter than the norm.

rarevos, Sep 05, 2006
Photo of nicefix
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured very dark brown, almost black unless you hold it up to the light. Nice one finger light brown head after a pretty strong pour which receded after a couple minutes to a nice ring with decent lace.

Smells of dark fruit, sweet with some citrus and a floral touch.

Tastes of fruits up front with a creamy smooth mouthfeel and in the finish I get some more fruits and a mild chocolate malty finish. Very balanced and smooth and I think it has just the right amount of carbonation.

I drank three of these and didn't want more, only because of the high alcohol. But halfway through the first beer, I really started to enjoy and recognize the wonderful flavours going on.

I'm not to familiar with the style but I really did enjoy this beer.

nicefix, Sep 02, 2006
Photo of quasimoto
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a nice deep brown with ruby highlights. The head lasted a little bit but left some nice lacing around the glass.

S - Strongly hopped brown sugar, chocolate, molasses and very little coffee. if any at all.

T - It is a rather sweet brew with a bitter finish. First the aforementioned brown sugar, chocolate etc. are there but they all turn bitter/dry out nicely on the finish. Everything is so well balanced.

M - light and smooth at first. There is no carbination bite to speak of . the bitterness dry it out in the end. Very very clean.

D - I have yet to have a bad beer from here. I LOVE DOGFISH!!!

quasimoto, Aug 30, 2006
Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a dark brown/black color, lots of carbonation, a slight fizzy head which quickly dissappears, some lacing around the edges.

S - Scents of sweet malts, slight roasted scent, and slight toffee/caramel.

T - The taste is kinda sweet and roasted malts, with a dry finish.

M - Medium body.

D - Very drinkable. This is an awesome Brown Ale from DFH. Highly recommended. At 7.2% watch out, lol

Wasatch, Aug 29, 2006
Photo of notown
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby brown with tan head and little retention. Mild aroma of hops blended with coffee and caramel. Moderately bodied roasted barley with slight coffee and caramel flavors evident. Lingering maltiness and slight alchohol warmth and finishes slightly thin.

notown, Aug 28, 2006
Photo of mcarroll10177
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

on tap at the Moan and Dove

A- dark brown with a quickly disapating white head, tons of lacing on the glass

S- some malts with some nut flavored undertones. a nice clean smell

T- wow, there is some nice complexity to this beer in the from of some earthy nut flavors and a nice hop profile. Yet this beer is very very clean and crisp and very refreshing

M- balanced with just the right carbination

D- a beer I could easily drink all night long. Complex yet smooth, flavorful and refreshing. I also had no idea that this beer has 7.20% ABV. Where is it. the alcohol is completly hidden. I had no idea untill I lookt at its stats here that it was anywhere near that. A true triumph of a beer.

mcarroll10177, Aug 28, 2006
Photo of shbobdb
2.68/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Well, if it isn't WWS's disabled younger cousin!

While I wasn't much impressed by WWS, I figured maybe this little guy'd be different, plus there was some recent fanfare in beertalk about it,

Not my style at all. The mouthfeel is 'creamy', which I really don't care for.

The taste is brash. The brown malts mix with too much brown sugar. I'm getting dried out and getting a cavity while I drink this beer. The hops try to balance out the malt, but the flavours are too roasted for the hops to really compliment.

Yeah, not my style. I can see a lot of BA's really liking it, but this one sure doesn't.

shbobdb, Aug 25, 2006
Photo of jackorain
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Dark brown, when light gets through it highlights a really attractive black cherry color. 1 inch thick, medium dense buble head, tan in color. Excelent retention, great lacing all the way down the glass to the last sip.

S-Wow, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, even coffe, light hop backbone. There is alos some alcohol coming through, this is a very nice aroma, complex

T-As with most of the DFH bigger beers, it is very complex in flavor. There is a lot going on. Caramel, brown sugar, molasses, piney and floral hops. Almost coffe with cream or Latte on the finsh. Alcohol shows itself on the finish almost like that latte I mentioned with drop of whiskey. Excellent

M-Full body, sticky, oily. great here too.

D-Big-could not be session, but very drinkable, left me wanting another, that is for sure.

jackorain, Aug 24, 2006
Photo of Derek
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Cola-coloured with a light, tan head. Not a lot of retention, but it leaves a little lace.

S: Pours with a piney, American hop aroma & toffee. After it breaths, it's more of a malty aroma (caramel, nut, dark raisin, brown sugar, dark bread).

T: Lots of caramel (too much), a little burnt, dark bread, molases; a little earthy & piney. Strong bittersweet flavour seems to mask the alcohol content.

M: Body is a little heavier than moderate; slightly syrupy, yet the alcohol leaves a fairly dry finish. Moderate carbonation.

D: Interesting/unique, but this hop syrup doesn't really work for me. I couldn't drink more than one.

Derek, Aug 24, 2006
Photo of SixpointJMH
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice looking ruby to brown colour with a creamy, mildly sticky head.

The aroma is a bit earthy, a bit berry-like, with some sweet yet rugged chocolate in the mix as well.

The flavour is basically more of the same, however, there's a bit of tartness that comes through here that is not present in the aroma. There's also a touch of alcohol thrown into the mix that doesn't blend perfectly with everything else. It's not bad, it just kicks the flavour down a touch from what was hoped for from the aroma. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and somewhat creamy overall.

This one is pretty good. If the everso slight flavour issue was tweaked a bit, this one would be even nicer.

SixpointJMH, Aug 22, 2006
Photo of mjc410
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this at a bar, and I was happy to pour it myself into the supplied nonic. The head rises up to two fingers, then falls pretty quickly to a surface ring. The head is light tan. Beer's body is black when not back-lit, otherwise a dark ruby-brown.

Smells strongly of caramel, burnt sugar, molasses, cocoa, a little bit of biscuit, and citrus hops.

Taste is brown sugar, milk-stout-like somehow, biscuits, dry finish, lingering coffee aftertaste.

Pretty thick in the mouth, carbonation is too high.

A nice drinker, a first for me, and one that I will re-visit due to the complex taste.

mjc410, Aug 21, 2006
Photo of Kendo
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured dark brown with crimson hues underneath. A foamy tan 1-finger head lingered for awhile, giving way eventually but leaving good lacing clinging to the side of the glass.

Smelled of roasted malt, sweet burnt sugar, alcohol and a faint hint of something fruity -- perhaps figs, prunes or raisins.

Tasted somewhat port-like, with raisins and burnt sugar up front. Hops bitterness finishes it somewhat dry and chalky. Alcohol taste was noticeable on the sides of the back of the tongue and the warmth stayed with me as it traveled down my throat. As it warms, the flavors become a little more mellow and balanced.

Mouthfeel was slightly chalky and fairly fizzy and the body on this one is substantially heavier than your average Brown Ale.

Drinkability? This is not a session Brown Ale a la Newcastle, but it's an interesting take on the style and is full of flavor. I could have a couple in a row, but probably wouldn't want to drink it all night.

All in all this beer is a bit of a conundrum. I think it pushes the Brown Ale style about as far as it can go. To me the biggest weakness was the lack of melding of the flavors; there was a lack of balance and a bit of harshness from that burnt sugar taste, and the hops, instead of balancing the taste, seemed to end up entering the picture separately. In the end, I guess what it comes down to is this brew isn't "smooth" -- though like I said above, it does seem to mellow and improve in that regard as it warms.

**Note: I see this morning on the beer forum that DFH has come out with a new recipe for their Indian Brown. I am certain the one I reviewed was bottled pre-5/15/06 and thus is not this new recipe. Looking forward to trying it, though. . . . **

Kendo, Aug 20, 2006
Photo of SetarconeX
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Extremely dark brown, almost like it wants to turn black. Wonderfully strong, malty, raisin aroma that you can smell from a couple feet away. Lacing that clings unusually tightly to the sides of the glass.

Thick and raisiny again on the taste, but with a harsh astringency that curtails the drinkability. A little bit of an over-roasted, almost charred taste underneath. Gets points for uniqueness, but I'm not sure I really like it all that much.

A decent session beer, perhaps, but probably undrinkable in large amounts.

SetarconeX, Aug 17, 2006
Photo of jlmjl
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

All I really know about the Dogfish are the big IPAs Fine beers as we know. Given that, I review this with some history to Dogfish and an open mind. Dont love the labels .. whatever.

A - I guess the dark look is appropriate for the Brown Ale. It poured with a great big half inch head that last a little while, but eventually died off . Lacing evident on the glass

S - It smells sweet. Is it chocolate ? Malt ?

Taste - I guess it would be considered dry for a brown ale given its Hop content / presence. However, all I general taste with this beer and most of the brown ales is a musty taste. Further, although many beer's flavor lingers, I dont like the lingering after taste of the malt. ( I think it s the malt - I need to be educated on this )

M - A little on the light side I suppose, With the carbonization in the beer, its feels foamy - and again, although I would consider it light in taste, it has a full heavy feel to it. Im not sure if it feels that way because its ingredients or what ... I just dont get it. I look for a crisper finsh to beers in general. With all that said, this beer has some kick to it.

D - Not for me. I just dont get the brown ales ...

jlmjl, Aug 16, 2006
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.45/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep rich brown with a 1/4 inch frothy brown head. Rich sweet brown malt, strident hoppy aromas.

Rich brown malt. The brown sugar gives it a unique flavor to say the least. Lots of bitter hops as it finishes. Rich and lightly sticky aftertaste. This is unique and decent.

ViveLaChouffe, Aug 15, 2006
Photo of cproioi
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured a dark chestnut reddish brown color with a tan head. When back light you can see a lot of carbonation in the beer.
The smell was largely of roasted malts that gave it a chocolatey smell but there also was a healthy dose of pine tree and floral smelling hops. The taste was similar to the aroma. Slightly thin body that had a lot of bubbles popping on your tounge. Also there was the tingle of hop oils in the mouth feel. I really couldn't tell the alcohol in the taste or mouthfeel, this can be dangerous because it's higher then most Brown Ales. This beer was easily drunk.

This would be a very good beer to introduce someone who is on the side of heavy malts to the wonderful world of hops.

cproioi, Aug 14, 2006
Photo of smcolw
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Some scattered lace; tight single-bubble head. The color is a mahogany brown where light will not shine through.

First impression of the smell is chaulky--not what I was expecting. Creamy cocoa aroma. No discernible hop.

Refreshing, light-bodied but very flavorful brown ale--certainly more complex than most Browns. This would be a very good beer to have on a hot day if you wanted more of a dark malt flavor.

smcolw, Aug 10, 2006
Photo of Blakaeris
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours mahogany brown with a slight head and modest lacing.

Smell is surprisingly sweet with caramel malt and brown sugar. Subdued woody nut, and mild earthy hop bitterness. Slight alcohol astringency.

Taste is sweet caramel malt up front. Hints of toffee and chocolate. Pleasant nuttiness makes an impression before the dry clean finish. Earthy hop adds a touch of spice. Lingering molasses and alcohol notes.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and sticky.

A rich full flavored brown ale. Excellent complexity. Dogfish has another winner. Recommended.

Blakaeris, Aug 07, 2006
Photo of bashiba
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice clear brown with dark ruby highlights. A small ring of head.

Had a strong sweet alcohol smell with a woody mustyness to it.

Taste is very smooth, hints of black malts, oak, a slight sweet alcohol taste, along with a strong musty hop punch.

Mouthfeel is creamy and warming.

Nice drinkability, more of a sipper brown ale, than a session, but tasty.

bashiba, Aug 07, 2006
Photo of rustymoore
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with minimal head and decent lacing. Much like a brown such as Newcastle with a hoppy twist that really spices it up. Smells of roasted nuts and dried fruits filled the aroma such raisens dates etc. Very tasty and highly drinkable. Goes down very smooth for such a hop-filled ale.

rustymoore, Aug 05, 2006
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There I was, last weekend, talking about beer, and bemoaning the fact that I can't find a decent brown ale back home in Atlanta.

And BAM, what shows up in the cooler at Once Upon a Vine during my roadtrip to Richmond, but Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale!

Appearance: Poured out a crystal clear dark-reddish brown color with a khaki-colored head recedes to a thin band around the glass.

Smell: Chockablock scent full of sweet satisfaction - hazlenut coffee, brown sugar, and candied dark fruits.

Taste: The flavor of this brown ale is so far superior that it barely warrants mentioning, but I'll do my best. A rich, assertive malt base charges the tongue. Fiendishly sweet flavor suggesting coffee, toasted nuts, and cooked caramel (which carries with it a delicate smokiness). A restrained herbal hop bitterness allows the malts to really shine through. Finishes with a lasting roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Light on the carbonation, keeping this brew singularly smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: Yeah, to sum up: Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale is strikingly drinkable and incredibly tasty! For me, that was enough, but the beer is unique and clever and well done enough that any fans of the style should check it out.

ChainGangGuy, Aug 05, 2006
Photo of bjohnson
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark brown with a ruby tint if you hold it up to the light. Nice initial caramel colored one finger head. Dissipates quickly, no lace.
S: Aromas of sweet chocolate, caramel, and roasted malt. Actually quite refreshing smelling also. A tad woody also.
T/M: Sweet caramel and chocolate taste with a dark fruityness that nudges its way into the mix. Hop profile softly comes to life, but not overly powerful. Fast paced carbonation blast continues for awhile, but doesn't take anything away from the flavors. Extra smooth and silky through the mouth. Flavors become more pronounced and excited as it warms. Great tasting brown ale.
D: Highly drinkable and enjoyable. Slightly high abv on this one gives me the willys as I could drink them all day. I would recommend this any day of the week. Find it on tap if you can!

Notes: For those Providence, RI folk. It's in bottles at the Taco Truck, AS220.

bjohnson, Aug 03, 2006
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,033 ratings.