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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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5,328 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,328
Reviews: 1,917
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 260
Gots: 633 | 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: 5,328 | Reviews: 1,917 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.16/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served cool from a 12 oz amber bottle into Boston Lager glass.

Pours crystal clear medium to dark brown, with a nice half inch dark tan head to complement, left good lacing.

Aroma is sweet and alcoholic (fermented warm?), with a hint of spicy hops.

Tastes hot, with rummy caramel note and subtle coffee note. Excellent strong bitterness on the front with a somewhat dull finish lingering.

Drinkability is pretty good, worth trying, but I'd grab something else for the next round. This might be their tweaked rendition of Tony Simmons' recipe for Poor Richard's Ale created for the Brewer's Association to commemorate Ben Franklin's 300th birthday. Given the hot alcohol bite and dull finish, I'd have placed DFH Indian Brown in the Old Ale category instead of American Brown.

Photo of ojiikun
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap in (ugh) a pint glass at Collins Pub is Seattle. Body is as dark a brown as I can imagine without being black and vaguely hazy. Head is super-thin and light khaki. A few big chunks of lace by the end.

Smell is toasted German bread and bittersweet chocolate. Molasses at first and then something vaguely herby riding on booze. More like a stout than I expected.

Taste is at first much sweeter than expected, but fades to a bitterness that carries the darky, toasty malts' chocolate and charcoal flavours very well. Hopping is more obvious with some alphas on the tongue. Less herbal and more oily, but not piney or soapy in either case.

Feels a little heavy on the palate after each sip. Drinks like I'd expect a winter warmer to - upfront and pushy, sedating and full. A well balanced hybrid of brown ale and stout from DFH.

Photo of roller
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich reddish brown with purple hues when held up to light and is accompanied by a two-finger tan head that leaves little lacing. The smell is roasted malt with coffee notes followed by alcohol. The taste reminds me of molasses. Not as hoppy as I'd expected, but I don't feel that it's lacking either. Again, coffee taste in the finish. Medium body with a crisp finish. A very tasty brown ale that I would have again.

Photo of BitteBier
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark but clear red-tinged brown color, topped with a finger's worth of fine and reasonably persistent light brown head. The smell is denser and more complex than is typical for the style. Part of that is the hops, but even the chocolaty, roasted malt base invokes a porter or even a stout more than a brown. There's a lot going on in the taste as well, which is malty (per the nose) and sweet (sugars and dark fruit) up front before parting for the hops. The alcohol is evident but by no means overwhelming. Smooth, medium-bodied mouthfeel gets dryer in the finish. A really interesting brown ale.

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

This is my first review of a Dogfish product. Hope to get more of their beers soon!

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle with no freshness info into a pint glass.

A. Beautiful dark brown (can barely see light through it) with a small rapidly receding head.

S. Nice piny hops.with just a hint of malt.

T. This is very smooth for such a dark brew. The hops are perhaps the best I have tatsted in a long time, well balanced with the malt.

M. A very creamy heavy finish.

D. Very drinkable beer for the amount of alcohol.

A great beer!!

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

first IBA (or ABA?) i've ever had (i think). bought on a vacation to NC, i was VERY surprised when i poured it into my pint glass...

A- i expected brown, but i didn't expect this deep dark reddish brown with about 2 1/2in of dense sticky tan head that looked strikingly similar to quick-set foam insulation. over all it looked like coca-cola until i held it up to the light letting rays of red shine through. the foam settled slowly to about 1/2in leaving almost no lace on my pint glass.

S- as soon as i opened the bottle i got dark chocolate, but when i stuck my nose in the glass there was fine dairymart-style arabica coffee, more bittersweet chocolate, burnt toast, burnt grains and something in the background that was fruity and floral at the same time, maybe the liberty hops?

T- coffee, more like cappuccino with a lil cream and an effervescent glob of dark chocolate dropped in. roasty caramelized malts followed by unripe plum and dried fig with a bitter coffee aftertaste. when i burp it's plum and fig all the way baby.

MF- smooth and creamy, i'd like a lil bit more carbonation so i know that i'm drinkin beer, not some fancy alcoholic caramel-mocha-chino.

D- i'm not one that goes for coffee or dark chocolate flavors, but i know now what to expect from a quality organic brown ale. it's complex and aromatic and it reminds me of sitting by the fire with a pretty girl in the dead of winter. right now, in the heat of summer, not so much. despite my prejudices, i can't seem to put the glass down.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally splurged on a bottle at Bruisn when I was there today, okay at 2 bucks not really splurged, but got one none the less. Poured a deep dark brown with a huge tan head, lots of lace left over on the sides. Smell was lots of hops, pine, with some sweetness mixed in. A touch of some earthy, grassy flavors as well. The taste was great, good malt back that was hoped to all hell. Very fresh taste, and a sstrong biting finish. Alot of similarity to the Terrapin Brown. Great smooth feel, lots of carbonation made it go down smooth with a nice dry finish. I could easily see myself drinking this on a regular basis. It was really just that good. A very quality session beer for sure. Just a treat to drink, and I will definatly be looking forward to the next time I am around grabbing some of this to bring home!

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

Mahogany brown, with tiny-bubbled foam that forms a very tight and strong head that lasts throughout. Lacing is maximal, and a tan brown color.

Baker's chocolate is all over the nose, as what sweetness is there seems to belong to caramel malting..dark fruit esters, a latent lactic scent, and present but minimal herbal hops round out the profile. Solid.

Almost but not quite roasted flavor mirrors the chocolate of the nose, deep and luscious flavor that is at once nutty and also almost milky sweet. Carob flavored body is balanced by restrained hops, a little oily, but there must be big quantities to match the big malt body.

Smooth, with good complexity pulled from a medium sized body. The Indian brown is more drinkable than a stout or porter, with many flavors matched. At 7.2%, it gives up little in size as well. Big ass ale, and very tasty.

Photo of fank2788
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, with a bottled on date of 4/11/07 served in one of my brand new Sam Adams pint glasses
Indian brown looks pretty nice in the glass a deep dark brown almost black with at ton of ruby highlights with a tight head comprised of tiny bubbles. The smell is caramel malts, brown sugar, alcohol, oak and vanilla with a touch of grassy hoppiness. The taste starts out all dark sweet malts and sugars. You can pick up everything from lighter caramels to roasted chocolates in there, the alcohol is also fairly noticeable especially at warmer temps but stays under the control of malts. A touch of oily grassy hops adds just enough bitterness to make the finish really interesting. The mouthfeel is very thick yet so smooth and very satisfying. Drinkability is good too, considering your mood. Don't grab one of these if your looking for a classic brown ale. Indian brown definitely falls close to the line between brown ale and porter but whatever you want to call it this is one serious beer.

Photo of Atron67
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- poured a brown clear ale that appeared black except for the edges through my snifter. A tan off-white head of a little over an inch thickness with heavy lacing
S- A sweet smell with a little alcohol presence, a couple different malts are present however hard for me to pick out
T- malty sweet flavor with a light hop presence. the malt is the main flavor. Not overwhelmingly malty, but strong. has a nice finish
M- Light carbonation with a medium/light body
D- pretty good, a solid brown ale, however not exceptional,

Photo of pmcadamis
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Caramelized brown hue with a ruby cast. The brew is pretty clear when held to the light, and topped with a solid one finger light brown head. Lots of really thick and sticky lace is left on the glass. A good swirl brings the one finger head back in full force, and the everlasting head seems to become a deeper shade of brown as it warms.

S - Peanut butter and coffee grounds with a whiff of malted milk chocolate add up to a very nice and malty brew. Autumn leaves, toasted nuts, and charred wood remind me of the fall.

T - Toasted grains, loads of bitter black coffee, some dark bitter chocolate towards the sweet finish. Burnt, charred wood and burning leaves again. The alcohol becomes noticeable as it approaches room temp, but it never detracts form the flavor, but rather adds to it. This could fool me into thinking that it's a stout in a blind taste test (reminds me of Guinness Extra Stout in a way)...the extreme nuttiness is the only thing giving it away as a brown.

M - Velvety mild carbonation and a full body. Delicate in the mouth before a solid WHAP! of bitterness takes it to a bitter but only slightly dry finish. Seems to dry up more as the long aftertaste fades away. Nice.

D - This is my first American brown, although I've had many English versions of the brown ale. I definitely see the difference now...where the English browns are malty, sweet, mild, and easy-drinking session brews, this American version is a nutty, toasty, relatively highly hopped slap in the mouth! I like it, but one is enough....for now.

Photo of albern
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What can I add to the previous 600+ reviews ... this beer is a bit of a surprise in that it is clearly a porter and borderline imperial russian stout. A nut brown ale this one is not. One delicious whiff and you know where this one is headed. The beer is reasonably carbonated, full bodied, thick, with a decent head and minimal lacing. The taste is chocolate, burnt caramel, and a bit of coffeeish flavor as well. It's the burnt almost charcoal flavors that are most characteristic. I'm drinking this on a hot summer day and I need this one like I need a hole in the head. If I only knew, I would have saved it for a chilly January instead. The malts, hops, and burnt flavors are all dancing about and are well balanced in that they all equally hit you over the head. There is nothing subtle about this beer. This is a very good beer, not a nut brown, and definitely not a summer beer. Save it for the winter months and it will be even more greatly appreciated. The ABV is high, but the alcohol flavors are subdued, and this is appreciated. L'Chaim

Photo of reeder
3.52/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

medium brownish. fairly clear. can definitely see through it.

great smell. chocolatey. i really like it.

a pleasing warm, sweet flavor. the alcohol stands out. almost too much. hearty, but not thick or creamy. its got a hoppy bite to it. nothing floral.


I like this beer. Its drinkable. No flavors really stand out to me. I don't have any experience with this style (never heard of it before). Its a good beer for a warm summer evening. Its dark and rich but refreshing.

Photo of TuckerCarlson
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A moderately aggressive pour into an imperial pint glass yields a solid finger of creamy, dark tan foam on top of a coffee-colored, slightly translucent brew. Head dissipates slowly, leaving a ring that doesn't want to go away.

Nice chocolate smell with some coffee and grassy, herbal notes from the relatively high hop content. Some sweet citrus rounds it out.

Definite chocolate and coffee flavors without too much sweetness; not a dessert brown ale like some. Ends up crisp and dry with grassy and herbal flavors and leaves a nutty finish that lasts and lasts. The coffee flavors are better than most coffee, even most good coffee.

Shockingly smooth (especially considering the ABV) and bewitchingly complex; I could drink this every day.

Photo of drseamus
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a beautiful brown color with a thick off-white head. The head fell fairly quickly leaving only a thin layer of foam.

S: This beer has a hearty malt aroma with a good chocolate blast. I don't get any hop aroma off of this.

T: This is a very full flavored beer and I like it a lot...definitely more than last time I had it. It has malt, caramel, and a bit of chocolate in it and finishes with some bitterness, but not overwhelmingly so. It's been a while since I had this and I think my IBU tolerance has gone up by a factor of 10 since then, and now this barely even registers.

M: This is one hell of a creamy beer. It is decently heavy bodied for a brown, but not Double Stout thick.

D: I am usually impressed with DFH and this is no exception. Another great example of a style breaker.

Photo of ttu94
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I have come to realize that Dogfish Head doesn't go half way on any beer. As my boss says "Me vida es a todo madre". The same for everything they brew. They call this beer an American Brown Ale but you could almost put this in the Imperial Stout catagory. Looks great, almost black. Smells potent but inviting. Taste is is like wang dang sweet p... well you know. Actually hints of coffee and chocolate. Dogfish head needs to tone it down everything is tooo over the top (7.2 abv why?). I say this as 90 min might be my ATF. Good beer if you are drinking one beer.

Photo of sstackho
3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Can DFH save me from a world of boring brown ales? 12oz single bottle. Pours a dark ruby without much head but lots of little bubbles. Light aroma of malt - not off to a great start yet. Ah, but the taste is better than the smell. Heavy on the malts and a lot of flavour overall. I'm getting some roasted coffee flavours. In a blind taste test, I'm sure I would have mistaken this for a porter.

Photo of bosco7
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep deep dark brown (almost opaque) with a large frothy head.

Burnt sugar, coffee, toffee, and alcohol aromas.

Thoughts after first sip: wait a minute this is a porter. Roasty, coffee, and chocolate flavors are all present. There is some brown sugar,hazelnut, caramel, and toffee flavors in the background. I was expecting to have an uber sweet beer since every DFH beer I have had to date has a candy like start and finish, but this beer has a dry quality to it. Nice understated biterness with some sour twang in the finish.

Medium body with light and creamy carbonation.

This beer is tasty, complex, and drinkable. I wish that DFH would take a couple notes from this beer and apply it to some of their other offerings.

Photo of Atlas1
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a sixtel of the DFH Indian Brown at my beer store today. Brought it home, hooked it up, and voila! Here I am. According to the DFH website, the Indian Brown is a cross between a scotch ale, an IPA, and an American brown ale. So THIS is what that combination tastes like! Leave it up to Sam C. and company at Dogfish Head to come up with this one. And then thank them for it.

Pours a deep rich dark brown with a nasty brownish-white foam on top (a good thing, mind you). Shines a bright orange at the sides when held up to the light. Leaves some lace too, but not much. The aroma is subdued here. I'm not sure what I'm missing, but I can't seem to detect much of any one thing. Some malt, some coffee, some bitter chocolate, some molasses, but not much any of them. Nice, but not terribly convincing. The taste is where everything begins to come together in my opinion. Rich roasty coffee flavors, mixed with hoppy bitterness, sweet vanilla, bakers chocolate, and woody spices. Very complex. A bit too big for its own britches, to be honest, because it's so damn ambitious, but it's tasty nonetheless. Just like a cross between a scotch ale, an IPA, and an American brown ale should be. Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. At 7.2% ABV, I'd hardly call this a session beer, but it's still a solidly drinkable brown. Might go best with some chocolates by the fire in the winter with a loved one by your side. Then again, I'm sippin' on this puppy in the middle of June, and still enjoying it. Give it a try.

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

Good beer but not great. Seems almost like a lighter Barley Wine than a Brown Ale.

Beautiful Frothy head that left some of the best lacing I've seen on my .5 liter HB glass. with a deep, deep dark red color that you need some light to see.

Smell was very malty with a hint of alcohol and my favorite Hop: Golding.

Again the taste was a light Barley Wine , with plenty of malt, a bit of sweetness and some alcohol. Right at the limit for me as far as the alcohol taste is concerned.

I did enjoy the beer, but at 7.2% decided to only have a couple. I would not recommend drinking the whole 6 pack in a short amount of time...Unless of course you are drowning In a Sea of Sorrow.

Photo of henrysunset
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, pours with a nice modest head of tan, and a deep dark but fitered beer with a hint fo red...

s: i could smell it from far away just pouring it. really really malty, nutty and some coffee. bit of citrus.

t: dark. malty aftertaste again with coffeelikeness. nearly a stout. nice, but almost out of style?

m: smooth, a bit astringent, duh it's 7.2%

d: reasonable, but storng so be cautious.

Photo of dstc
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown almost black in appearance with a nice full off white head that falls to a thin head leaving a fine lace on the glass.

Has a burnt something smell to it. Roasted malts, caramel maybe and hints of chocolat are evident.

Strong bold roasted flavor. Tastes sweet with a burnt sugar flavor to it. Well hopped.

Smooth and creamy in the mouth with a fair amount of carbonation.

Overall a very nice beer. Leaves a bit of a burnt bitter aftertaste in the mouth but still quite drinkable. Me like.

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark rich chocolate brown / clear / mild carbonation / moderate head

Sweet sugary roasted chocolate / floral fruity herbal hops

Thick full bodied flavor / sweet roasted malt chocolate sugary toffee / hop is floral and herbal Euro-style hop nicely balancing / good warmth and thickness nice bitterness

Thick medium-full bodied mouthfeel / alcohol notable

Very nice American Brown Ale. Thick rich quite good. Lots of crisp floral goodness and deep sweet malt. Hands down, one of my favorite ABAles.

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

Pours a deep brown with a dense beige head that lasts as a nice even cap. Aroma is all sorts of resiny hop, caramel, coffee, burnt toast.

In the mouth, hops make a strong showing initially, bringing lots of spice and piney notes, some dark-fruit-like sweetness, caramel, brown sugar, lots of woody/leafy notes. Medium-light mouthfeel, a little slick, with pretty limited, light carbonation.

Very tasty, very enjoyable; alcohol isn't really noticeable, but you can feel it pretty quickly, so I'd handle this one with care.

Photo of shadow1961
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale pours a stiff tan head over a
deep dark coffee colored brew. The nose is toasty dark malts.
Carbonation is hard to guage, but steady enough to maintain
a finger of foam. It has a deep molasses flavor up front with
a grassy hop finish. There are dark fruit and bitter chocolate
notes as well. This is no boring old brown ale- I've tasted a
few porters and even stouts with less depth and flavor than
this brew. The mouthfeel is round, yet fairly light and clean
as well. All those toasty flavors do a good job moderating the
7.2% alcohol by volume. Outstanding!

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,328 ratings.