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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.

5,028 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,028
Reviews: 1,880
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 225
Gots: 486 | 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: 5,028 | Reviews: 1,880 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of woemad
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle purchased at Jim's Homebrew in Spokane for $2.25. No freshness date.

Poured a dark, cola-ish color that took on a ruby hue when held to the light. Modest, off white head that dropped fairly quickly, yet a foam ring was retained. Modest, spotty lace.

Smell was interesting for a brown ale. Mildly spicy hoppiness, with a slightly roasty maltiness, along with the usual caramel swetness and a beguiling nutty scent.

Taste was like the scent - much more complex than a typical brown ale, though no individual component of that complexity was terribly dominant. As the sweet caramel & mildly roasty malts hit the taste buds, they are acompanied by a mildly spicy, slightly dry hoppiness that makes a nice contrast. There is a kind of hazelnut taste that lingers in the background. If more brown ales tasted like this, I'd probably drink them more often, and be less bored by them!

Like most brown ales of my acquaintence, this occupies the lighter end of the medium bodied ale spectrum. Carbonation is about normal for the style.

This would make an excellent session beer. If I could pick up a moderately priced sixer of this, I would do so regularly. My new favorite brown ale.

woemad, Oct 04, 2005
Photo of TastyTaste
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very dark brown color, but still lets light through, nice creamy off white head (which fades fairly fast). Sweet musty brown sugar smell, with coffee, and roasted malt. Taste has large hops for the style, just what you would think of an India Brown Ale to taste like. Approaches a stout in the coffee and hops, with a lighter body like a brown ale. A very drinkable, unique beer, I would say this is almost a dessert beer, or a nightcap. Excellent.

TastyTaste, Oct 04, 2005
Photo of jaluria
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a white head that doesn't hold for very long and leaves only some lacing. I can smell roasted malt, caramel, and sugar. Very appealing aromas. Wow...what taste! Initial flavor of sweet malt followed by a strong alcohol flavor. I also taste some nutty flavors like hazelnut and nutmeg. The malt and alcohol flavors dominate, that's for sure. The other flavors are very subtle and easy to miss. A complex brew with a powerful and delicious taste. I can definitely enjoy a few of these, but at 7.20% that could be trouble.

jaluria, Sep 29, 2005
Photo of neonbrown82
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer from Dogfish Head. I love a good brown ale, and this is one of the best I've had. Thanks to Liquid Solutions.

The beer pours to a dark nutty brown which, when held to the light, appears to be a brown amber color. Has a thin and creamy head that vanishes in a matter of minutes, leaving only a small residue as a reminder. Still a nice carbonation and a decent lacing with very little sticking power.

The smell is quite earthy. Sweet and malty with a little bit of a spicy hop.

The taste is quite nutty and a bit sweet and roasty. Very earthy. I am loving the flavor. This is definitely the best brown ale I've had.

The body is full and finishes dry with a roasty, nutty bitter. Very quaffable for a 7.2% beer.

neonbrown82, Sep 28, 2005
Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark chocolate brown color with russet highlights; the rocky head that displays great retention, depositing a touch of lacing with every sip

Smell: A bit indistinct, but primarily brown bread and rich caramel malts

Taste: A whole lot going on here - starts out surprisingly hoppy from the get-go and then builds from there; in the middle, some caramel and burnt sugar flavors develop along with roasted coffee; somewhere, later on, the alcohol makes itself known as the gullet warms; finally it finished with a complex sweet and bitter crescendo

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with lively carbonation

Drinkability: What is this beer? One sip and you think it is a hoppy brown ale and the next it is masquerading as a light bodied stout. Can't tell for sure but it is a worthwhile beer to seek out.

brentk56, Sep 25, 2005
Photo of hyuga
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown with a sticky white head that stays nicely.

Malty and spicy aroma, molasses and caramel with cinnamon-like character. Must be the brown sugar it's brewed with. Reminds me a bit of a breakfast pastry.

Pretty malty on the palate... but spicy hops come into play in the middle. Brown sugar is a definite presence. Caramel and molasses are big. Leafy hops in the finish and aftertaste.

A bit chewy and certainly smooth. Crisp and a bit creamy at the same time. Very nice.

I didn't expect to like this beer as much as I do! It's a very interesting combination of things. Definitely has that Dogfish Head sugar thing going on. Very drinkable. I'd definitely have another.

hyuga, Sep 24, 2005
Photo of paterlodie
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

No freshness date. poors in with only litle head and a darkbrown almost black beercolor. Nose is very much chocolate and dark candy and over it some carramellic maltyness. Touch of hops but certainly not overdone. Taste is also very fine, lots of chocolate and alcohol, maltyness going into a roasty and high bittered end. Thick mouthfeel also and low carbonisation fits the beer. Overal very well balanced brew that I enjoyed all the way that took some time though.

paterlodie, Sep 21, 2005
Photo of Golden2wenty1
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 6er at Woodman's East here in Madison.

Pours a dark mahogany with garnet highlights and a nice khaki head. Smell is complex for a brown with strong caramel malts, toffee, alcohol and a surprising hop presence. Taste is malty sweet with caramel, toffee, and subtle chocolate/coffee undertones along with a floral hop and alcohol backdrop. Mouthfeel is thick for a brown but still drinkable, though the 7.2% makes this a little less drinkable than the average brown. This is a complex and tasty brown ale, but I've come to expect good things from the guys at Dogfish. I've yet to be disappointed.

Golden2wenty1, Sep 18, 2005
Photo of buckiflyer
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased a bottle for $2.50 at Whole Foods. Poured a dark brown clear color, huge head, very fluffy. Strong hop smell complimented by carmel and brown sugar. Wow this is sweet first taste, then a smooth hoppy finish, can tell this is highter alcohol content. Another fine offering from Dogfish Head. Would love to try it on tap.

buckiflyer, Sep 16, 2005
Photo of UncleFlip
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice and brown and clear on my desk. Held up to the light, It's more mahogany-ruby. Tan two-finger head has tight and loose bubbles, mostly foamy-smooth. Recedes to reveal sticky lace.

The smell is odd- light and brown-sugary, and also rather yeasty. SLIGHT element of orange, as well.

The flavour has a slight tang with an underlying smokiness and spice. There's a woodiness that creeps in near the end. Very nice.

There's a medium carbonation that's a little too close on the radar, and the liquid is medium body.

Very drinkable to me. I wouldn't mind having a few of these at one sitting.

Be well

UncleFlip, Sep 13, 2005
Photo of cubedbee
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice mahagony color with a finger of fizzy off-white head that quickly fades to a ring. Decent lacing. Smell is very appealing--a nice dark roasted malt, bitter chocolate, walnuts, and some floral hops. Tastes like it smells; a nice roasted malt flavor with hints of chocolate and caramel, a good dose of hops, a dry and nutty finish, nice. Medium bodied, low in carbonation, and pretty smooth. This is another great beer from Dogfish, more balanced and easier drinking that most of theirs, definitely recommended.

cubedbee, Sep 12, 2005
Photo of dippy
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hard pour crowns the beer with a rocky two fingered head that laces the glass as i drink.

Nice dark brown ale with a lightly off-white head.

You can smell the hops as you start to drink the beer. It is more of a kick in the teeth compared to other brown ales I have drank, which is a good thing.

Coffee and molassas win the race to the palate followed by the a slight, smooth hop bite.

Drink this beer.

dippy, Sep 10, 2005
Photo of cooter
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in a pilsner type slender 10oz glass. Firm and resilient light tan head, varied bubble sizes. Dark ruddish brown body. Smells like a brown ale with a note of flavorful hops; hints of balance. Smells include walnuts, something like chocolate but not quite, and smokey tones on the malty side, then some general apricot/hoppy flower stuff on the other. Intriguing.

Tastes like a light porter with a smooth hop undertone. The front is more brown, the back more indian pale...the malt gives it seriously smooth and solid foundation to kick some nice hop FLAVOR, as opposed to bite, into the brew.

Lacing is low, but head retention good. Has bitter, roasted flavors when large gulps are taken, which also brings out a softly lingering roasted malt aftertaste which I enjoy. Reminiscent of Guinness in that regard.

I definitely like it. The approach seems to be opposite of Stone's general kick-you-in-the-face-and-stomp-your-gonads approach to flavor (which I also enjoy immensely) in that this aims for the middle flavor, a gentle balance of malt and hops. I may review this again...

cooter, Sep 09, 2005
Photo of DrJay
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, dark coppery colour with a thin, tan head. Great lacing and decent retention. Caramel malt aroma, maybe a bit of toffee, along with some alcohol and floral hops. Sweet caramel sweetness with moderate bitterness. Light chocolate and nut flavour starts at the mid-point. Alcohol warmth and flavour, along with some hop character towards the end and into the balanced finish. Full, round body with low carbonation. A little viscous. Quite a nice beer. The forward alcohol actually adds to the character more than I expected.

DrJay, Sep 05, 2005
Photo of rocketmotor
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, what a beer! For a hops lover, me, this is a great malt beer!

Pours very dark, I see black, not brown, very little head and no lacing.

Tastes very good. Very strong malt flavors, very dark toffee with coffee aroma. I don't really smell the hops or taste them, but they must be rather strong to offset the strong malt flavor that I typically dislike. Good mouthfeel, very small bubbles and rather lightly carbonated.

Pretty strong stuff, drinkability is good, but unless you want to catch a buzz, one or two is it.

rocketmotor, Sep 05, 2005
Photo of dirtylou
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

bottles found at whole foods- raleigh

appearance: dark brown with ruby tints, bubbly off white head with slight lacing along the rim

smell: dark fruits, slight caramel, not all that overpowering but slightly sweet

taste: quite malty, similar to a scottish ale really, light caramel tastes

mouthfeel: medium thickness, but kind of thin

drinkability: despite the higher abv, could be a session

overall, this is a good brown but I think the stone 8th anniversary was far superior

dirtylou, Sep 03, 2005
Photo of silver0rlead
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep brown color with slight ruby highlights and a thin tan head that doesnt really retain well. Aroma is roasted barley, carmelized sugar, floral hops and a light hazelnut scent. Flavor is roasted barley, with a sweet molasses character followed by a floral and herbal hop flavor and a dry, roasted, astringent and slightly bitter finish. There is also a walnut/pecan nutty flavor in there somewhere. Mouthfeel is smooth but slightly prickly with moderate carbonation and a big body. Drinkability is descent. A pretty good brown ale, but frankly i was expecting more from DFH.

silver0rlead, Sep 03, 2005
Photo of Chadbrew
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Deep brown with traces of caramel around the edges. Good carbonation and a finger of head with plenty of lacing.
Aroma - Sweet and roasty... yum!
Taste - Lots of things going on here. There is some sweetness and bitterness up front and a slight roughness near the end that finishes pretty smooth. I like the roasted malt, it's nice but not overwhelming.
Body - Medium to medium-light, could use a touch more.
Drinkability - Pretty drinkable beer overall but watch out for the ABV... it'll getcha drunk.

Chadbrew, Aug 30, 2005
Photo of Bonhoeffer
4.78/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Ohhhh i love this beer. Definitely one of my faves.

Beautiful brown appearance. Nice creamy head. Smell is a bit timid, but good.

The taste. Well, this is what craft beer is all about, in my opinion. Just this amazing balance between forward hop spiciness and roasty malt goodness. A great touch of sweetness thrown in. Some nutty flavors. Stuff i can't even describe. This... Is... Beer.

Perfectly balanced. Complex. Drinkable all day and all night. After we get these damn laws fixed in AL, this one will stay in my fridge just about all the time.


Bonhoeffer, Aug 29, 2005
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a frothy four-finger thick, amber to light brown colored head. The beer is a brilliantly clear, ruby highlighted deep amber-brown color. The aroma is sweet and fruity up front with notes of caramel, cherries and a bit of sweet herbal hoppiness. The nose finishes with a light roast note that evokes thoughts of toasted bread and milk chocolate. The taste is sweet up front, and is followed quickly by very fruity notes that are reminiscent of cherries, perhaps even a bit like cough-syrup (though only lightly so). The finish is long, though not heavy handed and has an astringent roast malt character to it. This beer is quite smooth up front, but finishes with a prickle of carbonation that helps to balance the overall sweetness of the malt. The body of this is fairly light, this beer is quite quaffable. There are some hop notes here, though perhaps not as much as I was expecting from the label; there is a nice herbal quality in the middle, and the finish has a solid hop bite to it that helps to balance the sweet candied caramel note.

Gueuzedude, Aug 27, 2005
Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out a molasses brown color with a an orange-red hue. Very clear beer even though it is quite dark. The head was thin, but seemed very appropriate for this beer.

The smell was full of caramel and dark fruit. There was a small dose of dog smell that I couldn't get out of my head.

The taste and mouthfeel was awesome. A sweetness from the malt makes you feel like you are having desert. The rich brown sugar and syrupy body is wonderfully balanced with the heavy raison taste. The smoothness of this beer is extremely impressive and the semi-high abv is hidden well but hits like a bulldozer.

This beer is lethally smooth and easy to drink. This has easily become one of my favorite new discoveries.

Great Brew!

ALESwhatCURESya, Aug 15, 2005
Photo of tastybeer
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew has a pleasant woody brown color with a small, creamy, tan colored fleeting head. Smell is of toast and burnt roasty malts, with subtle dark chocolate. There is also a hint of fruit. This beer tastes just how you would expect from its smell; Toasted + roasted malts, a small side of chocolate, and some sort of faint fruit followed by more malty goodness and a slight bitter bite at the end. Mouthfeel is smooth. I will get this again when looking for a good, solid brown ale.

tastybeer, Aug 07, 2005
Photo of Morris729
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brownish color with a short and creamy tan head. Nose is dark chocolate along with more subdued aromas of fresh coffee and floral hops. Taste begins with sweet caramelized malts and brown sugar balanced nicely with notes of unsweetened chocolate. A good deal of spicy hops come across towards the finish. The 7.2% ABV is well hidden. A bit unique when compared to other brown ales and highly enjoyable.

Morris729, Jul 31, 2005
Photo of kaszeta
4.83/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled at the 2005 Vermont Brewers Festival

Pours with a very pleasing deep red body and a thick off-white head and light lacing, looking just like a good brown ale. The aroma is primarily caramel and grain, but with noticeably more floral notes from hops than a typical brown.

I was pleasantly pleased by the taste, since like most of the Dogfish products this has a solid (and well rounded) hops kick, but there's still a nice roasted malt flavor, rounded out with some nuttiness. I usually don't expect much from unusual combination beers like this, but they really make this work: the hops combine with the softer malt notes without overwhelming them. Is this one continuously hopped like their IPAs?
Seriously, this is one of the best, broadest-spectrum brown ales I've had, it hits all the major tastes (hops, grains, sugars, fruit notes) without any of them overpowering the whole. Mouthfeel also is spot-on, spreading the flavor around, being heavy enough to give the flavor some backing, but light enough to be pleasantly drinkable. An excellent beer, even a session beer, and one I'll look forward to trying again

kaszeta, Jul 21, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

High praise is had all around as Dogfish Head celebrates all of what's brown with a unique dry toasty beer with a heavy hop influence.

With an appearance that looks austerely like porter, the beer lands in that dark bark-brown realm with onyx-like refelection and firm head formation and retention. The medium sand-tan foam laces extremely well and forms the final impressions of a well made ale.

Heavy toast, roasted nuts, rich cold-press coffee, cocoa, and starchy malt begin the aromatic dialogue as the balance of pine, citrus, and grass emit in their hoppy form to counter the dry malt influence.

Burnt molasses, bold roast coffee, bittersweet chocolate, walnuts and malted milkshakes start to form the taste just as the citrusy build up from hops begin. Soon, the sweetness is supplanted by dry bitterness both from char and hops and seem like saw dust, grapefruit, and burnt embers carry the beer into its semi-dry bitter finish.

Medium bodies, the beer's early creaminess is quickly shed and makes way for the lighter mid palate of toast, powder, hops to easily develop with an even fade into dryness, warmth, and quickly closing dark malts.

The American influence on this beer is undeniable- it's much more toasty (almost roasty), it's drier, and much more hoppy (American citrus hops)- all making it easily agreeable for a pairing of medium-well cheeseburgers with sharp cheddar!

BEERchitect, Jul 12, 2005
Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,028 ratings.