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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

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5,435 Ratings

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Ratings: 5,435
Reviews: 1,937
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 272
Gots: 722 | 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: 5,435 | Reviews: 1,937
Photo of Mdog
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown, good head and lacing.

Smell: Sweetness with roasted notes.

Taste: Sweet brown sugar, toasted bread before an interesting grassy/citrusy hop flavor at the end.

Drinkability: I could see myself having a few of these.

Brown ales have been hit or miss for me, but this one is a definite hit. Very unique flavor for a brown, not particularly nutty and not porter-like. This and Surly Bender are my favorite brown ales so far!

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

Dark dark brown. Holding it up to the light I can see through it, but barely. I've seen stouts as dark as this!

Deep Oak, malty chocolate aromas.

Taste is molassas and chocolate/coffee. Deep flavors and strong body. Nutty. There is a hop note too, which is strong for a Brown.

The Finish has a nice bite to it, with a mild hop presence and slight coffee bean bitterness.

Good job Dogfishead. Really nice Brown. It's got a big strong body, but is smooth and very drinkable. Great balance of hop/malt.

Photo of Kolsch
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have this currently on my home draft system for the first time. I absolutely love this beer. What a perfect example of what a Brown Ale should be.

Smell is incredible; most reviewers have already noted the chocolate/molasses/cocoa smell. I get something entirely different. I get a strong smell of wine & plum. This borders on Porter territory. Taste is not as sweet as it might sound, which I believe the hops balance this out perfectly. The ABV will sneak up on you, gotta be careful with this one.

I have had this in bottle many times and thought this was a pretty good beer, but draft brings a whole other dimension to it. Probably the best Brown Ale hands down!

Photo of GJ40
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep brown color with a thick head that dissipates pretty quickly.

S - Strong roasted malt aroma much closer to a porter or stout than a brown ale.

T - Strong roasted malt flavor with a bit of sweetness and some hops mixed in. But I didn't get as much hop flavor as I expected after reading the bottle. Maybe I've been drinking too many west coast double IPAs.

M - Coats the mouth well.

D - Very enjoyable. I was sorry to see it go.

I enjoyed this. Dogfish Head is quickly becoming one of my favorite east coast breweries.

Photo of FleeVT
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle - bottled on 05/01/07

A: Very dark brown with a hint of crimson. Thin head that remains through entire beer.
S: Sweet and malty with a faint hint of alcohol.
T: Fantastic balance of hoppy bitterness, mildly sweet chocolate, and slight alcohol. Great taste. Nothing overwhelming, just extremely balanced.
M: Medium body that matches the taste balance.
D: Great beer. Substantial, but not so much that I couldn't have a few.

Photo of dnichols
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I sampled this beer with a group of 17 friends at a local tasting event featuring 17 quality brews from east of the Mississippi and Canada.

A: It poured a reddish brown with a tan head that left a thin film of lacing along the side of the glass.

S: It emitted smells of roasted malts, brown sugar, caramel and floral hops.

T: This beer benefits from a few minutes of rest in the glass after the pour. My initial sips were donminated by bitter hops and rich dark malts. However, after a bit of rest the hoppy bitterness receded and the creamy rich malts and dark sugars began to dominate.

M: It was creamy and smooth with a medium body, modest crabonation and clean finish.

D: This one grew on me the longer I drank it..it truely is a beer that makes less of a first impresssion adn more of a lasting one. This will make a great cooler beer for camping trips.

Photo of soupyman10
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of my favorite beers, when I've had it in the bottle, so I decided to try it on tap at the Dogfish Head Alehouse. Gotta say, it was quite disappointing. The appearance was nice, good dark brown with light brown foam. Nose is lots of coffee malt, but the chocolate flavors that come through so well in the bottle are incredibly muted. Taste is similar. Tons of roasted malt, but the chocolate and fruitiness seem to have disappeared. Basically this one seems like a stout, and I would not have been able to guess that this was the same beer as I've had in the bottle so many times. Not bad, just not great.

Photo of jonworth
3.38/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I'm not that big on brown ales but I'll try to be objective here. Thick, creamy head that yields to a little pale surface fizz with some loose lacing left on the sides of the glass. Opaque, dark brown...a bit like a porter. Darker than, say, a Newcastle. Smells like, well, a brown ale--very straightforward--but sweeter, more biscuity. Much richer than the aforementioned Newcastle--brown sugar, molasses-like. Fairly chewy mouthfeel. Bitter afterburn. Not so sure I am too inclined for a second one in one sitting. Pretty good if you like brown ales, I suppose, but IMO there are more appealing beers out there.

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

Into a pint glass- nice dark brown color, with an slightly off white head, one and a half fingers.

Smells great- malty and a little caramel, faint hops and brown sugar.

Tastes full, malty, and the after-taste is very strong of the brown sugar. This is the beer i would love to have with a nice big dinner. Its 7.2%, but is still fairly drinkable. It would compliment a lot of meals very nicely. Its smooth and hearty at the same time. I highly recommend it, although i am a little biased for DFH brews.

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

Pouring a dark brown/black with heavy foam and no visibility, this thick and porter-esque ale is like the bad boy of the "browns," packing profound flavor with the richness of espresso and the look of an A&W root beer.
With aromas that bring licorice and dark chocolate to mind, the Indian Brown packs an imposing flavor, melding all of the aforementioned smells with Arabica bean coffee for a taste that lingers on the tongue and coats the taste buds.
With a nice dollop of Hershey's syrup sweetness and a touch of alcoholic bite, this tasty little number would make for a nice aperitif... or a meal all its own for that matter. Highly recommended.

Photo of Lothar666
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours an attractive dark brown with an off white head that was two fingers thick. Head receeded rather quickly but leaves bits of sticky lacing down the sides of my Dogfish Head pint glass.

S- Sweet malts and brown sugar with some caramel and a bit of hops.

T- Rich, malty and very sweet taste- the brown sugar dominates the pallet but the sweetness is very welcome and well balanced by the hops. This is a delicious session beer that goes great with a meal or by itself.

M- Smooth, creamy and almost syrupy and slightly sticky from the sweet malts and brown sugar.

D- This one is great in that it works well as both a slow sipper and an ordinairy session beer. It goes down very easy and leaves one in the mood to have another, though the slightly above average ABV can sneak up on you after a few if you are not careful. This is one of my absolute favorite session beers, and a "must have" in my refrigerator.

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

Dark Syrup Colored beer with a thin head on top. Smells like smoky coffee. The taste begins sweet like brown sugar with a slightly smoky taste following. The mouthfeel is a pleasant level of carbonation, not too thick, not to thick, perfect for after dinner. It has a decent level of alcohol so I wouldn't drink more then one of these if I had to go out after drinking it.

Photo of alysmith4
2.5/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I did not care for this beer at all.. maybe it's just that I don't like this style. It's hard to tell.. I was trying to rate the beer with a very unbiased opinion, but who knows.

At any rate, what I can say is that the beer was very fresh, and the flavors were very clean. The mouthfeel and appearance were good, but I did not care for the taste.

Photo of mltobin
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at the Ginger Man in South Norwalk, Connecticut.

Appearance is rich, dark, with a medium sized head.

Smell is strong, sweet, with some spice aromas.

The taste is chocolate, vanilla, some hops, rich, and full-bodied, great beer to accompany a hearty meal.

The mouthfeel is nice, but almost overpowering, should have had some bread to balance it out.

Drinkability is solid, another very good beer from Dogfish head, I am not a huge fan of brown ales, but this one is very tasty.

Photo of PhageLab
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - Dark brownish ruby coloration. Huge brown frothy head which stuck around for quite a while. Lacing was nice as well.

S - Burning wood chips and chocolate, may sound strange, but it is, in a good way.

T - Almost coughed after the first sip, this took a while to get used to, but once I did, it became addicting. Smoke flavor, cinder, malt, chocolate, and bittering hops, yummy. Dry finish.

M - A bit harsh on the palate. Carbonation was too high and slightly sharp. Medium body, no residues.

D - Very different take on a brown ale, at least in my experience. Very tasty. Definitely worth a try, if you see this brew, grab it.

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

Nice looking dark brown color with a reddish glow to it. A light tan head has good size and creamy texture.

Smells of bittersweet chocolate and roasted barley. Hops do not hide in this brew, but share in an equally balanced portion of the aroma. Definitely the most hops in a brown ale that I have ever had.

The taste even surpasses the smell. Bittersweet chocolaty nuttiness leads along with roasted malts. Hops show up in full force, and a mild bitterness of the aforementioned flavors carries through to the finish where coffee greets them.

Medium bodied with a fairly fresh amount of carbonation keeps this one quite drinkable despite the moderately high alcohol content.

Definitely one of the best brown's I have ever had. The extra hops really make a good brown ale great.

Photo of danielharper
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Brown-black body, thin off-white head. Slightly orange at the bottom of the glass.

S: Sweet, malty, slightly nutty.

T: A bit overly alcoholic, astringent. Otherwise smooth, sweet, slightly hoppy. You can taste the alcohol.

M: Thick, chewy, slightly creamy. Nice.

D: Another winner from DFH. Overall a nice beer, easy to drink.

Photo of aerozeppl
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice deep brown with a finger of tannish white head.

S: Great smell on this. Coffee, chocolate, malt, toffee, hops. Just a really great sweet smell.

T: Almost stout like. Tons of roasted malt, chocolate and toffee. Definitely a different take on the style. Very rich overall.

M: Super creamy. Again this drinks more like a stout. Lots of carbonation but it is very subtle.

D: No hint of the ABV while drinking. This is in that weird territory between treat and sessioner. It drinks easy enough to session but is was too strong. Again very Dogfish.

Photo of rgrholmes168
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- A nice head on the beer. Poured great with outstanding carbonation. The color is a nice black.

S- The smell is great. I can smell the hops and a cjocolate coming from the beer.

T- The first instance this beer hit the taste buds, it may have become my favorite. A great dark taste to the beer. I cannot have been more happy. You can taste the caramelized sugar in the beer. It is great.

M- Perfect. For a dark beer it feels nice and light on the tongue. It is a good complex beer.

D- I could sit and drink plenty of these.

This may have become my favorite beer after just one.

Photo of dsa7783
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very intense-coffe like brew from Dogfish... the extreme toffe-like, caffeine flavored flavor smacks you in the mouth, grabs you by your tongue and doesn't let go... impressive jet-black hue cowers under a frothy, foamy, tan head... smell is all roasted malts, coffee, and dark-latte... taste strongly complements the aroma... a very, very itense cocoa, roasted malts, dark-chocolate, deep caramel, slight vanilla flavor that really hits home... one of the top brews from Dogfish... the 7.2% ABV is not noticed at all... just a thick, creamy, and rich cocoa-espresso flavor that parades around the mouth, boasting a good mouthfeel and decent drinkability despite the thick, rich taste that dominates the taste buds... Good, flavorful stuff... very stout or porter like and definitely recommended...

Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a standard pint glass. Poured a dark brown, similar to the color of cola with no light penetration. One-finger tan head, decent retention and ample rings of sticky, concentric lacing. Scent of roasted malt and chocolate. Taste yielded a much more pronounced roasted malt flavor, as well as a hint of coffee and a touch of hops. Very effervescent full-bodied mouthfeel (not too watery and not too chewy), with a subdued combination of sweet and bitter at the end. A really nice American Brown Ale with a pleasant hoppy presence.

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

I've been thoroughly impressed with Dogfish Head's other brews thus far, so lets try something new....

A- Dark dark brown.... BIG head that stuck around for the party.... nice lacing

S- MALT.... coffee.. chocolate... light hops... faintly fruity

T- MALT... nutty, coffee, chocolate... the hops fights to show its face though. Overall very smooth, but that's perhaps because nothing really stands out besides the dark malt. Solid taste though.

M- med/ heavy-med body... creamy...

D- It's got a lot of flavor... reminds me of a chocolate stout at times. Solid brew, but nothing I'd run back to.

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

Pours near opaque dark brown, tan colored head, fair retention, nice and pretty lacing. Coffee, caramel, freshly mowed hay hit the nose. Chocolate, coffee (toffee?), tingly carbonation, a bit chewy and good drinkability.

In summation a delicious and complex beer..very good. A bit pricey at the store where I bought it ($9.49/sixer) but worth the effort.

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

12oz brown bottle with pry-off cap. Freshness date is on the label. Label reads, "A clean, well-hopped brown ale with aromatic barley, caramelized brown sugar, and whole-leaf Liberty and Goldings hops."

Pours a very, very dark brown. Very thick looking. Forms an off-white head with good retention and leaves some nice lacing. A nice looking brew.

Smells of hop aroma with a very mild spiciness to it, flowery hops, hints of molasses, maybe some hints of roasted malts. Some alcohol undertones but it doesn't get in the way of the other characterisitcs.

Taste of caramelized sugar, some mild sweetness characteristics from the malts, hints of dark chocolate and molasses. Wonderfully balanced with the hops which come in as an earthy/floral boquet. Some mild roasted characteristics. Maybe some hints of dull fruit, if that makes any sense. The alcohol is well hidden and comes in mostly as a complementary warming effect. Aftertaste is slightly bitter with some roastness from the malts. Very nice.

A medium-bodied brew that coats the palate with flavor and complexity that's a little less than thick. A good level of carbonation gives it just the right feel. The higher alcohol percentage doesn't really get in the way of wanting to drink this delicious brew. It's a little dense, so you'd probably get full before you got tired of the taste.

Notes: They say it's a cross between a scotch ale, an IPA, and a brown ale, and as complex as it is, they're about right. It's different than most brown ales out there, that's for sure. The flavors blend great and are nice and balanced. Easy to drink mainly because it's so darned delicious. As of right now it's my favorite from Dogfish Head, and one of my favorites, period.

Photo of Drewcifer
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark mahogany brown, bordering on black. A slight tan head that dissipates pretty quickly, decent lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, earthy/piney hops, caramel and toffee.

Taste is as the smell promises, a very well balanced blend of nutty, smoky and earthy flavors with a slight sweetness that, while detectable, is very well understated. A very slight hoppy bitterness, but it’s there and gone, enough to let you know but quick enough that you won’t concentrate on it.

Good carbonation, in the lower end of the heavy body range. Fine aftertaste, not too dry or sticky.

A very good example of Brown Ale, very much drinkable on a non-session basis. A good warming feel from the alcohol content, and a great winter time beer to pair with cheese and crackers while relaxing. Overall, from the smell to the balance to the batch-to-batch consistency, a great example of what a craft beer should be. Flavorful, intriguing yet with an ability to appeal to more than just hop heads, big beer fans and other craft brew fanatics, I think this, along with the 90 Minute, are Dogfish’s best contributions to trying to broaden taste profiles of non-craft beer drinkers.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,435 ratings.