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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,398 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,398
Reviews: 1,931
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 267
Gots: 690 | 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: 5,398 | Reviews: 1,931 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ksbrainard
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep ruby red and caramel brown. It is clear as can be. The head is very thin, and exists only at the sides of the glass as the glass empties.

Smell: Immediately chocolate and caramel aromas hit me. Then my nose is flooded and I can't smell anything. As it warms, a more direct dark roasted malted grain smell is in there, like a bag of crushed specialty grains. I can't smell any hops.

Taste: The first impression is an assault of hops, alcohol, and dark malt. There are dark fruit-like flavors in there, but it is not overdone. I suspect a relatively restrained fermentation temperature, which is to its advantage. There is a nice balance of roast, fruit, alcohol, and hops. Even though this is not a Belgian, it is Belgian-esque in its sublime balance in all directions coupled with deep complexity. And it just gets more full and delicious as it warms up throughout the glass. The alcohol edge even softens as it warms. A bit of a smoked quality even emerges in the middle of the glass.

Mouthfeel: Full and rich all around, but not too sticky. It ends bitter from hops and alcohol, which dries it out a little, but not too much. Again, as it warms it gets softer, fuller, and more satisfying.

Drinkability: This is very enjoyable, but not a session beer. I can see pairing this with a big hearty beef stew, or maybe a spicy rack of ribs.

Photo of jsimon816
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on date 9/11/07. 2 months, 6 days at review.

A - deep brown with nice head that slowly dissipated

S - sweet caramel with strong malt character

T - rich and pleasant with a sweet roasted aftertaste

M - like most brown ales's, little to no carbonation

D - great beer to kickoff those crisp fall days. Alcohol content of 7.2% will definetly do the trick.

Photo of DIM
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was a year and a half old.

a: This appears black unless held up to the light to reveal dark brown/ruby highlights. Pours witha half inch light tan head.

s: Malty dark chocolate dominates. Some hops are still noticeable, along with a hint of alcohol.

t: At a year and a half this beer drinks more like a stout. Very dry dark chocolate is dominant. The hops are almost completely gone. A relatively short time in the cellar changed this beer quite a bit. Not an improvement, but not a step back either.

m: Dry and sticky. The malts linger for quite a while.

d: 7.2? Really? This beer is dangerous.

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

Pours a clear chestnut brown/red, very thick beige head, nice lacing, settles to a thick layer, looks nice. Smell is neat, grainy malts, chocolate, toffee, bread, light roast/coffee, pine and floral hops, some fruit, very nice. Taste is great, mocha, toffee, some chocolate roast, bread, floral hops, strawberry finish, almost a lacto finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, low carbonation, some heat in the finish, very smooth though. Pretty good, I think I want to brew something kind of like this.

Photo of kimcgolf
3.25/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice chocolate brown with thin off-white head that lingers wewll and leaves okay lacing. Aroma is a sweet mix of caramel, toffee and roasted nuts, but the mouthfeel of this fairly thin bodied beer is somewhat watery. Flavor is a continuation of the sweet caramel and nuts, with a finish that is warming, but somewhat on the sweet and watery side for my liking.

Not a bad beer, but DFH makes better.

Photo of mdm4584
4.64/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up at AJ's in Scottsdale, AZ.

Roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, and a nutty complexity dominate the nose. Taste is top notch... coffee and chocolate linger.

The complexity and alcohol of the brew could exhaust the drinker. After a few I would go to something lighter.

Photo of blackhammer
3.11/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a dark brown, almost black color in the kitchen. Did notice a nice reddish hue when held up to light. Big lingering head, with lots of lace on the glass.

S: Heavy roasted malt --very strong, almost like burnt sugar on a Creme Brulee. I would have mistaken this for a porter or Imperial Stout if someone had handed me a pint. There also seems to be a slight cherry smell behind the malt but it's buried so deep beneath the malt that it's hard to appreciate it. Unlike other reviewers, I did not detect any hops aroma to balance out the malt at all.

T: Very dominant bitter, coffee flavor, with some carmel sneaking in upon taking a second, deeper sip. Some hint of the alcohol content but not so strong as to overwhelm the flavor.

M; I suggest letting this one sit and warm a little. It seemed overly carbonated and heavy on the mouth at first sip. A little more time in the glass and it took on a nice smoothness, with a bit of a dry finish.

D: Overall, a difficult beer for me to decide on. A bit harsh at first, almost like old coffee. But it improved nicely with some time in the glass as I drank it. Or maybe that was the alcohol content. Not something that I will probably buy again, but I can't say I'm completely opposed to having another. My experience with this beer seems very different to me from that of other reviewers, so I might find myself compelled to try it again.

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

Indian Brown Ale pours beautifully with a nice dark brown body. Frothy off-white head.

Aromatics of burnt/charred malt, Goldings veggie derived hoppinesss, some small coffee and smoke scents.

A very solid Brown all the way around. Very smooth and easy to drink. It has a lot of roasted chocolate characteristics. Along with some pleasant herbal floral hopping. Finishes with a nice pucker of sticky dark malt.

A great beer all the way around. Dogfish Head does it again!

Photo of malcontent
3.41/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of my earliest reviews, with over a year under my belt I'd say it's time to start revisiting some of the oldies.

Chestnut brown body with reddish highlights, capped with a massive off-white head. Looks great.

A surprisingly (or maybe not so much, considering the source) hop-laden nose. The bottle advertises "whole-leaf Liberty and (Kent) Goldings" hops, but I'm only picking up the former. Smells nice but off for the style.

Mild roasted flavors and brown sugar are almost completely overwhelmed by the hops. This IS Dogfish Head, so I shouldn't be surprised. Caramel aftertaste lingers, redeeming the beer a good deal.

Mouthfeel is full, bordering on creamy. All-in-all, it's a typical "let's see if this works" approach by the boys from Milton. It's actually a pretty good beer, but when trying to fit it into the brown ale category it fails somewhat...perhaps it's just over-ambition. Hell, I'll take that over the alternative any day.

Photo of Slatetank
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to tenderbranson69 for this bottle. poured cool into a nonic.
A - Cola brown w/ a light tan head of approx 3 fingers. Rings of lace halo the glass.

S - Malty, nutty caramel and wooday aromas w/ sugary scents and a slightly boozy hoppy odor.

M - Dry gently roasty w/ a bit of boozy brown malted feel. A residually sweet biscuity toasted texture in the sweet finish.

T - Rich nutty sweet malt w/ roasted barley flavors an a taste of light brown sugar w/ gentle fig like flavors. A boozy sugary rum quality is apparent w/ a slight tinge of belgian yeast in the taste. The hops are there but not obtrusive, very mild and slightly spicy.

D - A fine brown ale w/ candy sugar and rich maltiness w/ a nice touch of alcohol int the flavor. A nice hop accent adds a bit of spice. I consider this to be a nice brown, but not highly drinkable w/ the noticeable abv and sweetness.

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

Pours a dark brown with a light tan head. Aroma is dark roasted malt and floral hops. Some caramel and coffee notes. Taste is assertive roasted malt. Burnt malt and coffee flavors. Plenty of hops provide balance to the underlying sweetness. Some bitterness from roasted malt and hops. Somewhat imperial stout like. Full bodied. Pretty drinkable. Really nice beer overall.

Photo of smurphy77
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a mocha colored beer with sprightly bubbles and a medium-sized tan head. Smells of sweet, caramelized sugar. Flavors of roasted coffee and roasted malt are most prominent. The body and carbonation give this beer a very light feel despite it's darker, bold flavors. Equally enjoyable paired with a juicy burger, a bit of chocolate for dessert or as a standalone beer. Great case to keep on hand.

Photo of OKCNittany
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: 1/2" tan head with great retention, leaving lacing everywhere. Dark brown, almost black body.

S: Notes of molasses, roasted coffed & roasted malt. Alcohol was also present as it warmed.

T: Much more alcohol and hop presence than any other brown I've tasted (although to date that's a fairly short list). Notes of coffee & chocolate (both milk & dark) too.

M: Medium bodied and quite smooth. Bitter finish with an alcohol burn.

D: Big flavor. A beer I'll gladly return to, but the alcohol presence cuts into the drinkability.

Edit: Found two sets of old notes on this one. Averaged the scores. The notes themselves were similar, except the 2nd (higher rated) review made no mention of noticeable alcohol.

Photo of mnstorm99
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice dark brown color with a small tan head that laces well throughout. Aroma's of spicy hops stand behind a very sweet malty touch of carmel. Taste is first and foremost of the brown sugar (I know it says it on the bottle) which is tough to get past, not a flavor I am very fond of. There is a tinge of the hops, but this beer has a great mouthfeel and I enjoyed the aroma, so I will definately be cellering a couple of bottles to see how it does.

Photo of Folderol
3.43/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I remember this beer being better when I sampled it a year and a half ago. Now it seems somehow off-balance, like there's nothing in it but dark malt and hops. It's not as sweet as I remember, and the taste is just a constant battle between roasted, charred astringency and dry hop bitterness. Reminded me of porter that's missing some ingredients. Maybe this batch was just too young.

Photo of praufs01
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Dark Brown with a clear deep red ruby glow when held to the light. Small tan colored head with light lacing.

Aroma - Light hop aroma that was overpowered by a burnt sugar and molasses smell with faint hints of alcohol.

Palate - Medium carbonation with a sticky up front feel followed by a dry chalky finish.

Flavor - Moderate bitterness with a burnt sugar taste. There are some noticeable alcohol notes here with an almost bourbon like quality.

Final thoughts - I can appreciate what the brewer was trying to achieve. However, although the brew is unique it is not great. To me its not session beer but I am glad I tried it.

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

Poured an attractive brown color with slight off-white head that begs to be drank. Aroma is of caramel and chocolate with a maltiness to it. Taste was also of caramel and chocolate with exceptional hop balance. Lacing was good. Mouthfeel was very pleasant. This was a really nice brown ale. What is there not to like? Good drinkability.

Photo of brantadid
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nut brown color intoa pint glass. Nice off white head which diminished very quick. No lacing.

Had a very fizzy mouthfeel. Flavor was very balanced. The malt and hops blend perfectly. Has an insanely long, sweet finish. Actually got a slightly sour tast on the mid to back palate before transitioning to a sweetness. This presented as the beer warmed.

I wish this beer was less carbonated. The amount of carbonation takes away from the complexity of the beer.

Alcohol was mostly masked. Some heat was detected from the alcohol.

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

Pours a dark brown with red highlights. Small light brown head.

Aroma of coffee, toffee and malts.

Taste also has coffee, toffee and some malts. Some alcohol comes through, but it is nicely balance. Some hops come through at the end.

Mouthfeel is medium, cleansing, smooth and creamy. Dry at the end. Nice.

Overall, Wow!! Excellent. Very well made and thought out brew.

Photo of Deus1138
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. Dark, golden brown color. Head starts off a quarter inch thick. Also a beautiful golden color.

Smells of toffee and caramel.

Taste is exceptional. Nice, smooth, chocolate, coffee and caramal malts. I don't detect much in terms of hops. This isn't a complaint, just an observation.

Leaves a nice aftertaste. It's like I just drank some hot cocoa and coffee.

I classify some beers as "sipping beers" because they are so strong in terms of sweetness, bitterness or alcohol content. I would only classify this as a sipping beer because the flavor deserves your attention for a very long time. Let this one sit on your tongue for a while!

Dogfish Head has impressed me once again. I'm glad so many of their brews are available in my area. Now, if I could just get my hands on that elusive 120 Minute Pale Ale.

Photo of dankman38
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

If you like to visit Starbucks you will love this beer; the taste of coffee is very heavy with light accents of chocolate and burnt hops. The finish isn’t as strong as some of the other beers Dogfish Head has produced (some are almost overwhelming) but it is just strong enough. Very interesting beer from a very interesting brewery.

Please note: I would have given this beer a higher score but I don’t really care for coffee.

Photo of dickieb
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a amber brown with a tan head leaving some nice lacing with each sip. Smells of burnt malts, and some hints of hops. The taste is both hoppy and of sweet roasted malts, well balanced with some caramel for good measure. Some where between a session beer and a sipper for drinkablity.

Photo of peck95
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

deep dark brown w/a thick tan head and good retention
i smell maple brown sugar with hops, very intriguing
the taste is very similar to the smell the hops are a little bit prevalent but this is a good tasting beer
the thickness is spot one but the hops are a little to lively and theres a bit of a dry aftertaste
the drinkability of this decreases a little because the hops stand out a little to much and the 7.2 adv is also noticeable, otherwise this is a solid beer.

Photo of ericj551
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dogfish Head IBA pours a deep red brown with a thin off white head. The aroma is richy malty caramel and chocolatey roasted malts with some fruity esters and hoppy bitterness. The flavor is crisp hops competing with sweet and dark malts. Smooth and delicious, this is a sipping beer for sure, I'm definitely not putting down more than one or two of these.

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

Black mahogany, tremendous head. Smell and taste offer espresso, dark chocolate, and a surprising degree of hoppishness. Just a little metallic. Mouthfeel is creamy at first, ends a little sticky. This was a great find, and will serve as a year-round replacement for Avery's New World Porter.

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,398 ratings.