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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.

5,239 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,239
Reviews: 1,895
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 243
Gots: 553 | 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: 5,239 | Reviews: 1,895 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BBM
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very dark brown (almost black) with a thin white head that disappears pretty soon (probably because of the ABV). The aroma is outstanding; An array of dark chocolate, dark fruits, caramel, and hops. This is one fine smelling beer.

The taste is just as impressive. A complex combination of roasted nuts, coffee, unsweetened chocolate, with a caramel malt backbone, and a distinctive hop bitter kick at the end. The flavors dance on the taste buds together, in a loud way. Mouthfeel is clean and crisp. Even at a fairly high ABV, this one is dangerously drinkable. Another great beer from Doghead Fish.

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

Very deep brown amber in the glass topped with a half finger of tan bubbles that melt to very sticky tan lacing.
Aromas are molasis, brown sugar, and a dark floral hop.
Mouthfeel is creamy and tingly from the carbonation and ABV %
Taste is dark unsweetened chocolate, molasis and candied brown sugar, nuts and dark brown bread. Hops come on in the end just to drive any sweetness out and leave your mouth clean.
Aftertaste of nutty dark bread lingers.
Nothing seems to overpower, however...just a really big brown ale.

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

AP: Deep, dark, burnt brown color with deep mahagony hues. Created a very dense, thick and smooth cream colored head that displays excellent retention qualities. The lacing is like a wall on the edge of the glass. Interesting look for a brown ale.

Nose: Sweet carmalized roasted barley hits the nose first with brown sugar, oak and mocha-style coffee underneath it all.

Taste: A roasted, mildly bitter coffee like malted barley flavor with some burnt sugar and a hearty, earthy, slightly spicey and leafy hop finish. I would call this the most complex brown Ale I've ever had.

MF: Full body, thick and very heavy for a brown ale. Sticky on the lips and very heady on the palate and does not lack a decent bite.

DA: Very nice for the style, this is certainly the most extreme version of a Brown Ale I've had...the 7.2%ABV will keep this one limited to no more than four though.

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

Deep mahogany in color, a lot of ruby highlights, tan head foams up but drops mainly to a ring. Juicy dark fruit aroma, like plums and dark cherries, caramelized sugar/molasses malt, and some earthy hops. The flavor was much the same, caramely and brown sugar. Hops are there but not overpowering, there is just enough to balance, and there is almost a berry like flavor that comes from the hops and malt together. Full bodied, but not as much as the 7.2% ABV might lead you to believe. Pretty easy to drink. All in all I was expecting a little more from the hops given the name and the brand, but pretty good overall.

Photo of MrVisegrips
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour was a deep amber with dark red hue. The head was a thick deep tan lasted forever and left a very thick lacing. Aroma was deep with dark caramel and a light waft of hops. Flavors were excellent if not a bit overwhelming on the first pulls. Brown sugar and caramel were very prevalent finishing with just enough bite from the hops to keep you thirsty without being overwhelming. Mouthfeel was a bit thick for this style but still nice. Average drinkability. Overall, not was I was expecting from this brew, good thing it was on the side of pleasantly surprised.

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

Gotta love living in a state that allows you to buy one beer out of a pack....

A very deep, dark, rubyesque amber, light dimly shining thru...very pretty. Head was a finger of tight almond hued foam that faded quickly, but did not disappear over the course of tasting. Lacing was faint at best.

The nose was one of the better ones I have experienced in a while. Caramel, sweet brown sugar resonates, hops, wisps of pine & resin, the sharp hint of alcohol rose as the beer warmed.

On the tongue its syrupy, sweet, thick, even in richness, very malted, some mild toffee is there, perhaps caramel. The hops rise on the pallete, some bitterness, a peak, then a slide into a muted finish....wait....hmm...interesting. Not many beers "echo", but well after the swallow a nice, warming, teeth tickling resonence of alcohol & hops, leaving a bittersweet taste....nice.

I like dark ales, and this one was surprising. I really enjoyed all aspects of this, and would definitely recommend it, especially if you like the various genres of darker ales. Its great for a autumnal beer, and would pair well with a good, strong cheese or something hearty and peppery. Would make for an interesting choice during a beer dinner. I'll drink this again no problem.

Photo of beveritt
3/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: The first thing I notice is very little head. With a hard pour at the end I got maybe 1/4 of an inch. This fell pretty quickly to just the barest of coatings. Beer is clear, a rich dark brown/red color. Almost opaque. Almost.

Smell: Very strong malty flavor. Full of caramel and nutty smells. A little bit of hop bitterness on the nose, but not a lot of citrus hop flavors.

Taste: Malty sweet with a bitter finish. This reminds me of a Scotch ale, like it went through an extremely long boil. Lots of caramel, raisins, and mediciney flavors.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly thick and syrupy. Decent CO2 bite at first.

Drinkability: Not what I would expect from a "typical" brown ale. But, given that it is from DFH, I guess I shouldn't expect anything typical. Interesting beer, but I won't revisit this one. Doesn't really fit the style, much like a lot of DFH offerings, it is an extreme version of a brown ale.

Photo of ultralarry2006
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves an espresso foam colored two finger head with excellent retention and excellent lacing. Body is the deepest possible brown. This is simply beautiful to behold.

Smell - malt bread, malt bread crust, figs, dates, plums, hint of both sweet and sour cherrries, spicy hops, and medicinal alcohol. Mouthwatering.

Taste - not nearly as flavorful as the smell promises. Mostly just the malt bread with spicy hops and medicinal alcohol and sweet cherries on the aftertaste. It is still very good and tasty, just not as much as I expected given the mouthwatering smell.

Mouthfeel - a strange sort of fluffy fullness, and yet semi-dry.

Drinkability - this is good overall, and somewhat sessionable as abv is 7.2%.

Photo of yelterdow
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Scored a very fresh six pack from Total Wine & More, River Edge... bottled on 10/12/06, this isn't even a month old.

Served in a DFH pint glass at several degrees over fridge temperature.

Appearance- Pours a clear reddish chestnut, the light tan soapy head evolves to about two fingers and settles tightly to a thick cap. The lacing's sticky character is a nice surprise... it's a good looking beer.

Smell- Wonderfully bright, fresh hops ring out of the glass... not at all citrusy or piney, they're "sticky" smelling... I don't know how else to explain it. Resiny.

Taste- Complex and really interesting... there's a lot going on. Where many DFH brews use their hops as a big part of the flavor, namely 60/90/120 IPA and even Shelter, this beer is all about barley malt and caramelized brown sugar for taste... the hops are more for aroma and the very end after the swallow. The flavor is huge and mouth-encompassing, it's actually a bit too overpowering to session. It feels like a 500 calorie beer with its heavy, syrupy weight... delicious but a bit fat. Fantastic A+ hop burps.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The most perfect transition of mild prickliness to sublime seafoam... this beer's texture is divine. Smooth and slippery during the swallow, it simply can't be improved. With all of the accolades and overall balance, it just sits a bit too heavily in the stomach and therefore drinkability must be addressed and scored as such. No regrets here.

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

Very brown, bordering on black color which hints at the strength of the beer.
Strong malty caramel aroma with coffee overtones, perhaps some dark chocolate too, though my wife would disagree.
Lots of flavor on different parts of my tongue. All the previously mentioned aromas are there, with some nice hop bitterness, as well as the esters from the high alcohol content. The dark malt caramel lingers on the tongue, and I found, after licking my lips, that they tasted of chocolate and coffee as well.
A well rounded beer from Dogfish Head.

Photo of kernalklink
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this brew on tap at the dogfish brewery and was so impressed I bought a sixer at a local store and order it whenever I can. Very attractive deep brown pour and even better aroma- mix of floral hops and caramel. The taste is amazing- the character of the IPA is present as advertised but it is perfectly balanced by the burnt sugar and nuttiness of the brown ale. The mouthfeel is perfectly balanced with minimal carbonation and no overly powerful sense of alcohol; even though this beer seems heavy on the tongue it is very drinkable. When available, pick this one up and you won't be disappointed.

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

Awesome stuff. Poured a dark brown color with a nice head that disappeared after a bit. Really nice smell of hops, fruits, malts, and some brown sugar. Amazing taste, for a brown ale, this has to rank high up there. Nice malt taste up front with a great hop balance to finish it off. Very drinkable, I highly recommend it.

Photo of gonzo138
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a deep brown with a cream colored head that dissapated very quickly but did manage to lace well

S- a very malty sweet smell, a little chocolatey, a little bit of raisin fruity smell, almost stout-ish in aroma

T- sweet malty taste, a little coffee taste at first but only breifly, but then followed up by a reasonalby strong hoppy aftertaste at the finish

M- moderate/high corboantion, medium body, flavors stick around in mouth for a while

D- a very drinkable beer, even though ABV is a little high , not much to look at but definitey worth experience, a very interesting brew

Photo of cheers2beers
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer pours a dark reddish brown tint. The off-white head stacked up a good two inches tall with a medium pour. Nice amount of laceing can also be found.

Smell: The aromas are very nice! Wafts of a sweet bready malts, with some floral notes, hoppy goodness to go around for all. Even a hint of cherry licorice can be detected.

Taste: Wow! This may be, the best brown ale I have ever had. This doesnt even taste like a brown ale. Tastes more like a blend of IPA, a sweet amber, and a porter all rolled into one. This beer has the perfect amount of hops, not too bitter,but just enough to let you know they are there. Some caramel malts,almost chocolately, with some bread notes. The cherries are still present but only in the aftertaste. Just enough alcohol to make this just right.

Mouthfeel: Goes down very easily. Sweet upfront with a slight bittering chocolate hops in the middle, and in the finish you can find the alcoholic cherry aftertaste. Thin side of thick bodied with a medium amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: I am very impressed with this brew. My new favorite brown ale for sure. This is truely a damn good beer, a must try!


Photo of brewcrew76
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very deep mahogany with a thin tan head.

S - Roasted malt, brown sugar, hints of coffee and chocolate. The brown sugar really adds a nice unique aroma.

T - Sweet brown suagar, almost molasses like, caramel and toffee, hints of coffee and chocolate. This one is nice and complex.

M - Medium but still thin at the same time if that is possible.

D - This is one easy drinker for the complexity and sweet brown sugar. It sounds like the recipe has changed and this is the older 2005 version.

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

appearance: nice head, nice retention.
smell caramel malts come out on the nose NICELY Faint hop aroma comes in to balance.
Taste: Very malty. However not thick like other malty brews. It is somewhat thick, but not overly. The taste of this beer is very very malty with caramelized malts.
Mouthfeel: Clings to the mouth well.
Drinkability: A nice session beer on a fall day.

Photo of terrabyte
4.68/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a completely black, opaque color, with a nice light tan head. Lacing is completely observable all the way to the end.

Smells like a nice nutty brown roasted chocolate, with a hint of coffee. I don't know why I think I can smell the color brown, but that's what I'm sensing.

Tastes wonderful. Has a strong front taste of nut, caramel and coffee. Very thick. Slightly creamy, but not as much chocolate as I thought I smelled, thankfully. The aftertaste lasts forever, which is good since it's delicious. If this was labeled a stout, I wouldn't have known the difference.

This is everything I look for in a beer. Dark. Thick taste. Complex. Easy to drink. High ABV.

Photo of AndoBrew
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

*I LIKE IT would buy again for sure*

app: wonderfull deep ruby red/brown color. cute lil beer head on it this is s l o w l y going away

smell: toasty roasty coffee, sweet brown maltyness. touch week, but i like the coffee boldness up front on the nose.

tatse: WOW, thick huge chewy taste like a big toasted malt knuckle sandwich. up front it is more coffee, nutty, and maybe a touch of soy/ earthyness, but very warm and enjoyable, it quickly fades toward sweet and lighter malt flavors with a small small hop note on the end.. did i say small? this is a maltster! very nice though! it also has some butteriness to it wich is pleasing.

mf: big and full but not syrup. the flavor makes you think it is thick and gooy, but it finishes very cleanly.

drinkable: YES, it sure is.. the sweets on the finish keeps it off 5.

I am still trying to pick a taste score, going back and forth between 4 and 4.5. you know what.. its a 4 cause of the finish for me.. I want more out of the finish
Its like a big bad dude who turns out to be a softy in the end.

BUT I really like this beer, its different than the norm its, good, its big. 2 thumbs up

Photo of veech
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice brown ale that delivers flavor and body. A: Chestnut brown with a thick foamy head and lacing that endures. S: Organic malted grains with a brown sugary sweetness. T: Smooth sweetness with a slightly roasted malted body. Very balanced with a good sweet aftertaste. M: Medium bodied with a slightly chewy texture D: The body and alcohol limit the session possibilities. Another impressive beer from the boys in Delaware.

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

this beer underwent a major re-formulation in may of 2006. previous to this, i thought it was just ok. now, i think it deserves a thoughtful moment of my time, so here we go:

this beer pours a solid dark mass into the non-traditional dogfish head tulipint. the bottom of the glass shows deep ruby lights, and the top is pure solid darkness. the head is sticky, tan, and hangs around. the lacing is solid, in waves, down the glass as i sip from it. this beer is one of substance, and the sticky walls of goo left behind reinforce that fact.

this beer smells great, like a beer candy bar. the first thing that comes to mind is peanut butter, followed by a roasted, charred malt that evokes toffee. caramel and milk chocolate poke through the peep hole, and slight hints of hops and coffee grounds waft up as well. i could honestly sniff this beer all day.

smooth beer going down, with an explosion of carbonation and a hop-sting in the finish. from beginning to end, this beer provides a plethora of sensory stimulation. initially, i get a big dose of chocolate malt over my palate. this makes way, eventually, for a fizzy caramel aftertaste to prevail. down it goes, with fresh hop oils guiding the beer down the throat, leaving a grassy, orange chocolate apertif essence to savour in my spit-flavor. sips are gone and the lace continues to dot and surf down the glass.

this beer is a real testament to dogfish head. they took a good recipe, and despite their growing success, tailored it even more towards the more seasoned palate. iba has climbed into the upper echelon of american microbrews, and sits happily among the best. cheers, dfh, and thanks for the fine elixirs.

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

Pours nice and smooth. Huge frothy head tops it off.
Smells very nutty.
I taste chocolate, coffee...goes down very smoothly. It was bitter, but retained heavy malt characteristics and flavor. Very nice.

I did drink alot of these. I'd be happy to do it again.

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

Pours with a nice, viscous quality producing one inch of sturdy, tan head. Deep brown, garnet and ruby body. Excellent head retention and lacing on the glass.

Deep, roasted barley notes lead off a very attractive smelling beer. Clean, malty aromas provide a very balanced brown sugar sweetness. Some noticeable dark chocolate smells before a very subdued hop presence. Very nice.

The flavors are started by a strong, almost over-toasted barley presence. The dark malt flavors are almost on track with a the flavors of a porter. Malt complexity provides a deep chocolate and coffee flavor. Very light and crisp hop presence provides some bitter relief from the potent malts. Long, toffee laden finish. A finely crafted ale.

Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated and very creamy. Very porter-like on the tongue.

Drinkability is excellent considering the powerful toasted malt presence of this beer. Very well balanced and delicious.

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

A deep brownish red color with a relatively thin but long lasting light cream colored head.

Smell is interesting - a bit roasty and smells somewhat like an American porter. As would expect from Dogfish, this beer has big flavor and isn't a delicate little flower. Very much on the malty side of brown ale, with the darker malts contributing to the flavor profile. Hoppy aroma/flavor is not evident to my taste buds.

Mouthfeel is robust and pleasant, but perhaps a bit too heavy for me to down a bunch of them in a row.

Photo of auntfloyd
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a very dark, almost opaque mahogany, with half a finger of light brown tan head.

The nose is very sweet, full of caramel and sweet malts.

The taste is also very sweet, with caramel and brown sugar hitting you upfront. After an alcohol finish, there is a very brief flirtation with a hoppy bitterness, but that will definitely be erased by your next sip.

The mouthfeel is rather good for this style. I find most brown ales to be a bit on the dry and unpalatable side, a trend which this beer completely reverses.

This is definitely the sweetest, and most "Belgian" American brown ale I have tasted. If you are a fan of the more traditional, laid-back brown ale (as done by Brooklyn or Sierra Nevada, for example), this ale will surprise you. If you are a fan of sweet-ish Belgian-style ales, then this beer may also surprise you, especially since you won't expect this flavor from a brown ale.

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

12oz bottle into mug. Bottled 5/18/06.

Nearly opaque brown with small amounts of dark red light showing through. Light brown head mildly-retaining head. Thorough lacing along the glass.

Very sweet molasses like flavors emerge along with sweet brown sugar. Bits of dark malts and hops make their way through. A touch of warming alcohol makes its way through.

Deep roasted flavors with a touch of hops in the ack of the mouth. Sweet caramel flavors are mixed in coming from the caramelized brown sugar. Some hidden alcohol comes in toward the end.

Close to full bodied with a small amount of carbonation. Dry alcoholish finish along with the bitterness of the malts.

I'm very satisfied with this beer. A well rounded dark brown ale, almost like a porter. A good beer for the beginning of fall.

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,239 ratings.