Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

5,561 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,561
Reviews: 1,969
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 10.98%
Wants: 287
Gots: 808 | FT: 5
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Indian Brown Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,561 | Reviews: 1,969
Photo of illpass78
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear ruby-brown with a short white head that is gone swiftly. Minimal lacing. Carbonation seems average.

Aroma: Smells of caramel, pine, a little citrus, some grapefruit, and a touch of coffee.

Taste: Taste follows the nose, with lots of caramel, pine, and grapefruit/citrus. Nice hoppy flavor alongside a sturdy malt backbone.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Good depth on its own or with a meal.

Overall: One of DFH's signature "That ain't gonna work, bro" beers that somehow does. Super tasty hybrid of a brown ale and an IPA. I paired this with potato chowder and a sausage and it was the perfect winter lunch. My favorite DFH brew, I'd say.

Photo of dmgeng
4/5  rDev -2.4%

I have been wanting to try this but so many other beers keep getting my bid first. Finally tried and it was pretty good.

A - Dark brown color. Clear with a smaller khaki head.

S - Rich smell, like an American brown with chocolate, caramel, and malt but then the hops come with a nice herbal tone, and some citrus character.

T - Definitely done well with the same notes as the smell but more of it all and a distinctness that allows you to realize it is both an American brown and an IPA all wrapped into one delicious package. The caramel, chocolate, nut character sits highest but there is a good amount of hops to give it a great bump in flavor. Don't expect this to be super hoppy but it is hoppier than every other brown I've had.

M - Light-medium mouth-feel with nice balanced finish. Fine carbonation for brown. The sweetness on the front is balanced great with the hop bitterness.

Overall, a very good beer that should probably have it's own style and there should be more of these on the shelves. I would really enjoy an "imperial" version of this beer since this one is somewhat lighter than other beers in there roster. I think this beer would be a great paring beer for it's flavorful punch but it's balanced finish. Give this one a try and you won't be disappointed.

Glass- Pint

Photo of Gajo74
4.46/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark brown color with a thin head that for me, unlike most reviews here, did not retain for so long. Nevertheless, a thin ring of lace persisted throughout the drink. The aroma was malty and also reminded me mainly of coffee. There was also elements of alcohol. I also detected a citric aroma that reminded me of orange peel. The taste was very interesting in that it featured many sweet malt, coffee, chocolate, caramel and sugary tastes; yet, it was balanced by a slight hop finish that left a bitter aftertaste. The finish also had boozy overtones, and reminded me of scotch or bourbon ales. The feel was creamy and full bodied, with slightly low carbonation. Overall, I was impressed by this brew. Another winner from Dogfish!

Photo of Tilly
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Poured into a snifter. Dark brown pour with a short lived khaki head. Sweet caramelized sugar and malt atoms. Sweet chocolate and malt. Nutty and earthy. Medium mouth with nice carbonation.

Photo of TimZebGir
4/5  rDev -2.4%

A: (3/3) Transparent ruby brown with thin but well-retained creamy head
S: (8/12) Sweet apple with light piney hop notes
T: (17/20) Sweet caramel or toffee with a hazelnutty finish and a mildly bitter hang
M: (5/5) Medium carbonation with a mostly wet feel
O: (7/10) I really can’t fault it for what it is. It’s an incredibly drinkable beer, and the 7.2% alcohol and liberal hop use takes this brown ale out of the realm of “solidly boring” that I so often find brown ales in. That said, I can’t help feeling that Dogfish Head just took a mediocre brown ale and hopped it so it would taste good.

Photo of B-J-B
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%

Came back to this one after awhile and it was just as good as I remembered. Short version: roast and malty sweetness are in perfect balance, and finished nicely with assertive but not overwhelming hop goodness. To say that this is a well-balanced but flavorful brew does not do it justice - what I really mean to say is that this brew manages to keep three intense flavors in perfect balance in one brew, making for a top-notch experience.

Photo of flyingpig
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

355ml Bottle as a gift from Virginia:
Medium to dark copper & clear with a light, tan brown head that's slightly foamy & about a 0.5cm tall with little initial movement.

Sweet & nutty with sugar & caramel coming through. Medium strength malts are there with hints of hops giving the beer a definite American style aroma. Darker fruits/raisins with some further sweetness, hints of chocolate & light bitterness come through as well.

Malty with plenty of hops & even some citrus. Some nutty flavours come through too with sweetness & caramel with some darker fruits too. Definitely not what I was expecting but a very nice taste with some roasted flavours, plenty of chocolate & faint bitterness towards the end as well.

Medium bodied, quite sweet on the palate with a sticky smooth feel that goes down with only a faint hint of alcohol showing. Carbonation was about medium with this one as well and the balance was a good one with the hops & malts working well together from the start.

Another excellent beer from Dogfish Head, I really enjoyed this one. Plenty of hops with some citrus as well which was unexpected but very nice. A great beer.

Photo of xxxcjbcxxx
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Tastes like black coffee and club soda; looks like black coffee and club soda.

It doesn't taste "bad," but if you don't like coffee, I wouldn't recommend this beer.

Photo of ChadwickHines
3.25/5  rDev -20.7%

Good tasty stuff.

Photo of FLima
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Brown color with a thin, almost inexistent head.
Nice aroma with coffee and chocolate, licorice, brown sugar and Brazilian nuts.
Flavor with notes of chocolate, caramels, dark fruits, nuts, some citrusy, cocoa powder, toffee-coffee and spices. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Medium body with perfect carbonation. Alcohol of 7.2% is hard to believe.
Very clean, balanced and easy to drink Brown Ale. It could be a tad less caramelly, which would make it less tiresome.

Photo of 31Sam13
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

I wanted to like this beer, and I would say the reason why is that it is, strangely, something that seems good in theory...kind of like a hybrid car at this point. A great idea but just not refined enough yet to make the mainstream. OK. Bad analogy. This beer had small flashes of what the brewers claim it to be but ultimately fell flat and ended up on the heap of mediocre brown ales, albeit with a slightly higher alcohol content. Nothing special.

Photo of Shoney_35
4/5  rDev -2.4%

A: dark brown but a deep red when held to light
S: vanilla and maple syrup
T: very well balanced. At first it comes off a little sweet, but that subsides to delightful hop bitterness at the end of the swallow
O: I am only really a fan of this style during the damp chilly fall days, but of this style this is truly a classic.

Photo of WesMantooth
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Deep, dark brown. Almost black. Thick tan head on the pour that dissapates to fine ring.

Aroma - Strong roasted malt that is sweet, like caramelized brown sugar and molasses. Much like a scotch ale. Also tons of barley. Smells like a fresh mash.

Taste - Wow! Sweet, nutty, dark homemade bread, carmel, brown sugar, chocolate, and a touch of floral hops at the end, but just enough to notice them.

Feel - Insanely smooth and creamy. A solid medium carbonation that provides a little crisp bite at the end in combination with the hops.

Overall - This is hands down the best brown ale I have ever had. (I am not counting Palo Santo, this is more true to style) It is not a popular style, but I think that even people who don't care much for it would enjoy this one. Another feather in the cap for Dogfish Head.

Photo of ColdBassHonkey
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%

Pours an opaque brown with roasted malt aromas. The dark chocolate taste hits just before the hoppy aftertaste, but it's an exceptional experience from start to finish. Definitely a go-to beer for when the weather turns cold.

Photo of leantom
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Easily one of the better brown ales out there. Had it on tap. Here goes:

A: Dark brown with a large head that leaves adequate lacing. Looks nice.

S: Actually quite good. Mild NW hops with a strong malt backbone. Loaded with caramel, toffee and raisins.

T; Very good. Initial taste is one of sweet caramel malt, brown sugar, toffee, some chocolate followed by a smattering of piney hops. Overall, this is a very well-made beer.

F: Excellent. Plenty of carbonation and ample thickness.

O: A very good Brown ale. Will enjoy this one again.

Photo of Belichick36
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Burnt chocolate notes with a fantastic malt/hop balance. Medium bodied mouthfeel with a slightly (but pleasant and unique) burning feel on the palate. Very consistent quality as usual from Dogfish: Indian Brown seems to have the same flavor and certainly has the same impact it had on me as when I first enjoyed it in 2007.

Photo of Tony_Leon
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%

Could quite possibly be my favorite. It's the best of all worlds.

Photo of Jonoesh5
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big ol' brown body with minimal khaki head. Sweet caramel in the nose. I get Java chip ice cream in the front, caramel and brown sugar follow, and toasty malts in the back. Hop bitterness is present, but without the citrus bite. Mouthfeel is frothy and creamy. Overall, this is my favorite brown! Not super drinkable, but not a sipping beer either like some scotch ales or IPAs. Indian Brown strikes a wonderful hop/malt balance and is truly an amazing scotch/IPA/brown combo. If you've never experienced Dogfish Head, let this be your introduction.

Photo of RyanK252
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%

On tap at Eureka Burger

A: Pours deep dark brown with frothy khaki head that laces nicely.

S: Roasted malt with a little coffee and chocolate.

T: Sweet roasted malt, some dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate, some light citrus hops, and a little coffee on the finish.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, very smooth.

O: Maybe not as hoppy as I expected, but a very tasty brew.

Photo of burnerfinger
4/5  rDev -2.4%

poured from teh 12 oz bottle into my new belgium goblet:

Apours dark like a cola - nearly opaque - full finger of head settles to a thin film with NO lacing to speak of

S IDK what to say, not getting much to the nose at all

T hmmm again not too much here, a solid hit of bitter that's hard to define

M faomy

D not bad - the bitterness remains after the swallow

Photo of Das_Reh
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip, bottled 8/6/2014.

Tasting and reviewing on 10/11/2014.

A = Dark brown with hints of mahogany and ruby red, tan head is small and creamy

S = Chocolate, coffee, hints of dark fruits, sweet molasses and earthy hops.

T = Taste follows the aroma with big notes of bittersweet chocolate and coffee, molasses, dark fruits and faint citrus, earthy hops and a lingering spiciness on the back end. Alcohol is virtually unnoticeable.

M = Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated, but not spritzy, although there is a tingling on the tongue upon each new sip.

O = A delicious and complex beer, the earthiness of the hops and bitter chocolate/coffee notes really help cut down the sweetness and bring balance. Bordering on porter territory, this hopped up brown ale is robust, complex, and at 7.2% abv, not a brew to be taken lightly.

Photo of Blueowl
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%

Tried a Dogfish Head Brown Ale at a restaurant last evening.
Very dark for a brown ale in my experience. Similar to a stout or porter in appearance.
Head development was reasonable and depended on how it was poured. Dissipated quickly.
Ah the taste! A touch sweet with just the right amount of bitterness.
Alcohol content 7.5% was appropriate for this time of year in my humble opinion.
Me like for this time of year.

Photo of Kgoldsbe
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Well done toasted marshmallow without the bitterness of any char that may accidentally have resulted from the campfire. Really well balanced between its malty character and its dry hops.

Photo of Qbdoo
4/5  rDev -2.4%

So hoppy for a brown that at first it just seemed weird. But as I adjusted my expectations, and as I let it warm, the beer really grew on me. It's astonishingly dark (I could see the brown only by holding it up to the light) but r gorgeous. Looks more like a scotch ale than a brown. The nose mixes caramel and a bit of citrus and pine. The taste feels unbalanced when really cold but as it warmed the caramel and nutty qualities evened out the hoppiness. A true hybrid and a great fall beer.

Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%

Rich brown malt nose with a suspicion of celery, hint of cardamom.
Brilliant walnut, 1” tan fluffy head, finely bubbled, lacy.
Palate: medium roast malt, creamy chocolate, a hint of caramel, a light sweetness upfront but dries out on the finish with a light handed bitter finish that complements the chocolate. Well rounded.
Medium to medium full body, medium high carbonation.

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 5,561 ratings.