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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,980 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,980
Hads: 5,739
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 18.54%
Wants: 308
Gots: 958 | 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:
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Indian Brown Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,980 | Hads: 5,739
Photo of tedvr
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark, but somewhat clear with a small creamy head. Mild brown sugar smell with a malt background. Burnt coffee taste with brown sugar background. Nice mouthfeel, mild carbonation with a nice finish. Very interesting blend of three beers!

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Photo of MemphisSooner
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Brown with reddish hues, cream colored head. Good looking brew!

S: Burnt sugar, hops, malty sweetness, roasted nuts

T: Whoa! This one packs a lot of flavor in. Brown sugar, toasted bread, roasted malts. There is a lot to appreciate here. Dogfish head delivers the goods on this one.

M: Medium bodied, drinkable and smooth.

O: I am not crazy about brown ales, but this one is top notch. The hops and the burnt sugar set this apart from the pack of boring masses in this style. Well done Dogfish Head!

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

I admit I'm not a fan of brown ales. While there are several notable exceptions, if I walk into a new brewery and sample a range of their beers, the chances are pretty good that I will find their brown ale boring.

DFH's Indian Brown Ale is anything but boring. It's an excellent balance of malty goodness, a little sweetness and caramel, and just the right amount of pizazz from the hops. It's a great beer for drinking with a meal, but has plenty enough character to stand on its own.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

12 ounce bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a gorgeous, deep, dark, mahogany color, with a quarter of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that almost completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Lots of toasted and roasted malt up front, imparting some subtle notes of smoke, freshly baked bread, dark chocolate, brown sugar and some subtle hops.

Taste: Damn, that’s good! Massive malt bomb up front, giving off flavors of freshly baked dark bread, roasted chestnuts or walnuts, dark chocolate, and brown sugar-like sweetness, all beautifully balanced with some assertive, but not overpowering hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied to slightly chewy, and pretty smooth, as there is practically not carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 7.2%, there is just a touch of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: Jesus, this is an outstanding beer! Strong, beautifully balanced flavors of malt, sweet and hops, wrapped up in a smooth quaff! Delicious! Another awesome beer from Dogfish Head, one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of dcmchew
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, a tuby shine when held towards the light, small beige head quick to a small lace.
Smell of roasted grain, caramel, faint nut, used coffee filter, some cocoa, light fruitiness underneath.
Rich caramel up front, with toasted grain, light hazelnut and some raisin and date too, and quite a lot of crisp citrus. Malts start to cover up, with some cocoa powder and rich toasted bread. Light coffee in the finish and a bit of bitter hop.
Aftertaste has roasted grain and bread, with a bit of nut and cocoa powder. Hops seem to disappear. Medium body, light carbonation, easy to drink.
Can't say it blew my mind. Rich, really tasty, with a bit of extra hop, a bit complex, but quite quaffable, and still, no real "wow!" factor.

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

12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. If I am interpreting the coding correctly, this was bottled on 11/17/14.

A- Dark brown with slight amber and black highlights. Half finger head that moves a fairly thick lace. Decent retention on the side of the glass.

S - Grains, slight hops, dark fruit, cocoa, smoke, wood

T - Some caramel, cocoa, mild citrus, burnt grains. The description on the bottle seems spot on. Very clean and you can tell it was dry hopped.

M - Carbonation is medium light, things get chewy and a little sticky as it warms.

O - A well put together brown hybrid. Still looking for that brown ale that will stop me from reminiscing about the original Pete's Wicked.

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Photo of everythingiszen
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark, dark brown, with a subtle red tinge. Almost no head, what there is is very fine. Lightly carbonated, heavier body. Smells of sweet and dark malt. Leads with brown sugar malt, balanced caramel sweetness and a fair amount of hoppy bitterness, lingering finish of coffee and subtle smoke. Small amount of alc bite on some finishes. An interesting, while not outlandish, brown. Not bad at all. I’m nota huge brown fan, but if I’ll order one, it’ll be this.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours the darkest brown, this smells of carmelized goodness. So malty and smooth with rich flavors of roast and molasses. Not usually a fan of Dogfish brews, but this is one of the finest ales.

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Photo of The_Ox_Man_Cometh
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is one of the best beers I've ever had. I made an account just to review it!

That being said, I can't give you that in depth a review, but I'll do my best.

Looks: Nice deep brown. Very appetizing.

Smell:It smells good. Maybe a little underwhelming, but also appetizing.

Taste: This is where it really shines. Fantastic caramel malt start with a wonderful hoppy finish. Maybe even a little chocolate at the end, but my palette is not that developed. Really excellent, I can't swoon enough.

Feel: Very smooth in the mouth, and going down. I took off half a point because I felt it should be a little more carbonated.

Overall: Stellar on all counts. I bought this because I was worried the 60 minute IPA would be too hoppy for my friends, and figured this would be more balanced. I was right, and won big on the gamble. Everyone loved it. Get yourself some.

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Photo of brownbass
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unique blended concept. I'm partial to very hoppy beers. Although this isn't too hoppy, it's a good slightly hoppy option for darker fall or winter season beers.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a small snifter.

A: Dark brown in color with garnet hues. Creamy tan head keeps at a half inch. Broken rings of lacing.

S: Nutty, cocoa, dark caramel, brown bread. light whiffs of grass, tangerine, and perhaps cantaloupe and passion fruit underneath.

T: Toasted crust, nutty, cocoa, burnt sugar, brown caramel. Hops ride up with flavors of freshly cut grass and tangerine. Vaguely fruity for a moment. Cocoa, caramel, and orange chocolate on the finish.

M: Medium bodied with a deep and creamy smoothness. Awesome velvety texture. Carbonation prickles lightly about the tongue.

O: For me personally this is the best beer in Dogfish Head's core lineup. Serious drinkability here. All the flavors at work play very nicely, and the body and texture put it over the top.

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Photo of Reegze79
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The first time I had this beer was on tap at the Warf Pub In Edgartown MA in 2012 and it blew me away; have had it many times since in the bottle. I consider this to be the benchmark for brown ale. Perfect deep brown color and sustained creamy head. Rich, malty, nutty. My fav for fall and winter sipping. No more Sam Smith...

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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.

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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

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Photo of Gajo74
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look-Pours a nice dark brown color with a semi thick tan head. The lace is creamy, covers the surface and retains throughout.
Smell- The aroma is complex and clean at the same time . There is a lot going on; coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, sweet and lightly roasted malts and biscuity . Yet, it is subtle and not overpowering.
Taste- lightly roasted malts; like a lighter stout or porter. Some dark fruit as well as malty sweetness in the back of the tongue, which is balanced by a hops and dark coffee bitterness, which makes the finish somewhat dry.
Feel- creamy, smooth and softly carbonated. Medium bodied and on the drinkable side.
Another winner from Dogfish!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 1,980 ratings.