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Indian Brown Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,954 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,954
Hads: 5,638
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 9.02%
Wants: 296
Gots: 872 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,954 | Hads: 5,638
Photo of mschofield
4.62/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours brown with red-amber highlights at the edges, topped with a two finger frothy dark tan head that quickly died and left no lacing (same happened as I worked through a 6 pack over about a weeks time).
Caramel, burnt wood, cellar mustyness, flowers, blackstrap molasses, and a fresh laundry/clean linen note (I think thats ozone?).
The taste is still definitely a brown ale, but just punched up, caramel, brown sugar, strong citrus hop note, burnt toffee. Best tasting brown ale I've had.
Medium-full feel, if it wasn't for the ABV, this has the taste and drinkability of a session beer. (593 characters)

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

This probably ties 90 minute for my DFH favs.

Clear dark brown with black tints. Nice beige head stays for a while and sticks some. Smell is of Englishy hops and molasses. Taste is a fight between malt and hops that don't seem to get along. Like most DFH, this could use some polishing, but the malt/sugar flavors are what I really love about this beer. There is the light caramel in there pretty strong, along with some roastiness and a hint of peat smoke. Molasses and brown sugar add layers to this and leave it on the sweet side. The hops are very present and could definitely be toned down some, as they detract from the nice malt. No real yeast or fermentation flavors left after the hop vs. malt war. Feel is pretty smooth and sweetness does not get cloying to me.

Very nice, but I repeat that it needs polishing. Tone down the flavoring hops to let the malt and brown sugar shine in their glory. (909 characters)

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured dark brown, with a head made up of med-large sized bubbles. It stayed enough to lace the glass.

It smelled strongly of chocolate and coffee. I wanted to smell it forever.

The taste was of chocolate and coffee as well with med-high hoppiness. Some nice roasted and smokey matlyness was also present.

It started off smooth in the mouth, somewhat oily and it finished with a strong dry finish.

I’d say this beer is definitely one of the better examples of the style. (487 characters)

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

The beer poured clear and dark brown. The head was tan, large, and in charge. It stuck around to lace the glass.

The aroma was chocolate, coffee, caramel and a slight smokiness.

The flavor was chocolate, caramel and coffee. Also a slight smokiness was present in the flavor. The flavor is well done and very nice to drink. Behind the flavors is a substantial hop bittering that dries the flavor out well.

The finish was dry, and chocolate/coffee bitterness into the aftertaste. The body was medium to medium full.

12 ounce bottle. Bottled in 1 on the bottle (this could not have been 2004 since I remember when this beer was purchased) (647 characters)

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mild yeasty, coco, banana aroma. Big froathy light brown head left a solid coat of lace. Caramel-cola colored beer. Flavors of chocolate and plums with a solid malt base. Coco-coffee bite midway through that mellows in the finish. Light, bubbly smooth mouthfeel on a decently thick body. A brown ale with an IPA finish, I love it! (330 characters)

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

I enjoyed this offering...
Poured a deep brown color, mahogany...
smelled a bit bitter, spicey maybe some coffe notes. A little sweetness comes thru as well
tasted just about like it smelled, but I noted more sweetness in the taste that finished off on the bitter side from that coffeeish note.
mouthfeel was nice, smooth but I did note a slight chalkiness
I liked this brew overall, I most likely would not get it again based on the other much better offerings from Dogfish but It was an enojyable offering. (513 characters)

Photo of scriabin
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a nice reddish brown color and modest yet thick head. Taste is a complex mix of coffee, chocoloate, a bit of caramel, and brown sugar with a hint of bitterness. Some other flavors in there too that will keep me coming back for more. A very good brown ale. (266 characters)

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

12ozer bottle bought as a single from Spirit Haus, Amherst, MA.

Poure dinto an imperial pint glass, formed a small 1/4" light tan head that faded to a layer of foam over the deep reddish-amber brew. Acceptable lacing, and this offering has a hearty grainy aroma tempered with a bit of hops. Taste is a lightly nutty mouthful of malt, with a balancing amount of hops, which while unusual for a brown, is exactly as advertised on the label. Very smooth, and leaves a slight tinge of alcohol on the tongue. Wish it was a bit heartier in makeup, but a joy to behold nonetheless. One of the more sedate style-breaking ales from Dogfish Head. (640 characters)

Photo of IceAce
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Mahogany brown body topped with an off-white two finger collar of tiny bubble foam. The head was slow to dissipate and left a beautiful trail of lace on my beer-clean footed pilsner glass.

AROMA: Deep aroma of Porter-like roasted malt.

TASTE: A superb balance of malt in the foretaste and hops (Liberty & Goldings) on the finish. The follow-through leaves a pleasant hint of milk sugar or lactose coating on the tongue.

MOUTHEEL: The balance and ingredients combine to give this brown an outstanding, full-beer experience.

DRINKABILITY: This baby would be a welcome addition to any great beer-drinking session. (635 characters)

Photo of rajendra82
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of the 12 oz. bottle into the pint glass with reddish brown body with a tan colored 2 inch tall rocky head. Initially the beer had a lot of carbonation streamers which died down shortly taking the head with them. There was quite a bit of lace around the glass. The aroma was very Porter-ish, with tones of dark roasted malt, coffee, and alcohol. The taste was nuttier, sweeter, and drier than a Porter with lots of hop bitterness. There was also a good deal of complexity mid palette with hints of licorice, raisins, rum, and caramel. The aftertaste was very dominated by alcohol. In my opinion this beer defies being shoehorned into any style, with elements of Porter, Barleywine, IPA, and Brown Ale all jumbled together. A very good find at Riverside Beverage in Chattanooga, Tennessee (but Ziggy’s had it too). (825 characters)

Photo of iokals
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Deep brown with reddish-amber hew. Brown head disappeared quickly.

Aroma: Strong smell of molasses and spice.

Taste: Interesting, but the high bitterness from the hops seems to be more in conflict with the malt and molasses than in harmony with it. It creates an interesting character, but it keeps it from being a beer that's "easy" to enjoy.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is spot on. Good balance, not too syrupy or too light.

Overall: Its character keeps it from being something I could enjoy more than one of at a time. Definitely more complex than a standard brown, with strong forces from both the hop and malt end of the spectrum. Easier to appreciate with a clean palate, looses a lot when trying to enjoy it with something else. (755 characters)

Photo of BeerResearcher
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle. Confusing dating with only the month notched between the 1 & 2).
An amber-hued teak color with a fast dissipating beige head and some sticky and trailing lace.
A sweet caramel malty aroma is upfront. Smells of chocolate, citrus and alcohol follow.
This is a malty brew! Big roasted biscuity malt offers up flavors of dark chocolate and coffee.
Grapefruit and lemony bitterness create a nice counter sharpness to the sweet full-bodied malt. A bit of peppery spice gives this brew an extra edginess. A potent, though within the boundaries of big flavors, is the well-proportioned alcohol kick. Nice Brew! The draught version is even better. (661 characters)

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

Nice dark brown with a big bubbly head.

Crisp caramel sweetness in the nose, with a bit of alcohol coming through as well.

Medium-full body, smooth with nice carbonation. Sweet caramel flavors along with alcohol up front move to a light bitterness. Finishes with sweet alcohol flavors.

A nice brown ale, a little more alcohol than I'm used to but good nonetheless. (374 characters)

Photo of yeagerbm
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish red with a tan head.
Smells malty, nutty with some hops there too.
Taste- Nice caramelized, very malty flavor with a good hop balance which makes this taste a lot better than your newcastle. Very good mouthfeel, excellent balance.... can I have a few more??? (277 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark mahogany color with a two finger, beige head that leaves enormous, patch and sheet lacing on the glass.
Aroma has a sweet caramel maltiness up front, with notes of toffee and coffee in the background. Very roasty to the nose.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, well carbonated, and has a mild, peppery, hop bite on the tongue.
Taste has some delightful complexities. Roasted malts dominate, with assertive coffee and toffee notes up front. All kinds of hops emerge midway through, with spruce pine and grapefruit lingering in the background. Some smoky hazelnut makes a brief appearance, but that's about all the nuttiness that I detected. Finish is bitter hops, in a grapefruit rind sort of way. Alcohol remains concealed deep in the various flavor profiles.
Overall, an interesting brown ale that I will buy again. Leave it to Dogfish Head to create these "push the envelope" ales. I always try to keep a few DFH ales cellared, in the event I crave something "over the top". Well done brown ale here, and I highly recommend it. (1,051 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

7.2% ABV, 50 IBU. Made with caramelized brown sugar, Liberty and Goldings hops. Described by DFH as "A cross between a Scotch Ale, an I.P.A, and an American Pale"

Pours out to a clear, very dark ruby-brown, forming a very large whipped light-tan head atop small bubbles. Retention is superior, and lacing is clumping. The head is peaking and carbonation is very firm, giving a solid "Psssht" upon releasing the cap. Aroma is inviting with strong notes of brown sugar and milk chocolate, vanilla, toffee and caramel. There is a suggestion of alcohol in the nose. Mouthfeel is syrupy, yet bright with carbonation, and has a medium-dense body. Tasting more like an Abbey Double than a brown ale (in part due to the judicious use of brown sugar), the flavor echoes the aroma with a discrete hop presence (which is overshadowed by the syrupy malts). The subtle bitterness becomes noteable in the toasty, yet woodsy finish. Thankfully, I'm not upset by the small amount of diacetyl present, unlike the Shelter Pale Ale which was disturbing. No smoke or peat, though I'm picking up on some subtle bilious sourness. The alcohol esters are easily perceptable in flavor, and unfortunately increase as it warms, giving it an amateur homebrew twang that I'm not partial to. As the beer breathes, the toast in the finish evolves, and the spritzy mouthfeel softens. The bitterness interweaves perfectly with the toast, leaving a satisfying composure.

Rough around the edges, yet still a quite interesting brew which seems to cross boundries of style. The funky alcohol esters don't ruin the beer for me, but they do limit it's likability. (1,630 characters)

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

Satisfying in all categories. Pours a deep brown with a slight reddish hue. A creamy off-white head that laced the glass well, signifying the ample hop content. Rich caramel and hazelnut flavor notes underlying a smooth malty profile. Tasted sweet with a chewy mouthfeel that transforms into a tangy, nutty hoppiness at the finish. The alchohol is up there but is sneaks right by. A nice compliment to corn beef and cabbage on St Patty's day. (442 characters)

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

Dogfish Head has never let me down. The Indian Brown Ale is almost as good as any beer out there. It pours what looks to be dark brown, but in the light, it's a deep blood red. The head, a thick creamy, frothy cloud. Beautiful. The aroma is sweet with hints of chocolate and carmelized brown sugar. The taste is of caramel with a nice dose of hops mixed in. This is a great beer. I will be back to the store this weeken to buy some more. (437 characters)

Photo of PSUDREW
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark ruby/ brown. It has a nice balanced feel to it, little head and very little lace. Highly quaffable, and very drinkable for a Scottish Ale. There is a definite hop presence through and through this Ale, and it mixes very nicely with the malt background. It has a smokey carmel/coffe flavor throughout the drink, which mixes with both the hop and malt aspects of this beer. While it may seem very heavy upon the first couple of samplings, it comes out balanced and highly drinkable. DFH boys have constructed a mighty fine brew here and this may have possibly been one of the better conversion brews available on the market today. (646 characters)

Photo of FormatKid
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked this up in a 12oz bottle from Bacchus in Chattanooga. It was a nice suprise to find out he carried something from my home state when I feel so far from home sometimes.

Pours a deep, dark brown. Immediately a thick, bubbly, tan head erupts about three fingers high. The head reminds me of a bowl of oatmeal in its consistency. Lacing slides lazily down the sides of the glass and clumps up sporadically about the glass. Upon holding it up to the light a more amberish brown shines through, but it holds its darkness well.

The smell is great. The malts are immediately present, I pick up toasted coffee, and caramel. The bitter edge of hops sits there faintly as well.

The first thing I notice as I imbibe is just how creamy the mouthfeel is. It feels awesome going down, and works perfectly with the taste. The taste leads in bitter and then to sweet and caramel coated, bitter chocolate flirting at the edges. Slightly toasty background and just the absolutely faintest alcohol after-taste is present. This beer hides its ABV well, I have a bigger case of the warm and fuzzies than I would expect after just one. Then again it is the middle of the day and I have an empty stomach.

I have to say I really look forward to trying this one again, and would absolutely LOVE to find it on tap somewhere. To be honest if I had one or two more laying around I'd probably have another. As this is both my first beer from both Dogfish Head and my first of the Brown Ale style I have to say it made a great impression. (1,527 characters)

Photo of silenius
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this at the Real Ale fest in Chicago.

This beer pours a translucent reddish brown with head that looks odd with large bubbles.

It smells like chocolate covered coffee beans with a hint of root beer in the way back.

The taste is very similar to the nose, except the root beer note is now front and center. I enjoyed this change of pace for the night, but I do not think this style is for me over the long haul. I could have more than one, but I might end up choosing an alternate beer for my next if given a choice. (529 characters)

Photo of TheJudge
3.06/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This brown ale poured a nice rich color, with a very thin head which did not last past the first sip or two. The first thing I noticed as I went to drink it was a sourish smell, something that you sometimes get with barleywines, and something that I wasn't ready for in a brown ale. Probably due to the relatively high alcohol content. This taste carried into the mouth as well. It didn't help it. Thinking that perhaps it was a bad bottle, I poured another. Although this one seemed slightly smoother, it was basically the same. If I see it on tap somewhere, I will have it again, just to be sure it wasn't me. But this is not beer that you can sit and have 5 or 6 of.

I thought that I would like this more. Maybe I just didn't get a good batch. (749 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium to dark brown liquid with a beige foamy head. Try as I might, I could not even manage 1 finger of head. The small amount head that was present, disappeared rather quickly. There is very little lace on the sides of the glass. Ok, not impressive so far. Smells of toasted, almost a roasted malt. Taste is very nice, slightly buttery but a nice toasted malt flavor, with a dry subtle amount of hops. This is a good tasting brew. Mouthfeel was medium, which is nice. A bit higher in alcohol which is slightly noticable. I could drink several of these. Another solid brew from DFH. It can sometimes be hard to get excited about a brown ale, but this is one worth trying. (680 characters)

Photo of jahred
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tried this at the Feb. Goose Island "Beer Academy."

Pours a dark brownish red color with a small-sized white head. There's an odd, bitter vinegary scent that I can't quite place. The taste initially is bitter, chalky and stout-like. I definitely couldn't find any sweetness in this beer. There's also a very slight hint of coffee and/or espresso flavors.

The alcohol makes its presence known right away, but otherwise there are no dominating or exciting flavors in this beer, which was kind of disappointing (I was expecting more from DFH). (546 characters)

Photo of BierReise
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Finally DFH is available in Florida! This one poured a deep mahogany brown with a fairly good size head that has some staying power. Aroma is a nutty malty one with a slight roastiness and a bit of yeast as well. Body is medium and very smooth. Flavor is lacking a bit. Some roasted malt but no sign of brown sugar detected. Alcohol is well masked. A tad too bitter also. Overall a fair brew yet not something I'd drink on a regular basis. (439 characters)

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 1,954 ratings.