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Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

2,015 Reviews
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Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States | website

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-07-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,015 | Ratings: 5,908
Photo of Vipsanius
2.48/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a dark reddish brown with a one inch tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves decent lacing.

The aroma smells like a sweet loaf of whole grain bread.

The initial taste is rather shocking, and not in a pleasant way. There's a distinct burnt coffee-like taste then a wretched, almost fishy, bitterness taste. The finish has an unsweetened chocolate flavor to it. The malts and sweetness are overpowered by these other tastes. Overall, pretty unbalanced.

This one is hard to drink. I'll revisit it later and hope I just got a bad batch (there was no notch on the "packaged in" section of the label). Otherwise, I'll be marking this off my list.

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

Crimson brown color with a thin head. Left some lacing on the glass as the head disipated. Definate aroma of hops mixed with alcohol due to the high ABV. Taste is very smooth for such a high alcohol beer. Has a toasted flavor and is a little sweet. Overall a very nice beer. Will have to make a trip to the brewery soon.

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

Pours a lovely deep ruby color with a thin head. It smells of roasted malt: coffee, chocolate and toasted bread. The taste similarly emphasizes roasted flavors. I think this beer -- happily -- is a bit more bitter than others of the style. There is also a slight sharp flavor in the back end.

The body is smooth and substantial.

Overall this is a good American Brown Ale. My favorite is still Rogue's Hazelnut Brown Nectar.

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

Dark brown pour, fairly decent light-brown head that leaves some lace in a pint glass. Smell is roasty malt with lots of chocolate overtones and maybe a little bit of a smoky burnt smell, too. For its ABV, the taste is really, really smooth and malty. Lots of sweetness, but it's not cloying, and the roasty character really shines through; there's a bit of nuttiness to the flavor as well. The hops aren't entirely lost, but there's a pretty solid wall of malt over them. A very drinkable and smooth, not to mention strong, brown ale.
One of my favorite DFH brews.

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

The kind of brew that reminds me that I like it when a brewer has to step up with some unique ways to mask a high alcohol. I found this a wonderful effort from the folks in DE.

The head of a stout on a brew the color of a porter; we're not messing around here: no pussyfooting.

Malty sweet aroma makes the sprightly mouthfeel completely unexpected. Other ways this ain't your average brown: that high abv (which is more a number than anything found in the flavor,) an unusual vinous quality, a dynamite hop presence that makes sure the malty notes have to fight for dominance.

Not a regular brown ale drinker, and I loved it. Highly recommended.

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

Not surprised at all by how good this offering from Dogfish Head is. Mostly I go for their IPAs and other stuff but I had this a few times at the Moan and Dove and thought it was great but for some reason never picked up a sixer. Well, tonight was the night, and I'm glad I finally decided to go for the maltier side of Dogfish Head. Appears more ruby red than most standard brown ales, mixed with the traditonal drab brown of course. A bit of white head tops the beer. Smell is creamy and milky, with a touch of bitterness to it. The creamyness comes through in the taste and mouthfeel as well, but the overall taste is much more complex. It has a nice fruityness to it. Dark cherries, ripeness, in addition to the milky creamy flavor. Also, it reminds me of a dark Belgian ale with it's sweet candied sugar taste, which isn't as overwhelming to me as it seems some people have noted. Nice hoppy backbone as well. All of the many tastes in this beer are very well defined and stand out among each other, but also compliment each other. Like I said, I'm not surprised that this beer is as good as it is, coming from one of my fav breweries, but I think I'll be getting it more often now. Cheers.

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Photo of carln26
3.86/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, clear brown color with a thick tan head. The head leaves a light lace on the side of the glass. The beer is very pleasing to the eye. Mild malt aromas rise from the glass. The nose has a mixture of malt sweetness and delicate roast malt character. There is a subtle grapefruit rind backing. The taste is neutral. Not too bitter, not too sweet. It is what you would expect. It’s dead between a pale ale and a stout having a darker roast character of the latter, and a mild citrus hop bite. The mouth feel is wonderfully smooth, and it has a good drinakbility.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale pours up big & lacy with an outstanding thick, long lasting lace. Best served cool at cellar temperatures (45-55F) from a logo house pint. Big aromatic and fruity (carmelized pears, Bananas Foster, lemon zest, etc...) nose with lots a candy sweet, nougat-like maltiness. Light hoppiness follows with just a hint of zesty spiciness. The gorgeous ruby-brown body is topped-off nicely by a thick, lacy tannish-white head. Lots of sugary, caramel sweetness upfront fades ever-so slowly to an marked bitterness that helps dry the generous maltiness. The rich caramel/toffee maltiness dominates along with a light unobtrusive toastiness that interplays well with the dried fruit character (e.g. apricots, dates, raisins) and alcohol all the way until the bold, albeit slightly roasty finish. Medium-full body with a very good-excellent creaminess. A really nice strongish ale to enjoy paired with some salty mixed nuts or a good dried fruit trail-mix. Fantastic after a long day's ride!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, with a medium tan head with incredible retention and lacing.

Smell: Full of chocolate, toffee, caramel, and biscuit malt. A sweet brown sugar aroma swirls with dark fruity undertones and lots of alcohol.

Taste: Smooth and sweet roasty malt backbone, but not cloyingly sweet, very balanced hop bitterness comes through midway, with a dry coffee finish. Definitely is warming and very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Full and creamy mouthfeel with a slighty acidic and astringent finish.

Notes: This one is strong, 7.2% ABV is hidden fairly well. Very detectable in the nose, but no solventy or hot fusel alcohol taste. A very fine American Brown, but I wish they backed up on the alcohol a little bit.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark murky brown with crimson hues coming through when held up to the light. A soft bubbly khaki head pops up and then falls to a ring around the top. Crisp nose with roasted grain, sweet burnt brown sugar, nuts and some piney hop tones. Both unique and appealing with sticky patchy lacing.

Big first sip brings a healthy dose of roasty, toasty caramel/brown sugar maltiness...smooth with a nice sweetness. A nice clean hop bitterness hits on the back of the palate and accentuates the flavor nicely. Dark molasses with a hint of fresh baked bread.

Good, full bodied brew that makes itself known on the palate. A tasty brown ale that I could easily have a few of. Another quality DFH brew.

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Photo of krberg
3.25/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Cream head with a deep brown body. Looks very nice.

Smells like freshly milled malt and leather. A little creme brulee? No hops to speak of.

Suprisingly sweet. Molasses and burned sugar. A little hop kick to balance out the malt. Just a hair overboard in my opinion; I like creme brulee. Very boozy for 7.2.

The body feels both thin and thick at different times during the act of swallowing. Thin in the mouth, but thick at the throat. Interesting. I wish it was more full-bodied.

Good for a few, but too boozy tasting for a session.

Overall: A decent beer that is worth trying, but it doesn't satisfy my need for a brown ale.

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

I picked up a single of the Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale. Packaged date is clearly notched for August. This beer might be a little past its prime, but should be okay considering its 7.2% ABV and an IPA.

Pours a healthy looking dark brown with chestnut highlights. Thick head that turned into a sticky lacing around the glass.

Aroma of bready and sweet malts with a clean hop background.

A very smooth brown ale that supplies a juicy caramel sweetness. Some sips taste like brown sugar. This is pretty robust and nutty for the the style. There is a solid hop snap presence on the finish that works well in this beer.

An interesting take on a brown ale that shouldn't disappoint.

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Photo of dansteino
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Good
Smell: Exceptional. So complex. The malt (caramel and chocolate)), hops (herbal), and yeast (fruity) all add to the complexity of this wonderful beer.
Taste: Very good. Rich malt is balanced by hop and burnt malt bitterness. So well-balanced.

This beer was shockingly good. I never knew brown ales could be this complex and tasty.

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Photo of Wonka
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Packaged in ‘7’ (July)
12 fl. Oz 7.2% ABV
Shawan Liquors in Hunt Valley, MD

The beer pours to a thin white head and is dark brown, barely allowing light to permeate. The smell is dark chocolate, floral, brown sugar, coffee, light alcohol, malt. Plainly stated it’s a smooth beer with caramel, a good note of alcohol, roasted malt and nut passing to a crisp, slightly bitter snap at the back and sides of the tongue as a closer. The 7.2 ABV is certainly in the neighborhood and it calls out but it doesn’t need a restraining order. The Goldings and the Liberty hops roll right into the aftertaste and they are tempered by a light caramel sweetness. As the beer warmed slightly during consumption it did become a bit sweeter. This is a fantastic strong brown ale and a certain recommendation.

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Photo of warriorsoul
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a dark brown, almost black, w/ light slightly permeating through to show an almost bronze color. One finger of cream white head and nice, sustaining lace.
I can smell a blend of coffee and vanilla...smells sweet.
The taste is a rush of flavor w/ hops up front. This beer is not bitter at all and is extremely refreshing. I would prefer a bit less carbonation...would love to try this one on tap.
I can taste roasted malts, coffee, caramel and fig with a slight alcohol taste.
The mouthfeel is real nice. Smooth, yet the flavors linger on the tastebuds.
This is one fairly complex brown ale...mild enough to please the masses, yet offering more to those who expect it...thanks Dogfish!

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

The appearance is near perfect. The head never disappears, the lacing is huge, it is a gorgeous dark brown. granted the everlasting head is great, it is a little big in the beginning. There's a strong roasted malt aroma with a warming alcohol tinge. The malts are balanced by grassy hops. The sweetness can get a little cloying when tasted on its own. This is a good, albeit flawed beer. Tastes great with a slice of pizza.

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

Let's just say that I am homebrewing my first batch of brown ale now and I am praying it tastes remotely like this beer. It poured mud brown in color with a finger-width head. The malts were rich and earthy. Very smooth and like milk chocolate, but not overly sweet. I'm thinking more of a coffee ice cream. I could not even notice the alcohol. The hops were present but not overwhelmingly so. Also hints of caramel and hazelnut came through the beer and were present in the aroma.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a red wine tint to it. The aroma is pleasant but not overwhelming. The hops really have a strong aroma but the roasted malts balance them nicely. Complex flavor that contains some coffee, chocolate, nuts, and currant. The alcohol in this beer is extremely noticable, especially towards the end of the beer. It is very smooth drinking, but can be hard to finish near the end of the beer at times. Overall, this is a nice beer, but not shy by any means. Very alcoholic and reminded me of a red wine at times.

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

poured a reddish brown with a light tan head. aroma malt, dark brown sugar dark fruits, caramel. flavor nice and smooth , chocolate. malts, alcohol, plums. and other dark fruits.another good beer from the fish.I sure hope they send more up here. will buy more

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

Wow, this one has abunch going on at once. The smell has a smokey, roasted malty, hoppy, with a alcohol tinge to it. The taste was just the same. The only difference, was that the alcohol was lighter in the taste. This left for more room for the different tastes going on. It went from one taste to another, right quickly. Very tastey, as well as crisp and refreshing. Definately a beer I'll have in my glass again.

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Photo of AlexJ
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Draft at Delaneys New haven, CT, leftover from a DFH dinner. pours a very dark, somewhat cloudy brown with a thick head of brown. Inticing aromas offer porter-like malt toastiness, chocolate, caramel malt, and sweet floral hops. Mmmm, tastes even better! Far richer and more stout-like than the bottled version. Thick, chewy mouthfeel, very toasty, very fresh. Excellent floral/pine hops finish. This is too good, unfortunately it's not usually offered on draft in CT. Why oh why?

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

12 ouncer with "packaged in" date notched on the label. Pours a rich dark honey, clear, mahogany amber, not much head elucidated, wispy lacing left behind. nose is sweet and raisiny. This is a lovley full throtle brown ale, bursting with malty sweetness, notes of rum, caramel, maple sugar, vanilla and toffee. Subtle hops come in late and in the finish to pave the way for a long slightly dry finish. Got to love a brown ale thats over 7%! Thanks for all that you do DFH!

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Photo of kbub6f
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A small, capuccino head dies fairly fast, leaving a couple of small spots of lacing. The beer is a dark, caramel-brown color. Nose is sweet, sugary, nutty, caramely. The beer starts syrupy with nutty chocolate. A little smoke. The middle is dark and malty; just a little buttery. Finish is bitter, smoky with chocolate. There's a little vegetable in the aftertaste, but not in a really bad way. It's a flavorful, rich, brown.

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

This beer is bursting with flavour and lots of class. The malts are at the front but this beer balances very nicely with a long drawn out finish. These guys seem to be able to handle any style that comes their way. Would go well with BBQ. A true new world brown ale.

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

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale (“10” notched on label):

Initially a minimal head on a rather vigorous pour that slowly builds to a very nice one inch head with big bubbles…dissipates just as quickly to a consistent thin film. Dark crystal clear brown color. Aroma is malts, no holding back here on the sweetness…smell alone might suggest a doppelbock. OK, lets see what this ale is all about. Big malty palate kept in check by the hops. Some molasses going on here as well. Not your garden variety brown. A big bold brown ale with a hop bite that’s just damn fun to drink.


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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 2,015 ratings.