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Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

2,015 Reviews
For Trade:
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: 5,904
Photo of justintcoons
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle (7 months old) poured into a shaker pint.
Purchased in a $10 mystery bag at the Iron Abbey in Horsham, PA.

Chestnut brown with ruby red highlights. 1 finger of creamy tan head with good retention. Good clarity with lively carbonation.

Caramel, brown sugar, roasted barley, and faint citric hops.

Caramelized brown sugar, roasted barley, and some toffee sweetness. Hints of chocolate and smoke. The hops are mostly lost due to the old bottle but there are some citric and earthy hops subtly lingering.

Medium bodied, crisp, oily, and off-dry with a moderate bitterness.

New or old, this beer taste great either way.

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Photo of EMH73
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very dark brown with a beige head. Chocolate, caramel and molasses notes. Sweet with a slightly bitter finish. Overall an excellent beer. I wish it was easier to find in my area.

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Photo of SensorySupernova
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Very dark brown with an off-white head. Just a little bit of red light makes it through this beer.

Smell: Caramel, bread, just a little bit of herbal hops.

Taste: Moderately sweet malts, caramel, bread yeast up front. A little bitter towards the end. Just a little ethanol at the end, but it’s pretty much hidden. Aftertaste is a little sweet and hoppy.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thick and moderately carbonated.

Overall: Good hearty brown ale.

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Photo of Buck89
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Never had a beer like this. Dark ruby brown with a thick tan head. Aromas of black cherry, plum, some cedar and caramel. Taste is complex: dark malt up front with dark fruit notes followed by a sweetness like a Scotch ale but also a hoppy bitterness like a black IPA at the same time. It works and doesn't seem confusing or muddled. Full bodied with a thick finish like a Scotch Ale.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Harvest Market
Kind of surprised I haven't rated this before.
Crystal clear dark brown color with a stingy off white head. big chocolate caramel and molasses with some aged earthy hops to counter. May not be the freshest bottle, but still tastes pretty damn good.

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Photo of txbrewer
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

All the good parts of all the styles blended well. More brewers should do this. Just malty enough to go with the right amount of hops and not overly carbonated.

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Photo of Miller138
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful chocolate color with a lean tan head.
Malt and Caramel notes in the nose
nice full body and mouthfeel
great complexity and balance - starts with caramel and chocolate malt character that gives way to a nice hop bitterness that holds up against the malt. It finishes with a nice dried fruit, caramelized sugar taste
This beer has qualities of a nice American brown ale and a really well done old ale

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Photo of jwhancher
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a sixer at the brewpub in Rehoboth yesterday. Bottled on date of 8/24/15. Pours clear ruby Amber with nice persistent off white head. Smells of caramel & brown malts, figs, brown sugar and spicy hops. Malts seem to slightly overwhelm the hops but they compliment each other quite nicely. Tastes like a scotch ale with ample bitterness, a lighter mouthfeel, and great drinkability. Super smooth and a great beer to pair with a variety of foods. Nicely done. A very nice change up to today's standard IPAs. This one was def a trendsetter when it first came out.

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

12 fl.oz. bottle. Bottled on 2015-03-12. Poured into tulip.

A: dark brown. Poured without foam.
S: Intense caramel aroma. Toasted bread. Unfortunately the hops are not found, despite the name suggests to.
T: Caramel. Malty. Mildly sweet. Medium- bitterness. Little grassy. The finish is sweet bitter, like drank coffee.
M: Creamy. Full bodied.
O: This beer reminds me Fuller's London porter. They share a majority of characters though this one is significantly stronger. However, I would like it a bit more hoppy because the name leads me to think so.

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Photo of Krisp09
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into tulip. Color is dark brown with ruby red hues. Aroma is lots of malt, coffee, and chocolate. Taste is sweetness from brown sugar first, then coffee notes. Hops present in bitterness but not really taste. Overall a really interesting beer but cannot say the IPA portion of it shows through strongly

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Photo of Marraybay
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Actually found/tried this at the beach, when looking for something other than an IPA or a shandy to drink! Interesting beer, which DH pushes as a hybrid Scotch-IP-Brown Ale. The taste really seems to follow suit, with some sweetness, hops, and kick. The sweetness tends to come in at the front and linger, with the finish being pretty boozy. The IPA portion tends to present near the middle--once or twice more than I cared for in all honesty:(not a fan of the style)--but all and all, it remains pretty buried in the mix. Color is a darkish brown, with a decent head development and glass lacing. If there's a critique besides the occasional hop rush, it would be the prevalence of the alcohol in the finish, which to me at least, can come off a little "raw / harsh" at times.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.38/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 4/03/15 at 42 degrees into snifter
Aroma – weak, slightly malty
Head small (< 1 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, fizzy, rapidly diminishing to one mm ring
Lacing none
Body dark brown, opaque, effervescent
Flavor – slightly sweet, light caramel flavor; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.5, Aroma 3, Flavor 3.5, Palate 3.5, Overall 3.5

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Photo of zander4dawin
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A dark brown, tastey looking beer with a nice capped head. Chalky dry dark chocolate notes with brown sugar, liquorish under tones. A classic beer a just want to pair with food or enjoy by itself.

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Photo of iheartmyTHO
3.62/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I really just didn't particularly care for this bear. Based on the description, it seemed like something that I would have liked. It wasn't particularly awful but not great either. I was expecting more hoppy I guess? But it came off being more malty and sweet than I would have liked.

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Photo of ZakFaruki
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured from a 12 oz. into a tulip, pours an almost black with a tan head, about a finger's worth of foam

S: Coffee, Sugar, and Chocolate, with some bread-like malt as well

T: Brown Sugar and a slight coffee taste, almost like a porter, fades into a malt flavor with a slight note of hops

M: Medium bodied, chewy and tart, feel a bit of hop oil on my teeth

O: I see people here are rating it like an IPA, but this is not even close to that style, more like a scotch ale in that regard. Honestly, I would have said this is a porter if I was unaware of the brown ale labeling. I bought this on the recommendation of Wine Enthusiast, and other reviews, and like many Dogfish brews, I was not disappointed. Is it earth-shattering, no, but its an excellent brew that I feel many would come to appreciate. Definitely put one in your six-pack next time you visit your local beverage store.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A decent head that is thick and tan. Decent head retention. Color was deep brown and red, very dark, but you can still see through to the world on the other side. This one was surprisingly clear!

Chocolate and caramel and some floral hop notes. It also has a slight smoked malt scent.

Instant bittering hops upfront that fades into a deep roasted malt flavor with hints of coffee and chocolate. After the bittering hops subside, there is a slight sweet and caramel flavor. The sweetness is short lived and it finishes quite dry. There is a slight fruitiness with flavors of plums and figs.

Full bodied and decent amount of fizz. There is a slight dry pull on the tongue.

This is a pretty unique IPA (which I was expecting) that was very dark, rich, and malty. This is something that I would buy again. Dogfish Head makes some unique brews (or is that off-centered?).

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Photo of arizcards
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from TW Arrowhead in late June for $2.29. Bottled on 4/3/15.

Beer poured brown a beautiful tan head that has some major hang time.

Nose is sweet, hoppy, and very inviting!

Taste is on the sweet side like a scottish ale but has a decent floral hop bite to balance the taste. Finish is dry like a brown ale.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall this is a very interesting beer definitely different but in a good way. Not sure why it took me years to finally have this but i certainly was not disappointed. Do try this if you like the described styles.

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Photo of hophead723
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: Clear woody brown like Mahogany, with a nice light tan head. Slow rising bubbles struggle to reach the top of this thick brew. The head is creamy and smooth. Strong lacing.

Smell: Toffee, caramel, grassy hops, a bit of vanilla and sugared dates.

Taste: Very intense and sweet flavors of caramelized sugars, dates, toffee, coco nibs, and a backing of piney hops.

Feel: Full-bodied, smooth, wet, creamy, and a tiny bit dry at the very end. It reminds me of bitter dark chocolate.

Overall: Very satisfying, rich, full, and well executed. I could see myself using this beer in a number of culinary applications as well.

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Photo of wmblair
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pretty silky smooth. It is very dark for an ale. The bottle says it is "hopped liberally and often" but the hops is balanced by the sweetness so it doesn't taste as "hoppy" as an IPA normally does. It is quite sweet. Pleasant.

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Photo of Zonk
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Some good roasty notes, but hops are also featured in this medium-weight brown ale. Moderate carbonation. Light sweetness on the palate but followed by hop bitterness on the tail end.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

July 27, 2015

12 oz bottle, snifter

A – Deep brown with tones of rich mahogany and ruby red tinting. Quite clear. Maybe a quarter-inch of off-white to light tan foam, made of large bubbles, that fades fairly fast.

S – Caramel and brown sugar, along with light toffee and a touch of chocolate. Woodsy and herbal hops with some minor tropical notes.

T – Brown sugar and mild caramel. Just a minor chocolate note. Hops are woodsy but also fruity, some bitter grapefruit and darker tropical fruits. A moderate oakiness becomes noticeable on the finish.

M – Moderate to medium-high carbonation with a medium body. Some mild sudsiness. Sweet up front from the extra sugar but bitterness increases through the finish, lingering on the aftertaste.

O – More hop-bitter and flavorful than most brown ales, and I like it. The strength is deceptive. Lots of complementary and contrasting flavors. Complex.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Finally got around to this. Of course had to run to WI to get it. Currently #6 in am. brown ale category.
Great aroma with soft darker malts and a sweet sugary quality that moves to caramel. Nicely complex for style.
Smallish and dark head with some lacing. Dark brown with reddish highlights.
Again complex, esp. for style. Just enough alcohol to taste and add some complexity. It mingles with the hops nicely as it moves towards soft bittering on the finish. Again soft darker malts that are a bit drying but the sugary sweetness contrasts nicely.
Moderately light feel for style, even seeming a bit on the thin side. But it's not a distraction or problem.
This is good as it gets for style.

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Photo of fscottkey
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: [4.75] Looks pretty fantastic in the glass. Dark brown cola colored beer. Forms a dense 1 finger head of off white bubbles. The bubbles look creamy and have some staying power. Really nice lacing on the glass. The bottle lists the ABV (7.2%). There is a date code that means this was made 12/11/14.

S: [4.00] I get coffee initially. Then some whole wheat bread smells.

T: [4.25] Sweet upfront then moves into a really nice malt flavor. The roasty malts are fantastic. I am getting little to no hops - but I am not complaining. The rich roasted malt flavor is great.

M: [4.00] Smooth and creamy feeling with a medium body. Low carbonation and low bitterness.

O: [4.25] Blindfolded I would call this a porter. It has the coffee aroma, it has the great roasted malt flavor... The lable talks a lot about how it is liberally hopped. I am getting no hop bite. Based on the brewed date maybe the hops have faded. I am totally fine without them. This is a really great beer. Nice aroma, excellent taste and a smooth body. I will drink this again.

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Photo of alexanderplatz
3.26/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Hoppy but not citrus-y. Malty but not fruity. Dry.... very dry. Another reviewer mentions flavor of bread crust. I would add hint of burst toast, which ruins it for me. I think this would go better with some spicy or otherwise strong-flavored foods. It's not a very good brew for just sipping on its own.

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Photo of sashavasko
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice beer overall. Unlike many browns you don't just taste the caramel - tastes like a crust of good homemade rye bread. Interestingly the one I had at the Dogfish head pub was better then from the bottle. Better chilled.

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