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Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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2,035 Reviews
Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,035 | Ratings: 5,985
Photo of topofthehops
3.56/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As an inveterate hop head I've avoided this in the past, but the "dark IPA" descriptor sucked me in to ordering a pint (along with the fact that they had no big IPAs on tap).

It's pleasant but it ain't no IPA, not anywhere close. Tastes like a stout mixed with an ale. Minimal hops. If you're looking for hops, don't look here. I can absolutely understand the high ratings, but my palate has been corrupted by wonderful hops, so this just doesn't do it for me.

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Photo of BDabbler
3.34/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I'm not sure why the reviews for this are so high. For a brown ale, and I love brown ales, this should not be rated so highly. It looks super dark brown, bubbly over carbonated head, smells great like coffee and caramel. The taste doesn't live up to the smell. The first few sips are bitter and you can taste the alcohol in it. As you continue to drink it, the bitterness settles down and it;s a bit more enjoyable. However, this is not up there with the likes of an Old Brown Dog. Some may call this complex, but I'd say it's a bit off the mark.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark brown with clear ruby edges and a light tan frothy half finger blanket leaving some wavy lace.

Smell is coffee, brown sugar, pine, cedar, toffee, toast, milk and something a little sticky and acidic like maple and wine barrel.

Taste is not quite as complex as the nose but still good, with creamy toffee, milk, sharp pine, tangy malt and caramel.

Frothy and full-bodied.

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

12 oz bottle poured into Belgian ale glass. Not sure how I managed to never try this before, living in DH country.

L: Beer is dark-brown, with cordovan highlights when held up to the light. 1F head, not much retention, little to no lacing, a thin cap and ring.

S: roasted and burnt toasty malts, caramel, brown sugar

T: Lots of toast and malt, barley, caramel, and a bit of pineyness from the hops, but this is more of a malt show.

F: Medium bodied, light to medium carbonation. Good balance and construction.

O: A nice brown ale, something you could drink any and every day.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a 13 oz Weyerbacher tulip glass bottled on 9/30/16. Pours a beautiful mahogany with a two inch off white head that leaves plenty of lace behind.

Smell is caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, biscuit, and pine.

Taste follows caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and vanilla upfront with biscuit, pine, and a hint of grapefruit in the long lingering finish.

Mouthfeel is above medium, plenty of carbonation, a not really dry, and excellent drinkability.

Overall why I never got this beer over the years is strange. A very nice beer that can warm you on a cool evening, but is very drinkable and goes down easy.

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Photo of Duckcommander493
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I just got into craft brews and have been trying different ones each week. Not a big fan of bitter beers such as IPAs so I wasn't sure how I'd like this one... I was amazed to say the least. This beer is definitely BURSTING with flavor, the coffee note is a strong after taste that complements the body of the beer amazingly, definitely has some floral notes and a quick bitter hoppy punch that quickly recedes, the brown sugar and toffee undertones help this one out and by far this is my favorite beer to date and I HIGHLY recommend!

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

Bottle dated 8/31:
Now listed as a "dark IPA" - huh?
Pours a mahogany brown, though getting past the darkness you can tell it's likely a clear beer (like many of DFH beers). The head builds up a light brown, and remains in a thick rim around the glass throughout the pour, with continents of thin film across the surface.

Nose has a little more roasted nut and even a little darker malt in it. I actually think I get the brown sugar, and a little bitter hops also comes through.

Taste starts off with a little sweetness to a dark bready malt flavor. The bitterness catches up fairly quickly, though, to bring the flavor back into balance. One of the classic brown ale flavors, a light nuttiness comes in to lean this a little more brown than a darker porter, in my opinion. The woodsy hops actually play nicely here, but do seem to add an American hoppiness to this beer (taste and power).

The beer is a little thin rolling over my tongue, but with the bold flavors, this actually helps keep it fairly easy to drink in more than sips.

I expected to rate this beer decently having had it many years ago and enjoying it. But this beer is even better than I recall. The balance of the brown with a little extra hop notes that don't overtake the beer hits the spot.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.39/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Hey look, a brown ale I'm a fan of. This one is a deep brown, and is replete with minimal light tan head in the 1/3" range. Aroma is interesting, English brown malt, some hopping, a fractional amount of smoke/roast/charred matter.

Taste hits more of the brown and scotch ale notes than it does ipa. Even though 50ibu it seems less than that with everything else going on malt wise.

A pretty cool beer even though I probably go years at a time between having one. Its one of the more respectable offerings from DFH.

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Photo of 911CROFT
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle into a glass tankard. Paid £3.50 for a single.

Pours a shiny, dark-mahogany body that when held to the light displays some crimson tones and allows small amounts of fine carbonation to be observed. A thick, foamy, one-finger in height, light-tan coloured head with excellent retention slowly reduces to a thin cap, leaving plenty of sticky, soapy lace.

The nose is led predominantly by a combination of warm toasted malts and a darker, more heavily roasted profile. Burnt sugars and roasted coffee beans are noticeable underneath, along with some citric hop bitterness towards the back end. Taste roughly follows suit, leading initially with a faintly sweet mixture of toasted malts, brown sugar, molasses, and lightly burnt caramel. Mid palate, hints of tart cranberry and dried dark stone fruit join lingering semi-sweet malts, before roasted bitterness begins to build. Burnt grains, roasted barley, charred espresso, cocoa and dark baking chocolate become much more prominent towards the latter half, combining with assertive citric and pine hop profiles to finish with increasing bitterness. In the mouth a medium body paired with moderately lively carbonation give a feel that starts slick and smooth before quickly drying as roast profiles intensify. After the swallow, bitter, oily grapefruit rinds, pith and resinous pine hop profiles linger momentarily on the palate, while hints of alcohol warmth give the only indication of the otherwise well-hidden 7.2% ABV.

Overall this is a decent beer. Sweet and bitter, malty and hoppy, complex but easy drinking, it starts as the label promises: a hybrid between a Scotch Ale, IPA and American Brown. The beers latter half however is dominated by a roast profile that’s a little too dark, intense and burnt, which ultimately detracts from balance and drinkability.

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Photo of rorykanderson
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

One of the best brown ales I've had. Some occupy the space between a stout and a pale ale without much merit to stand out on their own. Not the case here. Tons of reviews here better than mine so I'll just go ahead and sum it up - roasted malt, bitter hops, slightly floral, chocolatey, nutty, burnt caramel, brown sugar. Not too sweet or too bitter. Great balance. Smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation.

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Photo of akolb
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is a beer that I've been wanting to try for several years, but have never been able to find it anywhere near fresh. I finally snagged a 6 pack about 1 month old. Pours dark brown with a coffee head. The aroma is great: dark malts, caramel, and brown sugar. Sweet caramel notes dominate the taste with hints of chocolate, molasses, complex toasty maltiness, herbal hops and a pleasant bitter aftertaste. The taste is rich, complex, and wonderful. This is almost more of a Scotch IPA - strong caramel with some hoppiness. Creamy mouthfeel with a mild bodied. This beer is utterly unique and a true standout. Highly recommended.

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Photo of 88caprice
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a pint tumbler.

The bottle would lead you to believe that this is a pseudo-brown ale that has been hopped to pieces, like an American Black Ale. WRONG! While somewhat hoppy, this brew is more closely related to a Scotch Ale with it's caramelized sugars, color, and sweetness/mouthfeel.

It's quite good and very well done.

Look: Deep dark mahogany brown. A creamy head of fine bubbles that persists to the very end. Lacing for everyone.
Smell: A lot like a Scotch Ale. Rich, creamy smell of caramelized sugars, pipe tobacco, and a hint of something floral.
Taste: A char tang, somewhat astringent at first. Then the sweetness of caramelized sugars and low-note hop bitterness, with a coffee grounds finish.
Mouthfeel: So smooth, a little bit thick and creamy.

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Photo of Pankenstein
3.49/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

L: Opaque dark brown, head which doesn't dissipate all that quickly.
S: Strong maltiness, with brown sugar.
T: Brown sugar, bitter afterbite
F: Doesn't overstay its welcome, despite a distinct presence at first.
O: Not a bad beer... it wouldn't be my first choice, but I wouldn't turn it down either.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown in color with minimal light penetration. A fingernail of beige is present with light lacing. I smell brown sugar, molasses, and dark malt. I taste brown sugar and piney hops at the back of the palate. The mouth is slightly syrupy and chewy.

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Photo of Im4jojo
4.83/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Taste: Malty and toasty right at the front. The smell mirrors the taste. The caramel notes chime in beautifully. Very little carbonation with a thick two finger head when poured into a straight glass. The color is a deep, amber brown. A very enjoyable brew.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I had this beer at the brew pub 9 years ago, and I know I've had it a few times since, but this time it is following a Founders Porter on an empty stomach, and not working.

This brew looks great. All dark and foaming. There is little aroma.

That taste is out there. It mixes up so much and it's too early. I have to imagine that I ate a bunch of food (I'm sitting at the bar of a great restaurant, just not hungry). That helps tolerate the amalgam of hops and yeasty and nastiness.

I do remember now that this brew had this big nasty taste. Stay away, Bob, stay away.

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

Bought a single 12-oz bottle from Giant in Arlington, VA. Bottled on 2/17/16. Poured into a shaker pint.

Look: Dark ruby brown, generous, fine, medium-brown bubbles.

Smell: Roasted malt, hint of coffee

Taste: Robust malt flavor, balanced with just the right amount of hoppy bitterness.

Feel: Medium body, medium carbonation.

Overall: Another really solid offering from Dogfish Head. This one doesn't blow you away, but it would be great for knocking back a few.

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

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Brown with a hint of red and a generous head
S: Malty, a bit nutty, light hop notes
T: Nicely balanced with roasted malts, fresh hops and a light not cloying caramel flavor
M: Medium-bodied focused on malt richness but with light carbonation and a bit of a hop bite
O: I'm not usually a brown ale fan but this one is balanced with noticeable hops in addition to the malts making it quite enjoyable

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I normally HATE brown ales, but was pleasantly surprised with this one. It still wasn't my fave, but it was really well balanced and had a really nice roasted malt flavor.

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Photo of GStone899
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Quality brown ale with a great smell. Unfortunately the smell doesn't match the taste. Taste is good, I'm not ripping it but it's weak and slightly watery. I'd drink it again but it's a forgettable beer, especially from a beer rated so high. Not in my book.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light and brown like a brown ale for sure. I can't smell the ipa part in there but definitely hoppy with herbal and earthy character mostly in the smell. You can believe yourself being in the woods if you close your eyes and smells this beer plus a great roastyness. The taste is lighter and more on the caramel. The carbonation is average. This is a great beer but the smell let you want more complexity for the taste but it might be explained by the fact that I enjoyed a great dipa just before that

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

Amazing dark cream head on a rich dark brown ale, nearly cola-colored.Lacing lingers on glass. Aroma promises caramel and roasted grain and the taste delivers, and then some. BIG taste of caramel malts, roasted meat, brown sugar, molasses, and, trying to fight their way through, some tingly hops. Rich and rewarding, sweet, but not too much so. Bottled 04/06/16, consumed 20 May '16.

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Photo of Shippy
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep, ruby brown with a tan head. Great nose with lots of roasty, malty notes: brown sugar, coffee, etc. Taste is similar, but a little lighter and less intense than the nose. Feel is somewhat light with a creaminess on the end just before the carbonation becomes more noticeable. Overall this is very tasty, roasty, and malty. Definitely fits the brown billing extremely well - not a stout or porter, not an IPA or pale ale, but very nicely in the middle.

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Photo of Whey2Hoppy
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a blackish brown color with a slightly tan one finger head, with slight lacing down the glass. Aromas of caramel and burnt sugar primarily, with some dark fruits. The flavor follows the nose, with the brown sugar sweetness taking hold followed by some roasty malt bitterness. This is a medium bodied beer with a surprising amount of carbonation that gives this beer a foamy feel. Overall, this is probably one of the best brown ales out there, and definitely a beer for those who love that taste of roasted malts and caramel.

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

Took a chance on a never-before-tasted sixpack and we were greatly rewarded. Wonderful beer. Pours a dark brown, the smell is of toasted nuts. More nuts in the taste along with oats and brown sugar. Delicious,

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 5,985 ratings.
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