Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

2,047 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

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Reviews: 2,047 | Ratings: 6,043
Photo of direwolf-pgh
1.71/5  rDev -58.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Dogfish Indian Brown Ale - tastes like cough syrup

seriously, how anyone can drink this and not think of robitussin is beyond me.
How bad is it? I purchased a crate on recommendation and I'm giving it back to the kid who sold it to me.
I created this account just to post of the experience. Its nasty. Its so nasty this should be a one sentence review and yet I'm hammering out all this whatnot to reach the 250 word minimum.
in a word. its gross.

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Photo of edificio5
1.95/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

This beer had the appearance of a brown ale. I have been experimenting with trying different brown ales. I came across this beer. I decided to buy a six pack. When I looked at the beer and poured it, it was clearly a nice brown and heavy beer. I was hoping that i found another good beer however when i took my first sip it was just so bitter. I was hoping for something in the vein of Brooklyn Brown or Newcastle or even a Nut Brown type of ale but it wasn't. To be fair the packaging did say it was hoppy. If you are into the bitter taste then i think you may like it however if you are into a brown ale beer like Newcastle then this isn't for you

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Photo of Immortale25
2.09/5  rDev -49%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured into a Corona Extra pint glass. Says bottled on 8/2/11.

A- Pours a borderline opaque black with a 1/4 inch head that drops down to a paper thin head with splotchy bubbles on the surface. Not much lacing.

S- Smells of burnt malts with roasted overtones but not much else. Maybe a little coffee but not enough to be substantial.

T- Eh. More roasty notes but that's all. It's quite overbearing. Like a brown that wants to be a stout. Not sweet like you would expect from a beer made with caramelized sugar. Just a malt bomb with a bit of hops. Not as bad as previous attempts I've made to get into this beer but I still simply can't get down with it.

M- Once again, a stout's flavor with a brown's mouthfeel. Doesn't match up.

O- I've never liked this beer and have always maintained that it's my least favorite Dogfish of all time. This still holds true although I think that reviewing it made me gain a tad bit more respect for it. Still, I'm struggling to not drainpour it.

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Photo of scuppers
2.34/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Served from my heavy souvenir Oldenberg mug.

Appearance: very dark brown, tan head with some lacing.

Smell: I can smell some restrained hops, but mostly malt and dark flavoring grains. Hints of brown sugar, maple syrup or engine coolant. After the pour, I can detect a little alcohol in the nose. The smell reminds me of a less-forward version of Russian imperial stout or a winter warmer without spices.

Taste: Overwhelming with the malt and dark grains. I should state that I'm not a big fan of brown ales or fruity esters, residual sweetness, or restrained English hops. This one's not hoppy or clean enough for me. As another reviewer mentioned, it reminds me of soy sauce (maybe Chinese food would be a good pairing?) I drank a couple of these very cold yesterday, and today I drank one a little warmer and not as bad as I remember; but for the same price as 6 of these, I could buy 12 pretty reasonable beers. It's not a drainpour, but it's not far off for me. Too much flavoring grains and sweetness (and not enough American hop forwardness) for my taste. It reminds me an awful lot of a sweet stout that I brewed last month. I think they worked hard to get the bittering hops dialed in, and that shows, but for me there is a lack of clean hop flavor or aroma.

Mouthfeel: smooth at first, but as the bubbles come it leaves this dry feeling that's hot and kind of unpleasant. I would say this is the opposite of refreshing unless you've been out in the snow.

Drinkability: it's the opposite of a session beer. It might be an OK dessert beer if you're drinking only one.

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Photo of thirdeye11
2.48/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

The 1,000th review of this beer! I feel honored.

Presentation: Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a beautiful brown color with a nice 1 finger head. No lacing that I recall and the head falls quickly.

S: Smell is of brown sugar, hops, and caramel roasted malt. An unholy combination to be sure, but interesting and mildly pleasing to my nose.

T: The taste confirms everything I just smelled. It's way too bitter, way too roasty, and the brown sugar and caramel malt play second fiddle in the background. Extremely disappointing. I was really looking forward to this one too.

M: Nicely carbonated and feels good.

D: I drank 2 but only because I was at a party and it was the only beer I brought. I won't make that mistake again.

I think DFH brews are typically overrated. This one is possibly the worst I'ver personally had. I've only ever had 2 of their beers I liked, and those were only moderately.

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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 BWH3
2.5/5  rDev -39%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle from a Goblet at 50 F

Appearance: Very impressive. Gorgeous dark brown with a subtle red hue if held to light. Contrasted nicely by the off white head that tops the brew. If poured fairly vigorously, a terrific head will develop. The surface tension of the head allows it to cling to the glass and lace out perfectly atop the beer. The carbonation is just enough to promote lacing without disturbing the beautiful islands of foam. Too bad the rest of the beer is not as divine.

Smell: The dry hopping obviously dominates the aroma. The only malt I detect reminds me of the bitterness of black patent. I wish there were more malt complexity with some sort of nutty, caramel, chocolate, or coffee aroma to balance out the hops.

Taste: A simplistic aroma is forgivable, but such as simplistic taste in the face of the extravagant list of ingredients on the bottle is intolerable. The taste is basically the same as the smell – hop bitterness and an ashy quality from roasted malt. The hop bitterness lasts quite long.

Mouthfeel: Very good. Appropriate for style but does not make up for the lack of complexity in taste and aroma.

Drinkability: If you are looking for big IBUs and hop aroma in a brown this is your beer. One could easily kick back several with little trouble. But why when you could enjoy something else.

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Photo of alysmith4
2.5/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I did not care for this beer at all.. maybe it's just that I don't like this style. It's hard to tell.. I was trying to rate the beer with a very unbiased opinion, but who knows.

At any rate, what I can say is that the beer was very fresh, and the flavors were very clean. The mouthfeel and appearance were good, but I did not care for the taste.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.54/5  rDev -38%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A - A slight auburn brown with very little head that dissipates very quickly, moderate carbonation and a tiny bit of lacing will stick if you work hard to force it there. A paltry showing at best.

S - Very nutty odor with a bit of coffee and a lot of earthy undertones all around. Pilsner-esque grassy hops aromas strike too.

T - Alcohol is rather prominent. Granted it is a strong brown, but I don't like this much. Some nuts, grass and lighter coffee with a hint of legume blandness and a touch of commercial solvent. The aftertaste is a mild bitterness and a bit of chemical twinge.

M - Thick, creamy, gummy, and drying.

D - Not too good here. It's mouthfeel really kills it for drinkability. A bit strong to session. The taste is nothing great on top of that. I never know what to expect from a DFH beer, but it is almost always more than I end up getting. This is easily among the most disappointing of their beers I have come across. Even the more bizzarre ones at least leave me confused. This isn't a terrible beer, but it isn't one that I would expect a quality brewery to release. Edit: I had some medium cheddar with the second half of my glass. The pairing was fantastic. So if drank with a medium cheddar, The drinkability rises.

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Photo of IMincedTheKing
2.57/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours an opaque dark brown with cranberry-red at the edges and a short, tawny head.

The aroma is dark and sweet, maybe too sweet, like burnt sugar and dried fruits. Caramel malts dominate, with hops lurking in the background.

Sweetness galore! Syrupy and cloying, it tastes of toasted grains and burnt sugar. Though the label says "well-hopped", I don't find anything here to balance out the flavor. It kind of reminds me of eating a icing with a spoon--yeah, it's that sweet.

I'll probably keep trying, but Dogfish Head keeps letting me down.

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Photo of KyleVick4
2.57/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz

A: A very nice deep dark ruby color with good head. Not enough lacing though. But, nonetheless, is a very good looking beer

S: Wow there is a lot of coffee in this one. Reeks of coffee. Cant get past this overpowering aroma to distinguish any others. Maybe? a hint of spicy hops? Maybe? My opinion I want complexity, and I dont think a heavy coffee aroma should be present in a typical brown ale...

T: Coffee. Tastes to me what a mild russian impy stout would taste like. Does have some chocolate tastes from Im assuming chocolate malt. Not that impressed here especially that its supposed to be a blend of brown ale and IPA. Seems like the hop presence is lacking, or overpowered by the coffee/roast/chocolate malt. The sweetness found in the taste is kinda bittersweetness due to the amounts of coffee/roastedness in the grain. Oh well.

M: Nicely carbonated. I am a fan of the smoothness of the body. Its medium bodied but carries a good taste (just one that doesnt suit me). But not syrupy and the high alcohol is very nicely blended to the point where you dont know it packs a 7.2% punch.

D: I am an advocate of sweet tasting brown ales, so I didnt much approve of this type of style. But it was a tasty brew. I did find myself repeatedly sipping the coffee/chocolateness of this brew. Couldnt see my self having another tonight though.

 1,361 characters

Photo of bucko
2.58/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This beer pours a translucent dark brown color, not unlike the color of a beer bottle. The head is thin and tan. The aroma of the beer brings out some roasty notes and carmel. The taste reminds me more of a Scotch ale than a brown and is heavy on the sweet, toasty malts which overshadow any hop presence. The mouthfeel is slightly heavy, again not unlike a Scotch ale. Overall, I would have expected more balance, perhaps a more notable hop presence. Not exactly what I would have expected from DFH.

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Photo of sellmeagod
2.63/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A decent brown ale that doesn't quite do enough uniquely to recommend from a usually exceptional brewery.

A brown river look from a standard Dogfish bottle. Nice enough.

A nutty, roasted smell hits the nose, and you get a fairly intense nutty taste along with the alcohol. Nothing to complain about at 7.2 abv, but nothing to recommend it over so many others of its type.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.66/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours with light brown, two-fingered bubbly head, fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Light-medium carbonation. Light bodied. Deep amber color. Nose has a hint of hoppiness. Starts hoppy finishes like burnt coffee totally different from the usual browns (Brooklyn etc.) $2.00 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

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Photo of belgiumbud
2.7/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I purchased this particular brew at a beer store in Bend, OR. in the bottle. After getting it to my place of consumption I allowed it to stay out at room temperature for about an hour. Then upon pouring my first bottle into a room temperature pint glass I was greeted with citrusy-floral nodes, a pleasant tobacco fragrance and considerable alcohol scents. As I collected my thoughts, I soaked in the color and noticed the head disappeared so quickly that I did not have time to mentally record what I saw. The color of the beer was medium-dark chocolate to dark brown. My interest was peaking, so I took the first sip. First thing I noticed was that the warm alcohol mouth feel defenitly overshadowed any flavor complexities that might exist. As the beer settles longer on the palate I noticed subtle caramel and roasted espresso bean, while the dry hop finish rounds everything out. While I do appreciate a beer that finishes dry, I also appreciate a beer that allows my senses to appreciate all the complexities the brew has to offer. I was not given that opportunity here. Being that I purchased a six-pack I looked forward to trying another one to see if I was wrong in my first assessment. I was not. I did find, as with many beers, that when I allowed the brew warm up, my palate were able to pick up on some small complexties. The hop character was appealing. Flavor profile was masked by the alcohol mouth-feel and over-carbonation. I am still looking forward to finding this brew available cask-conditioned.

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Photo of shbobdb
2.71/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Well, if it isn't WWS's disabled younger cousin!

While I wasn't much impressed by WWS, I figured maybe this little guy'd be different, plus there was some recent fanfare in beertalk about it,

Not my style at all. The mouthfeel is 'creamy', which I really don't care for.

The taste is brash. The brown malts mix with too much brown sugar. I'm getting dried out and getting a cavity while I drink this beer. The hops try to balance out the malt, but the flavours are too roasted for the hops to really compliment.

Yeah, not my style. I can see a lot of BA's really liking it, but this one sure doesn't.

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Photo of CaptJackHarkness
2.77/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a translucent brown with beige thin head. Slight spotting of the glass. Smells of chestnuts, dark malt.Taste is sour, bitter. Horrid backbite on palate and tounge; this is another brew I am not going to finish! This is my first try of this style, I hope it is not typical!

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Photo of Beaver13
2.85/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours a dark ruby brown with a thin light tan head that quickly diminishes.

The aroma is doughy caramel and toffee with some chocolate, some spiciness comes out as it warms.

The flavor is sweet and sugary cola, some nutty malts, with a tame spicy hop finish. The alcohol is well hidden, but warming. The mouthfeel is medium bodied but very watery.

Overall, I didn't much care for this. I wasn't too impressed with the flavor or mouthfeel.

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Photo of winomark
2.85/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Medium to darkish brown with a small, bone-white head.

Aroma: Lots of malt; sweet and toasty. Slight hop spiciness.

Taste: Sweet malt, with a slight sugar sweetness. Hop flavors present in the finish. Interesting.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat light due to ample carbonation. Quite light and unimpressive finish.

Drinkability: Lacking the character of a DFH brew, IMO. Somewhat bland. Try other DFH offerings before this one.

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Photo of nota
2.85/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

No bottle date which could be bad news because brewery said they started dating all bottle two years ago. This beer pours very dark brown. Has a chocolate like smell. The taste is like it smells along with roasted coffee. I can't help notice the alcohol presence. The beer seem lifeless/flat, but it could be due to a very old six pack. I really like brown ales, but this type of brown is not my cup of tea. I hope to find this beer again because I'm sure I purchase an outdated 6-pack which explains my much lower rating.

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Photo of DaveFL1976
2.89/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What I like about this beer is that it breaks barriers. Lots more malt than your average brown ale would ever dream about having. Lots more alcohol, too.

But I don't find it particularly enjoyable. There's something in the middle palate of this beer that just doesn't work for me. A sort of medicinal, soury sort of taste. And the alcohol is not well hidden, either. This is the third time I've had this beer (different batches, too) and it just doesn't suit me, unfortunately. I find that sort of sad and suprising, because I love most of DFH's beers. Well, at least they have plenty of other flavors for me to drink!

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Photo of kojevergas
2.9/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given its current ratings. Paired with cheese & crackers and pretzel rods.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger head of khaki colour, nice cream, nice thickness, and good retention considering the 7.2% ABV. Colour is an extremely dark caramel-brown. Appealing for the style. Not particularly predictable, but not unique or special. Nontransparent. No yeast particles are visible. Non-opaque.

Sm: Cream, nice caramelization (very Scotch ale-esque), dark malts, milk, a hint of roast, nuts, and some light toasted malt character. Resembles the crappy American Guinness from the nitro-can. In a way, that's a compliment. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Caramel, cream, milk, roasted barley, dark malts, pleasant almond and nuts notes, and light toasted character. It's surprisingly simple, but I do like it for what it is. A bit of a tea note rounds out the flavour profile. Hop character is a muted floral. Balanced, but underwhelming. Lacks the subtlety it needs to truly be great. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Too bitter on the climax.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours generally well. The creamy quality it has is nice, but needs to be upped. Nice thickness. Good carbonation.

Dr: A nice offering from Dogfish Head for what it is. I like the experimentation but it honestly feels pretty tame. I might try it on draught (or nitro), but I'm not horribly impressed - par for the course for Dogfish Head. Drinkable. Hides its ABV nicely.


Probably closest to a Scotch Ale in my book.

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Photo of denver10
2.9/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown with some ruby hues and a decent enough beige head that was a thumbs width. A roasty and earthy aroma, definitely get the IPA inflluence in this. That influence is quite prevalent in the flavor too, this is like no other brown I have ever had. To me this tastes like an IPA that a brown ale fell into. Very earthy and floral flavor with the roasted malt mixed in there as well as some coffee. Mouthfeel was very carbonated and active. Personally, not a fan of what is going on here. Executed well, I think, but I just did not like it. To me, I like my brown ales to be creamy, on the rich, sweeter side of things and this beer offer none of that.

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Photo of hophugger
2.92/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ok, I disagree with the hype over this beer. I am a fan of Dogfish and they brew awesome beers but...Aroma and color were ok. The taste was a little different from your usual brown ales. This one was slightly bitter like burnt coffee and left a taste in my mouth that was not pleasant. Don't get me wrong, it is a good job, but just was a little much. I know the abv is high but other beers that I have had with the same or more abv have not had the very noticeable alcohol biy=tterness like this one. Overall, ok but not one of my favorites

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Photo of Rumrunner
2.99/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz.bottle
Pours a deep brown color. Hold it up to the light and it is barely transparent. The beige head is nice and does not want to leave. Great lacing. The smell is weak. Nutty with a slight chocolate. A weak coffee scent as well. I swirled many times to try to get some scent it just was not forthcoming.

The flavors are big burnt toast at first. Heavy nuts and a mild fruit finish. I would give the flavor more points if they flavor took me somewhere. It is just all over the place.

The mouthfeel is oily. It goes down as if to say where have I been? Nothing wants to stand out. It is just peaking through.

I do not think this a bad Brown but I can think of Browns I like alot better.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 6,043 ratings.
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