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: 6,042
Photo of RobH
3.19/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

This was the fourth of four beers in a flight of malty brews >> Monty Python's Holy Grail, Wychwood Hobgoblin, Brooklin Brown, and then DFH Indian Brown.

This was my last bottle from a 6-pack that I had for a while because, well, this isn't my cup of tea due to the high level of hop bite.

That said, it made a great caboose on this malt train I was on, and by the time I got to this one the impact from the prior beers made the hops more palatable.

In fact, it worked well for me in this scenario and I played it right by doing this one last.

Still not my cup of tea, but I can readily see how this beer can be the hop head's Brown Ale.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I have had this a few times before but it was always out at a bar or somewhere where I wasnt paying much attention to the beer.

A- A deep red. The beer isnt black but its not brown either. Its fairly clear and has lots of red highlights.

S- A pretty hoppy nose. Some brown sugar and raisin like fruitness helps balance it out.

T- Raisins and brown sugar up front make this beer start out like a wee heavy. It then moves into a little bit of chocolate malts then into a bitter black IPA type character. The finish is citrusy and hoppy.

D- This was merely alright. I dont think Ill have it again, under normal circumstances. There are just other things out there that intrigue me more.

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Photo of Jishguy
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured a dark brown body with a creamy, two finger mocha-colored head that dissipates quickly. Leaves almost no lacing on the glass.

S- Sweet malts, molasses, dark fruits, chocolate, and a roasted coffee character. Quite complex. Less prevalent are toffee, and citrus-like hop aromas.

T- Very sweet up front, almost cola-like. The brown sugar(as mentioned on the bottle) is very present. Sweet caramel malts with a roasted coffee and chocolate flavor on the backbone. The finish is dry and full of hops.

M-Creamy, to some extent could be a little more full bodied.

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Photo of riversider76
3.21/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice brown,with a redish hue. Thin tan head. Not much retention, decent lacing. Aroma is of nut and malt. Nice,but I thought it was on the week side. Body is medium,with some carbionation. Taste was too sugary. I felt the malt/hop balance was off a bit creating a unbalanced flavor. Not awful, but a disapointing.

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Photo of JakesCrew
3.21/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark to medium brown, almost absent lacing
Smell: Faint espresso and dark chocolate.
Taste: Dark chocolate, carob, stale coffee.
Mouthfeel: Smooth but watery
Overall: Not a huge brown ale fan. This is probably a decent representation of the style. Much better than the dreaded 20 inch brown. One dissenting Corono-drinker among our crew thought this BIPA was excellent.

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Photo of udchemist
3.21/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted side by side w/ palo santa (much much better!)
Not a big hop fan, and this was quite a hoppy brown ale :(
Appearance - pretty burgandy brown color, decent head retention
Smell - not too exciting, fairly boring in all honesty. Maybe some hops, not quite sure what to say it is.
Taste - hops. Not much else, on the first and finish as well. Light mouthfeel overall.
Drinkability - not gonna get again

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Photo of samie85
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes. Originally consumed 12/24.

A-Pours a cola brown with an off white, one finger head.

S-Chocolate and a hint of roasty malt.

T-Mild roasty malt with chocolate and a bitter finish. I want more going on here.

M-Smooth and medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

D-Definitely not bad, but not interesting enough to go back to for the price.

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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).

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Photo of praufs01
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance - Dark Brown with a clear deep red ruby glow when held to the light. Small tan colored head with light lacing.

Aroma - Light hop aroma that was overpowered by a burnt sugar and molasses smell with faint hints of alcohol.

Palate - Medium carbonation with a sticky up front feel followed by a dry chalky finish.

Flavor - Moderate bitterness with a burnt sugar taste. There are some noticeable alcohol notes here with an almost bourbon like quality.

Final thoughts - I can appreciate what the brewer was trying to achieve. However, although the brew is unique it is not great. To me its not session beer but I am glad I tried it.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark chestnut color. The head is a two finger mocha shade. It has a wonderfully soft texture, and as it fades away, leaves behind plenty of lacing on the glass.

S: I don't really pick up a ton of first. There's a pleasant wave of brown sugar, nuts, and chocolate at first. Hops build up as it unravels in the glass, revealing both piny and herbal qualities. Maybe even a touch of mint. I must say, the hops are VERY well integrated within the maltier aspects of the aroma.

T: Aye...this is a bit of a letdown next to the nose. Subdued hops open this up - providing notes of grapefruit, mint, and pine - and roll all the way to the back end, being propped up by caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and faint chocolate. This malt backbone builds up on the finish, slowly but gradually. My problem here is that it seems like a cross between a boring IPA and a boring brown ale - it hybridizes the two styles well enough, but comes off blandly. When people rag on 'balanced' brews, this is exactly what they'd rag on. Actually, come to think of it, since it's too sweet, that would make it imbalanced...

M: It finishes rather sweet, and unfortunately, the hops don't really dry it out as much as I'd like. Even worse, it lacks the creaminess I like out of most sweetish brews. For that reason, it's hard to drink. On the plus side, there's no remote hint of harshness in the feel.

O: It's not a bad beer. Nor is it interesting, complex, or subtly executed. Basically this is just another average brown ale, only with a hint of hops. I say it's well worth a try for those who like this style, but I won't be back for this one.

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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 ClassicBrad
3.25/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

After an impressive line of brew at the Great American Brews of America festival, I decided it was time to pick up a case from this brewery. From what I hear, taking a trip to one of their brewpub/restaurant in the Maryland/Delaware beach area is a very worthwhile trip. When it comes to choices, there was hardly a shortage and far from a regrettable one. I opted for the Indian Brown Ale.

Appearance consists of a cola brown body and a healthy finger and a half head that is reluctant to dissipate. Minutes later, the darker tan, frothy head lingers over the entire top of the beverage.

Smell of this beer is overridden by a blast of coffee— reminiscent of a coffee cola by scent.

Taste follows the lead of the smell. Very coffee flavored— maybe too coffee flavored. The taste resides within the back of your throat for a good while. With the right drinker in the right mood, this drink could really find an audience… some may find it a little overpowering.

Mouthfeel is average and, again, reminiscent of a cola or soda pop. Does not lack in body or carbonation or a reasonable balance of the two.

Drinkability is one of very few downfalls for this brew. I could probably drink one or two in a sitting. After that, I would find it hard to desire another one.

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

Pours a nice chocolate brown with thin off-white head that lingers wewll and leaves okay lacing. Aroma is a sweet mix of caramel, toffee and roasted nuts, but the mouthfeel of this fairly thin bodied beer is somewhat watery. Flavor is a continuation of the sweet caramel and nuts, with a finish that is warming, but somewhat on the sweet and watery side for my liking.

Not a bad beer, but DFH makes better.

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Photo of TubaManJack
3.26/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A/S- Beautiful Reddish Brown Hue. Carbonation quickly dissipated as well as the head. Coffee Notes in the smell.

M/D- The moderately high alcohol blends in well with the full body of the Ale. However it has a bitter black coffee taste before the hops begins to take hold.

In summary, its like a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the face.

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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 ArrogantB
3.26/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. I know I've had this in the past and it certainly wasn't $11 a sixer. Good thing I only bought one bottle. Dark brown, decent head. Aroma is a sugary brown ale, malts. Flavor was more sugar, decent brown ale and oh yeah it does have a hit of hops behind it. Overall its pretty boring. I've heard this described as a brown IPA but nah.

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Photo of benmiliron
3.27/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Paid $1.50 for a single 12 oz bottle.

Burnt caramel in color and taste. Good head and a rush of carbonation to start. Bitter hops very present, but dominated by the malt. A sticky sweetness prevails, with a very sour aftertaste that I did not enjoy.

A decent beer from DFH, but I'll stick with their other brews.

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Photo of atozymurgy
3.27/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appears deep brown, nearly opaque with ruby highlights. Small, tan head fades fast. Smells of lots of toasted, biscuity malt, chocolate, a little roasted barley. Then hops take over, very fruity, flowery, citrusy. Also some yeasty, estery fruitiness, banana-like.

Flavor has a strong malty sweetness as a backbone, but hops dominate. Quite bitter for the style. Also too much citrusy American hop flavor for the style, detracts from what should be a roasty/toasty maltiness. There's also too much roasted barley flavor for my taste, almost stout-like and out of place here.

This is very full-bodied, with medium carbonation. Perhaps a hint of alcohol warmth.

While this beer is not unpleasant, I don't think it's very successful. I get the idea of an IPA crossed with a brown ale. But in the end I don't think the combo works. There's none of the refreshing crisp bitterness of an IPA because of the sweet maltiness, and little of the comforting richness of toasted malt since it's overwhelmed by the hops. Also, the roasted barley flavors are out of place in either style, and detract from this beer. It doesn't taste bad, just muddled.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.28/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A good brown ale, darker than most. Minimal head and carbonation. A thicker aroma, smoke and earthy.

Taste, not as hoppy as advertised, more sweetness, but lacks bitterness. Definitely more in the brown ale vibe than ipa, but better than the average brown ale I come across. Mouthfeel diminishes, drinkability is decent, but not the price.

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
3.28/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 fl oz bottle into an Ommegang tulip. Bottled on 01/24/11.

Appearance: Dark cola color with a moderate coffee colored head that ultimately disappears.

Smell: Not too much in the nose. Slight malty, molasses smell.

Taste: Tastes like a malty, boozy porter to me. I do not get much in the way of hops from this "well-hopped" brown ale. Definitely taste the caramel and dark malts. A bit of a spicy coffee flavor.

Mouthfeel: Spicy and syrupy would sum this up. Again, very boozy, this would work well in the winter warmer category.

Drinkability: I am going to say limited. The 7.2% listed ABV is too noticeable for my tastes.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

An interesting approach to a brown ale that departs from the standards in some creative ways...

The pour is a deep brown with a plentiful, thick tan head. Lots of clumping and lacing as the glass is drawn down. So deep brown that it looks more like a porter and borders on opaque.

Smell is all malt with strong notes of molasses and caramel. A light hop boquet of flowers and herbs creates an interesting invitation to a sip.

The flavor is sweet - overly so with strong notes of brown sugar, prune and caramel. Only the slightest toasted grain notes and none of the yeasty characteristics you'd find in an English Brown. Some hop bittering at the end of the sip but the sugar overpowers it for the most part. This tastes almost like a Russian Imperial that didn't completely cycle rather than a brown ale. (Thankfully, no diacetyl - a pleasant surprise)

Mouthfeel is heavy and oily which is within the style. Again, more like a sweet porter than an English Brown. Plentiful carbonation and some hop bitterness keeps it from being completely cloying but it's still pretty damn cloying.

I'm rather mixed on this beer... It's interesting and tasty in many ways but I can think of many other beers that could take its place. If I enjoyed the porter like qualities I could have chosen a real porter. If I wanted a brown ale there are many better. The added hops makes it interesting but a Red Seal Amber would have been much more satisfying for that "fruity but hoppy" bite.

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Photo of sstackho
3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Can DFH save me from a world of boring brown ales? 12oz single bottle. Pours a dark ruby without much head but lots of little bubbles. Light aroma of malt - not off to a great start yet. Ah, but the taste is better than the smell. Heavy on the malts and a lot of flavour overall. I'm getting some roasted coffee flavours. In a blind taste test, I'm sure I would have mistaken this for a porter.

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Servint Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark black/brown, tan 1/2 head with some lacing.

Smell - Hops, malts, sugars, caramal, stout-like coffee chocolte armoa. Some nut and barley even comes out.

Taste - Hoppy, bitter, sugary with carmal and toffee flavors. What a mess this is. This needs to be one style not many into one. The bitterness really throws off the sweetness caramal brown ale taste. The scotch/oak flavor comes in at the end cause all the other flavors overpower it.

Mouthfeel - The beer is thin but the flavors are overboard. Too much going on to enjoy. The sweet/bitter/oaked/ boldness is too much. Mouth is worked out, palette is coated with a mess.

Overall - I dont get it. I respect dogfish in making unique flavored beers but most of these beers are highly flavored unbalanced bombs. This beer has so much going on, you cant enjoy just the style it is, rather you get a monster overly sweet flavor crushing you each drink.

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Photo of devinoconnor
3.32/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Really different brown ale, very good. Pours a dark, yet somewhat thin dark brown, almost black color. Would like it to be a little more robust. The color almost looks like an uncarbonated Pepsi.

Smell is delicious. More than the expected hops, sweet caramel and sugar.

Taste is sweet and Scotchy, but pretty well-balanced.

Different, and certainly worth your buck.

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Photo of cfalovo97
3.32/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up one of these on a trip to Phily. Dark brown color. Unique and plenty intriguing. The flavor brings out more juniper and malt again with a slight change to the bourbon side of whisky. Some herbal/citrus hop jumps into the picture as your tastebuds adjust to the array of flavors, caramel malt rises nicely throughout. This brew is medium bodied with modest carbonation and a rich, smooth feel. A definite pleaser.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 6,042 ratings.
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