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 Sammy
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Great colour and lace and promising mollasses and alcohol aroma, but taste was initially sour and then more malty after inducing some spicy food. For the latter, its a quencher. Some burnt carmel, appropriate carbonation. Maybe it works on tap or another day, another meal.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger head on a deep amber brown body.

S: toasted and chocolate malts. Hops are light and mostly earthy.

T: excellent toasted and chocolate malt base. Hops provide mostly earthy and light pine notes

M: medium body and moderate to high carbonation.

Overall: this is a very nice brown. Easy to drink and very flavorful.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a 1 inch foamy dark khaki head. Thin foamy rings of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, toasted nuts, and some slight herbal hop aromas. Taste is of toasted malt and nuts, burnt brown sugar, and some herbal hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild roasty bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some solid aromas and flavors that make this one really easy to drink.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

as good as any brown ale could be, one of if not the very best ive had. maybe only behing their palo santo marron... pours nearly black, with just a low auburn glow when held to a light. 2 inch mocha head, epic lacing. smells burned, or on the brink of burned, with that same belgian candy sugar thing as the raison d'etra, but less pronounced. taste is more hoppy than the nose, in perfect harmony with the aroma. there is an alcohol warmth, but not flavor in this brew. mouthfeel is great too, moderately carbonated and full bodied without being filling. enjoyed it with some 85% cacoa dark chocolate... great flavor profile

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Photo of Knapp85
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Been quite some time since I had one of these. The beer poured out as a brown color with a pretty good looking head on top. The smell of this beer has a good amount of citrusy hops on the nose, with a more subtle aroma of chocolate malt. The taste of this beer is very hoppy, It's along the lines of some Black IPA's that are available these days. The flavors are sweet and bitter all at the same time. Pretty interesting stuff really. The mouthfeel is average I think, the carbonation in good and it is a drinkable brew. Overall it's a nice choice if you're looking for something new to try. It's a pretty enjoyable beer all around.

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Photo of metter98
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer poured very dark amber in color with a finger high creamy beige head that slowly diminishes into lacy patterns. A faint amount of rising bubbles are visible.
S: There is a moderate aroma of dark roasted malts in the nose along with notes of caramel and some hints of brown sugar.
T: The taste is rather complex and has notes of brown sugar, caramel, nuts, roasted malts and toffee. A mild amount of bitterness is present from the hops.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate; there is a little bit of warming from the alcohol.
D: The beer is very easy to drink and the smell or taste of alcohol isn't perceptible. I definitely want to try this again because the combination of flavors is very unique.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Always saw this at the package store and never tried it so I finally did (not sure why it took me so long).

This is a fantastic beer. I always loved the flavor of brown ales but found them a little boring and too little CO2 action going on. DFH fixes that by hopping it up and making it more carbonated making for a delicious beer. I drank the whole glass in under 5 minutes, not even on purpose it just tastes too good to savor. I can't wait to drink the other 5.. three thumbs up.

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

High praise is had all around as Dogfish Head celebrates all of what's brown with a unique dry toasty beer with a heavy hop influence.

With an appearance that looks austerely like porter, the beer lands in that dark bark-brown realm with onyx-like refelection and firm head formation and retention. The medium sand-tan foam laces extremely well and forms the final impressions of a well made ale.

Heavy toast, roasted nuts, rich cold-press coffee, cocoa, and starchy malt begin the aromatic dialogue as the balance of pine, citrus, and grass emit in their hoppy form to counter the dry malt influence.

Burnt molasses, bold roast coffee, bittersweet chocolate, walnuts and malted milkshakes start to form the taste just as the citrusy build up from hops begin. Soon, the sweetness is supplanted by dry bitterness both from char and hops and seem like saw dust, grapefruit, and burnt embers carry the beer into its semi-dry bitter finish.

Medium bodies, the beer's early creaminess is quickly shed and makes way for the lighter mid palate of toast, powder, hops to easily develop with an even fade into dryness, warmth, and quickly closing dark malts.

The American influence on this beer is undeniable- it's much more toasty (almost roasty), it's drier, and much more hoppy (American citrus hops)- all making it easily agreeable for a pairing of medium-well cheeseburgers with sharp cheddar!

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Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear, dark reddish brown colour, with one finger of creamy beige head, which leaves a decent thin wall of lace around the glass in its wake. It smells of roasted biscuit malt, and citrus, leafy, and earthy hops. The taste is more toasty biscuity, caramel malt, some bitter chocolate, and a nice generically bitter hop uppercut to unsuspecting expectations. The carbonation is moderate, the body full, smooth, and creamy, and just, well, swell. It finishes off-dry, the latent big malt giving a bit of breathing room to the bursting bitter leafy, mildly piney hops.

As I've intoned before, brown ale ain't my bag. However, when DFH does one up like this, I may very well have to change my tautology-oriented approach...

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Photo of brentk56
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark chocolate brown color with russet highlights; the rocky head that displays great retention, depositing a touch of lacing with every sip

Smell: A bit indistinct, but primarily brown bread and rich caramel malts

Taste: A whole lot going on here - starts out surprisingly hoppy from the get-go and then builds from there; in the middle, some caramel and burnt sugar flavors develop along with roasted coffee; somewhere, later on, the alcohol makes itself known as the gullet warms; finally it finished with a complex sweet and bitter crescendo

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with lively carbonation

Drinkability: What is this beer? One sip and you think it is a hoppy brown ale and the next it is masquerading as a light bodied stout. Can't tell for sure but it is a worthwhile beer to seek out.

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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 largadeer
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, a gentle pour produces two fingers of tan head. The body of the beer is a dark chestnut color, clear but just barely.

Smell: Oatmeal with brown sugar and cream comes to mind immediately. Sweet and caramelly but so damn nice.

Taste & mouthfeel: Chocolate and brown sugar up front, decidedly rich and sweet but in the best way. Full on the palate but not actually too thick. The initial blast of sweetness dries up quite a bit, leaving flavors of dark roasted coffee, burnt toast and earthy hops lingering on the tongue. Very dynamic but not a beer you need to think very hard about to appreciate.

Notes: Got this one from dyan - thanks! This is a beer I've been wanting to try for quite some time. I'm happy to say that it exceeded my expectations.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep brown color ale with a nice foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of nutty caramel malt with some dry hops. Taste is also dominated by some toffee and caramel malt which are well balance by some dry light bitter hops. Good body with some good carbonation. Very well done for a session ale that can still retain some character.

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Photo of zeff80
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Poured out a dark brown color with a foamy, bubbly, tan, three-finger head. It left some soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled very grassy and of rich roasted malt. There were also spicy notes.

T - It tasted very hoppy. It was spicy with a bitter kick. The roasted malt flavor was smooth and sweet.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is probably the best American Brown Ale that I've ever had.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown with a pretty good, long-lasting head.

S: Definitely finding the combination of beers here--plenty of hops as well as sweet, dark malts with chocolate and carmelized sugars. Dark fruit underneath.

T: Much like the smell with a little bit of molasses thrown in. The dark fruits are a little more prominent in the taste.

M: Medium bodied and very smooth. Chewy.

D: Very nice beer. Perhaps my favorite of the year-round, six-pack offerings.

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

12 ounce bottle into signature tulip glass, bottled on 10/15/2014. Pours crystal clear dark reddish brown color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toast, dark bread, molasses, light dark fruit, herbal, grass, light pine, and roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted/bready malt and moderate earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toast, dark bread, molasses, light dark fruit, herbal, grass, pine, and roast/toasted earthiness. Fair amount of herbal/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, molasses, herbal, grass, light pine, and roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted/bready malt and earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome hoppy brown ale style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted/bready malt and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to drink. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of nickfl
3.44/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of light brown head that rests on top of a dark brown body with clear, amber highlights showing through.

S - A lightly roast malt aroma with some caramel and brown sugar. There are some pine hops and a hint of grapefruit.

T - Brown, malty notes of caramel, molasses, and brown sugar up front. Some earthy hops appear in the middle with a hint of pine with cola and more molasses malt thickness. The beer finishes with a more strongly roasted grain character, caramel and molasses are pushed aside by chocolate covered coffee beans with moderate bitterness and some pine and grapefruit hop flavor.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - There is a lot of potential here, but the hop character seems to be a bit weak. The brown malt character seems to lean more towards sugary flavors of cola, brown sugar, and molasses than malty caramel or toffee; the sugar characteristics give the beer some depth, but they become cloying much more easily than the alternative character would. The hops are much more apparent in the flavor profile than in the aroma and they work well with the roast character, though the dark malt effects them in such a way that they remind me more of a barley wine or aggressively hopped stout than anything that should have "India" in the name. Not a bad beer, but something about the particularly sugary malt character and the weak hop aroma keeps me from wanting to drink another one.

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Photo of oberon
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Wow this is no brown mild!This pours a nice deep brown with light had that stuck a little to the sides of the glass,the aroma was pretty nutty and a little bitter sweet.Taste was well unexpected,it had the nutty,earthy qualities of a brown ale but it also had a very alcoholic note to it as well.A real good beer but I couldnt have more than one or two.

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

Very dark reddish brown with a lightly creamy head that has fair retention and keeps a light surface covering throughout the serving. The aroma is bold, with dark chocolatey malt and bright Goldings hops. The body is medium with a very fine, restrained carbonation that leaves the mouthfeel lightly creamy and smooth. The flavor is quite rich with a lightly acidic and fruity bittersweet chocolate maltiness, and sharp, hoppy flavors. The bitterness plays a supporting role to the dark, sugary maltiness. The alcohol is somewhat noticeable, but not intrusive. It finishes semi-dry with a lingering sweet malt and bitterness. Although it builds upon the palate, which limits it's drinkability, it's still quite enjoyable. Interesting and somewhat complex.

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Photo of chinchill
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - very dark brown, near black, with mahogany highlights. Large tan head with good duration.

Aroma: medium and dark roasted malts; perhaps a slight hop spiciness. ABV well hidden but with a floral note.

T: rich malt flavor leading to a lasting malty finish and aftertaste. Hops make their presence known mainly in the clear bitterness of the finish. Higher ABV becomes evident after warming.

M - full body; medium-light carbonation.

O - a rich and malty brew, with well hidden higher ABV and a lasting dark malt aftertaste. An East Coast lower-hop Rogue.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark brown color, with a short dense beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is malty and nutty with maple, caramel and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts with flavors of nuts, maple & chocolate followed by a strong hops burst for the style. The malt character is hearty but there’s very little sweetness unlike other beers in the style. The after-taste is bitter.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, sticky and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easy, not too filling, good kick as most DFH beer have, good representation of style while being a bit different in keeping with the DFH hallmark, it’s a good beer to stick with for an evening.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark amber in color with some garnet red highlights and light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a half finger tall tan head that reduces to a patch of extremely thin film in the center of the beer and a thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate lacing is observed.

S: This beer has fairly strong aromas of dark roasted malts with tons of sweetness - there is caramel, molasses, and brown sugar. Very light hints of alcohol.

T: The taste follows the smell quite closely and has quite a bit of complexity. There is a strong presence of dark roasted malts along with quite a bit of sweetness - caramel, brown sugar, nuttiness, and toffee. There is some light amount of bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slight amounts of alcohol heat.

O: There is a lot more presence of alcohol in this beer than I was expecting, especially with the not too high ABV. There is a nice amount of complexity in the smell and the taste. I enjoyed the flavors of this beer and would likely try it again.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: ?

Not really sure when or where I first had this, but being a staple of the area, I've had it several times in bottles and on tap.

Pours dark brown, rusty around the edges, with a tan head of varying size. Roasty aroma with touches of chocolate and caramel; some earthy hops come through as well. Taste follows the smell, imbued with flavors of caramel, malt, chocolate, a little bit of coffee bitterness, brown sugar, mild notes of dark fruits and earthy hops. Pretty nice. Medium-bodied and a bit chewy, and quite nice overall, and I'm not big on brown ales.

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

Dark brown, a tuby shine when held towards the light, small beige head quick to a small lace.
Smell of roasted grain, caramel, faint nut, used coffee filter, some cocoa, light fruitiness underneath.
Rich caramel up front, with toasted grain, light hazelnut and some raisin and date too, and quite a lot of crisp citrus. Malts start to cover up, with some cocoa powder and rich toasted bread. Light coffee in the finish and a bit of bitter hop.
Aftertaste has roasted grain and bread, with a bit of nut and cocoa powder. Hops seem to disappear. Medium body, light carbonation, easy to drink.
Can't say it blew my mind. Rich, really tasty, with a bit of extra hop, a bit complex, but quite quaffable, and still, no real "wow!" factor.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There I was, last weekend, talking about beer, and bemoaning the fact that I can't find a decent brown ale back home in Atlanta.

And BAM, what shows up in the cooler at Once Upon a Vine during my roadtrip to Richmond, but Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale!

Appearance: Poured out a crystal clear dark-reddish brown color with a khaki-colored head recedes to a thin band around the glass.

Smell: Chockablock scent full of sweet satisfaction - hazlenut coffee, brown sugar, and candied dark fruits.

Taste: The flavor of this brown ale is so far superior that it barely warrants mentioning, but I'll do my best. A rich, assertive malt base charges the tongue. Fiendishly sweet flavor suggesting coffee, toasted nuts, and cooked caramel (which carries with it a delicate smokiness). A restrained herbal hop bitterness allows the malts to really shine through. Finishes with a lasting roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Light on the carbonation, keeping this brew singularly smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: Yeah, to sum up: Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale is strikingly drinkable and incredibly tasty! For me, that was enough, but the beer is unique and clever and well done enough that any fans of the style should check it out.

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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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