Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

2,041 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: 2,041 | Ratings: 6,009
Photo of Billolick
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ouncer with "packaged in" date notched on the label. Pours a rich dark honey, clear, mahogany amber, not much head elucidated, wispy lacing left behind. nose is sweet and raisiny. This is a lovley full throtle brown ale, bursting with malty sweetness, notes of rum, caramel, maple sugar, vanilla and toffee. Subtle hops come in late and in the finish to pave the way for a long slightly dry finish. Got to love a brown ale thats over 7%! Thanks for all that you do DFH!

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

Poured on tap, the beer is a vibrant, deep, dark brown coloring with a filmy, clingy, off white head. Aromas of heavily roasted nut sweetness, hints of coffee, and a solid bolt of bitter hops. Flavors are heavy nut and coffee, both bitter and rich, with a hippy backbone. Smooth and big in mouth, with a dry edge. The aftertaste is roasted and sweet, with a solid nutty and toffee linger. Smooth, dry finish. Great beer.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

04/18/05- Received via trade from connecticuitpoet and steinlifter.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with a bottled in November 2004 on the side label. Poured into my Dead Guy pint glass.

Appearance- Dark brown pour (almost black) with an inch head that partially hangs around until the end of the brew. Great lacing along the sides of my glass.

Smell- Heavy on the roasted malt and a tad sniff of coffee beans.

Taste- This is one heavy bown ale! Massive burnt malt flavor, coffee on the back of my tongue. A bit bitter on the finish.

Mouthfeel- This one is almost thick and sryupy. Very sweet and sticks to the roof of your mouth. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability- This dude is pretty potent. I think I'm happy with one of these at a time. Maybe because of the sweetness and extreme dark flavor. Very good though.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Indian brown on draft at a DFH pub in NOVA. Served in a pint glass. Head is thin and brownish, beer is dark, DARK, brown, almost black. Aroma is a mixture of roast and hops. Hop aroma is not overwhelming but it is there. The overall aroma is not pronounced, you have to search for it.

Initial impresions of the flavor is smokey. A lot of roast, not a lot of hop bitterness. Roast shows up in the back of the mouth, probably masking the 50IBU. Drinkability is high, some aftertaste of smoke builds on your palate.

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Photo of stevoj
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cask pour at the brewery. Creamy texture, smooth slick, roast chocolate with an underlying bitter bite. Nice to see a brown ale with some snap to it.

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Photo of tempest
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Kelly Cole's in Syracuse.

Looks nice, but there isn't much lacing or head. The smell comes and goes. Sometimes there's rich chocolate and roasted grains, other times it's just mellow sweetness. It's not too thick, and its alright, but the flavor is a little too mixed. There's a harsh bitterness and not much from the hops. Worth a try though.

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

Saw this at an Old Chicago in Denver, had to try it.
Poured a nice caramel brown color with a stubborn head that just wouldn't go away.
Smell of light coffee and caramel. Sweetness of molasses and malt are more present. I sense some hops as well, more earthy than pine/citrus. Hints of raisin and doughy yeast.
Not quite sure this fits in the ABA, a little too dry. It is good, yet I thought the finish was a bit weak.

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

Appearance: brown in color with a 1" head that slowly falls.

Smell: light citrus and some malty tones comes through to the nose.

Taste: caramel, toffee, a hint of lemon zest, some earthiness, and moderate bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Light crispness from start to finish.

Overall: another enjoyable DFH beer I have had numerous times over the years.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 11/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a very dark brown with a ruby tint. Slight light tan head and nice lacing. Wonderful aroma of malt and coffee, roasty malt. Malt, roasted malt and coffee, finishing with a somewhat hoppy coffee flavor. Medium bodied. This is very nice. A slightly old refrigerated bottle. Wish I had drunk this sooner, but it is still great.

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Photo of aasher
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Indian Brown pours a light bodied dark, dark brown with a one finger khaki head. It smells very rich and of roasted malts, really does smell like a porter. The taste is rich and soothing, a combination of roasted malts and hops that finish off the flavor. This bottle is about three months old so it's a little smooth than normal, as it's lost some carbonation but it still drinks very smoothly and very well. This beer is overly drinkable and I highly recommend it to anyone. It's great for a quiet night or at a cookout.

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Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep brown color with a thick tan head. The aroma is of sweet crystal malts and roasted barley. The taste is good. It has a decent amount of flavoring hops which balances nicely with the crystal malts and brown sugar. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied brown ale with adequate carbonation. This is one of the best brown ales going.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 ounce bottle with a pork chop and Santa Fe rice dinner, on to the beer:

Leather brown color in the glass, it has a persistent head and a wonderday display of lacing clinging to the glass. Mild aroma, mostly toffee, and some Goldings hops. The taste is a superb blend of Brown Ale and IPA. First it's the brown, then it's the IPA. Neither one gets too cloying. Starts sweet, with toffee and burned sugar. The hops begin to kick in with a squirt of orange flavor. Strangely, this feels lighter than the listed ABV, and it goes down the hatch without a hinch.

I'm not normally overly fond of hoppy browns, but DFH Indian Brown has the balance down on this one. One bottle with dinner was not enough for me, and I currently feel stupid for not buying more.

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

A - Pours a dark brown/black color, lots of carbonation, a slight fizzy head which quickly dissappears, some lacing around the edges.

S - Scents of sweet malts, slight roasted scent, and slight toffee/caramel.

T - The taste is kinda sweet and roasted malts, with a dry finish.

M - Medium body.

D - Very drinkable. This is an awesome Brown Ale from DFH. Highly recommended. At 7.2% watch out, lol

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Photo of tone77
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a very dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of hops and slight notes of caramel. Taste is good, a definate hop presence up front, a bit nutty, a touch of malts. Feels full bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a good quality beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark brown color with an off-white head. The aroma is full of roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. An outstanding smelling beer. The flavor has a lot of coffee in it as well as some nice bitterness from the piney hops. I also get some roasted malt and some chocolate in the flavor. Overall, the mouthfeel is a little bit creamy and the carbonation is low to medium. A great brown ale.

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

A. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. A nice off white head forms with a nice lacing show as well. Appears dark brown in colour.

S. Roasted malts, a hint of coffee.

T. A nice robust flavor of the malt, followed by a slight bitter hop twang. There is a definate brown sugar prescence throughout, finishing off with a bit of coffee. Very delicious.

M. Full bodied indeed, a bit watery around the edges.

D. D is for Dangerous. At 7% its a bit strong, and its masked so well its rediculous. I could drink these all night.

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

12oz bottle into a regular pint glass. Pretty fresh bottle.

A- Indian Brown Ale pours out of the bottle brown and settles into the glass an even browner brown. A quarter inch tan/mocha head was seen leaving before it got to say hi. A ring around the glass and a skim of foam are at the surface.

S- IBA has aromas of roasted malts, standard chocolate, slight coffee and hops(goldings) in the background. A bit of caramel from the malts and some nuttiness. Very impressive for a brown.

T- Almost drinks like a porter/stout but has the brown ale qualities with the dogfish twist. Some burnt sugar and roasted malt & caramel sweetness. The chocolate is faint and not overly sweet. The hops hold this one together with a twinge of bitterness. Maybe some dark fruit in the way back.

M- Rich smooth and medium to full bodied % one of the finest browns to grace my mouth. Just a touch of alcohol on the tounge with nice carbonation. A very lively brown ale.

D- Not sessionable, but i would go for a few as the taste is impressive. One of my favorite DFH offerings, I could drink this year round and have. I dont go for american brown ales often as most offerings are butchered but this one stands above them.

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

Just one look at it tells you that this is no faint-hearted brown ale - only when held right up into the light is any sort of gleam visible and even then transparency is still denied. The center of the beer is a stygian mass of dark brown. Auburn can be observed but only a thin sliver of it and only along the very edges. A bed of suds form a crescent moon shape atop the beer; it's not entirely thorough but it is enduring.

The aroma is resoundingly malty but isn't without an appreciable earthiness, likely contributed by the whole-leaf Liberty and Goldings hops. It's a wonder their presence can be noted despite the strength of its (more porter-like) notes of dark chocolate and heavily roasted coffee beans. The nuttiness is enticing and the caramelized brown sugar seeps into your nasal passage causing its sweetness to flutter about your senses.

You could drink this thing from a shoe and it would taste pretty good to me. Indian Brown Ale is bursting with flavour. A fresher sample might yield a little more tanginess from the hops but I'm surprised the maltiness in this bottle didn't cause it to rupture! This plunges the depths of the style: chocolate-covered hazelnut, roast pecans, coffee macerated gingerbread and caramel crunch cake make for the quintessential tasting brown ale.

But if there's anywhere this beer deserves credit it very well might be its mouthfeel. There is constantly a light but lingering graininess to remind us of the malts. It comes replete with roast and an ounce of smokiness. The flavour is deliciously savory with a sort of winter-warmer type warming sensation. The caramelized brown sugar, for its part, contributes the perfect level of sweetness to compliment the bitter tastes of chocolate and coffee.

This is definitely a new world depiction of the style - and unarguably one of the most prolific. I can see how drinkers in the UK might find this interpretation of their beloved ale "extreme for the style" or "too strong for its own good" (to cite a couple quotes from a well publicized British magazine on beer). But for us on the other side of the Atlantic, this has exactly the temperament we like - I guess we're just off-centered people?!

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

Pours with a frothy four-finger thick, amber to light brown colored head. The beer is a brilliantly clear, ruby highlighted deep amber-brown color. The aroma is sweet and fruity up front with notes of caramel, cherries and a bit of sweet herbal hoppiness. The nose finishes with a light roast note that evokes thoughts of toasted bread and milk chocolate. The taste is sweet up front, and is followed quickly by very fruity notes that are reminiscent of cherries, perhaps even a bit like cough-syrup (though only lightly so). The finish is long, though not heavy handed and has an astringent roast malt character to it. This beer is quite smooth up front, but finishes with a prickle of carbonation that helps to balance the overall sweetness of the malt. The body of this is fairly light, this beer is quite quaffable. There are some hop notes here, though perhaps not as much as I was expecting from the label; there is a nice herbal quality in the middle, and the finish has a solid hop bite to it that helps to balance the sweet candied caramel note.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: a nicely dark, brown amber with a very thick, foamy head with a nice persistence. As I drink it, much of the foam sticks to the glass in a nice, thick lace.

Smell: a delicious nutty aroma with coffee and caramel. This smells awesome; I'm dizzy with anticipation.

Taste: deliciously complex. The bitterness is just perfectly present and there is a nice chocolate finish. There are some light fruity notes and a little alcohol flavor, but these are outshined by the great malt flavors.

Mouthfeel: a medium-thick body which sort of coats the tongue and spreads around the deliciousness.

Drinkability: while I submit that it is too hot here to really appreciate a dark, high-alcohol beer, this thing is so tasty that I would gladly have another (and another, and another).

It's so rare that I randomly try a beer and have it instantly rank among my favorites. Or possibly be my favorite of all time. This thing is more like a porter than a brown ale in my opinion, but for a beer this good I really don't care what style you want to call it. A+.


Edited ratings on 5/16/2010. This was one of my first reviews; I wanted to review again now that I have a lot more beer-tasting experience.

Body remains translucent and extremely dark; very nice. Aroma is mostly coffee and light earthy, vegetabley hops; again, quite nice. Flavor is big gobs of nice roasty malt flavor; mostly coffee and a little caramel toward the end. Bitterness is high for a dark beer. Medium to medium-thick body with great carbonation; this is wonderfully creamy and silky. This beer remains extremely tasty and drinkable compared to when I first had it.

I actually reduced some of the ratings from the all-5s I originally gave it to really score it like I would today; however, this beer still rates as one of my all-time favorites.

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Photo of Zorro
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled through dnrobert24 and 2MBBIF.

Pours a clear dark brown ale with a nice light brown head. Nice red highlights to this one when held up to the light.

Sweet and fruity smelling ale with a good amount of chocolate aroma. Pleasant toasted grain scents along with caramelized sugars. Some aromas of figs and fainter coffee smell. Quite nutty in aroma this is one ale that is not one dimensional or basic.

Taste is sweet and fruity at the start with a wonderful toasted grain flavor to start. Chocolate and coffee and smoky flavors kick in next and they compliment the other flavors nicely. Nuttiness shows up after a bit and is similar to toasted wheat berries in flavor. Bitterness is very subdued here for the style and that is a good thing, the dark roasted malts bring a fair amount of it that doesn't need a lot of hops. Damn tasty beer here.

Mouthfeel is very good.

What we have here is a really great beer that I have avoided for a long time just because I don't like badly executed versions of the style. A super drinkable beer that you must try even if you don't normally care that much for Brown Ales. The only thing that excludes this from being a session ale is the alcohol hit it provides. This is the only Brown Ale that I really LOVE. Very very close to perfect.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle, bought by my sister at AJ's Fine Foods, in Glendale, AZ,

A: Pours a dark brown, with a thick tan head, with good retention, not much lacing though.

S: Nice full smell of caramel malt, with a distinct French roast coffee smell, and a bit of floral hops, interesting.

T: Caramel malt and brown sugar/Rapadura hit the tongue first, which is then balanced by a spicy hop character, leaving a sense of grass on the tongue. Even though this isn't a porter or a stout, there is a distinct coffee element to this beer as well, very tasty, the malt flavours in this beer are just beautiful.

M: Full-bodied, smooth and creamy, a little bit of resin is carried on the tongue as the beer finishes as well.

D: This is a very good beer, possibly the best Brown Ale made in America, or the best that I have had. I wish I had another bottle of this, but I guess as Miles says in Sideways, I'll just have to live bottle to bottle, until Dogfish moves back to CA.

Edit - Had another bottle of this 8/1/10 in AZ, still as good as I remember it, my cousin raved as well.

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

While Brown Ales are not usually very high on the excitement scale, Indian Brown is an exception to this rule, it’s delicious, different, interesting, complex, and very satisfying. Wish I hadn’t waited so long to try it and am already anticipating my next one!

It’s good looking; rich dark brown with a fluffy tanned head that has good retention; lacing is also strong. Almost looks like a stout without the viscosity. You can see that it’s medium-bodied, with visible carbonation. Nose is quite chocolatey and malty; very faint trace of floral hoppiness, well integrated within the overall aroma. Sweet caramel and coffee also make an appearance.

As I said earlier it’s one of the tastier browns I’ve encountered; falling on the sweet side, with prominent chocolate and, to a lesser extent, coffee and cream flavors; big chewy malt, and a hint of floral hop notes; overall low on the bitterness scale and drinking only semi-dry. There’s a bit of mouth-coating brown sugar and molasses that sticks around a little, and a faint booziness in the end that emerges as the beer warms slightly.

Medium bodied and carbonated. Not exactly an easy-drinking brown, with the higher sweetness and ABV than is usual for the style, but very appealing. I enjoyed this one immensely.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap in the Rogue Pub on Union St San Fransisco: 3rd Feb 2013.

Thought it looked like a Stout, dark brown with a good foaming head.

Malty molasses hit the nose and mouth, this has a sweet front: plenty of malty flavours as you dig into the brew. I got coffee and dark chocolate along with some dried candid fruit notes.

Good body thickness and feel to the beer, a pleasant and easy to drink brew.

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

Pours a quite dark brown with a relatively thin head but very good lacing. One of the darker brown ales and with ruby highlights. The smell is dry and hoppy with an underlying aroma of brown bread. The taste is really quite remarkable- big and bold for a brown ale with an unusually strong hop presence for the style and warming spicy flavors.It has the same underlying dense brown bread background with spicy hop notes overlaying. There is a touch of sweetness, but not raisiny, more a bready sweetness with some malt notes. Really nice body- robust and full bodied but not overly heavy. Really probably the best brown ale I've had.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 6,009 ratings.
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