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 sjdevel
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A decent head that is thick and tan. Decent head retention. Color was deep brown and red, very dark, but you can still see through to the world on the other side. This one was surprisingly clear!

Chocolate and caramel and some floral hop notes. It also has a slight smoked malt scent.

Instant bittering hops upfront that fades into a deep roasted malt flavor with hints of coffee and chocolate. After the bittering hops subside, there is a slight sweet and caramel flavor. The sweetness is short lived and it finishes quite dry. There is a slight fruitiness with flavors of plums and figs.

Full bodied and decent amount of fizz. There is a slight dry pull on the tongue.

This is a pretty unique IPA (which I was expecting) that was very dark, rich, and malty. This is something that I would buy again. Dogfish Head makes some unique brews (or is that off-centered?).

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Photo of arizcards
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from TW Arrowhead in late June for $2.29. Bottled on 4/3/15.

Beer poured brown a beautiful tan head that has some major hang time.

Nose is sweet, hoppy, and very inviting!

Taste is on the sweet side like a scottish ale but has a decent floral hop bite to balance the taste. Finish is dry like a brown ale.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall this is a very interesting beer definitely different but in a good way. Not sure why it took me years to finally have this but i certainly was not disappointed. Do try this if you like the described styles.

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Photo of hophead723
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: Clear woody brown like Mahogany, with a nice light tan head. Slow rising bubbles struggle to reach the top of this thick brew. The head is creamy and smooth. Strong lacing.

Smell: Toffee, caramel, grassy hops, a bit of vanilla and sugared dates.

Taste: Very intense and sweet flavors of caramelized sugars, dates, toffee, coco nibs, and a backing of piney hops.

Feel: Full-bodied, smooth, wet, creamy, and a tiny bit dry at the very end. It reminds me of bitter dark chocolate.

Overall: Very satisfying, rich, full, and well executed. I could see myself using this beer in a number of culinary applications as well.

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Photo of wmblair
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pretty silky smooth. It is very dark for an ale. The bottle says it is "hopped liberally and often" but the hops is balanced by the sweetness so it doesn't taste as "hoppy" as an IPA normally does. It is quite sweet. Pleasant.

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Photo of Zonk
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Some good roasty notes, but hops are also featured in this medium-weight brown ale. Moderate carbonation. Light sweetness on the palate but followed by hop bitterness on the tail end.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

July 27, 2015

12 oz bottle, snifter

A – Deep brown with tones of rich mahogany and ruby red tinting. Quite clear. Maybe a quarter-inch of off-white to light tan foam, made of large bubbles, that fades fairly fast.

S – Caramel and brown sugar, along with light toffee and a touch of chocolate. Woodsy and herbal hops with some minor tropical notes.

T – Brown sugar and mild caramel. Just a minor chocolate note. Hops are woodsy but also fruity, some bitter grapefruit and darker tropical fruits. A moderate oakiness becomes noticeable on the finish.

M – Moderate to medium-high carbonation with a medium body. Some mild sudsiness. Sweet up front from the extra sugar but bitterness increases through the finish, lingering on the aftertaste.

O – More hop-bitter and flavorful than most brown ales, and I like it. The strength is deceptive. Lots of complementary and contrasting flavors. Complex.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Finally got around to this. Of course had to run to WI to get it. Currently #6 in am. brown ale category.
Great aroma with soft darker malts and a sweet sugary quality that moves to caramel. Nicely complex for style.
Smallish and dark head with some lacing. Dark brown with reddish highlights.
Again complex, esp. for style. Just enough alcohol to taste and add some complexity. It mingles with the hops nicely as it moves towards soft bittering on the finish. Again soft darker malts that are a bit drying but the sugary sweetness contrasts nicely.
Moderately light feel for style, even seeming a bit on the thin side. But it's not a distraction or problem.
This is good as it gets for style.

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Photo of fscottkey
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: [4.75] Looks pretty fantastic in the glass. Dark brown cola colored beer. Forms a dense 1 finger head of off white bubbles. The bubbles look creamy and have some staying power. Really nice lacing on the glass. The bottle lists the ABV (7.2%). There is a date code that means this was made 12/11/14.

S: [4.00] I get coffee initially. Then some whole wheat bread smells.

T: [4.25] Sweet upfront then moves into a really nice malt flavor. The roasty malts are fantastic. I am getting little to no hops - but I am not complaining. The rich roasted malt flavor is great.

M: [4.00] Smooth and creamy feeling with a medium body. Low carbonation and low bitterness.

O: [4.25] Blindfolded I would call this a porter. It has the coffee aroma, it has the great roasted malt flavor... The lable talks a lot about how it is liberally hopped. I am getting no hop bite. Based on the brewed date maybe the hops have faded. I am totally fine without them. This is a really great beer. Nice aroma, excellent taste and a smooth body. I will drink this again.

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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 sashavasko
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice beer overall. Unlike many browns you don't just taste the caramel - tastes like a crust of good homemade rye bread. Interestingly the one I had at the Dogfish head pub was better then from the bottle. Better chilled.

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Photo of dd43
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a great brown ale. Pours beautifully with a cola appearance and a finger of sea foam head. Love the style anyway, but this might be my favorite dogfish head beer. Nice balance of hops on what is no doubt a toasty caramel forward beer. Very easy to drink because it's on the lower ABV end at just over 5%, and carbonation lifts the malts so they aren't too heavy. Do yourself a favor and try this if you are into brown ales in any way.

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Photo of vainosuomi
4.56/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Dark brown color, small light brown head. Smell is rich with roasted malts. Taste follows smell and also adds a significant hop bitterness; a great balance of heavy malts and bitter hops. Medium feel and fairly carbonated. Easily one of my favorite beers.

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Photo of hopphead31415
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

My eye spotted this one serendipitously as I meandered down the rows of craft brews and was happy to snag a six pack. It was a tough call though between this one and a variety of other excellent beers such as Ommegang, Founders, and New Belgium. I found a small fridge where they had some 6 packs of this already chilled for me so I grabbed one and headed for the checkout counter. It boasts an 7.2% ABV and 50 IBUs, let’s take a gulp!

Look: This one pours a clear dark cola color with plenty of carbonation trails running up to the surface. The head is medium and about one to two fingers thick with a decent pour and has lingering thick lacing on the glass. The blackness gives way to orange copper hues in light, very beautiful and clear.

Smell: The aroma is thick caramel and oak. I get a strong sense of smoky oaks and toasted butter and brown sugar.

Taste: This beer is a rare and amazing mixture of Scotch Ale, an India Pale Ale and an American Brown which is one of the main reasons I wanted to try it. It really does exhibit the subtle hops of an IPA, the caramel backbone and rich smooth flavor of a Scotch Ale, and the color exhibited by an American Brown. Quite the trio here and well worth a try.

Mouthfeel: This beer drinks so smooth and lacy at first and then the fizzle that comes from the plentiful carbonation makes this one mildly reminiscent of a coca-cola.

Overall: I’d say that this is an excellent beer for anyone to try. It really packs a unique variety of smells, flavors, and attributes making a refreshing experience outside of the norm.

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Photo of TH28
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle. Appearance: Deep brown, clear, with a thick mousse like khaki head. Aroma: Roasty, molasses, and dark fruit overpower any hop aromas. Taste: Roasted malt and bread crust up front, leading into a strong resinous, grassy, citric hop flavor and bitterness. Mouthfeel: Medium body with a moderate carbonation. Finish: Hop bitterness is prominent in the swallow, but quickly disappears leaving a roastiness that lingers. Overall: a very well made beer, that definitely has a cross of ABA and IPA

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Photo of Myotus
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle (bottled on 03Mar15) into a pint glass. Pours with a half finger's worth of khaki foam that dissipates into a line within 15 seconds. Dark brown in color with a ruby tint. Bubbles are scarce. Has mild aromas of roasted malts, sweet chocolate, and molasses with a hint of raisin and bitter hops. Intial taste is of strong molasses, and mild chocolate and bitter, earthy hop flavors. Mild roasted malt flavors along with a hint of raisin sweetness and ginger (that comes from nowhere) are next to enter the palate as all flavors persist into the aftertaste. Light-bodied, mildly carbonated, smooth, with a crisp finish. This is yet another unique tasting brew from DFH. Definitely not what I expected from an American Brown So, but I loved it.
NOTE: As beer warms, aromas and flavors change drastically, as in the case of most all brown ales. I would love to try this again, but at room temperature.

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Photo of Gear54
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle into a pint glass

Color is dark mahogany with 1 finger of thin kaki head that fades slowly leaving tight lace rings on the glass

Smell is molasses and roasted malts. No real hop aroma. The hops must be hidden under the strong roasted nuttiness. I know this is a brown ale with extra hops so I'll be looking for that in the taste.

Taste is fantastic! Solid classic brown ale flavored of nutty malts and molasses with a bright hoppy dryness that lingers a while on the tung.

Overall maybe the best brown I've had. I love the addition of the lasting bitterness that comes with the nut and molasses flavors.

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

This was one of my gateways to craft and is still a great go-to all season beer.

Tastes of sweet molasses up front, balanced by a dry, bitter hop finish. They got the balance just right - it's substantial but doesn't feel heavy, and sweet but not sticky.

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Photo of dbl_delta
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Didn't know what to expect (DFH makes some strange stuff), but this is a really good brown ale! Very smooth - almost slick. A lot of different things going on simultaneously - a little hops, raisins, malty sweetness, perhaps some chocolate, probably other stuff that's too subtle for my IPA-jaded taste buds.

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Photo of SaltofOH
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 3-15-15. Pokal glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark, dark brown, with two fingers foamy tan head. Amazing retention. Nice lacing.

Aroma: Minerally, roasty. Quite mild on the nose. Sweeter as it warms. Raisin and molasses come out as it approaches room temp.

Taste: Dry, hoppy arrival. Light, and slightly sour and roasty across mid-palate. Surprisingly clean, highly bitter finish. Slight lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Heavier side of mid-weight. High carbonation, higher than typical for the style, I think. Ever so slight slickness.

Overall: Wow; this is not at all what I expected. This does not really taste like a brown ale; but whatever it is, I like. Too malty to be a black IPA, but too hoppy to be a brown ale, and too light to be a stout. If I'm in a mood for a brown ale, this would not be a go-to. But there is a mood that suits this beer perfectly. It and Brown Shugga and Seventh Son's American Strong Ale are bunched together for me. A wintertime hoppy alternative to the typical stout.

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Photo of Knilas
3.52/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle. Drank from a tulip glass. Aroma of coffee, chocolate, raisin, and earthiness. Nice dark brown in color w/ a beige head that hangs around a bit. I found the taste to be fairly hoppy in the beginning, and more balanced the closer it became to room temp. At that point the malts and darker flavors rushed forward. This is when I really began to enjoy it. This is a very serviceable pour, yet didn’t stand out from any of the other brown ales I’ve tried.

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Photo of irrevjim
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

from bottle to burgundy glass, 1/8 inch head that looks thick but almost greyish white from carbonation and disappears quickly with thin lacing, beer a rich mahogany color. smells malty and caramel and a little boozy but not in a bad way, a little like spiced rum. I missed the hops in the smell but wow, what a nice balance in a heavy duty tasty spicy strong brown ale, it manages a caramel candy rum vs grapefruit celery leaf battle that my mouth really enjoys. Have had before and will have again.

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Photo of thedrunkpoet
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful look. Heavy dark umber brown color. Nice, steady carbonation.

Holy Cannoli. This is a deceptive beer. Smells like a barleywine. Almost smells just like 120 minute but hold up...

This shit tastes so well balanced it's not funny. Not what I was expecting at all. Yeah, it's crisp. How does it taste this bright and crisp but it's so dark? The hops, that must be it. Caramel aftertouch. Yum.

Feels like the lips of a just shaved vagina. Wonderful.

Drank this out of a Lagunitas wide mouth mason jar. Amazing beer. Must have. Wish they sold six packs.

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Photo of ImbibeBlyth1933
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful stout-like color, light to moderate head retention. Aroma of caramelized malt, raw sugar, slight molasses, and rustic wheat germ bread. Palate unfortunately does not confirm the nose. Alcohol is a bit overwhelming the flavor, but is not unpleasant.

Flavor is summed up with moderate to deep roasted malt, smooth texture, and coffee bean and alcohol on the finish.

Decent beer for style, would not purchase again, unless pairing with food.

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Photo of ravisingh
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: I would say this about a 19 on the SRM chart. The color is like really dark root beer. The head is thick and tan and about two and three quarters inches that goes to about two in 30 seconds and dissipates slowly overall.

S: Chocolate aroma present with some floral notes. I picked up a piny presence plus a little cedar bark underneath it.

T: Definite roasted hops bitterness present roughly medium to medium high - it's there though. There is a mild sweetness and even some coffee and dark chocolate notes. It is a very subtle and complex flavor, IMO. The bitterness lasts and stays on the tongue but not in a bad way.

F: Medium body, and mild fizz as far as carbonation.

O: The aromas are nice and interesting, especially for me as it has been a lot of IPA's recently. The flavors are very interesting and are very subtle and complex. The balance in the flavors is deep and has layers to it. They took their time with this one and it shows. I would definitely drink this again. The ABV is actually beyond the standards @ 7.2% but that just makes things more interesting. Cheers.

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

Served on tap in a pint glass at Paxti's Pizza in Campbell, CA

A: Very dark bown, light at the edges but on the darker end of the scale for brown ales. Half a finger of mocha colored head that laced the glass very nicely.
S: Chocolate, coffee grounds, lightly roasted malts, hints of caramel and a little spice.
T: Follows the nose well. Lots of coffee upfront, followed by a light chocolate/caramel in the middlemouth and coffee in the aftertaste.
M: Medium to light mouthfeel. Carbonation is dialed in about right to rinse your palette with each sip.
O: I had this a long while back and didn't think much of it. It was worth drinking again for a re-review as I give it considerably higher marks this time. Excellent brown ale, very rich and flavorful without being overbearing.

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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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