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Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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2,030 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: 2,030 | Ratings: 5,965
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 allengarvin
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a dark reddish-tinted brown with an off-white head of lusciously creamy foam. Aroma is very roasted and nutty, with some hops but not nearly as much as, say, the 60-minute. Malts make up the main components of the flavor: an almost burnt caramel with dark bitter chocolate. Moderately high bitterness but not as much as I'd expect from a Dogfishhead beer with "Indian" in the name. Hop flavor is somewhat resinous. Finishes malty and nutty. Creamy texture, like a stout, with a good deal of body.

Very good, but I was hoping for more hop flavor and aroma.

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Photo of hobbes2112
4.73/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle.

Finally have this at home where I can properly review it. I have had this on tap many times (in the DC area and in TX) and I really enjoy it.

Pours a deep red mahogony, with thick beige head. Medium retention and low lacing.

Smell is carmel, grain, dark chocolate, coffee and hops. Really good balance of all these elements.

Taste is roasted malts, nuts, chocolate, dark fruit and a nice hop kick. The layering is so seamless that I have a hard time isolating flavors before another one shows up.

Mouthfeel is exactly right for this beer. The flavors are delivered to the right part of the tounge, and the body complements each taste.

This is one of the best beers I have had, sure to be on my favorites list.

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Photo of jamesclark
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It appears dark ruby in my glass. Slightly cloudy inside, but it's hard to tell. The head is thick, it spilled over my glass and left a lacy coating as it shrank to a thin layer of bubbles.

It has a malty smell, with small amounts of fruit, hops, and a sweetness, maybe caramel. This smells like good food.

The carbonation is medium, and the beer has a medium-bodied feel. There is a rich malty flavor, balanced with plenty of bitterness. A little flavor remains after swallowing. This beer is refreshing - it drinks easily, with great flavor.

Dogfish Head is an amazing brewery, and at the moment this is my favorite of their brews. Personally, I can't keep enough of it in my fridge.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.11/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in an American pint glass)

A-This beer pours a deep brown clear body with a good carbonation and a nice rocky tan head.

S- The beer smells pretty clean with notes of light toasted malt

T- This beer has a nice medium toasted malt flavor with some slight sour chocolate notes. There is a very gentle citrus hop flavor with very little bitterness.

M- This beer has a nice medium mouthfeel with some creaminess.

D- This doesn't really have the hop qualities I would expect and the depth of malt is not that interesting by itself.

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Photo of kpantz
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Executive Summary: Brown Ales aren't really my favorite, but I just might come back to this one.

Appearance: Clean but DARK – almost stout-like. Slight deep-orange hue. Thick head (3 fingers thick) that’s not too quick to quit.

Smell: Slightly sweet, but malty.

Taste: Good balance of malt and hops. Can kinda catch the caramelized brown sugar. Slightly bitter finish (in a good way, of course), but nothing like a pale ale.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth…not too much carbonation (which is surprising given the head appearance). Feels great on the back taste buds!

Drinkability: Took a test chug and found that while it tastes great, this one goes down much better when consumed slowly. Not a session brew; rather, a great one to sit back with and watch the tube. 7.2% ABV doesn’t really show through – a couple of these and you’ll feel it!

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

Appearance: Pours a deep, rich brown, pretty much opaque. Head is thick and persistent.

Smell: Smells old and venerable, something to be respected. All the right roasty/toasty aromas are there.

Taste: The first couple sips I swear I got an aftertaste of blood (so strong that I thought I bit my lip). Aside from that, though, this beer is wonderful. A little sweeter than I expected to go along with the roasted nuttiness, with some lingering bitterness that's just perfect.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy. Carbonation is perfect.

Drinkability: Exceedingly high. The other five of his friends won't last long.

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Photo of santoslhalper
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearence: Pours a nice dark brown with a creamy beige head.

Smell: The smell is a strong mix of coffee, nuts and strong sugar. The roasted notes are brilliant, and the hops add nice complexity.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The flavor is incredible roasted tasting, with extreme porter notes. It's almost like they took a tame Brown Ale and mixed it with a ridiculously robust Porter. The burned chocolate and nut notes are really extreme and almost confusing for a brown ale. It just taste so strong and creamy.

Drinkability and Overall: What a crazy beer!! I don't know if I'd call this a Brown Ale, but whatever the hell you call it, it's quite tasty. The complexity is out of this world, but makes it one hell of a drinkable beer. Definitly a DFH to try.

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Photo of palma
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark rich looking brown with an amber hue. Not much of a head but a good lace does develop.
Wonderful aroma consisting of black malt, coffee and molasses.
A smooth nutty flavor at the start. Roasted malt flavor. Though not as rich as the aroma would lead you to believe. Coffee notes and a slight grassiness can be found. A good solid bitterness in the end. A slightly astringent mouthfeel.
Overall, this is a good brown ale sporting a hefty ABV.

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Photo of TripelJ
3.43/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Now Quaffing: DFH Indian Brown

I remembered really enjoying this beer the first time that I had it, but now that I revisit it, I find it to be a little less memorable. Pours an unclouded ruddy brown with a minimal white head. As the head settles it looks like a glass of cola sitting on my desk. The smell is sweet and slightly grassy. The taste was full compared to other american brown ales, bigger hop presence and more of a burnt roasted bitterness which was nice, but the mouthfeel was a little too thin which made the whole thing seem unbalanced. Worth a try, and something I will revisit every once in a while, but not when there are other, better browns available.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep,coppery red color. No real head to speak of. Low aroma-sweet malt for the most part. Malty flavor upfront. Fair amount of hoppiness to it. Caramel and raisen like sweetness in the finish. Velvety smooth. Nice body to it. A very drinkable brew-another fine product from DFH. Well worth enjoying on a regular basis.

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Photo of fizzyfred
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is a rich, dark brown. Looks more like a porter than a brown ale. Little to no head. The aroma is dominated by smell of roasted malt, seems to be a slight floral hop aroma as well. It tastes pretty balanced and heavy. It could almost use some more hop bitterness to take the edge off. It's medium high carbonation is too much, but it is from a bottle. The carbonation may be contributing to the perceived heaviness. Slight alcohol warmness reminds me of a robust porter or imperial stout.

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Photo of Brian700
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours a dark brown color and has a brown head that sticks around for the whole session. It smells of roasty malts, bread, and coffee. It tastes of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate with a little bitter to it. It has a good mouthfeel with medium carbonation. I think this is a great beer. I can't wait to try another one from Dogfish Head. I've been impressed with every one of there brews so far.

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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 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 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 beermanbrian
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Crimson brown color with a thin head. Left some lacing on the glass as the head disipated. Definate aroma of hops mixed with alcohol due to the high ABV. Taste is very smooth for such a high alcohol beer. Has a toasted flavor and is a little sweet. Overall a very nice beer. Will have to make a trip to the brewery soon.

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

Pours a lovely deep ruby color with a thin head. It smells of roasted malt: coffee, chocolate and toasted bread. The taste similarly emphasizes roasted flavors. I think this beer -- happily -- is a bit more bitter than others of the style. There is also a slight sharp flavor in the back end.

The body is smooth and substantial.

Overall this is a good American Brown Ale. My favorite is still Rogue's Hazelnut Brown Nectar.

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Photo of whartontallboy
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown pour, fairly decent light-brown head that leaves some lace in a pint glass. Smell is roasty malt with lots of chocolate overtones and maybe a little bit of a smoky burnt smell, too. For its ABV, the taste is really, really smooth and malty. Lots of sweetness, but it's not cloying, and the roasty character really shines through; there's a bit of nuttiness to the flavor as well. The hops aren't entirely lost, but there's a pretty solid wall of malt over them. A very drinkable and smooth, not to mention strong, brown ale.
One of my favorite DFH brews.

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

The kind of brew that reminds me that I like it when a brewer has to step up with some unique ways to mask a high alcohol. I found this a wonderful effort from the folks in DE.

The head of a stout on a brew the color of a porter; we're not messing around here: no pussyfooting.

Malty sweet aroma makes the sprightly mouthfeel completely unexpected. Other ways this ain't your average brown: that high abv (which is more a number than anything found in the flavor,) an unusual vinous quality, a dynamite hop presence that makes sure the malty notes have to fight for dominance.

Not a regular brown ale drinker, and I loved it. Highly recommended.

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

Not surprised at all by how good this offering from Dogfish Head is. Mostly I go for their IPAs and other stuff but I had this a few times at the Moan and Dove and thought it was great but for some reason never picked up a sixer. Well, tonight was the night, and I'm glad I finally decided to go for the maltier side of Dogfish Head. Appears more ruby red than most standard brown ales, mixed with the traditonal drab brown of course. A bit of white head tops the beer. Smell is creamy and milky, with a touch of bitterness to it. The creamyness comes through in the taste and mouthfeel as well, but the overall taste is much more complex. It has a nice fruityness to it. Dark cherries, ripeness, in addition to the milky creamy flavor. Also, it reminds me of a dark Belgian ale with it's sweet candied sugar taste, which isn't as overwhelming to me as it seems some people have noted. Nice hoppy backbone as well. All of the many tastes in this beer are very well defined and stand out among each other, but also compliment each other. Like I said, I'm not surprised that this beer is as good as it is, coming from one of my fav breweries, but I think I'll be getting it more often now. Cheers.

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Photo of carln26
3.86/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, clear brown color with a thick tan head. The head leaves a light lace on the side of the glass. The beer is very pleasing to the eye. Mild malt aromas rise from the glass. The nose has a mixture of malt sweetness and delicate roast malt character. There is a subtle grapefruit rind backing. The taste is neutral. Not too bitter, not too sweet. It is what you would expect. It’s dead between a pale ale and a stout having a darker roast character of the latter, and a mild citrus hop bite. The mouth feel is wonderfully smooth, and it has a good drinakbility.

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Photo of Beertracker
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale pours up big & lacy with an outstanding thick, long lasting lace. Best served cool at cellar temperatures (45-55F) from a logo house pint. Big aromatic and fruity (carmelized pears, Bananas Foster, lemon zest, etc...) nose with lots a candy sweet, nougat-like maltiness. Light hoppiness follows with just a hint of zesty spiciness. The gorgeous ruby-brown body is topped-off nicely by a thick, lacy tannish-white head. Lots of sugary, caramel sweetness upfront fades ever-so slowly to an marked bitterness that helps dry the generous maltiness. The rich caramel/toffee maltiness dominates along with a light unobtrusive toastiness that interplays well with the dried fruit character (e.g. apricots, dates, raisins) and alcohol all the way until the bold, albeit slightly roasty finish. Medium-full body with a very good-excellent creaminess. A really nice strongish ale to enjoy paired with some salty mixed nuts or a good dried fruit trail-mix. Fantastic after a long day's ride!

CHEERS! Beertracker

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

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown, with a medium tan head with incredible retention and lacing.

Smell: Full of chocolate, toffee, caramel, and biscuit malt. A sweet brown sugar aroma swirls with dark fruity undertones and lots of alcohol.

Taste: Smooth and sweet roasty malt backbone, but not cloyingly sweet, very balanced hop bitterness comes through midway, with a dry coffee finish. Definitely is warming and very tasty.

Mouthfeel: Full and creamy mouthfeel with a slighty acidic and astringent finish.

Notes: This one is strong, 7.2% ABV is hidden fairly well. Very detectable in the nose, but no solventy or hot fusel alcohol taste. A very fine American Brown, but I wish they backed up on the alcohol a little bit.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark murky brown with crimson hues coming through when held up to the light. A soft bubbly khaki head pops up and then falls to a ring around the top. Crisp nose with roasted grain, sweet burnt brown sugar, nuts and some piney hop tones. Both unique and appealing with sticky patchy lacing.

Big first sip brings a healthy dose of roasty, toasty caramel/brown sugar maltiness...smooth with a nice sweetness. A nice clean hop bitterness hits on the back of the palate and accentuates the flavor nicely. Dark molasses with a hint of fresh baked bread.

Good, full bodied brew that makes itself known on the palate. A tasty brown ale that I could easily have a few of. Another quality DFH brew.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 5,965 ratings.
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