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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 2,030 | Ratings: 5,965
Photo of jcantella
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Why do we always forget about IBA?

This dry-hopped American brown has been around for more than fifteen years and is one of only five beers on DFH’s current year-round slate, where it’s been a long-time standby. Yet ask a casual fan to name the first DFH brew that comes to mind and it’s rather unlikely “IBA” will pass their lips.

Like many DFH fans, I fear I’ve taken IBA for granted. With an open mind and a fresh palette, I revisited the classic by way of a recent batch.

Poured into a tulip glass from a 12-oz bottle with a 12/30/15 bottled-on date. Allowed to warm out of fridge for about 20 minutes before pouring.

Appearance: Dark brown, with about a 1/2 inch of off-white head that mostly dissipated within a few minutes. Lacing was minimal.

Smell: After pouring, the empty bottle gave off notes of bittersweet chocolate, roasted malt, pie crust, and roasted nuts. From the full glass, a slightly herbal bitterness from the hops. As it warmed, I got faint notes of raisin and anise seed.

Taste: Things lead off with a light malt sweetness, followed by a rather assertive two-fold bitterness. Some bitter notes come from the herbal, slightly piney hops, others pounce with the bite of black coffee. It finishes slightly sweet, with a bit of burnt brown sugar. The alcohol lingers, but the bitterness lingers longer.

Mouthfeel: There’s more carbonation on the tongue than you can see in the glass, with a solid body that’s again more complex than its appearance. I don’t know what people are talking about when they say they can’t detect the alcohol here—it’s here.

Notes: Dogfish beers always have a lot going on –the question is whether everybody plays well together. In IBA, we have harmony, an enjoyably complex brown that shows you don’t need to pack a 10+ ABV to work as a sipper.

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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 MichaelProcton
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, dark brown with some ruby coming through under light that makes it look a bit like red wine. Still, pretty clear. Nice nut brown head with good retention. Smell is deep and malty, with a hint of creaminess. Taste and mouthfeel are fantastic. Could almost be a porter, but lighter. Sweet malt, creaminess, and just enough hop bitterness to balance everything out. Delicious and drinkable, a dangerous combination.

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Photo of moofthedog
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle date of 12/2/15. Poured extremely cold. 1 finger head, but I don't particularly care for head size/retention anyway. Right away, fuggle and williamette hops jump at out at me. The proper words used to describe them are "spicy, earthy, woody". Not my preferred hops but oh well. They use caramelized sugar so I was expecting the aftertaste to be a bit dry but it was not so. Look was dark, almost like a porter. Bitterness was manageable, didn't stick in the mouth like regular IPA's. Mouthfeel was alright, you kind of get a blast of the earthy-woody hops on the way down. Alright beer, neat concept. Much of the malt character unfortunately gets lost in the bitterness of the hops. I got some dark caramel and crystal malts mostly via smell.
Wouldn't get again though.

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Photo of vladdswrath
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark chocolate brown with an explosion of bubbles off the pour, this foams up nice and leaves a wonderful lace. Smell is typical for a brown, sweet malt with brown sugar and coffee undertones. Taste is a complex blend of carmel, malt, and coffee with big smack of bitterness crashing in at the end. Mouthfeel is surprisingly much thinner than it looks and smells, but on the bright side, that makes it easier to drink more than one.

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Photo of AngryDutchman
3.12/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Revisiting an old friend at the Towne Tavern.

Lovely brown color, a bit to the sweet side of things. Less coffee/toffee than I was remembering, a decent session brew from DFH but overall left wanting.

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Photo of MJSFS
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a DFH chalice L: rich dark brown with a thin tan head that quickly dissipated while leaving a thin bubbly lacing A: roasted malts and slight coffee notes T: sweet malts, red wine, and cola M: medium and bubbly O: probably my favorite beer of this style

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Photo of twosheds
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a tan head

Smells strongly of dark bread and dried fruit with some hop bitterness coming through.

Has a sweet nutty flavor with a decent amount of hops to balance it out. Dark bread flavor is not as prominent as in the smell, but still present.

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Photo of bradco57
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Got a bottle of the Indian Brown this week from my favorite bottle shop. Have long been a fan of the 90 min and 60 min from Dogfish. I must say, I think the Indian Brown beats them both! Its a smooth perfectly balanced beer that just delights the taste buds. If you are a fan of dark beer and have never tried this one....get one and enjoy .. The 95 rating is on the mark!

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Photo of GinDC
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very dark but also sweet and full-bodied. Kind of like a smooth cup of Jagermeister, but as a beer, and not really even. If you're in the mood for something dark and complex it's hard to beat.

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

12 oz bottle
Appearance: Dark brown in color with reddish hues when the light hits it, slightly hazy and filled with carbonation, the head is fluffy, thick and an off white color. Medium Lacing.
Smell: fruity, herby and mild floral aromas come out, a little caramel and brown sugar too!
Taste: roasted malts, bready yeast and mild dark fruits make for a great tasting. It’s a little nutty and woody towards its aftertaste and sweet after overall.
Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied with mild carbonation.
Overall: Smooth, great tasting and lovely to drink.

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Photo of Kubishark
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap. What a beautiful beer, dark brown with a bit of amber/red shining through. Smells like roasted malts and caramel, tastes wonderfully nutty and malty and sweet, with enough hops to even things out. Hardly any taste of alcohol for its ABV. Highly, highly recommended.

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Photo of StoutElk_92
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a nice maroon with a frothy khaki colored foam head. Smells very malty, with somewhat dark roasty caramel and mild chocolate, caramelized brown sugar and light grassy citrusy pine. Taste is bitter grassy pine, mild citrus fruits, roasty caramelized brown sugar and molasses, with mild chocolate and earthy wood notes to balance it out. Feels light and creamy with medium carbonation. Overall a balanced and well made hoppy brown ale.

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Photo of Benjo87
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - A lot darker than I expected. It looks like a stout or a porter in the glass. Little bits of light coming through the glass from the corners. 2 finger head that dissipates quickly.

Smell - was expecting a bit more on the nose. Bottle is fairly fresh at 2 months old, but I'm only getting faint smells. Caramelised sugar is there, roasted malt, hops, and a touch of alcohol.

Taste - Very very smooth. Caramelised sugar up front, with a fair bit of hops on the back end. Has a nice bitterness to finish.It's almost a mix between an IPA and a porter. Very well balanced beer.

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

From bottle, Pours a deep clear brown with a white head. Aroma of roasted malts and slight citrus hop, caramel, coffee. Taste caramel pretty much the aroma and roasted notes and the hop. Well worth a try, I really enjoying this.

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Photo of NateDyk47
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L- dark brown; red hue when held to light. Very thin white head.
S- burnt sugar, hint of caramel
T- caramel, not to sweet, just the right amount of bitterness
F- medium thin, medium to heavy carbonation

I was skeptical, but better than I was expecting. Pretty good.

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Photo of Evilyak
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

like usual, there's not much i'm going to add to almost 2,000 reviews.

dark brown with a hint of red to it. smells roasty, with a ton of sugar. taste is the same - beginning has some burnt notes and more floral hops, but finishes very sweet. feel is well carbonated and a bit oily.

a really nice brown ale. hides the 7.2% wonderfully.

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Photo of thebeers
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown with large foamy tan head that's quick to dissipate. Smells of black bread, a hint of roastedcoffee and hops. Taste follows the nose with malty sweetness and hop bitterness lazily competing for the aftertaste. Fairly heavy bodied with just enough carbonation. Fine beer.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Pours a half finger of head on a clear brown body.
The aroma is toast (almost burnt), wood, brown sugar, caramel and raisins.
The taste roasted malt, then some pine bitterness, big dose of caramel sweet and a bite of grapefruit to finish.
The texture is crisper.
It's pretty good.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served at cellar temperature into a pint glass. Sadly the last of 6 bottles to be enjoyed over the past week weeks following a visit to New York State.

Appearance - an aggressive pour yielded a dark mahogany coloured beer, with gat clarity and topped by a finger and a half of tan head. Pretty good head extension and some sparse lacing lingers around the edges of the glass.

Smell - big aroma of coarse grain, some dark fruit, a hint of wood and smoke. A little caramel mixed in for good measure. A very aromatic beer for the style.

Taste - grain flavours, followed by some mild bitterness, slightly earthy hops, a smoked or burnt flavor, and a touch of caramel at the end. Complex and nice complementary profile. The roasted and slightly smokey flavor is the star, which may or may not appeal to everyone.

Mouthfeel - smooth, medium bodied with good carbonation and a fairly dry finish.

Overall - one of the best brown ales out there, it's a hybrid in that the significant hop presence and the woodsy aromas and flavours with the smokey elements gives you a different beer than many browns, but it works very well here. Top notch stuff that will grow on you more, the more you enjoy.

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Photo of gmoneyproductions
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass
look is amber to brown mahogany with a moderate tan head
smell is malty hoppy and boozy
taste is chocolate, slightly smoky, nutty hoppy and boozy slightly dry and bitter aftertaste
feel is medium body warming somewhat effervescent
a more bitter and hopped up take on a brown ale
very good

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

I had this on draught at a restaurant, thus It was colder than I would drink it at home. It poured a dark brown with reddish hues and a creamy tan head and lacing. Because of the temperature it was hard to really appreciate the smell but I definitely discerned chocolate and nutty caramel. This is a very tasty brown ale with a base of roasted malt with chocolate, coffee, and nuts. There is also some vanilla/caramel sweetness and it finishes with more than a hint of hoppy bitterness. In sum, it is an extremely well-balanced ale. At 7.20% ABV, it is very drinkable; you can easily have a second. Overall, this is a very well crafted brown ale that blends different flavors extremely well. It is a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of bmeehan
3.38/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I love the smell of coffee and hate the taste of it. This beer is a pint of cold coffee in smell and in taste, and because it's so strong on the coffee notes, it's not palatable to someone like me. I can appreciate the craft here, but I can't drink this beer.

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Photo of VDJ104
4.88/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The best way I can describe this beer is it's somewhere between an IPA and a porter and I think it might be a new favorite of mine. When I poured it I was surprised because I didn't expect it to be this dark. IPA's have never been my favorite style but when mixed with malts and sugar it creates one of the more balanced yet at the same time flavorful beers I've ever had.

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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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