Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

6,087 Ratings
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,087 |  Reviews: 2,062
Photo of Samp01
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a nice brown long lasting head, Aroma and Taste of sweet caramel malt, sweet spices, some brown sugar and molasses, and light hops. Palate is nice full body, with a rich and smooth mouth feel. Finish is sweet toasted maltiness, brown sugar and molasses, with some nice bitter cacao followed by some hoppiness for balance, a nice long bitter sweet finish. A very nicely balanced and tasty brew

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

Always one I go back to...very rich flavors abundant; cocoa, coffee, leaves a velvety coating on the tongue. Slight bitterness. Aroma is much like the taste, nutty and chocolate-like. Kind of like a Kahlua flavored beer. Ruby red brown color with white head. Nice alcohol presence. My favorite brown, and I don't care much for browns.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have had this beer before and really liked it but had never reviewed so I figured I would have one again and make a point to note some of the things I liked about this beer. Since I last had this beer, I have had DFH's Palo Santo Marron and when I took my first drink of the Brown Ale, I noticed that it tasted a lot like PSM but with a lot less alcohol. That makes this one a lot more drinkable as you can have a couple as opposed to the Palo which has a pretty high abv.

Beyond that initial impression, the color is a nice dark brown. The taste is just the right amount of hoppiness for a brown ale and you get just the right amount of bite from the alcohol for a 7ish abv beer. I almost get some smokiness and possibly a little bitter chocolate taste.

With Dogfish Head pulling out of Wisconsin, I need to pick myself up one more six pack of this before I can't find it here anymore.

EDIT-I still have a six pack of this beer that I stashed away once DFH brews weren't available in Wisconsin anymore. After cracking one open the other night, the thing that struck me the most was how complex this beer was. I got so many different tastes, it was interesting to take more sips and see what I could taste. That said, once Dogfish Head pulled out of Wisconsin, I was "forced" to find new beers to drink and I found that DFH isn't all I thought it was cracked up to be. They are a little pretentious at times and although they make great beer, they aren't "God's gift to beer" like I thought they were.

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Photo of Lauthaha
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a beer mug.

Appearance: Beer is a nearly-opaque true brown color. Mahogany and ruby highlights strike forth from the brew itself. The head is cappuccino-like in color and density, and dimples fairly beautifully.

Smell: Brown ale (x) 1.75. Amazing. Very, very rich (slightly toasted) toffee and caramel malt flavor providing a canvas upon which cinnamon and milk chocolate tones dance, creating a cascade of spice and sweetness. No detectable alcoholic presence. Smells like a stout...very, very nice.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Beer is rich and creamy as it enters the palate. Malt perfection lays down a foundation, and chocolate love builds a home on top of that. Mild carbonation carries slight plum/nutmeg/nutty characteristics through a river of sweet, sweet malt. Aftertaste is pure malt. Really, really great beer.

Overall: An amazing brew. Altogether, very drinkable.

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

A-The beers pours a deep brown. Khaki colored head is born from the pours, although it slowly disperses. Thin yet prominent lace clings to the glass.

S-Nice dark maltiness is prevalent in the nose. Sweet milk chocolate and a bit of coffee can be detected. Hops are detectable in the nose as well. If I was unaware of the beer's style, I would say it smells like a porter.

T-A very flavor beer. A more complex version of the nose. I taste all the dark maltiness. The coffee and chocolate is easy to taste. The hops are fairly assertive too! A truly bittersweet taste.

M-Medium/fuller body. Moderate carbonation. The body is silky, and again, porter-like.

O/D-I must say that this may be my second favorite Dogfish Head offering (60 Minute being my favorite). This brewery is not my favorite, but I am a fan of this beer. The drinkablility is substantially higher than most Dogfish Head beers in my opinion. Do not know what took me so long to try it.

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Photo of zrab11
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a Dark brown with nice 1 finger tan head

S- Smells great. Has good roasted malts with some carmel notes and maybe even a hint of burnt smell

T- HAs a very stout boozy begining with a very nutty roasted taste in the middle and then finish's with that burnt sweetness

M-Medium body with good carbonation and a good creamyness

D-Overall this is a great beer. Its def. not your normal brown ale. Its a brown ale on steroids. Very good flavor. would get this again.

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Photo of tekn0ph1sh
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle poured into Pilsner

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale

A: Clear Mahogany reddish brown pour with a fluffy 2 finger light tan head. Nice lacing.

S: Earthy sweetness. It smell like digging up black dirt in a forest.

T: Earthy, black coffee, dark chocolate, brown sugar with a slightly hoppy finish with little to no alcohol taste.

M: A very smooth medium Body Brown ale with low carbonation. Leaves a dry feeling on the tongue.

O: Relatively easy to get brown ale. It is very drinkable. It reminds me of a slightly sweet Guinness light like what you would get if you mixed Guinness with and India Pale Ale.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - Very dark brown beer with 2 finger nice tight head. Good lacing on glass.

Smell - Very roasty and malty like a nut brown. Pleasant smells.

Taste - Caramel, malts, and roasted nut flavors dominate. Well balanced hops but no bitterness of note.

Mouthfeel - The only downside IMO is that it has a dry finish and leaves the pallet thirsty. Other aspects are fine though.

Overall - This is a very well made, flavored and balanced brown ale. Seems to be more in the British Ale style than American Brown (just my opinion) 7.2% alchohol is strong for this style but its well disguised in taste (but you definitely feel it after 1 beer). Its not a great session beer because of the dry aftertaste but it seems like this would be a great beer to have with a hearty fall feast or Thanksgiving style dinner. Another fine output from DFH.

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

Bottled: 03/04/2011. 12 oz bottle at 42 degrees into a Stone IRS tulip.

A: It pours a dark mahogany-brown with red highlights and a finger of lightly tanned head that holds and laces well.

S: Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, chocolate, and mild piney hoppiness. The hoppiness doesn't play as large of a role in the taste though.

T: Nuttiness, brown sugar, cinammon, and strong caramel.

M: It has medium thickness with average carbonation and lasting flavors.

O: This is one of my favorites to buy in bulk. It is only $8.99/6 pack and delicious.

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Photo of Brabander
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I got this beer from Listenatjoes last week when we met in Brussels to do a trade. He gave me some beers from his region and some beers he'd think i would like.

After a refreshing walk tonight i cracking open this one.

Poured in (of course) my Struise glass the beer almost perfect. A deepdarkred fluid with a two to three finger head which fades away very slowly. Well done! Good smell with some roasted malt and some coffeetones.

Good and fresh taste, no alcohol detectable. I thought i tasted some cocoa. This is one of the better beers i had from the States...

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

Bottle poured into standard pint glass.

A: This beer looks a very deep, dark brown. In dim conditions it almost appears black. Held up to a light you can see its a beautiful brown with a nice reddish mahogany tint to it.

S: It smells like some porters/stouts I have had. Maybe a somewhat roasted and burnt smell with a sweetness to it.

T: The initial taste is similar to some Imperial stouts I've had. It is roasted and nutty tasting at first with some sweetness, but right on its heels is a nice contrasting bitterness. The flavor rounds out with a nice alcohol taste and warmth.

M: Very creamy feeling on the palate. It seemed to almost fizz up when it hit my mouth and become effervescent. Not in a bad way like an overly carbonated macro that almost burns you with carbonation, but very good.

O: A pretty decent beer. Not one of my favorites for sure, but a nice change. It is certainly enjoyable, but then again every beer is right?

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Photo of kbutler1
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Poured into a DFH tulip (how appropriate?!) a dark clear brown color with a clight reddish tinge to it. Nice, big fluffy tan head that slowly settles and covers the glass with lace as it does. Caramel, vanilla, some dark fruit, and slight alcohol in the nose. Medium mouthfeel. Sweet, caramel and dark fruit flavors gives way to a roasted bitterness flavor with some alcohol flavors. Its pretty tasty but I think I'd like it a little better with the abv knocked down a tad to really let the hops and roasted notes shine.

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

Begins with a fairly large caramel head, the body is deep brown and murky, it looks as majestic and complex as the title would suggest, moderate lacing

Coffee and roasted malts as well as spirity esters and faint floral hop notes

As complex and interesting as the nose, some malt sweetness upfront along with coffee, toffee and chocolate flavor, the aftertaste was a pleasant blend of hops and burnt malt

Surprisingly clean, also creamy, on the lighter side of medium bodied went down very smoothly

I like IPAs, I like Scotch Ales, I REALLY like DFH India Brown Ale

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Photo of RoamingGnome
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into my favorite Cheers beer mug.

A) About a half inch of head that had a hint of caramel color to it. The head did not stick around for the party. The color of the brew was nearly black, but probably more accurately described as a deep brown.

S) I was enticed by the aroma of freshly roasted coffee beans.

T) Initially there was some sweetness, which was followed by the roasted coffee and nutty flavor. It reminded me of highlander grogg. The hops was there in the middle. The finish was a burnt offering. The aftertaste was so so.

M) I'd have to say clean and crisp. Perhaps a little heavier on the palate than other brown ales. The carbonation provides the right amount of tingle, along with the alcohol content.

O) I really enjoy brown ales, and ran out to pick up this sixer when I heard Dogfish Head would no longer be distributed in my neck of the woods. I'm not sure that I would call this a brown ale, but I will call it a good beer.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

368th review on BA
bottle to pint
12 oz

Thanks to my wife for bringing this home from AZ for me.

App- A nice dark brown with a fluffy two finger head. Nice and slow receding with a decent cling.

Smell- Big brown ale scents with nice malts and a little hop aroma wofting up.

Taste- A nice brown ale with some hop notes. I liked the sugary malts that added a good body and dimension to this. Well balanced and a little lighter which I liked.

Mouth- Medium bodied with a medium carbonation level. The aftertaste left me with some brown sugary malts.

Drink- Glad I got to try this one, I used to be a big fan of brown ales and I got away from them. This could lead me back to them. Nice smaller beer with well balanced flavors and just the right hop kick to it.

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

Poured into a DFH pint glass.

Pours a very deep brown with garnet highlights. Sitting on top is a big, creamy two finger head of light tan head. The head is slow to drop, leaving a nice lacing behind.

Aromas of caramel and roasted malts, some dark fruits, no real hop aroma.

Flavors of roasted malts, a bit of a sour tang (from dark grains, not bugs), caramel malt sweetness, balancing bitterness, but no hop flavor. Malt forward beer. As it warms, the alcohol heat comes forward. Finish is roasty with sweet malt on the fade.

Mouthfeel is medium, slightly sticky, mouthcoating bitterness, but not extreme. Some alcohol warmth as it warms up.

Overall a very nice beer. Dangerously drinkable, could fool you into making it a session beer, the alcohol stays well hidden until it warms up.

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

Aroma: Roasted Malt, Coffee, Caramel sweetness and a touch of chocolate.

Appearance: Very dark, leathery brown with subtle red highlights under light with a thick tan head and sticky lace that clings to the glass.

Taste: Huge robust coffee with a reasonable amount of bitterness. The roasted malt and chocolate is balanced well with the sweetness from the caramel and molasses.

Mouthfeel: A little chewy, mild carbonation with a bitter dry finish.

Drinkability: I really enjoy this, not a session beer but is a nice relaxing brew in moderation.

Notes: This is a brown ale, one of my favorite categories, on steroids. If you enjoy coffee, you will probably like this. I have two more of these in my refrigerator and will miss having easy access to this great beer when it's gone.

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Photo of tlazaroff
4.44/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark dark brown, almost like a porter with a crisp dark mocha head.

S: Big scents of chocolate and toffee. Kinda smells like you would think an old-fassioned candy shop would smell like. You know, the kind of place that pulls toffee by hand and makes their own fudge. Has a nuttyness and some earthyness to it as well.

T: Taste is great! Its more of the toffee, less of the chocolate (though, it is there). Nice hop bite upfront with a linger sweetness on the finish.

M: Moderate-high carbonation, full bodied. It is a bit sticky, but I wouldn't call it a cloying stickiness.

D: Moderate drinkability due to feeling the alcohol burn.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a single of this for $1.75 at the Lager Mill. I have always overlooked Dogfish Head, but recently I tried the 90 minute IPA and I liked so I figured I should see what else they have to offer. No visible bottling date. Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label is rather simplistic with a small description of the beer and a grain background. This beer poured a very deep dark brown that is bordering on black. It had a fingers worth of off white head that died down to a thin ring that stayed the rest of the time and left some spotty lacing.

S- I Pick up lots of dark roasted malts at the start followed by some dark fruits. There is a sweetness in the aroma that reminds me of molasses and works well with the robust roasted malts. I pick up a little grassy and citrus hops, but not as much as I expected. The smell is way toastier then I thought, I was thinking this was a cross between a scotch ale and an IPA but it smells more like a hybrid of a stout, scotch ale and pale ale.

T- Wow... this tastes pretty good. At first I get hit with the roasted malts that impart a nice chocolate and coffee flavor. In the middle I am hit with that signature sweet dark fruit taste that is reminiscent of a scotch ale. I was expecting this to be somewhat hoppy, and it really wasn't, there was just a mild presence of grassy hops at the end and it didn't finish bitter at all.

M- Full bodied, creamy, and it had mediocre carbonation.

Overall this was a pretty damn good brew and I enjoyed it. BA claims this an American Brown ale, but after tasting it I really don't see many similarity's. I really don't know what to classify this as, its like a cross between a porter and a scotch ale. Whatever the hell this beer is really doesn't matter too much cause in the end it tastes damn good. The flavors were complex and balanced very well, I was expecting this to be pretty hoppy and it wasn't and I liked that. I feel if it had more hops then there would be too much going on and it would make it a mess. I would for sure buy this again and I would recommend it to anyone who likes dark, roasty, and full bodied beers. This was a hit in my book and I will be on the lookout for more hidden gems from Dogfish Head.

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Photo of Tartarus
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A&S: Opaque deep brown color with about a half a finger's worth of khaki colored head. Smell is very nutty, not much hop presence in the smell.

T&M: Taste is smokey, with a lot of nut flavor and a little bit of a coffee/caramel malt. Very dark and tasty. Mouthfeel is very smooth with very little carbonation.

D: I purchased a 6 pack of this and would definitely go for another one, the flavors are very dark so I probably wouldn't go through more than one an evening, but it's definitely a treat.

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Photo of aranheaney
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been enjoying for a long time and forgot that I hadn't reviewed:

Poured from a bottle into a DFH snifter

A-beautiful black with a half-inch of head that is gone quickly

S-molasses, hops and some roast

T-great, roast, malt and bitterness upfront with a kind of sweet finish on the back-end

M-crisp, clean and nothing on the end

O-very good, one of the DFH standards

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Photo of shand
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint.

For a so-called "brown ale," this pours awfully close to black. Not munch light shines through this brew and it's two fingers of off-white head. The aroma is quite nice, chocolate, coffee, roastiness, a bit of smokiness, and some sharp hops appear on the nose. This tastes much like a porter with some added smokiness and hoppiness, the smooth roastiness and chocolate flavors give it away pretty easily. A bit of peat smokiness comes by at the start of the finish, which is paired with some bitter hops. Tastes good for sure, but nothing to wow me.

This brew's weak point is the mouthfeel. It's very smooth, but feels a bit unsubstantial for the flavors presented beforehand. The drinkability is quite good though, and the ABV is completely hidden. Overall, this was a pretty alright brew. Not my favourite, I feel that everything never quite comes together like it should, but it's still a pretty good brew.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found this last night in the singles cooler at my local bottle shop and since the stamp on the neck read "Bottled on 12/08/10", it did not set off any flags and so I decided to shoot the works. I am awaiting the arrival of my local trader and this may help me to pass the time.

My pour initially created a finger of deep-tan head with limited retention. Nose was heavy with chocolate, like putting my sniffer into a can of Hershey's Cocoa Powder as I did when I was a kid. Color was a deep brown with ruby highlights. Beautiful! Mouthfeel was medium-to-full with a melange of cocoa, coffee, charcoal roastiness and some alcohol heat. Zounds! This was like a jolt of coffee to restart my evening accompanied with enough alcohol to send me to slumberland. Mymymy. Finish reminded me of my morning coffee, personally blended by yours truly to mimic the coffee I was weaned on in the Navy. My students often remark on how its odor fills the room. This was filling me nicely. I am really glad that I stumbled on this one.

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

Creamy, hoppy, spicy, dry, cocoa... almost Porter

A: Very dark ruby, in low light appears black, with a somewhat persistent two finger creamy taupe head.

S: Loads of highly roasted malt with coffee and cocoa notes, brown sugar, and vibrant earthy spicy hops. If it weren't for a certain nutty fruitiness, I'd swear I was smelling a Porter. Warming brings out more hops and makes thing a bit more brown-like.

T: Again, I'd swear I was drinking a Porter except for the slight toasted nut flavor... earthy, spicy and dry hops dominate the palate, with roasty cocoa and coffee in the background. Sugar is another big component, and there's a slight metallic taste. Reminds me of a fulller bodied but not as great tasting Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. Quite a stretch for the Brown style, but that's DFH.

M: Creamy and full with pleasantly high carbonation and a good grainy texture that sticks to the tongue well.

O: Not neceesarily what I'd reach for when looking for a Thanksgiving Dinner Brown or something, but still, an interesting if not stretched interpretation... tickles my Porter bone much more.

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Photo of ChugginOil
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When poured, deep mahogany welcoming liquid shows off and settles black. An ample amount of off white head fluffs atop the dark brew.

Within the noseI pick up on subtle sweet and toasty malt blended with chocolate, oak, and a bit of vanilla.

Chocolate, molasses, oak, and vanilla up to bat first with some nice sweet malts on deck. I like the balance between these flavors. As it warms, these flavors become bolder and bolder.

The mouthfeel is pretty creamy but isn't "sludge" at all. It is smooth and works my palate very gently.

Overall, this is very drinkable and with a great blended balance, this one rubs me the right way and will be a regular for me from this point on.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 6,087 ratings.
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