Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale
Liked This Beer
4.1 w/ 6,097 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,097 |  Reviews: 2,066
Photo of muttyd
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown pour with a huge fluffy offwhite/tan head. Combination of liquid / head completely fills my tulip glass. Big sweet caramel malt, roasted malt, and hoppy aroma. Both the sweet roasty character and hop character are well represented in the aroma. Flavor is very bold. Caramel malt / burnt sugar sweetness, some woody/earthy notes, bitter finish, booze well hidden. I always find myself picking up a few six packs of this stuff right around this time of year. Great beer to sip in the cold weather. Another great brew by DFH.

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

A regular pour gives a big khaki head that stays and leaves good lacing. A clear very dark cola color. Smell is full of coffee and dark roasted grains. A touch of caramel and a hint of charcoal. Some good bready malt and earth with a mild yeasty fruitiness. Taste is like a perfect mocha latte. Rich chocolate and coffee in the front. The charcoal from the nose is larger here. A sweet dinner roll and dough middle with a clean, long, dry finish that highlights the excellent hop blend. Hops are moving from dry and earthy to astringent and grapefruit. Feel is finely carbonated with a decent amount of weight to it. A touch of syrup and yet it never comes off as heavy. Drinkability is superb. It goes down so nicely and gets better and better with each glass. This is a top notch beer anytime but in the winter and fall it's hard to beat as a go to brew.

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Photo of jbertsch
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This beer is a conundrum for me. I like it, but not as tradtional brown. So do I rate it related to the traditional brown style, or treat it as its own animal? Tough call.

Super dark brown. Virtually black, with a tan head that's not very large.

Smells of burnt brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, faint milk chocolate.

Tastes earthy yet sweet. Chocolate infused with smoke and chicory. There's a slight lactose undertone.

Mouthfeel is creamy and sticky.

Not a traditional brown - drinks almost like a milk stout. When I want a real brown, I'll reach for something else, but this is a fun brew on its own

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Photo of CountJustinian
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with faint amber highlights. Small head dissipates fairly quickly. Smells of brown sugar dominate with a trace of coffee. Tastes like caramelized brown sugar, slightly burnt. Malty, slick and almost oily. A little background hoppiness, but far from dominant. Very smooth mouthfeel with only light carbonation and a long finish. Complex sugary flavors linger for a while. A bit too sweet to session, at least for me, but a solid offering for moderate quantities nonetheless.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep brown with ruby hues when held to the light. A light bubbly tan head reduces to a ring, some light lacing.

Charred malt, some smoky notes, some malti-sweetness, brown bread toast and some maple syrup.

Nice blend here, with the hops not the dominant factor. Mal is pleasant and mildly sweet at start, some light caramel and burnt sugar present. Then it dries out, with some toasted grain, bread and bitterness. Then it gets earthy and dirty, with a long bitter finish.

Full bodied, with just the right amount of carbonation and mouth-coating goodness.

Very easy to drink. Love the waves of flavor and the complex changes. Some people might get turned off on the earthy element, but I think it really works here.

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

This is the 1st beer I have felt compelled to review since joining this fantastic site. Bottled on 7/21/10

A- Purchased a 6-pack a few minutes ago and dumped one into an oversized wine glass. Not a whole lot going on in the head department, some light brown head quickly dissipating into a very thin layer. Little to no lacing as well. Very dark brown looks like a porter, opaque in low light.

S- Dark chocolate and an almost raspberry note too.

T- Beautifully balanced ale with a strong chocolately, brown sugary, slightly burnt finish that lingers for ages.

M- Very smooth and surprisingly medium in body for how dark it is in appearance.

D- I would love enjoying a few of these watching the leaves fall on a chilly night.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle.

A: Pours a very dark brown hue with a thin tan head that settles very quickly. It leaves a thin film on the surface. Lacing is sticky, but overall minimal.

S: Very balanced nose. Aromas of chocolate, toast, and caramel mesh with some grassy, floral hop undertones.

T: Much like the aroma, only more complex. Slight bittersweet chocolate notes, toast, raisin, and caramel make up the malt backbone, while hops give a grassy, bitter finish to the brew. Incredibly balanced concoction.

Notes: Indian Brown Ale is medium bodied, and very flavorful. Malt gives the beer some sweetness, while hops lend a dry counterpart. The 7.2% ABV is hardly noticeable. This beer is very drinkable, and quite tasty. A quality product from Sam and the folks at Dogfish Head.

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Photo of zoso1967
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

IBA pours a pretty serious deep rust hued brown color with a medium tan head. If you are in a dark room you could easily mistake this beer for a stout. My usual pour yields a decent sized head that has good staying power and leaves plenty of splashy lace.

The aroma is quite nice with a surprising amount of coffee roastyness mixed in with the chocolate and sweet rich toffee and caramel notes. A decent amount of floral and earthy hop character is also present, though I would say the malt flavors rule the nose.

The flavor has a much bigger hop component with a nice British character to it. The hops mingle well with a malt profile that runs the gamut from coffee and dark chocolate, toffee, caramel, molasses and raisin. This might seem like an awful lot to be going on in a beer, but somehow they all come together to create flavors that are very enjoyable.

What really gives away that this beer is not a stout or porter is the mouthfeel. It is medium bodied, and is much less viscous than your usual porter or stout. It has a nice smoothness to it and the carbonation seems dead on. The finish is long and enjoyable with both hops and burnt dark malts lingering long on the palate.

This beer is super drinkable and I am so glad I came back to it after not trying it for quite awhile. I am not sure if I would really even consider this a brown ale, but whatever it is, it is darn good and a beer that I am sure I will buy from time to time when I am in the mood for something dark and satisfying, but also a little different. Oh yeah, this beer is 7.2% ABV and I cannot tell at all. Very well done.

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Photo of mikeg67
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Dark brown hue with a small, short lived head. Bready, nutty aroma with hints of toast, earthy hops and dark fruit. Full, creamy body. Flavor is dark fruit, chocolate, nuts and brown sugar. Long espresso finish. Another excellent brew from the great company.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Poured a deep rich brown into my oversized snifter. Not much of a head to speak of and the lacing was loose and sudsy.
S - Nice nutty and malty nose. Roasted. Earthy.
T - Really comes alive in the flavor dept. Brown sugar and roasted malts. Delicious and great example of a brown ale. Sweet, nutty, malty.
M/D - Pretty thin feeling and an easy drinker. At one time this was my goto 6'er and I still love it. Truly a classic.

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Photo of jsh420
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

bottled 09/16/10

pours dark brown with some ruby - 2+ finger tanish head with good retention and lacing

smells like clean earthy hops that blend well with the coffee chocolate roasted malt

taste is much like the nose but the malts play a bigger role - this beer is very close to a porter but the brown sugar and molasses next to the caramel malts give it more of a sweeter taste

mouthfeel is light medium but the sugary malts do leave a film in your mouth - decent carbonation very smooth

drinkability is great - this beer could quickly become my favorite dfh brew

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - very dark but clear amber, short head left a nice lace ring
S - brown sugar, molasses like, leafy hops, and bittersweet dark chocolate
T - strong roasty and caramel malt, brown sugar, a nice leafy hop balance, with a smooth bakers chocolate finish
M - smooth chewy start with a carbonation kick that finished slightly coffee/chocolate bitter
D - not what I was expecting in the best of ways, so much flavour complexity and balance, and I didn't even realize it was 7.2% ABV until I looked closer at the label, I could drink this until blackout

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.82/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle (bottled on 08/13/10) poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark brown on the table, dark ruby red when held up to the light. Poured a decently thick tan foam, but this died down to a skin across the top with a denser ring around the edge of the glass. Nice strands and islands of lacing all over the glass.

Smell: Strong roasted malts, molasses, bittersweet dark chocolate, coffee, and some aromatic hops all in there. Maybe even a little boozy. Outstanding!

Taste: Rich flavor profile. Deep roasted malts with bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors up front, then some caramel and more rich malt merging in with some pine-like hops. The finish is part bitter hops, part bitter coffee, and part roasted/burnt grain. Quite enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation on the tongue, with a nice thickness. Not creamy thick, but maybe a bit chewy.

Drinkability: Really a great stand alone beer that I feel in love with the first time I had it and I keep coming back to it as a treat. And that's what it still is - a great treat. I think I could handle a larger glass in one sitting, or maybe two of these with a hearty meal, but it's sooo rich I hesitate to call it really drinkable that I could have more and more. I'd need a break between bottles or glasses. But it's a fantastic beer and I keep coming back to it so I can rate it high, just not the highest. If you've never had it, you should definitely give it a try - it's a very unique brew and very well put together.

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Photo of Landfill21
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I stopped by my local pub last weekend and had one of these on draft. Pours into a dark brown color and has a half finger head

Has a very good smell, malt, chocolate and a hint of coffee

Has a medium mouthfeel and is perfect for drinkability. Perfect for a fall night. I would recomend this beverage. Cheers

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Photo of OnThenIn
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: finger and a half of tan head on top of a very dark brown body. Great head retention.

S: the aroma is a bit of citrus an darker fruit mixed with a touch of caramel, molasses, and a tiny bit of earthiness.

T: the taste begins with some hop flavor that has touch of citrus and pine but is mixed with the molasses flavor from the malts. The hop bitterness is stronger than the malt backbone, which is still evident. There is a bit of dark fruit towards the end and a good amount of lingering flavor. The beer is nicely smooth.

M: medium to thin body with good carbonation. Surprisinly smooth.

D: the beer is pretty drinkable, and has some nice complexity. However, the bitterness and abv force you to slow down, but just a tiny bit.

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

pours a ruddy mahogany tone with a creamy tan head. middling retention lapses into a collar around the glass; decent lacing.

nose is composed of a sweet maltiness, coffee, brown sugar, and maybe a hint of dark fruits.

an unexpected hoppy presence leads the way in the flavor, then caramel/brown sugar characters develop mid-palate. i get the coffee, molasses, and a touch of citrus from the hops. finish is decidedly on the bitter side. tasty beer, and a nice take on the style.

medium bodied mouthfeel, moderately carbed. fairly drinkable, though i'd probably cap my intake at 2 bottles a sitting.

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Photo of Bombers4Benedict
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Very very dark. As dark as you can get without being pitch black. Held to a light you can see through it though. There is a light brown/dark tan head present which created a nice lacing.

S - Freshly brewed coffee dominates. Very malty. Earthy.

T - Starts very smokey to my tongue. Bitter. The cofee smell from earlier turns into a downright expresso heaviness. There are sweet afterhints, somewhat chocolatey.

M - coats mouth and sticks for a while. I hope you like that expresso breath.

D - Very heavy beer, very complex, I could imagine this can be overwhelming on a night out with buddies. I wouldn't try to session this one. 1-2 tops.

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Photo of dfillius
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a pint glass
A: Aggressive pour yields 1 finger of tan head with great retention. Clear, dark brown liquid with crimson highlights. Terrific looking.

S: Dark bread, licorice, molasses, some chocolate, slight coffee. Delicious smelling! Clean and simple.

T: Sweet, some bitter chocolate, some creme brulee, and some pleasant and well-masked alcohol. Good crisp and bright hoppiness is there but masked as well. A little too sweet after a while. A tad cloying.

M: Warm, chewy, bitter.

D: Very good. I'd buy a sixer and order another. Pretty strong though, so only two for me.

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Photo of bfree
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: brown with a little carbonation, looks like coca-cola in color and texture, minimal lacing on the top that hovers on top of the beer

S: slight hint of hops and some smoky/roasted malt, but brown sugar dominates the aroma and it smells very sweet

T: very sweet, brown sugar is the main taste and it lingers on the front of the tongue, can definitely taste the alcohol, also tastes a little smoky and there is an interesting milk chocolate/hoppy aftertaste

M: a little too much carbonation but otherwise it is a pretty smooth, medium bodied beer, somewhat syrupy and creamy in texture

D: overall, a nice beer from DFH, very sweet and flavorful and a pleasant aroma, it goes down pretty smooth and is not too filling despite its sweetness

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

First review apologies if I am too generous/critical.

Appearance: Thick dark Brown, cream colored head
Smell : Coffee, possibly nutty(?)
Taste : Clearly coffee, not nutty. Strong smooth flavor.
Mouthfeel : solid, good carbonation, full mouth flavor, clear coffee after taste.
Drinkability : A very strong flavor,there is a mild alcohol flavor to this beer.

This beer is very good, but it took a few of them to develop a taste for it. It has a very powerful flavor and feel to it. I would not suggest this to a fan of the standard beers, but is very good. A couple of these is more than enough for the casual beer drinker.

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Photo of beerdown77
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank From: bottle, poured into a tulip glass

Appearance: dark brown, one full finger of head
Smell: Coffee, sugar, caramel, hops, nutty
Taste: Coffee,caramel, hops, noticable alcohol
Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, slight bite
Drinkability: Fairly easy drinking, a little boozy

Summary: Great fall beer. I would recommend this to a friend; there are other dark beers that I want to try before I come back to this one. This is a good hybrid of a porter and an IPA. My initial impression reminded me of Great Lakes Edmond Fitzgerald because of the smokiness, but then it ended with hops and evidence of a higher proof.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a DFH shaped pint glass

A: Pours a deep brown that looks entirely thick. Pours with a little under an inch of foamy light mocha colored head, leaves considerable amount of lacing

S: Deep smell of mocha/ possibly coffee, very enticing smell

T: A taste to match the scent. deep taste, but not overpowering, of coffee or mocha, very slight hop notes near the finish

M: Slight carbonation tingle, very smooth finish on the pallet, really awakens every piece of the pallet

D: Although it has a deep taste, color, and scent, it drinks like a much lighter brew. Very nice to drink. Perfect for a cold and dreary fall night

Overall, I couldn't be happier with the brew, it is truly spectacular in every way

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Photo of katybee
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a translucent brown amber color with 1/4" tan head, thin quickly dissipating foam with some residual lacing. A bit more clarity than blackness of stouts, and no cloudiness.

Smell is a little more of hops than barley, barely noticeable and not disagreeable.

Taste is good, but due to the relatively higher percentage of hops in the mash, a bit sharper and more pungent than a sweet stout and a less creamy mouthfeel, with the character of a flavorful IPA with more toasted barley bittnerness, but not overly complex and not unduly sweet. Straightforward, balanced barley with hops tang. Slightly higher ABV than the avg IPA though.

Mouthfeel is medium smooth, more creamy than a lager, definitely, but not as thick or creamy as barleywine or oatmeal stout. A bit of carbonated tingling remaining well into the session.

Drinkability is good, although due to the ABV one is enough, and slower imbibing merited. A bit of hops aftertaste counteracting a little barley bitterness. Flavor character is stable despite temperature change and length of time bottle is open.

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

Another of the bucket o' beers at the NightCat back in August. This review is from notes.

Or it could be from my fridge. Or the cornerstore. Or wherever. Because I will drink this anywhere.

Appearance is dark brown through red. Smell is roasted, a bit nutty, with caramel. Taste is big, malty, roasted, and manages to keep the hops. It's medium-bodied, medium carbonation, and it feels great from start to finish. At 7-8%, it's not necessarily a session beer, but it's one you can drink a few of.

Great anytime drink.

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Photo of boss302
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, 12oz

A Dark brown, almost stout like, not much head. 3.5

S Mostly chocolate with a faint aroma of hops. I think the hop aroma would be stronger, but it is dominated by the roast. 4 

T Chocolaty sweet at first, followed by big roasted malt flavor, then finishes with some hop bite.  The roasted malt is strong, but not overwhelming. There is just a hint of the alcohol in the finish. 4 

M med to heavy, thick on the tongue. Seems like sufficient carbonation, but very little head. 3.5 

D A very good drinking beer. The 7.2% isn't really noticeable, but definitely there in the taste. 4    

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 86.9% out of 100 with 6,097 ratings
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