Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale
6,178 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,178 |  Reviews: 2,080
Photo of victory4me
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a stemless wine glass.

Pours a very dark brown, almost porter-like black until held to the light. This is a brown ale. One finger of tan head dissipates quickly. Leaves a light to moderate amount of lacing on the glass, more than typical of a brown ale. Smell is an initial blast of dark malts evolved into an oatmeal-raisin cookie and finished with a bitter bite at the end.

Taste is complex and well rounded. Sweet upfront flavors of brown bread with a hint of candy dates and prunes. Followed by a bitter, citrus hop kick that dries the palate and readies you for another sip. Mouthfeel is slightly sticky and viscous. An easy drinker for such a high ABV within the style. My glass went empty rather quickly, but not something I would want to drink back to back.

One of the most complex brown ales I've ever had and my favorite in an extremely underrated style. My favorite beer for a fall BBQ, pairs exceptionally well with a wide variety of foods. Aged it takes on the qualities of a porter. A well crafted beer and tremendous value at $7.99 a sixer.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a VERY dark brown (almost black), with two full fingers of tan head. Head shrinks to some small frothy bubbles quickly.

Smells include coffee, chocolate, sugar

The taste is of toffee, lightly roasted nuts, and is very well balanced. A nice amount of bitterness at the beginning present alongside a rather sweet finish, giving way to more bitterness in the aftertaste. The taste is reminiscent of dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is great. Very well carbonated and a much heavier than I would expect a brown ale to be. The excellent mouthfeel combined with a very nice taste make for one very drinkable beer. Can barely notice the 7.2%.

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Photo of drtacks37
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark, with a reddish hue in the light.

Smell: Carmelly, alcoholly,roasty.

Taste: Quite a bit of sweetness, sometimes I pick up bitterness and a strong hop bite.

M: Tasty and full in the mouth.

D: Would it be a good idea to drink a couple of these. Probably not, but it sure would taste good.

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Photo of AEK
4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml brown bottle poured into a Delirium Tremens snifter.

A. Extremely dark red coloured ale with a slightly yellowish-brown head.

S. Leathery, damp rooms, hints of toasted banana.

T. Black coffee, dark chocolate, burnt fruit cake, brown sugar and a smoke aftertaste.

M. Medium bodied.

D. Quite good. Aromas and taste complexities were not what I was expecting.

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Photo of brewmudgeon
3.53/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

indian brown

a 4 clear dark brown with burgandy highlights. very short head leaves a ring and some lace.

s 3-3.5 smells like a freakin porter.

t 3-3.5 tart and sweet take turns. the tartness is almost citrus-like. all the while roast hangs around. tangy, roasty finish. seems to lack complexity despite there being a number of elements going on--I guess it's because each element itself is so simple and they don't interact in particularly interesting ways.

m 3.5 not nearly as full-bodied as i remembered. a full body is actually one of the main things i recall. but this is more med.

d 3-3.5 something has changed. ah well. hopefully the palo will make things right.
on a positive note, drinkability seems to be improving as it warms. has taken about 25 min for the first half to go down--may have to update in another 25 min...

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Photo of bradlemay
4.5/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: very dark, when I looked through the glass at the light it had a reddish tint.

S: the smell was very nice you can surely smell the strong coffee smell.

T: had very rich toasted taste with a clean after taste.

M: very nice feel in the mouth a low to medium carbonation which I seem to prefer.

D: This beer is very drinkable, it is an awesome beer to sit down and watch a movie while drinking a few of these, or even better this may be my new poker night brew.

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Photo of ms11781
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12/20/2011. 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a deep brown color with some reddish hues on the sides and bottom of the glass. A small 1/2 finger, tan head dissipates quickly and leaves a very thin, foamy off white cap that leaves decent lacing.

The nose is pretty strong here. Heavy roasted malts and some coffee aromas are present, as is some sweetness and an earthy hop aroma. The first two dominate but the second two are in the mix as well.

The taste has the same roasted malt and coffee flavors leading the way. The is less sweetness and it is hoppier than in the nose. Also pick up some black licorice towards the finish.

Medium body with a medium carbonation yet it still has a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Pretty big for a brown ale.

Quite drinkable. Very sneaky 7.2% ABV. Feels like a beer that you could drink all night but I suspect it would catch up with you sooner than later. That being said, a couple pints would be very enjoyable.

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Photo of theo871
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a perfect pint glass.

A - Dark brown with a small head that quickly dissipates.

S - This smells amazing. I smell coffee, licorice and malt. The coffee really stood out, which I love.

T - It has a smoky taste up front, similar to a scotch ale. There is a nice hop bite that smooths out to a classic brown ale malt finish. There is a lot going on here.

M - Medium carbonation, very smooth. Not too thick, not to watery. It's just right.

D - I promised myself I would only have two tonight, but here I am on number three. Borderline sessionable, a little high on the ABV though.

This beer has been a revelation for me. I can't believe I waited this long to try this beer. This takes the classic brown ale and reinvents it with incredible success. I will be coming back for more.

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Photo of Phertt
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle poured into a pint glass:

Appearance- Looks very dark brown but by a light the reddish amber quality can be seen. Poured a small, creamy looking dark tan head which dissipated quickly.

Smell- Coffee jumps out at me in a big way and overshadows everything else. Little bit of hop aroma and a hint of something sweet too.

Taste- Again, first impression for me is coffee. But here you get to pick up on some things that the smell only hints at: some hops, molasses, and brown sugar going on. It starts dark and strong and sweetens a bit as you go.

Mouthfeel- Medium thickness, pretty steady carbonation that lasts.

Drinkability- A very solid beer, and one you'll probably be able to drink a couple if you want. It took me a few tries to get into it, but it has grown on me. At 7.2 ABV maybe not a session beer, but it goes down fairly easy although I might have gotten used to it after repeated samplings.

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Photo of thebierbrewery
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served out of a 12oz bottle

A- Nice dark mahogany brown, brilliantly clear. Slight head retention, no lacing.

S- Chocolate, caramel, slight roast, some hops

T- Nice balance between dark malts and high alpha hops. Leans toward the malt side but has a hoppiness that cuts through the maltiness in the finish.

M- On the sweeter side with medium high carbonation.. Nice hop bitterness that lingers for a hot second.

D- Very drinkable, as a result of balance and last Saturday night/Sunday morning.

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Photo of July2Nov
4.53/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a darker brown with a lighter brown-red around the edges. Really nice two-finger foamy head that gradually gives way to 1/2 an inch. Beautiful to look at.

Smell: Sweet caramel, toffee and buttered biscuit. Slight licorice at the end.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Yummy goodness right there! Very smooth and velvety. Taste a bit like a scotch ale with that buttery flavor to it. A tad bit of roasted flavors on the tell end, along with ever so subtle hops and some nice brown sugar flavors. This is one amazing and drinkable beer.

Drinkability: Did I mention this was an amazingly drinkable beer? Wish this was distributed in my area, because I would drink this one more often. Another great offering from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.

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Photo of RedSpecial1
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a nice dark brown with minimal off white head. A nice hoppy bitterness precedes a strong malty character in the nose. The taste mirrors the smell leading with a mild hoppy bitterness which fades into a malty roast barley flavor, and finishes with a touch of bitterness from the hops. This beer has a nice mouthfeel, not too heavy, not too light which also makes this beer pretty drinkable.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.5/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at DFH poured into pint glass. Dark brown and hazy. Small white head. Nuts and roastedness in aroma. Medium bodied palate with medium carbonation. Roastedeness, nuts, chocolate, hops, bitterness and sweetness in taste. Malty and bitter aftertaste. Nice beer but a bit far away from brown ale.

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Photo of brystmar
4.09/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark brown with a solid finger of tan head. Minimal lace, looks appetizing!

S: big roasted malts, coffee, hints of sweetness, hops, more delicious malts.

T: nearly identical to the nose; plenty of roasty malts everywhere, nicely balanced with hops. Considerably more flavorful than most brown ales.

M/D: about as creamy as it gets for the style, and perfectly carbonated. I can see why this particular brew comes in a 6-pack -- I'm gonna grab another!

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Photo of Kbogac
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Nice foam that slowly dissipated it a light film. Very nice dark burgundy color. The smell is sweet malt with some hops. Very nice mouthfeel. Not too light. A slight hops taste upfront followed by sweet malt finish. A little bitterness at the end. Easy drinking. Not a session beer but I could drink several. Very nice.

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Photo of nkersten
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into darkness tulip. Dark dark brown body with ruby edges, off white one finger head that settles to a collar. Smells of lightly roasted malts, earthy hops, some pine, a bit of coffee. Taste is much hoppier then the smell. Lots of piney hops, some citrus and earthy, roasted malts, nice toasted malt finish. Body is medium with a medium carbonation. A standby for me, this beer is one of the best American brown ales around.

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Photo of YuenglingMan1987
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

There is a lot going on in this beer, at first taste you get all three sensations of an IPA, Scotch Ale, and Brown Ale. It has a coffee taste to it in there that I find very tasty. I really like this beer but I can't see myself drinking too many in one sitting. Great beer tho, def suggest it. Cheers.

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Photo of ferrari29
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer poured from a bottle into Pint glass

A - Beer pours with a one finger beige foam; bubbly and full the head of the beer holds well and leaves a nice amount of lacing; the body of the beer has a chocolate/brown look with plenty of carbonation stemming from the bottom of the glass

S - My nose immediately picks up roasted scents of coffee, caramel sweetness and toffee (probably from caramelized brown sugar); very good blend of complex scents & ingredients; I'm getting excited just smelling this beer; three overwhelming scents are followed up with what appears to be a malt backdrop, almost grassy

T - First sip is roasted coffee beans and slight amount of caramel; hits the tip of the tongue and really takes over your palate; leaves behind a coffee roasted taste (kind of like ordering a bold at Starbucks); aftertaste and retro-olfaction brings up mucus tasting of nothing but coffee; lots of roasted flavors in this brew; sweet taste of sugars on the sides of the lips and mouth; has some nuttiness on the back-end too

M - Very creamy and effervescent; oily in consistency a bit; well-built beer and unique blend of coffee, toffee and caramel flavoring for an American Brown Ale (ABA)

D - For an American Brown Ale, I was really impressed; this beer hits your mouth and finishes with an explosion of flavor; I would definitely have a few of these in one sitting

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Photo of sixerofelixir
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Proved very fresh by bottled-on date on neck.

Pours a very dark, translucent brown. Tan, micro-bubbled head sticks around the glass. Smell is sweet and brown-sugary, almost delicate. Taste starts out with a dash of hops and smooth molasses and transitions into nice dark chocolate, ultimately melding into very roasted coffee. Nice complexity here, very good for a brown ale. Ends bitter all around, and finishes dry and a bit sweet. An easy drinker, and a hell of a good brown that I've enjoyed for years.

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Photo of patriot76
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A_ Deep brown in color, almost black like a stout with a red hue in direct light. Very nice creamy yellow head. Nice lacing.

S- Caramel, chocolate malt and barley. A nice smell of coffee, toffee as well. I'm also getting slightly roasted hops. Alcohol is strong in the nose. The first sip is with decent expectations considering the strong flavors in the nose. h

T- The caramel/chocolate malt + barley are very present along with the brown sugar they speak of on the outside of the bottle. It almost has the taste of a barley wine or a Scotch Ale mixed with elements of a traditional brown ale. Easily the most flavorful and complex brown ale I have ever had.

M- Very smooth and creamy each and every sip with moderate carbonation. Nice hop bitterness that lingers slightly.

D- The first sip I took I was struck by the complexity of the brew, and the fact that all these strong elements come together so nicely. A thoroughly enjoyable and drinkable beer, especially considering that it's 7.2 ABV. I'll take another.

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Photo of bbarrows
4.35/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consume in pint glass from bottle

A: Clear, reddish-brown, 1/2 inch head (appropriate carbonation)

S: Roasty, slight malt, highly hopped with American hops

T: Plenty of chocolate malt, balanced by resinous hops

M: Thinner than expected from the malty aroma, but now that I see the ABV of 7.2%, it makes sense that it is isn't too heavy of viscous

D: I really enjoy the balance of malt, roast, and hops in this beer, I'll take another.

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Photo of CLBizzle
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a lot going on. Lots of bold flavors and aroma. The malts used really adds to the complexity of the beer. Taste of Carmel balances well with the hop additions. Drinkablity is rich but smooth. Another solid beer from Dogfish Head. Happy drinking.

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Photo of SeussMD
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bottle came in a gift pack of microbrews and I saved it for last. I poured it into an Imperial pint glass and here's what I found:

Pours a deep reddish-brown with a coffee and cream-colored head which starts frothy and retreats to a thin layer with lacing. An inviting-looking pint.

The burnt sugar is easily noticed in the initial aroma -- some caramel, maybe toffee, sort of like a Tootsie Roll? (it's been a long time since I ate one of those.) But the dominant aroma that follows is coffee -- not espresso or really dark coffee, more like a really good automatic brew.

Mouthfeel is smooth, but not overly so, with a decent amount of fizz at the back end. The hops doing their work. An interesting ride.

Taste -- the aroma doesn't lie one bit. The sugars are there. So's the coffee -- so much so that this could easily be a dessert pairing. While there's a heaping helping of hops in here, it's balanced more towards the sweetness.

Drinkability: Very. I had this beer with dinner -- a few slices of pork roast, vegetables and a home-baked bread. Not the precise pairing I'd imagine, but I could see downing a few of these all by their lonesomes, too. I'd like to try it again with some dessrt and see if my hunch is correct.

Overall: Deserves the high grades that it gets, like most of DH's offerings. A first-class brew.

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Photo of cbutova
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours brown with a tan head that looks nice and foamy. Retention is decent. Frothy ring leaves a nice coat of webbed lace.

S- Nice roasty caramel malt feel right off the top. A bit of raisin in there as well as a somewhat grainy feel. Buttery scotch ale hints.

T- An overly roasty brown ale with heavy nutty malt and caramel is what I get most. Certainly some dark fruit and buttery hints. Hops come into play with earthy notes.

MF- Highly carbonated moderately thick body. Somewhat of a creamy feel with a fairly bitter finish.

DB- A drinkable brown with a smooth, balanced flavor.

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Photo of udchemist
3.21/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted side by side w/ palo santa (much much better!)
Not a big hop fan, and this was quite a hoppy brown ale :(
Appearance - pretty burgandy brown color, decent head retention
Smell - not too exciting, fairly boring in all honesty. Maybe some hops, not quite sure what to say it is.
Taste - hops. Not much else, on the first and finish as well. Light mouthfeel overall.
Drinkability - not gonna get again

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 4.09 out of 5 with 6,178 ratings