Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

6,069 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: 6,069 |  Reviews: 2,055
Photo of mjaskula
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a pint glass. The beer is a dark brown and opaque with a touch of red when held to the light. The moderate tan head thins to a ring and leaves a good deal of lacing.

This beer has a strong roasted malt aroma backed with sweet molasses. No real hop aroma that I could detect. Flavor is dark, roasty, sweet and complex. Roasted malts and dark fruit flavors are the main perpetrators. The flavor is very smooth. It finishes with the bitterness of the roasted malt melding with some hop bitterness. It ends clean and slightly dry. Overall i really like this beer.

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

This is a BIG brown ale. This is not Newcastle, Sam Smith, or even Bell's Best Brown. This thing reminds me of a Winter Warmer - very full, spicy, and flavorful. A dark brown beer with a good head and a spicy, hoppy smell. This is by far the most flavorful Brown I've ever had (and probably the best I've had, too). It's a great tasting beer with a full body but not so big I couldn't have another.

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

Bottle dated 9/16/10

A: Pours a dark brownish black color with a thin tan head.

S: Has a very roasty, bitter scent. Lots of coffee with some caramel and brown sugar sweetness.

T: Lots of roasty coffee with some dark chocolate and brown sugar sweetness. Finishes with some citrus/floral hops. Very unique.

M: Medium with a medium amount of carbonation.

D: Very unique beer, but one I think I could have a few of.

This is completely different than any other brown ale I've had. It is a bit roastier and has much more hop presence. It works well.

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

A - Dark brown with red highlights. Medium off-white head. Nice lacing and retention.
S - Dark roasted malt, coffee and brown sugar
T - Very close to the nose. Coffee really dominates. Bit of vanilla and a slight smokiness in there too.
M - Medium-bodied with moderate "prickly" carbonation. Slightly thinner then expected.
D - Quite drinkable, could easily have a couple. This was a nice surprise, for some reason I didn't expect much from this one.

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Photo of Stunner97
4.62/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance- dark brown to black with very thick tan foamy head, very nice appearance with little carbonation to be seen

smell- tons of chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, hops, malts , just really nice nose

Taste- really beautiful flavor just so balanced between hoppy and malty, nice flavors of chocolate and espresso with firm hoppy drying tones on the finish, just so flavorful and so balanced, really great beer flavor wise very complex,

mouthfeel- smooth cream and very nice feel,

drinkability- this beer is just so incredibly drinkable its one the most surprising beers i think i have tried this year, it blew me away in its complexity, balance, uniqueness, and just overall great flavor, with every sip all i could do was want more, a must try for all beer lovers

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Photo of jgnam
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It is a great tragedy to me that almost every bar with any microbrews at all will have at least one or two by Dogfishhead, and yet I almost never see Indian Brown on supply. Why must we continue to suffer 60 Minute IPA instead? To me this makes Indian Brown a highly under-rated beer which doesn't get enough attention.

This brew has a strong coffee impression which I don't see mentioned on this site much - it has too much roasty malt flavor to come across as an IPA or Scotch Ale derivative. Feels more like a porter or stout. I have confirmed this with both beer fans and casual drinkers alike - give a sip to a random girl at a party and she'll probably anounce "weird, it tastes like starbucks!"

That brings me to my only criticism though - that this brew is inconsistent. I used to drink it weekly, and sometimes it would taste sweet and malty, other times more hoppy and rough. That would explain for the varying accounts of this beer across different reviews.

It is also something of a gateway - as good as it is, once you have access to better brews with the same characteristics (i.e. Old Rasputin Stout) there's not a whole lot of reason to go back to the Indian Brown. Nevertheless, I continue to find myself eying the dogfish bottles at random bars I go to, just in case this is hiding among them.

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Photo of wmtxbb
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A: Dark amber with a head that Dissipates quickly.

S: Has a fantastic caramelized malt smell, maybe a tad burnt, with a hint of sweet coffee.

T: The first thing to hit my mouth is the hop flavor, then darker malts and coffee that ends with a bitterness from the hops.

M: Not as much of a mouthfeel as I'm accustomed to from most beers from Dogfish head but fits the overall presentation of the beer.

Interesting flavor profile that demands respect. Combination of brown ale with the level of hops of an IPA makes this beer interesting enough to sip on and crisp enough to make it a session beer.

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Photo of silentjay
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

an old gateway favorite of mine that I have not had in months or reviewed yet. I figure now is as good a time as any to revisit.

pours a dark brown barely translucent almost black color with a generous beach sand colored head that sticks around forever and laces well.

an amalgam of many different styles hit the nose as an english porter, american nut brown ale, and pale ale are all present. very nutty with some caramel and bittersweet chocolate as well as some piney and earthy hops. nice.

mmmm. starts off with plenty of nuts, coffee, chocolate, molasses akin to your typical nut brown and english porter. the middle contains a bit of a hoppy kick (though not as strong as I remember) adding some pine and herbs.

mouthfeel is a touch watery for my liking and for the flavor profile. carbonation is adequate and it finishes rather clean with just a bit of a bitter and burnt aftertaste.

drinks very well. alcohol is hidden amazingly and there is a lot going on to keep you entertained without losing its casual drinkability. one of my favorite DFH offerings, and an all-around great beer.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear, dark reddish brown colour, with one finger of creamy beige head, which leaves a decent thin wall of lace around the glass in its wake. It smells of roasted biscuit malt, and citrus, leafy, and earthy hops. The taste is more toasty biscuity, caramel malt, some bitter chocolate, and a nice generically bitter hop uppercut to unsuspecting expectations. The carbonation is moderate, the body full, smooth, and creamy, and just, well, swell. It finishes off-dry, the latent big malt giving a bit of breathing room to the bursting bitter leafy, mildly piney hops.

As I've intoned before, brown ale ain't my bag. However, when DFH does one up like this, I may very well have to change my tautology-oriented approach...

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

A: dark amber hue with a decent sized head that leaves a nice sheet of lacing on the glass.

S: roasted / burnt malts, slightly sweet

T: A good beer. It's slightly sweet with pleasant smoky flavors. Mostly malt flavors with a hint of bitterness in the finish. It's definitely a scotch ale / brown ale hybrid. I don't really detect much of an IPA or hop presence.

M: medium body with plenty of carbonation. Good feel.

D: a good offering from DFH. Not my favorite brown ale, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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

12 oz., bottled 03/18/09, sampled seven months afterward. A supposed mix of Scotch ale, IPA and American brown brewed with aromatic malt and brown sugar. Pours a clear deep ruby hue, with light carbonation and a finger of khaki foam that leaves decent lacing. Rich chocolate and caramel malts in the nose, mild roast, and some late-emerging citric hops. Smells quite nice until ethanol starts poking through. Fairly similar flavor, with a medium, nearly harsh bitterness and lightly fruity alcohols. Medium body, with a dry, malty/hoppy finish. Fairly drinkable beer, and enjoyable at that, but it has some rough edges that need to be smoothed over.

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

A - Darker than expected, along the lines of a porter but not quite as dark as a stout. Half inch of head which has good retention and lacing.

S - Lots of burnt sugars.. Brown sugar, caramel and molasses. Lots of roasty malt flavors and a nice touch of hops. Smells almost like a hoppy porter or stout. Pretty nice!

T - Very complex for a brown ale. Tastes more like a sweet hoppy porter to me. Lots of rich roasted flavors going on, very much like a stout on the back end in terms of roastiness left on the palate. A touch of bitter chocolate is there, as well as a nice hop bite. Little to no alcohol is present. Impressive overall.

M - Medium to full bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation for me. Feels a little like a hoppy borderline imperial stout, but very smooth.

D - Pretty good for the ABV. Can't wait to pick up a sixer of these. Definitely another solid brew from DFH!

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Photo of jbphoto88
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear yet a deep, rich amber color. The head is khaki, thick and laces the glass after each tip. It's a pretty beer.

The nose is outstanding. Deep roasted grain with molasses and fine touches of hops. There is also a light coffee all of which blend together to a very palatable scent.

The taste is equally as good. The molasses in the nose is a prominent flavor. Brown sugar coated cereal that is then baked until bubbly mixed with a light coffee and touches of hoppy bitterness. After tasting this I bet the dogfish brewery is the best smelling place on earth.

Mouthfeel has a sweet coating feeling not unlike eating a piece of chocolate. It isn't nearly as thick as chocolate but in the neighborhood. Soft bubbles and a firm, pleasing bitterness round out this drinking experience and makes it a positive one. Great beer I can't believe I've never tried before.

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Photo of Augustiner719
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a perfect pint glass.

Pours a very ice deep rich mahogany color with a ,medium brown tan head that leaves. A nice film of lacing. Really nice aromas of coffee grinds, coffee and some hop bitterness. There is a nice chocolate and toffee flavor that come through but the hops do not make this work for me. A little disjointed and maybe this isn't a great example of the style. Mouthfeel is off as it's got a bite to it and I really was looking for a silky smooth brown ale. Worth a shot and probably great on draft.

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Photo of gopens44
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark as a stout or porter but mre translucent. Frothy head that dies away to a thin covering

S - Nutty, malty, not a whole bunch else. Maybe some hop presence but that may be more of a mind trick since youknow it's an ale of some sort.

T - This is where Mr. hop introduces himself to you. Mild yet floavorful hop taste with a heavy, heavy caramel malt taste as well.

M - not really any different in feel as any other DFH beer. Silky, heavy, mid to low carbonation, not too much discernible aftertaste.

D - I usually drink something with more hops or something darker, but I'll tell you what - This is my "indecisive" beer of choice. It's kinda got the qualities of both a hoppy beer and a dark beer.

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

12 oz bottled on 7/27/10
Pours a deep dark brown, thin foamy head which retains well.
The nose is very inviting with aromas of roasted malts, dank hops, sweet caramel, brown sugar and wood.
This drinks like a well bodied ale. Smooth sip with a sharp bitter end. Tastes similiar to the smell with the barley coming through the most. Great medium mouthfeel; not too watery or chewy. Surprised how well the 7.2% is hidden amoung the malt and hop undertones.
Overall, a highly drinkable brown ale. Recommend getting the 6 pack. Very impressed by the Dogfish Head crew again!

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Photo of tone77
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a very dark brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of hops and slight notes of caramel. Taste is good, a definate hop presence up front, a bit nutty, a touch of malts. Feels full bodied in the mouth and has good drinkability. Overall this is a good quality beer.

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Photo of ncredible1
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very deep brown, almost black. Frothy tan head that hangs around, good lacing also. Does not look like a traditional brown ale.

S: Dark roasted malts with a brown sugar twist. Smell of fruit esters, slight alcohol, and slight piny hops.

T: Dark toasty malts, hazelnut, unsweetened chocolate, slight hop bite, but this one is all about the sweet dark malts. love the hop after taste and how the alcohol volume is hidden a bit.

M: Smooth, medium carbonation, medium plus bodied, silky.

D: Highly drinkable beer, a a great hoppy brown ale.

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

The Indian Brown pours a light bodied dark, dark brown with a one finger khaki head. It smells very rich and of roasted malts, really does smell like a porter. The taste is rich and soothing, a combination of roasted malts and hops that finish off the flavor. This bottle is about three months old so it's a little smooth than normal, as it's lost some carbonation but it still drinks very smoothly and very well. This beer is overly drinkable and I highly recommend it to anyone. It's great for a quiet night or at a cookout.

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Photo of EricHeff
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Most brown ales I find to be pretty boring but this one I found to be absolutely delicious.
It pours a dark dark brown color with no cloudiness at all. The head is not much to speak of. The smell is great with brown sugar and maybe some maple in there. Honestly the smell reminds me more of a porter than a brown ale.
That taste is great. Just a little fizz with a molasses taste and a hint of chocolate. The added amount of hops shines through to give it a great bitter after taste.
Dogfish Head does it again for me. This is a great beer.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Chicago Bears shaker pint glass.

We mourn the passing of the Devil's Backbone willibecher. *sniffle* Moving on, this brew pours a clear deep amber-garnet topped by nearly a finger of off-white foam. The nose conprises maple syrup, caramel, brown sugar, molasses, walnuts, and a touch of flowery oak. The taste brings in an additional bit of mandarin orange syrup, while also maintaining a decently powerful nuttiness. The body is a light medium, with a light carbonation and a very smooth feel. Overall, a very tasty brew, one of the best normal-ish browns readily available.

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Photo of Vdubb86
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass

The appearance of this beer is good due to the fact that it is a nice deep brown with garnet shade shining through the brew. There isn't much to speak of as far as the head is concerned the ecru foam quickly fades away to a micro film on the surface. The smell is out of this world. It reminds me of some nice creamy milk chocolate with rich caramel notes. There are hints of rich fruit and char to go along with it. The taste is most akin to a nice mocha (sweet coffee and chocolate). There is a nice brown sugar and char flavor that goes along with what might be the bitterness from the hops which are rather nice. The mouthfeel is a tad watery for my liking, but that doesn't mean it's unpleasant. In fact I rather enjoyed this beer, the bitterness grows on you during the drinking experience, but it's a solid and really good brown ale.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.73/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Pours a dark brown, not cloudy, slight reddish tinge. Head is small and fast fading, light in color, relatively coarse. No visible carbonation. Smell is surprisingly bland, there's just not much there. A little mustiness, a little maltiness, and not much else. Perhaps I have a poor sense of smell.

Taste is bitter and dry, not hoppy -- like a cocoa powder bitterness. My first thought was, "It's like a brown ale concentrate." Which is actually pretty good.

Mouthfeel is fairly light and definitely dry, also pretty pleasant. Drinkable, good beer, but not fantastic.

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Photo of gskitt
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm a big fan of Dogfish to begin with so reviewing my favorite beer from them is hard to do while staying unswayed or unbiased.
I had this from a bottle, and when poured has a nice dark and mellow color, and the head is of a bone color which recedes rather quickly.
The scent is amazing, full of molasses and burnt brown sugars.
The taste is uncommon and unique. While matching the burnt sugar smell with taste, the roasted malt also comes through and it finishes with what might be describes as a charcoal flavor.
Mouthfeel can be a bit syrupy and because of that and the high ABV, drinkability can come into question. I only enjoy this beer if I limit myself to two or three.
Still, its a great beer and one of my favorite from Dogfish. It is sometimes hard to acquire, so when i see it I buy a lot.

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Photo of weizenbob
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 ounce bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Deep, DEEP auburn hue with a small amount of tan foam forming after the pour but dissipating quickly.

Smell: Strong scent of chocolate up front, with a hint of hops lingering beneath.

Taste: This is definitely hopped up, though not as much as I had anticipated from other testimonials. Make no mistake, this is first and foremost a brown ale, albeit a complex one. Cocoa flavor hits first but is broken up by moderate carbonation revealing a hoppy finish. Some alcohol warmth lingers in the back of the throat which is not surprising considering 7.2% abv. However, the alcohol content never overtakes the flavor of the brew. Lingering sweetness slowly disappears revealing a bitter aftertaste. I wish I was eating something to scrub the aftertaste away; in all other respects this is a delicious ale.

Notes: This is my first experience with any of the Dogfish Head brews as they are unavailable in my neck of the woods. I was excited to find this during my travels, and look forward to passing this way again. This is a quality brew, well worth going out of the way for.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 6,069 ratings.
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