Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

6,067 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: 6,067 |  Reviews: 2,055
Photo of Star80
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brewed fresh on 8/12/10, thank you very much. Pours a very dark brown almost black color. The head is somewhat thick and tan. To this day, this is the darkest brown ale I have ever had. The smell is more like a porter to me than a brown ale. It smells like chocolate malts predominately, some faint alcohol, and some hop presence. Tastes like some bitter dark roasted malts, hops go back and forth in the mix, but overall, the beer smacks of fresh roasted malts. The hops are also bolstering the dark bitterness. I gotta say, the IBU's might not be that high, but this is one bitter dark beer! I am sorta shocked cause it seems to come from the roasted malts, not hops, but that could be deceiving. Hmm, this is an interesting beer, nonetheless. To me, this beer has far more in common with a Porter style than an Indian Brown, but has me intrigued what the heck their Wordwide Stout will taste like, let alone their porter. Mouthfeel seems very rich for a brown ale. I won't be holding any of this against them, although this certainly is an in-between sorta beer. I have been really enjoying Dogfish Head lately and although this is anything but normal, it is an enjoyable brew!

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

A -
Thin tan head deep brown very little visible carbonation

S -
Brown sugar, oats, barley, coffee, and some roasted notes

T -
Sweetness of brown sugar, barley, and a hop bitterness and finished with a roasted coffee

M -
Feels heavy on the tounge and silky

D -
I am used to sweet brown ales this however is a very well balanced beer bewtween bitterness and its sweetness love it and will be getting a lot more

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

Bottled on date: 08/02/10

Poured into a standard pint. Ruby brown with an off white head. Solid 3 fingers of head. Recedes to a nice film, with decent lacing throughout.

Earthy notes on the nose. Mild coffee, with a good chocolate backing. Smells wonderful. Very sweet indeed.

The taste screams Brown Ale. Burnt malts lead into nutty, bittersweet flavors with a good hop character. Bittersweet chocolate, with coffee and a little warming from the alcohol through the finish.

Very smooth, great brown ale. Glad to have found yet another gem in the DFH line up.

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.46/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Now this. This my friends is a brown ale. For me, it is right there with Bell's which I think is about as good a brown ale as it comes.
A deep rubby brown beer with a thick creamy tan head that lingers through my tasting process.
Smells of sweet carmalized roasted malts, coffee and chocolate.
Rich roasted, burnt malt taste, sweet. Coffee essence follows and chocolate brings up the rear.
No distinct flavor in the hops.
This is a full body beer with some alcohol warming on finish.
This is an excellent fall beer that compliments both English styles very well and the autumn season itself.
Drink well my friends

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

Dark brown to black with ruby red hue. Carbonation looks very nice. Head looks pretty creamy, lacing looks quite nice on the glass.

Slight burnt caramel, brown sugar, floral hops, a little dark fruit.

Roasted caramel up front, brown sugar, molasses, hazel nuts, touch of dark chocolate. Hop is pretty mild, I get floral/herbal. Some dark fruit, raisin-prune. I could detect some little smokey. Finish off very smooth with slight dry nutty aftertaste. Body is medium-heavy. Carbonation is very mild.

It's very good.

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

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on 9/03/10.

Pours a stout like black (I thought was a brown ale!), with a tan one finger frothy head. Leaves some lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, coffee. Barely noticeable hop aroma lingering in the back.

First it smacks of those roasted malts, all with their charred goodness. Then the coffee kicks in. At the end is a clean hop leafy flavor that imparts a touch of bitterness to clean the palette. Still finishes with that stout charred flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice soft carbonation. Finishes a bit on the dry side.

Drinkability is extremely high, my first impressions were that this would be big and heavy but I was delighted by this beer, DFH impresses me once again.

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Photo of Lldeegan
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a dark brown with an effervescent, khaki colored head that leaves an even lacing around the glass.
Roasted coffee notes, maple syrup and dark malts flood the nose along with a noticeable floral hop aroma.
A soft yet lively and bubbly mouthfeel, with sweet malt upfront. Caramel and roasty/smokey notes followed by a dark chocolate and bittersweet coffee finish with some bitter hop flavor showing up on the end.
Indian Brown is a very drinkable beer. Simple and well made. It has just the right amount of complexity and clean flavors to be intriguing but not too messy.

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Photo of case4816
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured Very Dark Brown, Almost black in colour letting no light in. Very thick and creamy head that lingered for a very long time. Head is also a fairly dark brown.

S- Very Dark Roasted and malty in smell. The Roast smell is very sweet,like coffee, brown sugar comes to mind due to some molasses smell that is detectable as well. Also a small hint of some floral hops in the back.

T- The roast flavour is very intense, just like a good cup of dark coffee. The Sweet flavour is also very detectable, the brown sugar/molasses is perfectly balanced with the coffee taste. Only a litte taste of hops are there, but they're not heavily flavoured and definitely do not overpower the malts. Very in heavy in the mouth, also slightly creamy.

D- One of the best Brown beers I've ever had. The Coffee taste is delicious and it goes down super smooth. Very delicious and easily drinkable

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

Appearance: Dark brown, translucent ruby highlights. Tan head.

Smell: Roasted barley and chocolate, subtle burnt brown sugar scent. Herbal hops.

Taste: Roasted to nearly burnt malt, coffee, and caramelized brown sugar. Dark fruit like raisins. An impressive quantity of hops impart an earthy, spicy bitterness. The burnt characteristics impart a bitterness that dovetails nicely with the earthy hop, yet is restrained by the addition of caramelized brown sugar. Very impressive.

Mouthfeel: Nice for the style, medium body and somewhat creamy.

Drinkability: With a clean and slightly bitter finish, and a moderate ABV, drinkability is very good.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I have had this a few times before but it was always out at a bar or somewhere where I wasnt paying much attention to the beer.

A- A deep red. The beer isnt black but its not brown either. Its fairly clear and has lots of red highlights.

S- A pretty hoppy nose. Some brown sugar and raisin like fruitness helps balance it out.

T- Raisins and brown sugar up front make this beer start out like a wee heavy. It then moves into a little bit of chocolate malts then into a bitter black IPA type character. The finish is citrusy and hoppy.

D- This was merely alright. I dont think Ill have it again, under normal circumstances. There are just other things out there that intrigue me more.

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

Poured into a frosty Old Chub pint glass and it resembles almost a porter in color. Chocolate nib aromas and head disappeared quickly but high carbonation is not needed for this malt monster almost a scotch ale. Delicious hop notes come through but do not compete with the malt and molasses sweetness. Drinkability is on the same level as a mid level stout as it is very thick but smooth on the palate.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown producing a tan frothy head. Some scattered lacing of the glass.

Minor nose- with a noticeable hint of alcohol.

The "ale" character doesn't seem to be as pronounced as I expected. Flavor intertwined with the sweetness of malt-- almost caramel notes and the bitter character of hops.

The flavor is robust with a long smooth finish.

Very cordial mouthfeel.

Drinkability is "good" in that the alcohol content (for DFH) beer is below 8%. After a pint I'm not welded to my chair.

Like the bulk of DFH beers-- a very satisfying drink!

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Photo of mweso2000
4.9/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown to black coloring with tan head. Smells of choclate, malt and caramel. Very sweet smell. One of the most complex beers I have ever had. All at once you will get the sweetness of chocolate, a hint of coffee and caramel. Malt flavors enter you mouth followed by the bitterness of hops. I love the hoppiness of this beer. Many brown ales do not have this hop characteristic, and while this is a personal preference it is one that is welcome. Sweet and bitter all at once.

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Photo of AITCTKD170
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours a deep amber color with a one finger cream colored head. Smells of caramel and coffee with a slight hint of hops. Initially tasting this brew flavors of slight citrus and pine are followed by a sweet caramel / coffee malt flavor shine through. Great balance of flavors! I love both IPA's and stouts and this fine brew captures the best of both worlds. Absolutely surprising and pleasant flavors - definately will be drinking this again soon.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appears mahoghany with a caramel head.

In the nose is caramel and barley, and some raisen.

Taste raisen in the back of the mouth, then carbonation fills the mouth, and it finnishes with some bitter, spicy hops up front. A really nice taste and an excellent mouthfeel. There are some coffee and caramel notes to accompany the raisen.

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Photo of msolar
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The west coast may beat us in quantity of microbreweries but DFH is certainly keeping the title in the east coast for quality.

I'm not an IPA guy so I've never taken a shine to DFH's staple 60/90/120 Minute IPA's but this beer is simply fantastic.

It's very dark with a very slight lacing of head along the pint glass. It smells like it would have a higher ABV than 7.2% but it's very well hidden in the taste and doesn't leave that alcohol flavor lingering on the tongue. It's not quite as carbonated as I would have expected but given it's deep, chewy mouthfeel it feels correct.

Highly drinkable - I could easily foresee putting a keg of this on tap at home.


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

A- dark brown opaque body, nice foamy caramel colored head
S- nutty coffee smell is the first thing that comes to mind i cant seem to detect any hops in the nose
T- wow thats good! tons of nutty grainy flavors here a bit of chocolate thrown in, a kind of spicy hop finish, bit of alcohol on the finish as well
M- perfect for the style
D- as much as you can handle, this one is really tasty, rivals if not beats rogues hazelnut nectar for me really a great brew you should seek out.

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Photo of CBOLAND17
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this was a very isnteresting brew. it is very balanced between a malty brown ale and a hoppy IPA. this balance is difficult to acquire so that makes this a very special brew. it maintains qualities of a full bodied brown ale while also having a hoppy kick that doesnt interfere with the maltiness. it also has roasted malty and coffee-like characteristics which increases the drinking experience.

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Photo of tewaris
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Indian Brown Ale
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
...a cross between a Scotch Ale, an India Pale Ale, and an American Brown (brewer's description)
7.2% ABV
50 IBU
12 oz bottle, bottled July 21, 2010 poured into a New Belgium snifter on September 18, 2010.

Appearance 5/5
Pours clear and deep brown, that gives an appearance of black in a glass. Tan colored creamy head that starts huge, sticks around, and leaves an excellent lacing.

Aroma 3.5/5
The initial aroma is sweet, but hops overpower it. The hop aroma is very fresh and herbal: grassy, citrus. I could not detect any of the sweetness from the first impression over the course of the beer; it was a hop-fest.

Taste 4/5
There is some malty sweetness, and a good backbone from start to finish, but it's always in the background. It never gets sweet and remains bitter all along, sometimes because of flavorful hops, and because of the roast at other times. The roast can be very well felt and once in a while it tastes like over roasted coffee, not meant in a bad way. But, where's the caramel? It seems like a hoppy porter or a Black IPA: a generously hopped ale brewed with dark malts, and a pretty good one at it. But, not a malt forward beer as it claims to be. Clean and bitter finish.

Mouthfeel 4/5
Seems alright. Carbonation is medium, so is the body. Never cloying.

Drinkability 4/5
Good. Overly bitter at times, even though the IBUs are low for the body.

Too much roast is my complaint with this one; I expected a different beer from their description. But, is it good? Very much. Will I drink it again? Yes! Would I recommend it? Yes!

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Photo of NODAK
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Has a very rich aroma, with abundant maltiness. Roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, molasses...very sweet, and very thick.

Pours a very dark brown in my mug with a fair head.

Taste from the onset through the body is of a fairly strong dark chocolate, coffee and roasted malts. Mouthfeel is somewhat thin. Thick, roasted malts last into the finish, where they are met with the English hops, which provide a moderate bitterness, but it's definitely noticeable and provides balance. A little bit of the coffee and bitter chocolate hangs around after the swallow.

I know the style is a brown ale, but it definitely reminds me of a stout in many ways except for that of the mouthfeel. It's a pretty good beer, certainly more flavorful than most brown ales.

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Photo of Keffa
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Ephemere glass. Didn't pay attention to code on the bottle.

A: Pours a very dark ruby/garnet red/brown, nice thick tan head that sticks around, leaves lace everywhere, and stays at about 1/8 of an inch cap all the way around. BEAUTIFUL garnet red highlights when held up to light. This beer looks wonderful.

S: Man, this smells far too much like a porter/stout than I'm wanting. Mostly chocolate, caramel malt, a little bit of an oily/floral hop, and some nice biscuit malts, but this one smells like something else, and since I'm not reviewing a porter or stout, I'll knock it for that reason.

T: Oh my God. First words out of my mouth, after swallowing it, of course. This is fantastic. Nice sweetness from the caramel malt and brown sugar, nice almost smokey note up front as well. The hops slide up, and take a hold, a slight bitterness, with a little spice and oily/resiny flavor, with a nice balance to the malt, not overpowering, but remaining assertive enough to remind you it has hops in it. Chocolate, biscuits, dark bread, small yeast, a little bit of alcohol, hops, caramel, coffee, slightly smokey and peaty, almost like a Scotch Ale like Dirty Bastard. Jeez, this has everything but the kitchen sink, and does so without any one flavor taking over the beer. Speechless.

M: Slightly creamy, a little bit heavy body, smooth, decent carbonation. Good, but nothing special to make me rate it higher.

D: Very easy, and it's quite high ABV for the style. I could drink this all the time, but I don't have the money to keep fresh in my fridge all the time. Which is a shame.

This is one of the better beers I've had in a while. Fantastic flavors, easy to drink, reasonable price. I don't think there could be a better American Brown Ale. This is a fantastic brew, which has changed my mind about Brown Ale. Great job to DFH.

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Photo of SnowGoon99
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: bottle into Stella Artois glass

Appearance is a very dark brown with some red hues. Aroma is somewhat lacking which was surprising for a hoppy brown ale. I caught a little bit of a coffee note but not much else. (It's possible my allergies were acting up at the time so i wouldn't read too much into that.)

The taste of pine needles hits you immediately on first taste. With some background notes of chocolate. Also hints of caramel and dark fruit (fig, plum, etc.) Was leading more towards a hoppy Scotch ale.

Overall i think this beer is in the wrong category. It's more of a Scotch ale that's been overly hopped. It still made for a drinkable beer though and was pleased with it.

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Photo of stakem
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Standard 12oz brown bottle with a bottle on date of 8/12/10.

Poured into a pint, IBA appears a clear brownish-amber color. A finger of tan head appears and receeds fairly fast leaving spotty amounts of lace on the glassware.

The aroma of this brew is very enticing and is quite perplexing as it encompasses a broad array of different styles of beer. Initially it smells of dark toasty grains that come across with notes of chocolate and dark sugar like caramel or molasses that also has a note of coffee about it as well in the background. However, once it opens up there is a bright citrus hop character to it that smells both herbal and piney. Also included is a bit of dark fruitiness and a bit of alcohol is evident as well.

The taste of this brew is enjoyable and equally as complex as the aroma. If I was given this brew to consume without a label on it, I have no idea what category I would place it in. There is a solid malt profile throughout the experience tasting of roasty malt with some dark sugars that smelled more like caramel or molasses but taste like a dark belgian sugar candy and coffee before the flavor of the herbal and tangy citrus hops come into play. There is a flavor of estery alcohol evident that also provides a bit of warmth in the back of the throat.

A flavor of toasty grain mingled with hops resides in the mouth long after each sip. This is a medium bodied and modestly carbonated brew. Very high on the drinkability scale despite the 7+% abv.

This is a brew that I have previously not given much respect to. I guess it took a weekend getaway secluded with not many options to pick this fresh six pack up and thoroughly enjoy it. This is really a well balanced and well rounded brew. There is so much going on it in that it could easily be an all inclusive selection for pairing with a broad array of foods. Well done.

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Photo of sellmeagod
2.63/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A decent brown ale that doesn't quite do enough uniquely to recommend from a usually exceptional brewery.

A brown river look from a standard Dogfish bottle. Nice enough.

A nutty, roasted smell hits the nose, and you get a fairly intense nutty taste along with the alcohol. Nothing to complain about at 7.2 abv, but nothing to recommend it over so many others of its type.

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

Had this one with my girlfriend as well as a couple other times.

Appearance: black in color with Ruby hues at the bottom of my tulip and dark orange shades at the top by accompanied by a thick creamy coffee colored head. Simply beautiful

Smell: dark roasted charachter on the nose giving molasses and dark chocolate with a slight hop character. Pretty nice aroma overall.

Taste: right off the bat is a roasted malt character that gives you the flavor of dark chocolate, molasses, coffee, and licorice. Good hop finish giving you a grassy and grapefruit flavor. As it warms up it gives off more of a sweeter brown sugar characteristic. Quite tasty overall.

Mouthfeel: thick smooth and crisp, wonderful combination of styles here with a stout like robustness and the wonderful clean crisp finish from the hop character.

Drinkability: goes down well but can also be enjoyed as a sipper, not perfect but pretty darn good.

This is definitely going to remain as a regular in my fridge.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 6,067 ratings.
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