Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Indian Brown AleIndian Brown Ale
6,115 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: 6,115 |  Reviews: 2,069
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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Photo of RugbyGreg
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

After watching "Beer Wars" on demand I became fascinated by Dogfish Head. The passion that is put into the beer is amazing. I was extra excited to try this beer since I am a fan of brown ales. When I first tasted the beer it almost had a porter finish. As I continued to drink, the flavor came through. Any time I see this beer I always pick it up and save for a rainy day.

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Photo of nickfl
3.44/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of light brown head that rests on top of a dark brown body with clear, amber highlights showing through.

S - A lightly roast malt aroma with some caramel and brown sugar. There are some pine hops and a hint of grapefruit.

T - Brown, malty notes of caramel, molasses, and brown sugar up front. Some earthy hops appear in the middle with a hint of pine with cola and more molasses malt thickness. The beer finishes with a more strongly roasted grain character, caramel and molasses are pushed aside by chocolate covered coffee beans with moderate bitterness and some pine and grapefruit hop flavor.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - There is a lot of potential here, but the hop character seems to be a bit weak. The brown malt character seems to lean more towards sugary flavors of cola, brown sugar, and molasses than malty caramel or toffee; the sugar characteristics give the beer some depth, but they become cloying much more easily than the alternative character would. The hops are much more apparent in the flavor profile than in the aroma and they work well with the roast character, though the dark malt effects them in such a way that they remind me more of a barley wine or aggressively hopped stout than anything that should have "India" in the name. Not a bad beer, but something about the particularly sugary malt character and the weak hop aroma keeps me from wanting to drink another one.

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Photo of jerryjeff
3.05/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Definite nutty/malty hints with an overriding slight scent of alcohol (this is an 8% beer). Slightly pecanish

M - Creamy feel, some body here and about the appropriate amount

A - Deep mahogany, dark reddish. Poured to slight head and dissipated. Getting some lacing on glass as drink down.

T - Malty flavor up front, get the nutty taste. Finishes with a alcohol flavor. Bit disappointed there, I think the alcohol taste is a bit too up front and distracts from the other flavors.

D - Okay, easily have a couple but with that alcohol taste I don't know that I'd want to have too many

O - C+, I think that since it's dogfish head it's likely a fairly well put together beer but it just doesn't seem to 'fit' a nut brown with the alcohol taste which distracts from what it should be

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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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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 4.1 out of 5 with 6,115 ratings
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