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Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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2,035 Reviews
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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 2,035 | Ratings: 5,987
Photo of Fatehunter
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

Pours a half finger of head on a clear brown body.
The aroma is toast (almost burnt), wood, brown sugar, caramel and raisins.
The taste roasted malt, then some pine bitterness, big dose of caramel sweet and a bite of grapefruit to finish.
The texture is crisper.
It's pretty good.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served at cellar temperature into a pint glass. Sadly the last of 6 bottles to be enjoyed over the past week weeks following a visit to New York State.

Appearance - an aggressive pour yielded a dark mahogany coloured beer, with gat clarity and topped by a finger and a half of tan head. Pretty good head extension and some sparse lacing lingers around the edges of the glass.

Smell - big aroma of coarse grain, some dark fruit, a hint of wood and smoke. A little caramel mixed in for good measure. A very aromatic beer for the style.

Taste - grain flavours, followed by some mild bitterness, slightly earthy hops, a smoked or burnt flavor, and a touch of caramel at the end. Complex and nice complementary profile. The roasted and slightly smokey flavor is the star, which may or may not appeal to everyone.

Mouthfeel - smooth, medium bodied with good carbonation and a fairly dry finish.

Overall - one of the best brown ales out there, it's a hybrid in that the significant hop presence and the woodsy aromas and flavours with the smokey elements gives you a different beer than many browns, but it works very well here. Top notch stuff that will grow on you more, the more you enjoy.

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Photo of gmoneyproductions
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass
look is amber to brown mahogany with a moderate tan head
smell is malty hoppy and boozy
taste is chocolate, slightly smoky, nutty hoppy and boozy slightly dry and bitter aftertaste
feel is medium body warming somewhat effervescent
a more bitter and hopped up take on a brown ale
very good

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Photo of MacMalt
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on draught at a restaurant, thus It was colder than I would drink it at home. It poured a dark brown with reddish hues and a creamy tan head and lacing. Because of the temperature it was hard to really appreciate the smell but I definitely discerned chocolate and nutty caramel. This is a very tasty brown ale with a base of roasted malt with chocolate, coffee, and nuts. There is also some vanilla/caramel sweetness and it finishes with more than a hint of hoppy bitterness. In sum, it is an extremely well-balanced ale. At 7.20% ABV, it is very drinkable; you can easily have a second. Overall, this is a very well crafted brown ale that blends different flavors extremely well. It is a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of bmeehan
3.38/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I love the smell of coffee and hate the taste of it. This beer is a pint of cold coffee in smell and in taste, and because it's so strong on the coffee notes, it's not palatable to someone like me. I can appreciate the craft here, but I can't drink this beer.

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Photo of VDJ104
4.88/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The best way I can describe this beer is it's somewhere between an IPA and a porter and I think it might be a new favorite of mine. When I poured it I was surprised because I didn't expect it to be this dark. IPA's have never been my favorite style but when mixed with malts and sugar it creates one of the more balanced yet at the same time flavorful beers I've ever had.

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

L: Pours a very dark burgundyish brown with a light tan head.

A: Complex mixture of caramel and nuttiness. The nutty maltiness you expect from a brown ale. Some faint hop aroma as well.

T: Bisquity, toasted malt flavor and caramelized wort. Significant hop bitterness with a pretty clean flavor profile overall. Finishes fairly sweet; you can really taste the brown sugar.

F: Medium body, medium carbonation: appropriate.

O: Quite a nice beer. A very unorthodox brown ale and one I expected to be more like an IPA, but a nice, sweet sipper nonetheless. Strikes me as a cross between a brown ale, an IPA and a Scotch ale.

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

A great tried and true from DFH. Pours a redish/brown with a nice lingering creamy head. Lots of stout and porter characteristics. Great smell of chocolate, coffee and of course the caramelized sugar with a slight hint of hops. Nice medium feel with little to no carbonation bitting your tongue. Hope they keep this in their lineup for a good while.

 349 characters

Photo of l_volky
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dogfish Head is a brewery that puts out a lot of nonsense that I don't care about. However, they do have some great standards. I say this both in the meaning of the level of quality the Dogfish brewers accept and in the sense of a song that has established and lasting popularity. Their 90 minute IPA and their Palo Santo beer are some great examples of this, but the list wouldn't be complete without the Indian Brown Ale. The name suggests an overzealous and directionless blend of styles but on the contrary the beer itself is exemplary. This beer should pique the interest of IPA lovers just as much as those more inclined to amber and browns. I drank it from the conical pint glass that I poured the 12 oz bottle into.

Look: Beautiful dark brown that inspires images of the other fine brown things in life. Think leather bicycle seats, old and well loved copies of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, and trees.

Smell: Caramel raisin sweetness blended with a hoppy bouquet of leather samples. The type of adult candy that most children just can't seem to understand with their stupid child minds.

Taste: Here's where the fireworks of this beer are at. Each flavor of the beer's concept (IPA, American Brown, and Scotch Ale) gets a spotlight without overshadowing any other. The piney hops compliment the sweeter candy sides of the scotch ale side keeping the beer mellow throughout. There's some chocolate and dark fruit tastes without the unrelenting sweet and boozy characteristics of a full blown, big scotch ale.

Feel: The beer remains effervescent while being smooth and full feeling. It's just another testament to the brewer's masterful standard for this hybrid.

Overall: Most hybrids suck. Fusion food is bad, hybrid crossover fruits like pluots would be better off thinking for themselves, and beer hybrids often seem like ill attempts for non-creative brewers to sound interesting at whatever shitty dinner parties they go to. This beer is a strong exception to this rule. The standard to which it's held sets a high bar for beers of each style it takes from without sacrificing in any way. I think Dogfish Head's Indian Brown Ale is a completely worthwhile beer.

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

They've carried this one at the convenience store around the corner from me for years, I buy it several times a year. Always a good one. Not really any point for me to describe it when so many already have.

 209 characters

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

Great dark brown color with a tan foamy head that laces the glass. The beer has a nice chocolaty, toasty, sweet malt smell to it. A great thick beer, with a nice sweet malt taste with hints of chocolate and a toasty flavoring. The beer finishes with a nice spike of hops. Overall this a great beer.

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Photo of Machoo
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Caramel sugar and hop mix was interesting. Received bottle super cold and perhaps it would have gone down better if I had let it sit to lower a few degrees.

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Photo of tfsimpkins
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Raisins, plums, tobacco, leather. Nice aggressive hop characters (for the style) Piney, earthy floral tones. Not your typical brown ale but definitely an interesting take on it. This is a must try and go back for more often.

 225 characters

Photo of Nickholland
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is very similar to a good dopplebock (Celebrator comes to mind). The smell is fantastic, definitely get the carmelized/brown sugar and cocoa in the nose, but the generous hop bitterness really takes over the flavor. All that being said it's definitely a great beer.

 270 characters

Photo of SitkaSteve
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks Ted. Time to conquer a personal whale.
This was poured into a nonic pint glass.
The appearance was a dark brown color with a thick tan foamy head that had wonderful sticky lacing around the glass.
The smell started off with cocoa, bread, caramel and a light earthy and semi-citrusy hoppiness rolling in underneath.
The taste was basically the same but with a slight bitter floral hoppy quality in underneath. Breadiness comes back in the aftertaste and roams into a dry semi-citric finish.
The mouthfeel was moderately light to medium bodied with an okay sessionable dark feel to it. There's some heaviness coming in like Flynn to bring the roast and dry somewhat puckering bitterness laying down on my tongue.
Overall, this is what I hoped the greatest of American Brown ales could be. In like Flynn, of course I'd have this again.

 839 characters

Photo of BodiesLexus
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful, robust dark brown ale with thick, longlasting head. Nearly too dark, but why complain, this is a beautiful beer.
Nose is lots of cocoa, dark bread, charred caramel ..... wow, this smells like heaven for a brown ale, and I do not get much hop in the nose, and I don't want much hop, despite the warning on the label and the rep of the brewer for super-hopping. Nose wins.
Taste is not the same. I taste a florally-hopped black IPA, where all the cocoa and caramel are completely overwhelmed by puckering floral hops. A bready thickness remains beyond the hop dryness and carries into the finish, reminding me however faintly that I'm still drinking a dark ale.
Feel is full and heavy (nice), with too much tingly carb and puckering dryness for what I wish was a strong, mellow brown. Can't win 'em all.
Overall, great nose, full body shows it's packed with a great blend of dark and amber malts. For my taste (and I lovelovelove me some hoppy pales), this has too much hop infusion for a good brown. I know DFH was and is in front of the curve on many craft-brew "things", and in this case, they pre-figured the black IPA by a decade or so. Still a super-quality offering. The nose makes me wish they would brew an updated brown that doesn't try to win the hop wars. It would be heavenly.

 1,308 characters

Photo of Hellopeople4304
4.82/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Great beet, my personal favorite from Dogfish Head. Its high enough alcohol percentage that I can drink one and be good for relaxing night at home. With that said for a 7% alcohol content it not harsh at all. also has a great coffee after taste that I very much enjoy. Smells of caramel, chocolate and raisins. Tastes like more of a malty caramel and raisins. Great beet overall and definitely will enjoy it while i am on the east coast.

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Photo of nizzle8287
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled on 07/24/15. Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a snifter at 50F.
Immensely fluffy thick head about 5 fingers thick causes me to make this a two-pour. Fantastic head retention and medium lacing in the beginning. Definitely a dark beer, but not opaque. There's a very unique crimson red glow when held up to the light, but otherwise it looks close to a typical Scotch ale but with much better head characteristics.

I get a sweet red apple scent with maybe a very light scent of bitter coffee, and straight malt. Lastly, there are faint and sporadic, but definitely present whiffs of molasses every now and then, which pop out of the glass and smack me in the nose.

This beer is amazingly silky smooth. Medium mouth feel with medium carbonation. Just very smooth and it seems like the beer permeates every area of my entire mouth the instant it touches my lips. It is certainly lip smacking good.

The flavors in this beer are delicious and unique, yet blended so well that not much 'sticks out' so-to-speak. The hops are moderately bitter and slightly spicy, but sort of neutral in flavor. The bitterness definitely lingers on the palette. As this beer warms, the caramel is coming out and there's this almost cinnamon candy like spiciness (but not flavor) about it. Think apple pie cinnamon. I can't help but feel like this beer would be amazing with a fried apple pie.

Over all this beer is on a whole other level, as with many other Dogfish Head beers. I think it's outstanding, unique, and very drinkable, which is why I give it 5 stars

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Photo of MerryTapster
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my go to beers. This is a fantastic beer all around. Big malty, chocolatey, toasty notes. A nice hop backbone. This is a perfect Brown Ale, this coming from a person who has a love hate relationship with Dogfish Head beers. 2 Thumbs up!

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ahhh. Made it to Portland. Served in a Nonic Pint.

Appearance : Pours a colossal, bubbly popcorn colored head that fills most of the glass, which leaves great webs and hills of lace behind as it recedes slowly. The body is Chestnut-Mahogany colored and a little bit of light squeezes some cranberry hues out of it. 60% Opaque. Overall a very nice looking beer.

Smell : Quite a sticky aroma, with sap, caramel, prune, burnt pecan, walnut, roasted malts, a touch of anise and a circumvention of polite hop. A little odd for a brown ale, but a pleasant aroma.

Taste : It's liberally hopped but not over hopped, if that makes sense. Lots of caramel on the finish, with plum and roast malts in the middle...and just like the nose, it's circumvented (and cut up the middle) by spicy pan-baked hop. Slight alcohol surfaces as the beer warms up and the hop also peeks through quite a bit more, realizing some of the IPA inspiration.

Feel : Medium bodied in a text-book fashion. Mild (although buzzing) carbonation which this beer could benefit from a little more of. It ends with an alcoholic dryness and a slight stickiness. A slight dock because more carbonation could really knock the feel out of the park.

Overall : For $2.16 I feel I got a great beer, and although I probably wouldn't purchase again, I won't discourage anybody else from doing so. This was a departure yet still a great representation of the style. I'm assuming "Indian" is where the liberal hop comes in, otherwise it's just an American Brown. Not bad, not bad at all.

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Photo of Mooslerfitness
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Solid wish I would have got more nice deep coffee caramel color and smell so good I drank so quick I can't remember the flavor other than hop and coffee must buy more

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Photo of justintcoons
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle (7 months old) poured into a shaker pint.
Purchased in a $10 mystery bag at the Iron Abbey in Horsham, PA.

Chestnut brown with ruby red highlights. 1 finger of creamy tan head with good retention. Good clarity with lively carbonation.

Caramel, brown sugar, roasted barley, and faint citric hops.

Caramelized brown sugar, roasted barley, and some toffee sweetness. Hints of chocolate and smoke. The hops are mostly lost due to the old bottle but there are some citric and earthy hops subtly lingering.

Medium bodied, crisp, oily, and off-dry with a moderate bitterness.

New or old, this beer taste great either way.

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Photo of EMH73
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very dark brown with a beige head. Chocolate, caramel and molasses notes. Sweet with a slightly bitter finish. Overall an excellent beer. I wish it was easier to find in my area.

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Photo of SensorySupernova
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Very dark brown with an off-white head. Just a little bit of red light makes it through this beer.

Smell: Caramel, bread, just a little bit of herbal hops.

Taste: Moderately sweet malts, caramel, bread yeast up front. A little bitter towards the end. Just a little ethanol at the end, but it’s pretty much hidden. Aftertaste is a little sweet and hoppy.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thick and moderately carbonated.

Overall: Good hearty brown ale.

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Photo of Buck89
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Never had a beer like this. Dark ruby brown with a thick tan head. Aromas of black cherry, plum, some cedar and caramel. Taste is complex: dark malt up front with dark fruit notes followed by a sweetness like a Scotch ale but also a hoppy bitterness like a black IPA at the same time. It works and doesn't seem confusing or muddled. Full bodied with a thick finish like a Scotch Ale.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 5,987 ratings.
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