Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

2,042 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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,042 | Ratings: 6,022
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.

 437 characters

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

 1,562 characters

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!

 243 characters

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.

 1,542 characters

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

 166 characters

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.

 672 characters

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.

 181 characters

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.

 454 characters

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.

 383 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Harvest Market
Kind of surprised I haven't rated this before.
Crystal clear dark brown color with a stingy off white head. big chocolate caramel and molasses with some aged earthy hops to counter. May not be the freshest bottle, but still tastes pretty damn good.

 276 characters

Photo of txbrewer
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

All the good parts of all the styles blended well. More brewers should do this. Just malty enough to go with the right amount of hops and not overly carbonated.

 162 characters

Photo of Miller138
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful chocolate color with a lean tan head.
Malt and Caramel notes in the nose
nice full body and mouthfeel
great complexity and balance - starts with caramel and chocolate malt character that gives way to a nice hop bitterness that holds up against the malt. It finishes with a nice dried fruit, caramelized sugar taste
This beer has qualities of a nice American brown ale and a really well done old ale

 413 characters

Photo of jwhancher
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a sixer at the brewpub in Rehoboth yesterday. Bottled on date of 8/24/15. Pours clear ruby Amber with nice persistent off white head. Smells of caramel & brown malts, figs, brown sugar and spicy hops. Malts seem to slightly overwhelm the hops but they compliment each other quite nicely. Tastes like a scotch ale with ample bitterness, a lighter mouthfeel, and great drinkability. Super smooth and a great beer to pair with a variety of foods. Nicely done. A very nice change up to today's standard IPAs. This one was def a trendsetter when it first came out.

 569 characters

Photo of JackieKu
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 fl.oz. bottle. Bottled on 2015-03-12. Poured into tulip.

A: dark brown. Poured without foam.
S: Intense caramel aroma. Toasted bread. Unfortunately the hops are not found, despite the name suggests to.
T: Caramel. Malty. Mildly sweet. Medium- bitterness. Little grassy. The finish is sweet bitter, like drank coffee.
M: Creamy. Full bodied.
O: This beer reminds me Fuller's London porter. They share a majority of characters though this one is significantly stronger. However, I would like it a bit more hoppy because the name leads me to think so.

 554 characters

Photo of Krisp09
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into tulip. Color is dark brown with ruby red hues. Aroma is lots of malt, coffee, and chocolate. Taste is sweetness from brown sugar first, then coffee notes. Hops present in bitterness but not really taste. Overall a really interesting beer but cannot say the IPA portion of it shows through strongly

 309 characters

Photo of Marraybay
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Actually found/tried this at the beach, when looking for something other than an IPA or a shandy to drink! Interesting beer, which DH pushes as a hybrid Scotch-IP-Brown Ale. The taste really seems to follow suit, with some sweetness, hops, and kick. The sweetness tends to come in at the front and linger, with the finish being pretty boozy. The IPA portion tends to present near the middle--once or twice more than I cared for in all honesty:(not a fan of the style)--but all and all, it remains pretty buried in the mix. Color is a darkish brown, with a decent head development and glass lacing. If there's a critique besides the occasional hop rush, it would be the prevalence of the alcohol in the finish, which to me at least, can come off a little "raw / harsh" at times.

 784 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.38/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 4/03/15 at 42 degrees into snifter
Aroma – weak, slightly malty
Head small (< 1 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, fizzy, rapidly diminishing to one mm ring
Lacing none
Body dark brown, opaque, effervescent
Flavor – slightly sweet, light caramel flavor; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.5, Aroma 3, Flavor 3.5, Palate 3.5, Overall 3.5

 400 characters

Photo of zander4dawin
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A dark brown, tastey looking beer with a nice capped head. Chalky dry dark chocolate notes with brown sugar, liquorish under tones. A classic beer a just want to pair with food or enjoy by itself.

 198 characters

Photo of iheartmyTHO
3.62/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I really just didn't particularly care for this bear. Based on the description, it seemed like something that I would have liked. It wasn't particularly awful but not great either. I was expecting more hoppy I guess? But it came off being more malty and sweet than I would have liked.

 288 characters

Photo of ZakFaruki
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured from a 12 oz. into a tulip, pours an almost black with a tan head, about a finger's worth of foam

S: Coffee, Sugar, and Chocolate, with some bread-like malt as well

T: Brown Sugar and a slight coffee taste, almost like a porter, fades into a malt flavor with a slight note of hops

M: Medium bodied, chewy and tart, feel a bit of hop oil on my teeth

O: I see people here are rating it like an IPA, but this is not even close to that style, more like a scotch ale in that regard. Honestly, I would have said this is a porter if I was unaware of the brown ale labeling. I bought this on the recommendation of Wine Enthusiast, and other reviews, and like many Dogfish brews, I was not disappointed. Is it earth-shattering, no, but its an excellent brew that I feel many would come to appreciate. Definitely put one in your six-pack next time you visit your local beverage store.

 888 characters

Photo of sjdevel
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A decent head that is thick and tan. Decent head retention. Color was deep brown and red, very dark, but you can still see through to the world on the other side. This one was surprisingly clear!

Chocolate and caramel and some floral hop notes. It also has a slight smoked malt scent.

Instant bittering hops upfront that fades into a deep roasted malt flavor with hints of coffee and chocolate. After the bittering hops subside, there is a slight sweet and caramel flavor. The sweetness is short lived and it finishes quite dry. There is a slight fruitiness with flavors of plums and figs.

Full bodied and decent amount of fizz. There is a slight dry pull on the tongue.

This is a pretty unique IPA (which I was expecting) that was very dark, rich, and malty. This is something that I would buy again. Dogfish Head makes some unique brews (or is that off-centered?).

 917 characters

Photo of arizcards
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from TW Arrowhead in late June for $2.29. Bottled on 4/3/15.

Beer poured brown a beautiful tan head that has some major hang time.

Nose is sweet, hoppy, and very inviting!

Taste is on the sweet side like a scottish ale but has a decent floral hop bite to balance the taste. Finish is dry like a brown ale.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall this is a very interesting beer definitely different but in a good way. Not sure why it took me years to finally have this but i certainly was not disappointed. Do try this if you like the described styles.

 587 characters

Photo of hophead723
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: Clear woody brown like Mahogany, with a nice light tan head. Slow rising bubbles struggle to reach the top of this thick brew. The head is creamy and smooth. Strong lacing.

Smell: Toffee, caramel, grassy hops, a bit of vanilla and sugared dates.

Taste: Very intense and sweet flavors of caramelized sugars, dates, toffee, coco nibs, and a backing of piney hops.

Feel: Full-bodied, smooth, wet, creamy, and a tiny bit dry at the very end. It reminds me of bitter dark chocolate.

Overall: Very satisfying, rich, full, and well executed. I could see myself using this beer in a number of culinary applications as well.

 627 characters

Photo of wmblair
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pretty silky smooth. It is very dark for an ale. The bottle says it is "hopped liberally and often" but the hops is balanced by the sweetness so it doesn't taste as "hoppy" as an IPA normally does. It is quite sweet. Pleasant.

 230 characters

Photo of Zonk
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Some good roasty notes, but hops are also featured in this medium-weight brown ale. Moderate carbonation. Light sweetness on the palate but followed by hop bitterness on the tail end.

 185 characters

Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 6,022 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.