Indian Brown Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

2,047 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

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Reviews: 2,047 | Ratings: 6,043
Photo of 88caprice
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a pint tumbler.

The bottle would lead you to believe that this is a pseudo-brown ale that has been hopped to pieces, like an American Black Ale. WRONG! While somewhat hoppy, this brew is more closely related to a Scotch Ale with it's caramelized sugars, color, and sweetness/mouthfeel.

It's quite good and very well done.

Look: Deep dark mahogany brown. A creamy head of fine bubbles that persists to the very end. Lacing for everyone.
Smell: A lot like a Scotch Ale. Rich, creamy smell of caramelized sugars, pipe tobacco, and a hint of something floral.
Taste: A char tang, somewhat astringent at first. Then the sweetness of caramelized sugars and low-note hop bitterness, with a coffee grounds finish.
Mouthfeel: So smooth, a little bit thick and creamy.

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Photo of Pankenstein
3.49/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

L: Opaque dark brown, head which doesn't dissipate all that quickly.
S: Strong maltiness, with brown sugar.
T: Brown sugar, bitter afterbite
F: Doesn't overstay its welcome, despite a distinct presence at first.
O: Not a bad beer... it wouldn't be my first choice, but I wouldn't turn it down either.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown in color with minimal light penetration. A fingernail of beige is present with light lacing. I smell brown sugar, molasses, and dark malt. I taste brown sugar and piney hops at the back of the palate. The mouth is slightly syrupy and chewy.

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Photo of Im4jojo
4.83/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Taste: Malty and toasty right at the front. The smell mirrors the taste. The caramel notes chime in beautifully. Very little carbonation with a thick two finger head when poured into a straight glass. The color is a deep, amber brown. A very enjoyable brew.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I had this beer at the brew pub 9 years ago, and I know I've had it a few times since, but this time it is following a Founders Porter on an empty stomach, and not working.

This brew looks great. All dark and foaming. There is little aroma.

That taste is out there. It mixes up so much and it's too early. I have to imagine that I ate a bunch of food (I'm sitting at the bar of a great restaurant, just not hungry). That helps tolerate the amalgam of hops and yeasty and nastiness.

I do remember now that this brew had this big nasty taste. Stay away, Bob, stay away.

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Photo of KevCan
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought a single 12-oz bottle from Giant in Arlington, VA. Bottled on 2/17/16. Poured into a shaker pint.

Look: Dark ruby brown, generous, fine, medium-brown bubbles.

Smell: Roasted malt, hint of coffee

Taste: Robust malt flavor, balanced with just the right amount of hoppy bitterness.

Feel: Medium body, medium carbonation.

Overall: Another really solid offering from Dogfish Head. This one doesn't blow you away, but it would be great for knocking back a few.

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

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Brown with a hint of red and a generous head
S: Malty, a bit nutty, light hop notes
T: Nicely balanced with roasted malts, fresh hops and a light not cloying caramel flavor
M: Medium-bodied focused on malt richness but with light carbonation and a bit of a hop bite
O: I'm not usually a brown ale fan but this one is balanced with noticeable hops in addition to the malts making it quite enjoyable

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Photo of BeerSamurai34
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I normally HATE brown ales, but was pleasantly surprised with this one. It still wasn't my fave, but it was really well balanced and had a really nice roasted malt flavor.

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Photo of GStone899
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Quality brown ale with a great smell. Unfortunately the smell doesn't match the taste. Taste is good, I'm not ripping it but it's weak and slightly watery. I'd drink it again but it's a forgettable beer, especially from a beer rated so high. Not in my book.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light and brown like a brown ale for sure. I can't smell the ipa part in there but definitely hoppy with herbal and earthy character mostly in the smell. You can believe yourself being in the woods if you close your eyes and smells this beer plus a great roastyness. The taste is lighter and more on the caramel. The carbonation is average. This is a great beer but the smell let you want more complexity for the taste but it might be explained by the fact that I enjoyed a great dipa just before that

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

Amazing dark cream head on a rich dark brown ale, nearly cola-colored.Lacing lingers on glass. Aroma promises caramel and roasted grain and the taste delivers, and then some. BIG taste of caramel malts, roasted meat, brown sugar, molasses, and, trying to fight their way through, some tingly hops. Rich and rewarding, sweet, but not too much so. Bottled 04/06/16, consumed 20 May '16.

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Photo of Shippy
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep, ruby brown with a tan head. Great nose with lots of roasty, malty notes: brown sugar, coffee, etc. Taste is similar, but a little lighter and less intense than the nose. Feel is somewhat light with a creaminess on the end just before the carbonation becomes more noticeable. Overall this is very tasty, roasty, and malty. Definitely fits the brown billing extremely well - not a stout or porter, not an IPA or pale ale, but very nicely in the middle.

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Photo of Whey2Hoppy
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a blackish brown color with a slightly tan one finger head, with slight lacing down the glass. Aromas of caramel and burnt sugar primarily, with some dark fruits. The flavor follows the nose, with the brown sugar sweetness taking hold followed by some roasty malt bitterness. This is a medium bodied beer with a surprising amount of carbonation that gives this beer a foamy feel. Overall, this is probably one of the best brown ales out there, and definitely a beer for those who love that taste of roasted malts and caramel.

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Photo of KLHBB
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Took a chance on a never-before-tasted sixpack and we were greatly rewarded. Wonderful beer. Pours a dark brown, the smell is of toasted nuts. More nuts in the taste along with oats and brown sugar. Delicious,

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

L -- Dark caramel color with a thick, just slightly off-white head that recedes quickly to a thin layer and a ring.

S -- Nice roasted malts, a bit of caramel. Some raisiny sweetness as well.

T -- Roasted malts at the front with a caramel/molasses sweetness. I also get some light coffee notes out of it as well. Warmth brought out a very little bit of a hop bitterness, but I only noticed it because I went looking for it after reading the BJCP guidelines for an ABA mid-way through my review.

F -- Medium-to-full body. It's just thick enough that I don't want to go chugging it. It also has a nice carbonation that plays across the tongue.

O -- Very solid. A very enjoyable beer to drink -- the flavors mesh well together and create something tasty.

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Photo of johnnyd10vt
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Holy crap that is good!
Darker in color than most Browns. Almost a Porter. Light tan head that laces nicely down the glass. Subtle nose, yet super complex taste with both the malt and hops coming through clearly. I LOVE this beer!

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Photo of GuitarIPA
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Plan B, Glatonbury, CT
L - thick creamy head, dark brown and red
A/T - Caramel, roasted malt, nutty
F - medium body, good carbonation
Best Brown Ale I've jade, but at the end of the day id rather have a porter or heavy stout. Glad to try this Beer of Famer.

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

Smell: caramel, roasted malt, brown sugar, raisins.Taste: sweet brown sugar, prickly alcohol, low carbonation, nutty toffee. Finish: bitter chocolate, malty, burnt sugars, slightly dry and some hop bitterness. (bottled 01/29/16)

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From 12oz. Bottle, about 4 months from bottling.

Look is dark brown and somewhat thin. Not much head, dissipates to light khaki ring.

Smell is subtle and mostly malts, with some sweeter notes... Maybe raisins or other dark fruits? Maybe a fresher bottle would showcase the hops better.

Taste is tremendous, excellent brown ale with sweet maltiness, mild bitterness and enough complexity to be interesting. Not waste this style in my experience.

Feel is medium bodied with a dry finish.

Overall this is better than expected, and the expectations were high. Super easy to drink and very complex yet balanced layers of flavor. Top notch!

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Clear brown-amber body, steady stream of bubbles, rich creamy light tan head with polkadot lace. Smell encompasses warm chocolate and toffee malt and formidable, but balanced, piney hop bitterness. The flavor- MMM- the flavor, it is warm and rich with moderately dark chocolate, caramel, nutty toffee, brown sugar, as well as hops with all their acidity and bitterness. Perfect balance betwixt everything. Body is, you guessed it, rich and warm, slightly sticky with sugar, delicate carbonation.
This really does blend it all- a delicious malty chocolate caramel base with a counterpunch of bitter hops. This is, perhaps, DFH's greatest beer. A crazy experiment, not flashy, but well executed, enjoyable, and appealing to many.

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Photo of jcantella
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Why do we always forget about IBA?

This dry-hopped American brown has been around for more than fifteen years and is one of only five beers on DFH’s current year-round slate, where it’s been a long-time standby. Yet ask a casual fan to name the first DFH brew that comes to mind and it’s rather unlikely “IBA” will pass their lips.

Like many DFH fans, I fear I’ve taken IBA for granted. With an open mind and a fresh palette, I revisited the classic by way of a recent batch.

Poured into a tulip glass from a 12-oz bottle with a 12/30/15 bottled-on date. Allowed to warm out of fridge for about 20 minutes before pouring.

Appearance: Dark brown, with about a 1/2 inch of off-white head that mostly dissipated within a few minutes. Lacing was minimal.

Smell: After pouring, the empty bottle gave off notes of bittersweet chocolate, roasted malt, pie crust, and roasted nuts. From the full glass, a slightly herbal bitterness from the hops. As it warmed, I got faint notes of raisin and anise seed.

Taste: Things lead off with a light malt sweetness, followed by a rather assertive two-fold bitterness. Some bitter notes come from the herbal, slightly piney hops, others pounce with the bite of black coffee. It finishes slightly sweet, with a bit of burnt brown sugar. The alcohol lingers, but the bitterness lingers longer.

Mouthfeel: There’s more carbonation on the tongue than you can see in the glass, with a solid body that’s again more complex than its appearance. I don’t know what people are talking about when they say they can’t detect the alcohol here—it’s here.

Notes: Dogfish beers always have a lot going on –the question is whether everybody plays well together. In IBA, we have harmony, an enjoyably complex brown that shows you don’t need to pack a 10+ ABV to work as a sipper.

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Photo of stevoj
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Cask pour at the brewery. Creamy texture, smooth slick, roast chocolate with an underlying bitter bite. Nice to see a brown ale with some snap to it.

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Photo of MichaelProcton
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, dark brown with some ruby coming through under light that makes it look a bit like red wine. Still, pretty clear. Nice nut brown head with good retention. Smell is deep and malty, with a hint of creaminess. Taste and mouthfeel are fantastic. Could almost be a porter, but lighter. Sweet malt, creaminess, and just enough hop bitterness to balance everything out. Delicious and drinkable, a dangerous combination.

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Photo of moofthedog
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle date of 12/2/15. Poured extremely cold. 1 finger head, but I don't particularly care for head size/retention anyway. Right away, fuggle and williamette hops jump at out at me. The proper words used to describe them are "spicy, earthy, woody". Not my preferred hops but oh well. They use caramelized sugar so I was expecting the aftertaste to be a bit dry but it was not so. Look was dark, almost like a porter. Bitterness was manageable, didn't stick in the mouth like regular IPA's. Mouthfeel was alright, you kind of get a blast of the earthy-woody hops on the way down. Alright beer, neat concept. Much of the malt character unfortunately gets lost in the bitterness of the hops. I got some dark caramel and crystal malts mostly via smell.
Wouldn't get again though.

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Photo of vladdswrath
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark chocolate brown with an explosion of bubbles off the pour, this foams up nice and leaves a wonderful lace. Smell is typical for a brown, sweet malt with brown sugar and coffee undertones. Taste is a complex blend of carmel, malt, and coffee with big smack of bitterness crashing in at the end. Mouthfeel is surprisingly much thinner than it looks and smells, but on the bright side, that makes it easier to drink more than one.

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Indian Brown Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 6,043 ratings.
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