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Rating: 4.3/5 (4 votes cast)

Beer Profile

  • Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
  • Website:
  • Country: United States
  • State: Delaware
  • Style: American Brown Ale
  • Malts:
  • Hops:
  • ABV: 7.2%
  • IBUs: 50
  • Tasting Notes: Molasses, coffee, ginger, raisinettes, chocolate
  • Preferred Glass: Pint
  • Food Pairing: Balsamic vinaigrette salads, smoked meats, duck confit, braised ribs, venison, prosciutto, stews
  • PHM Grade: A

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale

Written by

Taylor: In my newfound enjoyment of beer (really, I got into this in December 2009) I have experienced a handful of beer epiphanies. Well, maybe just 2 or 3. The first was in a bomber of Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA (thought Alpha King prepared me for that one). The second was in a bottle of Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron. Tonight, I am thoroughly enjoying yet another beautiful brew from Dogfish Head, and I think another is upon me. Dogfish Head simply does not make a mediocre beer.

The Indian Brown Ale is a lesser-known brew from the Delaware craft brewery, but it is heralded by its creators, an extremely creative beer that delivers in every category. It is the “original hybrid,” a cross between a Scotch Ale, an IPA, and an American Brown Ale. IPA and Brown Ale, you say? Those are my favorite two styles. Sign me up! The Dogfish IBA is labeled “a clean, well-hopped brown ale with aromatic barley, caramelized brown sugar, and whole-leaf Liberty & Goldings hops.”

Pours a deep brown with a twinge of red when the light hits it. Frothy head is creamy, off-white, with tiny bubbles reminiscent of an IPA. A great color for a beer, very bold. The nose is full of roasted barley, reminding you of those great chocolate and coffee traits. But there’s a hop presence, faint, but still there. Adds some depth to the smell and makes you think.

As far as I’m concerned this is as tasty a brew as I have tried to date. Roasted coffee and cocoa matched with a subtle hop spiciness. The first sip was excellent, but boy did this beer get better over the course of an hour. I meant to let it sit as I sipped it, and by the time it warms this beer is exploding with flavor. Roasted malts, hop spice, and when warmed a bit it is definitely sweet thanks to that brown sugar. What a great hybrid beer by Dogfish. Absolutely fantastic.

People who enjoy Porters, Stouts, Doppelbocks, and Brown Ales will really appreciate this Indian Brown Ale. Those who swear by IPAs will certainly make out the hop profiles, but should not expect a hoppy beer at all: they’re there, but not in force. It’s not as heavy as a porter or coffee stout, making it more drinkable. I could enjoy two of these over a couple of hours and really write home about it. Epiphany! Grade: A

Tom: This IBA is a wonderful American interpretation on a classic style.  My fondest memory with this beer goes back the Christmas of 2010 when I presented my Dad with a giant bag filled with a variety of brown ales and porters.  The funny part about it was that I created a “holiday 5 pack” out of the three sixers I got him so I could review the beers (selfish I know).  Well, later that day we sat down to dinner and poured ourselves this winner.  The appearance is a dark mahogany with a tan head that lasts.

I was expecting a somewhat hoppy aroma, but what caught my nose was the interesting blend of both bitter piney hops, an abv strength, and the sweet brown sugar.  All three seems to effortlessly work together to create a glorious mixture that had hints of molasses, raisins, cinnamon, toffee, caramel, and a light coffee.  In addition, it was also earthy and herbal while at the same time being potent.

My Dad is not a really big hop lover.  He likes the mid-range darker beers with the exception of a few red ales so I was looking to sneak a hoppy beer in that would appeal to his range.  For the most part I think he liked it.  The hop profile might have been a little much at first, but they are balanced by that sweet deep brown sugar goodness which coats the palate.  The mouthfeel is rather moderate for how big the beer comes across and the finish drives home the toasted malt and bitter hop flavors.  The aftertaste is glorious as you are left with a residual sweetness which displays minor burnt grain qualities (this could be from the caramelized sugar).  All in all this is a solid brew!

PS – I found it pairs well with a creamy salty goat cheese, which draws out more of the sweet qualities in the beer, and a nice Brie, that seemed to highly the more earthy tones. Grade: A

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, 4.3 out of 5 based on 4 ratings
  1. sounds like my kind of beer. if you have any extra, bring me one tonight and i’ll trade you an old raspu straight up.

    Noel — March 17th, 2010, 2:59 PM
  2. sounds good. Dogfish Head to the rescue.

    Nate — March 17th, 2010, 6:48 PM
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