Weekly Beer Geek: Indian Brown Ale
- Written by Luke G
- April 12, 2012
Indian Brown Ale
The Beginning: Dogfish Head and I have a rich and storied history. This history mainly consists of Dogfish Head calling me a pansy with one of their ridiculously hoppy beers, and me failing to stand up to the challenge. Hell, we made beer bread out of their 120 minute ale and we still couldn’t eat it because it tasted like solidified hops and alcohol. But I couldn’t resist this one. I’ve seen plenty of India pale ales, and I’ve seen plenty of Brown ales, but I’ve never seen an Indian Brown Ale. How can I turn down something new?
The Brewer’s Pitch: Hooked by the name, I may have stumbled into something good. It’s a hybrid between IPA, American Brown, and my personal rare favorite, Scotch Ale. With the deep rich color from the brown ale and the sweeter, caramel notes from Scotch ale, they finish it off with a strict dry-hopping regimen similar to that used for their 60-minute IPA. Brewed with Barley and brown sugar, it’s a sweetly perfect blend.
The Beer: Deep brown with ruby highlights, IPA pours with a half-finger of incredibly dense, creamy golden-tan head. The smell is all hops, floral and tart. At the first taste, the IBA is full-bodied with the crystal-sharp sweetness that is such a hallmark of Scotch ale. This blends with a smoother roast taste from the brown ale, and then hits the hops. Powerful and bitter, they roll through your mouth and close out all the other flavors. It brings a pucker in the cheeks and almost feels like a squeeze on the throat, before leaving behind just the barest trace of bitter floral flavor as a memory.
The Breakdown: This is a solid B. The hops are a bit on the strong side for me but I’m an honest man who knows a well-hopped beer when he tastes it. My biggest problem with it is lack of balance. You barely get to recognize the characteristics of part of the hybrid before the hoppiness of the IPA portion overtakes it. Even so, there is an interesting taste as you work through the bottle, and at over 7% ABV it will get you your money’s worth.
The Bottom Line: Still too hoppy for me to TRULY enjoy… you win again, Dogfish Head!