Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale (2011 original review)

Seems like it's been a LONG time since I reviewed a Sam Calagione beer on this show. Although it should come as no surprise, really. Ever since that show "Brew Masters" debuted, Dogfish Head beers have been in short supply on store shelves nationwide and this is pretty much the only thing you can find these days. This brewery is known for their big, bold, experimental beers, but what about their run-of-the-mill stuff like their IBA? They describe it as hybrid of IPA, brown ale, and scotch ale (although I'd add a fourth style to that list as you'll see in the review).

Let me give a Special shout-out to Daniel at Him and I TRIED to record a Skype review of this beer a few months ago but for whatever reason the footage was unusable. Hi Dan!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (624) - Albany, USA - FEB 26, 2011
I poured a 12oz bottle into a Dogfish Head football-shaped tumbler.

Appearance: Dark ruby red body - not completely opaque but translucent. Pretty color. A liberal pour produces a thick, tan, creamy/frothy head which retains very well and leaves good lacing on the glass.

Smell: Such a complex nose for a beer of this caliber: smoke, dark chocolate, light hop flowers and brown sugar.

Taste: The brewery’s official description indicates it’s a hybrid of scotch ale, brown ale and IPA and I would totally agree with that and perhaps add a fourth style - stout. There’s a lot going on with this beer and yet it doesn’t hit your palate like a ton of bricks. The first half is somewhat mild and sweet with brown sugar and light flowers. The second half is very smokey and woody with a coffee-like, dry bitterness. There even seems to be a dairy-like element found in milk stouts. It’s amazing a beer can be simultaneously sweet and hoppy - what an achievement!

Mouthfeel: Quite soft, but not as thin as most brown ales. A little intense as colder temperatures, but calms down as it warms.

Drinkability: This is a beer where the statistics lie. There’s no way this beer is 7.2% ABV! It drinks like a traditional brown ale - smooth, quaffable and sessionable. This is definitely one of the most versatile beers on the mainstream craft beer market. The sweetness makes it a good dessert brew, but the hoppiness enables it to stand up to a red meat dinner.

Overall, an really good beer bordering on a great beer. It doesn’t quite knock my socks off the way an upper echelon beer might, but it’s probably the best good beer I can think of.

Grade: 8/10

NOTE: see my 2018 re-review to BJCP specs here:

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