21B. Specialty IPA: Brown IPA

Overall Impression

Hoppy, bitter, and moderately strong like an American IPA, but with dark caramel, chocolate, toffee, or dark fruit character as in an American Brown Ale. Retaining the dryish finish and lean body that makes IPAs so drinkable, a Brown IPA is a little more flavorful and malty than an American IPA without being sweet or heavy.


Color ranging from reddish-brown to dark brown but not black. Clear, if not opaque. Light haze optional. Medium-sized, cream-colored to tan head with good persistence.


Moderate to moderately-high hop aroma, often with a stone fruit, tropical fruit, citrus, resin, pine, berry, or melon character. Medium-low to medium malty-sweet aroma mixes in well with the hop selection, and often features milk chocolate, cocoa, toffee, nuts, biscuits, dark caramel, toasted bread, or dark fruit character. Clean fermentation profile. Light esters optional. Light alcohol aroma optional.


Medium to high hop flavor, same descriptors as aroma. Medium-low to medium clean, supportive malty flavor with same descriptors as aroma. The malt and hop choices should not produce flavor clashes. Medium-high to high bitterness, no harshness. Dry to medium finish, with a bitter, hoppy, and malty aftertaste. Low esters optional. Very low alcohol flavor optional. No highly roasted or burnt malt flavors. The malt should nearly balance the hop bitterness and flavor.


Medium-light to medium body, with a smooth texture. Medium to medium-high carbonation. No harshness. Light warmth optional.


Separated from American Brown Ale to better differentiate stronger, highly hopped examples from more balanced, standard-strength beers.


See American Brown Ale.

Characteristic Ingredients

Similar to an American IPA, but with medium or dark crystal malts, lightly roasted chocolate-type malts, or other intermediate color character malts. May use sugar adjuncts, including brown sugar. Any American or New World hop character is acceptable, but the hops and character malts should not clash.

Style Comparison

A stronger and more bitter version of an American Brown Ale, with the dry balance of an American IPA. Has less of a roasted flavor than Black IPA, but more chocolate flavors than a Red IPA.

Vital Statistics


40 - 70


18 - 35


1.056 - 1.070


1.008 - 1.016


5.5% - 7.5%

Commercial Examples

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, Harpoon Brown IPA, Russian River Janet’s Brown Ale.