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Samuel Smith's India Ale - Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

Not Rated.
Samuel Smith's India AleSamuel Smith's India Ale

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1,601 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,601
Reviews: 870
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.32%
Wants: 19
Gots: 59 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English India Pale Ale (IPA) |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-11-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,601 | Reviews: 870 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of scooter231
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love hoppy beers. Aggressive, bold, crazy flavors tend to impress me- this was not one of those beers. Oddly enough, that was a surprising good thing.

Pours a rusty amber color with great head and a lovely amount of big bubbles that stay til the end. Awesome looking, very inviting. Smell raised my eyebrow. Sweet and malty? Floraly sweet and bready? What kind of IPA, even an EIPA, could this be? Intrigued, I took a sip... and then another...

Malty. Very bready and biscuity. Hops? Where are they? They're floral and sweet- not aggressively bitter, sour, or attacking. A mild, very drinkable brew. Extremely smooth.

I, a self-stated hopfiend, enjoyed this brew. It was different, and pleasingly so. Not too heavy, with different flavors and textures going on than your average IPA. Cheers Sam Smith, for raising my eyebrow a few times.

scooter231, Oct 26, 2005
Photo of ommegangpbr
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very different tasting IPA in my experience. Maltier than it is hoppy. Hopfiends look elsewhere!
Unless you are looking for something that's malty and smooth. Smells almost... belgian.
Lots of breadyness goin on.
Lots of smoothidity goin on.
A mild profile all around.
A little bit pricey considering the bounty of IPA goodness that is out there, but easily worth a try.
Sam Smith's makes good beer.

ommegangpbr, Oct 26, 2005
Photo of sacfly
2.85/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

355ml brown bottle

Clear, golden color. Thin layer of white bubbles. Smell is sweet and somewhat floral.

Taste is creamy and bitter. The aftertaste is bitter and overly astringent. Woody.

Overall, very boring. The only thing that stands out is the aftertaste- which I find harsh and unpleasant. Much better British IPA’s out there and if I purchase a Sam Smith’s product it will be one of their many other fabulous offerings.

sacfly, Oct 26, 2005
Photo of Smittysguinness
4.47/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite simply, this IPA blew me away.

It's 9:00 on a brisk morning, on the campus of Michigan State. It's a tailgate. Besides my morning coffee, spiked with a bit of John Jameson and Son's finest, my palate was undisturbed. I reach into my cooler full of Molson Canadian (I'll review that one later) and pull out my bottle of this IPA.

I cracked open the bottle, and was immediately hit by a wonderful floral smell. I smelled plenty of hops, as I would with any IPA, but not so strong as, say, Sierra Nevada. This woke my brain up out of its fog.

Quivering with anticipation, my tastebuds ready for the shock of a mega-hoppy IPA, I nearly fell over at what I perceived to be an amazingly well-balanced IPA. Incredible. Sure, there were loads of hops....it's an IPA. That's what they do. But these hops I thought were extremely-well balanced by a nice sweet maltiness. In fact, the malt really took the sting off of what I would normally expected. I exclaimed out lous that it was the best IPA I'd had in a long time. Sorry Sierra Nevada...I found a new one.

Mouthfeel was slightly dry, as it should be with IPA. Drinkability I think speaks for itself. I will buy this beer over and over again. Besides, it took the sting off of MSU's Godawful performance against Northwestern...

Smittysguinness, Oct 24, 2005
Photo of henrysunset
4.4/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

smell is awesome, floral but not too sweet, only a little bitter. taste is really pleasing, malts are mellowed and refreshing, balanced well with only moderate hoppiness. not too thin either. overall, it is wonderfully enjoyable and a nice change from the obsenely strong ipa's of the west coast.

henrysunset, Oct 23, 2005
Photo of Holyterror
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

SS's India Ale poured a medium copper with a small but dense head. Nose was strongly malty, with black currant accents. Expected hop aroma was basically absent.

This is a story told by malt, with side notes and an epilogue unobtrusively added by hops. The folks in Tadcaster are apparently experts in toasted malt, which is the star in many of their offerings. Basically, this is the pale ale with extra malt and hops (which is what an IPA is supposed to be anyway, I guess). Definitely English, this stands in stark contrast to the highly-hopped American style. Enjoyable, though not what I expected.

A good ale to sit down with when you're not craving hops. At the lower end of Samuel Smith's brews, it's still worth trying. Perhaps a good transitional brew for maltheads.

Holyterror, Oct 22, 2005
Photo of Dithyramb
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mahogany with aromas of crystal malt and light floral hops.
Tasted like a weaker version of Sam Adams Boston Lager, pretty tame in comparison with both the current American and British versions. Very malty, with a strong caramel base. Just some floral hops thrown in for protection.
Finished sweet but not cloying and clean. Could drink several, just a bit weak for the style.

Dithyramb, Oct 16, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A quintessential English IPA that's built the way that that was demanded from India colonists from the British homeland. Spicy, earthy, and backed by the caramel and biscuit rich malts that give these beers such depth, drinkability and gentlemanly spirit.

Pouring a rather clear, deep amber hue, the beer forms a creamy and lightness in head formation and withstanding retention with a spider web of lacing behind in tightly weaved and evenly coated patterns. A very handsome beer.

The poinient earthy scent of soft caramel and biscuit create the underpinning for the aromas of herbal lemon teas, woody bark, and freshly cut grasses. While the hops ultimately dictate the nose, the aromas are fairly well balanced.

Sweet breads soaked with caramel, biscotti, and sorghum start to frame the malt profile that provides the foundation for the hop flavors to come. A mid palate of trailing malt sweetness and growing hop flavor transitions to a very herbal and vegetal flavor of grasses, tea, lemon zest, stemy bark, and an overall earthy woody mix that further morphs into a smooth bitterness of earthen character. Even a mineral water flavor helps to support the hop flavor and bitterness to push them just ahead of hops. The balance resides with the hop flavor and bitterness, but not so far ahead of the frey that the malts are forgotten.

Medium bodied with the soft creamy malt upstart, the mid palate of calmer carbonation ushers in a fade toward dryness, crispness, and slightly biting hops in a mildly astringent way. Finally, the long finish delivers a linger of earthy bitterness with the alcoholic dryness of woods and grasses.

Delicous throughout, this India Ale is a classy story book of what ales are supposed to be- characterful, balanced, and gentlemanly from skin to core. A lovely beer throughout!

BEERchitect, Oct 07, 2005
Photo of xoqx
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Mostly clear medium amber with a two finger yellowish head. Thin lacing remained on one side of the glass.

Smell – A very orangey, citrus nose is followed by slight hoppiness.

Taste – Caramelly, medium-roasted malts immediately give way to hops that are not as bitter or strong as I would expect from an IPA, but perhaps this is the British (read: more traditional) approach to the style. Tangy citrus overtones are present from start to finish.

Mouthfeel – Medium-light and dry.

Drinkability – Nothing overly impressive, but I will drink it again.

xoqx, Oct 06, 2005
Photo of horndecker
4.35/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is light copper with both fine and coarse bubbles in a full, active tan head.

It smells of resiny hops and bready malt, along with limes and apples.

The taste starts with hops and a mineral buzz, full round malt, rye bread. Plenty of hops present, but it's perfectly balanced with the malt. Caramel and toffee flavors show up. Finishes dry and snappy, with an herbal aftertaste. Wonderful.

It's medium bodied, has a dense and soft mouthfilling carbonation. Not like the intense IPA's that'll curl your tie. It's balanced and smooth. It's not tame, but it is domesticated.

horndecker, Oct 02, 2005
Photo of ghostwalker
4.35/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear dark amber/copper pour. Foamy off-white/tan head that sticks around a while. Leaves some very nice lacing as it subsides.

Smell is pleasant. Piney, citrusy. Gentle floral highlights. Hops are there, but not overwhelming at all.

Good IPA flavor. All the classic hoppiness and zest of the style, but still has less oomph than many American IPAs. Tends to be smoother than many US efforts, I think. A real UK classic in my book.

Tart and tangy mouthfeel. Seemed a little light on the palate at first, as it goes down it gets stronger and better.

Very drinkable, I could line this up with many, (or perhaps any), of my favorite IPAs and have a very nice session indeed.

Highly recommended!

ghostwalker, Sep 24, 2005
Photo of bighoppymonster
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliant copper colour. Thick off-white, almost tan head with large bubbles. Very little carbonation. Spicey floral aroma up front followed by malty sweetness in the nose -- very appealing smell indeed. Suprising taste. Not very hoppy, as I am used to in an IPA. Very well balaced, the hop to malt ratio is remarkable, but, again, not what I expected in an IPA. Hops are mildly active up front, and rounded out by malts. Finished with a slightly metallic taste -- damned delicious.

Overall, a decent IPA. Not what I expected at all. If this were labeled "Pale Ale", I would be incredibly impressed, but as an IPA, it is rather mild. Wasn't what I expected or wanted. Would have liked a bit more hops. However, next time I want a pale ale, I will probably pick this up. Have been very impressed with all of this brewery's beers, definately one of my all time favourite brewerys.

bighoppymonster, Sep 20, 2005
Photo of DogFood11
4.47/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What a nice offering from Samuel Smith's. If i ranked this beer in its style it would be much lower but I don't think this beer fits in the IPA style at all but its outstanding so I'm ranking this as an independent style. It certainly lacks the huge hops of an ipa but who cares this is a great tasting brew and thats the bottom line.

Poured into a tulip it forms a delicate 2 finger head and has ring lacing. Copper and clear, medium mellow carbonation. Nutty/caramel/yeast are the strongest aroma's. some burnt malt very subtle in the body. Taste is a magnificent combination of malt and sweet caramel/brown sugar backed by a mild hop presence that refreshes and recharges the palate for more drinks.

This brewery is remarkable, end of story.

DogFood11, Aug 30, 2005
Photo of Naes
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a brownish orange with a large frothy white head.

Its aroma is mild, hopy and grassy.

The flavor is bitter from its hop content, but remains malty as well. This is not an in your face bitter beer like the American versions of IPA’s, but is very good.

Mouth feel is medium in body and is slightly oily. The carbonation level is also done right. It is quite noticeable, but not overdone. As a result, this beer goes down quite easy.

Naes, Aug 28, 2005
Photo of swid
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Samuel Smith's India Ale pours a clear, light amber color into my pint glass. A 1/2", off-white head forms, and slowly dissipates. Low carbonation; moderate lacing. The aroma is more or less what one would expect from an English (I)PA; fairly complex, yet well balanced. The slightly caramelized maltiness meshes well with the floral, herbal, and citrus hop aromas. An overall plum/prune smell is evident as well (a byproduct of pasteurization).

The taste can best be described as "English pale ale+". It's a bit maltier and hoppier than a typical English pale ale, but barely so. There's an initial caramel-infused sweetness, soon followed an herbal, citrus, and slightly spicy hop bitterness; everything is well-balanced. The mouthfeel is very light and reasonably carbonated; unfortunately, the finish is unusually harsh (and is somewhat metallic). Leaves a moderate citrus-spice aftertaste.

In my opinion, this beer would be better off if it were considered to be a English pale ale; it just doesn't quite "fit" as an English IPA (traditional or modern). It's an OK beer, but it probably isn't something I'll seek out again (in the US, at least).

swid, Aug 23, 2005
Photo of pweis909
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this imperial pint at room temperature, which might be the way to go, as I was pleased by the complexity of the bouquet.

Initially, I detected floral hoppy aromas, which gradually were replaced by toasty malt aromas. None of these sensations were overwhelming, but I enjoyed the subtlety.

A slightly bitter aftertaste departed after two or three sips.

As noted by others, the color is a rich copper, and the head, initially about a quarter inch, dissipated fast. Carbonation was light (not flat), and it was smooth in the mouth.

pweis909, Aug 14, 2005
Photo of sachsich
3.05/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

out of the bottle. maybe i got a not so good bottle. i was kind of let down. the appearance is very good. the smell is good as well. but the taste is where it leaves me. not what im expecting. mouthfeel is very good and drinkability is ok. i will try again

sachsich, Aug 10, 2005
Photo of clemtig76
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a single Inperial pint (18.7 oz). Beautiful copper color with an off white head that quickly dissipates. Aroma of floral, citrusy hops with a little caramel/bready malt coming thorough. Taste is a little on the dry side with a little malt sweetness in the background. Not a bad IPA. I was suprised it was only 5.0%

clemtig76, Aug 01, 2005
Photo of BeerFink
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle, this ale appears slightly hazy and light golden with hints of amber in its glass. Thin, resinous white head comes up to about a finger before fading. Strong malty aroma packed with bready and caramely toffee notes. Hops are floral, fairly estery with a bit of an herbal quality. Hops are assertive and spirited in their bitter presence. Plenty of grapefruit and a little puckering astringincy. Malts are present from the beginning to end providing some good toasty bread character. Finish is dry, but not overly so, with hops providing some pine and herbal grassiness which blend with the quite toasty malts. As the taste fades, you are left with a hoppy and slightly medicinal flavor that lingers. Highly drinkable English IPA.

BeerFink, Jul 23, 2005
Photo of Sixpoint
4.4/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Found myself trying NOT to slam this one! Was enjoying it... QUICKLY!

You know how sometimes a review will say, "Seems quite deceptive given its strength..." Well, this one made me feel the opposite. My sample seemed STRONGER than it actually was. However, it was not in a negative way at all. What I'm saying is, for only 5% abv, this beer had a tremendous amount of complexity and flavor to it.

The aroma had a touch of diacytel in it, just like most of Sammy Smith's beers, but I think it actually complimented this style nicely (although a bit uprupt in the Taddy Porter).

The taste was well-balanced and smooth, and left a nice whack of flavor hops in the finish.

Overall, extremely drinkable, and I definitely could put back a four-pack of this gem on any given night. Bravo.

Sixpoint, Jul 21, 2005
Photo of bobbyc881
4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a nice copper color, slightly off-white head which holds up for a bit, then forms a nice lace around the glass.

Smell is a bit malty, slightly citric. You can smell the hops before you taste it.

Medium carbonation, rather clear in appearance. Taste is a nice balance of sweet malts and hop bitterness. Aftertaste is a bit dry, then sticky in the mouth.

Feels nice overall -- a very drinkable, very unoffensive beer.

bobbyc881, Jun 22, 2005
Photo of DrJay
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear orange/amber colour topped by an off-white head. Aroma of floral hops and toasted malt with a restrained fruitiness. Good balance of flavours combining bitterness, fruit, and caramel maltiness. Finishes with fruity and floral flavours and a drying, hop bitterness. Slightly creamy texture, moderate carbonation, and medium body. Overall, this is a really nice beer, very British in character, and one that I'd be pleased to try again and again.

DrJay, Jun 21, 2005
Photo of ypsifly
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Undated 18.7oz poured into an imperial pint.

Copper with a light tan head that sticks around. Foamy lace.

Smells of floral hops and green apples. Slightly citric.

Overall, the taste is bitter to tart. The malts are in the background. Not as strong as American IPAs or even most APAs, but its a solid brew with a moderate mouthfeel and an abv that helps make it sessionable.

ypsifly, Jun 16, 2005
Photo of beersarang
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper with a light tan head slight cloudiness. Lacing down the glass.

Touch of toffee with some biscuity malts.

Lightly roasted carmel malts upfront, as it glides across the palate the floral hops and spicy bitterness hits. A touch of fruity esters. Overall hoppy but kept well in check.

Medium bodied with crisp carbonation, goes down smooth.

I like this quite a bit, even though it is much weaker than a typical India Pale Ale.

beersarang, Jun 15, 2005
Photo of cubedbee
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper hue with a big off-white head and excellent retention. Smell is sweet sugary malts, almost a bit fruity, and a whiff of floral hops. The taste is pretty sweet up front, a flavor remiscent of iced tea, and then a gentle spicy hops flavor comes through on the end, hardly bitter at all. This is a full-bodied beer with a creamy initial feel and a crisp dry finish. As a hophead, I was disappointed when I first tried this beer, but for what it is, a well-rounded tradional English IPA, this is a great example from Samuel Smith.

cubedbee, Jun 06, 2005
Samuel Smith's India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
84 out of 100 based on 1,601 ratings.