1. The BeerAdvocate Store is back! Pre-order your stuff now. Items begin shipping Dec 15. Christmas deadline = Dec 18 @ 5pm EST.
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,633 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,633
Reviews: 873
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.32%
Wants: 21
Gots: 69 | 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)
View: Beers (27) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Smith's India Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,633 | Reviews: 873 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cracgor
4.45/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a nice IPA when you need a change from the usual American offerings. First thing I noticed when I opened the bottle was a pungent smell, similar to whiskey. It is a fantastic smell. It is an amber colored beer witha light head and tons of sticking to the glass, lots of carbonation. It has the great flavor I come to expect from british ales. A ton of diacetyl. The hops are not the same bitter, hot hops of america. A lot smoother and more balanced than you may be used to. The beer is medium and dry. A great beer from Samuel Smith.

Photo of NiceGuyMike
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber red with nice lingering white head with lacing.
Smell: Malts and light hops.
Taste: Bitter malts and decent hopes.
Mouthfeel: Medium body with good carbonation.
Drinability: Very drinkable

I'm liking this a lot. It reminds me of their Organice Ale but with nice hoppy bitterness. Very well balanced.

Photo of brewQ
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A wonderful color and clarity brew- akin to brown honey.

I enjoyed the noisy pour, as I could hear the rush and snap, crackle, pop of the highly charged head. A beige biscuit arose out of the cacophony.

The aroma was sweet and slightly of lilac; in my head an IPA wants to have a more pronounced Hop nose.

Taste of roasted malt and toffee notes.

The finish is a reprise to hops and very clean.

I love Sammy, the tradtion, Yorkshire Squares, et al- but I am a little befuddled on IPA defintion and more so on the prices I tend to see.

A quality brew, but one I'll only grab on occcasion.

Photo of HugoGrim
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 550 ml bottle into a standard pint glass. No freshness date found unfortunately. It sported a rich golden body with quite a substantial head. The two finger head remained a lot longer than I thought it would.

The smell was not as strong as you'd expect from an IPA. An initial hoppyness with hints of floral scents, and even a rustic woody element.

The flavor, as one would expect from an IPA, was predominantly hoppy. A nice smooth carmel flavor seemed to mellow out the bitterness a tad, also just a bit of a butterscotchy, malty flavor in the finish.

Photo of wl0307
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Coming in a 550ml brown bottle, with a BB date of APR 06.

A: in a goblet it pours a deep brownish amber hued, the off-white beer head comes thick and half-fluffy+half-creamy, rescinds slowly and leaving tracks of silky lace~~ the carbonation is apparently low, with just sparse big bubbles struggling out of the control of gravity.
S: semi-sweet maltiness prevails immediately in front of my nose and matched by equally profound but underlying mixed floral and sweetish fruity hop aroma, laced with a slight hint of sweetened orange-peel and preserved peaches at the tail of aroma. Overall the mixed aroma is subtly nice, not the kind of big and thick and fat textured aroma as one might expect of American IPA, and not bold or big for an IPA even by British standards.
T: a smooth bittersweet and slightly biscuity maltiness dominates the palate, slowly and quietly bringing on board a herbal as well as tea-leafy textured bitterness, while the floral hop aroma somehow is less apparent on the palate, leaving just a hint of dried tangerine-zest and slightly marmalade-like subdued bitter-sweet fruity hop flavour mixed well with the underlying bitterness. Interestingly, the aftertaste of bitterness and restrained hop flavour reminds me more of a less malty premium bitter rather than an English PA or IPA, perhaps that's where the vague borders between these "styles" are quietly crossed~~?
M&D: the mouthfeel is delicately soft and ultra-smooth, matching the equally soft-textured flavour just ideally. Overall, this beer is quite understated than the broadly defined IPA from my limited experience of this style, not as bold and colourful as other IPAs I've tried from both sides of the Atlantic.. Its strength hides in its subtlety and that it drinks only too well, based on its balanced characters with good depth.

Photo of danielharper
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased from Great Spirits, Huntsville, AL.

This one pours an orange color, somewhat hazy body, with a thin white lace of a head that dissipates after a couple of minutes. Gentle swirls do nothing to revive the head, and the color is a bit darker than I generally expect with IPAs.

Smell is quite nice, with a strong grapefruit backbone mixed with a nicy clean hoppy nose. The hops are very present in the aroma, but do not dominate the overall experience the way they do with many hop-monster American IPAs. Color me impressed.

Hops are much more generally present in the taste than in the nose, however. The relative proportions seem to have switched, with the hoppy flavors dominating and the fruitier ones moved to the background. This gives it a crisp, clean, bitter flavor with a fruit finish that helps to wash the beer down. I wish it was a bit more balanced, but it's pretty nice.

Has a nice, luxurious mouthfeel for an IPA, especially and English IPA. Heavy carbonation gives this nice body, and the watery texture of the beer itself help to make it easy to drink. Swishing it in my mouth for a moment, I realize that I could pretty much use this as mouthwash -- and I mean that as a compliment!

Overall, I think this is pretty drinkable. I enjoy it for what it is, and will certainly drink the rest of this four-pack, but I don't yearn for another right away, and at $10.00 a pack it seems a bit steep. I'd still go with Bridgeport or Sweetwater for a nice IPA, but this is nice in a pinch or as a change of pace.

Photo of jamesdergen
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a pale orange with a minimal head that doesn't last.

Smell: Spicy, caramely and nutty, but not very strong or aromatic.

Taste: Spicy, hoppy flavors are present but quickly overcome by some nuttiness and a slight caramel malt flavor at the end.

Mouthfeel: Slightly syrupy, but not too heavy. Leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability: I could drink a whole bottle, but chose to share this one with a friend. It's different than the Masala Mama IPA that we get at Town Hall, but unique and tasty in it's own way.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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

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%

Samuel Smith's India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
84 out of 100 based on 1,633 ratings.