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

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Samuel Smith's India AleSamuel Smith's India Ale

Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
United Kingdom (England) | website

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-11-2001

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Reviews: 920 | Ratings: 1,838
Photo of longpondbeerman
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A good example of the English-style IPa, with a sightly buttery feel to offset the hops tanginess. It pours a lovely amber, just like you'd expect if you were at any pub in Great Britain, and the smell is lightly citrus with a boost of floral hops. The taste is not really very complex; after an intial burst of caramel and lemon, the taste fades quickly and there a dullness to the finish. Still, a worthy brew.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The look is very nice with a coppery body and off white head that leaves spatterings of lace. The nose gives off the citrus hops notes to be sure, but follows with a nice malt undertone that is quite nice. There is a great sense of citrus in the taste, mostly of grapefruit and not too terribly bitter. A bit bitely in feel, but not overly so. A good India if not one of the top.

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Photo of EagleTalon
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I truly enjoyed Sam Smith's IPA. I feel vindicated in that my homebrewed IPA's taste more like this than the west coast hop-bombs. It is OK for an IPA to have significant maltiness, in my opinion. This is just a good English pale ale with an extra helping of hops. Never mind the IBU (bitterness) pissing contest of American brewers. Here are the particulars: Pours a nice thick head that subsided to 1/2 inch (more like 1 cm), deep golden-amber color, low to moderate carbonation. aroma is predominantly sweet, biscuity malt and earthy spicy hops in the background. Flavor is a nice intermingling of malt and strong hops. Very balanced and luxurous in the mouth. Fnished easy and leaves a pleasant malty/alcohol/hoppy aftertaste. What I sampled is likely an old bottle because it is imported. I can only imagine what this fine elixir tastes like at the brewery.

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Photo of Rumrunner
3.81/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

550ml. bottle

A very nice mellow IA. Not what I was expecting but I was pleasantly surprised.

Pours a transparent copper color with a nice foamy head. The head shrinks but it sticks to the glass some on the way down. The scents are leafy with some spices. A decent amount of hops. There is a crispness on the nose.

The flavors are hops with a more grassy flavor. Not too much citrus or fruit in this one. Some butterscotch and even a cinnamon spice. The hops do not bite but there is some bitterness to the IA. A nice clean finish on the palate.

It drinks well and has a nice crisp feel to it. It is not near as hoppy as American IPAs. A smooth ale.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.32/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A real pleasant suprise. My expectations for this were not that high, (even though I love Samuel Smith's beers) because I'm used to stronger IPA's. After an uneventful pour, the first taste grabbed me. Crisp, fruity, with just the right amount of bitterness. Nice, smooth mouthfeel. I recently had Fuller's IPA, and I think I like this one more. I can see where the micros used these beers as a starting point, as all of the elements are there. Lots of citrus, and the body is fuller than a lot of the micro IPA's.I will purchase more of this (and for those of you angered by Sammy's clear bottles, this was in a brown one!).

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Photo of SetarconeX
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of those wonderful rare ales that catches you a bit off guard. Pours into your glass a unique, orange tinted hue. Nice color, nice smell, take a sip and the taste just knocks you over. It has its own flavor, something quite complicated and unique to just this Ale. Sort of a sharp, tangy bitterness is the only way I can think of to describe it.

I know that sounds bad, but trust me, it's good.

This one seemes destined to become one of my favorite pale ales. Would probably make a fairly good baseline against which to compare all other IPAs.

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Photo of Darkale
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Red-orange body, thin tan head with great lacing.

Sweet aroma has hints of yeast and spice.

Taste is yeasty and bready, chewy in the mouth, with faint fruit. Raspy and fresh. Mouthfeel and taste were very, very pleasant.

I have had so many gigantic American IPAs that I cannot tell whether this is a typical English IPA. It was not quite as hoppy as I am used to, but it was certainly more hoppy than a standard pale ale, and had a nice bite with good carbonation.

Certainly a good Sam Smith brew, and a beer that one should never decline.

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Photo of Winter
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a near clear dark amber with a thick creamy off-white head that eventually settles, but remains on top of the body. India ale's aroma consists of malt and floral hops. Some sweetness also detected in the nose. Smooth and medium-bodied mouthfeel. Prickly hop bite upfront, followed by flavors of caramel malt and biscuit. The finish has a lingering juicy hop bitterness. It's nice to have an IPA without the monster hop overload that its American cousins often contain. I wish all of Samuel Smith's beers came in brown bottles. Nicely done.

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Photo of bmills1608
4.37/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the few Samuel Smiths that is presented in a brown bottle. Go figure. Interesting, typically "old fashioned" Samuel Smith packaging. A nice little historical blurb on the history of "India Ale" on the label with the letters IPA superimposed over top in very light yellow.

Poured a handsome orange/copper color into an imperial pint glass. A rough pour toward the end created a nice large fluffy head, tight foam with some scattered larger bubbles here and there. On the nose was the quintessential "floral" aroma. Not explosive or over the top, but pleasantly fresh, spicy and even a bit oily. Nice.

Taste - pleasingly bitter on the first sip with a spicy firm hop tingle and taste. A fairly firm malt presence then arrives on the scene. Soft but juicy maltyness, flavors of toffee, tea leaves, butter and exotic fruits all seem to be jumping around. Overall a rather plump full flavor, rather complex. Towards the end some chewy dough flavors arrive. Finishes with some nice smoldering bitterness, spice and a bit dry. A more evident fruitiness develops as the beer warmed a bit. Mouthfeel was soft and a little airy in the mouth, not overly creamy at all but definitely not light either.

Overall - A fantastic ale, and a great example of an English style IPA. Wonderfully complex, fully flavored from start to finish. Samuel Smith does no wrong in my book.

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Photo of jeffboo
4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful copper colored brew sporting a thick billowy cream colored top. NIce hop aroma here, medicinal, herbal, and slightly lemon/lime and hint os sweet malt. Medium bodied with a very nicely complex malt flavors (caramelly and toasty) finishing with a smooth herbal hop bitterness. The herbal hop flavor melds nicely with the malt with a hint of enjoyable butterscotch. Very easy to drink with great balance and complexity.

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Photo of TerryW
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear golden amber colour. Good sized head that stays with the beer, good lace. Puts on a good show in the glass. Gently carbonated. Smells of apple, caramel and some malt. Just mild hops and malt on finish. Smooth and dry on the mouth, doesn't linger overlong. Easy to drink, not overpowering in any way.

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Photo of bushwhacker
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An all around impressive beer; pours a slightly golden amber with a robust white head and healthy lacing. I was really impressed with the color of the head and the remarkable color and transparency of the ale, a it's light-diffracting qualities; really nice to view and appreciate what it takes to make such an ale. Malty aromas trying to break above the overwhelming hoppiness, and good taste and average mouthfeel. A mildly bitter finish completes a very enjoyable and "quality" member of the IPA family. As much a pleasure to view as to drink.

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Photo of taez555
4.34/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this beer into my Sammy Smith 20oz imperial pint glass. It poured a big white head with a very clear golden amber body.

The nose was very inviting. Lots of sweet malts smells. Citrus peel. Orange or lemon peel. Even hints at apricots.

The taste was VERY bitter. Almost astringently bitter. Tannic, like sucking on tea bag, or eating a citrus peel. Not to say it was a bad thing at all. Just very bitter. Lots of earthy, almost dirt like hop flavors. Very malty at the same time with some dry fruit flavors along the way.

It finished very bitter and lingered softly for a long time.

Although the hops overshadowed the malt, it's deffinatly a big part of this beer. What's really interesting about is how English it is. Most America IPA's use the grapefruit citrusy Cascade hops to death, this beer seems to do the same overhopping but with a distinctly English earthy Hop, I'd guess Kent Golding or some other classic English Hop. It's a very refreshingly different over hop usage. If you looked up the term English Bitter, this beer would be the deffinition.

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Photo of moulefrite
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straight up 4's here! A fine beer showing copper golden hues. As I'm not the biggest fan of super hoppy brews, I found this India Ale to be a delight. Just what I look for in all things in general-balance. You/ll find lots of Hoppy resiny notes yet you will find they are balanced by sweet malty flavors and some tangy hints of rye. Probably would be nice with a Rueben.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 550ml amber bottle with a blurb about the "IPA". No freshness dating.

Appearance: Poured a rich-looking "burned orange" color with a rocky white head that thickly laced my glass.

Smell: Quite different than expected from an IPA. Not nearly as hoppy (citrus/spice/floral) as I would have thought. Slightly sweet/tart aroma noted.

Taste: It is amazing how different beers can be from one another, yet still be classified as an IPA. I'm much more used to American IPA's, but this one is very good, too. Very well-balanced, with a malty sweetness that complements the bittering effect. Nothing too "over-the-top" as is often seen with some of the Yankee IPA's. If this is the spot-on English IPA, I am definitely impressed. Very different, yet very good with regards to what I've had in the past.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy. Full-bodied with the near-perfect carbonation level.

Drinkability: Slightly sour aftertaste is actually well-paired with the oily bitterness that resides on the palate. Finishes dry with a bit of an aftertaste. Again, nothing too "in your face", and one that leaves you ready for another.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.43/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

550ml bottle - Color is a glowing clear light amber with a frothy off-white, two finger high head that goes nowhere. Looser big bubbles pop and crumble very slowly and leaves lots of stringy lace. Smell is a nice mellow and clean floral, piney hop aroma. Notes of light peach and banana with a sweet caramel backing. Taste is a perfect copy of the smell with a smooth easy start of flowers, the middle hits a nice piney juicyness thats quite mellow and finishes with a lovely hint of lingering hop bitterness and dryness. Perfectly balanced caramel malts playing inbetween keeping this brew superbly mellowing and clean. Feel is a good medium body and slight creamyness throughout with a nice lingering finish. Nothing overwhelming in this perfect English Style IPA.
Its not a U.S. monster but you can see where those come from, got to respect that....ehh hopheads? Its not a in your face IPA, but it is a slap with one of those fancy white gloves. Dignified, unexpected, and well done.

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Photo of marburg
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I liked this beer. It was a good beer. But I don't know what else to say; it wasn't really inspiring. A little bit of something drifts up over an inherent floral hop aroma to suggest a coming bitterness. Fairly non-descript malt and herbal flavor yields to a bitter, dry finish. Good, and very easy to drink.

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Photo of TheDM
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Upon opening this Ale, it immediately foamed up and overflowed the bottle. It had been sitting in the fridge for several days to cool it down. Needless to say it is highly carbonated. Its aroma is nice with a non-offensive smell. The carbonation lasts well into the sample. It is a medium amber color with a long lasting head mostly due to the continuous carbonation. The taste is mild with only a small initial flavor. It's after taste does last for a minute, but is well rounded in its flavor.

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Photo of TripelJ
4.65/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tonight I review Samuel Smith's India Ale and my expectations are high. Poured a deep golden to light amber with an incredible head that reduces quickly to a thin, sticky layer with good lacing. Smells are faint, but sweet, malty and bready--very enticing. The first sip demands my taste buds stand at attention with some nice hoppy bitterness with moves into a creamy buttermilk biscuit flavors with hints of caramel. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and is has a nice creamy finish. I have read several reviews stating that this beer is not as intense as some IPAs, however this is my first and I can not draw the same conclusions. Ultimately, high intensity is not necessarily what makes a beer rate high in my book. S. Smith's IPA is perfectly balanced with the flavors it presents and as its not overly bitter, it is extremely drinkable. I bought a single of this to review and try for the first time and next time I will buy the whole six pack.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer utterly confused me. The entire time I was not sure what I was drinking. Was it a IPA as the label alleged? or was this something else entirely? Did I get a bad bottle? Regardless it poured a foggy, copper hue with a tiny bit of white head. The India had a very fruity nose with an abbundence of rose petal like malts and not anything in the way of hops. Same could be said for the taste. It was thin and sweet almost like a cider with lots of caramel malts. I am not entirely sure what to think of it. I liked it, but was it a IPA or some other strange beer? Give it a try and let me know differently.

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Photo of tar
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very translucent amber. A nice sized white head, diminishes slowly leaving some lacing behind. The remnants of the head form a thin film of bubbles for the duration of the beers existence. Smells fairly mild, a hint of floral or citris aromas. The sweetness of this beer tingles on the tip of the tongue. A very pleasant hoppy taste is also present, but much more mild than that of many other IPAs. Finishes smooth and crisp.

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Photo of mickeymac
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As others have pointed out, this India Ale has all of the characteristics (including abv) of an English Pale Ale. It has a nice flavor with hints of biscuit and a bit of caramel. It has a nice mouthfeel though, again, it's not quite what would be expected of an IPA. Like many others here, I've had my palate set by US IPAs, particularly west-coasters with tons of hops. This is a thoroughly enjoyable beer but not a "go-to" when it comes to IPAs.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
5/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a colorful amber with a thick and active head, incredible lacing and stickiness throughout. A malty, hoppy and spicy aroma, very nice. Complex flavors, some malts and yeasty fruitiness noted up front, the obvious hops are there, but not overly aggressive, some citrus and grassy undertones make this one standout. A pleasant dryness combined with light bitterness on the palate that leaves you yearning for more. Incredible flavors, ever so smooth and slick, incredible and enjoyable! Call it a staple.

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Photo of au1sec
4.5/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I could drink this every day and be a very happy man. I like a well-balanced brew...love some hops but want some malt with it. In other words, this could be my ideal beer. The hops are more understated than American IPA's, which is a good thing IMO. It pours an amber/copper color...dark for the style, the head isn't big but lasts. You know from the aroma alone that its well balanced, because the malt and hops both come through. Mouthfeel is smooth as silk. I can't put my fingers on all the tastes, but there is some toasted malts, a buttery toffee, and a bitterness in the dry finish. I (reluctantly) handed the glass to my wife and asked if she could think of any way to improve this brew. I don't know what she said...I dove right back in when she handed the glass back and started talking. The point is, I had to ask, because I wouldn't have changed anything about it.

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Photo of AudioGilz
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper/amber color with a rather small head. It's instantly recognizable as an English hoppy ale. I love these British hops! This does seem more like an ESB or extra hoppy pale ale rather than and IPA. But whatever, it's a very enjoyable brew. It has a nice malty start and the spicy hops after that. I really enjoy the character of hops from this country. I still must say Fuller's is King but this stuff is great.

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Samuel Smith's India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
84 out of 100 based on 920 ratings.