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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,603 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,603
Reviews: 870
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.32%
Wants: 19
Gots: 60 | 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: 1,603 | Reviews: 870 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nickfl
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with a creamy white head that holds out for a while before settling to a thin film and leaving behind nice rings of lace. The body is reddish copper colored with good clarity.

S - Grainy aroma with sweet caramel and weak hop aroma.

T - Fruity with a clean malt character. A floral hop flavor emerges in the middle with moderate chalky bitterness characterizing the finish.

M - Medium body, low carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - Pleasant and drinkable with a nice malt character. Unfortunately the hop character is just too weak to make this a good english IPA.

nickfl, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 18.7oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, citrus, honey and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of citrus, caramel and honey. Then there's a strong but not-over-powering hops bitterness that comes in next to provide a good balance. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is a nice session beer with a lot of flavor and substance that makes it worth drinking for a long time.

TheManiacalOne, Oct 06, 2009
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

RblWthACoz, Oct 16, 2012
Photo of Slatetank
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Slatetank, May 24, 2013
Photo of russpowell
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours almost orange with a 3 finger + off white head. Head retention and lacing good

Smell: Malt with faint whiff of hops and some grainyness

Taste: Fruitty and malty with restrained english hopiness. finished with a slight caramel taste and dryness

MF: Good balance (a little more hops wouldn't hurt) with slight undercarbonation

Drinakble enough, but doesn't stand out

russpowell, Feb 11, 2006
Photo of XmnwildX12
3/5  rDev -18.5%

XmnwildX12, Jul 20, 2014
Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard conical pint glass. Beer is clear and amber in color. Forms a tight white head that is thick and persists. Leaves lacing on the glass as the beer is drank. Carbonation is steady and keeps the head up.

Aroma is about as expected, hoppy, but not as hoppy as an American version would, and malt, maltier than an American. The hops are reserved more, also can smell the water, that sounds odd but that's how I feel.

Beer has a medium mouthfeel / body. Not thick, you aren't chewing your way through the hops, and its not thin. Smooth and fills the mouth but the bitterness does not overwhelm. The drinkability of this beer is high as well, easily put this one away and there is nothing stopping me from doing it again.

English IPAs are interesting for an American hop head like myself. This beer definitely had the hop character I've grown to expect from IPAs, it was just more subtle and reserved. I have enjoyed this beer and brewery for many years, Sam Smiths is probably my favorite English IPA I've ever had.

drabmuh, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is a gorgeous ruby red, head is fine, full, and off-white in color. Aroma is overflowing with fruit: peach is on top, but we can also detect apricot, grapefruit, orange, citrus. Very sweet and inviting. So drink it already!
DEliriously delicious! This is a terrifically well-rounded IPA: not too hoppy, with malt providing just enough support. Very little bitterness upon the palate, and surprising for an ale with an aroma so redolent with sweet,delightful fruitiness. On the tongue, more fruit flavors come through, too. I'm picking up cherries, and melons, and ggod gosh, it's gorgeous! Extreme drinkability! Some minimal bitterness comes through on the palate, but not to trouble the average beer drinker. An excellent introductory IPA. Me, I like mine much hoppier.
A terrifically well-rounded brew, and very drinkable. Finish is simple, sweet, and ever-lasting. Another excellent Smith offering.

feloniousmonk, Mar 05, 2003
Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Clear dark amber in the Saxo tall tulip. A very nice cap of foam with champagne bubbles. It smells so... English, that is to say, basements, flowers, old wool clothes. Light but full of flavor. What a distinctive taste of hops-- maybe even unique, but it seems so familiar. It's a perfumey flavor that lasts and lasts. An interesting quaff, and a big surprise for the richness of flavor.

Strangely spicy, but it does wear our its welcome. Quite malty but with a touch of the metallic, or else it's just a serious amount of the British mineral water taste. A little sharp but pleasantly sudsy in the mouth. Only $2.50 for this 16 oz bottle and other Samuel Smith beers at a liquor store where you can wire money to the gormless youth in your life.

mactrail, Mar 24, 2013
Photo of MarkyMOD
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

MarkyMOD, Aug 22, 2012
Photo of mdfb79
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this one from SpeedwayJim in Round 4 of the 666 BIF; thanks Jim! Poured from a 550ml bottle into my Bruery tulip.

a - Pours a hazy dark orange-brown color with one finger of fluffy white head and moderate carbonation evidenty. Head leaves some nice lacing on the flass and two inches last throughout drinking it.

s - Smells of yeast, apples, fruity malts, bready malts, and apple juice. Smell is a bit sweet and the apples come through a lot. Not getting a ton of hops, but it's enjoyable still.

t - Tastes of apples, fruity malts, bready malts, toasted malts, biscuits, and caramel malts. Again, a little apple juice taste to it, but very heavy on the malts. Not getting much hops in it, but it's enjoyable.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Very smooth and creamy, and very easy to drink.

o - Overall a pretty nice beer. Not a lot of hops, and the taste especially is more focused on malts, but enjoyable none the less. Lots of apples in the nose and taste; the nose reminded me a bit of apple juice. Very easy to drink, would have it again.

mdfb79, Jun 23, 2011
Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark gold/amber color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a solid pale malt scent with a fruity finish and a wonderful floral hop aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a complex pale malt arrangement that lays a good foundation for the bitter hop flavor that follows in the aftertaste. It goes down easy and finishes bitter, yet fruity from the yeast. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a fine IPA. It has more complexity than most and has a good hop content that is sufficient, but not overpowering.

WesWes, Sep 14, 2004
Photo of Mora2000
3.1/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is a mix of floral and perfume from the hops as well as some bread and a little bit of earthiness. The flavor is the same. I get a low to medium amount of bitterness with some grass and earth notes. There is also a slight amount of floral notes in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Mora2000, Aug 12, 2011
Photo of jwc215
3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle:

Pours copper with a thin, bubbly white head.

The smell is of grassy and earthy notes with caramel and bready background. Slight spiciness.

This one tastes like a classic English Pale Ale with just a touch more spice. That would be fine, but this is an IPA - well...English style hops come through in an earthy, slightly metallic, way with some vague spiciness, and there are subtle herbal notes, but the sweet caramelish, grainy malt almost overpowers everything. Not a bad taste, but pretty lame for an English IPA. Some spice in the finish tries to make up for it, but...not quite.
From my understanding, traditional IPAs were hoppy with higher alcohol (which this doesn't really have), but over time they became more modest in hop-presence and alcohol. With the fairly recent re-emergence of the style, they regained more of the original traits. This one did not. The alcohol is fairly mild, the hops ...well....don't quite stand up to the malt.
It is medium-bodied, with a touch of iron sticking to the palate.
Not bad, but this great brewery's IPA is too wimpy for me.

jwc215, Sep 04, 2007
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +8.7%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of smcolw
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Orange-amber in color, clear, with a very nice head and excellent lace.

This is another largely malty IPA. There is a strong soured milk note. The hop is fresh, but very muted.

The distinctive Samuel Smith malt flavor is very noteable. This is more bitter than the ale version. The bitterness lasts nicely through the swallow. Full bodied, with the touch of alcohol oiliness that I would expect. High carbonation.

I'd love to try this in England. This bottle version is good, but I always wonder how fresh it is and if that would throw off the review. While worthwhile, many domestic (read: American) beers are better priced for the quality. Worth a try.

smcolw, Aug 20, 2004
Photo of kojevergas
2.8/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

550 ml brown glass bottle with foiled-over pressure cap served into an Oskar Blues pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average given the brewery.

Served after a brief period of rest following its removal from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a 1.5 finger khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and above average retention - though the ABV is fairly low for the style. Body colour is a pale dark yellow. No yeast particles are visible. Semitransparent. No bubble show.

Sm: Clean crystal malt, spring water, floral hops, clean barley, and straw. An average strength aroma. Not unique or special. No alcohol or yeast is detectable.

T: Underlying malty sweetness. Some biscuit malt. Hints of toffee. Limited floral hops. Little hop bitterness. A somewhat nectary finish. Fairly well balanced but underwhelming. Lacks a fresh feel.

Mf: Artifically smooth and wet. Feels refined, which distances the flavours from the palate. Strangely oily. Carbonation and thickness are off. Weak. Doesn't suit the flavours all that well. Not crisp or refreshing. A bit buttery.

Dr: A mediocre IPA. I wouldn't get it again. A disappointment from Samuel Smith's. Might even be better on-cask (and I say that as someone who thinks CAMRA is severely misguided). So pedestrian it's hardly worth trying. Drinkable but boring.

Low C

kojevergas, Dec 10, 2012
Photo of Gueuzedude
2.17/5  rDev -41%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a hazy full copper color and is topped by a two finger thick, frothy, tan colored head. The aroma is of ripe fruit, plums, apple, strawberry, earthy hops, and a component that reminds me of oxidation. The taste is thin and dead on the front of my tongue and unfortunately the rest of this beer does not get much better. There are notes of cider, wan stale malt, and cardboard. Despite putting this beer in a brown bottle, this beer is still quite stale and lame.

Gueuzedude, Feb 25, 2005
Photo of GClarkage
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

01/24/09- Purchased at Whole Foods in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 550ml bottle with no freshness info found. Poured into my 20oz Pizza Port glass.

Appearance- Perfect example of a deep amber or copper colored pour. About a one fingered head with xome decent spotted and light lace patchwork left behind.

Smell- No much of a nose. Some caramel roasted hops and some minor hoppy aspects.

Taste- Not really hoppy for an IPA..actually considerably malty. Lots of caramel malt...medium roasted flavor...not to burnt, not to light. Some lightly bitter english hops, but mostly a nice caramel malted flavor.

Mouthfeel- Medium to a slightly higher carbonation level. More hoppy flavor in the aftertaste than the regular drinking phase.

Drinkability- Great tasting beer, not sure wether it's an IPA or not, but very drinkable and recommended...just don't think you are getting an English hopfest.

GClarkage, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of Halcyondays
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

550 mL bottle,

A: Pours amber with a solid off-white head, good lacing into an imperial pint glass.

S: Good smell. Hard water with a hint of sulfur. Toffee and light English hops, very inviting.

T: Burton style mineral character mixes with earthy, bitter English hops to create a good mix with the malt. The malt tends to dominate at times, typical English pale ale flavour. Nowhere near the bitterness of a CA IPA, but good for the English style.

M: Medium-bodied, a good pint for quaffing. Smooth, mineral character, light hop oil notes.

D: This is a good beer from Sam Smith's. The problem is finding a fresh bottle, it is really hit or miss with me. When it's on, it's a great English pint.

Halcyondays, Jan 29, 2009
Photo of BlackHaddock
3.89/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

29 March 2013. Having spent the day on Huatulco beach with only Modelo products and the sea to keep me cool I needed a proper beer. On entering my stateroom a 550ml bottle of this called out to me from the fridge, it had accompanied me from Southampton and was there for such a time as this.

Poured into a tumbler (twice) while the wife showered it did the trick. Light amber in colour, it's white head sat proudly on top and it looked very inviting indeed.

The nose was hops first and foremost although the malt content doesn't hide away either. The taste is very simular to what the aroma hints at: a hop fronted malt laden brew with a good depth of flavours. Fairly dry at times but a very good brew and ideal for the moment when I opened this bottle.

BlackHaddock, Apr 16, 2013
Photo of woodychandler
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am continuing to drink my way through the Samuel Smith's oeuvre, thanks to a recent inspiration in one of the forums. Just in case anyone wondered what I was doing ...

From the bottle: "Top femented in stone Yorkshire squares"; "In the 19th century there was a considerable trade in ale from Britain to India. The land of spice was Britain's major export market. The heavy hop levels of these pale ales shipped on the long voyage to India naturally preserved the ale and complimented the flavourful and exotic cuisine of the East. Samuel Smith's India Ale is characterised by thre colour of a golden sunset, a refined maltiness and an emphasis on the aroma and flavour from Britain's best hop gardens."; "Brewed with well water (the original well sunk in 1758 is still in use, with the hard well water being drawn from 85 feet underground), malted barley, yeast and hops. Fermented in 'stone Yorkshire squares' to create an exceptionally full-flavoured complex ale with an abundance of maltiness and fruity hop character."; "Samuel Smith's brews at a small, traditional British brewery, the oldest brewery in Yorkshire."; Captioning a picture: "The hot India Ale is cooled down over the copper vertical cooler at the Old Brewery before pitching with yeast."

Visually, this was a winner right from the pour from the bottle into a glass. I got two rocky, tawny fingers of head with moderate retention. Color was a coppery orange-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose had an unexpected metallic tang up front with a light caramel maltiness underneath. Mouthfeel was medium with more of that metallic tang initially, but then followed by a pleasant malty sweetness and finally, a piney hoppiness. Finish seemed to linger with the hops, but make no mistake, this was not the intense hoppiness that many of of have become accustomed to with the American version of the style. This was more akin to hop tea.

Neck was stamped: "SD14J1".

woodychandler, Jun 22, 2011
Photo of corby112
4/5  rDev +8.7%

corby112, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

550 ml bottle sampled, no freshness dating. Pours a nice dark honey almond shade, fairly clear and supporting a creamy light tan head with some retentive powers. lacing is quite well developed and long lasting. Nose is malty, yeasty, bready. This is classicaly British brew, maltyness balanced nicely by understated but present hopping for an IPA.Mineraly water quite evident. Real nice ale , give me some english chedder and bread, and I'll be in beer heaven.

Billolick, Apr 01, 2005
Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely clear and bright orange-amber colour, with a full and thick head of off-white bubbles. Lots of fervent carbonation which strives to the top quickly. Lacing is excellent, leaving tiny tentacles of foam on its descent. Looks very nice indeed.

Nose is moderately fresh, but with a slight cidery overtone like peeled green apples. A bit of spice and a hint of turned earth, but certainly nothing of the tannic tea leaf or heavy dark organics I expect from English hop varieties, but not bad, nonetheless.

Taste is pleasant, with a very restrained bitterness sitting over some thoroughly pleasant caramel English malts. A little tannin character comes through here, but the palate is really nicely balanced between the leafy hop notes and the malty backbone. Feel is soft and smooth, with just a little bite from the hops and a slight tingle from the carbonation.

A very nice beer all up, and probably one of the best English IPAs I've had the opportunity to try. Missing a bit on the nose, but otherwise the package is solid.

lacqueredmouse, Feb 08, 2011
Samuel Smith's India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
84 out of 100 based on 1,603 ratings.