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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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1,508 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,508
Reviews: 858
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.32%
Wants: 19
Gots: 42 | 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)
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Ratings: 1,508 | Reviews: 858 | Display Reviews Only:
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".

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2011 21:17:40 | More by woodychandler
Photo of Billolick

New York

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2005 04:53:04 | More by Billolick
Photo of Zorro


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

Pours a clear deep golden ale bordering on a brown color.

Smell is malty and fruity with a mild amount of hops in it.

Tastes drier than I would have expected. This has a strong tea like hops taste. Floral and malt tastes show up too. Very slightly bitter. Ok, but I expected more.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is good, this dry ale would go well with very spicy foods.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2004 02:35:12 | More by Zorro
Photo of Georgiabeer


3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice amber with a good off white head that reduces but doesn't vanish. Nice lacing.

The smell is of gentle earthy hops. Delicate and clean.

The taste is relatively gentle. It starts with some slightly spicy hops that quickly become a subtle dry bitterness. Long finish with a little fruit at the very end.

Mouthfeel is good. Balanced, creamy, but with a dry finish.

Quite drinkable. Not my favorite English IPA, but a very solid one.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2006 01:15:15 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of DoubleJ


3.15/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle from Pacific Ranch Market, on to the beer:

Orange amber color, the head sticks together well, even as the beer started to slightly overflow my glass.The aroma was musty with faded grapefruit notes. Something sweet comes out as it warms. You could taste the bitterness, but bitterness was the only thing I could taste out of the hops. There was some metallic flavor detected. The finish sweetens up, with bits of caramel.

The hops were there, but they didn't provide any exciting flavors, just a dull bitterness. In fact, the bitterness nearly took over the entire beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2008 03:06:06 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of Wasatch


3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In brown bottle.

Pours a golden orange color, nice carbonation, head was decent and creamy, nice lacing afterwards. Scents of malts, hops, slight citrus, and caramel. The taste is malty, slightly hoppy, there's a nice bitter bite in the end. Medium body. Drinkable, this is nothing like an American IPA, but still tasty.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2006 01:15:42 | More by Wasatch
Photo of ejimhof


5/5  rDev +35.9%

11-26-2011 00:40:49 | More by ejimhof
Photo of BillRoth


3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

12-07-2013 19:58:26 | More by BillRoth
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

In likening the beer to a "golden sunset", its brewer must be speaking of its attraction and not its physical appearance - it sure is lovely but this orange pekoe colour looks like it belongs in a teacup, not the sky. Its head has a tender figure and stunted height; it is not quite decrepit but does look marred. Unexpectedly, however, it drapes some lace.

Typical of many British offerings, this bouquet smells more of carbonates (from the water) than it does malt or hops. This hard, mineral-y profile lends the beer the air of a rocky sea shore and a stiff, cold wind that floats in alongside the waves. A dab of toffee sweetness and a dash of gingery spice is all the malts and hops conjure up.

They are more adamant in the taste however; a flavour both peculiar and pleasant, one reminiscent of the skin off the top of a butterscotch pudding, affirms itself. With it are compliments of dried fruits, licorice, gingerbread and earthy hops. A very light nuttiness, an almond-like flavour, is also worked into that (almost) buttery taste.

A considerable toastiness lingers along with that harsh, mineral-y character of the well water. I wouldn't have minded a little more of either sweetness or bitterness but that's simply not the way Yorkshire brewers (or at least Samuel Smith) do things; the dullness of these beers doesn't make them overtly flavourful but man can you put them back!

And that's likely the reason they stay the way they are. Samuel Smith uses a heavy glass bottle and, indeed, their beers are heavy too, not so much in flavour but in satisfaction. The Brits know their ale and they like to drink, this is a product of that culture. It's designed so that just one pint is enough to satiate... but several would be all the better.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2010 19:11:16 | More by biegaman
Photo of superspak


3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

550 ml bottle into imperial pint glass, bottled on 7/05/2012. Pours slightly hazy golden orange color with a nice 2 finger fluffy white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of orange zest, pear, apple, caramel, toffee, toast, bread, floral, grass, honey, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of fruity/floral hop and yeast notes with good malt balance; and solid strength. Taste of orange zest, pear, apple, caramel, toffee, floral, light pine, toast, bread, grass, honey, and floral earthiness. Fair amount of earthy floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of orange, light fruits, caramel, toffee, floral, light pine, toast, bread, and floral earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of moderate hop flavors; with a very balanced malt backbone and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy, smooth, and slightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very good English IPA style. Very nice balance and complexity of hop and malt flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2013 04:26:33 | More by superspak
Photo of brandoman63


4/5  rDev +8.7%

11-30-2011 22:36:46 | More by brandoman63
Photo of rab53


2/5  rDev -45.7%

12-05-2011 04:53:18 | More by rab53
Photo of Mebuzzard


4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pint glass.
A solid beer. Good amber body, rather thin head, but durable. Smell of hops, coriander, and light biscuit.
Tasted like an IPA and little light in the bite, but full in the flavor. Hops flavor dominates, but not dry. I tasted mint in one sip, but couldn't find it again.
Well balanced, easy driking. I like my IPAs cold, but this was good a little warmer

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2006 17:06:21 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: light amber-orange with a slight white head that quickly faded.

S: a slight floral hop bitterness with some fresh citrus and sweet malts backing it up.

T: The flavor had dry caramel with light dry citrus hopping that drank more like a moderate pale ale then ipa. There was a light flowery bitterness and the beer finished most notably with dry citrus. The beer had a nice malt backbone and was semi-sweet.

M: moderate with a medium body and full carbonation.

D: moderate as it was a tad disappointing hop wise, but an ok session ipa that doesnt thrill.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2008 17:40:48 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of smakawhat


3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

One of the few Samuel Smith brews I have put off for a long time. From the 550ml bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Out of the bottle a faint copper red body, crystal clear with lots of large cola bubbles sticking to the sides of the glass. Head forms real big but soapy white, with large bubbles. Some fairly good staying power also.

Nose is very biscuity sensations. Moderate toasty grains with hints of fruit yeast esters. Slightly powdery. Hop angle is non existent mostly, smells mostly like a good solid bitter.

Palate seems to bring no surprises. Hop angle comes out a little bit forward with mild bitternes, but bowled over with a good classic large malt biscuit character. Hints of light buttery toast sensations, and mild caramel, with a light hop bitterness pull through on the finish. Not particularly hop noticeable but subtle.

Overall, a simple easy drinking brew, and truly English in flavor. It will do.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 21:42:09 | More by smakawhat
Photo of mdaschaf


3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Last from the Sam Smith pack picked up.

A: Pours a clear orange/copper color with a very foamy, white head on top, probably a little over an inch in height. It started off very large, but dissipated rather quickly. Sea foam like lacing on the sides.

S: Light grain and pale malt, very light hops, really much heavier on the malt bill. Some caramel and bready malt too.

T: Again, very light in terms of hop presence like an American IPA would be, grain and light english hops. A good bit of bread and caramel.

M: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Slightly dry finish.

O: Decent beer, even though it is an English IPA, would have liked the hops to a have been a bit more forward, but then again it is an English IPA from the UK, not from the US.

D - Pretty decent actually. he flavors were not too strong and the lightish body lended itself well to having a few of these. Not a bad session beer.

Overall this was pretty decent but I have had better. For some reason I am just not that impresssed with what comes out of this brewery. Gonna have to try some of the organics to see if it changes my mind,

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2011 21:19:07 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Copper pour, good lacing and head here. Aroma was lacking, had a little woody thing going for it, smelled old.

Taste, one of the better English ipa styles out there, in fact, a classic, tastes classic at times (aged). If you're looking for balance, check this stuff out. Gets more watery as it goes on, hops seem to fade more and the balance gives way to earthy malt tones.

One of the better beers available at Raley's for around $5.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2011 05:31:27 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of LXIXME

New Mexico

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

03-31-2014 21:24:01 | More by LXIXME
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2005 01:20:49 | More by DrJay
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber color with a slight orangish hue with a quarter of an inch of loose, soft, white head that has decent retention and leaves nice lacing on the glass. The nose is big, malty and bready with a slight apple-like fruitiness. The flavor is bready with a caramel-like sweetness up front followed by a fruity, apple note. The mouthfeel is smooth, medium bodied, and lightly carbonated.

This is a very malty IPA with little hop character. It's more fruity than hoppy. It's a little sweet for my liking with the caramel malt really coming through.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2012 01:04:06 | More by tdm168
Photo of JohnGalt1


3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

18.7 oz bottle picked up yesterday at the Coop for $3.50 ... poured about half into my New Belgium snifter.

nice 2 finger head dropped leaving pretty lacing ... crystal clear amber orange brew.

Earthy floral hops ... light toasty malt aroma .... mild yeasty fruitiness.

Earthy flavor ... biscuity .. toasty malts and floral hoppiness .. and a restrained bitterness... sorta dry minerally finish... medium body .. again sorta yeasty fruitiness... a little tea leaf finish.

Big benchmark of the EIPA style.. Everytime I brew an English IPA, this is one that I buy to inspire me.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2008 04:07:18 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of sendbeer


2.75/5  rDev -25.3%

12-15-2012 05:39:09 | More by sendbeer
Photo of afsdan


4/5  rDev +8.7%

03-22-2014 23:08:44 | More by afsdan
Photo of PEIhop


4/5  rDev +8.7%

11-24-2011 20:30:55 | More by PEIhop
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Seems to be more of a Pale Ale than an India Ale.

A: Clear copper, off-white head, very little retention, but it does leave some lace.

S: Sweet toffee and caramel malt with a touch of fresh, floral hops.

T: Solid malty backbone (bread, caramel, toffee & nut), surprising for its strength/weight. Fairly neutral bittersweet balance (is this bitter enough for the India designation?), with only a little hop flavour (floral & earthy, with a little orange/citrus).

M: Moderate body is slightly creamy, carbonation is a little on the light side. I think it'd be livelier with a little more carbonation.

D: Something you could drink all night.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2006 22:21:35 | More by Derek
Samuel Smith's India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 1,508 ratings.