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

1,897 Ratings
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Samuel Smith's India AleSamuel Smith's India Ale

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

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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Ratings: 1,897 |  Reviews: 941
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a snifter

A: A light amber color with lots of thick, spongy head.

S: Smells yeasty. Yes, yeasty.

T/M: The taste is actually quite nice; apricots, malts, sweet honeydew, and no discernible hops. I’m sure they’re in there, but they’re not prevalent.

This is a good beer, you just have to know what you’re getting into. If you want a hoppy, IPA style brew, you probably want to steer clear of this one. If you prefer a decent malty affair, then go for it. So when you go to try Sam Smith India Ale for the first time and you’re like, “WTF?,” just know you've officially warned you.

 618 characters

Photo of Hopfenpeter
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As always with this brewery, the expectations are high!
The beer poured a nice orange medium gold. It reminds me of a sundown on the ocean. The head is a creamy white an hangs around nicely. Good lacing throughout the tasting.
The smell is dominated by malty notes and earthy flavors.
Tasting the beer those notes are confirmed not only up front, but throughout. In the middle some sweeter notes, like a very little caramel or brown sugar eases up the mat dominance, and at the end a little floral hop balances this beer nicely. It is a medium bodied beer that is very drinkable, but with an ABV of only 5, it certainly has not the kick like most American IPA' s.

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Photo of shand
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

This one pours a muddy red-borwn color with a finger of head that retains and laces well. Aroma is primarily of nutty, biscuity malts, with some subtle earthy and floral hopping. The taste follows the nose here, those malts are really the star of the show, as the hopping remains subtle, adding a nice earthy edge to the brew. The mouthfeel is nice, it's got a medium body and a decent level of carbonation, and the drinkability is solid. A very good English IPA. It's very English though, don't come anywhere near this expecting a hop bomb.

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Photo of bayougutter
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured for a bottle to a snifter and it poured a amber almost copper color with a small off white head that didn't last long but left great lacing. The smell was a little muted but I could pick up malts, caramel, toffee, a little sweetness, faint hops. Taste was the above malt taste up front that slowy gave way to the hop taste at the finish, a little pine resin and citrus. Mouthfeel was medium and the carb level was perfect. Overall it was a pleasent and different IPA. Another good brew for Samuel Smith and worthy of a try.

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Photo of Dubbledown
4.55/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Guinness pint glass. Big 2 inch foam crown. I swear it smells of the North Atlantic. The colour is a beautiful yellow orange.The first taste is of nutty-maltiness followed by a clean evaporation of the hop flavor from your palate and tongue. The hop oil lingers on the sides and back of the tongue for quite a while. The finish is supremely clean and clear. The lacing is delightfully chewy. It almost has a bitter cotton candy-like feel. On the whole a fantastic beer and probably closer to what the Victorian troop drank in India than any American version. As one continues to sip, one tastes a complex flavor of caramel, orange zest and other fruits. A truely excellent ale. Wonderful sourness in the dregs. This ale has a heavy weight in the mouth that sets it apart from the competition. A great IPA.

Grade A Purchased at Stoney's- 4pk. $11.99

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Photo of jkrich
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown 550 ml bottle with no freshness date: poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass a deep, copper to almost brown with faint, golden highlights. This is quite a change from all the pale American IPAs.

Like most English ales, this one has an exotic aroma. Very strong wine-like aroma calms down to some spicy, earthy hop aromas.

Upon first tasting this ale, you could easily think it was mis-named as the flavor begins rather malty with hints of butterscotch. The hop bitterness comes forward only at the end. This is rather unique as most ales experience the bitter hops at the front.

This has a nice, solid medium body with restrained carbonation. The mouthfeel is rather thick with a nicely balanced malt and hops flavor on the palate.

This is a worthy, complex ale from a world class brewery. Indeed,given the ale's complexity and strong flavors, it is surprising this ale is only 5 % ABV. Well worth seeking out for a different interpretation of an IPA.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.23/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 550mL bottle into a BrewDog cervoise glass. The neck is stamped with "JAN12 L11020".

A: A very nice nut-brown with golden highlights. Very brief head disappears completely. Some bubbles within. High clarity.

S: Slightly buttery malts are overshadowed by aromatic hops. A metallic edge compromises an otherwise nice and balanced smell.

T: Disappointing after Samuel Smith's stouter offerings. Malty with a citrus burst and a dose of carbonation. Bitterer hops emerge on the endtaste and linger for some time after swallowing. The main flavour is, however, weak and though not quite metallic, it's close enough to be not entirely pleasant. Average.

M: Thin on the beginnings and end, with a moderately substantial middle. Carbonation covers for some of the unsupported elements.

O: Not one of my favourite beers, EIPAs, or Sam Smith's. A good enough beer, all told, and probably better than I make it out to be, but I don't recommend it. Wouldn't have again.

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.76/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Apperance - Dark orange, nice creamy 1 inch head that died rather fast. Plenty of lacing.

Smell - Really mild hops, some yeast, maybe some floralness. Not much smell

Taste - Ncie mild hops mixed with domr sweet malts. Very smooth and easy to drink. About as mild a ipa as you will find. Has some very mild bitterness from the hops. Some floral sweetness adds flavor. No alcohol present at all.

Mouthfeel - Pretty thin and easy on mouth. Only a slight bitterness on tounge, palette is left intact. Not much of a aftertaste.

Overall - Another solid sammy smith beer. Really easy to drink, and easy to enjoy. Really this beer is too mild for any hophead or seasoned ipa drinker. A perfect starter ipa or a low alcohol alternitive to other craft beers.

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Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
4.09/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is darker than your typical IPA; more of a dark cooper to light brown color. A moderate white head lasts about halfway through, with little lacing. Upon opening the bottle, you are greeted with a wonderful floral/fruity scent; smells almost like apple to me. The taste is wonderful too - hops are prominent but well balanced with malt. The earthy pear bitterness is backed by a slight butterscotch. Looking forward to enjoying another one of these.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear light amber color with a modest head that leaves a few shards of lacing behind

Smell: Biscuity, butterscotch malts take center stage, with a backdrop of earthy, tobacco-influenced hops

Taste: The biscuity malts open the flavor profile, with a hint of butterscotch adding a sweeter depth; by mid-palate, the earthy hops take their turn, adding some sweet tobacco bitterness; the finish is nicely balanced between the sweet malts and the English hops

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: The quintessential English IPA - this is a classic

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Photo of mcallister
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep clear copper colored with many carbonation bubbles and a quarter inch light bodied fluffy head that leaves thin lace in its wake.

Aromas of earth, cereal grain, toffee, and a piney resiny type hop albeit light.

Again very earthy with moderate bitterness on the finish. Light acidic qualities in the mid palate, caramel and toffee with green apple and pear like fruit quality. Drying and quick on the finish. Creamy mouth until the abrupt ending. A nice beer by itself but a great beer with food.

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Photo of beerdrifter
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at the biggest beer store in the UK, Beers of Europe Ltd. Clear copper pour with two finger head with nice lacing and retention. The nose is very metallic at first. Strong, smell of pennies that mellows after a while and becomes much more fruity and pleasant with hints of perfume. The taste is very well balanced. Nice sweet caramel malt base offset nicely with a bitter, tangy hop bite. Earthy, spicy and toasty all at once with hints of tea, citrus, pennies and toffee. Super smooth, dry, bitter finish makes this a great session beer. Another great beer from Samuel Smith's!

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Photo of beerdown77
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours dark orange with nice chunky head. I hate to sound non-specific, but it has that European nuttiness in the smell, possibly yeast. The taste is fairly hollow on the first impression. It isn't sweet or particularly malty. I don't pick up on an abundance of hops. I think it smells like a Guinness, and it has the same cereal maltiness in the taste. I will say that this has decent drinkability and a good, medium mouthfeel. It is nice and bitter and has a pleasant bite. "Old world beer" is what I keep thinking in my mind. There is a metallic flavor that I don't care for. This just does not have to fruitiness or hoppiness that I crave in an IPA. For me, this is more like a brown ale or an ESB...or an English Bitter for that matter. This beer makes me want to eat cheese.

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Photo of ToddT
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Clear copper amber color topped with an thin off white head. Head falls quickly to a ring but it is sticky and leaves lots of spotty lacing on the glass.

S- Sweet grapefruit, pineapple, malt, and caramel. Subtle in comparison to most American IPAs.

T- Smooth flavor of hops at first. Not a hop bomb nor an onslaught of grapefruit/citrus/pine, just a steady flow of subtle hops. There is a little hint of pineapple and grapefruit for the dominate hop profile. Caramel malts round out the middle and there is a nice bitter twang of hops at the end to close things off.

M- Medium in body and carbonation, very clean finish for an IPA no residue of hop oil on the palate with this one.

D- Very drinkable and at 5.0% ABV this is a session IPA.

Interesting IPA, hard to compare it to all of the modern ones that I have had. If this is in the original style of an IPA it is quite subtle by modern standards, a solid beer none the less.

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Photo of NordeastBrewer77
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have to start by saying that I love everything from Samuel Smith, with the India Ale and Yorkshire Stingo being my faves.

This one pours a light, coppery gold with a nice dense head that retreats rather quickly to a nice ring of lace around the edge.

The aroma's great! Sweet and malty, a bit of buttery diacetyl, followed by wonderful appley hop aroma.

The flavor is crisp and refreshing, the sweet buttery malt flavors stand up to the green apple hop bite without coming to the front. Almost like a caramel apple.The finish is clean, tart, and leaves you wanting more.

The mouthfeel is light, a bit bubbly and pleasing until you begin to swallow. Moderate diacetyl gives it a bit of a slick feeling as it goes down.

Overall, this is a great English IPA, a regular in my fridge and an inspiration for my next batch of homebrew.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.11/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a classic copper co;lour with adecent white head that dies quick.

S - Not much other than some small hops

T - Nice citrus up front followed by some nice piney notes, quite dry on the finish.

M - Medium body and medium carbonation.

D - A good solid IPA but have tried much better.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.83/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The first time I had this I think the bottle may have been a little older or been sitting on a shelf passed it's expected life because I got a bottle of this for Christmas last year and it was much better than the first time I had it. The hops were actually noticeable in the new bottle unlike the old one. This beer was a really nice English IPA, and definitely worth a try.

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Photo of salvo
4.12/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours light amber with a full inch of head that just stains the glass as it collapses. Retains a ring of foam for quite some time.

Smell is dominated by rich biscuit and toffee malts with some yeasty breadiness in the background. Earthy and sweet.

Taste starts English bitter and then blooms with biscuit malt and roasted nuts and barley. Finishes tea-like and bitter, hints of straw. Honey shows up late after everything else fades.

Mouthfeel is rich for 5%. So happy there's freedom to have another.

This beer defines the style: if it weren't for Sam Smith's I have trouble imagining the American craft beer movement. The beer has a lot in common with New England style IPAs: Harpoon, Long Trail, Shipyard--milder, herb-like fuggles and goldings hops. With the biscuit and toffee malts dominating the smell and taste, it shares much of the profile of barlewine, except for the much lighter alcohol content. The magic is in brewing a 5% beer with this much flavor! So happy to track down a 4pack of 12-oz bottles.

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Photo of parris
3.81/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not a very exciting beer, but good and very drinkable.

Great clarity, gold to bronze in color, dense white head

Mild aroma, slightly apple-y, maybe a little coppery, but very mild overall.

Super smooth taste, almost like an amber ale, noticeable bitter finish.

Creamy mouthfeel, light carbonation. Too bad this doesn't come in six packs (at least at my local liquor store).

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Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with an amber-tinged orange body under a finger of off-white head. Looks official, with streams of tiny bubbles rising though the liquid.

Smells of sweet lightly floral and grassy hops over toasty caramel and crystal malts. The hops are certainly English and they present themselves in a subtle manner.

Hoppier than an English pale, this falls neatly into its style; as I would expect from Samuel Smith's. Bitterness is evident, and the lengthy hop flavors bring to mind floral and lightly sweet Goldings and Fuggles. Warm malty notes are present as well, and are present from start to finish, but only set the stage for the hop flavors, and never occupy it. Overall this flavor experience is quite nice, with sweet and bitter melding in a flavorful and tasty dance of nuanced flair.

Mouthfeel is slightly sticky, and could even be more so. Carbonation is good, however as usual I would prefer less. Drinkability is very good, and beats Meantime's incarnation of this style.

Conclusion: My favorite example of this style that I have tasted so far, and all around a tasty beer. I get a craving for some English hops once in a while, and this satisfies excellently.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark amber with a lasting creamy head.
Nose shows soft fruity and earthy hops alongside caramel and a fair whack of toffee.
Similar malt profile in the way of flavours but there's also a big hit of herbal, earthy hops and a bold sharp bitterness. Not enough malt, although what's there does have an intriguing biscuity character.
Carbonation is a little too high.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight pour into a becker glass. The color is a hazy, pale amber. Three fingers of thick, eggshell-colored head develop and dissipate slowly to leave trails along the glass, a billowy lacing, and a ring around the edge.

Smell: Honey, sweet caramel malts, lemon citrus, and some floral hop action reminiscent of a helles.

Taste: The flavor is not as sweet as the smell led me to believe, but it exhibits a rounded bitterness that compliments the malts. The floral and citrus hops are the heavyweights, but there is also a considerable malt presence just beneath: the honey and sweet caramel malts are lurking just below the hops, taming them. Each sip leaves a nice bitterness lingering on the tongue.

Drinkability: Good stuff. Far from your typical hop bomb from the west coast, India Ale is a solid English IPA that delivers malts and hops, and does not go over the top.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.39/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a glass stein. Copper to amber color with a white-barely-there head.

S - Wow. I cannot pick up anything... okay, a slight malty/musty smell.

T - Malty sweetness at first, then bitter, slightly citrus flavor. The malt and hops are fairly balanced.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation. Very bubbly in the mouth.

D - Quite different from most American IPAs. Or maybe American IPAs are different from English IPAs. Either way, it is more malty than most IPAs I've had. The only hangup was the smell, or lack of. It was tasty and different.

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Photo of henryd30
3.6/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice looking IPA - light in color, white single finger head.

S: Refreshing slight citrus, but maybe not as much as I expected.

T: Very solid India Ale. I was hoping for more hops and pop, but still thought it was a flavorful solid representation.

M: Light, bubbly, typical of this style.

D: Even though I had hoped for a little more upfront hops, the lackthereof made it quite sessionable. Went down nicely, and would order again.

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Photo of memory
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice copper color from a bottle. Perfect carbonation and lacing. Has a slight bready smell and taste on the dry side but works well together. Lingering bitterness. A nice pizza beer. Seems to be hopped just right, slightly floral and tangy. I could drink a pitcher of this. Must be the hard water.

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Samuel Smith's India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
3.72 out of 5 based on 1,897 ratings.
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