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

1,900 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: 1,900 |  Reviews: 942
Photo of CAcreeks
2.27/5  rDev -39%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I don't think English hops are as good as American hops for making IPA. Complexity of aroma is almost totally lacking in this brew. If you want this type of beer, just get their Nut Brown Ale, which tastes better, with less of this funky flavor. It is not undrinkable, just disappointing.

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Photo of scoobybrew
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - clear golden color with a thick head that dissipates into a chunky ice-cream-like collar/lace that is well retained

S - strong herbal, grassy, earthy English hop aroma, moderate yeast esters with a touch of malt

T - balanced malt/hops/yeast flavor, hops stand out a bit more than a bitter

M - medium-light body with moderate carbonation

D - This beer borderlines into ESB territory, but I really think it crosses into the IPA as the hops are a bit more than typical of an ESB. This would probably not satisfy a palate looking for more aggressive flavors - but if you look for the subtly of a well made beer - this will satisfy.

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Photo of dahlen22
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color: Copper and orange with a small head.

Aroma: Hops and caramel and some fruit.

Taste: Hops, pines, caramel, a soft breadiness and a spicy zing full of warm alcohol.

Overall: Samuel Smiths has much better beers than this. This is a good ale for this style especially since it is British and they (Brits) started the IPA's. Are there better American versions of this style? Yes. But this is a good beer for a cold winter night. Cheers!

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(a Big bottle poured into a Sam Smith's imperial pint)

Nice, wonderfully drinkable (India) Pale Ale here. Pours a blushing tawny color with a soft, foamy, white, cask-like head that slowly settles out, taking the initial earthy hop aroma with it. What's left is a rich estery scent - cherries and apples - and a mellow malt sweetness. Much of the same in the taste - very fruity - it's the most dominant element here. The least dominant element is the bitterness - there, but a whimper. The malt impact and body is moderately light and the drinking is sweet and softly smooth. Would match up nicely with some West Coast takes on an English pale ale. Not (as) boldly hoppy in any sense, but quite enjoyable.

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Photo of nhindian
2.93/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

550ml bottle poured into a Samuel Smith imperial pint glass.

Ah, the final bottle of the Samuel Smith's Gift Set. It was a good run, for sure. To begin with, I believe this is my first English IPA, so I'll be drawing most of my conclusions in comparison to American IPAs.

A - Pours a crystal clear, golden amber color with a 2-fingered, rocky head. Decent retention. Spotty webs of lacing adorn the glass.

S - Smell is much more restrained than its American counter-parts and is quite faint indeed, unfortunately. Absolutely no hints of fruit, and only a tad bit of hops, but again, these are nothing like the American. The nose is much more earthy, more gritty.

T - The taste, again, is different than the vast majority of AIPAs I've had. No hint of floral, fruity, or piney notes here. Again, the earthiness continues and you get a much more overall bitter flavor profile throughout the entire palate. I don't think I've had a beer that was this ... focused on bitterness through the entire taste, and it lingers ever strong in the finish and aftertaste as well. Pretty one dimensional.

M - Mouthfeel is medium bodied with fairly low carbonation; only get faint traces of activity at the end of the sip. As mentioned in the taste, this is one bitter brew, and it makes itself known.

D - Drinkability is low. I'm not looking for something ultra complex, but a little bit of diversity would help. This seems to be a one trick pony, and being completely focused on bitterness isn't something that appeals to me.

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Photo of despainmakesbeer
3.84/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich, amazingly clear caramel color. Large bubbles ring around edge of glass. Very very malty aroma, almost a fruity presence in aroma, maybe grape. Mild to moderate carbonation. Faint hop character to beginning with a Medium metallic note on finish. Malt character as well in end. Reasonably light on the mouthfeel with a malty grapey taste in the longer aftertaste. Good to know what an India Ale actually tastes like when it's shipped over seas like the olden days.

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Photo of ixodus
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured into a Samuel smith glass. Copper in color with a nice big head with little retention. Leaves a small amount of lacing.

S: Eearthy smell with a feint hop aroma. I also sense fruit, bread, and caramel.

T: Bitter hops up front with a nice bready malt backbone pretty balanced. I'm also getting some apple and lemon in there.

M: Full bodied, creamy, nice carbonation. Quite Good.

D: Very drinkable. I feel like this would be a great session beer. Inexpensive and delicious.

Notes: I got this in a 3 pack with a glass (Oatmeal Stout, Nutbrown, and India. This is definitely my favorite, it makes me want to seek out more English beers.

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Photo of bylerteck
2.48/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I'll start off saying I was really excited to try this.

A - No head. Copper colour. Very little carbonation. Bright.

S - Very mild. A little bit of hops and some breadiness.

T - Same as the aroma. Very mild. Mild is the only thing that comes to mind. Mild hop finish.

M - Light body and a little bit of carbonation.

D - Why!?!?! This was such a disappointment. For such a reputable brewery this is very weak. I hope this was a bad bottle b/c I can't imagine this being let out the brewery intentionally.

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Photo of Swedes21
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

550 ml served in a chilled glass

Appearance - Beer pours a gorgeous auburn colour with about 3 fingers of head. The head is a slight off white with some good air bubbles. Almost no carbonation in the beer. Some good lacing is occurring.

Smell - This is a earth tone based beer. There are some floral and fruits scents, citrus comes to mind. As well, a slight hint of caramel tied into the hops.

Taste - Not a bad tasting beer, some decent amount of citrus taste that is covered with a bitter end. The caramel comes to the front early on.

Mouthfeel - Minimal amount of carbonation added here, however, the citrus comes fwd along with the earthy nodes. There is a slightly more lingering after taste as well.

Drinkability - I am sure this would be a decent session beer, not something I would drive across the world to find.

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Photo of MattyV
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper colour with a dense, frothy white head that leaves a bit of lacing.

Aroma is slightly sour, bready malt, caramel, a bit fruity, but hops are very faint.

Taste is of sweet toffee and bready malt, witth a decent dose of bitter hops that fade out a more grassy character, leading to a mildly bitter and slightly sour finish.

Medium-bodied, kind of slick and creamy mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

A bit more malt forward than I expected, but is well-balanced. Would be a good quaffer if not for the rich mouthfeel which begs to be sipped and savoured slowly.

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Photo of OnThenIn
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A finger of slightly tan head on top of a copper body.

S: Fruity with a bitt of a caramel. Very floral. You can smell the earth.

T: Has a nice grassy hop flavor with bitterness and sweetness on top. Nice complexity. Somewhat clean finish with a tiny bit of a lingering sweetness.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation.

D: It's a nice easy drinker that is balanced but interesting.

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Photo of Samp01
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber with nice tan head. Aroma of floral hops, caramel. Taste is bitter hops, some caramel. Palate is nice medium body, nice carbonation. Finish is bitter hops balance by light malt, with some caramel. Overall not to remarkable but a good drinkable brew.

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Photo of thegodfather2701
4.72/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-Pours a hazy burnt orange. It has a bubbly white head that dissipates leaving only a ring of foam.

S-Floral, with some lemon/orange zest, and some alcohol sweetness.

T-Citrus, orange notes up front. It has a hoppy dryness in the middle and ends with a nice bready malty finish. There is also some caramel, white grape juice, and alcohol in the flavor as well. Much more complex than I expected. Absolutely delicious.

M-Just about right, carbonated with some thickness.

D-Very drinkable beer. It is perfectly balanced and its low abv. make it a true session beer.

Overall, this is another great beer from Samuel Smith's. It was much more complex than I had expected. I absolutely loved it and hope to drink more in the future.

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Photo of CaptDavyJones
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice copper/amber color from a 550 mL bottle into an authentic Samuel Smith pint glass. Aroma is mostly malty with a hint of hops. The head is nice and frothy, with very good lacing and solid carbonation. A much milder IPA compared to those available in the US and those the taste buds have become accustomed to. Crisp, dry and leaves a slightly sour after-taste as opposed to a bitter/hoppy finish I was looking forward to. Indeed a different kind of IPA. Drinkability is good, but it wouldn't be an IPA that I would go looking for. I guess it is worth a try, but Samuel Smith's definitely has better brews.

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

Poured from a 550 ml bottle into a Sam Adams Boston Lager glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, light brown color. Has a medium-sized, foamy head that dissipates slowly and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell: Smells tangy and tart, a smell I've never encountered in a beer before this.

Taste: Has kind of a citrusy hops flavor up front. Develops into a sweet, malty flavor with grain and caramel notes.

Mouthfeel: Dry and crisp feel.

Drinkability: A decent English IPA. Has a unique tart flavor that I haven't encountered in other IPAs. Definitely worth a try...

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Photo of SirSketch
4.29/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Beautiful, clumpy, eggshell white head that sticks so well. Completely translucent, light amber colored beer. No problems with the appearance on this one.

S - I haven't had many traditional English IPAs, but I imagine them smelling a lot like this. More malty than hoppy. Caramel malts and earthy hops. It has a signature Samuel Smith house character.

T - Surprisingly bitter. Great fruity, apple cider flavor along wig grassy hops. Very interesting and in no way boring, as many English style beers are made out to be.

M/D - Very drinkable beer, as each sip begs another. Medium body and frothy, creamy carbonation. I wish they sold this in a six pack!

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Photo of vandemonian
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer had an Amber colour and a decent head of about 3 or 4 mm high. It was lightly carbonated. The smell was of hops and yeast with a hint of nuttiness. The first thing I tasted was maltiness followed by a bitter nuttiness. There was a little foamy carbonation, but not enough.

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Photo of tehawful
3.41/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a hazy copper color with a orange tint and small but foamy head.

Smell: A mixture of citrus and sweet fruits, mostly. Apricot, pineapple and perhaps even pear take turns showing up in the aroma. Maybe some gentle spices, but the fruit smell is what really stands out.

Taste: A dry taste upfront, with hints of grain, bitter orange peel and mild spices. A subtle-sweet caramel malt taste comes in mid-sip. The sweetness of the malt transitions to a light bitter hops finish that comes late and stays for the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Though a little more bitter and less hoppy than the American IPA's that I am used to, I enjoyed the traditional English style that Sam Smith's has implemented. The transition of flavors was a welcome change, and I appreciated being able to enjoy an IPA without getting punched in the mouth by hops.

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Photo of ccbrewer138
3.44/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

American IPA is still my favorite style, but I have never really had too many English versions, so naturally Samuel Smiths is a good place to start. First of all this beer was served out of a 550 ml bottle into a Samuel Smith imperial pint glass. Golden amber in color with a fluffy thick head of about an inch and a half, extending well out of the boundries of the glass. Heavy malt and hop aroma, can definatly pick out British hops. Malty and fruity in flavor, some lingering bitterness from hops, but not at all as hoppy as the American versions. Actually pretty balanced between the carmally malt flavor and hop bitterness. Carbonation and body appropriate for the style.

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Photo of biegaman
3.61/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden ale with good carbonation and lacing and decent foam as well.

Smell: Somewhat sweet biscuit malt, almost like it has honey or something. Nice hops as well. A good subtle smell that I enjoy.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Not a wonderful taste, but this is a well-balanced hopped beer. No fruitiness, but definitely some sweet malt. Pretty creamy and smooth beer as well.

Drinkability: I like this as a pub beer.

Overall: A solid foreign beer that's not impossible to find. Not as good as other Sam Smith's beers.

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Photo of WeedKing4
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark red with a decent amount of foam in the Samuel Smith pint glass. Very malt heavy and laid back as its the english style of ipa, so the flavours are mild and subtle with a slight hint of dark fruits/floral finish. Goes down pretty smooth. Just doesn't pack a lot of flavour. But i like this new pint glass! Holds 500mls worth of beer. Beauty.

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Photo of kwjd
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a Samuel Smith gift pack that just arrived to the Control Board in Ontario. Pours a golden-orange colour with thick white head. Mild lacing around the glass. Floral hop aroma and some caramel. Flavour has more bitterness than the smell would suggest. Good carbonation. A nice English ale, but not my favourite among the other Samuel Smith beers.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

By no means is this an IPA by Americian standards. It is in fact a weak interpetation of the style in general.
Pours with a nice copper color with a desent white head that fades. Good carbo's.
Slight malt and hop aroma is present.
Buttery or butterscotch malt taste, earthy hops and maybe a hint of lemongrass.
A dry finish with a smooth body.
Drink well my friends

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.06/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 2" head which fades to 1". Copper color. Some hoppy bitterness but in all seriousness it's nowhere near the hops I'd expect for an India ale. On an IPA strength scale of 1 to 10 with 10 the hoppiest this scores about a 3 for an IPA.

A thoroughly drinkable beer, just not a standout in this category.

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Samuel Smith's India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
3.72 out of 5 based on 1,900 ratings.
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