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

1,907 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: 1,907 |  Reviews: 942
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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Photo of carpezytha
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Large-bubbled head which died quickly on an ochre body.
S: Quite a distinct aroma, with malt, hops and even some esters in there. Unfortunately the taste did not live up to the high expectations that the smell promised. Some minerality as well.
T: Tangy mix of citrusy hops, sweet malt, spicey. It was hard to corral all these into a distinctive note it seems, as I was left confused rather than impressed in a positive way. It seems they got very close to having a great beer, but something about all the flavors clamoring for attention disipated whatever great experience I would have had.
M: Quite a chewy beast, this.
D: I would try again.

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Photo of steveh
4.1/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In the vein of revisiting old favorites -- a beer from my early days of good beer discovery.

A -- Hazy, amber orange color with a dense, slow-settling, light tan head.

S -- Citrus notes, fruit esters of peach and pear, biscuit malt in the background.

T -- Similar citric and fruit notes from the aroma with a mellow caramel and bready backbone. Finishes with the peach-like fruit character and a slightly spicy, earthy and dry aftertaste. There's a yeast bite (ester?) to the character that I often find in English pale ales -- it's not at all distracting, more defining, giving a mineral quality to the flavor.

M -- Smooth mouthfeel with a light-medium body. Dry in the finish.

D -- Very good drinkability -- can imagine whiling away the afternoon in a pub with pints of these. This isn't an American IPA with the big hop hammer over the head, but a well-balanced, easy drinking and very refreshing beer.

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Photo of mulder1010
1.71/5  rDev -54%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

550 ML bottle

A-- Poured a light amber color, fairly small light brown head. Not a lot to this.

S-- Faint sweet and hop aroma. A little bit of old damp rag smell and a little bit of dishwasher soap.

T-- A lot of dishwasher soap taste with old grapefruit, orange and lemon. ICK BAD BOTTLE.

M-- Prickly mouthfeel. Hops are still there but the taste and feel are more like nearly expired citrus fruits. Really oxidized. There are some semblances of what this should be and what I am getting is not it.

D-- Drain Poured the rest. Will try again and review at a later date.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

550mL bottle. Pours a slightly cloudy amber color with a small head. Great lacing throughout. Smell is somewhat sweet with some citrus. Faint aroma of hops. The taste is slightly bitter. Flavors of citrus with an almost sour taste. Some malt flavors near the end. I'm probably missing some other flavors. There is a lot going on here. This 550mL bottle is the perfect amount for this beer. Not overall drinkable but not a sipper either. Overall I'm happy with this purchase.

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

From a bottle to a pint glass...
Pours a dark amber color with a frothy white head that left good lacing.
Smells of earthy hops and has hints of caramel and fig.
Tastes slightly sweet followed by a sour bitterness, earthy hops, nutty character.
Feels light bodied, dry, has good carbonation.
Very sessionable (as most English beers are) gets smoother as it warms.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.91/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a crisp copper colour with frothy white head

smell - i'm picking up bready, biscuity malts, apples, cinnamon?

taste - malty, bready goodness in the front, slightly bitter hops in the finish

Mouthfeel - medium bodied beverage, ample carbonation, well balanced, neither too sweet or too bitter

drinkability - suitable for watching NFL games.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into a tulip glass...Pours a light peach color ok retention and lacing, nothing special, typical ipa...The aroma is light, not that I expected otherwise, light fruit, a little hop, not much...Taste is ok, not flavorful but makes it a super easy drinker, light hops come through so its pleasant to drink. A decent english ipa, so-so, probably wouldn't have unless I was in England.

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

550 ml bottle with a strange and colorful label and a gold foil topper. I choose my standard belled glass and poured forth a deep honey colored beer with an ample off-white head. Lacing is thick though dissipation is quick.

Smells are rich and sweet like fruit bread. A bit of caramel and a hint of pineapple indicate the malts and hops, but don't get me wrong there is more complexity than that, there is a wafting ether of alcohol and grass too. I am having a hard time smelling around the onions I am cooking into a curry.

Taste is slightly metallic but there is a grain backbone and a hop bitterness but let's break it down... tart, bitter, sweet and yummy.

Mouthfeel is light medium, carbonation is likewise and the finish is neutral.

Drinkability is good and the balance is Sammy Smith all the way. Get some.


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Photo of BBP
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a reddish copper color, with a little less carbonation than I'd expect and a creamy, but thin head.

S- Grassy hops, a slight amount of spice, some citrus, and some hops.

T- Comes at you with quite a balance of grainy malts and grassy hops. It's hard to say what hit's you first. They both also leave a very balanced aftertaste. A half herbal half spice flavor lays into you soon after the malt and hops and there's a bit of a bitter pine taste as well with the slightest tinge of the zest and apple. Caramel is noticable minutes after a sip. I think the malts were done a bit better than the hops in this one. The highlight for me was bready malts and buttery notes rather than the hops.

M- Creamy and smooth. Carbonation is perfect. Has a great body to it.

D- A pretty solid beer. No real flaws, but also not much about it really blew me away flavor-wise. It's a good bitter IPA, but it doesn't deliver the hop sharpness I'd expect.

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

One of the coolest bottles I've seen. Poured a light ruby/tan into my pint glass. Smell and taste was slightly hoppy with a nice malt balance. I got that cherry taste which has been mentioned a few times. Mouthfeel was pleasant and had a medium carbonation. Drinkability was easier than one would expect from an India Pale. Nice.

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Photo of Duff27
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Ruby-red. One finger head that leaves a ring around the glass. No lacing here.

S- Sweet. Bready notes.

T- Bitter. A bitter unlike American IPAs. Somehow I get a slight sour cherry(?) taste in the profile. Fun to drink.

M- Creamy, medium carbonation.

D/O- For $3.50 a bomber (albeit Euro modified) this is a hard one not to pick up at the store. Sam Smith's=Quality. Never had a bad brew from them.

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Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.82/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours golden amber in color with two fingers of large bubbled head that settles into a thin layer with some lacing.

S - Vibrant hops, lemon, tea, somewhat like a hard apple cider.

T - Mild malts, fresh crisp hops that are indeed fruity, lemon/apple, good amount of bitterness.

M - Light and crisp, very refreshing and palate pleasing.

D - Pretty tasty and drinkable, just a little off balance bitterness for my taste.

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

Pours and orange/gold with a nice white head that leaves awesome lacing.

Flowery hops and some mild malty bread notes.

A touch of lemony goodness goes along nicely with the flavors of munching on flowers from the garden.

Nice medium carbonation and good crispness. Very refreshing.

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

A: Pours a slightly reddish amber, with a fair amount of thick foamy off-white head. a fair amount retains, leaving good sudsy lacing.

S: Fairly thick floral sweetness, with some malt.

T: Mild sweetness, with fairly mild but present hops to finish. It's not bad, and not bland, but it's not the most flavorful beer you can find. Pretty well balanced.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, slightly chewy finish.

D: Quite drinkable, wouldn't be a bad session beer.

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Photo of omnigrits
4.2/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from the delightful Sam Smiths bottle into a pint glass. A pale amber, clear pint, with a good head that never completely goes away and leaves much lace on the glass.

Plenty of earthy hops in the nose, plus... a touch of mint perhaps? Some malt too. Smells just like a beer should.

The hops are more noticeable in the taste than the malt, but you can tell it's there. You don't get the same kind of caramel malt sweetness that's to be found in the bigger IPAs like Maharaja because the hops aren't so powerful that they need that much balance.

Mouthfeel is okay, not too heavy.

A good example of an English IPA, and easy to drink without that huge hop presence and relatively low ABV.

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

Bright amber and well carbonated, with a large creamy white head.
Smells of sweet malted barley aromas with subtle earthy European hops.
Nicely sweet at first, with a light creamy flavour, and slight hints of roasted malt. The bitterness comes through after with a a beautiful boquet of floral hops. The finish has a sustained bitterness; perfect balance with the maltiness.
Quite light and creamy on the palete, with a nice level of carbonation, and a smooth texture. If I had to nit pick I would say its a tad thin but I'm reaching here.
Great interpretation of the classic English IPA style. Pretty much a textbook balanced beer; one of the better real IPAs I've had to date.

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

Single bottle poured into a nonic glass. While there was a batch code laser marked on the neck, it was meaningless to me (I1070I).

Appearance: Poured a 1/2" off-white thick foam that died down to a thin foam across the top of the beer. Some lacing noted here and there. The beer was a orange-yellow amber color with a hint of haze to it.

Smell: Sweet malts with some hint of fruity esters dominate. As the beer warms up the smell gets more intense, but it mostly remains the same. While the smell is mostly of one character, it's strong and appealing.

Taste: The taste begins with malt, followed by those fruity esters (apples to me mostly) and then a mild bitter finish. There is a hint of citrus to this one every now and then, but it's not strong. The beer tastes like what they say on the bottle - malts and fruity hops. The bitterness becomes more pronounced as the beer warms up.

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation on the tongue with some lingering stickiness on the teeth. Nothing special, but nothing bad either.

Drinkability: I finished this one fairly fast and I have to admit, I would not mind having another one. It's quite tasty and very drinkable. A good session beer and it went very well with a meal (burger and fries). An overall solid good beer. It strikes me as a bit different than some English IPAs I've had, and yet I admit that my mind is clouded by the bitterness and hop forward character of American I view this beer as it's own unique character and I quite like it.

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Photo of bsp77
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Mostly clear golden-amber with nice off-white head and slight lacing.

Smell: Light English hops that are floral and metallic. Undercurrent of some mild tea-like malts.

Taste: Some fruity and tea-like malts that are quickly overtaken by floral, metallic and bitter English hops.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, dry finish.

Drinkability: Pleasant enough English IPA that showcases English hops well, but does not have as much depth as I expect from a good Samuel Smith beer.

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Samuel Smith's India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
3.72 out of 5 based on 1,907 ratings.
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