India Ale | Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

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India AleIndia Ale
1,931 Ratings
India AleIndia 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: 1,931 |  Reviews: 950
Photo of flagmantho
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 550mL bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: slightly hazy light orange color with two fingers of bubbly light tan head. Looks good.

Smell: aroma is quite sweet and malty with some caramel and citrus character to it. I rather like it.

Taste: nice slightly caramel malt with citrus overtones. Hops are citrusy and floral and do not present themselves particularly strongly, although the flavor is nice and quite bitter. This is a nice, refreshing, drinkable beer, though quite different than an American-style IPA.

Mouthfeel: medium body with very low carbonation. Smooth, though not creamy. Not bad.

Drinkability: quite drinkable. Somewhat sweet, but not cloyingly so, and bitter without being over the top. A restrained, tasty beer.

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Photo of climax
3.12/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one poured a pretty clear amber with a modest off-white head. The retention wasn't much, no lacing either.

The nose had abundant caramel and toffee tones with some accompanying mealy green apple and spice.

The flavor had most of the same qualities as the nose (which unfortunately wasn't much), toffee, cidery green apple, and some citrusy bitter dry hoppiness in the finish.

Body was a bit on the light side, carbonation added enough bite to keep it from feeling too watery. The dry finish was about all that kept me reaching for it....

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Photo of jazztoloc
5/5  rDev +35.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a plain pint from a 550 ml bottle.

A: Nice creamy, thick head. Awesome lacing. Cloudy light amber. Looks like a honey jar.

S: Very malty, light fruit and some hops. The aroma has the Samuel Smith Old Brewery signature all over.

T: I can feel a more hoppy and crisp flavor compared to other beers from Samuel Smith, very balanced. It certanly doesn't taste like the new generation of IPA. The hops don't over power the malts, and it feels good. The rich flavors grow with every sip you take.

M: Great body, medium carbonation.

D: Very high drinkability if you are not expecting an extremely hoppy and bitter beer.

Samuel Smith Old Brewery is one of my favorite Breweries. In my opinion, they are a brewery that dont follow trends, and stay on brewing beers with an awesome natural balance. God Save Samuel Smith's Brew Master!

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Photo of kifn2
2.91/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a - cloudy orange-red with a full off-white head, sustaining well. Possibly due to a significant amount of hops for an IPA.

s - malty bready aroma. no apparent hop aroma. the beer is not very aromatic.

t - A little background: I drank half of this bottle on Saturday night, put the cap on and put it back in the fridge then drank the rest on Sunday. The first tasting was definitely balanced towards sweetness. The second tasting was balanced in the more appropriate hop bitterness and flavor range. I'm going to theorize that the some of the sweetness I initially tasted was due to the alcohol, which volatized overnight in the fridge. The second tasting is more appropriately bitter. The malt is apparent but not overwhelming with a light caramel character and the hops are of an English variety, i.e. Fuggel and/or Goldings.

m - medium bodied and medium carbonation. No detectable astringency.

d - Not bad at all. There are some strange things going on here and I suspect it may not travel well. Ironic, considering the history of English IPA's.

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

My first English IPA, here we go! Samuel Smith, you haven't failed me yet!

Appearance: The beer pours a burnt orangish copper. The bottle says it's the color of a deep sunset, but I'm not sure it's as romantic as all that. The head is nice and frothy, the kind of head you get with hoppy beers.

Smell: The appearance indicates hops, but they are rather muted in the aroma. There's more caramel malt going on.

Taste: The taste directly follows the smell. More malty and less hoppy than expected. Going so far as to say the malt is almost more dominant than the hops. There's a good portion of caramel sweetness underneath subtle earthy hops. There's not much hop bitterness on the finish, although a slight aftertaste does appear.

Mouthfeel: The medium body is relatively thick for the flavor profile but stops far short of being syrupy.

Drinkability: No worries of a hopped-up IPA ruining your palate here. This could enjoyably be consumed before and/or after other styles of beer.

Notes: Samuel Smith's India Ale has me confused. I know English IPAs aren't nearly as hoppy as their American counterparts, but this is unlike any concept of IPAs I've had in my head.

I'm no hophead, but I must say I'm a little surprised by how tame this beer was. It approaches, but stops short of, being bland. That's not to say I'm disappointed with the beer overall, more just taken aback. This bottle was a single in a mix-a-six pack, so it could be pretty old, which would account for some of the mellowness to the hops.

This beer is not unlike a combination of Sam Smith's Nut Brown and Pale Ale. It's not quite as malty as the nut brown and slightly sweeter. It's a tad thicker and hoppier than the pale ale. It also seems like a sort of baby brother to what is possibly my favorite IPA, New Glarus' Hop Hearty. In that regard, it's a more than decent beer.

All in all, there's probably nearly two handfuls of Samuel Smith beers I'd rather drink. However, I would like to try this mellow enigma of sorts again (preferably a fresh bottle) with revised expectations.

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Photo of Cubsfan1087
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I haven't had very many IPAs so I don't know too much about them. India Ale pours a dark orange color with little head. It isn't like the few other IPAs I've had. It is slightly thick, and is actually not as bitter as I thought it would be. There is not a lot of flavor with this beer. I love Samuel Smith (maybe my favorite brewery), but I'm not completely sold on the India Ale. I think I might need to give it another try sometime soon.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.67/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- A slightly hazy orange liquid with a thin and splotchy white head. Looks rather... dead.

S- English yeast, fruit, white bread, and caramel. Smells sweet and well made.

T- Sweet and fruity with apples and pears kicking around with white bread and caramel. Tastes English-y, as it should. This may not be super fresh... I can't be sure, but I get that feeling.

M- Full-bodied and smooth with a nice carbonation level.

D- A solid IPA that drinks about right for the style. Just doesn't jump out at me.

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Photo of unclejimbay
3.4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is a golden honey/straw color with 1 finger head and short retention.
Smell is a malty aroma balanced with a good dose of noble hop spicy smells. Reminds me of hopped up Pilsner aromas. Tastes as it smells, less hops than an American IPA, seem appropriatte for an English IPA. Medium carbonation with a light body. Not really my style but seems approriatte for an English IPA. I just seem to prefer American hop profiles to these.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.36/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my pint glass the beer is a hazed orange gold color. The off white head reaches about two fingers and has great retention. After settling the rim is caked with lace rings.

The aroma is mild and sweet. More apple juice and hints of orange than hops. Malt has a strong presence. Not offensive just not usual hoppiness you would expect.

The flavor is mostly malt and sweet apples and caramel. Just a hint of hop bitterness come in at the backend but not much.

Medium to light body. Slightly thin.

Overall I wish I knew how old this bottle was. It may be a year old and that's why everything has faded. Until SS has bottle dates I will have to stand by this review.

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Photo of Jales140984
3.05/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- orange/bronze/amber
S- Soft sweetness- tinge of toffee
T- mildly bitter with sweet notes - butterscotch- caramel- not much carbonation- - bitterness is present and appreciated but not overwhelming or dominant
M- dry in the mouth- moderately syrupy- good balance
D- not a thirst quencher- not a beer to end the night on...

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Photo of bosox941827
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served cold from a 0.5L bottle into an imperial pint glass....allowed to warm as I tasted.

A - Classic "British" pale ale look, dk. orange/amber/brown, with thin head
S - Some malts and sweetness on the nose, but not much in the way of hops. Not unexpected from a British-style india pale ale, but you might expect a bit more since this IS an IPA.
T - I'm getting mostly toasted malts and "dry" caramel. Hops are there are there, but they are not prominent. This is very similar to the Pale Ale by SS, but with the IBUs kicked up just a bit.
M - Very smooth, low carbonation as is typical of the style
D - Quite drinkable, but not a "go-to" beer for me, like a bit more assertiveness in my IPAs.

Realize that, as one who is used to an American IPAs, this needs to be judged on a different scale, but this doesn't really do it for me. This is more like a standard American Pale Ale, and a less-assertive one at that! Obviously well-made and a classic and prefer this MUCH over the PA by Sam Smith, but is not a "go-to" for me. Wonder if the distance has taken something away from the beer? Will have to try it on tap as well to see if it improves in that format.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This beer is very cohesive. It picks a flavor, and stays with it. There is nothing adventurous about it. It is, however, quite good.

G - Lagunitas pint

A – It pours a slightly cloudy orange-amber with a nice eggshell head and clingy lace. The color matches the flavor.

S – The sweetly rich smell of toffee and butterscotch permeates the nose.

T – The tastes follows the smell; very buttery impressions of toffee and butterscotch, it is also mildly bitter. The hop contribution is very tasty.

M – A bit syrupy, but otherwise it is medium-bodied with light carbonation and a dry finish.

D – All Sam Smith brews, to my knowledge, are intrinsically drinkable; no exception here.

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

Pours a dark copper color with a frothy tan head that doesn't last. Aroma of caramel malt, grass, and sour apples. Taste is fruity and malty, with some bitterness in the finish. Medium bodied with good carbonation. Is also quite dry. Not a very hoppy IPA but this is still enjoyable.

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Photo of roddwolff
4.84/5  rDev +31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Once poured in my bayern mug:

A: Bright orange color, thin and creamy foamy head with good lacing;

S: Herbal and earth hops;

T: Earth and spicy hops, citrus hops at the finish;

M: Very dry and woody, extra bitter, medium body and low carbonation, the mouth keep dry a lot of time;

D: mmm i like uk hops, an excellente IPA without much abv

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Photo of adamette
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Live review. Poured from the 550 ml dark brown bottle with gold foil over the cap. Poured into my Samuel Smith pint glass. Mark on neck of bottle: SH28H1 but I am not sure what that means.

A Cloudy medium brown, orange body under a nice creamy head of about 3 inches that sticks around for a while and also leaves great lacing on the inside of the glass. Really nice look in what is probably one of the oldest India Ales. 4.5

S Minimal leafy hops, very earthy smell that I like (not the spike of bitter grapefruit hops that I get from overly hopped American IPA's). 4.0

T Earthy hops with a significant malt barley background. Come to think of it and after repeated sips the significance of the barley malt may actually be greater than the taste of the hops, an effect that I am comfortable with. I like the more earthy, barley malt taste of this beer. 4.0

M Rather smooth with its significant, creamy head and moderately high barley malt syrup quality. 4.0

D Pretty good. This is not my favorite style but I found it better than average from a drinkability standpoint. 3.5

Notes: I am impressed by this India Ale from Samuel Smith.

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Photo of mrcarterxxl
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Samuel Smith's India Ale

pours a light amber color with a small white head that dosent last very long.

a really light smelling ale small traces of hops in the nose and thats all.

a bitter tasting ale taste of hops and grains

the mouth feel is loose with medium carbonation.

this ale is good with spicy food which it states on the label, foods with heave seasoning. a good beer for a lazy sunday.

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Photo of Rayek
3.97/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Samuel Smith Nonic.

A: Hazy pale amber, with mild carbonation and a soapy cream cap. The head slowly retreats to a thin film, and spots of lace are left behind.

S: Quite malty, with a sweetbread aroma that's backed by a dosing of black tea and a subtle fruitiness that I've come to associate with Samuel Smith beers.

T: Toasted bread flavors start things out. Bitterness is moderate, and lends an acidic black tea and pepper bite, plus a hint of citrus. Finishes with a lingering pepper bitterness.

M: The medium body is slightly oily and dry. Carbonation feels just right.

D: Very different from the American IPAs I'm used to having. Bitterness is less pronounced, but still the dominant flavor. I'm quite glad I picked this up.

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Photo of TeddyBrew
3.08/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I haven't seen this particular Samual Smith's in NYC, but maybe I haven't looked hard enough. I got this 550ml bottle as a gift for the holidays.

As always, with Smith's, the bottle and label are classic. Wish I could say the same about the beer. I know it's not meant to be a hop-monster like plenty of American IPA's. And I'm a big fan of English Bitters, ESB's and Pale Ales, so its not the lack of huge upfront hops that puts me off here. It's the mildly unpleasant taste throughout the gulp and lingering in the aftertaste. Can't quite describe it but its something I've found in some other British imports.

And by the way, where are those big hops? Not expecting a 90 minute here, but I'm just not getting much in the way of anything that says IPA at all.

To be fair, I don't think British ales travel nearly as well as some other country's exports (notably Belgiums) so I would like to try this one on the other side of the Atlantic.

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Photo of tronester
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear light orange-brown with a thin light tan head. Smell is of dried fruit. Taste is malty sweet up front with dried fruit flavors imprted from the yeast. The finish is earthy and woody and nicely bitter. Mouthfeel is smooth, low carbonation. Quite drinkable, a very good eipa.

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

Samuel Smith's India Ale pours a slightly hazy copper color in the glass, with a small creamy white head on top and a steady flow of bubbles in the beer. The head dissolves quickly down to a thin sheet on the beer and leaves behind a fair amount of netted lace on the glass.

The aroma is somewhat faint, but has fruity notes of apple and hints of toasted pale and caramel malt.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is soft on the palate with a moderate carbonated fizz on the tip of the tongue. The flavor is malty with caramel and pale malt dominating. Blended in is a bit of light fruit flavors (apple, pear?) from the yeast. It finishes dry with a floral hop bitterness that nicely balances out all the sweet malt. Once gone the sweet caramel malt flavor lingers on the palate.

This is a very easy to drink, well balanced beer. I can see drinking this with just about any meal as it would match well with steak, pasta or fish. Probably wouldn't match well with spicy or saucy foods.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this at Bert's Bierhuis.

From a bottle into a Pint Glass.

APPEARANCE: Pours a thick full looking two finger slightly off-white head with great retention. Perfectly clear with medium carbonation. Tawny or rust orange in color, but more gamboge when held to the light. Head slowly fades to a decent foam cap leaving some immediate lacing. A good film remains until the end and leaves lots of pretty lacing down the sides of the glass. Looks great.

SMELL: A mild nose of pale malt with some toffee and caramel sweetness and notes of butterscotch. A touch of lemon citrus in the back as well. Mild but pleasant.

TASTE: Much like the nose but plenty bolder than expected. Pale malt with toffee and caramel sweetness up front. Butterscotch hints combine with some lemon citrus though the middle before a decent dose of hop bitterness at the finish. Strong and long lasting aftertaste is more bitter than sweet with some faint floral elements. Very nice, and much more impressive than the nose.

PALATE: Medium-full body with medium carbonation. Nice and creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry on the palate.

OVERALL: This is an English IPA, so it's not meant to be a hop bomb like its US bretheren. As it is, this one marks another fantastic offering from Samuel Smith. Great malt profile and well balanced with the hops. If the nose had been a little bolder, this would have turned into a whopper of a brew. A very enjoyable treat, especially on a warm summer's day, and it drank away far too quickly. One I'll definitely have again. Recommended.

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Photo of jadpsu
3.94/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 28.07 ounce brown bottle.
Superior appearance. Pours slightly less than clear amber, orange with an off white head with excellent retention and superior side lacing.
Smell, leads with some biscuits and has some citrus notes and a little astringent hops.
Taste has bready notes, is smooth and has some butterscotch, that really adds to the taste.
Moderate carbination, with a hoppy dry finish.

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Photo of Mavajo
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a golden-orange amber with a frothy white head that leaves behind minimal spotty lacing. Aroma is malty with caramel. Taste is likewise malty and caramel, with slight undertones of hops - very gentle bitterness. Mouthfeel is very smooth and almost creamy, with nice moderate carbonation. Immensely drinkable and extremely refreshing. One of my absolute favorite session beers - in no way offensive or challenging...just purely enjoyable.

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Photo of KyleMWood
4.01/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Overall, a well balance pale ale. Hop heads, consider yourself warned, this IPA isn't as hoppy as our American versions. However, I actually liked that there were less hops in this beer, especially on the nose. This is a great beer with a meal, because the hops and beer flavor doesn't overpower the food. Great copper color, exceptional mouthfeel. Try this beer.

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Photo of chuke
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - classic goldish amber with a milky 1.5" the appearance of the label...I'm drinking a classic English beer.

S - not very hoppy but slightly malty...very laid-back compared to the American IPAs I've been drinking lately.

T - Well-balanced with light hops and light malty taste...finishes slightly sweet.

M - light and smooth

D - Goes down easily - too easily. Too bad it was $4.75 at my local sixer shop.

This was the second time I've had this classic brew. I know it's a great example of the style; however, it's just not my preferred style. It's an all-around good beer but there are far great brews to be had for far less cash.


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India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 3.68 out of 5 with 1,931 ratings