India Ale | Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

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India AleIndia Ale
1,923 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: 1,923 |  Reviews: 945
Photo of TheNapkin
2.8/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a completely different style of IPA than the American style, so if you're looking for a cascade (no pun intended) of citrusy hops, this is not the beer for you. While the taste and the smell are good, this just doesn't drink like an IPA to me. Maybe I've been tainted by Stone and Dogfish Head, but this beer actually has more cidery qualities than I want in an IPA. This is not necessarily a bad thing in general, as the ale doesn't slip into saccharine sweetness. That being said, the dominant aroma here is honey and malts, not hops, and while it has a dry finish, I wouldn't say that I particularly notice an abundance of hops bitterness. Drinkable, but if it's hot out and you're hoping for a powder keg of hops to cool you off, I recommend you stick with an American IPA you know and trust.

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

Beautiful golden bronze body with a large off-white head. Malty, buttery, estery, fruity aroma. Butterscotch, caramel malt and a light, floral, grassy hop finish. Creamy, smooth, pretty tasty. Nothing like the popular modern American IPA. Not all that bitter, but the hop flavor that is present is quite good. Love the butterscotchy malt.

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Photo of Stavage
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pouring it into my schooner I get a nice frothy off white head with excellent retention. The liquid has a nice reddish golden amber. Very clear.

Smell was full of toasty biscuity malts and aromatic hops. The hops scent varied from citrus fruits to cloves to possibly a hint of pepperiness.

Nice tasting IPA. The hops doesn't blast your mouth with extreme bitterness but its definitely there and definitely noticeable. A nice varied hops bitterness is the first thing to hit my palate and lingered well afterwards. A very strong malt backbone gives good balance. The malt flavours mimic the smell, toasty and bread like to biscuity.

Mouthfeel is probably the weak point in this beer. It's a little bit lightbodied for an IPA. Otherwise it's nice and dry and refreshing.

Only 5% abv so you can enjoy a pint and keep your wits reasonably well. It doesn't lack in flavour and it's quite refreshing. If only it had a little more body.

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Photo of jt31914
2.65/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle

A: No head, amber in color.

S: Strong alcohol aroma and very dry (duh it's Samuel Smith's); slight cloves and hop aromas.

T: Hoppy with clove/honey taste. Slightly bitter with dry alcohol taste present. Pretty pleasant.

M: Fairly smooth and drinkable.

Decent IPA, but there are many better (Centennial from Founders and Lagunitas IPAs for starters).

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Photo of KTCamm
4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 550 ml bottle into a pint glass. The pour is a beautiful copper brown with a solid finger white creamy foam. Long retention.

Smell is malty, fruity, touch of tartness. Peppery. Floral aroma.

Very mild spicy hop flavor buried below a fruity malt. Mild spiciness. Very clean finish for an IPA. Some lingering hop. Very flavorful in the mouthful.

Much less bitter than the typical IPA you'd find on the shelves (and I liked that).

Very drinkable and tasty. Another well made Sam Smith brew. What else is new?

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Photo of sasky7777
3.33/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serving: 18.7 oz bottle poured into a glass

A: copper colour with a good head when poured which quickly dissipated but left lace on the glass as I drank

S: fruity hops aroma and alcohol

T: well balanced, a hint of malt balanced out by hops, bitterness lingered on the palate, taste of alcohol on the back of my palate/back of my nose when I aerated it

M: crisp with balanced carbonation, cleansed the palate well, light and doesn't linger in the mouth

D: My first review, and first attempt at a "real" IPA. I am not a hop head so I found this to be balanced and quite drinkable. It would make a good session beer. I had this beer paired with a beef meatloaf that had rosemary and mushrooms. Not a perfect match but the bitterness in the beer played well with the sweet glaze on top of the meatloaf, and it cleansed the palate.

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

Poured from an 18.7oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a short off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, citrus, honey and a good amount of hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of citrus, caramel and honey. Then there's a strong but not-over-powering hops bitterness that comes in next to provide a good balance. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is a nice session beer with a lot of flavor and substance that makes it worth drinking for a long time.

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Photo of Onenote81
3.38/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into my pint glass. Pours a dark, slightly hazy orange, with a small amount of bubbles rising through. Nice beige cap on the top. Great retention, but leaves little lace. Smells of sweet maple and earth. Nothing sharp or hoppy about this at all.

The mouth is crisp, but coats the mouth still, which is different for an IPA. Decent flavor on this one. Caramel malts mix with some sour grassy hops. This is pretty basic and bland IMO. Not a lot of complexity. Just a simple good beer. Try it.

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Photo of Traquairlover
4.37/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

550ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Very good clarity, light orange color with a finger of bone white head, decent retention, light carbonation bubbling of fine bubbles.

S = Very fruity with tangerines, peaches, also some light spiciness hinting at cinnamon and maybe even a little cardamon, but there is also a strong sweet backbone like a buttered danish, lots of grassy hops in there, too.

T = This has the typical Samuel Smith's buttery, caramel tastes but it also has a strong spicy hops presence. The hops bring a fair amount of bitterness but there is so much sweetness present that the effect is not of a particularly bitter beer at all. Mostly the hops just bring a spicy, lemon grass flavor. Though really a little different for the style, this is one of my all time favorite IPAs.

M = Medium to medium-light body, frothy carbonation level, good mouthcoating.

D = As I said above, this is one of my favorite IPAs and I find it goes down so easily while having enough of a dry effect to make you want another sip, that this just screams drinkable to me.

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Photo of theboozecruise
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into an imperial pint glass. Amberish color, a little cloudy, decent white head that lasted a good while through the drink.

A very mild aroma... the hops are there, and a little citrus it seems like, but it's not strong at all.

The taste is pretty mild as well, the hops are there and it tastes like a little malt in the middle of the sip and on the aftertaste. I like that... a milder take on the IPA, but quite refreshing.

All in all a solid beer, but a little bit of a letdown for Samuel Smith. These guys probably don't know how to make a bad beer, but I guess not every one will be world class.

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

This is perhaps a quintessential example of a British IPA, at least in the older sense. Pours a nice amber with a good fluffy head, with typical light carbonation. It improves in flavor as it warms; I'd love to try this on cask. The hop profile is tame by American standards although it is not an overpoweringly malty beer. The flavor is somewhat fruity with a definite cereal note which is not at all unpleasant.

This beer retains a certain balance which I like to think was typical of the original India Ale style. It is smooth and extremely drinkable; a true session beer. This being said, it is considerably less interesting than many of its American (and increasingly, British) cousins.

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

550 ml bottle poured into an Imperial Pint. No date or info to be found.

A - Brilliantly clear honeyed pale amber in color. No carbonation action but a plump and dense creamy head burst fourth on the pour. The off-white beast took a long time to settle and left slight legs on the glass. Only specks of lacing though.

S - The aroma comes out subtly but is very smooth and refreshing smelling. Not to be misunderstood with cidery, it has a fresh red apple aroma that's lightly tart. Light hops present a fruity and floral aspect but hardly smell like typical hops. Low aroma but not IPA-like based on smell.

T - Impeccable balance on the flavor, the malty backbone starts out right away but quickly turns to a dry hop-present fruity - with that apple again - and floral kick. The finish is mildly hoppy though a touch more tart and astringent than bitter. Dry finish.

M - Incredibly smooth and slightly creamy to start, it finished dry and a touch astringent, not bitter. Medium-bodied and smooth as milk all the way down.

D - Pretty good, while not a typical IPA by any standards. Hop presence as we Americans know it is pretty absent. The balance is well done though.

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Photo of burnerfinger
4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: poured from the bomber into my samuel smith tumbler. Two and a half fingers of foamy head, settled to a thin film on the surface and sticky wispy lacing. Crisp, clear amber color.

S: a light touch of hops to the nose- but not too much at all. Clean.

T: Malt is almost missing here. Hops is there but certainly not overstated. Starts off smooth and clean, very nice on the back of the throat, and a delayed dry punch of hops. NICE!

M: light body, nice touch of hops. a bit more of the hops bitterness as the brew warms. satisfyingly smooth. nice medium carbonation

D: Drinkability - This is a nice easy drinker - would definitly move on to another. love the dry hoppy follow up!

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

Pours a dark amber, clear, with thin, off white head which breezes down quickly. A swirl leaves some lace.

Nose is full of caramel, luscious yeast, bordered by a beautiful bitter bouquet, with light hints of citrus. Very erotic (not a typo) aroma.

Taste is a clean blast of malty goodness quickly teaming with bitter, then florals come into the sip, ghosts of citrus, some other flavors I can't identify which really zip the balance. Fine flavor, it finishes with all the flavors melting into deliciously bitter.

In the mouth it is on the lighter side of medium bodied, with tastefully low carbonation and good clear out. Fine for the style for sure.

Drinkability is nice, it's refreshing, interesting, and delicious.

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Photo of Kraken
3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes. Consumed 3/30/09

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into an oversized wine glass. Firm pour conjures a scant snowy white head. Head vanishes very quickly leaving a very spotty lace. Color is a deep brown amber.

Nose- Muted, almost dull, orange citrus. Lots of caramel notes.

Palate- Active on the tongue. Plenty of caramel notes, citrus notes are dull, kind of a preserved/or candied orange. Not bright or floral, however not brooding or resinous either. Some very mute lemon. Lots of biscuit. Overly balanced almost malt forward IPA, as if the hops were an after thought.

Mouthfeel- Active on the tongue, syrupy quality to it.

Drinkability- Good but not my first choice in IPAs

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Photo of SpecialK088
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Tulip

Deep amber near a copper tone with a nice lingering 1 finger head.

Little boozy in the nose with a hint of grape not alot going on other than that

Flavor is suprising with the nose very english flavor, alot of earthy flavors include the grape flavors from the nose and some very earthy hops. Fruity middle with a bitter finish make for a very english IPA

Smooth on the palate very easy to drink and good level of complexity very easy to drink.

The slight over-boozyness makes it a little less apealling to drink alot of or on a regualar basis but still a very solid beer.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up when I went to get comics and stopped by Cork and Bottle right next door.

Appearance- amber color, transparent, good lacing, good head retention

Smell- fruity hops, malt

Taste- fruity hops

Mouthfeel- smooth, medium bodied

Drinkability- It was very good. I loved it as I sally do with Samuel Smith's.

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Photo of Tone
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy, copper color. 2/3 inch head of a off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of caramel malt, English hops, tea, hint of sweet malt, and a hint of alcohol. Fits the category of an English IPA. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is also a noticeable dryness. Tastes of caramel malt, tea, English hops, hint of sweet malt, and a hint of alcohol. Overall, this fits the category quite nicely; sharp, dry, tea and caramel malt dominate.

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Photo of ADZA
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a golden orange hue with really nice carbonation which leaves a frothy two finger head with decent lacing,it has really big aromas of pure hops and lots of them a real fruity hop smell,it has an above average mouthfeel with a real citrus hop taste about it that is perfectly balanced out by the malty finish which makes this beer not as bitter as i would expect for a IPA but once again ive got nothing but good things to say about Samuel Smiths.

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

Ap. Golden amber and coppery color with a nice thick head and good retention.
Sm. Slight citris and caramel mix. Not a strong smell.
Ta. Nice combination of caramel/butterscotch? with slight bitterness to off-set. Finish is a mild burnt coffee.
Mf. Well carbonated and smoothly coats the mouth.
Dr. Pretty good. I could do more than one.

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Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3.15/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pour from a 550ml brown bottle is a hazy amber with a white head with little retention. Can't find any freshness info on the bottle. The smell is sweet and malty with notes of grain and grass. The hop nose is pretty understated. The flavors are very malty with notes of the aforementioned grass and grain. The hop flavors are weak and the finish is bland to average with regard to the hoppiness. The body is okay tending towards syrupy and leaving an unpleasant film on the pallet. If I were to select a Euro Bitter or India style ale this would not be one of my top choices.

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Photo of CanuckRover
3.71/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep orange with a big pillowy head that settles quickly to a ring of film. Thick lacings all the way down.

Woody malt notes on the nose, almost whiskey-like. Caramel figures prominently.

Big malt hit up front. All butterscotch with a touch of toasty grains that carries through to the finish. Hops provide a mouth-coating bitterness, but little in the way of aroma and flavour. Water gives a metallic twang to the finish accentuated by the carbonation.

A very nice medium mouthfeel. Perfectly sessionable ale, but perhaps leans a little too much to the Best Bitter category than IPA.

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Photo of MaxBrews
3.28/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Revisiting this beer. My last rating was in 2009. I gave it a 3.26 then.

Depending on the lighting this beer pours a nice, clear golden color ranging from ruby to a sunset orange. Nice and great lacing on this beer. A fantastic presentation.

The aromatics of this beer are mild. Very herbal and tea like.

As this beer warms there are notes of raisins and pitted fruit, mostly the beer has a very tea like taste with a bit of toasty flavors from the malt. Somer herbal characteristics come through the from the hops but mostly beer reminds me of black tea, partially due to the astringency of the hops.

Despite being low in alcohol, especially when compared to modern American Craft beers, this beer has an enormous body. Syrupy and sweet. At front there is a huge hop bitterness, I know the beer is technically low in IBUs but the bitterness comes through even more than bigger beers, and then it's followed by a sugary sweetness. The body is my favorite part of this beer it's big, it's bitter, and it's very sweet in the finish.

This beer is certainly a classic. It's hard to compare beers that were brewed with a strict traditionalism to modern craft brews that are pushing the boundaries. I think comparatively, to some modern session IPAs this is missing the complex fruit flavors of some of the hops being sourced today. It does more than make up for that in the body of this beer and the great lingering after taste. Would I ask for another? Certainly. Definitely a classic session, though it's not as interesting as modern beers.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

550ml bottle served in a nonic. Poured a translucent copper with a one inch, frothy off-white head that eventually settled into a solid, quarter inch skim; some lacing, but weak legs. Nose suggests caramel malts with a subdued hops character. Taste follows nose, but malt overtakes the hops, with a residual aftertaste (a little skunky, but not in a bad way). Mouthfeel falls between light- and medium-bodied with a consistent background carbonation - very pleasant. Liked it, but didn't love it. This style is relatively new to me, but I wasn't blown away. Still not a bad offering.

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Photo of maleman
4.35/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - a nice dark orange, one finger head, little to no carbonation, laced well.

S - a hoppy, floral scent.

T - good overall taste, resides in the back of the throat. a tad bitter.

M - much better than average mouthfeel, fills the mouth well.

D - i like this beer as i do many SS offerings. will purchase when available again!

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India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 3.68 out of 5 with 1,923 ratings
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