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

937 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 937 | Ratings: 1,885
Photo of Naes
3.56/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is a brownish orange with a large frothy white head.

Its aroma is mild, hopy and grassy.

The flavor is bitter from its hop content, but remains malty as well. This is not an in your face bitter beer like the American versions of IPA’s, but is very good.

Mouth feel is medium in body and is slightly oily. The carbonation level is also done right. It is quite noticeable, but not overdone. As a result, this beer goes down quite easy.

 455 characters

Photo of swid
3.45/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Samuel Smith's India Ale pours a clear, light amber color into my pint glass. A 1/2", off-white head forms, and slowly dissipates. Low carbonation; moderate lacing. The aroma is more or less what one would expect from an English (I)PA; fairly complex, yet well balanced. The slightly caramelized maltiness meshes well with the floral, herbal, and citrus hop aromas. An overall plum/prune smell is evident as well (a byproduct of pasteurization).

The taste can best be described as "English pale ale+". It's a bit maltier and hoppier than a typical English pale ale, but barely so. There's an initial caramel-infused sweetness, soon followed an herbal, citrus, and slightly spicy hop bitterness; everything is well-balanced. The mouthfeel is very light and reasonably carbonated; unfortunately, the finish is unusually harsh (and is somewhat metallic). Leaves a moderate citrus-spice aftertaste.

In my opinion, this beer would be better off if it were considered to be a English pale ale; it just doesn't quite "fit" as an English IPA (traditional or modern). It's an OK beer, but it probably isn't something I'll seek out again (in the US, at least).

 1,156 characters

Photo of pweis909
4.07/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this imperial pint at room temperature, which might be the way to go, as I was pleased by the complexity of the bouquet.

Initially, I detected floral hoppy aromas, which gradually were replaced by toasty malt aromas. None of these sensations were overwhelming, but I enjoyed the subtlety.

A slightly bitter aftertaste departed after two or three sips.

As noted by others, the color is a rich copper, and the head, initially about a quarter inch, dissipated fast. Carbonation was light (not flat), and it was smooth in the mouth.

 548 characters

Photo of sachsich
3.05/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

out of the bottle. maybe i got a not so good bottle. i was kind of let down. the appearance is very good. the smell is good as well. but the taste is where it leaves me. not what im expecting. mouthfeel is very good and drinkability is ok. i will try again

 256 characters

Photo of clemtig76
3.73/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a single Inperial pint (18.7 oz). Beautiful copper color with an off white head that quickly dissipates. Aroma of floral, citrusy hops with a little caramel/bready malt coming thorough. Taste is a little on the dry side with a little malt sweetness in the background. Not a bad IPA. I was suprised it was only 5.0%

 324 characters

Photo of BeerFink
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle, this ale appears slightly hazy and light golden with hints of amber in its glass. Thin, resinous white head comes up to about a finger before fading. Strong malty aroma packed with bready and caramely toffee notes. Hops are floral, fairly estery with a bit of an herbal quality. Hops are assertive and spirited in their bitter presence. Plenty of grapefruit and a little puckering astringincy. Malts are present from the beginning to end providing some good toasty bread character. Finish is dry, but not overly so, with hops providing some pine and herbal grassiness which blend with the quite toasty malts. As the taste fades, you are left with a hoppy and slightly medicinal flavor that lingers. Highly drinkable English IPA.

 755 characters

Photo of Sixpoint
4.37/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Found myself trying NOT to slam this one! Was enjoying it... QUICKLY!

You know how sometimes a review will say, "Seems quite deceptive given its strength..." Well, this one made me feel the opposite. My sample seemed STRONGER than it actually was. However, it was not in a negative way at all. What I'm saying is, for only 5% abv, this beer had a tremendous amount of complexity and flavor to it.

The aroma had a touch of diacytel in it, just like most of Sammy Smith's beers, but I think it actually complimented this style nicely (although a bit uprupt in the Taddy Porter).

The taste was well-balanced and smooth, and left a nice whack of flavor hops in the finish.

Overall, extremely drinkable, and I definitely could put back a four-pack of this gem on any given night. Bravo.

 794 characters

Photo of bobbyc881
4.13/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a nice copper color, slightly off-white head which holds up for a bit, then forms a nice lace around the glass.

Smell is a bit malty, slightly citric. You can smell the hops before you taste it.

Medium carbonation, rather clear in appearance. Taste is a nice balance of sweet malts and hop bitterness. Aftertaste is a bit dry, then sticky in the mouth.

Feels nice overall -- a very drinkable, very unoffensive beer.

 434 characters

Photo of DrJay
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear orange/amber colour topped by an off-white head. Aroma of floral hops and toasted malt with a restrained fruitiness. Good balance of flavours combining bitterness, fruit, and caramel maltiness. Finishes with fruity and floral flavours and a drying, hop bitterness. Slightly creamy texture, moderate carbonation, and medium body. Overall, this is a really nice beer, very British in character, and one that I'd be pleased to try again and again.

 450 characters

Photo of ypsifly
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Undated 18.7oz poured into an imperial pint.

Copper with a light tan head that sticks around. Foamy lace.

Smells of floral hops and green apples. Slightly citric.

Overall, the taste is bitter to tart. The malts are in the background. Not as strong as American IPAs or even most APAs, but its a solid brew with a moderate mouthfeel and an abv that helps make it sessionable.

 382 characters

Photo of beersarang
4.12/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper with a light tan head slight cloudiness. Lacing down the glass.

Touch of toffee with some biscuity malts.

Lightly roasted carmel malts upfront, as it glides across the palate the floral hops and spicy bitterness hits. A touch of fruity esters. Overall hoppy but kept well in check.

Medium bodied with crisp carbonation, goes down smooth.

I like this quite a bit, even though it is much weaker than a typical India Pale Ale.

 450 characters

Photo of cubedbee
3.96/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper hue with a big off-white head and excellent retention. Smell is sweet sugary malts, almost a bit fruity, and a whiff of floral hops. The taste is pretty sweet up front, a flavor remiscent of iced tea, and then a gentle spicy hops flavor comes through on the end, hardly bitter at all. This is a full-bodied beer with a creamy initial feel and a crisp dry finish. As a hophead, I was disappointed when I first tried this beer, but for what it is, a well-rounded tradional English IPA, this is a great example from Samuel Smith.

 546 characters

Photo of LiquidBreadMan
3.28/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Samuel Smith's India Ale pours a nicely hued amber/copper from teh bottle with a long-lasting frothy (three-quarter inch) head. It had no discernable aroma, except for some very slight fruitiness. It's initial flavor is actually decent with a little fruit cocktail and sharp-hopped bite. However, it finishes very bland and watery, which is a little odd for this type of ale. Pass the vinegar Jeeves, this stuff isn't bad. But it's not great either. (I'm sure I'll give it another chance.)

 489 characters

Photo of Shultzerdugen
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

55 cl brown bottle with no dates.

Poured slightly hazed amber with a thin froth.

Smell was sweet malts paired with sharp hops. An underlying fruitiness I find common to English beers.

Light, crisp mouthfeel. Peppery, citric hops balanced with sweet malts. The beer gained more assertiveness and pleasantness as it warmed.

Alcohol and hopping seemed low for the style. I can't see this beer making it around the horn of Africa in an old timey ship. That said it wasn't too crappy either.

 498 characters

Photo of TongoRad
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, dark copper color with a slight haze. Decent head, slightly tan, which manages to stick around for quite a while.

Aromatic bouquet of caramel/butterscotch (diacetyl)/spicy hops. Some nuttiness and fig jam is in the background.

Flavor is mostly caramel and fruit- with a strong shot of the diacetyl in the finish. The butterscotch presence is perhaps a bit more pronounced than I would like it. Mouthfeel is full for an ale of this gravity. Bitterness is at a decent enough level, though not obvious.

Even for an English IPA this beer is not exactly to style (i.e. fermentation byproducts, caramel) though it is a pleasant enough drinking ale. This review is done "on its own terms", so to speak.

 711 characters

Photo of arguemaniac
3.87/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: A dark orange/brown color. A creamy white head, then a white, medium-thick lace.

Aroma: Grain and caramel, with floral hops as well.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Heavy grain flavor with hints of caramel, toffee, etc. Spicy hop flavor balances nicely. Hop spice in the finish. Creamy mouthfeel, with moderate carbonation.

More than decent; a smooth and enjoyable English IPA. Recommended.

 400 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

550 ml bottle sampled, no freshness dating. Pours a nice dark honey almond shade, fairly clear and supporting a creamy light tan head with some retentive powers. lacing is quite well developed and long lasting. Nose is malty, yeasty, bready. This is classicaly British brew, maltyness balanced nicely by understated but present hopping for an IPA.Mineraly water quite evident. Real nice ale , give me some english chedder and bread, and I'll be in beer heaven.

 460 characters

Photo of WetCoaster
3.66/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A clear, deep golden bronze with a nice eggshell head. Good duration and some frothy lacing on the glasswall. Fine carbonation races to the surface.

Smell: A bit meek, although I'm used to the high-alpha, mega-hopped WCIPAs. Floral hop and a bit of toffee malt, but man, you have to look for it.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Well... I don't know. Again, as it is with every Sam Smith beer, it's very Sam Smith. A nice combination of flavor and bittering hops, with hop oils, a touch of diacetyl and sharp carbonation keeping it buttery, smooth and lively. The malt come through and sweetens it up a touch, giving it a bit of fruity juiciness. But then, as always, that insane mineral hard water astringency comes through and pretty much sucks all the moisture out of your body.

Drinkability: Oh, you could drink these until the cows come home. Light, mild and low ABV makes these a nice session.

I'm sure that if back in the day you had the misfortune of being a British soldier in mid-August India, this is what you would have been served. But that was then, and right now I'd far rather be sipping a big-ass, dirt-cheap local hop monster. It's a good beer, but it's hard to get too excited about it.

 1,215 characters

Photo of theozag
3.24/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nuzzles into the glass with a thin white head on top that fades quickly. Has a thick, honey-like appearance with extensive clouding and lots of carbonation bubbles. Smell is fragrant, almost fruity, but surprisingly weak - in short, not what you'd expect from a good IPA. This IPA starts malty smooth and becomes a sharp, oat-infused hop edge to a slightly sour apple flavor. It is medium-bodied. The finish is somewhat dry with a strong, lingering aftertaste.

 460 characters

Photo of Toddv29424
4.09/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a dark copper color, with little head. The smell is much less pronounced when compared with other IPAs, a welcome change (for me at least). The taste is the same way, very understated and taking some time for the full flavor to come about. When you hold it in your mouth a fruity taste takes hold, then when you swallow it the traditional IPA taste emerges, but its mixed with the same potpourri of fruit. Unlike many of the Samuel Smiths, I feel as though I could have a couple of these and not get tired of the taste. Great for an IPA fan who is looking for a larger taste out of their beers.

 605 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
2.2/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a hazy full copper color and is topped by a two finger thick, frothy, tan colored head. The aroma is of ripe fruit, plums, apple, strawberry, earthy hops, and a component that reminds me of oxidation. The taste is thin and dead on the front of my tongue and unfortunately the rest of this beer does not get much better. There are notes of cider, wan stale malt, and cardboard. Despite putting this beer in a brown bottle, this beer is still quite stale and lame.

 468 characters

Photo of kosmoraios
3.33/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange-gold colour with a white head that clings to the glass tenaciously and forms a white island of foam in the middle of the ale. Smells of fruit - strawberry and bananna - and a bit of hops and malt. Tastes fruity with a caramel hint. Hoppy, but not enough in my opinion. A bit of malt comes through, nicely balancing the hops. Pretty smooth for an IPA, none of the characteristic bitterness that I enjoy. Smooth and a bit oily in the mouth, with ample carbonation. A bit of pepperyness, but not enough in my opinion. Very drinkable though, because of it's smoothness and low ABV. All in all a decent EIPA, a good median example of the style, but not the best of the best.

 676 characters

Photo of NEhophead
3.17/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Creamy white head that fades to a whispy sheet rather quickly. Some thin and spotted lacing with not much strength. Light copper in color with a bit of cloudiness.

Light floral hops with a touch of lemon. A pretty big butterscotch component with a honey sweet malt aroma.

Honey and butterscotch; lightly toasted malt. Floral hop flavors with a touch of pine making for a slightly astringent flavor. Slight bitterness followed by a wheat and almost bleach-flavored, astringent aftertaste.

Medium bodied; prickly and grainy on the palate.

At best, an average tasting version of the style. Not too flattering in terms of flavor. Unfortunately, one of Sammy Smith's to pass on.

 685 characters

Photo of Naerhu
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Beautiful amber/red transparent body, with fluffy off-white head.
Smell: Nice big malt and spicy hop aroma. Cocoa?
Taste: Surprised to find the malt so dominant in an IPA. Light but long lasting bitterness. I have had many a pale ale far more bitter than this. Pleasantly sweet, but only a touch of sweetness.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and finely carbonated.

 365 characters

Photo of Troyone
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear apple juice color with minimal head and some carbonation.

Light cookie caramel malt aroma with a light pine fruity hop smell and hints of vanilla.

Taste has a lightly sweet and moderately bitter nutty caramel malt; lightly pine, grapefruit, and lime hops; and a background of bubble gum, butterscotch, licorice and cola.

Mouthfeel has a light body, almost watery not quite syrupy texture, lively fizzy carbonation, and a metallic chalky finish.

A definite session beer and the best Britain beer I've had in a bottle.

 543 characters

Samuel Smith's India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
3.71 out of 5 based on 1,885 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.