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

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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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Reviews: 936 | Ratings: 1,883
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a nice amber ale with a one-finger head. Looked like a good IPA.

The aroma was of aromatic hops, a bit of spruce, some nice medium-bodied malts, and a slight fruitiness. Very interesting.

The taste was initially bitter, and very smooth. It was a little astringent, and a bit nutty, with traces of woodiness. Not as hoppy as I would have liked, although it went down easily. Mouthfeel was a bit thin. Still, rather drinkable.

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Photo of steinlifter
4.32/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This poured a deep golden almost copper, nice head, with good retention, aroma was sweet and fruity with a hop whiff, taste is hop bite on the start, followed by a nice malty, fruity mellowing, hint of floral also, mouthfeel is crisp and well carbonated, drinkability is excellent, quality brew, I will have again!

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

Pours a pretty amber gold with moderate carbonation and a good-sized off-white head that sticks arounda few minutes. Aroma is herbal, smoky 9?), not sharp and strong like US IPAs, quite mellow. Flavor: definite hop presence, flaovors are more like a US Pale Ale, rather than an IPA. Are there hops? Sure. And quite nice at that, but not strong. This is actually pretty nicely balanced and enjoyable! And best of all, this is a good beer to have when you want more than one!

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Photo of CVC
3.39/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Came in a 18.7 oz. dark bottle with no foil on top; served in a pint glass. Pours a light, tan/brown color with a thick, off-white, three-finger head. Leaves much lacing. Smell is yeasty, and almost nutty. Tastes yeasty, semi-nutty, with subtle hoppiness. A thin mouthfeel.

This stuff has an amazing head. Taller, thicker, and leaves more lace than any other Samuel Smith beer. Smell and taste are good. Less hoppy than most IPAs. I didn't really like the mouthfeel of this one though--too thin. Not too impressed with this beer, but not too shabby. I'd buy it again.

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

Typical of Samuel Smith's labels, there a lot of clutter but its quaint I guess. Poured, its lovely though. Nice casting of foam on top, deep amber hue and rather nice clarity.

The aroma is apple-cask funk, but not the good kind. And even though its an India, the hop seems absent.

The taste is rather nice, though I'd be more comfortable calling this a bitter. I guess the ABV and color put it up. And they did make the IPA. So sweet and starchy malts with a hint of apple tartness and a sour finish is how this ale comes across. Not bad though.

Still, it leaves the mouth a little sugary and that gets annoying if you only want a single.

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Photo of TastyTaste
3.85/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear copper color, white fast-fading head leaves a ring of bubbles around the glass. Smells very lightly of sweet floral hops, fairly muted for my American IPA taste. Metallic and hopcentric, but with a sweet malty twist. Not comparable to the hop profile of an American IPA, but for being an EIPA, it is pretty good. Very drinkable and non-intrusive.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.74/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a fairly opaque amber color with a fairly small white head. Head retention is minimal, but leaves a pretty lace. Smells of roasted hops and caramel, plus some other fruity aromas. Love the smell. The taste is no exception. I love this beer, and will definately buy another in the near future. Another great one from Sam Smith's.

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Photo of ghurux86
3.92/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a golden amber color, kinda cloudy with a nice creamy off-white head, somewhat tan. smell is slightly citrus of some type with some kind of spice, maybe. it also smells of hops. the smell is pretty sweet, there may be a hint of caramel in there. taste good, not sure what it is exactly though. the aftertaste is definitely the bitterness of the hops. as far as mouthfeel goes, it is lightly carbonated and medium bodied, not too thick or thin, pretty good but nothing exceptional. i'd drink it again and may buy it often due to its not very expensive price. pretty good overall.

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Photo of DPMomutant
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is a nice, solid copper. White foamy head, decent in size it retains well leaving some lacing.

You can tell this is an English IPA as the malts come out in the smell as much as the hops, giving this some nice subtlety.

The taste I must first say is surprisingly fresh. Last I checked, I was in Missouri and not in England so that's cool. Those in India would have been pleased. The extra hop bitterness compared to Smith's standard pales is notable but the balance is intact.

The carbonation is fairly light for my taste, but it does allow it to go down very smoothly. Very even consistency, not too watery or heavy.

This ale is quite drinkable and sessionable. Good before, during or after a meal and certainly not so hard you can't take a number of pints.

Anyone expecting this to be a breakthrough ale may be disappointed. And I like a good, aggressive American style IPA as much as most anyone but sitting here late on a Sunday night winding down the weekend, this goes really good.

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

Pours a deep, rich golden color with a small, stark white head. Aroma is slightly malty and biscuity, with a light citrusy hoppiness. Wet, slightly foamy mouthfeel is just a little thin, but still nice. Palate is very well-balanced. Light, rich malt with a touch of sweetness is complemented by lemony hops. The aftertaste is a slightly bitter, with a nice buttery character. Not perfect for sessions, but I could drink a lot of this.

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Photo of rocketmotor
3.82/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice orangish color, smallish head but good lacing of the glass. The aroma is of spicy hops, malt and I can also detect the yeast.

The beer tastes very good and is nicely balanced. There is a great interplay of the malt and hops flavor and you drink it. The finsh is of spicy hops, lasting but very good. The malt flavor is also lends a small bit of sweetness to the beer. Nice mouthfeel, pretty highly carbonated. Very drinkable in the long term.

This is a very good beer, just remember it is an English IPA and not an American IPA, so it is not a hop monster.

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Photo of hero27
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from a dark Imperial Pint bottle. Very prestigous-looking label and inviting appearance. Pours a pale amber, almost orange color. Large, off-white head is very frothy and holds well.. Good carbonation and somewhat spotty lacing left on the pint glass..

Smell: Obvious hop aroma considering it's an IPA, but not as over-the-top as I feared they may be. Hints of fruit as well, and you can definitely pick up some malt in the background. Fairly complex smell..

Taste: Very nice blend of malt & hops...very well balanced...malty and smooth... It's obvious how much care goes into Sam Smith's beer..

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and very pleasant mouthfeel for an IPA. Very creamy, with well-balanced flavors

Drinkability: I have to say, when I think of "Sam Smith's", I usually think of their famous Nut Brown Ale and Imperial Stout...but this one surprised me. I love IPAs so I figured I'd give this one a try, and I was not dissapointed. Very drinkable for such a full-flavored and well-rounded beer.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pint bottle, in an English nonik glass.

Appearance: Light copper-amber color, with nice initial head of foam that settles down quickly, as typical in English beers.

Aroma: Pleasant, though light, hop aroma, with a little sweet touch of malt.

Flavor/Body: Malt up front, quickly giving way to nice hop flavor, slightly citrusy, slightly spicy. Bitterness isn't high by American IPA standards, but is still above average for most English ales. Like several of the Samuel Smith beers, perhaps a side-effect of their well water, there is a bit of a tannic mouthfeel around the edges of the mouth and the tongue. Carbonation a little on low side.

Another good beer from Samuel Smith's excellent line.

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Photo of Hibernator
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this out of a 12 oz brown bottle and served in a British pint glass.

Copper and burnt orange in color. Fluffy white head on top with a solid presentation. Sticky lacings look creamy in appearance.

Aroma of English hops, apples and sweet malt.

Light to medium body. Bitter and dry on the palate. Beautiful English hops provide a strong hop presence. Bitter finish reminds me of biting into a ripe apple.

Excellent English style IPA. A quality beer that has a great drinkability level.

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Photo of Hunter
4.38/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Viogorous pour yeilded a thick head of tan froth that eventualy clumps and settles down to a comfortably enduring 1/2" head. Beer is orange-red, utterly clear with only a few trace bubles betraying any carbonation.

No skunkiness in the aroma (it came in a bottle of brown glass - Sam Smith's are you paying attention here?). Hops are fresh and clear in the nose, but much more subtle than Stone's IPA.

Hops present once again in the taste, but much more refined and subtle than Stone's, which comes across like an assault. This one gives the malt a chance to breathe and develop. Sweet and bitter all at once. If Stone is Beethoven's 9th, this is a Bach concerto.

Silky smooth mouthfeel and a clean aftertaste finish out this winner. One of Smoth's best, right up there with the Oatmeal Stout.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Luminous tangerine peel orange capped with a pale orange-tinted ecru cap that is heavily creamy and that leaves a few scattered chunks of foamy lace when it departs. A classic IPA look, English or otherwise. The nose is appetizingly earthy-fruity, exactly what I would expect from a beer that uses English hops. It's weaker than I'd like, but the head is still at two fingers and is probably muffling the aroma to some extent.

India Ale isn't as hoppy as it could be, probably because my palate has become used to American IPAs. That's not quite accurate. The simple truth is that I prefer the taste of American hops. It's obvious that there's a fair amount of biscuity malt on hand, but I could do with a bit more pale malt flavor. Bittersweet orange dominates the flavor profile. The beer, in general, is sweeter than expected; a positive quality in my eyes.

I'm enjoying the finish at least as much as the beginning and the middle. It consists of an orangey-appley fruity linger with a gentle tongue tweak of bitter hop leaf. The body is closer to medium than to light and the mouthfeel is nicely buoyant. I wonder why this beer--alone among the Samuel Smith line--is sold in a brown bottle? Non sequitur minute is over, now back to our review...

Samuel Smith's India Ale is one of the handful of standard bearers for the English IPA style. The flavor grew on me considerably by the bottom of the bottle and even though we'll most likely never have a love affair (I'll think of her as Samantha Smith for the purposes of this sentiment), we do have a strong mutual attraction. At least on my end.

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Samuel Smith's India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
3.71 out of 5 based on 1,883 ratings.
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