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

932 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: 932 | Ratings: 1,875
Photo of daledeee
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Impressive pour. Nice creamy head wih a beautiful dark brown or chestnut color. Not near as much hops in the nose as I am accustomed to. Rather sweet smelling. The taste is not all that hoppy either. It must be the Americans who have gone over the top with hops. Nice creamy mouthfeel. Medium hop taste with a nice malt balance. This beer was chilled moderately and I think that might be right.

 394 characters

Photo of Beastdog75
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'll admit that I'm not the most experienced IPA drinker out there, so I won't be able to make the comparisons to this and some of infamous West Coast IPAs. But comparing this to Sam Smith's other pale ales, this one holds up just as well as the rest. This is a bit hoppier than your average pale ale, but it is a well balanced brew that is highly quaffable.

Sam Smith's India Ale pours a orange/red amber color with a nice off-white foam head that retains well and leaves some lace. A nice, crisp, perfumey and aromatic hoppy smell arises out of this beer. It strikes me as being somewhat citric and woodsy. There are some malt undertones as well. The mouthfeel is smooth, but not quite as smooth as Smith's other pale ales. Moderate fizziness present. The focal point is indeed the hoppiness, but the light malt sweetness with some caramel notes balances this one out. The hops do have a sense of perfuminess about them, but also give off notes of citrus, light pine, and possibly a bit of earthiness too. A sense of spiciness hits the back of the tastebuds as well. These hop flavors give the brew a sense of crispness and pleasurable drinkability. A long, drying bitterness ensues when the beer is swallowed and lingers for many minutes. The beer concludes with little alcoholic warmth.

I have yet to be disappointed with a Samuel Smith's beer. Each one is unique in its own way (even the organic versions). I could drink this beer for quite some time. As for food accompaniments, I would recommend some spicy Chinese food, or maybe a nice T-Bone steak. A beer for all seasons.

 1,587 characters

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

Golden body with a reddish tint, white stable head, moderate carbonation. Spicy hoppiness with some bread and grain.
Taste is as good as the smell, the hops are stronger but are balanced with a faint malt presence, some grass in the taste as well.
Moderate body, clean feel and pleasant after taste. This is a pretty good India Ale, easy to enjoy.


 362 characters

Photo of RoyalT
4.09/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Almost clear orange in the body with a little carbonation and a big head that went down quickly and cleanly.

Smell – The floral hop aroma is laden with fruit, predominantly peach. I can also pick up some grapefruit. Behind that is a strong malt backbone. This is yet another balanced Sam Smith’s.

Taste – There it is; the classic Sam Smith. The malt base is laced with caramel and extremely smooth. The hops are fruity as they are in the nose with a bit of spicing.

Mouthfeel – Once again, this is an extremely smooth and creamy Sam Smith’s. The buttery undertones, mildness and balance of flavors, and subtle carbonation give this one a terrific mouthfeel. I feel that this is the strong point of the ale.

Drinkability – Not your heavy-hitting West Coast IPA by any means, but a terrific session ale in step with traditional English tastes.

 873 characters

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

“Top fermented in Stone Yorkshire Squares.”
It pours a brassy copper color with a fairly good-sized white head and some trails of lace. A floral hop aroma is front and center and light malty smell mingles with a faint whiff of cut hay. The biscuity malt body is lightly grainy with just a hint of caramel sweetness. This highly hopped ale displays a sharp grapefruit bitterness with a mild lemony sour taste. The light metallic tang provides some back of the throat edginess. A mildly herbal quality offers little reprieve from the bitterness, but does manage to provide an interesting angle to ponder.

 606 characters

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

Poured a fine white tan head that clinged to the side of the glass as it held itself up. The aroma is fresh, moderately hoppy aroma. Hazy, amber colored beer. The taste isn't bitter at all, suprising. A pretty balanced beer, the hops edge out the mildly sweet malty flavors, but aren't IPA's supposed to be more hoppy? and bitter? I like, it just reminds me more of a hoppy amber lager than an IPA.

 398 characters

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

The Head, thick and frothy quickly diminished into the amber colored beer. There was little, if any carbonation. A very hoppy, yet floral scent led to a very hoppy taste. the bitterness of it is exactly what an IPA should be. Very strong with a nice mouthfeel. I would drink this again.

 286 characters

Photo of SheepNutz
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

550mL bottle poured into a pint glass. It pours a slighty hazy deep amber color with a large 3 finger head. There is a large amount of lacing left on the glass. The smell is full of hops and flowers, it smells like spring. Very nice. The taste starts a bit malty with some caramel sweetness. In the middle there is a little kick of citrus, and at the end a good bitter hop finish. The mouthfeel is fairly thick and strong. The drinkability is also pretty good. Truely a classic original IPA. Whenever you get tired of all the "double" and "imperial" IPAs, come home to this quintessential brew.

 594 characters

Photo of byrd
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden-amber with a good number of bubbles rising to the surface. The yellowish head is medium sized with frothy bubbles and recedes to a good lace that is a little sticky. The aroma is of caramel malts with notes of mild hops. Nice medium-full mouthfeel that is smooth and slick feeling. The malt and hops seem very well balanced throughout. Nice subdued caramel malts towards the start, and a bit of a mild hop bite towards the finish. The hops linger into the aftertaste and are slightly citric. All in all, a very nicely balanced mild English IPA that would make for a good session brew. I enjoyed this one, but have to say that, these days, I’m leaning a bit more towards the more assertive IPAs.

 715 characters

Photo of winomark
3.51/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a nice copper with an off-white thick head.

Aroma: Good hop spice and complimentary malt, but somewhat muted.

Taste: Nice hops up front, but the malt dominates the middle and finish. The hops blend well.

Mouthfeel: Coating, but crisp. Good malt and hop balance.

Drinkability: A nice, easy-drinking IPA from a great producer. A good crowd pleaser.

 376 characters

Photo of beerguy101
3.46/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Copper color. Medium head. Aroma is fruity and spicy. A medium bodied IPA. Malts are nutty, a touch fruity and slightly sweet. Hops are slightly spicy, with a touch of grapefruityness. This is an IPA that is very much in the English style of IPA. Yet, it still has a nice hop bite. Well balanced and fairly smooth. Very drinkable. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and crisp. Aftertaste is somewhat bitter.

 417 characters

Photo of pezoids
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I can't believe I haven't tried this beer before. This ale poured out a clear orange amber color, and the look of it is inviting. Nice fruity hop aroma. The taste is dry, full of citrus flavors and bitter. There’s also a nice sweet malt body with some caramel and maybe orange. Not too heavy, medium bodied and finishes dry and crisp. Very drinkable.

 351 characters

Photo of longpondbeerman
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A good example of the English-style IPa, with a sightly buttery feel to offset the hops tanginess. It pours a lovely amber, just like you'd expect if you were at any pub in Great Britain, and the smell is lightly citrus with a boost of floral hops. The taste is not really very complex; after an intial burst of caramel and lemon, the taste fades quickly and there a dullness to the finish. Still, a worthy brew.

 412 characters

Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The look is very nice with a coppery body and off white head that leaves spatterings of lace. The nose gives off the citrus hops notes to be sure, but follows with a nice malt undertone that is quite nice. There is a great sense of citrus in the taste, mostly of grapefruit and not too terribly bitter. A bit bitely in feel, but not overly so. A good India if not one of the top.

 379 characters

Photo of BrewAskew
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I truly enjoyed Sam Smith's IPA. I feel vindicated in that my homebrewed IPA's taste more like this than the west coast hop-bombs. It is OK for an IPA to have significant maltiness, in my opinion. This is just a good English pale ale with an extra helping of hops. Never mind the IBU (bitterness) pissing contest of American brewers. Here are the particulars: Pours a nice thick head that subsided to 1/2 inch (more like 1 cm), deep golden-amber color, low to moderate carbonation. aroma is predominantly sweet, biscuity malt and earthy spicy hops in the background. Flavor is a nice intermingling of malt and strong hops. Very balanced and luxurous in the mouth. Fnished easy and leaves a pleasant malty/alcohol/hoppy aftertaste. What I sampled is likely an old bottle because it is imported. I can only imagine what this fine elixir tastes like at the brewery.

 862 characters

Photo of Rumrunner
3.81/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

550ml. bottle

A very nice mellow IA. Not what I was expecting but I was pleasantly surprised.

Pours a transparent copper color with a nice foamy head. The head shrinks but it sticks to the glass some on the way down. The scents are leafy with some spices. A decent amount of hops. There is a crispness on the nose.

The flavors are hops with a more grassy flavor. Not too much citrus or fruit in this one. Some butterscotch and even a cinnamon spice. The hops do not bite but there is some bitterness to the IA. A nice clean finish on the palate.

It drinks well and has a nice crisp feel to it. It is not near as hoppy as American IPAs. A smooth ale.

 663 characters

Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.32/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A real pleasant suprise. My expectations for this were not that high, (even though I love Samuel Smith's beers) because I'm used to stronger IPA's. After an uneventful pour, the first taste grabbed me. Crisp, fruity, with just the right amount of bitterness. Nice, smooth mouthfeel. I recently had Fuller's IPA, and I think I like this one more. I can see where the micros used these beers as a starting point, as all of the elements are there. Lots of citrus, and the body is fuller than a lot of the micro IPA's.I will purchase more of this (and for those of you angered by Sammy's clear bottles, this was in a brown one!).

 625 characters

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

This is one of those wonderful rare ales that catches you a bit off guard. Pours into your glass a unique, orange tinted hue. Nice color, nice smell, take a sip and the taste just knocks you over. It has its own flavor, something quite complicated and unique to just this Ale. Sort of a sharp, tangy bitterness is the only way I can think of to describe it.

I know that sounds bad, but trust me, it's good.

This one seemes destined to become one of my favorite pale ales. Would probably make a fairly good baseline against which to compare all other IPAs.

 563 characters

Photo of Darkale
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Red-orange body, thin tan head with great lacing.

Sweet aroma has hints of yeast and spice.

Taste is yeasty and bready, chewy in the mouth, with faint fruit. Raspy and fresh. Mouthfeel and taste were very, very pleasant.

I have had so many gigantic American IPAs that I cannot tell whether this is a typical English IPA. It was not quite as hoppy as I am used to, but it was certainly more hoppy than a standard pale ale, and had a nice bite with good carbonation.

Certainly a good Sam Smith brew, and a beer that one should never decline.

 552 characters

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

Pours a near clear dark amber with a thick creamy off-white head that eventually settles, but remains on top of the body. India ale's aroma consists of malt and floral hops. Some sweetness also detected in the nose. Smooth and medium-bodied mouthfeel. Prickly hop bite upfront, followed by flavors of caramel malt and biscuit. The finish has a lingering juicy hop bitterness. It's nice to have an IPA without the monster hop overload that its American cousins often contain. I wish all of Samuel Smith's beers came in brown bottles. Nicely done.

 545 characters

Photo of bmills1608
4.37/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the few Samuel Smiths that is presented in a brown bottle. Go figure. Interesting, typically "old fashioned" Samuel Smith packaging. A nice little historical blurb on the history of "India Ale" on the label with the letters IPA superimposed over top in very light yellow.

Poured a handsome orange/copper color into an imperial pint glass. A rough pour toward the end created a nice large fluffy head, tight foam with some scattered larger bubbles here and there. On the nose was the quintessential "floral" aroma. Not explosive or over the top, but pleasantly fresh, spicy and even a bit oily. Nice.

Taste - pleasingly bitter on the first sip with a spicy firm hop tingle and taste. A fairly firm malt presence then arrives on the scene. Soft but juicy maltyness, flavors of toffee, tea leaves, butter and exotic fruits all seem to be jumping around. Overall a rather plump full flavor, rather complex. Towards the end some chewy dough flavors arrive. Finishes with some nice smoldering bitterness, spice and a bit dry. A more evident fruitiness develops as the beer warmed a bit. Mouthfeel was soft and a little airy in the mouth, not overly creamy at all but definitely not light either.

Overall - A fantastic ale, and a great example of an English style IPA. Wonderfully complex, fully flavored from start to finish. Samuel Smith does no wrong in my book.

 1,374 characters

Photo of jeffboo
4.18/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful copper colored brew sporting a thick billowy cream colored top. NIce hop aroma here, medicinal, herbal, and slightly lemon/lime and hint os sweet malt. Medium bodied with a very nicely complex malt flavors (caramelly and toasty) finishing with a smooth herbal hop bitterness. The herbal hop flavor melds nicely with the malt with a hint of enjoyable butterscotch. Very easy to drink with great balance and complexity.

 429 characters

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

Pours a nice clear golden amber colour. Good sized head that stays with the beer, good lace. Puts on a good show in the glass. Gently carbonated. Smells of apple, caramel and some malt. Just mild hops and malt on finish. Smooth and dry on the mouth, doesn't linger overlong. Easy to drink, not overpowering in any way.

 318 characters

Photo of bushwhacker
4.03/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An all around impressive beer; pours a slightly golden amber with a robust white head and healthy lacing. I was really impressed with the color of the head and the remarkable color and transparency of the ale, a it's light-diffracting qualities; really nice to view and appreciate what it takes to make such an ale. Malty aromas trying to break above the overwhelming hoppiness, and good taste and average mouthfeel. A mildly bitter finish completes a very enjoyable and "quality" member of the IPA family. As much a pleasure to view as to drink.

 546 characters

Photo of taez555
4.34/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this beer into my Sammy Smith 20oz imperial pint glass. It poured a big white head with a very clear golden amber body.

The nose was very inviting. Lots of sweet malts smells. Citrus peel. Orange or lemon peel. Even hints at apricots.

The taste was VERY bitter. Almost astringently bitter. Tannic, like sucking on tea bag, or eating a citrus peel. Not to say it was a bad thing at all. Just very bitter. Lots of earthy, almost dirt like hop flavors. Very malty at the same time with some dry fruit flavors along the way.

It finished very bitter and lingered softly for a long time.

Although the hops overshadowed the malt, it's deffinatly a big part of this beer. What's really interesting about is how English it is. Most America IPA's use the grapefruit citrusy Cascade hops to death, this beer seems to do the same overhopping but with a distinctly English earthy Hop, I'd guess Kent Golding or some other classic English Hop. It's a very refreshingly different over hop usage. If you looked up the term English Bitter, this beer would be the deffinition.

 1,077 characters

Samuel Smith's India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
3.71 out of 5 based on 1,875 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.