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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: 932 | Ratings: 1,872
Photo of mdfb79
3.63/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Received this one from SpeedwayJim in Round 4 of the 666 BIF; thanks Jim! Poured from a 550ml bottle into my Bruery tulip.

a - Pours a hazy dark orange-brown color with one finger of fluffy white head and moderate carbonation evidenty. Head leaves some nice lacing on the flass and two inches last throughout drinking it.

s - Smells of yeast, apples, fruity malts, bready malts, and apple juice. Smell is a bit sweet and the apples come through a lot. Not getting a ton of hops, but it's enjoyable still.

t - Tastes of apples, fruity malts, bready malts, toasted malts, biscuits, and caramel malts. Again, a little apple juice taste to it, but very heavy on the malts. Not getting much hops in it, but it's enjoyable.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Very smooth and creamy, and very easy to drink.

o - Overall a pretty nice beer. Not a lot of hops, and the taste especially is more focused on malts, but enjoyable none the less. Lots of apples in the nose and taste; the nose reminded me a bit of apple juice. Very easy to drink, would have it again.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am continuing to drink my way through the Samuel Smith's oeuvre, thanks to a recent inspiration in one of the forums. Just in case anyone wondered what I was doing ...

From the bottle: "Top femented in stone Yorkshire squares"; "In the 19th century there was a considerable trade in ale from Britain to India. The land of spice was Britain's major export market. The heavy hop levels of these pale ales shipped on the long voyage to India naturally preserved the ale and complimented the flavourful and exotic cuisine of the East. Samuel Smith's India Ale is characterised by thre colour of a golden sunset, a refined maltiness and an emphasis on the aroma and flavour from Britain's best hop gardens."; "Brewed with well water (the original well sunk in 1758 is still in use, with the hard well water being drawn from 85 feet underground), malted barley, yeast and hops. Fermented in 'stone Yorkshire squares' to create an exceptionally full-flavoured complex ale with an abundance of maltiness and fruity hop character."; "Samuel Smith's brews at a small, traditional British brewery, the oldest brewery in Yorkshire."; Captioning a picture: "The hot India Ale is cooled down over the copper vertical cooler at the Old Brewery before pitching with yeast."

Visually, this was a winner right from the pour from the bottle into a glass. I got two rocky, tawny fingers of head with moderate retention. Color was a coppery orange-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose had an unexpected metallic tang up front with a light caramel maltiness underneath. Mouthfeel was medium with more of that metallic tang initially, but then followed by a pleasant malty sweetness and finally, a piney hoppiness. Finish seemed to linger with the hops, but make no mistake, this was not the intense hoppiness that many of of have become accustomed to with the American version of the style. This was more akin to hop tea.

Neck was stamped: "SD14J1".

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh yes this is a classic, appears the majestic amber copper tone with an amazing beige cream toned head to complement the body. Aroma is decent floral hops with a nice underlying malt profile very good flavor that is tag teamed with some pine cone hops accompanying the malty molasses like sweetness. The taste is butterscotch malt profile brought on by the open fermentation that this and other Sam Smith beers under go. The nice rolling hop profile is a creamy buttery combo. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and if you like IPAs this is a classic British IPA to get started on before getting kicked in the teeth with some Cascade hops from the American counterparts we have all come to know and love.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.76/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S. Smith IPA is a clear copper with a moderate level of carbonation. The medium-sized head is thick and light brown in color. Aroma is of fruity malt with an edge of dry hoppiness. The overall strength of the aroma is fairly weak. Taste is of a sweet caramel English malt with an edge of fruitiness. Hop flavor here isn't as strong as expected, it mainly provides a dry, herbal aspect to the dominate malt flavors. Flavors are complex and nicely layered, the only downsides here are a weak aroma and the disapointing lack of hoppiness.

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Photo of jwc215
3.3/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle:

Pours copper with a thin, bubbly white head.

The smell is of grassy and earthy notes with caramel and bready background. Slight spiciness.

This one tastes like a classic English Pale Ale with just a touch more spice. That would be fine, but this is an IPA - well...English style hops come through in an earthy, slightly metallic, way with some vague spiciness, and there are subtle herbal notes, but the sweet caramelish, grainy malt almost overpowers everything. Not a bad taste, but pretty lame for an English IPA. Some spice in the finish tries to make up for it, but...not quite.
From my understanding, traditional IPAs were hoppy with higher alcohol (which this doesn't really have), but over time they became more modest in hop-presence and alcohol. With the fairly recent re-emergence of the style, they regained more of the original traits. This one did not. The alcohol is fairly mild, the hops ...well....don't quite stand up to the malt.
It is medium-bodied, with a touch of iron sticking to the palate.
Not bad, but this great brewery's IPA is too wimpy for me.

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Photo of tdm168
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber color with a slight orangish hue with a quarter of an inch of loose, soft, white head that has decent retention and leaves nice lacing on the glass. The nose is big, malty and bready with a slight apple-like fruitiness. The flavor is bready with a caramel-like sweetness up front followed by a fruity, apple note. The mouthfeel is smooth, medium bodied, and lightly carbonated.

This is a very malty IPA with little hop character. It's more fruity than hoppy. It's a little sweet for my liking with the caramel malt really coming through.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

One of the few Samuel Smith brews I have put off for a long time. From the 550ml bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Out of the bottle a faint copper red body, crystal clear with lots of large cola bubbles sticking to the sides of the glass. Head forms real big but soapy white, with large bubbles. Some fairly good staying power also.

Nose is very biscuity sensations. Moderate toasty grains with hints of fruit yeast esters. Slightly powdery. Hop angle is non existent mostly, smells mostly like a good solid bitter.

Palate seems to bring no surprises. Hop angle comes out a little bit forward with mild bitternes, but bowled over with a good classic large malt biscuit character. Hints of light buttery toast sensations, and mild caramel, with a light hop bitterness pull through on the finish. Not particularly hop noticeable but subtle.

Overall, a simple easy drinking brew, and truly English in flavor. It will do.

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

Color is a gorgeous ruby red, head is fine, full, and off-white in color. Aroma is overflowing with fruit: peach is on top, but we can also detect apricot, grapefruit, orange, citrus. Very sweet and inviting. So drink it already!
DEliriously delicious! This is a terrifically well-rounded IPA: not too hoppy, with malt providing just enough support. Very little bitterness upon the palate, and surprising for an ale with an aroma so redolent with sweet,delightful fruitiness. On the tongue, more fruit flavors come through, too. I'm picking up cherries, and melons, and ggod gosh, it's gorgeous! Extreme drinkability! Some minimal bitterness comes through on the palate, but not to trouble the average beer drinker. An excellent introductory IPA. Me, I like mine much hoppier.
A terrifically well-rounded brew, and very drinkable. Finish is simple, sweet, and ever-lasting. Another excellent Smith offering.

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

A - Brown orange nectarine body. Nice white head with great retention and excellent lace.

S - Fair amount of bready malt in the nose. Mossy hop with an edge of mineral.

T - A classic English IPA. Solid malt backbone, with round earthy hops through a mineral and biscuity center. Residual hop bitters balance a honey-like sweetness through the finish.

M - Medium/full body. Nice carbonation.

O - A great example of an English IPA with a great balance and flavor profile, and a nice change of pace from the monotony of American IPAs on the market.

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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 drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard conical pint glass. Beer is clear and amber in color. Forms a tight white head that is thick and persists. Leaves lacing on the glass as the beer is drank. Carbonation is steady and keeps the head up.

Aroma is about as expected, hoppy, but not as hoppy as an American version would, and malt, maltier than an American. The hops are reserved more, also can smell the water, that sounds odd but that's how I feel.

Beer has a medium mouthfeel / body. Not thick, you aren't chewing your way through the hops, and its not thin. Smooth and fills the mouth but the bitterness does not overwhelm. The drinkability of this beer is high as well, easily put this one away and there is nothing stopping me from doing it again.

English IPAs are interesting for an American hop head like myself. This beer definitely had the hop character I've grown to expect from IPAs, it was just more subtle and reserved. I have enjoyed this beer and brewery for many years, Sam Smiths is probably my favorite English IPA I've ever had.

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

01/24/09- Purchased at Whole Foods in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 550ml bottle with no freshness info found. Poured into my 20oz Pizza Port glass.

Appearance- Perfect example of a deep amber or copper colored pour. About a one fingered head with xome decent spotted and light lace patchwork left behind.

Smell- No much of a nose. Some caramel roasted hops and some minor hoppy aspects.

Taste- Not really hoppy for an IPA..actually considerably malty. Lots of caramel malt...medium roasted flavor...not to burnt, not to light. Some lightly bitter english hops, but mostly a nice caramel malted flavor.

Mouthfeel- Medium to a slightly higher carbonation level. More hoppy flavor in the aftertaste than the regular drinking phase.

Drinkability- Great tasting beer, not sure wether it's an IPA or not, but very drinkable and recommended...just don't think you are getting an English hopfest.

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Photo of stevoj
3.38/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Hard to believe this was the style that launched the IPA. Very malty, and with a hops bite unfamiliar to English ales. Dark golden with adequate small head. mostly malt, but some bitterness on the finish.

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Photo of Tone
3.77/5  rDev +1.6%
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 TheSevenDuffs
3.08/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured in to Founder's tulip glass.

A - Medium orange with a yellow glow around the edges and one finger of bubbly cream coloured head.

S - Slight hop bitterness up front with floral notes and a mild sweet caramel aroma in the background.

T - A crisp hop bitterness up front that is more reminiscent of a pilsner than an IPA. Floral notes and a slightly sweet malt backbone round out the palate. Very plain.

M - Light to medium body with moderate carbonation.

O - Nothing special about this one. Wouldn't have even guessed that that was an IPA if this was tasted blindly. Not a bad beer, but nothing I would ever seek out again.

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Photo of tempest
3.67/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You can't deny the beauty of this one. It's a lovely, crystal clear, orange-amber with a long-lasting white head and thick lacing. The aroma, well, the aroma is the only sign that this beer has done some traveling. It's a bit grainy and dusty, but that's left behind in the flavor. The main taste is from the hops with orange juice and hot spice similar to mild salsa (that's a lot of spice for a non-chili beer). There's a very mellow caramel and toffee malt background that may just have a touch of biscuit, but the spicy hops do it for me.

The big comparison here in my mind is to Brooklyn Brewery's EIPA and I don't think I could call either a better beer. The Brooklyn is simply better. Either way, these two beers make up the best EIPAs I've ever had. You should try them too.

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Photo of Duff27
3.48/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Ruby-red. One finger head that leaves a ring around the glass. No lacing here.

S- Sweet. Bready notes.

T- Bitter. A bitter unlike American IPAs. Somehow I get a slight sour cherry(?) taste in the profile. Fun to drink.

M- Creamy, medium carbonation.

D/O- For $3.50 a bomber (albeit Euro modified) this is a hard one not to pick up at the store. Sam Smith's=Quality. Never had a bad brew from them.

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

Poured into pint glass.
A solid beer. Good amber body, rather thin head, but durable. Smell of hops, coriander, and light biscuit.
Tasted like an IPA and little light in the bite, but full in the flavor. Hops flavor dominates, but not dry. I tasted mint in one sip, but couldn't find it again.
Well balanced, easy driking. I like my IPAs cold, but this was good a little warmer

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

The beer pours a dark gold/amber color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a solid pale malt scent with a fruity finish and a wonderful floral hop aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a complex pale malt arrangement that lays a good foundation for the bitter hop flavor that follows in the aftertaste. It goes down easy and finishes bitter, yet fruity from the yeast. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a fine IPA. It has more complexity than most and has a good hop content that is sufficient, but not overpowering.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.16/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle from Pacific Ranch Market, on to the beer:

Orange amber color, the head sticks together well, even as the beer started to slightly overflow my glass.The aroma was musty with faded grapefruit notes. Something sweet comes out as it warms. You could taste the bitterness, but bitterness was the only thing I could taste out of the hops. There was some metallic flavor detected. The finish sweetens up, with bits of caramel.

The hops were there, but they didn't provide any exciting flavors, just a dull bitterness. In fact, the bitterness nearly took over the entire beer.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.52/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 7/2011 notes. Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a clear coppery orange amber. One finger off-white head and no lacing. Aroma of sweet caramel malt and a light fruit component. Reminiscent of a doppelbock. Flavor is more muted. Starts with neutral malt with a peppery hop bite, dry malt middle and hop bitterness in the finish. The malts are not distinctive. The spicy hop start is interesting, but the ale overall is rather low key. Light to medium body. Like a watered down, somewhat hoppy old ale. No need to return to this one.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.11/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is a mix of floral and perfume from the hops as well as some bread and a little bit of earthiness. The flavor is the same. I get a low to medium amount of bitterness with some grass and earth notes. There is also a slight amount of floral notes in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Revisit: 5 Oct 15
550ml Bottle

It's been awhile.

Pours a very nice clean/clear golden dark orange color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice one-finger plus off-white head, and leaves some very nice small islands and thick sticky lacing behing. The nose is malty, sweet. The taste is very nice, malty, sweet. Medium body, with a very nice dry/bitter finish. Overall, a very tasty brew.

Pours a golden orange color, nice carbonation, head was decent and creamy, nice lacing afterwards. Scents of malts, very slight hops, and caramel. The taste is malty, slightly hoppy, there's a nice bitter bite in the end. Medium body. Drinkable, this is nothing like an American IPA, but still pretty tasty.

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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 biegaman
3.61/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

In likening the beer to a "golden sunset", its brewer must be speaking of its attraction and not its physical appearance - it sure is lovely but this orange pekoe colour looks like it belongs in a teacup, not the sky. Its head has a tender figure and stunted height; it is not quite decrepit but does look marred. Unexpectedly, however, it drapes some lace.

Typical of many British offerings, this bouquet smells more of carbonates (from the water) than it does malt or hops. This hard, mineral-y profile lends the beer the air of a rocky sea shore and a stiff, cold wind that floats in alongside the waves. A dab of toffee sweetness and a dash of gingery spice is all the malts and hops conjure up.

They are more adamant in the taste however; a flavour both peculiar and pleasant, one reminiscent of the skin off the top of a butterscotch pudding, affirms itself. With it are compliments of dried fruits, licorice, gingerbread and earthy hops. A very light nuttiness, an almond-like flavour, is also worked into that (almost) buttery taste.

A considerable toastiness lingers along with that harsh, mineral-y character of the well water. I wouldn't have minded a little more of either sweetness or bitterness but that's simply not the way Yorkshire brewers (or at least Samuel Smith) do things; the dullness of these beers doesn't make them overtly flavourful but man can you put them back!

And that's likely the reason they stay the way they are. Samuel Smith uses a heavy glass bottle and, indeed, their beers are heavy too, not so much in flavour but in satisfaction. The Brits know their ale and they like to drink - this is a product of that culture. It's designed so that just one pint is enough to satiate... but several would be all the better.

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Samuel Smith's India Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
3.71 out of 5 based on 1,872 ratings.
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