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

Poured from 550mL bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: slightly hazy light orange color with two fingers of bubbly light tan head. Looks good.

Smell: aroma is quite sweet and malty with some caramel and citrus character to it. I rather like it.

Taste: nice slightly caramel malt with citrus overtones. Hops are citrusy and floral and do not present themselves particularly strongly, although the flavor is nice and quite bitter. This is a nice, refreshing, drinkable beer, though quite different than an American-style IPA.

Mouthfeel: medium body with very low carbonation. Smooth, though not creamy. Not bad.

Drinkability: quite drinkable. Somewhat sweet, but not cloyingly so, and bitter without being over the top. A restrained, tasty beer.

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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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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 JohnGalt1
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

18.7 oz bottle picked up yesterday at the Coop for $3.50 ... poured about half into my New Belgium snifter.

nice 2 finger head dropped leaving pretty lacing ... crystal clear amber orange brew.

Earthy floral hops ... light toasty malt aroma .... mild yeasty fruitiness.

Earthy flavor ... biscuity .. toasty malts and floral hoppiness .. and a restrained bitterness... sorta dry minerally finish... medium body .. again sorta yeasty fruitiness... a little tea leaf finish.

Big benchmark of the EIPA style.. Everytime I brew an English IPA, this is one that I buy to inspire me.

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

From the 355 ml. bottle. Sampled on October 20, 2011. It pours copper-amber with great clarity and a long lasting, clinging soapy head. Malts start up the aroma along with a candied butterscotch element. Hops are slight. The medium body maintains its texture. The taste is up front malty and slightly bitter on the end thanks to the laid back hops. Much more subtle than the modern day IPA and I have to wonder if this was the way IPA's were meant to be brewed way back when. The hops were more of a preservative and I expect brewers did not want to lose the character of their beer when it took the long trip to India. This is an IPA I could drink often because of its mellow subtlety.

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

Pours a clear deep golden ale bordering on a brown color.

Smell is malty and fruity with a mild amount of hops in it.

Tastes drier than I would have expected. This has a strong tea like hops taste. Floral and malt tastes show up too. Very slightly bitter. Ok, but I expected more.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is good, this dry ale would go well with very spicy foods.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

550 mL bottle,

A: Pours amber with a solid off-white head, good lacing into an imperial pint glass.

S: Good smell. Hard water with a hint of sulfur. Toffee and light English hops, very inviting.

T: Burton style mineral character mixes with earthy, bitter English hops to create a good mix with the malt. The malt tends to dominate at times, typical English pale ale flavour. Nowhere near the bitterness of a CA IPA, but good for the English style.

M: Medium-bodied, a good pint for quaffing. Smooth, mineral character, light hop oil notes.

D: This is a good beer from Sam Smith's. The problem is finding a fresh bottle, it is really hit or miss with me. When it's on, it's a great English pint.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

29 March 2013. Having spent the day on Huatulco beach with only Modelo products and the sea to keep me cool I needed a proper beer. On entering my stateroom a 550ml bottle of this called out to me from the fridge, it had accompanied me from Southampton and was there for such a time as this.

Poured into a tumbler (twice) while the wife showered it did the trick. Light amber in colour, it's white head sat proudly on top and it looked very inviting indeed.

The nose was hops first and foremost although the malt content doesn't hide away either. The taste is very simular to what the aroma hints at: a hop fronted malt laden brew with a good depth of flavours. Fairly dry at times but a very good brew and ideal for the moment when I opened this bottle.

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

Seems to be more of a Pale Ale than an India Ale.

A: Clear copper, off-white head, very little retention, but it does leave some lace.

S: Sweet toffee and caramel malt with a touch of fresh, floral hops.

T: Solid malty backbone (bread, caramel, toffee & nut), surprising for its strength/weight. Fairly neutral bittersweet balance (is this bitter enough for the India designation?), with only a little hop flavour (floral & earthy, with a little orange/citrus).

M: Moderate body is slightly creamy, carbonation is a little on the light side. I think it'd be livelier with a little more carbonation.

D: Something you could drink all night.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper body with two-finger head and a lace ring. A light sweet malt smell along with roasted, smoke and bread malts and a good, dry, leafy hop aroma. Medium-to-full bodied and a tad syrupy, this beer has some sweetness (caramel, honey(?), gum) in the taste along with
subdued hops that poke around and leave a pleasantly dry backbite. I enjoyed this beer alot, but I am not sure where the "India" comes in - more like a Pale Ale or even just a light Ale. Still, I recommend this for consumption if one hasn't had it before.

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

550ml Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a clear copper colour with an average size frothy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some very nice lacing running in stages down the sides of the glass. The head lasted for a few minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - malts, caramel, lemon juice, raisins

Taste & Mouth - The beer is has an average amount of carbonation and feels creamy on the palette. Most of the taste is made up of caramel, malts, and some light hops. There are also notes of lemon juice, raisins/figs and some cask wood. The beer finishes with a slightly bitter malty and fruity aftertaste.

Drink - An interesting beer that is worth a try. I prefer the citrus/hoppy IPA's but I'm happy I gave this one a shot.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass.

A- a clear copper colour, huge head of foam with good lacing left behind.

S- delightful aroma coming from the English hops and malts..lots of sweets, some bitter, good balanced nose.

T- a bit of a lemony zing at first, settles into a nice tasty malty flavour, some "musty" notes, as others have mentioned. Balanced nearly from beginning to end is a treat to drink.

M- very creamy smooth with the med body and carbonation.

O- I haven't had this in years and I'm enjoying it; it was part of a back with 2 other brews, 2 coaster, nd the glass. A nice brew that I wish I could buy singly.

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

A: light amber-orange with a slight white head that quickly faded.

S: a slight floral hop bitterness with some fresh citrus and sweet malts backing it up.

T: The flavor had dry caramel with light dry citrus hopping that drank more like a moderate pale ale then ipa. There was a light flowery bitterness and the beer finished most notably with dry citrus. The beer had a nice malt backbone and was semi-sweet.

M: moderate with a medium body and full carbonation.

D: moderate as it was a tad disappointing hop wise, but an ok session ipa that doesnt thrill.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.91/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely clear and bright orange-amber colour, with a full and thick head of off-white bubbles. Lots of fervent carbonation which strives to the top quickly. Lacing is excellent, leaving tiny tentacles of foam on its descent. Looks very nice indeed.

Nose is moderately fresh, but with a slight cidery overtone like peeled green apples. A bit of spice and a hint of turned earth, but certainly nothing of the tannic tea leaf or heavy dark organics I expect from English hop varieties, but not bad, nonetheless.

Taste is pleasant, with a very restrained bitterness sitting over some thoroughly pleasant caramel English malts. A little tannin character comes through here, but the palate is really nicely balanced between the leafy hop notes and the malty backbone. Feel is soft and smooth, with just a little bite from the hops and a slight tingle from the carbonation.

A very nice beer all up, and probably one of the best English IPAs I've had the opportunity to try. Missing a bit on the nose, but otherwise the package is solid.

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

Poured a nice copper. The smell is lighter than your typical American IPA,but you can still detect some hops that are a bit citrusy. The taste has some hop bitterness,but it also has almost a brown ale final. There is a creamy nuttiness to this beer.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.37/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Comes out amber looking, nice color, the 1" head and retention are excellent. Aroma has no dry hopping, I know, not that style of ipa, but still. If a minor amount of woody from the malt thing is what you dig, this is your jam.

Taste I guess is balanced and if you enjoy pale toasted malts and noble hopped ipas, this is gonna float your boat. Format is a little expensive dealing with 500ml bottles. Its good, but more in that throwback vibe.

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Photo of wl0307
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Coming in a 550ml brown bottle, with a BB date of APR 06.

A: in a goblet it pours a deep brownish amber hued, the off-white beer head comes thick and half-fluffy+half-creamy, rescinds slowly and leaving tracks of silky lace~~ the carbonation is apparently low, with just sparse big bubbles struggling out of the control of gravity.
S: semi-sweet maltiness prevails immediately in front of my nose and matched by equally profound but underlying mixed floral and sweetish fruity hop aroma, laced with a slight hint of sweetened orange-peel and preserved peaches at the tail of aroma. Overall the mixed aroma is subtly nice, not the kind of big and thick and fat textured aroma as one might expect of American IPA, and not bold or big for an IPA even by British standards.
T: a smooth bittersweet and slightly biscuity maltiness dominates the palate, slowly and quietly bringing on board a herbal as well as tea-leafy textured bitterness, while the floral hop aroma somehow is less apparent on the palate, leaving just a hint of dried tangerine-zest and slightly marmalade-like subdued bitter-sweet fruity hop flavour mixed well with the underlying bitterness. Interestingly, the aftertaste of bitterness and restrained hop flavour reminds me more of a less malty premium bitter rather than an English PA or IPA, perhaps that's where the vague borders between these "styles" are quietly crossed~~?
M&D: the mouthfeel is delicately soft and ultra-smooth, matching the equally soft-textured flavour just ideally. Overall, this beer is quite understated than the broadly defined IPA from my limited experience of this style, not as bold and colourful as other IPAs I've tried from both sides of the Atlantic.. Its strength hides in its subtlety and that it drinks only too well, based on its balanced characters with good depth.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours brilliant amber crowned by a clingy 2” off-white foam collar that slowly recedes.
S: bread and biscuit aromas
T: Biscuit malt flavors, a light caramel touch, a bitter hop accent on the finish.
F: Creamy, medium body and medium low carbonation.
O: A flavorful, easy to drink IPA

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Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a fairly thick texture. There was a nice head and lacing throughout.

The smell was decently well-balanced. Malt, hops possibly some fruit.

The malts really stood out in the taste. There was a certain bitterness to the taste, but not overly so.

The carbonation was nicely done, with a smooth, dry finish. Good mouthfeel.

Overall, this is a solid beer. It didn't blow me away by any means, but was certainly a well made beer.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a big 550ml bottle found at giant eagle for 4 bucks. Nice!

A - Deep amber hue with a touch of lacing head that slowly depreciates.
S - English IPA's are so weird! Smells of floral hops behind a caramel malt. Hope it tastes good.
T - Nice hops as I expected less for a 5% brew! Carmel hits the tongue or is it molasses? Really earthy but not as bitter as expected.
M - One of the lightest IPA's I ever had! Really smooth yet need more hops!
D - Overall I expected a great tasting and smooth bodied IPA from Samuel Smith and I guess I got it without the bitterness I would expect for an IPA. Definitely one to try if your a hop head to see the more sweeter side of an IPA

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Photo of bylerteck
2.48/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I'll start off saying I was really excited to try this.

A - No head. Copper colour. Very little carbonation. Bright.

S - Very mild. A little bit of hops and some breadiness.

T - Same as the aroma. Very mild. Mild is the only thing that comes to mind. Mild hop finish.

M - Light body and a little bit of carbonation.

D - Why!?!?! This was such a disappointment. For such a reputable brewery this is very weak. I hope this was a bad bottle b/c I can't imagine this being let out the brewery intentionally.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.23/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle, no date

a bright crystal clear copper color, whispy off-white head. aroma is fairly strong and hoppy, but I don't dig the actual smell - it's a bit too earthy. taste is a bit too herbal and earthy for me as well for an IPA. I know it's an English IPA, but the flavors just don't work too well. decent malt balance. medium body and carbonation.

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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.

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Photo of Brad007
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber/pale color with a two finger head. Aroma is subtle and malty upfront with little if any hops showing through. Taste is much like an English IPA, nice and subtle with more maltiness than hops. There is a small but lingering bitterness at the back of the throat but not much else. Very drinkable and simple.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.58/5  rDev -3.5%
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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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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