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India Ale

Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
6 / 6
37 / 40
8 / 10
Overall Impression: 
17 / 20

Most assuredly an English-style India Pale Ale, Samuel Smith’s India Ale is a wonderful example of the venerable Tadcaster-based brewery’s work. English-style IPAs aren’t as assertively hopped as their American counterparts, nor are they as “big” all around, but they still retain a depth and complexity arising from centuries of brewing expertise. Samuel Smith’s IPA is a deep, burnished golden color, with glints of copper flashing along the edges of the glass. The billowing, beige head threatens to spill out of the glass yet recedes quickly to a more manageable collar of tightly beaded foam. This beer evinces very little hop aroma, leaning more toward the grapey, vinous notes more commonly associated with higher alcohol beers. Lee admired the mellow but noticeable earthy hops that he said “played hide and seek with notes of pineapple and peach,” and Nick found the grapey notes a bit “Manischewitz-like.” The flavor tended to track right along with the aromas, but there were some spicy tones as well as the distinct crackery “English” malt character. A fan of British beers, Tom approved of the earthy, slightly grassy and peppery hop flavor and its interweaving with the caramelly and biscuity malt. He pronounced this a “wonderful example of an English IPA, though just a bit hoppier than most.” Samuel Smith’s more than 350 years of brewing experience are well represented here, as this is a beer suited for many pints over a leisurely afternoon at your local.