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Big Man IPA - Cambridge Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Man IPABig Man IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

185 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 185
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.36%
Wants: 14
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Cambridge Brewing Company visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-22-2000

Formerly known as Big Man Ale.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 185 | Reviews: 59
Reviews by cbutova:
Photo of cbutova
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes last week at CBC.

A- Dark red body that allows almost no light to get through besides at the edges. Poured into a goblet from the tap and a one finger, off-white head forms atop the beer. Decent retention anda small ring leaves drizzle and spotty lace.

S- Fairly bright hops off the top bring a mix of tropical, pine, floral, fruity, herbal and spicy hop notes. Substantial malt balance with tones of cereal grains, nutty, toast and just a bit of yeast bread in here as well.

T- Malts open up nicely even for an IPA and balance out well with the chosen hops. Hops have a lot of pine and resin feel although there is some grapefruit, floral and earthy/spicy characters. Malts are as in the aroma and balance out the hops just about in equal strength.

MF- Creamy and frothy moderately bodied IPA. Carbonation is at a medium level and the overall texture is smooth. Medium bitter finish. Works with the flavors present.

Good balance of hops and malts with pine and toasted grains joining together. Mouthfeel is my favorite part and helps the flavor shine.

More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: On tap.

Appearance: Tawny, reddish brown, with a nice off-white lace. Head suggests that the brew is crisp.

Smell: Fruity, yet mild. Sweet hop aroma with a hint of tangerine, hop floral and leaf. Mild esters.

Taste: Big beer taste; rich, extremely smooth, malty sweet that gets abruptly interrupted by a sharp pungent grapefruit hop flavour "hello!" The flavour lingers, puckers, dries. As soon as the bitterness fades, caramel malt sweetness and an underlying nuttiness line the palate.

Notes: Big and bold, push your taste buds around and keeps in the classic micro Strong Ale style. Well balanced, extremely drinkable, all of which is excellent and rare for most big beers.

Photo of Jason
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light reddish brown with a thin but stable off white lace. Balanced aroma of malt and hops with a faint side of fruity esters. Big malty palate with waves of hop bitterness and flavour. Toasted malt is quite predominate though the hops don’t hold back either with a grassy citric bitterness. Slight alcoholic ester with a mild fruitiness brings things together and shows the real size of this ale.

I’d have to say this brew should be served at Cambridge Brewing more often … I just can’t get enough of it.

Photo of dashirey
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Received from Dr. Dogbeer in the Growlerhog edition of Growling at the Moon. Thanks!!

A - Beer color is somewhere between copper and brown. Looks like a glass of iced tea. The pour from the growler creates a pretty fluffy head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

S - Some malt and some more hops. Not a bad smell, but nothing extraordinary either.

T - Overall very balanced from start to finish. I really enjoyed the beer and the taste, but just like the smell nothing jumps out and says look at me...or in the case taste me.

M - Medium bodied with carbonation that stings the tongue a little at the end, but generally good.

D - Despite not being blown away by the taste or smell. I really liked this beer and it was easy to drink. I would drink this one regularly if I had access to it.

Thanks again!!

Photo of Kegatron
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub on 2/21/09. Served in a cervoise.

Pours a hazy cranberry amber, with a thin head of brite-white foam. Good tight retention here, that flares up well, leaving a solid cascade of spotty lacing back. The aroma is very hop forward and most excellent, with notes that are floral, spicy, and citric, along with a sweet undercurrent of caramel and bisquits.

The taste is the reverse of the aroma, with thick caramel notes and toasted biscuits up front giving way to a fierce hop profile that takes control in the back, evening out the profile and ending things with an EXTREMELY dry lingering bitterness that just stays in the mouth for a good bit. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with an overall sharp and prickly feel that nicely accentuates the hops in this. A good warming touch of the ABV is felt in the body but for the most part, it was nicely hidden.

Wow, I was really suprised by this! While I appreciated the warmth and bready sweetness that this brought to the table, the delicious and fresh hoppy nature of this is what shocked me. This was a fantastic winter style warmer that I was very glad to have tried.

Photo of JohnPolino
4.44/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Blackstrap BBQ in Winthrop, MA....Wow! Blown away. Poured darker than expected, but had an excellent citrus nose. Grapefruit. well balanced and delicious. I'm a fan!

Photo of u2carew
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cambridge Brewing Co. Consumed 2/6/10

A) Thin head. Hazy body. Amber in color. Lacing is non-existent, but looks are deceiving with this exceptional brew.
S) Caramel. Floral sweetness. Cascade hops - just a guess.
T) Sharp hop bite up front - wow! Bitter but pleasant with a well balanced mix of malty sweetness. In the middle some mild nuttiness and floral tones. Finishes with the original hop bite that lingers into the aftertaste.
M) Crisp yet smooth. Medium to full body. Definitely some girth.
D) A great brew. I'd definitely drink more.

Photo of SixpointJMH
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice looking, bold amber to brown colour with a mid-sized, slightly off-white head.

The aroma holds a nice balance between hops (which are more plentiful than expected) and malt sweetness from the likes of caramel. There's also a bit of roastiness here as well from the malt.

The flavour is quite similar to the aroma but a bit harsher (in a good way). There's sweetness here (maybe even more so than the aroma as a bit of fruit jumps into the mix), but the ruggedness from the malt is nicely blended as well. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a bit lighter than expected, but still nice overall.

I dug this one. It was probably my favourite of the brews that I sampled on my latest trip to Boston. Worth a try if you can find it on tap around the city (or certainly at the CBC)

Photo of angrybabboon
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed 12/30/12, post delayed due to site maintenance

Note: Batch 01, Nov 2012

Appearance: Somewhere between dark orange and light amber - very clear - pours with a small, off-white head - leaves a nice web of lacing

Smell: Caramelized malts, citrus, and pine - nicely balanced - light amber and pale malts, with crackers and biscuits - big, yet non-aggressive hop profile, with grapefruit and orange flesh, and pine needles - very floral, clean, with a touch of malty sweetness

Taste: Balance, glorious balance - smooth orange and grapefruit flesh, with a touch of oily zest - above-average pine character, with some resin and pine needles - very, very floral, and the medium level of bitterness is tempered by an excellent malt profile - crackery, biscuity - lots of caramel and a touch of toffee - lightly sweet, works very well with the level of hoppiness - fantastically balanced, even in the aftertaste - clean, refreshing

Mouthfeel: Medium body, very smooth, low carbonation, highly drinkable

Overall: Big Man, Big Win

This is decidedly not a hop bomb. Instead, this is an extremely drinkable, extremely balanced IPA with a lot of charm. This reminds me of some lovely IPAs brewed in the Midwest. The bomber was easy to finish, but I know I would buy a lot of this if it came in another format. Obviously, tallboys.

Photo of BeTheBall
4.57/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 14 oz. tulip. Dark amber color with a small head. Aroma of big citrus hops and some malt. Yumm, could just smell this stuff for a while. Taste begins as a great hop smack, well balanced on the finish with malt. Mouth feel is smooth, no preceptible alcohol taste despite the 7%. I just love this taste and could drink a few. Drove 30 miles from my home for this release, and glad I did. Not as in your face with hops as an IPA or DIPA, but delicious; a treat for any hop head; but not for the faint of heart.

Photo of oline73
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass.

Pours a clear copper color, darker than most ipas. Smell has some sweet fruity notes along with malt to back up the hops. More hops in the flavor, but the fruity malt backing up the hops really makes the flavor. Grapefruit hop bitterness in the finish. The head leaves nice lace on the glass.

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.07/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

"He's a big, strong man with a child's mind, don't you take his booze away!" - Dropkick Murphys

@ Atwoods, Sommerville MA. Found an extra $20 that I didn't know I had so I took my ladyfriend out for a beer.

Hazy copper color with a thin white head. Momentary thin skim throws up a few lacey splashes before dying out. Honestly, it wasn't a great pour.

Floral and citrus hop aroma with bubble gum. There's a very faint, mild fruit malt under there somewhere.

I didn't get the citrus bomb that many reviewers described but rather a clean, juniper and spruce bitter. Bubble gum pops up here and there with a piney caramel fade. Hoppy burps that tastes like I swallowed a pine tree.

Odd malt character: I can feel it but it seems to be a tasteless vacuum, almost like a stock ale. Website claims it was made with 770 pounds of malt (the combined weight of three brewers/managers).

Overall this beer seemed to be everywhere and lacked focus. Not a fan.

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.04/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I’ve enjoyed every one of the beers I’ve tasted from Massachusetts’ own Cambridge Brewing; glad this one showed up at the bottle shop. Cheers!

Bottled 12/27/2013, about a month and a half before the date of this tasting.

A: Burnt-orange body, slightly hazy, with a thick, foamy head of beige soap bubbles. After about a minute of fizzing and popping it’s down to a half-inch of retention, though some chunky lacing is left in the wake.

S: Well balanced hop and malt complexity gives this nose a deep character, with strong tones of oily, resinous pine weaving in and out of a thick vanilla and caramel maltiness. These two hefty tones play well off each other, as do some supplemental notes of citric hops and fruity cereal (think Fruity Pebbles) from the grain bill.

T: I’m getting the fruit character much more pronounced here than in the nose, especially seeing as it’s the first thing I can taste: notes of grape, melon, and apricot, like what you’d get from a hoppy wheat beer (here’s looking at you, Gumballhead). But what comes next is a subtle malt palate that comes off with an earthy, inoffensive sweetness, a nuanced blend of vanilla icing, cinnamon pastry, and pecan. Finishes with a bright citrus flavor, moderately dry in a lemony hop fashion.

M: Outstanding – the foamy carbonation seen on the first pour provides a wonderfully drinkable froth to the body, a texture that’s enough to set this beer even further apart from your standard IPAs. Light-to-medium body.

O: It’s unfortunate that this beer comes in nothing but a relatively expensive bomber; price and package it like Two-Hearted and this would be a go-to. As far as IPAs within this palate and ABV range, it might even beat out Torpedo – and that’s saying something.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a dark golden brown color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, earthy hops and some citrus.

T: The taste starts with sweet flavors of caramel and citrus. Then a hearty malt character comes in along with a significant subdued hops bitterness creating a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this is a very solid beer to drink for a long time.

Photo of soundbarrier
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Nice pour from cask at the CBC in Cambridge with a medium off white head.

Smell: Great bouquet with nice hoppyness and malt combination. If you like ales you will not be disappointed.

Taste: Great hoppy taste with a smooth finish. Fruity on the palate but not overpowering. Good beer to drink while eating.

Mouthfeel: Crisp and clean with little aftertaste.

Drinkability: Great taste, had it both on tap and from cask. Tasted great on both. If you have the chance to try it you should.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.94/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear deep copper in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising quickly from the bottom of the glass and some deep mahogany highlights. The beer has a half finger tall sudsy foamy beige head that reduces to a couple of small thick patches of larger bubbles surrounded by a mottled very thin film covering the majority of the remainder of the surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of caramel malts with a touch of light fruit sweetness (apple + pear) followed by moderate aromas of citrus/grapefruit zest hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of caramel malts with a light to moderate amount of sweetness including some light fruit flavors from the yeast (apple and pear stand out). There are moderate flavors of hops towards the finish which definitely linger - initially it is citrus/grapefruit zest followed by an earthy pine note. Light to moderate amounts of bitterness which linger for a short amount of time.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Initially it is a little prickly from the carbonation but then it becomes relatively smooth and just a touch of chewiness. Hints of dryness in the finish.

O: This American IPA is right on the border of an American Strong Ale (similar to beers like Stone Arrogant Bastard)... There is a lot of big maltiness to match with the hop profile turning out a fairly well balanced beer. Easy to drink, I had no issue putting down the 22 oz. bottle by myself. Alcohol is well hidden and this is enjoyable.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice amber color with a good head and nice lacing. The nose brings some sharp citrus hops as well as some floral notes, which then lead into a moderate malty sweetness. Taste is not quite as powerful and the hops lose a bit of their edge. At the same time, the feel is pretty bitter and balances the sweetness well. Drinks quite well and is certainly a strong ale.

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle a deep mahogany color (very dark for an IPA) with one finger of rich ivory head. Sheets of sticky lacing left behind.

Faint aroma of ripe fruit, bread, and caramel malts.

Tasted of citrusy orange and ripe fruit with a caramel malt backbone. Finished with a tinge of bitterness.

Medium bodied and sticky with a moderate carbonation.

A much darker and maltier IPA than I expected. It's good but not great.

Photo of jlindros
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a creamy off white 1/2 finger head that fades at a med pace, some lacing, over slightly clear darker cranberry mahogany burnt-sienna color.

Nose is very nice, a nice citrus cuts right through, with a bit of a tropical fruit juicy aroma, hint floral grassy hops, etc, then a big malty base aroma, sweet candy malts, caramel, toffee, etc, leading to a light candy hop like aroma. There is also some light pine and spicy hop character. Lots of hops, and as it warms a sweet nutty caramel candy aroma really comes through, lots of toasty sweet amber malts and more earthy hops.

Taste starts with a sweet malt at first, sweet candy, caramel candies, toffee, little amber malt, etc. Which leads into hops eventually, so first comes the candy hops, light candied orange peel hop, before it quickly moves to spicy hops, some pine and chewy hops, with a fair bitterness. The bitterness ramps as it goes but is balanced well by the sweet big malt flavors. Light citrus in the background, with no fruits otherwise this time. It brings some grainy malts towards the finish as well, before the malts just drop off the face of the earth on the finish. It doesn't really get very dry, in fact a little sticky still, but dries enough so the hops and bitterness explode, more pine, citrus, earthy spicy hops and lots of bitterness lingering for a while, with just a bit of candied hops.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, nice carb, a faint hint of background warming booze.

Overall pretty nice, a renewed effort of what East Coast IPAs are, with just a bit of a west coast touch. Although, East/West coast IPA styles are starting to disappear, this is more of what the classic East Coast was with a nice hop flavor and bitterness, mostly earthy spicy pine and a bit of citrus, with a big malty sweet balancing candy flavor. Long bitter finish, tasty but a big beer at the same time. I almost want a bit more booze in this one as it seems it will have it but never really comes. Would like to try this on tap sometime.

Photo of BostonHops
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap at CBC.

color is a dull, hazy burnt orange / amber tone, glass arrived with maybe a 3/4" white head. good retention and lacing. fragrant nose delivers a big citrus (notably grapefruit) hoppy presence with evidence of a sturdy malt backbone.

flavor follows the nose. plenty of balancing malt but the hops really shine through. citric / florally with a touch of pine. a little more bitter than i typically look for in my IPAs. medium bodied mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

overall a flavorful, enjoyable IPA. not one of my personal favorites but i would welcome a revisit anytime.

(originally reviewed: 12-20-2011)

Photo of Rifugium
3.31/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

First had: on tap at CBC

I was kind of thrown off by this one. Poured a clearish darker amber color with a white ringlet. Aroma was oddly dominated by sweetness, caramel malts, a little brown sugar, with some herbal and floral hops notes in the back seat. Similarly, the taste was fairly sweet, caramel malts, and light fruit essence up front, nearly making me doubt this was a DIPA, followed by light herbal and citrus hops. Hmm. Body was medium and a bit chewy, not exactly what I expect for the style. And at less than 7%ABV, this came off more as an APA or even a beefed up amber ale than an IPA of any kind.

Photo of smcolw
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Modest head but it leaves substantial lace. The color is light brown and is nearly clear.

Great blend of deeper, darker malts and lightly floral hop. Inviting.

Comes across as a more toasty, slightly burnt, form of of the IPA style. This may be the darkest version I've ever had. Not quite an overhopped Porter, but close. Plenty of hop bitterness, but it isn't too strong. The body is accurate for the style--the carbonation elevated slightly. Overall, this is a complex IPA with an unusual roasted malt base. Worth seeking out.

Photo of WanderingFool
3.69/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Big Man IPA pours a clear, dark copper color with a moderate, creamy head on top. The foam leaves a fair amount of netted lacing on the glass.

The aroma is faint and is on the malty side. It has notes of caramel malt, rye bread, orange/grapefruit citrus and some tropical fruit.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is creamy with soft carbonation. The flavor is begins with caramel malt, a touch of bread, and a little dark fruit (red grape?). The malt is complimented with some pine and citrus hops and a bitter finish. Once gone the caramel and bitterness lingers on the palate.

This beer was more malty than I expected. It's tasty and easy to drink and would go great with a burger.

Photo of Gavage
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: clear dark copper in color with a 1" head. Some spotty lacing develops.

Smell: malt sweetness and grapefruit citrus tones are up front and easily detectable. Some softer floral bitterness hides in the background.

Taste: caramel, grapefruits, nice bitterness, and a touch of pepper spiciness at the finish. The overall maltiness of this beer was nice but a bit grainy. Alcohol is not noticeable at all.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp throughout. Very short aftertaste despite the bold flavors. Medium bodied beer.

Drinkability: this is a solid ale that I found quite enjoyable. This one should be tried if you see it on tap.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the source.
Pours a slightly hazy golden to amber color with a decent off white head that displays moderate retention and minimal lace. Smells of citrus, lots of grapefruit and juicy floral hops. Bready toasty malt provides enough of a backbone to keep this in check. Taste is slightly harsh in bitterness with a bunch of pine and citrus. Malts sweep in bready caramel and toasty to balance this out a little. Medium body and carbonation level with a slick resinous mouthfeel. I enjoyed this one its a nice flavorful IPA.

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Big Man IPA from Cambridge Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 185 ratings.