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Big Man IPA - Cambridge Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Man IPABig Man IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

57 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 57
Hads: 188
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 20.84%
Wants: 13
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Big Man IPA Alström Bros
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Reviews: 57 | Hads: 188
Photo of thekevlarkid
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at American Flatbread. This perfectly clear, copper-colored beer was delivered to my table with one finger of khaki-colored head. Great retention and it laced in thick, slightly-torn-up sheets. The aroma was rather understated, caramel malt and some leafy hops were all I could discern. The flavors however were quite enjoyable. The caramel malt was well balanced by the Fuggles dry-hopping which added a strong note of orange rind. This was a little bit root-like, especially at the end when the finish became distinctly bitter but crisp. I could tell it was punchy, but the taste was bold enough to make the alcohol seem appropriate. The mouthfeel was a little prickly, the carbonation lively and the body medium.

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Photo of ThaFATkid
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to wobblymailman for this one!

Served in a snifter from a 22 oz bottle labeled batch 01 NOV 2012

Appearance - is a darker amber brown with a light white head.

Smell- right off there is a sweet malty scent that is masked with a some what of a alcoholic ester and with a hop overtone.

Taste- is relatively mostly of a sweet malt character with a big hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel- more of a medium to light medium feel.

Overall- a sweet malty ipa similar to trying a ipa that has "aged" but in a good way (not that you want a aged ipa) less hop smell and more malty taste something that would be suggested for someone just getting into craft beer. A great beer nonetheless! First from CBC

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Photo of morebeergood
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap this past weekend at the Washington Sq Tavern. Comes served in a CBC pint glass. Looks like any old beer when it arrives. Dark brown in color, thin white head. Not a lot of lacing. Smells a bit piney with some hops present. But the taste was a surprise. I just remember thinking, am I at CBC? Damn, that tasted fresh. Must have been tapped that afternoon. Very frothy and smooth in the mouth. Great earthy, piney, hoppy taste with just enough malt in the back. Didn't even notice the abv. I could have definitely had a few of these. This beer just got better the longer it was in my hand.

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Photo of beerbiatchMD
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at CBC into a tulip glass.

A: dark reddish brown, minimal white head, reasonable lacing.

S: lots of pininess, hops for sure but not overly done.

T: citrusy hops, grassy earthy taste there as well.  Decent malt backbone underneath the hops with some caramel tones.

M: crisp, good carbonation, no complaints.

O: a good IPA, would recommend for sure but there are certainly better IPAs out there.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a duvel glass

A: pours much darker then I was expecting, a slight hazy dark reddish brown with a finger of slightly browned head, leaves tons of sticky lacing.

S: citrusy grapefruit and lightly toasted grain, a hint of pine as well, big malty backbone. Rather mild aroma over all.

T: pleanty of citrusy hops over a deep grainy malt body, a bit of caramel sweetness and lightly toasted Grain along with a touch if pine.

M: heavy medium body with a bit of graininess... Well rounded overall.

O: a good ipa, one of my favorite brews that I've had from CBC

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Photo of MasterSki
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Reagan1984. Served in a Half Acre pint glass. Batch #1 from November 2012 - unclear when, but this is at most 2 months old.

A - Two fingers of off-white foam settles to a thick cap, leaving behind a few stray splotches of lace. Very, very dark for an IPA; a transparent deep amber body with a few stray bubbles moving upwards.

S - Fairly malt-forward, with red fruits, caramel, and crystal malt immediately apparent. Hops are pine and herbal, with a touch of citrus zest in the background, and they grow in intensity as the beer warms up.

T - The taste has a bit more biscuit and toasted malt to it, and isn't as sweet as the aroma. Hops are earthy and piney for the most part, with a touch of grapefruit. Bitterness is somewhat intense, and while it doesn't bother me I can imagine it laying waste to less acclimated palates.

M - Zesty and somewhat harsh carbonation. Medium body, fairly smooth and chewy once you get past the bubbles. Finish is toasty and dry, and there is a touch of residual oily hops. There's also a bit of alcohol warmth that is surprising for a 6.8% beer.

D - To be fair, the bottle states this beer is 'big and malty', so it's not a lack of brewing ability here. This is an extremely retro American IPA, that verges into American Strong Ale territory in the vein of Arrogant Bastard. This wasn't at all what I was expecting, but it was still relatively easy to finish the 22oz bottle.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
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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Photo of dbrauneis
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of u2carew
3.95/5  rDev -2%
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.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
3.95/5  rDev -2%
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)

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Photo of cbutova
3.95/5  rDev -2%
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.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Cambridge Brewing Company - Big Man IPA, poured into a Boulevard tulip.

Look - Pours a cloudy deep caramel amber, real dark, good sized foamy head that dissipates quickly. Chunky lacing abound.

Smell - Rich sweet malt with juicy hops. Bready.

Taste - Big sweet malt with juicy and bitter hops that are definitely resiny.

Mouthfeel - Sticky malt. Heavy-medium bodied with low carbonation. Chewy, bready, and bitter.

Overall - Solid brew, would call this a cross between a Winter ale and an AIPA. Winter IPA?

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Photo of ichorNet
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A pretty dark color for an IPA; dark orange/rusty copper with great lace and a solid, retentive cap of off-white foam

Scent: Citric rind and caramel malt wrap around a revolving cast of wooden scents, sweet honey, fresh bread and some light fruity esters

Taste: Though the palate is shocked and numbed by bitter hops (mainly C varietals, mind you), malts are complex, vibrant and strong

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is middling, tending towards passive but never completely unengaging. An interesting body allows this to stand out

Drinkability: Not amazing but pretty satisfactory. There’s solid balance but also some very strong, periodic pulls in different directions that let it down

Overall: A pretty great "Winter seasonal IPA" from a fantastic brewery, Big Man occupies a space that is at once very necessary and yet utterly unsupported; Winter IPAs are a style that should be easy to recreate but which are often left behind for more marketable varieties such as warmers. I applaud CBC for sticking to their guns even through their bottling operation and creating large format bottles of beer for those who would wait out the cold season in hoppy, bitter and balanced style.

Read full review @ http://blogs.lowellsun.com/beer/2012/12/20/cambridge-brewing-big-man/

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Photo of BostonHops
4/5  rDev -0.7%
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)

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Photo of Duhast500
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap into a pint glass.

The color is a hazy gold with about two and half fingers of white foamy head with some nice lacing.

The smell is a floral flavor with some citrus flavor. A nice mix of grapefruit and lemon is really nice.

The taste is pretty piney and has a great sharp hoppy flavor that is pretty enticing. I liked the good malty finish that evened out this beer and really made a great flavorful experience.

The feel of this beer was light and really even. There was some hops that wanted take too much of a stab at the easy drinking of this beer but it was all just washed away in the end.

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Photo of perrymarcus
4/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

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Photo of sstackho
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Bukowski's in Boston (16oz for a paltry $2 with their dinner special!). I had this one after having the Great Divide Hercules Double IPA, so I had concerns that the taste from the heaven-in-a-glass that was the Hercules was going to linger in the mouth and overpower the Big Man Winter Ale. Well, that was an unnecessary worry. This one more than held its own against stiff competition. Rich, full and surprisingly hoppy. I guess I was expecting a more typically malty "winter ale" and was pleasantly surprised with what I got.

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Photo of stonermouse
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Neat little find on a local shelf. Didn't even know this was out there. Bottled November 2012.

Pours a hazy, deep amber color. Totally unexpected. Gorgeous pour, just really surprising.

Aroma reveals big malt presence here. Sweet and spicy, a little like General Gau's chicken. Wipes out any hope presence in the aroma. Although, there is a touch of mango or something citrusy, which contributes to the Chinese food impression.

The taste is certainly not a traditional, by-the-book IPA, but it's got something going on. Huge, biting malts, that are a touch metallic on the finish. A bit like biting a penny, but reasonably tasty, if that makes sense. The real cool part about this beer is the amazingly piney hops. They would be a bit harsh without the substantial malts, but this flavor profile is interesting, unique, and quite a wallop.

The flavors clean up almost completely on finish. Not a lot of aftertaste, besides a bit of mild melon rind flavor.

Interesting beer all around. Not really keeping with the style too much, but I don't really care about that. The flavors are just slightly harsh, and not quite in tune with one another, but alone, they are pretty cool.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of Gavage
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Big Man pours a dark copper color. Body of the beer is extra clear. Slow bubbles lazily rise to the odd head. Head is an odd consistency. Wet and suds but quite thin. It leaves near solid lacing that seems to dry and stiffen along the glass.

S-Well balanced is the first thought that crosses the mind. The hops are big and incredibly perfumey. Smells a bit like cream soda in an odd way. Lighter notes of candied citrus and pine needles. Malt is toffee and caramel. Quite sweet but definitely unique. Caramel dipped flowers.

T-Very malty at first but then a slicing axe of pine and grass amputate the malty limbs. One of the most blatant and extraordinary flavor shifts I have experienced. Just sweet bread and caramel and candied treats followed by a rushing wave of bitter hoppiness. Quite cool. Florals come out too. Damn that flavor evolution really caught me off guard. Its as if my tongue was the catalyst for some sort of dramatic chemical reaction.

M-Resiny and full on the palate. Soft carbonation. Almost feels like it was casked. The heavy maltiness thickens the body as well. Substantial bitterness. Light twinge of alcohol.

O/D-Definitely unique! I would have to be in the mood for this to try it again. A great IPA for the cooler months. A bit too balanced and the hops aren't really on my side of the spectrum but this was definitely worth it. In a world filled with too many boring IPAs this one really deserves points for its individuality. Cambridge Brewing Co. makes awesome beer; thanks for bottling it guys.

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Photo of Gatch
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Cloud, medium-brown with shades of copper and red. Tall, white head. Pillowy. Fades quickly.

S - Very malty IPA.

T - Sweet, bready malt. Hops come through in the finish. Tastes more like a well-hopped Amber.

M - Sweet, delicious malt with a hint of hops. Slight carbonation and very drinkable.

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Photo of rousee
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky brown apricot color. Forms a fairly small head of compact bubbles that cling to the glass nicely.

Smell is a good balance of malt and hops with some fruit essence. Smells a little chalky too. Of the hops that are noticed, they smell like wood and earth more than say citrus or pine.

Taste-wise--initially there is a balance of hops and malt with the hops taking over pretty quickly. Notes of barleysugar with fruit and pine accents also. Somewhat coating and chalky in mouthfeel but not in an overbearing way. Good drinkability. Quite a pleasant winter ale and a refreshing break from the more common winter beers.

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Photo of oline73
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Big Man IPA from Cambridge Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.