Big Man IPA - Cambridge Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Man IPABig Man IPA

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

186 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 186
Reviews: 60
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.36%
Wants: 12
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: 186 | Reviews: 60
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 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.

Photo of JMScowcroft
3.96/5  rDev 0%
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?

Photo of ichorNet
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
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/

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 Duhast500
4/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of perrymarcus
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.

Photo of sstackho
4/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of stonermouse
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

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 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 VelvetExtract
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of Gatch
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of rousee
4.08/5  rDev +3%
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.

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

Freshly bottled (apparently the first bottled review in fact). Batch 01, bottled November 2012.

A: Pours a hazy deep amber with a big effervescent tan head. Fades slowly with an impressive island of foam that remains behind. Big fluffy tendrils of lacing everywhere.

S: Citrusy with lots of grapefruit. Nice caramel malt backing it up. Just a touch of pine.

T: Nice fresh grapefruit and citrus up front. Get a bit of melon in there too, like cantaloupe in the middle. Nice solid caramel malt in the middle. Finishes with more melon and a touch of orange as well as a brief wave of bitterness.

M: Medium bodied, crisp and smooth.

O: Nice crisp, clean and fresh IPA. Nicely balanced, not a hop bomb. Balance and smoothness lends to excellent drinkability. Nice melon to mix it up with the citrus too.

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 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 Bierman9
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap yesterday with the Bros and other fellow BA's at Bukowskis!

The Man has a rich dark copper color, with plentiful ruby and chestnut tinges. The topping was an off-white, creamy mass, with good staying power and excellent sticking on the glass sides.
The nose gives off a pleasing grapefruity aroma, though not over the top like some big IPAs.
This bier has an oh-so-nice feel! Body was more than medium, getting into the full-figured range, and it was way smooth on the tongue! Oh yeah!
The malt and hops flavors were both present in substantial amounts, with the hops dominating somewhat. Toasty malt flavors strike the first blows, assisted by a good caramel backing. Then then second wave arrives, in the form of a grapefruity assault, with even a spicy little twang bringing up the rear. A real nice CBC offering! Easy drinking!

Zum Wohl!!

overall: 4.2
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5

526

Photo of JustinAniello
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark opaque brown with a thin head. Dissipates to a nice lacing that sticks to the sides.

S - Very heavy pine and a light citrus, it is all hops on the nose.

T - Surprisingly much different from the aroma. Sweet roasted malts, light at first, becoming heavier on the swallow. Nice hop bitterness in the finish, with the roasted malt still lingering.

M - Medium body and carbonation, good for the style.

O - A very nice IPA, good malt flavor that isn't overpowered by the hops like in many other IPAs. Went very well with the meal I had, nice winter offering.

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap at deep ellum, in allston, massachusetts.

dark amber with slight haze. nice foamy head which retains for a while, then recedes to a wispy layer. some moderate lacing, with a nice webby top ring after the first few sips, but very little later on.

citrusy hop aroma with a hint of pine. fruity esters peek in for a moment, then caramel from the malt - almost candy-like for a second. whiff of diacetyl? whiff of grassy notes.

taste is hoppy, piney and citrusy with bold bitterness and resins. caramelized malt is still very present and gives a sweet balance. citrus fruit can be found in the hoppy, resinous finish, which again features that bold bitterness. malt still peeks through here as well.

slightly thin, but drinks decently smooth, with some resins in the finish. spritzy carbonation can be prickly.

Photo of Chincino
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had a Big Man Ale at the Cambridge Brewing Company. It poured to be amber in color.

The aroma was of citrus (lemons/oranges) and earthiness (pine). This beer has high drinkability-could definitely drink more than one in a session.

Big Man Ale is worth a try if you go to the CBC!

Photo of TrevorGW
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Asgard in Cambridge. Dark brown, not much head.

Great clean aroma. Straightforward malt and hops. Bread and pine intertwined for a nice soft smell.

Taste is perfected balanced and wonderfully assertive. Caramel and toffee hints are kept in check by some smooth pineapple notes from the hops. Dry finish is spot-on. The clean and bright flavor masks the somewhat high ABV.

Full-bodied and still quite refreshing.

A really great example of a Double Pale Ale.

Photo of BillyBrew
4.23/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another interesting offering from CBC. This brew has a deep copper or ambery-brown colour with a light-tan head and a creamy lace that generates a few rings. My nasal sense was blunted, but a friend told of a hoppy, floral sweetness. A nice big, toasty malt and nuttiness fill the palate and are followed by a mixed bag of hops. This brew is balanced, but the toasty, nutty malt is boss. A deep, medium body with a vibrant hold on the tongue. A big and toasty brew with a touch of the ol' alcohol in it. I imagine this beer best with a complinment of food to cut the malt and alcohol, but a treat anytime. Cheers.

Big Man IPA from Cambridge Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 186 ratings.