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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

57 Reviews
THE BROS
97
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 57
Hads: 187
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 4.7%
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
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Reviews: 57 | Hads: 187
Photo of carney710
2.72/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Was the the brewery recently and had this with some food. Wasn't what I expected reading from the beer menu, probably should have went with the Spring Training IPA (163 characters)

Photo of JohnPolino
4.44/5  rDev +9.9%
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! (189 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.94/5  rDev -2.5%
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. (1,614 characters)

Photo of JMScowcroft
3.96/5  rDev -2%
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? (511 characters)

Photo of cbutova
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
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. (1,077 characters)

Photo of Beerenauslese
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

An IPA that is big on brown malt and hops, sort of in the early west coast style. I suppose a winter IPA should be darker and maltier rather than light and refreshing. I found this beer drinkable, but my overall impression was that it was sort of a harsh combo of hops and malt. (278 characters)

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.04/5  rDev 0%
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. (1,773 characters)

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
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. (430 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.31/5  rDev -18.1%
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. (613 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (345 characters)

Photo of WanderingFool
3.69/5  rDev -8.7%
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. (688 characters)

Photo of smcnulty1981
4.97/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: bright copper color with a very slight haze has a 2 finger off white very light brown head that sticks around for a bit with a good ammount of lacing

S: hints of caramel and malt with a good hop aroma lots of resin, piney wood and citrus on the nose a good mi. Of hops no alchol detected

T: good malt backbone followed by a good ammount of hop bitterness more citrus and a hint of oak no alchol Tate at all

M: good full body and finishes very nicely very drinkable

O: great beer overall on of the best ipa's that I've in a long time (542 characters)

Photo of ichorNet
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
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/ (1,284 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
3.88/5  rDev -4%
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. (1,426 characters)

Photo of Pinknuggets
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to custom pint glass

A: dark amber color looks dark for an ipa with a tan white head

T: smells how it looks with a ton of malt in the smell toasty with no real hop smell

S:again following the nose and look it is a malty ipa not a malt bomb though so it wasn't too over powering but there is really no hop taste so I can't say it's well balanced

M:it is slightly oily with a light carbonation and goes down pretty easy

O: I don't like malty ipas this one isn't the worst I've ever had but I didn't like it IMO hops need to at least have a present in ipas but if malty ipas are your thing go for it (612 characters)

Photo of angrybabboon
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
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. (1,332 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (1,534 characters)

Photo of ThaFATkid
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
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 (698 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
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. (2,007 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
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. (699 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (531 characters)

Photo of stonermouse
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
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. (1,181 characters)

Photo of PeterIngemi
3.88/5  rDev -4%
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 (589 characters)

Photo of Dope
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
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. (807 characters)

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) (626 characters)

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