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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: 187
Avg: 4.02
pDev: 11.44%
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 57 | Hads: 187
Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of brentk56
4.63/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a dark copper color and a sturdy white head that retains extraordinarily well and leaves sheets of lace

Smell: Rich caramel malt and citrus hop aroma

Taste: Starts with a solid caramel backbone; mid-palate, the grapefruit hop flavors emerge and blend together to produce a superbly balanced finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Extremely flavorful and one of the most well-balanced full-flavored beers I have encountered - a triumph

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Photo of oline73
4.1/5  rDev +2%
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 jlindros
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
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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Photo of Jason
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.31/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

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Photo of smcolw
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
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 dbrauneis
3.94/5  rDev -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 Gavage
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
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 johnnnniee
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
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 VelvetExtract
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
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 cbutova
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
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 BeerAdvocate
4.42/5  rDev +10%
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.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.18/5  rDev +4%
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


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Photo of Dope
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of koopa
4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

NOTE: This is a "Winter IPA" as per CBC's website, not an American Strong Ale as the BA profile states. I've reported this update and hopefully it will get corrected.


Appearance: Pours a deep copper to deep iced tea color with a rocky yet frappy (making up words now!) 2 finger slightly off white (buttery) crown that displays moderate retention and good lace. This unfiltered beer remains crystal clear.

Smell: Nice rich caramel notes and fruity malt notes counterbalanced by Columbus, Cascade, Centennial, and Amarillo hops.

Taste: Same as nose. Very balanced. I'd give it a 4.3 if I could so I'm rounding up a bit. So flavorful despite the 6.8% abv. Nice amount of smooth bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: All day and all of the night.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.69/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.07/5  rDev -23.6%
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.

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Photo of DIM
4.44/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: Big Man is a hazey caramel brown color with a few floaties thrown in. It pours with a medium light tan head; decent lace.

s: Big aromas of pine, molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla. Smells fresh and inviting.

t: This has the big piney hop profile of an east coast DIPA, but without the obnoxiously sweet malt backbone. Instead, the malts provide a moderate balance and taste of molasses and maple syrup.

m: The body is crisp and abrasive, with lively and lush carbonation.

d: Huge thanks to DrDogbeer for the chance to try this fantastic brew. I love a fresh, agressively hopped beer like this! I'm almost sorry I shared this one.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
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 morebeergood
3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
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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Big Man IPA from Cambridge Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.