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Big Man IPA - Cambridge Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Man IPABig Man IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

168 Ratings
THE BROS
98
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 168
Reviews: 55
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.33%
Wants: 13
Gots: 5 | 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:
Formerly known as Big Man Ale.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-22-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Big Man IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 168 | Reviews: 55 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jlindros
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

jlindros, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of oline73
4.11/5  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.

oline73, Feb 09, 2013
Photo of Rifugium
3.3/5  rDev -16.9%
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.

Rifugium, Feb 27, 2013
Photo of smcolw
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

smcolw, Dec 07, 2012
Photo of Gavage
4.05/5  rDev +2%
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.

Gavage, Mar 15, 2007
Photo of dbrauneis
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

dbrauneis, Apr 18, 2014
Photo of rab53
4/5  rDev +0.8%

rab53, Nov 25, 2012
Photo of Kelp
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Kelp, Apr 29, 2013
Photo of PEIhop
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

PEIhop, Nov 30, 2012
Photo of Rhettroactive
4/5  rDev +0.8%

Rhettroactive, Apr 28, 2014
Photo of johnnnniee
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

johnnnniee, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of EgadBananas
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

EgadBananas, May 12, 2014
Photo of Reagan1984
3/5  rDev -24.4%

Reagan1984, Nov 25, 2012
Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

bpfrush, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of VelvetExtract
4.05/5  rDev +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.

VelvetExtract, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of Bierman9
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
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

Bierman9, Apr 06, 2003
Photo of cbutova
3.96/5  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.

cbutova, Mar 11, 2014
Photo of millerbuffoon
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%

millerbuffoon, Feb 28, 2014
Photo of Dope
4.13/5  rDev +4%
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.

Dope, Nov 26, 2012
Photo of koopa
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

http://cambridgebrewing.com/beer/seasonal/

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.

koopa, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of WDJersey
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

WDJersey, Mar 29, 2014
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
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.

BeerAdvocate, Sep 22, 2000
Photo of Davepoolesque
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Davepoolesque, Mar 28, 2013
Photo of Kmlund
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%

Kmlund, Oct 03, 2013
Photo of donkeyrunner
3.05/5  rDev -23.2%
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.

donkeyrunner, Jan 13, 2010
Big Man IPA from Cambridge Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 168 ratings.