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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 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 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 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 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 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 BeerAdvocate
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
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 +3.7%
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 +2.5%
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 Monkeyknife
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
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 koopa
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
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 WanderingFool
3.69/5  rDev -8.4%
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 -23.8%
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 +10.2%
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 -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 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 NEhophead
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler from the BP; served in a snifter.

Pours a hazy caramel but settles to a much darker, nearly opaque molasses. Creamy, faint off-white head that clings to the snifter's sides and settles as a milky, bubble-filled sheet. Pindrop lacing with good strength.

Grapefruit and peach notes of sourness; hop resins abound with lots of bright pine. Mild touches of semi-rich caramel in the background. Whaffs of fresh bubblegum.

Burnt floral hops with an intense presence of pine and spruce. The hop character is juicy and oily. The tartness in aroma is nearly absent in the flavor, and is replaced by a slightly buttery, toasted maltiness. Earthy flavors and hints of caramel follow a rough, hop-intensified bitterness.

Almost full in body; creamy, smooth; yet filmy due to to the intense hop character. Very mellow despite some big flavors.

A dynamic and complex ale more reminiscent of a malty IPA. Smooth and unencumbered; thankfully, I chose a growler!

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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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 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 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 tai4ji2x
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

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