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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
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: 187
Photo of NEhophead
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
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! (968 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 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 Duhast500
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap into a pint glass.

The color is a hazy gold with about two and half fingers of white foamy head with some nice lacing.

The smell is a floral flavor with some citrus flavor. A nice mix of grapefruit and lemon is really nice.

The taste is pretty piney and has a great sharp hoppy flavor that is pretty enticing. I liked the good malty finish that evened out this beer and really made a great flavorful experience.

The feel of this beer was light and really even. There was some hops that wanted take too much of a stab at the easy drinking of this beer but it was all just washed away in the end. (618 characters)

Photo of SixpointJMH
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
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) (792 characters)

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.2/5  rDev +4%
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. (817 characters)

Photo of Gatch
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
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. (300 characters)

Photo of u2carew
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
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. (554 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)

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 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 perrymarcus
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap at CBC.

color is a dull, hazy burnt orange / amber tone, glass arrived with maybe a 3/4" white head. good retention and lacing.

fragrant nose delivers a big citrus (notably grapefruit) hoppy presence with evidence of a sturdy malt backbone.

flavor follows the nose. plenty of balancing malt but the hops really shine through. citric / florally with a touch of pine. a little more bitter than i typically look for in my IPAs. medium bodied mouthfeel with medium carbonation.

overall a flavorful, enjoyable IPA. not one of my personal favorites but i would welcome a revisit anytime. (592 characters)

Photo of Truh
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Kicked some sand in the faces of some scrawny geeks with this one on 2/7/2007. 16-oz. shaker pour at Christopher’s in the heart of Porter Square.

Just a coverlet of marbled sheeting to try and hide things; almost no lacing, though perhaps this was due to the manner in which the restaurant/bar treats its glassware. Big malt hit on the nose with some background tintinnabulation of plum juice, golden raisins, and maple syrup. Hue is a very deep mahogany with some sun splashes in the lower depths where the glass thins. Hops want to jump on the tongue but they seem to be tamed by the malt that quickly performs a hit-and-run on the palette, hoovering things up and out. Medium body, not overly wrought.

Extremely drinkable and session-worthy; glad to have found it on tap somewhere other than the brewpub. Just wish they would serve something like this at some of their other accounts, like Grendel’s. It will be like discovering Atlantis the day I walk into Grendel’s and see something other than the Amber on tap. (1,026 characters)

Photo of rousee
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky brown apricot color. Forms a fairly small head of compact bubbles that cling to the glass nicely.

Smell is a good balance of malt and hops with some fruit essence. Smells a little chalky too. Of the hops that are noticed, they smell like wood and earth more than say citrus or pine.

Taste-wise--initially there is a balance of hops and malt with the hops taking over pretty quickly. Notes of barleysugar with fruit and pine accents also. Somewhat coating and chalky in mouthfeel but not in an overbearing way. Good drinkability. Quite a pleasant winter ale and a refreshing break from the more common winter beers. (626 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 muttyd
3.72/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler purchased at the brewery.

Poured into a pint glass. Copper / amber body with a big off-white head. Piney/citrusy hop aroma. Some sweet caramel malt aroma as well. Classified as an American Strong Ale, but smells more like a malt forward IPA. Flavor is focused more on the malty sweetness and more of a florally hop flavor. Moderate carbonation and medium body. Very drinkable, "sessionable" ale. (404 characters)

Photo of sstackho
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Bukowski's in Boston (16oz for a paltry $2 with their dinner special!). I had this one after having the Great Divide Hercules Double IPA, so I had concerns that the taste from the heaven-in-a-glass that was the Hercules was going to linger in the mouth and overpower the Big Man Winter Ale. Well, that was an unnecessary worry. This one more than held its own against stiff competition. Rich, full and surprisingly hoppy. I guess I was expecting a more typically malty "winter ale" and was pleasantly surprised with what I got. (537 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 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 BillyBrew
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another interesting offering from CBC. This brew has a deep copper or ambery-brown colour with a light-tan head and a creamy lace that generates a few rings. My nasal sense was blunted, but a friend told of a hoppy, floral sweetness. A nice big, toasty malt and nuttiness fill the palate and are followed by a mixed bag of hops. This brew is balanced, but the toasty, nutty malt is boss. A deep, medium body with a vibrant hold on the tongue. A big and toasty brew with a touch of the ol' alcohol in it. I imagine this beer best with a complinment of food to cut the malt and alcohol, but a treat anytime. Cheers. (621 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 BeTheBall
4.57/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 14 oz. tulip. Dark amber color with a small head. Aroma of big citrus hops and some malt. Yumm, could just smell this stuff for a while. Taste begins as a great hop smack, well balanced on the finish with malt. Mouth feel is smooth, no preceptible alcohol taste despite the 7%. I just love this taste and could drink a few. Drove 30 miles from my home for this release, and glad I did. Not as in your face with hops as an IPA or DIPA, but delicious; a treat for any hop head; but not for the faint of heart. (519 characters)

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

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

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

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

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

O - A very nice IPA, good malt flavor that isn't overpowered by the hops like in many other IPAs. Went very well with the meal I had, nice winter offering. (574 characters)

Photo of beerbiatchMD
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at CBC into a tulip glass.

A: dark reddish brown, minimal white head, reasonable lacing.

S: lots of pininess, hops for sure but not overly done.

T: citrusy hops, grassy earthy taste there as well.  Decent malt backbone underneath the hops with some caramel tones.

M: crisp, good carbonation, no complaints.

O: a good IPA, would recommend for sure but there are certainly better IPAs out there. (406 characters)

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

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

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

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

Full-bodied and still quite refreshing.

A really great example of a Double Pale Ale. (470 characters)

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