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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 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)

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 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 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 johnnnniee
3.92/5  rDev -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. (531 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 koopa
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
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. (846 characters)

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

I had a Big Man Ale at the Cambridge Brewing Company. It poured to be amber in color.

The aroma was of citrus (lemons/oranges) and earthiness (pine). This beer has high drinkability-could definitely drink more than one in a session.

Big Man Ale is worth a try if you go to the CBC! (283 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 Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
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. (394 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 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 donkeyrunner
3.07/5  rDev -24%
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. (954 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
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. (1,140 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 thekevlarkid
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
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. (722 characters)

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