Smuttynose Big A IPA - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,654 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,654
Reviews: 892
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 94
Gots: 132 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  9.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-16-2002

Ever since Stash Wojciechowski, the “Killer Kielbasa,” created this Imperial IPA for our Big Beer Series, Big A IPA has gotten a lot of attention. Lauded by the New York Times and Men's Journal Magazine, it’s been one of the most talked-about beers around. Brewed in very small quantities, it has also been one of the hardest-to-find. Until now.

Big A IPA has everything you’d want in an India Pale Ale, only more: more hops, more malt & more flavor. Na zdrowie!

120 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,654 | Reviews: 892
Reviews by patpbr:
Photo of patpbr
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a deep orange without much of a head
S - Mild hops and a malt
T - Citrus hops and floral flavors a bit of pine and hints of grapefruit. A moderate amount of bitterness.
M - Medium body and a finish on the dry side
O - Not very exciting for a DIPA.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dull light golden with a thinner white head that left a trace amount of lace as it settled quite quickly,as expected the hops are the attraction here in the nose grapefruit rind and pine really stick out hints of alcohol show thru but they are subdued.Pretty resiny on the palate with alcohol dipped tangerine flavors wich were nice there is a noticable lightly sweet caramel malt base underneath but it stays in the background as I drank more it became quite sticky and sweeter.The hops are big and its enjoyable not as in your face as some others of the style,I liked the different flavors not just one dimensional with the citrus and pine flavors.

Photo of RoyalT
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one poured a beautiful thick yellow in color with a full, white head. It just screamed “quality” from head to toe and was one of the more inviting beers of the evening at the first annual Skyhand Bavarian Beer Fest.

Smell – The big pine aroma was actually matched fairly evenly by a huge, malty balance. This really is an even-handed mix of full, unabashed malts with a complex, resiny hop compliment.

Taste – This is definitely a DIPA. The malts are big and thick at the tongue but, again, are well-balanced with the complex hops.

Mouthfeel – This one is a big medium-bodied that somehow manages not to be overly bitter. It finishes with a sweet caramel taste that really rounds out the beer.

Drinkability – This terrific DIPA screamed quality from start to finish.

Comments – The first annual Bavarian Beer Festival at Casa de Kim was a huge success, and a big BA thanks emanates from all for busting out this beauty shop.

Photo of TuckerCarlson
3.07/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This may be a somewhat inconsistent beer, or maybe it's a year-to-year variation, or maybe it's a bottle v. tap issue. I had this on tap at Korova in Ithaca, NY, and was sorely disappointed on a couple of fronts, though I can't deny the things this beer does right.

Pours orange and slightly hazy with decent head that didn't las as long as I expected it to. Some lacing, but nothing major.

Nice big nose-full of citrusy hops. Opens more and more as it comes up to temperature.

Tase is disappointing - the darn thing is too darn sweet. There's a great citrusy opening and a lot of oily, piney tastes at the back end, but in between the two there's so much sweetness that it comes across as out of balance (think a cabernet sauvignon with 4% residual sugar). The sweetness somehow lets the alcohol show through in a slightly displeasing manner.

Mouthfeel is incredible if you can divorce it from the flavor: nice and thick, very satisfying when it comes up to temperature.

Could have been an excellent DIPA that comes up a bit short due to an excess of sugar.

Oddly enough, my first experience with this beer (also vintage 2007) was straight out of a 22-oz. bomber while camping with some friends and coworkers. I lost a lot of visual and olfactory cues, but the taste seemed way more in tune with what I expected.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours from the bomber a bright reddish orange with a cragly, fluffy two finger head. Delicate rings of lacing coat the side of the glass. Inviting. Hybrid grapefruit citrus pinecone hops waft up into the nose. Candy sweetness with just a hint of caramel.

A nice wave of earthy, piney, citric hop flavors coats the tongue. Caramel, bready malt follows along with a nice hit of bitter on the way down. Alcohol esters peek in and out. A nice double IPA by Smutty...I could still use a bit more hop flavor in there though.

Mouthfeel has a nice, full and creamy body. Satisfying. One bomber is enough for me...but it is enjoyable to drink and goes down easy. I look forward to trying more of the Big Beer Series. Many thanks to dmeadows for the opportunity!

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a pretty good beer, but I think it could be a little bit bolder. Not disappointing by any means, just a little tame. It is an orange color with a medium head, as well as some nice lacing. A sweet, floral aroma. Predominant hops taste, with a little citrus. Good mouthfeel, very drinkable.

Photo of warnerry
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle about two months old; Poured into a tulip.

Pours a cloudy orange brown with a lot of suspended material (bottle was stored upright; maybe poured to vigorously?) and two fingers of head. Head does not have great retention, but leaves a lot of lacing behind.

Smell is very floral hops with tropical fruits (pineapple and mango). some citrus as well. Aroma is pretty subtle.

Taste is nice, juicy hops as it hits the tongue. Pineapple with a faint amount of pine. Nice bitterness with a pretty solid malt backbone, though it is hard to pick out specific malt flavors. Very tasty and satisfying.

Mouthfeel is medium and slightly oily, with a nice juiciness, almost chewy. Finishes with lingering dry bitterness.

A very enjoyable, balanced DIPA.

Photo of Todd
3.27/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 1 pint 6 fl ozs. bomber bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Cloudy, murky, unfiltered orange / amber coloured beer with a magnificent off-white creamy, fluffy, frothy, sticky and lasting head.

Smell: Mega citrus, floral, sweet pale malt and fruity aromas.

Taste: A rather dry brew. Smooth, creamy, chewy, juicy mouthfeel that turns coarse with grain and a semi-astringent hop character, that then explodes into an aggressive raw leafy bitterness; rind, salt and a palate stinging character. Notes of wood line the one-dimensional malt character, which is fruity with faintly sweet. Alcohol is apparent. Finish is ruled by strong hop residual falvours.

Notes: As far as big IPA's go, this one is about average. Malt characters are a bit bland. A well-made IPA, but it's lacking balance and uniqueness. Still a good brew, but nothing I'd frequent.

Note: the "A" stands of "Ass" ... but they weren't allowed to put the word on the label.

Photo of sponberg
4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle conditioned in 2006. medium dark gold, white head lasts forever, aroma has a depth of citrus hoppiness and fruity-toasty maltiness balanced with whiffs of alcohol. Hints of a good bud.

Love this brew. Starts with a toasty-caramelly maltiness followed immediately by a bracing, citrusy-slightly-piney hoppiness that just envelops the mouth. Solid, rockin' bitterness all over the tongue. Mid sip it all blends in perfectly. The alcoholic warmth shows up near the end, adding more complexity. Finishes with a grapefruit-and pine, resinous hoppiness along with the maltiness, tongue tingles from the bitterness, mild buzz confirms the alcohol, empty glass confirms the drinkability. Completely appropriate body - not too syrupy, but not thin at all.

One of my favorite DIPAs.

Photo of shapudding
4.73/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured with a thick head atop an incredibly cloudy unfiltered looking ice tea colored bres. Can't see through it. Scents mainly citrus. Tons of grapefruit rind flavor, that is the main thing jumping out at me, then the hops. Highly carbinated, but not annoyingly so- just enough. Very drinkable.

Photo of euroslvt
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Dogfish Head signature glass. A slightly more aggressive release of carbonation then normal is produced while removing the cap.

A: A slightly aggressive pour produces a creamy off white head. Directly below a sits a copper colored brew. Like usual a steady stream of carbonation constantly bubbles to the surface. Eventually the head thins out, a thin lacing sticks around forever.

S: Grapefruit, Pine, and a slight alcohol smell. Not nearly as aggressive as Ruination, but there are some pretty hardcore hop sents in here. A mild alcohol note hits your nose at the end. Understandable with the above average abv.

T: Bitter hops up front. Some grapefruit follows. Small alcohol at the end, but pretty hidden for the abv. Unfortunately it all comes down to a almost typical dipa, but still very enjoyable.

M: Fucking sticky. Sticky mouthfeel, sticky on the glass. Alcohol, and slight carbonation. Lingering bitterness on the tongue, but there is nothing wrong with that.

D: You can finish a bomber in on sitting easily. For the style and abv I find it suprising, but welcome.

Yet another great offering from Smutty. The big beer series doesn't usually let you down.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is received as very golden in color with a thick white head that laces pretty well

The aroma is full of hops. Citrus and piny hops fill the nose with a slight hint of alcohol.

The taste is bold as you would expect from a DIPA but its color and aroma are deceiving to the taste. It is sweet with a slight citrus hop but it finishes with a big pine bitter finish.

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mildly hazed orange amber with a caked on head that sticks very well. Pungent earthy and floral hop aroma, very English in a big way. Bit of malt sweetness in the nose. Fruity esters and a faint fusel alcohol show that the brew has some strength both in the aroma and taste. Solid medium body, creamy mouth feel. Hops thrash all over with a pungent bitterness and a sizeable earthy, herbal and floral flavour that does not let go. Malt sweetness lays underneath the hops with a raw honey and fruit flavour. Faint diacetyl and fusel alcohol are a draw toward complexity. Big hop oily flavour are almost a deluge upon the taste buds for a moment and even then seem to linger forever.

An interpretation of what an IPA used to be? Nice to see a big English style IPA with a truck load of hops on the palate. A great change up if you have been saturated with hops that have a citric tone to them but still want a brew with a huge hop presence.

Photo of merlin48
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle pours a clear, amber body underneath an impressive, three finger, billowy, ivory head. Active carbonation abounds, with hundreds of small bubbles rising from the bottom. Generous patches of lace adorn the glass.

This has a lovely, sweet aroma of floral and fruity hops. Honeysuckle, grapefruit, and orange blossoms provide a delicate hops bouquet.

Mouthfeel is amply carbonated in this medium bodied double IPA.

The hops are much more dominant on the palate. Grapefruit rind fronts an aggressive hops profile here. Sweet, caramel malt notes are present underneath, but this ale is all about the hops. The abv is disguised very well. The finish is citrus rind bitter, with a hint of floral sweetness.

This Smuttynose is a "Hop Monster", but is very subtle in the way it allows the abv to sneak up on you. Nice complexity and excellent drinkability. Another fine "Big Beer" series ale from this New Hampshire brewery.

Photo of Billolick
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bomber bottle, no freshness dating. Pours golden with cloudy orange hues. Nose of griany/resiny hops. Minimal white head, tiny bubble film. Nice malty brew, with a spicy hop after burner. Alcohol obvious, but well in the background. Medium body, smooth mouthfeel. Not as rich and chewy as others of this style, but still nice stuff and worth giving a try.

Photo of warriorsoul
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had to travel up to Portsmouth to grab this one before it hit the shelves in MA....definitely not questioning my preemptive strike.
Only $2.49 a bomber locally...sweet!
Labeled "Bottle conditioned in 2005"
Pours a surprisingly clear light copper w/ a full finger of off-white head...lacing is sparse but has some nice cling.
Aroma is packed with sweet malts and some fruity hops.
Taste is one bitter hop monster...much less harsh than last years version. The hops are mostly citrus...w/ a nice solid malt backbone keeping this one balanced. Alcohol is not detected until the last few swallows.
Mouthfeel could be thicker...a bit thin for its style, but the carbonation is perfect.
Drinkability is above average, despite the 8% ABV.
A solid offering from Smutty...better balanced and slightly more enjoyable (for me) compared to last year's offering...IMHO.

Photo of Homebrew35
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle conditioned March 2011 on the label.
Pours a one finger of somewhat creamy white head. Hazy pale yellow body, quite nice. Smells of floral, citrus, crystal malts. The smells is lacking a bit, its only faintly floral, citrus, quite a bit of malt. Its not bad in any way but for a big ipa it needs more. Tastes quite nice, sweet crystal malts, citrus, floral, piney resinous hops. A good balance in the mouth, medium bodied, a good amount of lingering bitterness but not too much. Alcohol is mostly hidden. Overall is good but I'd like to see more hop aroma. $3.20 a single, quite a bit pricy.

Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hudsonphotog for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours golden-yellow with a small white head. The aroma is big time DIPA, with a very resiny piney characteristic. It could be described as pungent. The flavor is more pine along with some citrus/grapefruit. You get some decent bitterness. Medium mouthfeel and carbonation.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber with a note that pugilist Stash Wojciechwski created this IPA for the Big Beer Series. $3.99 at Wine N Beer Westpark.

Poured a cloudy honey-orage in color. Thick and amazingly sticky white head leaves distinct rings around the glass. Aroma is "kick yo' ass" hops. It's like a used car ad: Come on down to Leapin' Larry's. We got all sorts of hops: citrus hops, pine hops, flower hops. You name it...I've got it! A virtual cornucopia of hops for the nose. Alcohol definitely noted as well. Taste is all hops. ABV is slightly overbearing in this one (is that a bad thing?). A war is waged between the hops and ABV to see who can win. Scurrying around in the background lies the malt. Too intimidated to show itself, it skulks about, watching the two masters battle on the battleground that is your palate. Exhausted, the ABV surrenders in defeat, begging for mercy. A heavyweight fight has just occurred in your mouth, and you've felt every punch. ABV leaves you slightly dazed and confused. Finish is minimal, and intensely bitter. A "pissed off at the world" bitter. Mouthfeel? Very good. Smooth when it needs to be, raw and abrasive when you think about not respecting this beer. Drinkability is good as well. Overall, a great beer, but just ever-so-slightly unrefined. Smoothing out the raw, hoppy bitterness (did I actually just say that a beer could be...*gasp*...TOO hoopy?!?) would make this a true contender.

Photo of jakester
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer in a 22oz bomber. Label says "bottle conditioned in 2005". Has some old time white boxer in his black undies throwing a left jab but dropping his right! Keep your hands up, boy!

Beer pours a light orange color, slightly hazy from sediment on the bottom. Fair carbonation is evident. 3/4" rocky off white head drops to @ 1/8 " in 3-4 minutes. Lacing is there most of the way down, but not sip-countable lacing.

Fairly strong citrus/floral aroma; grapefruit, old lemons. Malt aroma is muted, way in the back. A hint of alcohol. Hop aroma fades after a bit.

This is pretty well balanced for a double IPA, if that is what this is. Strong hop bitterness hits you first, then the malt sweetness tries to cover it up a bit. Not a lot of hop flavor, but what is there is pleasant; citrusy/piney, kind of like SNPA. Alcohol can definitely be detected after a few minutes.

Mouthfeel has a pleasant level of bitterness. Every IPA should be so bitter! Malt is on the thin side, not sweet at all, but enough to balance. Carbonation level is on style. Slight tongue coating resins fade quickly. Alcohol warmth is right there. This'll knock your dick in the dirt!

Overall, a very drinkable brew. For a DIPA, I like them a lot hoppier, but that's me. If I was stranded on a desert island, and this was the only beer, I'd be a happy guy. Three Floyds Dreadnaught, I'd never need sex again!

Photo of kingcrowing
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a DFH snifter, bottled in January 2010.

Pours a slightly hazy orange with a huge three finger light yellow fluffy head. Nose is sweet citrus and malty caramel sweetness.

Taste is pretty sharp and harsh, the bitterness is there and that's really all I get from the hops, there isn't too much of that fresh hop flavor that I really like in my IIPAs. The alcohol is surprisingly present and you can feel it after you drink it. High carbonation leads to really decent drinkability but there's an odd finish that's fairly unpleasant on the back of my tongue. It's ok, but I'd either go with Stone IPA or even SNPA over this.

Photo of WeymouthMike
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 sample. Pours a golden amber with a frosty white head with a little creaminess to it. Smells of cirtus explode in the nose and the initial taste of this. Mouthfeel is smooth although the carbonation appeared to be heavy in this one. Its easy to drink a bomber in a sitting but don't think I would try for
a second.

Photo of far333
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden honey color with a yellowish white, foamy head, almost like soap bubbles. Head is high, but settles quickly leaving wet lace dripping down the glass. Strong hop aroma with some alcohol smells, and a bit of sweet candy. Flavor is huge. Big hops, with lots of sweet orange. A piney finish, and a warm ring of alcohol swims around the mouth, and even rises up to the back of my nose. Mouthfeel is fresh, crisp, and clean. This one's got some pouch, but I really enjoy it, and could have several.

Photo of StevenBilodeau
4.16/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is an excellent representation of an American Double IPA/Imperial IPA. This is so grassy, hoppy and decadent...

Not like a regular beer, this brew should be consumed by the few whom can enjoy the hoppy goodness.

The aroma is strong, fierce, zesty, and bitter.

The head is foamy and white.

The flavor is explosive, and fulfills the bitterness your palate is in need of. Citrus zest, tangy hop bitterness, and mellow carbonation makes this brew one should seek out!

Photo of Soonami
3.82/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A beautiful golden yellow beer with lots of chunky yeast and sediment suspended bellow a fluffy pillow of pristine head. The reason why this beer is rated lower in appearance because there is so much junk in the bottom of this beer I had to leave about an ounce in the bottle to keep all that shit out of my glass. I think Port and Smuttynose are the worse offenders when it comes to the amount you lose in the bottle to avoid the junk going into your glass.

The smell was intoxicatingly citrusy, lemon and grapefruit rind and sweet grainy malt. The beer was nicely bitter, but with a bit too much residual sugary sweetness and alcohol heat.

The mouthfeel was creamy with very nice fine carbonation, but the alcohol and oily hops left an astringent dryness in my mouth.

I'm glad I tried this beer, but I would not buy it again.

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Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,654 ratings.