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Smuttynose Big A IPA | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
892 Reviews
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Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-16-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 892 | Ratings: 1,710
Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the bottle, it pours a hazy amber with a small head, which lasts a while and leaves a bit of lacing. Nose detects citrus and some malt. Mouth revels in the malty hoppiness. Enjoyable but dangerous.

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Photo of Pip_Count_167
2.88/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I'm spoiled on IPAs and DIPAs that I absolutely love, and this one did not deliver. It's maltier than many IPAs I've had, and I did not enjoy that flavor combination; it muddies the bright hop flavor I want in an IPA. More towards the bitter west coast IPA spectrum than the citrusy Maine IPA spectrum. It didn't help that I tried this in between days that I was drinking Swish... everything's relative, right?

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Photo of arizcards
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at TW Arrowhead in early January for $3.49. Best by 3/14/16.

Beer poured golden with a soap bubble head that dissipated quickly.

Nose is tropical and citrus forward.

Taste is citrus, pine, with a hint of hop flowers.

Mouthfeel is full and smooth. Very satisfying.

Overall this is a very nice brew. Would love to try one fresher as i suspect the best by date is 6 months.

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Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass; best before 3/14/2016, listed at 8.2% on the bottle. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep golden yellow color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, light pepper, pine, cracker, bread, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of bright citrus/tropical/piney hops and light-moderate pale malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, light pepper, pine, cracker, bread, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/citrus rind bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon/orange peel, citrus rind, pine, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of bright citrus/tropical/piney hops and light-moderate pale malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Nice moderate dryness as well from bitterness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately crisp/sticky/resinous, and slightly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome DIPA style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of bright citrus/tropical/piney hops and light-moderate pale malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of scotorum
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Interesting old-timey label image of a pre 1960s boxer.

Best by 3/15/16, whatever that means. Probably bottled anywhere from mid-Sept. to Mid Oct. If the latter, it would be three weeks old.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Tree House stemmed tulip.

a: Translucent orange with a finger thick white head which receded slowly to thin surface foam and dense patches of lacing.

s: Moderate citrus and pine.

t; Mainly piney hop flavor with a considerable bite, over a medium plus bready malt base. Nice dry finish. The very high ABV is beautifully covered.

m: Medium plus, great body and considerable carbonation tingle.

o; A substantial IPA which delivers a big 9.7% ABV punch.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours light orange with a thick white head.

smells fruity, has a very sweet aroma. maybe some pineapple

taste is different than most dIPAs. light and sweet, tropical fruit abound!

goes down very smooth, leaves a bitter trail at the end.

overall this is a pretty good beer! always enjoy Smuttynose beers and this is no different. very light for a dIPA which isn't a bad thing but it is different and worth noting. easy drinking!

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours hazy gold under a 1” off-white foam collar receds to a thick, lacy film. S: Big malt and spicy, floral, citrus hops. T: Rich malt and fruit and a hefty dose of hop bitterness that lingers. F: Creamy, soft, medium high carbonation and medium to medium high body. O: Drinks like a bitter tonic with the hops and malt not quite in balance.

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Photo of samtrillo
3.41/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Hazy golden-orange with a dissipated 1 inch head.

Nose is incredibly malty sweet. Candied white and yellow fruits. Reminds me of Molotov Cocktail.

Taste is similar. Very sweet and and malty. Unfortunately, I found this beer three weeks after its best by date so I can only imagine that the hops are more pronounced when fresh. There is some piney bitterness on the end with some tropical fruit.

Overall I wasn't too impressed with this double but I hope I can try it fresh.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.79/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

[Forced to write notes due to an outlier rating. My apologies for the brevity and shallowness below]

This is a fundamentally imbalanced IPA, suffering from too much hop bitterness and ill-enough malt sweetness. It's overcarbonated and unrefreshing. There is no harmony of texture and taste, and the hop profile is nothing special. While its 9.5% ABV is well-disguised relatively speaking, its lacking quality makes it less drinkable than it should be.

A pedestrian brew from Smuttynose.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler pour

Clear dark golden body with plenty of soapy off white head.

Huge malty sweet and fruity aroma. Pineapple, peach, apricot, guava.

Taste is malty sweet with a slight alcoholic edge. Definitely comes off "Big". Has a bigger piney and resinous hop flavor than the nose would lead you to believe. Those fruitier notes come in a little more muted.

Big slightly syrupy body. Has a bitter bite but seems fairly tamed by the malt.

Not my usual bag in regards to DIPAs but I had no problem draining a glass.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
2.09/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a Dogfish Head IPA glass.

A - 2.75 - Poured a golden color with a quickly subsiding, half finger of bright white head. Looks identical to a standard domestic beer. Weak head potential and retention. No lacing.
S - 1.75 - Smells like a malt bomb. I honestly thought this might have sat way too long and was surprised to find it was 2 months AHEAD of the best by date. Smells like caramel, alcohol and HEAVY malt. These aromas mask any fruit or hops that might be present. Absolutely no excuse for this malt bomb aroma.
T - 2 - The taste doesn't fare much better from the smell. Tastes like sugary, sweet simple syrup with tons of malt and a LIGHT touch of hop bitterness. This tastes like a heavy alcohol, sweetened version of a domestic beer with some bitterness at the end. Barely qualifies as an IPA, let alone a double.
F - 4 - Standard mouthfeel one would expect from the style.
O - 1.5 - A terrible representation of the double IPA style. Steer clear of this beer!

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Photo of bitterliving
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm reviewing this as it approaches 6 mo old ( didn't look at the date)
I've had this fresh and enjoy it for not being too citrusy sweet for a dipa.
This, at 6 mos is good in a whole different manner.
The nose is flower honey with a slight back of young Madeira mixed with some good earthiness .
The flavor smacks me of pineapple. Baked pineapple with caramelized sugar but still some good rooty bitter in the back and through the finish.
Alcohol is still present but really gulpable.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: slight haze; golden colored; 1 finger ivory head that receded to a thin collar; OK lacing;

S: restrained; what's there is pineapple;

T: slightly bitter pineapple that increases to the finish; long moderately bitter finish with pineapple in the background;

M: medium bodied; a touch syrupy; moderate carbonation;

O: very nice, but a little one note; bitter for a DIPA, which I like;

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Photo of Immortale25
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Haw River Farmhouse Ales teku glass. Bottleneck says Best By 4/20/15.

A- Pours an orangeish amber color with a 1/2 inch off-white head that retains well before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a tiny center patch of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a jagged ring behind.

S- Good balance between earthy hops and somewhat sweet malt. Stiff alcohol presence.

T- Pretty heavy on the bitterness scale with the malt edging in to balance. Very barleywine-esque with a substantial alcohol flavor. The hop characteristic is decidedly earthy.

M- Slightly sharp with medium carbonation and a body leaning toward the lighter side.

O- A solid DIPA/barleywine that packs a big punch (pun intended) while remaining very drinkable.

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Photo of TBoneJones
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Chalice glass pour: this is a hazy, nice golden-orange color, with a slim white head and some sticky lacing.
Smells like sweet yellow cake and some citrus (pineapple/ grapefruit/ lemon).
Taste follows suit, and it's a sweet citrusy burst of malts, and the hops come around to finish this one with puckering astringency.
Smooth and medium mouthfeel.
Overall, strong citrus and sweet malts with a dry finish, an unmemorable flavor profile, not balanced as I'd have liked, but worth the try. I probably won't seek it again, and I definitely wouldn't recommend this to someone you're introducing to the style. A great brewery nonetheless.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.26/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: 3.75 - Light amber with a small, fading head.
S: 4.5 - Big hop aroma! Wonderfully floral with a nice citrusy edge. I can smell it even though it's sitting on my desk a foot away as I type.
T: 4.25 - Hops, of course! But at least it's not the overwhelmingly piney hops that seem to infect IPAs and IPAs in recent years. It's, to my taste, very floral, flowery, a tad grassy. Malt adds some pleasant sweetness, with a fairly clean yeast profile.
M: 4.0 - Big bodied but not heavy.
O: 4.25 - Very good DIPA! Will buy again, as it's sufficiently unique.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by 4/20/15. 9.5% ABV per the label.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of citrus fruit, candied citrus zest, and grapefruit juice aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest, grapefruit juice, and pine needle flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a fairly assertive citrus and pine forward hop mix, especially in the taste.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a little pilsner glass. Best by 03/24/15.

Pours clear golden with a small white head, medium amount of active carbonation. Smell is lemon and pine. Very slight flower aroma.

Taste is lemon, honey sweetness, pine, slight old hop flavor, strong piney finish.

Mouthfeel is light and dry. Overall, it's pretty good.

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Photo of mr-jj
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter from a 12 oz bottle. Best by 3/24/15.

Poured a golden color with a slight haziness. Nice two finger creamy head with good retention and lacing.

Aroma is pine, orange rind and caramel with some weedy overtones that dissipated quickly..

Flavors of pine, orange rind and apricot with a slight malt backbone. The finish is very distinct from the flavor and leaves some grapefruit citrus on the palate.

Feel is medium to heavy with moderate carbonation.

Overall, a really nice, complex DIPA.

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Photo of ksimons
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-bright golden color with visible carbonation and two fingers worth of white head which leaves some lacing around the top

S-big pine and grapefruit aromas

T-taste is mostly of pine hops with some grapefruit mixed in. Has light caramel sweetness to it

M-medium body, moderate carbonation, dry finish

Overall a very hop forward DIPA but still pretty drinkable. Another great beer by Smuttynose

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Photo of dredmahawkus
4/5  rDev +0.5%

If bitter hoppy carmel malty is your thing...then this is really good! Its not really my thing but its still a good beer!

Nobody is going to release a beer that is under a 3 unless its like $2 a six pack! lol so my ratings start at 3!

this is pretty good if you like bitter. Its not really my thing...I prefer fruity hoppy....but for what it is its isnt too bad.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden orange with a creamy, lingering white head.

S: Faint aromas of lemon, lime, pine, spruce, herbs, grass, kumquats, and bitter orange grow stronger once the beer warms and settles in the glass, joined by faint scents of biscuits, crackers, and caramel.

T: Strong flavors of grass, lemon, lime, fresh herbs, kumquats, bitter orange, grapefruit, spruce, and pine are balanced by notes of caramel, crackers, biscuits, and white bread. The finish provides a punchy, prickly hit of alcohol in order to separate the lingering notes of biscuits, crackers, herbs, and bitter citrus.

M: Medium-bodied and initially sticky, but it dries out a bit. Carbonation is firm, but not overly intense. Alcohol is quite pronounced, but never all that distracting.

O: A really nice DIPA. Kind of an old favorite of mine.

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Photo of Act25
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smutty Nose has never disappointed so far, always in the top quartile in any give style.
This is their flagship DIPA. As DIPAs go, this is a great one.

A: Cloudy medium amber body with lots of lacing and a lasting head.

S: Excellent aromas of pine and round hops (rather than sharp grapefruit ones), tending to an old world, English style - very good. Very sappy, oily, piney, woody. A marine like acetone from the alcohol, but pleasant.

T: Lots of English Malty sweetness, caramel & Honey. Hops take over and drive a long, bitter finish with pine, grasses, herbs, hay, and a bit of orange rind. Dry finish.

MF: One of the best. Creamy, medium to full body, serious, satifying and begging for another. Definitely let this one warm to cellar temperature and drink from a tulip.

Plays well on the palate. Up there in the top tier of DIPAs.

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: There is a lot of foam on this beer, about two fingers’ worth with a very easy-going pour. Eggshell in color, the head slowly recedes until it is only about a quarter-inch thick and then it remains locked into place for quite some time. The beer underneath is pretty typical for a DIPA – bright orange and a little hazy with a lot of bubbles slowly moving towards the surface. The lacing can be seen before the first sip is even taken as the head falls and it only gets better from there. Thick layers cover most of the back of the glass.

SMELL: This is a very interesting nose for a DIPA. All the usual suspect are present except the most common; citrus. There is a ton of mango, a little pineapple, some apricot and some greener smells like pine and grass. Underneath the green and fruit lies a touch of vanilla and maybe, just maybe a hint of grapefruit.

TASTE: The flavor profile is very similar to the aroma. There is a ton of mango and apricot along with hints of pineapple. The grass and pine are subdued, but they do make an appearance right before the finish which is when the citrus elements of this beer finally make themselves known by dropping a grapefruit, lemon and grass bomb on the palate. All of these hop flavors, however, are set against a big, backdrop of caramel malt and again, like the nose, there seems to be a hint of vanilla in the flavor as well.

MOUTHFEEL: The Big A IPA is creamy and smooth. The body is quite big for any IPA and while it is sweet up front, the finish dries out a little as it bitters.

OVERALL: While I love west coast IPAs this is a nice change of pace. It is a little less bitter and slightly sweeter than I usually prefer, but it turns out to be a very well put together beer that delivers a big malty, fruity punch.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.09/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

$2.89 for a 12oz bottle @ Siciliano's. Brewed with North American 2-Row, Crisp Pale Ale malts. Hopped with Bravo and Cascade (bittering), Bravo and CTZ (Flavoring), and Glacier, Nugget and CTZ for dry hops.

OG=21° Plato
FG=3.1° Plato
9.7% ABV
IBU 120

Pours out to a murky burnt orange, lots of little particulate bits floating about, forming a modest light yellow head with good retention and lacing. Moderate carbonation, ~2.5 carbs or so. The nose is ripe with mango, grapefruit, apricot and tangerine. Not skunky, pissy, slightly piney. Mouthfeel is tart with hop acidity and is full bodied and moderately syrupy. The taste is a recap of the aroma. Lots of grapefruit here, sitting on top of a big malt base with some residual sweetness to balance out the rather firm hop bitterness. Pith, pith, pith. Quite bitter overall, a bit much for me. Astringent puckering finish. Did I mention the paint peeling bitterness? Cleanly fermented, no off flavors or aromas.

This is not the kind of DIPA that I enjoy, but if you like your IPA's bitter, try it.

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Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 892 ratings.