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Smuttynose Big A IPA - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,421 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1421
Reviews: 871
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.06%

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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-16-2002)
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Ratings: 1,421 | Reviews: 871 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dbrauneis

North Carolina

4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a hazy yellowish orange (dark apricot) in color with light amounts of visible carbonation, some fine yeast particles in suspension, and some golden yellow highlights. The beer has a half finger tall foamy white head that slowly reduces to a medium patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of pine and citrus/grapefruit hops over a lighter aroma of caramel malts.

T: Upfront there is a light amount of caramel malt but with very little sweetness. That is quickly overtaken by strong flavors of pine and citrus/grapefruit rind hops that contribute a heavy amount of lingering bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp with some stickiness then a little dryness in the finish. Light hints of alcohol warming.

O: Overall the big ABV is pretty well hidden but this beer is just a touch too bitter and with a hop profile that I do not find as interesting as others in the style. Still enjoyable.

Serving type: on-tap

04-14-2013 19:58:42 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of kylehay2004


3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: single finger head with nice lacing on a hazy pale golden body. Excellent lacing.

S: beautifuly strong aroma with grapefruit, candied orange and caramel but overall simple.

T: malt forward IPA treading into barleywine territory with candied fruits, earthy hops, caramel malts and honey.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: this one is good but doesn't stand out in a genre which has many top brews.

Serving type: on-tap

06-16-2012 04:25:17 | More by kylehay2004
Photo of Taylor8189


5/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is exactly what an Imperial IPA should look, taste, and feel like. I've had this beer almost ten times on tap over the past couple of months and every time I drink it I am reassured that it was a great decision. From the moment the server/ bartender places the beer down in front of you, you know it is going to be a treat. The initial smell is strong, full of hops...undertones of citrus fruit. It is very drinkable, almost too drinkable if I must say. The carbonation is very high as it should be and the alcohol is practically hidden. It almost feels like you're drinking a refreshing glass of carbonated grapefruit juice (if that exists haha). But on a serious note, this beer is absolutely fantastic. If you are looking for a heavy, drinkable, refreshing IPA that will literally knock your sock s off then look no further, you have found your poison.

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2012 04:25:50 | More by Taylor8189
Photo of nrs207


4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this on tap a few times, and just felt I needed to review it because it is one fantastic big DIPA.

A - It's a golden yellow/orange. Has a nice fluffy white head. It leaves a decent lacing down the glass.

S - Not as strong as you'd expect after you've tasted it. It's definitely got a smell of strong hops. I feel like this thing is going to be hop forward, but nothing prepared me for the taste. I wish the smell lived up to the taste, but beer is for drinking anyway, right?

T - Holy hell this thing is hopped to the point of ridiculousness and I love it. Fresh on tap there are few beers I enjoy more than this. I had it at an open bar the first time on new year's eve. I had 6 of these. Needless to say I was in no position to review, but luckily I found it again recently and it was just as I remembered. I feel like I could eat raw hops I love bitterness so much, but by the 6th one of these my mouth was ruined. I absolutely love the taste, and for a Big Ass IPA it lives up to the name. The hop flavor was mainly citrus, but the bitterness is the main attraction here.

M - The best part is that you don't notice the alcohol in this beer. It's 9.6%, but it goes down super smooth with a nice amount of carbonation and a huge resounding bitter finish. Delicious.

O - I couldn't give this a 5 overall because of the slightly lackluster aroma, and the fact that it's a bit one note on the bitterness. But in my opinion, this thing is the ultimate bitter bomb and one that I'm so glad I got fresh to get the full effect. Don't get this if you don't want to get slapped in the face by hops. Beers that people find quite bitter like Ruination don't really compare to this in my opinion. Ruination doesn't even seem too bitter to me, but this will always satisfy my cravings for a bitter DIPA.

Serving type: on-tap

02-25-2012 06:40:23 | More by nrs207
Photo of hustlesworth


4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- crazy murky opaque orangish tan. The head is thick and cream colored and incredibly sticky. Wowsers. Lace comes off in chunks. The foam doesn't have the usual wrinkly shrivel as it settles. Still looks great, nice change of pace.

S- huge piney grapefruit and orange sweetness. There's a solid amount of malt behind the hops with a toffee marshmallow type character.

T- though it's insanely bitter, there's a nice balance to it as well. Hops completely dominate but somehow a fair amount of malt sweetness beams through. Grapefruit, mandarin, pine, mango, and rocket fuel. Finishes with a Lingering puckering hoppiness.

MF- full and squishy. I can feel the murkiness. Ample carbonation cuts through and keeps it from feeling too mich like mud puddle. But I still kinda does, and it's good. Dry and resinous on the cheeks.

D- alcohol is well hidden behind the hops. Very well hidden. This is a big nasty unfiltered brew. It looks like mud and that's awesome. It's harsh and pungent and everything hoppy. Nicely done.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2012 23:04:06 | More by hustlesworth
Photo of Bendurgin


3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a chalice over at the Portsmouth brewpub. Pours a golden straw color with a finger of fluffy white head with some sticky lace. Real nice head retention here.

Bitter hops in the aroma with a some grapefruit in the background. Not much going on here but this is bitter and fruity all around with a little bit of toasty malts in the background. Maltier on the pallet than I would like. Toasty malts on the profile with a bitter pine hop finish. A little bit of grapefruit in the background.

The body is medium with sharp carbonation. Overall this isn't bad but let's just drink Finest Kind and be done with it.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2011 04:29:26 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of Hophead717


3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap at Smoke and Barrel in Adams Morgan. This one lived up to its designation as a "Big Beer."

A: The beer poured a light golden, with a thin head that quickly dissipated.

S: Aromas of big, piney hops dominate the nose. Light citrus tries to poke its way through, but is largely unsuccessful.

T: Bitter, bitter, bitter hops. Bitter hops upfront, bitter hops midway through, and bitter hops at the finish. Nice piney/light citrus mix, but the flavors are somewhat hard to pick out because of just how bitter the hops are. Definitely need to enjoy some water between sips, less your palate be overwhelmed. Minimal alcohol burn.

M: Moderate carbonation, the beer feels nice.

O: "My mouth has been abused tonight," remarked my mate who was also enjoying a Big A. Couldn't put it better myself. If you're in the mood for a total hop onslaught, enjoy. If you're looking for a balanced IPA, definitely go elsewhere. I wouldn't seek it out, but I would probably order again under the right circumstances.

Serving type: on-tap

11-05-2011 19:28:28 | More by Hophead717
Photo of Dreadnaught33

District of Columbia

4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Churchkey in DC a while ago. This was a huge surprise in how much I enjoyed this beer, lives up to many big DIPA's in terms of taste.

A: A creamy looking orange color with gold highlights and a ring of white head, plus some nice lacing. Hazy overall.

S: Not a strong aroma, says on the menu even thats its dry hopped but I almost think it's not at all. Almost funky when I really get my nose in there with maybe a glimpse of grassy hops. I'm not into this and quite unimpressed.

T: What? The taste is packed with flavor, where was that in the aroma?! Tons of fresh citrus and fruit salad with some nice sugary sweetness. Very complex and layered, some alcohol there but it just seems to add complexity to the hops as a malty bold sweetness. Grassy weed like notes. Incredible example of the style.

M: Excellent feel. Very bitter and dry end, smooth and sweet over the palate.

O: Throughly enjoyed my pour of this. The aroma needs serious work, but it is tasty and feels amazing. Never had such a big swing in aroma- T/M.

Serving type: on-tap

10-09-2011 22:41:20 | More by Dreadnaught33
Photo of tdexterc


4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- light amber body, slightly hazy. Solid 2 finger head with good lacing.

S- not as potent as I expected, but still a good citrus scent.

T- grapefruit hops are most prominent. In back there are some hidden sweet malt highlights. Also a slightly astringent alcohol taste but not offensive.

M- nuclear bomb strength bitterness annihilates the palate. Now that is a DIPA.

Great example of a bitter DIPA. Jumped on this with a good price on tap

Serving type: on-tap

09-18-2011 22:34:21 | More by tdexterc
Photo of GarthDanielson

North Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap at the Portsmouth Brewery and served in a pint glass. The beer pours a light, golden-yellow coloring, with a light foam head that has great cling to it. The aromas have a citrus tang and smooth hoppiness. The beer's flavors are boozey, with heavy hops throughout, and a blend of citrus and caramel malt sweetness. The aftertaste is all hops and spice, with a slick and quick finish. Delicious!

Serving type: on-tap

09-03-2011 03:09:03 | More by GarthDanielson
Photo of iheartcraftbeer


4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 07/01/2011. On draught at The Winking Lizard Tavern.

A: Golden yellow color. Clear body. Minimal head. Sticky lacing.

S: Pine needles, spices, pineapple, phenols?

T: Big bitter bomb. Pine, resin and pepper are the dominating flavors.

M: Prickly, medium body. High carbonation.

O: Delicious, if one-sided.

Serving type: on-tap

07-29-2011 22:34:29 | More by iheartcraftbeer
Photo of afksports

New York

3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Smuttys big ipa has a lame label but on tap at amity hall I don't notice that. I notice the hazy golden burnt hue of the beer, the lace around the nifter and the well composed head. I smell the pine, grapefruit, and grassy hops.

I taste sweetness, almost a candy sugar to cover the high alcohol, but still the drying sharpness of the hop profile- almost as if it's a double and almost as of it's a dry hopped beer.

I fought with the woman - she's been stressed lately about leaving for a year, and every time I type a review a beer I'm apparently being rude. But this sweet and drying medium bodied beer is worth review, even if it might not be worth a fight. The boxer on it's label does look pretty lame, after all. Guess I better go fix it.

Serving type: on-tap

07-20-2011 23:57:18 | More by afksports
Photo of Tucquan


3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2011-06-10 at Cobblestones in York, PA

A - Almost clear straw with a one-finger head and mild-moderate lacing.

S - Red licorice, light grain.

T - Sweet malt, citrus, tart cherry, chalk, earthy spice and a decent but not extravagent amount of bitterness.

M - Medium body and light carbonation. Syrupy.

O - I liked this English style IPA and would look for it again.

Serving type: on-tap

06-10-2011 23:11:21 | More by Tucquan
Photo of ipahophead


3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Yardhouse in Dedham, MA.

Pours dark golden with weak, fading 1/4" head; large bubbles; medium to lowlace during the consumption. Shockingly almost no hop nose. Deeply bitter front to back. Heavy mouthfeel; almost syrupy.

Big hops of undistinguished origin. Long alcohol burn in the finish. Hops hang on pallet for-ev-ar.

Bring on the repeat; great, unique addition to the IIPA space.

Serving type: on-tap

06-02-2011 00:15:56 | More by ipahophead
Photo of therica


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

On-tap at Flannery's, Mercersburg PA

A= hazy golden, fair head when served, great retention throughout the consumption.

S= very bold pine-citrus and honey, a no-nonsense Imperial IPA with great balance.

T= very nicely balanced with plentiful pine and citrus hops florals and bitterness, mellowed by nice malts and a hint of honey.

M= I'm happy, a nice lingering hops florals and bitters although the bitters did seem to outlast the rest of the flavor after a minute.

O= an exciting and welcome offering, a bit high on the ABV% to be more than one or two at a sitting but definitely worth those.

Serving type: on-tap

05-31-2011 23:01:16 | More by therica
Photo of Snamnoum

District of Columbia

4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - hazy golden hazy colored brew that pours like warm syrup, doesn't have much head but what little it does have has excellent retention.

Smell - awesome aromatic and floral hops. Both piney and green with a touch of resin. Sweet toasty malt and citrus (grapefruit) round it out.

Taste - this beer is fantastic! Extremely well balanced and round. It opens with sweet honey like malt and toasted grains and transitions into massive hops. The bitterness lingers and the finish is pronounced.

Mouthfeel - oily/syrupy and rich, this beer is medium to heavy bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall - awesome Imperial IPA! If you love really well balanced big hoppy IPAs this is a must try!

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2011 05:18:50 | More by Snamnoum
Photo of b3shine


4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft to pint. Looks fantastic; light apricot. Bouquet is excellent; floral with citrus, especially grapefruit. Tastes good. Citrus and hops with notes of grapefruit and honey. Mouthfeel was great too. An easy drinker for its type. Overall, a great beer, and much preferred to their regular IPA.

Serving type: on-tap

05-20-2011 11:46:30 | More by b3shine
Photo of Matt1516

Quebec (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at "Bodega Blue" in Vero Beach on tap.

I tried this shortly after the Smuttynose "Finest Kind IPA" and prefer the former.

Cloudy orange in the glass with small head. Smells of grass and hops, citrus.

Big hop taste, oily mouthfeel with grapefruit notes and light maltiness. Definite warming alcohol feel with the high ABV. Nice bitter finish.

Serving type: on-tap

05-19-2011 02:36:32 | More by Matt1516
Photo of Hopfenpeter


3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is a clear medium gold with a creamy white head about 1/2inch thick. It sticks around for a while.
The smell has fruitiness and malt.
The taste up front greets with peach flavor on malt background and changes to a grain, bread feel mixed with malty sugar. At the end a bitterness which lingers in the mouth finishes the taste.
Overall a nice and drinkable beer.

Serving type: on-tap

04-28-2011 03:14:30 | More by Hopfenpeter
Photo of pburland23


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

On tap at Press Room.

Served in a Smuttynose Big Beer Series bubble glass.

Beer pours a coppery, orange hue with a finger of white head which produces some pleasing lacing.

The aroma is fruity and citrusy with some orange and other citrus fruits in the forefront. Taste is of an English styled IPA with some well balanced citrusy hops and a solid malt backbone. It's a touch dry, but it's a nice tasting beer.

Medium bodied and sufficiently carbonated. Very drinkable despite the ABV. Could stand to linger over a few of these.

Big A isn't going to blow hardcore hop heads away, but sometimes, it is nice to have a big IPA that isn't an absolute hop bomb. Big A shows a level of balance that is becoming less and less frequent in the IPA styles.

Serving type: on-tap

03-15-2011 01:49:26 | More by pburland23
Photo of rowingbrewer


4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer slightly hazy slightly orange color with a decent white head. The smell is ok you get a decent hop aroma but not the bam in your face hop you might expect. The flavor has the nice hop bitterness you want in a double ipa. The mouthfeel is anoittke thicker than would be expected for a double ipa but his is approaching a triple ipa range. This beer is drinkable despite he 9.6% it carries

Serving type: on-tap

03-09-2011 13:06:44 | More by rowingbrewer
Photo of david18

New York

3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had a twelve ounce glass of this at the Amsterdam Ale House on Manhattan's Upper West Side. As a double IPA it is pretty standard. Very good but not outstanding. It is certainly consistent with an east coast version of the style rather than a west coast version, which can be more drinkable in many cases.

The color was typical for the style, dark pale to orange color. The carbonation was almost non existent but that could have been the glass or a number of other reasons.

The aroma was one of pine and darker fruits and a little less citrusy than many double IPA's.

The taste was quite good and very well balanced, which, of course, is hard to do with a 9.6 Alcohol by volume.

As a strong beer this one is very drinkable which can be good and bad. Too drinkable can cause you to get drunk sooner than you want to.

In general, this is a solid double ipa that I would recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2011 20:28:22 | More by david18
Photo of schoolboy


4.68/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

When I saw that orld Wines in Mentor was going to have this on tap I was pretty sure I was going to have to get it. I wasn't sure if it was one I had tried (I had, a bottle when I was in MA a while back).

It has a sublime aftertaste. A little after burn as well, and I am sure that the strength of this will get to me (I am going to have SEVERAL!).

It certainly is a treat. Creamy. Full bodied. Hoppy. It is everything the style should be. Other APA's should try to be this good.

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2011 20:42:21 | More by schoolboy
Photo of xnicknj


3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at rattle n hum in nyc

Pours clouded copper orange with golden hues, a decent white head faded slowly with plenty of large patches of lacing on the glass.

Strong citrusy grapefruit with thick doughy malt and caramel with slight alcohol warmth in the nose.

Bitter blast up front with grapefruit and orange. Some more acidic citrus rind and peel, followed by slight pine resin. Sweeter caramel malt backbone softens the hop blow with some biscuit breadiness. Finishes with a distinct alcohol splash and piney grapefruit hops.

Decent medium body and carbonation, a little syrupy and sticky. Drinks pretty well but a little hot and the flavors don't mesh as well as they could.

Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2011 16:59:25 | More by xnicknj
Photo of thekevlarkid


4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Off tap at American Flatbread this beer was a slightly hazy, tangerine color with one finger of beige head. The retention of the creamy head was great and the lacing in curtains that slid into streaks. The aroma was of grapefruit, Chinook hops, pine, pale malt and a touch of must. The flavors were complex and delicious. I tasted orange, grapefruit and tangerine flavors all wrapped in a lot of caramel malt. I also tasted hints of pale malt, alcohol l heat and some herbal/root-like elements The finish was quite bitter and piney which with the caramel had a resinous effect on my palate. The mouthfeel was creamy, the body full and the carbonation light. I thought this one was very drinkable for 9.6% and balanced. But I could also see how the strong caramel/citrus elements could be off-putting to some people. Worth a shot!

Serving type: on-tap

01-01-2011 19:12:24 | More by thekevlarkid
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Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,421 ratings.