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Smuttynose Big A IPA - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA

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

1,554 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,554
Reviews: 876
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 90
Gots: 82 | 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:
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smuttynose Big A IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,554 | Reviews: 876 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of portia99
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a nice, perfectly clear pale orangey amber with a finger and a half of fluffy white head that has good staying power. Head finally dissipates leaving tons of sticky lace on the sides of the glass and sparse but sizeable bubbles on the surface.

S - Some pine and grapefruit and a good amount of malt - bready and sweet. A little bit of fruitiness and a touch of soapiness too.

T - Lots of hops - citrusy and piney, but offset a bit by the malt, which is plentiful. Bitter but not overly bitter - more flavor than bitterness. I would still say this is balanced to the hoppy side, but the malt has a very strong presence, also giving a bit of an alcohol flavor overall.

M - Medium to full bodied. Carbonation is low to medium. Resiny hops fill the mouth, leaves behind a drying sensation in the mouth. Good double IPA...first time I've had this fresh - haven't been impressed with older bottles - fresh is definitely the way to go on this one.

D - Pretty nice DIPA...fairly drinkable despite the high 9.2% alcohol level. Alcohol is noticeable but not overpowering. Definitely enjoying this one on a Sunday afternoon watching football. Think I'll pick up a couple more while they are still fresh.

portia99, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of Gosox8787
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Shared a bomber bottle with my brother. Half of the bottle pored into my Smutty Big Beer snifter.

Appearance is deep orange to light brown with a one and half finger cloudy white head with great retention. Leaves nice lacing for the entire time I drank. Smell is really strong hops, deep pine and resiny notes thhroughout. Taste is also strong hops, not a lot of malt presence. Hops present almost completely as pine notes. Almost a slight sour taste presents near the end of each sip. Becomes sweeter as it warms. Very strong bitter hop aftertaste, which I love in an IPA. Mouthfeel is pretty thick for an IPA, without onyl slight carbonation. Drinkability is really good for me. Sure the ABV is high and the flavor is strong, but I could sip this all night.

Overall, a really good DIPA and another great Big Beer from Smuttynose. Big flavors but with proper balance.

Gosox8787, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of Mistofminn
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this bottle as an extra from rrheisler's box that arrived this morning. Thanks for the extra, Ryan!

Poured into a tulip glass, this is a slightly hazy golden amber color, more leaning towards the golden side. Very large off-white head is produced, with great retention, but leaves little lacing.

The nose is big, wet, dank hops. I actually detect a little cannabis in there (maybe thats just me?). Very hoppy. The malt backbone is faint at best, so this one is a little one sided. But for a beer named Big Ass IPA, thats to be expected.

The taste is similar, but there is a definite resiny hop presense in the taste that I didn't pick up. Very strong on the floral hop notes still, and again the malt backbone isn't very well defined.

Mouthfeel is light to medium, probably more medium. Appropriate carbonation. Drinkability is good.

Overall, another brew from Smuttynose that doesn't disappoint. Thanks Ryan for this extra brew!

Mistofminn, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of cavedave
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful and clear golden into the glass. A thin, off-white head recedes to a whisper thin cap and persistent ring.

A strong scent of citrus and sweet pine hits my nose. A deep inhale brings pleasing and alive fragrances of floral hop and just the hint of yeast, grain, and even a touch of herbosity like a ghost in the room. Fine bouquet, could be a bit stronger.

If I interpret the bottling date correctly this bottle is four months old. I'm certain a fresher bottle will have even better flavor, but I am reviewing it as it is now. The taste is a blast of deep hop bite, a resinous party of citrus, pine, herbs, and florality taking place on my tongue. It isn't a hopsickle wannabe, it is a more balanced hop forward brew, full of the good that is hoppiness set in a frame that is sweet and subtle malt. The malt bill is slightly toasty, sweet, but mainly it is an unobtrusive partner to showcase an outstanding hop profile. As it warms the flavors get even more vibrant, and alcohol isn't present in the flavor at all. Nice.

Mouthfeel is viscous, resiny, clinging, just as a IIPA ought to be. Low carb., perfect. Nothing artificial or cloying here, hop resins in clean representation station themselves on my tongue for an outstanding finish. My only complaint is it could be just a tad less sweet in the finish.

Drinkability is as good as it gets for a IIPA, nuff said.

cavedave, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of CampusCrew
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: solid head pour and an amerish compelxion

smell: huge amount of citrus.

taste: loaded citurs from the hops. Picked up alot of bitter orange, not grapefruit. different loved it

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: awesome, one of the best

CampusCrew, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of phantomwyse
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours out a hazy golden orange with an initially dense white head that settles down to a patchy ring.

S: Fresh and bright citrusy hops, dense juicy pine, with a strong malty backbone.

T: Theres a strong puckering bitterness, but it isn't attached to any dominant hop flavor. Mild citrus, watered down grapefruit and dried cracker malts. Residual bitterness abounds.

M: Crisp and medium bodied, leaves off a little dry.

D: Kind of a strange IPA. Yearns to be ultra hoppy, but the hops just never come out in full force. The malts seek to balance, but there is little to be balanced. Not entirely bad, but not illiciting much excitement.

phantomwyse, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of MisterSH
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice orangy gold into my smuttynose big beer glass. Sudsy 2 Finger head.

Smells of citric hops!!! Also some apricot in there, perhaps a whiff of vanilla, but grapefruit dominates. Little to no malt on the nose to speak of, this smells absolutely delicious.

Strong, oily, bitter hop flavor. Finishes clean and bitter. This is a hop bomb without a doubt, as in the aroma, grapefruit is front and center, with the malt providing a subtle and somewhat bready backing. A moderate alcohol presence accompanied by a slight warming on finish seems appropriate and expected and offers some welcome balance to the hops. Certainly rather rough on the palate if not accompanied by food, as one would expect with the high IBU's.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation, slightly oily, refreshing and cleansing.

A really enjoyable hop-bomb style DIPA. Another great big beer from smuttynose.

MisterSH, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of gosurfobx
4.53/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 24 oz bottle into a snifter. Beer pours a clear light straw color with a one finger head that settles down to a film after a few minutes. The smell of the beer is complex and hoppy. First sip... hops dominate the palate right away. Not overly bitter but a pleasent and complex hop flavor. As the beer goes down the hop flavor profiles change. The mouth of the beer is good. Nice Carbination with just the right amount of weight on the toungue. A good drinkable DIPA.

gosurfobx, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of Metalmonk
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a remarkably clear pale/washed-out orange color; foamy head that is very bubbled, with some embossed/inverse cratering going on, although the beauty of all that thins and spreads outward to a mere skim within about a minute. If this ends up being the greatest Double IPA of all time, flavor-wise, it will still lag a bit behind in the looks department.

Aroma is unsurprisingly hop-laden. The hops are mostly leafy/grassy...okay, maybe just leafy. A little tobacco, a little mint, not super-malty but also not abrasive hops overkill. (With some swirling, to awaken the aroma, the head comes back with a vengeance, nice and creamy, so a half-point lift was given to the appearance.)

Wasn't blown away with looks and smell, but damn, the taste/mouthfeel combo deliver a one-two punch of big-ass awesomeness. Reminded a little bit of Avery's Ale To The Chief, in that it brings on lots of hops, backs it up with lots of malts, and exerts balance and drinkability above all that. Mint is a big part of the hop element here, as is orange and pine. A gooey caramel essence brings on the sweetness, but more as balance to the big hops (yes, Big-Ass hops, fine...); hardly a sickly-sweet, out-of-whack sweetness. Alcohol is present but well-behaved; spicy, warming, smooth. Resiny feel/vibe/flavor, especially in the finish. Orange marmalade too. Chewy and creamy as all get-out, a little sticky...just the kind of feel I want in this style.

Usually super-impressed with Smuttynose's Big Beer Series stuff, and Big A IPA is no exception. As sweet as it threatens to be, as much as it threatens to go too far, it never topples off the edge. Big A is no monster. Just a well-made double IPA to savor.

Metalmonk, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of mtnbikerpa
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into my party glass. Lots of foamy head that quickly fades. Can't really tell the color because my glass is blue. Biting hop aroma that assaults your nasal passages and teases your esophagus as the tainted air moves to your lungs. Slightly more orange notes, than your typical lemon-pine hoppy nature. A hint of sweet caramel lingering in the background, its very faint and barely detectable. Not well balanced in my mind, still a very good example of an extreme IPA. Mouthfeel is heavy and as it warms alcohol is more noticed.

mtnbikerpa, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of erosier
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours a nice orange-amber color with a tall and medium sized white colored head that laces the glass very nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet malts followed but a huge but not overly bitter hop aroma, mainly piney and citrusy hops.
T: Taste was actually a bit sweet, very big hop flavors over a very lightly toasted malt base. Big citrus, pine, and floral notes actually give it a somewhat sweet characteristic.
M: Very clean, crisp, refreshing, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable, this is a great Double IPA, I did not notice the amount of alcohol at all. This one was as light as a normal IPA, very well done.

erosier, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle poured into a Unibroue tulip. Fluffy, white head leaves oily, sticky lacing on the side of the glass. Aroma is of pine, grass, flowers and grapefruit. Coats the tongue with resinous hop juiciness. Taste is bitter, juicy, citrusy and just delicious. Slightly warming but ABV is amazingly well hidden. Some sort of lavender or perfume taste in the beer I can't identify but only adds to the complexity. I'm sure there's a malt backbone in there somewhere but this is for the hop heads. There is no chance of being disappointed if you have the craving. Awesome. Paired extremely well with a sirloin with hoisin sauce.

Edit: Had it on tap at Kickbacks in Jax tonight....even more delicious.

KickbacksSteve, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of pinotboy007
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Cloudy gold with a bright bubbly cap that faded rather quickly to a soapy-looking ring. Only a touch of lacing.

S - Pineapple, pine, freshly cut hay. Very nice and fresh smelling.

T - The fruity pineapple/citrus pops up first followed by a rush of bitter hops that are assertive, but fades to a bit of sweetness and tang.

M - Becomes more creamy as it warms, but it's got that prickly carbo-fizz happening and is quite refreshing.

D - The high ABV detracts a bit but this is more than an enjoyable IPA. If paired with spicy food this might be a real winner to keep around.

pinotboy007, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a bright copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells mostly of citrus hops with floral notes also present along with sticky caramel tying everything together.

Tastes very good. The hops are a bit more muted than the smell intimated however they're still strongly present. Caramel malt flavors up front segue into citrus and slightly pine-y hop flavors. The sweetness from the malt and bitterness from the hops come together at the end for a very smooth ending. The alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel is good. There's a solid thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could easily have another.

Overall I was a fan of this beer. A solid east coast DIPA that's well worth a shot.

glid02, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of donkeyrunner
3.08/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear copper with a fair white head that leaves fair retention. Bottle states that this recipes was created by the "Killer Kielbasa," Polish boxer turned brewer.

Mild citrus rind aroma with a fresh kale and pepper herbal hop. Interesting. Taste is all kinda all over the place: tropical fruit smoothie with candy peach rings and again that weird, vegetable pepper taste. Low carbonation.

Not bad, but I've seen most do better with this style. This beer makes me question the infallibility of Smuttynose.

donkeyrunner, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of taigor
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap poured into 8oz glass.

A - Amber hazy color with medium head that leaves significant lacing.

S - Predominantly hops with some floral and citrus mix.

T - Very hoppy but has a little sweetness to offset it. Overall the taste is a little unusual, a little grassy.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation. Good hop amount.

D - Good DIPA but has a high abv.

taigor, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of gibby
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at east ave bar in Pawtucket, RI. Served in a 10oz tulip glass. Appearance is a light golden color with a 2 finger chunky white head. Smells heavily of citrus, grapefruits and nugs. Taste is similar to smell, heavy on the citrus but a bit too sweet. Mouth feel isn't too bad but its a rather thick and syrupy dipa. In my opinion the thickness and sweetness took away from the drinkability for sure. Definitely has some heat as well clocking in at over 9%. I only ordered one 10oz pour and I felt like that was plenty. But I will say I am glad to finally try this brew.

gibby, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of kwakwhore
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As a big fan of the Smuttynose IPA I was anxious to try this out and to see how it measured up in comparison.
A Looks like unfiltered apple juice, white head which subsides into a collar and leaves a small amount of lacing on the glass.
S Complex mixture of apricot, peach, and citrus scents.
T Bitter grapefruit hops mixed with some sweet malts and a shot of alcohol which detracts from the flavor.
M and D are both negatively influenced by the heat of the alcohol presence. Way too hot.
This is a good beer, but with a little tweaking it could be a great beer. Given a choice of Smuttynose products I'd probably reach for the IPA before I'd drink this one again.
Later updates on this beer:
Whatever I said, Smuttynose must have been listening. Ever since they have reissued this beer in 4 packs of 12 oz. bottles, all of the problems have disappeared. It's become a really fine DIPA with plenty of hoppy goodness but a fine malt balance. The alcohol is no longer a distraction. This is now my favorite Smuttynose beer.

kwakwhore, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of ShogoKawada
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smuttynose Big A IPA

A- A caramel beer, mildly amber, and a sticky icky head that looks like a billowy cloud. Sticks to the glass like none other.

S- To call out user raverjames... I agree. This is like dank nugs. Peppery, resiny, citrus, haze-like chronic nugs. Damn.

T- Follows the nose. The weediest beer ever. If you've never seen the relationship between hops and cannabis, this is the beer to try. Very tasty, alpha acids are in the house.. an amazing hop profile.

M- A hop-head's dream. Fantastic. Rich malt base provides good counter balance.

D- Insane. A totally different beast then Smuttynose's other IPA (FinestKind, one of my favorites)... this beer is more 'hops in the raw'. Fantastic. I am in love with this beer. Could go up against damn near any IPA out there... fantastic!

ShogoKawada, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of bum732
3.45/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a golden yellow, nice creamy head with great lacing and good retention. Smells very floral, apple blossoms, lots of citrus, orange and grapefruit mostly, touch of sweet breadiness. Tastes of sweet malt with an undercurrent of grapefruit rind bitterness. Hops are more flavor forward than bitterness. Finishes quite sweet with some hop oils on the palate. Decent mouthfeel, alcohol barely noticable.

An ok DIPA. The nose on this was great, very floral. Unfortunately, the taste fell flat, didn't translate well. I also found this beer to be way too sweet, almost sickly sweet. Reminds me of Southern Tiers DIPA in its sweetness. I would've loved some more bitterness to cut through this.

bum732, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of jzeilinger
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful golden amber color with a nice creamy mild head that sticks around and doesn't subside, very nice carbonation. Smells of predominant citrus and pine, some malt sweetness, a little alcohol smell. Has a strong orange citrus tang that slams the front of the tonugue immediately, a little lemon pepper, piney hops, sweet malts in the middle, then finishes with a very strong hop finish on the back of the tongue that lingers, followed by a warm booziness with the alcohol content. Leaves a slight metallic aftertaste with alot of hop bitterness. Has a body that resides on the robust side of medium. However, with the weird moshing of flavors, I couldn't drink more than one in a sitting before having to move on to something else which is why I gave it a lower rating in the drinkability category. I actively seek out a case of this every year it's released, I really like it.

jzeilinger, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of UA8
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a lightly hazy amber body with a big and fluffy off white head of at least 3 fingers.

S- The nose on this beer is huge I could smell it as I was pouring it into my Duvel tulip from a foot plus away from my face. Grapefruit is king here along with some caramel malty goodness. There is also some fruit basket notes as well as some pine. I can only hope that the palate on this one is nearly as good as the nose.

T- Leads with huge citrus hops of grapefruit and a bit of orange. You can tell that this one is super fresh. Midpalate is balanced with sweet syrupy malts. It finishes nice and smooth with enough hop bitterness to remind you its a DIPA but yet hints of fruity sweet lingering in the background. If you take big enough swig you can tell that there is some alcohol hidden in there but it stays hidden pretty well.

M- Full bodied for a DIPA the carbonation is a touch over abundant but acceptable since it's pretty smooth.

D- This is one heck of a delicious DIPA. It leans towards the "east" coast style of DIPAs with BIG hops and malts but that's the way I like my DIPAs.

UA8, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of Kinsman
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle into a mug

A: Hazy orange color with a sticky, foamy white head, about 1 finger thick

S: As to be expected, hops are right up front with this one. Earthy and floral. Hints of of other flavors are there, but nothing very distinctive

T: Double IPAs are pretty new to me as I really only started liking IPAs this year. However the balance in this brew is surprising. Of course it is hoppy, but a little bit of sweetness from the malt keeps things in line. High alcohol content also provides some warmth at the finish

M: A nice medium-bodied feel with good carbonation

D: Overall a nice Double IPA to relax with, but one is enough at 9.6% abv

Kinsman, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of farrago
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just about a finger plus of head, cream white in color, mix of foam and medium-sized bubbles, dissipates faster than expected, lacing isn't that sticky either. Orange rust to pumpkin in color, strong haziness, only a slight fade to dark yellow at the rims. The nose features bodacious pink grapefruit and pine needle elements, orange blossoms, sweet garden herbs, apricot, peach and pineapple fruit scents, when all this tangy sweetness subsides, milk chocolate softness comes through. Medium-bodied, very round and soft in texture, no bitterness, albeit not toothless. Leans on its sweeter aspects like that tangerine and pink grapefruit citrus, pine, licorice and violets. Not sugary but the fruit flavors of pineapple, nectarine and apricot carry full force. Again, the chocolate and caramel too, The carbonation on the whole is fluffy but not dominant as such. Taken as a whole, this is a friendly styled DIPA which prefers to be friends with everyone it meets than put some stylistic flag in the ground.

farrago, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of grayburn
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, after seeing mention of this in a couple of threads, and seeing Raverjames give it a shout out, I figured it was time for me to give it a shot, not to mention the marvelous price tag, thank you smuttynose for not making my ass hurt.

The beer pours simply beautiful, cascading foam that laces like nobody's business and sticks in a tightly-knit ring instead of fading into nothingness. Pure golden color with some reddish edges, very pretty.

The smell is this huge blend of pine and mint and grapefruit and deliciousness that would be perfect if that damn grassiness decided not to join in the fun. Still very nice and hop forward, just a wee bit grassy.

The taste is where the grassiness, luckily, doesn't feel the need to play. Total hop domination, piney with some nice residual sweetness that keeps the hops playing nicely.

The mouthfeel is big, even for a dipa, but it is cut with a brisk carbonation, the bitterness is moderated by some caramel malt. This is definitely on the sweeter side of the spectrum, an east coast "caramel pale" if you believe the west coasters, but I am happy to imbibe. Speaking of imbibing, where the hell did my beer go....I guess the balance made it easier drinking than most...perfect actually.

grayburn, Nov 18, 2009
Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,554 ratings.