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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

1,526 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,526
Reviews: 875
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 89
Gots: 73 | 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: 1,526 | Reviews: 875 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mshallah
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle with a label depicting a fighter named the killer kielbasa. It seems this beer is the killer's recipe. Beer pours orange - amber with very sticky and clingy head and lace. Hop oil aroma is huge and pungent. Am I standing near a christmas tree? Strong spruce, tree sap, pine and cannabis aromas. The hops have to be contributing to the stickiness. Alcohol is also in the nose. Malt sweetness is there and probably quite substantial but the hops take center stage. Taste is a wonderful assault of hops with some alcohol warmth and a sweet malt that comes through late and into the aftertaste as a backing for the hops that linger on and on. The tiny bubble carbonation is perfect for this sticky hop juice and the drinkability is high for such a big beer. A fridge staple in NH as this ale is found in many grocery stores as low as $3.29 and never higher than $3.99 a bomber. Big-Ass IPA never fails to satisfy and makes it easy to support local breweries.

mshallah, Jun 20, 2007
Photo of westweasel
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to JMZ for a chance to taste this East coast beer!

This beer pours out a very pleasing light orange color. The beer is very clear and has more head than your average double IPA. The predominant smell is a strong biscuit scent with a grapefruit background.

When I first tried this beer it was right out of the bottle the carbonation was very high. At that time, the taste was dominated by a strong biscuity and butter flavors. It was followed by a very strong and sharp hop bitterness that was not very pleasing. I ended up getting interrupted and had to cap the rest of the bottle. I then drank the remainder the next night. It was a little less carbonated the second time around, and I thought it tasted much better. While still having strong biscuit and butter flavors, now I could also taste different hop flavors - both grapefruit and pineapple.

The mouthfeel was pretty full with lots of carbonation and a lingering bitter finish. The drinkability the first time I tried it was ok, but the second time it was much better.

westweasel, Jun 09, 2007
Photo of John_M
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Max's last night. Unfortunatetly, because it was Friday night happy hour at Max's, that means this beer came in a 32 oz. plastic cup. On the bright side, I had plenty of beer, and plenty of time, to sample this one.

The beer pours an impressive bright hazy orange. The head retention is outstanding, and even in a plastic cup, the lacing was very good. On the nose I get a pretty good dose of citrus, exactly what I would expect from a DIPA such as this one. On the palate I get the typical citrus and bracing dryness in the finish from the massive hops. There is also a good amount of sweetness from the malt, and I have to give Smuttynose props for balancing the sweetness so well with the hops. That can't be easy in such a big beer. Also, unusual in a DIPA, the beer has sort of a soft creaminess in the mouth that makes this beer much more drinkable then many of your more typical DIPAs. Still, the abv., is plenty noticeable, and finishing off this bad boy pretty much ended my night.

Pretty impressive beer.

John_M, Jun 09, 2007
Photo of gpcollen1
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured the 2007 version into my Smutty Big Beer glass. Head erupts with a moderate pour and slowly settles to but a skim on top. Color is nothing but a light golden amber with orange highlights.

Aromas hit your nose with a clean and dry hops that holds some of the malty sweetness in tow - nothing too sweet but sitting right there. HInts of everly ripe grapefruit are wonderful.

Taste is very nice in that the hops hits the tongue from the start and slowly ushers in some of the malty sweetness. The nice hoppy bitterness gradually grows and brings in a final dryness that leaves you smacking your lips. Light hints of the ABV sit on the palate as I contemplate another sip.

This is one friggin good beer and a very different animal whence fresh. MAkes me laugh when I read some of the recent reviews of 2006 - and wonder why someone fels the need to review them if they 'like their IPAs fresh' and know it is a year old. Whyo Whyo....

gpcollen1, Jun 06, 2007
Photo of flexabull
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 bottle.

Pours a bright slightly hazy gold color, with a nice white head.

Aromas are nice, candied malts, and some very citrusy hops.

Beer tastes creamy with a muted piney hop finish. There is a hint of an alcohol burn, and a bit of a crisp citrus flavor. I can taste the age.

Mouthfeel is supple, creamy, and quite smooth. Very nice.

Drinkability is good. Mellow and muted "aged" DIPA. It has some nice flavors still, but the hops have lost a bit of their edge. I prefer DIPAs really fresh, but this is still pretty nice.

Got this bottle from brandonman63. Thanks again!

flexabull, Jun 05, 2007
Photo of PlaywrightSam
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very slightly hazy, light amber hue, a small amount of head that sticks around and some nice lacing. S: Intensely floral hops hit you first, sugarly lemonade and fruity notes. T: Really unique out of all the double IPAs I've had thus far, very bitter up front, earthy and floral, giving way to a fruity sweetness. At first it comes across as unneccessarily agressive, but you really start to get into it after the first few sips. As I keep sipping I'm noticing more of the sweeter notes and also the alcohol. M: Moderate to high carbonation, moderately thick. D: I really enjoy IIPAs and I've been sampling quite a few as of late, and this one is really unique. Not that I'm any expert, but I've noticed that a lot of IIPA's lean toward being pretty citrusy, but this one has a really strong floral quality that's really, really interesting. Definitely worth a try.

PlaywrightSam, May 25, 2007
Photo of BeerTruth
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 22 oz. bottle into a nonic.

Appearance was a semi-foggy burnt orange with a somewhat thick white head. Lacing is all over the place sticky. Smell is very clean and somewhat soapy. A lot of citrus/pine coming from the extreme hops. Definite alcohol bite with a subtle malt undertone. Mouthfeel is a bit oily and dry. The thing about this beer is that it isn't all that unique. It doesn't really stand out in terms of other DIPA's. Drinkable yes, but needs more to be a "Big Beer". Fair overall, but I've definitely had better DIPA's

BeerTruth, Apr 15, 2007
Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pure orange in color with a massive soapy white head; there are some streaky copper highlights with a murky appearance. On the nose--the typical citrus and piney hop notes, major malt detection as well. Up front, a very bitter blast of juicy hops. Oily and sweet--while the hops dominate, there is great balance here with a decent wheat bread malt based backbone; cotton candy and light caramel notes. Fused alcohol and pine notes towards the finish. Very easy to forget the high ABV here; this is one superb and tasty DIPA, a style that many brewers are trying to master--well done Smuttynose!

GeoffRizzo, Apr 14, 2007
Photo of atsprings
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a bright orange with a thin head that diminished to a ring but left some spotty lacing. The aroma was of strong citrus hops with sweet malt. The taste was a wonderful hop blend that dances on the palate very well with the sweet malt providing a solid backbone. The beer was slightly syrupy but otherwise medium bodied, some alcohol provides warmth. This is a very good bold DIPA, I have to say, one of my new favorites.

atsprings, Apr 12, 2007
Photo of awall422
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

IIf you put this in front of me alongside the Stone IPA, I'm not sure I could tell the difference before the taste. That could be a relatively unrefined nose on my part though... Pretty pale orange color, heavy pine aroma with some floral in there as well. A little sweet, on the initial taste, but a strong hop bitterness as well. The alcohol took away a little from the drinkability from my perspective, but maybe I just wasn't ready for something that strong when I had this one. But if you're looking for a strong double IPA, this is well worth a try.

awall422, Apr 02, 2007
Photo of ArrogantB
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another impressive "big beer" from Smuttynose. This beer poured a bright orange with a healthy white head. The smell was mostly fruit (citrus). The taste was also heavy on the citrus but very tasty. If i didn't know this was so strong I would think it was just a really good IPA (not DIPA). I think this is what people talk about when they use the term "bright". Another awesome beer I wish we could get in CO.

ArrogantB, Apr 02, 2007
Photo of Vancer
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just poppin’ the lid on this bad A big boy unleashes a tidal wave of citrusy grapefruit and pine. Nice looking brew too, clear amber orange with the infamous oily sheets of white lace. Again, my enveny is out to the BAs on the coast. Smuttynose is just top of the line, and true credit for craft breweries.

Oily hammer of sticky pine and orange grace the quaff, this IS a big brew all the way around. Strange, after an initial oil surger, it starts finishing dry. Maybe my mouth is being burnt alive? This is a DIPA one should try, given the chance, and I was offered this great brew by

SkinnyElvis & bjohnson for my BA annv – thanks be to these great BAs!

Vancer, Apr 01, 2007
Photo of umustdrink
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first beer from Smuttynose
Bottled in 2006

A - Light orange color, mostly see-through. Head is a brilliant white and fades to a large ring around the edge and a few large patches in the middle. Lacing is average.

S - Very mild piney hop smell, spicy malt background.

T - Spicy and slightly bitter up front, moves into a bittery earthy carrot-like taste. Finish is a very bitter hop with a slight bite. Take a big enough gulp and you'll feel the alcohol a bit.

M - Thicker-than-medium consistency. Carbonation is slightly elevated. A nice crisp bite from the hops.

D - Overall it's an OK brew. It sounds strange but I think I prefer a sweeter taste to my double IPAs.

umustdrink, Mar 27, 2007
Photo of wcudwight
4.53/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I think I have swedejay to thank for this beer via trade.
Pours a peach color with a 1/2" cream colored head that recedes to a soapy film on top of the beer. The lace clings to the glass as if it's been painted on.
Very floral aroma. Perfect as spring is on it's way.
The hops are not as intense as some DIPAs but I think it works in favor of this particular beer. Although the beer is lacking in hop punch for a DIPA it is not lacking in hop flavor or complexity. Tangerine, pineapple, piney hops dominate through out the taste, but leave enough left in the tastebuds to taste a sweet candy malt. Very tasty.
Mouthfeel is oily and creamy.
One of the best, if not the most drinkable DIPAs I've had. You can finish the glass and still taste the following glass.
Highly recommended!!

wcudwight, Mar 23, 2007
Photo of bort11
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big A thanks to mdavis31481 for this one!
2006 vintage 22 oz bottle with a very cool looking picture of an old time bare knuckle boxer on the label. Poured into an Imperial pint glass. Mild white head that reduces to a thin sticky and filmy lace. Color is a bright hazy orange.
Smell is citrusy and mildy floral. Taste has a grapefruit/pine hops combo, but surprisingly mild in the bitterness for a DIPA.
Mouthfeel is a little oily/creamy. Very slick going down. I think this is from the extra hop oil.
Very quaffable DIPA and another excellent Smuttynose Big Beer!

bort11, Mar 07, 2007
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thought this a rather good DIPA. It was fruity and bitter, but still smooth and drinkable.

Appearance was a hazy yellow with good head formation. The head was slightly soapy-looking. Aroma was lightly sweet citrus, and most reminiscent to me of pineapple. Flavor is dry bitterness up front with citrus flavor at the finish. Mouthfeel was rather smooth, and this beer was very drinkable. I would say better than Victory Hop Wallop or Avery Maharaja.

BeerBelcher, Mar 04, 2007
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Into a pint glass, pours a lovely hazy gold, nice whitish head, good lacing. Aroma is full of hops, citris and resinous, a boatful of stuff shooting straight up the nose. Taste is the same, grapefruit, supersweet malts, hops zings the tongue, very intense, and almost makes it fantastic. Mouth is very soft and very full, very nice, warm, lovely. I really wanted to love this one, but just didn't, made me sad, but man would I drink this any day.

Thanks to leftmindedrighty for this one.

objectivemonkey, Feb 19, 2007
Photo of ttfreek
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smells good and strong. Pours alight orange with a head that leaves a little lace. There is alot of yeast (?) sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Great taste, strong with malts and hops but also a sweeter taste towards the end. Refrshing feel to the mouth, not too carbonated. Tasted slightly citrisy and rosy, and filled me up pretty good. Did not feel the alcohol as much as i expected, but i had a lot to eat that day.

ttfreek, Feb 14, 2007
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a Bomber to a pint glass. The liquid is Thick yellow with good carbonation. The head is tall, 2 fingers, white and sticks around some, it leaves very little lace.

The smell is good Big hop piny aroma, with a thick sweet maltyness.

The taste it staight forward, lots of hop and thankfully lots of malt. However I do get from this beer that id is not quite up to double standards. Maybe it's 1.75IPA. This beer would be crazy good but it is missing just a little some thing.

Mouthfeel is good thick, sticky, creamy.

Drinkability is also good but not one to go out of my way for. The price is right, however. MK

MuenchenerKindl, Feb 11, 2007
Photo of hopsaplenty
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. brown bottle, bottle conditioned in 2006 in label.

Clear honey gold. Short cap of mixed size parchment colored bubbles. A few slow carbonation streams sporadically rise to the surface. The head diminishes to a thin skim with tall piles at the edge and leaving a few splotches of lace. Big, full aromas of orange rind and grapefruit flesh are sprinkled with a touch of sweetness. Full bodied with huge helpings of orange rind and grapefruit. The finish is filled with orange as well as a bit of pine. There is an ample biscuit malt body to compliment while also providing a bit of heft. Smooth and at times creamy feeling, relatively low carbonation, but this does not detract. The hops lend a resiny feel on the tongue and become just a touch numbing. 9.2%? I couldn’t taste that at all beneath the hops. Supremely drinkable, highly enjoyable, and a great price ($4) as well.

hopsaplenty, Jan 23, 2007
Photo of Westsidethreat
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to JeffKrenner for this one.

A: Glowing golden rod body with some sediment from the conditioning. Head is on the small side, marshmallow white with some floaters across the top.

S: Grapefruit juice, tangerine, caramel, apricots with a hint of butterscotch.

T: Sugary pink grapefruit leads the charge across the center portion of the tongue with marmalade trailing not far behind. Bittering hops of the pinecone sort coat the sides of the tongue creating a charming balance between sweet citrus and bittering pine. Buttery resin with caramel aspects takes over the position of the citrus adding a nice slickness to the mouthfeel. Finishes with an earthy bitterness that continues around the back sides of the tongue long after the swallow.

M: Medium body with a full, almost syrupy, mouthfeel.

D: I really liked this beer. I'm surprised it doesn't receive better reviews than it does. It has a good balance that keeps it complex and highly drinkable.

Westsidethreat, Jan 21, 2007
Photo of brewcrew76
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber

A - Pours a hazy deep golden orange with a thin white head and sticky lacing.

S - Piney, citrus, grapefruit, floral hops.

T - Bitter pine and grapefruit with bits of pineapple followed sweet malt but not enough to balance this one out. It is definitely heavy on the hop side.

M - Medium bodied with an average amount of carbonation and slightly sticky. A touch dry in the finish but that dryness becomes overpowered by the sticky factor.

D - A very solid DIPA. The alcohol is well hidden.

brewcrew76, Jan 20, 2007
Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden/amber, big white head forms, nice lacing and good retention. Smell is very hoppy, pineapples, caramel, some citrus, pine, nice. Taste is grainy, some toffee, very hoppy, citrus and pine, almost medicinal bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, very dry bitter finish. Maybe a little bit too bitter, but I enjoyed it, hop blast. Thanks whoever brought this one, Tim, Jay, or grub!

Viggo, Jan 15, 2007
Photo of Mdog
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Gold with a little haze, a fading head but good lacing.

Smell: Big citrus aroma.

Taste: Citrusy hoppiness, with a fruity sweetness backing it up, very tasty.

Drinkability: Good stuff, but not available in Minnesota.

I picked this up over in Wisconsin, I'll try about any DIPA. This one has a little sweetness in it that I like a lot. Good stuff!

Mdog, Jan 14, 2007
Photo of doubleipa
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a small quarter inch, white, creamu, head. Aroma was a bit weaker than I would have expected considering it has 120 IBUs. There is a heacy hop aroma withlots of pine, spruce, and resin. Not much citrus, though. Seemed pretty heavy for a DIPA. Can really taste the alcohol.

doubleipa, Jan 04, 2007
Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,526 ratings.