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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

1,536 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,536
Reviews: 876
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 90
Gots: 74 | 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
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Ratings: 1,536 | Reviews: 876 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of msubulldog25
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a pint glass - June 23, 2007 (from notes). "Bottle Conditioned 2006" - label shows the fierce looking pugilist "Killer Kielbasa", Slash Wojciechowski...Killer Kielbasa sounds like the next great Tenacious D song to me...bottle sent by Wasatch.

A: Hazy, sunny orange, with a mild head of soapy ivory. Some rising carbonation and moderate sticky lace. Head starts at about 1/2" and lasts a long time.

S: BIG hops and sweet caramel - beautiful aroma bursting from the glass. Juicy orange and grapefruit citrus, a slick pine resin and then a sugary gooey sweetness to back it up. Aromatic, well-balanced, strong.

T: Nice hoppy flavor of citrus pith, pine oil and biting spice. At 120 IBU, this one is intensely bitter but does have a good balance, as much sticky caramel malt as you'd want to beat down all that lupulin.

M: Fusel warming amidst a velvety creaminess. Rich and chewy, with good carbonation and a lingering bitterness of mild citrous and strong oily resin.

D: A fine DIPA, certainly among the top ones I've enjoyed. Once again, Smuttynose doesn't disappoint. Well balanced, loaded with flavor and strong hop/malt aroma. A pleasure to drink and easy to recommend.

msubulldog25, Aug 01, 2007
Photo of voodrew10
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I asked the bartender to give me his favorite IPA and he did not disappoint! Not as huge as the 120 Min from Dogfish Head but far more drinkable! Intense hops smell with a bit of orange on the palate, easily my favorite beer so far this summer. My favorite beer style on humid days, I found myself sitting back with an empty glass far sooner than I would have ever expected.

voodrew10, Jul 31, 2007
Photo of ncvbc
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is a cloudy golden amber, good carbonation and head which faded after a minute or so. Smell was strong of citrus hops and little malt. Taste was something I've never experienced. This is the epitome of grapefruit hops if I've ever known better. By the way, this is a fresh batch. Unbelievable taste, possibly better than any DIPA I've had ,without a doubt. Mouthfeel was medium and well carbonated. Somewhat chewy and the grapefruit brought out a nice bitter sweetness. Drinkability is also great. I truly loved this beer and only wish I had more fresh bottles. Hopefully I can acquire some in the near future.

Thanks goes to zutmin for the fresh bottle!

ncvbc, Jul 06, 2007
Photo of sequenceman
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22oz bomber, just below RT.
Appearance: Cloudy, amber, very nice head w/ retention.

Smell: Hops, hops, hops. Raw hoppy aroma, smells like the last few minutes of a great wort.

Taste: Good bitter:malt ratio, malt not overbearing as in some double IPAs.

Other: Good alcohol balance, packs a punch but you wouldn't expect it to (a desirable attribute for a double IPA). Smuttynose is one of my favorite "available in Maryland" lines, and this one does not disappoint.

sequenceman, Jul 04, 2007
Photo of mcallister
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Resembling pulpy orange juice as it is quite cloudy and thick with a small white head that fades into a ring quickly.

Very sweet floral hop aromas with a lovely boquet of caramel malt and aromatic hops. Citrusy fruit with stone fruit sidenotes. Peach, nectarine, lemon with a bit of pink grapefruit.

Thick with caramel and toffee. Very floral flavors with mainly stonefruit. Finish has a crusty thick coating mouthfeel. Somewhat sweet and slightly cloying yet still drinkable. Alcohol shows on the finish. So succulent and floral. A white pepper rustic spicyness on the mid palate.

mcallister, Jun 30, 2007
Photo of dickieb
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poors a slightly hazy golden orange. Thier wassent to much head, and what was there went away quickly. Smells Pretty tame, with a good amount of plesant hops. Taste pretty lop-sided with hops, with some piny and citrusy taste with a nice bitter finish. Right where a Dipa should be, drinkable for the style and a good all around brew

dickieb, Jun 30, 2007
Photo of Wasatch
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goe out the fellow BAs TheManiacalOne, akorsak, MuenchenerKindl, NutBrown for this brew, two I asked for two were extra's I believe.

2006 Bottle

Pours a nice cloudy golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice little off-white fizzy head, some nice sticky lacing to follow. The nose is slightly malty, plenty of hops, piney, citrusy (grapefruit), and some caramel. The taste is scrumptous, very hoppy, piney, and some nice grapefruit flavor. The finish is sligthly dry, nice chewyness as well. Medium body. Very drinkable, a very tasty DIPA, highly recommended.

Wasatch, Jun 27, 2007
Photo of Bierguy5
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber, 2006 edition. Cloudy orange/golden color. Fluffy white head disappeared pretty quickly.

Cirtusy, floral and perfumey hop aroma. Very nice.

Good caramel backbone, seems to be some zest in here. Floral and citrusy hop bitterness. Finishes with a peppery flavor. Good bitterness, but not overwhelming.

Good body, and appropriate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink, and enjoyable.

Bierguy5, Jun 26, 2007
Photo of TuckerCarlson
3/5  rDev -24.4%
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.

TuckerCarlson, Jun 25, 2007
Photo of jjayjaye
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear light orange amber color with a shallow off white head that fades quickly. Some lacing observed.

The smell is intense and very fruity, lots of orange and some grapefruit/pine and it's quite sweet smelling as if it has a big malt balance.

Medium-Full bodied, the mouth feel is immediately conditioned to a piny hop and well carbonated texture. The flavor is intensely hoppy and a second round of complexity is introduced during the finish/exhale. A bitter aftertaste lingers significantly.

Wow factor. Drinkability - good drinker. This is one of the hoppiest beers that i've had...period. Slightly unbalanced, the bitter hop-bomb character out weighs the malt sweetness beneath, much more than the nose suggests. Recommended.

jjayjaye, Jun 22, 2007
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
Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,536 ratings.