1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Smuttynose Big A IPA - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,505 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,505
Reviews: 872
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 87
Gots: 70 | 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: 1,505 | Reviews: 872 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jabocu
jabocu

Georgia

4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

Pours a medium straw and honey color. A two finger cap lingers for a few seconds and falls to light lacings on surface and up glass. Aroma is lots of malt, honey, and lots of citrus hop aroma. Flavor is a little sticky but pleasantly sweet right at first with the malts and slight honey coming through. Then the hop bang full of orange and grapefruit hits and it all balances very well. The aroma and flavor are not very complex, but is full of flavor. Very nice basic DIPA to try, nothing complex, but very robust and full of flavor. The alcohol was very nice also.

07-11-2006 13:02:34 | More by jabocu
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
GratefulBeerGuy

New Hampshire

4.22/5  rDev +6.3%

Golden Amber/Pale gold color, pretty active...thin head that was gone pretty quick.But leaves nice legs behind.

Citrusy nose, malt and major hop complextities are detected.

Whoa boy!! Bitter hop attack!! The hop Flavor and feel is a BIG bitter BANG with a tremendous amount of fruity and citrusy flavors like Pineapple and banana. The scale weighs in heavy for the Hops but still has some decent sweet and herbal malt flavors as well.

This medium-bodied lookin' and feelin' IPA is very active and makes for a clean refreshing palate stimulator but also feels substantial on the palate.

Highly drinkable and interestingly bitter and fruity IPA with a big ABV % so watch it!

07-08-2006 20:18:06 | More by GratefulBeerGuy
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
Manosbeeroffate

Maine

4.45/5  rDev +12.1%

Review number 100, woo hoo!! Pours golden color, not much head to it. Smells sweet, tastes awsome. Sweet malt, lots of hops tasting quite citrusy, piney and some grassy notes. Overall a very nice beer, my only complaint would be it doesn't taste any different than their finest kind IPA, which itself is an awsome beer. i think next time I'll try them side by side.

07-07-2006 02:57:06 | More by Manosbeeroffate
Photo of geexploitation
geexploitation

Indiana

4/5  rDev +0.8%

Pours a bright amber with a sticky, substantial head. Body is just a tad cloudy. Big, green, piney hop aroma assaults the nose. It's a big aroma, but not a nuanced one. No detectable malt aromas in the nose. On the palate, big sweetness up front, bitterness at the mid-palate, and huge hop aftertaste in the finish. Not as creamy a mouthfeel as many double IPAs, but quite smooth at first, before the hop bitterness comes in to scrape the tongue. Sharp carbonation. Overall, for 4 or 5 bucks for a bomber, this one is quite good.

07-07-2006 02:03:27 | More by geexploitation
Photo of vtfan77
vtfan77

Virginia

4/5  rDev +0.8%

A- Deep amber with a reddish tinge. Nice white head with a good amount of lacing.

S- Big pine and citrus aromas. Pine dominates at first, citrus comes through later as the beer warms with sweet orange and grapefruit aromas. Not much malt to speak of, but that's ok with me ;)

T- Quite sweet, but not cloying. Hops dominate, of course. Juicy, sweet oranges and grapefruits abound with a good amount of pine sap to round it out. Once again, the malt takes a back seat but presents itself with a bit of toastiness in the finish. Bitterness is high, but blends in nicely with the other flavors and balances the beer out nicely. Definitely a good flavor, but there's not a whole lot to distinguish it from other similar beers.

M- Full and smooth, a bit creamy. Pretty nice.

D- ABV is quite high, but this is still a fairly drinkable beer. I'd have another, but only if I didn't have to drive.

Definitely a good beer. I enjoyed the citrusy hop profile. However, there is not a whole lot to separate it from other DIPA's. I'd get it again for sure, but I wouldn't seek it out. Recommended.

07-06-2006 06:43:25 | More by vtfan77
Photo of


4/5  rDev +0.8%

22 oz. bomber. Poured a dark gold, very clear with a moderate head. Head faded fairly quickly. Smell was hops, pine and grapefruit. Taste was a slightly sweet start with a faint honey flavor, this moved very quickly into hops (grapefruit), and the finish was rather astringent. Alcohol was well hidden, you got a little pepper/warmth at the end. Nice body, carbonation seemed light. A very drinkable IPA, but watch out for the ABV.

07-04-2006 20:31:33 | More by
Photo of presscaught
presscaught

Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

Tasty IPA that doesn't try to kill you with IBU's. This is a very smooth IPA and the ABV is hidden nicely.

Served from a 22oz into a pint glass. Appearance is a hazy golden with a 2" white head. Looks great!

Smell is hops but not overwhelming.

Taste is also hops but not overwelming. Very tasty and refreshing "Big IPA" The name is obviously a nice touch. Bitter on the sides and back of the tongue with some residual resounous feel but not in a bad way.

Drinkability is high. The ABV doesn't scare me from having more than one but I like to mix up IPA/Stout/Red/etc. So I wouldn't have more than one in a night but you could drink it.

06-27-2006 21:42:26 | More by presscaught
Photo of LarryV
LarryV

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +0.8%

The aroma is of subdued hops, more citrus like than piney. Pours with a 1/2 in head that dissipates fairly quickly. Medium body leaves lots of lacing and a pleasant mouthfeel. Hops are very present, but kind of mellow. I didn't realize how high the alchohol content of this beer was until I looked at the review data. Seems to hide the alchohol pretty well, but it makes itself known after consuming a bottle. A very pleasant beer if you like a mellower IPA.

06-26-2006 22:11:53 | More by LarryV
Photo of bignick
bignick

Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev +7.8%

22 oz bottle purchased from Wine Gallery in Brookline. Poured into a Chimay glass.

This is a pleasant beer, and I really enjoyed it on a warm summer afternoon in my air-conditioned apartment. It pours an attractive orange color with minimal head. The smell is of very floral hops. The taste is a nice balance of hops with non-syrupy sweetness. I get the hint of peaches. This beer is very drinkable, and despite the high-abv, is somewhat a thirst quencher, relative to the style.

06-20-2006 21:09:05 | More by bignick
Photo of Prufrock
Prufrock

Massachusetts

3.4/5  rDev -14.4%

22 oz. bottle into a pilsner.

clear orange with a half inch of foamy white head.

powerfully hoppy aroma. grassy, weedy notes dominate, but with a touch of citrus rinds. barest hints of a honey malt sweetness.

taste is intensely hoppy with a strong grassy and floral character. notes of alcohol and grapefruit in the finish. slick with resiny hop oils and a medium-heavy feel. sweetness and citric character grow stronger as the beer warms.

06-16-2006 13:47:21 | More by Prufrock
Photo of BeerRun13
BeerRun13

California

3.13/5  rDev -21.2%

Pours a slightly cloudy pale golden color. Has a quarter inch white head that sticks around and leaves superb lacing.
Good malt presence in the nose. Smells like someone was a little heavy handed with the citrussy hops.
Not as hoppy as the aroma sugges.... Okay there they are. Very heavy grapefruit like citrus which I'm not a huge fan of. The grapefruit quality and bitterness tend to increase in the first few drinks. The good thing is that somehow there is a little bit of balance by some toasty malt, which shows a bit more as the beer warms.
Full bodied and chewy in the mouth. Goes down a little too slick.
This one is drinkable, but certainly not my favorite in the realm of DIPA's.

06-10-2006 23:22:30 | More by BeerRun13
Photo of AlexJ
AlexJ

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +4%

How is it possible that I have not yet reviewed this namesake of IIPA's? Well hazed copper amber pour with a big ole' head of light wheat hued froth that has marvelous stick and lacing.

Aroma is hop heavy, with light caramel and bread toast malts upfront with a slap of dank citrus, grapefruit, evergreen, and fruity hops. A genuine dose of Cascade, and orangey, Pac NW hops is right there, bullying you.

Flavor is a lighter then expected malt entry quickly overthrown by brutish amounts of tangerine, grapefruit, and crushed pine needle hops. There's a buttery biscuit undertone with muted traces of tropical fruit and melon.

Body is on the bigger side of things, with a slick, slippery mouthfeel and dense, chewy texture. Alcohol makes itself known, but the hops do a quick number on that.

05-29-2006 01:32:40 | More by AlexJ
Photo of mentor
mentor

Colorado

3.55/5  rDev -10.6%

Bomber obtained from Sulldaddy a while back and kept in my fridge for a couple months. Reviewed from notes. Thanks for the opportunity. Pours a one-finger light-tan head over a light-orange liquid. Nice color. Smells of fresh pine needles, oranges. Hint of butter and caramel.

Tastes moderate hop bitter with some rough co-ho edges. Noticable sweet underneath with a hint of butter and a thick, almost slickmouthfeel. Hop flavor is very piney with some orange or tangerine character. Nice hop flavor and decently balanced in regards to bitterness, flavor, and malt sweet. I didn't care for the buttery in my IPA, though.

05-19-2006 05:13:24 | More by mentor
Photo of danielharper
danielharper

Michigan

4/5  rDev +0.8%

Received in trade with fdrich29. (Thanks, Frank!)

(Beer tasted 3/28/06. Verbatim notes follow.)

A: Cloudy amber color, thin slightly off-white head.

S: Hoppy grapefruit aroma.

T: Crisp, clean hops with nice fruit undertones. Very hoppy -- what an IPA should taste like.

M: Moderate carbonation and thickness.

D: Very drinkable for fans of IPAs.

(Note: Above notes were taken assuming the beer was an IPA, not a DIPA. I think this beer works equally well in either category.)

04-25-2006 21:38:55 | More by danielharper
Photo of DaggerEyes
DaggerEyes

New York

4.45/5  rDev +12.1%

brown bomber bottle with no freshness date other than "bottle conditioned in 2005" present on the label --->into an oversized wine glass

Poured a lovely hazy golden-amber with a finger thick froathy head, that settled to about half that size with a bit of an uneven and "rocky" surface. Very sticky the lacing extends off the top of the head leavings a thick foamy trail around the rim of the glass

A wonderfully aromatic and fragrent brew. Very floral with piney and citrus hop scents coming to the front and a slight hint of honey sweetness in the back.

Big Ass IPA for sure! On the tip of the tounge is a hint of honey then it is all pine flavored and medium bodied. when it first passes through your lips it feels thin but really flexes it's muscles to display some body once inside your mouth. The kick of hops is still strong on the finish a strong citrus taste greeting you on the way out and a grapefruit after-taste lingering. The alchohol is also some what present on the finish as it kind of warms you up in the throat as the remaining carbonation tickles on it's way down. A total pine tree on the front though and a body that get's surprisingly big.

A great BIG pale ale with a huge assertive hop profile and a lot of character. It's mucher fuller than you're initially led to believe. Another strong beer from Smuttynose!

(additional thoughts after having another on 4/20/2006): The strong hop explosion is actually balanced quite well with some malts (well for a double IPA) very dry on the finish, the type of beer you want to enjoy with a glass of water near by...sometimes its so dry you'll feel like panitng but in a good way...had to knock down the drinkability a bit cause I can't imagine having any other beer after this intense hop bomb, but none the less still a great beer...

04-17-2006 23:44:23 | More by DaggerEyes
Photo of NolanGTI
NolanGTI

Pennsylvania

4.13/5  rDev +4%

Another solid Smutty offering. I had this right after a 'Finest Kind' interesting contrast. Pours a clear orange with a nice creamy one fingered head. Tons of lacing. Huge citrus nose, with grapefruit and pine dominating. Intensely hoppy with a strong orange/grapefruit undertone throughout. Finishes with more hop, you can almost feel the hop oil on this one. A pretty damn good IPA, worth seeking out.

04-16-2006 12:32:44 | More by NolanGTI
Photo of ITK4ever
ITK4ever

Maryland

4.7/5  rDev +18.4%

Everytime I start to think of Stash, I get a little randy....not that there's anything wrong with that. I can often be found at parties pulling on BIG bottle of this tasty brew. The chicks dig me and Stash.

Pours awesome orangish into a glass, but it doesn't often make it to the glass in my case. Hoppy nose....a hophead's dream DIPA. And oh the taste...BAM!!! Citrus, piney, bitter. The malt hasn't a chance. The alcohol is well hidden.

This bomber and a Saturday night....that's all I need. Ok....maybe two.

03-14-2006 22:09:30 | More by ITK4ever
Photo of orsulacp
orsulacp

Pennsylvania

3.83/5  rDev -3.5%

This beer poured a cloudy yellowish orange with a nice white head. The smell is piney and floral with some toast in the background, nothing over the top and that is good. Starts out bitter and the malt tries to wash it away but the bitterness hangs on. It has a medium body with low carbonation, very smooth. The malt came out a bit more as the beer warmed up.

02-23-2006 13:50:05 | More by orsulacp
Photo of bultrey
bultrey

New York

3.05/5  rDev -23.2%

Shimmering orange-gold with carbonation struggling to make its way through the thick liquid, but finally winning out with a strong head. Smells very orangey, with a kicker of pine -- what you would expect from a solid DIPA.
Taste is extremely bitter up front, like chewing on orange rind, with a good dose of maltiness that is quickly overpowered by crushed pine needles, grapefruit and bitter orange. I thought the alcohol was not well-hidden, and in fact, would go so far as to say this is one "hot" beer. Nice smooth mouthfeel but solvent finish allowed me to only make my way through about three quarters of this.

I don't know if I'm just getting sick of unbalanced hop monsters, or if this thing needs to lay down for a while, but this beer disappointed me.

02-14-2006 19:55:47 | More by bultrey
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev +2.8%

Bottle: Poured a slightly hazy yellow color ale with a quite big foamy head with excellent retention. Aroma of citrus and floral hops is dominant and quite enjoyable. Lots of semi-sweet malt is distinguishable at first when tasted and then the citrus and bitter hops do a good job to the aftertaste. Body is above average without being too full and alcohol is well hidden. This is probably one the best IIPA I’ve had the chance to try and the only fault I can find is a little peak of metallic / ester hops which is not something I usually love in a beer.

01-27-2006 16:09:51 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of rhoadsrage
rhoadsrage

Illinois

3.98/5  rDev +0.3%

(Served in an Imperial pint glass)

A- This beer pours a cloudy golden lemony yellow. The head is a thin film of white foam that last a bit. There is a nice gentle carbonation.

S- The smell of big juicy green hops with some notes of grassy herbal pineapple in the background.

T- The soft taste of light caramel malt starts of the taste. It is then the bold taste of big green hops taste over with notes of lemon and a faint hint of pineapple. Then the even bigger taste of bitter hops finishes this beer. The hops hang on your breath after each sip.

M- This beer has a medium full mouthfeel with some creaminess to the texture. No fizz and much of the alcohol warmth is blended with the hop bitterness.

D- This is a well built double IPA. I would like to see a bit more complexity in the flavor hops and aroma but it definitely has the big green hops.

01-26-2006 04:12:59 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of Citadel82
Citadel82

New Jersey

3.43/5  rDev -13.6%

This was the first of the big bottles I tried and was a little disappointed. To be sure I did not know what to expect but this was clearly not it...sort of lke I wanted a blast of hops that would dry me out for a week. This double IPA was not as assertive as many single IPA's and was so out of balance that the net effect for me was not all that satisfying. Poured a hazy reddish orange with a thick, sticky white head. Aroma was floral hops with hints of iodine and some alcohol. Taste was strong citrus pith and leafy hops, hints of doughy malts and some fruity yeast?? There was a noticeable alcohol burn to. Mouthfeel was a tad thin though overall. This was a drinkable brew and may benefit from some cellaring.

01-16-2006 01:35:27 | More by Citadel82
Photo of jmz62565
jmz62565

Connecticut

3.45/5  rDev -13.1%

This pours a reddish straw color with a smallish head.The smell is a very citrus filled aroma,even the smell is bitter.The taste is a very hoppy and bitter beer.The first sip has a little citrus flavor,but this is quickly overwhelmed by the hoppy bitterness.The m/f is light and really not that well balanced.This is a pretty good beer,but not a great one.I would like to try a cellared one.

01-02-2006 01:14:55 | More by jmz62565
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

4/5  rDev +0.8%

Bottled in 2005, Sampled January 2006
Pours an almost clear, copper color that is topped by a frothy, three-finger thick, pale tan colored head. The aroma is sweet and thickly cloying with ample notes of American hops; notably I get notes of ruby red grapefruit, sweet orange peel, and tangerine. As my nose get used to it some of the sharper hop notes begin to come to the fore; I get notes of pine, a nice herbal note, as well as a nice dry toasted malt character.

The beer is fairly dry up front, yet still manages to have a thick, creamy mouthfeel to it. The hops are evident from the get go, lots of herbal notes as well as notes of pine that has a menthol like edge to it. Because of the dryness, the citrus notes are not nearly as evident as they are in the nose. They are here though; I get notes of lemon peel, sour orange, and grapefruit peel,. I really like the mouth feel of this beer, it is quite satisfying with a soft creaminess that really coats the mouth. The bitterness of this beer starts immediately and carries through to a lingering, long, slightly astringent finish. The herbal notes really seem to be dominant, almost with a green hoppy character that at times has notes of grassiness to it.

In the background is a dry toasty malt character reminiscent of biscuits and fresh from the oven French-bread crusts. This is definitely a nice IPA, it has a solid hop character throughout, with a touch of malt character that adds a little something extra. With the level of hopping in this beer it perhaps needs a bit more sweetness, especially to amplify the citrus notes that are intrinsic to the hops. Overall though this is quite nice and definitely enjoyable.

01-02-2006 00:49:53 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of ommegangpbr
ommegangpbr

New York

4.1/5  rDev +3.3%

Happy 2006!
I could have sworn I've reviewed this already but it seems I haven't.
On the pale side of the double IPA spectrum with plenty of hoppy lacing on the glass.
Smells powerful and a little pungent. Sweet and hoppy; appealing and compelling.
Tastes juicy. The hops and malt are pretty well balanced, but hops wins out.
Chewy mouthfeel and easy drinkin for a big beer.
At $4 for a bomber of 9% quality booze... I'm a happy guy.
This is a fine way to start the new year.

01-01-2006 06:23:14 | More by ommegangpbr
Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,505 ratings.