1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

1,530 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,530
Reviews: 876
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: 1,530 | Reviews: 876 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Estarrio
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a bright, cloudy orange with a big, chunky, white head. Very nice retention and impressive lacings.

Big aroma of sweet malt, grapefruit, orange peel, pine and an explosion of hops.

This is one of the more balanced double IPA's that I've ever tasted. Orange and grapefruit up front with a sweet malt flavor. This is immediately followed by a deluge of pine and hoppy goodness. Finish is bitter and dry, begging you to have another sip. Amazingly, the high alcohol percentage is nowhere to be found.

Amazing mouthfeel for a DIPA. Its only slightly, syrupy and not quite as heavy as most DIPA's. This makes for an extremely drinkable brew, which can be dangerous at over 9%!!!

Smuttynose is quickly becoming my favorite local brewery and this offering has blown me away! I hope all of the Big Beer Series are equally as impressive!

Estarrio, Sep 07, 2006
Photo of hero27
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber.
Bottle conditioned in 2006.

Quite light in color for most Double IPAs, this one pours a dark yellow/goldenrod.
Aroma is just a downright cocky use of floral & thick piney hops. Some malt, but not enough to shake a finger at.
Plenty of hops all around the flavor carousel..a bit of grapefruit, plenty of resiny pine, and a hefty dose of whole hop flowers. Alcohol punch is enough to let you know it's there, but not overbearing..and it certainly doesn't affect the drinkability for me..I kept taking big gulps of this baby until it was gone. ...and damn are the hop burps delicious.

A must try for any hop hunter.

Acquired from bentley78 via trade. Thanks!

hero27, Aug 29, 2006
Photo of EPICAC
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up at Downtown Wine & Spirits on Monday. I let this warm and served it in one of my New Belgium glasses.

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy orange-golden with a foamy white head that thins to a patchy layer leaving light lace on the glass.

Smell: Lightly sweet and fruity malts are noticeable, but secondary to a strong citric hop aroma. Very nice.

Taste: Malty upfront, which are lightly sweet and toasty. A big tart and citric hop bitterness appears in the center. The aftertaste is a lingering bitterness with a brief flash of citrus.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, and a slick oiliness.

Drinkability: The hop bitterness is dominant and balanced by some malty sweetness, but isn't overpowered.

Overall: A good hoppy DIPA. The hops are dominant and aren't overpowered by malty sweetness like some that I've had.

EPICAC, Aug 28, 2006
Photo of Franchise
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This offering pours a lemon orange slightly cloudy that leaves a spotchy thin white head. The nose permiates hops, citrus, spicy, grapefruit, cloves, and honey a very interesting nose. The taste starts with a huge hop profile, but is only slightly balanced with a tiny malty presence of honey and flowers almost too delicate for a IIPA this brew needs a bit more malt balance. Overall this is grapefruit, spicy, hopped up monster. I like this version of their IIPA but it needs a bit more balance to take it to the next level.

Franchise, Aug 25, 2006
Photo of Hautacam
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out light amber with very little head.
Smells like a bag of hops. Very floral.
This is a big-ass hop bomb with a ton of malt to balance.
Very sweet and piney-bitter at the same time. This is a candied pine cone in liquid form...with grapefruit zest. Damn this is good.
The mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium...cloying , for sure.
This is drinkable , although it will kick my butt by the time I'm done with this bomber.

Hautacam, Aug 25, 2006
Photo of thornecb
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark gold into a tulip. Micro head quickly dissipates to blot the surface. Sweet citrus and pine notes typical of the imperial IPA style. Sticky and full with upfront sweet caramel with a lasting bitter citrus finish.

A nice East coast alternative to the West coast big beers. Nice price, too.

thornecb, Aug 24, 2006
Photo of SteveO1231
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. brown bomber bottled in 2006. Pours a hazy golden copper, with an excellent chunky white head, great lacing and tons of carbonation. Aroma of pure hop juice, herbal, pine, citrus and spice, perfect. A great caramel malt backbone too. Medium bodied with a slick mouth feel. Taste is sweet with hints of caramel but the hops are huge in this one. Herbal, pine and a bit spicy, almost aspirin bitter in the finish. Pine dryness in the finish and the palate is left with a sting of alcohol. Really a hoppy bastard, almost unbalanced but then again I love hops!.

Cheers!

SteveO1231, Aug 23, 2006
Photo of jaluria
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Interesting cover art and that fact that this beer was a product of Smuttynose BC, caused me to pick up a bottle of this while visiting the Chevy Chase Wine & Spirits store.

Poured a bright and clear gold color with some subtle orange color as well. A soapy, white colored head developed and was slow to dissipate leaving behind patches of lacing. High level of carbonation. Aromas of pine, fresh oranges, grapefruit, grass, and spices. The taste was quite bitter as would be expected for this style with great complexity; hop flavors were varied in sequential rather than all at once. Very crisp and refreshing in my mouth with a slightly sour finish. I didn't realize the alcohol content was so high; the alcohol is masked very well. Easy to sip and an excellent beer overall.

jaluria, Aug 21, 2006
Photo of akorsak
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a bomber of Big A from the July 2006 bottling served in a Chimay goblet. The ale is slightly chilled.

A: The beer is an auburn/orange color that has a small head and is crystal clear.

S: The ale has a big citrus hop nose that is definitely influenced by amarillo hops, giving it a big bold smell.

T: The hops are big and astringent, imparting a quite bitter kick, with a huge citrus body that is primarily grapefruit and amarillo hops. The bite is big upfront but fades quickly and does not hide the alcohol.

M: Mouthfeel is a bit too bitter.

D: The 9.2% hurts the drinkability, as does the formidable hop presence.

akorsak, Aug 20, 2006
Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

In fairness, I'm not a huge hophead. I am a Smutty big bottle fan and thought I'd finally try this one. Lot's of hops no question. I am not the best judge of IPA's so I'll say it was very hoppy for me but I liked the underlying brew. Kind of a smoother version of DFH 90 minute. Glad I tried it, but I think I'll stick with my preferred styles.

barleywinebrewer, Aug 18, 2006
Photo of sloejams
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is their Double IPA. Apparently, the "A" stands for "Ass" making it Big Ass IPA. And that's kind of what this is. It has an murky, amber color with a slight froth that leaves a minor lacing on the glass. The aroma is citrus-y, with an agressive hop presence. There's a sugary malt taste in there but it's all but buried with tons and tons of hops. It's tasty, but falls short of the Russian River, Stone and Alesmith hop glories I've come used to. This is less balanced and the hops run rampant. The 9.2 ABV% warms the body quickly. One bomber of this is a lot.

sloejams, Aug 15, 2006
Photo of DrJay
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, dark gold with a bit of an orange hue topped by a creamy, white head. Lacing is spotty with some large streaks and head retention is good, supported by a constant stream of bubbles. Sharp pine in the nose initially, but the aroma warms a bit after that, with grapefruit and citrusy sweetness coming forward. Solid bitterness and hop flavour to start - a nice combination of pine and grapefruit that makes american hops great. As this recedes, it's replaced by a toasted malt sweetness and more floral/earthy hop character. Bitterness carries through into the long, dry finish. Alcohol spiciness and warmth also make an appearance here. A bit more than medium bodied with a hint of residual sugar on the palate that makes it just a bit chewy. I liked this beer a lot for its balance. Many big IPAs go overboard with the hops, which isn't always a good thing (but sometimes can be wonderful). A little finesse with your ingredients can go a long way in making a more drinkable beer, and that's how this one feels.

DrJay, Aug 13, 2006
Photo of TrickKnee
3.63/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow, talk about a full frontal assault on your mouth, almost too much. at around 120- ibu's this Hop masterpiece has so much bitterness that i really was not prepared for. Pours a a nice amber color with a huge white head. Took me over 2 minutes to pur it into the glass because of the head. A very dry aftertaste that leaves your mouth wanting to sample more however the overall bitterness was a little too much for me.

TrickKnee, Aug 08, 2006
Photo of Phatz
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have to start off by saying "The label. WTF are they thinking?" That has got to be one of the corniest labels I have ever seen. Dude in a Speedo ewe. Is it supposed to be old school and I don't get it? I don’t know. Fortunately, I don't judge a book by its cover and what was inside this odd bottle was some very tasty beer.

Appearance: Pours a slightly rusty orange color with a moderate off white creamy head. It leaves spectacular lacing on the walls of my snifter glass.

Smell: This beer is great in the nose. Big pine and floral hop aroma immediately followed by some alcohol and then a caramel pale malt aroma. Finally I noticed under that more fruity esters and mild sweetness.

Taste: Starts with a strong hop bite and smack there is the fusel alcohol. Pine-oline, you could run your car on this. =) After a bit the mouth warms to the Big A$$ flavor and it is pretty tasty. The bitterness tears the palate apart. As bitter as it is; I would have liked to see more flavorful hops. Also the sweet malt undertone is meek. There is a small caramel-fruit attribute but it could use a bit more malt backbone, and more caramel flavor. The beer does seem a bit one sided. It will suit hop-heads, but there could be more complexity that I just don't see. It does have a surge of sweet sugars but the balanced is strongly tipped to pine. The aftertaste is the best part of the beer. After the alcohol cools the bitterness left clinging to the mouth is terrific. There are waves of sweet sugars then bitter dry then sweet then… The mouth is flooded with more nice flavors after the beer is swallowed than before, IMO.

Mouthfeel: Big feel in the mouth, creamy and medium bodied with a juicy core.

Drinkability: Not bad but one bomber is enough. The thing is it did push you to drink that one. The great finish and the fact that it took some warming up to it. I enjoyed the last sip more than the first but; truth, I was also finished for the night.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Phatz, Aug 05, 2006
Photo of WeymouthMike
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 sample. Pours a golden amber with a frosty white head with a little creaminess to it. Smells of cirtus explode in the nose and the initial taste of this. Mouthfeel is smooth although the carbonation appeared to be heavy in this one. Its easy to drink a bomber in a sitting but don't think I would try for
a second.

WeymouthMike, Aug 05, 2006
Photo of wedge
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006

Golden orange, slightly hazed from bottle conditioning, with a thin soapy white head. Big, juicy orange and grapefruit hoppiness, bold and dank, sits atop a sugary maltiness. Huge rindy citrus, light pine resin, and herbal flavors wash down the throat with acidic bitterness. Smooth, full, damn near chewy mouthfeel.

Sweet citrus pulp...with attitude. A very lively DIPA once again.

wedge, Jul 30, 2006
Photo of swhitt
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber with a funny picture of a boxing man on the front. Didn't even notice this one until it was pointed out a couple of weeks ago. I've had two bottles since and it is really really tasty.

Glassware is my large snifter, where it poured nice and golden yellow with a white to almost white, persistent head. Looks very appealing and just wants to be sipped for hours on end. I get this from a lot of double IPAs so it was nothing out of the ordinary.

The smell of this brew just pours out of the snifter after I pour it. Fresh and floral, citrusy and fruity. The first sip is very bitter and almost overwhelming - man is this hoppy. A very dry, earthy and herbal feel to it. The finish is a strong hop flavor. This isn't unbalanced but it is decidedly hoppy. The alcohol is surprisingly very well hidden, although if you're thinking about it as you taste, it is there.

I love this brew, and I'm going to continue buying it as long as I can. It's good as an after-work drink when I'm not planning on having more than one or two. However, it's definitely not a sessionable beer (which is to be expected with this style.).

Smuttynose definitely does it right with this one.

swhitt, Jul 28, 2006
Photo of ericj551
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this entire bomber into my oversized snifter and immediately I was hit with the huge hop aroma. The taste did not disappoint, intense pine and citrusy hop flavor first, followed by a nice lingering bitterness that really stayed in my mouth for a while. The bitterness in beer is really just like sucking on hop pellets. The malt is there but stays well in the background, so much so that I was quite surprised at the 9.2% abv listed. This years Big Ass IPA is my favorite so far, I'll be buying this one again for sure.

2010 bottle: Still loving this beer! It hits all the notes for the style and adds in drinkability, I love the mix of fruitiness from the yeast and citrusy hops!

ericj551, Jul 26, 2006
Photo of phisig137
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a fresh bomber a light amber color, with a thin one finger head that quickly falls. Ring forms around the glass with a decent amount of lacing, and tiny bubbles constantly stream from the bottom of the glass.

Aroma is positively hoppy. Citrus and floral hops to be exact. Mostly the "C" hops to be even more exact. Also slight biscuty malt notes show up too.

Flavor is pleasantly hoppy, and well balanced. Not too bitter, but bitter enough to let you know that this is definitely an IPA. There isn't a whole lot up front, but the finish is amazing, and the flavor lingers for quite some time. Very pleasant.

Mouthfeel is smooth and full. Considering the alcohol, I think the drinkability is pretty good.

This is one of my favorites from Smuttynose's "Big Beer" series. Manytimes I feel the the big beer series is hit or miss, but this one seems to always be solid. Overall, quite a nice beer, and one that i could drink over and over during the summer... Plus for only $3.69 for a bomber of this quality, there is nothing to complain about at all.

phisig137, Jul 26, 2006
Photo of bruachan
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

been looking forward to this. great lacing; vibrant carbonation vaulting through some light amber brew. complex hop aroma and flavors (should be according to the wesite. i see 7 different varieties) dominate the malts. they shine through, particularly the slightly caramelized flavors, but it's really the tangy hops that do the footwork

pretty soft, actually, is the hop flavor. must be the horizon, since i'm not familiar

it's pretty hoppy. 120 IBUs is alot of hops

bruachan, Jul 21, 2006
Photo of goodbyeohio
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 release. i sampled some on draft at ABF a few weeks ago, this is my first bottle of the year.

bright clear golden straw color with pumpkin accents. clear except for a distorting gravity haze taking place in the center. bubbles flow freely and the head is a one-finger monster of foam pudding. cakes of lace, craters of popped bubbles on the surface and an overall moustache-making head give this beer a desirable appearance.

bouquet of hop fruit and bready malt sweetness is an inviting combination, cleaner and less bitter perfume than i can remember in past years. sugar-sprinkled, cherry-topped grapefruit aroma evokes a little bit of dreadnaught in my northeast prison. smells big though.. something about that underlying mapley, sweet-boozy twang to the nose gives me a DIPA meets barleywine notion.

flavor is a 180 to the nose, refusing to let sweetness or alcohol weight dominate. this beer is bleeding fresh, bitter, green hop buds. i swear i can taste the dirt these hops were grown in. and a nice mix, too.. you've got some of that sun-dried grass/tobacco underlying with the masked biscuity malts. the spread on the lupulin sandwich here is a conservatively juicy grapefruit rind. the hops here need not be cloyingly fruity- the sweet side is existent in the malt bill and alcohol percentage, and the effort to out-bitter them provides balance to an otherwise ball-busting beer.

my only reserve is a slight downgrade on drinkability. its just not drinkable like an ipa and slightly too crazy and boozy for 9%. pouring something in a pint glass and then sipping the pint for an hour or so signifies expectations that weren't quite met. oh well. not the worst thing that could happen to this fine brew.

really, one of the best years if not the best for this beer. go out and buy it now, highly recommended.. puts 2005 to shame.

goodbyeohio, Jul 17, 2006
Photo of mattpetti
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a sold golden in color with a bone white head that displays excellent lacing in my duvel tulip glass. There is a nice floral hop explosion at first which melds into a nice lemon zest, grapfruit, slight pine, and alcohol blend. This tastss lighter than other double ipa's ive had but it is very drinkable and enjoyable. There is low active carbonation which gives this beer a nice almost creamy feel that coats the mouth well showing off its great flavors. Easy downed, this beer is aggressive yet wonderful at the same time. Another great beer from smuttynose, who is rapidly becomming my favorite brewery.

mattpetti, Jul 17, 2006
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light amber color with an orange tint and a thin white head that fades slowly leaving a little bit of lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is strong, hoppy & citrusy. I can’t think of any other way to describe it.

T: Heavy bitter hops flavor comes first and is then followed by a little bit of citrus sweetness, but the hops come right back.

M: Very crisp, smooth and well-balanced, medium body, medium carbonation and a very clean finish.

D: Very tasty and no hint of the alcohol. It’s also one of those beers where you keep looking forward to your next sip. I liked this beer a lot. It may not be the absolute best Double IPA that I’ve had, but it’s right up there. The more I drink from Smuttynose, the more my respect grows for them.

TheManiacalOne, Jul 16, 2006
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a pretty good beer, but I think it could be a little bit bolder. Not disappointing by any means, just a little tame. It is an orange color with a medium head, as well as some nice lacing. A sweet, floral aroma. Predominant hops taste, with a little citrus. Good mouthfeel, very drinkable.

lordofthewiens, Jul 15, 2006
Photo of Imstillthegman
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden orange color with about a finger of white head. The aroma is dominated by grassy hops, hint of citrus, and the malts are barely noticeable. It smells good but it could be stronger. The taste follows suit with grass and floral flavors from the hops and a bit of alcohol coming through at the finish. Slick, medium bodied beer. This is a good one, but it doesn't come close to being my favorite DIPA.

Imstillthegman, Jul 11, 2006
Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,530 ratings.