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Smuttynose Big A IPA - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,615 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,615
Reviews: 885
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 91
Gots: 113 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-16-2002

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,615 | Reviews: 885 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wedge
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


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.

Photo of swhitt
4.32/5  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.

Photo of ericj551
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
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!

Photo of phisig137
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of bruachan
4.02/5  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

Photo of goodbyeohio
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Photo of mattpetti
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of Imstillthegman
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Photo of jabocu
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of geexploitation
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of vtfan77
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of presscaught
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of LarryV
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of bignick
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of Prufrock
3.4/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of BeerRun13
3.15/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of AlexJ
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of mentor
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of danielharper
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.)

Photo of DaggerEyes
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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...

Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,615 ratings.