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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

1,575 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,575
Reviews: 877
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 92
Gots: 92 | 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)
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Ratings: 1,575 | Reviews: 877 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NJpadreFan
4.88/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Smuttynose Big A IPA

On tap at Isaac Newton's- Newtown, PA

Appearance- hazy orange with a huge overflowing head. Head lasted to the last sip.
Smell- grapefruit/ orange rind. Floral with some sunflower seed.
Taste- nice balance between citrus and floral hops.
Mouthfeel- oh so bitter and dry. Packs a wollop.

Overall- The chalkboard above the bar says, rated #1 IPA in america by the New York Times. I might agree, this is so tasty. Throw in a few pretzels to compliment to taste. I could drink this morning, noon, and night!

Photo of blackie
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: A low, white head is produced as I pour the beer into my snifter. A thin layer remains on the surface of the beer throughout the experience. The beer is deep gold in color. I can't help but pour a little sediment into the beer as the bomber is drained.

smell: There is more malt aroma going on than the color of beer led me to expect. This one is well balanced...not as hoppy as some DIPAs with plenty of malt aroma. A definate floral aroma is provided by the hops, and the bitterness pricks the back of my nasal cavities. The usual tropical fruits and citrus are present, as well as some brown sugar baked figs, one of my favorite desserts.

mouthfeel: Carbonation is a high medium, and the body on the heavier side of light.

taste: Nice blend of malt and hops. The big hop bitterness still allows enough malt flavor to show itself. The bitterness on the tongue is accumulative. Some piney and slight grassy flavors. Finish is dry with a long lasting bitterness that puckers the tongue.

drinkability: Any ethanol is hard to detect until it warms the stomach, though notes are present on both the nose and tongue. Tasty and very drinkable.

Obtained this beer from ppoitras in BIF 24. Label indicates that this beer was "bottle conditioned in 2005." I really like the Smuttynose labels, down to the materials used; this one is no exception. A pretty standard DIPA, but good nonetheless.

Photo of EPseja
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 22oz. bottle at just below cellar temperature in a Duvel tulip tasting glass. Had this one in my fridge for about 6 months before I finally cracked it open.

A - Pours a slightly-hazy, rich, golden honey color with a nice 1'' thick tiny-bubbled head, topped off with a crown of soapy off-white foam. The head diminshes to a craggy mat after a minute or two, and the lacing is sticky and weblike.

S - Bright, flowery, citrusy hoppiness - grapefruit and sweet, light malts. Some notes of yeasty graininess. A bit understated.

T - Begins with a measured dose of sweet, honeyed malts then transforms into a large, citrusy candy middle. The end brings forth a huge wave of hoppiness, leaving a dry, semi-sweet bitterness that lasts for a good while. Well rounded.

M - Thick going in, gently rising to form a mouth-coating froth. The finish is "slickery" (to borrow a phrase) and sticks to the throat.

D - This is a very delicious DIPA with a well-rounded character and a nice hop profile. The bitterness is enough to soothe the savage hophead, but not too much so as to make this beer unbalanced. Nice job Smutty!

Photo of GClarkage
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11/17/05- Received via trade with Connecticutpoet.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness dating. I have had it in storage for at least 3-4 months though. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Orange and cloudy pour. Smaller 1/4 inch semi-creamy head with patches of lace here and there.

Smell- Pine, and grapefruit hops with a mid range dark malt scent.
Towards the end of the glass as it warms there is a nice orange like (Drambuie or Contrieu) liquor like scent.

Taste- Just a touch of a medicinal taste at first which went away as it warmed a bit. Bitter, but not too bitter with it's pine and orange flavored hops. The malt keeps things in check as it's nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel- As it warms it gets more resinous and very smooth, almost like a liquor.

Drinkability- Overall a pretty good DIPA. I would rather have others, but would buy again if I had it in my area.

Photo of Terp96
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 edition Poured from a 22 oz. bomber.

Very hazy amber orange color. Not much of a head to speak of at all.

Smells like a DIPA. More citrusy and sweet smelling than the floral, herbal smell you get from many of the beers in this category. Hint of alcohol smell as well.

Tastes great. Sweeter than expected but dry throughout letting you know that the hops are there.

Very nicely balanced. Stays on the tongue for a while. Not heavy (it shouldn't be) but not too thin either.

This is one of the more drinkable DIPAs IMO. The high ABV will will sneak up on you but this one goes down smooth and easy.

Another great one from Smuttynose.

Photo of Lnedrive14
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, 2005 Edition:

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange with very little head. Nice lacing and I do enjoy the color. Although, when the head completely dissipates it looks a bit like apple juice.

Smell: Hops and citrus.

Taste: Quite a sweet brew, with the citrusy sweetness really taking presence. The hops are there, but more as a subtle bitterness rather than a "smack you in the face and make you beg for your momma" kind of way.

Mouthfeel: Not quite as complex as I had hoped. Goes down more like a regular IPA - where's that double!?!?!?

Drinkability: Totally drinkable, but I'm not panting like a dog waiting for #2.

A good beer, but not specifically good for the style.

N.B. Make sure not to pour the large yeast sediment at the bottom into your glass.

Photo of weeare138
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a light light orange amber with a small off white head. Small amount of lacing is left with tiny bits of carbonation noticeable.
Smell is of a nice mix of hops, including hops with some citrus and minty notes. Perhaps some Norther brewer hops are used in this batch but I could be wrong.
Taste is of the superb aroma along with a nice biscuity malt backbone and a slightly offset sugary feel.
Sugary brew with citrus with tons of bitters abound.
Drinkability is nice with some abv noticeble.

Photo of bjohnson
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz. Bomber from Trader Joe's.

A: Pours a cloudy orange with a yellow or golden tint. Not much head at all, but leaves nice white lace. Slight retention on the sides of the glass. Not bad lace.
S: Smells VERY grapefuity with a ton of pine and slight lemon hops. Very piney hop smelling with an oilyness to it. I like how this is going so far!
T/M: Good pine and grapefruit hops up front with a huge bitter aftertaste. Love the bitterness on this guy--makes you want to scratch your tongue! Slick through the mouth with a crispness. Oily and resiny hop flavors sit on your tongue and finish with the perfect dry bitterness that lingers for a long time. Great tasting dipa. One of the better ones I've had.
D: What a wondrerful and perfect example of a local dipa. Smuttynose continues to pile on the phenomenal offerings. One of the best dipa's I've had. Can't go wrong with them! Grab this one when you can.

Photo of oggg
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to OldSock for this 2005 22 oz bottle of bottle-conditioned hoppy goodness.

This brew seemed pretty light during the pour, but now I'd call it a nice orange hue. Head can be gathered on a strong pour but it recedes to a white ring around the glass. Aroma of juicy citrus hops hits me at first. Later I get more of the caramel. On the tongue the beer has a clear caramel, sweet component. Not a strong cloying sweetness. Actually quite nice. Resinous hops with lots of flavor. Bitterness is moderate but leads into a smooth bone dry finish. Bitterness is never harsh. Alcohol is very noticeable and reminds you to take it slow.

Overall: Lovely, mildly sweet double IPA.

Photo of dirtylou
4.55/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber, Thanks MuddyFeet

appearance: pretty pale orange pour, quite cloudy, substantial white head with impressive lacing

smell: daaaang, theres a huge stench of wet hops, super fruity...grapefruit, lemon, orange, peach

taste: wow...Its got the punch of a dipa but not at the sacrifice of drinkability like some others. Very juicy and oily hops...super fruit tastes like fresh grapefruit, squeezed lemon juice, tangerine, orange, peach...very light pine. This is a quality dipa

mouthfeel: oily hops, light bitterness in aftertaste but completely not abrasive

drinkability: all night long!

I really enjoyed this one...definately hoppy enough for my tastes

Photo of EStreet20
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce brown bomber bottle poured into Duvel tulip.
My second time trying this, loved it the first time but I was at my friend's house and didn't take any notes so I'm finally getting around to trying it again.

A - Pours out a nice orange tinted golden color with a big, fluffy white head. Sticks to glass very nicely.

S - Strong, one where you can pick up the aroma directly on the pour, even when holding the beer away from youur nose. FLoral hops and a malty fruit sweetness in there. However one distinct smell I pick up is that of tea brewing. Kind of hard to explain but I remember that from my first experience with this beer and I'm getting it again here.

T - Big hops smack you from beginning to end. Has a bit of a piny taste, which I like a lot as well as a small hint of alcohol flavor. On the aftertaste I pick up tea leaves again. All in all a pleasant flavor combo.

M - Very smoot. A nice amount of carbonation but not fizzy by any means. Rolls around the tongue and feels nice all around. Slight warming at the end.

D - I like sitting down and putting a bomber of this down. A great drinkable double IPA from Smuttynose.

Photo of Zorro
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 Oz Bomber from Newbie BIF

Executive summary: A fine high quality hop wine.

Well rested and poured carefully so as to get none of the sediment in the bottom in the glass.

Pours a clear brilliant deep, deep golden colored brew with no head probably because of the alcohol level.

Smell is malt and honey, lemon and citrus hops. Noticeable alcohol vapor carries fruity and spicy scents to my nose. Scents of black pepper, pineapple, apple and pears.

Taste is a little sweet with an instant warming of the chest from the alcohol ending it a big hit of citrus hops. Lots of pine and citrus flavor from the hops that avoids harshness that so often pops up in the Double IPAs. Fairly strong acid on the tip of my tongue that is very lemony. Later on the tea and woody tannin flavors of the hops come out in the finish like a red wine.

Mouthfeel is syrup.

Got give this a very high score in the drinkability department. A very big IPA here that gives an excellent melody of hop flavors in all their strength without a trip to harshness land. Fine Hop Wine sums this beer up the best. Of the killer IPAs this is the best balanced one yet.

Photo of tastybeer
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Full and thick sounding pour. Hazey glowing tangerine color with a creamy juicy-looking white head. Very nice sheets of lace cling to my glass, everywhere. Smells citrusy, earthy, grainy and deep with malts. Thick double IPA body and chewy with waves of slightly syrupy citrus bitter hops. As it warms you get a distinct sweetness and bitterness at the same time. Extreme dry bitter hop finale makes your mouth drool for more.

A very bold and balanced IPA with a big Ass load of everything. This will definitely be in my glass again and again.

Photo of SwillBilly
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber.

Appearance: A transparent light amber in color, a lot lighter than other IIPA's. Small, but very creamy white head that dissipates slowly leaving rings of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Pine scent, grapefruit rind, herbal, the hops explode out of the glass on the pour.

Taste: A faintly sweet beginning, apricots come to mind, then the hops take charge. The middle tastes of grapefruit and again pine needles and finishes with a very nice, dry hop bitterness. 9% abv very well masked though does leave a nice warming effect.

Mouthfeel: Very clean and of medium body, not as thick as most IIPAs, oily and somewhat slick.

Overall and excellent IIPA. Smuttynose does it again. If it wasn't for the 9% abv I could drink this all night. Not too over the top and not as sweet as some IIPAs. A beer to sip and enjoy. Definitely a beer that I will have again.

Photo of Hagbard
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A huge mass of tiny carbonation bubbles congregate and push upwards to form a nice thick white head on top of this straw colored beer. The aroma is very strong, evidence that this will be a fairly intense tasting beer. A blast of malty sweetness greets your nose followed by a healthy dose of grapefruit and other citrus fruits. Very hoppy. The taste is a complex interplay of intense malt and hop flavors. It starts off fairly sweet with the malts dominating. The hops quickly catch up with the the malt as a citrus fruit element takes over. The citrus fruits quickly fade to an intense bitterness that lasts through the aftertaste. The bitterness is joined by a fairly strong alcohol burn during the swallow, which warns you to take it easy. This is a tasty beer, but it's too intense to be something I'd crave on a regular basis.

Photo of ghostwalker
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber. Purchased cold at my local Shaws supermarket for $3.25. This great combo of availability and low price has made it my favorite DIPA for the last couple of years.

Hazy orange/amber pour. Frothy sticky white head that sticks around much longer than other DIPAs I have had. Also leaves a bevy of beautiful lacing when it finally subsides.

Sharp, hoppy, piney nose. Nice!

Hoptastic blast to the taste buds. Once again, very sharp, piney hops with a sweet, moderately malted finish. Plenty of citrus going on, orange, grapefruit, lemon too maybe. I like this because it has all of the things that I like about West Coast IPAs, but doesn't seem like just a copy. I am no hop expert, but it tastes like they used a different hop blend from the usual WC brews. Less Cascades, more of ... something else.

Mouthfeel is acidic, almost too much. It threatens to strip the enamel from your teeth. I actually like this, but I can see where many would not.

Very drinkable. I have never had more than 2 bombers at a time, but they always went down tasty, quick and smooth.

As I said in my intro, this is my presently my favorite DIPA. There are others that I would prefer purely for flavor, but this is good, local and relatively inexpensive. Two thumbs up!

Photo of deejaydan
2.83/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear orange-yellow hue, sticky lacing, moderate head retention.

Aroma-- Actually, kinda faint. Slight grassy chinook type aroma is hanging out.

Taste--- Just rip roaring hops and bitterness. Not the usual bitterness that I can enjoy in an IPA, but a raw, rough bitterness like that of the pith of a lemon or orange. Give me some maltiness to balance this.

Mouthfeel--- ?? I can't feel my mouth! I CAN'T FEEL MY MOUTH!

Drinkablity-- Well, I've had better IIPAs.

Photo of smcolw
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy neutral orange-amber color. I'm disappointed with the head; I had to pour this violently and still had very little head. What was there did last and offer some sticky lace, though.

Some big oily alcohol aromas, nice hop smell too.

Nice balance for a "big" IPA. While the hop is predominant, there is a malty richness. I taste blackberries and strawberries upfront which quickly gives way to a strong bitter hop. Rich mouthfeel with excellent carbonation.

This is a case of appearances are deceiving. I wasn't impressed by the sight of the beer, but the taste was phenomenal.

Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smooth, easy drink. Light colour, good grapefruit and other fruity aroma. Small head. Grassy, piney. More oily than Juicy,well malted, carmel there. So not mouthpuckering. Engaging medium mouthfeel. Mellow overall but still Hophead fix. Dry aftertaste.

Photo of whartontallboy
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Edition. It's been a while since I had a double IPA, and I forgot what a real hop bomb can be like.

Pours out a murky orange with a thick white head that sticks around pretty well and leaves huge sheets of sticky white lace. The second pour had just as nice a head as the first and left just as much lace.

Smell is, surprise!, piney hops. Very bitter and piney, I think, but still little grapefruit/citrus overtones. A biscuity malt base comes through in the nose as well.

Flavor is huge with the same piney hops. A very bitter, juicy hop flavor that slides slightly towards citric, but keeps the pine at the forefront. However, there is a big malt flavor there, too. It's not quite big enough to completely balance the hops (and I don't think it should be), but it's a nice biscuity flavor that exposes a bit of caramel underneath the big, bitter finish and aftertaste of this one. Mouthfeel is relatively chewy.

Overall: A nice DIPA that doesn't feel like drinking grapefruit juice. Sharp and just slightly out-of-control, but hiding its ABV very well. Another good one from smuttynose.

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2005 edition, 22oz. bomber.

Pours a hazy pale orange with a thin head that fades. There is some decent lacing on the glass.

Smells like a lot of citrusy hops.

Tastes like a hop implosion. Lots of upfront hops followed by a slight malty sweetness. A slight alcohol aftertaste with a nice warm sensation as it makes it's way to my belly. Fairly balanced.

Big fat body, as expected.

I can definitely enjoy this on a regular basis. It's a fine DIPA offering.

Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The label art of a boxer throwing a punch is appropriate, because the hops smack you upside the head right away, and then a pretty potent alcohol punch follows to put out the lights. In true DIPA style, this is all about the hops - fresh and a bit raw and rough. Mouthfeel is almost syrupy, and it needs all the hops it can muster to battle the malty sweetness, which it manages to do by the third round. Sharp alcohol presence - at first obtrusive, but then settles in quite nicely. Once I became acclimated to the hops profile, the beer seemed to mellow and was surprisingly drinkable. Thanks to Far333.

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My first from Smuttynose. Poured out to a cloudy golden yellow color with a nice 1/2 inch head and rings of lace around the glass. Medium high carbonation. Aromas of hops, pine and malt were detected. Taste was powerful and direct; flavors of hops and grapefruit dominate, with hints of grass and earth being trampled by the nearly overwhelming bitterness on the palate. Mouthfeel was slightly syrup like, and quite hearty, but went down rather smooth. Drinkability is only average, as if one were to consume more that a bottle of this at a sitting, they would likely be very ill shortly after. A worthy IPA. Thanks to rousee for the sample. I've got an additional bottle that I am going to age and see what happends...

Photo of GolgiIPAratus
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled: 9.13.05

Brew pours a translucent orange gold with little foam. Despite the small head, sticky lacing clings to the glass throughout the drinking experience.

The smell is bitter & barley. Hops overrule a malty objection. Nothing too complex; however, this could be misconstrued as a Barleywine had I not known what I poured.

The taste is different, though. Hops up front like a face-slap. A barely-esque malty middle with the fruitiness of the hops squeezing in after the bitterness subsides yielding a sweet orangey flavor. The hops coat the tongue in a bittersweet oil. The brew is low in carbonation and chewy. You really feel it around your tongue.

This is a sipper, but able to be sipped fast, so one should chill on it. Very delicious, another banger from Smuttynose.

Photo of watermelonman
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured to a fairly deep yellow and orange with a nice solid head and left good lace.

The smell has huge hops with much pine content. Taste is big as well, although not quite as prominent as the smell. Again, hops dominate. Mouthfeel is somewhat light for a beer this big. Drinkability is good.

Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,575 ratings.