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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

1,598 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,598
Reviews: 884
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 91
Gots: 98 | 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
View: Beers (57) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,598 | Reviews: 884 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of LarryV
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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
4.28/5  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 -14.4%
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
3.13/5  rDev -21.2%
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
4.13/5  rDev +4%
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
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
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 +0.8%
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
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
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...

Photo of NolanGTI
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of ITK4ever
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of orsulacp
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of bultrey
3.05/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

(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.

Photo of Citadel82
3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of jmz62565
3.45/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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

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.

Photo of Ego
3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

been meaning to try this for awhile, smutty is usually right up my alley (except for the smutinator but generally I like their stuff..)

slightly darkened golden hue, cloudy but not too much so, ok lacing, very little head that runs away quite quickly.. overall barely above average looking (being generous)

I can smell the alcohol here but it is trying to hide behind a slight lemon scent, some nice hop florals, and malt (which is the best here at trying to keep the ABV from smackin the olefactory sense about the face), a decent nose that I see what it is "trying" to do.

taste etc...
mouth feel is good, not totally full but medium, carbonation is perhaps a bit understated for my personal taste here, you can detect the alcohol underneath for sure, I guess the "Big A" is for alcohol.. this definitely doesn't have the hop profile to overcome the ABV imo. It isnt bad perse but there are so many better "big" IPAs out there. The alcohol tends to thin it out after a while as well..

much better IPAs out there with better hop profiles and way less alcohol flavor, terrible ? certainly not, but given the selection I have locally I won't be buying this again anytime soon.

Photo of Sephiroth
4.58/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to blitheringidiot for the trade. Pours with fair amount of yeast. Body is a slightly cloudy straw color, with a hint of orange. This leaves some nice lace. Smells of citrus rind, a little pine, and some malt. Dank. This seems to be fresh.

Taste is awesome! I haven't had a new (to me) IIPA in months. Orange, bitter citrus rinds at first. The finish is piney, bitter, and dry. The malt is noticed, but remains in the background as it should. Mouthfeel is slick and oily. Nice. Drinkability is great.

Photo of scooter231
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ruby orange color with floaties and white, bubbly head, very pretty lacing as you drink. Smell is citrusy and alcoholic, with some hoppyness in there- not quite what I wanted it to be- I was expecting more hoppyness to it- more... just more.

The taste redeems itself. Hoppy, beautifully hoppy. Sweet/sour/tangy hops- so much going on in here. Liiight maltyness in the background. NO sissy flavors in here- this is not a sissy beer. Mouthfeel is chewy and full, bubbly and delicious. Drinkable? Yes. Yum yum yum. And the alcohol is quite hidden, by the way. Never would have known it was there...

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

Hazey straw golden honey color with a big white cap of bubbly, crunchy froth. Nice lacing in sheets and keeps a solid skim on top the whole way through.

Aroma is clean and nicely hoppy with a moderate showing of lemony citrus, pine, honey, and floral nuances.

Taste is eagerly fulfilling with an easy going hop tone and semi sweet balance of caramel malt and honey. Hops are citrusy with a sweet candyish lemon-sided tilt, a smidgeon of well rounded orange, some pineyness, leafy, fresh, cleanly bittered, and long lasting in bite. Nicely balanced, clean, and perfectly bittered in piney sweet citrus.

Feel is just above medium with a fluffyish, bold, hoppy carbonation that maintains a charged, ever-forward smoothness, cleannness, and well rounded bitterness in pine and citrus. Nice touches of floral hops and even a dash of mint and herbs make their way in as it begins to warm and unfold. A nice finisher and a fine drinker. But at 9% this isn't as sessionable as I would like it to be. It catches up to ya pretty quickly as it empties. Still, goes down with amazing ease and a finely laced hop tone and sweet balance. Good stuff!

Photo of deBeers
3.25/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was a bomber bottle conditioned in 2005. Golden in color with lots of small bubbles/carbonatoin and a nice creamy off-white head that wouldn't dissipate. I loved that aspect of the beer.

Otherwise, it was a little too much for me. Hops were just too big, floral, and a sweetness present. Sharp, bitter, tart, citrusy, and teaming with hops on the first sip. It was better with some triscuits and when my palate finally adjusted.

On my second pour into a pint glass, I added all the yeast. Why not, it tasted better to me and it's good for you. Smelled strongly of floral hops. A bit over the top still. Interesting bottle and I'm guessing there's an interesting story about the brewer too. Seek out if you like a hop bomb that will overwhelm your palate. Well crafted, just not my bag baby!

Beers and cheers.

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.

Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,598 ratings.