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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: 90
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 yelterdow
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on a hot summer's eve in an imperial pint glass at just over fridge temperature. 22 oz. bomber from Smart Buy in Fort Lee.

Appearance- Pours a golden honey color with a respectable two-finger foamy crown. Lacing is sporadic and clingy.

Smell- Luscious grapefruit and pine sap with an appetite to destroy. No kidding, this brew is out to fuck with you.

Taste- In a word, bruising. The bitterness left behind on the sides of the tongue stings like a cicada-killing wasp out for the last supper. The hops are on stage, with Marshall stacks for your listening pleasure.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- This beer is designed with the intention to kick your ass... if you have any doubts, look at the label. For a double-IPA, it delivers the promise. Rough-and-tumble carbonation that doesn't interfere, just the right amount of space between citrus and bitter hop finish. Share with your hophead compadres, and proceed with caution.

Photo of rousee
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Version--
Pours apricot amber honey color. Quite murky with a quickly fading head. There is some very nice spider-web like lacing left immediately on the sides of the glass.

Smell is bold hoppiness--I am guessing Warrior and Centennial. Not sure if thats right, but they are well blended and its a real potent in your face hoppiness. Taste is a strong hops kick with a malty, honey-like finish. There are elements of pine-sap too which is very pleasant and not as sticky as you'd expect. Mouthfeel is that coating sappiness but it sure is pleasant.

This recipe seems so much better than last years. Smuttynose continues to impress me with almost all their offerings and a few years ago, I though they were just a tad better than average.

Unfortunately, with a 9% abv, you really shouldnt have more than a couple of these. They are pretty smooth for this style though.

I liked these so much that I had my local store order me a case of 'em. Highly recommended and pretty reasonably priced too.

Photo of Sixpoint
2.99/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a pint glass. Bottle-conditioned in 2005.

My sample poured with no head at all. Seemed a little flat. Intentional?

The aroma was nice. You could definitely pick up the alcohol in the nose, even though it was hiding in the reeds behind a massive quantity of hops.

The taste was eh, not good. Massive alcohol burn with no malt foundation to balance. Lingering bitterness and acid wash from the alcohol. Yeah, it's a big ass IPA, but not pleasant...

My beer was medium bodied and not too drinkable. Having an entire 22 oz. bomber of this stuff was a struggle.

Smutty makes such a fine IPA and a pretty good brown ale too. They should go back to the basics IMHO.

Photo of LPorter33
3.37/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased 22oz bomber from Martignetti's

Appearance = Golden yellow-orange, poor head, decent lacing. Looks thick and syrupy.

Smell = Strong hops and citrus/fruit flavors with pear. Pretty good smelling IPA, typical and expected.

Taste = Very powreful taste with the alcohol not hidden at all and this really detracts from the flavor. There's a syrupy sweetness but it's smuttered by the alcohol and bitterness. It's a little too raw and unrefined for me. Great aftertaste though. Good drinkability as it's refreshing.

Overall = It's OK but i'd much rather drink their "Finest Kind" As far as Double IPA's go, this one is disappointing.

Photo of Boilermaker88
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I brought this 22oz bomber back with me from Boston. Poured into an imperial pint glass. Big A IPA had a clear brassy color, tons of fine, vigorous carbonation, and a one-finger white head that was pretty resilient and left good lace on the glass.
The nose had a strong citrusy hops aroma with an underlying hint of alcohol and sweet malts. Lots of grapefruit juice and spruce. A few pulls and I found myself enjoying a pleasant blend of caramel malts and a not overly bitter rush of grapefruits and pine needles. A slight warmth of alcohol coursed down to the belly with each swallow. The feel was medium-bodied and a bit thin, my only problem with this double IPA.
Overall, Big A IPA was enjoyable and worth the price my back paid in humping my stuffed backpack through multiple airports. Another good offering from Smuttynose.

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

Pours a golden orange colour with a nice fluffy head which leaves lacy trail down the inside of the glass. The fruit and floral hops aroma and flavours are balanced by the bitterness and the higher alcohol content is only slightly detectable. Medium mouthfeel with a great finish. Another great IPA that I would love to be able to buy regularly, but unfortuneatly, its not available down here.

Photo of gotbeer
3.81/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow! This is a huge beer, just like the label says.

The appearance is an orange amber with a decent head. Nice thick, sticky head that laces the glass rather nicely. The smell of hops hits you in the nose. and that is nothing to what this beer will do to your tastebuds.

The taste has a huge hop presence, and some fussel alcohol. Citrus hop flavors dominate, and somewhat overpower the malt balance.

A good choice when you want a hoppy ass kicking. An absolute must for the hophead, and a nice alternative to some of the other options out there.

Photo of TinusTime
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden colour with a bit or orange. A white fluffy head caps this and laces all the way down the glass. Aroma is hoppy with a strong pine nose. Taste has a bit of bready malt up front which quickly gets pushed aside to make way for the hops. The hops come in waves, Pine, citrus (grapefruit), floral. Definitely better than last years model. This is good stuff. Mouthfeel is good. Its a tad heavy, but hardly anything to quarrel about. Drinkability is very high. Will be picking up more and more and more of these until alas they run out.

Photo of krberg
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

2K5 22oz.

Copper with a tight white head. Not the brightest beer I've ever seen, but it is bottle-conditioned like a good IPA should be.

Smells hugely of hops and malty sweetness. Very fresh hop aroma. Citrus.

Orangey, hoppy with a secondary bitterness. Wonderful balance! The malt and flavoring hops combine into a soft, mellow, slightly sweet harmony tempered with just enough bitterness.

Thick and smooth mouthfeel. Perfect for the style.

Tastes fantastic but would floor me after 2 to 3 bombers.

I remember disliking the 2K4 version. I don't know why. This is one amazing beer. It may surpass the old bottle-conditioned DFH 90min 750s which have been my benchmark for DIPAs. I'm going to stock up.

[edit] This beer has the longest lasting head I have ever seen.

Photo of JackStraw22
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, pale orange/amber body and a nice dose of fluffy off white head. Very good retention and some good lacing too.

Smell: Nice big hop aroma. Big malty sweetness too. Pleasant nutty aroma, bready smelling too. Slight citrusy aroma, and some faint alcohol.

Taste/Feel: Hmm..there are waves of flavor that seem to go in and out. I'm not sure I can describe them all. The alcohol is definately present. Not hugly bitter (for a DIPA) but it's there. The alcohol and bitterness hit right at the same time which makes for an interesting taste. Hops seem more focused in the flavor. Very nutty and bready as the aroma would suggest. Slick and full mouthfeel, quite chewy. Carbonation really tingles the back of the throat.

Good DIPA. I think I liked this a lot better the first time I had it about a month ago, wish I had reviewed it then to compare.

Photo of PSUDREW
3.67/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

If nothing else, New Jersey is always good for reviewing new beers (hahahaha...shore points.)

Pours a nice golden color. white phrothy head that dissaptes quickly. Some lacing all the way down.

taste is overwhelmingly citrus at 1st. slightly grassy going down, Minor tea and citrus flavor in the sftertase. creamy even.

Aoverall a nice IPA. solid, citrus, creamy and nice. all in all a good brew. Nice effort on the part of smuttynose.

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

Thanks again to cmaruschak for the chance to sample this one. Shared this with him and mmmmbeeer over some cards.

Appearance: Slightly cloudy goldenrod with hop floaties in it. An ivory pancake batter-like head that develops.

Taste: Hop bitterness up front with a good malt base. Definitely beat back by the hops. Nice hop profile going on here. My palate quickly processes flavors of citrus, grass, and tea. It alternates between all those depending on the sip. Very enjoyable and very solid example of what to appreciate in terms of a hop flavor profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium and crispy due to the carbonation.

Drinkability: Maybe a touch too bitter to make a session out of it but overall, very enjoyable. Recommended.

Photo of jamesclark
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle-conditioned in 2005, says the label.

The Big A IPA is a hazy yellow-orange in my glass, with a reasonable, moderate head which reduces somewhat slowly to a rocky film of bubbles. The liquid scatters light well.

There is a fine citrusy hop aroma, with a good malt base. It carries a subtle, creamy candy-like smell.

It has a good, pungent hop flavor, with plenty of backbone - that is, the hops are supported by a medium-bodied, creamy, malt flavor. The bitterness is significant, but constrained enough to let the complexities of the flavor out. There is some butter flavor, tart orange, some woodiness, and a mellow spiciness, if that is possible. It finishes not-quite dry, with strong hops left on the tongue, alcohol in the throat, and a creamy sensation around the mouth. As the flavor lingers it dries the mouth, begging another mouthful. The carbonation is a little strong.

This is a good double IPA - the hops are powerful but subdued, and bitterness and creaminess are almost in balance (bitterness wins). There is a (moderated) sourness which rounds out the flavor.

Photo of sacfly
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, golden color with an abundance of large bubbles in the frothy head. Highly carbonated. Smell is overripe grapefruit with some pine. Different from the fresh grapefruit from their “Finest Kind” IPA. Strong smell, even through a thick head. Taste is resinous pine and citrus. Malt backbone is there in the background. Just enough sweetness to let you know it is there. Medium mouth feel. Dry, citrus, bitter, aftertaste. Very nice.

Much better than last years offering. Look for the “2005” on the front, or you may be disappointed by last year’s offering. If you did not like the 2004, give this one a second chance. It is totally different.

Photo of TastyTaste
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Medium copper color body, slight carbonation visible. Nice retention on the 1/2" of head that is poured. Lots of juicy floral hops in the nose, sweet yet extremely bitter. What an onrush of flavor. The alcohol is big and spicy, the hops are bitter, lots of malt, with hop bitterness unrelenting throughout. Up there with the best DIPAS I have had. Mouthfeel is full, slick, and the alcohol provides a moderate burn. Very good. The first of many anticipated beers sent from Twilight. Thanks again.

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one held promise... poured out a nice deep yellow, almost amber, with a three finger head. Looked good. As I drank it, it left a lot of lace on the sides of my pilsner glass.

Aroma was a hefty wallop of grapefruit, with a little sweetness thrown in. A strong layer of malt was underneath.

Taste was big on pine, yet it was not overly bitter. It was also slightly sweet, with a rich malt backbone. Alcohol was very faint in the background as it warmed, more prominent with a bigger swallow.

Mouthfeel was big, full, and rich. Drinkability is up there. A really good beer.

Photo of Chadbrew
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - This has the color and head I love in a DIPA, a light shade of caramel and a big two fingers of fluff.

Aroma - Big time hops here, kind of like orange zest. I am really hoping this beer is not all about the hops though.

Taste - Unfortunately this seems all about the hops. There is a decent malt profile but you really have to look for it. There might be a mellowing over time but right now this is kinda like sucking on a grapefruit.

Mouthfeel - No shortage of body here. Big mouthfeel but the finish is just too pungent from the hops.

Drinkability - I wish I could say this is a very drinkable beer but I don't think it is. I love hops but this is too sharp. Because I am a fan of brewers putting out limited edition stuff and deviating from the "norm" I will be cellaring another bottle for a while to see if it mellows.

Photo of kegerator
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this is one dam good beer.
pours a slightly hazy coppery orange with hints of ruby when held to the light. Forms a decent 1 inch head that is sticky and creamy and sticks around a good while leaving nice lacing
aroma is big hops, citrusy grapefruit and floral with hints of alcohol and a nice malt profile lingers as well
taste was so so at first until it warmed up a bit then it all hell broke loose :). Nice floral and citrus flavors make up the bulk of this brew followed by a carmel sweet malt hit and a nice warming from the alcohol. it finishes dry and crisp and was very drinkable. I should have bought two.

Photo of Buildscharacter
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Didn't know much about this beer other than the fact that I hadn't had it yet. Gotta applaud Smuttynose for their arremt at an DIPA.

Recently there's been quite a few of them out there, and I liked this one.

Pours out looking very much like a Miller...yes.. a miller. I wasn't too pleased at first. Same color, same head. The head goes away about a min into drinking the beer. The aroma isn't what I would have figured with such a hoppy brew, but the taste truly makes up for whatever it's lacking in aroma.
Not that there isn't aroma, but I guess the hops that they use are a little less pungent that what I'm used to from other breweries. Not a bad thing, but if you really enjoy having your socks blown off whem you sniff the bottle this isn't for you.

As for the taste, it's smooth in the mouth with a warm floral taste with bitterness (in a good way) washing in afterwards. It's fairly thick in the mouth so it goes down and hides the alcohol quite nicly.

Overall I enjoyed this beer and would get it again.

Photo of Jacobob10
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 Version

Poured into a tulip glass from a 22 oz. bottle, the first half of the pour resulted in a cloudy orange color with a small diminishing head. After I drank the first half of the beer, the next half produced a much more profound head, white in color with fantastic retention. For all of the hops used in this beer (120 IBU!), the aroma is fairy subtle, mostly consisting of citrus fruits. The taste is very good but the alcohol is definitely present which hurts its drinkablility a little bit. Medium to full body with an oily, creamy texture. It has a moderately bitter finish but nothing too extreme.

I was expecting this beer to be a little more over the top and was really surprised by how subtle the taste and aroma were. Don't get me wrong, it is definitely a "big" beer that is very strong, but it didn't have the "oomph" I was hoping it would. Give it a shot.

Photo of Naes
3.82/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It looks like a dark copper, with a large sticky white head.

Smell is fruity and hopy.

Taste is full of hops followed by the fruitiness. It seems just like their normal IPA but has extra hops and less fruit.

Mouth feel is medium to full bodied and leaves a semi thick film in the mouth.

It’s a good drinkable beer, but I don’t think I will have another. It’s just a little too fruity for me.

I think this one is of high quality, but too similar to their normal IPA. It’s definitely worth a try.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.52/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to warriorsoul for this. Tom is as good a trader as they come.

This beer pours a hazy orange color with a finger of head that falls to a moderate coating over top of the liquid. The nose is awesome. Chewey, grapefruit and bubblegum sweetness. Caramel malt base. Everything works very well together in the nose. The flavor is just as nice. I could handle a touch more hop flavor and even a hint more bitterness, but the caramel sweetness and citrusy hop meld well and produce a really nice flavor. There is just a light bitter that hangs on to the finish. The feel is thick with a light carbonation. Very nice. Drinkability is huge. I'm plowing through this glass and the 9% can't be detected by any sense. This is a top of the line Double IPA. The flavors are big, but not obtrusive at all. Nothing impedes the drinkability of this one.

Photo of clvand0
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to kmpitz2 for sharing this one and thanks to warriorsoul for sending it to him. Pours an orange color with a medium head that falls quickly and leaves lots of lacing on the glass. The aroma is huge with the hops. Big citrus, pine. The flavor is super smooth. The hops are extremely well balanced with the caramel malt flavors. Great balance. Quite a bit of hop flavors on the finish, but not over the top. Very nice. Mouthfeel is moderate. Drinkability is good.

Photo of PatandDavid
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared a bomber of this with David. Poured it myself into two pint glasses and got some lovely tangerine goodness topped with 1/2 inch of thick white foam. It's since disipated. Aroma is reminiscent of oranges, but a big whiff reveals some alcohol burn. Tastewise I am finding some citrus hops (oranges and grapefruit), but what sets this one apart is the mouthfeel:the carbonation is rather prickly, hold it too long and it may feel like you do have pine needles on your tongue. I enjoyed this, but should stop at half the bottle...you know it's 9 percent. 2005 edition.

Photo of HappyHourHero
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Long distance pour to get a dense, moderatly large, cream colored head that left a sheet of lace as it quickly faded. Hazy deep copper colored beer shows few signs of carbonation within. Faint, sugary grapefruit aroma. Big solid malt base on this one. Mildly sweet up front with some delicate citrusy (orange & grapefruit) hops on top. Fairly strong, bitter grapefruit flavor kicks in midway through and sticks to the back of your tongue. Finish is pretty alcoholic, and I'm not a big fan of the bitter aftertaste. I like my hops to dominate an IIPA, and in this case the hop are hard to pick up in the nose and they barely rise above the alcohol in the flavor. Overall a it's a big beer with a splash of hops.

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