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Smuttynose Big A IPA | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
892 Reviews
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Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States | website

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.70%

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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-16-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 892 | Ratings: 1,710
Photo of KYGunner
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

The color is a light caramel, slightly dull with active carbonation in the body. The mounted bright white with a thick congealed top and banded lacing.

The nose is full of light citrus and caramel malt. The citrus tends to lemon and orange, maybe tangerines but a stiff caramel malt background.

The taste is floral, piney and lemony. Huge bitterness assaults the tongue as pine resin flavor finishes it off. The mid palate does detect the caramel malt but it's fleeting.

The feel is very full, almost no carbonated bite, with a hard bitterness and alcoholic finish. It really is a roller coaster as it starts with such a creamy feel but ends so harsh, bitter, astringent and full of alcohol warmth.

This is a bitter Beast of a beer that may have been too much for my particular palate.

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Photo of brureview
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle date: best by 3/14.
I was skeptical at first- and subsequently surprised that this DIPA was excellent- the best by date is in three months.

Poured a light tea-cider color with a 2 finger head. Lots of lacing- a nice looking beer.

Pine, citrus , and vanilla wafting from the head.

As expected- the MF was very carbonated.

Lots of pine and citrus in the taste.

The finish is not overdone and relatively smooth- a major plus for a DIPA.

Some added bitterness as the beer warms.

An excellent DIPA- very well done by a quintessential New England brewery.

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Photo of Dope
4.14/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Best by 4/16/2014. Hate dating like this, I have no idea when it was bottled. I assume around 3 months old, if it has a 6 month expiration date.

A: Pours a clear amber. Tall and fluffy tan head. Fades at a moderate pace with good retention. Sparse lacing.

S: Nice grapefruit bite with a little pine.

T: Grapefruit initially and then quite a bit of spicy, resinous pine. Resinous character is pretty much all-encompassing into the middle and finish. Some sweet graininess helps round it out a bit. Big drying resinous bitterness in the finish and aftertaste. Coats the mouth with hop oils.

M: Medium-heavy body. Very dry on the back end with lots of lingering mouthcoating resinousness (is that a word?).

O: Huh. Surprisingly delicious. Very hoppy. Big hop flavors, big hop resins and big hop dryness. Very pleasantly surprised by this one. West-coast style hop bomb and I've never even known about this. It states 120 IBUs and I believe it. Thanks to whoever suggested this on the forums. Only reason it did not garner higher scores is because of the relative simplicity.

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Photo of JAFoley
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Pale amber body, slightly hazy with three full fingers of off-white head. Very nice retention and sudsy lacing.

S - Citrus and alcohol

T - Big citrus, lemon and soapy hops upfront with low bready malts underneath all overshadowed by big boozeyness.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation. Slightly sticky

O - As a Portsmouth resident I have to love this beer and luckily I do! The huge abv is certainly not balanced but for those who want a boozey and bitter punch to the face, this'll do it.

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Photo of Omnium
3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Clear light gold with two fingers of foamy white head, smaller patchy lacing.
S - Big hop resin, pine, onion a little orange, grass, a tad skunky
T - Boozefest, definitely a lot of bitter pine and earthy hop resin, very oniony to me, a little spice, but there's a big malt sweetness and lots of booze.
M - Alcohol burn, big soapy bitterness..
O - Not a fan, Its too abrasive to have more than even one.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours murky orange and you can't see through it. It's a dirty orange color with golden hues. It has a finger of creamy foam that fell fast and left a ring and thin film on top. Decent lace. Nose is not easy to discern. Spice and grass, herbal and dank but not too much fruit. Tart citrus and a peach or soft stone fruit sweetness way in the background. Hardly any pine.

Taste is a little bland. There's plenty of herbal and grass, some spice - moderate spice in fact but hardly any fruit. Then as you search for it you notice a tart citrus and are so glad because where is the fruit? There is a substantial malt character that is plenty sweet and makes for a supple and medium mouthfeel. Caramel as it warms. That also make s me glad. There is some pine in the drink and it's pine needles. There is a moderate bitter. Now this bitter can't justify itself in contrast to all the lingering fruit sweetness because the fruit was tart so it's a sharp and pretty strong bitter. Astringent with a dry finish.

It's ok.

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Photo of patpbr
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a deep orange without much of a head
S - Mild hops and a malt
T - Citrus hops and floral flavors a bit of pine and hints of grapefruit. A moderate amount of bitterness.
M - Medium body and a finish on the dry side
O - Not very exciting for a DIPA.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy orange color with a thin white foamy head.

S - Not getting much here. Some sweet tropical fruits and some faint piney hops.

T - Lots of hoppy bitterness. The hops are very earthy and resinous. Good amount of sweet tropical fruits - orange and grapefruit.

M - Medium mouthfeel with a high carbonation. Oily mouthfeel with a dry finish. Nice lingering bitterness. ABV is very well hidden.

O - Pretty good DIPA. Pretty easy drinker for such a hop bomb. I enjoyed this quite a bit.

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Photo of TheBullsHorn
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a hazy caramel orange color with a nice head. American hops jump out on the nose with grapefruit as the most prominent aroma followed by lighter notes of lemon, orange, and the noticeable strength of the alcohol. As with good Imperial IPAs, the malty sweetness balances the intensely citrus hop and provides a medium body and slightly silky mouthfeel after the carbonation washes away. This is a nice example of an Imperial IPA that gets better as you let it open up and let the ethanol notes dissipate but unfortunately doesn't have as much depth as I like to see in this style.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

As the signature imperial India pale ale for Smuttynose, the ale jumps right out of the shoot with all of the citrusy bitterness of American ales but with added alcohol and sweetness to balance. It's easily seen as a bigger version of IPA- it's a big ass IPA!

As the ale pours, it certainly looks the part of Imperial Pale Ale with its medium hazy amber color and its release of creamy off-white foam. With strong retention and broken lacing patterns, the ale is much more appeasing to the eye as its label does.

Bright aromas of citrus and pine paint a picture of grapefruit and oranges that are dripping of honey or light caramel. A mild tropical hint of pineapple sneak into the mix as well. Its earthy tone of pine cones are sappy, resinous and herbaceous even in the nose. A tinge of alcohol is spicy and lightly of acetone, but the hops cover all that with ease.

To taste, the malty foreground delivers mild caramel, light toast and honey tones. But heading into the middle portion of taste, its hop influence really comes to life. Pink grapefruit, oranges and a hint of lemon all rise with their taste of pulp, peels and piths. Leading to a finish of deeply resinous pine, the IPA really lives up to its style-sake in its dry and acidic bitterness.

Medium-full in body, the ale tries really hard to be an IPA, but just more of one. Its malt richness is inherently larger than that of standard IPA. Though it simply takes more malt fuel to create more alcohol, these beers simply don't attenuate as well at higher alcohol ranges than they do at lower ranges. So the beer balances beautifully toward the malt- ever so slightly. This leads to a bitter-sweet finish of warming alcohol and sappy resins.

I love how Big A plays out on the palate. Its hop character is paramount but it relies on its bready-sweet and lavish pine complements to round out its citrusy focus. Simply beautiful in every aspect, but it does little to pull away from the pack of other well made imperial IPAs.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smuttynose makes some great beer – just finished up a sixer of Finestkind – so I jumped on the chance to try out another one of their lineup. Cheers.

Best-before date is 03/10/2014, four months after the date of this tasting. All clear.

A: Pours a hazy orange with a dirty gold tinge, topped with a bright white head of soap foam two inches high. Lacing is minimal, but the retention is thick and long-lasting.

S: Tons of raw hop character: aromas of oily, piney resin, damp grass, and leafy green tea emanate from the glass. Powerful. Smells like a bag of hop pellets from the homebrew shop, but not much else – bit of honey and toffee peek through.

T: A hop monster: triple IPA, anyone? I’m typically not a fan of those kinds of beers, but this one blends tongue-scraping bitterness with thick hop oils very well. It slides around with initial flavors of dank pine sap (like hop juice) and sweet honey malt – along with lemon so rich it’s nearly soapy – reined in only by a stinging hop-and-booze bite. The palate tightens as tastes of salt and pepper, chili powder, and fusel alcohol take over; the malts are effectively balanced-out, and then some. Finishes more dry than malty, but a marked sweetness still remains.

M: Thick, but not chewy: it’s all about the oils on this one. Carbonation is light to moderate, picking up the palate with a soft bubbliness, though that’s not much when compared to the sheer thickness of the body.

O: Knocked me flat, that’s for sure…the Smuttynose logo on the label blinded me from the fact that this beer is almost 10% alcohol, so I didn’t learn that until I was halfway through and decided to inspect the bottle a bit more closely. At any rate, this is a well-made, semi-drinkable double/triple IPA, and that’s a rare find in this style – still, it’s not really a kind of beer I’d buy again.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a cloudy golden-amber, with a nice big head of white bubbles. Beautiful head and lace, too.

Nose is strong and tangy tropical hops, with notes of pineapple up front and foremost. I also get some delicious mango and orange. Superlative!

Taste is strong, with hops dominating. Still, there's a big malt presence here, too. Heavy on the tropical hops, this one keeps itself smooth and mellow on the palate.

A gorgeous and top-tier IPA here.

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Photo of dar482
3.74/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was super fresh with a Besy By of 3/10/14 and comes in at 9.4% ABV.

The beer comes in a color I’ve never quite seen. It’s a bright hzy pink, like pink grapefruit. It has a beautiful two finger fluffy tight marshmallow head. One of the most gorgeous beers I’ve seen.

The aroma has sweet grapefruit, pith, and some pine, but is generally nasally challenged. It has sweet caramel malt, a bit of alcohol.

The flavor follows with just strong bitterness. It’s astringent and just attacks the palate with spicy floral, grapefruit, then just tons of green pine and grass. There’s a tinge of honeyed sweetness in the middle and then attacks again on the end with a lingering bitterness of grapefruit pith, pine, and spicy hops.

The body is medium to full with a round mouthfeel and a gentle carbonation that keeps the beer rolling.

This is a big beer, but thankfully does not carry too much sweetness to overwhelm the beer. However, the aroma is a bit weak and the flavor lacks depth. However, the bitterness works for some hop heads.

(As a note, this pairs extremely well with grapefruit. The sweetness really accentuates the fruit notes in the beer and brings out more sweetness to counteract the beer’s bitterness.)

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.86/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head IPA glass. Freshness date of 2/1/14.

A: Sunny yellow in color, but with a heavy haze. Two fingers of bubbly, bone white head retain very well. Lacing is ample and sticky.

S: Soft pine. Lots of pith. Pulpy citrus fruits. Lemon, white grapefruit, hints of pineapple. Doughy malt base displays a touch of honeyed sweetness. Subtle alcohol.

T: Gripping oily bitterness, earthy and raw. Spicy hops. Pithy. Pulpy lemon and white grapefruit, more subtle and playful notes of pineapple. Peppery alcohol flexes some muscle. Doughy, honeyed malt base. Traces of minerality. Oily, spicy hops and a lingering kick of alcohol on the finish.

M: Medium-full body. Very round and smooth in the mouth. Creamy and velvety. Mild prickling carbonation. Hop astringency, generous alcohol warmth.

O: This is one brawny double IPA. Full malt body, big dose of alcohol, plenty of bitterness. The heat may prove a little much for some, but truthfully it really fits the beer. It lends itself especially well to cask experimentation, and Smuttynose isn't shy about tinkering with it in that realm. The seasonal 4-pack move was a good one, because although this is a fine beer, it frequently went out of code on shelves in the 22oz year round format. Better turnover on the shelves helps to ensure that drinkers are getting this fresh, as intended.

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Photo of MikeWard
3.99/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into standard pint glass. Best by date of 03/10/14

Poured a hazy thick yellow body, with about 1 1/2 finger soapy white head, which diminshed some, but retained all the way down. Lacing was minimal. Good carbonation.

Great smell of sweet citrusy hops.

Hops and sweetness of the malts battle it out on the tongue, with no clear winner, though the hops stay on the tongue longer, the finish is sweet & fruity.

Mouth was above medium, with a touch of syrupy feel about it.

Overall, this is the best Smuttynose beer I've tried. (Though mouth waters at the thought of their big baltic porter) Glad to say, the rest of the 4-pack is in the fridge. Only downside....that dude on the label is pretty creepy.

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Photo of jwhancher
3.52/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a dollar store wine glass. Appears bright copper with lots of various sediment particles in the glass. Wasn't sure if this one is bottle conditioned or not, as it did not say so on this bottle. Nice firm lacing of white foamy head. Seems to last quite awhile.

Smells of faint citrus hops. Pretty tame, yet I'm not sure how old the bottle was. Didn't see a born on or best by date. After some warming up, I get lemon meringue.

Tastes initially sweet with waves of lemon and sweet pale malt. Hop nectar rings true to the tongue. Hops aren't overwhelming and seem balanced by the malt. I also get some orange peel and a little resiney hops. Decently bitter.

Seems a little sweet, maybe due to the hop resins. Even still, wish it were a little more dry. Feels medium as I could see myself switching up to another offering after a few.

Overall, an okay IPA. There's so many IPAs out there these days that this one just doesn't stand out for me. It's pretty solid, but I think it could use some fine polishing.

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Photo of hagbergl
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a glass of Smuttynose Big A IPA at Somerville BBQ & beer institution, Redbones. Served in a pint glass.

Appearance (4/5): Big A IPA pours a clear, golden-orange and is topped by a small one-finger head of foam (I'll blame the bartender for the lack of head...for some reason bartenders even at very good establishments think head on a beer is bad. Annoying.). This baby leaves a ton of sticky, resinous lacing behind as it goes. A very pleasant looking double IPA.

Smell (4/5): Right away you smell big grapefruit and piney hops. The hops are backed up by a sizable sweet bready malt that makes this beer maltier (not to say truly balanced–it's a double IPA, after all) than most big IPA's. A touch of lemon adds freshness and resinous hop oils lend a dankness to the beer. This baby's fresh. Nice smelling stuff.

Taste (4.25/5): At the front of the tongue, sweet malts come in and warm up the palate before the piney, grapefruity hops explode with a very satisfying bitterness and citrusy dryness. Sweetness competes with bitter all the way down, though, making Big A an impressive balancing act between malt and hops. The finish is hoppy but the malts are still there giving you a nice sweetness. Much different than your typical West Coast hop monster. I like this a lot.

Mouthfeel (4/5): Big A has a sticky, almost chewy mouthfeel in the beginning before settling into a dry finish. Medium bodied and medium-light carbonation round out the mouthfeel. Good, not stellar.

Overall (4/5): Smuttynose Big A is a very solid double IPA from New England that definitely separates itself from the herd of West Coast-style imitators by injecting a healthy does of malt sweetness into the flavor profile and not going whole-hog with the bitterness and dryness. I particularly like the transition in the mouthfeel from sticky, hop oily at the front to dry in the finish. Good stuff, as I expect from Smutty.

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Photo of barczar
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Best by 4/13.

Pours a hazy golden apricot with a frothy 2 inch cream head that dissipates slowly, leaving sheets of holy lacing.

Nutty, bready caramel malt, citrus fruit, and resin form the initial aroma. Earthy hops become evident. Fairly malty, but with good hop presence, as well. Tangerine and lime balance resin well.

Flavor reveals underlying notes of tangerine, grapefruit and mango, with slightly sweet caramel malt hitting mid palate, then being knocked aside by bitter, resiny hops. The finish is decidedly bitter and earthy.

Body is a touch full, with moderate carbonation, a fair amount of astringency, and substantial alcohol warmth.

Good citrus character, but a little too resiny for my liking. Flavoring hops could be more complex. Malt backbone and hop character are fairly balanced in extremes.

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Photo of AmitC
4.21/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with a best by marking of April 2013.

Color is more pale than golden. A lot of heavy chunk suspensions give it a dirty look. Hazy and cloudy. An over three fingers thick off white head with good retention. Super awesome lacing on the sides. Looks really nice except for clumsy touches inside. Not many bubbles.

Aroma is somewhat subdued but still adequate for a DIPA. A lot of earth and wood. Some grass and spices. A strong malt body. Some pine and grapefruit. Strength is moderate at best.

Taste is much better and more bitter than suggested by the nose. Strong punch of hops upfront. Very heavy hitting malt. Some booze and warmth as well. Bitterness is definitely all pervasive. Malts take back seat big time. Finish is bitter. Grapefruit. Slight citrus. Some earthiness and a lot of spiciness.

Mouth feel is medium bodied. A good amount of piney and oily character mixed with good malt presence. High on alcohol and warmth. Punching. Not very astringent for a DIPA.

A solid DIPA with some minor flaws. Palate wrecking - for sure.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Rattle N Hum in New York, NY

A: Pours a hazy yellowish orange (dark apricot) in color with light amounts of visible carbonation, some fine yeast particles in suspension, and some golden yellow highlights. The beer has a half finger tall foamy white head that slowly reduces to a medium patch of very thin film and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of pine and citrus/grapefruit hops over a lighter aroma of caramel malts.

T: Upfront there is a light amount of caramel malt but with very little sweetness. That is quickly overtaken by strong flavors of pine and citrus/grapefruit rind hops that contribute a heavy amount of lingering bitterness.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp with some stickiness then a little dryness in the finish. Light hints of alcohol warming.

O: Overall the big ABV is pretty well hidden but this beer is just a touch too bitter and with a hop profile that I do not find as interesting as others in the style. Still enjoyable.

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Photo of bobhits
2.53/5  rDev -36.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Normally I try to write complex review but this beer isn't worthy. This bottle is near but not at the best buy level so if I find it fresher I'll adjust.

A good looking double IPA with WAY too much malt and sugar aroma. It smells bad.

The taste is WAY too much sugar bread and flavors I can only express as old hoppy beer but again this isn't old. bit sugar malt, HUGE even. There is a hop bite too, but it isn't good the breat and caramel are just blah.

Too think too sugary and doesn't work.

This is just not a good beer, let alone a good IPA. I can't imagine this being good.

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Photo of yamar68
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Big thanks to Hessian257 for this one! Long time want...

That's one raw looking IIPA. Hazy light orange body packed with beading that battles all the little bastards doggy paddling in the deep end. A creamy finger of off-white head recedes to a thin but consistent rocky cap. Lace is second to none.

Nose is big but a little muddy. Great blend of abstract citric hops and conifer. A fair amount of caramel malt keeps things interesting.

Juicy citrus with a prickly pine presence and an alcohol character that is less than well-integrated. Vaguely medicinal with a raw, tongue buckling bitterness.

Old school, big and bitter. I love it.

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

Very solid DIPA. Good malt backbone - plenty of caramel flavor without getting too sweet. The hop flavor hits some fairly typical notes, but it’s very well done. Good pine, grapefruit, orange, grass. Very good full feel. Mouthfeel is smooth and thick without being sticky. It’s a bit indelicate with a bit more bland bitterness than ideal, but it still exceeded my expectations for a year-round, easy to find DIPA. Appearance is medium amber with a creamy, off-white head. Easy to drink with plenty of flavor.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Its quickly apparent that its unfiltered with its bright cloudy orange body . Small white head floats on top. Carbonation is average for the style.

The smell Grapefruit and lemon everywhere. Big malty body, with a good bit of bitter grapefruit and lemon rind. Small hint of oranges way in the back that gets almost lost behind the other huge flavors.

I really want more out of the flavor. I was expecting the grapefruit and lemons I got from Columbus Brewing Bodhi, but this is more balanced with the bitterness really coming forward. The malt body is spot on for style, and really just begs for more dry hopped flavors to help it out. The bitter lemon rind and grapefruit peel is just a bit too much, but its do able.

I get this slick hop oil feel that fights with a metallic thing to come out. I like that slick oily citrusy orange/lemon feeling in the back of my throat, but I really dislike the bitter medicinal I get as well.

Overall - This is one of the better DIPAs available here in NC, but I think it could use some improvement for sure. I bit more punch of pungent grapefruit and lemon flavors would make this an incredible DIPA.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a very hazy orange-gold color with lots of yeast particles floating in the body. I like the head on this one - a three finger offwhite shade that looks wonderfully creamy. As it recedes, it leaves behind nice rings of lacing. Floaties aside, this looks fantastic.

S: This one seems to be balanced betwen grapefruit peel/spicy pine hops and biscuity yeast/malt interplay. As it warms up, the malt profile gets stronger. Dare I say it smells like a bigger version of Finest Kind? Err, not quite, but the aromatic qualities are very suitable for what I want.

T: Bitterness hits in a big way past the midtaste. Before that, this starts off rather sweet, with hints of caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and sugar cookie. Bold midtaste flavors of grapefruit peel, pine, black pepper, and even coriander gives way to a finish featuring an earthy sourness to it that I'm not sure what to make of. At first, I thought "argh, yet another IPA that eschews hop flavor for generic bitterness" - except after a few sips, distinct hop flavors do appear, quite vividly at that. Not all of them work for my tastes (never been a fan of pine-forward IPAs), but I admire its moderate complexity and permuting hop qualities. Cut down the pine bitterness a little bit, amp up the grapefruit qualities; and we could be looking at something really fantastic here.

M: It definitely feels like a 'pine-and-crystal-malt' forward DIPA, with its heavy texture and tongue-tingling coarseness on the finish. However, I really admire how easily it is to sip given it's a touch harsh. Maybe it's balanced more than I thought? The finish and aftertaste are VERY dry and mildly boozy, which might not work for everyone. The carbonation never gets in the way of the texture of the body, but the dry, coarse texture could be toned down in order to give the grapefruit hops some more breathing room. Becomes a touch boozy as it warms up.

O: This one definitely grew on me. Really, it's just like a bigger Finest Kind - the first sip doesn't impress, but repeated swigs will allow its greater qualities to show up and catch the seemingly disappointed palate off guard. Well worth considering if you like big, bitter DIPAs.

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Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 892 ratings.