1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Smuttynose Big A IPA - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,420 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1420
Reviews: 871
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 11.06%

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)
View: Beers (51) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smuttynose Big A IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,420 | Reviews: 871 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Thickfreakness

New York

4.48/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

FINALLY found some fresh near me. I've been wanting to try this forever but only found old dusty bottles.

A- Nice deep orange/honey color. Somewhat cloudy/hazy with a thick bright white head that sticks around forever and leaves more sticky lacing than I've ever seen on a glass!

S- Deep rich malts... piney and dank! Notes of orange, pineapple, mango, peaches, old lawn clippings, sugary sweet caramel, and a faint alcohol presence. Really nice depth to this one.

T- It's like a punch of sweet and piney goodness... really nice pineapple, cut hay, grapefruit and orange juice, caramel maltiness, and yeast. The alcohol is barely noticable beneath the ton of flavors that are exploding in my mouth.

M- Leaves your mouth singing with citrus, wet hay and caramel sweetness. Has a really nice bitterness that doesn't overwhelm but adds another level to the caramel sweetness.

O- This is a fantastic DIPA! Deep and rich, wonderfully balanced!Bitter/sweet/citrus/pine/tabacco and lawn clippings... Tons of flavors and smells happening here! It's about time I found some of this fresh Smutty!

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2012 02:28:08 | More by Thickfreakness
Photo of eriktoyra


3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a golden hazed liquid into the glass. The one finger high head is grey-white and dissolves quickly. Uneven and small lacings on the glass. Almost no sign of carbonation.

S: Sweet fruity tones and cookies at first but then a more earthy smell. Cabbage maybe? Mango, grapefruit, damp leaves and then some alcohol.

T: Sweet mango up front, then grapefruit and finally warming alcohol. It's balancing on the verge of being to strong in alcohol but manages to pull it off nice. The grapefruit tones stays long. There is also some lime for a short while at the end.

M: A bit oily in texture. The alcohol is warming just about perfect. Low to medium carbonation with small bubbles.

O: Apart from the smell, which I find a bit uneven, this is a good beer that I would recommend anyone to try.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2012 01:51:24 | More by eriktoyra
Photo of TheSarge


3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this into a tulip glass, and the brew makes a good two finger thick white head, and the body is copper in color with lots of haze.

The aroma is dominated by the hops, which gives it a very floral and citrusy fragrance. Lots of grapefruit and pine sum up the aroma.

In the taste, the sweet caramel is evident. There is caramel sweetness cut off abruptly by the stinging bitterness of the piny hops.

Feels mildly carbonated, syrupy, oily slick, and warm in the end.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2012 01:46:54 | More by TheSarge
Photo of Thads324


3.63/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a inviting gold color. Thick white head of tan bubbles. Super sticky head leaves solid lacing.
Aroma is musty and earth hop. A hint of citrus, and some sweet biscuity malt.
Taste is much the same. Starts sweet then has a hit of earthy hop and dirt. It's almost like I can taste the earth in it. A hint of lemon zest and floral hops in the back. Finishes slightly bitter and adds some citrus. Nice pale malts carry the hops
Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation that is nice and sharp. Hidden abv very well

Overall this beer is pretty good. As you work your way through the beer the hops get more flavorful, with added citrus. Pretty good.

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2012 20:32:09 | More by Thads324
Photo of libbey

British Indian Ocean Territory

4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle best by date 7-24-12 poured into a NB globe. Thanks to trxxpaxxs for the chance to try such a fresh bottle of this.

A: The beer pours a crystal clear golden hue with a large fluffy head that had great retention in spite of the large ABV. Nice trail of sticky lacing left throughout the session.

S: Nice piney blast of hops balanced with a big earthy malty base with a hint of candy/toffee. Lovely.

T: A big aggressive blast of citrus and pine hops layered upon a nice malt bready base. Great balance for such a big beer. ABV is expertly masked.

M: The carbonation levels are perfect on this medium bodied DIPA and a nice piney finish lingers on the pallet after each sip. Nice.

O: Overall this had been my favorite IPA offering from Smuttynose so far. An excellent representation of the style that I would certainly have again if the opportunity presented itself.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2012 22:49:55 | More by libbey
Photo of Taylor8189


5/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is exactly what an Imperial IPA should look, taste, and feel like. I've had this beer almost ten times on tap over the past couple of months and every time I drink it I am reassured that it was a great decision. From the moment the server/ bartender places the beer down in front of you, you know it is going to be a treat. The initial smell is strong, full of hops...undertones of citrus fruit. It is very drinkable, almost too drinkable if I must say. The carbonation is very high as it should be and the alcohol is practically hidden. It almost feels like you're drinking a refreshing glass of carbonated grapefruit juice (if that exists haha). But on a serious note, this beer is absolutely fantastic. If you are looking for a heavy, drinkable, refreshing IPA that will literally knock your sock s off then look no further, you have found your poison.

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2012 04:25:50 | More by Taylor8189
Photo of C20Percent


4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

*Review taken from my notes*

A: Hazy bronze, with good head retention.

S: Earthy hoppiness -- very nice aroma.

T: Fantastic -- some piney flavor folds to a nice citrus backing. A bit boozy, but the flavor overwhelms the alcohol.

F: A thicker body, but not as overpowering or unpleasant as it could be. Easy drinking -- usually I get a sticky feel with a heavy body. That's not the case here.

O: A quality earthy, hoppy Imperial IPA. The brew was consistently good until the end. Probably got better as I continued drinking. Can't say enough about the finish. Really terrific stuff.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2012 19:25:25 | More by C20Percent
Photo of Ruds

United Kingdom (England)

4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Brewdog tulip glass to a hazy orange hue with a small white head.

Aroma is all about hops, grassy, floral, bitter orange and a mix of citrus fruits.

On the palate I get citrus fruits, primarily grapefruit and to a lesser extent a bitter orange flavour. Throw in pine resin, grass and a hint of sweet caramel verging on biscuity sweet malt.

Mouthfeel is good, moderate carbonation and a sticky mouthfeel which is great !

Overall - a good DIPA but not a world beater. Have had before on tap and will happily have again, up there, but not going to win the world cup !!!

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2012 00:13:10 | More by Ruds
Photo of FanofHefe


4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a Duvel tulip; best by 8/14/2012. Clear light amber body with a two-finger light tan head. Good retention and lacing.

Lighter aroma than I expected. Mostly piney hop notes with a little caramel malt.

The flavor is solid all around. The pine resin hop flavor is strong but not overly bitter. There is a bit of orange citrus flavor that helps blend with the sweeter malt flavor very well. Not extremely complex, but very tasty.

Medium mouthfeel with an oily hop texture. Glad this is in my area now as another great go-to DIPA.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2012 02:59:39 | More by FanofHefe
Photo of nrs207


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

I've had this on tap a few times, and just felt I needed to review it because it is one fantastic big DIPA.

A - It's a golden yellow/orange. Has a nice fluffy white head. It leaves a decent lacing down the glass.

S - Not as strong as you'd expect after you've tasted it. It's definitely got a smell of strong hops. I feel like this thing is going to be hop forward, but nothing prepared me for the taste. I wish the smell lived up to the taste, but beer is for drinking anyway, right?

T - Holy hell this thing is hopped to the point of ridiculousness and I love it. Fresh on tap there are few beers I enjoy more than this. I had it at an open bar the first time on new year's eve. I had 6 of these. Needless to say I was in no position to review, but luckily I found it again recently and it was just as I remembered. I feel like I could eat raw hops I love bitterness so much, but by the 6th one of these my mouth was ruined. I absolutely love the taste, and for a Big Ass IPA it lives up to the name. The hop flavor was mainly citrus, but the bitterness is the main attraction here.

M - The best part is that you don't notice the alcohol in this beer. It's 9.6%, but it goes down super smooth with a nice amount of carbonation and a huge resounding bitter finish. Delicious.

O - I couldn't give this a 5 overall because of the slightly lackluster aroma, and the fact that it's a bit one note on the bitterness. But in my opinion, this thing is the ultimate bitter bomb and one that I'm so glad I got fresh to get the full effect. Don't get this if you don't want to get slapped in the face by hops. Beers that people find quite bitter like Ruination don't really compare to this in my opinion. Ruination doesn't even seem too bitter to me, but this will always satisfy my cravings for a bitter DIPA.

Serving type: on-tap

02-25-2012 06:40:23 | More by nrs207
Photo of hustlesworth


4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- crazy murky opaque orangish tan. The head is thick and cream colored and incredibly sticky. Wowsers. Lace comes off in chunks. The foam doesn't have the usual wrinkly shrivel as it settles. Still looks great, nice change of pace.

S- huge piney grapefruit and orange sweetness. There's a solid amount of malt behind the hops with a toffee marshmallow type character.

T- though it's insanely bitter, there's a nice balance to it as well. Hops completely dominate but somehow a fair amount of malt sweetness beams through. Grapefruit, mandarin, pine, mango, and rocket fuel. Finishes with a Lingering puckering hoppiness.

MF- full and squishy. I can feel the murkiness. Ample carbonation cuts through and keeps it from feeling too mich like mud puddle. But I still kinda does, and it's good. Dry and resinous on the cheeks.

D- alcohol is well hidden behind the hops. Very well hidden. This is a big nasty unfiltered brew. It looks like mud and that's awesome. It's harsh and pungent and everything hoppy. Nicely done.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2012 23:04:06 | More by hustlesworth
Photo of edb7


3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one let me down, having had other good beers from Smuttynose. Here goes;

The pour had me excited- it is a glowing orange color with particulate matter in suspension. The head wasn't too significant, although a small portion endured and the rest left typical lacing.

The smell was the first sign of a letdown; I detected more of an alcohol aroma than hops. When I drink IPA's, I want brewers to bring on the hops!

The taste continued that letdown. It isn't a strong a alcohol taste, but the flavor of alcohol is at the front when I sip this one. I realize that the alcohol % is rather high, but I still like to taste and smell the hops on the nose in a DIPA. The finish is smooth, but not hops. A lot of grapefruit to it, maybe some orange. After drinking it a for a bit, it did grow on me a little- the hop bitterness shows mid-taste, but is not there at the front or end.

Bottom line: For the price ($11 for a 4 pack), there are much better choices. It was just an OK beer for me.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2012 22:04:00 | More by edb7
Photo of TWStandley


3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Chimay Glass -

Appeared a nice orange color, slightly see-through but mostly cloudy. When poured, produced a nice two finger head, which dissipated relatively quickly leaving minimal lacing.

Very sweet yet hoppy smell. A bit of citrus fruit, especially some orange, clementine, and grapefruit notes. Slight alcohol scent when you get your nose practically in it.

Tastes like a nice bitter IPA - good presence of grapefruit flavors - very manageable taste for an imperial. Alcohol is present but not overpowering whatsoever.

Mouthfeel - good carbonation - nothing notable.

Overall- this is a solid example of an imperial IPA. It is pretty tasty and the not-so-apparent alcohol taste could make it easy to put away a couple of these. Solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2012 00:15:30 | More by TWStandley
Photo of chilly460


3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Muddled light orange with plenty of haze, two finger tan head settles into a cap. Decent lacing.

S: Very earthy hops with floral accents. A lighter sweet malt aroma in there as well, strange clean smell...like soap.

T: Bam, this beer doesn't play games. Big powerful bitter hops, astringent even, but somehow I like it. Hop bomb of the first order, IMO. I have no recollection of any balancing malt profile. Usually I enjory a balanced DIPA, but for some reason this appealed, tasty.

M: Nice medium body, moderate carbonation, somewhat creamy. The hops actually have enough pucker to give a "dry" sensation to the beer.

O: Well done "hop bomb" if you're in the mood for raw bitterness, but doesn't get into an acidic tone.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2012 15:50:32 | More by chilly460
Photo of bubseymour


3.25/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - not the appearance I like in a beer. Very apple cider like coloring with small 1 finger head and lots of floaty stuff in the beer.

Smell - Very strong pine scent to this one.

Taste - Its a big beer all right. Good definition of an American Double IPA Very heavy, very piney bitterness, a little too bitter and lingering aftertaste for my pallet. Alcohol level is well disguised but you know its going to kick you later on.

Mouthfeel - As creamy and full bodied of an IPA as I've sampled.

Overall - An IPA this bold is nice to try every now and then to shock the pallet but 1 beer sampling for a while is all I can do with this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 21:36:15 | More by bubseymour
Photo of TheBrewo


3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

We pour a rich, tawny-orange brew. The head is brief and is made of white bubbles standing one finger tall. There is a thick cidery haze to the beer, with no chunks of sediment visible. Carbonation appears standard, and little lacing is left around the glass. The aroma is strong with sweet malts, and a lemony citric vibe. The malts also hold a spicy quality, and a deeper caramel component. With warmth comes rumbles of fusel alcohols, and a hot hop resin far on the back. As we sip, malts and citric hops compete for the front. There are mild acetylaldehydes and a faint toast to the malts as well. The middle shows a sweeter berry fruit, and a more bittering aspect to the malts. Here, the hops appear as pine, and continue with citrus and grapefruit. On the finish the malts stand strong, but have a fermented, rotting fruit air. The hops remain even here, and are citric and clean. The aftertaste breathes of big booze, bitter malts, fresh lemons, and stony metallics. The body is medium and the carbonation is medium. The feel is oily, and both slick and sticky. This affords good slurp and froth, despite a smaller head at the beginning. The bitterness dries the mouth slightly. The abv is appropriate and the beer drinks easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the beautiful glowing color. Through the aroma and taste the malty inclusions were nice, but we wish the hops were able to pop more on the nose. That may have made the brew a bit more inviting. With warmth, the booze became almost overpowering to the rest of the flavoring, so that was ultimately a negative.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2012 21:35:55 | More by TheBrewo
Photo of joefeidt


4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well carbonated. Pours a three-finger head that slowly dissipates. Attractive hazy amber color.

Nice citrusy smell.

The taste is explosive and the hops pummel the tongue with bitterness. Almost medicinal, it tells me this one packs a punch. Very earthy notes too.

Mouthfeel is chewy as it coats and lingers. My tongue is almost numb from the hops assault.

Overall this is a big bad a** IPA that is one heckuva tasty beer. Well named, sirs. If you like your IPAs hoppy and assertive, you'll like this one. Good work, Smuttynose. Me gusta mucho.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 00:14:57 | More by joefeidt
Photo of BeerBuckeye


3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clearish copper/orange with nice 1 finger, egg shell white head.

S - This actually reminds me a bit of an old ale, some dark fruits, still some citrus of course, but actually a decent amount of raisin, fruit, and resiny pine hops.

T - Good amount of pine and fruit present, but a lot of malty backbone as well. Again, a bit of that dark fruit seems to bring up the back.

M - A bit sticky, but the alcohol is hidden pretty well in this one. It sort of sneaks up.

Overall - I admired the balance, it wasn't the most fantastic DIPA I've ever had, but certainly one of the more balanced ones. Certainly does the trick.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2011 01:37:27 | More by BeerBuckeye
Photo of AaronHomoya


4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a light amber color and extremely hazy, as others have noted. Kind of unusual looking, but I like it.

Huge piney hop aroma that hits you. Grapefruit and caramel malt are also clearly there. I love the big, layered smell this has. A little unusual too.

The taste is of course similarly big. A lot of sweetness upfront, both from the caramel malt and the citrus hop flavor. Pretty strongly bitter in the finish, but in a great, balanced way. A lot of grapefruit in the finish.

Pretty hefty, oily mouthfeel. Overall, a unique and very enjoyable IIPA.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2011 14:42:48 | More by AaronHomoya
Photo of cradke


4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy orange and caramel. Completly fogged through. Small head that quickly dissapates. Almost looks like cider

Smell:Hops. Hops. Hops. Some clean pine notes with some background citrus

Taste: An orange hop bomb. The hops start fast with notes of pine, grass and even a little hay or tea. The finish is quite strongly alcohol. It almost tastes like it's approaching a barleywine.

Mouthfeel: Viscous and quite carbonated.

Overall: Unfortunatly, I think this beer is a little past it's prime. Still, the hop notes are phenomenal. There is quite a bit of alcohol at the rear that adds some balance but might be a little too much.

Serving: Bottle into snifter

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2011 04:02:47 | More by cradke
Photo of J23hc

New Jersey

4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass, 2 finger lasting head, dark orange, lots of sediment, head becomes lumpy after a minute or so, leaving spots of lacing. Good balance of malt and hop in the aroma definitely sweet clementine notes. Taste is full, lots of sweet malt supporting a spicy hop note that lingers. The burpback is malty sweet.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2011 22:41:21 | More by J23hc
Photo of BeerLover99


3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: cloudy orange/straw yellow, finger white head,
great lacing

S: big grapefruit, grassy, pine, floral

T: grapefruit, floral, pine, malt, slow bitter
long finish/chalky mild oily finish

M: med body, mild/sticky oily mouth

O: Interesting, but not my thing.


Serving type: bottle

11-30-2011 21:38:38 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of berliner07

New Hampshire

4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is such a fun treat. Massive hop character on the nose. An interesting blend of hops, creates a flavor profile that is extremely unique up front. Then the rich mouthfeel and malts kick in. They are SUBSTANTIAL and delight the palate. This beer is like a ride. So much flavor. Taste buds experiencing a journey. Thanks Smutty!

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2011 12:34:46 | More by berliner07
Photo of Bendurgin


3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a chalice over at the Portsmouth brewpub. Pours a golden straw color with a finger of fluffy white head with some sticky lace. Real nice head retention here.

Bitter hops in the aroma with a some grapefruit in the background. Not much going on here but this is bitter and fruity all around with a little bit of toasty malts in the background. Maltier on the pallet than I would like. Toasty malts on the profile with a bitter pine hop finish. A little bit of grapefruit in the background.

The body is medium with sharp carbonation. Overall this isn't bad but let's just drink Finest Kind and be done with it.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2011 04:29:26 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of jegross2


4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle served in Sam Adams glass.

Appearance: A very hazy yellow-orange with a cloud of sediment. I presume that this one is bottle conditioned. Looks like orange juice with pulp (albeit with a different color). Pours a 1/2 finger head that subsides into a thin foamy lace.

Smell: Has a noticeable marijuana and sweet oranges aroma.

Taste: Very sweet-citrus (orange) flavor with a pinpoint, crisp bitterness at the end. Has a piney-bitterness that comes out at the end and discreetly lingers in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body with medium carbonation. Semi-dry finish.

Overall: Very drinkable IIPA, alcohol presence definitely does not show. Not the best of it's style, but certainly one I would order again.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2011 05:27:07 | More by jegross2
Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,420 ratings.