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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

1,629 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,629
Reviews: 889
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 10.86%
Wants: 91
Gots: 122 | 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: 1,629 | Reviews: 889
Photo of andrewinski1
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in July of 2011. Pours light golden color with some haze. Lots of sticky lacing left behind the 3 inch head.

The aroma is a nice mix of pine and pineapple. There is a good amount of sweetness in the aroma.

The taste is quite piney with a small hint of citrus. The finish is very bitter; making this drink slightly dry.

The body is medium with some nice carbonation.

This is tasty; make sure to get it fresh.

Photo of Mosley1212
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a DFH Snifter.

A--Hazy orange color with a great stark white head that foamed for about 1/2" before disappearing. A little tiny rim of head remained throughout the beer. Oily lacing down the side of the glass.

S--Smells like a kicked-up Finest Kind. The dank pine is the first thing I smell. Then I get a load of citrus and hops. There's a freshly cut grass smell on the backend. Lot of grapefruit spice as well.

T--Very bitter. The hops and pine are at the forefront of this. Really overwhelms the palate. Then comes the sweetness of the malt and citrus. Grapefruit and other sour fruits. Finishes with a pleasant bitterness that lingers in the back of the mouth.

M--Heavy bodied. This is one thick IPA. Little bit of an oily feel to it as well.

O--This is a great offering from Smuttynose. Their Finest Kind is one of my favorite IPAs, and this one feels like a big brother version of that. Nicely balanced, but has a lingering bitterness that I look for in my DIPAs. I would certainly have this again.

Photo of harrymel
3.1/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Verbatim from notes 16AUG11
Bottled Apr, 2011

A: Apricot ale with single finger off-white foam. this falls to a broken sheet. cloudy. Spotty lace.

S: lots of hop - spicy. Jeez, it's like I've been drinking only beer with cascades and maybe simcoe (but the hops are pelletized and unboiled - harsh). Biscuit malt on the back end.

T: nicely bitter with grapefruit and citric rinds. then the biscuit malts come thru and open up with a buttery malt profile on the finish.

M: Thick for the style, moderate carb. Medium slick on the finish.

O: drinkable, but wouldn't want too much given the ABV. Average.

Photo of beergod1
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a rich and hazy orange color with a very attractive off-white head and very sticky lacing . The nose is of pine, grapefruit, and well balanced with the sweet malts. Very rich and smooth mouth feel on a sold resinous body. The flavor starts off sweet and moves to a bitterness that continues all the way to the finish. This packs a punch. Nice job. Very warming....woohoo!!!!

Photo of Sipchue
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought it because I had never had it, and it sat on the shelf next to the other Smutty's I've grown to know and love. I did not know (although I should have guessed) that is was going to be a big one. Head goes down to a film, but very nice lacing. Floral, citrus aroma that is not overwhelming. In your face flavor (should have guessed with the bare-knuckled dude on the label). Yea, it's assertive, yet at the same time, well balanced. I'm not overwhelmed with alcohol. It's a zinger that finishes round, then dry. I could get into trouble with this one because it's so drinkable, but at 9.6%, better be careful! I will buy this again!

Photo of eclipse54
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 12 ounce bottle from inlimbo77, thank you! Date notching indicates "Bottle Conditioned in August 2010." That seems a bit old, perhaps the "notching" got off-centered a bit, but that is how it reads.

Pours a rich, hazy golden color with about a finger’s breadth of foamy, eggshell white head. A small amount of foamy, wet lacing remains. Smells of spice (clove, coriander), bitter, herbal hops, some light citrus, and a bit of a caramel/vanilla like finish. There is a bit of alcohol in the nose, especially as it warms up. You suspect right away this one has some age on it, as the floral and citrus hop scents have become muddled behind the spicy, maltier characteristics. Tastes similar, with a much higher malt effect preceding what bitter hops remain. Finishes on some citrus notes, but the spicy flavors dominate throughout. A touch of alcohol is noticeable in the end, but not much. Mouth has a slightly bitter bite throughout, but the body is rather smooth. A dry alcohol finish predominates. Overall, a big-bodied DIPA that has withstood the test of time more-or-less. Perhaps not the most graceful survival, but still quite acceptable.

Photo of hoptualBrew
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a chilled oversized wine glass.

Poured aggressively a deep murky orange brown - quite a thick looking IPA. The head is nice & tall off white. Cuts down to size within a minute. A descent amount of lacing for such a big brew.

In the nose is a nice balance of malt bill with piney/grapefruit hops & booze. Smells more on the fruity side than of pine.

Taste is the same, but more bittering than I thought from the nose. Grapefruit, pine, caramel malts, booze.

Moderately thick IPA (6/10) and carbonated nicely - no issues here.

Overall, a solid & very drinkable IPA - especially for being near 10% abv. Finds its place among the 'good' IPAs.

$2.99 for a 12oz bottle at Total Wine & More.

Photo of SickGnar
3.6/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Just slightly coppered golden, very bright & clear with a few lazy rising bubbles. Large, cream-colored head with good retention and nice (but less than expected) lacing. Perhaps and old bottle – lots of non-roused sediment in bottle.

S: Clearly substantial. Candied hops dunked in booze. Sugary, candied sweet, light crystal malts with just a touch of caramel. Earthy & herbal hops are present, but a rather shy for a big lug like this brew. Very definite alcohol, though not particularly hot or offensive – more perfumey. Perhaps aged with hops settled out a bit.

T: Malt/hop balanced is flipped from the nose. Strongly bitter hops start earthy & leafy with a hint of faded citrus, and then transition to resin and some pine for the end and finish. Biting alcohol bitterness too. Overall a tad medicinal. Malts provide a sugary lightness undergirded by husky grain. Not much for caramel or other malt character and robustness. Clearly boozey.

M: Not really over medium body - thin for as big as it is. CO2 matches nicely though. Despite sweet edge, no appreciable sugary tack or chewy dextrins. Distinctly drying from hops with strong warming alcohol.

D: Big, boozy, hop-focused monster. Does not in any way attempt to hide that it is a high abv hop bitterness delivery vehicle. Not mind expanding, but good for sipping. Especially if you are looking for a buzz. It is what it is.

Photo of iheartcraftbeer
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 07/01/2011. On draught at The Winking Lizard Tavern.

A: Golden yellow color. Clear body. Minimal head. Sticky lacing.

S: Pine needles, spices, pineapple, phenols?

T: Big bitter bomb. Pine, resin and pepper are the dominating flavors.

M: Prickly, medium body. High carbonation.

O: Delicious, if one-sided.

Photo of suspect
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Dogfish Head Perfect pint glass. Thanks to mrmarmot for the freebie.

A: Cloudy straw color. Aggressive pour leads to a huge fluffy 3 finger head that takes about 4 minutes to disappear leaving strong, sticky, bigtime lacing. Lots of little floaties.

S: Lots of citrusy hops up front, piney hops in the middle and a slight malt back end. Not huge on the nose but really nice.

T: Definitely hoppy but not overly so. For a IIPA, it's really nice but not a beer that blows me away. Citrus hops up front, bitter back end, some malt mixed in for balance but the bitter hops. Definitely a bready/yeasty flavor mixed in here given the floaties.

M: Bitter, creamy, palate killer. Alcohol is well hidden here.

O: A solid IIPA. Not one that blows me away but one that I would definitely drink again.

Photo of afksports
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Smuttys big ipa has a lame label but on tap at amity hall I don't notice that. I notice the hazy golden burnt hue of the beer, the lace around the nifter and the well composed head. I smell the pine, grapefruit, and grassy hops.

I taste sweetness, almost a candy sugar to cover the high alcohol, but still the drying sharpness of the hop profile- almost as if it's a double and almost as of it's a dry hopped beer.

I fought with the woman - she's been stressed lately about leaving for a year, and every time I type a review a beer I'm apparently being rude. But this sweet and drying medium bodied beer is worth review, even if it might not be worth a fight. The boxer on it's label does look pretty lame, after all. Guess I better go fix it.

Photo of AlexFields
3.36/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured that hazy golden color I love to see in IPAs. A huge creamy white head.

Smells strongly of pine, lemon and other citrus, a little grass, something sweet like bananas. Also some flowers, maybe dandelions?

Taste is not what I expected, I'm getting lemon and pine again but also a lot more yeast flavor than I'd expect in an IPA. Hops are very aggressive, less sweet than suggested in the nose, but also less citrusy. I'm getting a little more straight pine flavored hop than I would like and less complex citrus. What citrus there is is mostly acidic lemon and not orange or tropical fruit. Very bitter aftertaste. Still some banana.

Carbonation is very good.

Just as aggressively hopped as Finest Kind but not as good. A good beer, but a little too bitter for my taste and with not enough citrus and tropical fruit.


Photo of jmerloni
4.78/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Peachy yellow and thickly hazy with a beautiful, dense white head that leaves a perfect layer of film on the top once it recedes. Laces nicely, like a big IPA should.

S - Hops galore, pine, brown sugar malts, pineapple, lemon in that order.

T - Pleasantly spicier than it smells. Sage and rosemary, lemon for sure, plus a lot of pine and hops, with a perfect perfect perfect malt backbone. This is great. There are times the pine actually stings, which is actually quite blissful.

M - Bubbly, explosive. Medium to full bodied. Very very sticky. Triggers a salivary backlash in the middle of the throat. Numbingly hoppy in a pleasant way - in a way that I know I'll be able to taste my next beer at 100%. Awesome awesome mouthfeel.

D - What would I ever expect from a Smuttynose DIPA? Exactly this. This is an A+ beer and I will be going to this alll the time when I want a good, hard, pleasant session. You can session with this for sure, which is somewhat amazing, considering it's 9.6% ABV. A beer like this is the reason that East Coast IPAs will always compete with West Coast IPAs. What a brewery. What a fucking brewery.

Photo of KarlHungus
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a hazy orange color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes very slowly into sticky lacing. The aroma is of citrus, grapefruit, lemon peel, and pine resin. There is a lot of hoppy goodness going on in this aroma. The taste is very bitter. Regardless of the IBU of this beer it has some of the most perceived bitterness I've encountered in a beer. Behind the bitterness there is still a ton of hop flavor: mandarin orange, grapefruit, and pine. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a velvety texture, and ample carbonation. Overall, this is one of the better DIPAs I've tasted in a long while. I will certainly drink this beer again.

Photo of ggilman
4.58/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on cask, and specially dry-hopped during Smuttfest 2011 at Novare Res in Portland, Maine. Served at room temp in a beautiful Smuttynose Big Beer tulip glass. This is why I came!

Deep orange hue with a big loose foamy head, that left lots of sticky lace. You could smell the fresh dry hopping, lots of leafy aromas, and a little malt in the background. Lots of robust caramel malt up front, leafy hops come in from behind. Loaded with sticky grapefruit hop bitterness. Super creamy hand-drawn mouthfeel. Smooth and delicious. I could've very easily sat their draining glass after glass until I fell off my bench. But that '05 Imperial Stout wasn't going to drink itself.

Photo of azdback
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Spaten tumbler. Bright, unfiltered orange color. Lots of tiny carbonation bubbles lead to a more that four finger, sudsy, off white head. The head finally peaked another finger or two above the rim of the glass. The head looks pretty sticky so let's see what kind of lace it leaves.... The lace does leave it's mark on my glass in a spotted and ring pattern.

Smell is pretty citrusy and floral. There are some musty yeast smells, but pretty minimal. I do get just a bit of alcohol as this warms and there are some sweet tangelo aromas.

Taste is at first mildly sweet from the malts, but is quickly shoved aside by the hop bitterness of a yellow grapefruit, and it's rind, combined into one flavor. The citrus taste sweetens a bit to maybe an orange, but still pretty puckery. There are also some alcohol flavors at the end. I want to even call them whiskey like.

The mouth is par for the style. It is rich and sweet front and just a bit dry at the end, with some boozy warmyness in the throat and belly.

Overall I really enjoyed this. I tried Smuttynose Finest Kind last night and didn't like it so much. So I am pleased to find out that this East Coast brewery doesn't ruin all of their IPA's with musty yeast strains. It did have some of that dank but luckily it was overpowered by the beautiful citrus hop notes. A must try if you can get your hands on it!!

Photo of Knapp85
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This has got to be the best thing I've had from Smuttynose as of yet. The beer poured out as a nice slightly hazy golden yellow color. The head was rather larges and fluffy at first. As the head settled the it left a nice lacing down the glass. The smell of the beer had a great amount of hops on the nose. The taste brought some citrusy, pine and some malts along for the ride. The mouthfeel was medium bodied and well carbonated. Overall this beer was quite enjoyable, I was hoping it would be. I would drink it again.

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

Bottle about two months old; Poured into a tulip.

Pours a cloudy orange brown with a lot of suspended material (bottle was stored upright; maybe poured to vigorously?) and two fingers of head. Head does not have great retention, but leaves a lot of lacing behind.

Smell is very floral hops with tropical fruits (pineapple and mango). some citrus as well. Aroma is pretty subtle.

Taste is nice, juicy hops as it hits the tongue. Pineapple with a faint amount of pine. Nice bitterness with a pretty solid malt backbone, though it is hard to pick out specific malt flavors. Very tasty and satisfying.

Mouthfeel is medium and slightly oily, with a nice juiciness, almost chewy. Finishes with lingering dry bitterness.

A very enjoyable, balanced DIPA.

Photo of Rutager
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. A carefull pour produced a deep yellow gold beer with tons of small suspended floaties. Half a finger of thick white head.

Smell. Plenty of pine and yellow grapefruit. A little toasty light grain and alcohol.

Taste. Nice toasty grains, pine sap, grapefruit rind, a little caramel. Strong bitter, oily citrus rind finish. Nice.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with smooth, medium carbonation. Just a little warm alcohol.

Overall. Really nice bold IIPA. Good tasting malt base with enough hops to destroy your tastebuds ...and possibly burn a hole in your face. Intense and awesome.

Thanks Sammy!! This one was a real treat.

Photo of sidetracked
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated January 2011. Pours cloudy yellow-orange gold with visible sediment. Off-white head creates a layer of lacing.

Hoppy aroma of bitter citrus and pine mixed with a light caramel malt sweetness.

Taste upfront is bitter grapefruit, orange, and tangerine mixed with a little lemon and pine. Light caramel malt sweetness in the middle. Initial flavor follows through to the finish. Lingering grapefruit peel bitterness. Flavor is more citrusy than bitter--tart, acidic, and slightly sweet.

Medium body, creamy with little carbonation.

Similar to Finest Kind especially the citrus hop presence, but not quite as good. Alcohol is well hidden and not much different than a single IPA.


Photo of Gushue3
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- smaller white head thats full of carbonation bubbles. Body is hazy orange with an occasional bubble going to the top. Head dissipates pretty quickly and lacing is very small. Color looks very good.

S- citrusy grapefruit (pink?) and orange zest. Somewhat sweet but definately lots of hops.

T- lots of hop presence with tons of citrus like the nose. Grapefruit, orange, and pine are prominent throughout and will satisfy any hop head. Nice bitter hop lingering stays around for a while. I like alot

M- lighter feel that has a thin, alcohol feel to it. Higher ammount of carbonation full of tiny bubbles.

O- great beer, for some reason when its a little flat it tastes better. The carbonation carried a small, slightly metallic taste but away easily. Either way fantastic beer

Photo of Jenkster4
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy gold with a honey tint, small head . It looks like a juicy beer, and by that I mean the citrus is very strong it this one.

S: Citrus, grapefruit, maybe some more fruit notes in there. It smells really good. All the makings of this beer are pretty evident.

T: Just a little bitterness , you can really taste some grapefruit in there. Lots of fruit, some molasses .

M: Pretty drinkable, it leaves you with some caramel or just some thick lingerings of the aftermath, but it's not a turnoff.

Overall this is a really good DIPA, and a nice treat on a hot day.

Photo of HopDiggityDawg
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to OrangeAmps for the Extra in a great trade
Appearance - burnt orange with a nice big head and plenty of lacing that sticks around, a good amount of carbonation.
Smell - Grapefruit, Citrus, Pine,
Taste - piney, resin, not as much citrus in the taste as the nose. Warming alcohol, I had to look up the ABV and wasn't surprised that it was over 9%. Not a bad thing but it is there.
Mouthfeel - Nice body, a little thin up front and then medium-full body that is a little chewy, in a good way.
overall a good DIPA, for some reason I would rather have this one on a late fall or winter night.

Photo of metter98
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy yellowish orange in color and has a light amount of carbonation with visible particles floating in suspension. It poured with a thin off white head that died down and left some lacing on the surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of citrus and pine resin hops in the nose.
T: The overall taste is dominated by a moderate to high amount of bitterness, which especially persists through the finish. Some notes of pine resin hops are present in the flavors.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of dryness, stickiness and hints of alcohol warming in the finish.
O: Considering its strength, this beer isn’t that difficult to drink because the alcohol is relatively well masked from the taste.

Photo of smithflipper
4.49/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy honey golden, with a creamy, thick head.

Juicy tropical fruit and resinous pine needle hops explode out in the aroma. So enticing. Sweet malts in the background.

More tropical fruit, tongue coating resinous hop juice. Truly delicious. Sweet caramel malts back the hops up. Not overly bitter. Just delicious.

Full bodied, slick.

Dangerously drinkable, if I had more I'd try and drink it all!

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Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,629 ratings.