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Smuttynose Big A IPA - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA

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

1,557 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,557
Reviews: 876
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 90
Gots: 84 | 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:
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,557 | Reviews: 876 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Duff27
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- One inch white head atop a cloudy pale orange DIPA. Good drink-by-drink step lacing and slightly above average head retention.

S- Smells of citrus.

T- Orange! Bitter hops with a great citrus backbone. Caramel malts. Alcohol is very present.

M- Very nice mouthfeel. Nice carb sting to my tongue.

D/O- Not so sure I'd want anymore than one of these in a sitting considering the ABV. Glad to have tried it...chalk one more up to a Smuttynose I enjoyed. Thanks PTMcB!

Duff27, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of pburland23
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Press Room.

Served in a Smuttynose Big Beer Series bubble glass.

Beer pours a coppery, orange hue with a finger of white head which produces some pleasing lacing.

The aroma is fruity and citrusy with some orange and other citrus fruits in the forefront. Taste is of an English styled IPA with some well balanced citrusy hops and a solid malt backbone. It's a touch dry, but it's a nice tasting beer.

Medium bodied and sufficiently carbonated. Very drinkable despite the ABV. Could stand to linger over a few of these.

Big A isn't going to blow hardcore hop heads away, but sometimes, it is nice to have a big IPA that isn't an absolute hop bomb. Big A shows a level of balance that is becoming less and less frequent in the IPA styles.

pburland23, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of Rhettroactive
3.15/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 3/9/11
*From notes

A: Cloudy and hazy - it looks like a wit or a hefe. Two finger head with attractive lacing on a standard pour.

S: Harcore alcohol. It's fumy and burns the nostrils. Hints of sharp cheese and burnt rubber. There's a bit of hops on the finish, but it feels like they were simply thrown in at the last minute out of expectation.

T: This is a big one. It's slightly sweet and chock full o' alcohol. Bitter hops on the mid-palate and a sticky, cloying finish.

M: Hmmm....a questionable amount of carbonation. Isn't this a DIPA? Where's the creaminess that should accompany the big ass 9.6%ABV?

O: This one gets a bit better and mellows out slightly as it warms, though this isn't one I'd have more then one of in a session.

Smuttynose's Big A IPA is a bit of a dissapointment. Considering how much I enjoy their Finest Kind, I was sincerely hoping to find a bigger, bolder version of that. I didn't.

There are better DIPA's out there - I'd stick to drinking those, though this one will certainly do in a pinch.

Rhettroactive, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of Chaney
2.68/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Poured a very cloudy tangerine orange, with a huge fluffy white head that looked like looming Alka-Seltzer as it died down.

S: Fresh citrus fruit, with a muted clean cotton scent. There was also quite a bit of candy sugar in there as well.

T: A bit disappointing on the taste... a bit like soap actually. Despite the sugary smell, the taste was almost devoid of sucrose. The fruit totally got buried by an EXTREMELY funky, bitter, and unpleasant boozy cleaning agent.

M: Booze and then some. The carbonation was prickly enough, but the particular brand of bitterness couldn't be helped by it much. The lacing was moderate.

D: I don't think I would drink this again. heck, I had trouble enough making it through 12 ounces of it! I'll stick with "Finest Kind."

Chaney, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of bigkamp
1.43/5  rDev -64%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I love smuttynose "finest find" ipa. It is one of my favorite (and affordable) local IPA's. I am a huge fan of smuttynose so I was looking forward to trying what I figured would be a similar recipe to their original ipa; maybe just with added hops and malt... boy was I wrong.

Best enjoyed date: May 11'

This beer poured a murky brown with sediment present in the glass. a small head faded quickly with some lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell was nothing like I expected. Earthy, grass, doughy, malt presence.

Taste is syrupy thick with way too much malt presence for an ipa.

I could only get through a couple of sips. I will try another bottle to make sure this one wasn't bad, but I am pretty sure that this was one of the rare "misses" from smuttynose as they usually put together an amazing product.

bigkamp, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of rowingbrewer
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer slightly hazy slightly orange color with a decent white head. The smell is ok you get a decent hop aroma but not the bam in your face hop you might expect. The flavor has the nice hop bitterness you want in a double ipa. The mouthfeel is anoittke thicker than would be expected for a double ipa but his is approaching a triple ipa range. This beer is drinkable despite he 9.6% it carries

rowingbrewer, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of CaptCleveland
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz from 4-pack, with bottled conditioned date of 01/11, poured into tulip.

Nice 2-finger head a top saffron colored elixir. Thick Belgian lace throughout.

Floral notes, citrus, tangerine, mild pine.

Bitter hops, some malt, thin mouthfeel with tangy aftertaste.

This is an IPA that makes you long for Hopslam and Double Trouble (to name a few regulars on the east coast).

Basically a bitter "hop bomb", a derogatory term used by the uninitiated to describe all IPAs and DIPAs.
But not a bad brew. The hops are just not my favorite.

CaptCleveland, Mar 03, 2011
Photo of schleprock
3/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Cloudy, unfiltered orange color with a decent head but leaves just a bit of lacing on the glass.

S - Citrus hops, pine notes, malty.

T - Way too bitter for my tastes. Very bitter on the way down.

M - Carbination is okay but a bit of a slick mouthfeel

D - Sorry but I'm not into overpowering beers so to me even trying to finish one is not a pleasurable experience.

I did not know that this was an Imperial IPA or I'd have passed. The print was written sideways on the packaging making it impossible to kknow what you're buying without having the beers fall out of the holder. Poor design on the packaging led me to buy a beer I would never have purchased. Even the bottle gives no indication of the fact that it's an Imperial IPA. All it says is Big A IPA.

schleprock, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of theboozecruise
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

Good looking beer! It's a hazy orange color with a bubbly white head. Good retention and lacing on this one too.

It's got an interesting hop profile on the nose. It's hard to really place the dominant flavor. I keep wavering between floral and pine notes. Great blend!

The taste is more piney than floral, bitter and delicious. There's a little malt sweetness on the front of each sip. Really well done!

Great mouthfeel, easy to drink. The alcohol presence is masked well, one of the better beers I've tried in a while.

theboozecruise, Mar 02, 2011
Photo of mdagnew
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle bought from Beersofeurope.co.uk...

Poured a golden orange colour. Slightly off white head poured quite big and foamy then faded fairly quickly to wispy covering with thick edging... no carbonation at all... light patchy lacing...

Aroma - Lots of ripe tropical fruits (pineapples, limes, mangoes, pink grapefruits), light piney resin, citrus and grassy hops, some rubberiness, quite floral, very perfumed, oaky traces, some vanilla, faint talcum powder / chalky notes, light almond nuttiness...

Taste - Lots of strong grapefruit up front, citrus hop bitterness to the fore with some medicinal notes in the background, quite herbal - hints of basil and rosemary, very floral and perfumed, some sweet caramel malts come through after the hops, very spicy and juicy fruits (grapefruits, limes, sour apples, pears), some chalkiness, faint vegetal traces...

M&D - Fairly smooth with a little oiliness in the background then some sharpness comes through... medium bodied... dangerously drinkable as the alcohol is very well hidden...

Overall - My first Smuttynose brew and i wasn't disappointed...an excellent and very well balanced DIPA... recommended...

mdagnew, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of SFLpunk
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Label notched Bottle Conditioned in Dec 2010. This is another one of those "I can't believe I never posted a review of this" reviews.

Pours with lots of rich cascading bone-white head atop a hazy golden orange amber body. The head grips the glass and won't let go!

Nose is all about citrus - pink grapefruit, lemon and lime zest and orange juice - orange blossoms, pine pollen, dusty dried grains, super pale caramel. Classic East Coast IIPA nose.

Palate is medium-bodied and woven densely with hops. The bitterness is both in-your-face and creeping at the back. Lots of pine-y, "out-door" hops. Pale caramel leads the flavors and then gets beat over the head by dry, earthy hops and some faint bitter citrus peel flavors. After a few sips, when the bitterness shock wears off, the pale caramel-y sweetness comes out a bit more.

Notes: Drier than I remember it being, especially for an East Coaster, but this is a damn fine IIPA and I love that it's year round in a 4pk now! Not a big fan of the regular Smutty IPA, but I think this is friggin' tasty.

SFLpunk, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a hazy brownish orange colour with a large size frothy beige coloured head. I can't really tell how much carbonation there is and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for only a few minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - malts, caramel, pineapple, hops, pine

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and the beer feels slightly creamy on the tongue. Most of the taste is made up of caramel mixed with hops and malts. There is also a lot of pineapple taste and some light citrus as well. The alcohol is well hidden and the beer has a full bodied taste.. very sugary sweet. It finishes with a malty bitter hop aftertaste. The hop bitterness lingers for a few seconds after swallowing as well.

Drink - This seemed like a pretty solid DIPA, I'd be curious to see how it would stack up against some of the beers like Pliney and HopSlam in a taste test. Worth seeking out

spinrsx, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of david18
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had a twelve ounce glass of this at the Amsterdam Ale House on Manhattan's Upper West Side. As a double IPA it is pretty standard. Very good but not outstanding. It is certainly consistent with an east coast version of the style rather than a west coast version, which can be more drinkable in many cases.

The color was typical for the style, dark pale to orange color. The carbonation was almost non existent but that could have been the glass or a number of other reasons.

The aroma was one of pine and darker fruits and a little less citrusy than many double IPA's.

The taste was quite good and very well balanced, which, of course, is hard to do with a 9.6 Alcohol by volume.

As a strong beer this one is very drinkable which can be good and bad. Too drinkable can cause you to get drunk sooner than you want to.

In general, this is a solid double ipa that I would recommend.

david18, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of websherpa
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This beer looks a lot like the Smuttynose Finest kind IPA. That is to say it look a lot like a light honey with an ample 2 finger head. This does have a little more sediment and larger pieces of sediment than the Finest Kind.

Smell: DIPA so the hops are up front. Pineapple is the main star with a pleasant sweetness in there.

Taste: I wouldn't call this big flavor but it is good. The pineapple comes through nicely and just enough sweetness to make it smooth. There is just the slightest bitterness, way on the back of the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Enjoyable light and not overly peppery with carbonation. I was a little concerned this was going to be gritty with unfiltered bits, but I didn't even really notice them at all.

Drinkability: This is a good beer and is quite enjoyable. However, I think there are IPA's that deliver without the added alcohol that I would be more likely to session. There are also bigger tasting DIPA's with similar ABV that I would prefer. Even with these short comings I find this beer much more interesting than the more highly regarded "Finest Kind".

websherpa, Feb 22, 2011
Photo of vapodge
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams glass

A - Cloudy, unfiltered straw; good head and lacing both stick around

S - super fruity hops; very ripe; sweet malts

T - very bright with floral notes and lots of those fruity hops that were in the nose; very sweet in spite of all that bitterness, but I certainly wouldn't call it balanced

M - pretty darn oily; carbonation level seems right

D - nice, but maybe a little too harsh overall to drink more than a couple -- aims to overpower and fires up a good assault

vapodge, Feb 21, 2011
Photo of AgentMunky
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a cervoise glass. "Bottle conditioned in December 2010."

A: A thin white head is particularly impressive, but the vibrancy of colour in the golden-orange body makes up of it. Plenty of bubbles and a fair amount of sediment in suspension cloud an otherwise clear beer. Some sticky lacing.

S: Powerful, splendid, and ensorcelling. The expected piney hops and citrus, but with a strong fruitiness that helps Big A stand out. It's sweeter than even ruby grapefruit, perhaps pineapple. A dose of anise or fennel was initially dismissed, but I am increasingly cognisant of it.

T: Whoah now; that's good. Sweet maltiness with a strong dash of the aforementioned licorice makes for a complex and rewarding foretaste, with hops quickly stepping forward to demand their due. There is little competition betwixt the two, but rather a glorious union. The aftertaste is clean, remarkably non-bitter, and not-quite dry.

M: Nothing much to say here -- Big A is big, substantial, and a hulk of a beverage. A bit intimidating maybe, but definitely worth it.

D: A marvellous beer and a wholeheartedly recommended double IPA. Sweeter than anticipated, but I can live with that. Eminently sippable. Will have again.

AgentMunky, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of exonthebottle
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type pint glass from a bottle
appearance amber unfiltered nice head
smell hops bitter floral hops and malt
taste malty alcoholic sugary hops good
mouthfeel creamy feel nice smoothness
drinkability a bit of a alcohol burn still pretty good just not as drinkable which at 9.6% not a bad thing expect it hard to drink :3

exonthebottle, Feb 20, 2011
Photo of schoolboy
4.68/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

When I saw that orld Wines in Mentor was going to have this on tap I was pretty sure I was going to have to get it. I wasn't sure if it was one I had tried (I had, a bottle when I was in MA a while back).

It has a sublime aftertaste. A little after burn as well, and I am sure that the strength of this will get to me (I am going to have SEVERAL!).

It certainly is a treat. Creamy. Full bodied. Hoppy. It is everything the style should be. Other APA's should try to be this good.

schoolboy, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of bpfishback
2.83/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

When I first had this beer, I really enjoyed it. I'm not sure if the recipe or my palate has changed but now I do not like this beer at all. It has a nice pale orange color and good thick head but a lot of yeast debris. The hop aroma is very lacking in comparison to the top dipa's.The taste is some sweetness followed by very sharp bitterness. I feel like the bitterness comes from the floaties but even when being very careful not to get any yeast in the glass it still has an unpleasantly sharp bitterness.

bpfishback, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of xnicknj
3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

on tap at rattle n hum in nyc

Pours clouded copper orange with golden hues, a decent white head faded slowly with plenty of large patches of lacing on the glass.

Strong citrusy grapefruit with thick doughy malt and caramel with slight alcohol warmth in the nose.

Bitter blast up front with grapefruit and orange. Some more acidic citrus rind and peel, followed by slight pine resin. Sweeter caramel malt backbone softens the hop blow with some biscuit breadiness. Finishes with a distinct alcohol splash and piney grapefruit hops.

Decent medium body and carbonation, a little syrupy and sticky. Drinks pretty well but a little hot and the flavors don't mesh as well as they could.

xnicknj, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of dsartwell72
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into an over sized wine glass. Bottle conditioned in December 2010.

Appearance- Beautiful hazed orange color with a pink hue. Small white head that dissipates quickly. Sticky dotted lacing hangs on the side of the glass. A small amount of floaters that show themselves towards the end of the drink.

Aroma- The aroma of a freshly cut pineapple enters my nose. Possibly some other tropical fruits, but I can't quite put my finger on it. The malt comes through a slight amount in the nose, but no alcohol aroma to speak of.

Taste- Very Pleasing. Well balanced. Earthy and tropical hops come through leaving my mouth dry and wanting more. The malt shows itself in the middle of the taste, but the hops attack again at the end to leave you satisfied.

Mouth/Drink- Pretty thick, not syrupy at all, but definitely a big beer. Definitely very drinkable, especially for 9+ percent. I could easily have a few of these in a row.

dsartwell72, Feb 09, 2011
Photo of CuriousMonk
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very hazy, pale yellow-copper pour with a tremendous foamy, soapy white head. The aroma of floral hops is prevalent along with a wisp of fruit and a muted maltieness in the background. The mouthfeel is creamy and a fairly heavy body. It has a powerfully bitter hoppy taste which supersedes most other flavors you might be able to notice. A solid IPA and quite quaffable.

CuriousMonk, Feb 07, 2011
Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice golden color from a 12 oz bottle, with 'bottle-conditioned' date on the label. Lots of floating particles.
The aroma of this ale stands-out, lots of floral hops, citrus and hints of pine and some sweet esters. Smells absolutely delicious.
Taste is predominantly hoppy as one would expect. It's an all out hop-attack on the palate. There is some sweetness and malt upfront but the finish is brutal bitter. In spite of the bitter brutality, there is a great balance in taste.
This is one hell of a double IPA. Alcohol definitely makes it's presence felt. Very good lacing too along the insides of the glass.
Hands down this is one of the best D-IPA's I have had. Absolute must for any hop-head. This one is surely not for the weak of heart. Highly recommended.

CaptDavyJones, Feb 05, 2011
Photo of CliffBrake
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled October 2010. I have been looking to try this beer for some time and this is as fresh as I have found in searches throughout NH and in western MA.

Fairly clear orange color with good head for the style/abv that leaves decent lacing.

Resinous and citrus hops on the nose, backed by a bit of malt. Not a big nose, but pleasant.

Big resinous hops flavor sort of gets lost in an overpowering malt sweetness. Somewhat heavy on the palate. Big A may be a heavy hitter, but not one that is light on its feet or with the depth or drinkability of many other entries of the style.

CliffBrake, Feb 01, 2011
Photo of scruffwhor
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Lots of awesome carbonation and yeast sediment floating around. The color is a copper and bronze that has a nice brightness to it. The head is two fingers thick and leaves a nice foamy film and even some Brussel's lacing.

Fresh orange peel sprinkled with powdered sugar, gives the aroma sweet zest. The malt adds caramel and fresh baked biscuits to the nose as well.

Nice bubbly presence at the opoening of the first taste. The carbonation adds depth to the fresh orange and tangerine zest of this DIPAS's bitter flavoring. The toasted malt do more balancing than flavoring of this beer it seems. Some soft biscuit flavors with seom orange marmalade and caramel keep the hops in check somewhat.

This is a good tastng and well palated DIPA, but it didn't make me say WOW!!! OMG!!! This is a good beer, worth reccomending and buying again when you are in the mood for a good DIPA.

scruffwhor, Jan 30, 2011
Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,557 ratings.