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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

1,482 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,482
Reviews: 872
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 10.8%
Wants: 86
Gots: 63 | 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)
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Ratings: 1,482 | Reviews: 872 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Thur123


4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a moderate orange color with one and a half finger of white thick slow to fade head. Somewhat hazy with a slow steady carbonation. The smell is juicy hops, lots of Simcoe grapefruit and an herbal bitterness. Oranges, lemon, pine resin, maybe even a fruity bubblegum and a sweetbread like malt. The smell is awesome. Very complex without being overwhelming.

Glug glug glug

The flavor is complex with the bitterness taking over after the initial contact. Fruit rind and a strong herbalness ride together and a flavor like something in between cat pee and basement is present towards the end, not in a disgusting way, but rather as a nuance. The mouth feel is what I like from an IPA, not thin but not thick or syrupy at all. Drinkability is good aside from the prominent flavor. Will try again.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2010 08:22:52 | More by Thur123
Photo of FrankLloydMike


4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle dated May 2010 into a Portsmouth Brewery balloon glass, working on the last sips as I type:

A: This is one of the best looking beers I've had. Pours a lovely, deep, warm amber with strong hints of red, and a huge, frothy, pure white head that sticks around for quite awhile.

S: Hops! Floral, grapefruit hop smell hits first and dominates, but is quickly followed by a strong boozy smell.

T: Beautifully dry, very hoppy--grapefruity citrus dominates with floral and pine notes, but all backed up by tell-tale boozy syrup of most imperials. Still, this is much drier and much less syrupy than many others, which makes it much more enjoyable in my book.

M: Very syrupy--more so than either the taste or the smell, thick, sticky, a very full feel.

D: Much more drinkable than more syrupy imperials, but still dry and boozy--this is a lovely, excellent beer but definitely a once-a-sitting max for me.

Compared to a lot of imperial IPAs, this one is much drier and less syrupy. It's a different animal, of course, but I think I still prefer the Finestkind to the Big A, but this beer is growing on me and I enjoy it even more out of the bottle than when I've had it on tap usually. I hope to find it on cask.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2010 02:51:47 | More by FrankLloydMike
Photo of Florida9


4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dull yellow in color. Cloudy to the point of being opaque. Forms a smallish off-white, bubbly head. Decent retention. Minimal lacing.

S: Rather muted. Citrus and grapefruit

T: Primarily citrus and grapefruit with pine to much lesser extent. Moderate bitterness.

M: On the heavier side of medium with appropriate carbonation. A bit astringent and drying.

D: An aggressive IPA that would be appreciated by must IPA fans. Very good; I could drink these all night.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2010 01:42:43 | More by Florida9
Photo of infi

New York

3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, courtesy of BA NYManc. 10/1 notes.

Poured into a nonic pint.

A translucent, yet cloudy orange-yellow pour with immense amounts of carbonation activity. Didn't realize that this IPA was bottle conditioned until we saw the serious amount of ghastly floaties within the brew. A thick, foamy and tightly-knit white head sat atop the liquid and sat there FOREVER. Immediately reminded me of Duvel as to how substantial this was; I loved it. Great amounts of stringy and webbed lacing throughout as well. Smell is was extremely full of pine, grapefruit and orange citrus pith and a wee bit of malt towards the back end. Very basic and straight-forward.

Taste was identical to the aroma profile. Big flavors of hoppy pine and citrus. Very earthy and organic with little to no sweetness. Thoroughly full of that grapefruit-like bitterness straight towards the end. Minimal alcoholic presence as well. I enjoyed this very much.

Just about medium-bodied, but teetering on light-bodied territory. Not too effervescent, but very clean and crisp. The name is seriously upheld because this really was a big IPA with its solid features. Great product from Smuttynose.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2010 23:23:07 | More by infi
Photo of NYManc

New York

3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Pilsner Glass, shared with BA Infi.

A: Poured a hazy orange-yellow. Three Finger head with amazing retention. Held its own for a long time. Lots of action in this one; Floaties all about, and lots of bubbles in this IPA. Lacing was great as well, lots of foam on the sides.

S: This smell is dominated by citus/grapefruit. The Piny aroma from the hops then follows shortly after. Different from other IPA's that I have tried.

T: Great taste of citrus and grapefruits. Very hop oriented and no malty taste. Not much bitter in the after taste. 9.6 ABV in this beer is very well hidden.

M: Medium bodied with little carbonation.

D: Easily drinkable but with 9.6 ABV (which is well hidden), I can feel it in my body after a short while. Would recommend this to people who can't handle bitterness in other IPAs

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2010 18:21:12 | More by NYManc
Photo of MbpBugeye


2.93/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle conditioned in: August '10 notched off on the side of the label.

A- My pour wasnt so gentle so I got a 2 finger high stark white head with lots and lots of creeping lace. I really like it. The beer is a pretty standard hazy golden orange.

S- Pretty piney and malty. The malts are very pale and crackery smelling. The hops seem one dimensional. Mostly all pine.

T- A pretty decent battle between crackery and bready malts and pine. In the finish the pine wins out and makes things get a little bitter. There is also a flash of grapefruit as it goes down.

M- Dry with a low carbonation.

Ill stick to Finest Kind. This is one of the very few beers from Smuttynose I dont think Ill purchase again.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2010 03:40:28 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of wedgie9


3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tasted from bottle purchased at Discount Liquors. Pours a surprisingly pale tan-orange with a thick white head that slowly dissipates to heavy lace. Nose is fresh, dank, hops with good earthiness and a hint of bread. Flavor is heavily bitter hops with a nice malt backbone and strong earthiness. There is a hint of sweetness as well. The body is medium with light carbonation and a long finish that is both bitter and a nice alcohol burn. This is a very solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2010 19:20:41 | More by wedgie9
Photo of jrallen34


4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a pint glass, thanks to bartender at Bob's Bar. First of all, awesome ass bottle, one of the cooelst around...Aroma is super smooth hops, easy to smell gets me ready for real flavor...The taste is a light pine resin from start to finish, the hops are really smooth and easy to drink. This is super flavorful and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2010 02:59:12 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Ohiovania


4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Smells of bright raspberry and strawberry aromas, ripe oranges, and a great hop bouquet.

Follows through beginning to end with hops with sweet ripe citrusy fruits (ruby reds) and alcohol peeking at different times. The alcohol has the fading tail of the beer though.

It leaves my throat very dry afterwords and makes the mouth water a little

Without a side by side comparison i would say it ranks right up with my other favorite DIPA's.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2010 00:22:01 | More by Ohiovania
Photo of BumpkinBrewer


4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz poured into a pint glass

A - An orange hue with quite alot of suspended yeast floating around

S - Fruity and floral hoppiness - wonderful

T - Quite a bitter bite to begin with, finishes very sweet and malty with hints of pink grapefruit. It really warms the belly as the glass finishes

M - Kind of thick, leaves that white residue on the corners of the mouth, very enjoyable

D - Means nothing to me. I will drink whatever is put in front of me whenever. Lets face it for a DIPA it goes down nice.

Overall - I can't believe it took me this long to try this beer. A nice contender for best east coast DIPA

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2010 02:45:31 | More by BumpkinBrewer
Photo of Overlord


3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks Straffordmilitia!

Pours a light golden with hints of orange. Huge white fluffy head. Gobs of lacing. Very attractive.

Smells like muted pine, tangerine, pink grapefruit, and hints of the tropics.

TAste, unfortunately, is not quite as good as the aroma. It's definitely hoppy, but there's an unpleasant, almost mineralized soap acridness to it. The pine and citrus get increasingly drowned out by this unpleasant addition.

Still ... good, glad to get the chance to try it. Nice mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2010 17:01:52 | More by Overlord
Photo of ectomorph


4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle with an interesting "bottle conditioned on date" of 05-2010 so it's not super fresh but still a good sample.

A - Cloudy orange body, huge eggshell head really sticks around. Fades very slowly in patches leaving chunks of lace on your face and the glass.

S - Sweet hops pineapple, lemon with a touch of alcohol crispness. Sugary and floral but not dank or overpowering.

T - Solid up front bitterness prepares you for the huge malt backbone. Rich and potent alcohol bite is mixed with a pine hops flavor. Mouth puckering hops finish leaves you no choice but to take another sip. This is a big brew. The malt and hops slap you silly here and it's great.

M - Big bodied, moderate carbonation, alcohol warmth in the mouth and belly.

D - Lower end of the scale, this one is a slow sipper but makes a great night cap.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2010 00:56:57 | More by ectomorph
Photo of cdizinno

South Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured into a pint glass from a growler purchased at Green's off Piney Grove in Columbia, SC

A: Slightly hazy, orange amber with a fluffy 2 finger white head that clings to the sides of the glass all over. Thick, fluffy lacing.

S: Pine and citrus. More piney scent than the bottle and only a mild malty sweetness compared to the bottle.

T&M: Almost totally different than the bottle. Up front citrus sweetness and mild hop bitterness that is mainly piney. Slowly fades to a deep dry, bitterness of hops. More of a dry, piney finish.

This is almost the complete opposite of the bottle with respect to balance of hops and sweetness. This is definitely way better and I'll try it again in the future...on-tap or growler only though!

Serving type: growler

09-20-2010 00:00:56 | More by cdizinno
Photo of mdaschaf


3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to gamanley for this one. Poured into a DFH snifter glass.

A: Pours a cloudy orange with a really thick one finger head, very chunky with good staying power. Decent lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Some citrus and a little pine along with a malt component on the back end. There is also a slightly off-putting alcohol smell.

T: A good amount of the citrus/pine comes through on the taste. A little bit of malt comes through in the middle, but it has a bitter finish. Can taste the alcohol, even more so as it warms.

D/M: Medium bodied with good carbonation. Its ok, not as good as I was hoping. If the alcohol was masked a bit more, I think it would be a lot better.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2010 02:51:25 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of AgentZero


3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Cloudy amber color, little bit caramelly looking if it's not up to the light. Not much head, little bit of lacing.

S - Lots of malts with some bitter and piney hops, smells like there is some alcohol burn in this.

D - Not sure how to classify beers exactly, but this tastes a bit more like some triple IPAs I've had. Strong sugar leads to a bit of alcohol burn in this one. Bitter hops and malt sweetness. It's alright, but I'm not a huge fan.

M - Little heavy and sticky for an IPA, some carbonation bite.

D - Not great, could barely do one 12 oz bottle.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2010 20:25:31 | More by AgentZero
Photo of DrewKid4

New Hampshire

3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served: On tap from the Brick Store Pub in Decatur, GA into a generic tulip glass.

A: Cloudy amber with orange highlights. A couple inch white fluffy head. Impressed by the appearance.

S: HOPS. Some sweetness from some apparent malts and citrus but very subtle.

T: Very bitter and dry hops with a tinge of sweetness and even slighter fruits.

M: Very full. A bit too full and dry for my enjoyment. Was actually tough to get through.

D: One and done. I mean, I like IPAs and XIPAs but this was just making my face wrinkle than letting me appreciate a brew from my home state. Wasn't a fan.

Serving type: on-tap

09-11-2010 06:31:46 | More by DrewKid4
Photo of Spica66


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

Got this one from CooperEllis. Thanks, John.

A: Hazy orange color with good head formation and some lacing.

S: Citrus hops with a decent malt backbone.

T: Sweet malt set off by really solid citrus hops. Very nice.

M: Creamy with a dry finish. The alcohol shows itself but is not over powering.

D: Went right down with no trouble at all.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2010 00:55:16 | More by Spica66
Photo of techcommdood

New York

1.95/5  rDev -51%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Appearance: Hazy light tan color, weak head but solid lacing.

Smell: Spicy hops and lots of sugar on the nose.

Taste: Very sweet (like artificial sweetener), strong hop spicy bite, some booziness. Not a lot of character, just big malt and big bitter payload.

Mouthfeel: Heavy at first, finishes dry. Strong spicy burn from hops.

Drinkability: Poor. For me, it's not balanced well. Very strong sweetness and hop characters clash more than play off each other. Hop burn all down my throat. And it all builds repeatedly with every sip. Unenjoyable.

Overall: A disappointment, to be sure. I was expecting much better out of this one. I think more than anything else it was the sweetness that killed this beer for me. I can tolerate strong hops (hell, I recently brewed a 100+ IBU cascadian dark ale). I won't be getting this one again.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2010 17:30:57 | More by techcommdood
Photo of stonelis


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

Pours a cloudy orange with a huge off white head. Light carbonation. Citrus and pine. This is a little different than your usual DIPA. I wouldn't call it a hop bomb. Some apricot, some tea. Very drinkable for the 9.6%. Sweet and malty. This is good stuff!

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2010 12:36:54 | More by stonelis
Photo of wethorseblanket


3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Extra sent from Steve - thanks.

Pours a hazy orange-yellow with a solid white head whch yields good lacing. Smell is excitingly full of hops, tangerine, grapefruit, and a bit of sweet malt. Taste is more predominately sweet malt with a dry and bitter hop finish. Not as overly floral as expected by the nose. Mouthfeel is supper dry and sticky. Overall good.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2010 18:38:39 | More by wethorseblanket
Photo of jdoncbus


4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle conditioned in Aug 2010

Poured into Piraat tulip. Pours golden brown, not much carbonation. & thinish head that sticks to the side of the glass.

Big whiff of sweet malt, golden grahams mix with grapefuit and tangerine.

Smooth and creamy, tropical fruit heavy that mixes nicely with grains & brown sugar. Finish is an assaujlt of piney and bitter hops; great drying effect in the mouth. Mild burn of hooch down the hatch.

A fantastic DIPA that hopheads should seek out. Best be careful with the 9.5% because it goes down so easy. About to pair it with a mix of creole brown rice, chicken cherizo, red peppers, and spicy, BBQ chicken.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2010 21:38:07 | More by jdoncbus
Photo of ChainGangGuy


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

Appearance: Pours what would've been merely a hazed, darkened gold body with a large, foaming, white head, but an absent-minded pour allowed some globs of yeast to slip into the glass.

Smell: Hops lead for me in the nose, with scents of fresh, juicy sliced oranges and grapefruits, a few blobs of pine sap, an underlying grassiness, and easygoing pale, biscuity malts. Small sniff of alcohol, too.

Taste: Pale and decidedly biscuity malts yielding sweetish, restrained hints of both toffee and honey with a teensy bit of toastiness. A bright burst of hoppiness follows giving a predominately orange-tasting, resinous flavor of sugarless orange marmalade spritzed with Curaçao. Growing pine and pithy grapefruit quality though. Boldly bitter. This leaves you with a dry, longly bitter finish with some soothing alcoholic warmth sliding into the mix but not overstaying its welcome.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. The malts lend a nice fullness to the mouthfeel, but the airy carbonation eases it up.

Drinkability: You may find more hoppy, less malty (if that's what you're looking for) brews out there, but it's fairly solid and fairly enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2010 20:15:30 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of Natural510


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

Bottled on May 2010. States it is bottle-conditioned.

Pours pale, cloudy orange with floating material (via nonpasturization). Nice bone-white head which lasts for the length of the drink.
Sweet, slightly tangy perfume of orange-grapefruit citrus and hops.
Sweet, astringent brew with a blistering smack of hops right at the forefront. After the initial blow, one detects herbal/pine notes which coincide with the grapefruit character. Bone-dry finish.
Full body and dry feel go well with the DIPA style. Leaves the mouth tingling with desire.
This is a biog drinker, and a great double IPA from the eastern side of the US. Smuttynose certainly doesn't hold back any punches with their hops, which may turn back those who seek a more balanced beer (why, I wouldn't know).

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2010 06:05:36 | More by Natural510
Photo of hardy008


2.55/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Very hazy amber orange with a one finger off white head with fairly decent retention. There is quite a bit of sediment floating in the glass, which is not visually appealing. The aroma has grapefruit, pith, pine, and some caramel malt. Smells overly bitter.

The taste is much like the aroma. grapefruit, pith, peelings, pine, and some caramel malt. This is more bitter than most DIPA's I have had.

Medium to full bodied, oily, slick, with fairly high carbonation. Not one of the better DIPAs I have had.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2010 01:56:31 | More by hardy008
Photo of chefkevlar

South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a slightly orange tan color with an inch or so of fluffy white head which leaves some lovely lacing

S: There's a definate hop aroma to this, citrusy mostly. There's also a hint of sweetness similar to honey and brown sugar

T: Not as hoppy initially as I thought it would be. The initial flavor is an almost sweet smooth malt taste. Afterwards there is a noticable hop flavor (citrus and pine) although there's is only a slight hop bitterness.

M: Thick on the palate with a moderate carbonation

D: For a DIPA at 9.6%abv this is a very drinkable beer. The flavor is there but the bitterness is lower than I expected.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2010 02:33:52 | More by chefkevlar
Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,482 ratings.