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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

1,575 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,575
Reviews: 877
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 92
Gots: 92 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,575 | Reviews: 877 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NODAK
3.35/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Has a fairly thick aroma here. Some piney hops come up immediately but there is increasingly a pretty heavy caramel/toffee malt sweetness showing through as well.

Heavy bitterness strikes right away upon the first hit on the tongue with a somewhat grapefruit hoppiness. It doesn't hold back...but it's fought with by a mostly caramelly sweet and slightly spicy malt that's pretty heavy as well. In the end, the bitterness comes back with a vengeance and lasts with a resinous, astringent quality through the finish and aftertaste. Swallowing again after the initial swallow still brings back lots of bitterness. The best way to describe this is that it starts out as many other pretty malty DIPA's do, but ends up very bitter in the back.

I favor malty DIPA's, so I liked this one starting out, but the lingering, sharp bitterness got to be a lot to handle too.

Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is a clear medium gold with a creamy white head about 1/2inch thick. It sticks around for a while.
The smell has fruitiness and malt.
The taste up front greets with peach flavor on malt background and changes to a grain, bread feel mixed with malty sugar. At the end a bitterness which lingers in the mouth finishes the taste.
Overall a nice and drinkable beer.

Photo of InebriatedJoker
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Duvel tulip - Bottled in Jan /11

A: Poured a hazy golden orange with two finger head that dissipated quickly into a thin web retaining lacing,decent carbonation.

S: light floral hops with bread malt ,lite pine .

T: Big hop jab to the tongue , slight uppercut of malts in the backing , noteworthy pine resins with hints of citrus ,Mostly just Hops hitting your taste buds like a boxer on a speed bag.

O: Overall this is an in your face Ipa that lives up to the boxer on it's label - From the beginning round till the final bell it's jabbing and throwing hay makers with it's Hops - smashing your taste buds into Hop infused submission , Occasional grapefruit stiff rights and Just enough malts to keep this bruiser from getting out of hand. - In the world of American Double / Imperial Ipa's this one is a contender.

Photo of Zimbo
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

In Duvel glass.
Piercing nose. Big thickly whipped fluffy head which reduces in scale over the brief life of the beer. Many clumps of bubbles cling to the glass. Orangy grapefruity colour.
Deepish pungent strawlike firmness which begins well and is pretty interesting but ends with some dilute rubbery bitterness. The end is very very dry leading to some blatant potent alcohol which gives an almost raw spirit sweatiness to finish. This rawness is pretty punishing too. At a bank busting £3.99 a bottle this is pretty pricy for what it is.

Photo of nrbw23
3.23/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours a slightly cloudy, murky, orangeish amber color with a nice egg shell colored head. Head has pretty solid retention and leaves some nice lacing.

S- Quite a bit of citrus, floral, sweet pale malt and fruity aromas.

T- A lot of hoppy bitterness going on here, but its more like raw leaves and soap. Some pale malts here too.

M- Medium in body and carbonation is ok. A bit of a dry feel as well.

O- Not really a big fan of this one. I'd pass on this one.

Photo of katan
3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz into a pint

A - Pours a deep orange color, with a few straw highlights. Head formation is light, off white in color.

S - Strong grapefruit, almost sour notes. Very hoppy and spicy. This one may have been impacted by age. No hopping.

T - Starts off malty, lightly fruity from grapefruit. Mid-stream brings in some malty, almost sour notes. I would say this indicates hops oxidation. Finishes with alcohol warmth and some sugary sweetness.

M - Moderate body, perhaps even a bit thin. Carbonation is certainly present, but not overbearing. Somewhat sugary in the finish.

O/D - Solid DIPA. The Alcohol, even though hidden, gets to you - through mouthfeel for sure. Oxidation is a big turn off, making me wonder about age.

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

The Big Ass IPA is an extreme beer; no two ways about it. So I'm writing this extreme review: after taking notes on a freshly poured cold 12oz bottle, drinking a third when cold, then letting it warm slowly over an hour, tasting and note-taking every 10 minutes or so. The beer changes dramatically, and I wanted to try out a review like this. The review compresses time, but I think you get the idea.

Pours murky yellow-orange with lots of debris filling the glass under a two inch head. At fifteen minutes, there is still a finger of foamy head. 30 minutes and the surface remains covered in foam. The glass is etched and oily, and I can see how much was taken at each interval. At 30 minutes, most of the sediment is at the bottom. At an hour, the beer is nearly clear.

At first, the nose is all earthy, grassy hops with very little malt. Slowly, malt creeps into the nose: honey at 10 minutes, biscuit at 20, and hints of bread at half an hour. At an hour, I'm only smelling malt. Perhaps my palate is hopped out after all this time, but now the malts are really strong in the nose. There's a little BO in the background, too.

The taste starts really sharp and astringent with the cold beer. At 10 minutes, some sweetness emerges (honey) but still sharply astringent. 20: malts really begin asserting themselves with biscuit the dominant sweetness. At half an hour: the beer is really nicely balanced, just shy of room temperature and palpably cool but not cold. After an hour, the head is gone and the carbonation is just about dissipated which impacts the mouthfeel. Throughout, the astringency of the hops is almost mouth-numbing, and the finish of each sip is long and slow, with many different hops profiles emerging and falling away over time. Astringent, grassy, earthy, tea; sharp and pungent.

I enjoyed the beer, and enjoyed playing with the review. Let me know if it was worth reading.

0 minutes: ice cold
10 minutes: still cold
20 minutes: glass is cool to the touch
30 minutes: glass is warm, beer still cool
45 minutes: less than room temperature
1 hour: pretty much at room temp

3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on 3/18/11 in a Pint glass. Pours orangish amber color, opaque body. Headed yellowish beige foam, dense & lasting. Laing remains in circles at each sip. Fruty aroma, also yeast & fermented cheese. Hoppiness hits my mouth while dry bitterness cleans my palate. Full body, medium carbonation & well balanced flavors. Good drinkability. The worst negative I´ve found is an excessive hoppiness if not I will say "round beer!"

Photo of BrianOhio
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The pour produces a monstrous 3 finger head. The appearance is ultra cloudy, lots of sediment and pale yellow in color. Aroma was not overwhelming citrus like I expect in a DIPA, but not bad.

The first sip produced one of those "Got Milk" moments...and a nearby camera would've gotten a great shot. I definitely had a Big A mustache.

First sip...intrigued. Wasn't sure, but wasn't disappointed either. Nice initial citrus notes, smooth and buttery through the middle, but not a serious pine bruiser at the end. The more I drank this beer, the more I fell in love with it. Unfortunately, as a fan of Hopslam, all DIPA's are measured against it, and this one doesn't fall too terribly short. Just one of those beers you know you can't session, but you never want it to end. There's definitely more Big A in my future.

Photo of superspak
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip, bottle conditioned in August 2010. Pours hazy orange amber color with a dense 2 finger off white head with amazing retention that reduces to a lacing cap that leaves some good glass lacing. Aromas of strong grapefruit, orange, pine resin, caramel, spices and some floral notes. Aromas are very prominent. Taste of strong grapefruit, caramel, pine, and orange; with a sharp bitterness that comes in on the finish that lingers for a while after the finish with pine and citrus flavors. There is some great balance here with some maltiness on the front that helps balance out some of the strong bitterness present on the finish. No alcohol was noticed other than a very small warming after the finish, it is hidden very nicely. Medium carbonation and a huge full body. It has a very slick and slightly syrupy feel to it. Overall a delicious DIPA with a ton of flavor, and also has a very nice hop flavor profile. Delicious.

Photo of hopmarx
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic big IPA. Finestkind (their normal IPA) is my standard favorite for something that meets my needs (great hoppy taste) and that I can find at a fairly good price ($9 six pack). This is its big brother, and a worthy one at that.

A - for such a big IPA, relatively straw yellow.

S - lovely. The citrus comes through the nose hinting at what is to come.

T - great. Rich malty sweetness shares the stage very well with the wall of grapefruity hops.

M - rich. Very round and smooth.

An excellent example of my favorite style.

Photo of mryuk
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours an unfiltered deep orange with a finger of creamy head.

smell is strong citrus hops, fruit, and subtle sweetness.

nothing sweet about the taste, however, with extremely bitter hops and sour grapefruit overpowering everything else.

mouth is light-medium bodied with good carbonation.

drinkability was not great for me. did not have the flavors i typically enjoy in an ipa and was way too sour bitter overall.

Photo of jsulko
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into Tulip glass

Color pours an off gold somewhat hazy with a white foam head that lingers.

Smell is not overpowering. Citrus notes with some maltyness

Taste is malty with the piney hop bitterness on the finish.

My first Smuttynose beer. While it is a good IPA it does not measure up to some of the higher end IPA's that I have had. Don't see purchasing it again, not because it was bad but because there are better beers for the price.

Photo of Homebrew35
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle conditioned March 2011 on the label.
Pours a one finger of somewhat creamy white head. Hazy pale yellow body, quite nice. Smells of floral, citrus, crystal malts. The smells is lacking a bit, its only faintly floral, citrus, quite a bit of malt. Its not bad in any way but for a big ipa it needs more. Tastes quite nice, sweet crystal malts, citrus, floral, piney resinous hops. A good balance in the mouth, medium bodied, a good amount of lingering bitterness but not too much. Alcohol is mostly hidden. Overall is good but I'd like to see more hop aroma. $3.20 a single, quite a bit pricy.

Photo of justintcoons
2.9/5  rDev -27%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a hazy orange/amber with debris floating around. Looks like this is probably unfiltered. I got about half a finger of bubbly head that dissipated quickly and low carbonation.

N: Valencia orange, clementine, caramel and maybe some honey.

T: Burst of bitter and pungent citrus and pine upfront, some sugary caramel and finishes with a bitter burnt citrus taste.

M: Medium bodied, dry and bitter.

D: Okay drinkability as long as you like extreme bitterness with very light malt to back it up. I guess I prefer a more balanced DIPA.

Photo of henryd30
3.05/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Orangish amber that is slightly hazy due to suspended particlate. Thick 3 thumb head that has marshmellowy lacing.

S: Not overwhelming - was expecting more.

T: Slightly bitter and a little boozy, again, a little disappointed. Just checked bottling date and it's Oct 2010, getting a little old, which might explain it.

M: Typical consistency for IPA - active carbonation picks at the tongue, can feel the boozy heat a bit.

D: Not as good as I'd hope, but could be self inflicted with it being a bit older than I expected. Will learn to check easily identifiable smutty date next time. Will try a fresher one in the future as well.

Photo of THECPJ
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

reviewed from notes:

appearance: copper orange brown with a 1 finger white head

smell: hops, malts

taste: hops, lots of malts, dry bitter finish

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body

overall: was hoping for more. the finest kind was great. This on the other hand was not.

the CPJ

Photo of sitarist
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It looks like a sunset in my glass...hazy gold around the outside, orange, and amber towards the center of the glass. There is a thick, white head that takes its time before it falls to a top coating that leaves lots of lacing.

It has a herbal aroma with hints of mango, orange, and delicate flowers. I would say its a cross between English, and Belgian IPA's... it lacks the in your face characteristics of an American IPA.

Like the nose it is very herbal with hints of green tea, mint, mango, apricot, and pepper. It is bitter, and alcohol is present. Nice balance of bitter, and candy like sweetness.

Bitter, cool, wet, and enjoyable. It is medium to full in body, carbonation is there, but doesn't effect the mouthfeel.

Big Ass IPA is highly drinkable. Though it lacks the in your face characteristics of American IPA's it is still a good beer with lots of complexity.

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!

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.

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.

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."

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.

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

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.

Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,575 ratings.