1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Smuttynose Big A IPA - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,516 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,516
Reviews: 872
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 88
Gots: 72 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smuttynose Big A IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,516 | Reviews: 872 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Shaw
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I remember reading that this beer rated highly when reviewed in the New York Times.

Pours almost orange with a huge pillow-like head.

Mild hoppy aroma. I'm surprised it's not stronger.

Very bitter and hoppy but with a big malt backbone and a warming alcohol burn.

Slick and glassy body.

Overall this is a nice big IPA.

Shaw, Dec 27, 2010
Photo of uustal
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy pale orange with a nice frothy white head. Good lacing and retention. Very nice aroma. Big whiff of tropical fruits, grapefruit and orange. Taste starts off with a small sampling of the aroma. Sweet tropical fruit and grapefruit, but the flavor is quickly overpowered by dry, dominating pine hops which linger after the finish.

uustal, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly I've never reviewed this one before.

A nice decent fluffy 1.5 finger head fades slowly with a nice lacing, over hazy golden orange bright colored beer.

Nose has lots of fresh hops, some citrus, a little spicy hops, touch of tangerine, and some light sweet malts. PLenty of fruits as well, and just a hint of booze.

Taste brings some fresh hops, a bit of fruity citrus hops, some light spicy hops and a bit of earthy hop flavors. Fairly bitter, but not overpowering. Plenty of fruits, tangerine, hint of apple, and more. Fairly bitter and spicy, a bit of herbal hops as well, and the booze starts to get a little warming. Some sweet malts add a strong malty base too. Finishes a bit drier but not much, a long bitter hoppy finish with a hint of booze late.

Mouth is medium bodied with decent carbonation, and bit of warming booze.

Drink is decent, but the bitterness gets a little heavy, with spicy and warming booze, and some malty sweetness to balance it all.

jlindros, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of bishopdc0
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is received as very golden in color with a thick white head that laces pretty well

The aroma is full of hops. Citrus and piny hops fill the nose with a slight hint of alcohol.

The taste is bold as you would expect from a DIPA but its color and aroma are deceiving to the taste. It is sweet with a slight citrus hop but it finishes with a big pine bitter finish.

bishopdc0, Dec 14, 2010
Photo of jsh420
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

best by sept. 2011

pours hazy golden orange with a 2 finger head that left some lacing

smell - big grapefruit pineapple pine and a touch of booze

taste is a tad too sweet with the malts but it needs those malts the hops are huge bitter (almost salty resin from those hops) pine citrus

mouthfeel is on the heavy side with ow carbonation

drinkability was some what of a struggle but then again maybe i should have started my night with this beer because it sure as hell ended it

jsh420, Dec 08, 2010
Photo of StevenBilodeau
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This is an excellent representation of an American Double IPA/Imperial IPA. This is so grassy, hoppy and decadent...

Not like a regular beer, this brew should be consumed by the few whom can enjoy the hoppy goodness.

The aroma is strong, fierce, zesty, and bitter.

The head is foamy and white.

The flavor is explosive, and fulfills the bitterness your palate is in need of. Citrus zest, tangy hop bitterness, and mellow carbonation makes this brew one should seek out!

StevenBilodeau, Dec 07, 2010
Photo of Vonerichs
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy pale orange body with a heafty head. Not a lot of lacing.

Fresh and juicy aromas of pineapple, orange, and grapefruit with a little bit of pine.

Nice and bitter with citrus hops and pine. Slightly sweet, in a fruity way.

Sticky and clean mouthfeel with light carbonation.

Slightly hot, but otherwise a damn good DIPA that I'll be frequenting now it's distributed in IL.

Vonerichs, Dec 02, 2010
Photo of Franz4
3.6/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- unfiltered, cloudy peach/golden color. Nice head that sticks to sides of glass.

S- Pine, earthy, and citrus combine on the nose, very subtle throughout, almost like it's missing something.

T- pine hops balanced with a sweet grapefruit flavor. Ends with a bitter grapefruit aftertaste.

M- no evident carbonation in glass, but on the tongue it really comes to life. Aftertaste stays around in a strong way.

D- Feel really brought this one down, as the taste brings a nice balance, even with the aftertaste. definitely worth a try though

Franz4, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of slonsk
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice head. There is very little aroma that I was able to pull in. Creamy and smooth going down. Little bit of a bitter aftertaste. I like a lot of hops and bitterness, but the end is a bit too bitter. Overall, not a bad beer, but not the best IPA I've had for sure

slonsk, Nov 25, 2010
Photo of titosupertramp
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Trying thanks to DIM.

A: Hazy orange. Looks like it's unfiltered.

S: Sweet with citrus notes.

T: Starts sweet and gets bitter and dry really quick. Pretty nice grapefruit, citrus flavors.

M: Very dry, good carbonation..a little alcohol burn.

D: At 9.6%ABV and as dry as it is, this beer is pretty drinkable.

This is a good beer and I'm certainly glad I tried it.

titosupertramp, Nov 25, 2010
Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. single from Before You Go...

Into a Duvel tulip the color glows slightly darker than pure saturated orange, getting into tequila sunset territory. Frothy, long lasting foam, that settles to an overall skim across the top. Spotty crescent of lace on the opposite side of the glass.

Citrusy sweet grapefruit rind aroma. Pungent and clean.

Full bodied, resinous hops, stumbles just a bit from it's enormity. Tangy grapefruit, raw orange peel, minty spruce. Bready malt is underneath, just a bit. Dry aftertaste of citrus bitterness. Feels pretty big, which relegates it to being a sipper. Not bad, glad it comes in 12 oz. servings.

emerge077, Nov 22, 2010
Photo of thedoubler55
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very mixed feelings on this beer, the look was very orangey with a slight tint of brown. The smell was that of oranges and apricots all mixed together. The taste of the beer was very bitter with a harsh aftertaste. This was definitely a reason I did not truly love this beer. The mouthfeel went together with the taste for me, because of the bitterness I was not able to completely enjoy this IPA.

thedoubler55, Nov 18, 2010
Photo of PicoPapa
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Pours a murky amber with lots of sediment. Medium sized head with lots of lacing. Aromas of hops, orange and maybe a bit of apricot. Taste is a big wallop of hops upfront and then some orange. Big bitter aftertaste as well. ABV is hidden pretty well. Pretty good Imperial with a big bitter taste. Worth picking up.

PicoPapa, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of rapidsequence
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle-- I thought all the Big Beer Series beers were big bottles.

Appearance: Pretty hazy orange. Small head, little lacing.

Smell: Fruity hops. Smells like Tang. Also apricot and peach. Some caramelly malt too. One of the fruitiest IPAs I've smelled in a while-- can it be too fruity? Maybe.

Taste: There's quite a bit of bitterness. This is not one of those fruity and malty sweet IPAs. It actually ends up pretty bitter and dry. Bitter citrus, a little sweet malt, then dry and bitter. Alcohol is pretty prominent also.

Mouthfeel: Nothing wrong with the carbonation. Feels good at first, but it it tongue stripping and too dry on the finish. Overall, the body is medium to full. Did I mention the dry finish?

Drinkability: I thought this was going to be one of those DIPAs that showcases hops flavor over bitterness, but is just ends up too bitter. Its OK.

rapidsequence, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of rka758
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

August 2010 bottling poured into tulip glass.
Think I paid roughly $3 per

A: Poured a deep orange color with plenty of life. A consistent 1 finger head.
S: Heavy citrus smells coming from this...grapefruit, orange
T: A nice and balanced hoppiness with a grapefruit finish. Not harsh on the tongue.
M: Really nice. Hits all the right spots with a good body.
D: This is tasty, wow...I just saw the ABV (9.6). For a beer at this level I think they do a great job.
This is my first Smuttynose offering. I thought that it was really quite nice. It is approaching midnight as I drink this; I think that this is the perfect type beer for a brisk fall/winter day with a nice cool breeze coming through the windows -- can't wait for Sunday football.

rka758, Nov 16, 2010
Photo of JizackFH
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice golden amber color with a nice big fluffy white head. The head had awesome retention, and it also left a lot of lacing. You can also see the suspended yeast floating in the glass. It took me 2 pours to get the whole bottle in the glass due to the carbonation.

S - Nice earthy hops up front. There is also a hint of sweetness, citrus, and pine.

T - The taste is nice and earthy just like the nose, but the hops are more intense. It starts off citrusy, and then some notes of tropical fruits come in. The whole time the hops keep getting stronger until the finish, which is bitter and seems to stick to the palate. The finish also seems dry.

M - The mouthfeel is dry and leaves the mouth feeling a bit tingly. It has a medium body and good carbonation. It feels crisp and clean.

D - The drinkability is good. It goes down smooth considering the high ABV of this beer. It also has a creamy quality to it. I really enjoyed this beer, and I will definitely be picking up more. Delicious DIPA.

JizackFH, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of CrellMoset
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle picked up at Smokerise Liquors in Stone Mountain, GA. Served in a tulip.

Appearance: An excessively vigorous pour on my part yielded a mammoth two and one half fingers of foamy, gorgeous beige head, soapy and aerated-looking while simultaneously dense and rocky. The honeymoon was short-lived, though, and it did fade a bubbly surface dusting much quicker than I'd hoped. On the plus side, however, remained a thin but consistent sheet of stick down the sides of the tulip on the non-sip side and plenty of streaks and bubbly fingers down the sip side. The hue of the beer itself is nice if uninspiring - sort of a hazed peach, about halfway between the lighter and the darker DIPAs, with some definite chunks of yeast hanging out down at the bottom of the glass.

Aroma: Much more bitter in the aroma than in the taste - that is, there are a slew of acidic, hoppy astringent notes wafting up from this one, herbal and piney, in a very inviting way. Vegetal notes form the rest of the hop profile, and mingle interestingly with milky caramel notes (faintly vanilla-esque, though that may be me filling in the gestalt) and bready, sugar cookie notes.

Taste: Very herbal, and full of deeply roasted but not well-attenuated malts - call it a tobacco brûlée, except, don't, because that would be vile. The malts are sweet, very caramelly, with hints of toffee and perhaps even butterscotch coming through. The bitterness more than balances the sweetness out, so it never comes across as cloying, though it is definitely sweeter than most DIPAs I've had as of late. The remaining flavor - much of the flavor, in fact - is herbal, leafy, tobacco, spicy mint notes, sprucey pine, and a bit of astringent vegetal quality.

Mouthfeel: This beer's best characteristic. A very creamy, almost milky body, smooth and even, with enough lift to keep it from being oppressive on the tongue but not enough that it becomes erratic. This works well with the flavor profile, amplifying the sweetness, and keeping it lively enough to prevent it from becoming syrupy or overbearing.

Drinkability: A good DIPA, though not a great one, being both a little too herbal and a little too sweet for my tastes, though I can easily see how this could be someone's #1. Definitely recommended to one who hasn't had it before, and if the price point is right, I could see this becoming a readily available, fridge-stocking DIPA, up there with 90 minute, Ruination, and Hop Stoopid. Cheers!

CrellMoset, Nov 15, 2010
Photo of samie85
3.55/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-Pours a hazy ornage/amber color similar to what I remember
Finest Kind looking like. It pours with a two finger, dense, off white head.

S-Pine, sweet smelling mango, pineapple, and papaya with some light malt notes. Very reminiscent of other DIPA's I've had.

T-Bitter pine and orange that lingers on your palate for a good, long while. Possibly some light malt and a little mango, but this is primarily bitter hops.

M-Creamy, yet leaning towards light-bodied with low but prickly carbonation. Some mild warming alcohol notes as well near the back of the palate.

D-A a pretty good DIPA but the bitter notes just hang on a little too long for my taste. i could see this being really refreshing because of that in the summer though.

samie85, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of Clydesdale
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep, hazy orange-amber color. The tall, orange tinted crown has a dense, frothy and soapy texture. Retention is quite sturdy. Loads of sticky, weblike lacing stick superbly to the glass.

S: A robust, bluntly citric hop aroma is first and foremost. Pithy grapefruit and bitter orange is bright and vibrant. There is also a moderately sappy pine fragrance. A lightly spicy whiff of alcohol hints at this beer's strength. Malt gives off a sugar cookie aroma, with a very faint hint of caramel sweetness.

T: Some light, cookielike maltiness accompanied by a trace of sweetness. Hop flavor takes the fore. Bitterness is high, thanks to a huge dose of citric (grapefruit and bitter orange) hops. A lightly floral and piney undertone as well. Alcohol is highly present, giving a spicy heat to the finish.

M: Medium-full body. Carbonation is on the light side. A long, riding bitter aftertaste goes pretty nicely with the alcoholic warmth of the finish.

D: A big, boldly bitter Imperial IPA. In many ways, it drinks a lot like Smuttynose's Finestkind, with a similar citric/piney bitter bombshell. It's not the smoothest DIPA out there - there is prominent alcohol and little depth to the maltiness - but it's enjoyable when you want a kick in the teeth.

Clydesdale, Nov 13, 2010
Photo of micromaniac129
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A cloudy golden orange colored beer. Has a nice big foamy head that is well maintained throughout drinking session.
Big toffee malt aroma and a citrusy hop bouquet.
Big alcohol taste I get up front with thick chewy malts. No distinct flavor. Hops of grapefruit and citrus.
Smooth and full bodied. A dry ending.
Alcohol warming that lingers in the aftertaste.
A good sipping beer, I don't know if I could drink more then two in one sitting.
It is flavorful and balanced and warming.
Drink well my friends.

micromaniac129, Nov 07, 2010
Photo of WeedKing4
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden orange colour. This is a honey like malt bomb with a nice hop bitterness bite to it. Lots of malt character, and a hint of tropical fruit in the finish as well. Drinks down really smooth for a big beer. Didn't pick up any traces of the abv 9.6%. Glad I got to try this one finally.

WeedKing4, Nov 06, 2010
Photo of Satchboogie
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz, bottled conditioned in August 2010. Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.
A: Tangerine orange, hazy with the suspended yeast, almost looks like pulp in a tangerine orange juice. Almost a 1 finger head that dissipates fairly quickly, does leave a little bit of a "frothy" thin head with great lacing.

S: Fruit! I get a lot of powerful citrus fruit and mostly hops, a little bit of the malt comes through in the background. Very appealing.

T: Yum. Very balanced, a little bit of a bitter finish, but not overwhelming. The citrus fruit flavors come through strong with the malty goodness helping to mellow it out. Alcohol is fairly well hidden, only really coming out in the finish.

M: Fairly crisp with just a slight body to it, "clinging" just a little as it goes down. The bitterness lingers around after you swallow (No jokes please) and has a puckering effect.

D: Although the after taste is just a bit to bitter and dry for me, it goes down really smoothly. Fairly easy to drink, though I'll definitely need to follow it with a glass of water.

Satchboogie, Nov 03, 2010
Photo of bluejacket74
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a cloudy orange/amber color with about a half inch frothy off-white head. The head sticks around for a while, and there's a good amount of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is mostly citrusy (tropical fruit, oranges) hops, along with some bready malt. Taste is similar to the aroma, it's mainly citrusy and pine hops with some bready malt also noticable. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's a bit syrupy and sticky with good carbonation. Drinkability is decent enough, but for whatever reason this brew gets more difficult for me to drink after a while. I still think this is a good overall brew, I'll have to try this one again in the future.

bluejacket74, Oct 30, 2010
Photo of begforme4484
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very hazy amber with an orange hue. About a finger width of head and good lacing.

A very citrus focused nose, hop-wise. Plenty of doughiness from the malts too.

Whoa, lots of malts on the palate. Plenty of hop action going on as well. Lots of citrus and grassy hops with a good bitter finish. Almost like mixing Hop Stoopid and 90 minute.. not bad..

Clean mouthfeel, medium bodied, doesn't really linger much.

Drinkability is good as long as you don't mind a lot of malt.

begforme4484, Oct 28, 2010
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a nice hazy straw golden color with some nice orange hints with a slight .25 inch head that recedes semi-quick but is nice and sticky.

S - Awesome sweet tropical fruit hints with great citrus notes. Tangerines and orange as well as pineapple hints fill the glass and my nose so intensely. The hop notes on this beer is so delicious and filling. One of the nicest a fruitiest aromas on a DIPA. There is some slight grain hints but this is a hop bomb.

T & M - Flavor starts off with some real nice citrus hop notes that just coat every square inch of my mouth. There are notes of peach and pineapple and tangerine as well as some slight lemon peel as well. The hop profile is citrus and more citrus with some nice dry flavors. There is some slight grapefruit sweetness as well as slight bread notes but as noted in the nose this is a bitter hop bomb. Very delicious DIPA. Mouthfeel is dry and citrusy with tons of hop notes and slight spices. Crisp clean and nice dry hop bitter finish. Feel is a bit on the lighter side but goes well with the intensity of this brew.

D - Drinkability is good. Higher ABV but the flavors in this beer are delicious especially when fresh.

JoEBoBpr, Oct 26, 2010
Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,516 ratings.