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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

1,505 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,505
Reviews: 872
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 87
Gots: 70 | 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: 1,505 | Reviews: 872 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of thedoubler55

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -3%

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.

11-18-2010 07:23:37 | More by thedoubler55
Photo of PicoPapa


3.85/5  rDev -3%

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.

11-17-2010 21:24:07 | More by PicoPapa
Photo of rapidsequence


3.58/5  rDev -9.8%

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.

11-17-2010 03:47:23 | More by rapidsequence
Photo of rka758


3.58/5  rDev -9.8%

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.

11-16-2010 05:24:49 | More by rka758
Photo of JizackFH

New York

4.28/5  rDev +7.8%

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.

11-15-2010 06:00:27 | More by JizackFH
Photo of CrellMoset


4.05/5  rDev +2%

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!

11-15-2010 00:10:04 | More by CrellMoset
Photo of samie85


3.55/5  rDev -10.6%

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.

11-14-2010 23:45:35 | More by samie85
Photo of Clydesdale

District of Columbia

4.03/5  rDev +1.5%

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.

11-13-2010 00:25:32 | More by Clydesdale
Photo of micromaniac129


4/5  rDev +0.8%

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.

11-07-2010 12:20:59 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of WeedKing4

Ontario (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +5.3%

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.

11-06-2010 23:48:43 | More by WeedKing4
Photo of Satchboogie

New Hampshire

3.95/5  rDev -0.5%

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.

11-03-2010 22:48:50 | More by Satchboogie
Photo of bluejacket74


3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

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.

10-30-2010 22:46:35 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of begforme4484


3.7/5  rDev -6.8%

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.

10-28-2010 02:30:27 | More by begforme4484
Photo of JoEBoBpr


4.08/5  rDev +2.8%

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.

10-26-2010 01:59:53 | More by JoEBoBpr
Photo of Thorpe429


3.65/5  rDev -8.1%

Thanks to nflmvp for the bottle a ways back. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a brown color toward the light end of the spectrum. A modest white head with a bit of lacing. The nose brings forward some citrus, tropical, and pine notes. The taste adds in a bit of light caramel malt with some low amounts of hop flavors. The bitterness comes through more than the hop flavors, creating a nice finish. Drinks well overall, but doesn't really stand out.

10-26-2010 00:09:22 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of twelvsies


4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

Sitting here watching the brewpot making sure nothing bad happens and I decided to crack open this Big A. Appears a cloudy thick looking orange color with a sturdy and dense head of slightly off white foam. Wow, the aromas coming out of this are really exceptional... A super fresh hop profile, juicy and citrusy. There's definately a pronounced pineapple scent to this one, like when you put a fresh pineapple through a juicer or something, very fresh and lively. I hope the taste lives up to this... here we go. Once again, wow. Yep I'm kicking myself now for passing over this beer so many times before... This is an intense brew. Pineapple, mango, hop resin. Definitely fruity as hell, partially from the malt and I think mostly from these intense hops, I wonder what they used. The pineapple taste is in full force again, which I think is so unique, and I dig it. No hint of it in the smell, but there's a subtle alcohol kick here. Also lots of fruity yeasty esters. A robust, thick, and smooth mouthfeel. Totally unique IPA, one of the best from the east coast.

10-23-2010 02:30:20 | More by twelvsies
Photo of aepb1


4.43/5  rDev +11.6%

A- Golden opaque, with a frothy white head

S- Floral hops and alcohol

T- Piney/floral hops, earthy

M- Clean crisp, medium bodied with good carbonation

D- I really dig the earthy flavor and makes this something I will be back to especially now in 6ers

10-21-2010 15:54:06 | More by aepb1
Photo of adam42381


3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Cigar City snifter.

Appearance: Pours a hazy light caramel/orange color with a 1 finger foamy white head. Nice lacing.

Smell: Citrus and pine with caramel and a hint of alcohol in the background.

Taste: Bitter hops through and through. There are bits of spices and some wood notes but it's mostly sticky hops of the pine and bitter lemon rind varieties. Alcohol peaks through but just a little bit. Aftertaste is, you guessed it, bitter and lasting. This is a true hop bomb.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Fairly sticky texture.

Drinkability: Decent drinkability. The bitterness may keep you from wanting to drink another and the ABV could sneak up on you pretty quickly.

Overall: Good beer overall. I would recommend this one for hopheads only.

10-20-2010 03:18:38 | More by adam42381
Photo of kzoobrew


4/5  rDev +0.8%

Hazy orange body. Massive three finger bone white head. The head never fully recedes, a slight cap remains through out. A great deal of lacing left clinging to the glass.

Pungent hops and caramel. huge grapefruit with a sweet tropical fruit kick. Slightly danky aroma lying underneath. The caramel melds very well with the hops and never becomes overly sweet in the nose.

Pity bitterness is biting but pleasant. A bit of green organic flavor to the hops. The hop flavor is much less complex than the aroma but works well. The caramel malt is a bit more evident than I prefer to the but the biting hop flavor does a good job of keeping it in check.

Medium bodied, smooth and creamy texture. Medium carbonation. Finish falls somewhere between dry and moderately lasting.

Good beer, reminds me quite a bit of DFH 90min. Does not hit my personal preferences for the style but would certainly be willing to have a couple in a sitting.

10-18-2010 23:14:33 | More by kzoobrew
Photo of Spider889


3.58/5  rDev -9.8%

I would preface this by stating that the bar we went to had Burton Baton listed on the menu. Apparently they blew the keg right as we were walking in so I was already supremely disappointed. My friend asked for the closest thing and got this. He wasn't too thrilled so I helped him finish it.

Nice light copper color, slightly cloudy, small white head and mild lace.

Smells amazing. Super fresh citrus and tropical fruit. Pineapple, mango, and tangerine to name a few.

Taste was an oddball. They must use very different hops for flavor/aroma purposes. this tasted like a pine tree, super resinous and bitter.

Overall not a bad beer but really boozy and super bitter.

10-18-2010 21:59:39 | More by Spider889
Photo of thetomG


3.85/5  rDev -3%

Gorgeous cloudy yellow-orange pour with an immaculate layer of super sticky & dense white foam with some large bubbles peeking through the cap. Really amazing looking beer.

Sweet, malty aroma with a hint of citrus. Flavor is rather large - no wonder this is part of the "Big Beer" series. A very strong malt base carries several waves of bitter, sweet, and fruity hops. Its really nice.

Carbonation is right where it needs to be and it has a good sticky/thick body.

The high ABV does make its presence felt though so that lessens the drinkability a bit, but still an excellent beer.

This stuff just came to Chicago so I'll definitely be drinking more of it in the future.

10-15-2010 23:55:00 | More by thetomG
Photo of Lukecook

New Brunswick (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +0.3%

poured into a tulip glass

A-Straw yellow, big white head, lots of floaties, was not expecting that, lots of lacing.

S- Citrus and pine with a bready malt background.

T- lots of citrus, pine, and hop bite, bready malt background.

M- medium body, pretty dry.

D- Good DIPA would enjoy again

10-14-2010 15:28:50 | More by Lukecook
Photo of stingrayvr6

New Jersey

3.58/5  rDev -9.8%

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Showed a deep amber gold with a frothy white head. Moderate retention and little lacing. Smell of oily hops and some sweet bready malts but some odd off-note slightly corrupted it for me. Taste was solid, big malty backbone giving way to a citrusy, fruity hop finish that turns to dry bitterness on the tongue and alcohol warming. Moderate carbonation, very drinkable for the alcohol. Very well done but nothing special. Slightly less interesting than a DFH 90.

10-13-2010 23:57:10 | More by stingrayvr6
Photo of Thur123


4.18/5  rDev +5.3%

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.

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


4.33/5  rDev +9.1%

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.

10-11-2010 02:51:47 | More by FrankLloydMike
Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,505 ratings.