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Smuttynose Big A IPA - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,600 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,600
Reviews: 885
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 91
Gots: 99 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-16-2002

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,600 | Reviews: 885 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of inlimbo77
3.38/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle conditioned on date reads August 2010...so it's fairly old.

A: Hazy, orange color. Two finger fluffy white head. Good carbonation, which you do get from the bottle conditioning. Nice alcohol legs. There are some floaters present in this one.

S: Over ripe peach and some grapefruit notes. But also some bready yeast smells. I don't know why, but I got some banana scents as well.

T: This is boozier than I was expecting from other reviews. Although the nice carbonation helps clear that from the palate quickly. It's almost like the alcohol takes this beer over. I get some of the fruity hoppiness, but not enough. It's got some malt sweetness as well.

M: It's a medium bodied beer, but it does hang around on the tongue a while.

O: lt's OK. Didn't really enjoy this one as much as other DIPAs from the East Coast. This one was too onesided with alcohol and sweetness and not enough hop forwardness. I enjoy their standard IPA, Finest Kind, much more.

Photo of Tucquan
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on 2011-06-10 at Cobblestones in York, PA

A - Almost clear straw with a one-finger head and mild-moderate lacing.

S - Red licorice, light grain.

T - Sweet malt, citrus, tart cherry, chalk, earthy spice and a decent but not extravagent amount of bitterness.

M - Medium body and light carbonation. Syrupy.

O - I liked this English style IPA and would look for it again.

Photo of patreely12
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle provided by Petroos (Thanks man). Poured into a snifter.

A - very cloudy orange/copper. one inch of off white head settles to a bubbly film at the top. nice sudsy lacing.

S - big citrusy fruity aroma. smells syrupy sweet, it's almost too sweet. lots of caramel and rich malt as well as a healthy dose of spicy hops.

T/M - like the nose this beer's flavor is very citrusy and sweet. good rich caramel malts. a slight bite from the alcohol. for how syrupy sweet the flavors are this beer finishes surprisingly clean and refreshing, I'll credit this to the punch of hops on the back end. I think that this tastes an awful lot like Dogfish Head's Burton Baton. medium bodied, high carbonation.

Overall this another fine brew from Smuttynose. Really nice flavors and easy to drink. I'd like to enjoy this beer again soon.

Photo of augustgarage
4.13/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of northyorksammy (thanks!). Bottled in April, 2011. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Golden amber faintly hazy body with two hefty fingers of soapy ivory merengue. Sticky webs of crystalline lacing coat the sides.

Gently sweet aromatics suggest honey, melon, and orange zest. Vague spices emerge as the beer warms.

Deep caramel maltiness coats the palate, bringing along moderate bitterness with lemon/lime and a dank herbal quality from hops. Rich, balanced flavor; medium-dry finish; no off notes.

Medium-bodied, creamy, and effervescent - lots of body and flavor from the ABV but not much heat.

A very well executed example of the style, though hop-heads might not appreciate the potency of malt (though it never veers into strong ale territory). A nice alternative to 90 minute though in a similar vein.

Photo of liamt07
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Sammy, 12oz into a tulip. Bottle conditioned in April 2011. Thanks.

Pours a hazy golden orange, with a fluffy and soapy white head. Sticky sheets of lace. Nose has a general citrus feel to it, some grapefruit and a hint of lemon and pine. Very mild malt to this, nose is dominated by the hops. Taste is bitter from the getgo, some orange, tangerine and lemon among others that I can't nail down. A big thick malt body to this, a touch of bread, lighter sweet caramel notes and almost a honey-like flavour which echoes somewhat in the body and consistency in the beer. Nice body on the beer, mouthfeel is sticky and oily with a strong bitterness and a good alcohol burn in the throat. ABV caught me by surprise on this one as it's not listed on the label. Quite a nice DIPA overall.

Photo of crewfan16
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pouring from a 12 oz bottle into a stella artois glass.

a-pours a hazy g olden hue. nice 1/2" white head that doesnt last too long but leaves a decent, albeit small lacing

s-surprisingly not a ton of hops, but its there. citrus, some nice carmel and malt. smells a bit sweet and syrupy

t-there the hops are. a nice bitterness immediately matched with some grapefruit and other citrus. not a lot of malty backbone that i would have expected but there is a little sweetness at the end

m-maybe just a tad heavy on the carbonation. pretty good body for the style, finishes a bit syrupy with a bit of boozy tingle

overall, pretty much what I expected from a California DIPA. I personally like a bit more balance and malt, but thats just me. Not one of my personal favorites, but another solid brew from Smuttynose.

Photo of ipahophead
3.89/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Yardhouse in Dedham, MA.

Pours dark golden with weak, fading 1/4" head; large bubbles; medium to lowlace during the consumption. Shockingly almost no hop nose. Deeply bitter front to back. Heavy mouthfeel; almost syrupy.

Big hops of undistinguished origin. Long alcohol burn in the finish. Hops hang on pallet for-ev-ar.

Bring on the repeat; great, unique addition to the IIPA space.

Photo of therica
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Flannery's, Mercersburg PA

A= hazy golden, fair head when served, great retention throughout the consumption.

S= very bold pine-citrus and honey, a no-nonsense Imperial IPA with great balance.

T= very nicely balanced with plentiful pine and citrus hops florals and bitterness, mellowed by nice malts and a hint of honey.

M= I'm happy, a nice lingering hops florals and bitters although the bitters did seem to outlast the rest of the flavor after a minute.

O= an exciting and welcome offering, a bit high on the ABV% to be more than one or two at a sitting but definitely worth those.

Photo of goblue3509
3.23/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a copper color with a nice one to two finger head which gives way to a little spotty lacing. The aroma is of citrus hops, not as pungent and big as other doubles, more subtle. The smell was nice, but it left me wanting more from it. The taste followed the nose, citrus hops along with some earthy hops which were balanced out by some caramel malt. The hop bite was there but wasn't as pronounced as others in the class. By the taste I couldn't really tell it was a double. There was no alcohol burn so the alcohol was well hidden. The mouthfeel was dry and moderately carbonated. Overall it was average. It wasn't the big beer that a lot of other imperials are. There was nothing bad about it, it just wasn't up to par with others in the class.

Photo of Buckettt
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A good copper color to it, with a light head to it.

S- Smells of hops, but not overwhelmingly. Some floral notes as well.

T- A healthy load of hops, not too malty, and a pleasant floral/hoppy aftertaste.

M- A significant presence for an IPA

O- Although nothing too unique, it is still very enjoyable. I would easily recommend it to others looking for a good imperial IPA.

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

It's really nice to look at, with a great orange/tan color, near perfect clarity, plenty of rising bubbles, a lasting 1.5 finger head, and sheets of beautiful smooth lacing on the glass.

Hoppy and crisp smelling, hoppy as hell to be more accurate. It almost clears the nose to smell it. It's also got plenty of malts to add to the aroma.

Taste is heavily hoppy, oily with hops, with additional thick, pungent malts. Very earthy and floral too.

Heavy drinking. Bitter aftertaste, noticeable alcohol.

Overall it's good but not stupendous. Interesting tho.

Photo of mooselvlt
4.72/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured fro 12 oz bottle into a stange

A - Hazy golden-hued thick looking nectar. Got a perfect 2+ finder head with off white color. Lingering retention

S - Wow - Orange, lemon, grapefruit...a great mix of the citrus hops on the nose balanced with a grainy hint as well. Great nose!

T - Follows the nose....orange, citrus hops...leaves a lingering snap of the bitter hops on the tongue.

M - Love the feel. Rich, smooth....great feel for an IPA

O - Heard so much about Smuttynose so I was almost expecting to be let down...oh no! This beer was awesome folks! Just a great tasting hop-rich IPA. Not overly hopped like so many are....just right. Will be picking up a 4 pack of this one now.

Photo of Snamnoum
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - hazy golden hazy colored brew that pours like warm syrup, doesn't have much head but what little it does have has excellent retention.

Smell - awesome aromatic and floral hops. Both piney and green with a touch of resin. Sweet toasty malt and citrus (grapefruit) round it out.

Taste - this beer is fantastic! Extremely well balanced and round. It opens with sweet honey like malt and toasted grains and transitions into massive hops. The bitterness lingers and the finish is pronounced.

Mouthfeel - oily/syrupy and rich, this beer is medium to heavy bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall - awesome Imperial IPA! If you love really well balanced big hoppy IPAs this is a must try!

Photo of MacQ32
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - The pour into my tulip glass left a huge creamy colored head 1.5"+. Golden muddied orangish in appearenc, tons of sediment floating around in this thing. Most of the head slowly disappates but leaves a beautiful lacing.

S - Very malty and sweet, piney hops with hints of grapefruit.

T - Not so malty, very sweet and quite hoppy. Citrus notes stil present asis the alcohol. Big bite at the finish (hops and alcohol).

M - Fairly full bodied, semi oily. Carbonation is ok

O - Good beer overall, sizeable bit makes in a bit of a sipper. Seems like there's a bit too much going on with this one

Photo of wallaceandvomit
4.59/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a- massive head on this beer. stuck around for a while like suds in a bubble bath. slightly opaque golden amber color
s- extremely sweet smelling, possibly the sweetest ipa ive ever smelled. flowers, honey, caramel with just a touch of pine
t- follows suit. very sweet. theres some hops in there but its very buried in sweet caramel malt
m- good mouthfeel, nice and creamy/oily but not too thick
d- excellent beer so long as you don't hate sweeter ipas

Photo of musicforairports
3.73/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz into tulip, bottled in April, reviewed May 24.

Golden in color, cloudy with some sediment. One-finger head leaves minor lacing.

Smells of sweet pine, nothing overwhelming.

Taste is lots of grapefruit/pine notes, with sweet malt beneath. This isn't "malty" at all, but the malt contributes a bunch of sweetness in the middle. Hop bitterness dominates the finish. Alcohol is detectable but not overwhelmingly present for the ABV.

Medium mouthfeel, low-medium carbonation. A bit sticky sweet on the end, but not much.

This is a decent DIPA I've been wanting to try for awhile. Fresh, it's pretty similar to an upped version of Finestkind. It's drinkable for the ABV, but I'd take Finestkind over this.

Photo of DeanMoriarty
3.03/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up a 22oz bomber in a trade with Dawson's Liquor in Severna Park, MD and poured it into a Old Speckled Hen pint glass - thanks fellas!

A: Pours a hazy golden/light honey hue with a decent white head that dissipates within a few sips, leaving small amounts of lacing.

S: Tons of malt and booze with only a hint of muddled hop.

T: Unfortunately the taste is in unison with the nose - what a malt bomb! Where's the hops???

M/D: Blah and no - couldn't finish this mess of a DIPA.

Photo of thebrood1987
4.85/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nice hazy darker golden yellow color with suspended yeast sediment. On the smell I get huge citrus and sweet grapefruit notes with some pine in the background. This beer is so incredibly smooth and rich as soon as it hits your tongue its this sweet citrus and sweeter malt flavor and then ending with that citric grapefruit and yes piney bitterness. The smell matches the nose but even more bitter and dry then you'd imagine from what you get from the smell. This beer kind of reminds me of Stone's Ruintation but maybe a touch less bitter thats all. The coolest thing about this beer besides its pure rich hoppy goodness is that I seriously cannot detect the alcohol in the smell or taste at all.

I'm pretty blown away by this actually because its almost 10 percent alcohol and it drinks like a 6 or 7 percent IPA. It's actually a refreshing crisp bitterness and I think I like this one better than their original Smuttynose Finest Kind. This has a sweeter taste to it and even though it has more bitterness then Finest Kind (which I would think would be a total bitter bomb because Finest Kind sure is) it definitely balances it out with the sweetness from the malts. Excellent beer and my all time favorite so far from Smuttynose.

Photo of b3shine
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft to pint. Looks fantastic; light apricot. Bouquet is excellent; floral with citrus, especially grapefruit. Tastes good. Citrus and hops with notes of grapefruit and honey. Mouthfeel was great too. An easy drinker for its type. Overall, a great beer, and much preferred to their regular IPA.

Photo of Matt1516
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at "Bodega Blue" in Vero Beach on tap.

I tried this shortly after the Smuttynose "Finest Kind IPA" and prefer the former.

Cloudy orange in the glass with small head. Smells of grass and hops, citrus.

Big hop taste, oily mouthfeel with grapefruit notes and light maltiness. Definite warming alcohol feel with the high ABV. Nice bitter finish.

Photo of mjw1200
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, lots of malt, lots of hops, losts of different things come across in this beer. I feel the alcohol going down slightly. Very interesting and different than most DIPAs.

This is a beer that I am really glad I tried, but I am not sure it makes the rotation.

Photo of buffs9
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice fluffy 1 inch head fades slowly with a nice lacing, over hazy golden orange bright colored beer.

S: lots of fresh hops, some citrus, a little spicy hops, bitterness. PLenty of fruits as well, and just a hint of booze.

Taste brings some fresh hops, but is a bit too bitter as it finishes for me. A variety of hop flavors. Fairly bitter, but not overpowering. The booze starts to hit you in the middle and end. A long bitter hoppy finish.

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

Drink is decent, but the bitterness gets to be a little much. I like bitter beers, but the depth here doesn't work w/ this much bitterness.

Photo of stewart124
3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy golden-orange in color with a centimeter of white head. Lots of haze and suspended sediment.

Loads of citrus, pine and general cattiness in the nose.

Medium bodied with a smooth creaminess that goes right into the hop bite. The hops are very pungent and the light caramel notes take a backseat to the hop character. Pine notes come to mind. Hops add lots of pine and citrus. Resin and hop oils just coat the tongue.

Finishes very dry with a sharp piney bite on the tongue. Lots of white grapefruit flavor left to linger

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

Fresh bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A - hazy golden hue with a nice 1 finger head.

S - citrus, grapefruit, pine. Nice hoppy aroma, albeit a bit muted.

T - citrus, grapefruit, pine, sweet malty finish. It's quite tasty but not the hop explosion I was expecting. A bit too much alcohol coming through.

M - nice chewy, thick body.

Overall this was a very good DIPA, but not in the same league as some of the top beers in this style. I actually prefer Smutty Finestkind to this. I'll definitely revisit this when I find it fresh.

Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.56/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled: February 2011. 12 oz bottle at 42 degrees into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

A: It pours a clouded tangerine color with a finger and a half of thick, frothy white head that laces phenomenally.

S: Grapefruit, tropical fruits, and some soapy/floral hoppiness.

T: Strong caramel maltiness, floral hoppiness, tropical fruits, and a soapy bitter finish.

M: It features medium thickness with above-average carbonation and a bitter, dry finish.

O: This is a big miss for me. I was hopeful for just a stronger, more intense version of "finest kind" but it was far from that.

Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,600 ratings.