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Big Eye IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Eye IPABig Eye IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

3,483 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 3,483
Reviews: 1,016
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 9.61%
Wants: 142
Gots: 491 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-22-2000

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,483 | Reviews: 1,016 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of letsgopanthers
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

It pours a darker translucent copper color. Much darker than I was expecting based on reviews from friends.
Two-Finger head with medium density.

Smell of citrus originally with an immediate transfer to butterscotch on the second waft.

There is a hoppy jolt on the first sip but the malt chosen allows for the hoppy flavor to vanish within seconds. A very butterscotch flavor clearly kills most of the citrus flavor that makes it more of an average IPA to me.

Has a smoother flavor than most malt-heavy IPAs but very different than the IPAs from the IPA Mecca of San Diego.

Overall, a good beer but I wouldn't go out of my way to get it again.

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A. Pours a clear orange with a one finger creamy white head that dissipates leaving tons of residual lacing clinging to the glass.

S. Tons of citrus hops on the nose - quite a beautiful combination of orange, grapefruit, and lemon zest. Some caramel aromas break out as it warms.

T. Very bitter initially. Toffee and caramel malt flavors come in to balance out the flavor. Some orange zest gets mingled with the caramel and gives way to some lemon zest. A very interesting mix of sweet and bitter flavors dancing back and forth on the palate. I quite enjoy this.

M. Medium body with a fairly high level of somewhat biting carbonation. Clears the palate nicely.

D. It's very interesting how the flavors play with each other, but by the end of the bottle it's almost like a wrestling match on your tongue, which is to say not terribly pleasant. That said I did enjoy this beer - I just wish I'd consumed it a bit quicker and slightly colder.

Photo of woodychandler
4.34/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am not about to trump a Cask review with a CAN review, although I wish that we still had the capability to review multiple serving styles.

At long last, nepotism rears its ugly head on The CANQuest (TM)! For those not in the know, I write for Ale Street News (and others) while my cousin, Colby Chandler, is the specialty brewer at Ballast Point B.C. It has been a closely-unguarded secret for some time and I have written about our relationship as well as making appearances with Colby at various venues and events. He knows of my affinity for CANned beer and especially craft CANs, so when they began CANning their beers, he knew precisely who to send some for a fair and balanced review.

I first heard of Big Eye IPA when Colby's late father, my Uncle Rick, came home for my late father's funeral in July 2001. Rick brough t-shirts along and as a burgeoning hophead, I opted for the one depicting that beer. After that, I was elated when Ballast Point broke into the East Coast markets and for a long time, Big Eye actually supplanted Victory Hop Devil as my go-to IPA when out and about. I remain a big fan of this beer and am equally elated to see it in a CAN!

From the CAN: "Handcrafted & CANned in San Diego, California"; "Dedicated to the Craft"; "The Beer That Helped Put San Diego IPAs on the Map"; "our Big Eye IPA is a big hoppy brew, thanks to the abundance of American Columbus and Centennial varieties we use to flavor and dry hop. While the English originally added extra hops to preserve their beers for sea travel, we do it for the love of all that bold, intense flavor that makes India Pale Ale one of our favorite styles."

Speaking of dry hopping this beer, pictures exist of me on a ladder in the back of the original HomeBrew Mart dry hopping a batch in the spring of 2002. Yowza!

Once again, the Crack revealed a brimful CAN and little of it even splashed out to greet me like a puppy upon its master's return. Down, boy! The inverted Glug was marvelous, literally, as I marveled at the pseudo-cascade followed by the establishment of two dense fingers of tawny head. Color was a deep-amber, not quite coppery, with NE-plus quality clarity and I am now obsessed with living to be 50 y/o so that I CAN celebrate my birthday with Val MidWest in Lincoln, NE, birthplace of the term. The head was gently falling, leaving sticky lacing in its wake. Nose was redolent with hops, and while I may not yet know the difference between the two varieties, I plan to get smarter this summer. Suddenly, the Hops Monkey on my back began his incessant chattering and I realized that I was ready for a hit. Mouthfeel was medium and the immediate jolt of hops on my tongue allowed this hop junkie to take a deep breath. Man, then I really got the hops along with a butterscotch sweetness which I assume was intentional. My eyes rolled back in my head and I fell off the chair, curling up in the fetal position, sucking my thumb and crying for my mommy. Oh, man, all of those hops and all at once! I didn't start out with this habit, it just developed over time, man. I had it kicked for a while but just like that dude in "The Godfather", every time that I think that I am free, I keep getting pulled back in. It's not fair, I tell ya! Beer should not be this good that I would kill everyone in sight for just a sip. Finish was dry, with the hops just lingering - in my sinus cavity, on my palate, in the back of my throat. Jesus, I hope that nobody thinks that they are getting any out of my sixer of CANs. This is too good to share. Not with the Old Lady, not with Val MidWest, not Sam Knocken, tone77, anybody. Nobody. I may delete this review so that others will never have any idea how good it actually is. Now the pigs are bangin' on my door! Who tipped them off, man?!? You see why it is such a bad idea for me to fix like this?

CAN scores: ALL 5s! Does this rating system go up to 11?

Transcribed from notes dated Sa, 26 June 2010 at TJ's in Paoli.

Not just cask, but a gravity pour. My notes mention that it was Simcoe dry-hopped.

It arrived with a finger of soapy light-tan head that was already working to create some nice lacing. Nose was like standing in a pine forest and taking a deep whiff. Color was a slightly hazy orangish-amber. Mouthfeel was silky smooth with a great pine-hops bite that really got my attention. It was like having the dentist grab my tongue with pliers and then get at it with a scrub brush. One new palate later, the finish left me gasping for breath. Zounds!

Photo of kirkpjr
3.93/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a clear golden color with copper highlights. 3 full fingers of head gives way to chunky, thick sheets of lace.

S: Lots of citrus. Orange and lemon zest with some grapefruit. Fairly large sweet caramel malt mutes some of the hop character.

T: I wish these had dates on the bottle. Toffee and caramel make up the fairly strong malt overtones. Orange zest and some pine push through the malts to give a nice bitter bite.

M: Moderate, prickly carbonation and medium body. Resinous hop flavor.

D: Good, easy drinking IPA. A little malt-forward for my preferences.

Photo of TheKingofWichita
3.33/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a yellow orange color with a thick white head and tons of lacing left over. Smells of strong hops aroma with a ton of citrus in there. Tastes of orange zest with tons of hops to overpower a small amount of malt. Mouthfeel is nice and bubbly. Drinkability is pretty good.

Photo of climax
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours an amber orange with a large tan head. The retention is pretty good and the lace very good.

Big Eye is Ballast's more robust IPA, boasting 85 IBU's. The aroma doesn't necessarily portray that upon first impression. It's comprised of a large sweet citrus profile with an assertive caramel malt background. Bready pizza crust, sweeter butterscotch and caramel distracted me from the hop bill. Ripe grapes and some astringency follow up as well.

The malt in this beer has a good roasted yet sweet presence. It may be a big too big though IMO, and takes away from what this one was aimed at, the hops. Caramel and butterscotch flavors really keep this one on the sweet side. However, that flavor begins to shift as the bitter finish takes over. The passion fruit, pine, and soapy aftertaste is where the hops begin to pop.

The body is bold, and carries a nice soft thickness. The carbonation is on the mild side, but ample. I that helps bring out the viscous feel.

It really is a refreshing beer, with such a sweet and juicy flavor. Being a 7% IPA, it could have definitely taken me longer to finish, so Big Eye has got that on it's side. A good beer for sure, just not an awesome IPA.

Photo of babaracas
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber with creamy two finger white head, fades to quarter inch leaving splotches of chunky lace. Smell: slightly minty, pineapple, leafy and herbal, background caramel. A little mellow and off mainstream but nice enough. Taste: caramel and a little sweet melon beneath lemon, pineapple, and herbal hops. Nice carbonation, fairly creamy. Pretty damn good for ones standard IPA. Unreadable bottling code.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Big Eye is a light orange color. The liquid is transparent and filled with rising bubbles. The head is about an inch thick and has good staying power. Considerable lacing coats the glass. Overall, a much improved appearance from the bottled versions I have had.

S: Hop aromas with citrus, notably grapefruit.

T: Again, a marked improvement from the bottle, but not quite enough to earn the higher score. This beer is fresh and delicious.

M: Nice feel with moderate bitterness and no harshness.

D: If you see this on draft, it's worth it.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear bright golden color ale with an average sixe foamy head with OK retention and minimal lacing. Aroma consists of bitter and lightly citrus notes are dominant thought not as powerful as expected. Taste is also dominated by bitter and citrusy notes with a lightly sweet malt base. Body is about average with OK carbonation. Well brewed thought I was expecting a more powerful hops profile.

Photo of foureyedgeek
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into nonic/British pint or whatever its called.

Pours bronze with a huge off white head, though that may have been from me pouring from 12 inches off the the rim of the glass. Nice lacing for the entirety.

Smell is super sweet and hoptastic.

Taste is much the same, not that theres anything wrong with that. Well balanced IPA with a very hop forward finish. Pretty much par for the course as far as this item goes.

At first I wasn't sure about this one, but I am definitely coming around to it. Mouthfeel is slick and not too thick.

Drinkability is a-ok. I could have a few of these just fine without wearing down my palate.

Photo of anotherpg
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an overall excellent IPA and, at 7ABV, it's close to a double. The color gives it away: this sucker is nearly orange, with a nice white lace noted elsewhere, although it's not uber-hopped -- for a high-end of the AIPA abv, my tongue was not in pain but great pleasure drinking this one.

Photo of orangesol
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on cask at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint.

A - Pours a clear, dark, amber with a solid one finger head that leaves thick lacing down the entire glass.

S - Lots of tropical hops in this one. Lots of mango, grapefruit, and tangerine flavors. Some sweetness from the malt and a bit of bready yeast at the end. Seems very similar to normal sculpin but still a very nice nose.

T - Strong, sweet, malt profile up front quickly giving way to a strong citrus hop presence. Flavors are similar to the nose. Fairly well balanced once all the flavors blend together. A very nice cask IPA.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Fairly bitter finish lingers on the pallet for some time.

D - I enjoyed this one quite a bit but I think even with all the additions they made it is still only on par with the regular version of sculpin.

Photo of kbutler1
3.71/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours a darker golden color with a big fluffy slightly off white head. Aroma is more malty than hoppy but the hops presence is more of a citrus variety then pine. The taste is more malty than I thought it would be but it does have a nice hops character to it. Nice lace left on the glass. Lingering bitterness with a touch of sweetness. Very easy drinking.

Photo of aubuc1
4.42/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured in to a goblet.

Pours a clear orange with a nice off white head.

Smell is a huge orange citrus with a biscuity malt.

Taste is a delightful combination of hoppy bitterness, hoppy sweetness, biscuity malt.

Mouthfeel is right on and this tastes so good the drinkability is great.

Truly a world class IPA.

Photo of silver0rlead
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden color with a nice off-white head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma has some citrusy and grassy hops upfront with a piney background, along with some caramel and orange marmalade, fruity esters, biscuit and some alcohol. The flavor also has bright piney and citrusy hop notes with some grassy flavors as well, along with biscuit and caramel, fruity esters, a chalkiness and some alcohol. The mouthfeel is on the thick side and drinkable is decent. A very tasty IPA, not super complex or drinkable but hits all the right notes.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A very typical dark amber IPA color with a nice half inch of foam that turns into a nice ring of lace.

S - Very solid pine and citrus like hops with a nice malt.

T - Wow is that balanced! The flavor of the bitter hops is is balanced by a sweet malt. I find it less dry than most IPA's I usually drink and it masks the ABV well without being too hoppy. Loved it.

M - Very light to medium. Enjoyable to drink.

D - Yes and please more! I have not had many IPA's this smooth and hopefully had this fresh but I am loving the flavor and bite. I will probably make this a regular.

Photo of PicoPapa
4.07/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle with No Freshness Date on it. Pours a translucent orange with a thin head. Lots of lacing. Strong aroma of hops, grapefruit and orange. Flavors of hops and grapefruit. Not all that bitter. Not overly abusive on the pallet and somewhat light for the style. A very drinkable, citrusy IPA.

Photo of soze47
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a 12 oz. bottle yesterday. I've been looking forward trying this one for a while.

Orangey and copper in color. Head subsided quickly, some light lacing.

Citrus flesh and floral hops come out. Not a huge nose on this.

Taste: Nice, but not huge taste. Good balance as hops and malt create fruity taste upfront. Nice floral and herbal blooms are lovely secondary tastes.

Highly drinkable and nice light-medium body. Crisp and clean flavors create a highly gulpable drink.

Nothing truly remarkable here, but a very nice IPA. I like the lack of hop bitterness, but strong presence of hop flavors like orange flesh (not rind) and flowers/herbs (not spiciness). I'll be sure to reach for this one again in the future as a football or boat beer.

33 Beers Flavor Chart (5 high to 1 low):
Alcohol/Solvent: 2
Dark Fruit: 1
Citrus Fruit: 4.5
Hoppy (Pine): 3
Floral: 3.5
Spicy: 3
Herbal: 3.5
Malty: 2.5
Toffee: 1
Burnt: 1
Sweet: 3
Sour: 1
Bitter: 2
Astringent: 1
Body: 2
Linger: 2

Photo of Genuine
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful bright orange and amber, with an awesome darker vanilla/cream color head. Didn't expect it but it looks amazing.

Smell - the nose on this one is quite wonderful. Lots of citrus noted here. Bready, some notes of honey.

Taste - This is where everything came together. I tasted a lot of orangish, grapefruit and one other that I can't seem to put my finger on, but it's quite refreshing. Some what sweet at first, all the way through the finish. Grassy. It's not as hop forward as I would have liked, but it's still solid.

Mouthfeel - This one is undoubtedly full for the style. Very nice!

Drinkability - I could definitely have a few of these with no problem. One of my favorite American IPA's.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to pastradul for this one!

A: Pours an clear orange, with a chunky 2 finger head that last a long time. Thick lacing sticking to the side of the glass. It is still there as I finish off my glass, from top to bottom.

S: Nice hoppy aroma, more on the floral/citrus side. Some grapefruit for sure here. Also get some lightly toasted malt.

T: Extremely well balanced. Fruity hops upfront, with a nice earthiness to it, grapefruit and orange. On the back a nice caramel/toffee malt flavor. Semi-bitter finish

M/D: Medium bodied with good carbonation. Overall a very solid IPA. Would love to get this bad boy in 12oz bottles. A great go to beer.

Photo of chickenm
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep orange with an off-white head that has great retention. Fairly sweet aroma with malt and sugar, along with a good dose of citrus hops. Taste is more hoppy than the smell would indicate, but it maintains good balance with the malt. Citrus, pine, and tropical fruit flavors along with the malt backbone. Finishes bitter; this is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Nicely drinkable, this is a great IPA.

Photo of pvsob
3.25/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Light amber/rust color with a solid two-finger head that has great retention and leaves average lacing.

S- Lots of citrus (orange), some tropical fruit (pineapple), a combination of bready/caramel malt flavor, and just a touch of alcohol as the beer warms.

T- There is some malt present, but the piney hop bitterness is the star here. Some citrus pith comes through also. It finishes with a nice piney/pithy bitterness along with some warming alcohol.

M- Medium, borderline full feel with a good amount of carbonation.

D/O- I enjoyed it, but I'm not running to the store for another. It's just another IPA that gets lost in the every expanding IPA shelf at my local beer store. Worth a try, but don't go out of your way to acquire this one. Cheers.

Photo of Soneast
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy, amber-golden color, growing a thick, pillowy white-colored head, with great retention, hanging on through most of the glass.

The aroma is comprised of a citrus hop character. Lots of grapefruit to my nose, some tropical fruits, mostly pineapple and some mild fruity esters in the way of green apple and a bit of light caramel malt aroma towards the end.

The flavor is incredibly smooth. The hops take front seat, bringing out some citrus notes and a touch of spiciness. Their is a balancing, semi-sweet malt character, that comes out as an almost honey-like flavor, and some mild graininess mid-swallow. The finish is dry and very easy on the palate, with just a hint of diacetyl which doesn't ruin the flavor profile at all...it maybe even enhances it. There is a lot of hop flavor without the bite. There is virtually no lingering bitterness.

The body is pretty mild, with medium carbonation. Big Eye is really a very easy drinking IPA, with a very nice hop character and clean finish. That said, there are plenty of readily available mid-west IPAs that are as good, if not better, than Big Eye IPA, so, for me, it really isn't worth seeking out more than once.

Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.12/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Bright orange look

S- smell citrus and hops.

T- A strong bite of hops and citrus tones very balance.

M- Semi-dry hop bite and citrus notes through out the sip.

D- Very good ipa not like it's big brother Sculpin but still a good IPA.


Photo of cbutova
3.78/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The first time I have seen the new black label at Julio's, pretty much as fresh as I am going to get it. In retrospect, let this one warm up so it is just slightly cool.

A- Pours out dark orange with a fluffy white head. The retention is good but the cap eventually dies down to a nice creamy pillow and good ring. A lot of thick, creamy lace.

S- Sweet tropical hop notes in moderate quantity above yeast breadiness and caramel malt. Apple and floral come to mind as well.

T- Hop forward. They lend a lot of fruit and citrus (orange, zest), some floral and pine notes. This actually tastes a lot like cider to me, hmm. Other things are caramel malt and slight grain.

MF- Nice and creamy with smooth moderate carbonation. Slight floral bitterness.

DB- This beer is strange to me. A citrus bomb that somehow reminds me of apple cider. A drinkable, refreshing IPA.

Big Eye IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 3,483 ratings.