Big Hop | East End Brewing Company

very good
102 Reviews
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Big HopBig Hop

Brewed by:
East End Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
The first of the brews from Pittsburgh’s newest and MICRO-est microbrewery to hit the streets. Truly, a hopped-up American IPA with loads of Centennial and Cascade hops, and just barely enough malt backbone to balance it out. Our flagship brew

Added by WVbeergeek on 12-07-2004

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Reviews: 102 | Ratings: 260
Photo of brentk56
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a very cloudy amber color and a modest head that leaves a nice web of lacing

Smell: Fruity, citrus aroma that bends to the grapefruit

Taste: Brief biscuity opening followed by blast of bitter grapefruit fruitiness; after the swallow, the bitter flavors dominate although the malt retains a maintains a modest presence through the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body and moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Very nice, everyday IPA; East End beers remind you that you can get a lot of flavor without going into the high ABV territory

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

On tap at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse.

Pours a clear amber with a thin white head that retains well and leaves a beautiful latticework of lace down the sides of the glass. Aroma is sweet citrus notes and a spicy hop presence.

The taste is big on citrus and hops up front but then melds into a undercurrent of malt sweetness and spice that provides a good balance. Finishes with a nice bite of lingering bitterness at the end. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice tingling carbonation.

There's something about this IPA from East End that I think could use just a tad more oompth to jack it up a level but I can never seem to put my finger on it. Still very servicable though and very good for the style. I'd never turn down a pint!

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Photo of Rifugium
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Poured into a stem glass, a cloudy amber color with a nice finger of dense white head, that retained and laced well. Aroma of biscuity malts, pine and mildly citrus hops. Lots of good hoppiness in the taste, with a solid malt base. Very tasty IPA. Light-medium mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, and quite drinkable.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From 05/29/15 notes at August Henry's in Pittsburgh, PA. 16 oz. pour in a pint glass.

Decent IPA...not super hoppy, more malty, but easy to drink. Some pine, light bitter bite. Would give it another shot but not a hop bomb.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I originally reviewed this beer on-draft in 2006, not long after Scott Smith initially opened his tiny brewery. He has come a long way, expanding into a much larger location and opening a satellite location in The Strip District. Along with his expansion(s) has come the ability to CAN some of his beers, including this one. Today is T, 27 Sept 2016 and this is a CAN review in support of The CANQuest (tm).

From the CAN: "Buy a Good Friend a Good Beer (tm)"; "Yinz CAN [recycle] this CAN, 'n' 'at!"

The Crack! was loud, but otherwise uneventful. I utilized a gentle Glug followed by an in-glass swirl to raise two-plus fingers of soapy, foamy, tawny head with moderate retention. Color was a slightly-hazy Amber (SRM = > 7, < 9) and I again attribute the haziness to the interior temperature of my reefer. I keep food in there also and as such, I like to maintain a very cool state. The nose, while hoppy, was ironically not as pronounced as in an earlier APA. This had more of a pine & caramel cast, but not as hoppy as I might have expected, given the name. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste belied the nose as it came across with an intense grapefruit citrusiness, buttressed by an underlying pine tar flavor. The flavor's bitterness was lingering on the finish, rendering it dry, but not as intense as the name would suggest. I CAN easily envision filling a cooler with this one.

My original, draft review: This arrived with a thick, foamy, white head above a very clear amber beer. The nose had a great floral hop aroma. The mouthfeel was solidly medium, which is just about right for the style, IMHO. There was a wonderful bitterness on the palate and the finish was beautifully hoppy. I found this to be a refreshing, palate cleansing beer and one that I would have again, often.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Slightly hazed orange copper amber hue forms a thick off white caramel tan head leaves broad bands of lacing very nice look to it. Aroma: Cascade heavy in a good way, leafy citrus mix of hops with a undertone of malt flavor caramel mildly toasted malts that balance out the steady flow of hop character. Taste: Tangy hop bite with an earthy tobacco leaf quality with citrus fruits and a mildly sweet malt mixes nicely to find a nicely hopped very solid IPA with ample bitterness and a touch of alcohol. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied slightly sticky with oil resins from the hops flows nicely evenly carbonated somewhat creamy texture to it. Drinkability: Solid IPA greatful it's a local beer, what better brew to highlight in my 1000th review than Scott Smith's East End Brewing's Big Hop IPA. This small brewery has done so much for the local Pittsburgh brewing scene they deserve some respect.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The Big Hop is a solid drinkable ipa. It poured a copper clear with white head that left a spotty lace. The scent was bitter with slight citrus backing. The taste was nice and ever...but bitter enough to make sure you knew it was an ipa. The mouthfeeel was medium in body with good carbonation. Overall....solid.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Interesting oily and hoppy tones mixed in on this one. I've had this several times and this seems the best sample to date. Nice hop tones, but it's not screaming in your mouth. There's an almost English tone to it that seems to let a good bit of malt in to balance things out. This is not a hop bomb or anything along those lines. I consider it more of an English ipa with stronger hoppy tones than you normally find.

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Photo of tempest
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had a pint at Capone's near Philly. It made a decent pairing with my roast beef sandwich, but I expected more hops. It poured a hazy orange with a short white head. The big citrus flavor came off soapy, and the sharp, bitter edge felt and tasted muted—a good IPA has more kick. Maybe I got an old keg? I'll give this another try next time I see it, but I wasn't impressed.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Served on tap into a beer mug. Brownish amber in hue, almost orange. A nice head diminishes to cling to the rim of the glass, a nice webbed lace forms.

S. Some citrus and herbal hops, a bit of malt.

T. Follows the nose as a nice balanced show of hops and barley. The malt is there, hops are there, neither overbearing at all. A good IPA.

M. Smooth and crisp. Leaves palate a bit dry, leaves me wanting more.

D. Very drinkable, the ABV is managable too for sessions.

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Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Six Penn in Pittsburgh.

Poured a medium amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured a peppery and citric hop and a moderate sweetness.

The taste was upfront peppery resinous hop and a chewy caramel malt. Touch of sweetness at the finish.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style.

Overall a tasty hop forward IPA.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Big hop has a bright golden orange look with a tan 1/2 inch head with decent retention but not much lace. The nose has some hops with some citrus and fruit but the malt is just as noticable, a even split. The taste had light pine, grapefruit, and dough, bread from the malts with caramel. The feel was medium with good carb, crisp but not bitter. I was good with just one pint of it, it did not grab me.

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Photo of John_M
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Industry public house the other evening.

The beer pours a copper orange color with fairly decent head retention and light lacing. Don't get a whole lot on the nose in this one... just some light dry citrus, a hint of malt (sort of reminds me of malted vinegar without the vinegar), and something of a cereal grain aroma. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely in this nicely balanced, on the dry side IPA. As the previous reviewer noted, this really comes across as more of an English style IPA, and so I think calling this a "Big Hop" anything is something of a misnomer. Frankly, I was hoping for more of an American styhle IPA in this beer, as there's really not much citrus or hoppy bitterness in the finish in this one. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth, with the carbonation dialed down quite a bit. Finish is fairly long and the alcohol is completely undetectable.

Had this beer prevoiusly on cask, and I thought perhaps the cask conditioning played a role in killing the hop profile in this one. Nope. The version I had at the public house was very, very similar to the cask version I had previously.

Not awful, but very much a "mehhhh" in this one I think.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly orangish gold with good two0finger head that quickly dies, leaving lace on top of a standard aroma of piney, citric hops, touch of grape (?) and minor sweet caramel malt. Found this beer to be a bit thicker, sweeter, breadier, as the malts are in play more than they should be until a very dry, piney and floral hop tidal wave crushes them, leaving a citric back bite. Not as smooth or as balanced as most IPAs I've had; this seems to be well-reviewed beer but the draft I had was pretty good but nothing blew me away.

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Photo of weeare138
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's...
Appears a hazy orange toned amber with a small, off white head that quickly fades out into a bubbly collar. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of an Earthy, citrus blast up front with a nice, American hop aroma up front followed by a sugary dough sweetness. The hops are bold in this one. It reminds me of sticking my face over a hop boil and inhaling all the wonderful aromas.
Taste is of hop blasted citrus, pine, and floral goodness, along with some doughy, yeasty bread that's been dusted with sugar.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, low-medium CO2, and highlighted with bitter citrusy grapefruit.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a medium, cloudy tangerine-amber with a fluffy off white head, 1 finger high that quickly settled leaving only faint amounts of tracing.

S: loads of centennial and cascade hops were definitely noticed producing a big pungent aroma of soft pine and grapefruit notes with a light flowery presence.

T: The initial flavor had a nice citrusy grapefruit bite and bitterness with smooth floral notes. A nice dry palate with some graininess. The hoppiness lingers long after the swallow.

M: good with a light-medium body. light carbonation tingle and a good amount of bitterness left behind.

D: A nice drinking ipa with just enough balance to down a few of these. The hoppiness was well in check being respectful, without being obnoxiously overbearing making for a great session.

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Photo of corby112
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

Draft at several different locations in the burgh. Pours a slightly hazy, dark golden orange color with burnt orange hues when held to a light and a 1.5 finger frothy off-white head. Decent retention, slowly fading into a thin lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Slightly earthy hop aroma with lots of sweet citrus character as well as some pale malt and subtle booze. Hints of grapefruit and orange peel as well as some earthynpine from the hops. Thisnis countered by a decet malt backbone with hints of biscuit and alcohol sweetness.

Medium bodied with a sticky, bitter dry hop presence up front which is countered by some sweet fruit flavor, pale malt and alcohol sweetness. Pretty dry up front with a resinous pine characte but is decently balanced by hi ts of grapefruit, pineapple and orange peel. The mal backbone is a bit too strong for my preference with hints of toffee, biscuit and Graham cracker. Nicely balanced and decently drinkable but a bit too malty and boozy.

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Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 1/2 pint served by Scott Smith during a visit on the way to Dark Lord Day.

A: The IPA pours a cloudy amber orange color with a small patch of head that does not retain for long.

S: The nose is heavily weighted towards the biscuity malt body, nearly foresaking the hops. Only near the end do the hops emerge, showcasing a citrusy body.

T: The taste begins with a routine malty body, somewhat biscuity but not very dry. As the maltiness slides away, a bitter hop presence emerges. That body is grapefruity with some tangerine/apricot flavors rest nicely on top of the malts.

M: The mouthfeel weighs in more on the malt side, presenting a relatively mild IPA that is not afraid to show its hoppy head.

D: A good drink, I'd like to see some more floral hops emerge throughout the drink. It is pretty darn good the way it is though.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Paid the toll on this on $4.25 for the single at the House of 1,000 beers.

Very cloudy IPA with good lacing sticking to all sides. Smell is quite good hoppy bite. Taste is a good balance of malt and hops with a very homely taste.

Overall I kind of regret buying this its not clean or crisp tasting compared to cheaper alternatives. Skip this one if its over 3 dollars a pop.

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

Very hazy, deep orange with a cap of off-white foam. Good head retention with plenty of lacing. The aroma was all hops - citrusy, grapefruit, and earthy. Solid bitterness with grapefruit and light pine flavours. Soft malt sweetness that's a bit toasty. Medium bodied, with lowish carbonation. Mild texture. An easy drinking IPA, lots of hops without being way out of balance.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.24/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – Served a orange golden color with a good deal of haze. There was a nice large two finger head upon serving that slowly receded over time. Once dissipated, the head leaves a nice deal of lacing to be seen.

Smell – The smell is a bit light for an IPA. There are lighter hints of citrus and a little bit of floral mixed with some sweet caramel malt aroma.

Taste – The taste is of more earthy hop flavors and caught me off guard at first. The earthy hops really hold their ground throughout the taste and more toward the middle meet up with some of the sweeter flavors that were detected in the nose and the lightest bit of pine. These sweeter and earthy flavors largely take the taste to the end.

Mouthfeel – The body was medium to slightly above medium in thickness with a slightly above average carbonation level.

Overall – The earthiness of the brew made it quite unique in my opinion as all the hop flavor, for the most part, was of its origin. In some ways this earthiness made it very delightful, but somewhat one-dimensional in other ways. This beer would be one that I would have to be in the mood for to go for again( which I likely will be).

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Sharp Edge in Pittsburgh. A friend recommended East End Blackstrap Stout, but we couldn't find it anywhere in Pittsburgh. As a fallback, I tried this IPA from East End.

It was served in a mug, refrigerator cold. Nice poofy head over clear golden fluid. Smelled hoppy, what else would you expect.

Tasted like a classic IPA, nearly perfect. If anything could improve it, it would be a little more balance with some malt backbone (just my opinion and preference). But I still give it a 4.5 for taste.

If this finds its way to Columbus I'll be picking it up for summer weekends on my deck.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours a hazy copper color with a one-finger slightly off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of leafy, citrus and pine hops, in that order, with good amounts of grainy caramel malt aromas serving as the backbone.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Caramel malt flavors that are fairly dry kick things off and are joined quickly by good amounts of hop flavors that are equal parts earthy, citrus and pine. The hops carry through to a solidly bitter ending. As the beer warms the citrus hop influence tends to recede a bit, making more room for pine flavors.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I thought this was a solid beer but nothing stood out as exceptional. Worth a shot but I wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.23/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

on tap at hawthornes - served in Duvel tulip

Pours a deep copper color, nearly purple in some shades with a thin layer of beige head, fading out completely.

Pretty understated nose with touches of fruity hoppiness and toasted malts. Lightly sweet with caramel and berry.

Snap of hoppiness up front, juicy fruit with orange peel and berries. A bit sweet, layered onto the caramel malts with toasted grain and bread. Finishes hoppy and dry.

Medium body, decent carbonation, dry and chewy on the tongue. Certainly not poor, but there's just too many top flight IPAs all over the place these days for this not to get lost in the shuffle.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.5/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cask version at Barley’s 4th Annual Mini RAF (05/13/06): Hazy dark gold color with a medium ivory-colored head that dissipates slowly. Thin lacing. The aroma is floral hops and some malt. Medium-bodied with a good bitter character. Citrus, floral hops and malt flavors are pretty well-balanced. The finish is clean and citrusy with a lingering hops aftertaste. Pretty good.

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Big Hop from East End Brewing Company
3.89 out of 5 based on 260 ratings.
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