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Smuttynose Big A IPA | Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA
Very Good
1,724 Ratings
Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.70%

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

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,724 |  Reviews: 896
Reviews by ackbarleywine:
Photo of ackbarleywine
4.75/5  rDev +19.9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of superspak
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass; best before 3/14/2016, listed at 8.2% on the bottle. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep golden yellow color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, light pepper, pine, cracker, bread, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of bright citrus/tropical/piney hops and light-moderate pale malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, light pepper, pine, cracker, bread, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/citrus rind bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon/orange peel, citrus rind, pine, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of bright citrus/tropical/piney hops and light-moderate pale malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Nice moderate dryness as well from bitterness. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately crisp/sticky/resinous, and slightly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome DIPA style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of bright citrus/tropical/piney hops and light-moderate pale malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of LiamStLiam
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty honey brown.

Big head, typical of the style, a shade darker than whitish.

It's funny, I had this right after the Alaskan Sockeye IPA and it almost tasted like a different style. This does not have the bite typical IPA. Milder than I expected.

Lasts a long time, fills your mouth.

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Photo of mcallister
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Resembling pulpy orange juice as it is quite cloudy and thick with a small white head that fades into a ring quickly.

Very sweet floral hop aromas with a lovely boquet of caramel malt and aromatic hops. Citrusy fruit with stone fruit sidenotes. Peach, nectarine, lemon with a bit of pink grapefruit.

Thick with caramel and toffee. Very floral flavors with mainly stonefruit. Finish has a crusty thick coating mouthfeel. Somewhat sweet and slightly cloying yet still drinkable. Alcohol shows on the finish. So succulent and floral. A white pepper rustic spicyness on the mid palate.

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Photo of birchstick
3.63/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - pours an orangeish yellow with a big, froathy head

S - smells of delicious grapefruit and pineapple hops

T - the taste is not as sweet as the nose. Caramel malts are firsr on the palate. The malts are quickly pushed aside by a barrage of citrusy and pine hops, which are followed by a ton of bitterness. As it warms, the bitterness fades and caramel malt and sweetness shines.

M - big, creamy mouthfeel, pretty solid

D - pretty solid DIPA here. At first I found it way too bitter, but as it warmed it became a very enjoyable brew. Another smutty that impressed me.

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Photo of IronLover
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark yellow in color with a hazy viscous look. Poured with a short white foam foam that reduced to a soapy cap. Slightly pungent, earthy floral aroma, with honey and sweet, sticky malt and a touch of pine and booze in the deep background. Resinous, dry, fine grainy feel that coats the tip of tongue but an oily, slightly creamy feel in the back of the mouth. Floral and herbal hop flavors seem to twist the tastebuds, although a sticky, honey sweet malty backbone shows its strength beneath. Finishes dryly with a lingering herbal and pine hop bitterness with a pleasant touch of booziness. Don't know that I've tried DIPA quite like this one.

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Photo of vfgccp
3/5  rDev -24.2%

Photo of KevieJames
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of BrunoH
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of TXHops
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my better selections from the Boston trip, retrospectively. This Smutty “big beer series” IPA begins life as a hazy, light burnt orange offering with an average head of standard, off-white bubbles. A big, fruity/bready/hoppy aroma oozes from the glass, slowly permeating my olfactory senses with a growing sense of aromatic delight. If I stop to think about what I just smelled, then I realize that this is a wonderfully complex, lovely beer, by the nose alone. The citric hoppiness is showcased, but not in a West Coast way—the beer maintains a lovely balance between the sweet citrus fruit and the doughy backbone. The house Smutty yeast is evident here, and took me instantly back to the Shoal’s Pale Ale, Old Brown Dog and Robust Porter that I tried years ago as part of the beer of the month club that I canceled sometime around early 2001… Now that I think about it, this beer also tastes like the Portsmouth lager, so the house yeast can’t be the only common thread running through these beers… The same honeyed, tropical fruit aroma and subflavor are just as obvious in this one-off IPA as they were in the lager. Is it the maltster Smutty buys from? Is it the process? Is it a specific, unique, signature grain? Interesting…

The beer picks up flavor as it goes—the sweetness grows, reaching honey bun intensity, while the hoppiness takes a comfortable position in front of and behind the maltiness. Again, this IPA is way more about balance than any IPA I’ve had in the last few years, yet somehow, the hoppiness isn’t overlooked. It’s almost as if Smutty brewed an ESB/IPA. The result is truly a fabulous beer. It might not be as assertively hoppy as most BA’s are looking for, but it’s a tremendous example of brewmaster’s skill—so big, yet supple; so sweet, yet so mitigatingly hoppy; so hoppy yet so complexly malty. Wonderful beer. The hops for hops’ sake beers could take a lesson…

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Photo of Lerxst
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a murky burnt orange with a nice sized off white head that has fair retention and leaves nice lacing.

S-Tropical fruits, floral and pine hops, wisps of malt. It is a pleasant but a bit subdued nose. I would have liked for the nose to have been more prominent, but what I do pick up smells good.

T-Taste is much more pronounced than the nose. Big notes of pine resin, floral and citrus hops pound the daylights out of the traces of malt that try and fight their way through. Biting and bitter finish.

M-I think this has a great mouthfeel. Its actually a bit chewy and creamy with a carb bite that is done perfectly. Medium body, slick and oily.

D-For a big beer, it is very drinkable.

I liked this one. A job well done by Smuttynose.

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Photo of Kadonny
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. This was the 2007 Big A so it was almost 11 months old when I reviewed it.

A: A nice golden deep amber orange color with a one finger off white creamy head. Nice lacing.

S: Citrus hops with massive amounts of grapefruit and some nice deep pine smells. A slightly sweet backround smell lingers.

T: Hops up front with citrus and pine, loads of hops up front. Fromt there beer really mellows into a nice malty sweetness that pulls together nicely with the hops. Granted this beer might be more hoppy fresh, but I found this 07 to be a very, very balanced beer. The malt sweetness lingers as the hops come through for the finish for a perfectly blended ending.

M: Medium to heavy mouthfeel. You can taste the alcohol, but it is not offensive. A resiny feel is had but again not unpleasant, it just shouts "I'm a DIPA damnit".

D: Medium. As much as I loved this beer, the high ABV limits drinkability. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but one 22 ouncer is perfect.

Overall another great beer by Smuttynose. I found this to be a very balanced DIPA that no question is in my top 10 of doubles, I liked it that much. Nice job Smutty!

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of TSpartan4
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of JohnBender
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Ken_P
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of mschofield
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an orange-gold, topped with a two finger head. Well carbonated with abundant streams of tiny bubbles. Leaves wide rings of lacing - were thick and puffy.
Very robust floral and citric aroma, wood and lemon zest notes.
Bit of a harsh taste, wood, oily, citrus, floral, leather and citrus zest, not much malt showing through.
Medium-full bodied. It's good but it would be tough to drink more than a couple.

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Photo of nickss
4.39/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 4 - Beautiful deep golden-orange hue with a thin white cap of head. Lots of lacing.

Smell: 5- Smell of huge hops, cloves, fruitiness, banana... very floral, very yummy.

Taste: 4 - Grassy, minty, floral... very well balanced with the perfect amount of hoppiness (though granted I'm not the hop-monster that some are on this site).

Mouthfeel: 4.5 - Crisp and tongue coating, allowing the aftertaste to linger long after the swallow.

Drinkability: 4.5 - I could drink quite a few of these... a very solid brew.

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

22oz. brown bomber poured into an imperial pint. Says "Bottle Conditioned in 2007"

A: Pours a golden orange with a bit of yellow and good visibility. 3 fingers of slightly rocky white head. Pretty good retention and lacing.

S: Big citrus and pine. Lots of grapefruit but a different zing with pungent lemon and sour lime notes. Just a touch of phenols help with add a unique complexity to the fruity esters. Malts are nearly undetectable expect a subtle sweetness.

T/M: Lots of hop bitterness and runs free for most of the mouthful. Big, crisp, fruity notes of the grapefruit, lemon, and lime. A bit of alcohol again in the hops. Malts again are pretty subtle. A dash of sweetness behind a bit of lightly buttery biscuit. With malt creaminess on the low side, alcohol comes out a bit stronger in the finish. Hops stay strong throughout and last in the warm, dry finish.

D: This bomber should be enough to crush my palate for the night.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in an imperial pint glass at ChurchKey.

Haven't seen the bottles 'round here in NoVa, so glad to see it on tap on the CK. It pours a pale straw with just the slightest bit o' haze on it, topped by a couple healthy fingers of white foam. The nose comprises pine, grapefruit, honey, and caramel, all swirling about nicely together. A strong bite o' pine comes straight out as the tongue dives in. As things progress a stiff caramel insurgency takes to the streets, turning the tongue into a Mogadishu torn asunder by all-out sectarian flavor warfare. By the time the tongue escapes, it is not clear which side has won the day, but many lives have been touched. Expect commercials soon. The body is a heavy light, with a moderate carbonation, a sticky feel, and a dry finish. Overall, pretty trong, but pretty good as well. I just don't think I could handle very many in one sitting.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.24/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - not the appearance I like in a beer. Very apple cider like coloring with small 1 finger head and lots of floaty stuff in the beer.

Smell - Very strong pine scent to this one.

Taste - Its a big beer all right. Good definition of an American Double IPA Very heavy, very piney bitterness, a little too bitter and lingering aftertaste for my pallet. Alcohol level is well disguised but you know its going to kick you later on.

Mouthfeel - As creamy and full bodied of an IPA as I've sampled.

Overall - An IPA this bold is nice to try every now and then to shock the pallet but 1 beer sampling for a while is all I can do with this one.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the bottle, it pours a hazy amber with a small head, which lasts a while and leaves a bit of lacing. Nose detects citrus and some malt. Mouth revels in the malty hoppiness. Enjoyable but dangerous.

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Photo of Rhf9120
3.25/5  rDev -17.9%

Photo of bog
3.69/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a decent IPA. When I drink an IPA (especially a strong one), I think of dirtiness, a certain earthy quality. This beer partially fulfills that ideal. The smell is the best part of this beer: very hoppy and "dirty". The taste is good, but I feel that it's a bit weak compared to Dogfish Head's 90 Minute IPA. However, the taste does build for a bit longer than most. Overall, a good IPA, but not the best I've had.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Label notched Bottle Conditioned in Dec 2010. This is another one of those "I can't believe I never posted a review of this" reviews.

Pours with lots of rich cascading bone-white head atop a hazy golden orange amber body. The head grips the glass and won't let go!

Nose is all about citrus - pink grapefruit, lemon and lime zest and orange juice - orange blossoms, pine pollen, dusty dried grains, super pale caramel. Classic East Coast IIPA nose.

Palate is medium-bodied and woven densely with hops. The bitterness is both in-your-face and creeping at the back. Lots of pine-y, "out-door" hops. Pale caramel leads the flavors and then gets beat over the head by dry, earthy hops and some faint bitter citrus peel flavors. After a few sips, when the bitterness shock wears off, the pale caramel-y sweetness comes out a bit more.

Notes: Drier than I remember it being, especially for an East Coaster, but this is a damn fine IIPA and I love that it's year round in a 4pk now! Not a big fan of the regular Smutty IPA, but I think this is friggin' tasty.

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Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 1,724 ratings