Smuttynose Big A IPA | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
896 Reviews
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Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Double / 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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-16-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 896 | Ratings: 1,720
Photo of Taylor8189
5/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is exactly what an Imperial IPA should look, taste, and feel like. I've had this beer almost ten times on tap over the past couple of months and every time I drink it I am reassured that it was a great decision. From the moment the server/ bartender places the beer down in front of you, you know it is going to be a treat. The initial smell is strong, full of hops...undertones of citrus fruit. It is very drinkable, almost too drinkable if I must say. The carbonation is very high as it should be and the alcohol is practically hidden. It almost feels like you're drinking a refreshing glass of carbonated grapefruit juice (if that exists haha). But on a serious note, this beer is absolutely fantastic. If you are looking for a heavy, drinkable, refreshing IPA that will literally knock your sock s off then look no further, you have found your poison.

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Photo of alkchrios
5/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was served to me at Lord Hobos in Mass... I had the 2004 and it was amazing.. I expected it to be rather full and bitter but it wasnt that. This was a great great beer.. aged perfectly..not overbearing in the least... On the pallet a lot of wheat and hops is present with a nice burnt sugar taste. very very good... i wish i didnt have to write 250 words for this review when all I should have to say is.. this is a big a ipa 2004... you should prooobably grab this is you come across it.

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Photo of kegerator
5/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

this is one dam good beer.
pours a slightly hazy coppery orange with hints of ruby when held to the light. Forms a decent 1 inch head that is sticky and creamy and sticks around a good while leaving nice lacing
aroma is big hops, citrusy grapefruit and floral with hints of alcohol and a nice malt profile lingers as well
taste was so so at first until it warmed up a bit then it all hell broke loose :). Nice floral and citrus flavors make up the bulk of this brew followed by a carmel sweet malt hit and a nice warming from the alcohol. it finishes dry and crisp and was very drinkable. I should have bought two.

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Photo of josanguapo
5/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From Miguel. In Teku glass. Playing Broken Sword 5. Superb mixing of tropical fruits sweetness with high bitterness and very well hidden ABV (in taste/nose, but you stand up...)

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Photo of hga2009
4.97/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a fantastic beer. Not sure why it only gets a b from the bros. This beer can be held up against others in imperial ipa class like hercules from great divide and 90 min ipa and others. Very clean that is the first thing u notice. poured into a piraat glass u really get the nose on this one. Silky smooth taste follows with a fusion of hops followed by a hop and alcohol bruno. Enjoy this one and repeat. A world class example in this highly contested style.

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Photo of getalife2k5
4.97/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottle. poured a rich amber; slightly cloudy. a nice thick foamy head that dissipated into a thin layer that maintained itself. aroma of citrusy hops... grapefruit, orange, tangerine & papaya, wow! tasted even better than it smelled! all the same citrus flavor with a nice thick maltiness that gives it a really full-bodied mouthfeel. a surprising sweetness greets you followed by that grapefruit bitterness that lingers and dances on the middle of your tongue. i don't think i've ever had a beer that was better balanced... this is an absolutley great representative of an IPA. My mouth was perfectly and completely stimulated.

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Photo of Norfawkers
4.97/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent IPA and very hoppy but not overpowering

Apearance: Cloudy yellow-orange; unfiltered; thick foamy head

Smell: Hoppy goodness with citrus, some oak?

Taste: Hops and more hops

Mouthfeel: A bit creamy; a slight bitter kick but otherwise smooth

Drinkability: Complex and flavorful, definitely a sipping beer

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

Smuttynose Big A IPA

On tap at Isaac Newton's- Newtown, PA

Appearance- hazy orange with a huge overflowing head. Head lasted to the last sip.
Smell- grapefruit/ orange rind. Floral with some sunflower seed.
Taste- nice balance between citrus and floral hops.
Mouthfeel- oh so bitter and dry. Packs a wollop.

Overall- The chalkboard above the bar says, rated #1 IPA in america by the New York Times. I might agree, this is so tasty. Throw in a few pretzels to compliment to taste. I could drink this morning, noon, and night!

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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.

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Photo of jtw5877
4.85/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice orange hue with a nice white fluffy head. The aroma is a magnificent testimony to hoppy goodness. The hopiness stays there all the way through to the aftertaste. Enough malt to back things up but this is a hop lovers beer all the way. I'd recommend this to anybody who likes IPA's IIPA's or hoppy Barleywines. Truely an exceptional beer.

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Photo of AllThingsNinja
4.82/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This golden beer generated a sweet aroma with hints of grapefruit. the flavors were even more balanced than the in the year round Smutty IPA. The sugary malt sweetness provides an interesting and refreshing counterpoint to the strong grapefruit and pine notes. I hear that Amarillo hops are in the brew, but they didn't seem to play a dominant role. Perhaps they were the magic that tied everything together so well. This years Big A is a full bodied, refreshing and drinkable IPA. It's only flaws were its rather generic appearance - but after a bunch of different brews at the HopHead Throwdown my concept of a "generic" ipa has forever shifted.

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Photo of jmerloni
4.78/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Peachy yellow and thickly hazy with a beautiful, dense white head that leaves a perfect layer of film on the top once it recedes. Laces nicely, like a big IPA should.

S - Hops galore, pine, brown sugar malts, pineapple, lemon in that order.

T - Pleasantly spicier than it smells. Sage and rosemary, lemon for sure, plus a lot of pine and hops, with a perfect perfect perfect malt backbone. This is great. There are times the pine actually stings, which is actually quite blissful.

M - Bubbly, explosive. Medium to full bodied. Very very sticky. Triggers a salivary backlash in the middle of the throat. Numbingly hoppy in a pleasant way - in a way that I know I'll be able to taste my next beer at 100%. Awesome awesome mouthfeel.

D - What would I ever expect from a Smuttynose DIPA? Exactly this. This is an A+ beer and I will be going to this alll the time when I want a good, hard, pleasant session. You can session with this for sure, which is somewhat amazing, considering it's 9.6% ABV. A beer like this is the reason that East Coast IPAs will always compete with West Coast IPAs. What a brewery. What a fucking brewery.

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Photo of Brad007
4.75/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pale color with a small, frothy head. Huge aroma of hops in the nose with little if any malt. Taste is a strong blast of hops with a nice grapefruit aftertaste. Strong and fruity. True to the style of the Imperial IPA, the last refuge of the hophead. Even at 9.2%, this is quite drinkable. Nothing but hops, hops and more hops.

The aftertaste is desirable and to be quite honest, I actually prefer this over 120 Minute IPA. I could always buy a bottle later on and age it but when it comes to Imperial IPAs, the fresher the hops, the better.

This beer is still quite smooth and the bitterness makes it so. I'm already a fan of Smuttynose IPA so I will assume that this is Smuttynose IPA x 10.

Verdict: A decent DIPA if you are into DIPAs.

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Photo of shapudding
4.73/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured with a thick head atop an incredibly cloudy unfiltered looking ice tea colored bres. Can't see through it. Scents mainly citrus. Tons of grapefruit rind flavor, that is the main thing jumping out at me, then the hops. Highly carbinated, but not annoyingly so- just enough. Very drinkable.

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Photo of ITK4ever
4.72/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Everytime I start to think of Stash, I get a little randy....not that there's anything wrong with that. I can often be found at parties pulling on BIG bottle of this tasty brew. The chicks dig me and Stash.

Pours awesome orangish into a glass, but it doesn't often make it to the glass in my case. Hoppy nose....a hophead's dream DIPA. And oh the taste...BAM!!! Citrus, piney, bitter. The malt hasn't a chance. The alcohol is well hidden.

This bomber and a Saturday night....that's all I need. Ok....maybe two.

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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, 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.

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Photo of Lunch
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at ChurchKey in Washington, D.C. (10/30/09). Served in a 16oz. nonic pint glass at an appropriate temperature.

A: Pours a hazy golden, orange with a half finger of an off-white head which disappears rather quickly leaving some above average lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: An oily, piney and hoppy scent with a deep citrus bouquet that melds perfectly with a sweet malt.

T: Intense piney hop is met with a perfectly balanced sweet malt that creates a complex blend which includes an oily body of pine, citrus, toasted malt and grapefruit. The flavors work in perfect unity and provide a full flavor with a bitter, buttery finish.

M: Extremely oily and buttery with a fairly heavy feel and appropriate carbonation.

D: Very drinkable as this beer maintains a perfect balance of hops and malt. This is an extremely well-crafted beer that hides it 9.2% abv. better than most.

Overall I find this beer to not only be in the elite of the DIPA style, but one of the best beers that I have tried to date, as it has such an intense yet balanced flavor. Highly recommended.

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Photo of bjoyce12
4.7/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The "A" in "Big A" must stand for "Amazing". That's a good summary of my first impression of this ale. Buttery. Can actually taste buttery notes, a very slight sweet afternote, and then a big hoppy kick. Smutty has done some of their best work on this beer. Appearance and aroma are good, but it's the taste and drinkability that will make me want to seek this out again. Now my favorite IPA, even better than Stoudt's and Flying Dog.

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Photo of Donnie2112
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: pale, yellow orange, light sitckiness, excellent head retention, light carbonation

smell: spicy, big floral, slight orange rind in the nose

taste: sweet ripe citrus notes in the malt finising with a very grapefruit like finish in thhe hops and I mean the whole grapefruit the rind the sweet juice everything, giant grapefruit flavor

mouthfeel: medium light body, medium light carbonation, plenty of astringence

drinkability: astringent,yummy, not smooth but snappy like a big IPA should be just such a sexy beer

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smuttynose Big A IPA

A- A caramel beer, mildly amber, and a sticky icky head that looks like a billowy cloud. Sticks to the glass like none other.

S- To call out user raverjames... I agree. This is like dank nugs. Peppery, resiny, citrus, haze-like chronic nugs. Damn.

T- Follows the nose. The weediest beer ever. If you've never seen the relationship between hops and cannabis, this is the beer to try. Very tasty, alpha acids are in the house.. an amazing hop profile.

M- A hop-head's dream. Fantastic. Rich malt base provides good counter balance.

D- Insane. A totally different beast then Smuttynose's other IPA (FinestKind, one of my favorites)... this beer is more 'hops in the raw'. Fantastic. I am in love with this beer. Could go up against damn near any IPA out there... fantastic!

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Photo of aaronh
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy orange amber body topped by a cream colored head of moderate size. Decent lacing clings to the side of the glass. Beautifully sweet floral hops blend almost perfectly with the malty goodness. On the tongue, it's a hop puree laced with hints of malty sweetness. Resinous pine, grapefruit, and rose hips assault the senses, as the malt body guards keep them from doing permanent damage. Mouthfeel is thick and robust, as is needed with the profusion of hops. This is immensely drinkable for those who love the power of the cone. But if you feel "mad hops" have more to do with basketball than great beers, this one may be a bit too strong. The Killer Kielbasa threw a knockout punch with this one. East Coast? Really? Niiice...

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Photo of voodrew10
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I asked the bartender to give me his favorite IPA and he did not disappoint! Not as huge as the 120 Min from Dogfish Head but far more drinkable! Intense hops smell with a bit of orange on the palate, easily my favorite beer so far this summer. My favorite beer style on humid days, I found myself sitting back with an empty glass far sooner than I would have ever expected.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
4.66/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at Anam Cara for Hophead Throwdown

Glowing apricot, with a half inch of dense white head. Faintly fruity scent (I'll have to check this again when I'm not surrounded by a floor covered with hops). Wonderful creamy mouthfeel filled with fruity, nutty malts, a complex of vanilla, hazelnut, and orange juice. Strong buzzy hops with long, long apricot finish and slowly emerging grassy notes.

Nice, nice, nice. Takes the whole premise of high IBU's and runs away with it.

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Photo of tapman
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The body is a lighter color than most IPAs and is topped with a soap suds off-white head that has decent retention and leaves a great sticky lace. Beer is unfiltered and, as well as I tried to decant, got most of the gunk in my brew, which I personally love, but I still tried to keep it out for the review. An extremely low flocculating yeast.

Honey and chopped wildflowers make the nose for me. A little toast, less sweet than you would think and some super grassy/citrusy/piney/grapefruity/bright hops in the nose. Amarillo dry hop?

In the taste is more earthy hop than citrusy hop. Malt is also less sweet than I would have thought. Pine is still there and supports a strong bitterness. What isn't there is any alcohol, but for a slow warming sensation. In the finish is where this one shines for me: grapefruit, blood orange, and lemon zest mixed with a little pepper.

Juicy and only a little dry.

Great. Awesome. Fantastic. Superb. Big. Deceptively Smooth. A superb DIPA. The only rival I've had in a bottle is Green Flash. Never had a Pliny out of the bottle so...

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Photo of schoolboy
4.65/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

When I saw that orld Wines in Mentor was going to have this on tap I was pretty sure I was going to have to get it. I wasn't sure if it was one I had tried (I had, a bottle when I was in MA a while back).

It has a sublime aftertaste. A little after burn as well, and I am sure that the strength of this will get to me (I am going to have SEVERAL!).

It certainly is a treat. Creamy. Full bodied. Hoppy. It is everything the style should be. Other APA's should try to be this good.

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Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 1,720 ratings.
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