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Smuttynose Big A IPA | Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA
Very Good
1,723 Ratings
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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,723 |  Reviews: 896
Photo of chris6277
1/5  rDev -74.7%

Photo of acasper
1/5  rDev -74.7%

Photo of bigkamp
1.48/5  rDev -62.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I love smuttynose "finest find" ipa. It is one of my favorite (and affordable) local IPA's. I am a huge fan of smuttynose so I was looking forward to trying what I figured would be a similar recipe to their original ipa; maybe just with added hops and malt... boy was I wrong.

Best enjoyed date: May 11'

This beer poured a murky brown with sediment present in the glass. a small head faded quickly with some lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell was nothing like I expected. Earthy, grass, doughy, malt presence.

Taste is syrupy thick with way too much malt presence for an ipa.

I could only get through a couple of sips. I will try another bottle to make sure this one wasn't bad, but I am pretty sure that this was one of the rare "misses" from smuttynose as they usually put together an amazing product.

 817 characters

Photo of techcommdood
1.98/5  rDev -50%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Appearance: Hazy light tan color, weak head but solid lacing.

Smell: Spicy hops and lots of sugar on the nose.

Taste: Very sweet (like artificial sweetener), strong hop spicy bite, some booziness. Not a lot of character, just big malt and big bitter payload.

Mouthfeel: Heavy at first, finishes dry. Strong spicy burn from hops.

Drinkability: Poor. For me, it's not balanced well. Very strong sweetness and hop characters clash more than play off each other. Hop burn all down my throat. And it all builds repeatedly with every sip. Unenjoyable.

Overall: A disappointment, to be sure. I was expecting much better out of this one. I think more than anything else it was the sweetness that killed this beer for me. I can tolerate strong hops (hell, I recently brewed a 100+ IBU cascadian dark ale). I won't be getting this one again.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
2.09/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a Dogfish Head IPA glass.

A - 2.75 - Poured a golden color with a quickly subsiding, half finger of bright white head. Looks identical to a standard domestic beer. Weak head potential and retention. No lacing.
S - 1.75 - Smells like a malt bomb. I honestly thought this might have sat way too long and was surprised to find it was 2 months AHEAD of the best by date. Smells like caramel, alcohol and HEAVY malt. These aromas mask any fruit or hops that might be present. Absolutely no excuse for this malt bomb aroma.
T - 2 - The taste doesn't fare much better from the smell. Tastes like sugary, sweet simple syrup with tons of malt and a LIGHT touch of hop bitterness. This tastes like a heavy alcohol, sweetened version of a domestic beer with some bitterness at the end. Barely qualifies as an IPA, let alone a double.
F - 4 - Standard mouthfeel one would expect from the style.
O - 1.5 - A terrible representation of the double IPA style. Steer clear of this beer!

 982 characters

Photo of Longstaff
2.34/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Reviewing the 12 oz bottle version.

First try at this format and it wasn't good. Phenolic character lurking behind the hops quickly distracted you from what would otherwise be a fine beer. After researching and finding nothing about this issue, I had to give a bottle to a fellow hophead to make sure I wasn't crazy. He came to same conclusion wihtout me front loading him with my opinion and now there's two bottles sitting on top on my fridge waiting to be transferred to the garbage.

So dissapointing as fresh hoppy beer is so desperately needed in the area and this could have been a go-to beer for me. And the bombers were always so good.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
2.47/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Poured out an orangish-amber color with some sediment chunks and a minutes' worth of head that leaves behind medium levels of lacing on the glass.

Smells of the typical grapefruit and pine resin but with a large boozey alcoholic hotness. Tastes similar, with hot boozey pine resin and unfortunately, not enough malt characteristic to stand up to the bittering and alcoholic hotness. It might just be me, but this one seems WAY out of balance for an IPA. I'd expect this sort of booziness from an unbalanced barleywine or malt liquor, not an IPA.

Oh well, they can't ALL be winners.

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Photo of Sanchezrox23
2.5/5  rDev -36.9%

Photo of jk3
2.5/5  rDev -36.9%

Photo of Nichols33
2.5/5  rDev -36.9%

Photo of fredmugs
2.5/5  rDev -36.9%

Photo of bobhits
2.53/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Normally I try to write complex review but this beer isn't worthy. This bottle is near but not at the best buy level so if I find it fresher I'll adjust.

A good looking double IPA with WAY too much malt and sugar aroma. It smells bad.

The taste is WAY too much sugar bread and flavors I can only express as old hoppy beer but again this isn't old. bit sugar malt, HUGE even. There is a hop bite too, but it isn't good the breat and caramel are just blah.

Too think too sugary and doesn't work.

This is just not a good beer, let alone a good IPA. I can't imagine this being good.

 582 characters

Photo of hardy008
2.55/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Very hazy amber orange with a one finger off white head with fairly decent retention. There is quite a bit of sediment floating in the glass, which is not visually appealing. The aroma has grapefruit, pith, pine, and some caramel malt. Smells overly bitter.

The taste is much like the aroma. grapefruit, pith, peelings, pine, and some caramel malt. This is more bitter than most DIPA's I have had.

Medium to full bodied, oily, slick, with fairly high carbonation. Not one of the better DIPAs I have had.

 506 characters

Photo of Callenak
2.56/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip.

Pours a nice pale/golden color. I'm so used to east coast DIPA's not being pale that this was a relief. Small white head that lingered for a short while.

Smell was more earthy and piney than citrusy. Be curious if they used some sort of noble hops in it.

Taste was a little disappointing but matched the smell. I've had many great DIPA's and know this style well, this beer just isn't doing it. A earthy bitterness without much citrus/fruit in the finish. Malt is dry and stale.

Sorry just not digging this beer. I had my hopes up on the pour but that was the best part.

 622 characters

Photo of claspada
2.62/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a light golden color with a large fluffy white head that is really lingers. As the head fades it leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Very potent aroma of grapefruit and pineapple with some malty sweetness notes as well.

Obviously there is a lot of hoppy bitterness going on here, but there is not enough maltiness to balance it out in my opinion. Taste is piney with slight notes of honey sweetness. Long, lingering bitter aftertaste. Improves as it warms; expresses some floral hop characteristics to help balance out the resiny American hops.

It has a lot of carbonation, too much for the style in my opnion.

This beer doesn't have the depth that I was hoping for and with this much alcohol it's not that drinkable. Don't plan to revisit.

 748 characters

Photo of Stingray5
2.69/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bomber featuring Stash Wojciechowski, the "Killer Kielbasa". Who? Pours a hazy golden amber with almost no head. Aromas are fruity, nutty and slighty toasted, more like an English IPA. Thick mouthful is followed by nutty fruity malt and bitter hops. There is a good dose of alcohol in the finish.

I'm trying to avoid saying this, but I found this beer to have a slight aroma and taste of vomit. Needless to say, that's a bad thing.

 440 characters

Photo of Chaney
2.73/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Poured a very cloudy tangerine orange, with a huge fluffy white head that looked like looming Alka-Seltzer as it died down.

S: Fresh citrus fruit, with a muted clean cotton scent. There was also quite a bit of candy sugar in there as well.

T: A bit disappointing on the taste... a bit like soap actually. Despite the sugary smell, the taste was almost devoid of sucrose. The fruit totally got buried by an EXTREMELY funky, bitter, and unpleasant boozy cleaning agent.

M: Booze and then some. The carbonation was prickly enough, but the particular brand of bitterness couldn't be helped by it much. The lacing was moderate.

D: I don't think I would drink this again. heck, I had trouble enough making it through 12 ounces of it! I'll stick with "Finest Kind."

 765 characters

Photo of bespin15
2.75/5  rDev -30.6%

Photo of sendsilk
2.75/5  rDev -30.6%

Photo of TheBigBoy
2.75/5  rDev -30.6%

Photo of chippo33
2.75/5  rDev -30.6%

Photo of newbrewer_zb
2.75/5  rDev -30.6%

Photo of bluesplit63
2.75/5  rDev -30.6%

Photo of MTBruce
2.76/5  rDev -30.3%

Photo of kojevergas
2.79/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

[Forced to write notes due to an outlier rating. My apologies for the brevity and shallowness below]

This is a fundamentally imbalanced IPA, suffering from too much hop bitterness and ill-enough malt sweetness. It's overcarbonated and unrefreshing. There is no harmony of texture and taste, and the hop profile is nothing special. While its 9.5% ABV is well-disguised relatively speaking, its lacking quality makes it less drinkable than it should be.

A pedestrian brew from Smuttynose.

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Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 1,723 ratings
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