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Smuttynose Big A IPA | Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA
BA SCORE
3.96/5
Very Good
1,723 Ratings
Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States
smuttynose.com

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.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
896
Ratings:
1,723
pDev:
10.86%
Bros Score:
3.63
 
 
Wants:
105
Gots:
164
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
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Ratings: 1,723 |  Reviews: 896
Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smooth, easy drink. Light colour, good grapefruit and other fruity aroma. Small head. Grassy, piney. More oily than Juicy,well malted, carmel there. So not mouthpuckering. Engaging medium mouthfeel. Mellow overall but still Hophead fix. Dry aftertaste.

 252 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: single finger head with nice lacing on a hazy pale golden body. Excellent lacing.

S: beautifuly strong aroma with grapefruit, candied orange and caramel but overall simple.

T: malt forward IPA treading into barleywine territory with candied fruits, earthy hops, caramel malts and honey.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: this one is good but doesn't stand out in a genre which has many top brews.

 419 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Texasfan549
3.54/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by 4/20/15. 9.5% ABV per the label.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of citrus fruit, candied citrus zest, and grapefruit juice aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest, grapefruit juice, and pine needle flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a fairly assertive citrus and pine forward hop mix, especially in the taste.

Serving type: bottle.

 689 characters

Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of kjkinsey
3.82/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Knapp85
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This has got to be the best thing I've had from Smuttynose as of yet. The beer poured out as a nice slightly hazy golden yellow color. The head was rather larges and fluffy at first. As the head settled the it left a nice lacing down the glass. The smell of the beer had a great amount of hops on the nose. The taste brought some citrusy, pine and some malts along for the ride. The mouthfeel was medium bodied and well carbonated. Overall this beer was quite enjoyable, I was hoping it would be. I would drink it again.

 520 characters

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of t0rin0
3.3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to halfP1NT for sending this. I'm a little confused here, is this supposed to be sold at 2 years old? It reminds me a little bit of Ballast Point Dorado DIPA. Bottle says "Bottle Conditioned in 2006"

Pours murky orange/yellow color. Good head, medium retention, medium lace.

Aroma is of alcohol, aging malt, and grapefruit hops. Nice, but like a cross between a funky IPA and a low abv American Barleywine.

Flavor is sweet, dry, bitter, fruity/grapefruity hops, and lasting dry aftertaste.

Body is of medium thickness. I suspect that the high abv lightens what would otherwise be a syrupy beer. Good CO2 levels, drinkable but the alcohol burns a bit.

 661 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of metter98
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy yellowish orange in color and has a light amount of carbonation with visible particles floating in suspension. It poured with a thin off white head that died down and left some lacing on the surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of citrus and pine resin hops in the nose.
T: The overall taste is dominated by a moderate to high amount of bitterness, which especially persists through the finish. Some notes of pine resin hops are present in the flavors.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of dryness, stickiness and hints of alcohol warming in the finish.
O: Considering its strength, this beer isn’t that difficult to drink because the alcohol is relatively well masked from the taste.

 843 characters

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

As the signature imperial India pale ale for Smuttynose, the ale jumps right out of the shoot with all of the citrusy bitterness of American ales but with added alcohol and sweetness to balance. It's easily seen as a bigger version of IPA- it's a big ass IPA!

As the ale pours, it certainly looks the part of Imperial Pale Ale with its medium hazy amber color and its release of creamy off-white foam. With strong retention and broken lacing patterns, the ale is much more appeasing to the eye as its label does.

Bright aromas of citrus and pine paint a picture of grapefruit and oranges that are dripping of honey or light caramel. A mild tropical hint of pineapple sneak into the mix as well. Its earthy tone of pine cones are sappy, resinous and herbaceous even in the nose. A tinge of alcohol is spicy and lightly of acetone, but the hops cover all that with ease.

To taste, the malty foreground delivers mild caramel, light toast and honey tones. But heading into the middle portion of taste, its hop influence really comes to life. Pink grapefruit, oranges and a hint of lemon all rise with their taste of pulp, peels and piths. Leading to a finish of deeply resinous pine, the IPA really lives up to its style-sake in its dry and acidic bitterness.

Medium-full in body, the ale tries really hard to be an IPA, but just more of one. Its malt richness is inherently larger than that of standard IPA. Though it simply takes more malt fuel to create more alcohol, these beers simply don't attenuate as well at higher alcohol ranges than they do at lower ranges. So the beer balances beautifully toward the malt- ever so slightly. This leads to a bitter-sweet finish of warming alcohol and sappy resins.

I love how Big A plays out on the palate. Its hop character is paramount but it relies on its bready-sweet and lavish pine complements to round out its citrusy focus. Simply beautiful in every aspect, but it does little to pull away from the pack of other well made imperial IPAs.

 1,992 characters

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.

 488 characters

Photo of dmorgan310
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of emerge077
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. single from Before You Go...

Into a Duvel tulip the color glows slightly darker than pure saturated orange, getting into tequila sunset territory. Frothy, long lasting foam, that settles to an overall skim across the top. Spotty crescent of lace on the opposite side of the glass.

Citrusy sweet grapefruit rind aroma. Pungent and clean.

Full bodied, resinous hops, stumbles just a bit from it's enormity. Tangy grapefruit, raw orange peel, minty spruce. Bready malt is underneath, just a bit. Dry aftertaste of citrus bitterness. Feels pretty big, which relegates it to being a sipper. Not bad, glad it comes in 12 oz. servings.

 641 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy honey color with a nice white head that sticks and sends a few shards of lace up the sides of the pint glass

Smell: While there is a nostril full of piney hops, the caramel malt base also makes its presence known

Taste: From the start, the piney hop presence makes itself known, with some sweet caramel piercing through underneath; by mid-palate, both the sweet and bitter flavors increase in velocity; after the swallow, the same flavors burst forward, only this time the sweetness builds while the beer dries out whatever parts of the mouth don't have sweetness receptors; pithy finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: This is one heckofa big DIPA, and just bombards the tongue with bitterness; drinkability suffers, as a result

 797 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a slightly hazy yellow color ale with a quite big foamy head with excellent retention. Aroma of citrus and floral hops is dominant and quite enjoyable. Lots of semi-sweet malt is distinguishable at first when tasted and then the citrus and bitter hops do a good job to the aftertaste. Body is above average without being too full and alcohol is well hidden. This is probably one the best IIPA I’ve had the chance to try and the only fault I can find is a little peak of metallic / ester hops which is not something I usually love in a beer.

 556 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.04/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, copper color with gold highlights. It had a small, white, bubbly head that left thin trails of lace.

S - It smelled of pine, citrus and floral notes. Some great roasted caramel malt aromas balanced out a great nose.

T - It tasted of burnt toast maltiness with sweet toffee flavors. Nice bitter, sharp, citrusy hops.

M - It was sharp and crisp. A medium bodied DIPA.

D - This is a pretty darn good brew. Another fine one from Smuttyose.

 464 characters

Photo of largadeer
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This brew sits in the glass a hazy but clear copper. The three finger head descends slowly, leaving columns of lace as it falls.

Smell: Tons of hop aroma in this one: grapefruit, pineapple and mango come to mind. The malt foundation is present but doesn't overwhelm the hop aroma; it's more of a sweet undertone beneath the fruity hop character.

Taste & mouthfeel: Sweet and fruity initially, but that note is quickly overpowered by an intense hop bitterness. Sticky and resiny with a big grapefruit flavor, this is pretty punchy stuff. The body is on the fuller side of medium, slightly heavier than I like for the style. An oily and bitter finish lingers on the palate long after I've swallowed, but that doesn't stop me from coming back for more.

 763 characters

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.

 1,719 characters

Photo of Boone757
4/5  rDev +1%

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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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