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 BumpkinBrewer
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz poured into a pint glass

A - An orange hue with quite alot of suspended yeast floating around

S - Fruity and floral hoppiness - wonderful

T - Quite a bitter bite to begin with, finishes very sweet and malty with hints of pink grapefruit. It really warms the belly as the glass finishes

M - Kind of thick, leaves that white residue on the corners of the mouth, very enjoyable

D - Means nothing to me. I will drink whatever is put in front of me whenever. Lets face it for a DIPA it goes down nice.

Overall - I can't believe it took me this long to try this beer. A nice contender for best east coast DIPA

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

Thanks Straffordmilitia!

Pours a light golden with hints of orange. Huge white fluffy head. Gobs of lacing. Very attractive.

Smells like muted pine, tangerine, pink grapefruit, and hints of the tropics.

TAste, unfortunately, is not quite as good as the aroma. It's definitely hoppy, but there's an unpleasant, almost mineralized soap acridness to it. The pine and citrus get increasingly drowned out by this unpleasant addition.

Still ... good, glad to get the chance to try it. Nice mouthfeel.

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Photo of ectomorph
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle with an interesting "bottle conditioned on date" of 05-2010 so it's not super fresh but still a good sample.

A - Cloudy orange body, huge eggshell head really sticks around. Fades very slowly in patches leaving chunks of lace on your face and the glass.

S - Sweet hops pineapple, lemon with a touch of alcohol crispness. Sugary and floral but not dank or overpowering.

T - Solid up front bitterness prepares you for the huge malt backbone. Rich and potent alcohol bite is mixed with a pine hops flavor. Mouth puckering hops finish leaves you no choice but to take another sip. This is a big brew. The malt and hops slap you silly here and it's great.

M - Big bodied, moderate carbonation, alcohol warmth in the mouth and belly.

D - Lower end of the scale, this one is a slow sipper but makes a great night cap.

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

Presentation: Poured into a pint glass from a growler purchased at Green's off Piney Grove in Columbia, SC

A: Slightly hazy, orange amber with a fluffy 2 finger white head that clings to the sides of the glass all over. Thick, fluffy lacing.

S: Pine and citrus. More piney scent than the bottle and only a mild malty sweetness compared to the bottle.

T&M: Almost totally different than the bottle. Up front citrus sweetness and mild hop bitterness that is mainly piney. Slowly fades to a deep dry, bitterness of hops. More of a dry, piney finish.

This is almost the complete opposite of the bottle with respect to balance of hops and sweetness. This is definitely way better and I'll try it again in the future...on-tap or growler only though!

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to gamanley for this one. Poured into a DFH snifter glass.

A: Pours a cloudy orange with a really thick one finger head, very chunky with good staying power. Decent lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Some citrus and a little pine along with a malt component on the back end. There is also a slightly off-putting alcohol smell.

T: A good amount of the citrus/pine comes through on the taste. A little bit of malt comes through in the middle, but it has a bitter finish. Can taste the alcohol, even more so as it warms.

D/M: Medium bodied with good carbonation. Its ok, not as good as I was hoping. If the alcohol was masked a bit more, I think it would be a lot better.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.4/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Cloudy amber color, little bit caramelly looking if it's not up to the light. Not much head, little bit of lacing.

S - Lots of malts with some bitter and piney hops, smells like there is some alcohol burn in this.

D - Not sure how to classify beers exactly, but this tastes a bit more like some triple IPAs I've had. Strong sugar leads to a bit of alcohol burn in this one. Bitter hops and malt sweetness. It's alright, but I'm not a huge fan.

M - Little heavy and sticky for an IPA, some carbonation bite.

D - Not great, could barely do one 12 oz bottle.

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Photo of DrewKid4
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served: On tap from the Brick Store Pub in Decatur, GA into a generic tulip glass.

A: Cloudy amber with orange highlights. A couple inch white fluffy head. Impressed by the appearance.

S: HOPS. Some sweetness from some apparent malts and citrus but very subtle.

T: Very bitter and dry hops with a tinge of sweetness and even slighter fruits.

M: Very full. A bit too full and dry for my enjoyment. Was actually tough to get through.

D: One and done. I mean, I like IPAs and XIPAs but this was just making my face wrinkle than letting me appreciate a brew from my home state. Wasn't a fan.

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Photo of Spica66
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from CooperEllis. Thanks, John.

A: Hazy orange color with good head formation and some lacing.

S: Citrus hops with a decent malt backbone.

T: Sweet malt set off by really solid citrus hops. Very nice.

M: Creamy with a dry finish. The alcohol shows itself but is not over powering.

D: Went right down with no trouble at all.

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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 stonelis
4.18/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy orange with a huge off white head. Light carbonation. Citrus and pine. This is a little different than your usual DIPA. I wouldn't call it a hop bomb. Some apricot, some tea. Very drinkable for the 9.6%. Sweet and malty. This is good stuff!

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Extra sent from Steve - thanks.

Pours a hazy orange-yellow with a solid white head whch yields good lacing. Smell is excitingly full of hops, tangerine, grapefruit, and a bit of sweet malt. Taste is more predominately sweet malt with a dry and bitter hop finish. Not as overly floral as expected by the nose. Mouthfeel is supper dry and sticky. Overall good.

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

Bottle conditioned in Aug 2010

Poured into Piraat tulip. Pours golden brown, not much carbonation. & thinish head that sticks to the side of the glass.

Big whiff of sweet malt, golden grahams mix with grapefuit and tangerine.

Smooth and creamy, tropical fruit heavy that mixes nicely with grains & brown sugar. Finish is an assaujlt of piney and bitter hops; great drying effect in the mouth. Mild burn of hooch down the hatch.

A fantastic DIPA that hopheads should seek out. Best be careful with the 9.5% because it goes down so easy. About to pair it with a mix of creole brown rice, chicken cherizo, red peppers, and spicy, BBQ chicken.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours what would've been merely a hazed, darkened gold body with a large, foaming, white head, but an absent-minded pour allowed some globs of yeast to slip into the glass.

Smell: Hops lead for me in the nose, with scents of fresh, juicy sliced oranges and grapefruits, a few blobs of pine sap, an underlying grassiness, and easygoing pale, biscuity malts. Small sniff of alcohol, too.

Taste: Pale and decidedly biscuity malts yielding sweetish, restrained hints of both toffee and honey with a teensy bit of toastiness. A bright burst of hoppiness follows giving a predominately orange-tasting, resinous flavor of sugarless orange marmalade spritzed with Curaçao. Growing pine and pithy grapefruit quality though. Boldly bitter. This leaves you with a dry, longly bitter finish with some soothing alcoholic warmth sliding into the mix but not overstaying its welcome.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. The malts lend a nice fullness to the mouthfeel, but the airy carbonation eases it up.

Drinkability: You may find more hoppy, less malty (if that's what you're looking for) brews out there, but it's fairly solid and fairly enjoyable.

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Photo of Natural510
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on May 2010. States it is bottle-conditioned.

Pours pale, cloudy orange with floating material (via nonpasturization). Nice bone-white head which lasts for the length of the drink.
Sweet, slightly tangy perfume of orange-grapefruit citrus and hops.
Sweet, astringent brew with a blistering smack of hops right at the forefront. After the initial blow, one detects herbal/pine notes which coincide with the grapefruit character. Bone-dry finish.
Full body and dry feel go well with the DIPA style. Leaves the mouth tingling with desire.
This is a biog drinker, and a great double IPA from the eastern side of the US. Smuttynose certainly doesn't hold back any punches with their hops, which may turn back those who seek a more balanced beer (why, I wouldn't know).

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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.

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Photo of chefkevlar
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a slightly orange tan color with an inch or so of fluffy white head which leaves some lovely lacing

S: There's a definate hop aroma to this, citrusy mostly. There's also a hint of sweetness similar to honey and brown sugar

T: Not as hoppy initially as I thought it would be. The initial flavor is an almost sweet smooth malt taste. Afterwards there is a noticable hop flavor (citrus and pine) although there's is only a slight hop bitterness.

M: Thick on the palate with a moderate carbonation

D: For a DIPA at 9.6%abv this is a very drinkable beer. The flavor is there but the bitterness is lower than I expected.

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Photo of Gfunk720
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes. 12oz bottle consumed out of my Maudite tulip.

A-Golden/Orangy color. 2 finger, white, head with good retention and lacing. The beer is a little hazy in color, but has a warm glow.

S-Smells of citrus and hops, with some distinct piney smells. You'd think the smell would be more pronounced based on the taste.

T- A very interesting varying hop profile. Starts fairly smooth, and transitions through several hop flavors. Nice floral and piney flavors here as well. A very nice aftertaste too.

M- Nice, but honestly a little full. It's almost a little syrupy and thick, but is nice and smooth on the tongue.

D- While it is tasty, it's not very high on the drinkability scale. I love the complexity of the hop flavors in the beer, but the body and alchohol content is almost a little too much.

A very good example of a East Coast DIPA, and always a safe choice at the local store

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

Another goody found at the Armsby Abbey this one shows a clear bright amber with a giant bubbly head and lots of chunky lacing. The aroma is a relatively mild citrus and pine hop and vague banana wheat. Nice but not quite up to what the palate would soon encounter. The flavor brings raging sweet pine hops and syrupy banana pineapple. Citrus tinges and brown bread noted, a strong blend that is lip smackin'. It's mildly carbonated, near full bodied. Feels sturdy and robust to the tongue, and medium drinkable with it's thick constitution and hint of alcohol. It's a pretty classic DIPA and quite satisfying.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dad picked this up in Pennsylvania in November 2009. Thanks a lot pops!

Source: Bomber with Killer Kielbasa on the front into snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a three finger medium-thinner looking head with good retention. Clear amber in color with lots of carbonation evident. The head slowly fades to a good film and leaves some nice lacing down the glass. Head could be a little thicker, but the lacing is quite nice.

SMELL: A big nose jumps right out of the bottle. Some pale malts and lots of citrus notes. A good dose of sweet pineapple and lots of grapefruit as well. Impressive stuff.

TASTE: Follows the nose very nicely. Pale malts with lots of pineapple and bitter grapefruit following up, as well as some spicy booze at the finish, which was a little surprising. A delayed, but bold and lingering aftertaste eventually shows up, showcasing some spicy notes and plenty of citrus and hop bitterness. Big flavors that have definitely held up well.

PALATE: Medium boxy and semi-creamy on the palate. Goes down fine, with a little alcohol bite, and finishes somewhat mouth-coating.

OVERALL: This brew was more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Dad got it in November 2009 and I drank it in August 2010, and it certainly held up very well. The bold and enticing aromas were probably the beer's best quality, though the taste profile was interesting as well. I'm not sure if the spicy qualities were my cup of tea, but they didn't detract from the experience in the least. A good brew I'm glad I got to try. Thanks again dad!

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

Served in a 10 oz snifter.. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is lightly hazed golden yellow color with a 1/8" white head that soon recedes to a small ring around the glass with a thin layer of foam over the liquid. Sipping leaves scattered speckles of lacing that mostly slide back down into the liquid. The lacing persists for most of the beer.

Smell: The aroma is mostly pine resin with grapefruit rind thrown in as an accent.

Taste: The flavors are mostly hop forward bitterness with some light malt character to soften the bitterness. The hops create a nice pine resin bitterness. There's no taste of the alcohol that I'm picking up.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied with persistent prickly carbonation. The finish is moderately long with the pine resin bitterness carried out to its dry end by the underlying malt that fades and is gone first.

Drinkability: This is a pretty solid DIPA and I've enjoyed it well enough. However, I'm finding over the last few months I prefer my DIPAs with a bit more malt backbone and some tropical fruits to liven up and diversify the flavors a bit more. I certainly won't turn this one down if offered but there are others I'll chose in preference.

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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.

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

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a standard pint glass.

Golden orange with a big two inch rocky head.

Smells of fresh ground grapefruit rinds and a medley of slightly roasted malts and caramel buttered toast and a touch of marmalade.

Medium bodied but deliciously big and satisfying.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured fom 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass. "Bottle conditioned in May 2010" listed on bottle.
Deep, burnt-orange in color, with a big, rocky head of foam.
Aroma-Piney hops and citrus
Taste-Big malt and hops and alchohol are evident at first taste. Long, lingering reisinous hops help to balance out the sweet malt. Fairly easy-drinking for a big gravity brew. Big, fresh flavor was a nice pairing with a loaded cheeseburger and a Greek salad.

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Photo of SkunkWorks
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint, nice orange color and a little grassy looking but it was a bit difficult to notice the color in the lighting of the bar. It left a lot of lacing, which was nice. Aroma wise, I got a lot of floral hops and some citrus. Taste wise, I got a lot of pine flavors. It wasn't very bitter at all and it went down smoothly. Medium in body, not that much in terms of carbonation. Drinkability wise, this is very high. I had no idea this was 9.6% ABV until I came to review the beer!

Like all Smuttynose brews I've had, this was a very solid beer. I'm very happy with my selection on this one. Definitely worth a try and gives their Finest Kind IPA (my favorite IPA) a run for its money.

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Photo of gunnerman
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass pours a nice hazy orange color with a fluffy head that leaves some insane lace on the glass. Smell is a hop explosion with sweet candy undertones. Taste is a nice sweet hop citrus character with a solid malt backbone, no alcohol detected which can be dangerous with this fine offering. Overall one that I have wanted to try for quite some time and a DIPA done right.

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