Smuttynose Big A IPA | Smuttynose Brewing Company

Smuttynose Big A IPASmuttynose Big A IPA
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 kiddynamite920
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Appears unfiltered, due to the bottle conditioning, with a good amount of floaters swimming around in the glass. Big fluffy white head that is sizzling and crackling downwards at a slow rate. Lacing is apparent quickly. The beer itself is a nice glowing orange, with a bit of haziness.

S: Big, clean grapefruit and citrus aroma. Very floral hops and a small twang of alcohol. This one is all about the hops. Orange and lemon zest and a bit of pine.

T: Good deal of bitterness mellowed slightly by a small malt backbone. Citrus zest and bitterness of the pith of citrus. Grapefruit and some kiwi type sweetness. Super hoppy but not a harsh bitterness.

M: It's a bit hot on the palate and mouth lining. Nose gets a bit of the burn as well. Relatively light body for this big beer. Flavors develop and stick around even after swallowing. Just a tad too hot.

D: Very refreshing and packed with a mean hop punch. Slight bitterness lends an astringent quality on the tongue. The thin body makes it slide down easily, but not without that heat.

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Photo of albertjr21
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1 pint 6 fl oz. bottle into an oversized wine glass.

A: A golden orange color with a hazy appearance.

S: Big hop and moderate malt nose with light citrus notes.

T/M: A moderately carbonated and sweet mouthfeel soon brings forth a torrential downpour of big dry hops and a long lingering spicy, strong, bitter, tangerine citrus aftertaste.

D: Intense. Robust. Not ashamed to reveal it's 9.6 abv. Ye drinkers beware...

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.91/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found a bottle of this and had to try it. Pours a reddish copper color with a large foamy head and tons of lace.

Taste is very good. Piney, resinous, earthy grapefruit hops. Malt is sweet and lends a subtle honey grain flavor. A very bitter beer, not sure what the IBUs are. Still I found it to be quite enjoyable. For a beer of such strength, the alcohol is not well noticed.

Overall, I thought that this is a very good, clean Imperial IPA. Worthy.

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Color is a light tangerine colored orange with a little hazing. Head is thin, maybe a 3/4 inch, and a nice bright white. Dies off quickly, leaving some splotchy lacing.

S: Hops, hops and more hops. Citus, floral, piney - a little bit of everything. Some honey notes as well, although this is mostly about the hops.

T: Taste is similar to smell - lots of hops. From start to finish, hop flavors (grapefruit, pine) are dominant. There are some sweet malty flavors (caramel), but not overpowering. I also get some honey flavors in the taste as well. Finish is pleasantly bitter with hop flavors carrying through to the end.

M: Medium to heavy body with a little bit of slickness.

D: This is the second time I've had this and been happy both times. The hops are big and dominate throughout. The grain bill is just enough to provide some balance. The alcohol is well hidden and this goes down easily.

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Photo of thain709
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A beautiful hazy, glowing, golden-orange body with sediment suspended throughout...a white, creamy, two finger head forms and only recedes to one finger tall...great lacing

S - A bouquet of hops...sweet citrus hops and bitter pine hops as well...grapefruit is the biggest citrus aroma...not much malt backbone

T - The flavor is loaded with hops as well...there's not much to say otherwise about the's all hops from beginning to end...sweet up front...faint caramel malt in the middle...ends with a bittersweet taste combining the citrus and pine variety of hops

M - Medium bodied...slick, resiny, oily, and a great bitterness

D - I did not realize this was could not taste the alcohol through all the hops...and speaking of hops...this beer did not lack in that department...reminded me somewhat of Stone's Ruination...good stuff!

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Photo of Stunner97
4.27/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got to sample this beer through lucky circumstances and had heard much about if from several good sources. Had a very vibrant citrusy grapefruity and hop and malt mixed nose. Was delicously balanced between nice hop and good malty strong back bone of dipa, Reminds in a good way of dogfish 90 min. A very nice and enjoyable example of the style

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

Copper/amber pour, thick white foam, plenty of lacing all the way down. Foam retention is good..and it recedes to a foam cap.

Aroma is a blast of piney, floral and citrusy hops.

The taste is a big hit of the hops, getting the pine, citrus and floral all at once, balanced out by some malt backing.

Mouthfeel is medium with some slick/oily texture and good carbonation. I could drink a couple, but its high ABV makes it slightly less drinkable than most beers.

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Photo of harsley
3.55/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This wasn't bad. I had it really fresh, as it was bottle about 3 weeks before I bought it. It was a nice cloudy orange with a white fluffy head that left good lacing down the glass. Definitely an East Coast style with lots of woodsy hop flavors and aromas along with fruity/mango type flavors. A strong malt backbone, which went along with the style but not as dry as I was looking for. A great East coast DIPA but I was wanting more....

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Photo of loftisCT
4.52/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle-conditioned in March 2010, and enjoyed in a snifter May 1 2010

A: Fairly bright orange color, and very cloudy due to the bottle-conditioning. The head on this thing is beautiful. It is bright white with very tiny bubbles and leaves excellent lacing.

S: The nose on this thing is everything an IPA should be. Citrus jumps out off the glass at you, some tropical fruit sneaks out from behind the citrus to give the hop oils a little sweeter element. Underneath these beautiful aromas lurk a slightly sweet malty aroma, some rawer hop oils, and a fairly strong hint of alcohol.

T: The taste starts out with smothering citrusy and tropical hops oils over the center of the palate. As this deliciously hoppy taste subsides a fairly strong pale malt backbone is reveled. The malt has a slight sugary aspect to it, however, it succeeds in providing a strong backbone for the hop flavors without ever coming to the forefront. The beer finishes with a sharp clean hop bitterness and strong alcohol kick, before the mouth is left with a lingering sweet, citrusy aftertaste.

M: The mouth feel starts off very oily from all of the hop oils, and feels well spread out over the middle of the tongue. As the bitterness slides down the tongue the alcohol comes in and aids in a nice sharp and dry finish. While many IPAs leave a strong bitterness as the aftertaste, the alcohol in this beer seems to cut this bitter sensation short. This allows the ridiculous amount of hop oils in this beer to really shine as I feel like hop oils coat everything in my mouth and I taste the fresh citrus seconds after I imbibe the beer.

D: This is a big beer. I can't think of a beer I have found to have more hop oils in it, which is excellent kin my book. The malt backbone is also fairly large, and the alcohol is more prevalent than most DIPAs. If your not into hops the hoppy, oily nature of this beer, and prevalent alcohol in the finish might hurt the drinkability of this beer for you, BUT NOT FOR THIS GUY!!! I LOVE THIS STUFF!!!

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

got this from Lunch in an excellent trade-- thanks Paul.

Cloudy and unfiltered golden color. It isn't bright, more flat in color... As if the color is subdued (added note: that seems to apply to to nose and flavor a little too). The head rose 2 fingers and left thick lace as it subsided.

The nose is not as huge as I was expecting. It isn't bad, just
seems kind if quiet. This is drinking more like a regular IPA than a double... Except for a very faint alcohol bite towards the finish.
I do smell and taste a very decent sweet malt with it presenting a sweet caramel malt a toasted bread note. The hops start off piney and mellow into a nice citrus flavor. This is exceptionally well balanced for a DIPA, and the level of
carbination and body are spot on.

If this weren't labeled as 9.6%, I never would have guessed it. This is one of the easiest drinking doubles I have had the pleasure of having. I have three more of these, so this review is subject to being edited.

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

12oz bottle from Buffalo. I love what Smuttynose do and I'm a huge fan of hops, so picking this one up was a no-brainer.

Pours a slightly cloudy orange with a finger of bubbly white head that took a while to drop to a film and left some good lace on the way. I figure from the cloudy appearance that this is bottle-conditioned? Nose is nice, but a little understated for an imperial IPA. Some good pine, citrus and floral notes, on top of caramel and a light breadiness. Its actually very pleasant, but I feel it needs to be amped up.

The same goes for the flavour, which I dig, but could do with a little more oomph to put it into the top tier. Nice pine and grapefruit lead off and deliver a moderate bitterness, which is tempered by a growing sweet caramel character. The citrus and sweetness start to combine and put me in mind of tangerine. Alcohol seems well hidden, though I wish the bitterness was more assertive. Medium body and carbonation.

Certainly a nice offering, but without the extra gas to put itself into the top-bracket. It almost drinks more like an IPA and a half than a double.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint. Thanks to Ineedabeerhere for this from a recent trade!

Bottle Conditioned in: (notched on the label) J(uly) 10. Pretty amazing considering it's May!

A: Pours a lovely hazed bright peach color with swirling tendrils of yeast. Three fingers of creamy, off-white head sit on top for ages before melting down to a thick ring that left large sheets of lace down the sides of the glass.

S: Complex nose of tangerine, grapefruit rind, pine, pineapple, grass clippings, and clementine. As it warms a slight hint of solvent alcohol comes out to tickle the nostrils.

T: Exactly as above but with more of an alcohol presence than the smell. I felt the alcohol flavor was a tad too apparant.

M: Big, sticky, and oily. Resinous hop oils plaster themselves to everything in my mouth. Alcohol presence is felt, especially as this warms.

D: A big and delicious DIPA. I loved the tropical fruitiness of it. If only they could tone down the heat a little bit. It's certainly not a deal breaker, but it made it a "one and done" for me.

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Photo of MetalHopHead6
4.57/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Smuttynose Big A IPA is hazy, complex, and filled with flavor.

It poured hazy cloudy orangy-straw with a huge head. It left a good amount of thin lace on the glass. It was very nice looking but a bit light for a double IPA. The flavor was wonderfully complex. Most IPAs emphasize either citrus or earth; however Big A had a great mix of both with a grapefruit like smell and up-front flavor giving way to pine and grass. The feel was extremely aggressive--bitter and perfectly dry. This tasted so good, it was gone remarkably fast.

Big A is a great experience, with loads of competing flavor and an unusual combination of aggressiveness and refreshing. Double IPAs are more suited to cool weather; however Big A is the ultimate summer-time double IPA.

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

Poured into a Snifter

A: This beer pours a murky copper color with a full inch of fluffy head.
S: Nose has a sweet scent of fruit hops and pine.
T: Flavor starts with a fruity hop and ends with a very earthy pine. The flavors meld together in the middle to give this brew a nice pineapple flavor. There is also a slightly grainy malt presence.
M: Medium body mouth feel, good carbonation, slickness, and a little alcohol heat going down.
D: If you can handle a nice hoppy beer this one is very drinkable, but be careful of the almost 10% ABV.

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

Poured into a snifter - cloudy orange with a small sudsy white head. It smelled of hops - grapefruit juice, some pine, mild spice. The taste was hopbomb! Strong citrus, also pines, oil and resin. Tangy, bitter, very mild spice. After a while, the alcohol warmth stood out. There was no ABV% on the bottle, but I guessed it was 8 or 9% (and was right) so the alcohol is certainly noticeable. This affected the drinkability. But overall, a tasty big hoppy IPA, soft, crisp, fairly intense. Good stuff.

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Photo of BeTheBall
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 my Sam Adams ale glass. Poured a golden color, frothy head. There is huge sediment just floating in this beer, not that there's anything wrong with that. Minimal lacing; strange for this style. Smell is very piney and grassy to me. Taste is more piney than anything, with a bitter opening, followed by, well, more bitterness. Hops goodness throughout. Mouthfeel is good. Drinkability is average, very bitter and delicious, but wouldn't want to drink the entire 4 pack in one sitting. Still, one of my favorite handful of DIPA's.

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

I had off the cask at d.b.a. in Brooklyn. It has a semi-cloudy look to it. Good head and lace. Some bubbles and a kind of fruity apple scent.

Very zesty taste. Has a crazy, almost avocado taste ot it. Fairly dry. It doesn't taste like most IPAs I've had.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
3.16/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle conditioned in August 2010 notched on the label....okay, that's not right. I am sure that this is relatively fresh though.

Big A has a good appearance halfway through the pour, but gets ugly after that. It's got a hazy peach color and a foamy white head. The flakes of yeast really make this look unnapetizing though. I like an unfiltered, cloudy beer, but it looks like I'll be eating some flaky chunks here.

The aroma is nice and potent, with mostly fruity yeast notes complemented by citrusy, slightly tropical hops and some grapefruit. A bit of caramel malt peeks through as well. As it warms, a little bit of nail polish remover comes through.

The palates leads with a thick, malty mouthfeel up front and a sticky, resiny bitterness in the back. The flavor is good but seems a little messy overall. It's got nice hop flavor from begining to end, with grapefruit up front with some pine joining it in the bitter finish. The bitterness is where it gets a bit messy, as it has an unpleasant edge and really seems to clash with the sweetness from the malt.

After I had my first Big A IPA, the second bottle lingered in the fridge for a while. It had some good hop character to it, but was just "messy" overall. I'll grab another Smutty beer next time.

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Photo of chickencoop
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm always pumped to get another version of an imperial IPA, and glad to see that you can go outside California and get a solid DIPA. This is not for the timid, big citrusy hoppy beer with a very nice sweet balance to finish. I think what sets the crappy wanna be's from the real deals is the drinkablility in the DIPA's, this is solid and one of the better one's i've had, big ups!

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

Pours from the twelve ounce into tulip a nice amber slash orangish hue. Huge, billowy, slightly off white head that leaves excellent lacing around the entire glass. Slowly clears up, but never completely. Brew is super cloudy, major floaties floating around, so much so that you cannot see anything through this ale. For me, this only enhances the appearance, looks absolutely delicious.

Smells of huge floral, pine and citrus fruit notes. So much so that any malt whiffs are completely obliterated, though they may be there. They just are not detected by my olfactory senses.

Taste on this brew is another huge blast of pine and citrus, drying on the tongue. Not unpleasant in the least, if you crave the awesome bitterness that the hops deliver.

This brew feels very slick, oily and slides down the gullet with tremendous ease. Possibly too easily. I would love to rate the drinkability on this ale higher, but with this alcohol content, it may not be possible. This category may be about average, unless you are a heavy weight and can handle "Big Ass" brews, such as this one. Seek this one out, it is surely worth a try.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, golden orange with a generous foamy, white head that takes its time dissolving to leave a dense white lacing.

Aroma consists primarily of hops, grassy, pine, and straw with just a faint scent of sweet grapefruit.

The palate is quite diverse with abundant floral and pine hops, but also a generous citrus presence, as well as sugar sweetness to offset all of this mid-palate. The piney aspects of this beer can be a touch overwhelming at times.

Medium, and almost creamy in body with generous carbonation and a bit of a bite between the alcohol and hop presence.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable beer with a lot of aggressive characteristics that can at time push the envelope of palate abuse, but ends up being quite satisfying.

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Photo of lovindahops
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass

A- that is one solid looking IPA. Golden yellow with the famous "smutty floaties." Of course they had to have it in one of their DIPAs. The head is that rocky foam presentation. It does disappear

S- the grapefruit slap in the face is a litte bit similar to an IPA than a DIPA. There is some warming piney scents as well

T- very similar to finest kind... however, the alcohol is present and overtakes some of the citrus flavors. There are still the piney an herbal flavors that make up the body of the brew. I do feel that this is Smutty presentation of a DIPA... however it does not follow the trends imho

M- creamy and medium bodied. The flavor swirls around the mouth and really leaves that citric taste of the mouth

D- I really am a fan of smutty... I think the brew may have lacked the malt profile that is still present in a DIPA... however, I am a fan of smutty. Big A is still a drinkable hop hit that gives you some great citrus flavor. Be careful of the alcohol of this tropical temptation. It is already knocking me out

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Photo of zoolzoo
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle
Delerium snifter

This is really one of my favorite east coast DIPAs right now. I think some of us in the Northeast take Smuttynose for granted sometimes.

A: Golden straw, somewhat lighter in color than many DIPAs.

S: Booze soaked sugar coated grapefruit. Tinge of fusel alcohol engulfed in super bright floral notes, and fruity esters.

T: Resiny, chewy hops, mostly citric but bitter. Sugary sweet malt character, prior to a lingering residual bitterness. The alcohol makes itself known only slightly.

M: Chewy and sticky. Quite raw in all aspects - im really liking that though.

D: I could have a couple of these, sure.

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Photo of beertunes
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Vermonthiker for this one. Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a golden straw color with over an inch of bright white head that had great retention and very good lacing.

A nice piney hop aroma greets the nose, with some citrus hop behind it, and not much malt scent. On the tongue, a little more malt shows up to support the hops. And the hops are there in solid formation, pine and citrus mostly, with a dry bitter finish.

The body is fairly typical for the style, not as full as some, but more substantial than others. Drinkability was pretty good, I wouldn't mind having a sixer of these in the fridge.

Overall, a solid and above average example of the style. Certainly worth your time.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a bright copper semi hazed appearance with a bright off white head, forsm thick and clouded rises well above the glasses' rim. The big DIPA in a 22 ounce bottle that I've been looking for since it's incarnation, I now that 12 ounce bottles are now on the way, so this may be a historic bottles to start of my beer cravings with. '

Aroma has a big juicy slight alcohol heavy malt handed hop profile.. Citrus, candy coated earthy hops, with a touch of mango and grapefruit hops going on. This is my first experience with this particular DIPA so far I'm down with two thumbs up as the while review.

Flavor has a bit of fusel alcohol that's hard to finish, it's loaded with citrus hops backed with pale malts and alcohol notes. Their are a women getting ready for a group of wedding goers tomorrow, I tell them the take it easy and enjoy a beer like this. A bit much on the sugar content of this big DIPA that it I could share it next time and not mind the wait.

Mouthfeel a bit cloying with residual sugar, big hop oils but they definitely didn't ferment this one out all of the way it's a bit harsh with sticky sugars in one sitting go get back up, the higher alcohol content wasn't slow sipping either.

Drinkability overall was great stuff...the ole saying that less is more goes right along with this brew next time a small portion will do great justice for a hop dessert but my name is Big Tony aka Anthony trying the 40S boxer adorned label has seemed appropriate for so long.

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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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