Smuttynose Big A IPA | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
1,723 Ratings
Read the review
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,723 |  Reviews: 896
Photo of BuffaloTapHugger
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours out a smokey orange/tangerine color, nice white head and moderate lacing found on the pint glass.

S: The best part of this brew, as the smell first hit me while taking the first sip. Big citrus (orange, tangerine, grapefruit, lemon), big punch of hop presence in the cense of pine. Classic! Very impressive indeed...

T: Citrusy in nature and intense hop action in the back complement very well with each other. Its upbeat compared to other big IPA thats are deep in nature, this one comes out bright.

M: Medium body, great carbonation, oily, ABV somewhat noticeable but no factor, in fact it plays its role perfectly.

D: Sign me up! Great Imperial IPA through and through, will be purchasing periodically.

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Photo of billab914
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Southern Tier glass. Pours a hazy golden color with a thick white foam that settles down quickly. Nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma is sweet and hoppy with a lot of citrus. Taste is very good, very hoppy with citrus and pine flavors. Moderate bitterness with a good amount of sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, very nice drinking IPA.

Overall I was very impressed with this beer, this tastes like a lot of the famous west coast IPA's. It has that sweet citrus flavor that is usually found in the west coast ones. Really enjoyed this one and especially since it is readily available where I am at. Will definitely buy again.

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Photo of COBeerBuff
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Received from Petroos via Secret Santa 2009.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy yellowish-amber color with a nice finger and a half of fluffy eggshell colored bubbles. Retention is very good for the head, with lots of lacing as the beer settles.

Smell: This is a hop bomb indeed! Pine, citrus, juniper, and grapefruit scents dominate the nose. There's a little bit of sweet pineapple thrown in for good measure. There's not much in the way of sticky malts present, but the sticky sweetness picked up definitely hints that there will be some malts in the finish.

Taste: This beer isn't nearly as bitter initially as the nose led me to believe. The first sips are sweet pine and grapefruits flavors. The malts definitely do show themselves on the back part of the tongue, and the overall mix is very well played out and enjoyable.

Mouthfeel: For a DIPA, the mouthfeel is not quite as sticky or chewy as one would expect. This beer is very well-crafted, and the overall feel of the beer still manages to be somewhat light and airy, which works quite well with the citrus and juniper aspects of the hoppiness.

Drinkability: The overall drinkability of this beer is very good. The 9.2% ABV is well-hidden, and the smoothness of the mouthfeel makes it extremely hard to sip this beer. The stickiness of the brew along with the refreshing qualities makes this a DIPA worth seeking out. Thanks to Mike for letting me try this!

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Photo of DoreenAndDave
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an attractive hazy honey color. Not much head. Aroma is very hoppy. It's piney and almost astringent. Taste is big, in-your-face hops. Not too much subtly here. Just lots of hops. A little bit of grapefruit or orange in the finish, perhaps. It's assertive and nicely bitter. The taste is a little on the aggressive side, but I guess that's the point of this beer. Mouthfeel is quite good. It's nicely carbonated and quite drinkable. Overall, a very good beer. Powerfully hoppy and not very complex. Good if you're looking for a straight hops punch.

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Photo of u2carew
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. Consumed 12/01/09

A) Pours with a finger thick head. Creamy and white with big bubbles. Lacing is fairly sticky. Clear body. Upward CO2. Bronze in color.
S) Caramel. Grapefruit. Mellow orange.
T) Blast of malt up front with well balanced hops. The hops gain strength toward the finish and linger into the aftertaste. Earthy. Floral. Sweet.
M) Fizzy. Slight syrupy feel. Medium body.
D) A well crafted IPA. I'd pour another.

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Photo of Morey
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy copper-orange color with an impressive fluffy white head which leaves behind some nice lace following each sip.

Smell is typical for the east coast style... citrus, hops, and a big malty aroma with the citrus aroma leaning mostly towards the grapefruit side of things.

Taste is more of the same. Full and thick from the malts coupled with an assertive bitterness from the hops.

Mouthfeel is big and chewy with a fairly low carbonation level.

After this bomber, I'll be more than ready to switch to a different beer, and I'm an Ipa fan at heart.

Morey's Bottom Line: My first from the Smuttynose line-up, and I can't wait to try more. This truly is a big beer. I could use a little less from the malt profile, but this is still a pretty good Double Ipa.

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Photo of Jayli
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 12.7

A: This beer pours a nice clear golden color with a two finger of white head. Head recedes at a moderate rate leaving nice sticky sheets of lacing.

S: Nose is of a nice malt backbone, touch of fruitiness, and a decent piney hop presence.

T: Taste is very malty upfront with a bit of spicy hops that meld through the middle of the beer. Finish is a touch of caramel malt and floral hops.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, nice, slick oily feel and a bit of alcohol burn going down.

D: Nicely balanced beer, not quite a hop bomb, but is quite tasty and easy to sit with.

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Photo of drink1121
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled shared with kfsv034.

A- Very typical IPA look. Dark straw color with pretty good head, decent renteion and good lacing.

S- I notice big piney hops right away with some citrus and pineapple in there, then I get a good amount of malt with some hotness.

T- Well balanced IIPA between the malt and the hops. Similiar to smeel with a slight hop bitterness at the end.

M- Creamy and smooth, but a tiny high on the carbonation.

D- I could only drink a half of the 22 oz. bomber and thats about it.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle served in my ST tulip. Poured a translucent copper with a 1.5 inch, bright white, sudsy/creamy cap. Head eventually settles into a swirl with a bubbly band around the edges. Delicate strands of lacing were revealed during the tasting and exhibited excellent retention. Nose reveals sweet grapefruit and a slightly herbal/resinous quality follows closely. Flavor profile starts out sweet, but quickly gives way to a bitter medicinal quality. I also get a little biscuity character, as well as perhaps some caramel malt somewhere in the mix. Finish is slightly bitter and lingers lightly on the taste buds. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a slightly prickly carbonation feel (a bit of burn in there); however, it also sits a lit oily on the tongue. I'm also getting a little residual heat at the back of the throat. Not a bad brew, but a little too intense - character might mellow with age. Still, a solid offering from Smutty.

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Photo of j37geogaddi
3.69/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured this 22oz'r into a Sam Adams specialty glass, the beer pours out a very light orange color, almost too light for this style. There is some tight lacing and some good carbonation bubbles jumping to the top.

Smell is very nice- of grapefruit and pineapple, and somewhat grassy along with hints of tobacco leaf, similar to that of Smuttynose standard IPA, just stronger.

Taste- While it does feel like the bigger brother of its IPA counterpart, there is not enough hop backbone to balance out the cloyingly sweet flavors and the alcohol that comes through. That said, it is interesting to savor because there are some clear fruit flavors to notice along with the hop oil residues. Yet this bottle is simply too sweet for my tastes.

Mouthfeel is pretty thick. Pretty heavy in comparison to other DIPA's, but not too much so.

I wouldn't consider this a particularly drinkable brew as even halfway through this bomber, I was wondering if I'd really want to finish the other half.

Conc: I've cracked this beer open before, and don't remember the same level of sweetness that I did this time, so I'm assuming it has been sitting around for too long considering there is very little hop bitterness. It notes on the side that it had been bottle conditioned as of 2009...Unless you rank; syrupy and sweet as desireable flavor characteristics, don't age this one, as its not the proper style. All this said, its still a solid DIPA, and if fresher- it would be noticeably better.

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Photo of wenkalman
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a standard pint glass.

Appearance - Golden, hazy, unfiltered look. Slightly off white head that I was able to get at 3 fingers width. It faded slowly and left slight sticky lacing.

Smell - Very earthy and piney smell. Very appealing

Taste - Taste follows the smell. Not as bitter as I would have thought but it is pleasing.

Mouthfeel - Thick syrupy like texture which I find typical of DIPA's. Moderate carbonation leads to a slight tingle on the tongue.

Drinkability - The alcohol comes through on the back end so the balance isn't perfect, but it is good.

I would recommend this beer to others. Its good, maybe not the best; but worth trying.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a rich golden with a thick fluffy white head.

Big sweet citrusy grapefruit smell with pineapple and maybe apple.

Taste is a lightly bitter, lightly malty, sweet and balanced beer. The bitterness doesn't overpower. Simple, but very nice.

Good mouthfeel and the high abv is not noticeable. I was pleasantly surprised with this beer.

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Photo of nickd717
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber from Chevy Chase in DC shared with the ol' man. What does "A" stand for? My guess is ass, in which case a big A is a good thing, as Sir Mix-a-lot will tell you.

Pours a bright slightly hazy golden-orange with a fairly large white head and great lacing.

Aroma is nice sweet malt and a blast of citrusy and floral hops.

Flavor is really citrusy and resinous with orange, grapefruit, and other light fruits. Very heavy on the hops.

Medium-full body for the style but not too syrupy, with brutal hops coating your mouth.

I can really down this stuff. It's really excellent overall - one of the better east coast DIPAs. Worthy of a Big A...minus.

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Photo of stonequarrywest
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From rpstevens SecretSanta 09
Poured into my Steal Yor Face Pint..

Peachy colored with big soapy white 2 inch head that slowly sinks to about half inch with decent lacing all over.
Smells of wet pines and weed and hops
Very sharp hop bitterness thas has my tongue saying Likey likey!! Really get the Orange Citrus and some Heat..
Pretty damn drinkable for a IIPA.

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Photo of jfmorey
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

Disclaimer: I am not a hothead, I look for balanced taste even in a DIPA.

Appearance is a hazy amber color, head disappeared to nice lacing. The aroma is a pleasant citrus.

Well balanced taste of citrus and pine; bitter and malts aftertaste.
Dangerously drinkable for 9.2 ABV

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Photo of CharlatanSin
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smuttynose makes probably my favorite IPA, so needless to say, I'm looking forward to the double in a big way. Poured from a bomber into the rockin' Hold Steady pint glass.

Appearance: Pours an amber color, which is a little more clear and yellow tinged than I like in my double IPAs. On the plus side, it's got a strong, white, bubbly head that sticks around for the ride and leaves monster lacing.

Smell: Big pine hops dominate, with a fair amount of sweet citrus.

Taste: A giant, piney hop profile. There's a fair amount of tropical citrus, more orange or tangerine than the grapefruit I'm used to tasting recently. It's bitter and hot. Also, to be honest, I taste more than a tiny bit of marijuana in there (not that I would know what that tastes like...I smelled the cool kids smoking it. I mean...I was holding it for a friend). It all combines to make a massive hop bomb. I'd expect nothing less from Smutty.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a pretty high level of carbonation, which combines with the hot hops to beat your tongue up.

Drinkability/Overall: Their normal IPA dominates its class, which I can't say about this double IPA. Still, it's a very good beer for a hophead like me. When I need my giant hop fix, I will reach for this one again.

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Photo of cvstrickland
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A brisk pour from the 22-ounce bomber bottle into my trusty Duvel tulip yields a sparkling tangerine-tinted golden brew with a finger-thick cap of glossy, fine-grained white foam augmented with milky bubbles atop. The head fades rather quickly and a thin web of large-celled lacing marks the passing drink.

The aroma is laden with a citrusy twang and snipped culinary herbs, with a vague backnote of sticky green tobacco. A spritz of orange juice dry-hopped with hemp buds stimulates my imagination.

The taste is toasted caramel-sweet with a fine edge of resinous bitterness. Notes of dilute orange rind oil, pink grapefruit wedges, freshly-mown grass, and crushed lime leaves work hard to counteract the malty sweetness, leaving the finish relatively dry with a lingering oily bitterness.

The drink is on the fullish side of medium-bodied and the carbonation is on the flattish side of sedate. Drinkability is pretty high considering the sizable 9.2% ABV.

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Photo of avalon07
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had an orange color and a slightly cloudy consistency. There was a half inch of fairly long-lasting, foamy head. Very good lacing.

S: A nice, subtle aroma of citrus, hops and a little pine.

T: Tastes of grapefruit, hops, pine and some malt. A balanced flavor, not overly bitter or flashy. Solid.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A well-made, flavorful, drinkable beer. Smuttynose really doesn't make bad beers.

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Photo of cbutova
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden orange with a two finger head that is right between fizzy and creamy and retains pretty well. Thick lacing is left on my glass as I gulp it down. A better head would raise this one to a five. Smell was huge citrus hops (like orange, grapefruit and lemon peel), some piney hops and some sweet malts. The strength is fine on the nose. Taste is also gigantic on the fruity/citrus hop flavors (tons of orange citrus and peel, lemon, grapefruit), some piney hops once again, the malts are a bit too sweet for me and a tiny alcohol bite. The alcohol and especially the sweetness take away from the flavor. This one becomes WAY too sweet toward the end of my first glass. Mouthfeel is a nice moderate body with appropriate carbonation. It is not watery but also not very creamy, which I don't expect in a double IPA. Leaves a huge coat of hops on the tongue with some warming. Drinkability is good, the taste is enjoyable, the price is not bad for a limited brew, the sweetness will mess with this one after about 12oz. I would try this one on tap if I saw it somewhere, a very fruity-hop double IPA that is an enjoyable experience.

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Photo of portia99
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a Portsmouth goblet.

A - Pours a nice, perfectly clear pale orangey amber with a finger and a half of fluffy white head that has good staying power. Head finally dissipates leaving tons of sticky lace on the sides of the glass and sparse but sizeable bubbles on the surface.

S - Some pine and grapefruit and a good amount of malt - bready and sweet. A little bit of fruitiness and a touch of soapiness too.

T - Lots of hops - citrusy and piney, but offset a bit by the malt, which is plentiful. Bitter but not overly bitter - more flavor than bitterness. I would still say this is balanced to the hoppy side, but the malt has a very strong presence, also giving a bit of an alcohol flavor overall.

M - Medium to full bodied. Carbonation is low to medium. Resiny hops fill the mouth, leaves behind a drying sensation in the mouth. Good double IPA...first time I've had this fresh - haven't been impressed with older bottles - fresh is definitely the way to go on this one.

D - Pretty nice DIPA...fairly drinkable despite the high 9.2% alcohol level. Alcohol is noticeable but not overpowering. Definitely enjoying this one on a Sunday afternoon watching football. Think I'll pick up a couple more while they are still fresh.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Shared a bomber bottle with my brother. Half of the bottle pored into my Smutty Big Beer snifter.

Appearance is deep orange to light brown with a one and half finger cloudy white head with great retention. Leaves nice lacing for the entire time I drank. Smell is really strong hops, deep pine and resiny notes thhroughout. Taste is also strong hops, not a lot of malt presence. Hops present almost completely as pine notes. Almost a slight sour taste presents near the end of each sip. Becomes sweeter as it warms. Very strong bitter hop aftertaste, which I love in an IPA. Mouthfeel is pretty thick for an IPA, without onyl slight carbonation. Drinkability is really good for me. Sure the ABV is high and the flavor is strong, but I could sip this all night.

Overall, a really good DIPA and another great Big Beer from Smuttynose. Big flavors but with proper balance.

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Photo of Mistofminn
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this bottle as an extra from rrheisler's box that arrived this morning. Thanks for the extra, Ryan!

Poured into a tulip glass, this is a slightly hazy golden amber color, more leaning towards the golden side. Very large off-white head is produced, with great retention, but leaves little lacing.

The nose is big, wet, dank hops. I actually detect a little cannabis in there (maybe thats just me?). Very hoppy. The malt backbone is faint at best, so this one is a little one sided. But for a beer named Big Ass IPA, thats to be expected.

The taste is similar, but there is a definite resiny hop presense in the taste that I didn't pick up. Very strong on the floral hop notes still, and again the malt backbone isn't very well defined.

Mouthfeel is light to medium, probably more medium. Appropriate carbonation. Drinkability is good.

Overall, another brew from Smuttynose that doesn't disappoint. Thanks Ryan for this extra brew!

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Photo of cavedave
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful and clear golden into the glass. A thin, off-white head recedes to a whisper thin cap and persistent ring.

A strong scent of citrus and sweet pine hits my nose. A deep inhale brings pleasing and alive fragrances of floral hop and just the hint of yeast, grain, and even a touch of herbosity like a ghost in the room. Fine bouquet, could be a bit stronger.

If I interpret the bottling date correctly this bottle is four months old. I'm certain a fresher bottle will have even better flavor, but I am reviewing it as it is now. The taste is a blast of deep hop bite, a resinous party of citrus, pine, herbs, and florality taking place on my tongue. It isn't a hopsickle wannabe, it is a more balanced hop forward brew, full of the good that is hoppiness set in a frame that is sweet and subtle malt. The malt bill is slightly toasty, sweet, but mainly it is an unobtrusive partner to showcase an outstanding hop profile. As it warms the flavors get even more vibrant, and alcohol isn't present in the flavor at all. Nice.

Mouthfeel is viscous, resiny, clinging, just as a IIPA ought to be. Low carb., perfect. Nothing artificial or cloying here, hop resins in clean representation station themselves on my tongue for an outstanding finish. My only complaint is it could be just a tad less sweet in the finish.

Drinkability is as good as it gets for a IIPA, nuff said.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: solid head pour and an amerish compelxion

smell: huge amount of citrus.

taste: loaded citurs from the hops. Picked up alot of bitter orange, not grapefruit. different loved it

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: awesome, one of the best

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Photo of phantomwyse
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours out a hazy golden orange with an initially dense white head that settles down to a patchy ring.

S: Fresh and bright citrusy hops, dense juicy pine, with a strong malty backbone.

T: Theres a strong puckering bitterness, but it isn't attached to any dominant hop flavor. Mild citrus, watered down grapefruit and dried cracker malts. Residual bitterness abounds.

M: Crisp and medium bodied, leaves off a little dry.

D: Kind of a strange IPA. Yearns to be ultra hoppy, but the hops just never come out in full force. The malts seek to balance, but there is little to be balanced. Not entirely bad, but not illiciting much excitement.

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Smuttynose Big A IPA from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 1,723 ratings.
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