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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 MisterSH
4.44/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice orangy gold into my smuttynose big beer glass. Sudsy 2 Finger head.

Smells of citric hops!!! Also some apricot in there, perhaps a whiff of vanilla, but grapefruit dominates. Little to no malt on the nose to speak of, this smells absolutely delicious.

Strong, oily, bitter hop flavor. Finishes clean and bitter. This is a hop bomb without a doubt, as in the aroma, grapefruit is front and center, with the malt providing a subtle and somewhat bready backing. A moderate alcohol presence accompanied by a slight warming on finish seems appropriate and expected and offers some welcome balance to the hops. Certainly rather rough on the palate if not accompanied by food, as one would expect with the high IBU's.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation, slightly oily, refreshing and cleansing.

A really enjoyable hop-bomb style DIPA. Another great big beer from smuttynose.

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Photo of gosurfobx
4.54/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 24 oz bottle into a snifter. Beer pours a clear light straw color with a one finger head that settles down to a film after a few minutes. The smell of the beer is complex and hoppy. First sip... hops dominate the palate right away. Not overly bitter but a pleasent and complex hop flavor. As the beer goes down the hop flavor profiles change. The mouth of the beer is good. Nice Carbination with just the right amount of weight on the toungue. A good drinkable DIPA.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.37/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a remarkably clear pale/washed-out orange color; foamy head that is very bubbled, with some embossed/inverse cratering going on, although the beauty of all that thins and spreads outward to a mere skim within about a minute. If this ends up being the greatest Double IPA of all time, flavor-wise, it will still lag a bit behind in the looks department.

Aroma is unsurprisingly hop-laden. The hops are mostly leafy/grassy...okay, maybe just leafy. A little tobacco, a little mint, not super-malty but also not abrasive hops overkill. (With some swirling, to awaken the aroma, the head comes back with a vengeance, nice and creamy, so a half-point lift was given to the appearance.)

Wasn't blown away with looks and smell, but damn, the taste/mouthfeel combo deliver a one-two punch of big-ass awesomeness. Reminded a little bit of Avery's Ale To The Chief, in that it brings on lots of hops, backs it up with lots of malts, and exerts balance and drinkability above all that. Mint is a big part of the hop element here, as is orange and pine. A gooey caramel essence brings on the sweetness, but more as balance to the big hops (yes, Big-Ass hops, fine...); hardly a sickly-sweet, out-of-whack sweetness. Alcohol is present but well-behaved; spicy, warming, smooth. Resiny feel/vibe/flavor, especially in the finish. Orange marmalade too. Chewy and creamy as all get-out, a little sticky...just the kind of feel I want in this style.

Usually super-impressed with Smuttynose's Big Beer Series stuff, and Big A IPA is no exception. As sweet as it threatens to be, as much as it threatens to go too far, it never topples off the edge. Big A is no monster. Just a well-made double IPA to savor.

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

Poured from a bomber into my party glass. Lots of foamy head that quickly fades. Can't really tell the color because my glass is blue. Biting hop aroma that assaults your nasal passages and teases your esophagus as the tainted air moves to your lungs. Slightly more orange notes, than your typical lemon-pine hoppy nature. A hint of sweet caramel lingering in the background, its very faint and barely detectable. Not well balanced in my mind, still a very good example of an extreme IPA. Mouthfeel is heavy and as it warms alcohol is more noticed.

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

L: Pours a nice orange-amber color with a tall and medium sized white colored head that laces the glass very nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet malts followed but a huge but not overly bitter hop aroma, mainly piney and citrusy hops.
T: Taste was actually a bit sweet, very big hop flavors over a very lightly toasted malt base. Big citrus, pine, and floral notes actually give it a somewhat sweet characteristic.
M: Very clean, crisp, refreshing, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable, this is a great Double IPA, I did not notice the amount of alcohol at all. This one was as light as a normal IPA, very well done.

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

22 ounce bottle poured into a Unibroue tulip. Fluffy, white head leaves oily, sticky lacing on the side of the glass. Aroma is of pine, grass, flowers and grapefruit. Coats the tongue with resinous hop juiciness. Taste is bitter, juicy, citrusy and just delicious. Slightly warming but ABV is amazingly well hidden. Some sort of lavender or perfume taste in the beer I can't identify but only adds to the complexity. I'm sure there's a malt backbone in there somewhere but this is for the hop heads. There is no chance of being disappointed if you have the craving. Awesome. Paired extremely well with a sirloin with hoisin sauce.

Edit: Had it on tap at Kickbacks in Jax tonight....even more delicious.

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Photo of pinotboy007
3.87/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Cloudy gold with a bright bubbly cap that faded rather quickly to a soapy-looking ring. Only a touch of lacing.

S - Pineapple, pine, freshly cut hay. Very nice and fresh smelling.

T - The fruity pineapple/citrus pops up first followed by a rush of bitter hops that are assertive, but fades to a bit of sweetness and tang.

M - Becomes more creamy as it warms, but it's got that prickly carbo-fizz happening and is quite refreshing.

D - The high ABV detracts a bit but this is more than an enjoyable IPA. If paired with spicy food this might be a real winner to keep around.

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Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a bright copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells mostly of citrus hops with floral notes also present along with sticky caramel tying everything together.

Tastes very good. The hops are a bit more muted than the smell intimated however they're still strongly present. Caramel malt flavors up front segue into citrus and slightly pine-y hop flavors. The sweetness from the malt and bitterness from the hops come together at the end for a very smooth ending. The alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel is good. There's a solid thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could easily have another.

Overall I was a fan of this beer. A solid east coast DIPA that's well worth a shot.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.08/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear copper with a fair white head that leaves fair retention. Bottle states that this recipes was created by the "Killer Kielbasa," Polish boxer turned brewer.

Mild citrus rind aroma with a fresh kale and pepper herbal hop. Interesting. Taste is all kinda all over the place: tropical fruit smoothie with candy peach rings and again that weird, vegetable pepper taste. Low carbonation.

Not bad, but I've seen most do better with this style. This beer makes me question the infallibility of Smuttynose.

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Photo of taigor
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap poured into 8oz glass.

A - Amber hazy color with medium head that leaves significant lacing.

S - Predominantly hops with some floral and citrus mix.

T - Very hoppy but has a little sweetness to offset it. Overall the taste is a little unusual, a little grassy.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation. Good hop amount.

D - Good DIPA but has a high abv.

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

On tap at east ave bar in Pawtucket, RI. Served in a 10oz tulip glass. Appearance is a light golden color with a 2 finger chunky white head. Smells heavily of citrus, grapefruits and nugs. Taste is similar to smell, heavy on the citrus but a bit too sweet. Mouth feel isn't too bad but its a rather thick and syrupy dipa. In my opinion the thickness and sweetness took away from the drinkability for sure. Definitely has some heat as well clocking in at over 9%. I only ordered one 10oz pour and I felt like that was plenty. But I will say I am glad to finally try this brew.

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Photo of kwakwhore
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As a big fan of the Smuttynose IPA I was anxious to try this out and to see how it measured up in comparison.
A Looks like unfiltered apple juice, white head which subsides into a collar and leaves a small amount of lacing on the glass.
S Complex mixture of apricot, peach, and citrus scents.
T Bitter grapefruit hops mixed with some sweet malts and a shot of alcohol which detracts from the flavor.
M and D are both negatively influenced by the heat of the alcohol presence. Way too hot.
This is a good beer, but with a little tweaking it could be a great beer. Given a choice of Smuttynose products I'd probably reach for the IPA before I'd drink this one again.
Later updates on this beer:
Whatever I said, Smuttynose must have been listening. Ever since they have reissued this beer in 4 packs of 12 oz. bottles, all of the problems have disappeared. It's become a really fine DIPA with plenty of hoppy goodness but a fine malt balance. The alcohol is no longer a distraction. This is now my favorite Smuttynose beer.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
4.67/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smuttynose Big A IPA

A- A caramel beer, mildly amber, and a sticky icky head that looks like a billowy cloud. Sticks to the glass like none other.

S- To call out user raverjames... I agree. This is like dank nugs. Peppery, resiny, citrus, haze-like chronic nugs. Damn.

T- Follows the nose. The weediest beer ever. If you've never seen the relationship between hops and cannabis, this is the beer to try. Very tasty, alpha acids are in the house.. an amazing hop profile.

M- A hop-head's dream. Fantastic. Rich malt base provides good counter balance.

D- Insane. A totally different beast then Smuttynose's other IPA (FinestKind, one of my favorites)... this beer is more 'hops in the raw'. Fantastic. I am in love with this beer. Could go up against damn near any IPA out there... fantastic!

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Photo of bum732
3.52/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a golden yellow, nice creamy head with great lacing and good retention. Smells very floral, apple blossoms, lots of citrus, orange and grapefruit mostly, touch of sweet breadiness. Tastes of sweet malt with an undercurrent of grapefruit rind bitterness. Hops are more flavor forward than bitterness. Finishes quite sweet with some hop oils on the palate. Decent mouthfeel, alcohol barely noticable.

An ok DIPA. The nose on this was great, very floral. Unfortunately, the taste fell flat, didn't translate well. I also found this beer to be way too sweet, almost sickly sweet. Reminds me of Southern Tiers DIPA in its sweetness. I would've loved some more bitterness to cut through this.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful golden amber color with a nice creamy mild head that sticks around and doesn't subside, very nice carbonation. Smells of predominant citrus and pine, some malt sweetness, a little alcohol smell. Has a strong orange citrus tang that slams the front of the tonugue immediately, a little lemon pepper, piney hops, sweet malts in the middle, then finishes with a very strong hop finish on the back of the tongue that lingers, followed by a warm booziness with the alcohol content. Leaves a slight metallic aftertaste with alot of hop bitterness. Has a body that resides on the robust side of medium. However, with the weird moshing of flavors, I couldn't drink more than one in a sitting before having to move on to something else which is why I gave it a lower rating in the drinkability category. I actively seek out a case of this every year it's released, I really like it.

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Photo of UA8
4.57/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a lightly hazy amber body with a big and fluffy off white head of at least 3 fingers.

S- The nose on this beer is huge I could smell it as I was pouring it into my Duvel tulip from a foot plus away from my face. Grapefruit is king here along with some caramel malty goodness. There is also some fruit basket notes as well as some pine. I can only hope that the palate on this one is nearly as good as the nose.

T- Leads with huge citrus hops of grapefruit and a bit of orange. You can tell that this one is super fresh. Midpalate is balanced with sweet syrupy malts. It finishes nice and smooth with enough hop bitterness to remind you its a DIPA but yet hints of fruity sweet lingering in the background. If you take big enough swig you can tell that there is some alcohol hidden in there but it stays hidden pretty well.

M- Full bodied for a DIPA the carbonation is a touch over abundant but acceptable since it's pretty smooth.

D- This is one heck of a delicious DIPA. It leans towards the "east" coast style of DIPAs with BIG hops and malts but that's the way I like my DIPAs.

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Photo of Kinsman
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle into a mug

A: Hazy orange color with a sticky, foamy white head, about 1 finger thick

S: As to be expected, hops are right up front with this one. Earthy and floral. Hints of of other flavors are there, but nothing very distinctive

T: Double IPAs are pretty new to me as I really only started liking IPAs this year. However the balance in this brew is surprising. Of course it is hoppy, but a little bit of sweetness from the malt keeps things in line. High alcohol content also provides some warmth at the finish

M: A nice medium-bodied feel with good carbonation

D: Overall a nice Double IPA to relax with, but one is enough at 9.6% abv

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Photo of farrago
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just about a finger plus of head, cream white in color, mix of foam and medium-sized bubbles, dissipates faster than expected, lacing isn't that sticky either. Orange rust to pumpkin in color, strong haziness, only a slight fade to dark yellow at the rims. The nose features bodacious pink grapefruit and pine needle elements, orange blossoms, sweet garden herbs, apricot, peach and pineapple fruit scents, when all this tangy sweetness subsides, milk chocolate softness comes through. Medium-bodied, very round and soft in texture, no bitterness, albeit not toothless. Leans on its sweeter aspects like that tangerine and pink grapefruit citrus, pine, licorice and violets. Not sugary but the fruit flavors of pineapple, nectarine and apricot carry full force. Again, the chocolate and caramel too, The carbonation on the whole is fluffy but not dominant as such. Taken as a whole, this is a friendly styled DIPA which prefers to be friends with everyone it meets than put some stylistic flag in the ground.

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Photo of grayburn
4.48/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow, after seeing mention of this in a couple of threads, and seeing Raverjames give it a shout out, I figured it was time for me to give it a shot, not to mention the marvelous price tag, thank you smuttynose for not making my ass hurt.

The beer pours simply beautiful, cascading foam that laces like nobody's business and sticks in a tightly-knit ring instead of fading into nothingness. Pure golden color with some reddish edges, very pretty.

The smell is this huge blend of pine and mint and grapefruit and deliciousness that would be perfect if that damn grassiness decided not to join in the fun. Still very nice and hop forward, just a wee bit grassy.

The taste is where the grassiness, luckily, doesn't feel the need to play. Total hop domination, piney with some nice residual sweetness that keeps the hops playing nicely.

The mouthfeel is big, even for a dipa, but it is cut with a brisk carbonation, the bitterness is moderated by some caramel malt. This is definitely on the sweeter side of the spectrum, an east coast "caramel pale" if you believe the west coasters, but I am happy to imbibe. Speaking of imbibing, where the hell did my beer go....I guess the balance made it easier drinking than most...perfect actually.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.73/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle

Relatively clear, light copper color with a frothy, tall cream colored head that has nice retention and thin streaks of lacing. Strong, sweet citrus (grapefruit) and caramel malt aroma. A little pine mixed in, but overall the aroma is fairly one dimensional and boring for the style. Flavor breaks down to an initial extremely sweet malty and citrus bomb with a clean, dry slightly more bitter pungent citrus finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with adequate carbonation but has a slightly thin, watery finish. Throughout there is an underlying spiciness and alcohol presence. Overall an OK DIPA, but for some reason (I have no basis for where this assumption came from) I was an expecting an exceptional take on the style when I bought this and it's disappointing how sweet it is and how thin the finish is.

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Photo of KBoudreau66
3.87/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark yellow with a finger of foamy white head that dissipates. Alot of carbonation. Has big citrus hop aromas. Grapefruit rinds, slightly lemony, maybe a bit piney with a malty undertone. The taste falls in line with the nose. A little bit dry on the aftertaste, but overall a very good offering from Smuttynose, and given the price point, an excellent choice. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of dasenebler
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Here's a bona fide New England hop bomb.

Pours a rich, slightly hazy amber. Not much head to speak of, a thin layer sticks around though.

Aroma sings of big, bold American hops: really herbal and citrusy with this DIPA.

Flavor is nice. Not too sweet, but not really a dry IPA either. Tons of herbal hop flavor coats the tongue. I get menthol, sage-like notes. Pretty spicy. Not overly bitter, and very drinkable in this regard. Mouthfeel is excellent: hugely resinous and coating of the tongue. Carbonation is nice and low.

It's nice to have a good New England hop bomb that we can get our hands on fresh. That's what it's all about with this style.

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Photo of corby112
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear pale golden orange color with hints of peach and dark golden yellow hues when held to a light source. Two finger frothy, pillowy head that has excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting ring that leaves rings of chunky, soapy lacing.

Resinous earthy floral hop aroma with lots of dank hop oils, citrus and pine notes. Slight alcohol presence with a nice biscuit/graham cracker malt character. This smells extremely fresh with lots of grapefruit, orange and lemon peel. One of the better smelling DIPAs I've had in some time.

Chewy, resinous medium body with lots of uber-fresh, floral hops bursting through. A good bit of dry and bitter flavor that balances out the sweetness of the citrus flavors. Lots of grapefruit, pineapple, mango and citrus peel excellently balanced by dry pine notes, slight alcohol warmth and biscuity graham cracker malt backbone. Their is a slight alcohol presence but overall the high ABV is very well masked, and this well balanced DIPA is dangerously drinkable. Excellent interpretation of the style. The latest batch just hit shelves (in the Philly area at least) so I strongly recommend going out and getting it now while it's at it's peak.

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Photo of boralyl
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours an inch of fluffy white head that has a great retention and clings to the inside of the glass. The beer is a light copper/orange color with a slight haziness to it.

S - A nice potent aroma. Lots of citrus, pine and grapefruit mixed in with a little bit of malt sweetness.

M - Medium in body with a ton of hops oil in the mouth feel. Lightly carbonated. Finishes dry.

T - A little bit of sweet malt followed by a biscuit like taste. Then you are barraged by citrus, pine and grapefruit similar to the nose. It finishes with a bold bitter taste with hints of alcohol.

An excellent DIPA. A lot of resin from the hops so this will coat your pallet for some time. I'd certainly try it again.

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Photo of Brez07
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a DFH snifter

A: Burnt orange coloring with a 1/2 finger head that goes quick. Nice spotted lacing and bubbles throughout

S: Hops, hops and more hops. Wow that is nice. Grapefruit, floral and a touch of alcohol

T: Dominated, in a good way, by grapefruit, pine and citrus. Slightly sweet and dry at the end

M: Definitely get a dry taste at the back of the tongue. Not much carbonation which contradicts the appearance

D: I love this beer to the point that it's hard to keep in my fridge for too long. Very easy to drink. Hopheads will enjoy this - seek it out

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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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