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:
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Ratings: 1,723 |  Reviews: 896
Photo of pwoods
3.82/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz. brown bomber poured into an imperial pint. Says "Bottle Conditioned in 2007"

A: Pours a golden orange with a bit of yellow and good visibility. 3 fingers of slightly rocky white head. Pretty good retention and lacing.

S: Big citrus and pine. Lots of grapefruit but a different zing with pungent lemon and sour lime notes. Just a touch of phenols help with add a unique complexity to the fruity esters. Malts are nearly undetectable expect a subtle sweetness.

T/M: Lots of hop bitterness and runs free for most of the mouthful. Big, crisp, fruity notes of the grapefruit, lemon, and lime. A bit of alcohol again in the hops. Malts again are pretty subtle. A dash of sweetness behind a bit of lightly buttery biscuit. With malt creaminess on the low side, alcohol comes out a bit stronger in the finish. Hops stay strong throughout and last in the warm, dry finish.

D: This bomber should be enough to crush my palate for the night.

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Photo of bozebus17
3.79/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BeerTruth for the sample.

Poured a somewhat hazy orange with a nice white head at the start. There is some lacing left in the glass.

This one starts off with a huge citrus aroma. This is led by a strong grapefruit aroma and some fresh earthy hops.

The flavor surprised me a bit. There is a definite caramel malt flavor. This beer is actually pretty malty for the style. There is a nice amount of bitterness to back it up but it isn't anything overpowering. The alcohol is definitely present in the flavor. To me this detracts from the drinkability and my overall impression of the beer. It comes off as a bit harsh, not warming and pleasent like other brews. That being said it feels great on the palate. This ale is extremely creamy and leaves a nice hops aftertaste.

I enjoyed this beer but I wasn't overly impressed with it. Given the chance I would give it another try. Thanks again Adam!

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Photo of Brad007
4.75/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pale color with a small, frothy head. Huge aroma of hops in the nose with little if any malt. Taste is a strong blast of hops with a nice grapefruit aftertaste. Strong and fruity. True to the style of the Imperial IPA, the last refuge of the hophead. Even at 9.2%, this is quite drinkable. Nothing but hops, hops and more hops.

The aftertaste is desirable and to be quite honest, I actually prefer this over 120 Minute IPA. I could always buy a bottle later on and age it but when it comes to Imperial IPAs, the fresher the hops, the better.

This beer is still quite smooth and the bitterness makes it so. I'm already a fan of Smuttynose IPA so I will assume that this is Smuttynose IPA x 10.

Verdict: A decent DIPA if you are into DIPAs.

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Photo of caminiti
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Thick head, orange color, a bit hazy. Poured from a 22oz bomber to a pint glass.
S-Citrus, hops, in that order
T-Sweet, followed by a hop aftertaste.
D-Goes down smooth. A little too sweet for more than one, but tasty.
Overall a good beer for the right time, and a decent price compared to most other Smuttynose products, which are all pretty good.

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

A: Poured from the 22 oz bomber into a Duvel oversized tulip. Body is murky golden-orange in color with a 2-finger ivory head that left behind lots of foamy lacing.

S: Citrusy hops -- think mostly grapefruit juice and a bit of orange -- but also honey-drizzled malty sweetness underneath.

T: First impression is that it's hot at the end of the sip -- the alcohol makes its presence known right away. Up front there's a solid foundation of sweet malt. Hops follow at the back end, with citrusy flavors evident -- grapefruit but also a lemony bitterness that causes a mouth-puckering reaction. Pine or spruce is present as well and there's a dry, peppery spice in the finish. Alcohol warmth on the way down is noticeable.

M: A little more than medium-bodied. Slightly oily and slick in feel, but with a dry finish.

D: Good. As it warms the alcohol becomes even more noticeable, which slowed me down a bit.

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.5/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was really pleased with this brew. It pours with a large fluffy white head that has great retention and leaves behind allot of lacing. Has a hazy peach color.

The nose is very citric, pineapple's and hoppy. Also has a firm malt presence.

The taste is more than capable of holding its own. Allot of grapefruit but with a sweet biscuit malt taste, with piny hops and a warming alcohol. I would definitely have another if I had one.

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Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.15/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served from 22 oz amber bomber into Boston Lager glass.

Nice pour, very thick, hazy orange color forming fluffy off white head leaving a small amount of lace.

Aroma is loaded with grassy and resinous hops, with a strong fruity sweetness.

Tastes syrupy sweet and grassy. Extraordinarily bitter. Plenty of hops all the way through to the finishing aroma.

Mouthfeel has a notable bitter bit at the front, is slick on the tongue and syrupy, with lingering sweetness.

Lots of hops and syrupy consistency, but not much actual flavor.

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Photo of Abita45
3.82/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have seen that this beer has gotten considerable publicity as being an outstanding beer, and while I found it to be very good, I did not find it to be so extraordinary as to justify the hype.

It pours coppery and cloudy from a brown bottle into a pint glass. There is a pleasant floral hop aroma but nothing unique compared to other IPA's. The taste has a nice combination of hoppiness, citrus and floral tones, which mild enough carbonation to allow the bitterness to pass through strongly leaving a bit of an earthy aftertaste.

Overall, I found it to be good, but not overwhelming. I look forward to trying it again and seeing how I feel about it.

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

The head is a bit weak, as is the lacing. The aroma has the standard good DIPA apricot and citrus. The taste dives deeper into the citrus, but there's a grapefruit peel note that's a bit strong in some sips. It's a pretty tasty overall, but the malt doesn't really do anything and the hops are well put together, but not that special. It feels like I've tasted this before, good but not special.

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

So I have waited along time to to try something, anything from Smuttynose. So when I got three from them in the last month I figured it was my lucky day! The question then becomes, which one do you try? This was easier said then done for me. But as it always turns out, my true taste comes a calling, and I sat down with the Double IPA, or Big A...

A - Poured a murky, hazy orange amber. Big white frothy head dominated from the very beginning. It had great retention as it hung around for several minutes before finally relenting and giving way to a nice half inch layer of lace across the top. Very nice side glass lace as well. Lots of visible carbonation coming up from the bottom.

S - Aroma was hightly hopped, lots of light citrus and sweet sugar. Orange peel, lemon, tangerine and fresh cut grass were the biggest players here. A notable amount of sweetness was definatly present though and not to be outdone.

T - Well it was definatly a double IPA for sure. There was alot of citrus hops right from the start. Bigtime orange flavor, sweet and not soo bitter. There was a great balance between the hops and the sugar here, as it was nowhere near overwhelming and the IBU's did not even seem to be that high. Very very dry finish left you wanting another sip almost immediatly. No hint, not even the slightest of alcohol in the flavor at all. Damn fine flavor and just very well balanced would be the key phrase here.

M - Very smooth, and thick. Almost with a srup like consistency. However there was decent carbonation which really helped to balance it nicely. It definatly felt like a sipper as it warmed, however when first poured could actually be gulped fairly easily due to the light carbonation.

D - Great, this was a really drinkable double IPA. It was not as harsh as some otherd can be and the lack of harsh alcohol taste really helped with that. You could put this was down easily by yourself without issue.

Overall I was quite impressed with this one. It was one of those sweeter rather then more bitter strong IPA's, and I really think that helps more to mix out the abv in them nad makes them alot less harsh. I would definatly like to seek this one out again if I could. If this is any indication of how Smuttynose brews are, I could be in for a real treat as I work my way through their lineup!

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Photo of jackorain
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A-Beautiful orange glowing color a nice haze. Big head, bubbly rocky, pretty good retention and but fantastic lace as the head falls.

S-Big hops, pine, floral, earthy and grapefruit. Carmel malts. Sweet sugary aroma like simple syrup. althought hsi aroma is far from simple .

T-Same as nose but more complex with dried tropical fruits and hops that just don't stop. Pine and grapefruit just keep coming.

M-creamy full body with an oily quaility that carry the hops all over the mouth. Cabonation is high bt not overpowering.

D-really good, ABV makes me step this one back some. I needed to nurse the bomber for and hour.

Overall, this one fantastic DIPA. I will be seeking thbis one out again.

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Photo of RedChrome
3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A clear light orange colored liquid. Inch and a quarter frothy white head faded slowly. About average looking carbonation slowly rose. Lacing is thick clumps sticking all the way.

Extremely citric aroma was a nice strong burst right away in the nose. As the beer warms a pine presence blends in nicely. Grapefruits and tangerines work well.

Super bitter hops qualities dominate over any flavors of citrus or pine. Grains taste is gritty, and lingers on the tongue. Spicy black pepper also hits the tongue hard.

Definitely hangs on the surfaces of the mouth a while. Carbonation is big and bursting as it hit the mouth.

Biggest appeal is clearly the aroma. Great for a plate of sharp cheddar and blue cheese. Taste and aroma are at odds with each other. A decent try, but don't be surprised in the clashes.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a pint glass - June 23, 2007 (from notes). "Bottle Conditioned 2006" - label shows the fierce looking pugilist "Killer Kielbasa", Slash Wojciechowski...Killer Kielbasa sounds like the next great Tenacious D song to me...bottle sent by Wasatch.

A: Hazy, sunny orange, with a mild head of soapy ivory. Some rising carbonation and moderate sticky lace. Head starts at about 1/2" and lasts a long time.

S: BIG hops and sweet caramel - beautiful aroma bursting from the glass. Juicy orange and grapefruit citrus, a slick pine resin and then a sugary gooey sweetness to back it up. Aromatic, well-balanced, strong.

T: Nice hoppy flavor of citrus pith, pine oil and biting spice. At 120 IBU, this one is intensely bitter but does have a good balance, as much sticky caramel malt as you'd want to beat down all that lupulin.

M: Fusel warming amidst a velvety creaminess. Rich and chewy, with good carbonation and a lingering bitterness of mild citrous and strong oily resin.

D: A fine DIPA, certainly among the top ones I've enjoyed. Once again, Smuttynose doesn't disappoint. Well balanced, loaded with flavor and strong hop/malt aroma. A pleasure to drink and easy to recommend.

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Photo of voodrew10
4.67/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I asked the bartender to give me his favorite IPA and he did not disappoint! Not as huge as the 120 Min from Dogfish Head but far more drinkable! Intense hops smell with a bit of orange on the palate, easily my favorite beer so far this summer. My favorite beer style on humid days, I found myself sitting back with an empty glass far sooner than I would have ever expected.

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

Pour is a cloudy golden amber, good carbonation and head which faded after a minute or so. Smell was strong of citrus hops and little malt. Taste was something I've never experienced. This is the epitome of grapefruit hops if I've ever known better. By the way, this is a fresh batch. Unbelievable taste, possibly better than any DIPA I've had ,without a doubt. Mouthfeel was medium and well carbonated. Somewhat chewy and the grapefruit brought out a nice bitter sweetness. Drinkability is also great. I truly loved this beer and only wish I had more fresh bottles. Hopefully I can acquire some in the near future.

Thanks goes to zutmin for the fresh bottle!

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

Presentation: 22oz bomber, just below RT.
Appearance: Cloudy, amber, very nice head w/ retention.

Smell: Hops, hops, hops. Raw hoppy aroma, smells like the last few minutes of a great wort.

Taste: Good bitter:malt ratio, malt not overbearing as in some double IPAs.

Other: Good alcohol balance, packs a punch but you wouldn't expect it to (a desirable attribute for a double IPA). Smuttynose is one of my favorite "available in Maryland" lines, and this one does not disappoint.

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

Resembling pulpy orange juice as it is quite cloudy and thick with a small white head that fades into a ring quickly.

Very sweet floral hop aromas with a lovely boquet of caramel malt and aromatic hops. Citrusy fruit with stone fruit sidenotes. Peach, nectarine, lemon with a bit of pink grapefruit.

Thick with caramel and toffee. Very floral flavors with mainly stonefruit. Finish has a crusty thick coating mouthfeel. Somewhat sweet and slightly cloying yet still drinkable. Alcohol shows on the finish. So succulent and floral. A white pepper rustic spicyness on the mid palate.

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

Poors a slightly hazy golden orange. Thier wassent to much head, and what was there went away quickly. Smells Pretty tame, with a good amount of plesant hops. Taste pretty lop-sided with hops, with some piny and citrusy taste with a nice bitter finish. Right where a Dipa should be, drinkable for the style and a good all around brew

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goe out the fellow BAs TheManiacalOne, akorsak, MuenchenerKindl, NutBrown for this brew, two I asked for two were extra's I believe.

2006 Bottle

Pours a nice cloudy golden yellow color, nice carbonation, nice little off-white fizzy head, some nice sticky lacing to follow. The nose is slightly malty, plenty of hops, piney, citrusy (grapefruit), and some caramel. The taste is scrumptous, very hoppy, piney, and some nice grapefruit flavor. The finish is sligthly dry, nice chewyness as well. Medium body. Very drinkable, a very tasty DIPA, highly recommended.

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber, 2006 edition. Cloudy orange/golden color. Fluffy white head disappeared pretty quickly.

Cirtusy, floral and perfumey hop aroma. Very nice.

Good caramel backbone, seems to be some zest in here. Floral and citrusy hop bitterness. Finishes with a peppery flavor. Good bitterness, but not overwhelming.

Good body, and appropriate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink, and enjoyable.

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Photo of TuckerCarlson
3.07/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This may be a somewhat inconsistent beer, or maybe it's a year-to-year variation, or maybe it's a bottle v. tap issue. I had this on tap at Korova in Ithaca, NY, and was sorely disappointed on a couple of fronts, though I can't deny the things this beer does right.

Pours orange and slightly hazy with decent head that didn't las as long as I expected it to. Some lacing, but nothing major.

Nice big nose-full of citrusy hops. Opens more and more as it comes up to temperature.

Tase is disappointing - the darn thing is too darn sweet. There's a great citrusy opening and a lot of oily, piney tastes at the back end, but in between the two there's so much sweetness that it comes across as out of balance (think a cabernet sauvignon with 4% residual sugar). The sweetness somehow lets the alcohol show through in a slightly displeasing manner.

Mouthfeel is incredible if you can divorce it from the flavor: nice and thick, very satisfying when it comes up to temperature.

Could have been an excellent DIPA that comes up a bit short due to an excess of sugar.

Oddly enough, my first experience with this beer (also vintage 2007) was straight out of a 22-oz. bomber while camping with some friends and coworkers. I lost a lot of visual and olfactory cues, but the taste seemed way more in tune with what I expected.

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

Pours a clear light orange amber color with a shallow off white head that fades quickly. Some lacing observed.

The smell is intense and very fruity, lots of orange and some grapefruit/pine and it's quite sweet smelling as if it has a big malt balance.

Medium-Full bodied, the mouth feel is immediately conditioned to a piny hop and well carbonated texture. The flavor is intensely hoppy and a second round of complexity is introduced during the finish/exhale. A bitter aftertaste lingers significantly.

Wow factor. Drinkability - good drinker. This is one of the hoppiest beers that i've had...period. Slightly unbalanced, the bitter hop-bomb character out weighs the malt sweetness beneath, much more than the nose suggests. Recommended.

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

22oz bottle with a label depicting a fighter named the killer kielbasa. It seems this beer is the killer's recipe. Beer pours orange - amber with very sticky and clingy head and lace. Hop oil aroma is huge and pungent. Am I standing near a christmas tree? Strong spruce, tree sap, pine and cannabis aromas. The hops have to be contributing to the stickiness. Alcohol is also in the nose. Malt sweetness is there and probably quite substantial but the hops take center stage. Taste is a wonderful assault of hops with some alcohol warmth and a sweet malt that comes through late and into the aftertaste as a backing for the hops that linger on and on. The tiny bubble carbonation is perfect for this sticky hop juice and the drinkability is high for such a big beer. A fridge staple in NH as this ale is found in many grocery stores as low as $3.29 and never higher than $3.99 a bomber. Big-Ass IPA never fails to satisfy and makes it easy to support local breweries.

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Photo of westweasel
3.81/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to JMZ for a chance to taste this East coast beer!

This beer pours out a very pleasing light orange color. The beer is very clear and has more head than your average double IPA. The predominant smell is a strong biscuit scent with a grapefruit background.

When I first tried this beer it was right out of the bottle the carbonation was very high. At that time, the taste was dominated by a strong biscuity and butter flavors. It was followed by a very strong and sharp hop bitterness that was not very pleasing. I ended up getting interrupted and had to cap the rest of the bottle. I then drank the remainder the next night. It was a little less carbonated the second time around, and I thought it tasted much better. While still having strong biscuit and butter flavors, now I could also taste different hop flavors - both grapefruit and pineapple.

The mouthfeel was pretty full with lots of carbonation and a lingering bitter finish. The drinkability the first time I tried it was ok, but the second time it was much better.

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

Had this on tap at Max's last night. Unfortunatetly, because it was Friday night happy hour at Max's, that means this beer came in a 32 oz. plastic cup. On the bright side, I had plenty of beer, and plenty of time, to sample this one.

The beer pours an impressive bright hazy orange. The head retention is outstanding, and even in a plastic cup, the lacing was very good. On the nose I get a pretty good dose of citrus, exactly what I would expect from a DIPA such as this one. On the palate I get the typical citrus and bracing dryness in the finish from the massive hops. There is also a good amount of sweetness from the malt, and I have to give Smuttynose props for balancing the sweetness so well with the hops. That can't be easy in such a big beer. Also, unusual in a DIPA, the beer has sort of a soft creaminess in the mouth that makes this beer much more drinkable then many of your more typical DIPAs. Still, the abv., is plenty noticeable, and finishing off this bad boy pretty much ended my night.

Pretty impressive beer.

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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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