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

The look of this beer is a very cloudy dark gold color. It has a nice frothy head that leaves a nice lacy bit of residue on the sides of the glass. There is a tiny bit of carbonation.

The smell is pure hops. There is almost zero malt scent to speak of. The hops burst out of the glass, and smell mild but sweet. There is a slight pinewood smell.

The taste of this beer is a bold, delicious hop flavor, with a surprisingly bitter aftertaste. The hops don't really hit until after the swallow. It's got a soft, buttery flavor to it. There is a strong woodsy and citrus flavor, but it fits the hops perfectly. The malt is non-existent. The hops are so diverse and full of flavor.

The feel is smooth and buttery, but with a sharp bitter ending. It's very thick on the tongue. Has a dry finish. Considering this beer is all hops, it is incredibly drinkable. It's strong, but doesn't linger, which makes it possible to have several in a night.

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

Appearance - Copper/orange with a foamy white head.

Smell - Mostly pine-like in aroma.

Taste - The malt backbone is apparent in the taste but what sells me on the flavor is the big piney hops and the bitterness is nice. The malt has a toasted taste to it, and the hops bring it with the pine, very nice.

Mouthfeel - Medium body, somewhat oily from the hops but very smooth.

Drinkability - I wish I had another bomber, I will have to pick up more of this one.

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Photo of Globetrotter
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Scored at the Whole Foods Market in Arlington, VA, in August, then cellared for a couple months, until I could wait no longer. Brown bomber with a bulge neck and a label like the one pictured here. No ingredient or freshness info.

Pours a lovely and inviting cloudy rusty orange under a two finger white head with good body, nice retention, lots of lace spots and one great big lace ring about 1/4 of the way down the glass. Strong pine and spice nose with a touch of lemon - literally mouth-watering. The mouth is quite viscous and well-carbonated - sticky and prickly simultaneously. There's a definite sugary sweet malt flavor (maple syrup?) accompanying the massive amounts of hops. Pine sap flavors develop quickly, overpowering all else and lingering like dry coffee grinds at the back of the throat long after the liquid is gone. A touch harsh, even for this hop head. I'm enjoying it, but it's not a MUST have brew.

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

Pours gold to light copper-orange in color and hazy with a white head that fades quickly. Nice hoppy aroma that is mainly citrus, sweet grapefruit and oranges, also shows a little piney-ness. The sweet citrusy hops mix with sweet malts on the tongue first and linger for a moment before a good size pine flavored hop and alcohol bite come in. Malts show a nice medium body before a spicy and dry finish. Great DIPA, well balanced malts accentuate the citrus flavor before the big pine bite. Alcohol is barely noticeable in the finish. Easy to drink these 22 ounces.

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

I've been wanting to try this one for awhile, and the 2006 version just started showing up locally. Smutty's IPA has been a recent favorite, so we'll see how this goes...

Whoa! This beer does not disappoint. Pours a medium tan-orange, without the significant sediment their IPA usually has. Not much over a finger of foam, and it didn't stick around long. Pleasant, spicy hop smell. Amazing balance of hops and malt that really serves to mask the high ABV quite well. I was sincerely surprised to see this one clocks in at nearly 10%. A thoroughly enjoyable, complex character that seems as if it will only get better with age. This is the grown up, sophisticated version of their IPA. Very impressive, and almost too drinkable considering its strength.

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Photo of BlackJeremiah
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into an English pint glass.

A: Golden, slight haze, with a rocky white head that laces as it reduces.

S: Nice piney scent evident, even at a distance, but not overwhelming.

T: Pine bite is mellower than expected, giving way to creamy textures and a very mild malt presence. A nice change from the ever-less-balanced DIPAs proliferating in the market. Very subtle and laid-back. This tastes like a DIPA that has made it to India, rather than one that never made the voyage.

M: Smooth, a bit of hop oil feel. Creamy and full on the tongue and palate.

D: The interesting textures made this a good slow sipper, and an enjoyable break from the emerging pattern of American copycat hop-bomb DIPAs.

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Photo of loren01
4.21/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy yellow color, 1 finger width white head, good lace
S: Good malt smell, piney scent
T: Good bit of malt, nice hoppy flavor, slightly bitter but not too much
M: Medium bodied, dry finish
D: Good IPA, a little heavy to have more than 1 but good smelling/tasing brew

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Photo of sponberg
4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle conditioned in 2006. medium dark gold, white head lasts forever, aroma has a depth of citrus hoppiness and fruity-toasty maltiness balanced with whiffs of alcohol. Hints of a good bud.

Love this brew. Starts with a toasty-caramelly maltiness followed immediately by a bracing, citrusy-slightly-piney hoppiness that just envelops the mouth. Solid, rockin' bitterness all over the tongue. Mid sip it all blends in perfectly. The alcoholic warmth shows up near the end, adding more complexity. Finishes with a grapefruit-and pine, resinous hoppiness along with the maltiness, tongue tingles from the bitterness, mild buzz confirms the alcohol, empty glass confirms the drinkability. Completely appropriate body - not too syrupy, but not thin at all.

One of my favorite DIPAs.

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Photo of PeatReek
2.91/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours hazy and yellow/amber, like a nice weissbeer. Rocky white head. Hop smell is strong but light, floral and lemony with a slight savory undercurrent. Bitter, scratchy hop flavor right from the outset; the delicate aspects from the aroma don't cut through this so well. Rather dry, but almost invisible, malt presence. Finishes dirty with a mildly unpleasant ester fruitiness. Hmm. No thanks.

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Photo of bigman147
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: Poured a cloudy orange with a thick white head that lingered.

Aroma: Smells of grapefruit and pine. A slight lemony note. Definitely hops are most prevalent

Taste: An excellent balance of hop bitterness with malty body. A savory hoppiness that you can almost chew and makes you want to take another bite. Citrus and Pine hop flavor. Alcohol is present but not overpowering. Hops are lingering enough just to make you want to drink more to wash it away. .

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: This beer has a pleasant slightly cloying mouthfeel. The hop bitterness helps in making this beer more drinkable. I could drink this beer all day if not for the high alcohol.

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Photo of ericlawton007
4.63/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of the first double ipa's where the drinkability is truly exceptional. Initial taste is not to alcoholic, and goes down really smooth. Smuttynose continues to brew some of the best beers in new england. Also, if you have not tried Smuttynose's Finest Kind IPA, stop reading and find it now. A must for all fans of american style IPA's.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bright, clear copper color, with steady streams of carbonation and porous off-white foam that reaches 1/2 inch high with decent retention. Piney, rain-like hoppiness in the nose, not much citrus flavor though, it's pleasantly strong yet simple. Taste is strong on caramel malt plus a grassy hop balance. Bitterness seems moderate at first but becomes quite strong. Finish also has aslight dryness. The alcohol didn't seem that strong for a double, very deceiving. Body runs light to medium, with average carbonation, pretty unremarkable.

The flavor balance is nice, but this is supposed to be a double so why not kick it up a notch? It's good, but too plain to be great...

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Photo of mnj21655
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours an amber-orange in color with a nice 1" slightly off-white head. Has a nice floral, citrus and grapefruit aroma. Citrus hops are the predominant flavor. Has a nice mouthfeel. Good drinkability. This beer is bold, almost too much so but solid and well-built none the less.

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Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 10oz. glass.

App. Haze orange with a substantial head.

S&T. Very hoppy, but well balanced. Huge hop taste at the beginning very little bitterness on the follow through. I was surprised to find out how high the alcohol content was because it is quite drinkable, but expensive.

A definite must if you are an IPA’r. I’d like to have this beer in a larger portion though.

24 September 2006

Bottle conditioned 2006. I've had this beer in the 2005 version several times, but have not reviewed. All in all many of the characteristics from the tap version and last year have no changed too much. Out of the five reviewing options, the biggest change is in taste. In no way has this matured, in fact, it definatley needs more time. Big time alcohol presence, that is dieing to be left alone.

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

Poured a dull light golden with a thinner white head that left a trace amount of lace as it settled quite quickly,as expected the hops are the attraction here in the nose grapefruit rind and pine really stick out hints of alcohol show thru but they are subdued.Pretty resiny on the palate with alcohol dipped tangerine flavors wich were nice there is a noticable lightly sweet caramel malt base underneath but it stays in the background as I drank more it became quite sticky and sweeter.The hops are big and its enjoyable not as in your face as some others of the style,I liked the different flavors not just one dimensional with the citrus and pine flavors.

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
3.77/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber 2005 edition purchased in Egg Harbor, WI $4.50

A-Golden burnished copper body. Sediment free with fluffy, airy head that stuck like glue to the glass

S-Huge hop resin protruded at first pour. The freshness was a welcoming presence. A deeper smell unveiled the heavy citrus and piney layers. Awesome!

T-Candy-sweet with a big hop finish. The bittering hops, although nicely done, finish a bit harsh. Underneath the bitterness is a juicy fruit body that has many aspects. The alcohol is litterally masked by the hoppiness.

M-Again, some of the hops come off a bit rough, but still enjoyable on the tongue.

D-Nice bomber to say the least, although I have had better big DIPAs in the past. Nice brew from Smutty'

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Photo of sstackho
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Alcohol percentage not listed on the label, which is a bit unfair for a "big beer" series, in my opinion. Glad I'm at home and not having to monitor my alcohol consumption. Pours a somewhat light straw colour, varying head depending on pur, some carbonation, decent lacing. Nice aroma. Strong, full, well-rounded taste. Lots of hops. This beer hits you in the throat going down and leaves a solid taste in your mouth - but it is not one-dimensional. Tastes like there could be a lot of alcohol in there - let's look it up. 9% - yup, that sounds about right. Sweet, but not overly so like I find some high-alcohol beers. This one was enjoyable all the way through. Good for a special occasion - like a Saturday night at home!

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Photo of granger10
4.04/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Murky bright marmalade color with a medium foamy white head. Good lacing. Smells like pure pine. Lots of piney syruppyness. Touch of citric but more resiny than anything else. On first sip there's a nice toffee/caramel maltiness baseline. Pine comes in though and the sharpness takes over. Some sweeter fruits seem to counterbalance but then some floral hoppy flavors show the hops maintain their edge. The further I go, the more the hops seem to control. Finish is a bit of orange but then grapefruit and resin and a slight alcohol warmth. The bitterness is dominate with malts maintaining only the minimum to help this be drinkable. Really nice but intense. Maybe I've been drinking too many lagers?

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

Poured a bright, cloudy orange with a big, chunky, white head. Very nice retention and impressive lacings.

Big aroma of sweet malt, grapefruit, orange peel, pine and an explosion of hops.

This is one of the more balanced double IPA's that I've ever tasted. Orange and grapefruit up front with a sweet malt flavor. This is immediately followed by a deluge of pine and hoppy goodness. Finish is bitter and dry, begging you to have another sip. Amazingly, the high alcohol percentage is nowhere to be found.

Amazing mouthfeel for a DIPA. Its only slightly, syrupy and not quite as heavy as most DIPA's. This makes for an extremely drinkable brew, which can be dangerous at over 9%!!!

Smuttynose is quickly becoming my favorite local brewery and this offering has blown me away! I hope all of the Big Beer Series are equally as impressive!

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Photo of hero27
4.47/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber.
Bottle conditioned in 2006.

Quite light in color for most Double IPAs, this one pours a dark yellow/goldenrod.
Aroma is just a downright cocky use of floral & thick piney hops. Some malt, but not enough to shake a finger at.
Plenty of hops all around the flavor carousel..a bit of grapefruit, plenty of resiny pine, and a hefty dose of whole hop flowers. Alcohol punch is enough to let you know it's there, but not overbearing..and it certainly doesn't affect the drinkability for me..I kept taking big gulps of this baby until it was gone. ...and damn are the hop burps delicious.

A must try for any hop hunter.

Acquired from bentley78 via trade. Thanks!

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

I picked this up at Downtown Wine & Spirits on Monday. I let this warm and served it in one of my New Belgium glasses.

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy orange-golden with a foamy white head that thins to a patchy layer leaving light lace on the glass.

Smell: Lightly sweet and fruity malts are noticeable, but secondary to a strong citric hop aroma. Very nice.

Taste: Malty upfront, which are lightly sweet and toasty. A big tart and citric hop bitterness appears in the center. The aftertaste is a lingering bitterness with a brief flash of citrus.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation, and a slick oiliness.

Drinkability: The hop bitterness is dominant and balanced by some malty sweetness, but isn't overpowered.

Overall: A good hoppy DIPA. The hops are dominant and aren't overpowered by malty sweetness like some that I've had.

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Photo of Franchise
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This offering pours a lemon orange slightly cloudy that leaves a spotchy thin white head. The nose permiates hops, citrus, spicy, grapefruit, cloves, and honey a very interesting nose. The taste starts with a huge hop profile, but is only slightly balanced with a tiny malty presence of honey and flowers almost too delicate for a IIPA this brew needs a bit more malt balance. Overall this is grapefruit, spicy, hopped up monster. I like this version of their IIPA but it needs a bit more balance to take it to the next level.

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

Pours out light amber with very little head.
Smells like a bag of hops. Very floral.
This is a big-ass hop bomb with a ton of malt to balance.
Very sweet and piney-bitter at the same time. This is a candied pine cone in liquid form...with grapefruit zest. Damn this is good.
The mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium...cloying , for sure.
This is drinkable , although it will kick my butt by the time I'm done with this bomber.

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

Pours dark gold into a tulip. Micro head quickly dissipates to blot the surface. Sweet citrus and pine notes typical of the imperial IPA style. Sticky and full with upfront sweet caramel with a lasting bitter citrus finish.

A nice East coast alternative to the West coast big beers. Nice price, too.

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Photo of SteveO1231
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. brown bomber bottled in 2006. Pours a hazy golden copper, with an excellent chunky white head, great lacing and tons of carbonation. Aroma of pure hop juice, herbal, pine, citrus and spice, perfect. A great caramel malt backbone too. Medium bodied with a slick mouth feel. Taste is sweet with hints of caramel but the hops are huge in this one. Herbal, pine and a bit spicy, almost aspirin bitter in the finish. Pine dryness in the finish and the palate is left with a sting of alcohol. Really a hoppy bastard, almost unbalanced but then again I love hops!.


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