Big Cock IPA | Great River Brewery

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Big Cock IPABig Cock IPA

Brewed by:
Great River Brewery
Iowa, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BedetheVenerable on 10-23-2011

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Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 87
Photo of emerge077
3.06/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Surprised this got label approval... pheasant and blaze orange, a hunting themed label. Label is shrink wrapped on the can, not printed. Purchased from the brewery, soon after release.

Bright and glowing copper orange color. Plenty of foam, visible trails of rising carbonation. A substantial head that laces well, with a skim that never breaks on the surface.

Smells a little funky like crushed vitamins and pine sap, gravelly minerality blends into roughly herbaceous plant matter. Funky, in a word.

Heavy handed hop bitterness, big piney flavor, herbal with an almost spicy raw edge, and not much else. Light afterthought of pale malt in the middle, and residual dry aspirin bitterness that lingers. Medium bodied, light enough to drink, but somewhat unbalanced. Rough and rugged, amped up bitterness lacking some hop flavor and complexity. Could use a tweak to the hop additions to make it shine, the body and appearance are great as is.

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Photo of Duff27
3.76/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a beautiful looking three inch, off-white head on a ruby red colored body. Lots of suspended sediment and a few streams of effervescence float on upward. Clumpy lacing lines the edge of the tulip and the head stays around very nicely.

S- Aroma is of citrus (red grapefruit), it's faint but there. Opens up as the Big Cock warms a little.

T- Citrus notes that aren't as "in your face" as some of my favorites in the style but that's alright...nicely balanced with the malts. Very bitter hops taste lingers after each sip. My ABV detectors put this right around the stated alcohol content.

M- Medium mouthfeel and damn near perfect carbonation.

D/O- I believe the only negative in my book when it comes to Big Cock is the overkill on the bittering hops. Other than that Great River Big Cock IPA is an slightly above average IPA that is recommended to fans of the style.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.27/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

16oz can, rigorous pour reveals an amber colored ale with a very thin ivory head, seems to be lacking some carbonation. Nose is heavy on caramel malt, toasted grain, sweet citric grapefruit, a bit earthy. Bready malt, toasty grain, caramel try to hold up to the massive citrus and earthy pine assault of hops, and actually don't do too bad of a job, but the hoppy bitterness lingers with some astringency in the end. Mouth-feel is creamy and smooth, but needs more carbonation, it's pretty flat. Overall, not a bad IPA, but it's rough around the edges.

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Photo of jzlyo
3.76/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dry pine and citrus in the aroma. The flavor is piney/hoppy with grapefruit and a bit of citrus, with a dry finish. A solid IPA, although a horrible name for an ale.

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Photo of mynie
3.08/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I dunno guys. I ain't exactly a prude, but, geez louise euphemism jokes don't work unless they're at least a tiny bit subtle So, yeah, this name offends me--not because it's a penis reference, but because as a joke it is very horribly and charmlessly executed.

Aside from the name, the beer's pretty solid. Flawed, but solid. I'd had it before and assumed it was a bad batch. This batch is better. Smoother, fizzier, the malt less syrupy and the hop profile more befitting an IPA. The hops are still a bit hamfisted and the malt don't quite back it up--there's strong herbal nodes in there, but nothing by way of the breadiness or yeastiness that usually mark an IPA.

It's messy but drinkable.

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Photo of morimech
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark amber color with over two fingers of head that had good retention before settling to a thick cap. Moderate amount of lacing is left down the glass.

A lot of caramel malt in the aroma. Some floral and citrus hop scents. Does not really smell IPA like.

More malt in this IPA than what most brewers use. Taste a lot of caramel and bready malt. Does not taste artifical like some beers with a lot of caramel malt. The hops are not as forward as I would like. Mostly floral and earthy notes. It is bitter and I believe the 70 IBU claims. Tastes like an early example of an East Coast IPA with its strong malt sweetness.

Full and creamy texture. Nicely carbonated and presents a good mouthfeel.

Not enough hop flavor for me. Need some flavor payoff for the bitterness. The last couple Great River beers have not impressed me much.

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Photo of jsh420
2.81/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

pours dark golden copper with a 1 finger foamy off white head that had good retention and left some spotted lacing

smells of malt and some floral and herbal hops

taste - there are hops and the beer is pretty bitter but the flavors are a bit off a little sour with caramel semi sweet malt on the finish

mouthfeel - medium heavy body with good carbonation bit sticky

overall - this beer was just released and somehow it already tastes like an old aged ipa with faded hops

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Photo of garymuchow
3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16oz can poured nicely into glassware made to hold that amount of beer.
Very attractive beer, with a dark amber very clear body and a full thick dark head with sufficient lacing.
Hop forward nose with nice citrus and Am. style hops, but also a less pleasing mild hop oil that has a slight stale quality. Firm malt based.
Taste is to style. Well balanced malt/hop ratio with a full bitterness kicking in mid to a very long finish. Nice hop drying. Slight hop oil excess, but it doesn't take away too much from the other enjoyable flavors.
Moderate body that is satisfying, and a pleasing fullness to the carbonation.
Basic solid drinking Am. IPA to style. This brewery seems to do that very well.

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Photo of JayQue
3.83/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good IPA!! My first beer from Iowa. Thanks to woodchopper who included it in a trade. Pours a dark hazy orange/coppery color. Big frothy white head with excellent retention and good thick lacing. Solid citrus hops aroma. Taste did not quite live up to the nose, but got stronger and more hoppy as the beer warmed. When cold, the initial blast of citrus hops faded fast. Lingered longer when the beer was warmer.

Mouthfeel was a bit thin at first, but the accumulation of hoppy blows takes care of the tongue as you keep drinking. Nice bitterness, carbonation just right...nice and crisp with a good bite.

There are better IPAs out there but this is a pretty solid one. Would definitely try one again.

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Photo of gatornation
3.58/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

from 16 oz can

A-pours a clear copper color with a 1 finger Khaki head a nice lacing on glass

S-malts and sweet caramel first with citrus hops

T- Malt forward ipa with alot of sweet caramel citrus and some tropical hops are present but malt rules this on

M-sweet with medium carbonation smooth with minimal bitterness

O- sweet and malty ipa its a good drinker i liked it and would pick up a single again it does have a touch of west coast in the taste

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Photo of harrymel
3.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Can date unk. October?

Pours a good copper with a withering finger of peanut foam leaving a solid sheet and some spotty lace. The nose here is comprised of grapefruit, grass, manure (oddly, but not badly) and some lemon peel. Flavor follows through with a nice spicy hop feel and citric burn. Surprisingly (despite the review just below me), I don't find this one particularly bitter, and in fact quite balanced in favor of the malts which are sweetly english in character. Upon further inspection, there is a decent bitter kick at the end, but I dig it as it is fleeting and not overshadowing the other characteristics. Medium bodied with hi carb.

This beer is pretty yummy, I would totally drink this again and would love to get a 4 pack to take with me hunting! Plus, awesome name.

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Photo of bashiba
2.43/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured a slightly hazy copper color with a light and thin off white head.

The smell was more malt than hops with a bit of buiscuit breadyness and a light bit of juniper.

The flavor is all malt followed by some very non nondescript Pine bitterness. Its like they only added hops at the beggining of the boil and forget all the important hop additions. Just big buiscuit malt flavor, maybe a touch of munich followed by bitter.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin and lacks the resiny hop oil feel you would expect from a big IPA.

Calling this an IPA is a huge mistake, its more like a big Amber Ale. I'm sure the sophomoric humor of the name will sell a few 4pks, but I can't imagine to many return buyers.

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Photo of NilocRellim
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The Big Cock had a thick, cream-coloured head to it. The body was a rich, amber hue. Its smell is slightly sweet, but being an IPA it was pretty hoppy. Despite how thick and foamy the head of the Big Cock had, it was surprisingly smooth on the tongue; not as carbonated as the head led-on. Just as most IPAs are, the hop taste is pretty upfront and the hop-bitterness hit right away and stayed well after it was swallowed.

Like most people... I bought it because of the name, but it really isn't that bad of an IPA. There are definitely much better ones out there, but they are also a lot worse. Plus some of the proceeds go to help pheasant habitats.

Would I buy it again? Probably not... unless it was to use it for shock value to show of to friends or something.

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Photo of Mdog
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark hazy amber, good head.

Smell: Decent pine aroma.

Taste: Dry caramel then quite a bit of pithy dry citrus. Some tea-like bitterness also.

Drinkability: Could use a little more sweetness to balance out the dryness.

Traded a redband stout for a can of this to review. It's quite dry and pithy, and also seems to have some English IPA tea bitterness in it. Decent but I prefer other IPAs.

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Photo of zac16125
3.93/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16 oz can into a pint glass
no born on date

Thanks to haveanother1 for sending this, along with a number of other northern midwest IPAs, over in a trade.

A: Pours a dark reddish amber with 2 plus fingers width of light tan colored head, which takes a good while to settle down to a thick film that remains throughout the drink. Leaves a fair amount of lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: Citrus rind, caramel malt, touch of pine, and a somewhat bizarre dirty feel smell.

T: Tasty beer here. Prominent caramel malt backbone accompanied by really nice ctirus flavors (lemon zest, grapefruit, orange rind), and a strong piney bitterness. Bitterness lingers for a long time after each sip. Very nice.

M/D: Very smooth for the style, perfect carbonation, medium bodied, drinkability is good. Very nice mouthfeel.

O: Overall, I thought this was quite good. There are not many reviews, but I am surprised that the ones that are here show this beer to be rather poorly received. I think its a well crafted, tasty IPA that I would certainly drink again. Above average in my book.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

No freshness dating.

A= Pours a deep dark amberish color almost a brown color that is nice and hazy. The head is a beautiful two fingers that have an off white color with solid retention and lacing.

S= Nice bright and resinous. It can be smelled from a ways away because of it's potent aroma. A nice little bit of maltysweetness to it that backs up the hop power a little.

T= The taste is a big bitter beast. A huge hop flavor with a little sweetness to it. The sweetness is a little weird however. It's a sort of strange in the sweetness however. Almost a little unfermented tasting. The hop flavor is more of just a big bitterness and less of the finer points in the hop flavor.

M= The mouth is great.

O= This is a pretty average IPA. In a world of world class IPAs this is easy to pass up on. I may buy it again because it's fun to say "pass the big cock" or "I'm gonna go home and guzzle some big cocks" but that's about it.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A pint can extra from an awesome BA (thanks man) poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint. Can't find a canned-on date.

A: Pours a dark gold, almost copper, with sediment apparent. Decent carbonation, and a huge rocky ice cream-like off white head that leaves behind some good lace.

S: Hop-forward and bitter smelling; pine, grapefruit, bready notes, light herbs, grassy & woody notes.

T: Bitter upfront; dry pine, biscuit...there is a definite toasted grain quality to the malt bill. Pretty darn bitter and dry. Hints of herbs, grapefruit zest, and lemon.

MF: Mouthfeel is bitter, medium and dry. Decent carbonation but nothing can compete with the bitterness.

O: Overall a nice, bitter, hoppy and malty IPA. Not really balanced, but a good beer.

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Photo of doucmehu
2.66/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Big ugly 16oz. can with a shrink-wrapped label. Kind of hideous actually. No canning date, purchased about 10 days ago in SD.

A: Pours a very orange tinted, ruddy color, almost like rust. Significant, fluffy light tan head leaves some spotty lacing and a constant ring.

S: Majorly malt forward, with grainy cereal and biscuity notes overpowering any hops. What hops are present are mild, floral and earthy.

T: Follows the nose with heavy malt presence, grainy and caramel sweetness masking the mild bitter floral hops.

M: Goes down OK, carbonation is good, medium body, slightly bitter finish but not very IPA-like.

O: Either this was old, or just poorly made. Not a bad beer per-se, but the lack of hops is really kind of sad. The malt presence is far too much for this style as well. Would pass on this every time.

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Photo of indiapaleale
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

POUR: auburn colored liquid fills our glass and a very rich and creamy head erupts on top leaving some streaks of lacing as this IPA recedes. Carbonation levels look great and this is clean and clear. Very nice looking pour.

AROMA: lemon peel, powdered sugar, caramel, grilled pineapple, mandarin oranges and caramel.

TASTE: first sip and I come across what appears to be a very balanced IPA with a rich, malty backbone backing up less pronounced hoppiness. Some flavors of orange and grapefruit are there and the finish is one with lingering bitterness and mouth drying potency. A little light in body but certainly not an IPA to turnaway or put back on the shelf.

OVERALL: solid IPA. Not a huge amount of pine or grapefruit and its not a hop bomb by any means but its a very drinkable and balanced hop-forward beer. I wish it had just a little more oomph to propel it into greatness but that's just me. Cheers! I really do love most everything from this brewery.

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Photo of sprucetip
4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really nice looking copper/amber brew with about an inch of fluffy off white head, good retention, and really thick lacing. Also very active and has good clarity.

UPDATED SCORES 12.13.12. Original review was from initial batch, and it pretty much sucked. But I had it again recently and it was radically different. I suspect if was very fresh, as it was just bursting with hop gooey hop flavor. My buddy said "it takes and smells like chlorophyl," expressing his displeasure. Yep, it does. "And that's intentional?" he asked. Yes again. And I like it. It was sharply bitter but not too too over the top, and there was some balance from the malt bill backing it up. Vastly improved. Great River historically has had consistency issues, but they are doing far more volume these days so hopefully they'll get some increased consistency in the process.

ORIGINAL Review late 2011, scored then 2.65
Not much early, maybe something will emerge. But for now it is some very faint, grainy pale malt. That's all, and it isn't easy to find. ... Half an hour later, and warmer, and it's still mostly plain, pale malt. There is some very limited hop character, but it consists of grassy and cat box notes, and is pretty muted as well. I'm not a fan of the nose.

Tastes much in the same vain as the nose, but better. Grainy pale malt, a very faint malty sweetness, very lightly bitter, with some gentle grassy and earthy hop flavor. I guess you could say it's balanced, but there isn't really all that much going on to balance.

Perfectly carbonated, medium body, and a mildly bitter and drying finish.

Even if you were calling this English style, I don't think there is anywhere near enough hop flavor, aroma or bitterness to call this an IPA. And it was just released 4 days ago, so it's not the sample. It's clean, smooth and probably what the brewers intended. But I would call it a high abv (7%) APA. I think I like their APA better, actually, even though I'm more of a DIPA or bold IPA kind of guy. I like and support Great River, and I want to love this beer. But it's not really in my wheelhouse, and doesn't have the hops to be a legit IPA.

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Photo of dbossman
3.41/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark amber color with a light tan and huge, steady, foamy head with great lacing

S: Lots of hop resin: pine, weed, citrus, onions, garlic, floral but also lots of alchol and grainy, bready malts

T: Hop bitterness up front: pine and herbal flavors; not as balanced as I thought it might be but a pleasant bready, toasty malt base emerges

F: A touch thin but still a fairly pleasant oily and sticky residue persists

O: A fairly average IPA, with more of the grassy, piney, herbal, oniony hops than the citrus ones most American hop heads clamor for but this beer is not so bad in the end

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.03/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked a 4pk of this up today at the brewery, on release day, for $9.50 plus tax. A portion of the proceeds go to support "Pheasants Forever", a program to keep these birds in the wild.

Presentation: 16oz can, with plastic, shrink-wrap type label (for environmental friendliness?). The provocative name is actually meant to catch people's eye and is a reference to the ringnecked pheasant, who's losing habitat throughout the US. There's a nice picture of a male pheasant on the front of the can. Geez, what were YOU thinking?

Appearance: Pours a beautiful burnt orange-tinged amber, with bright clarity. Medium-high levels of tiny beaded carbonation. Absolutely gorgeous, creamy, fluffy antique ivory cap that leaves some thick, patchy lace. Great looking beer.

Smell: As expected, this is fresh and vibrant. Nothing crazy unique, but definitely pleasant. Nice citrus and pine notes. I'm thinking pithy grapefruit and perhaps a bit of sweet orange? Also, some nice toasty/biscuity malt. Not tons of depth, but it's well-integrated and quite pleasant, so I think the score (4) is warranted.

Taste: The hop flavors start out mirroring the aromas and are fresh and almost delicate. With a bit of warming, some 'greener' and more herbal, almost woody, notes emerge, much more than the aromas would suggest. Then WHAM. So much for subtlety and finesse. The 70 IBUs comes rip-roarin' in and, honestly, it feels like a bit more than 70. The bitterness is fairly clean, but it lingers. This definitely straddles the line between IPA and DIPA, in my opinion. The pine and citrus flavors fade on the swallow, and you're left with an impression of lightly toasted pale malt, and a somewhat woody bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, nice and smooth

Overall: This is really what you'd expect from a beer with this name. It's big and ballsy, a slugger of an IPA, which will certainly please hopheads. I'm not sure what varieties of hops were used, but they certainly aren't as a citrusy as was originally suggested by the nose. Even with a bit of warming a more woodsy character emerged and this is definitely present on the palate. Overall, this is the third brew I've had from the tiny Great River Brewery and I've been pleasantly surprised with all three. Keep up the good work, guys! From now on, when I'm swinging through the Quad Cities (every year or so), I'll be sure to check this place out!

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
3.31/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

L- pours an amber brown with a thin head that has much carbonation.
S- Great. Lots of piney hops...I'm a sucker for such smells.
T- A little confusingly over piney. A citrus bite on the way out.
F- Much like many IPAs feel is a little rough.
T- I can drink this for an extended time. Not great, but love the brewery.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pretty much translucent caramel hue. Thin soapy off-white head.

Aroma: Some nice barley in there. Not getting much in terms of hops but at 70 IBUs I'm hoping for lots of hop flavor.

Taste: Earthy/spicy hops and an overall sweet character. Hard to believe it's 70 IBUs because 40 or 50 sounds more realistic. It's possible the sweet malt character is covering the hop bitterness. Slight alcohol note. Almost like a light barley wine but without as much malt complexity.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and decently drinkable.

Final Thoughts: A pretty average beer and a slightly below average IPA. Would I drink it again? No.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
4.08/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I served this in a tulip, reviewed from notes.

Appearance- Three-fingers of off-white orange head. There are lots of craters and bubbles in the thick cap.

The body is more of a burnt orange with amber highlights. I am really impressed with the head retention and the spidery lace.

Smell- The hop notes are not jumping out at me, sort of citrusy and grassy, only slightly bitter. A slight, white bread malt flavor sweetens the scent.

Taste- Luckily, hops are noticeable all the way through the sip. Not the most flavorful, but they do a good job of bittering. Here they taste grassy, slightly citrus, and even a little floral.

The malt may be too forward for some, but regardless, the biscuity flavor fits and really smoothes this one out.

Mouth feel- This is huge for an IPA and the carbonation is almost perfect. It is really creamy.

Overall- If you came looking for a hop bomb, there will be some manner of disappointment. The beer goes for milder, bittering hops and a strong, biscuit malt. The combination works in my opinion; and I would definitely have it again.

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Big Cock IPA from Great River Brewery
3.5 out of 5 based on 87 ratings.
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