Bad Axe
Big Wood Brewery

Bad AxeBad Axe
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American Imperial IPA
Ranked #3,666
Ranked #22,465
3.82 | pDev: 12.04%
Big Wood Brewery
Minnesota, United States
Very Good
Bad AxeBad Axe
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 122
Photo of Czequershuus
3.54/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a pale amber with an average head. The aroma has a lot of malt sweetness, with a solid degree of pine, and muddled tropical fruits. The flavor is quite sweet up front, with orange, mango, pine, and lots of malt, and a slightly woodsny, sandalwood finish. The mouthfeel is full and rich. Overall this is a bit overly sweet for me, but it is a well put together beer.

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Photo of creepinjeeper
3.59/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16 oz can poured into Solemn Oath snifter (Beer was 11 months old ... will revisit if I ever get it again.)

Look: Hazy, golden with fluffy white head. Decent lacing
Smell: I got citrus. Rind and juice. Little hints of piney hops.
Taste - More citrus, orange juice and rind, Some hop flavor comes through.
Feel- Decent
Overall - Maybe it was because it was canned, but I was pleasantly surprised with this Imperial IPA and the fact that it was 11 months old. The hops had faded to a shadow of their possible glory, but it was tasty. I know I'd love to get this fresh next time!

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Photo of JJSquid
2.92/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.75

A little too boozy with a weird aftertaste. I want to like all MN DIPA's but this one doesn't do it for me. Smooth drinking for the ABV but if I just wanted an efficient way to get hammered I'd drink vodka.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

This is a big beer that wears like a cheap wool shirt - the alcohol is a little hot and the hops are a touch scratchy but that is a good part of the beer's charm.
Earthy north woods aromas waft from the can with pine, fresh cut grass, resin and citrus.
It pours a slightly chill hazed gold that slowly clears as becomes bright the beer warms. A thick dense white finely bubbled mousse tops the glass, slowly melting into the beer. Its easily roused and leaves thick lace.
Rich malt begins the attack joined by very light caramel and a hint of fruit - more citrus from hops than yeast driven esters. The malt gives way to an intense bitterness, some heat from the alcohol and a light scratchy astringency from the hops. The alcohol heat, edgy and rich malt all balance and in the end the bitterness moves away from grapefruit rind to take on a gin and tonic character.
Medium to medium high carbonation give the beer a bit of crispness to balance a big, bold body.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This pours a hazy, amber color with a foamy off-white head. The aroma is filled with bitter citrus. For being an IIPA that taste is rather sweet and is very easy drinking for being 9.8% This is a fairly well rounded beer that is balanced and yet tasty for all the right reasons.

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Photo of Hop-Droppen-Roll
3.46/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

From the can: This one might take a few trees down without trying. It's the one all the lady axes think they can change. He might be the tough guy in a flannel shirt who tears off bottle caps with his teeth, but don't worry he's easy to get along with. Brewed with a mix of Columbus and Centennial hops, it pours a pale amber and goes down surprisingly easy. Well, maybe not so surprising considering it's from Big Wood Brewery.

I'm finally reviewing this last of the 4 pack. I really loved the first one, and have not been pleased with the following 3. It's a good beer to bring to a party, i.e. it is efficient (9.8%ABV), and maybe it's only because the only other DIPA I can recall ever having drank was Abrasive, but it's just not a 'fine beer experience'. It's more of an especially tasty boozy malt beverage.

Aggressive pour will produce a solid 3-4 finger head. My first glass produced phenomenal, sticky lacing. Lacing has been 'meh' on the last 2 (second was straight from the can, please forgive me). The smell is by far and away the highlight of this beer, which will probably appeal to most DIPA fans (i.e. most BAs). There's a whole array of fruity goodness in the bouquet - mango, pineapple, citrus, and a pleasant maltiness that can even bring carrots to mind, providing a nice compliment. All I would ask of the nose on this brew is more resinous pine. Oddly enough I think the best taste I got from this pint was the one that went down the wrong pipe and induced a coughing belching dribbling fit of spittle and chest pains. That was my own fault though, not the beers. A well executed swig delivers a punch of malt and fruit. Some will complain about the malt bill in this DIPA, but really, if you want something hoppier than an IPA with no malt presence, just eat a hop flower. If anything, this beer needs an even heavier malt backbone, because the primary characteristic of this beer that will stand out in my memory is the UNNECESSARILY AGGRESSIVE BOOZINESS. This is why I mention that it's great for parties - it tastes *good* (i.e. better than BMC or vodka), chicks will dig it, and it delivers on the inebriation. If I'm judging it on its merits on the 'fancy beer' scale (I am) it just doesn't cut it. It's SOOO CLOSE - and I wish I could love this beer, but it's just too boozy. Granted, it's not easy to hide a huge ABV, but if Surly can do it, these guys should be able to. And if they can't, great, that's fine, but don't charge me what it would cost to buy a 4-pack of Abrasive. If this stuff cost a few dollars less, I might consider buying it somewhat regularly, but where I bought it, well - I could have run across town (small town) quick and bought just as much abrasive for just as much money and been a lot happier with the flavor profile and balance.

Mouthfeel was pretty deece.

In closing - bring the price point down two notches and we'll talk.

**Edit** I have technically had 3 DIPAs - Southern Tiers 2XIPA was one of them though, so really I've only had 2.

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Photo of CopperMtnPlowboy
2.3/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a cloudy orange, with a nice head which stays a relatively long time. Looks the part of a nice enjoyable beer.

S - A sweet musty smell, very malty with little - almost no - hop smell. I can almost taste the malt in the smell alone.

T - Overwhelming sour fruit, like a bitter nectarine. Some mango with a hint of pineapple and red grapefruit, too.

M - There has GOT to be honey in this, right? But I do not taste honey. It is about as thick as I can ever recall a beer feeling.

O - I was able to buy a single pint can at Woodman's in Kenosha last week. Don't recall the price, but it doesn't matter since I collect the cans for my "drank it myself" collection of cans. After a few sips, I was disappointed and thought of pouring the rest down the drain - quite uncommon for me. Before I did, I thought I'd check out the BA'ers to see what you all thought and I have to admit I am surprised it is rated as highly as it is... "89 - very good"? I really expected this to be down near the malt liquor types (in the 60's at best). Maybe I got a skunked one, but I’m glad I got away with buying only a pint.

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Photo of NeedBeerHere
3.31/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Pours out a really nice slightly dark orange in color with a nice white two-finger head with good retention and nice lacing. Smell is really malty with a tiny bit of hops in the back that are hardly noticeable. I get lots of sweetness in the nose but none seems to be anything hoppy. Taste is really malty with a tiny bit of hops as well. This is really sweet with a nice bit of bitterness as you swallow that lingers in your mouth. The taste is actually quite balanced. More balanced than I even thought after my first sip. Mouthfeel is quite thick with lots of carbonation. Overall a little too malty for my taste but it is a good beer.

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Photo of jimmah120
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

16oz can with no date

Dark for an IPA, mostly clear... I like my beer with chunks floating in it! smell is dank and piney, lemongrass and alcohol round it out. taste is big(alcoholic) and syrupy, like hop lacquer. numbingly bitter but not big on actual hop flavor. dry.

expensive, too.

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Photo of tone77
3.82/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Another beer courtesy of the creator of the canquest, woodychandler. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a dark golden color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of citrus, some hops. Taste is also mild citrus, a well balanced hops and malts flavor, just a bit of alcohol, very easy drinking considering the abv. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall I enjoyed this beer, but if you are looking for a hop bomb, you may be disappointed.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.32/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

2013 marked my 10th GTMW in 11 years or 9th in 10 years. None of us are really sure, but I CAN tell you that Riley's Wines of the World are my go-to when in Madison. They are generous, accommodating, friendly, reasonably priced and right next door to the BBQ joint that is Friday night headquarters for the pre-party. I was elated to find this in a package four-pack with one going to tone77 and JenRay with the fourth for trade.

From the big axe Pounder CAN: "Aggressively Hopped, Smooth Finish"; "BAD AXE This one might take a few trees down without trying. It's the one all the lady axes think they [CAN] change. He might be the tough guy in a flannel shirt who tears off bottle caps with his teeth, but don't worry [,] he's easy to get along with. Brewed with a mix of Columbus and Centennial hops, it pours pale amber and goes down surprisingly easy. Well, maybe not so surprising, considering it's from Big Wood Brewery."; "Big Wood Tastes Good!"; "Best Enjoyed from a Glass".

From the Pounder 4-Pack box: "At a certain age, a man's just gotta cash in all his chips, hunt down a dream and find a way to get it into cans and kegs for all to share. It also helps if you've got a few friends who are ready to throw down with you. Big Wood Brewery started with three craft beer lovers and a dream. One wanted a new start, one needed a new challenge, and one knew how to brew amazing craft beer. The beer you're holding is the result of that vision. We're pretty happy with it, and hope you'll be too. Here's to drinking great beer and chasing dreams! Cheers! [undersigned] Steve, Jason & Ty"; "Wood for the World. It seems like everybody would like to grow more wood, and we're helping through our 'Wood for the World' Give Back Program. For every barrel of Big Wood we sell, we will plant one tree to help preserve our National Forests. So you can always feel good about grabbing your Big Wood four-pack--wherever you please!"; "Best Brewery Winner 2012 Winter Carnival Lord Dabbler's Cup"; "Voted #1 MN Brewery 2012 St. Paul Summer Beer Fest"; "RBB Randomly Brewed Beer Limited Edition"; "Minnesota Brewed".

The loud Crack inspired me to go with an inverted Glug, resulting in two-plus fingers of dense, tawny head with great retention. Color was an oh-so-slightly-hazy golden-yellow (SRM = 9). My boys, King Midas, Mammon and Croesus were arguing over who would get the first sip as I started in. They never learn. Nose had an oak-like scent, causing me to wonder just how this was fermented. The hops seemed muted for the style, at least on the nose. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full and the heat of 9.8% was immediately evident. I got a taste of coconut to go along with an intense mintiness from the hops. Once more, I was wondering how this was made. Did they use oak chips, age it in oak barrels, or was I just hallucinatory? I will follow up with the brewers on this one. Finish was hot and dry, leading me to wonder about this style. It might mellow with some aging, but the hops are susceptible to fading if aged. I am torn as to a rating as it was decent, but I was not wowed and as a hops junkie, I need to feel those hops in my veins. Here, I was getting more oak than hops and while the alcohol was nice, I felt underwhelmed. I hate to speak for others, but JenRay reported being similarly unimpressed. A decent beer, but not able to be recommended by yours truly, especially given the style.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving type: 16-ounce can. Codes are printed on the bottom of the can but there is no discernable freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. The color is hazy, bright amber. Two fingers of dense, eggshell-colored head settled slowly.

Smell: Lots of citrus upfront. A blend of grapefruit and tangerine is most prominent, but underneath is a little mango and a gritty hoppiness, which is reminiscent of Tang at first. As the beer warms, a scent of caramel emerges and a faint, pine-like sappiness lingers at the tail of each whiff. The alcohol is completely masked.

Taste: Very sharp but the flavors seem to be at an arm’s length away at first. They close in quickly, though, and settle over the taste buds. Gritty and bitter tangerine/grapefruit citrus is backed by bready malts that offer a little caramel counterbalance. The alcohol, though very noticeable at first, gradually fades into the background and allows pineapple, mango, and pine to takes its place.

Drinkability: This is a tasty and bold brew that offers an excellent flavor experience. It makes for an ideal sipping IPA.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Random code on the bottom of the can but no date. Step it up Big Wood.

Appearance: Hazy honey/orange glow with a sizable three finger off-white frothy head.

Aroma: Citrusy, almost tangerine-like hops. Quite sweet overall with some light caramel malt in there as well.

Taste: Immediately got some pine which laid the ground work for a nice bouquet of juicy citrus hops to shine above. The flavor grows on you after the first few sips and almost has a succulent nature about it from the sweet hop character. Even though the IBU count is up in the 80s, the flavor cuts right through that and the palate isn't immediately affected. The malt is hard to place because while the 9.8% ABV means there was a lot of it used, the hops are really the star of the show. The top of the can states "aggressively hopped, smooth finish" and I'd agree with that statement. The finish is uncommonly wet, while still maintaining a certain signature dryness of the style underneath it all. The aftertaste gives a nice bitter tinge that lasts for a long time. The alcohol is very hard to place, perhaps hiding behind all that bitterness. I admit myself impressed with this one.

Mouthfeel: Maybe it's just all the big beers I've had lately, but this one's feeling like medium to just above medium in body. A tad thinner than I was expecting but that works in its favor. Slightly more carbonation than I like but nothing an aggressive pour can't fix. Not one to session due to both the palate wrecking capability and the high ABV.

Final Thoughts: I bought Bad Axe as a single in a make your own sixer scenario. Thankfully that opportunity presented itself otherwise I probably wouldn't have tried it due to the high price point. Definitely a good beer from a new (and dare I say up-and-coming) brewery. Now if they put a clear canned-on date on their packaging I'll be eager to purchase from them in the future! Would I drink it again? Yes.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz. can into a Surly tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a fairly hazy copper golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Solid three fingers of off white head which recede into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: A big sharp and in your face hop aroma with lots of pine, grass, and citrus esters. Strong hop presence upfront with earthy, herbal, and floral hints. Hints of grass and a dank scent of pine resin. Citrus fruit hints of orange peel, grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, and lemon. Bready malt background hints of sweet caramel, biscuit, grains, cracker, and yeast. Fairly oily smelling. Nice aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma hints at, a ripe, oily, and bitter hop driven taste with lots of earthy, piney, and citrus notes. Big earthy hop taste upfront with grass and floral notes. Spicy and dank taste of pine resin. Citrus fruit taste with notes of orange peel, pineapple, grapefruit, tangerine, and lemon zest. Sweet bready malt presence in the background with notes of caramel, grains, biscuit, yeast, and crackers. Fairly bitter and oily tasting. Good.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Bitter, chewy, and fairly oily. Alcohol heat is hidden well. Finishes dry.

Overall: A pretty decent imperial IPA. Big on the earthy and piney hops. Straightforward but good.

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Photo of Ri0
3.59/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

porued 16oz can into Duvel tulip.

A - Nice deep orange copper color with 2 finger white head. There was a large slimy mucus glob that fell out of the can. Skimmed it out and will drink cautiously. I'll give it an outstanding rating if I don't include the glob.

S - Earthy dank hops with some tropical scents. Maybe some garlic and onion. Sweet malt and honey.

T - Kinda dank and bitter hop profile. Hints of garlic and onion, with some tropical notes. Sweetness of malt and honey in the middle. Bitter and alcohol burn at the end.

M - Medium bodied, dank and sticky. Good carbonation.

O - This was a bit rough and the big mucus glob didn't help with drinking this beer. I drank some and poured the rest out.

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Photo of jhawth
3.34/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured into a snifter. Pours a cloudy light orange with a foamy two-finger head that slowly dissipates. Looks good.

Aroma: A ton of hops, tropical fruit notes, some floral notes. Smells like a lot of malt will be present as well.

Taste: Some sweetness, and then a a great deal of hop bitterness. The floral and tropical aromas don't follow through to the taste, and are instead replaced by a generic bitterness which ends in a slightly unpleasant harshness.

Mouthfeel: A little heavy, with moderate carbonation.

Overall: Not bad but not great either. Smells pretty nice, but doesn't deliver in the taste department. Just a little harsh in the finish.

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Photo of DaveAnderson
3.74/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one was a bit of an enigma for me.

First off, it smells pretty amazing. It's loaded with tropical fruit, and smells like it's going to be a malt bomb. It's a little on the foamy side for me, but it looks really promising.

But the taste is all wrong. It's sweet without being malty. It has a weird tanginess that combines with the aroma to lend it a pineapple juice characteristic that comes across as less than pleasant.

In the end, this is somewhat heavy and cloying. I have too many (D)IPA options in this town to put this in my rotation.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

16 oz. can poured into a munique stemmed glass. Color is a yellow/brown that is slightly lighter than amber in color. There's some nice clarity and it glows when you hold it up to the light. A slightly lighter than creamcicle colored head with mostly small bubbles but some bigger ones mixed in the middle, really good lacing and overall a really good looking beer.

Smell isn't great, but still good; as would expect in any double IPA, the hops are the dominant feature. There's a sticky pine sweetness as well as some tropical fruits , primarily pineapple that isn't quite ripe yet. Some grassy and floral notes too, prety good smelling overall.

Taste again isn't great or elite, but still a decent double IPA and I think they didn't hit the balance portion too hard. A lot of good double IPAs really have a lot of all around flavor and this one is just flavorful in the hops so it ends up a little bitter. Grassy and a little earthy and a sticky pine flavor, not much in the way of citrus.

Even though I don't think the balance was spot on in the flavor department, I think it didn't effect the mouthfeel a whole lot, especially for the style. Carbonation is good and fairly light bodied for a double IPA. Drinkability is still there, even though it was poured into a glass, drinking this out of the can could prove to be a little dangerous. Overall a pretty nice brew, I'd get it again.

Honored to have consecutive reviews with Chugalug06, you've been a great trading partner and friend over the years. Cheers buddy!

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Photo of chugalug06
3.47/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Large flowing dense foamy off-white head a-top a hazy orange and yellow brew. Lacing is nice too.

Piney and dank. Smells like sweet pineapple hop sweat. Cat urine?

Oddly bitter. Slightly strange, missing a touch of smoothness. High carbonation. Piney, resinous, hippie flowers, pineapple, missing rounding flavors, ends abruptly. Sweet, sugary, syrupy, heavy and hot.

Can't recommend at $5/pint. It finishes too harshly and has an odd carry about it. Not fluffy or creamy. Worth trying but not worth seeking.

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Photo of gregy55902
3.16/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Big Wood Bad Axe DIPA 9.8% 16oz can. No freshness details on the can.

A - Pours into XL snifter a deep orange-ish golden color. 1" of white head that lingers for two minutes, then dissipates leaving bubbles and lacing. Looks good

S - Underwhelming, but there are notes of pine and malt. Weird musty/funky undertones. Earth and dirt are in there too.

T - Taste is confusing, but not necessarily bad. The hops are subdued but so is the malt, but it isn't what I would refer to as "well-balanced" either. The 10% abv makes a harsh appearance on the palate and the aftertaste.

M - Decent carbonation levels but a bit on the lower side.

O - I don't know about this beer. There are a decent amount of hops but I like my DIPAs cranked up a notch to be more robust. Verdict: Probably not worth $3.50 a can.

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Photo of gatornation
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a slight hazy golden orange color with a white head. Smell has citrus and tropical hop notes. Has an earthy danh garden hop profile with some pine hop. Mouth feel sweet with malts and offset with some nice garden and tropical hops.

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Photo of Mdog
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Clear gold, good head.

Smell: Piney, sweet.

Taste: Moderate sweetness, citrus hops. Balanced between malty and hoppy. Hops seem a little subdued but still quite strong.

Feel: Quite slick mouthfeel, low carbonation/fizziness in the mouth.

Overall: Picked up a 4 pack to give this a try. It's a pretty decent double IPA but not outstanding. Not super hoppy, seems to lean a little to the sweet side.

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Bad Axe from Big Wood Brewery
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 122 ratings