Big Frank | Columbus Brewing Company

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26 Ratings

Brewed by:
Columbus Brewing Company
Ohio, United States

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.30%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
Part of the hop odyssey.

Added by MbpBugeye on 08-06-2010

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Ratings: 26 |  Reviews: 14
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of prototypic
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ahhh. Big Frank. Belgian IPA. No need for another introduction. I'll only add that I inquired about the name of this beer, and the bartender had no idea whom it was named after. I'm curious about that point.

Big Frank pours a nice copper color. It's extremely clear. Not a bit of haze on the scene. Eh. The authentic Belgian IPAs all seem very hazy. Perhaps it's a little off in that respect. A soft white head crowns the top. It's quick to flee, and leaves very little lacing in its wake. Not bad, but not what I expected.

The nose is good, but seems a little light on aromatics. A nice does of American hops kicks off the festivities. It should come as no surprise that it strongly resembles the hop bill of Columbus IPA. There's a little grapefruit, orange, and pine. I have no qualms with that. Belgian yeast is noted, and definitely kicks it up a notch. It's a little spicy smelling and has that classic scent we've all come to know and love. There's a little sweet malty that resonates throughout. Alcohol is blended well. It's good. A little more muscle would probably warrant a score bump.

The flavor is easily Big Frank's strongest asset. Put rocks! It starts out with a bit of a sweet, malty flavor. It's somewhat sugary, but not to an offensive degree. Hops follow and add a nice punch of bitterness. Grapefruit and orange are the primary, citric flavors, but there's a strong dose of pine, as well. Did I mention that it was dry? Belgian yeast is obviously the x-factor that really drives the flavor. It adds a spicy element that complements the American hops extremely well. Alcohol is never much of a factor. It finishes with a nice mix of hop flavor and spicy yeast. If I didn't mention, the finish is also extremely dry. Grab some water.

Big Frank has a medium body that's nice and smooth. Carbonation is dialed back nicely, and the bubbles seem minimal. For the style, it feels great to me. Drinkability is very high. I suspect I won't finish this growler tonight, but I'm tempted. It has such a nice flavor, and goes down soooo easy. I was told the abv is around 7%, so it's not too intimidating.

Big Frank is one hell of a nice addition to the Hop Odyssey series. This is really impressive stuff. If it's not the best in the series, it's damn close. Frankly, I'd love to have Uncle Rusty, Black IPA, and Big Frank together in a single sitting. If you have the opportunity, you simply must try Big Frank. It's simply delicious. Columbus Brewing should strongly consider keeping this one least as a seasonal or something. Nice job, guys.

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Photo of zimm421
4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served on-tap in a standard pint glass at Bodega 6/8/11. Appears a slightly hazy bright orange color with a nice white head that has good retention and leaves good lacing.

The nose is full of fruitiness, just tons of citrus. Definitely one of the best smelling beers I've ever experienced. Some nice yeasty aromas as well. The taste starts malty sweet, and then the fruitiness takes over. Again lots of citrus and tropical fruits. The end is definitely bitter, and it finishes pretty much perfectly.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied to light bodied, maybe just a touch too thin, but very well carbonated. Overall, a great brew! I was definitely impressed and would have ordered many more pints but wanted to test out some other drinks. I could drink this all day, all the flavors, feels and smells are just right for me.

 816 characters

Photo of TropicBon
4.58/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a Belgian pale ale with attitude! There's an explosion of citrus and peppery notes from several varieties of hops with a good malt base, and there's no mistaking the Belgian yeast character. This beer finishes dry with a pleasant bitterness. My only regret is that I enjoyed just one glass before the tap ran out!

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Photo of AC-DCBag
4/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of Sgtgibbs
5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of ne0m00re
3.57/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

09/02/10- Bought a growler of this from Whole Foods Lane Ave and enjoyed almost immediately after.
A: Copperish amber with a nice big cream head.
S: Bright fresh citrus hops, almost slightly cheesy, sweet honey apricots, fresh orange juice.
T: A little more cheesy and rustic with a sharper bitter pine finish, sweet honey dwells in the beginning in the background.
M: A little undercarbonated, but pretty frothy with a good thickness.
D: Pretty good. This is very heavy on hops.

 479 characters

Photo of crashdavisinoh
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish color with a white head. In the aroma, orange citrus hop sweetness. In the taste, just as it smells, orange citrus hops, with a small malt back. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry orange citrus hop in the aftertaste. Big, sweet orange citrus, but not acidic at all. No "punch in the face" alcohol. This one could get me in trouble, hence I enjoyed it quite a bit!

 401 characters

Photo of PDXHops
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Many thanks to Ryan011235 for another CBC hookup, this time a growler, poured into a Duvel tulip. (Note- this was consumed fresh back in September '10)

Glowing golden body with a white head that makes up with tenacity and surprising lace-making wizardry what it lacks in volume. The usual CBC tropical goodness- fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juices, lemon zest, pineapple- combines with the spicy Belgian yeast to make quite an appetizing nose.

Tastes even better than it smells, and dangerously drinkable at 8.5% (what?!?). The Belgian characteristics gain steam with a lingering yeastiness and a steady dose of cloves and bubblegum. The American hops more than hold up their end of the bargain, insanely fresh tasting citrus with a piney bitterness that seems to come and go. A bit of sweetness is provided in the form of additional fruitiness: peaches, apples, tangerines, mango. Definitely one of the fruitiest beers I've come across, and damned tasty. In the finish, malts finally show up in a dry, husky sort of way, and lemon zest lingers.

Overall impression: Another winner from CBC. These guys really know how to put together a hoppy beer. I'd love to see this one come back at least as a seasonal release.

 1,227 characters

Photo of Ryan011235
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in a pint glass at the brewpub on 8/6/10

Nice amber color with pineapple gold highlights. Very clear. One finger of tight, white foam dissipates slowly to a smooth layer, leaving the beginnings of good lace. Retention is consistently thin. Impressive, solid lacing.

The aroma is pretty awesome. Lots of the commonplace CBC tropical, citric hops. Pineapple, tangerine, orange & grapefruit with a hint of lemon zest. Notions of pine, too. The Belgian-style yeast offers a spicy accent that wonderfully compliments the citrus hops. Maybe a pinch of pepper. Malts seem relegated to a minimal role. The hops & spice dominate.

After a brief pass at pine bitterness, it's on to foray of tropical fruit flavors. With an overall zesty bent, there are dense notes of grapefruit, lemon, orange pith & pineapple. However, the citrus isn't as distinct or as expressive as the aroma. Moderately spicy. Mild grassy undertones. The Belgian-style yeast isn't overpowering. At times I taste bubblegum. Somewhat sweet (especially toward the finish); I imagine this is related to said bubblegum. Again, the malts definitely take a backseat.

Medium body. Fairly resinous, it seems to have an almost waxy coating effect. Carbonation is moderate; I actually think it's a little too low for the style. More carbonation (of which I am seldom a fan) could really make this crackle. Zesty citrus lingers on the finish. Said waxy feel is more apparent as the beer warms; it's sharper while cold.

Aside from my minuscule gripes on the feel, Big Frank is quite an impressive beer. The "issues" I had with the CBC Saison make this beer shine, in that the Belgian IPA is a recognized style with a focus on American hopping. Easily recommended; get it while it's around.

 1,749 characters

Photo of Spider889
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I hadn't had a Belgian IPA in recent memory so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect here.

Bought a growler from Columbus Brewing Company just a couple days after the release of the beer, so I couldn't ask for a fresher beer! Though I want to say that it needed to mature a few extra days, because over the course of the weekend the malt flavors became more prominent and the beer itself gained some balance I felt.

Poured a yellow-orange color, much like the color of honey. This beer is very very clear, no haze or particulate whatsoever, quite impressive. White head got to about a finger and receded quickly, left minimal lacing.

Smelled quite exceptional. There's plenty of good hop aromas bursting out at you. Very fresh, bright, and bold. Pine notes capture your attention while your mind struggles to place all of the various other sweet, citrus notes. Bready Belgian yeast also comes through very nicely.

At first the Belgian mixed with all of the hop bitterness was off putting, but then again I was drinking sub-par Sam Adams at an event all night and I think it was detracting from the flavor. When I poured a second glass the following night I noticed the unique balance of hop bitterness with Belgian sweet spiciness. Pale malt breaks through on the finish to add further balance and wrangle in the hops. I cannot stress enough how amazing this beer is for the pure hop bang you get from this brew.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied. The carbonation level seemed on the low side, though it was making me burp more than any beer I've had recently. It's light enough to fit in the hot days of August but thick and malty/yeasty enough to give your mouth something to want to swish around and explore.

The drinkability only seemed to grow over the weekend. The first night I only wanted a half pint, the next I wanted two, and this afternoon we finished the remainder and I was feeling disappointed I only got a single glass out of the growler, I could have had another couple and been satisfied.

Overall, for only $9.99 a growler fill, I am very likely to go back for more this month. Nice job CBC, you've given me reason to stop ignoring you!

 2,158 characters

Photo of jaidenjb
4/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of brealbg
3.25/5  rDev -24.2%

Photo of LiquidCucumber
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Light caramel/amber with a decent head on pour. Head leaves very quickly for an IPA. This beer looks fully filtered, unlike their IPA and some other of their Hop Odyssey options.

S - Big on hops (of course) and the usual CBC tropical fruit bill. A touch of bubblegum that isn't normal to the CBC range, must be the yeast.

T - Tastes very similar to the IPA, seems slightly more subdued and a bit sweeter. The Belgian yeast is definitely there, but it hides in the background.

M - Very light and refreshing with a little bit of something odd on the back end, could be a touch of Belgian greatness that could be.

D - Not as good as the IPA, but a solid offering that should be served up alongside Summerteeth as a Summer seasonal.

 737 characters

Photo of cneville
4.72/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Happened to se this at Bodega on 6/13 and figured I'd give it a shot. Certainly wasn't disappointed.

Appearance: Slightly cloudy orange color, poured into a pint glass. Good, not exceptional.

Smell: Citrus fruits abound. Orange, pineapple, etc., with good yeast notes as well. A great smelling beer.

Taste: Even better than the smell. Citrus here as well, with a good amount of bitterness. A ton of hops, with a smooth, great finish.

Mouthfeel: Light carbonation, and the alcohol, which I didn't realize until now, was 8.5%. Could have had a lot of these.

Overall: A great beer which I was lucky to even choose. Will be going back for more, and sooner rather than later.

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Photo of Adamostella
5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of fluidmotion
4/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of bigdog5401
4.8/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

UPDATE: 2012 release rocks. More citrus and all the Hop goodness i can remember. Nice job CBC. Winking lizard draft, July 13, 2012.

Big Frank 2011 on cask at tapping at Gallos on 6/2/2011.

Damn this thing is a malt, hop, phenol, and ester bomb. Bunch of complexity. Not crazy hopped, but still bitter. Ton of citrus and orange hop character with hints of white pepper from the belgian style yeast. Finishes dry to the bone like any good belgian should. Seasonal, get it fresh, get now!

 487 characters

Photo of Slipmthgoose
4/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of Franz4
5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of nrbw23
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a clear golden amber color with a pretty big, foamy white head. Head turns into bubbles and leaves some nice layered lacing.

S- The smell reminded me a lot of their regular IPA. Quite a bit of tropical fruits, pine, but then comes the Belgian yeast and bit of spice. I like whats going on here.

T- Again this one follows the nose really well. It seems to be pretty complex as its yeasty, hoppy and sweet all in one. Malts are here but are very limited. A nice bitterness to this one and the Belgian yeast is great.

M- The body is medium and carbonation is the lighter side of medium.

D- Very easy to drink here. This growler is in trouble for sure. If you make it to Columbus try this one for sure.

 714 characters

Photo of pest
3.5/5  rDev -18.4%

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.1/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011's version of Big Frank is a totally new reincarnation. New malts, new hops, new yeast.

This time around Big Frank is only a couple shades lighter than the standard IPA, a deep, hazy orange. Its capped off with a lot of sticky, white foam.

The aroma is another area where this shares more similarities with the IPA this year. Lots of grapefruit, orange and pine. The Westmalle yeast is drier, earthier and more out front that the Duvel yeast used in last year's batch. The beer is strongly hoppy, lots of orange rind. The finish is considerably bitter and citrusy but the earthy, chalky yeast lends balance.

A great beer for sure, but I think I enjoyed last year's more.

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Photo of Twal
4/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of mattcrill
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Nice fruity esters- pear and stone fruit. Light floral hop aroma. Soft pils malt character.

Appearance: Cloudy golden colored pour with a sticky off-white cap.

Flavor: Big fruity esters up front. Lots of fresh pear and melon. Firm hop bitterness. Balance is towards the bitterness. Light background pepper and coriander notes. Finish is clean and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with high carbonation. Slight alcohol warming on the palate.

Overall impression: A bitter Golden Strong. Nicely done. Alcohol is well hidden. Hops have definitely faded but great beer overall.

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Big Frank from Columbus Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.29 out of 5 with 26 ratings