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CBC Big Man IPA (Big Man Ale?) Need Help

Discussion in 'New England' started by Reagan1984, Nov 22, 2012.

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  1. Reagan1984

    Reagan1984 Poo-Bah (2,161) May 15, 2008 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Please do not take this as me flaming on a beer. Yesterday I was shopping and saw CBC Big Man IPA. I looked up the score and there is a Big Man Ale listed (IPA) and saw some fantastic ratings.

    Quite excited for this new beer I opened it and there is zero hop aroma, mostly toasted malt... and it almost drinks like a brown ale. Is this the same beer? At first I thought I picked up an OLD bottle since the reviews are from 2011.... The bottle is marked Batch 01 Bottled November 2012. Man, it can't be more fresh. Has anyone else tried this?



    This is just a super malty east coast IPA? Looking for some other opinions... (no recent reviews)
  2. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Savant (957) Mar 17, 2009 Washington
    Beer Trader

    I always thought of it as a heartier ipa for the winter. More malty than hoppy.
    FrankLloydMike likes this.
  3. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (379) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    I had one last week and liked it. It wasn't your typical hop-forward West Coast-style IPA, but I wouldn't have likened it to a brown ale either. A bit more of hop presence than (what I think of as) an English IPA, but similarly earthy in its hoppiness.

    I've never had the earlier Cambridge Big Man Ale so I can't compare the two, but the obvious citrusy hoppy aspects noted in the reviews of it don't seem to match this new brew.
  4. Reagan1984

    Reagan1984 Poo-Bah (2,161) May 15, 2008 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    You took the words right out of my mouth.... Agree.

    Thanks also to BearsOnAcid for his comment. Very interested in other comments and a definitive answer as to whether this is the same beer as the reviews posted from 2011.
  5. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    I think Big Man is actually their Winter seasonal, and it's usually described as "Big Man Winter Ale" on the menu if I recall correctly. I saw the label the other day and did a double take, because it does look like you'd expect some kind of big DIPA like hop bomb, when it's really malt forward. But, long story short, you got the right beer in the bottle.
  6. pjl44

    pjl44 Initiate (0) Oct 3, 2008 Massachusetts

    I had that exact thought when I saw the bottle. I think it was Big Man Ale, but you could be right about the Winter. Either way, the bottled version wasn't quite how I remembered the draft. I was expecting a big malt body with some chewy hops underneath. I see the brown ale comparisons, with a thinner mouthfeel than I expected and a tannic bitterness; I'd compare it to a beefier Sixpoint Brownstone. I absolutely adore the CBC, but this is the first bottled version that underwhelmed me.
    Reagan1984 likes this.
  7. nuggetman

    nuggetman Initiate (0) Jul 13, 2011 Massachusetts

    My buddy and I enjoyed it, but it definitely was not what we expected it to be. I considered it more of an amber ale than a brown ale since the malt was definitely balanced with hops. The difference may have something to do with brewing the bottled beers in a different brewery? I know the bottled Red God was not anything like it was at the brewery on tap...
  8. PaulB

    PaulB Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2002 Massachusetts

    While there is the occasional exception, if you are looking for a huge "west coast" hop smack in the face you will rarely get it from CBC. IMO their hoppy styles are well crafted and tasty but often use more subtle hop varieties (ex: Palisade, Athanum) and usually have a big malt presence. Fresh blunderbuss (normal version) is probably the hoppiest offering to me, Red God has fallen to the malty side similar to most DIPAs.

    CBC is so skilled at so many different styles and the barrel aging program is amazing, I've learned to temper expectations as a confirmed hop wierdo and go for what they do best (IMO x2).
  9. Reagan1984

    Reagan1984 Poo-Bah (2,161) May 15, 2008 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Thanks for the comment. I wasn't looking for, or expecting, a West Coast IPA, but I was expecting an IPA and don't think this resembles one at all. With the wide variations on the style and the wide variations of our preferences within the style.... sometimes for a consumer a brewers interpretation just doesn't work. As I mentioned in my original post, I am not flaming on the beer or brewer.. I was (and remain) a bit confused by the flavor vs. the style. (and the reviews posted from 2011) In my opinion, they don't seem to match. I'll be interested to see as reviews are posted based on the bottle release. cheers to all.
  10. NTLOPE

    NTLOPE Initiate (30) Feb 1, 2002 Massachusetts

    Hi Guys,

    I appreciate the comments and questions raised about this beer.

    Big Man IPA is indeed the same beer as Big Man Ale, save for the fact that over the years we've raised the hop bill up a little to IPA-like proportions. For several years we have been calling it Big Man IPA at CBC and with our draft accounts around the area, but the old name has kindof stuck. I would hope one would not have expected a DIPA, given the stated 6.8%abv on the label and given the lack of a "D" anywhere.

    We refer to Big Man as a "winterized" IPA - the citrusy American hop character in a traditional IPA has been balanced with increased body and flavor from a significant addition of caramel and a touch of roasted malts. Unfortunately an oversight on my part allowed that bit of copy to be cut from the side label. That side label does still read "Robust, malty, and rich enough to balance the huge hop character..."

    What you have in the bottle is the beer we intended. Lots of citrusy American hop character (Cascade and Centennial and Amarillo) balanced by caramel malt, a fuller body, and a hint of roast in the finish. If it doesn't speak to you because it doesn't seem like a monster hop bomb, it's because it's not a monster hop bomb. You guys are drinking too much Heady and Pliny and you're suffering from palate shift.

    Ultimately, you the consumer gets to call it whatever it tastes like to you. American Amber? Winter IPA? Hoppy Brown Ale? I just hope you find it balanced and enjoyable. Sorry for the confusion, but thanks for supporting CBC. I always appreciate the feedback.

    Will Meyers
    Brewmaster, CBC
  11. Reagan1984

    Reagan1984 Poo-Bah (2,161) May 15, 2008 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Will, GREATLY appreciate the comments. Much respect. Thank you very much.
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