Review: Big A IPA, Smuttynose

Smuttynose Brewing Co. — Portsmouth, NH

  • Style:  Double IPA
  • Bitterness:  74 IBU
  • ABV: 9.74%
  • Malts:   2-Row, Pale
  • Hops:  Magnum, Bravo, CTZ, Cascade
  • Dry Hops:  CTZ, Nugget, Glacier
  • Sampled:  12 oz. bottle

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. Now it’s available year-round, so you can enjoy this big, flavorful beer any time you want. Na zdrowie!" — Smuttynose Brewing Co. 

Random thoughts:   I just returned from a trip to the East Coast, and enjoyed the beers I tasted.  So I thought I'd taste another beer from the east.  Big A was originally part of Smuttynose's rotating Big Beer series. Last year, it was added to their year-round lineup.  This is part of my IPAs Gone Wild! series.   

The tasting:  Golden orange in color (hazy) with a white head that dissipated slowly.  Aroma of citrus and tropical fruit (pineapple and mango).  Big A's flavors starts with bitter grapefruit hops and caramel malt sweetness. Mid taste, the alcohol kicks in in a big way--there's nothing subtle about it. I didn't taste the tropical fruit that was present in the aroma.  It finishes with piney hops that linger for a VERY long time.  Big A is light to medium bodied and the combination of bitter hops and high alcohol leaves a very dry sensation in the mouth.

Rating:  4 star.  Really Good!  I want this again!   This beer is hop madness that comes with a side of alcohol.  While this certainly wouldn't be my everyday go-to beer, there are are times when I want a hop bomb. The aptly named Big A IPA provides the detonation.  If you don't like big hoppy beers, be afraid.  Be very afraid...

Have you tried Big A IPA or any other Smuttynose beers?  

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