Smuttynose was my gateway brewery into the wonderful world of Craft Beer. It all started around 6 or 7 years ago when I had my first sip of their Finestkind IPA. I was hooked immediately and have never looked back. I immediately started exploring the rest of their line-up and quickly added them to my list of go-to Craft Brewers.
While the subject of this review, the Big A IPA, was always on my list of Smuttynose beers to try, for whatever reason, I never got around to it. During a recent trip to WineWorks in Marlton, NJ, I saw this beer on the shelf and decided to finally pick up a bottle.
Here is what Smuttynose has to say about their Big A IPA:
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!
Let’s find out what I’ve been missing all these years and if this beer was worth the wait…
- Appearance: Light orange color. Cloudy with lots of sediment floating throughout the beer. Very little head and moderate lacing.
- Aroma: Sweet biscuity malt. Honey tangerine like citrusy hops. A hint of sweaty funk.
- Taste: Lightly carbonated with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Sweet maltiness at the onset. Honey and citrusy hops kick in towards the middle. As you approach the finish, the bitterness intensifies, but gets solid backing from those sweet malts. Astringent and moderately bitter finish with the alcohol finally showing up to let you know it’s there.
- ABV: 9.7%
As I said at the beginning of this review, I have been really curious to try the Smuttynose Big A IPA for a really long time, but for whatever reason, I never got around to it. All I can say is that it was truly worth the wait! This beer has everything that you want in an Imperial IPA, i.e. you get a solid hit of bitter hops, but you also experience a firm malt backbone that gives this beer a delicious balance of sweet and bitter flavors. Smuttynose has also managed to hide it’s high ABV really well, so if you do happen to stumble upon this beer, do yourself a favor and don’t suck this down too quickly. Much like the boxer on the label, this beer packs a wallop! Sip and savor my friends. Sip. And savor.