Sunday, November 7, 2010

422. Smuttynose Big A IPA

Previously part of Smuttynose’s Big Beer Series, this one has been pushed into full time production to become a regular contributor to the delinquency of children. We found this on tap at South Park, where we got to watch the Seattle Seahawks get absolutely manhandled by the New York Giants. Previously from Smuttynose, we’ve tried Old Brown Dog Ale, Baltic Porter, Imperial Stout, Shoals Pale Ale, Finestkind IPA and Farmhouse Ale,

Elli’s Breakfast Stout is sneaking into the picture...

Served in the ever-ubiquitous pint glass, Big A IPA pours a hazy, dirty straw—it is not quite copper, but almost. The thin white head hangs on tenaciously, and laces the glass for at least the first third of the beer, after which I forgot to pay attention anymore. The nose features biscuit and caramel malt coupled with pine and evergreen hop aroma in the front, and an underlying herbal hoppiness in the background. There is also a slight metallic scent dancing amongst the other parts, but it disappeared as the beer warmed. Big A IPA is all caramel in the front; as it warms, more of the biscuit comes out. Bitterness takes over in the middle, with herbal hop flavors to the forefront that linger on into the finish. There is also a spicy evergreen hop flavor that marries well with the herbal flavors. In this sense, the middle is the inverse of the nose; while the nose was predominantly pine with an herbal background, here the flavors favor herbal hoppiness with pine and evergreen in the background. The finish has a slight re-assertion of sweetness, but is mostly bitterness that lingers nicely on the palate. Big A IPA has a medium to heavy body that is well disguised by both the dry biscuit malt and the big hop bitterness; both work to lighten and hide the slight stickiness of the mouthfeel. Carbonation is medium but bright, helping to round and smooth the beer. Overall, smooth and drinkable for a bigger beer—the alcohol was well-hidden, and there were no discernable alcohol flavors. Big A IPA is better balanced than many imperial size IPAs; while it is more East Coast than West Coast in terms of its IPA pedigree, it is certainly worth checking out for its smoothness and evenness. Well done!

From the Smuttynose website: “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!”

ABV: 9.7%


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