Jessica Sullivan's picture

Judge's Review: 81 Rating - Big Nose IPA by Swamp Head Brewery

April, 2018
Judges Rating: 
20 / 24
6 / 6
34 / 40
7 / 10
Overall Impression: 
14 / 20

I am judging Big Nose IPA by Swamp Head Brewery as a Category 21A American India Pale Ale. 

The aroma has a strong American hop character present, with a low caramel malt background and low red apple esters. There is a surprising amount of sweetntess in the nose (more what I would expect from an American Pale Ale rather than an India Pale Ale), although the malt character and sweetness is certainly secondary to the dominant ganja-esque hop twang.

The appearance is very appealing. There is a rich haze, as I would expect for a beer that was dry hopped. The beer itself is copper colored with small-to-medium sized bubbles and an extremely creamy off-white head with excellent retention.

There is a low hop-derived pine flavor, paired with a medium-high bitterness. This is beer has a very dry finish, and is balanced strongly towards the bitter. While this is to be expected for the style, I found that the overall experience of the beer suffered somewhat due to the lack of a malt backbone -- the malt character that I had expected from the aroma and appearance was very low, even for the IPA style.

This is a medium-bodied beer with moderate carbonation. There was some hops-derived astringnecy, and also a carbonic bite, that led to a drying and slightly puckering mouthfeel at the finish.

In sum, this beer has many of the characeristics of a typical American IPA, although with greater balance, this beer would really sing.