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Big Rock Traditional Ale - Big Rock Brewery

Not Rated.
Big Rock Traditional AleBig Rock Traditional Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

158 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 158
Reviews: 82
rAvg: 3.36
pDev: 15.18%
Wants: 4
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Rock Brewery visit their website
Alberta, Canada

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This medium bodied Brown Ale fills your mouth with a fusion of toasty malt and sweet caramel up front finishing with a nutty flavour, medium creamy carbonation and mild hop bitterness.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-26-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 158 | Reviews: 82 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JustinBathurst

Ontario (Canada)

2.05/5  rDev -39%

This one pours a reddish-brown with a slight head of tan. This is an extremely clear beer--there's your filtering, I suppose. The head doesn't stick around, and it doesn't really lace either.

The aroma is immediately raspberry to me, with some definite English hops (maybe Kent, maybe not), and... well, then the musty malt n' grain charges forth. This is the smell I will remember Big Rock by.

The mouthfeel is crisp and light, which I didn't expect for something being marketed as traditional ale. Doesn't exactly seem like English Brown Ale, which is what the box promotes.

At first, the taste gives me bitter hops, lime peel, and burnt malt. As it warms, the taste is conquered solely by the more astringent and aspirin-like qualities of Big Rock's malt. The aftertaste is bitterness and citrus tang. At first, I wasn't unhappy, but over the course of a glass I became disappointed with what should be, well, just 'more.'

As a whole, this beer doesn't have any characteristics to recommend it to others, but I wouldn't turn it down if I was offered one. Last note--I find this beer to be a bit too watery.

02-15-2007 00:24:01 | More by JustinBathurst
Photo of Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

3.15/5  rDev -6.3%

Pours a clear reddish copper, thin white head forms, settles to a decent layer, no lacing. Smell is sweet and malty, citrus and toffee, not much going on, some grass, but not offensive. Taste is stale malt, figs, fruits, little bit of citrus, kind of lemony in the finish. Mouthfeel is light bodied with low carbonation. Not good, not bad, just kind of on the low end of mediocre, but as expected from Big Rock.

02-12-2007 03:13:13 | More by Viggo
Photo of Mandrake

Nova Scotia (Canada)

3.18/5  rDev -5.4%

Pours a deep copper with a very small light tan head that fades quite quickly and leaves little lacing. Smell is very malty, loads of caramel and nuttiness, but not a whole lot else. Taste is bready at first, touch of caramel and a faint metallic note. Barely noticeable hop bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is rather thin, slightly undercarbonated, and not very satisfying, and drinkability is decent. About what I've come to expect from Big Rock: macro quality beer in micro packaging.

01-23-2007 00:01:11 | More by Mandrake
Photo of aychbomb

Ontario (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev +10.1%

this is my "usual" beer so i hope this is an unbias review

-appearance: a sparkling clear light copper color, pours with a thin rocky head that quickly (almost immeadatly) all but disapears.

-smell: Malty and yeasty an almost rye bread like smell, hops nearly subtle but there

-taste: big malty taste, kind of fruity like cantalope, low hoppyness, slightly astringant (but not unpleasant) aftertaste.

-mouthfeel: low carbonation, a little bit "grainy" but still crisp and pleasant.

-drinkability: as iv'e said this is my "usual" so i think it is highly drinkable, awsom with sharp cheese (or nachos)

10-09-2006 19:17:13 | More by aychbomb
Photo of FightingEntropy


3.5/5  rDev +4.2%

I think this is the best of the Big Rock beers that I had on my trip to Banff. Dark copper colored pale ale, it may be a little dark for style, but a strong malty base give the beer a good mouthfeel (sometimes hard to find in Canadian beer). Very reminiscent of northwest pale ales like Sierra Nevada. A strong aromatic hop but not overly assertive compared to the fruity esters and malty base of the beer. In many of the bars, this became my back up beer of choice, and on tap it opens up a bit more compared to the can I am reviewing now. If you see a row of Big Rock and Sleeman on the tap, go Traditional.

09-04-2006 00:11:37 | More by FightingEntropy
Photo of atigerlife


3.08/5  rDev -8.3%

Had in a Japanese restaurant in Calgary.

Poured a light brown/red with a small brown head. Light carbonation visible. Nice lacing.

Aroma was very light with some malts and floral hops.

Taste lacks flavor. Some slight hops.

Decent mouthfeel with some good cleansing and medium bodied. Overall, this beer is OK. Not bad in a pinch. Nothing too exciting.

06-04-2006 20:50:24 | More by atigerlife
Photo of jaluria


2.75/5  rDev -18.2%

Had this on-tap as well at BBK's.

Appeared more like an amber ale with a translucent, copper color and a off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves a touch of lacing behind. Moderate level of carbonation. Aromas of enriched milk, syrup, and burnt toast; not very appealing, the combo, that is. The taste was mostly sweet with a touch of bitterness in the finish. Flavors of smoked, roasted sugars seemed to come out. A bit astringent though and somewhat chalky in my mouth. Had a pint of this and I didn't want another. Seems like some artifical flavoring was added to this one with the subtle taste of syrup.

05-01-2006 18:03:33 | More by jaluria
Photo of BigRedN


3.4/5  rDev +1.2%

From notes, consumed during Calgary trip 9/27 - 10/1. One of a few beers I had more than on of during my stay. When I first had this, the bartender informed us this was the dark beer (light was Molson Canadian, medium was Kokannee Gold).

Appearance: Dark amber/copper. The first place I had this at also served it in a big glass mug. A second time I had it the bartender poured it into a pint glass, which I thought is the more proper glassware to serve this in. Small head, about 1/4-inch, formed a good ring with a cloud on top of the liquid and left some decent lacing.

Smell: Minimal malt and minimal hop, decent balance, just not over the top. I think that is the intention, for this to appeal to as many people as possible, a crossover beer if you will.

Taste: Nice PA. Malts and grains at the front and middle balanced by a hop bite at the finish. Taste is subdued but decent.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, not too heavy so more than one can be consumed. Lightly carbonated and smooth.

Drinkability: An easy to drink and easily likeable PA. I would drink it again if it was local.

10-06-2005 21:02:37 | More by BigRedN
Photo of GClarkage


2.78/5  rDev -17.3%

Mid September 2005.

Presentation- Purchased at a random grocery store in Fairmont Hot Springs in BC. No dating on the can, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance- Darker amber coloring, very faint head and slight lace.

Smell- A touch stinky with decent amount of roasted malt.

Taste- Just the lightest of hop taste and a larger dark malt flavor as well.

Mouthfeel- Lower carbonation and fairly bland.

Drinkability- Nothing special here. Drank half of it and used the rest to cook our pork roast in.

09-30-2005 21:01:35 | More by GClarkage
Photo of BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev +8%

Seems to be more of a brown ale than a pale ale. This ale is a light copper colour with a decent head. Smells malty, and bready as others have mentioned. Taste is an okay combination of malts an hops -sometimes seems to be a bit on the hoppy side, sometimes a bit on the malty side. There is a slight metallic taste, even though this is from a bottle.

Regardless this ale is well done, though not outstanding. It makes a good session ale, and is easy to drink.

09-26-2005 05:20:32 | More by BDTyre
Photo of fisherman34

Manitoba (Canada)

3.4/5  rDev +1.2%

A nice copper coloured ale with a good amount of carbonation. I tend to think of this one as a kind of "suped-up" and less adjunct ladden Labatt 50. Well balanced hop and bready-malt flavor, and the carbonation makes it quite refreshing. Tastes quite fresh, even though it came out of a can. A bit watery, but still a good everyday beer. Bottled samples I've had have been a little inconsistent, but the can and draft samples have been far more reliable.

09-16-2005 20:20:31 | More by fisherman34
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev +4.2%

A: Medium amber, little head.

S: Slight scent of British hops (Goldings?)

T: Starts with a light malt flavour (Munich-like), with some earthy hop taste. Finishes dry, with a slightly bitter after-taste.

M: Light to moderate.

D: More flavour than a macro, but not a lot. It shouldn't offend the average drinker.

08-24-2005 18:35:48 | More by Derek
Photo of niangelo

Alberta (Canada)

3.68/5  rDev +9.5%

This is perennial session brew for me. It's local, many times better any macro crap, and you can get it absolutely everywhere on tap in my city.

Poured from a pitcher. Nice 3/4 in tannish head that lasted a good while. Nice deep chestnut color with some amber. Is this a pale ale? I think on reviewer commented it looked more like a brown. I think he's right.

Toastiness and malt on the nose. Not terribly complex, but nice.

Mouthfeel is a mild carbonation that dances around the mouth and a smooth feel to the brew.

Tastes nice and toasty. Bready, caramel, toasty notes and a good bits of hops at the finish. Incredibly drinkable with buddies, one friend commented when sharing the pitcher, "I have to stop myself, it just dissappears if I just get talking and forget not to drink". Very true.

08-24-2005 07:02:20 | More by niangelo
Photo of Noxious26

Saskatchewan (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev +6.5%

341ml bottle served in pint glass. Came in a variety 12pack celebrating Saskatchewan's 100th Anniversary.

Clear, light brown amber in colour. Head is 1/2 inch thick and dark beige in colour. Reduces down to a thin layer with tight circle around the edge. Some lacing on sides.

Sweet malty aroma. Hints of caramel. A little sweeter than I'd like.

Sweet malty caramel flavour at the swallow fades away to a slightly bitter malt aftertaste. Aftertaste is neither strong, nor does it stick around very long. Not very complex and could use some hops to balance it out.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied while nicely carbonated.

I had two of these, one each on seperate nights and each time they tasted slightly different. The one night it seemed quite bland and slightly sweet, the other night it seemed very sweet. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. While this isn't something that reaches out and grabs you, it is a decent beer and worth drinking on occasion.

06-29-2005 03:33:46 | More by Noxious26
Photo of rhoadsrage


3.73/5  rDev +11%

(Served in an imperial pint glass)

A- Dark Amber brown with thin smooth tan head and little carbonation visible.

S- very clean smell with a faint toasty malt aroma

T- sweet bready biscuity malt start with some roastiness to follow. Light spicy hop bitterness with a clean finish.

M- a medium body that is a bit watery but finishes more full-bodied.

D- I really thought of this more as an American Brown Ale than an APA. It had much more malt depth with hops playing a nice supporting roll. It was a nice session beer when sitting in the Canadian Rockies.

03-09-2005 03:21:45 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of Tang07


4.35/5  rDev +29.5%

In a word, "yum"

I'm in Alberta for five weeks and this will be my beer of choice.

It pours a deep red/copper with a great head. I has a nice crisp and hoppy taste. The smell is hard to determine as I've had most of them in a smokey bars (must everyone smoke up here?).

It has a nice hoppy bite after swollowing.

These have been going down very well. It has body and it is nice and warming. I wish that the ABV were slightly higher, but 5% is OK. (6 would just be better)

It has a great tan and foamy head that lasts for probably 3/4 of the way down, and laces the glass nicely.

03-08-2005 05:04:45 | More by Tang07
Photo of canadianbarman

Alberta (Canada)

3.35/5  rDev -0.3%

--Regular brown bottle. Bought in a variety 12 pack with other flavours.
--Poured a chestnut, amber in color which gave it a good look.
--Slight head that did not last long but left some nice lacing.
--Smelled malty and sweet.

This is probably the biggest seller for big rock. I have had a lot of big rock and will continue to do so. This is a nice slightly better than average beer that goes down smoothly. Not the best Big Rock product in my opinion but still good.

12-24-2004 22:52:29 | More by canadianbarman
Photo of BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

3.4/5  rDev +1.2%

Probably the most popular Big Rock product. Color is a coppery red. Almost no head, leaves a patchy cap of surface foam, small amount of lacing. First smell is sweet, sugary malt with slight caramel. Taste is sweet and grainy, light bitter to finish, but overall well balanced and no after taste. Medium body, and easy to drink. If you are expecting a "traditional ale" you might be dissapointed because it is somewhat characterless. Has no overpowering strong points, just good all around.

12-03-2004 23:02:04 | More by BigBry
Photo of trevorwideman

Manitoba (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev +2.7%

Poured with almost no head at all, but retained a small lace through the whole glass. Brown colour, not very pale at all. Malt and nuts on the nose. Taste is nutty with mild alcohol and a bit of sweetness in the middle. Mouthfeel isn't spectacular, but I like the taste, so I give this a higher drinkability rating as I find it a very good session beer. I much prefer it on tap as I have had many times on visits to Calgary. I usually start to crave this beer in the Autumn, when I want something a little darker, but not very. Not a bad offering from Big Rock.

10-23-2004 22:22:03 | More by trevorwideman
Photo of DrJay


3.08/5  rDev -8.3%

Very clear coppery red colour. Off-white head quickly subsided to a thin lace. Malty aroma with some caramel and light nuttiness. The flavour was a bit disappointing, with some grainy sweetness to start and finishing with a very light bitterness. It's almost as if the flavour disappears part way through. Medium/high carbonation and light body with almost no aftertaste.

10-19-2004 01:23:58 | More by DrJay
Photo of 3Vandoo

Quebec (Canada)

2.1/5  rDev -37.5%

Im having it right now....

Her color is an amberish reddish one, very pale amd a light body, a chestnust tone

A smell shy of hops, sugar and alcohol

A taste reminding me of some macros, nothing spectatular, sweat, watery, nothing great. Some hops taste by there, some maltish by there too, cannot very detect anything that an average ale taste.

Acid is also the key, she's giving me stomachaches.

09-18-2004 03:29:06 | More by 3Vandoo
Photo of ecoboy

Rhode Island

3.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Very inviting copper colour. Served too cold, so I let it sit in the Friday summer lunchtime sun and admired.

When the nose could pierce the refridgeration, it was mostly malt.

Aggressive carbonation in the attack makes for that Canadian "crisp" nature I have tasted time and again.

Malt and hop: neither dominate and both are present. The malt is in the lead with the hop and bibbles ready to clear off the tongue. Short finish and "hollowness" at the center of the flavor profile keep this from acheiving greatness.

Worthy, however, with the drinkability of a Sam Adams lager. Maybe that should be different for this style, but get past the divergence with its proclaimed style and it's worth drinking.

08-17-2004 16:43:22 | More by ecoboy
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

2.8/5  rDev -16.7%

Pours a dull dark copper color with a crackly head that fades fast. Soft malts and some floral hops make up the aroma. The flavor is of sweet malts and some funny yeast taste. The hops are not very noticeable. This beer was a dissapointment to me. Its seriously lacking in the hop department and has a very bland run of the mill flavor. The finish is clean but way too watery. This beer is like an amateur extract hombrew.

07-16-2004 20:40:52 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

2.75/5  rDev -18.2%

Some decent malt then bit of hopbitterness and aftertaste. Medium texture and watery. Rather bland. Not much hops. Canadian relying on balance. Water and sugar. Slight fizz and yeast mid-sip. The type to have cold as refreshing as you are not missing anything.

06-13-2004 04:02:35 | More by Sammy
Photo of Garin

Alberta (Canada)

3.05/5  rDev -9.2%

Thin creamy white bubbly head and a super-clear golden brown beer underneath that suggests some very effective filtration.

Some toasty sweet grainy malt in the nose, but not a lot of hops. This is pale ale? I dunno. It's not even pale.

Again, malty grainy flavours with a hint of some kind of bitterness somewhere. Very little in the way of hops aroma or character at all. Some slight sourness at the end. The mouthfeel is smooth and soft and rich. That part is nice at least.

It's drinkable, and unthreatening. I guess that's why soooo many people drink "trad" here in Calgary. It's not a pale ale, and it's not a *great* beer, but it's not bad.

05-16-2004 06:06:25 | More by Garin
Big Rock Traditional Ale from Big Rock Brewery
77 out of 100 based on 158 ratings.