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Big Rock Traditional Ale - Big Rock Brewery

Not Rated.
Big Rock Traditional AleBig Rock Traditional Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
78
okay

176 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 176
Reviews: 86
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 14.79%
Wants: 4
Gots: 18 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-26-2002

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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 176 | Reviews: 86 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of manchester81
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 341 ml bottle into a glass mug.

The beer is dark amber in colour, small head, good lacing. Not a strong smell, but mostly sweet. Taste is sweet, hints of apple, decent finish. High carbonation, thin mouthfeel.Drinkability is fairly high, a good session beer.

Big Rock calls this an English Brown, and I think that is a better description than APA. It compares well with Newcastle, maybe a touch better. Overall, it is fairly average, but a safe bet. It is available everywhere in Alberta, and a good alternative to the big macros.

Photo of Jimhillsb
3.26/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12 oz brown bottle into a regular old pint glass.

The beer is super clear, with a nice fluffy initial head. This quickly subsides, though the brew remains effervescent throughout. Color is somewhere between amber and a new penny.

Smelled less enticing. Not necessarily skunky, but definitely a bit like spoiling grain/ a 2 hour old bowl of corn flakes.

This ale is a middle of the road example of an English brown ale. Its a bit like a newcastle, but with a somewhat richer flavor. Rich malts, light hops, which are more apparent as the beer nears the end. The balance is good, and it is definitely something i could session on all night, especially because drinking this out of bottles would preclude me from having to smell it.
Mouthfeel is somewhat thin... fairly bubbly for this type of ale...
Overall the beer is on my growing list of decent, but sessionable Canadian micros.

Photo of nighthawk
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a sixer of cans from the NSLC, not my usual stuff, but looking to try something new to me.

Pours a clear copper, with darker mahogany hues near the middle. Head is off-white, almost yellowish, generous at first but dissipates to a thin ring fairly quickly. Some lacing is left as I consume.

Some mild sweet malts, with buttery and fruity hop notes. A bit subdued.

Taste is malt-centric. Sweet bread and caramel up front, turning to buttery near the middle before a hint of hop bittersweetness and a slightly nutty finish. As the beer warms, a spicy hop flavour comes through.

Mouthfeel is smooth, fairly creamy, and medium-bodied. Carbonation is light, but still felt.

This beer is pleasant to drink, inoffensive, middle-of-the-road, but tasty nonetheless. I'll note that I'm not reviewing this as an APA, as the brewer doesn't consider it one. It's closer to an english-style brown, and it hits pretty square in the middle for that style.

Photo of prosper
3.73/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good middle-of-the-road ale. Nothing particularly distinctive, but the overall finished product is pleasant. And it's NOT an APA; being far far more in the vein of a Newcastle and the like.

Served in 20oz Nonic glasses at a local pub.

Very clear. Medium brown in colour. Thin tan head, some lace.

Smells pretty nondescript. Slightly malty, slightly tart. Not much in the way of fruity esters and no hops.

Taste is of a medium-sweet caramel malt, with some faint nutty grainy flavours that takea while to become apparent. No noticeable hop character, and mild hop bitterness. Finishes rather clean.

Mouthfeel is about perfect, I think, for this style. Medium to medium low carbonation and a light-ish body.

It's characterful enough to be interesting, but no so much as to impede drinkability.

Photo of biboergosum
3.63/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

341ml bottle, from my mom's stash, the one she only breaks out for tacos or pizza nights. I've probably drank more of this product than any other thus far in my suds-sipping life. This is gonna be hard to write, in that it'll be difficult to not just put down "Yep, tastes like Trad, all right". Anyway.

This beer pours a clear, sharp medium-dark bronzed amber colour, with two fingers of puffy, broadly bubbly, even bordering on soapy, pale beige head, which leaves some random specks of sparse islet lace around the glass as it duly recedes.

It smells of lightly roasted caramel malt, a touch of toffee and semi-sweet molasses, with a subtle floral, leafy earthy hoppiness. The taste is pleasantly nutty, roasted caramel malt, grainy brown sugar, a softly tart, fleshy berry fruitiness, and some fairly mild, but generally pervasive earthy, leafy English hops.

The carbonation is certainly noticeable, but not really in any way beyond a decent mouth-expanding frothiness, the body a pleasantly plump medium weight, and mostly smooth, a few of those old-world hops getting into the sauce, or something. It finishes on a sweet note, the caramel malt, subdued fruitiness, and weakening hops aligning as such.

A rather easy to put away, if not overly complex brown ale, consistent with all of my university drinking years in the 90s. I will credit Big Rock with providing the gateway experience that allowed me to enter the beer-drinking world without first having to endure the typical small-town fate of BMC-only hegemony. And while I will always prefer it on tap - the lower carbonation just lends itself to the heady malt flavours, not to mention the memories of 6 dollar shared pitchers - the single-serve packaging is just as enjoyable right here and now.

Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.05/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz can poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a clear, dark copper and topped with a wispy one inch, frothy, white head that fades rather quickly into a thin cap

S: Smells like strawberry hard candy, I'm serious.

T/MF: I wish it tasted like it smelled. Opens mildly earthy, but then becomes blander, mild fruity hops try to bring some character to this beer but really is fighting a loosing battle. Malts are the dominate aspect of this beer and because of this, makes the beer sort of out of its style category. It's more of an English pale ale than an american, and while its does not taste bad, it does not taste like an APA should.

D: If you are looking for a cheap APA with an unterrible taste this is the beer for you, otherwise stick with a SNPA, which is pretty affordable and has much more to offer.

Photo of ChrisCage
3.57/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- This poured a reddish/coppery color, which I really was impressed with...it is nice and clear as well. The head showed some promise but didn't stick around for too long, quickly cutting itself down to a ring around the glass. There isn't much lacing to speak of either. Mild carbonation by the looks of things and moving it around, it looks like it has a heavier body.

S- Malt and lots of it! There is a pronounced sweet caramel aroma, along with heavier notes of molasses and dark brown sugar. I didn't smell really anything of note when it came to hop presence or any of the fruity esters that I may have been expecting. Just rich and sweet!

T- I really like the flavor of this, even though the bitter hopped finish is milder than I would like, though it comes through better than in the smell. It's rich, just like the aroma would suggest, with slightly burnt sugar flavors along with toffee and just a hint of dark chocolate.

M- Not as full as I would have thought upon the visual inspection, but more of a light-medium feel. The carbonation is a little more than I thought it would be but the bubbles are very fine. There is a mild smoothness that soothes the palate after the initial carbonation wears off, which I like. There would be better marks here if there was more of a head to make it a little creamier though.

D- While I like this beer and think Big Rock has done a decent job here, I wouldn't be able to enjoy this all night, as it is a little on the sweet side. However, it is a good beer to have with a meal, say BBQ'd ribs with s milder sauce....as well, this would do nicely as an after dinner drink. A decent brew!

Photo of Graham5161986
2.58/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: pours a clear, ruby brown with a 1 1/2 finger off white head that has pretty decent retention and actually leaves some pretty good lacing. (the best aspect of this beer!)

S: grassy hops (a bit of floralness in there too), sweet caramel malts, slight bready touch. A bit of cooked corn as well unfortunately.

T: bready, a touch of floral hops with a nutty finish that is a bit too sweet.

M: light and slightly creamy, decent carbonation, But an oily, somewhat cloying finish.

D: this is actually one of the better offerings from Big Rock IMHO, but still far from fantastic and too sweet to make it easily drinkable. I would drink it again if offered, but I won't be buying it again.

Photo of bobsy
3.58/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single to check it out.

Pours an attractive mahogany with a small tan head that sticks around and laces well. Malty aroma with caramel and fruit is simple, but pleasing. The taste has more of the same, with a pleasant caramel balanced by the fruitiness and a restrained bitterness. A pronounced nuttiness also combines with biscuit to produce a toasty effect. There's really not a heck of a lot to it, but its far better than I expected from Big Rock. Body is medium light with medium carbonation, and fits the beer well.

Drinkable beer, but you would probably be looking for something with a bit more flavour in your next one.

Photo of Antilochus
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Grabbed in a single at a Kingston, ON LCBO. 5.00% abv, 341mL. Fridge temp. Poured into a wine glass.

Amber brownish body, sudsy beige head.

Metallic hop notes, sweet caramel malt backbone. A little bubblegum. Gets a bit leafy.

Nice balance on the palate, but a little too sweet for an APA. Finish is a bit off. Metal comes back a bit too strong for my taste, but decent malt presence. Whoa, gets super herbal in the finish... like *the herb*. Don't see that flavour in beer often. Some wood too.

A decent APA from an unexpected brewery.

Photo of CanuckRover
3.31/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an attractive caramel brown. Filmy with some good lacings.

Sweet, sugary malt on the nose.

Whoa malt! This is one sweet, sugary beer. Toffee, burnt caramel, honey and sugary fruit, thinking dates. Liquid creme caramel. Little bit of North American hops in a thin finish, sort of strange. Hops have a bit of citrus bitterness which clashes with the overall sweet malt.

Like all Big Rock's brew, overly carbonated. I sort of enjoyed it, but I could see getting pretty sick of it after the first one.

Photo of GrimmReaper
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep mahogney reddish color with 1 finger tan head that turns to a thin collar and stays put till the end,some mild lacing.Nice malty smell comes at you with some sweet fruits blending in there somewhere and some caramel and prunes.Taste is kinda sweetish to start and the malts and fruitness kicks in along with a tinge of caramel and some mild bitterness and finishing off dry,very good tasting and quite enjoyable.Medium body feel to this one and some mild carbs all going down easily,would make for a good session beer.This beer reminds me of the one i had at Moxy's,the Big Life Ale,both made by Big Rock....hmmm,i wonder.

Photo of ThatWineGuy
3.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A dark brown colour with a light brown head, settled with some lacing. Moderate carbonation. Smells of rye bread, caramel. Mild hops, nothing to write home about, bitter in the mouth with a bitter finish, a bit of a cleansing sensation. Hints here and there of caraway seeds and melba toast. Not great, not bad either - just so-so.

Photo of allergictomacros
3/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Looks alright. Pours a clear copper with a two finger head. Foam is sticky enough, but isn't very solid.

S - Malt-centered with a toastiness and malt heaviness. A little bit cheesy.

T - Buttery and sweetish, with a roasted presence. No aftertaste really. Not a lot of hops either. Balance is leaning towards malt, but not a heavy beer.

M - Feel alright. Moderate carbonation on a medium body.

D - Kind of an average brew. Not macro-boring, but a very basic beery beer that doesn't offend.

Photo of cyrenaica
2.5/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer is almost reddish in colour. The aroma is decent, but nothing to write home about. At best, I can describe slightly malty. It felt 'perky' on the tongue, with quite a bit of carbonation. The flavour tasted a little malty with hints of grass and orange. It went down quite well however.

Photo of aquatonex
2.5/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Had this at Au Claire, nice place...

Pours a translucent auburn with a little bit of head, not much creaminess. Nose is fairly hoppy and floral as well as noticeable graininess with a slight bit of malts. Taste is alright, mostly hops and not much character IMHO. Mouthfeel was a bit watery. An OK beer.

Photo of elricorico
3.43/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A deep amber colour with a creamy tan head that is quite slow to recede. Could certainly be a bit darker, but still looks good.

The smell is rather light, there is a bit of toffee and nut, but i certainly isn't strong. There is a slight grassiness to it as well. Doesn't smell bad, but isn't really selling itself.

Malty toffee flavour and a bit of mustiness. Finished by a slightly spicy hop flavour. Faint cola sweetness shows up late. Becomes more and more malty as it warms, taking on a slight chocolate taste. Pleasant and easy drinking.

The mouthfeel is somewhat thick and carbonation is about medium. Works well for this beer.

This is a common beer for me when I'm out at a pub that has mostly macros, it is a good fallback. I'd say it is in the wrong style category, even on the can it is listed as an English Brown, and that seems about right to me. May explain some of the lower scores too, as some people might have been looking for a hoppy APA.

Photo of MMansfield
3.6/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single at Bishop's Cellar in Halifax.

Appearance: Pours a reddish brown colour with a slim off white head, little retention, leaves some lace.

Aroma: Biscuity malt, sweet with some caramel and toffee.

Taste: Very malty with breads and plenty of carmamel in its finish. Low bitterness, slightly metallic.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and very soft, not bad at all. Drinkability is extremely high.

Final Statement: Very basic sessional ale. Not offensive, not remarkable. Good companion to my chilli.

Photo of JustinBathurst
2.06/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

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.

Photo of Viggo
3.15/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Mandrake
3.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of aychbomb
3.72/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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)

Photo of FightingEntropy
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of atigerlife
3.08/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of jaluria
2.71/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

Big Rock Traditional Ale from Big Rock Brewery
78 out of 100 based on 176 ratings.