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Big Rock Warthog Ale - Big Rock Brewery

Not Rated.
Big Rock Warthog AleBig Rock Warthog Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
73
okay

56 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 56
Hads: 103
rAvg: 3.07
pDev: 11.4%
Wants: 0
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Rock Brewery visit their website
Alberta, Canada

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-04-2002

Malty with a hint of toffee balanced with very evident hop and followed by a clean finish.
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Reviews: 56 | Hads: 103
Photo of the42ndtourist
4.5/5  rDev +46.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This reminded me of why for a long time, cream ales were my favourite style of beer (before I found Unibroue, that is...).

Poured from the pitcher with one finger of head and a fairly deep red colour reminiscent of Smithwick's. The head fades slowly, with eventual lacing across the top. Smell is a little sweet and a little malty. The taste is sweet, fruity, and just a little bit on the dry side of average. This stuff really is a banner example of a cream ale, putting my previous standards to bed.

If you ever find it, try it! (540 characters)

Photo of Garin
4/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ah yes, my old friend the Warthog... This was our staple throughout my school days. I'm working from notes, though I've had this so many times that I hardly need them.

As always, it poured clear and pale coppery brown with a nice head that dropped to a thin and lingering foam that is well supported by the carbonation. It is perfectly clear.

I never did get how people were put off by the aroma. I find grainy malt and caramel sweetness with some herbal and vegetable undertones, and nothing unpleasant or unexpected from a cream ale.

The flavour is light and bitter hoppy, with some maltiness becoming apparent over time. In the usual cream ale fashion, it's pretty mild, but I've always found it to be well balanced and interesting enough.

In the mouth, it's light, smooth and easy drinking. The carbonation is lively and long-lasting, and overall I find this very refreshing. (892 characters)

Photo of Shiloh
4/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is very nice and I would recomend it to anybody..The body pours an amber/red cross with limited head and heavy glass ring and is medium light...
Taste is mellow, semi sweet and fruity, oranges actually comes to mind...it does have a hop continuance which I particularly enjoyed.
IMHO this beer should be served well chilled... (333 characters)

Photo of lipschitz
3.75/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 650ml bomber
Pours clear, medium copper, with a decent, foamy head that recedes promptly. Aroma is of caramel malt, with some herbal undertones. The taste is wonderfully delicate caramel, which matches the aroma. The sweetness steps aside to make way for a pleasant, nutty finish. The mouthfeel is moderately carbonated, creamy, and slick.
Notes: I have had this many times over the years, and always found it to be a capable, if not spectacular ale. For some reason the bombers that I had this week were exceptional. The delicate balance between the sweetish malts, and the nuttiness made it a most pleasing brew. The flavours are subtle, but very nice. (670 characters)

Photo of trevorwideman
3.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is not far off of Big Rock's Traditional Ale to me...

Pours a deep copper brown colour, with little to no head, slight lace sticks to glass momentarily. A roasted malt, slightly hoppy nose, brooding, autumnal, it's getting to that time of year.

Taste is a thin hop sweetness that finishes a bit bitter, but not too much. Smoother than their traditional ale, but less complex and less tangy. Goes down smooth, soft mouthfeel, a bit thin but a decent, drinkable session ale. (488 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.55/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

20oz pint. An old favorite that I haven't had in years, available on tap now at one of my smaller go-to beer hideaways in Edmonton.

This beer appears a clear, bright medium copper amber colour, with a finger or so of frothy, filmy, and soapy white head, which leaves some spotty, streaky lace around the glass as it quickly recedes.

It smells of bready pale and caramel malt, reduced brown sugar, and very mild earthy, weedy hops. The taste is more of that thin, wet breadiness, sweet in that particular Big Rock manner, ethereal earthy yeast, an echo of molasses, and some still very tame floral hops.

The carbonation is quite soft, barely a tic arising throughout, the body medium-light in weight, and mostly smooth, with a certain clammy, grainy edge intruding a bit. It finishes off-dry, some innocuous bready caramel malt lingering all by its lonesome.

Just as I remember it - an easy-drinking, not overly complicated (re: plain) mild ale, one that puts on full display Big Rock's core competencies. Now to complete this little ode to nostalgia - if only there were still 5 cent hot wing Wednesdays as well! (1,118 characters)

Photo of evlu1441
3.53/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my third Big Rock review. I have had this beer before, but I was too drunk to really remember what it was like (though I don't remember it being too unusual).

It pours a medium copper/amber colour. Held up to light it is quite clear, but seems a bit darker just sitting on the table. There is a little creamy head that settles down to a nice thin layer over the beer.

The aroma is quite sweet and smooth. It reminds me of an English "draught" ale-in-a-can-type beer. There is some light maltiness, and thankfully no adjuncty aroma. The sweetness is most prominent.

It is quite carbonated off the bat. The malt flavours slowly develop in the front of the mouth and mingle with the sweetness. The matliness becomes more prominent and rolls across the tongue leaving a slight hoppy bitterness.This is a very smooth beer.

Overall, I quite liked this! It would definitely be a great beer to have at a pub on tap or something like that. (943 characters)

Photo of ChrisCage
3.52/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A- Upon pourning, I was impressed with the coloring, which is orange/reddish/brown. This was the only thing I really liked about it, as there was virtually no head, and what did appear quickly fizzes out to a very thin ring around the glass. There is also no lacing to speak of. The name of the beer and labeling is quite unique and I like that so this area receives moderate marks.

S- The aromas are quite light, which I guess should be expected with this style. There is a dominant malt smell, with toffee and molasses notes. I also detected a faint undernote of bananas, which I enjoyed. Still lots to smell here as opposed to the lagers that this is made to compete against.

T- Lots of assertive malts here, and other than the aforementioned toffee and molasses notes, there isn't much else here to describe. The finish lends a mild hop bitterness, that doesn't really hang around on the palate. Rather a simple tasting ale, but it's not bad!

M- This is rather light, which I'm not used to in an ale. It is however refreshing, with the heavier carbonation and the flavors just kind of roll through the palate and then are gone.

D- I gave this area full marks, b/c this is meant to be a competitor to a lager, but with a little more and I think that it does the job. I'd be perfectly happy to enjoy this particular beer throughout an evening with friends and think it's a nice crisp ale. Would do the job after a hard days work and could even make a nice after dinner beer, with the sweeter flavors. (1,506 characters)

Photo of shamus
3.52/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A slightly better than average for a micro brew from Big Rock, not world class, but not unpleasant. It has a very smooth descent down the gullet which makes a perfectly fine session beer. The massive head receded to a pale gauze and there is not a lot of carbonation in the body. I don't dislike this beer as much as I might have expected. (339 characters)

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.44/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Recently the recipient of a makeover like the rest of Big Rock's regular lineup, now available in Big Rock's new bottles decked out in a new label that still depicts the namesake animal in full regalia. Poured into an English pub glass, this "mild" is indeed quite light in color, an amber-brown with a few inches of beige head. Smells ... sweet. Faint caramel and molasses are discernible and little else. Palate is similarly mellow, subdued, and sweet, with some toffee, light baker's cacao, sultana raisin, and vanilla that recall Big Rock Traditional (Trad) but the total package is dryer and rather woodier than the latter brew, with some Fuggles type hop character managing to keep its head above the sweetness. There's also a cherry pipe tobacco hint of floral-fruitiness and the carbonation is on the heavy side (often the case with this brewery), which cuts the sweetness and works with the thin body. I dunno ... Perhaps I am cutting this lightly flavored "just a notch above quality macro" brew too much slack. I don't feel its as bad as some other reviewers suggest, but on the other hand its not going to become a staple in my fridge. Yet another example of a beer the brewer calls a mild while the beer fan base deem it a brown. ABV and flavor profile put it in mild territory if you ask me. (1,305 characters)

Photo of GrimmReaper
3.41/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one came in a variety winter pack,pours a golden bronze color with nice orangey hilites,small tan creamy bubbly head that dissipates fairly quickly and little to no lacing.Smell is faint grains and a hint of caramel and some metallic coming thru.Taste is lite caramel with hints of fruits going down rather watery and mild bitterness at the very end.Easy to consume,not bad for a wintery nite,would also be good ice cold on a hot summery day,definitely worth a try. (470 characters)

Photo of TheHammer
3.4/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The fourth of five in the Big Rock mix pack I got from my bud a while ago.

Appearance: Nice pour with a solid thumb of head that did not lace and just barely retained. The body is a light amber color that boasts exceptional clarity and carbonation.

Smell: A nice buttery malt dominates the nose with the barest hints of sweet caramel. Not very diverse but has a very simple appeal. Didn't take much in the way of warming to come out either.

Taste: All in all, it's pretty much an average ale. Sweet buttery malts dominate the taste until a small touch of generic hops finishes off the beer. I should note, it seems to have avoided the odd funky flavor that other Big Rock brews seem to have suffered with.

Mouthfeel: A simple drinking beer that goes down very smoothly, not very much to transition to, but what it does it does well enough. No aftertaste to speak of although it does leave a little bit of a filmy taste in the mouth.

Drinkability: It's pretty good, as it goes down very smoothly as a cream ale should. Fairly refreshing to drink as well, and doesn't have any gas issues. Maybe a little touch too heavy on the gut, but it's a minor complaint.

Final Thoughts: This is the best beer I've gotten out of Big Rock thus far. Warthog is just a simple, easy drinking ale which you wouldn't expect given the name. Thumbs up for the most part, nothing here is going to wow you, but if you are looking to get back to basics, this beer is for you. (1,456 characters)

Photo of BigBry
3.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

New can label with larger emphasis on 'cream ale', old label was just 'warthog ale'. Pours light copper color with thin white head that quickly dissappears to form just a small collar around the glass. Light malty and a bit of flowery aroma. Full flavor of the caramel malt, not a whole lot of body to it, tastey but not overpowering. Quite a bit of sweetness to it, and finishes with some slight bitterness but not a lot of hop. Good carbonation throughout gives it a smooth creamy texture (not as much as some other cream ales, but still OK).

May 7, 2006 - sampled another can with the new logo and graphics, beer still the same. (634 characters)

Photo of Reidrover
3.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ok comes in a 11.5 oz brown long neck with one ugly looking Warthog on front ( well aren't they all?)..says "traditional Canadian Ale"
OK after pouring into my glass .i observe a rather handsome looking beer a nicely proportioned off white head ( thick and creamy) it shrinks but lingers long. The beer is a nice crystal clear chesnut colour..quite nice.
mmmmm I liked rthe smell of this beer some nicelly roasted chocolaty malts invade my olifactory system,,theres some flowery undertones also.
Strange..after the aroma I was expecting a full bodied ale..but the taste is too sweet and watery thin..its not at all bad..just a dissapointment after the smell.
With the wateryness..the feel on the palate is average.
Though its too thin its still a drinkable ale. (766 characters)

Photo of canucklehead
3.35/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a beer that almost makes it happen but falls apart on the finish. A kinda mix of a Brit mild and a cream ale this is a drinkable beer alright but say unlike the much missed Shaftebury Cream ale this has little to hang its hat on after a few sips. There is some malt and caramel but really the beer is forgotten soon afterwards. (335 characters)

Photo of Olek4374
3.31/5  rDev +7.8%

Sad day in the Canadian craft beer world, as Big Rock founder Ed McNally passed away today. His work was paramount in completely transforming the beer industry in the nation. Although the big boys like Labbatt and Molson are still big players, craft beer is more popular than ever; McNally's work was paramount in this regard, as Big Rock was one of the most widely available early craft breweries in Canada.

Today, it seems Big Rock works on nostalgia quite a bit. Many of their beers are rather plain in comparison to other, newer breweries. They're not that bad, they're just... ordinary. Nevertheless, to honour one of Canada's craft beer pioneers, I'll sample one of Big Rock's more long-running brews: the Warthog Ale.

It comes in a nice can that was recently redesigned. It depicts a warthog on a stylised British flag. The beer itself is a great orange colour with a nice head that is about 2cm, although it dissipates rather quickly. The smell is okay - really malty but not very deep. The taste of the beer itself is plain. It has some malty and hoppy notes, but it lacks anything further. The body is also quite modest, really more like a lager. That said, it's really easy drinking with no unpleasant aftertaste.

Big Rock beers are like your old Nintendo Entertainment System. At the time, it was revolutionary and one of the greatest things around. Today, it's still all right to break out once in a while, although there are bigger and better things. Much like in the world of video games though, Big Rock was a pioneer; craft beer would not be what it was today if not for Big Rock and the work of Ed McNally. Cheers. (1,638 characters)

Photo of marty21
3.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a deep orange/copper with one finger worth of white head. Settles to a thin cap but doesn't leave any lacing.

S: Grainy and malty aroma with faint hints of hops in the background.

T: Sweet grainy taste. The taste is a bit thin.

M: Medium carbonation with a light body.

D: I felt this beer was a bit thin on the mouthfeel and taste. It's a bit different then other Big Rock beers but it's not necessarily better then most. (438 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
3.29/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a half finger of head on a hazy dark straw colored body.
The aroma is musty, barnyard like with sour lemon in the background.
The taste is sweet and grainy. There's a mild lemon bitterness in the background.
The texture is crisper with moderate carbonation.
It's okay, tends sweet. It's sweet like a Scotch Ale. (317 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.25/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Party of Big Rocks. cream ale in very malty aroma only, it was like an old ale in colour, light head. Somewhat sour bitter and dry finish.Still, at 4.5% two beers were fine at lunch. More complex and depth and Really, a brown ale. Not bad for Big Rock. (252 characters)

Photo of DoctorStrangiato
3.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 355-ml can into a pint glass.

Appearance - copper-gold brew with thin, disappearing head. Some ultra-fine surface bubbles and a 1/16th-inch ring of lace. Very active carbonation, looks like a super-highway in there.

Smell - cozy, creamy sweet malt aromas, gently roasted barley and a whiff of toffee.

Taste - this is a beer that looks good and smells great but it comes up short on taste. The taste that's there is too thin, while the late, plain, tinny hoppiness really only serves as a transition to a wet, watery finish.

Mouthfeel - very active but even, the dynamic of the watery finish is boring and unsatisfying to what could have been the thicker, heartier effect I had anticipated from the aromas before sipping on it.

Drinkability - this goes down, well, like water. Not engaging enough to have quite a few, but it's still easy to put a couple back. (872 characters)

Photo of ComradeCanadia
3.21/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I haven't had this one in YEARS, so decided to grab a case.

Appearance: Not bad, not bad. Decent amber colouration, poured a creamy-ish head that left some lacing and never quite went away.

Smell: Meh. Bit too malty, some hop in there, caramel undertones, and some sort of generic veggie smell.

Taste: Very mixed feelings here. The aftertaste leaves a lot to be desired, but I like the hoppiness in here. Too much malt, but I can't say it's dislikeable. Straight up average grade.

Mouthfeel: I really like the mouthfeel on this, full bodied and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Again, good marks here. I finished my bottle very quickly, and could make this a session beer... just that aftertaste. (742 characters)

Photo of headlessparrot
3.18/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Being a big fan of the cream ale style, I decided to try my hand at Big Rock's attempt at the style (although this particular brew is allegedly also referred to as a 'Canadian Ale' in other markets). There are quite a few similarities between Big Rock and Sleeman as brewers, so I must admit I was expecting a beer similar to Sleeman's Cream Ale (which is my beer guilty pleasure, I must regretably admit). However, this brew actually seems rather different.

The beer pours an amber brown-goldish (copper?) sort of colour that's admittedly rather appetizing, but with a fairly thin, slightly off-white head that dies quite quickly, leaving just a few rings - there is, however, a reasonable bit of lacing, though its somewhat runny.

Smell is rather weak, as far as I can detect. There's some graininess, a hint of nuttiness, with faint molasses notes, perhaps. Slight hoppiness, but also some cereal grain present, though subtle, and, admittedly this is apparantly largely in accordance with the style.

Taste is rather nice, though nothing special. An initial hop sweetness for sure, but offset slightly by some obvious adjunct presence. Finishes a little bitter, but remarkably smooth (should we be thanking the adjuncts?). Maltiness, I think, is the name of the game here, and what makes the taste enjoyable - a sort of faint caramel, molasses taste. Not bad, but nothing special, really. A slight creaminess, as well.

Mouthfeel is average. Body is medium - not too watery, which is nice, though the carbonation is a tad excess, and a little unpleasant. I imagine the taste would be better if my taste buds weren't being attacked by a constant stream of carbonated bubbles. Drinkability, however, is high in spite of this. The simplicity of the brew, and the relatively good taste make this something that I could enjoy more than one of at a time.

Still, though - while Warthog Cream Ale isn't bad (I'd certainly never turn it down, and will admit that I'd probably buy it on a few occasions), I'm still more taken with Sleeman's take on the style (though even Sleeman's Cream Ale is nothing special either, in the grand scheme of things). (2,156 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
3.14/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I CAN thank my lucky stars for good notes.

Yet another two fingers' of French Vanilla-colored head with excellent retention. Color was a deep amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was slightly sweet, but otherwise unremarkable. Mouthfeel was medium to full with a solid caramel sweetness on the tongue. Finish had that same caramel sweetness. Not bad, but I prefer hops. (369 characters)

Photo of Mandrake
3.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a medium brownish-gold with a small whitish head that fades rapidly and leaves some scant lacing. Smells candy-sweet, with some caramel and fruitiness in the malts. Taste is nondescript, with a bit of maltiness, but is pretty watery and not very complex. Mouthfeel is thin, and drinkability is fine, but not much above expectation for this style. Not great, but not offensive either. (389 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
3.12/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

341ml bottle poured into 400ml dab glass sept26 2009

A crystal clear honey amber with a two finger head that falls quite fast and leaves some lace where the head existed for its 40 seconds of life

S sweet malts and some mild hops

T even sweeter then it smells with caramel and toffee becoming more noticeable

M a little creamy but it seems too bubble up a bit too much, almost like I'm drinking air

D overall there's nothing offensive but nothing that sticks out as great either

This isn't a bad beer, however the ale Big Rock brews for the Calgary co-op liquor chain is half the price and similar in quality (615 characters)

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Big Rock Warthog Ale from Big Rock Brewery
73 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.