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Big Rock Winter Spice Ale - Big Rock Brewery

Not Rated.
Big Rock Winter Spice AleBig Rock Winter Spice Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

24 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 24
Hads: 42
Avg: 3.55
pDev: 10.99%
Wants: 2
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Rock Brewery visit their website
Alberta, Canada

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: biboergosum on 12-07-2008

Formerly Big Rock McNally's Winter Spice Ale
View: Beers (73) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 24 | Hads: 42
Reviews by philmen:
Photo of philmen
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

More User Reviews:
Photo of
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

You had this beer. Write a review.

Photo of EsoxLucius
3.92/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

another excellent and very enjoyable. i tried it after a Bah Humbug from Wychwood, i'd also suggest trying that one out, but both are good!

A: looks like McNally's Extra Ale, i like the way that looks. dark copper with a light tan head, good lacing. head vanishes a bit abrubpt.

S: definately smell cloves and nutmeg with some cinnamon. nice smelling, again festive and suiting.

T: good, i like regular Extra Ale a bit more, but this is definately worthy. nutmeg and spice are pronouced throughout the drink.

M: it does have a warming feel to it, but it's pretty fizzy.

D: after it's sat for a bit, it gets better. i'd recommend trying it.

 645 characters

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.58/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draught at Kickoff in Waterloo. First day of winter, figured this was appropriate!

Pours a nice dark amber, a bit of lingering head, some lacing.

The nose takes a bit of warmth to get going, but all the winter warmer favorites are there: nutmeg, bread, ginger, cinnamon, dried fruit, malts.

The taste is fairly similar, and for a winter warmer, this one ain't bad. Quite tasty, actually. Similar flavours as in the nose, but with a bit of cloves and bitterness to balance the sweetness. Aftertaste was a bit tinny, but still a fine brew.

Mouthfeel was excellent. Medium thickness, carbonation was just stingy enough to provide bursts of cinnamon throughout each sip.

One of the better winter beers I've had this year. Certainly worth a go!

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Photo of LDuke
3.39/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of biboergosum
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle. I first saw this beer at the Rocky Mountain Food and Wine show in Edmonton a few months ago. Here we go, I thought, as I finally made my way to the Big Rock booth - will Big Rock have anything new this year that will keep my interest? My girl and I were pleasantly surprised at the sample of Winter Spice Ale we were given, and the gingerbread cookie that came with it.

A little while later, as the weather turns further towards winter, I spotted a gift pack that contained 4 bottles, plus two tall etched glasses, and a package of those same cookies. All right then - this beer pours a crystal clear, orangish-amber colour, with a healthy amount of pillow-like puffy off-white head, which disappears quickly, leaving a small amount of exploded marshmallow lacing around the glass.

It smells quite redolent of sweet 'n savoury spices - cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon - sweet caramel malt, a touch of meaty yeast, and weak as sin earthy, leafy hops. The flavour starts strong with the grainy caramel malt and cinnamon/nutmeg spice, and maintains it, as its cousins from Grandma's gingerbread recipe all show up in due time, the spices all coalescing near the finish, joined by a slight warming from that wee extra bit of alcohol.

The body is a bit on the light side for a winter warmer, with a pithy smoothness and equally weak creaminess, while the carbonation is a little too noticeable in its tacky frothiness, as well. It finishes well off-dry, and just, well, off - the meaty caramel malt carrying on like yer typical drunk-ass aunt at the reception.

Even though the combination of spices is more or less bang-on, and this is a nice enough seasonal offering, as a welcome change from Big Rock, I can't help but be a tad underwhelmed overall. Oh well, there is that cookie - I have to say, it's a pretty good cookie, obviously made from the same ingredients as the beer it accompanies, which does well to wash it down, ceteris paribus.

 1,957 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.57/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on-tap at Chauncey Smith. A faint spice aroma. Dark colour. A bit light mouthfeel. Some spice (cinammon,colves, ginger, nutmeg) and fruit taste. Nominally rich, vinous. All that's missing is pumpkin, yeast, more caramel.On the sweet side.A little drying.

 262 characters

Photo of jcubz
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Very much a big rock beer. Feels like they go half way into the style so that mainstream will still buy.

104 characters

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.42/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - bubbly clear light amber, short tan head left a thin covering
S - savoury with ginger and cinnamon, light grassy note
T - very bready with modest spices, grassy hops and an alcohol bite
M - high carbonation, watery thin with some spice tingle
D - i like that these guys are trying to get back to their craft brew roots, this is not an outstanding winter, but a decent effort that drinks easy enough

 402 characters

Photo of ZorPrime
3.69/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one was sent to me by BigBry. Thanks.

This beer presents itself amber with some reddish notes in it. When I drink and look at the beer, it is definitely more red than by looking through the glass. Absolutely no head. Bummer. The aroma is strong cinnamon with some malty notes behind. However, the cinnamon is strong in the nose. Not a bad smell, however I don't expect a lot of bitterness from this one.

On the taste side, it is less intense. Warm in the mouth which is due to the alcohol I would guess. I get some cinnamon and nutmeg maybe. I'm not sure about the nutmeg. The taste is a little bit spicy for me to grade this one a 4-good.

This one is medium body and the carbonation is present in the looks and the mouth.

Overall a good beer, easy drinkability. A nice offering.

Cheers BigBry!

 804 characters

Photo of joesi
3.24/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

(look rating was just used to balance out my rating; I don't care about looks, it's silly to do so)

Very little smell, which I found surprising, but I don't care about. Smells of caramel.

Medium-low carbonation level, with a medium amount of creaminess with a swish.

Mild caramel (reminiscent of some sort of Innis and Gunn) and hops seem like the dominating flavors here. In fact, just beer (lager) flavors in general are the most prominent flavors, like a hoppy doppelbock or something. I think I also tasted some ginger here, but it may have just been cinnamon/nutmeg as they didn't mention any ginger. It reminded me of some ginger-flavored beer, namely Ginja Ninja, a beer which had an extremely mild/minor ginger taste. I didn't notice that much other spice though really, which is the whole reason I got this, so it was rather disappointing in that sense.

Overall very mild in tastes aside from regular beer tastes.
No doubt that it is good as a beer in general, but it was bland/boring for me and a bit disappointing. I was probably expecting too much of it though based off the label's description, and having had a Unibroue La Resolution a few weeks previously which was absolutely amazing (it had lots of spice, especially clove flavor, but good luck finding one).

 1,280 characters

Photo of IronDjinn
2.83/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Been quite a while since I've had a Big Rock product, let alone sampled a new one. Maybe I'd consume more if they brought back their Magpie rye ale, which was quite excellent (hint, hint....).

Bought a 341 ml brown single of this, which seemed a safe enough investment for me. It pours out a clear well-carbonated light amber, two fingers of tight creamy off-white that settles slowly.

Given the abundant presence of nutmeg on the nose this is a few spices shy of being a contender for a decent pumpkin ale. Some sweet ginger in the mix as well, giving it a sort of gingerbread character. Mild cinnamon rounds things out.

Ummm....reminds me of a spiced up version of Warthog. Do they still make Warthog? Maybe they can replace it with Magpie.... The first thing that stands out for me is a yeasty homebrew presence, along with wort-like malt, although the two don't blend well. In fact it reminds me of a Winter Warmer I brewed myself a few years ago out of a liquid wort kit. An herbal hop tartness jumps out of the bushes on the finish that doesn't go very well with the spices, especially as they both linger on sparring with each other into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is smooth and a little slick, on the lower end of medium-bodied.

I'm comfortable with my purchase of the lone single of this Winter Warmer, it brought back some fond memories when I had the time to homebrew a lot more, yet confirmed that I have no desire to pay for this commercial version of it. However bring back Magpie, and you'll have a steady stream of my hard earned money every week once again.

 1,579 characters

Photo of headlessparrot
3.74/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of Alberta_Beer_Guy
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of mrmanning
3.32/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Chancey Smith's. Deep auburn which is slightly hazed. Pours a frothy beige cap. Spicy nose has allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, fruity malts, with some vanilla. Tastes somewhat sweet, of bready malts, rye, cinnamon, nutmeg. Well spiced with a nice fruity component. Creamy, medium body, with nice lingering spice is pleasant. Good.

 336 characters

Photo of BigBry
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of thehyperduck
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of bumchilly25
3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

Photo of hockeybarbie
3/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of marcusR111
4.35/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- a brown ale with reddish tinge to it. Small head that disipates quickly

S- The spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves are out front with a slightly malty smell in the back

T- Spices are once again upfront but this time the malt and the hops are more easily able to distinguish. Very good taste.

M- Good carbonation, not a whole lot but there still is some good carbonation. Not watery at all.

D- I would buy maybe 2 six packs all winter. More of a good beer to have christmas eve.

Serving type: bottle

 519 characters

Photo of Derek
3.27/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Copper-bronze with an off-white head, thin ring of retention, slight lacing.

S: Cinnamon, nutmeg ginger are nice, but seem more like a pumpkin brew than a winter ale. Some underlying biscuity malt as well.

T: Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, grainy biscuit, slightly metallic, hint of caramel, good bitterness. Unfortunately it seems to be slightly oxidized.

M: Light to moderate body, moderate carbonation, dry finish.

D: It's alright, but I expect a little more from a winter warmer.

Thanks to seldomseen for throwing this in as an extra in a trade.

 552 characters

Photo of andrenaline
3.57/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice amber colour with a red hue, thin finger of head with little retention and leaves no lacing.

S - Spices dominate the nose with cinnamon and nutmeg being the most prominent and the slightest caramel scent on the finish, though it isn't as strong as some of the other winter warmers I've had in the past.

T - Much like the taste the spices dominate, with cinnamon and nutmeg coming through. The flavour that lingers on the tongue reveals a bready ginger snap.

M - This is a bit on the light side, but nothing totally offensive, and it goes down smooth.

D - A tasty offering that doesn't overpower the palette with a strong spice presence typical among most winter warmers. Though one might consider this one a bit bland, it is quite drinkable thanks to the lighter flavours present.

 801 characters

Photo of Kmat10
3/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of Howlader
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of leaddog
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Big Rock brought this brew back as part of their Brewmaster's limited edition brews.

Appearance - Pours a clear copper with a finger of bubbly white head.

Smell - bready caramel malts, cinnamon, clove, hint of nutmeg, hint of ginger, and gingerbread scent aromas.

Taste - Starts off with the bready caramel malts then goes into the cinnamon, clove, hint of nutmeg and ginger.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes with the lingering spices.

Overall - A pleasant winter spiced ale. The spices are all there for the style. Only knock on this one would be to ramp up the spices but otherwise an enjoyable winter spiced ale. I am digging the label on this one as it reminds me of snowshoeing on some of the picturesque trails in the mountains.

 770 characters

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Big Rock Winter Spice Ale from Big Rock Brewery
82 out of 100 based on 24 ratings.