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Big Rock India Pale Ale - Big Rock Brewery

Not Rated.
Big Rock India Pale AleBig Rock India Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

67 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 67
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 2.91
pDev: 17.87%
Wants: 0
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Rock Brewery visit their website
Alberta, Canada

Style | ABV
English India Pale Ale (IPA) |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
A classic ale dry hopped to lend a distinctive character. Spicy, warm, earthy.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-27-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 67 | Reviews: 36 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ScottWestmaas
4/5  rDev +37.5%

ScottWestmaas, Apr 18, 2012
Photo of stevergca
4/5  rDev +37.5%

stevergca, May 12, 2014
Photo of schnarr84
3.75/5  rDev +28.9%

schnarr84, Mar 22, 2013
Photo of Derek
3.6/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

At 5.5%, definitely a session IPA... leaning towards an ESB. I like the Fuggles, but the hopping isn't what you'd expect.

Clear copper with an off-white head, good retention & lace. It really is a great looking brew.

Aroma of earthy mineral, figs, grainy biscuit, a bit of rind. This is echoed in the flavour, with a modest bitterness (40 IBU?).

Moderate body has a hint of residual sweetness with a dry finish.

Overall a nice brew, but a fairly modest IPA.

Derek, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of Fatehunter
3.58/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a finger and half of head on a clear amber colored body.
The aroma is pine, mango and pineapple... a bit faint overall though.
The taste starts with a mild pine bitterness moving towards a dull dry grapefruit bitter middle and ending.
The texture is soft with moderate carbonation.
It's a solid, good IPA.

Fatehunter, Mar 14, 2014
Photo of woodychandler
3.58/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This came out of a nice box sent to me by CANTrader, BigBry, who knows that CANned CANadian beer is a real treat for The CANQuest (TM), if you CAN dig it!

From the CAN: "India Pale Ale [-] A classic ale with a golden amber colour, dry-hopped to lend a distinctive character. Spicy. warm, slightly smoky. Settles the dust on a warm prairie evening."; "Simple ingredients. Extraordinary taste. Truly C[AN]adian."; "Big Rock Brewery Brewing Real Beer Since 1985".

The Crack revealed a brimful CAN and the inverted Glug unleashed two dense, foamy fingers of tawny head with good retention on a breezy, humid 4th of July. Color was a deep-amber with NE-quality clarity and loads of CO2 bubbles in evidence. Nose had an upfront caramel-malt sweetness underlain by a minty, grassy scent. Mouthfeel was on the thin side and the taste, while not overly hoppy, still had a slight pepperiness to go with the biscuity maltiness on the tongue. I kind of got what they were talking about with "slightly smoky" on the finish, but I am not sure that I would have perceived it strongly enough to remark on it had they not imparted it on the label. It was a decent EIPA, which has different parameters from its AIPA cousin. I was disappointed the first time I had an EIPA, but that was so long ago that I have learned what to expect from the style. It was decent, but one would probably satiate me.

woodychandler, Jul 04, 2013
Photo of biboergosum
3.54/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

341ml single, a weird surprise upon my return to the embrace of Calgary liquor stores. Apparently, this is different than the new small-batch Alpha Dog IPA available around town on draft.

This beer pours a clear pale golden amber colour, with two fingers of puffy, broadly foamy, soapy bone-white head, which settles in a fairly lazy manner, leaving a decent wall of Chantilly lace around the glass.

It smells of biscuity, mildly caramelized malt, lightly citrusy floral hops, and a hint of earthy spice, which is so far just as expected (of the brewer, if not quite the style). The taste is a nice even lightly bready, fairly biscuity malt, a touch of leafy tea, and some very mild musty citrus hops.

The carbonation is quite moderate, if a tad peppy here and there, the body generally light in weight. It finishes with an ethereally bland earthy hoppiness that is hard to pin down, nor to assign blame.

I never had a chance to try the Big Rock IPA in its previous incarnation, so the release of these two new IPAs in such a short time frame is confusing, but I'll do my best. This is a somewhat decent, adequately hopped English rendition of the style, and quite easy to put back. I'd likely order this in a pub - just not over another properly put-out American version. Which just happened to be the case at a recent apres-soccer event - good for BR.

biboergosum, May 08, 2011
Photo of Druid
3.5/5  rDev +20.3%

Druid, Aug 04, 2013
Photo of ptarmigan98
3.5/5  rDev +20.3%

ptarmigan98, Feb 11, 2013
Photo of Idrankthat
3.5/5  rDev +20.3%

Idrankthat, May 06, 2013
Photo of joefinnigan15
3.5/5  rDev +20.3%

joefinnigan15, Aug 18, 2013
Photo of canucklehead
3.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It is nice to see the Magpie and the IPA back in stores again but I agree with other reviewers that the craft market has evolved and Big Rock needs to step their game up if they want some respect in that consumer group. This is a weird beer because as an IPA it fails completely but as an amber ale it actually is not bad. The problem is lack of hops even for an English style IPA this is malt forward. It is very drinkable , nicely balanced and quite a full mouthfeel for a Big Rock beer but it tastes like an amber ale. No IPA but a decent beer from a brewery in need of a winner.

canucklehead, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of Fader
3.5/5  rDev +20.3%

Fader, Feb 17, 2014
Photo of markaberrant
3.4/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - clear, croppy, frothy white head persists

S - holy crap, I can actually smell some hops in a Big Rock beer. Light citrus hops, but quickly overtaken by wet cardboard, sweet malt

T - clean crisp malt, soft malt sweetness, a hint, I mean just a hint of citrus hops, very light bitterness, some of that Big Rock metallic finish, though not as bad as most

M - ok I guess

O - ridiculously easy to drink, the flavours that are there are good, but they are so mild and disappear so quickly, that you have no choice but to take another gulp

Somewhat reminiscent of Pils Urquell in a weird sort of way (mild hoppiness, malty, yet very crisp, and a quickly disipating aftertaste). While it is a poor excuse for an IPA, I would drink this again.

markaberrant, Apr 19, 2011
Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.3/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Big Rock IPA from a yellow can, retrieved from a mixed pack. This beer seems to be making something of a resurgence, I am noticing it more on shelves despite Big Rock recently doing a much better take on the style in the form of Monkey's Fist (see that review). Pours a dark amber hue with a considerable quantity of whitish head. Smells like nondescript unassuming citrus rind, sweet marmalade, somewhat medicinal. Has that generic sweet "iced tea" type aroma you get in some IPAs although the volume knob is turned down. Tastes like crackery malt (think stale white toast), not much in the way of crystal malt character, perhaps a little gummy candy, a light citrusy, green and also earthy hoppiness pervades the picture but is again muted, a vague hint of pine, bitter spent tea-bag ... Rather empty and uninspiring frankly. Yielded a spicy character as I finished the glass, sort of a lemony ginger effect, but this was not enough to salvage the tasting session. Big Rock has come a long way. Hopefully they can keep it up. This brew should remain in the rear view mirror.

CalgaryFMC, Jan 01, 2014
Photo of joemcgrath27
3.28/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - clear golden bronze, short white head dissipated fairly quickly to a thin covering, no real lacing
S - herbal and lightly floral, biscuity and grainy, slightly spicy odour
T - mild citrus and tangy hop flavour, bready and biscuity malt, faint earthy finish
M - fairly thin and watery, decent carbonation, not much of a dry or bitter to speak of
O - decent enough in flavour and good to see Big Rock branching out with some more offerings, but generally an average IPA for a risk averse audience

joemcgrath27, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of Tivlavrie
3.25/5  rDev +11.7%

Tivlavrie, Feb 18, 2014
Photo of andrenaline
3.18/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks like Big Rock is trying to get back to its roots. Picked up this one alongside their new Magpie Rye Ale.

A - Pours a nice copper colour, thin layer of head with no retention or lacing.

S - Pretty mild on the nose with sweet caramel coming through alongside some faint bitter hops.

T - Pretty disappointing for an IPA with only a mild bitterness that comes across the palette and lingers alongside the caramel malts. The hops have a bit of a grassy taste as well. It's definitely a bit more full flavoured than their other offerings, but still a tad mild.

M - A tad thin for my liking and could use a bit more lift, again a tad disappointing.

O - Overall, I commend Big Rock on their efforts to re-establish their roots, however, the craft market has evolved. The bar has been raised and they'll have to put out something a bit more extreme in order to consider themselves to be fair competitors.

andrenaline, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of thehyperduck
3.15/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

473 mL can picked up at TBS, listed at 5.5% and served slightly chilled. Despite the fact that I consumed more than my fair share of Big Rock beer during my stint in AB a few years back, I never actually bothered to try this particular brew. The label describes this one as a Pacific NW-style IPA, but there's only one way to determine if that claim is valid...

Pours a clear golden-amber colour, with one finger of frothy, off-white head generated at the surface. It wilts fairly quickly, leaving behind a soapy cap and a messy swath of lacing. The aroma is fairly mild and leans on the sweet side, with caramel, raisin bread and toffee dominating the leafy, comparatively meek hop notes. Not really what I expect from the style.

Quite malt-forward for the style. Biscuity malts, caramel and butterscotch provide a sizeable amount of sweetness, with notes of leafy hops, bergamot orange and a slight spiciness providing an appropriate balance in the tail end. Mildly sweet aftertaste with a slight metallicity that lingers briefly. Medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation; this provides a lively presence on the palate but does not affect the brew's smooth nature. The mouthfeel and high drinkability are probably the highlights of this one for me.

Final Grade: 3.15, a C+. Big Rock India Pale Ale is a passable English-style IPA, but they'll need to tweak the recipe considerably if they expect people to take the "Pacific NW IPA" claim seriously. Like many of this brewery's offerings, I'd have no problem drinking it again, but when you live in Ontario and need to pay import prices to do so, there's really no compelling reason to bother. Reminds me a little of Wells IPA, I suppose, except with a sweeter malt backbone and a more satisfying body. Pretty forgettable, and definitely not worth going out of your way for.

thehyperduck, Jun 21, 2014
Photo of Noxious26
3.1/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle poured in a pint glass.

Nice, clear, orange-copper colour. Head is off-white, but what little there is on the pour quickly disappears to a thin ring around the edge.

Aroma is both hoppy and malty. Reasonably balanced, but perhaps leaning a little towards the hop side. A bit of sweetness in caramel undertones.

Taste is mildly hoppy with some sweet/malt undertones. Finishes lightly bitter moving into a piney-hop bitter aftertaste. A little bit of a grainy undertone throughout.

Mouthfeel is fairly crisp and clean. Moderately carbonated and light-medium bodied.

This is a pretty uncomplicated, clean tasting beer. Only, instead of being labeled an English IPA, I'd put it more in the English Pale Ale bracket. However, even then it's just average. None the less, this is still preferable to Rickard's "IPA" or Keith's "IPA".

Noxious26, Nov 03, 2005
Photo of slitherySOB
3.08/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Definitely not a hop monster. A thirst quencher, nothing more. Big Rock IPA pours an almost orange colour, with a fingernail of foam for a head. Lace sticks to the glass lightly, giving it an almost residual look. Smells a bit hoppy. Lemon and grass. Sweet malt as well, which dominates the scent. I know this isn't going to be a strong IPA. Tastes better than I thought. Lightly sweet, crisp, dry and grassy. Their is an earthy bitterness. Not very hoppy, but more hoppy than a usual pale ale. Aftertaste is crisp and grassy yet again. Good on a hot day like today. Carbonated mouthfeel leaves the mouth quenched. Decent session beer, but not for someone looking for a hop bomb, or even a hop firecracker.

slitherySOB, Oct 12, 2004
Photo of Converge
3.05/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

341ml bottle poured into a 16oz pint glass.

A - Nice foamy two finger head, slightly off-white. Light copper color. The head settles to some light foam and leaves minimal lacing.

S - A surprising amount of fruity hops wafting from the glass. Tons of grapefruit, to the point where it almost smells sour. Floral, piney character and a touch of caramel malt.

T - Definitely leans towards the English style of IPAs. Lots of caramel malt throughout the flavor. Light piney hops rise up in the finish and lend a soft bitterness to the aftertaste. Not a whole lot of hop presence overall. It's alright.

M - Bubbly carbonation, body on the lighter side. Not a fan of the way the carbonation feels.

D - One of the better Big Rock beers I've had so far, but near the bottom of the totem when it comes to domestic IPAs, especially in Western Canada. I'd sooner reach for Tree's HopHead, Paddock Wood's 606, or even GIB's Brockton IPA before this. Still a good beer, but I'll pass next time.

Converge, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of DaveBar
3.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased at the LCBO 473ml can for just under $3.00. Served at 10deg C in a water glass

A- Opened very well. Poured with a nice 2" head to an amber/brown color

S- Pretty good. Interesting citrus

T- Not so good. Not liking it at all. Have had English ipa's before but this one leaves everything to be desired. Heavy metallic taste on the tongue.

M- Not so good either. Not liking it at all

O- Not that good. It's going down the drain now. Got lots better than to gulp this stuff back

No food pairing. Will not buy again.

DaveBar, Apr 01, 2014
Photo of LDuke
3/5  rDev +3.1%

LDuke, Oct 19, 2013
Photo of cletetron
3/5  rDev +3.1%

cletetron, Mar 02, 2012
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Big Rock India Pale Ale from Big Rock Brewery
70 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.