Big Rock India Pale Ale - Big Rock Brewery

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Big Rock India Pale AleBig Rock India Pale Ale

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BA SCORE
70
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39 Reviews
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Reviews: 39
Hads: 78
rAvg: 2.86
pDev: 11.54%
Wants: 0
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Rock Brewery visit their website
Alberta, Canada

Style | ABV
American IPA |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-27-2002

If hoppy makes you happy, this Pacific Northwest-style IPA is your beer. We brew it with two kinds of delicious Yakima Valley Cascade hops, in such a way as to deliver the maximum heavenly hoppiness to your tastebuds, with the minimum bitterness.
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Reviews: 39 | Hads: 78
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.73/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Can: Poured a light yellow color ale with a small foamy head with medium retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of light dry hoppy notes with a light sweet malt backbone. Taste consists of dry hoppy notes with lightly sweet malt backbone. Body is about average as well as carbonation. Definitely short on the hops side of things. (332 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.56/5  rDev +24.5%
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. (1,359 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
3.59/5  rDev +25.5%
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. (1,382 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.28/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This one looks like an old fashioned IPA - deep tone and caramel colour, blurred clarity and thin head, Big Rock IPA may hail from the 'New World' but it has the features of a quintessentially British India Pale. If appearances suggest anything, this one will be more malty than hoppy.

Big Rock claims this is a "Pacific Northwest-style IPA" that is dry-hopped with Cascades, but I don't get that at all. This aroma doesn't smell any more like flowers or grass or citrus than it does cardboard or biscuits or stale bread. The only hoppiness noted is of the earthy, slightly stinky, fall day-in-the-woods kind. It's very English - not even remotely American.

The hops failed to impress me and, unfortunately, the malts aren't any more likely to win me over. They have a very stale flavour (like cereal grain that was lost in the back of the cupboard) and impart notes of cheap caramel (the kind made with corn syrup) as well as honey and syrup, both the kinds that come in plastic bottles (which, I'll point out, are also diluted with corn syrup).

This IPA really doesn't give hops the attention they deserve. The mouthfeel finishes more sweet than bitter and nowhere along the way has any particularly citric, resiny, or herbal elements of note. It could hardly qualify for the "pale ale" realm - even novice hop-heads will want more.

Hoppy does make me happy but this, despite its slogan, is a sad attempt at an IPA. There's nothing honest about this beer - it's not hoppy, and it doesn't register as much of an IPA nor a true craft beer. I didn't expect much of Big Rock but this paid more mind to commercial appeal than even I anticipated. Too bad, because that's really not what this style is about. (1,715 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.46/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a pint glass.

A - Light to medium yellow/orange colour with a very small amount of white head.

S - The nose was very weak. I wouldn't have guessed this was an IPA had I not already known. Some grainy/bready malt notes and a mild bitterness.

T - A decent bitterness from the hops comes through along with some floral and light citrus notes. Not much contribution from the malts aside from a mild sweetness.

M - Light body with moderate carbonation.

O - This was a very weak atempt at an IPA. It wasn't terrible but I would only order this again if my other choices were all macros. (598 characters)

Photo of Derek
3.61/5  rDev +26.2%
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. (461 characters)

Photo of DrJay
2.33/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very clear golden amber colour. Large rocky white head settled rapidly to a thin lace. The majority of the aroma came from malt - grainy, caramel and some sweetness. There was also a small amount of earthy hop aroma.

Same earthy hops in the flavour, still on the low side. Balanced towards grainy sweetness with a mild, yet harsh, bitterness. Medium/light body and moderate carbonation. Short, medium dry finish. Not what I expect from an IPA.

341 mL brown bottle, no freshness date on label or bottle. (508 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
2.88/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

341ml bottle poured into pint glass 16/1/12

A clear copper with a thumbs width of foam that leaves a single ring of lace

S a little herbal hops and citrus, quite malty with a bit of a purple candy smell

T tastes a bit like a brewery smells, some leafy tea bag and not whole lot of what I expect in an IPA

M light with lots of bubbles, grainy finish

O needs some hops there Big Rock, pretty average IPA at the end of the day

pretty basic stuff from a pretty basic brewery, I was told that this new IPA from Big Rock was pretty good and not the same style as an Keiths IPA, I disagree its pretty average (611 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
2.79/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

IPA? I don't think so. Color is fine, a lighter amberish glowing hue with a firm one finger high head of white foam, leaves some drippy lace. Smell is musty grass, slightly sweet with a bit of a hop and malt note, but overall musty sourness, not to pleasant, sorry to say. Taste is a little bit sweet of malt and grains, musty as well, but weak and thinned out. Hardly even a pale and non compliant to being an IPA. Where's the hops already? Feel is light, thin, pale, and watery, drinkable, nah, passable, yah. Sorry Big Rock, you're not so big here. (551 characters)

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.09/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Presentation: 11.5 fluid ounce (341ml) brown glass bottle, with a twist-off crown cap. The neck label has the Brewery name ‘BigRock’, whilst the dark blue colored main label has a picture of a snowy mountain gorge and the letters 'IPA', a well as 'India Pale Ale', just in case you did not know what it stood for. Described as, “Traditionally Brewed in Canada”.

Appearance: Amber color with a white head that stays at ½” for a minute, or two, before it totally disappears. Minimal carbonation. This looks old, but there is no freshness date on the bottle, and it looks new, so I guess it is fresh – I will assume so.

Nose: Sweaty grass, with a moldy odor and damp biscuit malt. Nothing like a lambic mustiness which I would not mind – this is more of an “old” locker-room sweaty sock smell. Rather offensive.

Taste: Awful, not to my liking at all. An aged mustiness is all pervasive, and ruins the beer completely. Has a taste of damp grass, germinated malts, and a sweet biscuit aspect in the middle that is totally out of place for an IPA. Only the mustiness lingers, and I wish it would go away. Did I miss the Hops? Guess So.

Mouthfeel: Extremely light. What it does have, is short lived.

Drinkability: Not my favorite beer, a bit of a struggle, and one I would definitely pass on if I had the unfortunate experience of being offered one at a Canadian BBQ.

Overall: An experience soon forgotten. A poor beer both in quality and exponentiation of the IPA style, and that’s being Polite.
A “Small Pebble”, rather than a “Big Rock”. (1,568 characters)

Photo of canucklehead
3.5/5  rDev +22.4%
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. (582 characters)

Photo of andrenaline
3.14/5  rDev +9.8%
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. (906 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
3.59/5  rDev +25.5%
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. (311 characters)

Photo of IronDjinn
2.61/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Big Rock had a pretty decent pale ale out a few years ago called Chinook that I rather liked. It suddenly disappeared and was replaced by this IPA, which is more of a pseudo-IPA. The colour is a nice deep gold, but the head is lacking, and retention is a no show. The nose is hoppy, as is the flavour, and it lingers in the aftertaste as well. Normally I stand behind the Big Rock Brewery, they do some mighty fine work, but this particular offering is disappointing. (467 characters)

Photo of BigBry
2.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

New packaging from Big Rock, now in a tall 473 ml can. Similar style as their other new labels. Yellow background with stylized I P A - 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.:
Llight amber with a small white head that disappears fairly quickly.
Tried as hard as I could, but couldn't pick up hoppiness. I was expecting lots of pine, or citrus, but just the faintest grain smell.
Taste: about the same. I was expecting more, maybe not the juicy, fruity hop bitterness like some NW IPAs, but still, little or no bitternes or hop flavour in this beer.
Average body and mouthfeel, moderate carbonation.
Disappointing, as much of an IPA as Alexander Keith's IPA. (795 characters)

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.27/5  rDev +14.3%
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 (498 characters)

Photo of allergictomacros
2.81/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a clear amber with an OK head.

S - Nose is caramel and molasses. Kind of an off-ish aroma.

T - OK, there's some hops here and some oomph in the malt. husky grain, caramel and roasted bitterness. Sorely lacking in hoppy aromatics though.

M - OK body. A little heft is nice.

D - Wouldn't turn down a free one, but there are better choices out there. (361 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
3.16/5  rDev +10.5%
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: 3.16, 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. (1,829 characters)

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
2.15/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I saw a few singles of this at the liquor store and although Im not a fan of Big Rock beers I thought it was worth a try.

It pours a deep gold color with a wispy head and some nice lace. The carbonation is very sparse, strangely so. The aroma is of diacetyl and cooked vegetables, horrible. The taste is a little better, it reminds me of a highly hopped macro lager. Theres a strong adjunct flavor that mingles with some hop bitterness. The finish is sweetish and theres an underlying gasoline flavor. The mouthfeel is thick and even mouthcoating, its the opposite of 'crisp' I guess.

Alleged 'IPAs' like this and the dreadful Alexander Keith's are doing a disservice to Canadian Brewing. They lack the hops, strength and even the malt character of real IPAs. All I can say is thank god for Scotch Irish and their mighty IPAs. (832 characters)

Photo of rajendra82
2.91/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sent as a part of BIF 13 (from hell) package by drewbage, this had the potential of being a decent brew, as I generally like the style.

The beer poured with classic IPA look, orange amber body, and a creamy off-white head leaving lots of lace. The aroma was very subdued, with earthy English hops, and light notes of alcohol. The taste was very bland, with a caramel sweetness, hop bitterness, and citrus twang in very light proportions. The mouthfeel was crisp and dry.

This appears to be representative of the school of thought, that IPAs were traditionally brewed extra strong for the ocean voyage and diluted after getting to India. This pretty much tastes like an American Double IPA mixed with equal parts water. I prefer for them to hold the water and pass the beer to me straight from the ship. (808 characters)

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.31/5  rDev +15.7%
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. (1,076 characters)

Photo of ericj551
2.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Big rock IPA pours a bright copper with little head. The aroma is malty and slightly nutty with a herbal, slighty metallic hops. The flavor is like a well balanced pale ale, with some raisiny malt and a moderate bitterness. More herbal, earthy and slightly floral hops pop up in the finish. Overall a pretty mild IPA, hopwise. (326 characters)

Photo of Shiloh
2.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a darker golden...almost amber with a very thin head and slight glass ring.....medium to full body with a very light carbonation.....The taste is of the hops with a lingering bitterness..
Not a beer that I would recomend....and I have 5 more of them..... (261 characters)

Photo of mrmanning
2.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle- Dark gold pour with good froth atop and nice lace. Strange aroma is funk, with some malt/hop aromas, grains, and slight leaf. Bitter hoppy flavours with mild malt to back it up. Bready bitter finish with just a touch of sweetness. Nothing fantastic, but better than most of the BMC fare available in this area. (318 characters)

Photo of DaveBar
3.07/5  rDev +7.3%
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. (528 characters)

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Big Rock India Pale Ale from Big Rock Brewery
70 out of 100 based on 39 ratings.