Big Rock Traditional Ale | Big Rock Brewery

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195 Ratings
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Big Rock Traditional AleBig Rock Traditional Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Rock Brewery
Alberta, Canada
bigrockbeer.com

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-26-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
195
Reviews:
86
Avg:
3.39
pDev:
14.75%
 
 
Wants:
4
Gots:
31
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 195 |  Reviews: 86
Photo of Sammy
2.71/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Some decent malt then bit of hopbitterness and aftertaste. Medium texture and watery. Rather bland. Not much hops. Canadian relying on balance. Water and sugar. Slight fizz and yeast mid-sip. The type to have cold as refreshing as you are not missing anything.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.63/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.64/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In Calgary for a conference and tried the Big Rock Traditional Ale. The appearance was quite good. A rich amber color and thin white head that laced on the glass. The smell was a little undescripted, could smell the hints of malt. The taste was really nice. A good malt and caramel character made this beer quite easy to drink. This made the mouthfeel very easy and could session this beer with no problem.

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Photo of GClarkage
2.8/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Mid September 2005.

Presentation- Purchased at a random grocery store in Fairmont Hot Springs in BC. No dating on the can, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance- Darker amber coloring, very faint head and slight lace.

Smell- A touch stinky with decent amount of roasted malt.

Taste- Just the lightest of hop taste and a larger dark malt flavor as well.

Mouthfeel- Lower carbonation and fairly bland.

Drinkability- Nothing special here. Drank half of it and used the rest to cook our pork roast in.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
3/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of BillRoth
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Derek
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Medium amber, little head.

S: Slight scent of British hops (Goldings?)

T: Starts with a light malt flavour (Munich-like), with some earthy hop taste. Finishes dry, with a slightly bitter after-taste.

M: Light to moderate.

D: More flavour than a macro, but not a lot. It shouldn't offend the average drinker.

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Photo of biegaman
3.73/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at The Iron Goat, in Canmore.

Chestnut is a lovely tone for a beer and, for some inexplicable reason, seems fitting for one labeled 'traditional ale'. Highlights run only skin deep and away from the light the beer can appear, even if momentarily, opaque. Its head, a buttermilk-like lining, is of a handsome khaki colour that would probably go well with brown dress shoes and a nice cardigan.

Big Rock Brewery has one gear in which they operate and they rarely shift; they make ordinary, fairly emasculated beers aimed at a mainstream audience. Traditional Ale, however, might be the exception, at least if its bouquet is any indication; genuine, hearty and full-bodied maltiness is a rare occurrence but apparently not an impossible one.

A blend of pale, caramel and black malts lends flavours of dried cranberry, toast, brown sugar and a colossal amount of delicious, sweet, chewy nuttiness. Not much of the sweetness lingers, however, as an undercurrent of three (very English) hop varieties sever all cords with an earthy, bitter exclamation point. It tastes like a good brown ale should.

The beer's personality is not loud, but at least it has one. Regardless, this is brewed in the English fashion and emphasizes, not volume, but melody. Indeed, the sweet nuttiness and dry toastiness of the malts and the earthiness of the hops all marry perfectly with one another, resulting in a rich medley of flavours. And I'm putting this track on repeat.

Big Rock Traditional was in fact at the top of my drinking 'playlist' on a recent trip to Alberta. Part of that had to do with the fact that it was so widely available, in particular in establishments that otherwise didn't offer half-way decent beer. But hey, in the world of widely distributed commercial beers, you can do a lot worse than this. A lot worse.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

355ml Can from the Beer Store

Appearance - Light brown/copper colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an averahe amount of carbonation and there is some decent lacing. The head lasted for around 3 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel/butterscotch, hops

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and some light hops. There is also a light amount of fruit esters and a nuttiness. It ends with a malty sweet aftertaste.

Overall - Definitely the best beer I've ever had from Big Rock. It's very drinkable and has a nice balanced taste. I won't rush out to buy more, but I'm glad I gave it a try. It's along the same lines as the Creemore Springs beer.

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Photo of Erik-P
3/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of wordemupg
3.47/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle pouted into 400ml dab glass sept23 2009

A crystal clear deep copper, with a two finger head that falls very fast and leaves very little lace.

S some caramel, malt and burnt sugar

T as it smells with some nutty flavors not bad but not great

M not too light, not too heavy with mild carbonation

D easy enough too drink, don't go looking for this one but pick one up if your ever in Calgary

Trad is the industry's standard here in Calgary, nothing worth bragging about but nothing too be ashamed of either

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.68/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in an imperial pint glass)

A- Dark Amber brown with thin smooth tan head and little carbonation visible.

S- very clean smell with a faint toasty malt aroma

T- sweet bready biscuity malt start with some roastiness to follow. Light spicy hop bitterness with a clean finish.

M- a medium body that is a bit watery but finishes more full-bodied.

D- I really thought of this more as an American Brown Ale than an APA. It had much more malt depth with hops playing a nice supporting roll. It was a nice session beer when sitting in the Canadian Rockies.

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Photo of Howlader
3/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of DrJay
3.12/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Very clear coppery red colour. Off-white head quickly subsided to a thin lace. Malty aroma with some caramel and light nuttiness. The flavour was a bit disappointing, with some grainy sweetness to start and finishing with a very light bitterness. It's almost as if the flavour disappears part way through. Medium/high carbonation and light body with almost no aftertaste.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Viggo
3.15/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

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Photo of Gusler
3.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice cloudless amber color as it sets in the glass, head is adequate, frothy and a winsome beige color, as is disappears a nice sheet of lace is left behind to hide the glass. All malt nose, sweet and clean a satisfactory sniffer, sweet malt start, once again a bit thin on top for me, but nothing I can’t live with. Finish is sternly acidic, the hops pleasant in their spiciness, quite dry and a fine drinking beer especially in the hot summer month’s.

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Photo of bpfrush
3/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of bumchilly25
3.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of schopenhauerale
3/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of kwjd
3.29/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at The Imperial Pub in Toronto. Pours an amber-brown colour with very thin white head that dissipates to nothing pretty quickly, leaving almost no lacing. Smells of sweet caramel, toasted barley and very mild hop aroma. Flavour is quite sweet. I have a soft spot for this beer as I used to drink this when I was a teenager in Alberta, but going back to it I realize there are much better examples of the style. Objectively, not worth drinking again. Emotionally, I have a soft spot for this beer.

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Photo of DaPan
3/5  rDev -11.5%

Photo of canucklehead
4/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is Big Rock's pale ale and they do it right. A dark gold
colour matched with a solid head starts things off right. The initial
smell is fairly hoppy and appetizing. The taste is full and nicely
balanced with a sweetish finish. You can taste the quality of this
brew and the ingredients that went into its making.

I consider this ale more flavouful than most other Canadian
counterparts. Cheers.

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Photo of ZachT
3.63/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of thehyperduck
3.16/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'll be blunt - I like most brown ales, and this fondness probably derives originally from Big Rock's Trad, which is almost certainly the first of the style (and probably the first non-yellow-fizzy-macro beer) I ever tried. This stuff is commonplace in Alberta, but hailing from Ontario I had never seen it at the time and it remains a reliable treat. This is the first time I've had a can of this stuff, so we'll see if the packaging affects the taste at all.

Trad is a deep reddish-brown colour, technically translucent but too dark to see anything through it. I was a little chintzy with the pour but still wound up with a half-inch of creamy beige head. It lasts about a minute before dissipating to a cap with some lacing on the sides. Smell is faint, of sweet malts, caramel/toffee. Like most of Big Rock's flagship beers, none of the smells jump out at you, but they're at least somewhat appealing.

The taste is kind of the same way: alright, but nothing to seize your attention. Some sweetness with a bit of a tang afterward. Brown sugar, caramel malts. Almost unnoticeable twinge of hop bitterness in the finish. The sweetness isn't exactly cloying, and the beer itself is only medium-to-light bodied so there's no problem throwing a couple of these back. I didn't notice any metallicity or other funkiness from the can, which is good. Carbonation is middling.

Same Old Trad - it is what it is - an average, fairly easy-to-find Canadian brown ale. Craft beer enthusiasts will probably not be especially impressed, because frankly there's not a lot to it, and there are other EBAs that deserve your time more. It's simple, sweet, refreshing, and the flavours harmonize nicely. At least worth a try, and a good "layman's ale" if you're trying to introduce someone to beer that isn't BMC.

[Updated August 7 2014]

I picked up a six-pack of this just for old times' sake. Nostalgia was probably tainting my original review - this is drinkable, but in all honesty it's not much better than the pseudo-macro stuff (think Rickard's or Keith's). Finding better brown ales is not very difficult, especially in this province.

Final Grade: 3.16, a C+.

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Big Rock Traditional Ale from Big Rock Brewery
3.39 out of 5 based on 195 ratings.
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