Big Rock Traditional Ale | Big Rock Brewery

Big Rock Traditional AleBig Rock Traditional Ale
196 Ratings
Big Rock Traditional AleBig Rock Traditional Ale

Brewed by:
Big Rock Brewery
Alberta, Canada

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 196 |  Reviews: 87
Photo of MattPS
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of
4/5  rDev +17.6%

You had this beer. Write a review.

Photo of slowfade
3/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

 717 characters

Photo of CoreyJKelly
2.5/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of mdevonshire
2.5/5  rDev -26.5%

Photo of hockeybarbie
2/5  rDev -41.2%

Photo of FirstBrewsoon
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of clept
4/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of schopenhauerale
3/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of RedAleMan
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of benbou17
3/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of papawu76
4/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of kelvarnsen
3/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of graybayou
4.5/5  rDev +32.4%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
3/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of Foddz
4/5  rDev +17.6%

Photo of Vandelayindustri
3/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of barnzy78
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of bpfrush
3/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of tonyf55
3.87/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From a bottle into a Big Rock pint glass

Visual (3.5): High clarity dark amber beer with a robust and rolling one to two finger head. The dusty light brown head quickly disappears and leaves a very light lacing on the glass.

Aroma (4): Dominantly malty with breads, grains and toasted smells. An undertone of wood smokeyness sticks in the nostrils after. Surprising.

Taste (4): Sweet malt flavours continue right through with little to no hop bitterness. Passive touches of brown sugar, maple, and almond dryness roll across the tounge. Leaves a sweet, almost chocolate, aftertaste.

Mouthfeel (3): Light and fairly watery with a slight creamy finish on the tounge. Carbonation is almost non-existent, contributing to the creamy finish, and an alcoholic warming lingers at the back of the mouth and throat.

Overall (4): My favorite local brown ale and a flagship beer for Big Rock. Great value for the price having a very enjoyable taste while still bring extremely drinkable.

 981 characters

Photo of evlu1441
3.45/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I've had this beer many times, and it is very common throughout Alberta. I had a pint of Newcastle right before this at a local bar, and decided to go make some tasting notes. On tap, in a pint glass.

It has a very dark amber colour. Looks brown under most light, and not a lot of light gets through, though it is filtered and completely clear. There is a nice finger of creamy off-white/toffee tinted head that settles town to almost nothing after a few minutes.

The aroma is fairly faint, but a slight toasty maltiness comes through. I imagine that the aroma improves as it gets a bit warmer (mine is ice cold at the moment). There is also a slightly sweet smell of caramel that mixes with a tiny bit of an alcohol smell. Quite pleasant if not very intense.

The flavour is quite nice. A nice toasty malt flavour fills the mouth to start and gives way to some light sweetness. There is a definite nutty flavour here. Some hop bitterness comes through towards the end.

Overall, this is a very nice session ale. It's miles ahead of the newcastle I just had. I'll have to remember to have this more often when I go out!

 1,121 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.64/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

 406 characters

Photo of Converge
3.82/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml poured into a 16oz pint glass.

A - Slightly under a finger of beige colored head after an aggressive pour. The ale itself is a maple brown hue with a tinge of orange. Nice foamy cap left on top, and nice lacing left behind.

S - Smells delicious! Tons of bready and caramel malt. A touch of sweetness, but the scent is predominantly a full and robust aroma. Nuts, brown sugar and toffee are definitely present.

T - Very bready and caramel-like upfront. Flavorful malt and slight hoppy finish make it feel quite balanced and enjoyable. Brown sugar is also still noticeable.

M - Excellent mouth-feel. Rather light carbonation with a medium bodied feel to it. Easy and smooth finish.

D - Certainly the most enjoyable Big Rock brew I've come across yet. Simple but flavorful taste and easy to drink.

 805 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
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+.

 2,155 characters

Big Rock Traditional Ale from Big Rock Brewery
Beer rating: 3.4 out of 5 with 196 ratings
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