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Big Rock Black Amber Ale | Big Rock Brewery

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Big Rock Black Amber AleBig Rock Black Amber Ale
27 Ratings
Big Rock Black Amber AleBig Rock Black Amber Ale

Brewed by:
Big Rock Brewery
Alberta, Canada

Style: English Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Black malt aroma and flavour with notes of coffee and chocolate and ample hop.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-22-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 27 |  Reviews: 15
Reviews by stagger:
Photo of stagger
2.89/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark red - not opaque, but lightly translucent. Definitely thinner than I'd have thought, for a stout. There's some head retention, but not a ton, and virtually no lacing. Smell is weak. Mouthfeel hits before taste - it's sharp on the tongue and brightly carbonated. Not fizzy like an adjunct lager, but more active and less creamy than the style would dictate. Flavour's mildly Big Rock-y but not too offensively so (followers of the brewery will know what I mean). I guess this would be the next logical step for those looking for something less marshy-tasting than Traditional. This is billed as a stout, but it's nothing of the sort. After drinking a few of these whatever appeal it might have had even as a simple dark red ale wears off, and it's just another dull beer from Big Rock. As the preeminent local brewery I keep rooting for more from them and they keep not delivering. I give up.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%

You had this beer. Write a review.

Photo of Happy_Camper
1/5  rDev -71.3%

Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My mom used to always have a few of these in the fridge, for pizza or taco night, I remember all too well!

The beer pours a clear dark cola hue, with one finger of creamy off-white head, which leaves some widely spaced drooping lace around the glass as it melts away. It smells of caramel nougat, and leafy, earthy hops. The taste is lightly roasted caramel malt, a bit of citrus, and bitter floral hops. The carbonation is moderate, the body pretty full, and smooth in just the right way. It finishes clean, crisp, and a bit off-dry, the lingering confectioner's maltiness a welcome hanger-on.

Well, the last time I had this beer, I would have pretty much described it as dark, not quite Guinness, and left it at that. Now, I find it to be a lovely, smoothly sweet, yet balanced amber ale. I don't care why it's classified as a stout, it's very tasty for what it is, which in this case is a foil to another fiery vindaloo, shaming those south Asian lagers that usually take on the job.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.52/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

from notes over the holidays
A - very dark amber, bubbly with a short head that faded quickly
S - roasted nuts with light chocolate and a blood like note
T - roasty and smoky malt character, light coffee and a blood like metallic aftertaste
M - nice carbonation kick, somewhat chewy that is smooth throughout
D - a refreshing dark ale with decent flavour, don't know that I'd call it a stout, but one of the better regular offering from Big Rock, definitely sessionable

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Photo of Garin
3.72/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The amber ale poured cola-black. Not completely opaque, but very dark nonetheless. A small head formed readily, but disappeared just as quickly. Not quite as creamy as it should be, I think.

Coffee, roasted barley, and malty aromas are obvious. Some chocolatey sweetness is in there as well -- it kinda reminds me of Milo (in a good way though). It's a good aroma.

Flavours of roasted barley, coffee, and more grainy barley are throughout. There is a light tang to it, almost a citrusy freshness. It doesn't quite have the depth of flavour of a really good stout (these days I'm big on Rogue's Shakespeare Stout) but it's a nice flavour.

The body is a little light and thin, though smooth. Carbonation is moderate, and a little more than I expect.

Overall, I'll give the drinkability a high score. This is quite a drinkable beer. It has lots of good stout flavour, but it's not quite as aggressive as some. Call it a "mild" stout if you will, but it's tasty.

 972 characters

Photo of IronDjinn
3.64/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

For a stout this Black Amber Ale is rather translucent. It's a clear deep oak tone with a foamy beige head that falls back to a waifish ring. Now if this was a nut brown ale the colour would be exquisite...but sadly it's a stout. Nose contains coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, even a bit of nut, very nice. Flavour is too toned down though, and this is far too watery for a stout. This is a decent offering if you are looking for a rich dark ale, but just doesn't cut it as a stout. Why can't they nix this and bring back their fantastic Magpie Rye ale, now THAT was the best I'd ever tried in that style. If you're looking for a stout, pass by the Black Amber.

 661 characters

Photo of MrTinnedPEach
3/5  rDev -14%

Photo of Alberta_Beer_Guy
4.5/5  rDev +28.9%

Photo of BigBry
3.55/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

"Black Amber Ale" as Big Rock describes this beer is probably the best description. Darker than an amber or irish red, but not really black like a stout either not as dark as Guinness). Pours clear dark, dark brown with a thick tan head that too quickly fades away. Holding up to the light it is a deep orange. Malt and light coffee aroma. Taste is same light coffee and some roasted barley (body is sweeter and not as bitter as Guinness). Overall a light, almost watery body, but very smooth and easy to drink. Better than average, but could be even better.

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Photo of CrazyMike
3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance off the bat is impressive, black and nearly opaque with excellent head. Smell is creamy and slightly fruity, close to coffee.

The taste is very sweet, almost like caramel or chocolate. Thick body but not overly heavy, moderate carbonation. After taste is a bit dry and bitter however. Otherwise this is a very drinkable beer.

One of Big Rock's better beers I find, definatly worth a try.

 400 characters

Photo of bumchilly25
2.75/5  rDev -21.2%

Photo of Iceman197811
4.75/5  rDev +36.1%

Photo of marcusR111
4.18/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark with a red hue. White head which disipates quickly, leaving good lacing

S- Slight smoky smell, slight coffee and chocolate

T- Notes of coffee or espresso, slight chocolate and traces of hop in the back.

M- Carbonation is perfect for this beer

D- Drink 1 you got to have 6

 283 characters

Photo of MouthfulOfchris
2.75/5  rDev -21.2%

Photo of Noxious26
2.5/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

341ml bottle poured in a pint glass.

Dark brown and somewhat clear. Looks like flat cola. Minimal head on the pour is off white and just a thin ring left around the edge.

Aroma is very sweet and syrupy. Some dried fruit like raisins or figs. The sweetness overpowers any nuances there could be.

Sweet and malty at the start. The syrupy flavour hits towards the end with some toasted malt. End is sweet with a hint of burnt. Weak aftertaste is lightly malty sweet. This just doesn't taste like a stout. I'd put it more along the lines of a Munich Dunkle than a stout.

Mouthfeel lacks body and is almost as thin as any other Big Rock beer.

Once upon a time, this was one of my favourite beers, definitely my favourite Big Rock offering, but that was about 8-10 years ago or so. Personally, I feel that all of the Big Rock lineup has suffered from a dumbing down process. None of their beers are as good as they were at that time. I just don't see any reason for me to buy one of these ever again. Not that it's terrible, but if I want a stout, there's much better offerings out there.

 1,097 characters

Photo of taxandbeerguy
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of Gobstyle
4/5  rDev +14.6%

Photo of andrenaline
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark mahogany colour with a thin layer of off-white head which dissipates quickly leaving no real lacing.

S - Scent is a smokey espresso with a slightly sweet caramel finish, but still rather mild, much like the other Big Rock flagship offerings.

T - Pleasantly surprised with this one, and I would have to say that this is one of the more flavourful Big Rock offerings. The espresso malts come through, a bit of bitter dark chocolate and bit of a wooden rye flavour is also coming through. Again, it could be a bit more bold, but by far one of their most flavourful beers.

M - A nice medium bodied offering that goes down smooth. No complaints in this department.

D - Overall, this is by far one of the better Big Rock offerings, and I would definitely choose this one over their other beers if I were given the choice. A little light on the flavours and scent, but a decent stout nonetheless.

 910 characters

Photo of Sbekolay
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of leaddog
3.97/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a dark amber brown with a finger width of bubbly head that fades quickly.

Smell- Milk chocolate, roasted coffee, and caramel

Taste- The sweet chocolate and caramel flavours blend nicely with the roasted coffee and malts. A nice balance of sweet and bitter flavours.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with light carbonation and a touch of creaminess.

Overall- A nice dark ale (not a stout) by Big Rock. This is a solid entry in their signature series and one of their better offerings. The flavours and body were thoughtfully crafted making this an easy to drink ale.

 580 characters

Photo of wordemupg
3.42/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle poured into pint glass nov30 2009

A clear deep maroon with no real head or lace

S brown sugar and some mild chocolate

T not far from the smell perhaps a little cherry and molasses

M for a stout it's pretty thin and watery average is being a little generous

D I have no real problems with this beer it's nothing great however not worth looking for that's for sure

not a bad beer and pretty good for Big Rock but I doubt I will be spending my money on it any time soon

 489 characters

Photo of Cwrw
3.58/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Truth be told, this is not a Big Rock beer that I usually purchase; but I do believe it is probably the second best Big Rock beer widely available, after McNally's Extra.

Finally, a Big Rock beer with a decent, consistent head! This "dark Alberta stout" pours very nicely, with as much head as you see fit to pour. Light brown and cream coloured, staying close to 3 or 4 cm, and leaving thick whipped cream lacing. The liquid itself is a very deep red/brown, nearly black. Every time I raise the glass to my nose, I get a peculiar aroma which I still cannot identify: it is a sour, lactose type smell, which is somehow not entirely appetising, and yet does not detract immensely from the beer. Otherwise I smell cinammon, vinous hops, roasted wood, spiced meat, light caramel, and very subdued chocolate or coffee notes. A decent aroma, just not real explosive or complex. The taste is caramel up front, with some definite hop immediately noticeable, cola, minimal chocolate again, a sweet lactose in the middle. A good dryness in the finish, and a lingering grain-feel on the palate. I taste nutmeg in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. As far as stouts go, this one is quite drinkable, and does not seem to be as filling as some can be for me. I still do not think this will be a regular purchase of mine, not because it lacks anything as a stout, but because stout is generally not a style I reach for often.

 1,432 characters

Photo of trevorwideman
3.27/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Flatlanders Beer Fest, Wpg.

Weaker head retention on this dark brew. Not opaque like I thought it would be. Definitely a bit of coppery translucency here. It really dosen't look much like a stout, more like a red ale. Smell is of faint dark roasted malts, and a strange sour note, not sure what that is. Aroma is very slight but inoffensive.

Taste is thinner than I supposed, a bit of roasted coffee and chocolate. Minimal hop presence, and a slight sourness in an attempt to balance the malt. Mouthfeel is fairly creamy but a little thin for the style, I would have liked a bit more heft to this, seeing as it's supposed to be a stout. Carbonation is mild, which is right for the style. I'd say this is a decent beer, and one of Big Rock's better offerings, but not exactly what I was looking for.

 819 characters

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.74/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer is not retired, as I just had it on tap at a Calgary pub (the recently revamped Bull & Finch). Arrived a flat reddish amber color, maybe just grading into brown territory, with an inch or so of light tan head. Smells bright and fruity, with a caramel backbone and some sweet bakery shop yeast, light molasses, maybe a touch of chocolate brownie. I am surprised by the sweet fruit notes on the nose. Palate is semi-dark malts and a fruity-floral note that recalls cherry-flavored pipe tobacco, raisin and light chocolate syrup, sweet toffee, and more light fruity hops ... This latter dimension reminds me of a watermelon-flavored hard candy. Mid-range body, not particularly thick or syrupy, probably on the light end like many amber ales, and finishes fairly crisp ... Some of the malts linger for a moment along with a tiny bit of cardboard off-flavor. All in all, pretty solid and tasty even if I do detect some of that Big Rock macro yeast character that I do not hold in high esteem. Certainly not what I was expecting. This is obviously not a stout. There is not much in the way of roasted flavor. Perhaps the goal was to brew a "light stout", the same sort of logic that underpins black IPAs applied in reverse. Reminds me of an altbier or Oktoberfest brewed with ale yeast ... Or perhaps just a particularly rich and fruity amber ale. Flavorful yet drinkable.

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Big Rock Black Amber Ale from Big Rock Brewery
Beer rating: 3.49 out of 5 with 27 ratings
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