XO Lager
Big Rock Brewery

XO LagerXO Lager
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Pilsner - Bohemian / Czech
2.74 | pDev: 15.69%
Big Rock Brewery
Alberta, Canada
Retired (no longer brewed)
XO LagerXO Lager
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 23 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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IronDjinn from Canada (AB)

2.7/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

From a 341 ml brown bottle out of a 6 pack. Pours out a bright gold with a quick finger's width white head, and hardly any visible carbonation.

Some bready malt that turns into generic sweetish malt in the aroma, just a hint of grassy hops. Certainly is akin to many imported Euro lagers.

Sweet, somewhat bready malt up front in the flavour, almost a terse hoppy finish, a bit spicy but more of just a general bitterness.

Light-bodied mouthfeel, but a much higher level of carbonation is present than is visible in the appearance.

The past decade Big Rock has gained a reputation of getting fast and loose with labelling their beer styles, and not offering a product that lives up anywhere's to those claims. This lager is no exception. More of a Euro Pale Lager than anything remotely a Czech Pilsener, and not amongst the better imported examples we have available (which makes a locally produced variation moot). At least they are producing Magpie again in limited editions, however committing tank space to producing 2 underwhelming lagers (including Gopher) at the moment seems like a poor idea when they can focus that capacity on making more great beers from their past, or developing some better new limited editions.

Dec 20, 2010
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biegaman from Canada (ON)

2.73/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at the Grizzly House Restaurant, in Banff.

The beer comes to the table and I can't help but think I've seen it before. Many times. Usually from a clear or green bottle and in the hands of someone who knows (and cares) less about beer than I do the mating rituals of the domestic Asian water buffalo. It's yellow, it's clear, it has a dizzying array of bubbles and yet it has no head what so ever.

It smells like corn is afoot, corn most foul. I don't think Big Rock has stooped so low as to dilute the beer afterwords with corn syrup, but there's no doubt that corn was definitely used as an adjunct in the grist. And while it probably makes the end result a little cheaper and a little bit lighter, it definitely does nothing for aromatics.

Where's my lime wedge? This isn't a beer for the mountains, it's a beer for the beach. It's light as a cloud, has about as much bitterness as a pot of sugar and more corn flavour than a bag of Doritos. To call this insipid is being respectfully polite. In lieu of any real flavour, the beer has a watery, syrupy malt extract kind of taste that's bland and mundane.

The beer isn't all bad - but none of it is really good. It doesn't fail for being unpalatable or undrinkable, on the contrary, it's so feeble and ordinary that by default it can't be. Rather, it fails precisely because it's so damn feeble and ordinary! This doesn't hit the spot when I want a beer no matter how thirsty I am or how cold it's served.

If someone ever introduced XO Lager to Corona I bet they'd become good friends. It's obvious that Big Rock is aiming for something cookie-cutter, something top 40, something everyone can agree is, if nothing else, agreeable. To wit, the kind of beer most people prefer and the kind I'd prefer wasn't so popular. It's also a beer I won't be drinking again.

Aug 27, 2010
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mintjellie from Canada (ON)

3.12/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale straw topped by a finger of poorly-retained, fizzy, white head. The head leaves no lacing behind. The aroma is of pilsener malt with some residual sweetness and very light floral noble hopping. The cracker malt flavour is mildly sweet; lemon compliments it nicely. It has some very muted straw character and very low bitterness. It's kind of like a Hallmark card - a pretty picture, but not really art. Light bodied and finely carbonated; it feels thin but isn't prickly like most adjunct lagers. I'm ok with thin in a beer like this that should be thirst quenching. Though it may be a little bit bland, it's also very refreshing and shows no off flavours.

This would do really well in competition against the adjunct lagers it's probably intended to compete with; as a Czech-style pilsener it shows the right hop profile but not enough of it, especially on the nose.

Mar 07, 2010
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

2.68/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I CAN thank my lucky stars for good notes.

This formed a really big, fluffy, rocky two fingers' worth of marshmallow-white head with good retention. Color was a light golden yellow with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a typical lager-like sweetness. Mouthfeel was medium with a definite lager sweetness. Finish continued with the same lager sweetness. A good example of a lager. As a pilsner, not so much.

Dec 24, 2009
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kylesobrien from Canada (QC)

2.48/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I bought this one as part of a Big Rock sampler 12-pack.

I snagged this one out of the fridge and popped the cap immediately thereafter. Barely a whisper of a hiss from the carbonation; this one's a bit light on the bubbles. Hardly any head after decanting quickly to a pint glass.

Color is a dull golden yellow. Aroma is very grainy, with no hops in the nose. Not so impressive.

First sip tastes recalls most industrial lagers I've had, but with less carbonation and maybe a bit more sweetness. Body is thin, with slightly more mouthfeel than a glass of tap water. Honestly, I prefer the flavor of PBR (and perhaps even Kokanee) to the taste of this lager. The lack of carbonation coupled with the sweetness makes this relatively unpalatable to me, although I might feel differently on a very hot day.

Overall, I feel compelled to say that this is one of the worst microbrewed lagers I've ever had. On the other hand, if you like sweet, flat, watery beers devoid of hop flavor, this one is right up your alley.

Nov 04, 2009
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

2.43/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I remember seeing the billboards for this stuff when Big Rock first released it a few years ago. Something along the lines of "An Authentic Czech Pilsener", read the tag line. Yeah, right, read my inner monologue...

This beer appears a clear pale straw colour, with a minimum of thin white head, which is incapable of leaving any lace. It smells of very light white grain, and water. The taste is thin malty grain, and very light grassy, metallic hops. The carbonation is way too high, the body anorexic, and the finish is actually off-dry, and a bit cloying, of all things.

A watered-down, dumbed-down example of one of my favorite styles, which offends me on multiple levels.

Oct 06, 2009
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wordemupg from Canada (AB)

2.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

341ml bottle poured into 400ml dab glass sept23 2009

A crystal clear straw yellow with nice carbonation but little head and no lace

S not much some sweet malts and mild hops

T still very little, some bread and grass but mostly nothing

M decent carbonation but pretty thin and light

D crisp and lean just like water

noting offensive but nothing special

Sep 24, 2009
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TheHammer from Canada (ON)

2.49/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The second brew I'm reviewing from my big rock mix pack.

Appearance: This beer seems to suffer from a lack of carbonation as it poured with half a finger of head that neither laced nor retained. The beer itself is your standard lager gold and boasts clarity as expected.

Smell: Has a more then token hop presence which is nice, even if they seem fairly generic. I'm also catching a somewhat odd bread like malt scent that is reminiscent of sourdough with a light backdrop of grassy hay.

Taste: I'm noticing a trend with these Big Rock brews is a strange funky malt flavor, which I feel really takes away from the beer. A sweet, almost molasses like malt permeates the beer. It starts with a touch of straw and shifts to a decent bitter hop kick. However, it's a bit strange drinking and frankly there are Macros I feel that perform better.

Mouthfeel: Points are deducted for the complete lack of head and sorely lacking carbonation. Apart from that it's alright. The aftertaste is subdued, albeit odd and it transitions between flavors decently. Certainly room for improvement.

Drinkability: All in all, it's drinkable but not especially so. It's not quite refreshing enough for a hot day, nor mild enough to be a guzzler, nor flavorful enough to be savoring beer. Frankly, it's a bit boring to the taste and doesn't seem to go down as easy as I'd like it to.

Final Thoughts: All in all, this beer is a disappointment as I'd rather had a Coors Light or Canadian over this one. Pretty much a generic offering that has a strange funk to it. Much like Big Rock's honey brown, I'd take it if it was offered to me, but I wouldn't buy it myself.

Sep 22, 2009
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DoctorStrangiato from Canada (AB)

3.5/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 355-ml can into a pint glass.

Appearance - bright yellow beer with lots of speedily bubbles, no head other than the thinnest of surface bubbles. Very fizzy looking

Smell - scent is of sweet malt with a bread aroma mingled with a yeasty quality.

Taste - very clean taste with smooth sweet malt flavours over a grainy, slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - this is where the beer picks up. Definitely a smoother beer despite what appears to be an inteste carbonation. Funny how that is.

Drinkability - easy to bang back a number of these, a good companion on a hot night.

Aug 18, 2009
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ChrisCage from Canada (AB)

3.2/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A- Well I don't mind the label, but otherwise this is a fairly bland looking beer. The relatively thin head dissapeared rather quickly into nothing, not even a ring! There is really no lacing to speak of and it looks quite heavily carbonated. The coloring is kind of a light amber tone and isn't fully clear.

S- I did smell some bitterness from the hopping, but this wasn't really what I was expecting...I thought I'd get a dominant hop presence in the aroma. I also smelled a fair bit of the malts that were used as well as a distinct yeasty aroma. The bready aromas aren't bad at all, but I am a little concerned about the lack of bitterness in the smell.

T- I quite like the flavor of this beer....even though it doesn't fit the Pilsner profile to a tee, there are some of the characteristics here. The main drawback here is that it has a fairly dominant malt flavor and not the pronounced hoppiness that one would expect. However, there is a decent bitter finish at the back of the palate that I do recognize as the Saaz variety. Definately not as clean as I was expecting.

M- Not great, but not bad. While this definitely doesn't have a full mouthfeel, it's really not watery. I found that this makes me feel as though I am eating a piece of bread, maybe without the butter, but in a liquid kinda way. It's not as crisp and refreshing as I'd like but at least there is something to it.

D- This isn't my favorite beer but by no means is it the worst out there. With more flavor than a standard macro, it's alright to have with friends but not something I'd stock up on. I'd like to try it with some fresh baked bread as I think it would go really well with it, but on it's own, I'd have two or three and then move on.

Aug 28, 2008
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Graham5161986 from Canada (BC)

2.28/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: pours a clear, birght gold with a minimal head that quickly reduces to a ring. lots of visible carbonation and leaves no lacing.

S: slight grassy hops, mostly overly-sweet corn

T: very similar to the smell, very minimal hoppage - mostly corn flavoured - too sweet (and boring) for me

M: lights and watery, decent carbonation and an oily finish.

D: not inspiring at all. Very bland and a poor representation of the style. Easy to drink but I wouldn't buy another one.

Apr 10, 2008
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CrazyMike from Canada (AB)

2.38/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance is golden yellow with almost no head. Very little smell except for a hint of grain and fruits.

Taste is very light with a hint of malt and a slight hint of fruit, nothing to interesting. Very little carbonation and no body. After taste is very watery and smooth, just like water.

Overall, this beer is very bland offering nothing unique. Even a bad beer has something characteristic to make it bad. Unless you like tasteless, easy to drink beer, I would avoid.

Feb 02, 2008
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GrimmReaper from Canada (BC)

2.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pale straw yellow with decent white head that turns to a thin collar.
Smell is yeasty with strong pitch of grass and fruity banana and pears.
Taste is banana and pears with a hint of yeast and grains,goes down watery,not really to my liking.
Mouthfeel is thin and little carbonation.
Easy to down if you like this kind of flavor in a beer.I bought the 15 can variety pack and so far this is the only one i don't care for.

Nov 02, 2007
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ComradeCanadia from Canada (AB)

2.7/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On sale, new from big rock, why not?

This poured a pale straw colour with a decent amount of head that vanished before I could blink. Meh.

Smell is.. uh, I smell some yeast, some acidic hops... really not much here.

Taste? If some crappy macro beer company was to market a beer as light tasting and smooth - this would be their ideal. It's NOT all bad. It's just completely bland. Still, not horrific just not... much of anything. Great beer for people who know nothing about beer.

Mouthfeel: To be honest, I can drain a bottle of this without even thinking about it. Sort of hard to tell.

Drinkability: This is so bland it's almost flavourless, but is smooth, light, and average in alcohol. I could drink this all night without even noticing.

Jul 14, 2007
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vanrassel from Canada (AB)

2.68/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Why, Big Rock, why?

This is a beer devoid of flavour, character, distinctiveness — and hence, any real reason for existence. This isn't a Pilsener, nor is it even "Pilsener style" (whatever that means), as the marketing literature points out. It's a macro lager without adjuncts. Well done.

No, it's not "bad," in the common sense of the word. It poured a clear light gold colour with a creamy white head that had decent retention. The smell was underwhelming: slightly sulphurous, some floral hops and grain.

The flavour, such as it is, is mainly sweet with some bready malts. What kind of Pilsener (even a bad one) isn't at least SLIGHTLY bitter? This is a beer designed by committee by a brewery that should stop trying to differentiate itself from the macros if it intends to keep churning out bland offerings like this.

Jun 12, 2007
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canucklehead from Canada (BC)

3.1/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I got excited for a second and thought that maybe it was a nice take on a classic Czech Pils but sadly this is a Canadian lager much like Tree Rebel/Phillips Phoenix gold etc. Clean crisp light and simple this beer offends no one but offers little than a decent lake beer that is a step up from a macro. I will continue to buy Euro lager in cans to get my pils fix this summer as this doesn't warrant a second buy

Jun 11, 2007
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BigBry from Canada (AB)

2.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

New brand from Big Rock. Nice looking label, bright blue with a realistic picture of the Okotoks Big Rock.
Pours clear yellow gold color with a white head. Foam disappeared quickly down to a thin ring around the edge of the glass. No lacing to speak of. Not much smell other than some grainy malt. Some sharp flavor, graininess, dry and ever so slightly sour finish. Slight hop at the end. Mouthfeel is a bit watery and thin.
As a lager beer, I guess it isn't supposed to be really heavy and flavor filled (overly malty or overly hopped). I would have liked more complexity, parallel to other big name, hot weather brews.
Will people drink a locally made beer if all they like is Molson Canadian? Not sure how this one will survive.

May 30, 2007
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Shadman from Canada (AB)

2.62/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

something new from Big Rock...hmmm If it has that apple juice flavor I'll swear off their beers for ever.

Crystal clear and a rich amber yellow in color...bright white head that disappeared faster than a snowdrift in a southern Alberta chinook. No lacing either for those of you keeping score at home.

some grainy, slightly musty smelling malts is about all i get for nasal stimulation here.

Taste: WTF. Did Big Rock put there AGD in a fancier bottle here? Slight, but sharp bite on the tongue with the initial swig..some grainy malt flavour, but that's about it. Finishes quite dry which might atest to some presence of hop...but I'm struggling to find them otherwise. Over all, quite watery and bland tasting.

very light in body and that sharp bite and over-dryness make for a not-so-great mouthfeel.

Other than the taste wasn't as sweet or corny as some macro's I'd score this beer even lower.

Big Rock..you can and once did so much better than this offering. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice...well..you won't fool me twice as this is the first and last six pack of XO I'll be purchasing.

May 22, 2007
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LuckyLucanite from Canada (AB)

1.63/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

If Big Rock really thought there was a demand to make a Labatt Blue clone, then this would be their answer to such a demand. A bland macro lager with a sticky finish and little claim to the "pilsner-style lager" it is said to pay homage to. Don't bother

May 15, 2007
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Cwrw from Canada (AB)

2.5/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Comes in a blue six-pack box, showing the Okotoks big rock(the brewery's namesake) on it. Smells like a regular macro-lager to me. AND tastes like it. Mouthfeel is regular, and drinkability is nigh. Now I'm all for one to describe a beer in length, and this beer deserves very little. Hmmm, smells like a Big Rock re-marketing. This beer is incredibly similar to their low-end lagers. I can get the same taste from beers that cost 4.99$ a six-pack. Not recommended. Big Rock, why?

May 08, 2007
XO Lager from Big Rock Brewery
Beer rating: 72 out of 100 with 23 ratings