Big Rig Classic Pub Ale
Deschutes Brewery

Big Rig Classic Pub AleBig Rig Classic Pub Ale
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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
3.88 | pDev: 8.76%
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Big Rig Classic Pub AleBig Rig Classic Pub Ale
Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 71 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of beergoot
beergoot from Colorado

4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep amber colored body topped with a very thick, rocky, sticky head; sheets and globs of foam sticking to the glass. Heavy grain and caramel scent. Toasted grain flavors; some esters; bold hop bitterness. Heavy body with mild carbonation; slick and chewy; warm.

The bottle has a 'best by' date of 10/28/16, so this has been sitting around in my collection of beers for a long yet unknown time. Despite being six months past its listed best by date, the beer still delivers a big malt-forward, mildly sweet beer with a fine counterbalancing hop bitterness. Not bad for an "old fellow"...

Apr 30, 2017
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AZBeerDude72 from Arizona

4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark yellow gold with slight haze and good foamy head. Lots of sticky lacing on this beer, just hangs on the glass.
Smells terrific, citrus and floral hit you with some hops and malty notes. The flavor is just fantastic, a very smooth and full ale, loads of citrus and malty goodness with a nice balance of floral and mild hops. The balance on this beer if really nice, I am really blown away on this one, did not expect this tasty a beer. Feel is medium with mild dryness on the back side. Poured from 22oz bomber.

Jan 21, 2017
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kaseydad from California

4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wife pick and it was even past the best by over a month! Still poured an angry beast and way better than I expected. Juicy goodness and a nice sweeter malt but big bitter hops for a great swig each time. If this is a pub me to that pub!

Very good beer and fantastic price point.

Dec 09, 2016
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Troy-Hawaii from Hawaii

4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought 22oz bottle from Tamura's $4.29
Cloudy amber color
Medium-heavy mouthfeel
Medium carbonation
Citrus taste, slight bitterness, smooth
Overall a great beer, especially for the price. If it was priced higher like Rogue beers I probably wouldn't have tried it, but glad that this level of beer can be made at this price point.

Oct 14, 2016
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Bitterbill from Wyoming

4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Best by November 29th 2016. 22 ounce bottle.

Deep gold colour with 2 fingers of foam. (Served warm)

It has a hoppy malty thing going on in the smell. Bready and caramel malt with a bunch of grass.

Malt, both bread and caramel lead in the taste. Grassy hops in the finish are there to compliment/assist rather than take over the taste profile. It does so pretty brilliantly. Every flavour unites rather than divides.

Nice mouthfeel and man, this is a pleasure to sip on. Kinda reminds me of Old Tankard.

Sep 30, 2016
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NastyNorseman from New York

3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice bitter that holds its own. Pours copper Amber and a nice off white head. Smells of hops citrus, and caramel. Tastes right, a little bit sweeter than expected, but the bitterness shows up nicely on the back end. Lacking a little carbonation but crisp and medium-full bodied. Yes please, I'll have another.

Sep 08, 2016
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LampertLand from Canada (BC)

3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deschutes Brewery 'Big Rig' a classic pub ale ESB @ 6.0% , served from a 650 ml bottle purchased for $6.50
A-pour is gold from the bottle to a golden/amber in the glass with a medium size off-white head leaving a fine spotty lace along the pint
S-hints of citrus , caramel in the background
T-crisp & clean tasting with a true bitter finish
MF-ok carbonation , feels full bodied
Ov-nice beer , possible good ESB
prost LampertLand

Sep 04, 2016
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BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.44/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hated, despised, reviled, disgusting 22oz format bottle format. Poured into 10oz goblet. Poured a mildly hazy medium amber color with about an inch of just off-white, rocky head that decent retention and good lacing.

The aroma was mostly sweet, grainy malt, with some earthy hops in the background. Pretty similar on the tongue, although the hops popped more, and had a citrusy tone.

The body was medium-full, and smooth, with a semi-dry finish. Drinkability was very nice, my friend Kelsey and I knocked the 22 off in a prompt and timely manner. Overall, a very solid take on the style. Not just an "IPA Light" that so many U.S. brewers make under the title ESB. Worth grabbing if you see it.

Aug 21, 2016
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arizcards from North Carolina

4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber from the Belmont Station in Portland today for $4.46. Best by 10/11/16.

Beer poured copper with a nice white head on the initial pour.

Nose has nice strains of citrus over a caramel malt.

Taste is pretty well balanced with citrus melding nicely with the caramel malts. A slight bitterness in the finish wins out.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall a smackable beer from Deschutes that I am glad I bought today as I am pretty sure this is not available in the desert Southwest. Give it a try if you like the ESB style.

Aug 21, 2016
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leaddog from Canada (AB)

4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a light copper colour with three fingers of foamy beige head.

Smell - Earthy and floral hops, bready malts with a hint of caramel, touch of fruity esters.

Taste - Nice balance of earthy/floral hops and the bready malts (both at a moderate level). Fruity esters linger for a little bit, but the hops and malts are the most prominent.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with low-to-moderate carbonation. Finishes with hops bitterness and malts in the aftertaste. A little dry on the finish.

Overall - A brew that displays a great balance between malts and hops. Not a style that I often drink, but this was quite enjoyable.

Jul 31, 2016
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biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.64/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle - always nice to see a new version of this under-represented style appear before me! Very rural late summertime imagery depicted on the label - at least it is for me.

This beer pours a clear, medium copper amber colour, with two chubby fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly off-white head, which leaves a bit of splattered snow rime lace in places around the glass as things slowly and evenly sink away.

It smells of semi-sweet, bready and doughy caramel malt, lightly biscuity toffee, some estery florals, and laid-back leafy, herbal, and piney green hop bitters. The taste is grainy and doughy caramel malt, gritty toffee, white pepper dust, muted orange and lemon citrus notes, and more plain floral, weedy, and pine-fresh hoppiness.

The bubbles are pretty tame in their gently-rendered frothiness, the body an adequate middleweight, and mostly smooth, maybe a touch of hop intransigence going off the reservation here. It finishes off-dry, the caramel/toffee malt holding tight, while the lingering hops start to exhibit more of their spicy inherencies.

Overall, Big Rig turns out to be a so-so iteration of this venerable English pub style - nice and malty, sure, but that biscuity character really needs to attend night school to shore up its credits, or something. At any rate, pretty easy to drink, if you're 'stuck' in the aforementioned establishment and need a quaff that approximates at least a modicum of Old World charm.

Jul 18, 2016
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jzlyo from Iowa

4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is fruit, floral hops and mildly perfumed. The flavor is fruit, hops/light hop resin, malts, slight earthiness and a mix of tart and bitter in the finish.

Jul 16, 2016
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Lobina from Arizona

4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was pleasantly surprised. Never disappointed with Deshutes but was confused with the label. Named a classic pub ale. Got a good mellow malt and slight hop backing. Better than the name. Worth a try.

Jul 02, 2016
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tempest from New York

3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely balance of hops and malt here. The aroma and flavor start with the caramel malts, but then spicy pine and grapefruit hops jump in to make this a very American ESB. Still the lingering herbal bitterness gives a solid nod to the original ESBs.

Jun 16, 2016
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Strix from Wisconsin

4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy orange, good head.

Mostly pine in the nose.

Caramel malt, orange rind, grapefruit.

Substantial mouthfeel, well carbonated.

This was impeccably balanced. Hits the tastebuds in just the right spot. I've had a bunch of ESBs that don't rub me the right way but this one was stellar. Just loving everything Deschutes is doing right, now, quality stuff.

Jun 11, 2016
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detgfrsh from Texas

4.14/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a bomber purchased at the brewery, dated best by 7/19/16. Pours a transparent amber with a finger of fluffy white head. Smell is an even mix of hop and malt, notes of pine. Medium feel with plenty of carbonation. Taste hits with big citrus hop flavors with a malty richness on the back end. Very good and nicely balanced.

May 31, 2016
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Spikester from Oregon

4.06/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazed golden orange with two fingers of bone color head. Retention and lace are good.
Smell is herbal dank and a bit of malt sweetness.
Taste is a quick dose of bitter herbal dank and eventually grassy hops. Malts are there as bread and caramel but never quite catch up to the bitterness.
Mouthfeel is medium with a good carbonation level. Finish is long dry and bitter.
Overall a pleasant beer that does not bring to mind the former ESB that they bottled.
Good beer though glad I bought it.

May 30, 2016
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Zorro from California

3.51/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper colored ale with a medium sized yellowish-white colored head.

Smells strongly malty with a strong caramel scent. Scent of toffee candy.

Starts out dry and woody. Taste of caramel. Taste of toffee and a medium level of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall a good bitter.

May 22, 2016
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ricke49 from Oregon

4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Rebirth in their bottle line, with subtle differences, of one of the original Deschutes ales circa 1989... good ol' ESB. Lordy I missed that beer when it was discontinued (except on site at their brewpubs) some four years ago. Big Rig is true to this venerable craft brewers English style roots with an English feel, taste and color. Classic Pub Ale is perfect descriptor. Perfectly balanced gunmetal taste. Cigarettes...dark room...three day beards, linear urinals - it's all there. So damn genuine it'll bring tears. This review isn't of much use in regard to accepted terminology - but trying out this beer today, for the first time, has totally flipped my lid. High degree of flavor - both malt & hop. A winner if you love ESBs.

May 09, 2016
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russpowell from Arkansas

3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


Pours a very effervescent amber with 2 fingers of cream colored head. Stellar lacing & head retention

S: Faint cereal notes, some citrus, all muted

T: Herbal and woody hops, a little pine and faint caramel & pear up front. A little grapefruit mixes with herbal and woody hops, some caramel and breadyness as this warms. Finishes with piney, grapefruitty & herbal hops, plus a little breadyness

MF: Medium body, firm carbonation, pretty good balance

Drinks easy, no Bachelor's Bitter, but a nice American slanted ESB, would've like to try this fresher

May 07, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

3.54/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Albertsons. Medium amber color with soft fluffy head. Aroma leans on the caramel malts, flavor brings in sharp hops that obscure the malts and lingers on the palate for a while. Big hoppy bite.

Apr 29, 2016
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TheSixthRing from California

3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Best by date of 07/19/16

Appearance - Pours slightly hazy and orange amber in color with an off-white, finger width head. Fair retention, then dissipates to a mostly barren surface with a ring of suds along the edge of the glass. Fair lacing, with a broken sheet across the top and spots along the rest of the glass.

Smell - Fair aroma of floral hops, bread, caramel and a touch of citrus.

Taste - Follows the nose. Well balanced flavor, hitting on bread and caramel malt sweetness countered by floral and citrus hoppiness. A touch of spice. Balanced finish, with fruity esters and just a bit of grain found in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with moderate carbonation, slightly bitey carbonation. Slick, smooth texture with a slightly dry finish. Nigh quaffable.

Overall - Good, solid brew that's well balanced and easy drinking. They set out to achieve a 'classic pub ale' and they certainly accomplished that. It might not wow you in punchy flavor, but the craftsmanship shines here. Well done, Deschutes.

Apr 25, 2016
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Darkmagus82 from Texas

3.66/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bomber into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a deeper amber color with a creamy head of two finger height. The head has a great level of retention, slowly fading over time to leave a decent level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the brew is strongest of a sweeter caramel and doughy aroma along with some other smells of a light fruit nature of peach and orange. Along with these aromas comes some lighter notes of hop of an earthy and pine nature.

Taste – The taste begins with a slightly bready and lightly sweetened taste, with the sweet being a mix of caramel and some orange. As the taste advances some hop tastes come to the tongue with them being predominantly of pine and earth, but containing a little bit of citrus as well. Some of the caramel fades a little bit, but is replaced by more orange and a little bit of a sour lemonade like flavor more toward the end. At the very end a little bit of grass joins the flavor profile and ends up leaving a rather bready, moderately fruity, but slightly dank flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is average in thickness with a carbonation level that is a bit high. The average body was spot on for the mix of slightly dank hop and bready sweet, although a little less carbonation may have given it a slightly better and more cask like feel (which I think this would be a great pour style for).

Overall – A fairly nice Pub ale overall. A little high in ABV., but quite tasty and enjoyable overall. One to certainly try if you get the chance.

Apr 22, 2016
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zeff80 from Missouri

3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Poured out a clear, golden burgundy color with a small, off-white head of foam. It smelled of biscuity malt, toasted caramel and earthy notes. Sweet, roasted malt, a touch of citrus and bitterness.

Apr 20, 2016
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mactrail from Washington

4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Handsome clear amber with a big pile of foam in the wide-mouth stout glass. Fragrant with grain and a hint of apples. Some flowery and resiny hop aromatics. Sudsy and prickly in the mouth. Light bodied but with a malty substance.

This really evokes the ESB style, in a pleasing American way. It's warm and malty and just bitter enough. This is a welcome alternative to the crowd of IPAs. Hoppy but less harshly bitter. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Pioneer Market in La Conner, Wash.

Apr 19, 2016
Big Rig Classic Pub Ale from Deschutes Brewery
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 71 ratings