Big Rig Bitter | Deschutes Brewery

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
86
very good
21 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Big Rig BitterBig Rig Bitter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States | website

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ccrida on 04-17-2009

BEER STATS
Reviews:
21
Ratings:
51
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
13.73%
 
 
Wants:
0
Gots:
7
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 51
Photo of beertunes
3.44/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

 697 characters

Photo of arizcards
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

 563 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. Bomber
Best By: 10/11/16
Bottled Conditioned

Pours a very nice clean/clear dark golden amber color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice thick/creamy one-finger off-white head, which leaves some pretty nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some hops, kinda sweet, slight citrus note. The taste is very nice malty, slightly hoppy, nice sweetness, some citrus notes. Medium body, with a nice dry/bitter finish. Overall, this is a very tasty brew, Good job Deschutes.

 488 characters

Photo of leaddog
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

 635 characters

Photo of biboergosum
3.64/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

 1,460 characters

Photo of jzlyo
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

 161 characters

Photo of Lobina
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

 198 characters

Photo of tempest
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

 248 characters

Photo of Strix
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
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.

 358 characters

Photo of detgfrsh
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

 326 characters

Photo of Spikester
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

 501 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

 289 characters

Photo of ricke49
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
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) 4 or so years ago. Big Rig is true to this venerable craft brewers roots with an English feel, taste and color. Classic Pub Ale is perfect descriptor. Perfectly balanced gunmetal taste. Cigarettes...dark room...three day beards, it's all there. 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.

 583 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

BBD07/19/2016

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

 576 characters

Photo of stevoj
3.54/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

 205 characters

Photo of TheSixthRing
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.

 1,025 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

 1,592 characters

Photo of mactrail
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

 489 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.28/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Bend brewpub on 11.9.11.
46 IBU 6.0% ABV

A - Served a dark, cloudy orange with an off-white head. The fades fades quickly and completely dissapears. Lots of lacing is left on the glass.

S - No smell, it was served pretty cold, so I blame the temp. Some muted orange finally comes through.

T - Bitter fruit, citrus, tangerine and oranges.

D - Average body and carbonation.

O - Solid, but nothing exciting.

 425 characters

Photo of shivtim
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had on tap at the Brewpub in Portland.
It's clear, amber/red, with a small white-ish head. Nose is pretty gentle. Some vague hops, with slight floral hints, with a backbone of peaty malts. A little bit of barn/must. Taste is really straight forward. It's all about the malts. There is some pine hops, but it's somewhat indistinct. Wish there was more too it. Mouthfeel was a notch above average. Ok drinkability. Just not much there, even for a 6% ABV english bitter.

 467 characters

Photo of ccrida
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"The 1st installment of the Big Rig series here in Portland. This version uses 100% Crystal hops in the hopback and 3 types of crystal malt. This beer is smooth and easy drinking with an excellent citrusy, floral aroma. IBU's 50| Alcohol by Vol 6.0%"

Imperial pint at the pub, Big Rig Bitter is a murky orangish amber with a small, off-white head that leaves scattered lace.

Smell is light, resinous hops and sour citrus, not too strong.

Taste is bright and fruity, tangerine esters with pretty strong hop presence, some pine and citrus. Quite good, it's pretty similar to their cream ale I just had, but with cranked up hops. Still, more pale ale or even English IPA then bitter in my mind...

Mouthfeel is very creamy, a bit dry, with a crisp finish, medium bodied.

Drinkability is pretty high if you like fruity, estery beers, which I most definitely do. The punch of hops is nice as well, if out of style. Quaffable for sure.

 937 characters

Big Rig Bitter from Deschutes Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 21 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe