Big Rock Dark Cherry Abbey Ale

Reviewed by on December 29, 2015 in Winter Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Big Rock Brewery

  • Origin: Calgary, AB, CA

  • Rated On: December 29, 2015

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 9.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Dark Cherry Abbey Ale is part of Big Rock’s Brewmaster’s Edition series, and is the current seasonal, as such, arriving in a 750ml, caged and corked bottle, ensconced in a tall white cardboard box. One stupidly difficult to remove flared cork, check.

This beer pours a very dark, hazy brown colour, with a teeming tower of puffy, finely foamy, and faintly creamy tan head, which leaves a bit of randomly splattered sudsy lace around the glass as it swiftly abates.

It smells of bready, doughy caramel malt, a pleasantly musty under the basement stairs thing, biscuity cherry fruit notes (like those Nutri-Grain ‘granola’ bars), some estery booziness, muddled citrus, vague coriander and white pepper spice, brown sugar, and a generic earthiness. The taste is sugary caramel malt, fairly indistinct cherry cough drops, still benign seasonal spice, a subtle (or maybe just weak) orange rind fruitiness, stale gingerbread, and a hovering, but politely declining to really interfere for the most part alcohol heat. The carbonation is nice and fluffy in its generally engaging and playful frothiness, the body a solid medium-heavy weight, and mostly smooth, with a small attendant creaminess. It finishes sweet, yeah, but moderated just enough by a masked fruitiness and a still weirdly genial big booze measure.

If you didn’t tell me that actual cherries were sacrificed (and hurt!) in the making of this offering, I probably wouldn’t have noticed, instead attributing my perception of them to yeast or malt (or maybe even hop) complexity. At any rate, this is a not too shabby strong Belgian-style ale, all on its own, but don’t go in expecting your cherry, um, ‘cherry’ to get verily popped here.


Brady White



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