Big Rock Dark Cherry Abbey Ale
Reviewed by Brady White on December 29, 2015 in Winter Guide
- 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 !
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.