Big Rock Erratic Stone Fired Ale
Reviewed by Brady White on December 3, 2013 in Local Heroes Guide
- Brewery: Big Rock Brewery
- Origin: Calgary, AB
- Rated On: August 28, 2013
- Best Before: N/A
- ABV: 5.8%
- Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature
- Style: Steinbier
- Rating: GOOD !
This 750ml, Bailey’s-esque, squat flared bottle (no. 469 in a limited series of 3,300 in the latest Alchemist edition) pours a hazy, muddled dark bronzed amber hue, with one finger of bubbly, loosely foamy light beige head, which leaves a few sparse lumps of seaward landmass lace around the glass as it quickly sinks away.
It smells of bready, biscuity cereal grain, soft caramel flourishes, a flinty hard-water minerality, some mild stone fruit, a tame, but out there smokiness, and very subtle earthy, herbal hops. The taste is grainy, unsweetened breakfast cereal malt, a hard to miss stoney, rock-licking goodness, more tame, sort of afterthought-ish caramel notes, a hint of generic nuttiness, with maybe some coffee twinges in all of that overwrought earthiness, and almost ethereal herbal, leafy hops. The carbonation is a tad frothy, and generally supportive, the body a decent medium weight, with a flinty (a coincidence, I duly proffer) edge that subtly mars an otherwise straight-up smoothness. It finishes off-dry, the pale cereal malt, rather toasted caramel, and orchard fruit pit ‘sweetness’ kind of bleeding off the heretofore steeped minerality.
A fairly tasty introduction to a method of beer production that dates back far enough to not really register anew in the craft beer mainstream, not just yet. I tried to remain impartial from the get-go, but those stoney mineral notes are just too on the nose to dismiss, creating a simple English-style brown ale, one with a heavy debt to the hard-water emboldened Burton pale ales of veritable brewing lore. As for drinkability, maybe it was the novelty, but this 750ml bottle just seemed surprisingly a little too small, for what it’s worth – which is indeed a little dear, but hey, limited runs, rarity, and all that, eh?