Big Rock Harvest Pale Ale

Reviewed by on November 23, 2015 in Autumn Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Big Rock Brewery

  • Origin: Calgary, AB, CA

  • Rated On: November 23, 2015

  • Best Before: May 5, 2016

  • ABV: 5.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: American Pale Ale

  • Rating: OKAY

The Review

Calgary’s Big Rock Brewery releases a sort of late-arriving harvest ale for a season that is rapidly turning into the next, much colder one around these parts.  Made with fresh hops and honey.

This 650ml bottle pours a clear, bright medium copper amber colour, with one finger of weakly puffy, wanly foamy, and mostly just caked dirty white head, which leaves some melting ice shelf lace around the glass as things quickly abate.

It smells of sugary pale and caramel malt, earthy honey, a soft apple and pear fruitiness, a touch of lost tourist yeast, and underwhelming leafy, weedy, and mildly floral hops. The taste is bready, doughy caramel malt, plain-Jane field honey, a now muddled light orchard fruit character, dead yeast, and more underwhelming leafy and weedy hoppiness. The carbonation is barely adequate in its timid frothiness, the body a stocky middleweight, and generally smooth, with a small airy creaminess arising right from the get-go. It finishes sweet, both the malty and fruity essences having no trouble sloughing off the effects of the innocuous hop bitterness.

Overall, a typically underperforming attempt by Big Rock to keep abreast of the evolving craft beer scene (not that there haven’t been a few other harvest ale turds of late from more scrappy players – silly growing seasons!). Anyways, easy enough to drink, but the unchecked sweetness (honey, with an under-attenuated malt, sigh) surely limits this one’s long-term sessionability.

Brady White



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