Big Rock Scottish Style Heavy Ale

Reviewed by on December 12, 2013 in Local Heroes Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Big Rock Brewery

  • Origin: Calgary, AB

  • Rated On: June 27, 2013

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 7.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Scotch Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Another entry from Big Rock Brewery in Calgary.  This offering started out as part of their small-batch pilot test system, which they call the “Kasper Shultz Line”, in 2008, and has graduated from keg-only, to six packs of bottles, and now to tall-boy cans.  The beer itself is a malty, mildly smoky version of the wee heavy style of Scottish ales, as if the tartan-emblazoned can didn’t already make that abundantly clear!

This 473ml can pours a clear, glassy, dark tarnished amber colour, with one finger of thinly foamy beige head, which leaves a few random upward streaks of lace around the glass as it rashly settles.

It smells of sweet, fruity pastry, very Danish-like, with some oily nuttiness, some further candy sugar, and just a bit of grainy maltiness waving the beer flag at this point. The taste is sugary caramel malt, a surprisingly gruff smoked peat essence, sweet floral hops, and a slightly sweet, yet tame, chaptalized white wine booziness.  The bubbles are quite restrained, the body a respectably hefty medium weight, and just a wee bit clammy, though generally smooth overall. It finishes still rather sweet, the caramel and toffee malt pretty much holding sway, the hops and smokiness bringing up the rear.

A beer sporting many positive similarities to its Scottish and better new world kin, but still lacking the subtle balance of the greats, which makes me paw and scrape at my tongue on more than one occasion. Keep at it, Big Rock, you’re moving back in the right direction, but there’s a few miles yet to go before you (should) rest.

Brady White

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