Big Rock Winter Spice Ale

Reviewed by on January 22, 2015 in Winter Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Big Rock Brewery

  • Origin: Calgary, AB, CA

  • Rated On: January 22, 2015

  • Best Before: April 14, 2015

  • ABV: 6.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Winter Warmer

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Calgary craft brewer Big Rock has made this winter offering in the past, when it was packaged with some tasty (if I recall from the time) ginger cookies.  Now it’s back in simple six-packs, and in an oddly-sized bottle format for the North American market.

All right then – this 330ml bottle pours a crystal clear, orangish-amber colour, with a healthy amount of pillow-like puffy off-white head, which disappears quickly, leaving a small amount of exploded marshmallow lacing around the glass.

It smells quite redolent of sweet ‘n savoury spices – cloves, nutmeg, and metallic cinnamon – sweet caramel malt, a touch of meaty yeast, and weak as sin earthy, leafy hops. The flavour starts strong with the grainy caramel malt and cinnamon/nutmeg spice, and maintains it, as its cousins from Grandma’s gingerbread recipe all show up in due time, the spices all coalescing near the middle, joined by a slight warming from that wee extra bit of alcohol.

The body is a bit on the light side for a winter warmer, with a pithy smoothness and equally weak creaminess, while the carbonation is a little too noticeable in its tacky frothiness, as well. It finishes well off-dry, and just, well – the meaty caramel malt carrying on like yer stere0typical lush aunt at the reception.

Even though the combination of spices is more or less bang-on, and this is a nice enough seasonal offering, as a welcome change from Big Rock, I still can’t help but be just a tad underwhelmed overall.  I say bring back the cookies, and all would be well again.

Brady White

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