Nov 22, 2013

Anchor Brewing Big Leaf Maple

As all two of you may have noticed while reading through the review archives, I’m not really the biggest fan of Red Ales. It’s a style that has never really sat well with me through the years, though I have had the occasional surprise that I have thoroughly enjoyed. It’s also a style that I will probably keep buying in search of one I like. So, in steps Anchor Brewing’s Big Leaf Maple, a 6% ABV Red Ale brewed with maple syrup.

In the past I have fallen for aggressively hopped Red Ales so why not give one brewed with maple syrup a try? Big Leaf Maple is a beer, for me, that promises a good deal up front, but doesn’t quite fulfill it when things get rolling. The aroma of this beer is great — enticing and seasonally appropriate. The flavor however, lacks the richness and character that I really like about the nose. Again, I’m sure folks love this beer. It’s just that impasse I historically have with the style.


Bright copper in color, the brew rests with a rocky crown of dense, light tan foam.

Anchor Brewing Big Leaf Maple photo


Again, I love the smell of this beer. Maple syrup, peaty malt, caramel and a good bit of citrusy hops fill the nose nicely.


Well, it’s definitely a Red Ale as the tell-tale malt profile washes over your tongue with caramel and a light sweetness. I’m not sure that I pick up any of the maple syrup here. Grassy hops bring about a moderate amount of bitterness that seems to be amplified by a prickly mouthfeel.


I really, really wish Big Leaf Maple followed through on that enticing aroma. I also wish that I liked Red Ales more than I do — I think there is some potential in this beer as far as the seasonality of it goes. Ah well, I’ll just stick with their porter for the Fall/Winter months.

Rating: 3.25/5

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