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Summer Honey Ale - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summer Honey AleSummer Honey Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

160 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 160
Hads: 309
Avg: 3.38
pDev: 21.89%
Wants: 6
Gots: 25 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
American Blonde Ale |  4.70% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-16-2002

When the days get longer and the air gets warmer, we get outside quite a bit. And we build a big thirst. Summer Honey helps us shake off the winter and slakes our thirst for a refreshing brew. Summer Honey is a full-flavored summer seasonal ale. Brewed with a unique, balanced blend of spices, Northwest Hops, and Montana honey. Summer Honey is brewed during the early days of spring and released around the first of May each year. Light colored, light bodied, and very drinkable, Summer Honey sacrifices nothing to create a flavorful beer that can be enjoyed during the height of the Summer.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 160 | Hads: 309
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.43/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a semi-clear light orange with a 1 inch off-white head that fades to a thin film. Foamy rings of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, and some spice notes. Taste is of toasted malt, honey, and spices. There is a slight bitterness on the tongue after each sip that lingers for a bit. A good level of carbonation makes for a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but not something I would buy more of.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewery in August 2009 during our West Coast road trip. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a pale golden color with a white head. Nose brings forward a dash of honey and a little bit of mildly floral hops. Pretty plain overall, and this carries over into the taste. There is some faint honey-baked bread along with some ever so slight bitterness. Feel is light and well carbonated. No apparent defects, just nothing really going for it.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.33/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16oz Yankee pint at the Iron Horse restaurant in Missoula, with me dear ma.

This beer appears a clear, medium golden yellow hue, with one finger of puffy, loosely foamy, and soapy dirty white head, which leaves a bunch of chunky bleeding stormcloud lace around the glass as it gradually melts away.

It smells of semi-sweet field honey, grainy pale malt, a hint of spicy black pepper, and earthy, leafy, and mildly floral hops. The taste is crisply grainy pale malt, a touch of caramel sweetness, some lessened generic honey notes, mild muddled dessert spices, and pretty much little to no persisting and/or discernible hops.

The carbonation is moderate in its plainly frothy manner, the body a decent and typical medium weight for the broad style, and generally smooth, nothing else really carrying a torch here. It finishes off-dry, as some reborn earthy hops round out the lingering and purposeful honeyed graininess.

Nothing overly special, sure, but enjoyable enough when the season and occasion call for it. A good beer to go with intensely spicy hot wings, as was the pairing in my case - y'know, when in Rome, and all that.

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Photo of emerge077
3.25/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was chilled to around 55º and poured in a Lake Louie pint glass.

Golden yellow, a feeble head of foam that collapses quickly. Nucleation trails from the bottom of the glass. It doesn't really leave any lace, but a few random spots decorate the glass.

Plain pale malt aroma, graham cracker.

Papery pale malt flavor, mild graham sweetness. Not really getting any floral or honey flavor. Average is about all I can say. Moderate fizz, drinks fine. A no-brainer for a dog day.

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Photo of zeff80
3.27/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, golden orange color with a small, white head of bubbly foam. There were thin traces of lace.

S - It smelled of honey and biscuity malt. There was a slight floral aroma, too.

T - It had a strong honey flavor with a good deal of spices. There was a good deal a sweet biscuity malt.

M - It was crisp and fairly sharp. A very light bodied and easy drinking brew.

D - This is an okay beer. It really seems more like a blonde ale than an APA.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.07/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pristine honey with lemonade colored trim. The head is rich ivory in color and sponge-like in texture. Persistence is better than average, while lace deposition is worse than average. There's nothing wrong with the appearance, but nothing catches the eye either.

The aroma is lightly sweet, breezy and citrus zesty; perfect for a summer cooler (which is the opposite of a winter warmer). I can't detect either honey or spices, but feel confident that I'll be able to appreciate them on the palate.

I like Summer Honey Ale. The bee juice contributes flavor and an ideal amount of balancing sweetness, in addition to whatever pale malt sweetness is present. Hoppiness is on the tame side for an APA, which allows the beer to achieve an easy, pleasureable sweet-bitter balance. Honey-dipped grapefruit wedges?

Even though I can't identify any specific spices, it tastes like something out of the ordinary is present. The beer tastes more herbal than spicy to me. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that coriander is one of the secret ingredients. The flavor deepens with warming, so if you really want to appreciate the best this summer brew has to offer, don't drink it too cold.

The mouthfeel is summer beer light, along with being soft and feathery. That combination increases drinkability exponentially. I usually have a swallow or two left at this point in my reviews. Not today.

With Summer Honey Ale, Big Sky has demonstrated their brewing dexterity by keeping three balls named 'honey', 'hops' and 'spices' in the air at the same time. They've come up with an excellent summer cooler that I'd love to have access to when the hot weather rolls around.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

copper color with a good amount of clarity to it. two inch head of white foam came over the top right away.p.

nice and hopped, grassy with some decent touches of light citrus and pine mixed in. A biscuit like bready middle to it that really came out once it warmed up. The flavor was more of the same, crisp and clean, with a quick hitting citric hop bite. Crisp and clean

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, yellow body with a fizzy, white head. If that doesn't say "Summertime Drinking", nothing does!

Smell: Faint pale malt nose with a note of honey, but maybe half a note each of spice and fruitiness.

Taste: Light pale maltiness with a modest honey-based sweetish. Hint of peach fruitiness as well as a touch fo spice. Floral, citrusy hops with a fairly tame, gentle bitterness. The flavor bounces back and forth between the simple, sweet honey and light spice taste until you reach the dry, thin finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Easy drinking, lightly flavorful, though somewhat forgettable. Yep, it's about average for a simple, summertime libation!

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Gale Sayers shaker pint glass.

It's still summer, right? Regardless, this brew pours a clear wan gold topped by a short-lived half-finger of white foam. The nose comprises wheat, light honey, light corn syrup, light flowers, and light lemonade. Did I mention the lightness? The taste brightens things up a bit, but not very much. A hint of nuttiness joins the party, along with some very light orange flesh. The body is (surprise, surprise) pretty light, with a light carbonation and a slightly watery feel. Overall, a nice light brew for summer, but I do wish there were more to it.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.92/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big Sky delivers a beautifully floral, gently sweet, and lightly citrusy golden beer in their Summer Honey Ale. It pours a deep golden body with an orange cast beneath a frothy head of bright white that steadily dwindles to a cottony surface covering and thick collar. Rings of spotty and cragged lace are left behind. In the nose it's lemony over some malty and honeyish sweetness. The body is medium with a decidedly dextrinous edge, and it's crisp on the palate with a lightly bristling carbonation. The flavor is loaded with honey flavor and wheatish malt. Floral hop flavors and a bit of lemon zest help to round it out. It finishes surprisingly short and dry given the amount of flavor packed into each sip, and it lingers for a few moments with a combination of wheatish malt and floral hops as well as a very light touch of pine. Quite a nice summer ale! This one's perfect for a wide variety of events, and I could easily imagine enjoying this at a ball game, boating, a backyard BBQ, fishing trip, or cool evening on the porch. Worth trying.

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Photo of mactrail
3.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly tangy and flavorful light brew. Attractive golden color in the glass with a foamy cap that needs to be renewed with another pour, but it's nicely sudsy in the mouth. This wouldn't be mistaken for anything but a Blonde, but it has some flavor. The honey is just perceptible, but adds a pleasant background flavor.

There is a slight brisk hoppy taste with a slight bitter aftertaste. A hint of resin and something herbal. Not much to get excited about, but a decent representative of the style. A little honey and flowers in the nose. From the 12 oz bottle bought at AJ's Fine Foods in Phoenix.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.62/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 fl. oz. brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a true imperial pint glass in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I quite fancy honey beers, but this brewery has yet to impress me.

A: Pours a two finger head of slight cream, fair/below average thickness, and okay retention. Colour is a transparent light gold. The abundance of bubbles makes me wonder if it's overcarbonated.

Sm: Mildly full barley, traces of cidery honey notes, and no detectable spices (I was looking for them per the label). A mild strength aroma.

T: A barley foundation with some decent honey notes atop. I detect no spice at all. It's quite simply built so there isn't much to say about it. No layering or depth. It's decently balanced I guess.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but also too obstructively thick. There's hardly any allowance for what few flavours are present. It's by no means creamy. The finish is abruptly dry and a touch coarse.

Dr: Drinkable but forgettable. I might try it again on draught if I'm feeling squirrelly but otherwise I'll just avoid this in the future. This was the fourth and final beer I had from their variety pack; I see no reason to have anything from this brewery in the future unless it comes naturally to me. They seem to be pretty shite.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.2/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear rich golden color below a small white head, that quickly recedes into a thin lasting lacing.
The aroma is a light sour lemon and honey with a slight bready maltness to it.
The taste is also a light sour lemony with honey in it. There is still a slight bread like maltiness in the taste and even into the aftertaste which really doesn't dry out much.
This beer has a light body and mouth feel from the first sip to the last swig. If you are into drinking lighter beers aka Bud, Coors, etc. this is right in your ballpark but a step up without getting all heavy on you.

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Photo of russpowell
3.28/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours golden/honey with efferevesence & a 3 fingers white head. Good lacing & head retention

S: Slight lemon zest & peppery notes

T: Lemon, honey & slight floral hop notes. Grainy notes follow Finishes lemony & sweet, off style to me, would work better as a wheat ale

MF:Light & spritzy. Okay balance, skews too sweet

Drinks okay. I prefer the crystal ale as a summer time libation. One of the better honey beers I've had, still a bit too sweet

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 9/3/2014. Pours slightly hazy bright golden color with a 1-2 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon, orange zest, pear, wheat, cracker, biscuit, honey, coriander, herbal, grass, light pepper, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance of pale malt, earthy hops, spice, and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of lemon, orange zest, pear, wheat, cracker, biscuit, honey, coriander, herbal, grass, light pepper, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Slight earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, orange, pear, wheat, cracker, biscuit, honey, coriander, herbal, grass, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness and balance of pale malt, earthy hops, spice, and yeast ester flavors; with a goood malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with no warming present after the finish as expected for 5%. Overall this is a very nice blonde ale style. All around good balance and robustness of pale malt, earthy hops, spice, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.12/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fine white head that leaes quickly, honey golden color. Aroma: spicy sweet, arousing, tingly, bright. Taste:utterly delicious. So far, the best honey beer I've had, though I haven't had them all (Dupont Biere de Miele, Young's Waggledance, where ARE you??. ) Bright honey flavor comes shining through. Light body, pleasant finsh, easy-drinking. Not much in the hop department, but that's not what they're going for. An excellent summertime refreshment!

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Photo of jwc215
3.3/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours clear yellow with a thin white head that becomes a wide patch. Trailing lace slides down glass with minimal stickage.

The smell is of honey, grain, light pepper/floral spicing.

The taste is of sweet grain and some honey. A mild general spiciness gives some balance to the rather abrupt finish.

It is appropriately light bodied, not too fizzy.

A bit too sweet (and leaning towards bland) on the taste, though stops before becoming too honey-ish. Not one I would seek out, but refreshing enough on a hot day. Easy enough to drink, as there's not much to it, and carbonation is controlled, making it pretty smooth. More of an American Blonde than an APA, to me.

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Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a pale gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a pale and bisquit malt scent with some honey notes and a musty breadlike finish. The taste is excellent. It has a very smooth pale and bisquit malt flavor that is slightly sweet and very drinkable. It goes down easy and finishes spicey and breadlike. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine summer seasonal. It has real good flavor and aroma; a good drinker.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.29/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11/08/04- Sampled at the Big Sky Brewery on tap.

*taken from notes in August 2004.

Appearance- Pours with a small, quickly disappearing head and not much lacing. A decent dark golden color.

Smell- Lots of sweet honey and spices throughout.

Taste- One of the first beers that claim they have honey that you can actually taste! Not really any hop or malt taste here, which I find a little weird. Very sweet and spicy taste with maybe even a bit of citrus in there holding everything together.

Mouthfeel- Pretty decent carbonation which makes it very easy to go down. A little less carb and a little warmer at tasting would make this a higher rating.

Drinkability- All in all a great beer with different and great flavors. This may take over my top Montana beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a very clear yellow color with a white head. The aroma is honey and wheat. The flavor is more of the same with lots of wheat and honey flavors. For a pale ale, there is hardly any hop character. Medium mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation. A nice easy drinking beer, but that is about it.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.05/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The CANQuest hits the trifecta with this surprise gem! CAN you believe it - I will have had it on-tap, out of a bottle and now from a CAN?!?

From the CAN: "We make water fun! 'Some Catchy Phrase Goes Here.' Ale brewed with honey and spices." I should also mention that unlike the bottle label, where the bear is upright and rampant, on the CAN he is on all fours, surveying a river vista with mountains in the background.

My pour created a finger of eggshell-white head with good retention. The color was a golden-yellow with NE-quality clarity. I got the honey up front on the nose. There was a light spiciness in there, but it seemed more yeast-driven than anything else. Mouthfeel was slightly thin with a honey-sweet taste on the tongue. Finish had a spicy dryness that I would have otherwise attributed to a yeast strain doing its thing. The spices were there, but they did not seem readily identifiable to me. This is definitely a summer beer! Light, smooth, dry on the finish - a definite CANdidate for the cooler (if only it were readily available). Tasty.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of a mix-pack from Cost Plus World Market, on to the beer:

Pale filtered straw colored in the body, head is white and fuzzy with modest retention. The aroma is mild, hop and tea leaf notes with touches of sweetness (could that be the honey?). As it enters the mouth, I immediately become refreshed off its easy and light flavor. Almost citrusy tasting. Bready notes break up the monotone flavor. I can't seem to find the honey character; okay it's there, but it's very light. This is a simple and refreshing beer.

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Photo of Halcyondays
2.99/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a very pale yellow, with a light cap of fizzy white foam, spotty lace.

S: Honey, piney hops.

T: Sweet with honey initially, but goes heavy into an earthy, green hop profile that wasn't my cup of tea, still drinkable though, it's OK. The honey is a very minor part of the beer, don't expect something like Midas Touch.

M: Crisp, light-bodied, nice carbonation, good mouthfeel overall.

D: I've been a fan of Big Sky in the past, I just didn't find this one very good, a pass for me.

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Photo of Zorro
2.6/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Strange, from the name I expected a summer honey wheat beer.

This beer pours a clear golden colored beer with a decent white head.

Smell is sweet and floral with the trace of flowers that honey leaves behind but there is still a trace of honey in the scent. The bottle says there are spices in this but I am not picking them up.

Taste is dry very dry and with a sharp bitter hit at the start of the glass. Flavor of flowers and high alpha acid hops. Not much more I can say about this one the taste just isn't there.

Mouthfeel is good.

A boring beer that tastes like a Coors with kicked up bitterness levels. No reason to ever try this.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clean/clear golden yellow color, nice carbonation, little fizzy off-white head, with minimal sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, very slight hop note, little spice note. The taste is sweet, malty, with some spice. Medium body. Drinkable, this is not an APA, should be a Blonde Ale or Cream Ale.

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Summer Honey Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 160 ratings.