1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Summer Honey Ale - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Summer Honey AleSummer Honey Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
77
okay

270 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 270
Reviews: 155
rAvg: 3.36
pDev: 16.07%
Wants: 4
Gots: 15 | 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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-16-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 270 | Reviews: 155 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CU570M
4.22/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

when poured from a 12 oz bottle the first thing i notice is the thick lacy head that after it is gone leaves soap like suds on the edge of the glass. The color was a pale amber yellow. The first thing i could smell was a wild coriander/cilantro and a little bit of citrus. Taste was about the same with a little more veggie taste. Mouthfeel was creamy, but clean. Nice and sudsy. Drinkability is awesome on this one. I really enjoyed this beer. A lot better this time, than the first time i had it.

CU570M, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of Gusler
3.53/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours from the 12 ounce bottle a slightly foggy gold with a portly bright white creamy head that dissipates leaving the lace a firm sheet upon the glass. Nosey is sweet with honey and malt, citrus like in its crispness, start has a pleasant honey taste, nice malt presence, the top light to medium in feel. Finish has a sparkling acidity, the hops underpowered, sweetness continues to the end also, a bit dry, a drinkable beer, maybe a bit to sweet for me, but not a major malfunction.

Gusler, Oct 23, 2007
Photo of SurlyDuff
2.78/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this one on-tap at the BendBrewfest, as well as their Moose Drool Ale.

Pours a light golden, straw/yellow to be more exact. Very dense head, especially after a pretty vigorous pour by the barkeep.
Aroma is a bit mild. If fact, pretty unremarkable. Some spices, coriander.

Not finding much honey in the taste. Bit of a citrus zest, peach/apricot and maybe some apple flavors there.

Sweeter finish, with some floral notes.

Drinkability isn't quite there. I try to be optimistic when trying (and rating) styles that I don't have a strong affinity for. Big Sky does justice in the fact that its a decent summer ale, light and refreshing. Just seems that some more honey and a moderate increase in hopping couldv'e kicked this one up a few notches.

SurlyDuff, Sep 27, 2007
Photo of BigRedN
3.05/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass from the 12 oz bottle. The beer is clear, golden in color, with a somewhat thin white head (about 1/4 inch). Head fell to nothing and left no lacing.

Smell: Some faint spices and citrus fruit. I smell nothing sweat or honey like.

Taste: A bit spicy. Much like the smell I taste nothing really sweat or honey like. I should not be surprised because it seems that I can rarely pick that out any any beer that says it has honey.

Mouthfeel: Light in body with some decent carbonation. Crisp, with a smooth finish that goes down easy.

Drinkability: Purchased a mix 12 pack to try the Big Sky beers. I should have waited til they had a different seasonal in the pack. I would not purchase this as a stand alone product.

BigRedN, Sep 19, 2007
Photo of Floydster
2.88/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle purchased at Liquor Land in Upland

Poured into an old Budwesier mug

A lot more spicy than sweet which is odd for a summer beer

A little citrus zest to it, but it did not stand out

Thick white head

Could not drink many of these because it is heavy for a lighter beer

Floydster, Sep 07, 2007
Photo of wagenvolks
2.28/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass on a scorching Montana day.

The pour leaves an amazingly transparent, straw yellow ale with a thick, cloud-white head. Decent spackles of lacing are left behind as the foam slowly recedes. It's all downhill from here... The aroma is mediocre as best: some coriander & other spices with hints of sweet citrus and lots of wheat.

The taste is disappointing as well. There's a touch of honey, barely detectable, with a bland blend of wheat and bitter spice. Pretty awful stuff, really. Mouthfeel is crisp and astringent with a high level of carbonation, but a bad aftertaste that tries its best at a bitter finish, but ultimately fails. All in all, I wouldn't ever buy this again. Quite the flop of a summer brew from the makers of such a fine-tasting beer as Moose Drool. I hope this is just a case of a bad bottle.

wagenvolks, Jul 29, 2007
Photo of BeerBelcher
1.48/5  rDev -56%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

This beer had a musty earthiness I found rather unpleasant, and nothing else to recommend it. I can't recommend it - I found it rather lousy.

This beer appeared to have an oily sheen; it was slightly hazy, an unflattering shade of yellow, and had a little head. The appearance didn't give me a lot of reason to have faith that I would enjoy this beer.

The aroma didn't provide any additional reason not to be pessimistic. There was the aroma of some spice and maltiness, but also a lot of earthiness that I found off-putting and unpleasant.

The watery mouthfeel hit me before the flavor. Flavor was a distinct compost-y flavor.

Not good...not recommended...most went down the drain.

BeerBelcher, Jul 08, 2007
Photo of BretSikkink
3.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear with some chill haze, not much of the very white head. Sweet and spicy aroma, some citric zest mixed with malted grain. Fullness of spicing.

Rough but light honey is all over this one, along with grain mustiness. Not much for bitter flavors, just cramming sweet down the throat with the honey and pale malts. Multiple spices lend a 'unique' (not necessarily off-putting, but not genius either) rounded flavor. Probably some coriander snuck in there.

As I've found with spice-heavy brews, let this one sit out a minute to appreciate the subtlety of the ingredients. Very crisp when cold, lots of carbonation. Light of body, a touch watery but quaffable. Not bad.

BretSikkink, Jun 01, 2007
Photo of Chaz
3.93/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a shaker. Medium pour yields a one-fingered off white head of medium duration and fairly good lacing. Very clear golden in color, with moderate carbonation. Nose is subtle honey and lightly sweet, pale malts. Slightly vegetal, and no apparent hops. Honey is apparent on the first sip, but is fleeting, a bit more than the minimun impression is left before the semi-sweet malts round out the palate, and a dryer, biscuity malt takes over. Nice and dry in the finish. Somewhat fruity and aromatic, with clover honey (just a guess) and apple blossoms. Aftertaste leaves an impression of peach, which is actually quite nice. The hops are there also, but very, very attenuated. Body is lighter and mothfeel is a little on the thin side, and the carbonation is reasonably easy-going, too. This is a nice, well-executed fruit-vegetable beer, and I'd say so especially if we were to consider it more of an amalgam of Golden Ale and Fruit Vegetable beer rather than an APA. For whatever reason this bottle is striking me as tastier and livelier than the last draght I had of the Summer Honey, so either the recipe has changed or it's less impressive on draught? Improves a bit asit warms, but no doubt goes down quite well on the cold side for some folks . . . is there a touch of wheat malt in this one? At any rate, it's much better than I remember it from the many times I've sampled it over the previous five or six years. A solid summer quaffer from a solid craft brewery.

Chaz, May 27, 2007
Photo of Padron4KM
2.63/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Freshness code stamped on neck.

Clear golden with a soapy white head and patchy lace.

Aroma is honey and cereal.

Flavor is honey, grain, and lemon.

finish is short and slightly sweet.

Today was a hot one, over 90, and yes this was refreshing, but there are many other summer beers that are better.

Padron4KM, Apr 08, 2007
Photo of Zorro
2.53/5  rDev -24.7%
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.

Zorro, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.93/5  rDev +17%
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.

NeroFiddled, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of terrabyte
3.1/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours into a nice yellow color with a small white head.

The aroma is sweet, with a rice or wheat malt.

The flavor is quite light. Nothing bold going on. However, there is still some subtle complexities going on. It says honey, so let's assume it's sweetness comes from honey. It's followed by some spices such as coriander. It finishes without much bitterness.

Dry crisp mouth. Last inch of my glass could be shaken up with carbonation, however, it wasn't a distraction while drinking.

There are too many amazing Big Sky beers I'd rather be having. Yes, this is better than any other refreshing lawnmowever macro beer due to its honey spiced flavor. But I just want to move on from this beer.

terrabyte, Oct 16, 2006
Photo of IntriqKen
3.75/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale honey color (sorry...that honestly is the shade of yellow I see) with a half finger white head that melts slowly to fine sticky lacing.
Aroma is floral and honey with almost a lager yeast smell to it.
Taste is initially pale malt lightly sweetened with a floral honey but then quickly turns to citrus hops. Actually a very nice evolution or balancing of flavors.
Aftertaste is sort of a floral or clover honey-lemon peel mixture and a nice quenching dryness.
This is a good summer beer...maybe excellent...very refreshing.

IntriqKen, Oct 01, 2006
Photo of watermelonman
4.03/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured to a light and clear yellow and gold with a small head. The head quickly faded and left no lace.

The smell brings strong honey flavor with some light flower scents. In the taste, pale malts start things off while honey takes over part way through and lasts through the finish. The mouthfeel is fairly light while drinkability is very high.

watermelonman, Aug 21, 2006
Photo of russpowell
3.25/5  rDev -3.3%
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

russpowell, Jul 13, 2006
Photo of Mdog
3.93/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Gold with lots of carbonation.

Smell: Smells grassy to me.

Taste: Starts sweet then has some breadiness with maybe a little coriander, then finishes dry.

Mouthfeel: Light and refreshing.

Drinkability: If I want a night off from hops or something easy on a hot night, this is a good one.

A nice summer beer, not too heavy but complicated enough to be interesting. Recommended.

Mdog, Jun 18, 2006
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.6/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Served in a mug)

A- This beer has a golden light copper body with a crystal clear body and a soapy foam head. There was a very gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The slight sweet honey notes came with a pale malt note that was dry and fresh. There was a light sulfur note in the finish.

T- The taste of fresh pale malt had a slight honey sweetness that followed. There was a bitter hop finish that had a soft grassy quality to it.

M- This beer had a medium-light mouthfeel with a tight fizz texture at the finish.

D- The sweetness of the honey was nice and the bitterness of the hops offered a nice balance. Most beers that add honey have some odd fermented honey flavors but this one wasn't bad.

rhoadsrage, Jun 08, 2006
Photo of RJLarse
1.85/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I poured this beer in to a pint tumbler.

Pours pale yellow color and and is clear. Two fingers of head is fairly resilient and produces moderate lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is fairly faint and has a sweet aroma.

The taste is sweet, with a real raw honey flavor, and very little hop flavor coming through. I think the honey is over done. It is a sickly sweet flavor.

The mouth feel is a little thick and syrupy, but that could be my mind playing tricks on me because of the overly sweet taste.

I came close to pouring this one down the sink. It’s just too sweet, and the sweetness has some odd characteristics as well. It reminds me of the smell of over-aged beef. I can see how a lot of folks might like this beer, but I think I’ll avoid this one in the future.

RJLarse, Apr 19, 2006
Photo of loren01
3.28/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle into pint glass a light transparent yellow color with 2 finger head and lots of carbonation. Smell is slightly sweet with grass/hay and hops scents coming through as well. Taste is pretty sweet like honey with a very light hoppy aftertaste. Nothing too special though. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth, a little bit on the flat side. Overall this is a pretty decent summer ale that goes down easily.

loren01, Oct 07, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.08/5  rDev +21.4%
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.

BuckeyeNation, Sep 26, 2005
Photo of TastyTaste
4.33/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks like about 15,000 other beers, crystal clear gold colr, with a small white head that fades to almost nothing. Not a lot in the nose, but malt and honey sweetness, and a little spice. Taste is very nice for a honey ale. The honey is there, and makes the beer sweet, but enhances the malt flavor. Very light and crisp, the malt and honey are absolutely at perfect levels to each other. Good work Big Sky, you have made the best honey beer I have ever tasted.

TastyTaste, Sep 15, 2005
Photo of rowew
3.68/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz long neck bottle with a beer grazing on the front. Made with real honey and spices. Indecipherable freshness code.

Appearance: Clear gold color with a great head.

Smell: Aroma is raw honey - sweet and slightly spicey.

Taste: Slight wheat flavor with the honey coming through strongly. Not cloyingly sweet like some honey beers.

Overall impression: One of the better honey beers I have tried. Nice drinkable summer brew.

rowew, Aug 21, 2005
Photo of RootedFool
4/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. Honey gold body. Nice, feathery off-white head. Thin lacing. Smell: gritty graininess, thin malt sweetness, slight hop earthiness -- nice. Taste: quick pinch of hop bitterness upfront, followed by a honey-like sweetness, hint of vanilla; dry finish with a nice toasty graininess. Mouthfeel: slick and clean, middling carbonation. Good summer brew.

RootedFool, Aug 18, 2005
Photo of DogFood11
3.98/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this puppy out at BevMo because it was from montana and I dont think I've had a beer from there yet...good a reason as any is suppose. Plus with the weather we are having a good summer honey ale sounds great.

I wasn't dissapointed....It is what its trying to be....a bit spicey yet sweet almost to the point of annoying but like george castanza's dad it pulls up short....nice, refreshing carbonation levels. I did this six pack in tonight and would like another, in my book thats some super drinkability. Far from a big beer, this is lawnmower material and it does what you think it will, refresh without boring you.

DogFood11, Aug 06, 2005
Summer Honey Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
77 out of 100 based on 270 ratings.