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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Ivan The Terrible Imperial StoutIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

601 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 601
Reviews: 259
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 10.51%
Wants: 770
Gots: 196 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
2006 - 8.75% (draft only)
2007 - 8.75% (500ml flip top bottles ~ very limited)
2008 - 9.5% (750ml - capped - 1152 bottles)
2009 - 10% (750ml cork and cage)
2010 - 10% (750ml - cork and cage)
2011 - not brewed
2012 - 12.2% (750ml cork and cage)
2013 - 13.8%

65 IBU

(Beer added by: Bitterbill on 11-10-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 601 | Reviews: 259 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasting with AgentZero...I drank this from a 750ml bottle into my Rochefort glass...The beer is dark black with some really nice head. At least two fingers of light tan head, decent retention and lacing...The aroma is super sweet on the front, tons of caramel, vanilla and bourbon. Light alcoholic finish...The taste is super sweet, almost to sweet to be very drinkable. Tons of vanilla and bourbon, not enough coffee or body or bitterness...Sweet and easy to crush, but would you want to??

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2010 23:13:26 | More by jrallen34
Photo of Rhettroactive
Rhettroactive

District of Columbia

3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

From 750mL bottle to snifter on 2/4/12
*From notes

-- Thanks, Bill --

*I think we determined this was a 2008 vintage, bottle 636 of 1152

A: Not the best looking beer I've ever poured. Hearty brownish, and on a standard pour, I get a meager head that's not even .25 fingers. No lacing and the tiniest damn collar you've ever seen.

S: Chocolate chip cookies, raw cocoa and a touch of charred wood.

T: Solid. Packed from jowel to jowel with warm dark chocolate, mature bourbon, vanilla and a touch of grassiness.

M: Jesus is this thin. It's lacking carbonation in the worst way. In fact it's so thin that it negatively affects the flavor profile, therefore kncoking it down a peg. This is hands down the low point of a fine beer.

O: I don't know what happened with the feel of this beer, but it really took away from the entirety of the experience. If you can look past it's flaws, Ivan's an above average BA RIS. Here's to hoping that the later vintages have better quality control and balance.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2012 21:47:59 | More by Rhettroactive
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle #948/3800

Poured into my Duvel Tulip glass.

A - Pours a deep dark black with a huge dark tan head. Great retention and tons of lacing left on the glass.

S - Strong chocolate and coffee, some slight booze pokes through at the end.

T - Fizzy explosion of coffee, chocolate, malts, hops, and bourbon.

O - The cork broke while opening so I had to use a wine opener, it made me nervouse, but all is good. A wonderful RIS, and I hope to score more in the future.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2011 03:02:15 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of Bitterbill
Bitterbill

Wyoming

4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Silver wrapped and capped 750ML bottle(number 280 of 1152) purchased from LiquorMax in Loveland Colorado.

This pours a near pitch black with just the lightest reddish hues shining through. The head of tannish foam is about 1 finger in size and there's some nice lacing here.

The smell has big notes of the bourbon with lots of dark chocolate and some dark fruit. The alcohol is there as well.

The taste...there's the chocolate, more of a cocoa taste actually, lots of sweet malty tones, a nice dose of dark fruitness most noticeable when I swish the beer in my mouth, a light but right amount of hop bitterness and, a light presence of bourbon; much less so than I figured there would be judging from the smell but it works nicely. Oh, except it *does* dominate in the finish. Perfect place for it, me thinks. Ok, the barrel aging becomes more of a factor as the brew warms up but it still isn't overpowering. The alcohol is there with some warming after the swallow but otherwise, I think it's hidden pretty well.

The mouthfeel is full, the carbonation is on the low side of medium, and it finishes, like I said, with a nice burst of bourbon and dark fruity goodness.

Drinkability? I put this one on the "dangerously drinkable" department. I can't believe how easy this one goes down and all I'm doing is taking small sips but they're very frequent sips. Delicious! Awesome job here Big Sky Brewing!

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2008 15:50:14 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of thagr81us
thagr81us

South Carolina

4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had during a recent Goose Island Bourbon County Tasting in Charlotte with marine1975, boodingo, CarolinaKevin, HopDiggityDawg, and GehenHerzog at Mike Brawley's house with Budweiser sign blazing! Big thanks to GehenHerzog for sharing this one with the group as a supplement to the Bourbon County series! Served from bottle into a Southern Tier tulip. Poured pitch black with a half finger tan head that subsided to a minimal amount. There was no lacing evident throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, wood, dark chocolate, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, wood, and sweet alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty nice RIS. Seemed to fit right in with the Bourbon Counties we were sampling that night. Big alcohol up-front but mellowed out upon warming slightly. I wouldn't call this one easy drinking due to this but still quite enjoyable. This one had a bottle number and I didn't write it down!?!? Ahhh!!! Maybe that's why I couldn't tasty any rarity in this one. Oh well, maybe next time... This one is a definite must try if you haven't had it and worth seeking out. Glad I got to tick this one.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2011 11:55:39 | More by thagr81us
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber

Washington

4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Lucifer snifter. Pours a dark, dark black with a chocolate colored head and nice lacing. Delicious bourbon and toasted malt aroma with a hint of chocolate. Intense oak and bourbon and dark and toasted malts. Vanilla, coffee and more oak middle and finish. Kinda boozy, which which lowers the score and should improve with aging. Medium bodied with some creaminess. On second taste, the alcohol is so firey and overwhelming, I down graded this one by a point. I hope it mellows with age. The positive elements are excellent, but it's covered with a pure alcohol burn. 2012 update: I was lucky enough to stumble on a fresh bottle of the current Ivan. The aroma and taste is similar, but the booziness noted in the earlier review is well covered by the flavor in this version. A nicely balanced and well made RIS, that I will revisit whenever it's made; score for taste adjusted upward.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2012 22:37:56 | More by LiquidAmber
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium

Florida

3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to MarcatGSB for this bottle!

Appearance - Not jet black. Dark, but it looks like a light stout. Huge head with lots of carbonation. Good lacing and retention. Lots of sediment, too. Chunks of nastiness floating about.

Smell - Sweet bourbon and some coffee. Really, not a lot of the stout character comes through. It's a lot of coffee and bourbon.

Taste - Bourbon up front. Again, not a lot of stout character until the finish. Some coffee and roasted malts in the background. Hefty grassy bitterness in the finish that reminds you it's an RIS.

Mouthfeel - Not heavy. Very light in body in fact. Bitterness is nice and adds to the stout's feel. The carbonation is quite high and is not really appealing for the style.

Overall - Disappointing, considering the ratings. Tastes good, but not up to the standards of the best stouts. Either other reviewers are tasting other flavors I'm missing or they're tasting the bottle count.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2011 14:58:47 | More by Alieniloquium
Photo of ShanePB
ShanePB

Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After Matt aka mdaschaf, my girlfriend and I opened up the Menagerie No. 5, we moved onto my bottle of Ivan. 750 ml corked and caged green bottle, poured into tulip glasses.

Vintage 2009.

A: Deep brown edging to a full black body with some amber hues around the top edges in the light. Atop is a light beige head, along with sporadic lacing and a thin retention ring. Not a bad looking beer though I did expect a darker head.

S: Sherry, port wine, very sweet with obvious fruity undertones. Cherry, plum come through midway and end with cocoa powder and slightly charred oak wood. It's not infected, but the sweeter fruity notes definitely threw me off.

T: Oak dominates up front and even more so as this beer warms. Faint dark baker's chocolate, black cherry and some sweet sugary dates are mid-palate. The finish is quite tart that opens up the longer this sits. The fruity, tartness in the finish wasn't necessarily unpleasant but something unexpected.

M: Well carbonated for being a vintage 2009, maybe a bit too much for the style. Fairly smooth, not as creamy as I wanted and a touch dry in the linger.

In comparison to other Russian Imperial Stouts, this is definitely a good one but it doesn't match up to other breweries. The beer itself had a weird combination of roast, wood and fruit that I think perhaps was unintentional but it definitely came through big.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2011 15:39:38 | More by ShanePB
Photo of AgentZero
AgentZero

Illinois

3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Nice looking, big two finger tan head that dissipated nicely with a little cap on the top. Some sheet/chunk lacing left on the sides throughout the drink.

S - Very sweet, maybe more caramel in a beer than I've ever smelled before. Some roasted malts, pretty big bourbon smell. Pretty nice, one of the sweeter things I've smelled.

T - Caramel and malt comes through, but this is a big bourbon tasting beer. Quite sweet, with a hot bourbon taste, some slight bitterness. Little bit of coffee, but this is really just a huge bourbon. Hot in the stomach.

M - Medium carbonation, medium bodied. Not great feel.

D - Too hot, had Parabola at 13% earlier and it was much easier to drink than this.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2010 23:20:16 | More by AgentZero
Photo of tavernjef
tavernjef

Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep brown pour to lay inky black in the glass with a huge towering cap of dark tanned foam thats' all lathery and thick. The foam shifts down slowly to a whispy skimming as it coats the glass with a drippy sheeting of lace around the glass.

Aroma is soft but quite nice when taken in as it boasts some nice bourbonyness mixing with chocolate and vanilla. Deep maple hints and dark fruity sweetness pulls thru as it warms as does some slight warmth.

Ooohh yah...this is nice. Smooth subtle tones and a full body carry lovely creamy infused chocolate cream pie with a huge amount of deep, dark maple syrup, vanilla, bourbony warmth and some smokey cedar woodyness and tinge. A tipping of roasty coffee bits and some figgyness emerge late under the bourbon warming and chocolate. Drys off ghostly under the warmth with dusty cocoa. Nice!

Mega smooth full body, creamy, silky, warm, with a slight bourbon tinge on the back of the palate. The smoothness is incredibly palatable! It's not as girthy as Goose Island BCS or other top notch RIS's and Dbl stouts, but its pretty damn full and very smooth.

Drinkable by gallons! So damn smooth and easy going its gone before ya know it. But that 10% would meet you before half way and destroy many brain cells. But yummyness sometimes supersedes responsibiliy...

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2010 02:53:27 | More by tavernjef
Photo of DefenCorps
DefenCorps

Oregon

4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

podunkparte was generous enough to send me a couple of bottles of the 2009 vintage of this. I shared one, bottle #1947/3000 , with John last night.

Pouring jet black with a dense, dark brown head with excellent retention and lacing, this is an attractive imperial stout. The nose is unique in the pantheon of imperial stouts. There's plenty of dark fruit and an almost port-like character. Very fruity with plums and raisins, there's a moderate milk chocolate, some vanilla and licorice. That port character brings to mind one of my favorite stouts, Kate the Great. Bourboon is rather light, there's just a little bourbon and vanilla present. Pretty excellent.

The palate opens moderately sweet with a little caramel, a little sugar, some licorice. A little vanilla is present as well. Again, a port-like sweetness and fruitiness is present, there's raisins and a little oxidation is present. Roasted malt character is low. Mildly sweet on the finish with also a little cola, there's a rather low but perceptible bourbon and oak character. Soft and creamy carbonation is present, this feels wonderful on the palate. Excellent stuff, I do wish there were a little more roast present.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2010 01:10:29 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of chippo33
chippo33

Vermont

3/5  rDev -29.9%

05-23-2013 02:45:30 | More by chippo33
Photo of claspada
claspada

New Jersey

4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2009 Limited edition; Bottle 780 of 3000. Courtesy of hoppymcgee, a gentleman and a scholar.

Man that cork was really in there. Pours a Coca Cola dark dark brown with no visible light what so ever. A small brown inch of head that slowly recedes leaving thick soapy lacing.

Aromas begin with dark bitter bakers cocoa and some lesser milk cocoa chocolate bar. After the initial cacao smells I get the barrel; vanilla, bourbon, light nuttiness and generic wood. Roasted, mildly charred dark malts intermingle with the barrel and some lesser sweet chocolate/dark fruit.

The tastes explode with so much flavor I am at a loss for words initially. First I get loads of dark chocolate, then vanilla and light bourbon, then some dark dark dried fruit (prunes/raisins), then some sweeter milk chocolate and the light oak rounds out the flavor profile. Barrel flavors become more predominant as it warms as expected. No boozy or alcohol flavors at all. Barrel flavors perfectly balance the viscous stout flavors. The base stout isn't too roasty or bitter as some Russian Imperial Stouts can tend to be.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied with medium to low carbonation. Surprisingly drinkable with the above mouthfeel characteristics, the beer drinks rather light (for the style); I am attributing that to this being only (only...) 10%ABV compared to the higher ABV-ed monsters that exist today.

Overall, this is definitely top 5 Stouts/Barrel-aged stouts I have ever had. This beer is once again a winner for me because it fits the criteria that I love which is balance. The barrel doesn't overpower but is definitely still a strong presence. The drinkability is off the charts in that I could finish the whole 750ml if I wanted/had to. Highly recommended and worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2011 00:50:32 | More by claspada
Photo of dgilks
dgilks

Australia

4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle opened for as part of a birthday celebration.

Inky black. Light sucking. Small, creamy, dark tan head. Good head retention.

Very rich aroma. Lots of nuts and alcohol. Caramel and toffee. Vanilla. Oak. Bourbon. A little earthy in the background. Sweet chocolate. Very nice.

Medium-sweet malt with some very light fruitiness. Lots of toffee. Bourbon oak and chocolate. Excellent.

Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. Nice and very creamy.

An excellent stout. Wonderfully creamy and complex. Nice chocolate and malt flavours. Well integrated oak. It has been a while since I've had a nice Bourbon Barrelled Stout and I'm loving it.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 12:07:51 | More by dgilks
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle, #263 of 1152, poured into a tulip.

Pours an opaque black with an enormous creamy tan head, at least 3 inches tall, that goes nowhere and leaves massive lacing.

The aroma is dominated by dark roasted malts and cocoa with the bourbon coming in very faintly. The oak and vanilla are present as well.

The taste has a bit more bourbon character and there is a sweet bourbon kick up front before the dark chocolate malts take over in the middle. There is actually a hint of citrus hops in the finish along with a powdered cocoa finish which comes off a little dry.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a ton of carbonation, maybe a little too much, but it's still a solid feel overall.

This is a very good impy stout and extremely drinkable. It's definitely on the sweeter side of things with the chocolate playing a major role and the bourbon staying largely out of te way. Very drinkable for the style and recommended overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2009 02:32:50 | More by gford217
Photo of iL0VEbeer
iL0VEbeer

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

03-17-2014 12:41:12 | More by iL0VEbeer
Photo of Duff27
Duff27

Illinois

4/5  rDev -6.5%

11-24-2011 00:26:12 | More by Duff27
Photo of Gobzilla
Gobzilla

California

4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark as night black in color with a thin dark brown bubbly head that left some good creamy frothy lacing sticking to the glass.

S: definitely had some a lovely chocolatey aroma with a bit of roast, tobacco blunt wrap notes, signs of bourbon barrel booze with hints of dark fruits, molasses, toffee, and brown sugar sweetness.

T: It had a nice dark chocolatey base with good roastiness, good bourbon barrel character but well balanced booze heat, a touch of dark fruitiness, tobacco blunt wrap accents alongside toffee, molasses and vanilla sweetness.

M: the brew was full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a roasty, mild dark fruity, slightly boozy, bourbon wood barrel, sweet, rich and creamy finish.

O: definitely good as I thought it was going to be, a bit surprised on the tobacco character in it but it was still very good. Finally conquered this elusive beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2013 05:32:33 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of bsuedekum
bsuedekum

Missouri

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally landed after tracking this one for a bit and shared with 4 other friends tonight in a mini-tasting.

A - The look of this one is the best feature of this beer. This beer was poured into 5 different snifters and the head was an inch thick in all five glasses and the beer is jet black like a RIS should be. Makes a person water at the mout just looking at it.

S - I get a good bourbon touch to it without overwheliming the nose with bourbon like some other barrel aged beers tend to. Maybe that's the benefit of only spending 3 months in a barrel. The sweet sugar smell of a BCS hides in there along with a slight vanilla wift hitting the nose.

T - An overall solid RIS with a bourbon profile. It's not an amazingly complex beer to me or one that absolutely electrifies the taste buds, but it's certainly delicious. Bourbon and chocolate are the two tastes that I get out of this one most.

M - Medium bodied and an average carbonation

O - Certainly a quality beer. This review was for a 2010 vintage and this was bottle number 2250 out of just 3800 so Ivan is not abundantly available to all. I'm glad I had this and was by no means disappointed... it's just not that common of a beer and so for the difficulty in obtaining I'm not necessarily wanting to spend the effort/costs in obtaining another one. For all that "want" this beer I suggest in continuing your search for landing it as it was certainly worth having, but don't expect to be floored by it as many RISs out there are equally as good.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2011 02:45:58 | More by bsuedekum
Photo of popery
popery

California

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

04-30-2012 06:41:08 | More by popery
Photo of DmanGTR
DmanGTR

New York

4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to unclejedi for a generous pour at DLD. From notes on 4/24/10

A - poured extremely dark brown, pretty much black. Deep garnet hues in the edges. Light tan head that retained nicely and lent a creamy look in the light. 4.5

S - A lovely explosion of vanilla, charred oak, smoke, and roastiness. Wonderfully balanced. 4.5

T - Very similar to the aroma but less smoky flavor. The chocolate and expresso are prominent but mellowed by some vanilla in the finish. A wonderful beer, the taste is nearly flawless. I wish I could get this near me. 5.0

M - Rich, thick, and coats the palate. Subtle carbonation. Not too chewy. 4.5

D - For a 10% beer, this went down so smooth and so velvety. I could not taste any alcoholic warmth at all. 5.0

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2010 17:56:44 | More by DmanGTR
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whartontallboy

New York

4/5  rDev -6.5%

01-14-2012 06:17:05 | More by whartontallboy
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to jedwards for breaking this one out. 750ml bottle. 2009 vintage, bottle 2264 of 3000. Pours an inky black with a quarter inch, khaki-colored head embedded with ringlets. Head eventually settles into a creamy cap; arcs and spots of lacing are exposed during the tasting. Great nose - dark malt dominates; however, buttery bourbon notes are revealed as the brew warms. The flavor profile really opens up as the glass warmed between my hands - milk chocolate, a little wood, brown sugar and a slight roasted/charred character. Mouthfeel is medium-light, albeit a bit thin, with an easy, even carbonation. There's also a slight acidic tang as well as some residual heat. Overall, this is an exceptional RIS with a great balance. I actually think this beer might be better with a little less time on it, but age didn't really negatively impact it as whole.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2011 18:03:13 | More by Jwale73
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into a Weyerbacher tulip. Sampled at a tasting.

A: Fully black body with a finger of dense brown foam. Solid retention and light lace. Great.

S: Holy. Shit. This is amazing. Bourbon, molasses, brown sugar, and roast. So rich, so deep, so amazing. One of the best-smelling beers I've ever encountered.

T: Super sweet, with all the molasses and brown sugar from the nose, plus some oaky vanilla and bourbon. Amazing, but maybe a trifle too sweet.

M: Full body with moderate, fine carbonation. Lovely.

D: The sweetness borders on cloyingness, but it...is...delicious.

Notes: Gigantic thanks to my new pal Warren for sharing this gem of a stout. I'd heard nothing but good things about Vlad, but I wasn't prepared for this. Even in a tasting that included Darkness '10, Abyss '06, IST '06, BA IST, and more, Ivan stood out as being the most delicious and memorable stout of the night. Now that's saying something.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2010 01:15:44 | More by woosterbill
Photo of drpimento
drpimento

Wisconsin

4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

HUGE. Smackdown. Poured a nice tan foamy fothy head with lots of lace. Color is an opaque brownish black. Aroma is a volatile mix of fermented malt, tar, grapes, oak, walnut, acorns, treacle. Flavor's the same but much more full. Body is luscious with perfect carbonation. Very sweet finish with a little dark malt bitterness and hop. Not a session.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2010 03:43:45 | More by drpimento
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 601 ratings.