Crystal Ale | Big Sky Brewing Company

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Crystal AleCrystal Ale
41 Ratings
Crystal AleCrystal Ale

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States

Style: German Kölsch

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ZAP on 05-28-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 41 |  Reviews: 38
Reviews by GClarkage:
Photo of GClarkage
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

*from notes in August 2004.

Appearance- Poured with a generous head and very slight lacing. Kind of a pils color except a bit darker.

Smell- Smell of grains and grass. Maybe a hint of sweetness. Some kind of fruit but can't remember.

Taste- Was very crisp and lots of malts and hops. A bit sweet at the same time also.

Mouthfeel- Was a bit over-carbonated. Although, it did go down very smooth. Just remember those bubbles all over my mouth.

Drinkability- A very nice summer beer. Would be fairly easy to consume many of these over a hot summer day.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
2/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – Clear and orange in color with a lame head.

Smell – The light hops and scattered spicing is spoiled by the overpowering nasty grain.

Taste – All I can get out of this is some cheap, candy sweetness and a hint of hops.

Mouthfeel – Very thin and flat and not refreshing.

Drinkability – Sorry I couldn’t find anything positive to say about this one. It just left me cold. I'm popping open my Bethlehem Brewery growler of Oatmeal Stout that Francisweizen sent me.

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Photo of ADR
3.7/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Something new from Big Sky, one of a replacement series for Slow Elk Oatmeal Stout, though I hope they try a new and better Stout sometime...

Bright darker gold, almost luminous then chill hazing. Head is scant with about 20 seconds of duration. Laces in punctuation marks. Wild honey aroma, very sweet. Flavor is the epitomy of malty, seems to confirm the pale malt the name imples, being quite stuffed with treacle, brown sugar, trace of fig, slight nuttiness late, and lots of light caramel. Body is thickish, carbonation, lower. Hardly a trace of discernible hop. Not very refreshing to me, pretty unidimensional and not really balanced, but makes a definite statement. I like it in a different kind of way.

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Photo of BillyB
3.83/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a bright straw yellow with a thick, foamy white head. Very clear.

Slight bitter taste with a hint of lemony citrus and faintly sugar-cookie/biscuity maltiness. This is a nice balance between bitter and malt where neither is overwhelming but both show their character.

Very light/thin bodied. Very soft.

A very drinkable beer.

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Photo of cokes
3.85/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden hued with a modest white fluff retreating rapidly to the outmost edges of the glass.
Malt-heavy nose for such a lightish ale. Smell of Maibock, caramel sweet with herb bitters.
Begins with a caramel-laced breadiness. Again, this hints havily at a maibock. Turns grainier by midway, as fruit attempts to squeek out but has little success. Nevertheless, some pears to manage to edge past the parched grain. Possibly some wheat hues in here as well. Ends with a wildflower and lemon herb hop snap, then a lightly lingering caramel-pear sweetness.
Generally medium in stature with moderate carbonation. Plenty drinkable to boot.
A fairly unique creation. Somewhere in between a kolsch and maibock, with some American blonde/wheat ale traits tossed in.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big Sky's Crystal Ale delivers a crystal-clear golden ale that's sweet, refreshing, and tasty! It's bright white head drops quickly and it leaves little lace, but its brilliance and glowing, golden highlights help to make up for that. Sweet, honeyish malt greets you in the nose with a cusp of floral Hallertau hops; and the flavor is almost exactly the same. It's very clean in both the aroma and flavor; and it's nicely balanced towards sweet malt with a restrained hop bitterness and floral and delicately spicy hop flavor. It's very easy to drink, and with an alcohol content of 4.7% you could have a few; although there's not really enough complexity or finesse to lend it any more drinkability. In a word.... quaffable!

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Photo of russpowell
4.18/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a pleasant suprise, wasn'ty expecting a whole lot out of this, but was fairly pleased and impressed

Pour golden and clear with a chunky white head, Maintained a 1" head to the finsih with tenacious lacing

Smell: Floral hops, malt, and frutiness

Taste: Malty/husky goodness with floral hops filling in the taste gaps nicely.

Mouthfeel: Balanced and very smooth, carbonation is spot on!

Hope this highly drinkable ale grows distribution roots here in CO Springs, I was pretty happy with 3 of 4 beers on offer, only the most high profile Moose Drool failed to please me. This beer will be in my spring-fall rotation if availible.

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Photo of bditty187
3.95/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright, amber-gold in hue, lazy animation dances towards the white head. At the apex the bubbly head reached almost two fingers in height. Impressive. The head retention was good; it slowly faded to a loose cap. Subsequent lacing was very spotty and hardly noteworthy. There is nothing unusual about the appearance. The potency of the nose is modest; unless a Kölsch is done to perfection the aromas are often loose and simple. Well, just by smelling this I’m not sold that this is a true Kölsch, anyway. The aromas are weakly malty with some underlying grain, wild flowers, floral hops, and a suggestion of caramel/honey covered fruit. The bouquet is pleasant enough even if it doesn’t say much or that loudly. The palate is very similar to the nose. This is okay. There is a nice biscuit malt backbone with trace caramel flavors. These characteristics are the main focus of this beer. Secondary are pleasant flavors like honey, flowers, hints of grass, and some faint candied fruit. The construction of the palate is simple but purely genius. I have no complaints. It is very refreshing, mainly because it is straightforward. Upon tasting this I have no doubt that this is a great stab at a Kölsch. Hop bitterness is moderate but it balances the beer wonderfully. Medium in body, light but appropriate carbonation, the mouthfeel is very agreeable. This beer is wonderfully drinkable. I could easily sit back and quaff a six-pack of these. It is too bad I only purchased one bottle when I was in Burnsville, MN. When I seen more, I will buy more. It is worth a try, IMO, for a good summer or lazy day quaff.

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Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 12 oz bottle from Liquid Solutions.

A: The kolsch pours with a deep yellow color, crystal clear (and therefore spot-on with the name). The head was sufficiently large on pour and leaves some decent lacing in the glass.

S: The kolsch has a surprisingly assertive hop character, showing off a dry crisp zatec-like body. The malty body nicely supports the hops, showing off a grainy and fruity element. I am very pleased with the ale, as I was worried about getting a thin malty mess.

M: The assertive hops and sweet malts are nicely paired, creating a smooth and enjoyable brew.

D: Damn, I wish I lived in Montana, this is a real sessioner.

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Photo of AsburyParkJMH
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was hoping to find a different offering from Big Sky but this was the only option available so I gave it a whirl and it wasn't half bad.

It pours a crisp golden colour with a bubbly foamy white head atop the liquid.

Aroma is semi-sweet and grainy with a nice basic balance of malt and hops. There's a hint of chalky spiciness in the mix here as well.

The flavour is basically more of the same. It's subdued but flavourful. The sweetness permeates throughout with a bit of a caramel and sugar candy flavour, and it blends well with the malt flavour here. There is a touch of floral flavour from the hops but it is only faintly noticeable. Mouthfeel is light and crisp and easy drinking overall.

This one was basic but thirst quenching and pretty well made. It won't wow you but it gets the job done.

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Photo of Gusler
3.92/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-Tap @ Papago
The beer fresh from the tap is a nice clear blond color with a big fluffy white head that dissipates slowly leaving a fine curtain of lace to cover the glass. Nose has a fresh crisp hint of hops, sweet malt, quite appetizing; start is somewhat sweet with a pleasant grain profile and the top light to moderate in feel. Finish has a stern acidity, hops potent and the aftertaste dry, a real nice drinking beer; I had three pints, just damn good.

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Photo of Mark
3.56/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This refreshing beer was a pale gold and was topped by a thick white head. Lacing was good. Grainy aroma, almost pils like, with accent on malt. Strong malt base with a slight hop zing. A bit biscuity as well. While not too heavily hopped, it has a good long finsh which I found a bit interesting. Refreshing beer but a bit too lager like for me. I slightly suspected this but was hoping for something a bit more ale like in substance.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.32/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bought one single of this. I am assuming its a summer the freshness might be a problem.
Its a pretty average looking Kolsch..golden ,like Tate and Lyle syrup from the UK..large frothy pure white head..leaves a small amount of laceing.
liked the aroma of this very sweet and floral without being overbearing..even a hint of hop in the background.
taste is quite acceptable smooth sweetness at first ,than a burst of bitterness..and again a sweet finish. Honeyish in tone sometimes.
Its pretty average on the palate and is borderline cloying in the end..though it just manages to stay on the palatable side of it.
I dont think this is a bad certainllyisnt a good one either. Its one that i would accept but i doubt would buy again.

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Photo of RushLimbmalt
2.06/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a light golden color and has no head. It has that sour, bready aroma that Kölsch beers seem to have in common.The flavor is a bit thin and has an odd bitterness from the hops that is not enjoyable to me. This is the second time I have tried this beer and for some reason I remembered it being better. Maybe it just doesn't fit well as a wintertime brew.

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Photo of battlekow
3.82/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big Sky's Moose Drool and Scapegoat Pale Ale seem to be pretty popular around here; some places even stock cases of the former. Haven't come across this one nearly as much. It's pale, orange-yellow that could be described as "piss-colored," but I'll be a gentleman and call it "apple juice." Smells and tastes malty; nothing especially interesting going on here, but it is quite refreshing. It's frequently said that a beer would be good after mowing the lawn--well, I just did mow the lawn, a huge expanse stretching from my back door to the Milwaukee River, and this beer hit the spot afterwards. Personally, I prefer this to Big Sky's summer seasonal, the Summer Honey, as a beer on a hot day. If you like spices, though, go for the Summer Honey.

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Photo of d5001986
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of woodychandler
3.49/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This poured with a big, thick, foamy, marshmallow-white head with decent retention. The color was a bright lemon-yellow. The nose was faintly malty, but I experienced a slight bitterness on the tongue. The mouthfeel tended towards thin. The finish was very dry with a lingering presence of hops. It wasn't a bad kolsch, but I've had better. That said, it was eminantly drinkable, especially on a humid day.

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Photo of hopdog
3.33/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had this one from a 12oz bottle.

Poured a medium golden color with an averaged sized white head. Aromas of citrus (light lemons) with light hops. Tastes of citrus, sweet malts and lightly bready. I found the body to be somewhat on the thinner body.

Notes from 10/11/05.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.13/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Written From Notes Compiled 6/04-8/04:
Bright gold color, medium sized, fast-fading white head, leaves minimal lace on the way down. Smell is of grassy mal, yeast, and faint floral hops. Tastes mostly like a lager. Thin body, perfect amount of CO2. A goo refreshing beer, no matter what style it's called.

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Photo of HopHeadKen
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanx to friends from Valporaiso, IN for saving one of these for me.

Good PFFFtttt when the cap comes off; Pours clear golden yellow with a decent amount of thick white foam head that soon dissapates to a thin lace and ring around the glass.

The bottle contained a small amount of sediment, so I am guessing that it might be bottle conditioned.

Light malt and subtle hop aroma; and first taste is a mild hop flavor, somewhat citrus; this beer is smoothe with a hop aftertaste.

Not BIG hops like an IPA, but smoothe. I cannot identify the variety. Mt Hood ? Amarillo ?

Good as a lunch beer with a BLT - cold on a hot summer day !
Would be glad to drink more.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
2.83/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

poured into pint glass.
Appeared a light golden with small, but lingering head. Aroma was promising. A bit sweet but had some hops.
Taste was light, like a thicker Coors Light. Nothing special. Had some sort of creaminess to it that camoflauged the taste, or maybe there wasnt much flavor anyway. I could not drink two.

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Photo of Huffaroma
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of brentk56
3.23/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy golden body with a fluffy head that leaves some lacing

Smell: Biscuity malt aromas dominate with a bit of grassy hops in the background

Taste: Starts out with a rather sweet, biscuity aspect that persists through the finish; after the swallow, the grassy hop flavors kick in

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and moderately carbonated

Drinkability: Not really to my tastes as this is way too sweet for me

Not sure why this is considered a Kölsch. Nothing on the label or website identifies it as such and this is way too underattenuated to be representative of the style. Had I rated it to style, the ratings would have been lower.

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Photo of harpus
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of mac56
3.77/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bought this at the local muni here in town - no freshness date, so no way of knowing how long it's been on the cooler shelf. Deep golden color. Moderate head that faded away quickly leaving moderate lace. Slightly floral aroma. Well balanced taste, slightly sharp, very quenching. Full satisfying mouthfeel. I could drink quite a few of these.

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Crystal Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.53 out of 5 with 41 ratings