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Summer Honey Ale | Big Sky Brewing Company

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Summer Honey AleSummer Honey Ale

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States

Style: American Blonde Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.70%

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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-16-2002

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Reviews: 164 | Ratings: 320
Photo of BeerBelcher
1.48/5  rDev -56.2%
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.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.07/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

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Photo of Chaz
3.9/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

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Photo of Padron4KM
2.63/5  rDev -22.2%
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.

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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 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 terrabyte
3.12/5  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.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.71/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

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Photo of watermelonman
4.02/5  rDev +18.9%
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.

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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 Mdog
3.91/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.6/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of RJLarse
1.91/5  rDev -43.5%
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.

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Photo of loren01
3.33/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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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 TastyTaste
4.3/5  rDev +27.2%
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.

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Photo of rowew
3.68/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of RootedFool
4/5  rDev +18.3%
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.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.95/5  rDev +16.9%
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.

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Photo of KoG
3.97/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy yellow, almost the color of honey. Produced a good head that didn't last long and left a slight lace.

Smell is honey and a bit of wheat and sweet malts. A good smell even without the slight hint of hop.

Taste is creamy and a touch sweet fading into a nice hop bitterness that goes down smooth.

A nice summer seasonal that is quite drinkable. Seemed a bit more like a cream ale than an APA to me.

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Photo of alexgash
4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a vibrant, sparkling, golden yellow, with a coppery sheen. Tight-packed, persistent guaze-white head. Nice. Soft, tangy malt aromas underscore definite honey and some peppery spices--maybe coriander. Interesting and good. Peppery spices dot biscuity malt flavors up front. Light, honeyish sweetness gives way to an herbal, peppery bitterness. Soft mouthfeel on a medium body. I could swear there's some wheat in here. Nice summer ale that thankfully is not just another American pale wheat ale.

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Photo of battlekow
3.82/5  rDev +13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this beer on a 90-degree day on a trip to the grocery store, figuring it would be refreshing. Upon arriving home, I discovered that I had been locked out of the house. Fearing for the beer's life, I managed to get a window open and crawl in. It was worth it, this beer is pretty good.

It's pale gold with a big, creamy head. Good lacing. Looks like the kind of beer I want to drink after mowing the lawn. Doesn't smell too much, a little bit of spiciness, but tastes great. The scent is representative of the flavor, a very easy-drinking beer with a bit of spice. Excellent and refreshing on this particular day.

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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 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 woemad
3.62/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The bartender at The Viking in Spokane gave me a bottle of this on the house. The label features a bear doing something to a tree that's just plain wrong.

Poured a slightly dark yellow color, with a moderate white head. A very slight amount of lace.

Smell was of a honeyish sweetness, coupled with a more submissive spicy bitterness.

The first thing to greet the tastebuds is a honey flavored sweetness that, while not quite something I'd call mild, nevertheless is not over the top. This is quickly followed by a very mild peppery hop bitterness. Not a bad tasting beer, but it didn't send my tastebuds into ecstacy either.

This is a medium bodied beer. Nothing to complain about here. Nothing earthshattering either.

This is a perfectly drinkable beer, though it's nothing fantastic. I'm just not a fan of honey beers. It was quite good at the price I got it at, but I'm not sure I'd seek it out and pay actual money for it.

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Summer Honey Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
3.38 out of 5 based on 320 ratings.
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