On-tap at the Happy Gnome: Gorgeous dark copper color. Clear body and glimmering. Thin and quick cap of dusty white foam slips away soon after the pour. Lacing is in a few globby strings and bigger spots.
Aroma is clean, crisp, and rounded in a wonderful fruity sweetness thats deep and rich mixing well with a hoppy grapefruit pith thats been bruned or scorched into a dry pine bittering sour tone. Quite nice. A bit resinous and greasy too.
Flavors are solid with good depth and roundedness, crisp, clean, and bold. Short and sweet in the front, kinda dark and apple-y, sweet, toasty, and firm. Middle, well, there isn't really a middle as it skips right to the finish with bright and crisp hoppyness of pine and juicy citrus tones. Clean, milding, and smooth bitterness ensues into the finish with a bit of grapefruityness sliding around in a dark and resinous center. It's quite good actually, and possibly deserving of a better number then what I'm giving it, but there was something about it that seemed unperplexing and medium about its flavors. I do, however, like its darker, thicker, tone.Hmmm....tough to call, could be better but how, I'm unsure. Complexity? Caramel?
Feel is somewhat thicker then most other IPA's; given its clean and crisp nature. Somehow, and whatever the reason why, it tends to carry a bit more darker heavyness for its underbelly then others that don't use the caramel brigade of malts. This was pale but rounded, semi toasted, clean and bitter, but sweet and dark. A nice aspect to the beer and its flavors. Mellows out some as it warms and the bitterness tends to seep in and out from time to time. It's darker nature and simple yet supple and giving bitterness does slow down the drinking of the brew. It's got a uniquely heavy crispness and, almost, greasy fashion. More of a "winter" IPA then for warmer months, but damn good none the less.
Received this in a recent trade with russpowell, thanks again Russ! Big Sky IPA leaves the bottle a surprisingly clear polished copper with a few streams of carbonation crawling up the sides of the glass. A fingers worth of off-white head grew on the pour and took its time fading slowly to a skimming with a respectable ring. Solid drink lines are left behind after each drink. Big Sky is a good looking IPA.
Aroma is big in the malt department. As a matter of fact this is a malt driven IPA, I'm more a fan of the hoppier versions but this one smells very inviting. Caramel and a bit of toffee take center stage. There's faint showing of a tea leaf like hoppiness and some slightly sweetened orange toward the backend. I'm enjoying the nose on this, let's see how the flavor goes.
The tea leaf hoppiness is more pronounced but a squeeze of orange finishes things off nicely. Caramel and a dry biscuity type maltiness make up the majority of the flavor. While there isn't a great deal of hoppiness present there is a bit of a buzzsaw in there. A slight bitterness runs right down the middle of the tongue. Again, while malt driven IPAs usually aren't my favorite, this is one I enjoy.
The body has enough heft to place it in the moderate category but there's a pleasant lightness. The carbonation doesn't look like much but pushes the beer through at a healthy pace which brings out the hops more then if the carbonation was a little more mild.
This is an easy drinking IPA. Not the hop attack that you will find in others but very enjoyable none-the-less.
Their IPA is another solid beer from Big Sky. I could see myself picking this up occasionally if it was distributed in my area. I'm more a fan of the hop bomb IPAs but this certainly has its place and is well made.
Review from 11/06/06
A - Clear, copper colored body. Small, fluffy tan head.
S - Light and citrusy. Sweet. Strawberry and a bit of grapefruit.
T - Bitter bite that I didn't expect given the smell. Piney hops working together with citrusy hops. Slight sense of a light caramel malt. Bitter aftertaste.
M - Light to medium bodied. Decent enough carbonation.
D - Easy drinker. Not a bad beer.
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