Big Sky Brewing Announces Ivan The Terrible Four-Packs

Here is some welcome news from Missoula’s Big Sky Brewing Co. The brewery’s sought-after Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout will be released this year in four-packs of 12 oz. bottles. In past years Ivan had been packaged in 750 ml bottles – great for sharing, but not so great when you wanted to enjoy this dark, chewy, potent stout by yourself.

I took a cellared bottle of 2012 Ivan to the Beer Bloggers Conference in San Diego last month to share around a table of beer friends from Boston, MA to Portland, OR.

What had been a bit of a hot mess when released in 2012 (the alcohol was too prominent and the bourbon overpowering) had mellowed and blended incredibly well, earning great reviews from an expert crowd.  It appears the four-packs will not be the bourbon barrel- aged version (I have a request in for confirmation).

[Update:  Big Sky confirms the four-packs are not barrel-aged, and the brewery plans to release the traditional barrel-aged version in 750ml bottles later this year.]

According to Big Sky, the Ivan four-packs will be released starting next week.  Ivan usually does not sit on the shelves very long and it will be interesting to compare this version to the barrel-aged.  Here’s the full text of Big Sky’s press release:

September 16, 2014 – Missoula, Montana

Big Sky Brewing Company is pleased to announce the release of Ivan the Terrible, Imperial Stout, four-packs. The imperial stout will hit retail shelves the week of September 22nd and is known among craft consumers for its notes of coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and roasted cocoa.

The Missoula Montana based brewery first developed this recipe in 1996 when a Moose Drool recipe went awry. Head brewer, Matt Long recalls the scene clearly: “the power went out and I walked into the brewhouse to one of my co-workers straining dark malt through a tied together Moose Drool tee shirt. Even for us, this seemed a little weird. The gravity was too high for Moose Drool, so we ran with it and added other the dark malts to create our first imperial stout.” 18 years later Ivan the Terrible still holds true to a traditional English style imperial stout.

Ivan Terrible has long been a Big Sky Brewing Company taproom favorite. The brewery has produced the beer every year since its humble beginning, with the exception of 2011. The beer’s loyal fans were disappointed in its disappearance in the same year. Long states: ”We definitely heard from some angry Ivan fans. It was probably the equivalent of going to a Skynard concert and not hearing Free Bird.” The arrival of the four-packs should more than please the beer’s loyal fans.

Four-packs are a popular format for stronger beers–such as imperial stouts–due to the package size and convenience. The 12 ounce bottles allow the opportunity to have a big beer without committing to 22 ounce or 750 milliliter alternatives. “We’ve always been committed to creating packaging that balances the integrity of our product with our customer needs. It’s the reason we can, and it’s the reason we’re offering four-packs of Ivan,” stated Long.

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