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Big Sky IPA - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Sky IPABig Sky IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,060 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,060
Reviews: 461
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 31
Gots: 89 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: beernut7 on 08-18-2002

In Montana, many classic memories are made right after someone says, “Hold my beer and watch this.” These bold, assertive moments deserve a bold, assertive beer – Big Sky IPA. A distinct hop presence and malty backbone will leave you refreshed and ready for your moment of glory. Hang on tight and enjoy the ride.

65 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,060 | Reviews: 461
Reviews by gpogo:
Photo of gpogo
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Clear amber body with decent carbonation. 1 centimeter tan head that seems to retain well.

A- Lots of citrusy hops especially grapefruit aromas. Slightly earthy smell.

T- Initially a sweet malty flavor that immediately gets bombarded by hops. Finishes with a caramel malt flavor.

M- Medium-light body with high carbonation.

D- Not bad. I'd drink it again.

More User Reviews:
Photo of alcstradamus
4.67/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A--Pours a copper color with two full fingers of head that would have overflowed my pint glass had I not stopped 3/4 of the way through the pour. It recedes slowly and leaves some lacing.

S--Wow what a smell. This is as potent as any west coast DIPA. Floral, pine, and citrus hops engulf the nose. Oranges, banana peels, dandelions, grapes. Very high quality nose, one of the best IPA's I've smelled

T--Flavorful and balanced. I thought there would be more bitterness based on the nose but this is fairly subdued. There is a bready/caramel maltiness that evens things out very well and makes for a very enjoyable taste. The hops mostly floral/pine in the taste, but there is also a citrus sting.

M--Very oily, glides down the throat and coats the roof of the mouth on the journey. A stickiness remains after the swallow that almost glues my tongue to my mouth. Carbonation levels are moderate.

D--Could put down a sixer if I had to, but 3 or 4 would be enough. This is very easy drinking due to the subdued bitterness and leaves you wanting more because of how it coats your mouth

This will definitely become one of my go-to IPA's. It is solid in every category and I am very surprised it is not rated higher than it is. It is on par with any other than I have tried including Two Hearted and Stone IPA. Great beer.

Photo of shakeheap
5/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Passing through Missoula there was the billboard on the side of the interstate. Brewery next exit. Free samples. How'm I gonna pass that up?

Oh, man. They were all pretty good here at Big Sky. The IPA... outstanding. Excellent. My current favorite beer.

Passing back through in the other direction I drank my brewery limit (only IPA this time) and bought a cool bottle opener that says "Big Sky Brewing Company: We make water fun!" Indeed. I'd be needing it for the half-rack I bought fresh out of the brewery fridge and carried back to the roof of the hotel in Seattle.

Night before leaving I sat up there between the Needler and the Sound watching the ferrys run back and forth and thinking it would be the last time I'd have this beer for a long time... if ever. Big Sky doesn't have distribution in Texas. Good News! They do in Oklahoma and since I visit often... oh yeah!

To my tastebuds this the perfectly balanced hoppy/citrusy IPA. My session beer.

Photo of aaron12
4.6/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this is my favorite ipa. to me it's perfect. i have waited to review this beer because of that reason, i wanted to make sure it was true. i first tried big sky ipa about two years ago. each time i come back to it, it blows me away. the perfect blend of hops and malt. others have said this is a "classic" tasting ipa. meaning tastes a lot like the first american ipas of the late 80's early 90's. well, i don't know about that cause i wasn't drinking ipas back then, but i don't feel that this is a "safe" ipa in any way. it's not easy to make such a great tasting ipa at 6.2, and i've had many other old school american ipas but they still don't hit the same spot. this has become my standard for which to base other ipas. thank you big sky, i'm here to stay.

Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good clarity to the pour,a clear copper with a thinner but sticky slight off white head that turns into a soapy-like froth.Nice hop profile in the nose quite piney spiked with grapefruit rind a nicley developed carmael sweetish malt base shows itself well as well,wow this is a mans IPA here big resin and pine with deeply rooted grapefruit rind in there and definently bitter whoo!A earthy drier malt bas struggles to stay with the hops finally just completely giving way about mid glass.If you like aggressive hopped bitter American IPA's this is it for you personally I loved its brashness.

Photo of brownbeer
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Autumn orange without much head on this one.

S- Doughy biscuit malt, citrusy(grapefruit), leafy hops.

T- Fresh, fruity hops. Bright with flowery notes.
Tastes better than it smells. There is some diacytl. Crisp clean finish, bitterness fades quickly.

M- Light to medium body with a crisp carbonation.

D- Good beer, especially considering the price range. A solid "take to a party" IPA.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue II:

A departure from the many English beers Big Sky brews, a healthy dose of Simcoe hops are used to bitter and flavors this beer. We dig the how the animal theme is genuine and not corny as hell, "Antilocapra americana" blazing this label.

Massive white head that slowly settles with an neat-looking plateau in the middle, ample lacing and retention is seen. Very clear deep copper color. Fresh orange zest from the hop aroma, maltiness goes a little nutty and the yeast gives a hint of fruitiness in the nose. Smoothness is packed deep, and the creamy medium body holds firm. It's a back and forth from hops to malt starting off with a sweet bready tone to a slick, oily herbal flavor. Then there's a light caramel note to a semi-prickly bitterness, biscuity grain to a bit of citric rind. Finishes off with more lingering oily hop flavor and runs a little dry.

This is a perfect snapshot of what American IPAs were back in the 1990s. Easy drinking and balanced but still with a very pronounced hop flavor, it's not a trait you see as often, and it's great to experience it again.

Photo of Beaver13
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a copper orange with a huge fluffy off white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is big on piney, slightly fruity hops with some sweet caramel malt in the background. Yum!

The flavor is sweet sugary melon initially, followed by a big piney hop bitterness with a long lasting bitter finish. As it warms, the flavor dulls some. The mouthfeel is kind of soft, but smooth and pleasant.

Overall, this was a huge surprise. This is an excellent IPA. I got this in a mixer sixer, but will definitely be getting more of this. This could be one of my new go-to beers, alongside Titan, Hercules and Dale's Pale Ale.

Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, w/o freshness/bottling info to be had. Pour rich, dark almond amber, lighter kahki head, that leaves a slight collar and light scattered bit of lace. Fruity and fragrant hops in the nose. Big and bold ale, plenty of malt coating the underbelly, sweet and smooth. The hops are equally smooth and lighly grapefruit infused as well as grainy and biting. Respectable hop crunch, quite drying and satisfying. Well done Big Sky. Big beer and hop lover, go get some

Photo of Mora2000
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber color with a minimal white head. Smell is hoppy, with some citrus as well as pine. There is also a little bit of caramel malt in the smell. The flavor is predominantly hops, with grapefruit being the easiest flavor to pick out. There is also some more malt in the flavor. Overall, a fairly well balanced IPA and one that I really enjoy. I picked this up in Arizona but now that we are getting Big Sky in Texas, I think I will be drinking a lot of this beer.

Photo of chadjulius
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

It's golden-brown in color, malty, hoppy to the smell, which are strong in the taste as well. The taste lingers too, but not in a bad way, its just a strong, dominating taste and "mouthfeel." A litter bitter tasting.

While it is a nice tasting beer, I think it would be good to have in moderation, as in follow this IPA up with a different beer. I should add that there seems to be a hint of metallic smell to it.

Oh, and it's 6.2% Alc/Vol

Photo of bsp77
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Pint glass.

Appearance: Clear orange-amber with a frothy white head and very nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet toasted malts and citrus hops. Some pine as well.

Taste: Much more hoppy and bitter than the smell indicates. Pine and citrus hops with a ever-so-slightly sweet toasted malt counterbalance. Finishes very bitter, which lasts and lasts.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, very dry finish.

Drinkability: Excellent IPA all around. Nice sipper but hard to have too many.

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Resiny piney hops dominate the nose with grain aromas in the background.
A tea colored pour with a slight haze supports a 3" off white head with a slight yellow tint. The head persists and leaves thick lace.
An initial malty palate hints at fruit in the middle and then give way to a pleasant, citrusy, lingering bitterness.
Medium body and carbonation.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A darker ipa than expected, brown to amber. Average carbonation, head, lacing, aroma, a bit pinier.

The pine doesn't come out so much on the tongue, a decent amount of bitterness, but the hop flavor and zing comes out moreso than just plain pucker. Big malt background. Roast. Has that frequent wood to grittiness/graininess downbottle. Loses hop feel to something more bland. But hey, balanced.

Decent price, nothing special.

Photo of whoneeds8
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass golden orange with a very thick froathy head, great lacing. Smells of strong hops. The taste is a little flat in the hops flavor. It might just be the type of hops they used. There is a weird aftertaste on the back end. The mouthfeel is fine. This is a nice IPA, but that's about it.

Photo of ADR
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Attractive deep orange color, clear appearance. Sturdy white head of good duration. Strings for laces. Aroma has plenty of hop power, pink grapefruit and some underlying apricot solidity. Certainly not balanced between malt and hops, but that's fine because there is a good amount of bitterness without it being cartoonish. Nice pithy Chinook hops sense starts things out, some nuttiness from the malt helps finish the flavor profile. Definitely more aroma hops than the Pale Ale from Big Sky. Fruity sense to the close. A nice version of an American IPA, and one I can see picking up anytime the mood for the style strikes me. Good looks, flavor, and aroma.

Photo of chinchill
3.23/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Undated 12 oz bottle purchased last week near brewery.
Pour is orange-amber with a thick, creamy, tan head. Earthy and piney hops dominate the aroma and the flavor. A bit of citrus in th taste too. Medium body with medium+ carbonation. Fairly smooth.
O: too earthy and piney for my taste.

Photo of dc55110
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice light copper, with a 3/4 finger of light foamy head, which quickly dissipates leaving a small amount of lacing.

Very nice piney aroma, not much else there, the slightest floral hints.

The nose foreshadows the flavors completely. This is all about pine. Taste "bigger" than the 6.2% listed on the bottle, there is a slight boozyness to it.

Clean and crisp, this isn't a tongue destroyer.

A nice "everyday" IPA out of Big Sky.

Photo of richkrull
4.58/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark bronze color with a good amount of beige head and pretty good lacing.

Smell is pretty balanced caramel malt and hops.

Taste is very hoppy, just how I like it. Also some citrus and a bit of spice coming through.

Mouthfeel is light to medium. Very good easy drinking IPA.

Overall a great beer. I'll definitely get this again. I really liked this beer.

Photo of CamuMahubah
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yes, sir, I had gotten myself into a beer of substance...first bite I meant first taste...

Gorgeous amber...Fooled again!...I have had this beer a few times before I found this place and I never once poured into a glass to get a good look at her...boy oh boy was I missing out!...She's absolutely gorgeous!...easy on the eyes orange amber with tons of big bubbles...the biggest I've ever seen!...Lace like a French...well you know...

She smelled weedy...which did nothing but make my mouth water...I knew I was in for a wonderful hop bite...staring down the neck of this bottle was sorta like looking down the barrel of Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum..."Do you feel lucky?, Punk!"...This beer pulled no punches...

Bam!...Hops for days!...Just what me wanted...and me getted!...I needed that citrusy, weedy, herbal kick...tried a lot a of beers in me time and one thing is certain...go to the IPA's when you need your palate refreshed...I have never even had a double...can't imagine a bigger gun than this...nor the need...but hoohah and overkill are man's best entertainment...

Yo tengo hombre!...after the second one of these jokers went to the fridge and pulled out a chunk of Havarti and and some smoked brats...Afterwards I felt religous...I don't know if that cheese, and that sausage are supposed to go with that beer...but they did and I lived to tell of it...

You guys...I own a 70 Cadillac with the 472...I don't drive her much because everytime I start her the NASDAQ goes up!...on Sundays I fire her up and go for a spin...something happens...something not entirely good...but evil...a good evil...same thang here!...And yes I know of the hop shortage...is that why this beer goes down so good?...a guilty pleasure perhaps...Hops are a wonderful thang!...every drink feels like I'm mashing the gas until the secondaries open...This beer is a magic carpet ride...cain't harldy wait for next Summer and swimming in the pool and barbecued ribs..and Big Sky I.P.A....

Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz Yankee pint at the Iron Horse restaurant in Missoula.

This beer appears a clear, medium copper amber hue, with one fat finger of cushy, frothy, and bubbly off-white head, which leaves some layered active storm cloud lace around the glass in its generally short wake.

It smells of big grapefruit and bitter orange fruit esters, semi-sweet bready caramel malt, nougat, a bit of yeast, and more leafy, floral hops. The taste follows almost identically - sassy, though more muddled citrusy hops, hints of bitter pine resin, and more pleasantly rounded bready caramel and toffee malt sweetness.

The carbonation is quite low in overall strength, but still peppy in its frothiness, the body a stocky medium weight, and well smooth in the face of those swirling hop bastards, and even a touch creamy. It finishes a bit off-dry, the caramel malt seemingly waiting for the parking attendant to come 'round, with a citrusy and woody hop essence carrying on without the band.

A nicely balanced west coast-ish IPA, with some slightly unusual, yet tasty and minor variants on the good ol' bitter citrus/sweet caramel theme. Glad I got this in, before our entrees plopped down on the table, ever so welcome in their arrival, and yet I think I shall order another of this.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.61/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to THECPJ for this one!

A: Pours a clear ruby/copper color with a chunky, two finger, offwhite head which sticks around a while. Nice chunky lacing down the sides.

S: A subtly citrus aroma, heavier on the malt side. The hops present as some grapefruit and orange. There is a sweetness from the malt, a little bit of caramel as well.

T: A nice citrus flavor up front, more grapefruit. This is followed by some caramel malts, heavier on the malts than expected. Slightly bitter with a a little bit of a metallic taste.

M/D: Medium bodied, felt that it was lacking in carbonation slightly. Overall, it was good, the metallic taste brought it down as did the mouthfeel. Taste was good though, a solid drinkable IPA.

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a clear, ruby amber with a thick and pillowy 3 finger, off-white head. Great retention. Leaves a thick, impressively sticky lace.

Smell - Faint. Spiced hop. Earthy.

Taste - Follows the nose. A fair amount of spice and citrus hop, with a good balance of malt, apple and earthy. Not an especially aggressive IPA, but an interesting flavor nonetheless.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium body. Carbonation lends to a nice, crisp bite.

Overall - A very good IPA. Not especially hoppy, but makes up for it in great balance and a nice, complex flavor.

Photo of GilGarp
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served cold in a pint glass.

It has a redish amber color with great clarity (especially for an IPA) and good thick head. Great lacing is left behind as the head settles slowly.

Aroma is sweet and nicely hopped with a fresh citrus smell.

Flavor is also well done with good balance and perfect hop profile. There's a nice hit of sweetness up front followed by fresh grapefruit and other citrus. A little bit of toasted caramel from the malts but it's mostly just a stage for the hops to shine.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and maybe a touch over carbonated for my tastes. Drinkability is good for the style especially at an indicated 6.2 percent which is fairly low for an IPA.

Overall a really good IPA. I wouldn't say it's entirely west coast nor is it a classic east coast example. It turns out to be Montana style. Very nice.

Photo of Fusion_Pirate
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased in a six-pack from my local grocer.

A: Poured into a New Holland Brewing 16oz glass, Big Sky IPA yielded a 1/2 finger of head, with heavy lacing and strong retention around the glass. The color is a gorgeous dark, copper/amber color...darker (more IIPA) color than what you'd expect from a standard IPA. Beautiful!

S: Strong floral and citrus notes hit the nose immediately- then a rich, powerful caramel rush finishes it. Not a typical IPA smell combo, but really awesome nonetheless.

T: Here's where the hops come out of the woodwork, and in a balanced, almost understated way. A nicely rounded flavor overall, with a sprucey, semi-floral bitterness, coupled with more of that rich caramel-candy malt noted earlier in the initial smell. Not the greatest flavor on Earth by any means, but smooth, balanced and sessionable.

M: The carbonation is great- on the mild side, aiding and supporting the flavors, not overpowering them. It hits the tongue with a silky-smooth flow and goes down well; but I wouldn't mind a slightly drier finish.

O: For the price ($9.00 sale for a sixer), this beer is a real steal! I wouldn't hesitate to pick this one up again on a warm summer afternoon sometime. Kudos to Big Sky for a unique, accessible and satisfying take on the India Pale Ale formula.

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Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,060 ratings.