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Big Sky IPA - Big Sky Brewing Company

Big Sky IPABig Sky IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

854 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 854
Reviews: 437
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 12.01%


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:
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 added by: beernut7 on 08-18-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 854 | Reviews: 437 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of shakeheap
shakeheap

Oklahoma

5/5  rDev +30.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-11-2009 22:52:13 | More by shakeheap
Photo of 18alpha
18alpha

Montana

4.9/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Love this beer! There is a lot of art in this IPA.

It has enough IBUs to be a solid IPA but it doesn't beat you to death with the hops. The malty quality takes the edge off of the bitterness. I love hoppy beers but I don't claim to be a hop head. I think this is a beer most hop heads will enjoy but if you are looking for maxed out IBU, you'll probably be disappointed. Still, this is a pretty big beer.

The finish is the key. It brings you right up to the edge where a lot of IPAs lose it. Rather than the ragged bitter finish you get with most American IPAs, Big Sky takes you right to the edge and then eases you into their signature clean finish.

If you are looking for a big, clumsy beer this ain't it. If you are looking for an IPA that cuts lines like a figure skater, you might want to give this one a try.

Serving type: on-tap

11-04-2011 23:36:42 | More by 18alpha
Photo of Huffaroma
Huffaroma

Montana

4.9/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured this into my beer stein so the most description that I would explain would be the aroma and the taste. As I am a hop head and very biased towards my home town beers, anyway the pour was great a nice golden copper pour. The head was a great build nice and fluffy. Like I was saying before though the aroma is what really caught me from the this beer much like the taste. It was such a great grapefruit/piney smell and the hops just bring back so much flavor while drinking it from a stein.

Taste-It is truly a wonderfully hopped beer that it stayed through the beginning and finished very clean. This could be partly because the water in Montana is some of the best tasting clean water and Big Sky brews their beer with great integrity.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 04:40:38 | More by Huffaroma
Photo of LarrBear
LarrBear

Minnesota

4.88/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am very impressed with every offering I've tried from the Big Sky brewery, and Big Sky IPA is my favorite of the bunch. The burst of hops and citrus scents upon opening the bottle promises good things to come and it doesn't disappoint. The strong hops bitterness lingers pleasantly on the middle-back of the tongue, but does not overpower hints of grapefruit, oranges, and perhaps apricot. This brew pours a dark amber with an orange haze, topped off with a lot of tan foam.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2008 03:24:37 | More by LarrBear
Photo of ChrisCastillo
ChrisCastillo

Washington

4.85/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Cracked one open on a blissful Saturday (may 19) night here in Seattle, WA

Appearance: Big Sky IPA pours into the glass a deep, dark, maroon copper, quickly building a creamy dense head, almost marsh-mallow like.

Smell: sticky and pungent hops grab your nose right away . hops are very piney, with notes of resinous fir needles. Aroma makes me feel like im a dense forest of pine trees on a hot summers day. Notes of tropical fruit and citrusy overtones fade into the background as well. This one is about the hops, no doubt

Taste: Thickly glides onto the tounge, bitterness right upfront, not too cloying with the bitterness, just right. toasty malts come into play next, with some hints of roasted caramel malts. Aftertaste dances with sticky hops, those pine and fruity flavors present

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, thicker than most american IPA's. The robust mouthfeel almost makes me think im drinking an imperial IPA.

Drinkability: A well brewed IPA deserves to be well drank. This brew is candy for hopheads, and deserves to be sipped rather than guzzled. But by all means this beer is easily guzzible.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2007 06:28:16 | More by ChrisCastillo
Photo of orcasteve
orcasteve

North Carolina

4.85/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

this is a mild yet very sexy ipa, it is clean and crisp and hides its acohoal well, the taste is powerfull floral hops and a nice sweet malt, i wish that this was avalable in new york, thiss would be in the fridge at all times if it were, i am in search of more big time

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2008 12:40:41 | More by orcasteve
Photo of disastermouse
disastermouse

Virginia

4.83/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Browner than most, a truly substantial-looking A-IPA.
S- Wow! Cleansing 'arugula' smell.
T- There seems to be more complexity to this A-IPA than most I've tried. In truth, there's very little malt in this one, but it is detectible underneath the hop-bomb. It tastes 'fresher' than most hop-bomb A-IPAs I've tried. I'm not really sure how to qualify that. It seems like most IPAs I've tried have a 'staler' hops taste.
MF- Once again, very substantial for an IPA. Bitter astringent qualities followed up by a 'clean' feel. Hard to describe.
D- You can't pound them down all night (well, maybe YOU can), but you can certainly line up a few as long as you've got a ride home.

This has become my favorite IPA. I honestly didn't really understand the hype about IPAs until this beer. It just seems so well put together that the hop 'bite' tastes right.

Just an exceptional brew all around.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2008 22:25:10 | More by disastermouse
Photo of supercolter
supercolter

Wisconsin

4.8/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was a really good beer.
Appearance was good, didn't quite have as much head or lacing as some of the other IPA's I've had though.
Smell is very good. Floral hops grab at your nose. Yum the sweet and bitter combined is something to behold.
Taste is similar to the smell, but almost palpable. It is like drinking gin as thick as sap, Fantastic.
Mouthfeel is very good as well being medium to high medium in body.
Pour me some more.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2006 06:25:40 | More by supercolter
Photo of Jellopants356
Jellopants356

Montana

4.71/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark bronze. Smells very good, hops and a slight citrus smell. A thin and spotty cream head with nice visible carbonation. Very full-bodied taste with hints of pine, citrus, and of course lots of hops. Reminiscent of a pale ale body. Perfect mouthfeel. Overall a very good IPA and one of my local favorites. I love to have this beer anytime i'm offered it among other local IPAs because it is so balanced in taste and with an IPA of 6.5%, it packs a punch too!

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2013 06:41:37 | More by Jellopants356
Photo of BeerMePlze
BeerMePlze

Illinois

4.7/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This IPA has Great aromas of grapefruit and citrus. Hopbomb on the front end but then finishes very nicely...and IPA that I can actually drink a few of in a sitting. 6.2% ABV, so it only takes a few anyway!

Not too heavy on the mouth, a great overall beer!

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2009 16:58:57 | More by BeerMePlze
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.68/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours caramel to orange with a giantic 4 fingers+ of white rocky head. Great lacing & head retention

S: A riot of pine & grapefruit! A hint of malt sweetness in the background

T: Huge grapefruitty hops followed by malt sweetness. Pineyness & some fruittyness follows. Finishes dry & grapefruitty. Just needs a touch more malt to be perfect IMO

MF: Medium with great carbonation & balance

This drinks too easy. A hop head's delight to be sure! Reeks of fresh hops. really enjoyed this. Easily one of the best IPAs I've had.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2006 04:03:31 | More by russpowell
Photo of alcstradamus
alcstradamus

Washington

4.65/5  rDev +21.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2009 03:36:16 | More by alcstradamus
Photo of aaron12
aaron12

Washington

4.63/5  rDev +20.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2010 00:56:38 | More by aaron12
Photo of richkrull
richkrull

Wisconsin

4.63/5  rDev +20.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2011 00:36:18 | More by richkrull
Photo of Skidz
Skidz

Wisconsin

4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours out bright golden-amber and sits a beaming copper in the glass with a large off-white head, fading to a thin skim with some lacings around the glass.

Smells bright and orangy with bits of grapefuit and pine. Highly floral aroma with just slight specks of maltiness showing through.

Tastes softly malty up front, a bit of caramel here, a bit of toasted malts there. Hops quickly gain steam and push through a torrent of pine-tinged orange and grapefruit flavors with lime zezt all the way through. Moderately assertive bitterness coming into the finish, lots of resins to pass the time between sips.

Super clean and adorably smooth in the mouth with mild to moderate carbonation and a medium body.

I am impressed. This is just a great IPA. All I could ask for is a bit better head retention, then this would be nearing a perfect score. Add a bit more on the malt end of things, and this would be phenomenal. Right now, it's just superb.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2006 02:35:28 | More by Skidz
Photo of crayphish
crayphish

Illinois

4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Love the art work on this brew. This liquid appears a golden orange liquid, with little carbonation, and decent initial head that fades quickly. Some splotchy lace. Smell is a wonderful grapefruit burst. Sweet citrus. The citrus flavor explodes with this beer. Grapefruit foremost, followed by tangerine. Most of the sweetness here is citric in nature, not much malt. Mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing, the taste lingers and begs for more. This is an IPA that i would LOVE to see 12 packed.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2009 07:26:07 | More by crayphish
Photo of Beeg1
Beeg1

Minnesota

4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I find this beer pretty awesome. When reviewing a beer, I think it is most edifying to note what you would change. When using this mindset with this beer I find very little I would improve on. I definitely appreciate a "fresh" aroma of hops with an IPA, the more flowery the better. This beer fits the bill. It is balanced which is a great thing. Any beer should have some balance between maltiness (sometimes sweetness) and hop bitterness.

For comparison, Surly Furious is another delicious beer which satisfies most hopheads, and took me some time to warm up to, but is definitley more "unbalanced" regarding more hoppiness than this beer. They are both delicious in in their own right.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2009 00:45:01 | More by Beeg1
Photo of therica
therica

Maryland

4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

AMAZING. AMAZING IPA.

A= I poured lightly into a 6-ounce tall glass, almost no head, might be different in a different glass and pour. Gorgeous red-amber, rich but unusual for an IPA, very nice. Huge 2-inch head when I poured the remainder of the bottle.

S= bountiful hops florals galore. Maybe tangerine predominating or something. I'm hyper-ventilating.

T= Amazing, fantastic, superb, one of THE best IPA's I have ever had. Compare to Troeg's HopBack Ale, more local for me and a regular on-stock favorite, but this Big Sky IPA is far better, amazingly enough. Very abundant in hops varieties, citrusy yet not the contemporary pop-fad grapefruit overbalance. PERFECT. Amazing hops florals, bitter yes but not biting. Very pleasant hops-bitters. Maybe some burnt-caramel in there.

M= lots to explore in the aftertaste and swallow.

D= if you're an IPA fan you'll be drinking it when the sun comes up.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2008 02:05:49 | More by therica
Photo of naterock
naterock

Missouri

4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured into a tulip, deep copper and a nice thick rocky head. there is even a slight purpleish hue, very very slight.

smells incredibly floral, some malt in the background and a twinge of alcohol. grapefruity and piney hops.

Tastes like a wonderful balance of caramel malts and incredible floral and citrusy hops. nice bittering but not too overpowering. so complex for a single IPA I don't think there gets much better for a single.

mouth is just slightly oily but not distracting or viscous. carbonation is just right to help the bittering hops but perfectly inviting. This is the first time I've had the opportunity to have this beer but if it keeps this high quality standard, then it will be the best single IPA I can have.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2009 02:06:05 | More by naterock
Photo of LittleDon
LittleDon

Texas

4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber with a slight haze. Nice thick head with copious lace. Aroma is citrus and floral. Strong hop profile, grapefruit, but not as pronounced as in the aroma. Medium mouthfeel and big bitter finish. Overall, I was pleased, much hoppier than expected, but not overly so.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2009 18:58:45 | More by LittleDon
Photo of TheBungyo
TheBungyo

Washington

4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I first heard about this beer about a year ago. A friend of mine who is from Montana (as am I originally) mentioned how great of a beer this was. Well, they recently began bottling it, and during his last trip home, he brought me a couple bottles. Now that's kindness eh?
I'm glad to say that he's right ... this is a GREAT IPA. A bronze amber body is poured from the bottle capped by a half finger of dense cream head. Lacing is decent. The nose is one of the best I've encountered. It is the perfect balance of pine and grapefruit that I find more inviting than a furiously rung dinner bell. This IPA is gratefully not too sweet and bursting with hop flavor. Pine and grapefruit dominate but it quickly morphs into non sour lemon rounded out by mellow caramel. I'd call this the perfect session IPA. I know I could drink plenty of this happily. Mouth is medium and even. I'm really hoping the next time I visit Montana this is on tap at the local bar. I really look forward to enjoying this again. A beer Montana can be rightly proud of.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2006 06:20:15 | More by TheBungyo
Photo of mdm4584
mdm4584

Arizona

4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased this near ASU in Tempe, AZ. Pretty hard to find in Arizona.

Heavy on the hops and alcohol.

Piney overtones.

Anyone the notice the "herb" in the nose?!

Suprising 6.2% ABV with such a pungent smell and striking taste.

One of the better brews coming out of Big Sky. Would definitely buy again.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2007 04:11:35 | More by mdm4584
Photo of PerzentRizen
PerzentRizen

Mississippi

4.53/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a trade with Colts9016 - thank you for the great trade Benjamin!

Upon first sight and smell I thought this might just be another "decent" but not great IPA's - man was I wrong! The flavors are so much like any great West Coast IPA (re: Blind Pig, Pliny the Elder).

Poured into a Duvel glass (10 minutes outside the fridge). The color is a dark but clear reddish bronze color. The color reminds me of any great Scotch Ale. The color may be a touch darker than many West Coast IPA's I've tried (Perhaps this is the reason for the "B" rating).

The aroma is a bit muted but smells just like an elephant ear from the fair - no kidding! There is some floral hop smells but mostly I'm picking up on the massive malt attack. So far looks like a scotch, smells like a scotch....if it had a kilt and a brode I'd ask it to join me in a round of golf!

The first taste is instant love. If this beer would have me (and I weren't already married) I might consider a proposal. The flavors are so attenuated, dry, earthy, and pine-ily hopped I am mystified that the aroma didn't match! This is so much like Moyan's Hopsickle in that the flavors just pop the right way. I have to say this is one amazing beer. I wish I had about 23 more of them.

The mouthfeel is extremely full which surprised me because there was no sweetness in the taste. The brewers got the perfect carbonation and the taste layers are ideal for a truly great IPA.

All of this makes this an extremely easy drinking beer. I would drink it in a boat, with a mouse, and on a train, with a goat, in a house, and in the rain! I do like this IPA, I would drink it every day!

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2009 19:21:34 | More by PerzentRizen
Photo of DogFood11
DogFood11

California

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rocky tan head sits sturdily on top of a shiney copper colored body. Lace is coat like with rings mixed in. Crystal clear with intermitent carbonation slowly rolling to the surface.

Hops are up front, mostly I get Citrus and a touch of ripe grapefruit. There is an earthy quality to this brew that I can't put a finger on but its welcomed and a nice addition. A late spiced aftertaste. Clean and Crisp. Excellent.

Notes: This is a rare combination of Big Hops without being overbearing. For me this is a benchmark type IPA. I don't see this all to often but it hits the shelves at Bevmo's now and again.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2006 03:21:06 | More by DogFood11
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glowing pumpkin when backlit with bright morning sunshine. Not only is the color fabulous, but the beer has that 'hop dust' haziness that I love to see in an IPA. The crown is even more spectacular. It's pastel orange in color and is a huge mass of bubbles that is sticking like glue to the upper reaches of the glass. This is one of the best lace displays that I've seen in quite some time.

The nose is Simcoe heaven. It's bursting with a tropical, funky, citric fruity, pine-soaked resionous that is right up my IPA alley. Best of all (well, second best anyway), there's no caramel malt to muck things up. I haven't tasted it yet, but how the hell is it that this beer doesn't get more love? Limited distribution probably.

Outstanding beer! While the nose was somewhat short of a sensory overload, the flavor fills every nook and cranny of my tongue and looks for more taste buds to impress. Each mouthful is a veritable explosion of pure, hoppy pleasure and should be required drinking for all lovers of Simcoe hops.

The malt backbone is on the big side for the style without tempting me to pull out the DIPA comparisons. There may be a wee bit of caramel maltiness, but I could just as easily be imagining it. The focus here (as it should be in all IPAs and DIPAs) is on humulus lupulus. It's balanced more than it is a bitter bomb.

Given all that pale malt, it's no surprise that the body/mouthfeel is on the big, lush, plush side. I might even call it lightly sticky. The best part is that it keeps that luscious flavor on the palate long enough for me to wring the maximum amount of enjoyment out of each and every mouthful.

I like this brewery. I should have had some inkling of how good their IPA would be since Scape Goat Pale Ale is 'bolder and hoppier than most APAs', to quote my review. As good as that beer is, though, it can't hold a candle to the hop-infused splendor of this beauty. Montanans have reason to be proud. I would definitely drink more than my fair share if I lived in Big Sky Country.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2006 15:20:56 | More by BuckeyeNation
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Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 854 ratings.