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Big Sky IPA - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Sky IPABig Sky IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

464 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 464
Hads: 1,127
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 18.91%
Wants: 32
Gots: 126 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States | website

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Big Sky IPA Alström Bros
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Reviews: 464 | Hads: 1,127
Photo of SometimesIfart
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big Sky IPA.

As always with any review night I need my expected hop fix. Big Sky hasn't overly impressed me as of yet but they sure have disappointed me nor given me a reason to stop trying their beers so there is always room to earn a new lifer. Not sure what to expect here but I am hoping for the best.

Look - From the twelve ounce bottle hard poured into a pint glass. This brew pours a deeper shade of amber that manages to keep its crystal clear clarity with a two finger, slightly off white head that dies down to a mountain range amongst the top of the swill. Heh how fitting for a beer from Montana. Carbonation is on about moderate. Some stick remains but it isn't much.

Smell - Restrained bitter grapefruit piths start of the nose on a high note along side some obvious melon with a moderate dosage of malt to round things out. Almost smells session like with more of a balance and juicy aspect that should ensure it gets a good bit of balance in the taste profile. Not too big of a nose, but welcoming.

Taste - Woahhhhh lord Satan in the promised land of unheilig hell is this guy bitter. Super fresh tropical fruit juices here but the flavor isn't overwhelming with any one over the other but the bitterness is über high. Malt is there in the back ground to present a nice balancing act. Sweetness also joins the fray but it is neither cloyingly so nor overpowering and surely wouldn't prevent you from drinking more than one of these. All fruity and bitter from where I'm sitting Captain.

Feel - The feel is rather full though the body itself stays quite light but it depends on how big a drink you take to let sit around and collect welfare. Bitterness actually tones down a bit and it is highly creamy likely due to the well retained cap amongst the top of the swill. Swallows exceptionally bitter with no surprise given the flavor profile.

Overall - A very solid ipa with a nice flavor that fans of higher IBU brews will enjoy thoroughly. Admittedly didn't expect the bitter for the lower alcohol content but for me it was a nice surprise. I could easily throw down a sixer of this and this is probably my favorite big sky brew thus far. As always try it for yourself and come to your own conclusion!.

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Photo of CCStix
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

This was on sale so I picked up a sixer. The nose is of caramel malts and a kiss of lemon and orange. The appearance is golden amber and slightly opaque. The head was about 2 fingers upon initial pour with minimal lacing. The taste is outstanding. This one borders more on the side of an English IPA to me, but over all a very pleasant flavor of roasty caramel malts and a moderate bitterness that is well balanced and lingers on the back of the tongue just briefly. The mouth feel is slightly thin and over-carbed for me - but I still enjoyed this beer a lot. Overall, this is a high quality brew. I needed a break from hop-bomb West Coast IPAs and this was just what the doctor ordered. Highly sessionable. I would absolutely buy this again anytime I am in the mood for a more malt forward IPA.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

**FROM OLD NOTES, 01/8/12: Sweet Fruity Aroma. Nice Caramel Red Brown Color. Nice flavor, with a bitter finish, but not unpleasant. Medium carbonation. Bottle from Scott Steill. **

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was poured into a pint glass.
The appearance was a dark copper color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated very quickly.
The lacing was stringy and thin.
The smell had a big caramel maltiness leading into some toast and toffee and then escaping into some floral and grassy hops.
The taste was malty sweet with the floral tones trying to make an effort to balance, but they gently slide back into the background. There's a lingering sweet malty aftertaste leading into a sticky finish.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium on the body with a decent sessionable feel to it. Carbonation runs nice on my tongue allowing the sticky caramel malts to cling to my tongue a bit more than a normal AIPA.
Overall, for me, I don't mind it, but as a said American styled IPA, I'd have to beg to differ. Maybe if it was labeled an English IPA on here, it would do the beer its due service.

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Photo of SHDoyle
2.87/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Description: Amber, almost red color with just a think white head. As for aroma, well, it's not what I expected. Initially I found some pine but that gave way to a somewhat fruity scent. It wasn't exactly sweet though, more on the lemon, acidic end of the spectrum and had almost an ammonia-like smell. To be perfectly honest...it kind of smelled like pee. I thought my nose was off or I was imagining things, so without telling my wife what I smelled, I asked her to take a whiff. Her independent conclusion?: "Um, it kind of smells like pee". It wasn't overwhelming but it was definitely there. Fortunately it didn't taste like pee, not that I know what pee tastes like. It was more bitter than sweet and I didn't pick up any pine or fruit. On the maltier side for an IPA and left an aftertaste that lingered.

Suggested food pairing: Meatloaf, meatloaf, double beatloaf

If you like this beer then you should also try: Inversion IPA

Ideal time to drink this beer: At a rodeo, state fair or other event where livestock are present. This will allow the urine bouquet to be masked by other even more offensive animal odors.

Overall: 3.25 (This beer is below average and I would not drink it again) The principal reason I drank this beer in the first place is that I looked at it on the shelf and thought, "Huh? Never had a beer from Montana before." If it weren't for the questionable aroma it would have been better but still not that good. It could certainly have been worse, but it's run of the mill at best.

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Photo of Savan
3.34/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light auburn with cream white head that becomes thing quickly. Smell is thin... hard to pin point (not allot there). For an IPA it has a rather malty complex to it... and a flatter than usual hop profile ( not a good representative of the style but... actually quite tasty ). has subtle pine taste and light (very light) tangerine and other citrus notes.... and.... Butter? Feels refreshing with a medium carbonation and a over all refreshing IPA.

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Photo of jeffsmash
1.09/5  rDev -71.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1

Not sure it it's fair for me to rate this IPA but this has to be the worst I've drank by far. Taste like I'm drinking pine juice from a moose bladder. Sorry but no Bueno.

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Photo of WesMantooth
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled date of 7/23/15

It is a very dark copper, almost ruby in color. Fairly big foamy, off-white to tan head. Decent amount of lacing.

Smells pretty malty. Semi sweet, with caramel and toasted bread. Some floral hops. I would say mosaic or simcoe.

I would probably still say it is real close to being malt forward, but it has a nice balance of hops. Mainly floral, but I get some pine resin and a touch of citrus too. Mostly a sour grapefruit with a touch of orange sweetness. Crystal malts seem to be the base. Slightly sweet caramel and bready flavors are up front, then fade to the background and allow the other flavors to shine. Kind of sneaky bitter. It creeps up on you.

Solid medium bodied IPA. Very smooth, creamy texture. Nice clean finish.

I can see this one being too malty for many people, but I think it pulls off a very nice balance. I also love the ABV on this one. Perfect for drinking a few while not sacrificing flavor. I would gladly pick up a 6 of this one

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Photo of vladdswrath
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Reddish copper with a thin head, somehow leaving a decent lace despite it's small size. Nice aroma, hoppy but not overpowering, just a quick whiff of citrus to let you know it's there. Taste follows the aroma, just a quick blast of the citrus and then a smooth quiet finish. Super mild and very refreshing, this will be going on the short list of session beers I enjoy.

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Photo of pianoguy
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle(s) brought back from a show in Montana

Pours a copper body with a very slightly off white head that dissipated quickly, little lacing

I'm getting pine and a little grapefruit right out of the gate .(scent faded after the pour.) A roasted malt scent follows

Taste pretty much follows the nose but it's more prominent. Pine, with a nice malt backing it up.

Nice average round feel

Overall; The taste beat the smell (which to me seems a little strange) But its a very tasty IPA

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours cloudy copper color with thick off white head. Caramel malt aroma with citrus and pine. Flavor is crysal malt start with some fruit. Finish is bitter grapefruit and pine.

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Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had a bottle at a backyard gathering, this is the first from Big Sky I've snagged. Always thought it's be Moose Drool, since that one's everywhere. I digress. Really refreshing, lots of juicy hop goodness with a nice malt balance. Some floral and grassiness.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tasting notes: A dark bronze IPA with a subtle citrus/pine aroma. Mellow, rather subdued, classic Cascade flavor. Mildly tannic, some lemon and light grapefruit notes against a semi-sweet/nutty caramel malt backdrop. Tannins build a little over time. Moderate carbonation and body. Easy going, temperate IPA lacking in bold resinous, rind, tropical or piney flavors. Old school.

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Photo of dukeandduke
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

3/30/15 (Bottle) - Copper amber pour with a generous white head and solid carbonation. Fruits, malt and pine aromas prevalent and pleasing. Taste of hops very strong and bitter and enjoyable, Clean smooth feel, enjoyable drinking. Overall very good beer.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours amber with a fading head.
Nose shows sweet syrupy malt and some soft piny hops.
Malty flavours, quite clean. Some piny hops. Not particularly complex. An assertive bitterness in the finish.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours golden clear with thin white head.
S- slight hop with fruity wheat.
T- good juicy, fruity hop combination. Is that bubblegum at finish? Nice malt.
F- great balance for a busy beer.
O- I could drink a lot of these. Reminicient of Gumballhead, just not quite as good.

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Photo of mjurney
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Deep amber-gold color, clear. Lots of carbonation rising. Thick off-white rocky head.

Citrus, floral, fruity, a little pine, sweet caramel malts.

Lots of floral hops up front, citrus, herbal, a little piney. Deep malt background, sweet, toasted, caramel, hint of nutty. Finish is dry, semi-crisp. Medium bodied, smooth, dry, a little refreshing.

It's an excellent American IPA.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

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.

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Photo of joe12pk
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%

Poured into a glass.

A - Dark amber with a two inch rocky head. Good lacing.

S - Pine and grapefruit peel

T - Nice hop rush up front, ending with fruit and sweet malt and some light hops. Nice.

M - medium light

O - Excellent ale. This gets sweeter and more complex as it warms. Very glad I found Big Sky today!

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
3/5  rDev -22.3%

This one pours a perfect reddish gold in color that has a decent tan head that settles with moderate speed leaving a course lacing down the glass.

The nose is sweet malts, grassy, bread and some floral notes. Not to remarkable.

The flavor is rather bitter and a little off balance. Nothing to special.

The mouthfeel is a bit too watery as well.

Overall not to great, I would pass on this one. There are much better options out there.

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Photo of RyanK252
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%

Bottle poured into an Alaskan Brewing Co Pint glass

A: Pours deep golden amber with a little off white head.

S: Citrus hops and caramel malt sweetness

T: Citrus and tropical fruit hops, grapefruit and pineapple stand out most, a little caramel malt sweetness to balance it, with a little floral hop hit on the finish. Very well balanced.

M: Light to medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: Very pleasant surprise. Quite a tasty brew.

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Photo of TheCondor
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It has been a while since I did the "mix and match" six pack from a local store, but I thought I would give it a whirl since there were several beers in there I was interested in, this being one of them. Side poured with standard vigor from the bottle into the Sam Adams glass.

Appearance - Pours a standard transparent copper color with a decent one finger head that dissipates relatively slowly. Mostly gone by mid beer. There are small signs of lacing, not many. I like the packaging, I like the concept. Hell I like Montana

Smell - Nice malty backbone coincides with your expected citrus and grapefruit smells from the hops. However, the maltiness and bready aroma pleasantly surprised me, as if in Montana they understand that more is not necessarily better when it comes to hops, even in an IPA.

Taste - Much like the nose, this has a strong malty backbone with enough hops to let you know they are there, but nothing overwhelming. This would probably be called a "pale ale" at some of the more aggressively hopped breweries, although I very much enjoy it. Nice balance between the grapefruit/citrus from the hops and the malts.

Mouthfeel - Finishes clean and just a bit bitter from the hops. Nice snap at the end.

Overall - I was thoroughly impressed by this beer. I had relatively low expectations, but I am surprised and pleased. I would highly recommend this beer to anyone who likes a bit of hops for flavor but doesn't like their taste buds assaulted with them. Excellent beer. Condor recommended and approved.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle dated 03/13/14. Not sure if it's 'bottled on' or 'enjoy by'.

Appearance: Standard copper colored IPA with hints of orange. Thin off-white head that has left some lacing where it has dissipated.

Aroma: Caramel and orange essence. Definitely hinting at being a balanced, if slightly malty IPA. Sort of reminiscent of a barleywine but with much less body.

Taste: The hops really surprised me here, as they dominate the flavor. The only time the crystal malt flavor comes through is for a brief moment right when it first hits the palate. Slightly dry/peppery hop bitterness quickly takes over and builds in intensity. The finish is interesting, while there is a good amount of bitterness there is also a creamy flavor from the malt that appears for a moment. The aftertaste releases some orangey hop flavor along with a lot of bitterness that slowly fades away. Even though I can't find any big flaws in the flavor, due to the one-dimensional bitterness and lack of depth it's hard to praise this one

Mouthfeel: Just below medium in body with somewhat aggressive carbonation, nothing a good swirl can't fix. Pretty easy drinking but nothing to get too excited about.

Final Thoughts: It's rare that a beer I review gets the exact same score in every category. Big Sky IPA is simply an okay beer. It's flavor fits right in with the style guidelines and it doesn't try to get any fancier than that. So while it doesn't impress me, it has my respect in a way. Would I drink it again? If I'm ever in Montana I wouldn't turn it down.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Poured into a pint glass, this one appeared to have a bronze color with a slight transparency about it allowing some light carbonation to be seen rising. There was a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute. The lacing was somewhat clingy and eventually spider webs a bit.
The smell had a decent earthy crisp caramel maltiness with a light kick of citrus bitterness.
The taste was basically the same as the smell.
The mouthfeel was slightly harsh and bitter with a dry effect running over my tongue. Probably about a medium on the body.
Overall, decent AIPA that I could have again.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a golden amber color a two finger of white colored foam. The head has a good level of retention, slowly fading to leave a light level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer has a big smell of a bready and citrus nature with the citrus being mainly of a grapefruit hop smell, but containing some aromas a sweet orange. Along with the grapefruit hop comes aromas of pine and a bit of an earthy smell as well.

Taste – The taste begins with a bready and very citrusy flavor with the presence of a bit of orange sweetness mixed with a grapefruit hop. Other fruity flavors of a tropical fruit nature (tangerine, mango, pineapple) are present from the start as well with these fading as the flavor advances on more toward the end of the taste. The bready flavors take on some more biscuit like notes as the taste advances with the hop really ramping it up toward the middle to the end. While initially only a grapefruit hop being present, hop flavors of pine and a floral nature, as well as an increase in the grapefruit come to fruition more at the end of the taste. With all these changes and a bit of the tropical flavors really coming back strong at the end, one is left with a decently hopped and smooth flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the medium side in terms of thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is on the rather high side. Both actually fit the beers flavor profile quite well with the higher carbonation really enhancing the crispness of the brew all while the medium body did the same, but upheld the nice blend of hop flavors.

Overall – This was a rather easy drinking and quite enjoyable IPA overall. Rather tasty.

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Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 464 ratings.