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Big Sky IPA - Big Sky Brewing Company

Big Sky IPABig Sky IPA

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

854 Ratings
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 Sark


3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- a finger and a half of eggshell velvet head, golden copper colored with low carbonation

Smell- citrus hops with light pale malt sweetness

Taste- pale malts up front, mid tongue grapefruit and hop bitters on the finish

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, moderately slow fade

Overall- a solid IPA out of Big Sky, easy drinking and not overly filling.

Serving type: on-tap

05-18-2013 03:40:29 | More by Sark
Photo of Amalak

New York

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had at Champps Americana in Houston.

A. Nice amber color with a two-finger wheat head that leaves a fair amount of lacing. Bubbly.

S. Malty and sweet.

T. It has a sweet citrusy hop taste to it, smooth and floral. It has a milt bite and a bit of a sour aftertaste, in a good way.

M. Refreshing and somewhat carbonated.

O. This is just a good prototype IPA. When you ask for an IPA, if you are looking for something that is true to the style and not original (in a good or bad way) then this is excellent.

Serving type: on-tap

05-15-2012 16:53:12 | More by Amalak
Photo of 18alpha


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 FanofHefe


4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a pint glass. Clear, dark amber body with a two-finger tan head. Decent retention and spotty lacing.

Not an overpowering IPA aroma by any means, but decent. The hops tend more toward the tropical and floral side on the nose, with just a touch of citrus. A light malt note in the background.

The more bitter grapefruit hop notes come through much stronger in the flavor. Still, a bit of tropical and floral notes accompany. A decent caramel malt balance makes for a solid IPA flavor mix.

The mouthfeel is on the lighter side of consistency. Overall, a very solid IPA that is very drinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

06-01-2011 23:22:26 | More by FanofHefe
Photo of LBBeer


4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A--very nice copper color with distinct lacing

S--Big malt note, not a lot of hops

T--Nice malt profile, that couples well with some serious bittering hops. Just the right anmount of body.

M--Creamy for a hoppy brew, very nice though, great balance

D--Soft carbonation, but not too light. Very sessionable IPA.

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2011 08:20:21 | More by LBBeer
Photo of Thorpe429


4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In tap at the brewery in August 2009. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a pale apricot orange color win a white head. Some clingy lacing. Nose brings rich citrus and a bit of floral aspects. Taste is a bit bready with some pale malt. Slight bitterness and some orange and citrus. Feel is light to medium with good carbonation. Drinks quite well. One of my favorites from them.

Serving type: on-tap

10-14-2010 12:17:52 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer appears a clear medium copper amber, with a thin off-white head, which leaves some random lace around the glass in its wake. It smells of caramel nougat, and grapefruit-dominated citrus hops. The taste is follows almost identically - sweet creamy caramel, and tangy varied citrus hops. The carbonation is quite low, the body smooth and creamy, and it finishes dry, with a woody hop essence.

A nicely balanced IPA, with some slightly unusual, yet tasty variants on the good ol' citrus/caramel theme.

Serving type: on-tap

08-04-2010 06:34:34 | More by biboergosum
Photo of popery


3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours fairly dark for the style. It's a shade of reddish gold with a good white head. Aroma is fairly hoppy but not altogether pleasing. Citrus, pine, grass and an herbaceous woodiness are all present from the hops. The woody note is my main source of complaint. It's even stronger in the taste than the aroma, lending the flavor of fresh bark or a thick stem - uninteresting and blandly bitter. Otherwise, the flavor is fairly dry with some yeastiness. Malt flavors are mild, just a boring background bread flavor. Feel is a bit effervescent but finishes thin.

Serving type: on-tap

06-07-2010 06:01:20 | More by popery
Photo of Daniellobo

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice and very drinkable draft IPA

Presentation: 16 oz draft offering. Menu offers a fair one liner description and brewery location. Served in pilsner-like glass.

A - Amber body with a 1/4" head, good retention and lacing.

S - Resin/pine character with citrus/grapefruit notes.

T - Flavor follow with a hoppy profile that is not shy at all but does not assert itself too much either. Grapefruit, and pine.

M - Medium body and carbonation with a nice crisp bitter finish.

D - Nicely drinkable, almost balanced leaning on its hoppy side, which works rather well.

Notes: I'll be happy to revisit on tap, and sure enough when I come across a bottle. Nice IPA.

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2009 00:37:53 | More by Daniellobo
Photo of david18

New York

4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I loved this beer. It was one of the better IPA's I've had in a long time. Great hoppy aroma, great clarity of color. Perfect India Pale Ale flavor, all around excellent beer. I would recommend it to anyone who can find it. I had it at the beer bar in NY NY in Las Vegas.

Serving type: on-tap

10-31-2009 01:59:33 | More by david18
Photo of shakeheap


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 xmahns


4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great balance for an IPA. I am usually disappointed by IPAs because they tend to be to hoppy with little to no compensation for malts. Not this one! Great roasted malt aromas right up front and in the middle of the taste profile and awesome hop finish, nice touches of black pepper from the hops.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2008 17:41:58 | More by xmahns
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: light orange with 2" head that lasts. Some mild lacing develops.

Smell: grapefruit, caramel, and some soft bitterness is easily detectable by the nose.

Taste: nice caramel base. Grapefruit and milder orange citrus, soft pine, and a touch of honey. Bitterness is strong but not overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: crisp throughout with some dryness at the finish. Short aftertaste as the bitterness lingers a bit. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: nice session IPA that you can find yourself drinking a bit quicker than normal. Great on tap.

Serving type: on-tap

11-28-2007 23:12:42 | More by Gavage
Photo of Georgiabeer


3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Barclay's on College in Oakland. Poured a dark amber with a decent head and great lacing. The smell is citrusy hops and a light graininess against a slightly malty background. The taste is solid. Grapefruity hops, light wax flavor, apricot, and honeysuckle. Slightly sweet, but balanced. Good mouthfeel- decent body, but slightly on the watery side as far as mouthfeel goes, not flavor. Quite good. I could see that this would be heavenly after a day of hiking in Yellowstone.

Serving type: on-tap

08-03-2007 21:44:46 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of orsulacp


4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at the Montana Ale Works in Bozeman, it was the featured brew. The nose was big with floral and grapefruit smells not much malt. It had a cloudy orange tinted copper color with a small white head. The taste was very good, grapefruit and piney hops, very earthy with a good bready malt background. Not too bitter, not too fruity just right. It had a medium light mouthfeel. Good solid west coast IPA.

Serving type: on-tap

08-16-2006 01:44:17 | More by orsulacp
Photo of TastyTaste


2.45/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On Tap at Bryant Lake Bowl:

Definitely misses the style, a dark copper/brown bodied beer. The smell is malty, very malty, almost too malty and sweet. Hops fight for air. Taste is pretty off vs. the style. Carmel malt is as big if not bigger than the hops presence. The carmel cloys, too sweet. A grating beer, not my favorite at all.

Serving type: on-tap

06-25-2006 07:37:15 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of dfried


3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the MacKenzie Bar in Minneapolis. Nice big 1" head, the body was a deep amber, maybe a bit rustier than some IPA's. The smell was rather light, but you can notice the citrus-y hops. The taste is first of citrus/grapefruity hops, then the pale malt comes to back that up after a moment. About halfway through the beer, it seemed a bit metalic and the hop flavor seemed to be not all that prominant in the finish, but by the end neither of those were an issue and there was a pretty strong grapefruit flavor persisting from the hops. There is some pine/resin flavor from the hops as well, and this made for a dry mouthfeel for the beer. This would have to be considered a 'balanced' IPA as there was a pretty distinct malt flavor in the finish too, almost kind of a yeasty/bread flavor as the beer warmed. All in all a pretty solid IPA.

Serving type: on-tap

06-09-2006 13:43:54 | More by dfried
Photo of tavernjef


4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: on-tap

06-02-2006 00:56:24 | More by tavernjef
Photo of GClarkage


4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

09/04/05- On tap at a wine and spirits store in Jackson Hole, WY.

Presentation- Had a few samples into 4oz samplers. The store had a fill your own growler department with about 8 different beers on tap. Very very cool.

Appearance- Fairly deep copper color, nice solid and creamy head and very nice lacing.

Smell- Big hit of pine hops. Not really any fruity scents, but nice pine tree scents.

Taste- Nice and well rounded IPA. Subdued, but nice hoppy flavor. Evens out well with a bit of toasted malt. Fairly bitter.

Mouthfeel- Just a touch on the lighter watery side. Still goes down well though.

Drinkability- Kind of like Russian River's standby IPA. Not too in your face, but just enough to keep your attention and make you want another.

Serving type: on-tap

09-05-2005 19:24:03 | More by GClarkage
Photo of beernut7


4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a nice copper colored beer with a nice head. The flavors of this beer build upon the blueprint set forth by the Scapegoat pale ale. This beer is a bit more aggressive with a spicier hop profile and strong, but smooth bitter finish. Very good.

Serving type: on-tap

08-18-2002 08:03:13 | More by beernut7
Photo of msquared36


3.59/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Deep amber with off white foam that provides decent lacing.

Not a strong aroma, maybe a faint floral hint.

Carmel malt at the front. Fresh, floral malt finish.

Fine carbonation on the tip of the tongue but overall very smooth.

If I'm craving a hoppy IPA this probably wouldn't be my choice. But it's a balanced, drinkable beer. Actually quite tasty.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2014 22:42:46 | More by msquared36
Photo of vette2006c5r


4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big Sky ours a darker copper color, with a nice large lacing white head. There is a nice hoppy and floral aroma. The taste has a noticeable but subtle malty backbone with some nice floral notes. Not overpowering, good hop bite, nice blend with the sweet malty backbone. Overall its a well balanced, and very enjoyable IPA. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2014 01:03:58 | More by vette2006c5r
Photo of MartzMimic


3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper with a bit of haze. Foamy head that reduces fairly fast. Some pine, malt and floral notes on the nose. Lemon, oranges, pine with a bit of bread. Decent bitterness. Medium mouth, but oily enough that it leaves a lingering aftertaste. Nice complexity without trying too hard. Not the best IPA out there, but if wouldn't mind having one now and again.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 01:50:29 | More by MartzMimic
Photo of whatthehull


4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a wine/snifter/tulip

A - Swampy golden orange with a hint of earthy brown, one finger tan head and very sticky lacing

S - super rad hop funk right off the nose, bright over ripened pineapple, tons of sugar, fresh malts, grainy, very dense loaf of bread, common flowers, very yeasty and a nice pine sap like note

T - Huge sweet malt with a crazy citrus/pine/pineapple/floral hop. Kind of punches you in the face with all of that at once. nice booze note, dense, a slight mary jane, biscuity and very frsh tasting

M - Full bodied, well balanced, not much complexity but just the right amount, medium plus acidity (but very refreshing) and a very nice long sweet, to hop to sweet malt finish.

D/O - This is a beast of a malt backbone IPA. All the hops and malts you want. Drinks like a snack. Haha. Not quite a meal, but a snack for sure. Very refreshing, great taste and easy to drink. This should suit any ale lovers guidelines of taste

Final thoughts - Very reasonable $8 sixer and a nice 6.2% abv, I could drink this all day!

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 04:54:04 | More by whatthehull
Photo of lochef81


3.49/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This ale pours a very nice hazy deep amber color with a slight white head. The aroma is malty and sweet with some hop notes but nothing remarkable. The flavor follows suit. Mostly malt with a bit of a pine hop bite. This is a good beer but nothing worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 04:50:15 | More by lochef81
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Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 854 ratings.