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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

462 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 462
Hads: 1,115
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 18.91%
Wants: 32
Gots: 118 | 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: 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: 462 | Hads: 1,115
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best by 9/13/12.

Pours a clear copper with a 1 inch foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt and some grassy and herbal hop aromas. Taste is very much the same with pine and herbal hops up front and the malt coming through on the finish. There is a medium amount of bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good IPA that has lots of earthy hop aromas and flavors.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a good ipa i suppose, maybe more english in style than american, but a very drinkable version either way. it smells grassy and lemony at the same time, a definite blend of hops in this one. american and english malts add some seriosu body to this, which is an interesting mix with the less intense hops. the hops flavor is much less intense, and therefore more drinkable than a lot of big american india pale ales. its got some sweetness in the finish, not crisp and dry, but not drawn out either. it just sort of entices me to keep sipping. a 6pack of this is no problem in an afternoon, especially with the grill going out back and football on tv. the feel is interesting, plenty of body for the style, and average carbonation. its a good not great ipa, but it is distinct from its peers in a lot of ways, a hybrid really between english and american styles. props to big sky for this one.

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Photo of brentk56
4.16/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a nicely contructed head that retains fairly well while leaving sheets of lace around the pint glass

Smell: Biscuity and musty, with piney undertones

Taste: After an initial taste of the biscuit, a huge piney blast overtakes everything else, and is joined by some very tart, almost lemony, grapefruit flavors at mid-palate; after the swallow, the herbacious, oily tartness is overwhelming, although after a while it blows itself over and the initial biscuity flavor returns

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Really a very nice session IPA

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
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.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with ruby highlights. It had a pillowy, tan, two-finger head of foam that left streaky, trails of lace.

S - Great aroma of pine, spruce and grapefruit. Some burnt toast malt smells, too.

T - It tasted of burnt toast caramel malt, grapefruit, orange peel and pine. The hops provided a bitter bite at the back of the tongue.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a dry finish. A medium-bodied, yet easy-drinking ale.

D - This is a very good IPA. I have yet to be disappointed with anything from Big Sky, so I am not surprised with the quality.

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Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

amber color with a touch of gold highlights was well carbonated. Nice head of white pops up quickly and leaves a good bit of side glass lacing as it works its way down. Light pine and orange peel are mixed in with a very bready, biscuit like aroma, though it could have been a bit stronger. Smooth, bit heavier body here, but well carbonated took a bit away from the crispness of it and the bready flavor really seemed to take control of it mid way through. Light dry finish

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy, amber body with a short-lived, skimpy white head.

Smell: Piney, citrus hop scent with some pale malts floating around in there.

Taste: Pale malts, though no real sweetness. Instead, we jump right into the pine, citrus hop flavors with a medium bitterness. Lightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A decent, well-balanced IPA.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a GameWorks shaker pint glass.

Thanks to VDubb86 for sharing his Montana Mixer!

That sky ain't so big... The brew underneath pours a mostly clear straight amber topped by a half-finger of white foam. The nose comprises pine, piny grapefruit, and caramel; standard IPA fare. The taste holds notes of slightly watered-down pine and ruby red grapefruit and some slightly smoky toffee. The body is a kinda hefty light, with a light carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, a very nice IPA, very standard, but tasty enough and very drinkable.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big Sky has produced an excellent, very drinkable IPA! It pours a beautiful, hazy, glowing orange body with a crimson cast and golden highlights. The frothy ivory head holds well, and leaves walls of very thin, tiny bubbles in its wake. Bright, juicy grapefruit greets you in the nose over a gently caramelish and biscuity malt base. In the mouth it's smooth with a delicate caress from the fine-bubbled, moderate carbonation. Medium bordering on medium-light in body. The flavor offers more grapefruit, a touch of pine, and some pineapple before the maltiness appears. It's lightly sweet, caramelish, and biscuity. The bitterness is solid, but not aggressive, and it finishes dry with a quick note of citrus seed, and some lingering piney hops. Inviting. Accessible. Refreshing. Drinkable.

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Photo of mactrail
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Handsome amber color in the tall Stella glass. Decent but not noteworthy head. Plenty of spritz on the tongue.

Restrained bitterness but an abundance of hop flavors. Pleasant flowery nose. Medium body but rich mouthful. Very drinkable brew that avoids the flavor extremes, but is a perfectly acceptable IPA. Some earthiness in the aftertaste along with the bitter hoppiness.

Quite drinkable with the sudsy mouthfeel, but a little thin and sharp overall. From the 12 oz can bought at Bine and Vine in San Diego.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.87/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into an imperial pint glass in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are low given beers from this style are usually brewed without balance in mind in my experience. No best before date on the bottle, but I consumed it the day I bought the variety pack it was part of to minimize the potential of hop decay.

A: Pours a three finger head of no cream, bad thickness, and good retention. Colour is a clear light copper.

Sm: As expected, the only detectable note is hops. I'd guess cascade. A moderately strong aroma.

T: A hoppy flavour profile with too much bitterness plaguing the third act. Some light malts try to aid the balance but fail. An imbalanced IPA that is nevertheless somewhat pleasant to drink. It's built with an emphasis on hops without regard for balance; this may please fans of the style but I don't find it appealing.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the floral notes of the body.

Dr: Drinkable but lacking balance. The cost is okay. It hides its ABV well, but the quality just isn't there to justify another purchase.

I suspect it would pair really well with a spicy food. Maybe chicken wings?

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade from KenGage, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark golden brown color, with a large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of piney hops, sweet citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts with a good burst of hops bitterness followed by sweet flavors of caramel and citrus. The malt character is a little bit thin for the style but brings some substance. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, not the best IPA out there but it's a pretty good beer to drink for a while.

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Photo of russpowell
4.7/5  rDev +21.8%
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.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best by 5/3/2012. Pours crystal clear orange amber color with a nice 2 finger dense light khaki head with fantastic retention that reduces to a thick cap that lingers. Some decent lacing on the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange, pine, floral, caramel, biscuit, and herbal spiciness. Nice and well balanced aromas with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, pine, orange, caramel, honey, biscuit, and herbal spices. Good amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pine, caramel, and biscuit on the finish for a bit. Great malt and hop balance, showcasing a great citrus flavor throughout. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy and slightly sticky mouthfeel. Very smooth drinking; with basically no alcohol warming presence. Overall, some seriously excellent stuff here. Great balanced flavor profile, and very smooth drinking. Recommended.

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Photo of chinchill
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, burnished peach coloration, with a slight, slimmish white head.

Pop! Big, brassy hop aroma, invades the nose and spreads delight therein. Dark fruit suggestions, with a citric twist. Spankingly fresh and alert. Nice, nice, nice.

Hop bite continues when the brew blasts past the lips and boards the palate. Crisp, slightly tart, bracingly bitter, but flush with flavor. Hoppy attack returns with each sip and gulp. Just what I look for in an IPA.

Full bodied, fierce hop attack, unrelenting flavor...long, fruity, bitter finish...hey I like this! And I like it better from this bottle than I did on tap, oddly enough...or maybe I should go to the neighborhood bar and try, try again.

In any case, this is an IPA not to be passed up by the hophead in your life, be it you, your priest, your best friend's big brother, or your wife's mother's older daughter.

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Photo of jwc215
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours copper with an off-white head. The head is well retained and leaves rings of lacing down the side of the glass.

The smell is of floral hops - notes of pine and oranges.

The taste is of hops - pine, orange and grapefruit balanced by caramel malt to give it body and a smooth, creamy texture. The hops take the center stage throughout.

It's creamy and smooth while maintaining the bitterness that should accompany this style. The body holds up well and the flavors linger.

A delicious offering, and a solid example of an American IPA. Wish this were available in my area. Thanks to bitterbill for two of this enjoyable brew!

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

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Photo of mothman
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass

Color is a golden orange hue. 1 finger head. A little retention leaving some splattered lace.

Aroma is very hoppy. Mainly floral hops. There are some grapefruit ntes, honey, and bready malts. This is what an IPA should smell like.

Taste was not as bitter and flavorful as I was expecting, based on the smell. The floral hops and honey are present as well as some citrus fruits.

Mouthfeel is a slight bitterness but overall, pretty smooth. Ends with a clean hoppy aftertaste. Seems well carbonated.

Overall, I was a lot more impressed by the smell of this beer as compared to the taste. However, it was a great representation of the style. I would easily drink this beer again,

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Photo of drabmuh
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a nonic pint glass. Beer is amber and slightly hazy. Lots of lacing with moderate carbonation.

Aroma is sweet with minor piny aroma.

Beer is medium bodied and has a moderate bitterness. It's kind of sweet. A little dry in the finish, it's an ok ipa. There is a mild pine flavor in the forward to midpalate. I would have it again but there are much better beers out there.

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Photo of stakem
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz can into a tulip shaped pint glass. Thanks are owed to SDDanC for this extra in our recent trade. Thanks man! The brew appears a clear amber orange with lighter orange coloring around the edges. A finger of yellowish tan froth sits across the top and fades to a thin film supported by rising bubbles of carbonation. As the cap fades, it leaves a full wall of lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma presents a decent array of enjoyable hop qualities smelling of fruit like orange zest/rinds before getting a bit herbal with hints of minerals. There is a bit of a cheesy hop quality bringing things all together before the mild onset of toasty grain. Overall though, not a bad smelling brew.

The taste is bitter and rindy like pulp/zest of the previously mentioned oranges or grapefruit. A hint of caramel to toasty grain character is present providing a very mild sweetness for the hops to play off. some herbs, minerals and sulfur to cheesy quality is also present across the back. It leaves a lasting resinous cling inside the mouth after each sip.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Overall, not a bad brew. I am appreciative of the chance to try this as I otherwise would not of had the opportunity. If you like your ipas super resinous and bitter with an herbal touch, this one is for you. The alcohol is pretty well integrated for it's listed percentage.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 462 ratings.