Big Sky IPA - Big Sky Brewing Company

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Big Sky IPABig Sky IPA

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very good

454 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 454
Hads: 1,077
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 32
Gots: 101 | 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
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Reviews: 454 | Hads: 1,077
Photo of Beaver13
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
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. (651 characters)

Photo of budgood1
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours out a dark amber colour with a fairly sized off white head. wisps of lace. aroma strikes me such as similar to celebration...resiny, piney, grapefruit tinged hops with a sweet malt to balance. taste is a handful of those woody, resiny hops....more piney than citrusy...although there is a definite lemony citrus undertone to the hop profile. not too bitter, just flavourful in a delicate sort of way. a touch of alcohol rounds things out. straitforward sweetness from the malt profile comes across as sort of a butter/toffee mix. not too inspired but adequate to provide some balance. mouthfeel is of dancing hops; the body a bit underwhelming. finishes with that good old hop puckering bitterness that make an IPA a treat to eat. quite drinkable if you just want to enjoy an IPA or two and get your hop fix.

worth revisiting. (836 characters)

Photo of RJLarse
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a couple of bottles of Big Sky IPA at an upscale grocery store to taste, review and enjoy. I poured this beer in to a pint tumbler.

Pours a copper color and is slightly hazy. A foamy three-finger cream colored head forms and is very resilient. The head produces a lot of lacing.

The smell is fairly strong, floral and fruity. There are a lot of citrus aromas.

The taste is fairly strong, citrus (grapefruit) flavors dominate, with a nice malt backbone.

The mouth feel is crisp smooth and clean, with a nice buttery feel.

This is a very drinkable beer. It’s not as bitter as a lot of IPAs and has a more pronounced malt presence. It may not be the most hopped up example of the style, but it’s a very nice easy drinking beer. (759 characters)

Photo of garymuchow
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice and moderately instense citrus, floral and grassy hops. Cleanness in background.
Very clear and a bright reddish copper. Full head of cream to yellowish color with good stamina. Well laced. Very good looking.
Hop qualities dominate in both flavor and bitterness. Much the same characteristics (floral, grassy, citrus) with a greater piney notes. Just a note of nuetral to sweet malt up front, with a nuetral foudation to help balance a pretty darn bitter beer. The bitterness and the dryness last a very long time. As warms there is just the slightest touch of caramelly malt.
Medium feel with a relatively soft carbonation that falls on the flatter side. Despite the somewhat low alcohol I feel a warmth. Good smoothness.
I can see where for some the hops and bitterness are beyond the pale, but for me this hits all the right notes. Really an enjoyable beer. (874 characters)

Photo of SwillinBrew
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I decided to try this when i started seeing Big Sky at my local Bevmo.

It poured a strong copper color with some brassy tints on the edge and nice finger of light parchment colored head. Nice bubbles fizzing their way to the top. What a nice punchy wall of citrus, bold citrus and a little citrus blossoms on the aroma. Quite decadent and i love it.

On the taste, there is that bold hop flavor with the citrus, a bit resiny but with enough malt to carry it. Not as strong as you'd think due to the aroma, but pleasing and quite tastefull.

Nicely carbonated, medium to light bodied and refreshing on the tongue. Cleans the palate with it's crispness. A good solid represenation of the style. (699 characters)

Photo of brewcrew76
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a hazy orange with a 2 finger tan head. Creamy tan lacing clings to the glass.

S - Very earthy green hops with a bit of citrus and grapefruit. Not bad but not exactly the hop characteristics I like.

T - Green, earthy hops dominate. A bit of citrus and grapefruit with a bit of a caramel malt backbone. The dirty earthy hop taste is the main characteristic.

M - On the light side of medium with a good deal of carbonation.

D - Not a bad IPA but a little too earthy, green for my tastes. (507 characters)

Photo of DogFood11
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
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. (609 characters)

Photo of RootedFool
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a shiny, translucent amber into my Celebration Ale pint glass, with a sturdy, fluffy head, off-white in color. Smell: immediate crinkle of hop citrus notes that turn gradually peppery with a melon (watermelon) rind sweetness holding up the background. Taste: toasted grainy flavors encompass the hop bitterness, rapier-like in its narrow sharpness. The middle is less interesting, as it almost seems to deflate into a mere echo of that promising first jolt; there is no real progression. The finish is an almost puckering residue of hop bitterness at the back of my palate with hints of alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is slightly thin and plenty carbonated.

Drinkable but not a first class American IPA. (707 characters)

Photo of rowew
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz longneck - typical Big Sky label with a roughly drawn animal (antelope this time). Date code of 207 06. This one is new to the Colorado market.

Appearance: Pours a clear copper color with a nice head. Very thick lacing long after the head fades.

Smell: Lots of hops - piney and floral, with a thick sticky aroma.

Taste: Nice - balance of thick oily hop flavor with enough malt backbone to keep it from overpowering. Nice amount of bitterness.

Overall impression: Definitely a bit heavy on the hops - just like I like it. Still balanced enough to enjoy several. (592 characters)

Photo of mac56
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber. Thick cream-colored head, significant lace.

Aroma: Citrus and floral.

Taste: Citrusy, piney hops dominate over a smooth, subtly malty base. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Just right.

Drinkability: Ohhh yeahhh.

I continue to be impressed with Big Sky's brews. If it weren't for this IPA, their Kolsch, "Moose Drool", and "Scape Goat", there'd be precious little I'd buy at our local small town muni. If you see this beer, try it. You won't be sorry. (488 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
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! (640 characters)

Photo of ZAP
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

*I reviewed this on tap from a bar but those can be skewed sometimes due to the surrondings so I thought I would also add a review from a bottle. (To be fair I am not reading my first review)

Nice deep copper color....great aroma of fresh citrus...oranges...sweet grapefruit...tangerines...also a little leafy cannibus..

The taste is good too but not quite as strong as the aroma...again big on the citrus..guesiing simcoe hops are used which are favorites of mine...more of a fresh hoppiness than a flat out bitter IPA. although this does close with a nice hit of pine, bong resin and tobacco...,malt is not noticable but this doesn't feel unbalanced at all...a little thin it the light side of medium...

Pretty impressive brew from Big Sky...a very enjoyable every day IPA....perhaps just a rung below the big dogs in this style but not that far away really (882 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper. Dirty white bubbly head. Lace is quite full. Great aroma of resin, pine, pink grapefruit pulp and pot. Really great aroma. The palate is hit with some greasy hop resin right off the bat. The pink grapefruit pulp is evident on the buds too. Bitter that way, though the overall bitterness is not too obtrusive. Malts only seem to add balance and add little to the flavor profile. Body is about medium at best. Appropriately carbonated. Slight sting of EtOH. Overall, this is a good IPA. Just not uper echelon. (521 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
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. (534 characters)

Photo of flexabull
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesing IPA. Very dark red/amber color. The smell is very fruity... citrus? Almost a fruit punch like smell to me... kind of odd, but kind of pleasant too.

The taste was also pretty fruity, but has a decent hop bite to it as well. The mouthfeel was good on this beer, I picked up the different flavors as it traveled around my palate.

Pretty good stuff. (364 characters)

Photo of orsulacp
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (417 characters)

Photo of Mdog
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber in color.

Smell: Citrusy, grapefruit.

Taste: Mostly grapefruit with some sweetness. Very hoppy!

Mouthfeel: Long lasting bitterness.

Drinkability: Another tasty IPA!

Picked up a single bottle of this to give it a try and was not disappointed. Very strong grapefruit hop flavor. I'd have it again. (333 characters)

Photo of hanco005
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz single bottle, no freshness date indicated, poured into a pint glass

A—clear amber copper with a big fluffy, 1 ½ inch off white head, slowly collapses down to a thin sheet, lacing is full and plentiful

S—I honestly smell nothing but grapefruit and pine…and I’m cool with that

T—like biting into a ripe grapefruit, makes you pucker up for sure, bitter start, middle and finish, finishes dry.

M—scratchy, medium bodied, moderate carbonation

D—a very well made IPA. If you like grapefruit, this one is for you! (539 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.47/5  rDev +14%
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. (874 characters)

Photo of Reidrover
3.67/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this on a recommendation..I had found almost all Big Sky bers to be rather middle of the road before. Its a good looking ale, but really does not look anything like a "regular" IPA. Its a dark clear amber with a large frothy/rocky eggshell white head. Massive aroma of piney, juicy hoppiness! A litle spicy too. Taste is dominated almost immediatlly by a firm, juicy, full hop force, spruce tips and pink grapfruit, peppery..the malts are barelly noticed, not very balanced, but sometimes I like it that way. Its kind of fades after a few sips and the palate becomes slightly watery. A strange beer from Big Sky..after numerous timid beers they unleash one..trouble is although I liked it it was TOO extreme in the hop department. This needs a little work but could be a good IPA. (784 characters)

Photo of Skidz
4.59/5  rDev +17.1%
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. (953 characters)

Photo of ADR
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
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. (658 characters)

Photo of TheBungyo
4.54/5  rDev +15.8%
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. (1,039 characters)

Photo of TastyTaste
2.53/5  rDev -35.5%
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. (336 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle a dark reddish gold with a large head of foam that shrinks down to about a half inch but stays for the entire session.

The smell is a pungent mix of pine and citrus that I haven't noticed in any other American IPA that I've tried. Interesting.

The taste is very piney up front with notes of grapefruit and then, some sweet caramel malt moves in trying to create some balance and after a few sips, there *is* some balance there but the hops are still in the drivers seat. ;^) Btw, there's no best by date anywhere on the label or bottle but there's no doubt in my mind that this is a fresh product and...a darned good one.

Bottom line: This is a very nice American IPA that just recently showed up in Casper and I'm going to enjoy it often. I say, if you see it, give it a try. (810 characters)

Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 454 ratings.