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Big Sky IPA - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Sky IPABig Sky IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

457 Reviews
THE BROS
86
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 457
Hads: 1,094
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 32
Gots: 110 | 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
Reviews: 457 | Hads: 1,094
Photo of mtboozeaddict41
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into Montana Griz pint glass, yeah

A:Caramel and honey color with a strong frothy white head a finger high. A darker color than used to in most IPAs.

S:Citrus notes dominate the aroma. Hoppy grapefruit leaves little room for malt character. The malt that is apparent is sweet and pretty bland.

T:Huge hop profile is noted. Citrus fruits again is basically all that can be found. Finishes dry(highly expected) with comforting fruity aftertaste

M: Nice carbonation pairs well with the fruit and hops. Definitely medium bodied leaning towards a healthy full body. little bit of a greasy texture noticed on mouth.

O: To me this brew is the perfect beginners IPA with a bold hop character coupled with nice juicy citrus fruit. what its lacking is complexity of malts and spice which i tend to lean towards in an IPA. A good beer none the less (859 characters)

Photo of spicelab
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Can from Ozzie Shonksters...I mean Beermasons.

Sunset orange, near crystal, with a thick and robust cream head that drops very lazily depositing a good lace lattice.

Good amount of oniony tropical hops, offset by a herbal piquancy. Some doughy yeast and a sweet malt backbone lends good candied notes to the hops. Not a great amount of character but as with all BIg Sky beers I've had, extremely well contained.

Flavours emphasise more of the earthy green herbal character, especially spearmint, but the candied pineapple and mango notes still shine.

Body has moderate hop oils, benign carbonation with a satisfying earthy, mouthwash bitter finish of decent staying power.

Uncomplicated and solid as a rock. In this regard, Big Sky are at the top of the heap. (766 characters)

Photo of Jellopants356
4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
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! (468 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
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. (513 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A friend brought this back for me from Texas. Thanks Dylan! Best by date of 1/16/13 so this one's just a touch overdue. Poured into a Heady Topper pint. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a 1.5 finger foamy white head with decent retention. Beer is a clear dark mahogany. Lacing is spotty and thick with good stick. Thin, oily legs. A real nice looking beer.

Nose has big sap resin notes with some brown sugar, caramel, and and amber. Real big malt body and decently aromatic.

Opens sap resin and bark hop bitterness. Some amber, caramel, and coarse brown sugar. Finish feels like I'm biting into a dirty pine cone. Some dry tea leaves too. Aftertaste is bitter and sappy. Average.

Light bodied with moderate to high carbonation. Pretty smooth in the mouth and goes down silky and mellow. Messy finish with a lingering aftertaste. Nice.

This beer just has a flavor profile that seems very odd. Sap hop bitterness with a big malt body just doesn't work for me here. Body is decent as is the nose but overall pretty pedestrian. I wouldn't revisit this one. (1,058 characters)

Photo of stakem
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
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. (1,398 characters)

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

From a 12 ounce can. Pours a clear orange color with a one finger plus white dense head. Lacings are average.
Smell- Not the usual Cascade hops.
Taste is bold hops with a touch of citrus and a fine malt back.
Mouthfeel is perfect for the style. Carbonation is just right also.
Overall a fine IPA in a can. If the race for the most bitter IPA turns you off try this beer. Perfect for the style IMO. (397 characters)

Photo of KKB
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A – Very nice appearance. Tones of orange, rouge, ruby, chestnut…in direct light it is a nice yellow-orange. The head looks great too, it’s got a nice beige/off-white head that just looks delicious. You can tell this is going to be hoppy and wonderful.

S – The nose is just totally awesome, which is a very pleasant surprise. It has a load of juicy, citrus, fruity, almost tropical hops in the nose with a slight touch of funk that just smells so resinous and delightful. Also, this just seems like straight hoppy goodness, with a lack of caramel malt which is very refreshing and exactly what I want right now.

T – Oh my gosh, what a delightful surprise! Obviously the nose is great, and the smell is lovely, but the taste seems to outdo both of them. I don’t know why this has received such mediocre reviews, because this beer is truly delicious. Complexly flavored, hopptastic, slightly bitter on the finish, citrusy on the palate with some malt in there as well but it all is SO WELL BALANCED. I can’t even get over it. Now, I’m a man who appreciates a hop-bomb, but this is just so well orchestrated it is almost making me think the hop bombs are somewhat overly ambitious. This beer was crafted so well…wow, each sip is a new profile of flavors. Just so, so good.

M – Luscious and somewhat sticky allowing it to stay on the palate for a little bit longer. Just marvelous. Everything about this is amazing. The mouthfeel is definitely bigger in body and it just compliments the experience so well. Not heavy, both light and big.

O – Just such a pleasure. I keep getting reminded what a novice I am. I have had this in my fridge for a while and I was just judging the shit out of it every time I looked at it: “who do you think you are, Big Sky I.P.A.? You look like some mediocre nonsense.” I am just dumb. The bottle has nothing to do with what’s inside and upon some further research the Big Sky Brewery is supposedly very good. Well, whatever, in any case, this beer is awesome, and I look forward to having much more and trying many more brews from this brewery. (2,104 characters)

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, can't find a bottled date. This pours an amber color with a mid sized off white head which leaves a lacing. The smells are of citrus hops and caramel malts. The feel is medium. The taste is pretty good, a nice amount of hop bite followed by some caramel. (300 characters)

Photo of hardy008
3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear copper with a two finger off white head with good retention and lacing. The aroma has grapefruit, pine, and caramel. Has a light smell to it.

Has a bitter taste with a little sweetness for balance. Has grapefruit, citrus zest, pine, biscuit malt, and some caramel malt. The caramel malt is a lot lighter in the taste, than it was in the aroma.

Light to medium bodied, with average carbonation. Has a bitter citrus zest aftertaste. A good IPA, but not as good as the best examples of the style. (501 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.55/5  rDev -9.4%
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. (891 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a pleasant find in furtherance of the CANQuest during my annual visit to Binny's (South Side Loop) in Chicago on my way home from the Great Taste of the Midwest. I had heard that it was being CANned, but this was the first that I had actually see it in a CAN.

From the CAN: "We make water fun."; "Hold my beer and watch this."

I had a nice Crack & Glug which resulted in two-plus fingers of dense, tawny head with excellent retention. Color was a deep-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a definite pine hop presence and my mouth was watering at the prospect. Mouthfeel was medium and the bite of the hops on the tongue was immediate and welcomed by this self-avowed hophead. It tasted of pine and wintergreen and I was beginning to consider its potential as mouthwash or breath freshener. Finish was dry, although not arid, gasping dry. I really liked this and would certainly consider its inclusion in my cooler on an outing., (943 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12-oz. bottle into a pint glass at my house on Sept. 14, 2012 (purchased at BevMo! In La Mesa (San Diego, Calif.) for a variety12-pack price of $13.99 (w/ card) on Sept. 14, 2012). About a finger of head. Caramel amber with off-white head. Good retention all-around.

Smelled a sharp whiff of citrus hops, maybe more cascade than citrus (I tend to call everything citrus hops, then adjust). Nice break from the other three beers I had in the variety pack. Got lemon, lime, icy and slight caramel.

Tasted cascade hope, lime and lemon coming through. Lots of bitterness on the tongue after. Nothing too complex.

Medium body. Creamy texture. Average carbonation. Long, bitter finish. In fact, very bitter.

Really good beer overall. The only blemish is the feel. Got worse as it went down. (790 characters)

Photo of tone77
3.23/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Another beer from woodychandler, this box seems bottomless. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a brown/orangeish color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of piney hops, a touch of citrus. Taste is also dominated by piney hops, considerable bitterness, a touch of malts. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall I found this to be a mediocre beer. (341 characters)

Photo of Oakenator
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light brown color but darker than a typical IPA. A good amount of head at pour and great lacing. Aroma is well hopped but very different - maybe over the top piney hops and some spice from a spices green like cilantro. Flavor is much of the same and this take on an IPA is different and much appreciated. (304 characters)

Photo of Fusion_Pirate
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased in a six-pack from my local grocer.

A: Poured into a New Holland Brewing 16oz glass, Big Sky IPA yielded a 1/2 finger of head, with heavy lacing and strong retention around the glass. The color is a gorgeous dark, copper/amber color...darker (more IIPA) color than what you'd expect from a standard IPA. Beautiful!

S: Strong floral and citrus notes hit the nose immediately- then a rich, powerful caramel rush finishes it. Not a typical IPA smell combo, but really awesome nonetheless.

T: Here's where the hops come out of the woodwork, and in a balanced, almost understated way. A nicely rounded flavor overall, with a sprucey, semi-floral bitterness, coupled with more of that rich caramel-candy malt noted earlier in the initial smell. Not the greatest flavor on Earth by any means, but smooth, balanced and sessionable.

M: The carbonation is great- on the mild side, aiding and supporting the flavors, not overpowering them. It hits the tongue with a silky-smooth flow and goes down well; but I wouldn't mind a slightly drier finish.

O: For the price ($9.00 sale for a sixer), this beer is a real steal! I wouldn't hesitate to pick this one up again on a warm summer afternoon sometime. Kudos to Big Sky for a unique, accessible and satisfying take on the India Pale Ale formula. (1,302 characters)

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

Pours a brilliantly clear copper color with a solid inch and a half cream head that dissipates slowly, leaving spotty lacing.

Aroma is dominated by dank resin, cannabis, and pine, with a hint of grapefruit pith. Bready malt and more citrus emerge, with notes of caramel and toast.

Initial sip is somewhat lacking in a mid palate flavor. Muted citrus, orange and grapefruit pith underlie the flavor profile, which shifts immediately to a bitter, piney, dry finish. Citrus hops emerge more in subsequent sips, but the malt is almost nonexistent.

Body is moderate, with moderate carbonation, and a slightly astringent finish.

Overall, the bittering hops were a bit dominant, and they drowned out almost all malt flavor. Wish the flavor had followed the aroma more closely. Sacrilege, but it's finish is too bitter for my taste. (828 characters)

Photo of soju6
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an amber color with a good head that fades slowly to nice lacing.

S: Aroma of citrus-pine with a trace of malt sweetness.

T: Has a good citrus bite with some malt sweetness and a bit of grain.

F: Medium body, crisp and nicely balanced.

O: Enjoyable IPA. Another quality beer from Big Sky. (301 characters)

Photo of bump8628
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great beer in a can just showed up in time for summer. IPAs are especially well-suited for this format. As expected, the canned version of this beer is better than the bottled, which is also solid.

Let's get on with it. Pours a bright orange-copper with a healthy head of ecru foam that drops some thick rings around the glass. A bit of a hybrid between the English and American styles. The malt, with its warm biscuit and toffee notes, is all English, while the herbal and piney hop flavors are All-American. Somehow a nice balancing act between the two is found, and instead of being a distraction, this sets it apart from the wealth of other IPAs sitting on shelves. 65 IBUs and 6.2% ABV - right where I like my IPAs.

I'll still go for the west coast hop bombs every time, but Big Sky IPA is a nice changeup and the canned option is nice to have around for a laid back weekend excursion. (901 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

4.0 A: Clear orange amber color. Two fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is pretty good and a finger sized ring of lacing is left.

4.5 S: Rich and malty IPA. Boatloads of caramel, some toastiness, and a solid neutral sweetness. Herbal and flowery hops. Smells wonderful.

4.0 T: Taste is like it smells. Malts are more in charge than the hops. Lots of caramel followed by toastiness and a light fruitiness. Hop flavor is herbal, flowery, and a touch citrusy.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Could be creamier, but okay. Super smooth.

4.0 D: Well crafted, malty IPA. (614 characters)

Photo of TwelveOunces
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours clear copper orange with a two finger off white head, decent retention. There isnt much on the nose, there is some citrusy hop bitterness. The taste is very east coast IPA, there is some citrus flavors and and a metallic malt feel. The beer drinks pretty easy, leaves behind a bitter and dry aftertaste. This is a pretty good IPA, dont know how old mine is but I would like to try it fresh because I feel it would have a bigger nose. (449 characters)

Photo of Jfriz25
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- golden amber with big foamy white head. Leaves some decent lacing.

Smell- faint citrusy smell, less than I am used to in an ipa nowadays but still pleasant

Taste- orange and pine are the two dominant flavors held together by some sweet malt. Nice balance and flavor.

Mouthfeel- Fairly full body, not very resiny. Pretty par for the course.

Overall- it was a good find in a make your own 6 rack and in the same situation id get it again. Perfect for someone who likes hops but isn't in to the overpowering stuff. (527 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
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. (554 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed this in 2009, deserved a re-review...I enjoyed this one much more than previously.

12oz bottle, pours amber/copper with a tall foamy beige head. Nice clarity, excellent head retention and lacing. Aromas are malty caramel with grapefruit citrus, and faint pine. Tastes are malty up-front with a nice caramel backbone followed by bold piny hops that have some grapefruit notes. Well balanced with a strong malt presence that holds up to the resinous hop profile. Mouth is medium bodied, smooth, and creamy with ample carbonation. Overall, I've had this one a few times now, and each time I seem to like it more and more. Even though it's not the best IPA out there, it has a good price-point for a 6er; I might actually buy this one again. (758 characters)

Photo of bmwats
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Big Sky Brewing Co. - Moose Drool pint glass.

A: Medium brown. Pours about a half finger, foamy, brown white head. Settles fairly slowly, leaving a blanket of foam on the surface, and a thick beer ring. Thick, substantial, beer ring and residual spiderweb lacing.

S: Soapy, pine and light honey.

T: Pine, fresh tea, wood, and a little cola.

M: Thick, and robust body, characterized by a deep, biting pine that lingers on the palette throughout the experience. Very dry finish.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is good. Deep dark hue, nice head, plenty of lacing. Nose is full, very piney with light sweet notes, with a soapiness to it. Flavor is full-bodied woody pine, with cola and tea leaves. Overall, this is a really good quaff. (771 characters)

Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 457 ratings.