1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Big Sky IPA - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Sky IPABig Sky IPA

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

906 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 906
Reviews: 438
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 12.04%
Wants: 27
Gots: 36 | 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:
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Big Sky IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 906 | Reviews: 438 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jsh420


4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

best by 6/24/09

pours a clear amber with a 1 finger off white head that leaves lacing all over the glass

smells of sweet grapefruit and citrus with a little pine

taste is very solid - reminds me a lot of many west coast ipas but a tad thinner - i pickup grapefruit mango and a slight amount of pine with an ashy pepper aftertaste

mouthfeel is very good rich creamy medium body beer that coats your mouth with sweet fruits

drinkability was too good since i finished this beer in 15min. and still had to hold back after each sip

again Big Sky has another winner - maybe its not the most overpowering beer but solid in every aspect

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2009 04:55:29 | More by jsh420
Photo of bsp77


4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Pint glass.

Appearance: Clear orange-amber with a frothy white head and very nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet toasted malts and citrus hops. Some pine as well.

Taste: Much more hoppy and bitter than the smell indicates. Pine and citrus hops with a ever-so-slightly sweet toasted malt counterbalance. Finishes very bitter, which lasts and lasts.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, very dry finish.

Drinkability: Excellent IPA all around. Nice sipper but hard to have too many.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2009 02:48:41 | More by bsp77
Photo of dukedevil0


3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single 12oz bottle from Famous Wines in Lombard, IL.

A: Pours an orangish tint of amber color with lots of white head that reduces down to a film and some bubbles, but leaves good lacing on the glass.

S: Smells of hops, citrus, grapefruit, pine, caramel malts

T: more malts in the flavor than the smell, but not a whole lot of bite from the malt...some bittering from the hops in the finish...all in all not bad but more malt than i'd prefer, i'd say it's pretty well balanced but i like unbalanced with HOPS overload.

M: Pretty full bodied, good carbonation

D: not much alcohol picked up but the flavor just isn't my cup of tea with the malt flavor sneaking in and not letting the hops take over.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2009 02:13:40 | More by dukedevil0
Photo of msubulldog25


3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Always good to return to a beer I haven't had in a l-o-o-o-o-ng time, especially when it comes as an extra from trader extraordinaire Wasatch. This 12 oz. bottle poured to a pint glass, pre-Memorial Day get-together at our house.

Always liked these labels from Big Sky - strikingly rugged images that are reminiscent of 1930's-era travel advertising.

A: Glowing copper-orange with a light haze, only a few carbonation streams wriggle through. Sudsy ivory head, cresting at a finger of spongy fluff, falling gradually and leaving a fine sheet of lace.

S: Citrus aroma of orange/sweeter grapefruit. Caramel malts peek through, mild herbs.

T: Cracker bread and a spicy/herbal hop kick. Some orange, less sweet and more pith. Very 'green' tasting - grass, herbs, bitter field greens.

M: Love the feel, creamy and ultra-smooth. Has a bit of carbonated zest in the finish. Body is medium, coats nicely but finishes with a lasting hop dryness.

D: Enjoyed this IPA quite a bit. It's been years since I've tasted this one; the fact is, it's one of those IPAs I *should* have more often, but it gets lost in the shuffle with a style so ubiquitous in the Northwest. May not rush out to get more right away, but would definitely have it again.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2009 04:18:48 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of hooliganlife


4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours semi light copper with a nice light white head and great retention. minimal lacing along the sides

i caught wonderful floral scents when i was pouring this. i was quite pleased as soon as i caught the scent.

very floral up front, light floral and citric flavors. towards the end light grapefruit and then a strong malt finish. grapefruit and orange flavors to cap it off.

not too light, not too heavy, pretty much perfect. light carbonation adds a very light bite and assists the hop flavor. perfect IMO.

this is one awesome IPA. this is up there with some of my shocks of the year for 2009. i am quite happy this is now available in my area and can't wait to have this on tap.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2009 20:45:11 | More by hooliganlife
Photo of jordansbaker


4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very good beer. Grapefruit and apricot notes. Hops at first, with rounded sweetness. This is the first Big Sky brew I've tried, and I'm very impressed. Poured light amber with a light head. Very aromatic and flavorful, so drinking too many of these in a row might be overpowering on the taste buds. Would recommend.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2009 13:55:21 | More by jordansbaker
Photo of Tone


4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, amber/copper color. 5/4 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells of strong hops and slight sweet malt. Fits the style of an American IPA. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation. The bitterness is noticeable and there is some dryness associated. Tastes of strong hops up front (slightly sweet, but not too sweet), some earth malt, and slight biscuit flavor. Overall, a perfect blend of flavors - I recommend this brew.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2009 00:48:55 | More by Tone
Photo of cadizkyguy


4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It was a tough choice, between Big Sky's Moose Drool and this offering on my last beer haul and I wasn't disappointed. A very refreshing IPA, some consider an example of a West Coast IPA. Not quite in the league with some of my favorite IPAs (Bell's Two-Hearted Ale, Short's Huma-Lupa-Licious, Arcadia Ales IPA, Stone IPA, Sweetwater IPA), but it's still a keeper. Best thing going for Big Sky's IPA is its drinkability, even though the initial pour into my Sam Adams Sensory Glass was equally impressive with a head and lacing that doesn't disappear throughout the drinking of this Big Sky brew.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2009 03:13:31 | More by cadizkyguy
Photo of DrMalt

Saskatchewan (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A--Pours a light copper color with a full off white head that leaves some lacing.

S--Excellent aroma - floral, pine, and citrus.

T--A very flavorful beer with plenty of bitterness & what appears to be Cascade hop dominance. Well balanced with some bready/caramel maltiness.

M--probably the only flaw to this beer is a somehwat thin mouthfeel. Didn't have that chewy, full-bodied characteristic.

D--A very sessionable IPA. Strength of this brew is its drinkability.

Strong showing in IPA tasting of 6 others.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2009 15:49:27 | More by DrMalt
Photo of whynot44


4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice clear dark copper color with a creamy off-white head that lingers well, producing some decent lacing.

The aroma is mainly hops - pine needles, citrus and floral elements - with crackery malt background, very nice.

The taste is also primarily hops with with a slightly sweet bready malt base. The finish is fairly dry with a lingering grapefruit and pine resin aftertaste.

Light/medium body, very drinkable and refreshing, but definitely for the hop lovers.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2009 04:49:05 | More by whynot44
Photo of MrMcGibblets


3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

i wanted this to live up to the hype but was a bit underwhelmed. pours a clear burnished amber with a smallish of-white head and lacing. grapefruit and caramel in the nose. taste features a sharp citric rind bitterness dominating the lightly sweet caramel malt. light to medium in body with a prickly carbonation. drying, bitter finish with a bit of astringency. overall this is decent but lacks complexity and character. seemed a bit one or two note and a touch thin.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2009 06:08:50 | More by MrMcGibblets
Photo of tronester


3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper color, with a creamy tan head. Smell is slightly of herbs and citrus peel. Taste is a more well rounded IPA, with a nice malt backbone, quite biscuity, with an herbal hop presence. This beer has a hint of citrus taste, but its mostly herbal. Bitterness levels are nice, and balance this beer well. Mouthfeel is good, slightly high carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, though not as good as some other IPA's. I would definitely drink this again, a good IPA.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2009 23:45:49 | More by tronester
Photo of BoitSansSoif


3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-Pours a nice clear brown-red amber w/rich foamy 2-finger head. There is a speckled tracing that remains intermingled w/a nice lacing pattern, forming a thick coating.

S-Lots of pale malt, toasted malt, faint bitter almond, and a wide array of hop character, including pine, citrus, and herbal. The hops are apparent, but not overpowering.

T-Slightly sweet malt backbone w/variety of hops in the back of the mouth. The finish brings out the varieties of hops from the aroma, and the aftertaste is of American hops and grapefruit rind.

M-Light-bodied w/robust carbonation. This could use a little more corps to carry the complex flavor profile. Upfront it's a little watery, but it seems to come together in the end. Flavors are well balanced between sweet and bitter.

D-Not my favorite IPA but well worth it. Interesting and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2009 05:05:01 | More by BoitSansSoif
Photo of Birmingham


4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Wow an IPA with a big complex aroma. The floral, piney, citrus goodness of hops are is very powerful, while malts remain very clean.

Appearance: The beer pours with bright clarity, a deep copper color and tall off white head that lingers.

Flavor: HOPS! The hops are in the flavor forefront. The hops give their citrus and piney flavors to beer. The balance is towards the bitter and yet the bitterness is not over powering.

Mouth feel: Smooth medium light bodied beer. There is slight astringency on the sides of the tongue; it could just be the bitterness coming through.

Overall Impression: It's very good beer, definitely a buy again and again beer. The Hops are in your face with their wonderful aromas and flavor.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2009 23:37:16 | More by Birmingham
Photo of storksonm


4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pint Glass

This fine Ipa was everything that I hoped it would be poured a decent head and had a great copper color to it. What a citrus bite it had though a nice hoppy smell that is all that it should be. I found this ipa to be nice and refreshing and had a nice hoppy aftertaste that made it great. If anything I would change about it that would be the mouthfeel was a bit dry and not as smooth as maybe it could be but none the less this is a nice beer and I will probably be purchasing it in the near future.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2009 01:43:59 | More by storksonm
Photo of alcstradamus


4.65/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A--Pours a copper color with two full fingers of head that would have overflowed my pint glass had I not stopped 3/4 of the way through the pour. It recedes slowly and leaves some lacing.

S--Wow what a smell. This is as potent as any west coast DIPA. Floral, pine, and citrus hops engulf the nose. Oranges, banana peels, dandelions, grapes. Very high quality nose, one of the best IPA's I've smelled

T--Flavorful and balanced. I thought there would be more bitterness based on the nose but this is fairly subdued. There is a bready/caramel maltiness that evens things out very well and makes for a very enjoyable taste. The hops mostly floral/pine in the taste, but there is also a citrus sting.

M--Very oily, glides down the throat and coats the roof of the mouth on the journey. A stickiness remains after the swallow that almost glues my tongue to my mouth. Carbonation levels are moderate.

D--Could put down a sixer if I had to, but 3 or 4 would be enough. This is very easy drinking due to the subdued bitterness and leaves you wanting more because of how it coats your mouth

This will definitely become one of my go-to IPA's. It is solid in every category and I am very surprised it is not rated higher than it is. It is on par with any other than I have tried including Two Hearted and Stone IPA. Great beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2009 03:36:16 | More by alcstradamus
Photo of bunnyhustle


4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter just to be fancy, why not? Pour clear and golden amber in color, nice slightly off-white head with good retention and lacing. Smell is heavy of grapefruit and pineapple. A very sweet floral scent as well. Very plesant. Taste is about on par. A sweet citrus with a mellow hop bite at the end. Some caramel malt balances it out. Mouthfeel was very smooth and silky, a little more of a medium body. Overall a great beer. A good IPA and a reasonable ABV makes it sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2009 01:13:14 | More by bunnyhustle
Photo of Monkeyknife


3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a clear amber orange with a thin but rich off-white head.

Aroma of grapefruit and pine along with light caramel malts.

The taste matches the aroma with a hoppy hit of grapefruit and pine along with the balance of the caramel malts. Finishes clean.

Lighter bodied, clean and smooth, and lightly carbonated.

This is a quite nice IPA from the folks at Big Sky. Very sessionable and a joy to drink. Big Sky just came into the St. Louis market and I gladly welcome them.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2009 22:37:57 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of SpecialK088


4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Reviewing the bottle now

Poured from the bottle into a Tulip

A-Very crisp clean amber/copper one of the clearest looking IPA's ive ever seen. No real head or laceing

S-Bitter hops and grapefruit/citrus notes

T-Taste follows the smell with a very present roasted quality that im not used to from an IPA. Finish is classic IPA extremly good

M-Thicker than most IPA this is near a heavy bodied beer. Sits nice tho very smooth and all the complexities come out nicely

D-I am so glad we can get big sky in this area and I'm looking very forward to their other offerings. This will be a consistant visitor to my fridge

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2009 21:57:24 | More by SpecialK088
Photo of PirateUlf73


3.3/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Clear amber color with a slightly off-white head. Retention and lacing qualities were fantastic.

S: Nice pine and grapefruit hop aromas up front. Nice hints of green apple and pineapple. Just a hint of malt toastiness to round it all out. Very pleasant and not too piercing.

T: Started out nicely with hops of the grass and pine variety dominating the front of the mouth. However, there was this weird resin-like, almost chemical taste in the back of the mouth that bothered me and really took away from the overall flavor. It faded a bit as I went on. Not sure if I got used to it or it mellowed out. The malt character serves to keep the hops from getting out of hand.

M: Heavier side of light-bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. The feeling is slick and almost oily and the aftertaste is bitter and piney.

D: Would be great, if not for that strange taste that I mentioned earlier.

This IPA had so much going for it, and then came that strange flavor. I was able to overcome it eventually, but it definitely put a damper on the whole experience. Take that out of the equation and this beer would be a very solid IPA indeed. Still, it's worth a try, and maybe others will not find that flavor as offensive as I did. I may try this again down the road to see if this bottle was a fluke.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2009 00:50:47 | More by PirateUlf73
Photo of naterock


4.55/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured into a tulip, deep copper and a nice thick rocky head. there is even a slight purpleish hue, very very slight.

smells incredibly floral, some malt in the background and a twinge of alcohol. grapefruity and piney hops.

Tastes like a wonderful balance of caramel malts and incredible floral and citrusy hops. nice bittering but not too overpowering. so complex for a single IPA I don't think there gets much better for a single.

mouth is just slightly oily but not distracting or viscous. carbonation is just right to help the bittering hops but perfectly inviting. This is the first time I've had the opportunity to have this beer but if it keeps this high quality standard, then it will be the best single IPA I can have.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2009 02:06:05 | More by naterock
Photo of mothman

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.85/5  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,

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2009 18:03:09 | More by mothman
Photo of gatornation


4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bought a single of this at local beer store..WOW let me start.. the appearance is the same as many classic IPAS.. amber orange 1 finger head with lacing till the end... ok now the smell it is superb its pine and herb/hops forward with citrus/ floral smells its a crisp very west coast IPA..the taste is the same heavy pine citrus and hops up front followed by the just right malt finish.. this is a perfectly balanced IPA.. this is a goldmine find for ipa lovers i went back and bought 2 more sixers..this is on the rotation now .. i would give this an a-plus but only reserve that for a very few brews i can only say that this is a great balanced crisp IPA in a west coast style that is superb... well done BIG SKY im a fan of this IPA..

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2009 20:49:59 | More by gatornation
Photo of shakeheap


5/5  rDev +30.9%
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 climax


4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this one poured a completely cloudy copper with a finger of tan head

nose was good, sweet tropical like citrus and a bit of pine, balanced more towards the end by breadiness and caramel malts

taste was a good blast of the hops, citrus and earthy tones. no sweetness as indicated by the smell, which was fine. dry and a bit earthy. the malt comes through a bit more in the finish, but the hops continue to rule the show loooong after the sip

the medium mouthfeel is real bright and snappy, the flavors are crisp and the carbonation is perfect, greasy/sticky feel

very refreshing, crisp, flavorful beer. hopheads indulge.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2009 00:36:48 | More by climax
Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 906 ratings.