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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

1,038 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,038
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.07%
Wants: 30
Gots: 76 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,038 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheSarge
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Produces a good amount of light khaki colored head, and has a cleanly filtered and copper colored body.

In the nose it is very fragrant rich with lemony and spruce hops aroma.

Very hoppy tasting too. Piny and spruce along with a grapefruit note, which altogether dominate.

Sky High is medium in body but a bit brisk and crisp still. After a few seconds there is a slightly warm finish. This brew will make a great go to beer for myself.

Photo of Duxx
4.09/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark golden brown with a hint of orange or rust. There is a good 1 inch bright white head that leaves thick meringue like foam on the glass. I really like the look of this beer.

Aroma is a little bit one dimensional a fairly mild piney hop aroma with just a hint of sweet malt.

Taste is mild for an IPA. Seems to have a strong malt base with a enough hops to be a west coast pale ale but enough hops for an IPA??

Mouthfeel is somewhat thick. Very smooth even creamy on the palate.

I really like pale ales and this is probably one of the best pales I have tried. I haven't quite developed a strong love for really hoppy IPA's so this is an easy drinker for me but is it up to IPA style?? Probably needs more hops for you big beer IPA fans.

Photo of Blakaeris
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark red-copper with a rocky white that leaves sheets of lacing.

Aroma is spicy floral and perfume hop. Minerally caramel malt, and a touch of dark fruit.

Taste is tart biscuit malt. Hops come in with an initial resinous piney quality that quickly becomes more of an earthy spice and orange peel bitterness. Finishes with a pleasantly dry cedar character.

Mouthfeel is a chewy medium body.

Big balanced flavor. Hops become more aggressive as it warms, but the generous biscuit malt keeps things in control.

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

pours a clear glistening copper with a frothy white two-finger head that has decent retention and leaves behind pretty solid lacing. Looks promising.

aroma is intense, earthy, green hops. simcoe-y. touches of caramel and oatmeal... digging it. Not overwhelming... a bit more kick in the nose would make it amazing.

taste, as the aroma hints, is full of luscious hops. I love simcoe, and this one really delivers. clean piney bitterness with barely a hint of citrus. herbal and clean. delicous. Bitter hops really shine... the malts take a back seat, and sweetness is subtle. Really a hop-forward brew. which can definitely be a good thing.

mouth is impressive. creamy without being sludgy, carbonated without being overly effervescent. full but not thick. A bit slick and a touch of lingering bitterness. Pretty decent. My mouth is happy.

All in all, I'm digging this. I've gone through a few bottles now and every one makes me like it a touch more. Definitely hop-forward, and very earthy pine hoppiness - no west-coast citrus action here. I can easily see this as being one of my go-to IPAs now that I'm no longer on the west coast. So many good things going on, it's most definitely worth a shot.

Photo of IPASetter
3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer reminds me a bit of Drifter right off the bat, but with less of a grapefruit taste.

A- Poured with about a 1/4 inch of head with slight retention. Nice carbonation occurring throughout the beer.

S- Nice hop smell nothing overpowering definitely can smell the grapefruit aroma from this beer.

T- A nice crisp IPA that has a slight bitterness but nothing to steer away non IPA fans. Can taste the grapefruit in this one which is very enjoyable.

M- Medium mouth feel with a little carbonation occurring in your mouth.

D- Nice drinkability will please both hop head and non IPA fans because of the nice balance and non overpowering with hops. Would definitely get again goes down easily.

Photo of popery
3.18/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

Photo of dwilson01
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle into my arrogant bastard pint glass, healthy 2 fingers of off white-light tan creamy head that dissipates timely leaving nice lacing on the glass. Brown coloration and clear, basically looks exactly like a new castle in body color.

The smell is very light, hops are present and I get some elderly flower notes (not that fresh floral scent). I get some pine and tree bark as well as a bit of spicing in there but very muted, turmeric and nutmeg. I'm getting a bit of a sweeter honey grain from the malt, like honey put on some 7grain bread.

The flavoring is very smooth, not sweet but also not bitter it's a great balance of malt and hop. The grains are giving me a toasted nut and honey, very much reminded of multi-grain cheerios I used to love as a kid. It also gives a sweeter aftertaste of honey. The hops bring some bitterness, barky wood flavors as well as more fresh greenery in this part than the nose. Not bad, very mellow to be sure.

The mouthfeel is great, one of the best I've had in an ipa like this. It's not heavily malted so much as to weigh it down but thick enough to let you know it's there. Carbonation and lighter flavoring balance perfectly with this and seriously just make an extremely drinkable ipa for the beer lover. I wouldn't give this to someone who I'm trying to intro the style to, yet it's not so hoppy as to be considered the "west coast" styled ipa.

Photo of GregoryVII
3.32/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an inch of head, light brown to brown in color. Lovely taste of Simcoe hops, pine zest and citrus highly prominent. Not overdone, but largely one note. Not a big beer, without much malt background. The body is light and verges on watery. The beer is an ease to drink. It seized on the hop as its star and featured it well, but there is nothing distinct here.

Photo of WakeandBake
3.76/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear golden orange color body with a big foamy white head, good retention , some spotty lacing left , medium carbonation . Aroma of citrus and piny hops with a bit of caramel sweetness . Flavor is hoppy up front lots of citrus and pimy hops , resin , a good balance of caramel malt and cereal grain , medium body , nice level of bitterness, crisp clean mouthfeel , quite sessionable and pretty good .

Photo of Rayek
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Perfect Pint glass.

A: The bright amber color has nice clarity. Foamy off-white head has above average retention and leaves generous lace.

S: A heavy dose of grapefruit, lemon and pine greats the nose. A small amount of sugary sweetness is in the background.

T: A nice hop profile dominates the beer. Tastes of grapefruit and pine intermingle nicely. Bitterness isn't too over the top. Sweet and toasted malt flavors are to be had, although not in abundance.

M: Medium body is oily and slick. Carbonation level is a bit high.

D: A nice, safe IPA. I would happily drink this again.

Photo of semibaked
3.1/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a clear copper color with a fluffy tan head on top that creates intricate lacing.

S - Bright hoppy smell accented by pineapple and mango juices.

T - Big hops right up front but the bitterness is a little to bitter for me, it does have some tropical fruits but very little.

M - Slick and Watery.

D - Just too much of the bitterness to be very drinkable for me, there are a lot better IPA's than this, glad I got to try it though.

Photo of Gobzilla
3.19/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: poured and amber copper with a 2 finger bubbly tan head with hardly any lacing sticking to the glass.

S: some great piney notes up front with a mild malt character and slight hints of caramel. There seems to be a good amount of booze as well.

T: Lots of bitter hopness and like the nose there is like almost no malt flavor what so ever. I kinda like it.

M: medium body with light carbonation. Not enough bubbles on the tongue on this one.

D: doesn't seem to give it justice for an IPA, but there is some good hoppy bitterness with absolutely no malts. If thats sounds good to you then this is your kind of beer.

Photo of 33nickadams
3.91/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not impressed by the look, for an IPA, I think it could have more head, and a little more translucent. Smell is wonderfully full of citrus. Taste was really good. I could have a few of these. I didn't know what to expect with this beer, but I was pleasantly surprised. I will get this again.

Photo of illidurit
3.03/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Clear light amber color with a creamy tan head. Aroma is floral and slightly tropical hops with a caramel underpinning. Flavor is similar, big doses of caramel and crystal maltiness with a lighter citric hoppiness. Tends toward soapiness with warmth. Medium astringency, modest bitterness, watery finish, medium mouthfeel and carbonation. Okay at best.

Photo of danielharper
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very clear body, dark amber, thick off-white foamy head. Smells sweet, with strong earthy high-alpha acid hops which will form the soul of this beer. I can't quite identify the hop variety, but I'd love to, as I want to make a beer with the same kind of hop quality. Aroma also has hints of grapefruit.

Flavor is sugary, grainy, with an interesting malt profile that then gives way to an intense earthy hoppiness afterward. Lots of citrus, especially grapefruit. Slight dryness on the finish. Mouthfeel is thin-to-moderate, with a heavy hoppiness (of course) and a moderate carbonation.

Overall, I really like this IPA. The earthiness and grapefruit this this one a complexity that I didn't anticipate, which definitely differentiates it from the whole run of American IPAs that, while great, can definitely feel repetitive.

Photo of BierFan
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear amber body with a thin off-white head.

Smell: Fruit aromas are a little more tame than the most popular IPA's seem to be. Grapefruit and pine.

Taste: Strikes a nice balance between bitterness and hop flavor.

Photo of stangski83
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good IPA from a lesser-known brewery. I really like the offerings from Big Sky and wish that I had better access for them locally. These aren't earth shattering entries, but they are certainly quality examples in each craft style that I have sampled from this brewery. Big Sky gets it. Give them a solid chance if the six or 12 pack hits your area...you won't regret it for a solid, economical choice in the craft market.

Photo of bierenutz
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into a glass it was a clear dark amber color with a 2 finger head and some lacing but not alot.
S- Fragrant with the aroma of hops, and citrus fruits mostly grapefruit and hints of malt and pine.
T- This was a beer that tasted alot like it smelled. The bitterness of the hops was somewhat tempered by the sweeter citrus flavors with piney-earthy afternotes.
M- Fairly bitter and throughout and dry at the finish. The carbonation was moderate, but the dryness is a bit offputting. The feeling I get is not of satisfaction or freshment, which of course means, I have to keep drinking (not always a bad thing).
D- Overall, a fairly good effort. I can say, though, that this was much better than their Moose Drool.

Photo of ChadQuest
2.41/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured aggressively into a giant snifter, the lacing is decent, and the color is really red for an ipa, red red red. A lightly hopped IPA that you could easily call just an American Pale Ale, and malt is very prominent, with some light citrus notes, and a light alcohol whisper sliding down, but maybe thats because my stomach is empty right now. My pour may have been too aggressive because the carbination is pretty light,and this is really smooth. drinkability is high but i don't want any more, thats ok i only bought one bottle.

Photo of wolfinthemirror
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very transparent honey color with a white head that dissipates quickly. not much lacing

Get a lot of spicy hops in the nose, and it's very aromatic. I could smell it as soon as the cap came off.

Taste is extremely delicious. I wasn't expecting it to pack such a complex flavor, but it does. Great refreshingly sweet and grassy hops in the beginning, which later gives way to a very pronounced citrus note that is more like a grapefruit. Very hop forward, and the malts take a back seat.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Very smooth IPA.

Highly drinkable. I went into this beer not expecting something all that great. What a surprise I got, this is one of the better IPAs I've had in a while. Excellent brew all in all, will buy again.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A darker ipa than expected, brown to amber. Average carbonation, head, lacing, aroma, a bit pinier.

The pine doesn't come out so much on the tongue, a decent amount of bitterness, but the hop flavor and zing comes out moreso than just plain pucker. Big malt background. Roast. Has that frequent wood to grittiness/graininess downbottle. Loses hop feel to something more bland. But hey, balanced.

Decent price, nothing special.

Photo of david131
3.26/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- A deep, clear orange liquid with a 1 finger thick head that has some decent retention.

S- Some citrus and caramel. Smells pretty clean and a little old school.

T- Same as the aroma. Bitter at the end, but fairly mild.

M- Carbonated but not to the point where it has too much of a bite. The hops leave a bit of dryness at the end.

D- A drinkable beer, but does little to stimulate interest. Nothing is bad about this, but nothing is jumping out at me.

Photo of association330
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, no freshness date

A - Pours a clear, rich copper color with a two-finger, off-white head. Reduces to a respectable, sticky cap with good lacing.

S - This is the first time I've ever been able to recognize a specific type of hops based on previous reviews - Simcoe. Huge orange/grapefruit rind, with some pine sap. Hint of a sweet, fruity malt backbone.

T - This is oddly balanced for an IPA, especially a western one. Begins with that sweet malty tone, transitioning to piney hop resins and a hint of caramel. Swallow is only moderately bitter for the style, with a nice finish of grapefruit rind. Good, pine-laced belches follow. :p

M - Good and moderate, though I'd like just a touch more carbonation.

D - Very balanced and quite drinkable, especially with the lower ABV. This was a pleasant find, as my local store just got a good assortment of brews from Big Sky and I had never heard of them. I usually like basing my first impressions of unknown brewers on their pale ales (if available), and while this is not the best IPA I've ever had, it is certainly competitive and respectable.

Photo of Ryan011235
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 12/16/09

Clear, deep amber color with two fingers of off-white head. Highlights of copper. The foam appears mostly dense, though porous & bubbly on top. The head thins, though retention holds pretty well. Good lacing at the start, though it gets spotty by the end.

Mostly earthy/piney hop aromas with hints of citrus & floral undertones. Dry, bread-like aromas. Pale malt & maybe crystal malt. Faint caramel in the background.

Piney bitterness upfront - very sharp. This is exacerbated by citrus & floral hops lacking potency. Though present, they are only slightly noticeable; on the whole, the hop profile is basically dry. Toasted malts make for a decent balance. Warmth causes the beer to be less brash.

Medium body with carbonation just north of the moderate line, though it isn't overly prickly. Dry bitterness on the finish.

Drinkability isn't bad at all. I have no idea the age; for all I know it could even be past its prime. All told it's pretty decent.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.31/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 6.2% ABV, No date.

A - I would not change a thing about how this beer looks. Beautifully clear golden orange amber color with a huge pillowy light beige crown of head. Fantastic retention finally ends up in a pile minutes later but leaves adherent lace all over the glass in clumpy rings.

S - Citrusy hops burst from the glass with style in this beer. A great aroma of American hops showcases pine needle, grapefruit citrus that smells freshly squeezed, and a well-blended floral aromatic quality. Solid malty sweetness backs up the hops well.

T - While being well-balanced between the submissive sweet caramel malts and pungent hops, the hops just seem to stand out so well. Not overpowering, rather, distinctive, the hops feature dry and herbal floral flavors that have pine and citrus undertones to them. Grapefruit is present but not over-the-top like a lot of AIPAs these days. Very nicely balanced.

M - Spectacular blend of very dry floral hops with sweet caramel malts. A good medium body but crisp and refreshing, lively carbonated finish that has an average bitter finish. Not tongue-shredding.

D - This IPA is just a solid AIPA I could have a few of no problem. Not something I'd session all night, but in a world of highly hop-saturated IPAs and DIPAs, this is a fantastic AIPA I'd welcome into my glass at any time.

Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,038 ratings.