1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

976 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 976
Reviews: 447
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.07%
Wants: 31
Gots: 52 | 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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Big Sky IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 976 | Reviews: 447 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jordansbaker
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

jordansbaker, May 20, 2009
Photo of Tone
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

Tone, May 15, 2009
Photo of cadizkyguy
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

cadizkyguy, May 09, 2009
Photo of DrMalt
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

DrMalt, May 08, 2009
Photo of whynot44
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

whynot44, May 08, 2009
Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.58/5  rDev -6%
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.

MrMcGibblets, May 06, 2009
Photo of tronester
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

tronester, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of BoitSansSoif
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

BoitSansSoif, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of Birmingham
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
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.

Birmingham, Apr 22, 2009
Photo of storksonm
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

storksonm, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
4.65/5  rDev +22%
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.

alcstradamus, Apr 14, 2009
Photo of bunnyhustle
4/5  rDev +5%
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.

bunnyhustle, Apr 14, 2009
Photo of Monkeyknife
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Monkeyknife, Apr 07, 2009
Photo of SpecialK088
4.45/5  rDev +16.8%
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

SpecialK088, Apr 07, 2009
Photo of PirateUlf73
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

PirateUlf73, Apr 06, 2009
Photo of naterock
4.55/5  rDev +19.4%
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.

naterock, Apr 03, 2009
Photo of mothman
3.85/5  rDev +1%
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,

mothman, Mar 31, 2009
Photo of gatornation
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
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..

gatornation, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of shakeheap
5/5  rDev +31.2%
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.

shakeheap, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of climax
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

climax, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of Hojaminbag
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another beer sent to me by Wasatch. Thanks again John.

Big sky Ipa has a hazy copper body with about a finger and a half of off white head. Not too much retention here, but a few thick rings of sticky lacing.

The aroma boasts a ton of bitter, citrus flavored hops. Some sweet malt comes through the background.

Up front comes a ton of bitter hops, with grapefruit flavors features prominantly. Immediately following are some more hops, but more of the sweet, fruity, pineapple varitey than straight bitter flavors. Next comes a pretty good balancing malt backbone that is sweet and caramely. Pretty good IPA.

Light to medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Slightly oily texture.

Good drinkability. Overall, a good IPA.

Hojaminbag, Mar 09, 2009
Photo of wcudwight
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper in color with a soapy head, both in color and texture. Sparse sticky lacing.
Woderful tropical fruit aromas.
While this is an aggresively hopped beer, it's the malt profile that sales it for me. I don't know what it is, but it's different than most IPAs. It's better.
Nice lush mouthfeel. Full bodied.
Very drinkable. It has a lot of the characteristics of a DIPA with out the high abv and it's not as filling. Good job Big Sky.

wcudwight, Mar 09, 2009
Photo of PerzentRizen
4.53/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a trade with Colts9016 - thank you for the great trade Benjamin!

Upon first sight and smell I thought this might just be another "decent" but not great IPA's - man was I wrong! The flavors are so much like any great West Coast IPA (re: Blind Pig, Pliny the Elder).

Poured into a Duvel glass (10 minutes outside the fridge). The color is a dark but clear reddish bronze color. The color reminds me of any great Scotch Ale. The color may be a touch darker than many West Coast IPA's I've tried (Perhaps this is the reason for the "B" rating).

The aroma is a bit muted but smells just like an elephant ear from the fair - no kidding! There is some floral hop smells but mostly I'm picking up on the massive malt attack. So far looks like a scotch, smells like a scotch....if it had a kilt and a brode I'd ask it to join me in a round of golf!

The first taste is instant love. If this beer would have me (and I weren't already married) I might consider a proposal. The flavors are so attenuated, dry, earthy, and pine-ily hopped I am mystified that the aroma didn't match! This is so much like Moyan's Hopsickle in that the flavors just pop the right way. I have to say this is one amazing beer. I wish I had about 23 more of them.

The mouthfeel is extremely full which surprised me because there was no sweetness in the taste. The brewers got the perfect carbonation and the taste layers are ideal for a truly great IPA.

All of this makes this an extremely easy drinking beer. I would drink it in a boat, with a mouse, and on a train, with a goat, in a house, and in the rain! I do like this IPA, I would drink it every day!

PerzentRizen, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of jera1350
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper color. Very small head that is quickly gone. Fair amount of lacing.

Smell is of hops with a small bit of malt.

Taste is hoppy with malt. This is a very well balanced beer. Not overpowering in any aspect. Just a flavorful beer.

Medium bodied with average carbonation.

Highly drinkable. Not filling nor overpowering in any way. This is a very sessionable beer. For the price, this is a solid go to beer.

jera1350, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of crayphish
4.6/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Love the art work on this brew. This liquid appears a golden orange liquid, with little carbonation, and decent initial head that fades quickly. Some splotchy lace. Smell is a wonderful grapefruit burst. Sweet citrus. The citrus flavor explodes with this beer. Grapefruit foremost, followed by tangerine. Most of the sweetness here is citric in nature, not much malt. Mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing, the taste lingers and begs for more. This is an IPA that i would LOVE to see 12 packed.

crayphish, Mar 04, 2009
Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 976 ratings.