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Big Sky IPA - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Sky IPABig Sky IPA

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

1,003 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,003
Reviews: 449
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.07%
Wants: 31
Gots: 59 | 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
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Ratings: 1,003 | Reviews: 449 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of champ103
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a nearly clear orange/reddish color. A two finger off white head forms with good retention. Some sticky lace is left down the glass.
S: Pine, grapefruit, and bitterness in the nose. Some floral and grassy hops as well. Not a lot of sweetness for balance.
T: Follows the nose. Pine, grapefruit, and bitterness. No sweetness really. A typical IPA, but not bad.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. A nice crisp snap on the tongue. Not hard to drink, but the bitterness makes this a one and done for me.

Fairly typical for the style, but not bad. Worth a try, and any hop head will enjoy this.

champ103, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of OlRasputin989
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: a slightly hazy amber brew with a fluffy and thick creamy white head. leaves a good amount of lacing as well. The head stays with you the entire drink. perfect if you enjoy the novelty of a good ol' beerstache!

S: Piney citrus (grapefruit and orange). You almost get a hint of malty sweetness.

T: rich entry. sweet oranges and grapefruit peel, brown sugar. finishes with smoke flavors, pine, biscuit and grapefruit peel.

M: beer is a medium body with a good carbonation. finishes a little bubbly with just enough dryness from the hops.

I've been looking for this one for awhile, and It definitely lived up to expectation. Very drinkable and refreshing and a well rounded hop flavor without the overbearing bitterness!

OlRasputin989, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of LittleDon
4.55/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber with a slight haze. Nice thick head with copious lace. Aroma is citrus and floral. Strong hop profile, grapefruit, but not as pronounced as in the aroma. Medium mouthfeel and big bitter finish. Overall, I was pleased, much hoppier than expected, but not overly so.

LittleDon, Sep 10, 2009
Photo of Cresant
2.7/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 0z. brown bottle into a Sierra Nevada Hops glass. No date on the bottle or on the Mixed 12 Pack box. Looks to be the summer seasonal release. The body was bright copper/orange color with a tiny amount of haze. The head was khaki colored, moderate and broken, leaving minimal lace.

Smell was sweet malty syrup. Bread dough. Not much else.

Taste was of malt more than hops, however, it does fnish with some dull hops bitterness. Maybe this one would be better if it were fresher.

Mouthfeel was medium in body. Moderate carbonation.

Cresant, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade from KenGage, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a dark golden brown color, with a large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of piney hops, sweet citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts with a good burst of hops bitterness followed by sweet flavors of caramel and citrus. The malt character is a little bit thin for the style but brings some substance. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, not the best IPA out there but it's a pretty good beer to drink for a while.

TheManiacalOne, Aug 13, 2009
Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, w/o freshness/bottling info to be had. Pour rich, dark almond amber, lighter kahki head, that leaves a slight collar and light scattered bit of lace. Fruity and fragrant hops in the nose. Big and bold ale, plenty of malt coating the underbelly, sweet and smooth. The hops are equally smooth and lighly grapefruit infused as well as grainy and biting. Respectable hop crunch, quite drying and satisfying. Well done Big Sky. Big beer and hop lover, go get some

Billolick, Aug 08, 2009
Photo of beveritt
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks go out to wasatch for this one.

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a standard pint glass. Label depicts a gazelle (?) standing on a hillside.

Appearance: Pours with 1 finger of light tan head. This settles to a thin but complete coating of foam,leaving behind very nice lacing. The beer itself is honey orange and fairly cloudy. No sediment in the bottle.

Smell: Piny hops with undertones of citrus. Hop bitterness int he finish melds well with caramel malt.

Taste: Semi-spicy hops upfront, mainly pine. Good backbone of biscuity malt with hints of caramel. Mild to medium bitterness in the finish. Bitterness lingers very well.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is good.

Drinkability: A hoppy yet well balanced IPA. Another fine example of all the good craft beer out there to choose from.

beveritt, Jul 28, 2009
Photo of abrand
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle from big sky sampler poured into the pint glass

pours warm amber color with a lingering 2 finger head that lines the pint glass. The head dissolves rapidly with a minimal cream textured that lingers throughout the drink. Smells of sweet toffee and rich caramel. Also hints of ipa hoppiness. Taste is similar to the nose with subtle hints of hops and citrus. Very mild smooth finish. Mouth is medium to light bodied. Not an overpowering beer in any of the aspects but I think it is definitely sessionable with an overall really good taste.

abrand, Jul 24, 2009
Photo of portia99
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle (best by date of 8/5/09) poured into a Portsmouth goblet. Received in trade with Busch03 - Thanks!!

A - Pours a nice, deep, crystal clear copper with a cream colored, 1 finger head. Head dies down to a thin skim coat of bubbles on the surface and a thick ring around the edges of the glass. Nice lacing forms on the sides of the glass.

S - Some sweet, caramelly malt blended with somewhat subdued, but present citrusy hops. Slight biscuity aromas show too.

T - Fruity and caramel sweetness up front, a rounded bitterness in the middle, finishing up fruity again with a sharp and slightly harsh bitterness lingering into the aftertaste.

M - Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Bitterness lingers well after the swallow and tingles the back of the tongue a bit.

D - Bitterness is slightly harsh on this one. I am a big hop lover...Not sure what kind of hops they are using, but not my favorite at the moment. This harshness limits drinkability for me.

portia99, Jul 23, 2009
Photo of TexIndy
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Best by date of 6/4/09 so just out of date but should still be good. It was a hazy orange amber color with some lazy carb steams and great lacing. Had a large beige head that slowly settled into a 1/8" foam.

The aroma was very pleasing but really started to fade away as it warmed up. Some fade is expected but this really dropped off so a 4 instead of 4.5. Floral, pine, grapefruit and caramel malt. The taste was good but again seemed slightly muted compared to others so again a small hit on the score. These 2 might have been hurt by being out of date so will try to get again. Good start then the hop build to a nice middle hop bite. It's an easy drinker and could a short session beer. Get some good hops without shredding.

Overall, a good solid AIPA and another good one from Big Sky. Recommend. Not available here or it would be in the occasional hop rotation.


TexIndy, Jul 10, 2009
Photo of mugglesandhops
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle bought @ Joe's Place. Poured into pint glass. Poured a cloudy orange color with a great off white head with great lacing. smelled very floral, perfume, light fruits. Taste bitter, citrus hops, resinous. Medium body. Great tasting well balanced IPA

mugglesandhops, Jul 07, 2009
Photo of JEdmund
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty orange glow, opaque, decent tan fluffy head

Smells of caramel and mango, apricots, and pineapple...very nice

Taste & Mouthfeel
Flavor reminds me of Great Divide's Hercules, though lighter overall. Medium full body and a smooth texture. Fruity and sweet with an bitter undercurrent from start to finish. Aftertaste lingers a little too long with a slightly unpleasant flavor.

Overall I'm impressed. It's a big IPA, packing in a lot of flavor and aroma--well-crafted for sure. I'll definitely pick this up again, though I'm not sure it breaks into my top 10 IPAs list.

JEdmund, Jul 06, 2009
Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top bottle with nice Montana-esque label with best by date clearly marked; this one is about a week past its date

Appearance: Rich burnt orange beer with lots of tiny sediment in suspension, quite lively carbonation, and a big ivory whipped cream cap with good retention and great lace

Smell: Big woodsy hops, hints of pine, citrus and earth...no one hop aroma (fruit/earth/pine) really stands out...this one kind of goes back and forth from sniff to sniff. There's just a little bit of toasty malt in the background as well.

Taste: BIG pine and citrus hops up front, this has lost nothing though slightly past its date. Bitterness is firm and medium to medium-high. There's just enough malt to stand up to the hop profile, but this one is all about the hops. Pleasantly sharp and refreshing hoppy IPA.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied...not at all fizzy as I was fearing from the CO2 levels

Drinkability: Medium-high

Conclusion: All around a solid American IPA...lots of flavor with a medium abv, which is nice. Not anything earth-shattering, but quite a good representation of the style and quite tasty...definitely up there with Goose Island's IPA

BedetheVenerable, Jul 06, 2009
Photo of benteach
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is fine, clear, good head retention.

Smell and taste is woody, much like pine. The taste lingers on the tongue for quite a while after drinking. Bitter, but good, the bite is a little on the heavy side. Definitely could not drink this all night. Tastes clean and crisp.

I enjoyed the new beer and would definitely try it again.

benteach, Jun 26, 2009
Photo of nrbw23
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a slightly golden orange color with a nice off white head. Head has good retention, turns into a layer of bubbles on top of the brew and also leaves some nice lacing down the glass.

S- A nice collection of hops here from floral, pine, and citrus with just a touch of caramel malts in there as well.

T- Not the most balanced IPA ever but it is very good. Again a blast of hops with just a bit of malts in there. Pretty bitter overall but I still like it.

M- Medium in body and a little bit of higher carbonation than normal.

D- I like it. Very solid brew and would drink this again anytime.

nrbw23, Jun 22, 2009
Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with ruby highlights. It had a pillowy, tan, two-finger head of foam that left streaky, trails of lace.

S - Great aroma of pine, spruce and grapefruit. Some burnt toast malt smells, too.

T - It tasted of burnt toast caramel malt, grapefruit, orange peel and pine. The hops provided a bitter bite at the back of the tongue.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a dry finish. A medium-bodied, yet easy-drinking ale.

D - This is a very good IPA. I have yet to be disappointed with anything from Big Sky, so I am not surprised with the quality.

zeff80, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of hckyfn9999
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy orangish amber color with two fingers of light peach colored head. Lots of lace on the glass and great head retention. Aroma is loaded with grapefruit and pine along with a little fresh cut grass.

Taste is loaded with fruit flavors. Some tropical fruit along with some citrusy grapefruit and a little grass. There is a slightly caramelly malt flavor in the background to help balance it a bit, though the hops definitely shine through. A very nice bitterness level. A great IPA.

hckyfn9999, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of Beeg1
4.6/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I find this beer pretty awesome. When reviewing a beer, I think it is most edifying to note what you would change. When using this mindset with this beer I find very little I would improve on. I definitely appreciate a "fresh" aroma of hops with an IPA, the more flowery the better. This beer fits the bill. It is balanced which is a great thing. Any beer should have some balance between maltiness (sometimes sweetness) and hop bitterness.

For comparison, Surly Furious is another delicious beer which satisfies most hopheads, and took me some time to warm up to, but is definitley more "unbalanced" regarding more hoppiness than this beer. They are both delicious in in their own right.

Beeg1, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of GilGarp
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served cold in a pint glass.

It has a redish amber color with great clarity (especially for an IPA) and good thick head. Great lacing is left behind as the head settles slowly.

Aroma is sweet and nicely hopped with a fresh citrus smell.

Flavor is also well done with good balance and perfect hop profile. There's a nice hit of sweetness up front followed by fresh grapefruit and other citrus. A little bit of toasted caramel from the malts but it's mostly just a stage for the hops to shine.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and maybe a touch over carbonated for my tastes. Drinkability is good for the style especially at an indicated 6.2 percent which is fairly low for an IPA.

Overall a really good IPA. I wouldn't say it's entirely west coast nor is it a classic east coast example. It turns out to be Montana style. Very nice.

GilGarp, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of Haybeerman
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Bright, clear copper/amber color. Pored a 2 finger light tan head that dissipated slowly to an even slim. Sticky lacing in wide rings.

S: Floral hops, citrus rind and grapefruit. Slightly sweet caramel malt.

T: Malt is more prominent than in the smell. Resiny floral hops in the middle. Bitter builds in the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied; good malty heft. Balanced carbonation. Smooth and coating.

D: Very drinkable for the style; abv well disguised. More balanced (not a bad thing) than many IPA's - definitely improves the drinkability.

Haybeerman, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.68/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear light amber, with a very decent head of off-white foam. Very good lacing from the head, and the retention is pretty good. Perhaps lacks a little body, but otherwise a very good looking IPA.

Some pleasant hoppy aromas, with a rather unfortunate diacetyl butterscotch character on the nose. A little fruit, but not a lot. It's not a huge nose, and unfrotunately, the butterscotch tends to dominate, leaving it a little unpleasant.

Some butterscotch on the palate too, but it is cleaned up by the light hoppy bitterness. Not entirely though, unfortunately, and there's an unpleasant sickly character which sticks around. What clean bitterness is there is also pretty gritty, leaving an alternate harsh twang and sickly sweetness. There is a fair bit wrong about this beer, and unfortunately, the negatives outweight the positives.

This beer ends up showcasing how not to do an IPA. I was very disappointed with this brew, and it just went to show that it's not easy to make a great IPA.

lacqueredmouse, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of wnh
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottled poured into a pint glass.

Pours a bright, crisp, clear copper. Huge three to four finger head that's thick, sticky, rocky, and sustaining. A real beauty. Nice sticky lacing left as the beer recedes.

Nose is a balance of pine and citrus hops, with an emphasis on the pine. Slightly sweet and inviting. On the tongue is pine again, with tangy citrus following. This is the third of three beers from a Big Sky Montana Mixer, and I seem to remember the first two being more grapefruit forward than this. The hoppy bitterness is wonderfully balanced by the sweet citrus fruitiness, with a mild lingering bitter aftertaste. Earthy, spicy hop quality in the finish.

Medium bodied with a slight stickiness, which contributes to the lingering bitterness, allowing me to relive the hops without being assaulted by them. Solid and drinkable, and a great value at $8.99 for the sixpack. Easily one of my two best value IPAs, and one of my favorite IPAs on the whole.

wnh, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of jsh420
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
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

jsh420, Jun 02, 2009
Photo of bsp77
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

bsp77, May 27, 2009
Photo of dukedevil0
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

dukedevil0, May 27, 2009
Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,003 ratings.