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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
86
very good

1,041 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,041
Reviews: 456
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.07%
Wants: 30
Gots: 80 | 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: 1,041 | Reviews: 456
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.

Photo of evanackerman
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful deep copper color with a substantial beige head and ample lacing. very pretty beer.

Aroma is all about citrus hops.

Taste is dominated by citrus hops, decent malt backing but could use a bit more. pretty well balanced overall but not in the upper echelon of IPAs

Mouthfeel is medium viscosity and appropriate for style.

Drinkability is reasonably high for an IPA, no problem throwing back three or four.

Overall, certainly a tasy beer, nothing to scoff at, kind of blends in to the plethora of similar IPAs on the market, solid and worth a try if you are an IPA aficionado.

Photo of Jeebs
3.41/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark reddish orange with a large 3 finger white head. The head dissipates relatively slow leaving nice lacing down the glass. I was a bit surprised at how dark this beer poured.

S: The smell is a bit muted, but what aroma is there are piney hops and lots of malt.

T: The taste follows the smell with piney hops and malt with a hint of toffee.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Drinkability is pretty good although I like my IPAs a bit more citrusy and hop dominated. I will say that for under $7 a 6/pk that it's a pretty damn good buy.

Photo of zdk9
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer really hits the spot for me tonight. It comes out of the bottle a crystal clear copper color bursting with two fingers of head. As i drink the milky white bubbles subside somewhat butt leave spiderweb trails on the glass sides.

The smell is hoppy, special attention on the pine hoppiness, but floral notes of lavender and others also play a role. The smell has great strength too, which I really appreciate.

The taste is delicous and hoppy- pine wood and sweet. Bitterness does hit the sides and back of the tongue- more than I would like, but not neccesarily out of the style, and certainly fitting for an IPA with this hoppiness.

I was really surprised by this beer. I was not expecting much, especially since I bought it as part of mixed 6er, where they are often slightly off beers. But this is hoppy and fragrant and tastes awesome. Hats off to Big Sky!

Photo of rednrag
3.21/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Store was out of my go-to IPA, Torpedo. This was the only other IPA they had, and I was in the mood, and had never had it, so...

Smells a little too malty for me, maybe I'm just wanting more hops.

Taste is not bad. Could be a little less malty, and a bit more hoppy.

Not a bad beer, but priced more than my beloved Torpedo, and not as good.

But nice try, Montana.

Photo of Spineypanda
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

For some time I had been trying to find a Big Sky beer, and the first I find is this one.
Has a nice amber color, a bit darker than some IPA's I have had in the past. Nice lasting head.
Smells strong and bitter just like it should. Nice hop aromas.
Has the hoppiness that is also expected from an IPA, nothing exceptionally different from other IPA's.

An all around good IPA.

Photo of Mistofminn
3.21/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a suprisingly dark murky brown. Actually looks kind of muddy orange. A nice, light tan head is produced, with a creamy texture and leaving some nice lacing.

The nose is much more maltier than I was expecting, not a good sign for a fresh(ish) IPA. This bottle is a little over two months old and already the hops are nearly gone, which doesn't bode well for the hop presense to begin with. Sweet and malty, with only the faintest grassy hops.

The taste is much of the same. Sweet malts with only the faintest hint of grassy hops. Almost has a weak barleywine-like maltiness to it, surprisingly strong.

Mouthfeel is light to medium, with a sweet finish. Drinkability is ok.

Overall, not my favorite IPA. There are tons that I'd rather have over this, but in a pinch I suppose I would have it again. Nothing against Big Sky, but this is kind of what I expected out of them.

Photo of nsmartell
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the 12oz bottle with the 011210 stamp to a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark orange color with a big, billowy, dirty-white head that lasted for some time.

Smell: A very nice floral, citrus hop aroma with a hint of grapefruit.

Taste: Just as the smell suggests, lots of floral hops with a hint of grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, bitter and smooth.

Drinkability: A very nice, drinkable brew. Really good bitterness. Would certainly recommend and drink again.

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

I have seen many Big Sky brews on the shelf, but this is the first that I have tried. The beer pours a dark amber color with a decent cap of foam that left decent lacing down the glass.

A wallop of floral hops and grapefruit in the nose. Sweet malt wiggles through the hops to add to the aroma. More of the same on the palate with a larger emphasis on the hops than the malt. Finishes bitter and leaves a residue no the palate. Malt sweetness also remains on the palate providing ample balance.

An oiliness from the hops is quite noticeable in the mouthfeel, not a bad thing.

I did enjoy this beer. It is hoppy, but balanced, drinkable and tasty.

Photo of natelocc787
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very good IPA, kind of surprised me because I haven't been impressed with any of their other offerings. Dark IPA, lengthy sheets of lace and a very resiny, bitter, spruce and grapefruit nose. The taste is a mild letdown from what the nose implied, more spruce, grapefruit and orange peel notes backed up with caramel malt that is noticeable but beat back by the bitterness. The score could almost be bumped up in the taste category, really enjoyable but could use some complexity. Still good, mouthfeel like a dark Stone IPA and very drinkable. Would be happy buying a whole sixer of this beer. The cream of Big Sky's crop IMO.

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

A nice little surprise from Montana! The appearance is a tad darker than most IPAs - it pours a rich, bright amber with a white head. The aroma is solid - very piney and sticky, with some orange rind in the mix. The taste is kind of a hybrid between your typical west coast and east coast IPA. You start with a chewy, malt backbone followed by pine cones, resin, and grapefruit from the hops. A nice, crisp, clean finish begging for another sip. The carbonation is spot on. This IPA was a pleasure to try.

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.4/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nose is citric and floral with significant pine - overall a gloriously magnificent hoppiness. Soft malt is toasty, nutty. Smells delightful.

Pours clear honey cola with very large & lasting rocky head. Looks wonderful - it almost could not look any better.

Flavor follows nose, with moderate bitterness. Hop flavor less pronounced than aroma, but still displays bright citric, piney, and floral oils. Good bit of tartness. Big malt body, mildly flavored: toasty bread and soft nut. Very little thrashy leafiness I typically find in strong IPAs, but there's still a bit of that earthy/leafy hop kick to prove they used real hops and not hop oils. Mildly sweet. Finishes with good hop bite. Tastes good. Feels good. Very good drinkability.

Most impressive! This is a seriously tasty and to-style IPA. I've found Big Sky to have good-but-boring beers to-date, and IPA has definitely tipped their average into the significantly less than boring direction. I look forward to trying the next Big Sky offering I come across. Kudos!

Photo of tapman
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice dark rust/ medium orange color typical for the style with a dense, light brown head comprised of tiny bubbles and some slightly bigger ones. The head dissappears rather quickly and while this isn't neccessarily that important for the style, I like to get a little foam with my first sip, or at least enough foam to release a long burst of aroma. Perhaps a protein deficiency in the beer?

Aroma is buttery, but toffee butter, not diacetyl butter. A lot fo crystal malt for my taste. Hops are floral and slightly spicy with a bread back. A little alcohol is apparent as well.

Toffee/medium crystal malt for most of the taste with some spicy American hops for flavor. The bitterness at the end is clean, though a little sticky. Bittering is great.

A little chewy, but I like my IPAs really chewy, so that's not something that big sky could have panned for, is it? Still the carbonation isn't too epfervescent yet enough for a nice texture.

Despite my low score review I would not use it as a reference. I don't like the toffee type IPAs. I prefer my malt bill a bit cleaner and a little more pale with more of a stand-out hop character. However, I understand that this is a different style of IPA that many people love. I'm a young guy and I look forward to giving this another try when my taste buds mature a little more. If you like a super balanced IPA, go for this one, but if you are like me and like them a little unbalanced (American style baby!) then stick with your bells two hearted.

Photo of BigBigPickle
3.31/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. into pint glass.

A: Pours a cloudy, dark amber - very pretty - with minimal head (too cold into pint glass?). Great lacing on glass.

S: Yeast before hops. Orange peel.

T: Hop bitter up front - very orangey. Astringent, bitter - reminds me of cleanliness. My last batch of IPA was cooked at too high a temperature and it tastes a lot like this.

M: Too astringent. Bittering hops too big, not balanced with flavoring.

D: Just okay. But not horrible.

Photo of Wheelinb
3.86/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice copper color and 1 finger of head. This has what I consider a typical hop aroma - citrus and grassiness. Big flavors at first, but not overwhelmingly so. A bit of a spiciness but no after taste. Very easy to drink this beer. I really like their Moose Drool and this IPA is pretty solid as well.

Photo of tr4nc3d
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12fl oz bottle poured into my mug

Pours a dark copper like color with a two inch slightly tan head. Head is rather dense with great retention. Soapy scattered lacing is left clinging to the sides of my glass.

Some citrus notes are detected with grapefruit. Grass and pine can be detected with a pretty dominant malt smell considering its an IPA.

Slight citrus flavor shows upfront with the likes of grapefruit, this leads to a little more sweeter taste that is followed by the malts. Toffee and biscuit like flavors show up in the end. Light to medium bitterness.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Pretty easy drinking IPA and I would recommend it to try.

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

A: Clear copper with a dense off-white colored head. Lacing down the glass.

S: A very nice floral, citrus, herbal hop aroma with some toasted malt aromas.

T: The hop flavors really stand out here. There are some pine, grapefruit, and grass flavors with a good bitter bite. The malt shows through also. A nice malt flavor to this beer.

M: A good full mouthfeel with a peppery spice.

D: A nice drinkable above average IPA.

Photo of ibbjamin
4.16/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Paid $1.33 for a 12oz bottle from Festival Foods in Manitowoc, WI. Poured into a pint glass to review.

Yields a large, creme colored head - should have poured more slowly. Crystal clear transparency with a dark amber color. Minimal rising carbonation. Excellent retention and lacing.

Green leaf and caramel malts intertwine in this mild, well balanced IPA. Smells fresh, clean and earthy.

Rich, earthy and mild taste. Superb balance with biscuity malts and herbal/piney hops. I'm liking this one quite a bit, especially for it being as malty and earthy as it is. Quite unique.

Medium body with light carbonation. An almost watery mouth, yet there is a medium finish and texture as well. It goes down very quickly.

I was suspecting much more average here - this beer is unique and highly drinkable. Hats off to Big Sky.

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

Nice and very drinkable draft IPA

Presentation: 16 oz draft offering. Menu offers a fair one liner description and brewery location. Served in pilsner-like glass.

A - Amber body with a 1/4" head, good retention and lacing.

S - Resin/pine character with citrus/grapefruit notes.

T - Flavor follow with a hoppy profile that is not shy at all but does not assert itself too much either. Grapefruit, and pine.

M - Medium body and carbonation with a nice crisp bitter finish.

D - Nicely drinkable, almost balanced leaning on its hoppy side, which works rather well.

Notes: I'll be happy to revisit on tap, and sure enough when I come across a bottle. Nice IPA.

Photo of PhxHorn
4.11/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a beautiful orange copper color with 3/4" off-white head. It left thick lacing all the way down, a serious-looking beer. Smells moderately of hops. Taste is a moderate grapefruit hop flavor, with some orangy citrus flavor in there as well. Not a real intense flavor, but good enough. Mouthfeel was a tad thin, but it's drinkable as hell. I kiled it in about ten minutes. Damn straight!

Photo of roblowther
3.47/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cheers to my buddy Lauer for bringing this one back from a business trip. Clear burnished copper with a thin off-white head that laces well. Smells floral with a hint of vanilla. Tastes of hops, very crisp. Aftertase is metallic. Finishes tart, slightly apple-like, with a stonger pine ovetone. Mouthfeel is soft with nice carbonation. Drinkability is good. It gets better as the beer gets lower in the glass. Maybe my tastebuds just needed to warm up to it. I like it!

Photo of Vancer
3.28/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A deep amber, almost cola brown pour greeted me, thick and rich ivory head leaving lace rings in the Bitburger pilsner glass.

Citrus orange aroma, just some subtle hints of pine. So far, I really likey. More resinous wood chips in the quaff that I care for, and some infamous floral petals. A bit unbalanced, seems more English IPA than American.

Big Sky usually produces tasty treats, but this is one I'll shy away from next year.

Photo of BeerMePlze
4.7/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This IPA has Great aromas of grapefruit and citrus. Hopbomb on the front end but then finishes very nicely...and IPA that I can actually drink a few of in a sitting. 6.2% ABV, so it only takes a few anyway!

Not too heavy on the mouth, a great overall beer!

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Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,041 ratings.