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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

959 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 959
Reviews: 444
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.07%
Wants: 31
Gots: 49 | 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: 959 | Reviews: 444 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of omahawk
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grapefruit. That pretty much sums this good IPA up. It actually works quite well, but there is a bunch of grapefruit taste in this one.

Nice head, pours a copper-amber color into my pint glass. Decent piney-citrus nose. Nice mouthfeel, good carbonation, feels pretty smooth. Lacing persists throughout the experience. Taste is an above average IPA, good balance, right amount of biting hops. I am not a big fan of some of Big Sky's beers, but I will most definitely continue purchasing this one.

omahawk, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of katan
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

A - Impressively clear is the first striking attribute. No hazing whatsoever. A darker golden to almost brown color. Head formation is light white, sizing up to a 1 mm, and is well retained.

S - Piney, floral, and grapefruit hops smell. Moderate for an IPA. Certainly an earthy profile. Not much else there.

T - Starts off with a fairly boring initial flavor, with little tilt towards malt or hops. Certainly is bitter though. Mid-stream starts to develop some of those grapefruit tastes. Finishes with an extremely potent wet hop taste - like I'm chewing on a fresh cone.

M - Thicker and more full of body than many of the other IPAs I've had. A light amount of filming in the mouth after each drink, surprising for the alpha acid content.

D - moderately drinkable. ABV is very manageable. Not very filling. The only knock would be that earthy aftertaste is awfully assertive and palette dominating.

Good IPA - I enjoyed this one.

katan, Feb 28, 2009
Photo of Onenote81
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle received from breity in a recent trade. Thanks!

Pours a murky copper/amber with a massive foamy off-white head on top. This stuck around for the entire drink like the top of a milkshake. Perfect sip rings all along the glass edge. Great spotty lacing throughout. Beautiful.

Smells great for an IPA. Definite citrus player as I'm smelling grapefruit and slight lemon zest. Floral tones pervade as well. Great. Mouthfeel is firm, crisp, yet velvety smooth. Wonderful.

This beer packs a punch on the flavor. Wonderful grapefruity hop bitterness right at the onset, backed by decent malty sweetness. As the beer warms the bitterness fades to a mellow caramelly sweetness that I really dig. Spectacular.

Thanks breity for this absolutely wonderful IPA. Highly recommend.

Onenote81, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of jwinship83
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle with no freshness or brewed on date

A- amber colored body with a finger and a half of fluffy white head that sticks around for a while.

S- sweet caramel malts upfront with a lot of hops at the end. strong citrus/grapefruit notes.

T- caramel/toffee malt upfront. loads of hops as well. lots of grapefruit flavor. no trace of alcohol anywhere

M- light to medium bodied with a good level of carbonation. very crisp and clean. leaves the mouth feeling dry

D- easy to finish. i wish there was some way to tell if this was fresh. hop-centric brews without a best by date are always hard to pick up. this one worked out fine. i can see myself having a few of these in an evening. next time ill opt for the sixer instead of the single.

jwinship83, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of brewdoc75
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Picked this up in a Big Sky Mix Pack a week ago.

A-Looks nice as I pour out this Amber-orange brew. Definitely not as light as I thought it would look. I like my IPAs darker and this is definitely one of those. A crisp white head crowns this brew.

S-Citrus/grapefruit hops and sweetness from the malts. A pretty solid combination, but I would like a bit more of a hop presence.

T-A clean sweetness at first with floral, citrusy hops towards the end. There is a strong grapefruit bitterness. It is a nice bitterness that doesn't linger too long. Pretty well balanced. Definitely an above average flavor, but not iconical.

M-Thin, but crisp. I would have like a bit more body from this one.

D-An above average IPA. Definitely one I'd never turn down. Maybe not a staple in my fridge while I live in Minnesota, but in SD it may be one of the better IPAs I can get. This is definitely one of those beers I would like to try on tap to compare to the bottle.

brewdoc75, Feb 23, 2009
Photo of BeenJammin
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a copper looking tone with a nice sized creamy white head.

The aroma is loaded with lots of citrus and a kind of floral hop.

The flavor is bursting with those citrus, grapefruit-like hops. I am reminded of a ripe grapefruit every time I drink this beer. Sufficiently bitter and a bit of sweet, bready malts.

The Big Sky IPA has been a friend of mine for awhile now. It has very good drinkability for a hophead like myself.

BeenJammin, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of ajmoody76
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bought a sample pack which includes their four main beers. this one pours an amber/copper color. one finger off-white head. sticky head. looks good.

big citrus nose. definitely grapefruit in there. no off odors. cannot wait to take another sniff.

hops dominate my tongue. citrus/american hops. some sweetness from malts come through but are subdued by the hops. dry bitter hop aftertaste. balanced for an aipa.

good carbonation. mid body. i could drink a few more. another pleasurable option in the aipa category.

ajmoody76, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of ncvbc
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber with reddish hues, a darker looking brew for the style. Creamy head that leaves rings of lacing down the glass. Smell is very malty but still well balanced with a solid hop presence. Juicy and citrusy, sugared with malt. A bit of caramel, some toffee, and brown sugar. Flavor is solid enough. Definitely a more tamed brew but I can't find much else to complain about. Good hop profile and the malts aren't overwhelming, just providing a sure balance. Again, sugared citrus hops with caramel and brown sugar most apparent. Also a toasted bread underneath. Mouthfeel is somewhat creamy, with less assertive bitterness than I'd like. Still fairly crisp and lightly drying in the finish. While this one may not have the hop blast of your usual IPA, I still think it's quite solid. One that could walk closely on the lines of an Amber. It's a session beer for me, provided I could get it more often.

Thanks to flexabull for the Secret Santa brew!

ncvbc, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of MSchae1017
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Wasatch for this one!

This beer pours a copper color with a slightly off white head that holds a nice ring, some wisps of foam and plenty of lace.

The aroma of this one is fairly light. I certainly get some bready malts but also some floral/spicy/citrus hops.

The flavor first of all has a solid pale malt flavor complimented by some caramel malts. The hops though are the significant flavor, even if they do not completely overpower the soft malt characteristics. The hops start of spicy and then give way to floral before finishing with a delicate balance of floral, citrus and spicy malts.

The mouthfeel is fairly medium. A nice carbonation also is present.

Overall, a decent IPA. This is nothing overwhelming, but still quite solid.

MSchae1017, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of akokandy
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 12oz brown bottle poured into a pint glass. The beer is a transparent red-orange with a 2-finger white head after a hard pour. The head dwindles down to a fine layer after a couple minutes, but this lasts till the end. Leaves a nice lacing pattern on the glass.

S- Citrusy hops with lemon and orange notes. Hops dominate.

T- There is no sweetness at all to this beer. Lots of hop bitterness and the grapefruit hop sour-bitterness characteristic of American hops. The beer isn't very well-balanced, but does what it's trying to do quite well.

M- Low carbonation and medium-full body. Very nice.

D- Moderate alcohol and good, consistent flavor make this a pretty good session beer. $7.99 a six-pack doesn't break the bank either.

akokandy, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A: Pours a very clear amber with a small one finger white head. Head has ok retention but leaves very little lacing.

S: Smells of strong hops, a bit of caramel and pine.

T: More balanced than it smelt, nice citrus hops with a bitter pine aftertaste.

Overall: I really enjoyed this IPA, not the best I've ever had but it's enjoyable and not expensive.

AdmiralDiaz, Jan 30, 2009
Photo of CHSLBrew
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Pristine and bright amber beer. Off-white head was thick off a vigorous pour and retained well.

S-Piney hops, something slightly grassy. Bright, but one-dimensional.

T-Sparkling resinous hops with a slight bready malt underneath with an almost sweet tone accompanying it. Aftertaste is minimal, crisp with a metallic character.

M-Some nice smoothness, with a higher medium carbonation. A bit of that hoppy graininess.

M-Good drinkability. This is one of the beers that helped introduce me to different brewing styles years ago, so it holds a little corner in my heart. Although it's not crazy-good, it's still good.

CHSLBrew, Jan 30, 2009
Photo of MisterClean
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Total Wine in Roseville.

A - Pours a deep red with light copper and has a huge 4-fingered orange-white head. Light clumping is visible and leaves a nice lacing.

S - Citrus, flowers, and nectar.

T - Fairly similar, but the bittering hops are more pronounced in the taste.

M - Creamy, but also with sharpness and light bitterness. Full mouthfeel.

D - Very good, although color is a little too dark for a "Pale" Ale.

MisterClean, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of jayfarley3
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Appearance is hazy amber color with a big frothy white head that retains itself nicely. Smells strongly of piney hops and citrus. Tastes of bold piney hops with a nice balanced malt backbone, very delicious. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, very smooth and easy drinking. This is a very good IPA.

jayfarley3, Jan 24, 2009
Photo of pmcadamis
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Deep dark bronze with a one finger cream-white head that recedes to a collar and haze within a few minutes. Some spatterings of lace are left on the glass, and a quick swirl brings this head back to a fat finger.

S - Damn! Grapefruit-hop attack we all toss around the pine and grapefruit analogies but honestly, I've never smelt a more grapefruit-oriented IPA. I like it for it's focused aroma, and some tutti-fruitti apricot and grapefruit add complexity. Orange rind, sweet candied oranges, and grapefruit. Yeah, mainly grapefruit.... and that sho' ain't a bad thing!

T - This is GOOD. Fresh grapefruit is the major component (maybe with a little sugar, the way my mom used to eat them with that oddly shaped curved little spoon/knife thingy) along with some peach, apricot, and a touch of pine. The malt component is tasty, and does it job keeping up with the ridiculous hoppage.

M - Sweet at first, then gritty, sandy, and dry. This has wonderful structure in the mouth, and the finish is dry as the damn desert. Nice.

D - This is a seriously good IPA. They need to work on the label artwork, but that has absolutely nothing to do with beer so I won't fault them points for putting Bambi on the cheesy label (they just need to understand that we BA's like to see devils, demons, dragons, warriors, pin-up girls, maybe a squirrel holding his "nuts," you know... that sort of stuff attracts people like me. I might have passes by a bottle with a sappy looking deer on it, so I'm glad my buddy 'orangemustache' passed this one on to me. Thanks Ricky!

pmcadamis, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of optiontwo
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. poured into generic pint

Appearance: Clear reddish-brown with a pretty two-inch frothy head, nice lacing, and great head retention.

Smell: Nice and somewhat unexpected for an IPA. First thing I smell is earthy hops mixed with caramel and dark cherry. Brown sugary smell also makes an appearance.

Taste: Wow, very different, but good. Sweet malts followed immediately by cherry flavors come out right away. Then the hops hit, but different then you would expect, this isn't really a very citrus-forward IPA. Even though I taste subtle grapefruit and orange, red fruits (cherry, pomegranate, raspberry) seem to be the leading cast and then at the end the hops turn somewhat earthy and finishes with a bitter bite. Maybe it's just the malt balance but it's really interesting and quite delectable.

Mouthfeel: Spot on for the style.

Drinkability: Alcohol is not over the top and it's medium bodied.

Overall: Very nice IPA, especially if you're looking for something slightly out of the ordinary. I would very much like to know what kind of hops they put in this because the hop flavor comes off differently than any other IPA I've ever had. I highly recommend you try this at least once.

optiontwo, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of scoobybrew
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

A - clear amber color with a decent head that settles into a well retained lacing

S - strong 'catty' hop aroma, faint malt in the background

T - dominant hop flavor profile, but not so strong that it overwhelms the malt; somewhat surprising considering the aroma; very balanced

M - medium body, moderate carbonation

D - This is a good example of an American IPA. The hop varieties used are somewhat unfamiliar to me. I typically go for the Cascade/Centennial/Columbus varieties and these seem to be a different variety, especially in the aroma. However, it's a good IPA, worth a try.

scoobybrew, Jan 03, 2009
Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 959 ratings.