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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 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.

Photo of hckyfn9999
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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.

Photo of GilGarp
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Photo of Haybeerman
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.69/5  rDev -29.4%
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.

Photo of wnh
4.31/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

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

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.

Photo of dukedevil0
3.85/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of msubulldog25
3.93/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Always good to return to a beer I haven't had in a l-o-o-o-o-ng time, especially when it comes as an extra from trader extraordinaire Wasatch. This 12 oz. bottle poured to a pint glass, pre-Memorial Day get-together at our house.

Always liked these labels from Big Sky - strikingly rugged images that are reminiscent of 1930's-era travel advertising.

A: Glowing copper-orange with a light haze, only a few carbonation streams wriggle through. Sudsy ivory head, cresting at a finger of spongy fluff, falling gradually and leaving a fine sheet of lace.

S: Citrus aroma of orange/sweeter grapefruit. Caramel malts peek through, mild herbs.

T: Cracker bread and a spicy/herbal hop kick. Some orange, less sweet and more pith. Very 'green' tasting - grass, herbs, bitter field greens.

M: Love the feel, creamy and ultra-smooth. Has a bit of carbonated zest in the finish. Body is medium, coats nicely but finishes with a lasting hop dryness.

D: Enjoyed this IPA quite a bit. It's been years since I've tasted this one; the fact is, it's one of those IPAs I *should* have more often, but it gets lost in the shuffle with a style so ubiquitous in the Northwest. May not rush out to get more right away, but would definitely have it again.

Photo of hooliganlife
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours semi light copper with a nice light white head and great retention. minimal lacing along the sides

i caught wonderful floral scents when i was pouring this. i was quite pleased as soon as i caught the scent.

very floral up front, light floral and citric flavors. towards the end light grapefruit and then a strong malt finish. grapefruit and orange flavors to cap it off.

not too light, not too heavy, pretty much perfect. light carbonation adds a very light bite and assists the hop flavor. perfect IMO.

this is one awesome IPA. this is up there with some of my shocks of the year for 2009. i am quite happy this is now available in my area and can't wait to have this on tap.

Photo of jordansbaker
4.04/5  rDev +6%
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.

Photo of Tone
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

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.

Photo of DrMalt
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Photo of whynot44
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Photo of tronester
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of BoitSansSoif
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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.

Photo of storksonm
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

Photo of alcstradamus
4.67/5  rDev +22.6%
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.

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.

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.

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