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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

1,023 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,023
Reviews: 450
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 31
Gots: 69 | 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: 1,023 | Reviews: 450 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jwinship83
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of brewdoc75
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

Photo of BeenJammin
4.3/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

Photo of ajmoody76
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Photo of ncvbc
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
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!

Photo of MSchae1017
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Photo of akokandy
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.07/5  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.

Photo of CHSLBrew
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

Photo of MisterClean
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Photo of jayfarley3
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Photo of pmcadamis
4.19/5  rDev +10.3%
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!

Photo of optiontwo
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of scoobybrew
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Photo of Beernoisseur
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A great effort by Big Sky Brewing Co.

Poured from a brown bottle into a pilsner glass (no freshness date)

A - A little darker than a lot of IPAs. Translucent orangey amber, with a 1 1/2 inch head that stuck around, and laced nicely.

S - Citrus and pine. Malt.

T - There's almost a sawdusty quality to this beer, but in a good way. Lots of hops, but not bitter. well balanced. Warm malt.

M - Smooth and creamy, rounded edges in the mouth. A tad shy on the carbonation, but all in all, very nice.

D - I would not hesitate to buy some more of these. If you are into IPA, give it a try. Certainly not world class, but good enough to enjoy.

Photo of Overlord
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice, solid IPA.

Pours an amber color with a hint of orange. Actually looks more like an amber ale than an IPA. Maybe two inches of head.

Smell is grapefruit and floral ... not the strongest aroma. Flavor is more robust, although, strangely, the hops are muted. I wouldn't say they're muted by abundant malt, they're just ... thin. Grapefruit, some citrus, and a bit of sweet caramel backing. Just a nice, pleasant beer.

Mouthfeel was a bit lower in carbonation than I would have wanted.

Photo of xmahns
4.37/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great balance for an IPA. I am usually disappointed by IPAs because they tend to be to hoppy with little to no compensation for malts. Not this one! Great roasted malt aromas right up front and in the middle of the taste profile and awesome hop finish, nice touches of black pepper from the hops.

Photo of hopdog
3.62/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

Poured a dark amber / copper color with an averaged sized off white head. Lots of lacing left on the glass. Aromas of juicy oranges, some grapefruit, a little floral and some caramel. Tastes of citrus, some pine, and caramel. Medium bitter finish.

Notes from 10/12/06

Photo of colts9016
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice copper hue. The aroma is grapefruit, lemons and, malt. There is hints of wheat and barley. To taste this beer I had to hang on my seat because I went for one hell of a ride. This is one of biggest IPA I have ever tried. It is bold with citrus, grapefruit, hints of tart apples and a big bitter finish. A very well made beer, but you need some good food to go with it.

Photo of Squelch
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Beautiful copper color. fluffy thick lasting head.

smell: piney hop aromas dominate. nice and appetizing.

taste: wonderful citrusy/piney punch from the hops. could use a little more malt backbone but a nice IPA nonetheless.

Mouthfeel: unusally light bodied for the style but somehow it works

drinkability: Very drinkable for an IPA due to the light body. Very nice example of the style

Photo of Bierguy5
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, 6.2% ABV. Pours a cloudy copper color with a good sized white head. Excellent head retention, with nice patches of lace coating the glass.

Citrusy hop aroma with some floral and pine notes as well. Lots of caramel in the nose, with maybe a bit of ripe fruit.

Lots of caramel up front with a good amount of sweetness. Dries out as it finishes. Good citrusy bitterness.

Medium body with ample carbonation. Easy to drink, well balanced.

Photo of Redrover
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz brown longneck poured into my SA pint glass. The beer is a dark copper with a dense off-white head. Good lacing on the glass.
Nice aroma of pine & some citrus.
The taste is, as expected, pleasantly bitter with pine resin notes. The malts provide some balance with a bit of caramel and very light cereal qualities.
The carbonation is sharp for this style, but it does have some nice oiliness. This is a nice IPA, its balanced and quaffable.

Photo of Imstillthegman
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Hero27 for this bottle. Thrown in as an extra on a recent trade.

This one pours a clear amber color with nice head of off-white bubbles. Spotty specks of lacing dot the glass.

The aroma is nice and strong. Citrus hops jump from the glass. There is a little bit of caramel in the background, also, but those hops steal the show.

The flavor is exactly the same and that's a great thing. Citrus hops smack you in the mouth followed by a quick burst of soft sweetness before you're smacked again. Lemon zest, orange, grapefruit, maybe some tangerine...they're all there. Yum.

Solid medium body with good carbonation. Bitter aftertaste, but it's not very drying. I saw in another review where this was $7.99 a sixer. Are you kidding me? I would be stocked with this as one of my main go to beers if it was available in my area. Solid IPA for sure. Thanks, Eric!

Photo of ETM
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I decided to try this after having enjoyed a sixer of moose drool.
Great head. Not overcarbonated, but there was plenty to go around.
This beer has a lot more strong hop flavor than all the APAs and most of the IPAs that I buy. It smells strongly of grapefruit rinds and that comes through in the taste. I have decided 3/4 of the way through that it is well balanced, although I thought it was a little too bitter at first. Plenty of enjoyment for the price. ($7.99)
I scored drinkability higher because hops are good for you.

Photo of Roeters
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Amber color with a nice thick head, some fine lacing

strong citrus hop aroma

great hop flavor that flows all the way through the drinking experience, mild malt flavor in the middle

lighter body, slight oily hoppiness

easy drinker for a hophead, nice in your face hop flavor

Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,023 ratings.