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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

1,036 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,036
Reviews: 454
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%
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: 1,036 | Reviews: 454 | Display Reviews Only:
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

Photo of hero27
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle
6.2% abv

Pours a clear amber with a modest head of foam.
Orange/citrus aroma with some light caramel in the background...gorgeous display of fresh Simcoe hops..
Very clean, refreshing hop profile. Ripe orange, tangerine, and apricot flavors..succulent.
Exceptionally enjoyable..straightforward, clean hop profile is a treat to your tastebuds..do yourself a favor & track this one down.

Photo of Chelsea1905
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle bought in Huckelberry's in Spokane Washington

The beer comes out very dark and amber for an IPA which is uprising considering how little malt there seems to be in the smell and taste

The smell is very citrus and floral

It has very little malt in the taste, and the hops hit sharply. A nice hoppy IPA, but almost too hoppy as there isn't much else balancing it out

Feels good on the tongue. Not much gas, but not the smoothest

Went down easilt. A great IPA, but lacks a little balance

Photo of Floydster
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle purchased as part of a six pack from the El Segundo Wine & Liquor Shop for nine dollars, poured into a pint glass

A-Golden amber color with orange highlights, 3/4 inch white soapy head that lasted a fair amount of time, good retention, some nice lacing
S-Lots of citrus including tangerine, pineapple, grapefuit, and orange, biscuit malt, some caramel, strawberries, some piney aromas, and toast
T-Starts off with some pine, toasted and biscuit-like malt in the middle, tons of citrus in the finish, the most tangerine I can remember being in an IPA, does not change much as it warms except for citrus coming to the surface but the malt never becomes overpowering, lots of berries and orange flavor by the end, enjoyable and easy to drink
M-Smooth, creamy, dry, and citrusy mouthfeel, average to high level of carbonation, medium bodied, bitterness lingers for a while
D-Could drink a six pack, very light on the stomach, alcohol is hidden, smooth, ABV is low, goes down easy, refreshing

Nice India pale ale from the producers of Moose Drowl, did not expect this one to be great but is satisfied my dad and I last night for sure, nice sessionable brew that is affordable, would pick these up again in the future, recommended

Photo of daledeee
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a nice head and keeps lace throughout the drinking experience.

Nose is grapefruit and floral.

Taste is grapefruit with malt and citrus oils but not sweet. The biggest taste to this beer is over carbonation. I know that sounds funny but after several of these, the taste is not very distinctive and carbonation is the most prevalent characteristic of this drink.

A drinkable beer but there are several others that I like better.

Photo of disastermouse
4.82/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Browner than most, a truly substantial-looking A-IPA.
S- Wow! Cleansing 'arugula' smell.
T- There seems to be more complexity to this A-IPA than most I've tried. In truth, there's very little malt in this one, but it is detectible underneath the hop-bomb. It tastes 'fresher' than most hop-bomb A-IPAs I've tried. I'm not really sure how to qualify that. It seems like most IPAs I've tried have a 'staler' hops taste.
MF- Once again, very substantial for an IPA. Bitter astringent qualities followed up by a 'clean' feel. Hard to describe.
D- You can't pound them down all night (well, maybe YOU can), but you can certainly line up a few as long as you've got a ride home.

This has become my favorite IPA. I honestly didn't really understand the hype about IPAs until this beer. It just seems so well put together that the hop 'bite' tastes right.

Just an exceptional brew all around.

Photo of brentk56
4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a nicely contructed head that retains fairly well while leaving sheets of lace around the pint glass

Smell: Biscuity and musty, with piney undertones

Taste: After an initial taste of the biscuit, a huge piney blast overtakes everything else, and is joined by some very tart, almost lemony, grapefruit flavors at mid-palate; after the swallow, the herbacious, oily tartness is overwhelming, although after a while it blows itself over and the initial biscuity flavor returns

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Really a very nice session IPA

Photo of deereless
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Coppery red, creamy head - 4.25, S: The trademark grapefruit & citrus, nicely balanced with some bready malts - 4.25, T: The flavor doesn't follow the nose, hop heavy with pungent & bitter flavors - 3.50, M: 3.75, D: Another beer using a standard hop bill that relies on pure hops to fit the profile of an IPA - 3.50

Photo of sulldaddy
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Im drinking a cellar temp bottle poured into a snifter. Ther beer pours a clear amber hue with some garnet tints. A creamy to almost spongey eggshell white head of 5 cm foams up even with a gentle pour. Fades slowly creating craters and leaving sticky lattice all the way around.
Aroma is pine and citus with a light mixing of caramel malt coming through.
First sip reveals a silky smooth body and very fine carbonation that fades to caskness while swirling in my mouth.
Flavor is caramel malt briefly and rolls to some impressive but not overwhelming bitterness. I get some pine sap resiny flavors, mixing with a little bit of general plant notes and a fairly astringent finish that lingers a bit on my palate.
A pretty nice IPA that isnt over the top and is fairly drinkable even with its hip bite. the brief sweet malt up front makes me want to take in more beer after every sip.

Photo of AylwinForbes
4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

We originally drank this at source on Dulcie and Aylwin's Big Beer Adventure in draft form and were shocked at how good it was. Having dragged a couple of sixers back across America, we were delighted to discover it in the local Binny's. For me it compares favourably with the renowned Surly Furious: it has that big piney hop nose and full citrus palate that is delightful to chew on. Appearance is medium coloured yellowish amber, slightly hazy, decent head when poured which dissipates slowly. Great effort from the wilds of Montana.

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

Picked up a 6 of this from the corner bodega the other day. It's a nice golden orange colour with a big froty head of hoppy white foam. Aromas are hoppy with a nice pacnw blend, as well as a great candied british malt smell as well. Taste is hoppy up front, with a lovely English biscuit like malt flavor. Reminds me of pillsbury grands for some reason or another. Mouthfeel si medium bodied, and drinkability is good. a solid IPA all the way around

Photo of pweis909
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had hoppier IPAs, but this one is more in line with my favs for the style.

It pours a darkish amber with a tight tawny foam that persisted but did not get in the way of enjoy this beer. Nor, I might add, did the floating hop bits (were they hop bits?) that were prevalent. Since I am a homebrewer, when I see sediments in beer, I'm more inclined to look favorably upon them.

Hops in the smell and taste, but not with a strong whack in the teeth that makes a beer unapproachable. More of the flavor and aroma type, spicy, not too bitter. Malty backbone compliments the spice.

Sadly, I only had one bottle, and it was gone too quickly. Looking forward to seeing this one again.

Photo of LarrBear
4.85/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am very impressed with every offering I've tried from the Big Sky brewery, and Big Sky IPA is my favorite of the bunch. The burst of hops and citrus scents upon opening the bottle promises good things to come and it doesn't disappoint. The strong hops bitterness lingers pleasantly on the middle-back of the tongue, but does not overpower hints of grapefruit, oranges, and perhaps apricot. This brew pours a dark amber with an orange haze, topped off with a lot of tan foam.

Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,036 ratings.