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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 andreasmwatt
3.59/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Copper Coloring with a very nice head.

Smell - Kind of smells stale that is why I gave it a low rating.

Taste - Good IPA. Not the best but very hopsy. With a distinct taste.

Mouthfeel - Slight bitterness which actually helps this beer.

Drinkability - Fairly smooth. A little after taste but not terrible.

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

Poured a dark orange color with a huge dirty white head to it. Nose was hoppy, floral and maybe even citrsuy. Taste follwed the nose. Veru well hopped, must have been hopped with Cascade or Centeinnel hops. Mouthfeel is good. A very malty IPA. The malts, sem like English malts, are not West Coast typical but the Hops have NW written all over it. this makes it a unique IPA to me. Not very bitter for an IPA. Good overall.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark amber/light brown, with a medium tan head, good retention.

S: Light hints of caramel, a bit of smoke, and pine.

T: A very malty IPA which surprised me as coming from a Western brewer. Large amounts of good tasting brown malt followed by hops consisting of bitter melon and pine, white grapefruit pith in there as well.

M: Light on the tongue for an IPA, resiny, not overcarbonated, long lasting aftertaste.

D: A beer I wasn't to keen on at first, but as I finished the glass I started to really like it. An interesting IPA from Montana, recommended.

Photo of bcm119
3.77/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with a small white lacing. Sweetish, grainy malt aroma with nice herbal, grassy hops. Spicy with some mild esters. Starts off with an herbal/citrus dose of hops, slightly astringent, and then a husky graininess mid-palate. Malt is coarse and a bit musty, but it cleans up in time for a decently long, grassy/hoppy finish. Not the tightest IPA, and the malt profile is just too musty for me, but I like the spicy, dry grass hop flavors. Reminiscent of the Butte Creek and Bison organic IPAs. I'd take Big Sky's tasty pale ale over this any day.

Photo of Tucquan
3.36/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this in a bottle in Sauk Centre, MN

The beer pours a rich, orange-brown color. The head is white-orange.

Smell is grass and bread.

The flavors include grass, grain, citrus and hop bitterness with an underpinning of apricot-like fruit.

Carbonation is medium with a light-medium mouthfeel. It certainly warms on the way down due to the highish ABV.

It's pretty good for an IPA but not something I would routinely seek out. I preferred the Big Sky Pale Ale.

Photo of CaptainIPA
3.47/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

P: Presented in a 12 oz., brown bottle with prong-horned antelope goodness on label. Underside of cap reads: Freebird!
Gotta love that.

A: Pours a rusty copper color with a thin head that dissipates quickly. Active carbonation and generous lacing.

S: Hoppy, floral nose with notes of citrus and herbal mint.

T: Citrus hops followed by a wave of sweet malt. Finishes dry with an overriding bitterness that tends to overstay its welcome.

M: Thin and chewy mouthfeel.

D: Not all that inspiring. One's enough.

Photo of joe1510
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle

Received this in a recent trade with russpowell, thanks again Russ! Big Sky IPA leaves the bottle a surprisingly clear polished copper with a few streams of carbonation crawling up the sides of the glass. A fingers worth of off-white head grew on the pour and took its time fading slowly to a skimming with a respectable ring. Solid drink lines are left behind after each drink. Big Sky is a good looking IPA.

Aroma is big in the malt department. As a matter of fact this is a malt driven IPA, I'm more a fan of the hoppier versions but this one smells very inviting. Caramel and a bit of toffee take center stage. There's faint showing of a tea leaf like hoppiness and some slightly sweetened orange toward the backend. I'm enjoying the nose on this, let's see how the flavor goes.

The tea leaf hoppiness is more pronounced but a squeeze of orange finishes things off nicely. Caramel and a dry biscuity type maltiness make up the majority of the flavor. While there isn't a great deal of hoppiness present there is a bit of a buzzsaw in there. A slight bitterness runs right down the middle of the tongue. Again, while malt driven IPAs usually aren't my favorite, this is one I enjoy.

The body has enough heft to place it in the moderate category but there's a pleasant lightness. The carbonation doesn't look like much but pushes the beer through at a healthy pace which brings out the hops more then if the carbonation was a little more mild.

This is an easy drinking IPA. Not the hop attack that you will find in others but very enjoyable none-the-less.

Their IPA is another solid beer from Big Sky. I could see myself picking this up occasionally if it was distributed in my area. I'm more a fan of the hop bomb IPAs but this certainly has its place and is well made.

Photo of maximum12
3.26/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Purchased as part of a Big Sky 12 pack mixer. Grabbed this for two reasons: one, I've never had anything from Big Sky & two, having non-beer lovers over & I couldn't have them raiding my stash of Surly & Bell's now, could I? My preciooooussseeesss.

Pours a translucent golden color, nice looking, smell is straight-up hops.

Nice taste to it. There's not a lot of perceptible depth, but a nice malt backing & the hops are a little quieter than expected from the nose on it.

Surprised at the 6.2% ABV, this looks & feels like a very competent session beer. Easy down, I envision sitting out on the deck drinking this on a warm evening. If it would just quit f*cking snowing, maybe that could even happen.

Photo of Pauly2X
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Solid half finger head with decent staying power, top a golden amber body.

S- Strong citrusy hops with hints of sweet malt.

T- Most of the hop flavor and bitterness comes at you up front. A light touch of sweet malt comes in the middle to give balance. Everything comes to together to lightly fade off into the finish.

M- Good carbonation, but a little watery in the finish.

D- By far one of the more sessionable IPAs.

Not your typical "hop bomb" by any means, but it will still "strach the itch". Try it if you haven't already.

Photo of BeerCheese
3.37/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Crystal clear dark amber with HUGE fluffy tan head. Beautiful beer. Really no detectable aroma for me, which was a surprise. My sniffer must be broken! Typical bitter IPA taste which I liked, but with very little malt balance. Could have used a LITTLE malt flavor, but it just didn't come through the hops. Nice alcohol warmth going down. Not a bad flavor, just could have been better. Anyone who doesn't like a bitter beer won't like anything about this one. Light carbonation with medium/heavy body. Average drinkability.

Photo of hustlemuscle
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Montana. Big Sky Country. And, thanks to the miracle of modern distribution (and the Interstate Highway System) my dad was able to bring some out from AZ. That makes striving for a beer from every state much easier.

Looks pretty good, peachy with long lasting carbonation. Covering lace that started after the first sip. Not much head though.

Not overly smelly. Somewhat hoppy, I guess, but not really particularly pleasing.

Well balanced, tending toward English. Hops appear more in the after than the fore, although I couldn't tell you what hops the use. Not distinctively piney, or citrusy, or flowery, but I guess it tends towards the pines. Oh wait. The citrus. This beer is kind of everywhere. The bitterness overtakes the flavor a little.

Somewhat drying, but overall an easy enough drinker. Not a big "western" IPA, ends somewhat disappointingly watery- drinking it, it starts well balanced, moves into bitter, and then suddenly that is diminished by a slightly unfinished wateriness. The aftertaste is bitter.

Not bad, but not really too super. An average IPA. I bet it would be better on draft.

Photo of budsboy
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A gift from hustlemuscle, and much appreciated.

Slightly cloudy with a big, frothy healthy looking off white head.

Deep malt and big hop smell with a hint of alcohol. A buttery, sugary malt smell and a clean, crisp hop aroma.

Surprisingly citrus hop flavor, didn't see, er, smell that coming. Clean malt backbone compliments the citrus orange hop flavor. Finishes with a bitter, flirting with oxidized or maybe astringent aftertaste that lasts.

Full-bodied, nearly, and smooth, leaving a little oil on the lips.

Well done IPA. Not a session beer, a wee to big and filling for that. It's a warming, feel-good beer.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy, amber body with a short-lived, skimpy white head.

Smell: Piney, citrus hop scent with some pale malts floating around in there.

Taste: Pale malts, though no real sweetness. Instead, we jump right into the pine, citrus hop flavors with a medium bitterness. Lightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A decent, well-balanced IPA.

Photo of bditty187
4.49/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Coppery-gold in hue with reddish-bronze highlights, clear; it is a beautiful color. Off white head, at the apex the head is a solid finger tall. Head retention is respectable, a soapy, sudsy collar lasts the entire consumption. Subsequent lacing is quite spotty; overall, the appearance is standard for the style.

The nose is wonderful! IMO, Big Sky IPA is the definition of an American-style IPA. Big, bright hops arrive upon the first sniff; loads of citrus zest, grapefruit rinds, orange peel, hints of pine and even some mint. The caramel malt is very secondary and only provides some distant secondary aromas. Light ale-fruitiness and no sign of alcohol. The nose shines with hops. It is not bogged down with sweetness or booze; it is a crisp, powerful straight IPA. Big aromas, very chatty... damn inviting! I love the nose!!

Much like the nose, there is no pretense in the palate. It profiles the hops: big bitterness and great flavor. The flavor profile is not overly sweet and it is not saddled with alcohol. I adore this beer. IMO, it is every bit as good as Avery IPA or Stone IPA. I can't think of another straight American IPA this good. Citrusy, grapefruit, orange peel, pine, mint, flowers and even a kiss of candied citrus fruit... what a hop profile! Hints of caramel and some brown sugar arrive after the hops fade slightly from the tongue. Sweet finish at first before turning sticky with hops and a trace of alcohol. What a delicious IPA!

Maybe a tickle fuller than medium in body, low but natural carbonation, the mouthfeel is ideal.

Since this beer came to Nebraska last summer I have consumed this beer by the gallons. I bet over the last 8 months this is my most drank beer in that time frame. With this beer on-tap at Crescent Moon I go it often. I guess this is a longwinded way of saying Big Sky IPA is DAMN drinkable!

Photo of Zorro
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very clear aged bronze colored IPA with good tan colored head that is almost khaki in color. Quite dark for an AIPA and one that I could honestly describe as red in color.

Smell is strongly full of C type hops. Strong citrus, pine, eucalyptus and willow tree scents here. A little sweetness and menthol in this but really this is just balls to the wall hops.

The taste starts off sweet and woody with a quite bitter aftertaste. Taste profile is sweet up from and then C hops and a sharp bitter aftertaste. Hops really dominate here, bitterness gets a little annoying though after awhile.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability would be a bit higher except for a persistent astringent bitter aftertaste. This is one of those aftertastes that you don't acclimate to so you can taste the subtleties beyond it. This would work with very hot food where you need something strong to cut thru the fire and reset your taste buds.

Photo of happygnome
3.87/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

a: pours a nice light orange color with about an inch and a half of head that dissapears slowly leaving a little lacing
s: the hops give off a grapefruit like aroma, also a strong citrus aroms is present. the malts give off kind of a slightly toasted really sweet aroms
t: a sweet caramely beginning followed by nice grapefruit and citrusy hop bitterness, the bitterness is not overwhelming but deffinatly strong enough to satisfy a hop head, finishes a little dry
m: medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation very nice

overall, i really enjoyed this brew and will be picking more up

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

Yes, sir, I had gotten myself into a beer of substance...first bite I meant first taste...

Gorgeous amber...Fooled again!...I have had this beer a few times before I found this place and I never once poured into a glass to get a good look at her...boy oh boy was I missing out!...She's absolutely gorgeous!...easy on the eyes orange amber with tons of big bubbles...the biggest I've ever seen!...Lace like a French...well you know...

She smelled weedy...which did nothing but make my mouth water...I knew I was in for a wonderful hop bite...staring down the neck of this bottle was sorta like looking down the barrel of Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum..."Do you feel lucky?, Punk!"...This beer pulled no punches...

Bam!...Hops for days!...Just what me wanted...and me getted!...I needed that citrusy, weedy, herbal kick...tried a lot a of beers in me time and one thing is certain...go to the IPA's when you need your palate refreshed...I have never even had a double...can't imagine a bigger gun than this...nor the need...but hoohah and overkill are man's best entertainment...

Yo tengo hombre!...after the second one of these jokers went to the fridge and pulled out a chunk of Havarti and and some smoked brats...Afterwards I felt religous...I don't know if that cheese, and that sausage are supposed to go with that beer...but they did and I lived to tell of it...

You guys...I own a 70 Cadillac with the 472...I don't drive her much because everytime I start her the NASDAQ goes up!...on Sundays I fire her up and go for a spin...something happens...something not entirely good...but evil...a good evil...same thang here!...And yes I know of the hop shortage...is that why this beer goes down so good?...a guilty pleasure perhaps...Hops are a wonderful thang!...every drink feels like I'm mashing the gas until the secondaries open...This beer is a magic carpet ride...cain't harldy wait for next Summer and swimming in the pool and barbecued ribs..and Big Sky I.P.A....

Photo of stephens101
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought this on the recommendation of my local beer guy. I told him I was in the mood for some hops, and he said this was the beer to get. Let's dig in. Pours amber with a 1-finger thick, tan head which slowly dissipates and and leaves a fairly consistent lacing all around. Smells of sharp hops that reach out and grab you. Citrus and a modicum of malts peek their heads out after you have a chance to regain your composure form the shock of the hops smell. Tastes of hops that aren't overwhelming, but just right with a fair amount of understated intensity. There's a bit of orange thrown in to make things interesting and I'm getting some spice at the end. Mouthfeel is light and crisp. Drinkability is smooth and begs you to have a few.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz purchased at the 16th st Albertsons for about $1.40... poured into my shaker pint... still listing to James Zabiela Alive V.1.

Big eggshell head sitting on top of a polished copper brew.. crystal clear.. but oh my smell the hops from here.

Big badass hop aroma... citrus pine... you name the American hop ... It is probably here and it is standing at attention. I would guess there are quite a bit of Simcoe and Chinook in here... I typically don't care for Chinook hops.. too metallic/aggressive.. but with the citrus hop bomb it works really well. Just enough caramel malts to back up the hops.

The malty sweetness battle with the hop bitterness but are overtaken early in the palate... flows smoothly into the hop flavors.. again grapefruit and pine... and more Chinook... toward the end a nice toasty malt finish blends perfectly with the citrus zest... good medium body with adequate carbonation to mix the flavors perfectly.

I would put this beer up against lesser DIPA's... and frequently this one would pull a substantial lead on the hop profile and balance alone. Big Sky makes some fantastic brews... Stop at the brewery if you get a chance and try some of their much more rare beers that are only available in Missoula... and if you get lucky, there will be some nice bottled offerings you can take home.

Photo of SargeC
3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear amber color with a golden-white head. Low carbonation

Smell: Moderate hops and malt.

Taste: Good hop presentation. Sweet malt balances flavor to provide a very drinkable IPA.

Mouthfeel: Light body. Dry hoppy finish.

Drinkability: Good IPA. Reasonably priced for a quality brew.

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

A clear copper color with just a thin cover of white and decent lacing streaking throughout. The aroma is a decided flowery grapefruit hops with some lemon highlights, almost a resemblance to sweet turnips at times. The flavor is a nice blend of grapefruit and carmel with the accent on the hops, but not overdone at all. It has fine carbonation, fairly tangy but there is also a malty creaminess to it. A nice feel and a decent tasting IPA that is easy drinking. Recommended.

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

Appearance: light orange with 2" head that lasts. Some mild lacing develops.

Smell: grapefruit, caramel, and some soft bitterness is easily detectable by the nose.

Taste: nice caramel base. Grapefruit and milder orange citrus, soft pine, and a touch of honey. Bitterness is strong but not overwhelming.

Mouthfeel: crisp throughout with some dryness at the finish. Short aftertaste as the bitterness lingers a bit. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: nice session IPA that you can find yourself drinking a bit quicker than normal. Great on tap.

Photo of ohoove
3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Rusty copper color with a frothy off white cap and exceptional sticky lacing.
Heavy pine and grapefruit with a touch of cat urine.
Mouthfeel was slightly creamy and slick, coated the palate nicely.
Taste mimmicked the smell minus the cat urine. Bitter on the end that lingered but not overly done.
All in all I was pleased with this selection, which was shipped to me by a friend in CO, would return to this again if it was available in the area.

Photo of
3.46/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle.

Clear, dark gold, liquid. Large, creamy, off-white head. Good lacing.

Scents of peaches and caramel. Smells very sweet. Not much aroma from the hops.

Taste is more bitter than sweet, but nicely balanced. Biscuity middle. Spicy at finish and in aftertaste.

Medium in body. Medium to high carbonation. Dry, but not too much so.

Overall, pretty good. Not the best IPA I've ever had, but certainly enjoyable.

Photo of PaleAlien2
3.16/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This one starts off pretty good with a beautiful reddish-copper hue and a tan head, but the good times don’t carry over to the initial taste. Flavor is a bit metallic, and other than that it’s all hops, hops, hops. Heavy bitterness lingers a little too long at the end. I don’t think I’d get this again.

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