Big Sky IPA - Big Sky Brewing Company

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Big Sky IPABig Sky IPA

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very good

1,016 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,016
Reviews: 449
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.11%
Wants: 31
Gots: 64 | 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: 1,016 | Reviews: 449 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of maximum12
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
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
4/5  rDev +5.3%
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
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
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
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
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
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
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
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
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
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
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 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
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
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
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
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
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
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
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
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
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
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
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
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
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
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.

Photo of mdm4584
4.53/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased this near ASU in Tempe, AZ. Pretty hard to find in Arizona.

Heavy on the hops and alcohol.

Piney overtones.

Anyone the notice the "herb" in the nose?!

Suprising 6.2% ABV with such a pungent smell and striking taste.

One of the better brews coming out of Big Sky. Would definitely buy again.

Photo of burtonbe
3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Deep reddish copper color. Clear, with a nice, persistent, two finger head.

Dominant grapefruit aroma. Overly fruity. Smells like that fruity V8 juice drink. Not bad, but a little odd.

Great taste. Fruity hoppiness. Not too intense. Light citrus for the style. Good bitterness. I like.

Nothing special on the mouthfeel. Adequate, solid, no complaints.

Pretty drinkable beer for the style. Not over-the-top. It tastes like they spent some time refining this one.

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

The beer pours a nice clear copper color from the 12 ounce bottle with a modest white creamy head that fades away leaving the lace to coat the glass in a thin sheet. Nose has a citrus like crispness, chock full of spicy hop aroma, sweet malt, and a bit of fruit, start has a pleasant malt profile, sweet at the front and a bit of hop bitterness at the back, top is medium in feel. Finish continues the hop spiciness; somewhat sweet dry aftertaste ends the beer, a nice drinking IPA.

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

This pours a clear copper with a nice 1/2 inch head that sticks around for awhile. Tiny bubbles continously being released. Leaves some nice sticky lacing.

The smell is of floral hops and grass with a hint of pine. A very pleasant IPA aroma.

The taste is dominated by hops which you would expect. Piney and dry is the way I would describe the taste. It is medium bodied and perfectly carbonated. Very satisfying and a very good IPA and I would very much like another.

Photo of Tballz420
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear copper colored brew, medium cream colored head. Floral hop nose, caramel malt. Caramel malt front dominated by a nice floral hop backround. Grapefruit tones. Very tasty hops run the show with this brew. Thin to medium mouth. Not a bad choice if you're looking for a nice hop treat.

Photo of tobyandgina
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

color was an orangey-amber - very nice

nice thick, frothy head that did not diminish

smell was good - a little grassy with a definite hint of hops

it went down nicely. not too thick. good mouthfeel(what you'd expect from an IPA). tasted a little fruity, hoppy and grassy - reminiscent of something organic maybe?

definitely a well done IPA from our friends in Montana.


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

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The beer is clear, dark copper in color. Pour produces a nice off white 1/2 inch head. Good staying power with some good lacing.

Smell: BIG in hops. Piney, yet a bit floral with a hint of citrus. This seems to cover most of the hop scents I would think you could get. Not much malt related, but then again I don't really look for much in the scenty malt department in an IPA.

Taste: Piney, resiny, with a big bitter finish. There is some decent malt backing through the middle but this seems big in hops to me which is good.

Mouthfeel: Prickly in the mouth, medium body with just the right amount of carbonation so that this is not flat or too fuzzy. A touch dry on the finish.

Drinkability: Got three bottles as part of a mixed 12 pack that I purchased. I am not a big enough of an IPA fan that I would make this a regular purchase, but if I was looking for a good IPA, I would gladly grab this again.

Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,016 ratings.