Big Sky IPA - Big Sky Brewing Company

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Big Sky IPABig Sky IPA

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very good

454 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 454
Hads: 1,078
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 32
Gots: 102 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 454 | Hads: 1,078
Photo of akokandy
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
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. (734 characters)

Photo of AndyP612
4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle aggressively poured into Uptown Bar Pint glass.

A- Amber to dark brown. Very inviting fairly clear.

S- Hops forward with a lean towards citrus. More Hops... Cirtus.

T- Tons of fruit right off that bat to dissipate into a hoppy overtones Fruit, Grapefruit. To balance out the hop tip with malty sweetness finish.

M- Still has carbonation toward the second half of the pint. Delicious. Very carbonated leaping off the tongue. Dry finish. Still inviting.

O- The carbonation bites the cheeks yet it continues to invite you to drink more. The grapefruit presence sustains its attendance. Very dry finish is noteworthy. Feels like a west cost IPA in that I continue want more but only in a six pack increment. A very interesting feeling I feel but the feeling I get is sheer enjoyment. Cheers. (801 characters)

Photo of rednrag
3.21/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Store was out of my go-to IPA, Torpedo. This was the only other IPA they had, and I was in the mood, and had never had it, so...

Smells a little too malty for me, maybe I'm just wanting more hops.

Taste is not bad. Could be a little less malty, and a bit more hoppy.

Not a bad beer, but priced more than my beloved Torpedo, and not as good.

But nice try, Montana. (368 characters)

Photo of DrMalt
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
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. (514 characters)

Photo of GregoryVII
3.32/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured an inch of head, light brown to brown in color. Lovely taste of Simcoe hops, pine zest and citrus highly prominent. Not overdone, but largely one note. Not a big beer, without much malt background. The body is light and verges on watery. The beer is an ease to drink. It seized on the hop as its star and featured it well, but there is nothing distinct here. (365 characters)

Photo of Duxx
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark golden brown with a hint of orange or rust. There is a good 1 inch bright white head that leaves thick meringue like foam on the glass. I really like the look of this beer.

Aroma is a little bit one dimensional a fairly mild piney hop aroma with just a hint of sweet malt.

Taste is mild for an IPA. Seems to have a strong malt base with a enough hops to be a west coast pale ale but enough hops for an IPA??

Mouthfeel is somewhat thick. Very smooth even creamy on the palate.

I really like pale ales and this is probably one of the best pales I have tried. I haven't quite developed a strong love for really hoppy IPA's so this is an easy drinker for me but is it up to IPA style?? Probably needs more hops for you big beer IPA fans. (750 characters)

Photo of storksonm
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
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. (512 characters)

Photo of Kiwano
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - yellow orange - thick head at first then a thin head

S - a little fruity with some hops

T - Some sweetness and fruit on front with pine and then nice bitterness at the end - nice amount of hops -

M - great balance of smoothness and carbonation

O -- tasty - refreshing -- feel a bit of the alcohol good sweet/bitter balance more on the sweet side at the beginning but the bitter balances it out and takes it over which is nice (435 characters)

Photo of timmick
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle.

A: One finger off-white, frothy head that left nice sticky lace on the sides of the glass. The color is a clear, dark reddish amber or copper that is very attractive in a glass.

S: Loved the smell of this. Started out with a sweet grapefruit that gave way to pineapple and caramel. The grapefruit and pineapple kept me breathing in the aroma with every drink. Caramel and toffee seemed to come on stronger as the beer warmed.

T: Sweet caramel and pineapple gave way to hoppy grapefruit rind and pine as the drink works its way back over the tongue. Crisp and clean with a nice balanced aftertaste.

M: Silky, with a light to medium feel. Good carbonation balance for a nice finish.

D: Nice, balanced, IPA. This could almost be a session beer for me and I'm sure to have a few more. (812 characters)

Photo of BeerShirts
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Orange Copper color, Not a large amount of head form but what does form is very sticky and clings to the glass. low to Medium carbonation
S- a light non-overpowering smell of hops, a little bit piny as well
T-BIG taste, light citrus with a strong bitter piny taste. Not really any citrus taste as you get with most IPAs
M- Smooth and creamy but not thick, light carbonation as it looked like.
D- Will continue to enjoy this beer for years to come. (452 characters)

Photo of tenaciousp65
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: very rich look a nice amber mix of maple syrup and butterscotch. 1-1.5" head with good lace-served in a beer mug
S: nice spring smells with a touch of citrus
T: Taste starts off with a nice malt flavor and then the hops kick in and give it the bite of an IPA
M: Sweet sticky aftertaste
O: This IPA does a great job of not being too overpowering and is a good quality beer. Teh flavor isn't as bold and full as some of the other IPA's but this beer can be easier to drink at times. (483 characters)

Photo of disastermouse
4.82/5  rDev +23%
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. (890 characters)

Photo of aaron12
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this is my favorite ipa. to me it's perfect. i have waited to review this beer because of that reason, i wanted to make sure it was true. i first tried big sky ipa about two years ago. each time i come back to it, it blows me away. the perfect blend of hops and malt. others have said this is a "classic" tasting ipa. meaning tastes a lot like the first american ipas of the late 80's early 90's. well, i don't know about that cause i wasn't drinking ipas back then, but i don't feel that this is a "safe" ipa in any way. it's not easy to make such a great tasting ipa at 6.2, and i've had many other old school american ipas but they still don't hit the same spot. this has become my standard for which to base other ipas. thank you big sky, i'm here to stay. (760 characters)

Photo of andreasmwatt
3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
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. (321 characters)

Photo of Jfriz25
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- golden amber with big foamy white head. Leaves some decent lacing.

Smell- faint citrusy smell, less than I am used to in an ipa nowadays but still pleasant

Taste- orange and pine are the two dominant flavors held together by some sweet malt. Nice balance and flavor.

Mouthfeel- Fairly full body, not very resiny. Pretty par for the course.

Overall- it was a good find in a make your own 6 rack and in the same situation id get it again. Perfect for someone who likes hops but isn't in to the overpowering stuff. (527 characters)

Photo of MonkeymooTJ
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


A pleasant mix between copper and bronze with a twinge of orange as you get to the top of the glass


Citrusy hops with a strong sweet caramel maltiness to it


Mild bitterness. Orange peel flavor with a grapefruit note. Sweet malty aftertaste that was a bit surprising for an Ipa


Pretty light overall. Moderate carbonation level gives it a decent bite as it hits the throat


Different than any other IPA ive tasted. It is pretty well balanced and actually borders on the sweet side. Still there is a good bitterness that even hop heads can enjoy. Seems to be something for everyone in this brew. (646 characters)

Photo of mtboozeaddict41
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz can poured into Montana Griz pint glass, yeah

A:Caramel and honey color with a strong frothy white head a finger high. A darker color than used to in most IPAs.

S:Citrus notes dominate the aroma. Hoppy grapefruit leaves little room for malt character. The malt that is apparent is sweet and pretty bland.

T:Huge hop profile is noted. Citrus fruits again is basically all that can be found. Finishes dry(highly expected) with comforting fruity aftertaste

M: Nice carbonation pairs well with the fruit and hops. Definitely medium bodied leaning towards a healthy full body. little bit of a greasy texture noticed on mouth.

O: To me this brew is the perfect beginners IPA with a bold hop character coupled with nice juicy citrus fruit. what its lacking is complexity of malts and spice which i tend to lean towards in an IPA. A good beer none the less (859 characters)

Photo of RonKoch
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's 5:00 on a hot day in which I worked reasonably hard, so I brought home this from the HyVee Wines and Spirits. It is very refreshing and drinkable for a moment like this. Evergreen and apple in the aroma. Vine fresh hops in the taste. Bitterness is real and strong, but not so oppressive like in some newcomer IPAs which make me think the brewer is only out to make me pucker. The very prominent hops do not completely hide the sweet malt backbone. Good head retention and pretty lacing on my standard pint glass.

Overall, I'll be happy to go back to this IPA in the near future. (585 characters)

Photo of Birmingham
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
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. (731 characters)

Photo of Jellopants356
4.7/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark bronze. Smells very good, hops and a slight citrus smell. A thin and spotty cream head with nice visible carbonation. Very full-bodied taste with hints of pine, citrus, and of course lots of hops. Reminiscent of a pale ale body. Perfect mouthfeel. Overall a very good IPA and one of my local favorites. I love to have this beer anytime i'm offered it among other local IPAs because it is so balanced in taste and with an IPA of 6.5%, it packs a punch too! (468 characters)

Photo of D11
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from bottle into tulip

A- i really enjoyed the appearance. pours a dark amber orange. with a two finger head that lasts somewhat.

S- mostly nice roasted malt. with some hops and a little caramel.

T- the roasted malt dominates the hops pretty much but not in a bad way. also maybe a little caramel.

M- had a great mouthfeel. carbonated just right. not too thin and not dry.

O- i really enjoyed this beer. i thought the dark amber orange was sexy for an ipa. i usually prefer a lot of hops in my beer, but the malt in this was delicious and made up for it not being too hoppy. all around, a very well balanced beer and definately worth trying. (646 characters)

Photo of brewbattles
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

We did a blind taste test between this beer and 4 others to determine which was a better IPA. The beers that were competing were: Stone IPA, Big Sky IPA, Bear Republic Racer 5, Lagunitas IPA, and Full Sail IPA. Here is the video: (258 characters)

Photo of logmacschlog15
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle to Dogfish snifter.

Appearance: Pours a little over a finger of creamy, light-beige head that disappears after a minute or so leaving behind some very well developed lacing. The beer is a dark, burnished copper with tints of red and lots of lively carbonation.

Smell: At first, sweet citrus aromas in the nose followed by subtle scents of pine. The juicy hop aromas are balanced well with a surprisingly bold caramel sweetness. This smells terrific!

Taste: An earthy, piney hop flavor hits the tongue immediately and is followed by a very strong bitterness. There is a mellow, caramel sweetness, especially as the beer warms, but you really have to search for it. It is interesting that the hops in the aroma and taste almost flip-flop, with the citrus dominating the aroma while piney characteristics dominate the taste. There is a slight tinge of alcohol as well. Once the bulk of the bitterness subsides there is a very pleasant earthy/herbal aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with some very smooth carbonation. There is also a very nice warmth from the alcohol.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable brew for those who like their IPAs relatively bitter.The bitterness of the hops take precedent over the more fruity/citrus characteristics that hops can add to a brew. All-in-all I could definitely have a few more of these. (1,357 characters)

Photo of mac56
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber. Thick cream-colored head, significant lace.

Aroma: Citrus and floral.

Taste: Citrusy, piney hops dominate over a smooth, subtly malty base. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Just right.

Drinkability: Ohhh yeahhh.

I continue to be impressed with Big Sky's brews. If it weren't for this IPA, their Kolsch, "Moose Drool", and "Scape Goat", there'd be precious little I'd buy at our local small town muni. If you see this beer, try it. You won't be sorry. (488 characters)

Photo of BigBigPickle
3.31/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. into pint glass.

A: Pours a cloudy, dark amber - very pretty - with minimal head (too cold into pint glass?). Great lacing on glass.

S: Yeast before hops. Orange peel.

T: Hop bitter up front - very orangey. Astringent, bitter - reminds me of cleanliness. My last batch of IPA was cooked at too high a temperature and it tastes a lot like this.

M: Too astringent. Bittering hops too big, not balanced with flavoring.

D: Just okay. But not horrible. (459 characters)

Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 454 ratings.