Big Sky IPA | Big Sky Brewing Company

very good
473 Reviews
Big Sky IPABig Sky IPA

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

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

Added by beernut7 on 08-18-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 473 | Ratings: 1,161
Photo of jeffsmash
1.09/5  rDev -71.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1

Not sure it it's fair for me to rate this IPA but this has to be the worst I've drank by far. Taste like I'm drinking pine juice from a moose bladder. Sorry but no Bueno.

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Photo of ChadQuest
2.41/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured aggressively into a giant snifter, the lacing is decent, and the color is really red for an ipa, red red red. A lightly hopped IPA that you could easily call just an American Pale Ale, and malt is very prominent, with some light citrus notes, and a light alcohol whisper sliding down, but maybe thats because my stomach is empty right now. My pour may have been too aggressive because the carbination is pretty light,and this is really smooth. drinkability is high but i don't want any more, thats ok i only bought one bottle.

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Photo of TastyTaste
2.53/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On Tap at Bryant Lake Bowl:

Definitely misses the style, a dark copper/brown bodied beer. The smell is malty, very malty, almost too malty and sweet. Hops fight for air. Taste is pretty off vs. the style. Carmel malt is as big if not bigger than the hops presence. The carmel cloys, too sweet. A grating beer, not my favorite at all.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
2.69/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear light amber, with a very decent head of off-white foam. Very good lacing from the head, and the retention is pretty good. Perhaps lacks a little body, but otherwise a very good looking IPA.

Some pleasant hoppy aromas, with a rather unfortunate diacetyl butterscotch character on the nose. A little fruit, but not a lot. It's not a huge nose, and unfrotunately, the butterscotch tends to dominate, leaving it a little unpleasant.

Some butterscotch on the palate too, but it is cleaned up by the light hoppy bitterness. Not entirely though, unfortunately, and there's an unpleasant sickly character which sticks around. What clean bitterness is there is also pretty gritty, leaving an alternate harsh twang and sickly sweetness. There is a fair bit wrong about this beer, and unfortunately, the negatives outweight the positives.

This beer ends up showcasing how not to do an IPA. I was very disappointed with this brew, and it just went to show that it's not easy to make a great IPA.

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Photo of Cresant
2.71/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this 12 0z. brown bottle into a Sierra Nevada Hops glass. No date on the bottle or on the Mixed 12 Pack box. Looks to be the summer seasonal release. The body was bright copper/orange color with a tiny amount of haze. The head was khaki colored, moderate and broken, leaving minimal lace.

Smell was sweet malty syrup. Bread dough. Not much else.

Taste was of malt more than hops, however, it does fnish with some dull hops bitterness. Maybe this one would be better if it were fresher.

Mouthfeel was medium in body. Moderate carbonation.

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Photo of SHDoyle
2.87/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Description: Amber, almost red color with just a think white head. As for aroma, well, it's not what I expected. Initially I found some pine but that gave way to a somewhat fruity scent. It wasn't exactly sweet though, more on the lemon, acidic end of the spectrum and had almost an ammonia-like smell. To be perfectly kind of smelled like pee. I thought my nose was off or I was imagining things, so without telling my wife what I smelled, I asked her to take a whiff. Her independent conclusion?: "Um, it kind of smells like pee". It wasn't overwhelming but it was definitely there. Fortunately it didn't taste like pee, not that I know what pee tastes like. It was more bitter than sweet and I didn't pick up any pine or fruit. On the maltier side for an IPA and left an aftertaste that lingered.

Suggested food pairing: Meatloaf, meatloaf, double beatloaf

If you like this beer then you should also try: Inversion IPA

Ideal time to drink this beer: At a rodeo, state fair or other event where livestock are present. This will allow the urine bouquet to be masked by other even more offensive animal odors.

Overall: 3.25 (This beer is below average and I would not drink it again) The principal reason I drank this beer in the first place is that I looked at it on the shelf and thought, "Huh? Never had a beer from Montana before." If it weren't for the questionable aroma it would have been better but still not that good. It could certainly have been worse, but it's run of the mill at best.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.87/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into an imperial pint glass in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are low given beers from this style are usually brewed without balance in mind in my experience. No best before date on the bottle, but I consumed it the day I bought the variety pack it was part of to minimize the potential of hop decay.

A: Pours a three finger head of no cream, bad thickness, and good retention. Colour is a clear light copper.

Sm: As expected, the only detectable note is hops. I'd guess cascade. A moderately strong aroma.

T: A hoppy flavour profile with too much bitterness plaguing the third act. Some light malts try to aid the balance but fail. An imbalanced IPA that is nevertheless somewhat pleasant to drink. It's built with an emphasis on hops without regard for balance; this may please fans of the style but I don't find it appealing.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the floral notes of the body.

Dr: Drinkable but lacking balance. The cost is okay. It hides its ABV well, but the quality just isn't there to justify another purchase.

I suspect it would pair really well with a spicy food. Maybe chicken wings?

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Photo of harrymel
2.93/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled: unk

Pours a nice amber with a sheet of solid light yellow foam and excellent clarity. Smells english malt dominant with some herbal and floral hops. Maybe a hint of grapefruit. Flavor is fruity and bitter with a good overture of malts and apprehensively applied spiciness. Medium bodied with hi carb and semi dry finish. Average beer.

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Photo of Wegomlegging
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Average appearance, average smell for an IPA, average IPA taste, average moutfeel, average beer. So as not to anger the Beer Advocate gods for being to brief, I'll elaborate a bit. I do, however, stand by my comments on the fact that this beer is everthing that is "average." It poured with a decent head, slightly cloudy yellow, with a nice floral IPA smell that was not too overpowering. The taste was a nice shot of hoppiness without overpowering you, and I can imagine this would be the perfect beer for the IPA rookie to get introduced to the style. Great with a giant Montana-sized porterhouse, experienced in the state of the goat-a-lope (pictured on the label), a.k.a. speed goat, a.k.a. antelope or something....

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
3/5  rDev -22.3%

This one pours a perfect reddish gold in color that has a decent tan head that settles with moderate speed leaving a course lacing down the glass.

The nose is sweet malts, grassy, bread and some floral notes. Not to remarkable.

The flavor is rather bitter and a little off balance. Nothing to special.

The mouthfeel is a bit too watery as well.

Overall not to great, I would pass on this one. There are much better options out there.

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Photo of Karibourgeois
3/5  rDev -22.3%

Slightly cloudy copper pour with a minimal head. Flowery aroma with a little bit of malt. Taste very much follows the nose with a floral hop flavor upfront backed by a strong malt presence. Has tastes of straw, pine, bread and caramel. Finishes dry with a mild bitterness.

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Photo of burtonbe
3/5  rDev -22.3%
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.

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Photo of revolution
3.03/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a reddish-amber with finger width head and nice lace. Looks tasty.

Smell the fruitiness and malt.

Quickly taste the malt and mild sweetness/fruitiness on the tongue then wham--get the bitter hop taste at the swallow.

Initial feel is smooth, then get the astringent kick. The bitterness is nice, but the beer just seems a bit off balance.

A decent IPA. The more I drink, though, the less I enjoy this one.

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Photo of illidurit
3.03/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. Clear light amber color with a creamy tan head. Aroma is floral and slightly tropical hops with a caramel underpinning. Flavor is similar, big doses of caramel and crystal maltiness with a lighter citric hoppiness. Tends toward soapiness with warmth. Medium astringency, modest bitterness, watery finish, medium mouthfeel and carbonation. Okay at best.

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Photo of depechemode1983
3.06/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours out a hazy copper/bronze color. The head is 2 1/2 fingers and off-white. Its dense through the middle but has a foamy looking crown. Retention is excellent and lacing is superb.

S - Has a strong bitter piney smell up front but balances out nicely through the middle with sweet malts and tropical fruits. Mainly pineapple and ruby red grapefruit.

T - A little light on flavor. Mostly you get bitter pine and grapefruit rind. A little mono toned on the taste. Not too bad though.

M - Almost medium bodied. Carbonation is nice. Kinda bubbly. No complaints.

O - Just slightly about average. Very simple and straight forward.

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Photo of bennetj17
3.08/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep copper appearance with thin foam that dissolves quickly. Decent streaming carbonation. Spicy hops dominate the aroma with some nutty malt in the background.

The taste is dry, overtly tangy with hop flavor that seems to remain at the front of the tongue and never progresses on to give a "full" flavor. Not bitter enough for an American IPA. The mouthfeel lis light, though not watery. The carbonation arrives as tiny, sharp bubbles.

I didn't care for this IPA at all. You could drink one, but with the abundance of this style available it would be too easy to find a better replacement...

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Photo of semibaked
3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a clear copper color with a fluffy tan head on top that creates intricate lacing.

S - Bright hoppy smell accented by pineapple and mango juices.

T - Big hops right up front but the bitterness is a little to bitter for me, it does have some tropical fruits but very little.

M - Slick and Watery.

D - Just too much of the bitterness to be very drinkable for me, there are a lot better IPA's than this, glad I got to try it though.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured in to a tulip

A-- darker clear shade of orange amber color on pouring. One finger quick fading dirty white head. Much better looking on swirling. Though fades pretty fast. Good ring of lacing on the side of the glass once head faded.

S-- Carmel biscuit nose first, followed by orange, grapefruit, and some lemon peel. Much more about the malts than the hops in this. Gives a good, balanced smell.

T-- Lots of carmel biscuit. Pungent orange taste with backing of lemon and lime. Not a lot of up front bitterness. Pretty balanced really.

M-- Medium body and medium light carbonation. Carmel, orange and lemon really dominate the mid and back palate. Not overly bitter or hoppy. Just balanced. One negative, slightly sweet and syrupy.

O-- Good, easy to drink IPA. A little more obvious Malt backbone than other IPA's but a very solid IPA. Not all that bitter but that is ok. has enough to carry the beer. The sweetness is the biggest issue to the beer but not a bad IPA.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A- Clear copper with a foamy, tan head of about 2 fingers. Great soapy lacing. A hearty looking IPA here.

S- Nothing that really blows me away on the nose. Delicate aroma of pine cones and biscuits. I expect more bold aroma of the style.

T- Big earthy pine hops combine with a caramelized sugar malt base. Some metallic notes that seem a little off, but not too distracting. High acidity leads to a bitter finish.

M- Chewy and creamy. Mid body. Fair drinkability.

O- A traditional IPA that makes no bones about its straight forward style. A comforting brew that won't blow you away, but also won't leave you overly disappointed with your selection.

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Photo of trbergman
3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a cervoise.

A - Amber-orange with two fingers of light tan head.

S - Sweet caramel and toffee malt aroma, citrus and floral hops.

T - Some initial sweetness, with bready and caramel malt flavors, followed by grapefruit and orange rind and aggressive hop bitterness. While definitely bitter enough, it is at the same time a bit too sweet and seems to lack much in flavoring and aroma hops.

M - Medium body, good level of carbonation.

D - I'm finding it hard to finish one bottle, let alone more. This beer could be a lot better if they cut back on the crystal malt and shifted some of the hop additions toward the last 5-10 minutes.

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Photo of Gatch
3.13/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Copper/amber in color with a fluffy, bubbly, off-white head. Dissipates quickly.

S & T - Some malt and hops. Nothing remarkable. Typical IPA characteristics.

M - Feels like an IPA should. Nice carbonation and a bit of a bite at the end. Good finish.

Solid IPA that I can imagine tastes exponentially better on draft and in the state of Montana.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Nonic pint.

Pours a shade lighter than honey, with a 2 finger head that's fluffy and leaves generous lace behind.

Smells of onion and grapefruit rinds, a touch of cracker and overbaked malts.

Flavors are eh. Nothing really stands out at all. Some garbage honey sweetness, a bit of mineral water, and a pathetic stab of pine at the end that utilizes a sticky finish so it sticks with you. The first half is really just sweet mineral water, and it tries to save face towards the end with pine.

Feel is refreshing and carbonated, and leaves a sticky coating on the palate after the finish.

Overall, the Big Sky IPA is not one I'd feel inclined to drink again. It's very average, in fact boring really...and doesn't stand out or even make itself sessionable to step down a grade to a regular pale ale.

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Photo of beagle75
3.15/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Clear, medium amber color with a reddish tint. The head consists of one finger of custard-colored foam. Moderate lacing remains on the glass.

S: Fairly dark and syrupy, with toffee, pine foliage, apple cider, and orange citrus.

T: Begins off-dry, acidic, vinous early. Crystal malt stands out but hop flavors are muted, tasting of weak pine. Earthy tea emerges in the middle. The finish has an abundance of fruity esters and significant astringency, but is only mildly bitter.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, slightly sticky on the palate, with low carbonation.

D: Despite relatively low abv for the style, some unappealing qualities limit drinkability. This beer struggles with flavor appeal, being at times off-putting and at best unremarkable. Still, it does not seem entirely out of style if compared to English-style IPAs.

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Photo of PaleAlien2
3.16/5  rDev -18.1%
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.

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Photo of popery
3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours fairly dark for the style. It's a shade of reddish gold with a good white head. Aroma is fairly hoppy but not altogether pleasing. Citrus, pine, grass and an herbaceous woodiness are all present from the hops. The woody note is my main source of complaint. It's even stronger in the taste than the aroma, lending the flavor of fresh bark or a thick stem - uninteresting and blandly bitter. Otherwise, the flavor is fairly dry with some yeastiness. Malt flavors are mild, just a boring background bread flavor. Feel is a bit effervescent but finishes thin.

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Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,161 ratings.
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