Big Sky IPA | Big Sky Brewing Company

very good
1,169 Ratings
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: 474 | Ratings: 1,169
Photo of mjurney
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Deep amber-gold color, clear. Lots of carbonation rising. Thick off-white rocky head.

Citrus, floral, fruity, a little pine, sweet caramel malts.

Lots of floral hops up front, citrus, herbal, a little piney. Deep malt background, sweet, toasted, caramel, hint of nutty. Finish is dry, semi-crisp. Medium bodied, smooth, dry, a little refreshing.

It's an excellent American IPA.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Resiny piney hops dominate the nose with grain aromas in the background.
A tea colored pour with a slight haze supports a 3" off white head with a slight yellow tint. The head persists and leaves thick lace.
An initial malty palate hints at fruit in the middle and then give way to a pleasant, citrusy, lingering bitterness.
Medium body and carbonation.

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Photo of joe12pk
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%

Poured into a glass.

A - Dark amber with a two inch rocky head. Good lacing.

S - Pine and grapefruit peel

T - Nice hop rush up front, ending with fruit and sweet malt and some light hops. Nice.

M - medium light

O - Excellent ale. This gets sweeter and more complex as it warms. Very glad I found Big Sky today!

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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 RyanK252
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%

Bottle poured into an Alaskan Brewing Co Pint glass

A: Pours deep golden amber with a little off white head.

S: Citrus hops and caramel malt sweetness

T: Citrus and tropical fruit hops, grapefruit and pineapple stand out most, a little caramel malt sweetness to balance it, with a little floral hop hit on the finish. Very well balanced.

M: Light to medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: Very pleasant surprise. Quite a tasty brew.

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Photo of TheCondor
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It has been a while since I did the "mix and match" six pack from a local store, but I thought I would give it a whirl since there were several beers in there I was interested in, this being one of them. Side poured with standard vigor from the bottle into the Sam Adams glass.

Appearance - Pours a standard transparent copper color with a decent one finger head that dissipates relatively slowly. Mostly gone by mid beer. There are small signs of lacing, not many. I like the packaging, I like the concept. Hell I like Montana

Smell - Nice malty backbone coincides with your expected citrus and grapefruit smells from the hops. However, the maltiness and bready aroma pleasantly surprised me, as if in Montana they understand that more is not necessarily better when it comes to hops, even in an IPA.

Taste - Much like the nose, this has a strong malty backbone with enough hops to let you know they are there, but nothing overwhelming. This would probably be called a "pale ale" at some of the more aggressively hopped breweries, although I very much enjoy it. Nice balance between the grapefruit/citrus from the hops and the malts.

Mouthfeel - Finishes clean and just a bit bitter from the hops. Nice snap at the end.

Overall - I was thoroughly impressed by this beer. I had relatively low expectations, but I am surprised and pleased. I would highly recommend this beer to anyone who likes a bit of hops for flavor but doesn't like their taste buds assaulted with them. Excellent beer. Condor recommended and approved.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle dated 03/13/14. Not sure if it's 'bottled on' or 'enjoy by'.

Appearance: Standard copper colored IPA with hints of orange. Thin off-white head that has left some lacing where it has dissipated.

Aroma: Caramel and orange essence. Definitely hinting at being a balanced, if slightly malty IPA. Sort of reminiscent of a barleywine but with much less body.

Taste: The hops really surprised me here, as they dominate the flavor. The only time the crystal malt flavor comes through is for a brief moment right when it first hits the palate. Slightly dry/peppery hop bitterness quickly takes over and builds in intensity. The finish is interesting, while there is a good amount of bitterness there is also a creamy flavor from the malt that appears for a moment. The aftertaste releases some orangey hop flavor along with a lot of bitterness that slowly fades away. Even though I can't find any big flaws in the flavor, due to the one-dimensional bitterness and lack of depth it's hard to praise this one

Mouthfeel: Just below medium in body with somewhat aggressive carbonation, nothing a good swirl can't fix. Pretty easy drinking but nothing to get too excited about.

Final Thoughts: It's rare that a beer I review gets the exact same score in every category. Big Sky IPA is simply an okay beer. It's flavor fits right in with the style guidelines and it doesn't try to get any fancier than that. So while it doesn't impress me, it has my respect in a way. Would I drink it again? If I'm ever in Montana I wouldn't turn it down.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Poured into a pint glass, this one appeared to have a bronze color with a slight transparency about it allowing some light carbonation to be seen rising. There was a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute. The lacing was somewhat clingy and eventually spider webs a bit.
The smell had a decent earthy crisp caramel maltiness with a light kick of citrus bitterness.
The taste was basically the same as the smell.
The mouthfeel was slightly harsh and bitter with a dry effect running over my tongue. Probably about a medium on the body.
Overall, decent AIPA that I could have again.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a golden amber color a two finger of white colored foam. The head has a good level of retention, slowly fading to leave a light level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer has a big smell of a bready and citrus nature with the citrus being mainly of a grapefruit hop smell, but containing some aromas a sweet orange. Along with the grapefruit hop comes aromas of pine and a bit of an earthy smell as well.

Taste – The taste begins with a bready and very citrusy flavor with the presence of a bit of orange sweetness mixed with a grapefruit hop. Other fruity flavors of a tropical fruit nature (tangerine, mango, pineapple) are present from the start as well with these fading as the flavor advances on more toward the end of the taste. The bready flavors take on some more biscuit like notes as the taste advances with the hop really ramping it up toward the middle to the end. While initially only a grapefruit hop being present, hop flavors of pine and a floral nature, as well as an increase in the grapefruit come to fruition more at the end of the taste. With all these changes and a bit of the tropical flavors really coming back strong at the end, one is left with a decently hopped and smooth flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the medium side in terms of thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is on the rather high side. Both actually fit the beers flavor profile quite well with the higher carbonation really enhancing the crispness of the brew all while the medium body did the same, but upheld the nice blend of hop flavors.

Overall – This was a rather easy drinking and quite enjoyable IPA overall. Rather tasty.

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Photo of Foyle
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours a healthy 3" cream colored head that fades slowly with significant lacing. Color is a clear rich copper with no visible carbonation streaming.
Aroma: pleasant aroma of citrus hops (tangerine and grapefruit) with some malty sweetness lurking in the background.
Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied with a somewhat sticky mouthfeel. Finish is somewhat dry. Flavor: the grapefruit hops dominate the taste, but the sweeter tangerine flavor is also present. For balance there is whole wheat bread malt flavor and some caramel sweetness.

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Photo of msquared36
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Deep amber with off white foam that provides decent lacing.

Not a strong aroma, maybe a faint floral hint.

Carmel malt at the front. Fresh, floral malt finish.

Fine carbonation on the tip of the tongue but overall very smooth.

If I'm craving a hoppy IPA this probably wouldn't be my choice. But it's a balanced, drinkable beer. Actually quite tasty.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big Sky ours a darker copper color, with a nice large lacing white head. There is a nice hoppy and floral aroma. The taste has a noticeable but subtle malty backbone with some nice floral notes. Not overpowering, good hop bite, nice blend with the sweet malty backbone. Overall its a well balanced, and very enjoyable IPA. Very nice.

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Photo of MartzMimic
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice copper with a bit of haze. Foamy head that reduces fairly fast. Some pine, malt and floral notes on the nose. Lemon, oranges, pine with a bit of bread. Decent bitterness. Medium mouth, but oily enough that it leaves a lingering aftertaste. Nice complexity without trying too hard. Not the best IPA out there, but if wouldn't mind having one now and again.

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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 whatthehull
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a wine/snifter/tulip

A - Swampy golden orange with a hint of earthy brown, one finger tan head and very sticky lacing

S - super rad hop funk right off the nose, bright over ripened pineapple, tons of sugar, fresh malts, grainy, very dense loaf of bread, common flowers, very yeasty and a nice pine sap like note

T - Huge sweet malt with a crazy citrus/pine/pineapple/floral hop. Kind of punches you in the face with all of that at once. nice booze note, dense, a slight mary jane, biscuity and very frsh tasting

M - Full bodied, well balanced, not much complexity but just the right amount, medium plus acidity (but very refreshing) and a very nice long sweet, to hop to sweet malt finish.

D/O - This is a beast of a malt backbone IPA. All the hops and malts you want. Drinks like a snack. Haha. Not quite a meal, but a snack for sure. Very refreshing, great taste and easy to drink. This should suit any ale lovers guidelines of taste

Final thoughts - Very reasonable $8 sixer and a nice 6.2% abv, I could drink this all day!

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Photo of lochef81
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This ale pours a very nice hazy deep amber color with a slight white head. The aroma is malty and sweet with some hop notes but nothing remarkable. The flavor follows suit. Mostly malt with a bit of a pine hop bite. This is a good beer but nothing worth seeking out.

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Photo of a0lbudman
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-light amber color with a nice head that leaves a lace
S-I smell hops, but you get a malty aroma also. There is a nobel hops like aroma in it also
T-malt is balanced with a hop kick in the aftertaste that last until the finish
M- medium body and medium carbonation
O- this beer has a bold taste that is differant from other american IPA's

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Photo of BierJager89
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Glowy translucent amber orange with a white head.

S: Lots of fresh orange, some mango, tangerine, garlic in the nose. Simcoe?

T: Malt, orange, garlic, tangerine. Very tasty. Mmmm simcoe? I think it's simcoe.

M: Medium bodied, average carbonation for an IPA

O: A great IPA, I've loved every beer I've had from this brewery, and this is my favorite thus far. Their pale ale is great, too.

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Photo of BastardKing24
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange with a 1 finger white head that holds lacing ok.

Smells great with orange peel, pine, lemon, bread, and rye.

Taste is subdued for an IPA but its full of nice malt flavors followed by orange, pine, and honey.

Feel is great, light and refreshing, and plenty of carbonation.

Overall a very well done 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 drpimento
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice beer. Poured at a good temperature with a large, foamy, lite tan, billowy head that settled after a while and some lace. Color is a clear medium amber with some bubble trails. Aroma is hop up front, some malt to balance. Flavor's like nose, all qualities are bolder and and add tang, slightest hint of sweet, ditto caramel. Body/carbonation good. Finish is like flavor, not too complex, yet goes vey well with spicy food.

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Photo of brewbattles
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
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:

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Photo of arc3636
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle into Sam Adams glass

A - a bit darker and reddish than expected from an ipa. Full 2 fingers of head

S - floral and orange hops

T - solid bitterness from the hops, but not too heavy. Floral, orange, and grapefruit hops

M - above average, hops flavor seems to continue to grow after I had swallowed

O - solid, balanced ipa

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Photo of ckollias
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this bottle of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours cloudy orange-amber hue with a fluffy white head that leaves a good trail and wispy lace.

S: Hoppy aroma with a slight biscuit and caramel background.

T: Bitter beginning with some tart hops followed by a slightly sweet caramel middle and
finishes dry and bitter.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation.

O: Excellent brew – I’ll have another.

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Photo of jngrizzaffi
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy amber color with a finger width foamy head. Head retention is minimal. Lacing is decent. Mainly a piney, resinous aroma with a slight malty backbone and citrus. Not a lot there but still pleasant. Bready, malty taste up front. Nice piney hop with a slight citrus taste. Decent astringency at the end. Decent very drinkable beer but nothing special about it.

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Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,169 ratings.
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