Big Sky IPA | Big Sky Brewing Company

very good
474 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: 474 | Ratings: 1,167
Photo of akorsak
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My 900th review.

A 12 oz bottle from Liquid Solutions.

A: The IPA is a caramel color, orange with some browner highlights. There is no sign of any sediment and the head has left some decent lacing throughout the glass.

S: The nose is surprisingly bold, having a big citrus hop presence that has a pineapple sweetness to it.

T: The hop flavor is quite assertive in the beer. The first sip reveals a high concentration of hops, citrusy with some apricot and pineapple sweetness. The strength of the hops really conjure up a DIPA, so kudos to Big Sky for packing this much flavor into a plain ol' IPA.

M: The hops zing the tastebuds immediately, overwhelming them with hoppy goodness.

D: I am very impressed with this ale and can easily see myself sitting down with a six pack and the Sunday papers on a sunny weekend day. Well done Big Sky!

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Photo of pootz
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: thanks Trev

Poured a rich looking deep amber-orange ale in the glass with a puffy, stickey meringue cap that stacks and lasts...laces the glass well.

Glorious Pac-NW nose: Grapefruit, pine and sweet malts.

Medium body... juicy mouth feel...fruity-resiny character...well balanced.

Big malts in the front are then flooded with juicy citrus and cedar cascade hop tastes..well balanced fruity tastes ride on a substantial caramelized malt spine...finishes with moderate bittereing and caramel tastes..delicious!

Incredible balance in a big hopped APA...totally hides its alcohol and so is warming and smooth.

I saw one comment here that said this was "as standard as it gets"..but I think ,far from being standard, this is as good as it gets in defining the Pacific NW APA and if there is anything "standard" about the big juicy APA it’s that this is the standard others should follow.

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Photo of rkuhnel
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz bottle, this poured a nice orange to copper wth a medium white head and average lacing. Nose was mostly of citrus and floral hops. Mouthfeel was medium and flavor and finish was nicely bitter. Overall an average IPA. I would purchase this again.

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Photo of Night
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours clear orange-copper with gold flecks and an off-white bubbly head that dies down relatively quickly, leaving medium lacing. Cool aroma of pineapple, lemon, and rich grassy hops. Body is light to medium with a crisp and refreshing mouthfeel. Flavor is strongly bitter and medicinal with syrupy, grassy hops accented by pepper and a hint of citrus. A touch of bread malts in the finish. Aftertaste is sudsy, lightly bitter.

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

This beer pours a dark amber color, definately on the dark side for IPAs, with a medium creamy head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smell is sweet caramel mixed with underlying piney hops.

This one is much sweeter than other IPAs I've had (mostly west coast). It might be because my palate has been obliterated with Bigfoot recently, but the hops are not too perceptible. I guess a little piney hops. Mostly I'm picking up a strong caramel malt character, much like a Sam Adams Boston Lager. This is definately the most malty IPA I've had. I think this one could almost be classifed as a hoppy amber ale.

Mouthfeel is average, a bit creamy with moderate carbonation.

This one is very drinkable because the hops aren't out of control. Maybe a bit sweet if you are a pure hop head, but very solid none the less.

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Photo of umustdrink
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Medium hazy orange neon color. Head is offwhite and settles to rocky patches.

S - Piney hops dominate the smell with a sweet and spicy malt background.

T - Taste is pretty much like the smell. Hops are biting and piney and the malts come through with a nice spiciness.

M - Carbonation is slightly elevated and seems to work together well with the hop bite. Also a noticeable oilyness present.

D - Overall, everything is pretty solid. There certainly isn't anything wrong with it but it's not outstanding.

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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 trevorwideman
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. I was glad to find this one! My 200th review...

Pours a slightly hazy lovely blood orange colour, a half-inch of head and decent lacing. Carbonation is mild, lazily making its way to the surface. Smell is hop wonderful, with lots of grapefruity goodness, but there's some floral notes, and juicy tropical fruit as well, Mango, Pineapple. Earth tones ground this a little bit, and there's a caramel sweetness poking around underneath all those hops. Delicious.

This is a hop bomb to be sure. Grapefruity, piney, resiny, floral, but mostly a citric herbal bitterness dominates. Malts are detectable, but not in spades, and lend just a light caramel sweetness to the backbone and a bit of body to the experience. That said, I don't miss it all that much as the complex herbal hop goodness gives me more than enough to ponder here. Mouthfeel is a bit buzzy due to all those hops, but the carbonation isn't obnoxious. Body is medium. I could definitely have more than one of these in a session, and hopefully I can try some of this brewery's other offerings sometime.

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Photo of BigJTrucker
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased from Bier Stein, Eugene, OR

Pours a deep copper color. Very little head that settles quickly. Doesn't appear to be overly carbonated. Nice smooth hop aroma, also smells slightly fruity like raisins and grapefruit. Just the right amount of hop bite. No appreciable after taste. Mouthfeel is a bit thin & watery for my tastes. All together, a fairly decent IPA.

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Photo of Wasatch
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks flexabull.

Pours a nice clear golden/amber color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy white head, some nice sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is hoppy, citrusy, and a nice touch of caramel. The taste is nice with hops, citrus, and slight caramel. Medium body. Drinkable, a tasty IPA from Big Sky, recommend.

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Photo of mcallister
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A genuine penny here new and shiny, in other words this is straight copper. Small off white head, no length leaves very thin spotty lace.

Nice mixture of malt and hop in the aroma. Slightly earthy, with pine notes on the hop end. The malt leads toward toffee but is brute in quality. Lacking depth but good aromas nonetheless.

This is a rustic ass IPA. Very dry and earthy with hardly any fruit component, what is there is lemongrass, and a bit of orange. I like the approach! Again toffeed malt with a slight hint of caramel. Hops are very rugid, earthy, with a floral summoning leading into a pine forest.

Mouth is bold and bittering. What an IPA should be.

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Photo of Padron4KM
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. No date code on the bottle.

Dark golden, with a thick creamy head that leaves lots of sticky lace behind.

Citrus and pine nose. Touch of malty sweetness down deep.

Flavor is sweet orange,with some grapefruit. a touch of caramel to balance it out.

Not a very complex brew, but it is still quality.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big Sky has produced an excellent, very drinkable IPA! It pours a beautiful, hazy, glowing orange body with a crimson cast and golden highlights. The frothy ivory head holds well, and leaves walls of very thin, tiny bubbles in its wake. Bright, juicy grapefruit greets you in the nose over a gently caramelish and biscuity malt base. In the mouth it's smooth with a delicate caress from the fine-bubbled, moderate carbonation. Medium bordering on medium-light in body. The flavor offers more grapefruit, a touch of pine, and some pineapple before the maltiness appears. It's lightly sweet, caramelish, and biscuity. The bitterness is solid, but not aggressive, and it finishes dry with a quick note of citrus seed, and some lingering piney hops. Inviting. Accessible. Refreshing. Drinkable.

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

12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $1.29. No freshness date, just a cryptic " 317 06 4" stamped on it's neck. BTW, the label says this is 6.2%.

Poured a clear copper color with a somewhat modest sized yet sudsy off-white head that never completely dropped. Lots of lace.

The smell of this is very piney with a grapefruit-like citrus scent in teh background. I get the feeling this is going to be fairly assertive in its hoppiness.

This definitely turned out to be a hoppy beer. Bittering hops lord over their more citrusy cousins. What little malt backbone this beer hs is cowering in the corner while pleading for it's life. If you like a brash hop blast, this beer will be to your liking. Definitely more flavor than I was expecting.

The mouthfeel is about right for the style. It's oily and coats the insides of the mouth rather well.

Not a bad IPA, and - truth be told - better than I was expecting. Most Big Sky beers have seemed relatively mediocre to me. While my IPA of choice at my local beer store is usually Laughing Dog, I might occaisionally stray to this one.

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Photo of oberon
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good clarity to the pour,a clear copper with a thinner but sticky slight off white head that turns into a soapy-like froth.Nice hop profile in the nose quite piney spiked with grapefruit rind a nicley developed carmael sweetish malt base shows itself well as well,wow this is a mans IPA here big resin and pine with deeply rooted grapefruit rind in there and definently bitter whoo!A earthy drier malt bas struggles to stay with the hops finally just completely giving way about mid glass.If you like aggressive hopped bitter American IPA's this is it for you personally I loved its brashness.

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

Glowing pumpkin when backlit with bright morning sunshine. Not only is the color fabulous, but the beer has that 'hop dust' haziness that I love to see in an IPA. The crown is even more spectacular. It's pastel orange in color and is a huge mass of bubbles that is sticking like glue to the upper reaches of the glass. This is one of the best lace displays that I've seen in quite some time.

The nose is Simcoe heaven. It's bursting with a tropical, funky, citric fruity, pine-soaked resionous that is right up my IPA alley. Best of all (well, second best anyway), there's no caramel malt to muck things up. I haven't tasted it yet, but how the hell is it that this beer doesn't get more love? Limited distribution probably.

Outstanding beer! While the nose was somewhat short of a sensory overload, the flavor fills every nook and cranny of my tongue and looks for more taste buds to impress. Each mouthful is a veritable explosion of pure, hoppy pleasure and should be required drinking for all lovers of Simcoe hops.

The malt backbone is on the big side for the style without tempting me to pull out the DIPA comparisons. There may be a wee bit of caramel maltiness, but I could just as easily be imagining it. The focus here (as it should be in all IPAs and DIPAs) is on humulus lupulus. It's balanced more than it is a bitter bomb.

Given all that pale malt, it's no surprise that the body/mouthfeel is on the big, lush, plush side. I might even call it lightly sticky. The best part is that it keeps that luscious flavor on the palate long enough for me to wring the maximum amount of enjoyment out of each and every mouthful.

I like this brewery. I should have had some inkling of how good their IPA would be since Scape Goat Pale Ale is 'bolder and hoppier than most APAs', to quote my review. As good as that beer is, though, it can't hold a candle to the hop-infused splendor of this beauty. Montanans have reason to be proud. I would definitely drink more than my fair share if I lived in Big Sky Country.

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

IPA is the second beer from Big Sky I have tried. The other was Moose Drool. I thoroughly enjoyed both. I found both to be well crafted and excellent examples of their styles. Big Sky is a brewery whose beers should be sought after.

Big Sky IPA poured into the glass deep copper in color with good clarity. The head was a firm froth and pale tan in color. The lace was nicely thick and sticky.
The smell was sweet caramel malts, hints of brown sugar, a citrus fruitiness and pine needles from the hops.
The taste began with big biscuity malt and a bit of fruity sweetness. This was followed immediately by an assertive green hoppy bitterness. The finish was dry with a lingering bitterness and the tangy bite of citrus rind.
The body was medium with a moderately active carbonation which added up to a creamy, but slick mouthfeel.

As far as I know Big Sky is not distributed in Indiana. I picked these up in Wisconsin. On my next trip to Wisconsin I will have to track down more from Big Sky.

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Photo of supercolter
4.77/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was a really good beer.
Appearance was good, didn't quite have as much head or lacing as some of the other IPA's I've had though.
Smell is very good. Floral hops grab at your nose. Yum the sweet and bitter combined is something to behold.
Taste is similar to the smell, but almost palpable. It is like drinking gin as thick as sap, Fantastic.
Mouthfeel is very good as well being medium to high medium in body.
Pour me some more.

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Photo of Mark
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lightish amber was topped by a thick white head, retention and lacing were nice. Wonderful hop aroma, very fresh and piney, inviting to say the least. Excellent balnce in this beer. Good malt base that is not overpowered by the fresh piney taste profile. I like this beer. Good Ipa, quite enjoyable.

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Photo of aaronh
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep copper colored body topped by a large, frothy head. The head slowly fades, but it never dissapears. Lacing is thick yet intricate. Aroma has a clean hoppy floral note backed by some bready malt and caramel. Flavor is very bitter up front, dominated by resionous pine flavors. A touch of grapefruit rind creeps in just efore the alcohol sweetness kicks in. A bit of caramel shows up shortly before the bitterness reasserts itself and decides to linger around well after you swallow. Mouthfeel is solid and slightly chewy. Finshes with just a touch of dryness. Drinkability is good. This is a nice solid IPA.

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Photo of Beaver13
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours a copper orange with a huge fluffy off white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is big on piney, slightly fruity hops with some sweet caramel malt in the background. Yum!

The flavor is sweet sugary melon initially, followed by a big piney hop bitterness with a long lasting bitter finish. As it warms, the flavor dulls some. The mouthfeel is kind of soft, but smooth and pleasant.

Overall, this was a huge surprise. This is an excellent IPA. I got this in a mixer sixer, but will definitely be getting more of this. This could be one of my new go-to beers, alongside Titan, Hercules and Dale's Pale Ale.

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Photo of budgood1
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours out a dark amber colour with a fairly sized off white head. wisps of lace. aroma strikes me such as similar to celebration...resiny, piney, grapefruit tinged hops with a sweet malt to balance. taste is a handful of those woody, resiny hops....more piney than citrusy...although there is a definite lemony citrus undertone to the hop profile. not too bitter, just flavourful in a delicate sort of way. a touch of alcohol rounds things out. straitforward sweetness from the malt profile comes across as sort of a butter/toffee mix. not too inspired but adequate to provide some balance. mouthfeel is of dancing hops; the body a bit underwhelming. finishes with that good old hop puckering bitterness that make an IPA a treat to eat. quite drinkable if you just want to enjoy an IPA or two and get your hop fix.

worth revisiting.

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Photo of RJLarse
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a couple of bottles of Big Sky IPA at an upscale grocery store to taste, review and enjoy. I poured this beer in to a pint tumbler.

Pours a copper color and is slightly hazy. A foamy three-finger cream colored head forms and is very resilient. The head produces a lot of lacing.

The smell is fairly strong, floral and fruity. There are a lot of citrus aromas.

The taste is fairly strong, citrus (grapefruit) flavors dominate, with a nice malt backbone.

The mouth feel is crisp smooth and clean, with a nice buttery feel.

This is a very drinkable beer. It’s not as bitter as a lot of IPAs and has a more pronounced malt presence. It may not be the most hopped up example of the style, but it’s a very nice easy drinking beer.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice and moderately instense citrus, floral and grassy hops. Cleanness in background.
Very clear and a bright reddish copper. Full head of cream to yellowish color with good stamina. Well laced. Very good looking.
Hop qualities dominate in both flavor and bitterness. Much the same characteristics (floral, grassy, citrus) with a greater piney notes. Just a note of nuetral to sweet malt up front, with a nuetral foudation to help balance a pretty darn bitter beer. The bitterness and the dryness last a very long time. As warms there is just the slightest touch of caramelly malt.
Medium feel with a relatively soft carbonation that falls on the flatter side. Despite the somewhat low alcohol I feel a warmth. Good smoothness.
I can see where for some the hops and bitterness are beyond the pale, but for me this hits all the right notes. Really an enjoyable beer.

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Photo of SwillinBrew
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I decided to try this when i started seeing Big Sky at my local Bevmo.

It poured a strong copper color with some brassy tints on the edge and nice finger of light parchment colored head. Nice bubbles fizzing their way to the top. What a nice punchy wall of citrus, bold citrus and a little citrus blossoms on the aroma. Quite decadent and i love it.

On the taste, there is that bold hop flavor with the citrus, a bit resiny but with enough malt to carry it. Not as strong as you'd think due to the aroma, but pleasing and quite tastefull.

Nicely carbonated, medium to light bodied and refreshing on the tongue. Cleans the palate with it's crispness. A good solid represenation of the style.

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Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,167 ratings.
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