Big Sky IPA | Big Sky Brewing Company

very good
1,174 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 Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,174 |  Reviews: 476
Photo of AmericanGothic
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Peace Tree pint.

A: Pours a clear orange copper with a fairly dark (for an IPA) tan head, one finger and pretty billowy. Good retention and very nice lace.

S: Sweet citrus and peach, really nice-- just like an IPA ought to smell. Also a bit of tea.

T: Muted, more understated than the smell. Leads with pine then transitions to sweet citrus. Good flavor but defintely on the subtle side. Also has occasional flashes of light pepper that are a treat. A little bit of a wet wood flavor in the background. The sweetness of the malt is just enough to give the hops something to play off of-- like a dusting of powdered sugar.

M: Light and creamy, good stuff.

O: This is a very good IPA. I haven't had it for a long while and had forgotten how pleasant it is. I am adding this one to the go-to list, great deal for a reasonable price. Yum.

 873 characters

Photo of dbossman
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark orangish-brown hue with a steady, 1-inch head and okay lacing

S: Great citrus and floral hop aromas: lots of grapefruit, lemon, and pine shine throughout; there does seem to be a sweet malt undertone but this is pretty hop forward

T: Wonderful balance of grainy sweetness and hop bitterness; the citrus and pine play well off the sweet bready malts; more balanced than I expected

F: Great oily, sticky mouth feel; just about perfect for an American IPA

O: This is a very nice IPA; a great not-over-the-top go-to IPA; it is cool to see an IPA west of the Mississippi be a bit more on the balanced side

 612 characters

Photo of MonkeymooTJ
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
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 ocelot2500
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden orange color with a tight white head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

Smells of bright citrus and pine hops.

Tastes of a good wave of hops and a solid malt backbone. Hops have notes of citrus, pine, and tropical fruit. Plenty of bitterness. Malt is supportive and offers a caramel sweetness in counterpoint.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, better than I was expecting and will definitely pick up again.

 464 characters

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

12oz bottle with no bottled on or freshness date poured into Maudite stemmed glass, reviewed on 4/28/11

A: Pours a clear copper color with big light tan head that leaves plenty of lacing around glass.

S: I'm really liking the nose on this IPA, smells sweet with lots of citrus hops, a hint of orange and even lychee fruit.

T: Not over-the-top bitter like so many IPAs tend to be, this is on the fringe of being a clear, hop forward pale ale but is still definitely an IPA. Good not overpowering hop bitterness with juicy citrus hop resins on top of a bready caramel malt backbone. Leaves a mild lingering hop taste on my tongue.

M: Tingling carbonation on a medium-light body that finishes pretty dry.

O: Easy drinking sessionable IPA from big sky, good brew but nothing spectacular.

 788 characters

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

355ml bottle bought online from

Poured a light golden copper yellow colour with a slight haze. White head poured loose and frothy and faded quickly to light bubbly coating with thicker edging... lightl carbonation... some faint lacing...

Aroma - Lots of juicy grapefruit, pear and apple fruitiness... floral honey, biscuit maltiness, some caramel, light marzipan, sea salt, metallic notes, talcum powder traces, pine, grassy and earthy notes...

Taste... Good sweet biscuit malts followed by grapefruit and pear fruitiness, some citrusy hops, grassy notes, caramel, definite floral honey, some faint pine, clove traces...

Feel - Sharp initially then smooths out... light / medium bodied... A supremely drinkable brew at 6.2%

Overall - An excellent and supremely well balanced IPA... recommended.

 817 characters

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

Big Sky I.P.A. India Pale Ale--2007 12 oz. Bottle. 6.20% ABV. 65 IBU’s? (4.25 / 5.0) Mild lace head. Clear dark bright amber color. Rich floral malty hop front. Creamy malty mild toasted caramel fruit ester biscuit body. Tangy malt hop spice fresh bitter long creamy end. Malty Amber IPA. Sampled 6/9/2007.

Big Sky Brewing Company--Big Sky I.P.A. India Pale Ale--2011 12 oz. Bottle. 6.20% ABV. 65 IBU's. (4.0 / 5.0) Half inch foamy mild lace off white head. Clear bright rich amber orange red color. Very big floral citrus grapefruit Cascade hop front. Tangy slightly toasted mild seet fruit mild hop resin caramel citrus dry amber ale body. Clean crisp tasty hop spice end. Nice medium IPA. Burpy Hops with nice malt balance to richness. Sampled 4/16/2011. Purchased 6- Pack for $8.75 at PCC--Fremont, Seattle on 4/16/2011.

 827 characters

Photo of tenaciousp65
3.9/5  rDev +1%
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 OWSLEY069
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clean orange-ish color with a light tan head. In the aroma, mellow orange citrus and hints of pine hops. In the taste, a gingerbread like maltiness and pine hops stand out. A small hop bite and a medium to light bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry pine hop in the aftertaste. Quite malty, yet light bodied, mellow and decent.

 331 characters

Photo of BeerLover99
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: deep woody amber, light tan body, 1 finger head, wonderful lacing

S: nice pine, citrus aroma!

T: sweet citrus, pine hops, nice bitter sticky finish

M: med body, mild oily taste

O: Very nice American IPA! Glad my wife, graciously grabbed a Big Sky variety pack; this is nice. Not world class, but you could do much worse and could have more than a few.

CHECK IT OUT, you will be surprised!

 397 characters

Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not bad looking, kinda orange in color, somewhat cloudy, decent head and nice lacing.

Smells like an orange/grapefruit piney hop bomb.

Taste doesn't disappoint, nor does it deviate too much from the smell. Slick, rich, oily hops dominate, with plenty of citrus, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, and some nice pine forest. There's a balancing background of maltiness that lends itself nicely to an already tasty treat. Reminds me of hopslam, although not as strong.

Feel is medium bodied and slick with hop oil, lingering bitterness and grapefruit, decently carbonated.

Excellent stuff, my favorite from the brewery so far!!

 627 characters

Photo of chugalug06
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark amber with a decent foamy head. Color is rich mahogany, with very good clarity. Darker than your average IPA

S - Very Smooth hopped, very little citrus smell.

T - Creamy and delicious, however there's a small bite at the end of the tongue. Mildly acidic and alcoholic

M - Decent. The flavor is rich so it's hard to distinguish all the different flavors being extruded. Carbonation is good, but it could be a little less

D - Very solid, I could begin to look for this brew more often.

A very solid intermediate IPA, by no means is it offensive. Another quality, nice brew from Big Sky Brewing... I wish they would step out a little with their brews.


 676 characters

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

I reckon it's been a while since i've had the lucky chance of having a true american IPA. and this beer- again, courtesy of aschwab- was a reintroduction into the ever coveted genre that makes me ache for more at times, and for less at others.

Big sky took me back there. And as much as I hate being a trigger-happy (or keyboard-happy, given the circumstances) "love-em-all" type of reviewer, I struggle to find wrongdoings here.

First off, the pour. american pint glass, very appropriate. Not to blow my own horn, but the pour was perfect, too. Fit perfectly. the mushy, dirty white head, almost beige, two fingers, thick but active and in disarray. Below a crystal clear, amber-hued light looking (read: looking) beer. Slightly fizzy throughout. Visually alone i went back to the many (or so few, rather) IPAs i've loved and hated. Alas, the struggle renewed in me.

The smell and the incidental taste of the head (yes, i stuck my nose right into it and had to lick it off) was much more....herbal than I'd anticipated. It wasn't a rough hop feel. It's no sweetness either. It's rather like charged with parsley maybe, or basil. mostly the latter. fresh. no sweetness whatsoever. this is dominating it as a whole. no alcohol, either. this thing's an IBU experience, not an ABV one- apparently.

Taste-wise, it's a bit more run-of-the-mill. Even as it has a slight tangy spin on the base of the tongue, the clear and habitual sequence of barely superficial malt sweetness overriden by a stark bitterness is in every sip here. Not that i dislike it- heck, i've grown to love it (and must, when possible start re-trying those i disqualified early on), but one can see how the tasty yet repeated numbing and injurious intake of the hops can affect its overall mouthfeel, since I myself would dare say more than one or two of these at a time would saturate my rather (and now conveniently) moderate palate.

Overall, the beer is good, and very representative of its kind. Oh, and ckeck montana in my 'states' list, please. Hopefully I will land more Big Sky brews in the future, since it seems I'm not headed that far up (and west) anytime soon.

 2,145 characters

Photo of obrike
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

What a nice surprise. Bought a sixer at Specs in Round Rock for 6.99.

A nice, ruby-amber color...nice head, recedes rather quickly, but leaves a constant light foam ring as you drink.

Enjoyed the smell...gotta lot of resiny pine, some spice. looking forward to tasting.

Well, well...tasty. Piney up front...citrus and a bit of spicy sweetness and caramel malt in the background. Good!

Dry, a bit oily, light to moderate carbonation. Once again, good!

A nice surprise as i picked this up on a whim. I would say this is an easy drinking IPA, maybe even one to recommend as a gateway into IPA and craft beer drinkers.

Great job Big Sky!

 639 characters

Photo of cokes
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Generally clear, toasted honey hued with a big rise of bone-colored foam that deflates over time but leaves gobs of lace.
A full nose, both of hops and of malt. Apple butter-smeared toast, pomegranate, toffee, golden raisins, apricots, pine tar, pipe resin, tree bark, spearmint, and lime peels.
Caramel lolls through the mouth, coating the teeth, the ebbing down the esophagus. Fruity tones arrive, with pears, apples, and apricots. Toastiness follows them in. Hops brighten afterward, bringing a mojito of lime and mint, peppery herbal, danker notes of resin and pine sap, burnt wood, and the lingering, lightening bitterness of pink grapefruit
I like hop bombs as much as the next person, but this one capivates me with its squid vs. whale persona. Calling something "balanced" usually denotes a general blandness and lack of pizzazz. Not here. There is a rustic, old school charm with some new school tricks.
I've walked past this on the shelf for years. Idiot me.

 970 characters

Photo of timmick
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
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 joemcgrath27
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

from notes
A - poured a clear copper with tall white head retaining at a half finger
S - oily and herbal, piney, and grainy
T - strong resiny herbal and piney hops, toated grains and a little spicy
M - medium carbonation, thin and finishing bitter and slightly dry
D - a hop profile i haven't tasted often, does down fairly easy

 328 characters

Photo of AustinBeerLvr
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have seen this brew around here in Austin both on tap and in the bottle, so I figured I would finally give it a try.

A:This brew pours a nice candy apple, beautiful bright red hue. Good sticky lacing down the glass with a decent amount of head.

S: First thing I got in the nose was actually some semi-sweet caramel before the pine and grapefruit notes from the hops kicked in. Some apple like fruit esters make their way through as well.

T&M: Starts off with a good hit of sweet caramel that lays the base for a nice kick from some piney, herbal, pineapple, citrus, and grapefruit flavors from the hops. A firm bitterness hits the back of the tongue but never overpowers the caramel sweetness that rides through all the way until the end. Pringly bitterness and carbonation tickle the throat a bit in the finish. A bit of alcohol is also detected in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium, bordering on light for the style, but by no means watery with a good level of carbonation.

D&Notes: Coming at 6.2%ABV, this could almost classify as just a slightly bigger APA in today's craft beer world of strong IPAs. Overall, I dig this brew for the most part. It's certainly not my favorite, as it may finish a tad too sweet for my tastes, but it's very balanced, and it leaves you wanting to take another sip. As an IPA brewed on the very lower end of the ABV scale, this would be a good session brew for the hop lover.

 1,416 characters

Photo of LBBeer
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A--very nice copper color with distinct lacing

S--Big malt note, not a lot of hops

T--Nice malt profile, that couples well with some serious bittering hops. Just the right anmount of body.

M--Creamy for a hoppy brew, very nice though, great balance

D--Soft carbonation, but not too light. Very sessionable IPA.

 314 characters

Photo of Scotchboy
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark orange color with just hints of gold and light red. Only a little hazy and effervescent.

Smell is hops, and an initally its an impressive amount. For a traditional IPA it seems a little more pungent that I was expecting, and the hops carry an earthy/acidic note that complements the bready malt characteristics well.

On to taste: the hops aren't bright & West Coast as much as they are piney and astringent (Simcoe). There is some hop oil presence as well. Caramel and bready notes emerge on the middle of the tongue. Definitely less bitter than some (if not most) IPA's.

Medium body, and good (not great) drinkability, but this beer is pleasant and balanced.

 681 characters

Photo of pi5porter
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- nice clear amber color. the head was a nice clean white that lace on to the glass.

S- It had a slight hoppy smell but i dont have a good nose either.

T- it has a nice clean hoppy taste, but with a hop finish.

M- medium mouthfeel.

D- i could drink this all day.

Overall this is a classic American IPA, very good

 318 characters

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

A - Pours a nice dark copper colour, finger of beige head, some retention and nice sticky lacing.

S - Sweet pine and citrus hops with delicious caramel and toffe undertones.

T - Reminiscent of a DIPA on the hop presence, nice and sweet with bitterness that is well balanced. Caramel and toffee lingers alongside the bitter citrus notes. Hop presence is slightly herbal.

M - Medium bodied ale that goes down smooth and finishes nice and wet.

D - A solid go-to option for a hop lover. Nice hop presence with a tasty caramel/toffee malt balance. Quite enjoyed this one and definitely worth a try.

 597 characters

Photo of logmacschlog15
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
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 gpogo
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Clear amber body with decent carbonation. 1 centimeter tan head that seems to retain well.

A- Lots of citrusy hops especially grapefruit aromas. Slightly earthy smell.

T- Initially a sweet malty flavor that immediately gets bombarded by hops. Finishes with a caramel malt flavor.

M- Medium-light body with high carbonation.

D- Not bad. I'd drink it again.

 362 characters

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

I poured a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass...

The beer was bright copper with a tall, pillowy, sand colored head that left lots of lacing. I could smell lots of piney hops, some sugar, maybe caramel and grapefruit. You taste mostly pine resin at first, there is just a slight sweetness, some biscuit flavor and a citrus rind aftertaste. The beer is medium bodied with just the right amount of carbonation and it leaves the mouth dry. This is a solid IPA, it's nice and mellow so it's easy to drink,

 498 characters

Big Sky IPA from Big Sky Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,174 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More