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 chadjulius
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

It's golden-brown in color, malty, hoppy to the smell, which are strong in the taste as well. The taste lingers too, but not in a bad way, its just a strong, dominating taste and "mouthfeel." A litter bitter tasting.

While it is a nice tasting beer, I think it would be good to have in moderation, as in follow this IPA up with a different beer. I should add that there seems to be a hint of metallic smell to it.

Oh, and it's 6.2% Alc/Vol

 442 characters

Photo of chumba526
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears clear orange with a sizeable white head.

It smells strongly citrus and caramel like and a little floral.

It tastes slightly like orange peel: it is very citrus like. There is a subdued caramel sweetness as well. The taste ends with a nice and refreshing bitter bite.

The carbonation is about medium and is normal for an IPA.

This is a quite drinkable and well balanced, I could drink a few of these.
Over all a nice above average example of an IPA that is fairly reasonably priced.

 493 characters

Photo of indiapaleale
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber, orangish-reddish with a very nice looking pancake-battery head.

Aroma is lots of citurs, lemons and oranges.

Flavor is a little subdued. I am thinking this one sat for a long time before an unsuspecting consumer, me, put it in their mixed six pack holder. Not a lot of hoppiness and the malt seems to have taken over.

This is a prime candidate for a can in my opinion. Their other canned offerings are excellent and the flavor is sealed in very well.

 475 characters

Photo of FreshHawk
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Fairly dark and hazy copper color with a large, thick, creamy, foamy, and sticky head. Pretty good retention with a nice sticky layer of lace left over.

S - Citrus grapefruit and orange pops out along with a lot of pine, floral, and herbal hops. Some pale malt in the background. Some caramel malt as well. Very strong hop hop aroma.

T - Much less fruit hop flavors than in the aroma. Good amount of pine and floral and some herbal hop flavors. Some pale malt in the background. A good amount of bitterness with just a touch of malty sweetness. Definitely more bitter, but not unbalanced. Slight citrus flavor lingers.

M - Medium body with a good amount of carbonation. A bit smooth and a touch of a drying finish.

D - Fairly drinkable beer with a good amount of hop flavors and bitterness. Not totally unbalanced, but a little unbalanced. Pretty refreshing drink though.

Notes: Pretty good beer, but not outstanding. Just seems like a basic IPA. Aroma is pretty strong and fruity while the taste is a bit more bitter and pine/floral taste.

 1,049 characters

Photo of klikger
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. poured into a tulip glass

A - A dark shade of amber for an IPA, this features a large white head which quickly shrunk, leaving behind very nice lacing.

S - Honey, orange, and some floral hops.

T - The first taste is interesting...caramel and some hops, but watered down. A malty sweetness composes the middle, but this too is slightly toned down. The end is all citrus - tasty oranges blending with tart grapefruit. Not overly bitter or prolonged, but a quality finish, nonetheless.

M - Medium-bodied, turning slightly syrupy as it warms. Good carbonation.

D - Not bad; there are a lot of IPAs which I'd prefer to session, but this would do the trick.

With no expectations coming in, my first Big Sky brew was enjoyable. I doubt I'll ever buy this due to the quality of other IPAs available here (and just about every other state where this is sold, I'd assume), but I won't turn it down if offered one, either.

 924 characters

Photo of Clockwork420
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 pack under $14.
Bottle to glass.

A - Rusty ruddy red. Beautiful head with white creamy lace. Retained a nice thin layer of white.

S - A very distinct hoppy earth smell. Sweet sugary fruit smell. Light alcohol. Grapefruit and sour.

T - Very upfront hops taste. Lingers long after the first sip. Grapefruit taste, with sugary bits. Bitterness is good.

M - Great carbonation. There is a little bit more meat with this beer than compared to the other types. Great viscosity.

D - I would say a few of these.

The IBU rating on the Big Sky website states this one contains roughly 65 IBU's in each batch. Which I guessed right. I guessed over 50 under 75. This style I am becoming more familiar with. And I enjoy the ride with this one. The only thing I have to say about it is I could not drink more than a few without starting to feel a little funny.

Great beer to sit and socialize with. Let it warm up just a little bit also.

 936 characters

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

16oz Yankee pint at the Iron Horse restaurant in Missoula.

This beer appears a clear, medium copper amber hue, with one fat finger of cushy, frothy, and bubbly off-white head, which leaves some layered active storm cloud lace around the glass in its generally short wake.

It smells of big grapefruit and bitter orange fruit esters, semi-sweet bready caramel malt, nougat, a bit of yeast, and more leafy, floral hops. The taste follows almost identically - sassy, though more muddled citrusy hops, hints of bitter pine resin, and more pleasantly rounded bready caramel and toffee malt sweetness.

The carbonation is quite low in overall strength, but still peppy in its frothiness, the body a stocky medium weight, and well smooth in the face of those swirling hop bastards, and even a touch creamy. It finishes a bit off-dry, the caramel malt seemingly waiting for the parking attendant to come 'round, with a citrusy and woody hop essence carrying on without the band.

A nicely balanced west coast-ish IPA, with some slightly unusual, yet tasty and minor variants on the good ol' bitter citrus/sweet caramel theme. Glad I got this in, before our entrees plopped down on the table, ever so welcome in their arrival, and yet I think I shall order another of this.

 1,266 characters

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

Deep copper, like a worn penny, with a smooth 1/4" white head that leaves great rings for the next 30 minutes.

Solid IPA - floral and hoppy, with a more apparent, yet still characteristic nose.

With some beers, the soul is hard to find. Not the case here, as it's smooth and quenching, robust and subtle, bitter and sweet. All at once. Florals, a bit of citrus, and a hint of pine are most apparent.

Wet on the tongue, making the tongue like a squeezed sponge, keeping the mouth hydrated.

Really enjoy this beer - one of the better IPAs I've had this summer.

 566 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into an Orval glass...Pours a light clear copper with a light off white head that only rises about a finger, gone quickly...Light aroma shows off a touch of malt and light hops, good in general, would be great if a touch stronger...The taste is pretty good, mostly light hops from start to finish, a pretty easy to drink slightly above average ipa. Light pine in there too but take a couple points off because there is a slight medicinal bitter finish...Feel is fine, easy to drink.

A decent drink after work, nothing special, but not bad.

 552 characters

Photo of JohnQVegas
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle into Sam Adams glass, with another big thank-you to John (Wasatch).

Pours a bright orangy copper, almost crystal clear, with a two-finger light-khaki head that settles into a creamy, thinnish solid cap. Nice retention

Nose is full of citrus, with a nice mix of orange and grapefruit notes, some a lightly-bready caramel malt sweetness sits underneath, maybe a bit of a metallic edge to it.

Taste is a bit on the sharp, bitter side. Mild grapefruit character with a bit of light caramel underneath, with a very firm bitterness that takes on just enough metallic sharpness to make it unpleasant.

Mouthfeel is dry, quite oily, a bit prickly. medium to medium full body, and a moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is mediocre. On the one hand, the flavors are quite balanced; on the other hand, the bitterness is a bit harsh. That harshness tends to linger a bit as well.

 880 characters

Photo of BeerShirts
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
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 TheSarge
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Produces a good amount of light khaki colored head, and has a cleanly filtered and copper colored body.

In the nose it is very fragrant rich with lemony and spruce hops aroma.

Very hoppy tasting too. Piny and spruce along with a grapefruit note, which altogether dominate.

Sky High is medium in body but a bit brisk and crisp still. After a few seconds there is a slightly warm finish. This brew will make a great go to beer for myself.

 439 characters

Photo of Duxx
4.09/5  rDev +6%
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 Blakaeris
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark red-copper with a rocky white that leaves sheets of lacing.

Aroma is spicy floral and perfume hop. Minerally caramel malt, and a touch of dark fruit.

Taste is tart biscuit malt. Hops come in with an initial resinous piney quality that quickly becomes more of an earthy spice and orange peel bitterness. Finishes with a pleasantly dry cedar character.

Mouthfeel is a chewy medium body.

Big balanced flavor. Hops become more aggressive as it warms, but the generous biscuit malt keeps things in control.

 516 characters

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

pours a clear glistening copper with a frothy white two-finger head that has decent retention and leaves behind pretty solid lacing. Looks promising.

aroma is intense, earthy, green hops. simcoe-y. touches of caramel and oatmeal... digging it. Not overwhelming... a bit more kick in the nose would make it amazing.

taste, as the aroma hints, is full of luscious hops. I love simcoe, and this one really delivers. clean piney bitterness with barely a hint of citrus. herbal and clean. delicous. Bitter hops really shine... the malts take a back seat, and sweetness is subtle. Really a hop-forward brew. which can definitely be a good thing.

mouth is impressive. creamy without being sludgy, carbonated without being overly effervescent. full but not thick. A bit slick and a touch of lingering bitterness. Pretty decent. My mouth is happy.

All in all, I'm digging this. I've gone through a few bottles now and every one makes me like it a touch more. Definitely hop-forward, and very earthy pine hoppiness - no west-coast citrus action here. I can easily see this as being one of my go-to IPAs now that I'm no longer on the west coast. So many good things going on, it's most definitely worth a shot.

 1,205 characters

Photo of IPASetter
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer reminds me a bit of Drifter right off the bat, but with less of a grapefruit taste.

A- Poured with about a 1/4 inch of head with slight retention. Nice carbonation occurring throughout the beer.

S- Nice hop smell nothing overpowering definitely can smell the grapefruit aroma from this beer.

T- A nice crisp IPA that has a slight bitterness but nothing to steer away non IPA fans. Can taste the grapefruit in this one which is very enjoyable.

M- Medium mouth feel with a little carbonation occurring in your mouth.

D- Nice drinkability will please both hop head and non IPA fans because of the nice balance and non overpowering with hops. Would definitely get again goes down easily.

 698 characters

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.

 561 characters

Photo of dwilson01
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 12oz bottle into my arrogant bastard pint glass, healthy 2 fingers of off white-light tan creamy head that dissipates timely leaving nice lacing on the glass. Brown coloration and clear, basically looks exactly like a new castle in body color.

The smell is very light, hops are present and I get some elderly flower notes (not that fresh floral scent). I get some pine and tree bark as well as a bit of spicing in there but very muted, turmeric and nutmeg. I'm getting a bit of a sweeter honey grain from the malt, like honey put on some 7grain bread.

The flavoring is very smooth, not sweet but also not bitter it's a great balance of malt and hop. The grains are giving me a toasted nut and honey, very much reminded of multi-grain cheerios I used to love as a kid. It also gives a sweeter aftertaste of honey. The hops bring some bitterness, barky wood flavors as well as more fresh greenery in this part than the nose. Not bad, very mellow to be sure.

The mouthfeel is great, one of the best I've had in an ipa like this. It's not heavily malted so much as to weigh it down but thick enough to let you know it's there. Carbonation and lighter flavoring balance perfectly with this and seriously just make an extremely drinkable ipa for the beer lover. I wouldn't give this to someone who I'm trying to intro the style to, yet it's not so hoppy as to be considered the "west coast" styled ipa.

 1,414 characters

Photo of GregoryVII
3.32/5  rDev -14%
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 WakeandBake
3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear golden orange color body with a big foamy white head, good retention , some spotty lacing left , medium carbonation . Aroma of citrus and piny hops with a bit of caramel sweetness . Flavor is hoppy up front lots of citrus and pimy hops , resin , a good balance of caramel malt and cereal grain , medium body , nice level of bitterness, crisp clean mouthfeel , quite sessionable and pretty good .

 403 characters

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

Poured into a Perfect Pint glass.

A: The bright amber color has nice clarity. Foamy off-white head has above average retention and leaves generous lace.

S: A heavy dose of grapefruit, lemon and pine greats the nose. A small amount of sugary sweetness is in the background.

T: A nice hop profile dominates the beer. Tastes of grapefruit and pine intermingle nicely. Bitterness isn't too over the top. Sweet and toasted malt flavors are to be had, although not in abundance.

M: Medium body is oily and slick. Carbonation level is a bit high.

D: A nice, safe IPA. I would happily drink this again.

 599 characters

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.

 469 characters

Photo of Gobzilla
3.19/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: poured and amber copper with a 2 finger bubbly tan head with hardly any lacing sticking to the glass.

S: some great piney notes up front with a mild malt character and slight hints of caramel. There seems to be a good amount of booze as well.

T: Lots of bitter hopness and like the nose there is like almost no malt flavor what so ever. I kinda like it.

M: medium body with light carbonation. Not enough bubbles on the tongue on this one.

D: doesn't seem to give it justice for an IPA, but there is some good hoppy bitterness with absolutely no malts. If thats sounds good to you then this is your kind of beer.

 619 characters

Photo of 33nickadams
3.91/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not impressed by the look, for an IPA, I think it could have more head, and a little more translucent. Smell is wonderfully full of citrus. Taste was really good. I could have a few of these. I didn't know what to expect with this beer, but I was pleasantly surprised. I will get this again.

 295 characters

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.

 394 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.
  • Our Events

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

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