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
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Ratings: 1,174 |  Reviews: 476
Photo of danielharper
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very clear body, dark amber, thick off-white foamy head. Smells sweet, with strong earthy high-alpha acid hops which will form the soul of this beer. I can't quite identify the hop variety, but I'd love to, as I want to make a beer with the same kind of hop quality. Aroma also has hints of grapefruit.

Flavor is sugary, grainy, with an interesting malt profile that then gives way to an intense earthy hoppiness afterward. Lots of citrus, especially grapefruit. Slight dryness on the finish. Mouthfeel is thin-to-moderate, with a heavy hoppiness (of course) and a moderate carbonation.

Overall, I really like this IPA. The earthiness and grapefruit this this one a complexity that I didn't anticipate, which definitely differentiates it from the whole run of American IPAs that, while great, can definitely feel repetitive.

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Photo of BierFan
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear amber body with a thin off-white head.

Smell: Fruit aromas are a little more tame than the most popular IPA's seem to be. Grapefruit and pine.

Taste: Strikes a nice balance between bitterness and hop flavor.

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Photo of stangski83
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good IPA from a lesser-known brewery. I really like the offerings from Big Sky and wish that I had better access for them locally. These aren't earth shattering entries, but they are certainly quality examples in each craft style that I have sampled from this brewery. Big Sky gets it. Give them a solid chance if the six or 12 pack hits your won't regret it for a solid, economical choice in the craft market.

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

A- Poured into a glass it was a clear dark amber color with a 2 finger head and some lacing but not alot.
S- Fragrant with the aroma of hops, and citrus fruits mostly grapefruit and hints of malt and pine.
T- This was a beer that tasted alot like it smelled. The bitterness of the hops was somewhat tempered by the sweeter citrus flavors with piney-earthy afternotes.
M- Fairly bitter and throughout and dry at the finish. The carbonation was moderate, but the dryness is a bit offputting. The feeling I get is not of satisfaction or freshment, which of course means, I have to keep drinking (not always a bad thing).
D- Overall, a fairly good effort. I can say, though, that this was much better than their Moose Drool.

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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 wolfinthemirror
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very transparent honey color with a white head that dissipates quickly. not much lacing

Get a lot of spicy hops in the nose, and it's very aromatic. I could smell it as soon as the cap came off.

Taste is extremely delicious. I wasn't expecting it to pack such a complex flavor, but it does. Great refreshingly sweet and grassy hops in the beginning, which later gives way to a very pronounced citrus note that is more like a grapefruit. Very hop forward, and the malts take a back seat.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Very smooth IPA.

Highly drinkable. I went into this beer not expecting something all that great. What a surprise I got, this is one of the better IPAs I've had in a while. Excellent brew all in all, will buy again.

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

A darker ipa than expected, brown to amber. Average carbonation, head, lacing, aroma, a bit pinier.

The pine doesn't come out so much on the tongue, a decent amount of bitterness, but the hop flavor and zing comes out moreso than just plain pucker. Big malt background. Roast. Has that frequent wood to grittiness/graininess downbottle. Loses hop feel to something more bland. But hey, balanced.

Decent price, nothing special.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.26/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- A deep, clear orange liquid with a 1 finger thick head that has some decent retention.

S- Some citrus and caramel. Smells pretty clean and a little old school.

T- Same as the aroma. Bitter at the end, but fairly mild.

M- Carbonated but not to the point where it has too much of a bite. The hops leave a bit of dryness at the end.

D- A drinkable beer, but does little to stimulate interest. Nothing is bad about this, but nothing is jumping out at me.

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Photo of association330
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, no freshness date

A - Pours a clear, rich copper color with a two-finger, off-white head. Reduces to a respectable, sticky cap with good lacing.

S - This is the first time I've ever been able to recognize a specific type of hops based on previous reviews - Simcoe. Huge orange/grapefruit rind, with some pine sap. Hint of a sweet, fruity malt backbone.

T - This is oddly balanced for an IPA, especially a western one. Begins with that sweet malty tone, transitioning to piney hop resins and a hint of caramel. Swallow is only moderately bitter for the style, with a nice finish of grapefruit rind. Good, pine-laced belches follow. :p

M - Good and moderate, though I'd like just a touch more carbonation.

D - Very balanced and quite drinkable, especially with the lower ABV. This was a pleasant find, as my local store just got a good assortment of brews from Big Sky and I had never heard of them. I usually like basing my first impressions of unknown brewers on their pale ales (if available), and while this is not the best IPA I've ever had, it is certainly competitive and respectable.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 12/16/09

Clear, deep amber color with two fingers of off-white head. Highlights of copper. The foam appears mostly dense, though porous & bubbly on top. The head thins, though retention holds pretty well. Good lacing at the start, though it gets spotty by the end.

Mostly earthy/piney hop aromas with hints of citrus & floral undertones. Dry, bread-like aromas. Pale malt & maybe crystal malt. Faint caramel in the background.

Piney bitterness upfront - very sharp. This is exacerbated by citrus & floral hops lacking potency. Though present, they are only slightly noticeable; on the whole, the hop profile is basically dry. Toasted malts make for a decent balance. Warmth causes the beer to be less brash.

Medium body with carbonation just north of the moderate line, though it isn't overly prickly. Dry bitterness on the finish.

Drinkability isn't bad at all. I have no idea the age; for all I know it could even be past its prime. All told it's pretty decent.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 6.2% ABV, No date.

A - I would not change a thing about how this beer looks. Beautifully clear golden orange amber color with a huge pillowy light beige crown of head. Fantastic retention finally ends up in a pile minutes later but leaves adherent lace all over the glass in clumpy rings.

S - Citrusy hops burst from the glass with style in this beer. A great aroma of American hops showcases pine needle, grapefruit citrus that smells freshly squeezed, and a well-blended floral aromatic quality. Solid malty sweetness backs up the hops well.

T - While being well-balanced between the submissive sweet caramel malts and pungent hops, the hops just seem to stand out so well. Not overpowering, rather, distinctive, the hops feature dry and herbal floral flavors that have pine and citrus undertones to them. Grapefruit is present but not over-the-top like a lot of AIPAs these days. Very nicely balanced.

M - Spectacular blend of very dry floral hops with sweet caramel malts. A good medium body but crisp and refreshing, lively carbonated finish that has an average bitter finish. Not tongue-shredding.

D - This IPA is just a solid AIPA I could have a few of no problem. Not something I'd session all night, but in a world of highly hop-saturated IPAs and DIPAs, this is a fantastic AIPA I'd welcome into my glass at any time.

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

Pours a beautiful deep copper color with a substantial beige head and ample lacing. very pretty beer.

Aroma is all about citrus hops.

Taste is dominated by citrus hops, decent malt backing but could use a bit more. pretty well balanced overall but not in the upper echelon of IPAs

Mouthfeel is medium viscosity and appropriate for style.

Drinkability is reasonably high for an IPA, no problem throwing back three or four.

Overall, certainly a tasy beer, nothing to scoff at, kind of blends in to the plethora of similar IPAs on the market, solid and worth a try if you are an IPA aficionado.

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Photo of Jeebs
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a dark reddish orange with a large 3 finger white head. The head dissipates relatively slow leaving nice lacing down the glass. I was a bit surprised at how dark this beer poured.

S: The smell is a bit muted, but what aroma is there are piney hops and lots of malt.

T: The taste follows the smell with piney hops and malt with a hint of toffee.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

D: Drinkability is pretty good although I like my IPAs a bit more citrusy and hop dominated. I will say that for under $7 a 6/pk that it's a pretty damn good buy.

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Photo of zdk9
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer really hits the spot for me tonight. It comes out of the bottle a crystal clear copper color bursting with two fingers of head. As i drink the milky white bubbles subside somewhat butt leave spiderweb trails on the glass sides.

The smell is hoppy, special attention on the pine hoppiness, but floral notes of lavender and others also play a role. The smell has great strength too, which I really appreciate.

The taste is delicous and hoppy- pine wood and sweet. Bitterness does hit the sides and back of the tongue- more than I would like, but not neccesarily out of the style, and certainly fitting for an IPA with this hoppiness.

I was really surprised by this beer. I was not expecting much, especially since I bought it as part of mixed 6er, where they are often slightly off beers. But this is hoppy and fragrant and tastes awesome. Hats off to Big Sky!

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Photo of rednrag
3.21/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Store was out of my go-to IPA, Torpedo. This was the only other IPA they had, and I was in the mood, and had never had it, so...

Smells a little too malty for me, maybe I'm just wanting more hops.

Taste is not bad. Could be a little less malty, and a bit more hoppy.

Not a bad beer, but priced more than my beloved Torpedo, and not as good.

But nice try, Montana.

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

For some time I had been trying to find a Big Sky beer, and the first I find is this one.
Has a nice amber color, a bit darker than some IPA's I have had in the past. Nice lasting head.
Smells strong and bitter just like it should. Nice hop aromas.
Has the hoppiness that is also expected from an IPA, nothing exceptionally different from other IPA's.

An all around good IPA.

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Photo of Mistofminn
3.21/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a suprisingly dark murky brown. Actually looks kind of muddy orange. A nice, light tan head is produced, with a creamy texture and leaving some nice lacing.

The nose is much more maltier than I was expecting, not a good sign for a fresh(ish) IPA. This bottle is a little over two months old and already the hops are nearly gone, which doesn't bode well for the hop presense to begin with. Sweet and malty, with only the faintest grassy hops.

The taste is much of the same. Sweet malts with only the faintest hint of grassy hops. Almost has a weak barleywine-like maltiness to it, surprisingly strong.

Mouthfeel is light to medium, with a sweet finish. Drinkability is ok.

Overall, not my favorite IPA. There are tons that I'd rather have over this, but in a pinch I suppose I would have it again. Nothing against Big Sky, but this is kind of what I expected out of them.

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Photo of nsmartell
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the 12oz bottle with the 011210 stamp to a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark orange color with a big, billowy, dirty-white head that lasted for some time.

Smell: A very nice floral, citrus hop aroma with a hint of grapefruit.

Taste: Just as the smell suggests, lots of floral hops with a hint of grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, bitter and smooth.

Drinkability: A very nice, drinkable brew. Really good bitterness. Would certainly recommend and drink again.

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

I have seen many Big Sky brews on the shelf, but this is the first that I have tried. The beer pours a dark amber color with a decent cap of foam that left decent lacing down the glass.

A wallop of floral hops and grapefruit in the nose. Sweet malt wiggles through the hops to add to the aroma. More of the same on the palate with a larger emphasis on the hops than the malt. Finishes bitter and leaves a residue no the palate. Malt sweetness also remains on the palate providing ample balance.

An oiliness from the hops is quite noticeable in the mouthfeel, not a bad thing.

I did enjoy this beer. It is hoppy, but balanced, drinkable and tasty.

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Photo of natelocc787
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very good IPA, kind of surprised me because I haven't been impressed with any of their other offerings. Dark IPA, lengthy sheets of lace and a very resiny, bitter, spruce and grapefruit nose. The taste is a mild letdown from what the nose implied, more spruce, grapefruit and orange peel notes backed up with caramel malt that is noticeable but beat back by the bitterness. The score could almost be bumped up in the taste category, really enjoyable but could use some complexity. Still good, mouthfeel like a dark Stone IPA and very drinkable. Would be happy buying a whole sixer of this beer. The cream of Big Sky's crop IMO.

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

A nice little surprise from Montana! The appearance is a tad darker than most IPAs - it pours a rich, bright amber with a white head. The aroma is solid - very piney and sticky, with some orange rind in the mix. The taste is kind of a hybrid between your typical west coast and east coast IPA. You start with a chewy, malt backbone followed by pine cones, resin, and grapefruit from the hops. A nice, crisp, clean finish begging for another sip. The carbonation is spot on. This IPA was a pleasure to try.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nose is citric and floral with significant pine - overall a gloriously magnificent hoppiness. Soft malt is toasty, nutty. Smells delightful.

Pours clear honey cola with very large & lasting rocky head. Looks wonderful - it almost could not look any better.

Flavor follows nose, with moderate bitterness. Hop flavor less pronounced than aroma, but still displays bright citric, piney, and floral oils. Good bit of tartness. Big malt body, mildly flavored: toasty bread and soft nut. Very little thrashy leafiness I typically find in strong IPAs, but there's still a bit of that earthy/leafy hop kick to prove they used real hops and not hop oils. Mildly sweet. Finishes with good hop bite. Tastes good. Feels good. Very good drinkability.

Most impressive! This is a seriously tasty and to-style IPA. I've found Big Sky to have good-but-boring beers to-date, and IPA has definitely tipped their average into the significantly less than boring direction. I look forward to trying the next Big Sky offering I come across. Kudos!

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Photo of tapman
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice dark rust/ medium orange color typical for the style with a dense, light brown head comprised of tiny bubbles and some slightly bigger ones. The head dissappears rather quickly and while this isn't neccessarily that important for the style, I like to get a little foam with my first sip, or at least enough foam to release a long burst of aroma. Perhaps a protein deficiency in the beer?

Aroma is buttery, but toffee butter, not diacetyl butter. A lot fo crystal malt for my taste. Hops are floral and slightly spicy with a bread back. A little alcohol is apparent as well.

Toffee/medium crystal malt for most of the taste with some spicy American hops for flavor. The bitterness at the end is clean, though a little sticky. Bittering is great.

A little chewy, but I like my IPAs really chewy, so that's not something that big sky could have panned for, is it? Still the carbonation isn't too epfervescent yet enough for a nice texture.

Despite my low score review I would not use it as a reference. I don't like the toffee type IPAs. I prefer my malt bill a bit cleaner and a little more pale with more of a stand-out hop character. However, I understand that this is a different style of IPA that many people love. I'm a young guy and I look forward to giving this another try when my taste buds mature a little more. If you like a super balanced IPA, go for this one, but if you are like me and like them a little unbalanced (American style baby!) then stick with your bells two hearted.

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Photo of BigBigPickle
3.31/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. into pint glass.

A: Pours a cloudy, dark amber - very pretty - with minimal head (too cold into pint glass?). Great lacing on glass.

S: Yeast before hops. Orange peel.

T: Hop bitter up front - very orangey. Astringent, bitter - reminds me of cleanliness. My last batch of IPA was cooked at too high a temperature and it tastes a lot like this.

M: Too astringent. Bittering hops too big, not balanced with flavoring.

D: Just okay. But not horrible.

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Photo of Wheelinb
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice copper color and 1 finger of head. This has what I consider a typical hop aroma - citrus and grassiness. Big flavors at first, but not overwhelmingly so. A bit of a spiciness but no after taste. Very easy to drink this beer. I really like their Moose Drool and this IPA is pretty solid as well.

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