Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,309 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,309
Hads: 12,516
Avg: 4.38
pDev: 9.59%
Wants: 1,373
Gots: 4,373 | FT: 48
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: brentk56 on 04-02-2006

Originally named Northstar IPA. Debuted in 2005.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 2,309 | Hads: 12,516
Reviews by AKBelgianBeast:
Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to HopHead84 for this bounty.

Pours a nice clear light slightly coppery orange with a nice fluffy white head that retains well and leaves good lacing. Carbonation continually roils from the bottom of my SA tulip glass.

Nose pops up with west coast grapefruit hops right away. The slight sweetness of what will be determined to be an ideal malt backbone rises up through the nose. A slight strange sweetness here as well. Kind of a musty dank sweetness. And i mean that in a good way.

Taste blows up with west coast grapefruit hops. Some slight pine in here, but this is surely a grapefruit bomb. But wait. The malt sweetness brings a nice biscuity contrast that keeps me quite intrigued. That strange malt sweetness i described in the nose is evident in the taste. Im not sure what it is, but it is defenitely in the malt. A pungent sweetness, almost a dankness. It is more noticeable in the nose, but i do pick it up in the taste as well. Very good and very interesting. Hop bitterness rides on the finish, but it is unabrasive and quite clean. The interesting sweetness (again, i am stressing the slightness of this) lingers in the finish right along side the grapefruit bitterness of the hops. A very very well balanced beer.

Mouthfeel is very nice here, just about right for what a good solid slightly heavy IPA should be. Carbonation is well done, not too heavy, not too light. Goes down easy smooth, no chalky or abrasiveness in or after the swallow.

Drinkability is yet another strong suit of this brew. Goes down very easily, and pleasantly. Im having trouble saving enough of this bomber to finish my review, as this one makes me want to take a chug or two each time i bring it to my face.

Overall this is a very impressive IPA from Ballast point. The first beer of theirs was Dorado, which was also quite good, but i find this one to be so much cleaner. Just ideal for an IPA. The malt profile keeps me wondering even now. That strange fruity kind of dank sweetness is calling to me, but i cannot answer it. It is very mysterious. The balance in this beer is very impressive. A very fine IPA from California, and one I will surely seek out again. Excellent beer.

 2,186 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of BillBabbitt
3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

I know this a very highly rated IPA, but I am not a fan. I have tried this beer on tap and out of a bottle. It pours a beautiful golden color with a rich creamy head , but I find the aftertaste a bit harsh.

 210 characters

Photo of OldGriz
4.93/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'll never forget my first taste of Sculpin. It was a magical beer moment for me.

81 characters

Photo of jkrich
4.25/5  rDev -3%

Poured a hazy, golden-orange hue with a sustained, foamy white-head. This seems to be the typical American IPA look. I could not locate a freshness date but there was a number code on the label that may indicate the ale was bottled on the 213 day of 2014.

A very fresh and bittersweet fruity aroma greets the olfactory upon opening the bottle, along with a faint piney, bitter aroma.

The flavor has a surprisingly soft and mellow, citrusy start with a lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue. Very flavorful, but not what I expected given the reviews and especially the aroma. Of course, the bottle is a few months old.

Light to medium bodied with a somewhat thin mouth feel. The citrusy bitterness does linger on the palate.

This is another fine example of the American IPA: full flavored, high in alcohol but so very drinkable.

 843 characters

Photo of dpgoblejr
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Gold in color with tiny bubbles rising to the surface. Off white head that froths around the top and settles to a slight layer of bigger bubbles. Lacing is evident along the edges of glass as it slides down. Smell is of pine and some citrus is found in the background. Tastes of pine, grass, citrus and maybe some bitter hops are dancing on the tongue. Smooth on the palate and slightly creamy with the bitterness finishing it off. Overall, a fantastic IPA to indulge upon!

 480 characters

Photo of ddean
4.22/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Golden yellow, which isn't my favorite color. I'd like more amber or orange in my IPAs. Could be more clear, but I like the frothy head that others have described: it builds quickly and then dissipates right after you have had time to take it in.

Here's an interesting one. I get lots of hops, then some sulfur (rotten eggs, skunk?), along with some grapefruit and other citrus that others have put forth. You might think that would be disgusting, but it is quite interesting as a matter of fact, so high marks.

I was a little let down here, but it is still quite good. Thin to me, because the grapefruit and the hops dominate. I don't get the pine that others describe, and that is my favorite characteristic of my favorite IPAs (Lagunitas Maximus, Stone Ruination). A little lemon and apricot later on. Definitely good, but there is not much of a counterbalance in the taste.

Smooth, crisp, very nice. I like the superlingering hops. I'm in full agreement with my raving colleagues.

Goes down nice and easy. The smooth crispness makes me think I'd have no problem reaching for more, but the taste doesn't blow me away quite enough to not want to try other brews in a pub.

In summary, very good stuff, just not the most balanced IPA ever to me. Like the crisp, strong hops, but I want more pine and caramel.

 1,366 characters

Photo of Veeblefetzer
4.46/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had a six pack of bottles, purchased in San Clemente. Very nice IPA. Citrus smells, lovely color. Nice hop taste with overtones of grapefruit. Very nicely balanced IPA.

 171 characters

Photo of moundbz
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

looks great, smells great, tastes great with a bitter after taste.

66 characters

Photo of Mmart802
4.73/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Lots of flavors of pine, citrus and hops. Bold taste all the way through.

74 characters

Photo of clingy
5/5  rDev +14.2%

Classic favorite.

17 characters

Photo of frozyn
3.86/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L -- Thick white head with a golden color, somewhat hazy.

S -- Bitter hops, a little pine comes through, along with floral notes and very minute tropical fruit.

T -- Lots of hops creates a nice bitterness. Unfortunately, every time I've had this, the only thing I really get from it is bitterness. I notice slight hints of citrus or pine, but they're always overrun by bitter. I

F -- Light-to-medium feel, very crisp and refreshing. No resin leftover to note of.

O -- A very good beer, but I prefer Jai Alai. For the price, I don't feel it presents a good value, especially given what else is out there. I keep trying this in SWFL and it just hasn't impressed me too much. In fact, as I try more IPAs and other different styles, each successive tasting makes me think less and less of this beer. Perhaps someday I'll be in San Diego and get to try it ridiculously fresh and it will change my mind. Until then....

 922 characters

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Exceptional west coast IPA....but the Grapefruit version is better by far

73 characters

Photo of chriskelly
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Excellent IPA. One of my top 10 go to IPAs.

43 characters

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at another hipster heaven - Chapter One, Santa Ana, CA.

Did Raul just get himself in on this? Yep, it looks like he did!

Raul done had himself Sculpin many times over like Lindsay Lohan has had rehab visits. Only difference between Sculpin and that podunk ginger is that Raul will keep up with his daily Sculpin regime.

Clean, crisp, and devilishly intoxicating. Line another one up. Yep!

 398 characters

Photo of UTPharm2012
3/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poor man's Cigar City Jai Alai imo

34 characters

Photo of Joegot4
4.88/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Fantastic IPA! The gateway beer to hop addiction!

49 characters

Photo of Jessefromthe9
5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of Austinkrat
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great, balanced IPA. Just the right sweetness too balance the hops. May be the ideal IPA.

89 characters

Photo of tmbgnicu
4.91/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

If I am ever on deathrow, and I am allowed a last meal and can choose the beverage- I want a fresh bottle or can of Sculpin to be my drink. I grabbed a six pack of cans locally with a canned date of 5-20-14- just over two weeks old. The first six pack of Sculpin I had was about 3 months old, and boy was there a difference. The fresh Sculpin was the best ipa I have ever had. It was crisp and clean with the perfect notes and bitterness. West coast IPAs- fanfreakingtastic.

 474 characters

Photo of krbrevard
4.57/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this from Beer Run in Charlottesville, VA. From what I gather, it was pretty fresh.

A: On its cross country quest, tons of carbonation remain. Nice half inch head, golden copper color.
S: Wow- very floral. Some citrus and pine as well. Could possibly be the best i've smelled on a beer.
T: Very nice foretaste, not overpowering. Back end has all the components of the smell and i'm left with a subtle piney and bitterness which i've grown to love in this style of beer. No Alcohol taste whatsoever.
M: Very smooth, crisp, carbonation is very refreshing.
O: I am very impressed with BP. Had Big Eye a few years ago and definitely enjoyed it. The next time i'm in SD i will be coming to the brewery for sure!

 720 characters

Photo of MisterKilderkin
4.31/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'm not a huge IPA fan, but this is a fantastic representation of the style

75 characters

Photo of Hophazzard
4/5  rDev -8.7%

I like this one. Readily available too

38 characters

Photo of timfelix
4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I have had it on tap and from the bottle. Similar tasting experience. Lots of hop flavors throughout, while staying smooth even with quite a bite from all those hops. No malt noticed. If you like hops, this is excellent. But as another reviewer noted, there are other very good IPAs that will cost a lot less.
Full disclosure: I find many IPAs to be so hoppy I think I could bite into a fresh hop and chase it with cold water and get the same taste.

 459 characters

Photo of ColoradoPhil
4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Omg! this is good. I tried the Grapefruit which may be tastier for the delicious grapefruit added. but this is great world class beer no doubt. I could drink this everyday as a favorite but could drink a number of fine Microbrew IPA's everyday.. for $5.00 less a six pack. This is premium beer, but there are a lot of great beers to be had for $10.00 a six pack. We truly are in a golden age of great American craft beers! Life is good.

 436 characters

Photo of ZOMBzak
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Outstanding IPA. I consistently put this in the fridge. Goes well with everything and is always my "go-to" beer. Simply put it's just DAMN good!

144 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,309 ratings.