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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

11,185 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 11,185
Reviews: 2,296
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.75%
Wants: 1,181
Gots: 3,045 | FT: 49
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 11,185 | Reviews: 2,296
Reviews by CharlesRamsey:
Photo of CharlesRamsey
4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What can you say about one of the best? Some might call this a hop bomb, but its balanced so well they would be as wrong as Ariel was for taking those girls. A strong, dry hop presentation with spice, pine notes off of a thin white, low carbonation head. Beers like this make me want to live in the ballast point parking lot.

More User Reviews:
Photo of jkrich
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

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.

Photo of ddean
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Photo of clingy
5/5  rDev +13.4%

Classic favorite.

Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
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

Photo of Jessefromthe9
5/5  rDev +13.4%

Amazing !

Photo of Hophazzard
4/5  rDev -9.3%

I like this one. Readily available too

Photo of Naidu91
5/5  rDev +13.4%

This one sold me on west coast IPAs

Photo of BillBabbitt
3.5/5  rDev -20.6%

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.

Photo of Taybeh
4.5/5  rDev +2%

On tap, Into a shaker pint, at the Union Taphouse in the Gaslamp district

A: gold orange, with a minimal head (curse the bartender)
S: nice and hoppy, with some apricot, sharper citrus, some earthy floral notes too.
T: great grassy notes, some citrus pith, a bit of pale malt in the front half to provide some balance, then the end has a nice aggressive bitterness that provides some prickliness on the tongue; bright, citrus rind, and a good bite but not at all overwhelming.
Very quaffable and refreshing, with some different interesting notes to taste and enjoy....it comes together nicely.
Better on tap than what I've had from bottles back in the midwest. This is outstanding.

Photo of Riggsby
4.66/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I first drank this lovely at Stone in Escondido in 2007. At the time I was blown away by the citrus forward aspect of this beer. A couple of years later I toured the brewery just before this beer blew up in the national sense. We had a personal tour and were told they were putting 7 varieties of hops in each batch. The expen$e to make this ale was considerable. Thus the addiction began. I believe that, with my uncle, we put this beer on the map on the East coast because we were drinking at least a pallet/year. I have a set of garage doors nailed with thousands of caps to prove our consumption!! But what happened? As they grew this brew dropped off. I remember that on our West coast visit they were expanding tankage to outside fermenters. I believe this and hop shortages/prices changed this beer. Pliny on tap on the East coast, at least at Monk's, is close to what you taste in Santa Rosa. I can't say the same for Sculpin. Like a first love, she always fades with time. Thus the toying with grapefruit, kiwi, habaneros, etc to cover up the loss of what made this beer unique. Ballast boys- get back to the basics and make less so that we have "more"!

Photo of oberon
4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great to get my hands on some of this stuff (thanks Roger at Bestway).Poured into a small tulip glass a clear light golden with a clingy 1/2 finger white head.Holy smokes the aromas are just awesome!A mix of big citrus and tangerine just jump out at ya,a hint of caramel/biscuit is there but its a little faint but hey who cares the hop profile is frickin great.Fresh hop flavors abound with tangerine sticking out the most,its lemony with a bit of mango and overripe pineapple,the sweet biscuit malt base does not hide itself as it holds on thru the duration of the glass.Iam not sure if I have had a beer of the style with such fruity hop complexity,wow this is worthy of the rating.

Photo of Dekhar
4.96/5  rDev +12.5%

Photo of RoyalT
4.72/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - This came out a gorgeous darkish-orange in color with incredible clarity and a wonderful sheen. The head was perfectly perched on an easy pout. As it slowly went down it left a thick film all along my mug. This is a real beauty shop.

Smell - Hop damn! This almost has to be dry-hopped because the hops are so fresh and pure like you just picked them from the field. The nice pine resin, which usually overshadows all other hop aromas, here is mated perfectly with some monstrous grapefruit and light orange peel. These smells all come together in a raunchy hop bouquet that leaves little chance for the light malt base to be appreciated.

Taste - Surprisingly the hops aren't toned down too much at the taste. This is a hop-burping factory I can tell already. The orange comes on much bigger now and really smoothes out the flavors.

I'm actually going to give a thumbs up to the grain bill here. Most people drinking this won't even notice it because the hops are so big, but the grain knew how and when to take a backseat here without being completely absent. Although I didn't get much from it at the nose, you could crank this down to 20 IBUs and have a nice-tasting beer. The grain is soft, very fresh like the hops, not grossly sweet, and give off a wonderfully light almost cereal flavor.

Mouthfeel - This is medium-bodied, maybe a tad lighter, with some smart carbonation and a very smooth character in between the cheeks. Although I enjoy a bitter beer, what I appreciated so much about this mouthfeel is that for all the hops it wasn't bitter at all. This made it amazingly easy to guzzle - hahaha! Usually a beer with such a huge hop profile takes a week to finish but the lack of bitterness here kept the suds flowing.

Drinkability - I kind of touched on it when reviewing the mouthfeel but boy o boy was this an easy-drinking ale. I don't think I've ever had a beer with this much hop flavor go down this easily. It is one of a kind and a must-try for any IPA enthusiast. This raises a standard that few if any will ever match.

Comments - I've handed out a lot of 4.5s in my day and more than my share of 5.0s, but as far as Drinkability goes this is the most drinkable hop bomb I've ever had. For the first time in almost 2,000 reviews I wish I could assign a 6.0 rating to something. You really have to drink this beer to believe it.

Photo of aszatk01
4/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of cam477
4.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Bmm281
3/5  rDev -32%

Photo of legalag11
5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of DanGeo
4/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of Smokesnotes
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of tectactoe
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to GetMeAnIPA for this one... I've heard very good things and I've been ISO Sculpin for a long time. Pours a somewhat dull, golden-yellow color with a few orange and light-amber tints. Moderate haze throughout, topped off with a creamy and fine eggshell colored head - decent retention and some nice chunky lacing is left behind.

Bringing this one to my nose reveals a hop-garden barrage with two huge aromas that stand out above all others: grapefruit and florals. The grapefruit is pungent, semi-sweet, and juicy on the nose with some mild bitterness coming in as a peel or pith type aroma. Some other fruits may include pineapple and mango, but grapefruit is far and away the star of the show, here - this beer is a grapefruit bomb. The hops are also highly floral - this one smells much like a rose garden; perfume, roses, leaves, wet flowers. A touch of white pepper sits quietly in the back. After smelling this beer, I am reminded of a hometown favorite of mine, Two Hearted.

After an aroma like that, how can this beer not taste great? Medium bodied with moderate carbonation make for a slick mouth feel that glides across the palate as the hops work their magic. The two stand-out aromas, to no surprise, are the heaviest in the taste as well. It's a grapefruit bomb, full of both the juicy insides and the bitter peel. Some more mango , pineapple, and tropical fruity goodness rummage and couple with a light sweetness via the malt.

Floral, perfumy, leafy, grassy hops round out the edges and send a wave of bitterness across the back of the tongue in no time. Once again, the malt keeps the bitterness in tune without being distracting. The hop flavors seems to take over the citrus flavors and eventually dominate near the end. This beer is a fine example of simplicity done well and balance executed very nicely. Slight pithy and floral aftertaste as the bitterness fades into naught.

This beer reminded me of Two Hearted in a lot of ways (though not quite on the same level, but perhaps I'm slightly biased). They even both have a fish on the label. Being a huge fan of Two Hearted, I can clearly see why the West Coast loves this stuff. Simple, yet excellently crafted and executed. A super-drinkable IPA done right.

Photo of Hoppin_mad
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of ricke
4.32/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Yellow, almost straw-colored (great to see an IPA of this magnitude that's actually a pale ale). A rather thin white head settles in a moderate pace.

S: Massive hop aromas. Plenty of exotic fruits, but not so dominated by grapefruits as many other hop forward beers are. Instead here are generous amounts of mango and passion fruits (along with the grapefruit of course). Here is also a very pleasant smell of elder flowers. Some pine needles and hop resins. Biscuity malts are present as well.

T: Replicates the smell with very fresh hop flavors all around. Exotic fruits (grapefruit, mango, passion fruit) mix with elder flowers and hop resins. A semi-sweet crisp and biscuity malty backbone. The finish is really bitter with notes of pine-needles and, citric notes and grassy hop notes.

M: Medium to semi-full body, nice sticky mouthfeel. Crisp carbonation.

D: This is a great IPA with a massive and very tasty hop profile. Still, it manages to stay very balanced. The malts are almost perfectly suited for the hop centered flavors.

Photo of Max3
5/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of ExtraStout
3.3/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden (with orange highlights) with a foamy white head that lasts and coats the sides of the glass throughout. Some active carbonation.

Flavor is sweet and bitter as anticipated. Sweet fruits, like apricot maybe, factor into the maltier-than-expected taste, complimenting the piney hop character. Some astringency and hop spiciness at the end, followed by a touch of tongue parching.

Refreshingly different and drinkable.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 11,185 ratings.