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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: 12,510
Avg: 4.38
pDev: 22.37%
Wants: 1,374
Gots: 4,368 | FT: 46
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
Reviews: 2,309 | Hads: 12,510
Photo of ncredible1
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A. Golden Orange Hue with impressive lacing. This is one good looking IPA

S. Super juicy grapefruit and tropicals (Pineapple,Mango,Tangerine)in the smell and flavor profile. This is probably the best smelling IPA I've ever had.

T. The taste is similar to the smell but with a heap of bitter hops. Grapefruit, pine, and more sweet tropicals. Some sweet pale malts round this beer out nicely. Definitely a sweeter IPA,and a great introduction to an IPA for those who have yet to attempt an IPA. The tast just keeps you coming back for more. Awesome!

M. The mouthfeel is superb. Hidden ABV. Just a well balanced Hoppy to Malt ratio.

D. A wonderfully crafted IPA, and the best one that I have tasted to date. This was a very pricey 22 oz. But if you are into the grapefruit tast of an IPA this hands is the winner.

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Photo of Adriatic
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed this magnificent beer next Ina tulip glass alongside a Drakes Aroma Coma. Trying these two beers side by side made me realize the floral characteristics I had never noticed in the Aroma Coma. Plan on buying a 4 pack of the Sculpin to enjoy while watching some football!

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Photo of mikesgroove
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So this one goes out to Joey. He had been bitchin at me to try this forever and ranting and raving about how it was the best IPA under the sun. Finally, it was in bottles and I could take him up on this. Yesterday afternoon seemed like as good a time as any to try it out, so went over to Dad's for a little while and popped this open while I was there.

Appearance - Now then, this is what an IPA is supposed to look like. The pour was a deep orange amber, and absolutely crystal clear. There was a radiance about it that was outstanding. Tons of carbonation rippling up toward the surface, just enhancing what already looked absolutely stunning to begin with. A huge three-inch head of white foam formed on the top and ohh so gradually settled down into a nice one finger high pillow that settled down over the top of the glass and never did leave. The side glass lace was the absolute stickiest I had ever seen, and I swear the outside of the glass was getting sticky from it. Really just the perfect looking IPA.

Smell - The aroma was the most pungent, ripping citrus hops you could imagine. Just absolutely the freshest grapefruit smell. It was really tremendous to be honest. Such a strong fresh, bitter aroma that I could have been in the middle of a hop field. Just the slightest bit of sugar on the back end sweetening it up, but otherwise this was just a hop driven monster of an IPA.

Taste - The flavor followed right where the aroma left of. It started out with just this dripping fresh hop taste. Really extremely sharp, crisp, and just unbelievably fresh, this was the flavor I had been looking for in the style forever. It was just tremendous, with the floral taste being almost bigger then the beer itself. Hands down, the best hop taste I have ever come across. So crisp and refreshing with a huge taste, I was in heaven with this one. As it warmed some slight bready characters came out, but nothing was toppling the huge hop taste. In fact, it made a nice transformation over to a pine resin like flavor as it warmed, and got even stickier. The finish was huge, dry, and bitter, perfect.

Mouthfeel - Very nice light bodied IPA, with a huge amount of carbonation coming off of it. Lots of bubbles rippling through it over and over, really just perfect here as well, crisp and clean, not too thin and pungently strong.

Drinkability - This is the IPA for me at least. I put down the bottle and was scrounging around the house looking for more. It was just that good. I could have easily had a couple more, would not have been a problem. One of the best ever.

Overall this was probably my favorite west coast IPA I have ever had. I had to score it perfectly, only because I could not find any fault in it. When I think west coast IPA, I think of exactly this beer now. If you love hops, you simply cannot be happy without this one.

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Photo of scottyshades
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Growlers of Sculpin for $14 at Green's in Greenville, SC? Yes please

A: Pours a slightly cloudy bright orange color. The head is fluffy, billowy, and retains very very well.

S: In growler form, the nose is a little different than its bottled cousin. The hops are much more aromatic and intense, giving strong notes of pineapple, grapefruit, mango (not as much as the bottled version), lemon, and other citrus fruits. Not really piny or resinous ,which is what I prefer. Malts are subtle, but give enough balance. Truly awesome stuff.

T: Compared to the bottles, this growler tastes amazingly fresh. The hops are bright and flavorful- lots of citrus, tropical fruit, and zest. Bitterness is a little more up front it seems, but definitely manageable. The yeast may be the best part. It adds this unique flavor that is best described as "fresh". Malts balance a little, but this is just a hoppy beer.

MF/D: Carbonation is sometimes a major flaw in IPAs, but this was right on the money. Medium feel to the body. The finish is mango and pineapple juiciness with some bitterness. Alcohol is completely hidden.

Notes- bottle vs growler:
There are minute differences, but I would say that I prefer the growler version due to the freshness of the hops and the aroma. Its really close to call, and either way, its amazing and my personal favorite

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Photo of pda22
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This has to be the best IPA ever, right? Not double or triple but a regular IPA. From appearance to mouthfeel to taste, this beer is top-notch! Fantastic! Delicious. Pairs well with many foods. This beer is the best, home grown I'm San Diego, land of the IPA.

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Photo of Jay43613
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best IPA I have ever tasted. Sculpin captures the bitter that I look for in every IPA. The smell and flavor are perfect. The color adds to it. The head when you pour it does not over-flow, and there is no stale taste to it by any means. If you are looking for perfection in an IPA this beverage is for you.

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Photo of ianroodt
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours crisp and clear with a modest head.

S- Citrus, hopy, with a floral hint.

T- Crisp and smooth with the oh so familiar west coast ipa bitterness. With each sip you desire another. Excellent taste.

M- Light on the tongue.

O- This is an excellent ipa worthy of being a world class beer.

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Photo of Klebe
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this originally rated as a 4.75. I have since revised it due to the fact that I can ALWAYS find it at my favorite beer store. Compare this against several other (5) rated beers (PTE, HT), which seem to come around less frequently than the comet known as Haley.

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Photo of TheCobbgoblin
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of the few best examples of an IPA. It hits all the right notes, stings when it's supposed to, is fruity and wonderful at the right points as well.

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Photo of cbutova
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The elusive Sculpin has been caught. I would have saved this for #100 but it's an IPA and I wanted to drink it as fresh as possible. Grabbed this one at Table and Vine in W. Springfield today, they had 3 cases, I snagged the last two on the shelf (maybe more in the back). Pours a very golden color with a hint of orange, has a very bubbly two finger head that retains very well for an IPA, the carbonation on the pour is extreme, pour it carefully. Thick lacing is left on my pint glass as I drink this bad boy. Smell here is probably the best beer smell I have ever put my hands on. So much great things going on, a huge fruity aspect to the beer (mangos, peach, apricot, lemon), the sweeter fruits perfectly balanced by floral and piney hops, greatness. Taste is a bit different than the smell, less of a fruit characteristic but still enough to be very noticeable, a huge aggressive hop blast comes onto the tongue but backs off as you swallow to allow a very good sweet fruity taste to come through with an eventual delicious hop after taste. A very complex smelling and tasting beer. Mouthfeel is very well carbonated, medium bodied and a bit oily, maybe a TINY bit of alcohol warming but no alcohol taste = a very well balanced mouthfeel, I hate to give all 5s but its starting to look that way. Drinkability is great, the taste is enough for me to drink this all day long, its not filling, the price ($10) was worth it any day of the week, no bad flavors to ruin this one over time, and I would buy this one again over and over and over.

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Photo of deadguykelly
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at capones in norristown

A: Great color, golden amber.

S: The nose is amazing. All the fruit you can handle. Really the nose of a double. Grapefuit, pineapple, hints of orange and other citrus

T: This may be the perfect beer. Not to high on alcohol, but extremely high on taste. Well balanced and full of everything I want out of an IPA.

M: Goes down smooth and doesnt linger more than neccesary. Sticks around just as much as needed. Not to sticky or syrupy at all. Great carbonation and overall feel.

D: If I had more access to this beer It would be my new standby. Was only able to grab one case this season and dont feel bad drinking it as we all know what happens to that glorious hop flavor when it sits around! extremely drinkable. Maybe to a flaw. No alcohol lingering on the tongue. Only 7% which seems low to us all now, but still not quite session beer material.

Overall, this is hands down my new favourite IPA. Would put this in a pespi challange with any brew out there. Hope everyone gets a chance to try this brew. Im sure it will be more readily available next season. My hats off to the people at ballast point! Cheers

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Photo of damato
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Having read the reviews for this beer I was very anxious to give it a try. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to locate in the Sacramento area. In any event, I finally located some on a visit to the Bay Area.

I proceeded with my tasting with high expectations. I was not dissapointed. This is a truly special beer.

Serving: 22oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Clear Golden color with an apricot hue. Two finger white head with good rentention.

Smell: A Beautiful citrus hop aroma that is very clean and fresh.

Taste: Outstanding citrus hoppy flavor with a very distinct apricot presence.

Mouthfeel: exceptional lively carbonation. This is how all IPAs should be

Drinkability: This beer goes down easy so proceed with caution.

It's like Racer 5 with a far superior mouthfeel.

My new favorite.

Outstanding beer.

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Photo of harrymattcody
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From he tap to a pint glass.

The pour is a nice golden sunset with a decent cap on top hat lays down some solid lace. Getting my nose in his beer is a real treat. Straight tropical fruit with no hint of a malt. Taste us pretty much in line with the nose. Big, bold and juicy tropical fruits dominate. There's no substantial malt to interfere and what's there acts more like a bowl to contain all that fruit. Perfect in the mouth with a nice tickle from the bubbles.

My go to beer if I could get it on a regular basis.

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Photo of woodychandler
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

At long last, nepotism rears its ugly head on The CANQuest (TM)! For those not in the know, I write for Ale Street News (and others) while my cousin, Colby Chandler, is the specialty brewer at Ballast Point B.C.

Re. my earlier review of Big Eye IPA, flash forward about six months to March (?)/April (?) 2002 when I flew out to LA for the annual Black & Gold Brigade Banquet. My brother, Young Gefe, picked me up at LAX and we quickly tooled down to San Diego to hook up with the majority of the then-extant Chandler clan, especially at where Colby's late father, my Uncle Rick, referred to as "The Chandler Compound". Six Chandlers in one place at the same time?!? We are lucky that the universe did not implode. After a gathering at the Home Brew Mart, we repaired to the compound for a barbecue cookout and Colby brought out what we now refer to as "Sculpin in Beta", the original recipe that eventually became Sculpin f'real, f'real. He described it as a "new, hoppy beer with which [he] was experimenting." I remember that first sip as the heavens burst open and angels descended to sing in mine ears. I was instantly rendered insensate and Aunt Carol began to panic and dial 9-1-1 until Uncle Rick remembered that I could become catatonic upon being introduced to a new, highly hopped beer. I soon came to my senses and we ate dinner, but that was a near-orgasmic experience that I have yet to re-create. I remain a big fan of this beer and am equally elated to see it in a CAN!

From the CAN: "Handcrafted & CANned in San Diego, California"; "Dedicated to the Craft"; "A Trophy Beer That's a Testament to Our Homebrew Roots"; "our Sculpin IPA is a great example of what got us into brewing in the first place. After years of experimenting, we knew hopping an ale at five separate stages would produce something special. The result ended up being this gold medal-winning IPA, whose inspired use of hops creates hints of apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavors, but still packs a bit of a sting. Just like a Sculpin."

On the Crack, the puppy once again jumped out for a friendly lick of my face. The inverted Glug was just what the doctor ordered. Following the pseudo-cascading action, I was left with a finger of soapy, tawny head with decent retention. Color was a deep golden-yellow with NE-plus quality clarity and I CANnot stop thinking of my future 50th birthday in 2015, to be celebrated in Lincoln, NE with my Old Lady and Val MidWest. What a gas! Speaking of gases, the nose off-gassed a sensual smell of tropical fruits and mango was chief among them. My mouth was absolutely watering from the nose and I could not wait for that first sip. I tasted the hops just dominating my senses with their earthy, tropical fruit flavors and I thought, "F**k triple hopped Miller Lite! Quintuple-hopping is the way to go!" The finish was so mellow that I just laid back and allowed the sensuousness of the hops to take charge. If Big Eye was in your face, this was an iron fist gloved in velvet. You CAN try to get some of my sixer, but I'll give up the Big Eye before this, if you catch my drift.

The following is my original, on-tap review dtd 07-26-2009.

On tap at the Home Brew Mart facility where my cousin is the brewer! Primo Colby told me that it is being made in a bi-monthly rotation with Dorado because of the plethora of hops that are involved in each beer. He also told me that he could tell me all of the hops varieties that went into Sculpin, but he would have to kill me afterwards. Ancient Colby secret, eh? His wife and I agreed that my need-to-know was not that great.

I had some of this last summer while visiting Cuz Colby and it was an epiphanic moment! Right after I came to, he laid the bad news on me that it was being (temporarily) discontinued due to the hops shortage. Once his wife and my brother got my fingers freed from his neck, he reassured me that it would be back. Oakle doakle!

A finger of bone-white head with decent retention. Nose was uniquely fruity - mango, apricot, peach, orange zest. Seven or eight different hops varieties, depending on the batch, four kinds of malt and a Cali yeast strain combine to create the Tropical IPA flavor that trips my trigger each and every time. Coarse filtration to remove the dry-hopping solids resulted in a deep golden-yellow color with NE-quality clarity. BTW, Cuz Colby was forthcoming with some info and asked that his assistance be recognized. Mouthfeel was medium with a uniquely tart/fruity flavor that reminded me of popping an entire roll of Tropical Friut Life Savers (papaya, mango, apricot, peach) in my mouth. The finish was dry, orangish, yummy. Try some today!

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Photo of Mauerhan
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i without any regret or any sort of second guessing give this beer a five out of five.

the color is beautiful. a rich golden amber color. thick white head that leaves some of the best lacing i have ever seen. as i look into my taster i am filled with a sense of excitement, and hell i haven't even smelled it yet. speaking of smell. JEEZ. awesome. hops with subtle hints of citrus and apricots.

first sip is amazing. it forces a huge smile onto my face. im pretty sure i could just walk in on my girlfriend with three other dudes and this beer could still make me happy.

i get subtle hoppy bitterness that fades into an incredible smoothness. my taste buds are hit by the sweetness. god this beer is amazing.

mouthfeel is great. the perfect amount of carbonation. smooth follow through and a great aftertaste. the burp flavor is great. you get a chance to try this i dont care what you have to do. you try it.

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Photo of mulder1010
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a globe glass.

A-- Poured the typical IPA color, yellow gold. Lots of carbonation bubbles and beautiful head to this. Head stayed at about a solid two finger level. Well compacted, tight head to this. Just a little off white in color. Good, thick lacing on the sides of the glass.

S-- Mango, passionfruit, fresh citrus and a little bit of pine. Great nose and so full of flavors.

T-- Candied grapefruit, turns to fresh grapefruit, turns to pine and Carmel. YUM.

M-- Got how the grapefruit turns to several different flavors. Also get lemon, a bit of grass and then to bitter pine and grapefruit at the end. Long lasting pine and grapefruit flavor. Medium high carbonation and very creamy. The way the flavors change is excellent.

D-- Excellent. great beer. Well hidden ABV and for an IPA can have several of these. Bomber size is easy to put down. 12 oz bottles mean 4 is easy to do. Best IPA I have had due to the drinkability.

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Photo of PhxHorn
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dammmmn, what a beer this is. It's not as intense as some IPAs, or even the Dorado DIPA made by Ballast Point. This is a light, subtle, fruity, exquisite IPA that you should make every effort to taste. Appearance is a rich orange color with fluffy white foam. Smell is an intense peach and apricot flavor. The taste, as I mentioned, is not as intense as say a Stone or Dorado, but is unique among the IPAs I've tasted. Peach, apricot, lemon, grapefruit, plus the bitterness you'd expect. Really incredible mix of flavors which hint more than overwhelm. Carbonation is just right. I don't know what more I can say, except that this is a very special beer.

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Photo of NorCalBrewBuff
5/5  rDev +14.2%

When you consider all of the IPA's regularly available in northern California including the most famous regularly available (although in limited supply) brew (nod nod, wink wink), I believe this tops them all. Having consumed these top IPA's numerous times and side by side, I have come to the conclusion that Sculpin tops them all. A rare combination of all that hoppiness has to offer in a very drinkable brew. Many may consider this a very hop forward beer but in the spectrum of what is out there these days, Sculpin offers a hop experience that is flavorful and very smooth. Best of the class.

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Photo of aglose45
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky enough to buy a case of this beer a month or so back and I am finally getting around to review it!

A: Beautiful golden color with a nice, barely off-white, fluffy head.

S: Smells of DELICIOUS HOPS! This smells so tart and citrusy, most specifically of apricots and peaches. Near the end there is a tiny bit of biscuity maltyness to balance out the hop aroma. This is the best smelling beer that I have ever had the pleasure of whiffing!

T: The taste is even better than the smell! It tastes just as the nose suggests. It is filled with citrus-like hop flavor, which is what I love the most in a beer. I am getting a ton of tart apricot up front, with some peach and grapefruit flavors as well. This is a nice dry flavor that I am getting from the hops, which is backed up quite nicely by a biscuit-like malt backbone. From the second this beer hits my palate until long after it is down the hatch, it is insanely bitter, and I love it!

M: Excellent carbonation for an IPA, a really sticky resin left in the mouth from the hops, and a light to medium body make this beer more than a pleasure.

D: This beer is so tart, so citrusy, and so bitter. There is nothign that I don't absolutely love. This is my favorite beer and I will always actively seek this beer out. Cheers to Ballast Point and this world class brew!!!

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Photo of dougmaher434
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I tasted this beer for the first time after I realized it won the World Beer Cup for International Pale Ale. Rarely for a beer drinker do you encounter the beverage that you feel was designed perfectly for your taste buds. I'm not sure if this is the best beer out there but for me it is at the top of the list. Although this beer is a lighter IPA it tastes hoppier then most DIPA's.

The thing that stands out about this beer is that when judging a beer there is at least one category in which you can consider it lacking in the smallish of ways. Sculpin looks, smells, feels, and tastes wonderful. This beer tastes like the brewers obsessed over every detail. I imagine the process, the type of hops and the amount, the amount of malts and all the fine details that went into this beer. Because; if I could replicate its recipe it would make me happy for the rest of my beer drinking days.

It looks golden amber, and has the absolute perfect lacing I have ever seen. If you wanted to make shapes out of clouds you could do the same thing with the lacing left on the walls of my glass.

Its smell is the beginning of its taste because the taste matches its smell very well. It has a very citrus smell to it. Like you mixed a bag of citrusy/peachy fruit and scraped the sides of each fruit to create a fruity aroma. You mix that smell with the pine that are so characteristic of a strong hop scent.

Your first taste is a strong malt dash quickly followed by the full bodied hop taste of floural, fruity and piny. The after-taste creates a piny twang and afterthought on your tongue.

This reminds of Pliny the Elder by Russian River but it is a lot more medium bodied and Pliny tastes aggressively piny.

If you don't like this beer then you don't like hops.

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Photo of raverjames
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had this beer in a bottle, but the growler was the real treat. This is a wonderful brew in the bottle, but on tap it is just about the best IPA out there.
When you first pour it, all you smell is ruby red grapefruit. The aroma is so intense, I just can't get enough. It has a half inch head that dissipates slowly as you drink. When you take a sip, you get a load of simcoe and amarillo hops in your mouth. The citrus taste is just amazing. This is all assisted by the fact that Ballast Point went for one of the cleanest malt bases I have ever experienced. Honestly, I just drank most of a growler by myself. I can't get enough of this beer. It gets my vote as best IPA available. It tops Pliny in every way. Good job, Ballast Point.

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Photo of rubenlopez
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This IPA by Ballast Point is outstanding. You won't be disappointed. The aroma is great. And the taste is even better. ABV's at 7% and you don't taste the alcohol. Not heavy which I love because you can enjoy more than one. You can taste tropical fruits in the beer like mango and pineapple. Not a fruity beer though. Defiantly an IPA taste for sure.


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Photo of Sideswipe
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at my local pub. The beer presents itself in a pale orange golden hue. A finger of dense white foam dissipates quickly. Excellent lacing. The smell is pure citrus. Orange peel dominates followed by a slight hint of biscuity malt. Taste follows the nose. An explosion of orange, tangerine, and mango hits my pallet at first quaff. This is the juiciest IPA I've ever had! The hop bill sports seven different varieties yet the beer is perfectly balanced with a easing bitterness and subtle malt backbone. Finish is juicy, bitter and sweet all at the same time. Feel is medium bodied and carbonation is spot on. Drinkability is dangerously high due to the delicious taste and completely hidden ABV. This is quite honestly my favorite single IPA of all time. I have had it many times on tap, bottled and on cask and it never fails to please. Seek this out and enjoy!

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Photo of TheRaven
5/5  rDev +14.2%

Normally, when you get a beer as hyped as this one, it is nearly impossible for the beer to meet expectations. Not so with Sculpin. It is pretty damn close to perfect. Just buy it.

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Photo of PhillyJ
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

. The cans are making this readily accessible everywhere which is great. This is a top notch IPA you will not find a smoother ale. I'm not gonna compare this to any other ipas. This beer is a classic if you haven't had it yet do yourself a favor and try it. if you can find the grapefruit buy all you find seriously though..

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,309 ratings.