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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,290 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7290
Reviews: 1913
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.52%

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:
Originally named Northstar IPA. Debuted in 2005.

(Beer added by: brentk56 on 04-02-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sculpin IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,290 | Reviews: 1,913 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of thedindaniel


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Very light orange to darker yellow color, but transparent.

S - Piny but fruity for sure, like grapefruits for me.

T - Not overwhelming like some of the other hop bombs that exist out there but definitely not balanced, which I like. Almost not malt flavors at all.

M - Finishes very crisp and clean.

D - EASY to drink a lot of, which is deceiving with its 7% abv.

Once again this is not a balanced IPA so purists might hate on it a little. If you're a fan of West Coast IPA's get it for sure. It's my favorite IPA and I managed to even rank it the highest at a blind IPA tasting night, speaks for itself.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2009 19:29:26 | More by thedindaniel
Photo of cbutova


5/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2009 04:06:11 | More by cbutova
Photo of aglose45


5/5  rDev +13.4%
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!!!

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 03:42:35 | More by aglose45
Photo of ocelot2500


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear golden with a ragged white head that fades quickly. Plenty of lacing on the glass.

Smells of delicious hops. A lot of citrus, pine, and some tropical fruits like mango and pineapple.

Tastes of the bright citrus up front with some sweetness on the backend. Plenty of fruitiness from the nose and the sweetness cuts the bitterness well. A lot of grapefruit comes through along with pineapple and mango; touches of apricot and peach as well.

Mouthfeel is a light medium and allows me to gulp this wonderful beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2009 03:22:55 | More by ocelot2500
Photo of ATraurig

South Carolina

5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Bright, clear, and golden with very thin white head.

S: Very strong, glorious smell. Very piney and citrusy. Notes of tangerine and grapefruit.

T/M: At first, it has a crisp, refreshing, citrus taste. It finishes with a piney, earthy taste. Stimulates all parts of the tongue. Phenomenal!!

D: I wish I could drink it all the time!

Overall: I've had so many good IPAs, and Sculpin has to be #1 on my list! The smell and taste will make you want to smack you mother! Buy it if you ever have the opportunity.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 02:08:40 | More by ATraurig
Photo of steevo


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bomber acquired through a worldly and generous tasting buddy.

Appearance - An impressive head disappeared into an equally nice lace.

Smell - Citrusy grapefruit and pine are very evident in the aroma.

Taste - Hops are balanced well with a light sweet malt.

Mouth Feel - Pleasantly lighter than expected.

Drinkability - This American IPA excelled my expectations.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2010 04:41:47 | More by steevo
Photo of bohemiandonut


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tropical flavors leap out of the glass, drawing you in. You draw...

Amazing. This is easily the most complex, beautiful IPA I've ever tasted. Superb mouthfeel with elegant balance of otherworldly hops and a citrus bite that starts bitter and leaves friendly.

If only this was an example of what for some reason are being called "Belgian IPAs" as of late. Than perhaps the brewers of respectable but unidimensional ales so prevalent on the west coast would have something to strive toward.

Simply a beer that could induce physical aggression upon under appreciation. God-tier.

(served in wine-glass, seafoam head, absolutely enviable lacing, like a goddamn tree trunk)

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2010 01:40:05 | More by bohemiandonut
Photo of STEG

New York

5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

What a beer, my new favorite IPA. Pours a golden orange hue into a Portsmouth brewery tulip. Smell is exceptionally fruity with mango, apricot, tangerine and pineapple all intermingling with each other with pine undertones throughout. Taste is initially perfectly balanced with hops, bitterness fruitiness and sweetness, but just a smidge, and I mean a smidge too bitter on the finish. Mouthfeel is silky smooth up front with a prickliness at the back. The only hit this one had for me was its very very slightly too bitter finish but it was much closer to a 5 than a 4.5. A well executed masterpiece Ballast Point.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2010 23:23:02 | More by STEG
Photo of rudzud


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Really nice straw color with a nice fluffy 2 finger head that has huge lacing. Not only does the head not go away there is almost a solid layer of lacing down the sides of the pint glass.

S - Just great! Tons of big citrus notes and tropical ones at that. Pleasantly surprised that theres more to it than just the typical grapefruit, namely pineapple, mangos, and a tutifruiti type smell.

T - Wow..this is just stellar! At the first taste I knew this was the best IPA I've ever had. Big hoppy notes but not the typical big bitternerss that would acompany such flavors.The tropical aroma's dont really carey over to the taste for me except for a bit og pineapple. When drinking though all I can smell is the pineapple which is so sweet and nice.

M - Thanks to the almost high carbonation of this bottle it remains crisp, almost light! Not heavy or syrupy at all.

D - Wow, just wow. Do you've got all the head/lacing, the intense fruity aromas, that taste, and the nice carbonation. A winner in all aspects. I knew when I first tried this I would be giving it all 5's and spent the rest of this bottle trying to come up with reasons NOT to give categories 5's. I couldn't come up with anything. This IPA was just that good. I guess my only complaint would be the bottle price I paid ($10.25). Really wish I had another few bottles of this!

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2010 04:20:20 | More by rudzud
Photo of damato


5/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2010 19:38:50 | More by damato
Photo of scottyshades


5/5  rDev +13.4%
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

Serving type: growler

09-03-2010 17:15:03 | More by scottyshades
Photo of ncredible1


5/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2010 18:12:33 | More by ncredible1
Photo of hornitosmonster


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Hazy Golden West Coast IPA
S - Hoppy with and citrus
T - pine, hop, bitter, grapefruit, excellent
M - Fresh Hops
D - Easy to drink, hard to find

Excellent example of the west coast style IPA. I highly recommend this. Buy it when you find it. In fact buy them all because they are hard to find.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2010 03:02:24 | More by hornitosmonster
Photo of mulder1010


5/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2010 07:00:19 | More by mulder1010
Photo of Sideswipe


5/5  rDev +13.4%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2010 00:19:04 | More by Sideswipe
Photo of richkrull


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received this one from Crabbicuss in N00b BIF 4. Thanks a lot bud!

Poured a cloudy copper color with a decent white head and good lacing.

Good hoppy smell on this one. Not too much malt on the nose.

Taste is very very good. Nice and hoppy throughout. Great bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is light. Goes down smooth.

Overall a great beer. I'll likely add it to my wants permanently once I clear my list a bit. I recommend this one highly to anybody who likes IPAs at all.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2011 02:03:07 | More by richkrull
Photo of dougmaher434


5/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2011 07:14:22 | More by dougmaher434
Photo of beerdown77

North Carolina

5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This pours cloudy golden with nice head and juice resin lacing. The smell is floral and mildly fruity. The flavor starts with a crisp bite but turns smooth with a subtle amount of fruit and punch-in-the-face hops. The flavor works through bitterness but it does not take over. I can taste some pleasant grassiness…but not overpowering. The whole feel is pretty much here and gone, but I would not classify it as “rounded” because of the lack of sweet malt. I love this west coast style, and would easily put this beer in my top ten. If you are looking for a rounded IPA with malt and hops at war, this is not it. If you are looking for awesome hop bomb that is easy to drink, this is a must try. Delicious.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2011 22:56:35 | More by beerdown77
Photo of harrymattcody

South Carolina

5/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-25-2011 17:29:54 | More by harrymattcody
Photo of Emerson1310


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the very first craft I tried that tastes of citrus and grapefruit from the first sip to the last, without fading to pines and resins.

A: Nice golden color with 3-finger head. Lots of active carbonation in the glass. Good lacing too.

S: Just tons of citrus and tropical fruits!! No malt smells.

T: Wonderful!! LOTS of citrus; orange and grapefruit. What fascinated me about this beer is the fruity taste which never fades out into hops and bitterness. Clean, tongue-washing mouth-feel. No hop buildup at all.

O: Only problem I have with this is its availability...Tis very hard to get!!! A super fantastic IPA, right up there with Pliny and HopSlam.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2011 20:00:50 | More by Emerson1310
Photo of ianroodt


5/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2011 02:47:03 | More by ianroodt
Photo of DeltaGolfSierra


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Color is light amber to orange, with a huge soapy head that lasts and lasts. Lots of lacing on the glass too - this one's a beauty. The smell is other-worldly, with citrus hop scents assaulting the senses - mango, pineapple, and orange. Huge hop flavors continue into the taste as well. Delicious grapefruit bitterness builds through a crescendo that peaks with a tangy bite in the finish. Hop oils coat the tongue, and put a smile on my face. Perfect carbonation. If you love beer with a big citrus hop taste like me, you must try this one. It's one of the best. I don't see anything that can be improved.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2012 13:58:15 | More by DeltaGolfSierra
Photo of OneBeertoRTA


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After about 500 of these I figured it was time for a review.

The pour is a rich orange with a finger in a half of head. The hops hit you right up front along with a mish mash of tropical flavors.

The first sip just doesn't want to go down because of the amazing experience on the tongue.

It's hard not to call this my favorite IPA but I literally buy the entire lot everytime it's around. Even then do I have no trouble drinking them while there still fresh.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2012 04:32:14 | More by OneBeertoRTA
Photo of bhodgson0739


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Perfect IPA. Not sure what else to say, but I will:

A: Glowing amber with ruby highlights. Lovely.

S: Sweet citrus with slight dank of bold hops. Lovely. Amarillo? Centennial? Not sure, but damn, they smell good.

T: Perfect. So balanced, it's almost comical. Big bitter on the front that smooths out quick; clean tart of the citrus fruit in the middle; and then the touch of malt on the back that binds it together and sweetens it just enough. I haven't had a more balanced IPA that doesn't skimp. It's not too heavy, not too light, not too sweet. It really is, perfect.

M: Yep. Awesome. Creamy, chewy, but just enough. Not too much, not too little. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Perfect.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2013 04:14:17 | More by bhodgson0739
Photo of danfouts14

5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Literally the best IPA on the planet. If you're lucky enough to make it to the brewery when they have their special Habanero brew, you're in for a treat. Sculpin IPA infused with with the spice of Habenero peppers...you'll have to taste it to understand. Very spicy, but the spice and the bitterness of the IPA blend perfectly.

Serving type: growler

02-17-2013 03:53:29 | More by danfouts14
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 7,290 ratings.