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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,310 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,310
Hads: 12,521
Avg: 4.38
pDev: 22.37%
Wants: 1,373
Gots: 4,378 | 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
Reviews: 2,310 | Hads: 12,521
Photo of wvsabbath
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Nice golden tan, 1 inch light white head.

Smell - Nice aroma of citrus, hops, some malts
Pineapple and grapefruit is very present

Taste - Wow, my first impression was pineapple gallore. First beer i had that citrus wise pineapple was the big flavor. Nice balance of hops and malts also. I really like the dry taste the beer has. Its not a mouth crusher but as a ipa its up there in strength.

Mouthfeel - Its dry and mild bitter, so your tounge gets all the fruits, your palete gets the bitterness. Nice beer to suck down and enjoy.

Drinkabilty - Very high. This beer combines everything you want in a ipa, and adds that pineapple twist to make it unique and enjoyable. Limited release will make you enjoy it even more

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Photo of BS68280
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one on tap at Foster's pub in Mt. Pleasant. First day of my vacation so I figure it would be a good beer to kick things off with. I've had this one a handful of times now but I'm finally reviewing it.

A: Pours a nice orange copper color and clear not cloudy in the least. Leaves a little lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: Piney hops off the start with a nice citrus hop scent coming through in the end.

T: not too much of a surprise here. The slightest bit of a sweet malt backbone but this one is a hop bomb. Piney hops followed by a little bit of citrusy hop flavor. Ends with a huge bitter bite that sticks around long after your last sip.

M: Light to medium body with a medium amount of carbonation.

O: a very good ipa. Probably one of the bitterest ipas I have had.

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Photo of Pahn
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a wine glass. If i could penalize this beer for not having a bottled on date, I would. For what it's worth, I got this bottle at a respectable store (Manchester Wine and Liquors).

Appearance: Vigorous pour yields a one inch fluffy white head that dissipates steadily leaving a ring of lacing. Pours a slightly hazy light amber. Beer leaves streaks of lacing across the glass.

Smell: Huge hops aroma. The main aroma is a giant, dank grapefruit note that smells a lot better than that sounds (i say 'dank' because it has this sort of dark, aggressive, earthy undertone to the grapefruit, but it's really pleasant). Smells sweet, with some various other hoppy notes, mainly citrus. IPAs should smell this big and hoppy, very nice.

Taste: First sip: like drinking a grapefruit with a really nice bready malt backbone. Bitterness is reasonably big at first, but not overwhelming. DIPA strength hops. Taste is a little sweet. The bitterness builds up, and gradually overwhelms the malt, though there does remain a nice toasty note in the finish for most of the bottle. I would like there to be a bit more going on in the flavor, and I'd love it if it stayed as nice and balanced as the first sip, but as is it's a really good straight ahead IPA.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a fair amount of carbonation that isn't at all distracting. Feels juicy, and sometimes borders on watery.

Drinkability: While the 7% ABV is undetectable, the bitterness really builds up, almost to an unpleasant degree. For me, the beer kind of lacks balance and depth, but on the other hand it does what it sets out to do perfectly. If I'm in the mood for a grapefruity hop bomb, I'd gladly have more.

Honestly, I was disappointed in this beer. I expected it to feel better, and to give me a little more balance and adventurous flavor. It's definitely a top notch IPA, but for me, there needs to be more than grapefruit and a little toastiness to justify 22ozs of gradually building bitterness.

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Photo of generallee
4.26/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. The label lists the abv at 7% abv.

Appearance: It has a clear golden body with lots of visible carbonation. The builds up tall and thick with a just off white head. This head quickly faded out on me making next to no lacing.

Smell: There is a bid hop presence here with loads of citrusy and piney hop notes.

Taste / Palate: The first few sips I mostly got loads of pine like and some citrusy grapefruit and lemon rind flavor notes. As I drank on and the beer warms more peach like fruit notes and maltiness comes out. The finish is all hop bitterness which lingers for some time. The body and carbonation feel spot on and I can see why Sculpin IPA is so highly rated.

Notes: Classic West coast IPA!!!

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Photo of Richardbeerlover
4.26/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a terrific gold with a fabulous head. Nice lacing afterwards. Good carbonation. Smell is great with lots of piney grapefruity freshness. I still can't get over the aroma. So clean and aromatic. Taste is equally impressive. Nice, clean, refreshing, lots of flavor. A great beer.

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Photo of spokeydonkey
4.26/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber of this from my local liquor store. Overall impression is that it's a nice crisp IPA on the dryer side (without too much caramel sweetness) and an extreme amount of hop flavor and aroma: citrus and pine.

Appearance: A hazy, light copper beer with a good white head. Head dissipated to a thin lacing.

Smell: Smells very resinous with some citrus backing it up.

Taste: A light malty sweetness up front: not much in the way of caramel. Tropical fruit (mango?) and grapefruit as well. Finishes very piney with a lingering bitterness. The malt gets out of the way quickly on this one to showcase the hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: A creamy mouthfeel due to the residual head on the beer. Medium-light in body.

Overall: It's definitely very light on any caramel flavors and sticks to a light malt character to back up the hops. It's balanced towards being easy drinking and has a nice long-lasting foam on top of the beer to give it a silky mouthfeel. One of my top IPAs.

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Photo of errantnight
4.26/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Here's to uber-drinkable IPAs.

Pours a perfect gold with rich head into my Levitation tulip. Solid lacing. Head retains to the final sip. Head could be a lil prettier, I guess, but I can't take off points for it. What IPAs should look like.

Drinkability is great, and the mouthfeel is spot on. Full but dry in finish, a bit of palate cleansing spritz from the CO2 but it doesn't overwhelm or lift the beer too far off. Only knock off the drinkability for there being just a bit of hot alcohols as I finish off the bottle (bottle was returned to fridge after initial pour), and while I drank the first half straight, I'm pairing the second w/ some local tacos from a favorite local stand. Additionally, I knock it off just a tad...

Because frankly, I think it just tastes good. This is the right profile for my West Coast IPAs... and I'm struggling, perhaps this deserves a 4.5 for flavor, maybe. There's a bit too much of the Summit hop here, which I think lends a musty, funky earthiness redolent of onions that I'm not huge on, but it's better held in check here than in some other beers I've tried... but it hangs out in the nose a bit, and while there are some IPAs that I just love to sniff, that's not the case here. Big tangerine and citrus, some floral notes, with the whisp of onion.

One last note, the bitterness is perfect here. It keeps threatening to become aggressive, but it remains simply assertive. Vinnie Cilurzo in one of his speeches said something about not wanting to bitterness to be too smooth, that you needed an edge. This beer walks the bitterness edge perfectly. Just a little bit ragged and raw, but never astringent or off-putting.

A great beer to take someone from the Just-Beyond-Newbie phase, to set them up for prime time.

That said, at 6 or 7 dollars a bottle... Why would I get this instead of Stone IPA/Ruination? Or Green Flash? Or Alesmith?

The Dorado Double had a unique richness and aroma and was strong enough to keep you a bit in check... this goes down so easily, I can imagine blowing a wad on this before you know it. Hopefully I stumble across it on draft...

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Photo of bambam2517
4.26/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From the growler (filled a day prior) to a pint glass, served at 42F.

A - Amber body with some tight, lasting carbonation and even with a conservative pour blows up into a creamy, golden foam that really sticks around. Off to a great start, among my best in terms of appearance.

S - Grapefruit dominates! Pineapple and orange are present, and a background of resinous pine hops. I like this, but it is not so otherworldly as I'd heard. O'dell Myrcenary is a favorite of mine, and it has a similar profile with more complexity. So this one's great, but I can't justify throwing out a truly standout rating again.

T - Really nice, the grapefruit is the star and the other flavors marry in nicely. Its fresh and citrusy like a hefe or wit, but it adds a bitter hoppy punch that you can't find in the wheat beers. Tasted the same from first sip to last, nothing more developed but I think theres something positive to be said for that character too. You know what you're going to be getting and know its going to be excellent.

M - Great when quaffed, feels frothy and wet in the mouth and dries up nicely as it goes down. Just a tinge too bitter on the finish for my taste though, wears down the palate over the course of a pint. Next time, 12oz. in a pils or flute glass, really accentuate that appearance and not so much that it overwhelms.

O - An excellent beer, i think its ratings are inflated a bit but I am satisfied enough to say its in the ballpark with my "tops".

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Photo of spinrsx
4.26/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml Bottle - huge thanks to zacs for this one

Appearance – Clear copper colour with a large size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation visible and there is a good amount of lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, caramel, grapefruit/oranges, peaches, pineapples

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and a fair amount of hops. The is also a great amount of fruit juiciness going on - pineapples, oranges, grapefruits, and peaches. It finishes with a juicy/fruity aftertaste with an above average amount of lingering hop bitterness.

Overall – I've drank a lot of different IPA's and this one definitely stands out as one of the best. It reminded me a little bit of a Firestone Union Jack that meets a Bells Two Hearted. It got a great fruity taste and the perfect amount of hop bitterness. It might be a touch too sweet to make it sessionable, but it's surely a beer I'd like to drink every day.

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Photo of dbalsock
4.26/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App: Light to medium amber with a great white head from a cask... the head stays for awhile displaying excellent carbonation. This looked perfect to me.

Smell: All hops on the nose, both piney and fruity, with no real sense of the malt background. I would have liked a little more going on with the aroma.

Taste: Excellent hop combinations. The hops are so pure and fresh on the tongue. Some light fruitiness with a hint of sharp hop spice. The malt background was again lacking, but the freshness of the hops took over and made me not care as much.

Mouthfeel: A little watery and not as smooth as I would have liked. The bitterness was ample for a cask ale and really made the mouthfeel above average.

Drinkability: I would drink this regularly if I could. The last time I had it was in San Diego a couple years ago and I think it's better now than it was then. A little more complex than I remember and definitely worth seeking out.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.26/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed on 3.29.11

22oz bottle.

A- Pours a light and hazy orange with a nice cream colored head. Leaves good lacing.

S- Strong citrusy-pineapple.

T- Mostly citrus.

D- Slightly bitter finish, but a nice and easy to drink. Fizzy with good carbonation.

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Photo of altctrlsdelete
4.26/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22oz bomber, poured a couple of shades darker than straw yellow, but not quite orange, with a thin white head that dissipated rather quickly.

Instant explosion of piney, grassy hops while pouring the beer. More of the same taking a deep breath or two, with any malt characteristics being overpowered by the hop notes. Maybe just an undertone of sweetness seeping past the blast of hops.

Hops and more hops in the first sip. There is still just enough of a malt presence to provide some balance, but the hops really are on display here. Again, mostly piney and grassy flavors here, but some subtle and complimentary citrus notes as well. I get the feeling there is more going on here than I am really able to appreciate, but I can at least appreciate that overall product is quite tasty.

A medium feel on the palate, with some alcohol presence but not a huge amount. Carbonation seems to be on the lighter side.

Overall a very enjoyable beer, though it didn't quite live up to the hype for me, especially for what it cost to obtain. A fine quality IPA that I would love to have again, but I'd have to find a more reasonably priced source.

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Photo of heygeebee
4.26/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25


On money to style, look is good, moderate head retention, spotty lace. Smell and taste are mango/peach/apricot dominated and not too bitter overall - much much better as it warms. Carbonation on low side. Seems less bitter and more rounded than Big Eye but that could be a number of factors in that.

Was it worth the wait to get here in Aus? Jury out on that one but still quite fresh and enjoyable one day after hitting shelves here.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.25/5  rDev -3%
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.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, split on a saturday of world cup action, 2nd in a long line of samplings following the Port Hop 15

thanks to lou91 for sending this one

appearance: split and served in an imperial pint, light golden body, big frothy white head with healthy retention

smell: pungent hops - grapefruit, orange zest, lemon, mango, tropical fruit.

taste: needed some palate cleansers after the Port DIPA to allow this one a proper tasting. The flavor profile is dominated by grapefruit and other strong citrus flavors. Hints of tropical fruit and mango are present in a very representative socal IPA. The finish was a little off for me - kind of grainy. A lovely IPA - i'd like to have some more to better gage where this truly falls on the IPA leaderboard

mouthfeel: light and crisp, well carbonated

drinkability: good

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very beautiful beer. Clear, nice head and good retention. Aroma is dominated by tropical fruits which also come through in the taste. Dry and quite bitter aftertaste. Creamy body with just the right amount of carbonation. Very solid IPA!

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Photo of philbe311
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's...

A - Three fingers of tightly compact off-white head with a batter like top turning rocky as it begins to settle... Impressive retention... Once the head finally subisdes, a reach full inviting lacing is left in its place... A limited amount of slow paced carbonation swirls and rises throughout... A pale orange honey color... Some lace clings to the sides of the glass...

S - The aroma is intoxicating and truly something special... Pineapple... Mango... Kiwi... Lime... Hints of lemon... A modest pine hoppiness... Crisp outdoor mountain air...

T - Sweet tropical fruits... Ripe peach... Some piney hops... A subtle malt backbone keeps this incredibly well balance...

M - Luscious is the first word that comes to mind... It's incredibly smooth and silky... This one goes done very easily... Slight carbonation on the tongue to begin... Medium bodied... A tad on the dry side... A slight bitterness lingers in the back of the throat... Very smooth all the way around...

D - A world class IPA both on draft and in the bottle... Smooth... Easy drinking sip after sip...

I was excited to try this one on draft and it's still a damn tasty brew but I seem to enjoy this one out of the bottle a little bit more...

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Photo of DoctorZombies
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Lite amber, off white head. Hoppy citrus nose. Hoppy lemon and stone fruit (apricot) flavors. Medium lite mouthfeel. Overall excellent easy drinking well balanced IPA.

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Photo of pepsican
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cllear amber with a thin white head. Strong citrus hop aroma, not much else going on in this one for aroma. Up front citrus hop flavor with peach, mango, and oranges in the background. Finishes bitter, kind of on the thin side even for this style. Very easy to drink, love the mango in this one.

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Photo of utfiero
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Color- cloudy apricot. Full head.

Aroma- strong evergreen hops.

Taste- Starts with a clean, balanced hop introduction then gets smooth and buttery in the middle, and finishes with a blend of hops reminding us of grapefruit and pine. 70 IBUs. An excellent IPA!

Poured from 650 ml bomber into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). Tasted June 7, 2014.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Hazy golden straw color... full fluffy white head. Good retention and lacing.

S- Definite citrusy grapefruit hops. Some pine and spice. Some sweeter fruit (peach). Decent malty backbone.

T- Sweet and Grapefruity hops, hints of pine, spice. Nice malt backbone to knock down the bitter end a touch.

M- Medium bodied, slightly sticky, sweet aftertaste.

D- Very good flavor. Very good beer.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip pint: Deep gold body, transparent but hazy with moderate nucleation. Three fingers of glistening, off-white, lumpy, bubblebath head. Leaves big rings of lacing.

Smells of grapefruit zest, like squeezing the rind & having the bursts of essence come out. Very fresh smell. Other fruity smells, kinda peachy. Slight biscuity undertone, but just enough to give some scaffolding for the hops. Very nice.

Flavor is good -- again the grapefruit & peach, a little lemon, some leafiness like tea or tobacco. And again, just enough malt to back it up without it becoming sweet. What's really impressive is that the hop character is pretty assertive but totally drinkable -- it doesn't become overbearing or aggressive, doesn't turn into a bitter-bomb, but is right with you the whole time. Ends crisply, with the flavor resting gently on your palate. Excellent balance.

Feels very smooth & dry, medium-bodied. This has to be one of the easiest-drinking IPAs I've had, I like having a strongly hoppy beer I don't have to wrestle with. Good show.

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Photo of blankenhoney
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle, from a case dated mid/late Feb. '14, poured into my trusty 3 Floyds teku.

A: Bright and hazy orange straw. Almost glowing. Looks great.

S: Can smell the hops from a few feet away. Pine, grapefruit, maybe some pineapple.

T: Crisp citrus/grapefruit up front, followed immediately and intensely by a dry, piney bitterness. Delicious.

M: Very smooth and mildly carbonated.

O: A great IPA; so crushable. A little too expensive ($14.99/6-pack around me) to be an everyday kind of beer.

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Photo of brewmine
4.25/5  rDev -3%

I agree with other reviewers that the aftertaste is too strong (think next morning...) but I'd give this beer a 5.0 rating for cooking. Risotto and American IPA? The perfect match, and my first choice for an "additive" is currently this beer.

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Photo of kbeals
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great extra thrown in by masterchiefMD. Thanks again Chris!

A- 22 oz. bomber decanted into a pint glass yields a hazy golden wheat colored ale. Plenty of creamy white head adorns this beauty, lending to wonderful head retention and an incredible multi-tiered lacing.

S- Tremendous smells of freshly peeled grapefruit come through, along with a bit of peach and lemon. Also has a sweet, toffee-like undertone to it. Well balanced aroma for an IPA.

T- I wish the taste were as well balanced as the smell. The hops really dominate this one, but I have come to expect that from any IPA. The sweet malts do come through just a bit, but all they seem to do is knock down the usual bitter finish. This beer still finishes bitter, but not dry.

M- Light-bodied and very crisp. Not as much carbonation as other IPA's, but I think it plays very well in this beer.

D- Easily drinkable, I had this knocked out pretty fast.

I am usually quite skeptical of IPA's, expecting them to all be the same. However, Sculpin seems to have better balance than most other IPA's. A perfect beer for any summer night. Glad I got to try this one, Chris!

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,310 ratings.