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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

9,320 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,320
Reviews: 2,033
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.75%
Wants: 954
Gots: 1,723 | FT: 45
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
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Ratings: 9,320 | Reviews: 2,033 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vrazionale
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650 mL bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into a snifter.

A - Bright golden body with a delicately-laced, frothy cappuccino head.

S - Beautiful and inviting. Lots of tropical fruit, floral notes, and citrus. The tropical fruits that are most prominent are mango, papaya, and pineapple - all sweet and juicy fruits. Just a touch of medicinal aromas on the finish.

T - So well-balanced. The sweetness of the fruit flavors combined with the citric, slightly piney bitterness work so well together.

M - Perfect carbonation - crisp and refreshing. No cloying stickiness here, unlike many other IPAs.

D - Wow. This is just about the most perfect IPA I can imagine. I found myself continuing to go back for more - it's almost too good to savor, you just keep taking sips. An absolute must-try for any beer lover, and especially so for lovers of fruity, floral IPAs.

vrazionale, Mar 03, 2010
Photo of ike4tay45
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: a hazy golden body and a frothy head retention is good as is the lacing

Smell: grapefruit and floral citrus aromas dominate

Taste: Starts with the taste of sweet grapefruit juice with a growing pithy bitterness by mid-palate; the grapefruit flavor is unrelenting after the swallow, really clean pale malt

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbon

Overall: Great IPA, very drinkable. Really clean refreshing beer.

ike4tay45, Sep 13, 2011
Photo of liamt07
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from New Beer Distributors, poured into a pint glass. Bottle is labelled SC27 with some other coding underneath it, yet I don't believe anyone has been able to decode this yet.

Pours a vibrant golden orange, shine majestically in the light. Translucent body, fluffy head of medium sized bubbles. Awesome retention and lacing. Nose is all sorts of tropical. Lots of mango and lemon in there. Taste has more tropical fruit notes than the zesty citrus/lemon, but the lemon notes are still there to an extent. Body is medium light, malt isn't a huge presence here but adds some sweetness. Hops are really on display here, leaving a strong bitterness that's not overpowering. Well crafted and very tasty IPA.

liamt07, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of troysoy2
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle. Here's hoping this one wasn't chilling on the shelf too long!

This is a good looking IPA. Really impressive finger and a half of head, fluffy eggshell. Amber body with lots of tiny bubbles. Impressive lacing, almost looks like a mineral formation on the side of the glass.

The smell is great, and manages to be unique, thanks to a fresh, almost minty aroma. Plenty of piney hops, and what seems to be a sturdy malt background.

The taste definitely carries over the mintyness from the smell, while also delivering on the hop bitterness from front to back. The well carbonated mouthfeel matches up with a dry (but not too dry) finish.

This is a really good IPA... if only the price didn't make my wallet cry. Oh well.

troysoy2, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of NYManc
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into an over-sized wine glass.

A: Predominantly orange with a mix of yellow. Two and a half finger head that was retained well. Lacing was splotchy and sticky all over. Though it wasn't as good looking as other

S: My sense of smell first picked up on the grapefruits and mangoes which was very pleasant. Also, Mixed with a smell of the piny aroma and hop smell that I love in IPA's. A perfect mix.

T: Taste was of the citrus and the fruits at first. The piny hops come after but as a welcomed bitter guest. My mouth was left with a bitter after taste a couple of seconds after it has gone down.

M: Mouthfeel was medium bodied and moderate carbonation. This beer was very crisp.

D: This beer goes down easy. I can not express in words how fast this beer went down! Very refreshing and tasty.

NYManc, Sep 02, 2010
Photo of JunkYardJake
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Bullshead in Lititz.
Served in a standard shaker glass with a thin white head. Golden in color with good clarity. The nose is bright and hoppy with fresh citrus scents. Taste is much bolder and more complex than the nose. Plenty of citrus hops but also alot of sweet malts which give some depth to the palate. Strong bitterness in the finish with a dry mouthfeel. Fine tasting IPA from the west coast.

JunkYardJake, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of JamesShoemaker
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Grolwer poured into my snifter.

A - very light, almost pilsner-yellow out of the bottle, but it settles orange and amber. Not much head on the forced pour, but that's not terribly surprising, given the low ABV. I love beers that deceive with their pale color.

S - delicious. The hops are so sweet and citrusy on the nose, but you'd never expect the force of them from such a modest looking beer. The body is so odorous in fact that it almost smells like a simple syrup.

T - pretty good, but not nearly as complex. Some nice biting citrus right on the front that recedes quickly into sweetness. Very prominent grapefruit.

M - also good. Sculpin is a little too carbonated for my taste, but it fades after an initial bite into a sweet, mellow cling. Bitterness at first, but your mouth is left with sweet, sticky (but not syrupy) hops. Very tasty.

O - my second Ballast Point beer (first is VaS) to land in my top twenty all time. Very fine example of a single IPA. Could easily get a sixer and sip throughout the day.

EDIT 2/27/13: I purchased a growler fill of Sculpin at a local bottle shop; I'm giving the mouthfeel and the taste an additional .25 in the new format. Blew me away.

JamesShoemaker, Feb 09, 2013
Photo of riored4v
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 4/26/10

Poured in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. 1.5 finger, white head. Clear, dark golden body with good lacing in the finish.

Smell had a malty sweetness. Very citrusy and tropical. Some nice resiny hop aroma as well. Mango and apricot really stood out.

Taste had a slight alcohol warmth. Citrusy and tropical appeared in the flavor with a nice piney bitterness in the finish. Medium malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel had a medium body, medium/high carbonation and a slight stickiness in the finish.

Drinkability was good despite some slight alcohol warmth.

Very good beer overall. All flavors were seemingly upfront and didnt leave for much complexity which lead to great flavor.

riored4v, Apr 30, 2010
Photo of jlindros
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've head so much about this gem I've been salivating already since I finally found the bottle yesterday. Must be pretty fresh too. I'll have to pour this baby into my oversized DFH snifter, as with any awesome IPA.

A: Pours an airy decent sized head, little less than a finger. Lots of large bubbles disperse throughout as it slowly fades to a light head covering. It lightly covers the golden pale orange and pretty hazy color that almost mask the myriad of little bubbles rising to the top.

N: Oh yeah, with the crazy noble hops! Lots of pine and some citrus, it's got that similar malty like nose that most crazy ass IPAs have, that almost reminds me of a sweet like crystal malt, but it's actually the hops I believe. I think my nose is cringing from the bitterness itself and I haven't even tasted it yet. Lots of spiciness from the hops and some floral qualities also run deep. I get some juicy fruit (not the gum dammit!) thats almost a musty peach or apricot, but its not. Oh that brings me to my next point, it has that somewhat musty aroma that most fresh crazy hopped IPAs have, but this one is a lot more subtle than most.

T: Oh yeah, I can taste it too huh?! Sorry, still nosing it. Mhhmmmpppfff... Wow bitterness right out front. Lots of noble hops with pine and citrus hit right away, and it fades quickly to a really juicy and fruity hop taste, more ripe peach. A very slight malty taste, but it just flicks you enough to make you notice its there. The bitterness again takes over and really dominates once the juice fades. More musty tropical fruit taste in the center, that transforms into a piney minty taste, that reminds me of that time I ate a bunch of pine cones wrapped in mint leaves. Some hop resin and oil find their way through and tickle your tongue a little.

M: Semi thick with a slight sticky hop oil feel, actually its got a really rich fatty oil quality like an unchill-filtered whisky. Decent carbonation but nothing to brag about in this dep, not that that is bad. Also, slightly spicey hops.

F: Damn! It's bitter. What's the IBUs, some huge number? It almost scrapes the feeling off my tongue, like the crazy sculpin fish on the label. But it is saved by a slight touch of sweetness as its not too dry, and the juicy center really eases that tension. The bitterness leaves a winterfresh mouth feel, like I just used mouthwash, I'm totally serious. I think the crazy piney bitterness lingering along, and added the slight fruit it tricks the taste buds into tasting that.

Final thoughts: Wow, it was just as I anticipated. A crazy hop bomb with little malts, lots of pine, citrus, juicy fruit hops, some spice, and lots of greatness. The thing that did surprise me was the slight minty mouthwash feel. If this wasn't so limited and expensive I'd really use it as mouthwash and it would be so great!

jlindros, Oct 10, 2009
Photo of vkv822
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into tulip pint.

The body is a wonderful golden with light orange highlights and a thin veil of suspended yeast throughout. There is some very light carbonation rising to a thick, foamy off-white head that leaves great lacing.
Sweet resiny hops are up front, there are citric, floral and even some sweet fruit notes all blending together wonderfully. There are some very light bready malt notes.
The flavor is an extremely pleasant mixture of most of the same flavors noted in the aroma, citric, fruity and light floral hops. I particularly enjoy the tropical fruit hop notes. The malts peek in towards the finish just enough to give this some slight balance.
The mouthfeel is fairly medium to full bodied with perfect carbonation. It does a good job of coating the mouth without becoming overly slick and resiny feeling.

Unfortunately this is one of my favorite IPA's I have had so far and I only say unfortunately because this is not currently distributed to Oregon, as if it was this would without a doubt be my go-to IPA. It really is well balanced, as far as hop-to-malt ratio, as well as a balance in hop flavor.

vkv822, Aug 05, 2010
Photo of 57md
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is burnt orange with a half finger of head that dissipated rather quickly. The nose is reminiscent of a fresh pine forest. There is some light malty flavor, but the big taste comes from the hops. The bitterness simply grows into a hoppy crescendo. Frankly, I would consider this more like a DIPA than a straight-up IPA since the tongue tingles even after the last sip of this offering is gone.

57md, Aug 21, 2012
Photo of sweemzander
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. No bottled date. Major thanks to mb2696 for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a clear orange color that produced a beautiful fluffy white head that is just sticking & clinging to the sides of the glass as if the foam didnt want to dissipate. It did, it just took awhile.

(S)- Creamy lemon, pineapple, mango, & peach citrus that has a burst of pine behind it. Great fruits that are actually almost tropical together. Bits of honey-like malts in the background.

(T)- Wow, a huge dryness up front that totally dries out the mouth until it overflows with the same creamy citrus/tropical fruits from the smell. A much more pronounced pine bitterness than what was in the smell brings up the rear with an even bigger dryness than the start. Not much malt, but just a touch of honey-like cream comes through: very subtle though.

(M)- A great carbonation level and balance even if its a huge fruit/hop bomb of a beer. The massive dryness is really dynamic when combined with the great creamy fruits & piney bitterness. Great feel & character for the style.

(D)- A great example of a great IPA. Rather fruit driven that I enjoy. Goes down easy & tastes great. What I like about it is that it wasnt just made to draw higher IBUs, but that it balances all of the things that makes a great IPA. Fantastic brew!

sweemzander, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of LBBeer
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Factory Gastrobar, Long Beach, CA.

A--Nice slightly orange straw color, with an ivory heas of about 1". Solid lacing.

S--Not a lot of aroma, but a nice green biotter note is there.

T--I love big bitter beers, this has a lot of bittering hops, not too much aroma. Dominates the palate. Malt isn't really noticeable, but there is plenty of body, so it's in there somewhere.

M-perfectly carbonated, and just hearty enough to support the hop bomb

D-I love this beer, because the hops don't linger too long--making me want more.

Ballast point wins again!

LBBeer, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of BeerBuckeye
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a golden amber/copper with fluffy two finger head that leaves a lot of sticky lacing.

S - Great smell. Mix of pine, grapefruit, lemon, solid malty backbone.

T - Tons of bitter hops, I sense more pine than fruit in this one, great balance to this beer. A bit of sweet tart comes through to bring it to a complete finish.

M - Great mouthfeel, goes down smooth, crisp and refreshing.

Overall - A fantastic IPA, certainly one of the best out there.

BeerBuckeye, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of JackieTH
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Nearly flawless appearance for an IPA. Big billowing white head with fantastic retention, lace-city, over an orange amber beer.

Smell is really nice. Citrus, oranges like marmalade, ripe peaches and mangos, a hint of green papaya, rounded out by a soft note of caramel and earth.

Taste opens with grapefruit pith bitterness, then distinct juicy tangerine-oranges finally plunging headlong into a pungent almost musky woody-citrus back end which is more noticeable as it warms a little. If I have to nitpick, the body seems a wee bit thinnish. Finish is clean and lightly bitter.

I finished one and am moving on to another just to verify what I've written here. Yep, it's pretty dang good.

JackieTH, Sep 13, 2013
Photo of goodbyeohio
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

got a bottle as an extra from a clown who sent me some black tuesday. killed it tonight.

much more orangey than i remember, almost sunny-d like. clean though, with a thoroughly herbaceous hop blast that finishes with only a slight bit of lingering citrus oil. the body of the beer itself is light yet buoyant, crisp yet not overcarbonated. i could drink this stuff all night, but i would eventually grow used to the bold up front flavor. agree with the good ratings on this one, easily double fucking good.

goodbyeohio, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of ggilman
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber with no freshness date, poured into a Sebago Brewing Co. tulip glass.

Two fingers of creamy frothy white head settle to a thin layer of foam. Beautiful clear golden color, with an orange tinge. A decent amount of lacing is left clinging behind. Right out of the bottle I get a blast of leafy hops, once in the glass I start to smell some sweetness. I'm guessing the hop profile has started it's decline. Still smells delicious.

First sip is bitter, clean and refreshing. Crisp carbonation, with a light body. Some fresh hop in the taste, gives way to a pungent grapefruity bitterness. This is extremely smooth and refreshing. Long bitter finish fades slowly, and ends dry. I can't find a flaw, other than it could be hoppier. I'm sure that has more to do with the age of the bottle. Very little malt presence. If it's there it's masked by the bitterness. Glad I have another half a bottle to pour!

ggilman, Jul 06, 2011
Photo of herman77
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brought this one back from a recent trip to Myrtle Beach. Hoping it held up from its long journey all across the country.

A: Deep yellow/light orange with a tiny bit of haze to it. Nice soapy white head. Excellent lacing.

S: Wow. The citrus orange, grapefruit, pineapple, peach and mango notes are very strong and very delicious. A little bit of earthy and resiny pine hops as well.

T: Not as much citrus and tropical fruits here. More of a resiny pine taste. Earthy and grassy hops too. There is a little bit of carmel malt sweetness to provide some balance, but the hops still dominate. As it warms, the malt becomes more prominent. Long bitter and dry citrus finish.

M: Medium to light body. Carbonation seems a tad low, but it works really well making a very slick mouthfeel. It just slides around the mouth.

D: Good drinkability. If this had a little more malt balance and more tropical fruits it would be phenomenal.

herman77, Sep 10, 2010
Photo of Rampage1
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was one I was really looking forward to trying. I can't imagine anything much better than my favorite ipa on Nitro. The color was your typical golden hue which was mostly clear. The smell was good but not as strong as the normal sculpin.Tropical fruit --mangoes, pineapple and orange pith. I can't tell you how much I enjoy the nose of Sculpin. The taste follows the nose. Plenty of tropical flavors that consist of pineapple,orange,tangerine and some mango. It is bitter on the finish but has that slight biscuit quality to take out some of the bitterness. I wish there was a way they could put this nitro in a bottle because the creaminess that comes from nitro has to be experienced to believe. Nitro adds a whole new level of mouthfeel to what I already think is a amazing beer and my top ipa. Overall I love this beer and hope to have it again. I wish the nitro version was a little fresher which would be my only complaint and therefore I enjoyed the regular version better. When I did the side by side of the two versions the color of the two was night and day different. I did enjoy the mouthfeel of this beer. Glad I got to try it.

Rampage1, Jun 19, 2011
Photo of ramseye4
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber recieved in a generous trade from buick222. No freshness date, poured into a pint glass.

A=Pours a cloudy orange yellow color with a monster of a two finger head and thick lacing
S=Lots of citrus hops and grapefruit, faint lemon zest and a bit of buttery malt.
T=Lots of oily hops and pine resin, very very bitter in the aftertaste
M=full bodied and very highly carbonated, very oily
O=Great IPA that I wish were sold on the East Coast. Worth all the praise that has been heaped on it.

ramseye4, Mar 24, 2011
Photo of merzeone
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz Bottle 9/2011

A: Pours a slight cloudy golden straw color with a nice white head.

AR: Biscuit,with some nice fruity hop presence apricot, grapefruit,etc

T:Clean Crisp great interlacing between the hops and malt great bitterness throughout the taste but backed up well with biscuit and slight caramel flavors. I could drink this year round for sure.

M: Great Carb, medium to light body it does tend to end a bit on the sticky side in which i prefer anyways.

O: I have been waiting to try this beer for some time now and wish I could have gotten it sooner. For all the 2x, imperial ipa's out there we tend to dismiss the quality and importance of the single IPA. This is amazing easy to drink extremely flavorful IPA, After letting it warm a bit it turns to outstanding, I have pretty much found my go to IPA.
If you can find one snag it up!!

merzeone, Oct 11, 2011
Photo of MrMcGibblets
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured a clear gold with orange highlights, last bit cloudy but no big sediment. white diminishing head. aroma is tropical fruit, citrus, and honeyed floral notes. nice sweet bready malts are cleared out by the big smooth hop bitterness. smells and tastes like a dipa but a bit lighter in body. frothy, prickly mouthfeel with a smooth bitter drying finish. very nice overall.

MrMcGibblets, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of MEsoJD
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

[poured into an Lagunitas mason jar]

I: Living in California gives a very good supply of the best ipas out there, and I finally made my way to the sculpin. Being brewed San Diego, I know what's coming. Some of my most beloved beer is brewed in SD. So lets get to it.

B: [7% ABV, 22 FL. OZ. 1 Pint 650ml Bottled 2010]Generic bottle overall, but I do like the artwork. Not the biggest fan of the signal label, but all the general information is there. There's also digital date on the bottle, but unfortunately I cannot read it.

A: I hazy orange body, with a decent head(moderate dissipation), and decent lacing.

S: Unsurprisingly upfront I'm hit with those west coast hops, sweet malt, and citrus(grapefruit and lemon are most prominent).

T: Very sweet ipa complemented by grapefruit and lemon, with a good amount of west coast hops throughout. Everything is very present. Nothing falls behind.

M: Smooth finish, medium bodied, medium carbonation, moderate alcohol presence.

O: Very tasty ipa, and wasn't surprised at all. I say it's close to wipeout ipa, but not as bold(by little). I saw that this beer as very balanced, and I like that. You can't really go wrong with any beer brewed in San Diego. Sure I would defiantly recommend, and pickup. Cheers!!!

MEsoJD, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of JCaweinstein
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clear golden color with a nice one finger white head. There are lots of bubbles in this one.
I noticed the aroma as soon as I opened the bottle. Fantastic hop aromas, pine mostly and also detected some caramel notes.
On the first taste I get a subtle hop bitterness which leads the way for the pine. Dark toast and a slight maltiness round out the flavor profile.
This beer is very crisp and clean and you. An feel that on the palate. This sensation gives way to a resinous hop bitterness and a pleasant lingering aftertaste of roast.
Wow! Good stuff! Glad Ballast Point made it to OH. No bottle date but I'm pretty sure it will always be fresh bc I can't see it sitting on shelves for long.

JCaweinstein, Apr 13, 2012
Photo of Kitt
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

App - A light hazy copper with a bone-white, one finger, frothy head.

Ar - Deep and rich malt with hints of sweet honey and banana. Very pleasing - can't wait to taste!

Tst - A strong, eclectic, burning blend of bitter hops. Sweet undertones revealed in the aroma have been transformed to a piney-almond backbone. The malt is a bit overwhelmed by the hops but lingers a bit as well. The bitter hops persist for an unsual timeframe, barely waning before next sip.

mthfl - A good smooth and strong body.

Drnk - Carbonation and alcohol are obvious and up front.

Overall, an excellent IPA. The strong point here is the eclectic and lingering bitter hop blend. My only criticism: strong hops overwhelm the malt balance; a slightly more even blend would be preferable. But that might be a bit nit-picky!

Kitt, Feb 26, 2011
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 9,320 ratings.