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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,248 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,248
Hads: 12,154
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 3.64%
Wants: 1,334
Gots: 3,985 | FT: 50
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
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Reviews: 2,248 | Hads: 12,154
Photo of beardown2489
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a maidite snifter.

A - a clear golden IPA. Just enough hazy to barely see my hand on the other side of the snifter.

S - amazing scent for a single IPA. Grapefruit, orange, with a zesty pine.

T - Matches the smell. Thank God, many beers have that amazing smell but can't back it up. This one does.

M - drank over about 35 or 40 minutes. In the early stage, the beer covers the toungue with a cold and bright bitterness. But as it warms its mouthfeel becomes very similar to ZD, leaving a citra resin of taste all over the mouth with every sip.

O - It's good out of the fridge but after 20 minutes, it really is a world class IPA. (654 characters)

Photo of bnes09
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Light orange color. Creamy head leaves sticky lines of lace with each sip.

Super fresh, grassy, piney, citrusy aroma.

Mild malt suggests rye bread. Huge hop flavor follows the nose with added grapefruit and soapy finish. Raw spinach leaves and fresh garden weeds.

Medium bodied with a creamy feel. Well carbonated. Bone dry finish.

Yet another IPA but a damn good one! (372 characters)

Photo of bdupree
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was recommended to me by Mike Brawley at Brawley's Beverage. Mike never steers me wrong!

A - Nice golden color, pours with big fluffy head with plenty of lacing. Looks to have a nice bit of carbonation, too.

S - One of the best aromas from an IPA I have ever sniffed. Immediately pick up peach (they are in season here in the south) and mango along with floral scents. Also, a fresh piney aroma from the hops.

T - This IPA is special, very special. Everything comes together in perfection... the fruits come through well in the first taste, and there is no overpowering with the hops... even though there is plenty there. Such a perfect blend and balance. There is some sweetness, but it is complemented so well by hops.

M - Medium-light, but with somewhat of a thick feel like most hopped up IPAs.

D - This suddenly became one of my top favorite IPAs... and that is about the only thing I buy these days. It was just incredible. I need to get back down to Brawley's to see how many he has left.

THANKS, MIKE! (1,024 characters)

Photo of RedChrome
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear body with a medium gold color. Thick creamy white colored head was two inches and held a few minutes. Decent amount of slow rising carbonation bubbles. Sticky lace clumps.

Nice strong pine and floral hops aromas leap out of the glass. A few hard to detect sweet malt note is there, but plays second to the hops.

A great balance of sweetness and floral tastes. Malt is stronger on the tongue then in the nose. Hops crispness is perfectly in strength against the grains.

Decent thickness on the tongue and a nice burst of carbonation. A cling of hops flavors continue after swallow.

A great brew. Would work well with lemon pepper chicken. This is one that is best enjoyed nice and fresh. If you see it, grab and enjoy. (728 characters)

Photo of shangwang
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been fortunate to have Sculpin from a Philly Beer Week firkin before, but now it's time for a proper review. Grabbed a couple of bottles from a friend who stumbled on a case.

Poured with one finger of wet foamy head that stuck around for a while. Ever so slightly hazy golden caramel color. Wonderful smells of sweet pear, grass, flowers, pine, and biscuits. The smell was one of the most pleasant I've experienced from a beer. Tasted slightly sweet at first with a heavy dose of bitterness immediately following. Among the sweet tastes were malt, citrus, and wood. The bitter had a licorice quality to it, and was earthy. Very balanced. Great mouthfeel- some carbonation that created a crispness that foamed with a slightly creamy smooth consistency. Very clean finish.

Overall, Sculpin obviously has its reputation for a reason. For my money easily one of the top 3 IPAs and the fact that it isn't always easy to come by makes it a nice treat when you come across it. One of my favorites!! (998 characters)

Photo of nomomentwasted
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this out of a bomber today that I'd been saving for a special occasion, and turns out HBO's Sunday Lineup was that occasion. Poured into a pint glass and away we go.

Appearance: Pours with just a slight head and kind-of yellowish with less carbonation than I was expecting. Laces decently, but overall just a little lower than expected.

Smell: Where the look lets down, the smell refuses to. Awesome, unique, and for a lack of better words, perfect. Not your traditional IPA to say the least, as the hops aren't that floral or piny with say Centennials or Chinook types, but huge notes of grapefruit, pear, mango, and just general citrus that is out of this world. Hands down, I have never smelled a beer quite as diverse and aromatically pleasing as this one. God damn.

Taste: Whew, very much like the smell, with citrus upfront and malty balance on the back-end. Superbly balanced overall, but I really wanted just a bit more bitterness, since for as hoppy as this is, it's really not super-bitter. That's okay though, this is just at 7% and not a DIPA, but the flavor is fantastic and fruity hops. Fantastic and near-perfect, but it ain't quite there.

Mouthfeel: Dry and resiny at the same time. Tastes more crisp than the carbonation lets on, and terrifically smooth. Loved it.

Drinkability: It's been said, but I can drink this all day, no problem. Such an awesome beer, comes highly recommended, and I'm going to spring for 2-3 more of these to hold on to for the next few months, but as the sadness of poor aging hoppy beers goes, I suppose I'll have to enjoy these sooner than later. What a shame eh? (1,618 characters)

Photo of Estocker
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a bottle into my 30th anniversary taster tulip.

The nose on this beer is unmatched by anything I've ever come across. There is an intense bouquet of citrus, a slight floral aroma, and a hint of pine. The grapefruit takes over the nose and leaves me excited to try the first sip.

After my first sip, I am slightly disappointed, but not because it isn't delicious, the nose just leaves so much to be desired that I can't imagine that anything could live up to it. This is my 2nd favorite (i)IPA to date, and I give it props for competing so well with PtE. The taste is phenomenal and if you're in the mood for a tasty yet not-overpowering citrus bomb I can't believe anything could be better. (705 characters)

Photo of dcmchew
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours shiny orange, just a bit misty, a nice small fluffy head for quite a while.
A really nice balanced smell, with grapefruit, tangerine, pine, light tropical notes, caramel, hop resin. A kind of aroma that would really suit control-freaks, without being too stingy on the intensity.
Lime up front, sweetened towards orange, pomelo and kumquat, with a tropical note rising up, like unripe mango, maracuja, faint kiwi, nice pineapple, really pulpy, a "fat" feel to it. Nice caramel malt, a bit of biscuit. Pine resin hops are really great in the finish, green, spicy, sticky, with a really rewarding bitterness.
Aftertaste is a mouthful of tropical fruit and pine, with some hop oils to boost that lingering bitterness. Medium body, smooth carbonated, a bit sticky.
I understand the hype around Sculpin now. A really great IPA that manages to tick so many things people look for in a "perfect" IPA. Wouldn't be much of a sin to simply call it a perfect IPA actually. (967 characters)

Photo of BeerThursdays
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Short review, because I only got a taste. Growler was filled less than an hour before tasting

A - Poured from a growler into a small taster glass. Was a clear golden color with a small amount of head.

S - Amazing. Citrus all the way. Smells like a fresh cut tangerine. Smelled so good, my friend put his nose right into the beer.

T - Just as good as the smell. Super citrus from the hops. Mango and orange. Not super bitter at all, but the sweet bitterness from this type of IPA. Love this style, just fades so fast, it's hard to come by this good.

M/D. Was served cold, and we only got a taster, so not a lot of time to warm up. As served, it was pretty light and carbonated, but I expect it becomes more full bodied as it warms. Was excellent cold, I would think even better a little warmer.

Love this one. Wish I could get it this fresh more often. (857 characters)

Photo of Biggness
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a light amber (not cloudy) with a 2 fingered head and lots of lacing. The smell is wonderful, fruity, nutty, hops, spices and you can even get some sense of the malts. The taste is wonderful as well, beautiful fruity flavors with some nut flavor and citrusy hops and a great malt base to it. Very well balanced and certainly one of the best IPA's I have ever taste, I had to take a double take to see if it was a DIPA. The mouthfeel suffers from a very dry aftertaste, but the carbonation level seems nice. I could see myself drinking a bunch of these in a night :) (581 characters)

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I must have done something right. Went from no Sculpin to having two different BAs give/trade me a bottle this week. Icing on the cake? My local store just got some in. Wow! Thanks to jlindros and augustgarage!

A- Tangerine, honey yellow, nice attractive head, great lacing. Very good IPA appearance.

S- Floral, lilac/lavender, tangerine zest, lemony goodness. Pineapple? Mango? Maybe... something tropical about this hop bouquet.

T- I can see why this beer is so popular. Fruity beyond belief. Peach? Apple? Lemon? Lime? Hard to place it, but it's fantastic. Little to no malt to get in the way, but just enough to round out the body. Really clean presentation.

M- Crisp, clean, hops are showcased wonderfully. Great carbonation.

D- High. I can see what all the fuss is about. This is some top-notch shit. It's pricey (at least here in RI, about $10 a bomber), but I can see myself buying this again...and again.... and again. Another stellar Cali IPA. Everything I thought it could be and perhaps more. (1,010 characters)

Photo of rajendra82
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The pale amber color and a clear body were typical of the West Coast style of IPA. The smell was a mix of pine and grapefruit, with some tangerine thrown in too. Taste was spicy, piney, bitter, and out-freaking-standing. Just exactly what a juicy IPA should be. Medium body and a slippery mouthfeel fit the style perfectly. A bit of sugary sweetness in the finish to complement the bitterness. Drinkable beyond words, Can I have another please. (444 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My second bomber of this pours a crystalline golden orange with a billowing three finger head of creamy white foam on top. Plenty of active carbonation. Stellar! Aromas start out with huge citric and tropical fruit hops and tons of resins. Green and a touch floral as well. Mild crystal and light toasted caramel malt backbone. Hop profile is just great here and draws you in with every inhalation.

First sip brings is just beautiful...mild toasted malt upfront with some caramel sweetness that's quickly bowled over by a boatload of citric, vibrant tropical hop goodness. A touch floral with tons of bitter, resinous hop flavor. Smooth on the finish with lingering fruity hops. Immensely tasty.

Mouthfeel is on the light side with good carbonation and a bit of crispness. This is the epitome of easy drinking for an IPA and super smooth and tasty. A bomber disappears like nothing and leaves me wishing I had more. Just a killer IPA that deserves the praises it has received. (978 characters)

Photo of magictrokini
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Tap @ O'Brien's. Pours clear orange-gold with a spongey white head. Great floral hoppy aroma with lemon and oranges. Clean, bold hop taste throughout. Good amount of grapefruit with tangerine, pine without resiny stickiness, and maybe a little pepper. Bittersweet malt in the finish without being overbearing. It has the hop bite and taste of an Imperial, but the body of a regualr IPA. Excellent. (397 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a golden orange in the glass with a full finger snow white head that lasts and lasts and leaves beautiful mapping in it's wake as you drain the glass.

Wow. The intensely fresh citrus peel and pine oil hops hits you in the face as soon as you pop the cap on this bottle. Bright, bite-you, grapefruit and orange peel.

Taste doesn't disappoint in the least. There is nothing fake or artificial in this brew. Lively bright citrus...pink grapefruit...just 'pink' enough to keep it from getting bitter...a little pine oil...then tangerine and orange peel.

This beer, is West Coast IPA at it's finest.

Note: I just looked at my review after posting and though maybe an A+ might be a bit high so I changed drinkability to a 4.5 from a 5....then I had to change it back. I could drink this one til the sun comes up and I've a massive headache.
yep...it's that good and easy. (875 characters)

Photo of Metalmonk
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Been wanting to try this for a long time, and finally, here we go, popping the top...and you can smell the hops immediately once the cap is off.

The head is huge, a fluffy, rocky thing that holds almost like meringue and leaves styrofoam-like sheets of bone white lace on the glass. Color is golden sunset with a washed out red-rust hue.

Intensely aromatic, recalling all kinds of orange/yellow citrus fruits (esp. apricot, lemon and mango). Also has that breezy, sharp, super-fresh smell that often makes me think of Bounce dryer sheets. Not a ton of depth or complexity, but so what, it delivers what it promises and is a totally entrancing smell if you're a big fan of hops.

Flavor is a massive wallop of citrus flesh and rind, but not too sweet, which means it leans toward the tartness of the rind. There's a grassy bitterness in the finish, and before that just a whole lotta fresh, prickly, bright hops. A little bit salty near the back and finish, but the citrus attack wins out. Yet, all that said, it's a balanced and reasonable flavor, not feeling extreme, but just right. What's the malt doing here? Keeping its mouth shut and just doing its job, that's what.

The mouthfeel totally works for the flavor, a big colorful tickle of carbonation within a lighter, airy body. Nice, very nice.

Sculpin is on the same level as Bell's Two-Hearted, another absolutely awesome IPA. Too bad I don't have the same kind of access to Sculpin as I do Two-Hearted, but no complaints, this was a fantastic experience. So, what's with the fish theme on all these amazing American IPAs!? (1,585 characters)

Photo of hopsbreath
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got a case of this mailed to my home yesterday from Ballast Point and split it up among ramnuts, maltmaster420, skourtis, vkv822, and madhomebrewer. Thanks guys for making this happen! Time for the review.

I split the bomber between a couple 12 ounce tulips and shared with the wife. The light tangerine body was capped by a large soapy citrus pith colored head. TONS of lacing showed up on the walls of the glass. It doesn't get any better than this.

Lemon, pineapple, peaches, mango, and other requisite citrus aromas are all over this thing! I absolutely love this smell and it warrants the second perfect score so far.

Taste is bitter, dank, and palate destroying hops, not that there's anything wrong with that! The wife seems to think this is a double but it only clocks in at 7% ABV. A nice light malt background never gets in the way of the big hops and allows them to shine. That's how I like my IPA's to taste. It could have some more tropical in the taste so I'm docking a point.

Mouthfeel is so thin and well carbonated, this disappears way to fast. I must say that I believe this deserves the top spot among American IPA's. This screams California IPA and delivers in spades. Track it down if you can and enjoy! (1,232 characters)

Photo of jmalex
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I somehow missed the release of this beer in bottles while on vacation last month. After a pretty exhaustive search (plus a pint or 2 on tap), I managed to track down a bomber at the new Craft Beer Outlet in northeast Philly.

APPEARANCE: Pours into the ol' standby, my Victory willibecker, a pale orange-gold and crystal clear. A 2-finger, bone-white head forms on top and shrinks to a full, rocky cap. The lacing is basically a massive wall of foam encircling my glass. Picture perfect, I say.

SMELL: Grapefruit, pine, and really grassy and vegetal. And it hits you like a ton of bricks. Behind it is a clean pale malt base that doesn't seem too sweet. So in other words, this smells perfect. Perfectly perfect.

TASTE: It's an IPA! I mean, everything about this beer's aroma screamed double IPA, but when you take that first sip and nothing overpowers you, it's heaven. The same smells from the hops are here in the flavor too. Citrus, pine, and everything else take the forefront but let a super clean malt base shine right through. In terms of bitterness, it's really balanced, except then there's all that hop flavor that just tops it all off.

MOUTHFEEL: A medium-light body holds a lower than expected carbonation level. A slight syrupy slickness is present, but that's more a nitpick than anything.

DRINKABILITY: The balance is the key here. That and that I just nearly soiled myself when I read this beer is 7% because you can't tell AT ALL. The flavors are certainly intense which knocks it down a bit on the drinkability scale, but it'd be hard to top this.

Dayam. My glass on tap was nice, but this is incredible. Sculpin instantly vaults to the top of the IPA class for me. Now I just need to hunt down a few more bottles. (1,739 characters)

Photo of Greywulfken
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: crystal clear deep gold beer with a firm ivory head and lace trails

S: crisp citrus and pine come to mind

T: bitter hoppy grapefruit and pine resin, clean tasting malt

M: medium-bodied, nicely fizzed, bitter hop lingers

O: a well-crafted brew worthy of its top 100 rank (276 characters)

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at another hipster heaven - Chapter One, Santa Ana, CA.

Did Raul just get himself in on this? Yep, it looks like he did!

Raul done had himself Sculpin many times over like Lindsay Lohan has had rehab visits. Only difference between Sculpin and that podunk ginger is that Raul will keep up with his daily Sculpin regime.

Clean, crisp, and devilishly intoxicating. Line another one up. Yep! (398 characters)

Photo of MisSigsFan
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours a golden amber color with a thin, white head that dissipates quickly and leaves good lacing. Smell is mostly fruity and citrusy and bits of pine. This is probably one of the more tropical fruit centered West Coast IPAs I've had. Taste is very forward with tropical fruit and citrus. A bit of pine bite towards the end. Just a bit of sweetness at the end. Just the right amount. The bitterness is not overpowering whatsoever. Mouth is extremely smooth, crisp, and light, with about average carbonation. This is not your typical pine bomb of an IPA. Overall, a great IPA, one of the best.

Also, to Dave39 saying that Sculpin isn't fresh outside of California. I bought a 6 pack of cans two days ago and they're all dated towards the end of March. I'd say that's pretty fresh. (820 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy orange-ish to copper color with a white head. In the aroma, grapefruity hops, big citrus. In the taste, dry grapefruity citrus hops and a nice malty backing. A small bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry grapefruity rind-ish aftertaste. Super big hops, nice everyday drinker at 7%. (301 characters)

Photo of sfoley333
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 22oz bottle into PP 7th ann. Real Als Fest english pint glass. Poured a golden orange honey color with thick foamy white head. Smell is a mixture of citrus, malt, and floral hop notes. Taste is like eating a grapefruit with a slight grassy bitterness followed by semi sweet malt profile. The alcohol is well masked in the flavors with a crisp mouthfeel and medium to light body. Carbonation was in great balance with the taste retaining a creamy feel. This is one of he best tasting IPA's on the market right now with just the right alcohol level and great balance still with an upfront grapefruit taste. (616 characters)

Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Date: 21 July 2011
Glass: Piratt tulip snifter ~50cl
Type: 12fl oz bottle

I think the Earth just stopped moving.

Poured gently for a 2-finger head, into a wispy film, average lacing, color is sediment-filled amber-orange.

Where to begin.... Cracking this beer fills the air with fresh hops like you've never smelled before. Unreal.

Aroma. Aroma, aroma, aroma.... lovely fresh tart grapefruit hops, lemon bitters. They are the only things I smell, but they are above and beyond.

Taste begins with very sugary grapefruit without any acidity, into lemon. Honestly, these hops are perfect, and nowhere near overpowering. Plentiful, yet not burdensome.

Mouthfeel? How is this possibly a single IPA? This is the by far the single best single IPA I've ever tasted. Screw writing more of this review. BUY THIS BEER. (813 characters)

Photo of Jim_Benz
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For a "west coast" IPA, Sculpin is about as good as it gets. Pricey as it gets, too! Poured into a snifter, its a beautiful, clear orange/gold in appearance, with a moderate white head that leaves thick lacing on the glass while maintaining a ring around the edges and a sizeable island in the middle. The nose, for me, is largely citrus and tropical fruit over a whiff of biscuity malt. Taste is where it really shines--the citrusy hops are balaced with a piney bitterness (though not too bitter) over a very tastey malt backbone of bread and bisquit, low on caramel. Mouthfeel is surprisingly light on first impression, but leans to medium in the middle and thickens in the aftertaste, which is moderately bitter, in a really good fashion. Carbonation is perfect for the style--meaning high enough to balance and accentuate the hop and malt flavors.Overall, it's my favorite IPA--after Bell's Two-Hearted and Surly Furious. Is it worth the price? On occassion, or at least when I'm feeling flush. (998 characters)

Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,248 ratings.