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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,295 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7295
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
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Ratings: 7,295 | Reviews: 1,913 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of MasterfulIdiot


4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle dated 3/15/14 (well... dated as the 74th day of 2014). Appearance is nearly perfect - honey-golden liquid with a thick off-white head that leaves lots of lace as it recedes. I wish there were a few more bubbles rising through the liquid, but that's a minor quibble.

Aroma is citrus and pineapple, with a well-balanced caramelly, slightly syrupy malt undertone.

The taste is citrus and pineapple up front, then some resiny, earthy, and piney notes come in, followed by the caramelly malts mid-palate, and they're all well-represented in the finish, which has just the right amount of bitterness to make you want to take another sip. There seems to be less of a malt presence on the tongue than on the nose, so it avoids the syrupy note I got in the nose, which is good news in my book.

Mouthfeel is great for the style - moderate thickness, lots of carbonation, pleasantly dry.

Overall, a really great IPA that gives the perfect amount of tongue-shredding hoppy goodness - not too tame, and not too over-the-top. Definitely a member of the pantheon of IPAs that I will buy again and again.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2014 01:30:58 | More by MasterfulIdiot
Photo of cindyjeffsmith


4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: light gold, very clear. Fairly substantial and messy off white head and lacing. Nice enough though not particularly mind blowing for a legendary ipa.
Smell: ah, now there is a rich nose, redolent with citrus (lemon, grapefruit). Very nice but still not up to legendary levels.
Taste: much like the nose. Packed with citrusy hop zing. Quite dry.
Overall: a very good ipa to be sure. Maybe after all the world class ipa's out there, the bar is set so high hard to meet it even with a legendary ipa (my first time having this).

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2014 22:56:29 | More by cindyjeffsmith
Photo of MisSigsFan


4.78/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 23:27:49 | More by MisSigsFan
Photo of heygeebee


4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 08:22:53 | More by heygeebee
Photo of TheSeeker61


4.53/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lemony orange with a 2 finger head. Has a nice apricot fruity nose. The tongue is grapefruity with hints of apricot followed by dark fruit with a hint of malt. The mouthfeel is moderate. This is truly an awesome offering and will try it again.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 22:24:26 | More by TheSeeker61
Photo of 1sophrosyne1


4.44/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an IPA glass and enjoyed over 20 minutes; bottle with a cryptic stamp on the label that suggests bottling within three weeks of consumption--but not sure.

It's a lively, bright amber with superb clarity. The head was large and airy, but thick enough to linger and hold a lovely palette of aromas. Fairly good retention and lacing, too.

The nose is full of pineapple and orange with some pithy grapefruit that folds into dank notes. But that funk isn't heavy--it's like a cool mist hanging in a hemlock forest with plenty of breeze. There's a toasty noted of buttered muffin, too--delicate and compelling.

Flavors are bright and light to begin each sip. It's sweet with grapefruit, and a woody chew comes in rather quickly, with an orangey glaze. I'd like a touch more depth and bitterness, but the length of grassy and slick hop oils is very nice. Booze is apparent, even at just 7%. A bit more malt and earth complexity comes in with warming.

Moderate carbonation is right on for balancing this brew. It's both creamy and bright with nice length. The way it coats the teeth feels good. Just a bit more heft would be perfection to match this taste profile.

Overall, I am really pleased with this creature. It's a major step up from Big Eye, and for something that's available year round, a real standout. I'll certainly be looking to try it on tap if I can find it--since I might expect a more spicy experience that could be a treat with whatever food I was out to get at the same time.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2014 20:47:08 | More by 1sophrosyne1
Photo of jaialai-untilidie


4.21/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Honestly i don't see the hype in this beer. Found it a bit too sweet. The abv wasn't that high so it probably just had a high final gravity.
The smell was fantastic, however And minus the sweetness the hop flavors were great. Worth $9 a bottle?
No, won't get again

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2014 15:04:53 | More by jaialai-untilidie
Photo of tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

4.21/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got this bottle at Whole Foods in DC. From notes.

A - Poured dark golden and bright with mild carbonation. Two fingers of thick white head on top left great lace and a finger of retention.

S - Citrus, syrupy fruits, pine.

T - Pine, some booze, lot's of hops, syrupy fruits, grapefruity. Classic West Coast.

M - Good carbonation, medium to full body, nice bitterness.

O/D - Very drinkable for the style. A nice IPA. Seems to style and a good example of nailing all the expected elements of an IPA. Doesn't blow your mind, but is very solid.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2014 02:04:35 | More by tbeckett
Photo of woemad


4.34/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From notes
12oz. bottle purchased at Huckleberry’s in Spokane for $2.69. No obvious freshness date was to be found, just the cryptic looking stamp “SC395, 13358.” Perhaps those are batch and bottling numbers.

Poured a clear, amber color, with a big beige head that left lots of lace on the sides of my glass.

The nose was of sharp, piney hop scents, with a teeny tiny malt aroma.

The taste of big sharp hops hits the taste buds first. There are citrusy notes, but they take a back seat to bitter, piney flavors. There is just enough malt flavor on hand to provide a backbone that keeps the hop flavor balanced. Big, dry zap to the palate at the swallow.

Medium bodied, with an oily, resiny mouthfeel.

This is a great IPA! I totally get the hype for this beer, and am damn glad it’s available here now. It’s a little more expensive than my usual local IPA choices, but definitely worth it to splurge on this now and again.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2014 01:55:52 | More by woemad
Photo of jodybrutal

New Jersey

4.63/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle dated 3-4-14

A - Poured into pint glass. Dark golden body, two fingers creamy white head. Lots of nice lacing. Good retention.

S - Tropical fruit and tons of piney hops. Earthy tones, not much malt.

T - A really well balanced taste. Sweet and hoppy, but never too much of either. Only slightly bitter. Perfect, delicious balance.

M - Thin and crisp, very clean. Light to medium carbonation. No booze present. I could down a six pack of this with no problem.

O - I love this beer. One of my favorite IPA's for sure. The only drawback is the price ($15-16 a six pack) and I don't seem to find it very often, but that just makes it even more special.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2014 17:33:58 | More by jodybrutal
Photo of titty_mcbitty


4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Nice and shiny golden color teaming with bubbles. Lacing is superb!

S: Pine, hops, mango.

T: Piney hops, mango, papaya, guava juice, grass, Hawaiian honey bread, some maltiness, buttery hop oil (the best part).

M: Medium with that spectacular buttery hop oil feel that lingers and coats the palate.

O: Pretty awesome. Not my favorite type of beer, but this does the job good. Flavor is superb, mouth is lovely, aroma is enticing.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 01:39:39 | More by titty_mcbitty
Photo of blankenhoney


4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 20:57:11 | More by blankenhoney
Photo of TheDoctor

Quebec (Canada)

4.36/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful clear golden straw with a decent three fingers of creamy beige head that slowly settles to an immoveable ¼ inch of film. Good retention; lots of spotty lacing.

Dry, slightly astringent, and citrus-laden. Hay, dank hops, citrus, weed, grapefruit rind.

Dry, even bitterness. Resinous hops right up front with a lot of dry grassy flavors backed up by a prevalent-though-less-intense-than-in-other-IPAs-I've-had citrus character with some grapefruit rind and a tinge of breadiness from the malt right at the finish.

Really good carbonation with tons of *teensy* bubbles, feels rather velvety on the whole. Medium-bodied and fairly drinkable with a dry, lingering finish. Everything it should be.

Really wonderful West Coast IPA.
This is a rock-solid beer and is also one of the one or two freshest IPAs that I am aware of having enjoyed (30 days). This pours beautifully with three fingers of near perfect cream. Sports a very hoppy nose that only hints at the flavor (which is far fuller and more varied). The beer tastes very hoppy and has some tropical fruit flavors (obviously), but the palate is where it really shines. A nice prickly, creamy, coating varnish of fruity and resinous hops that leaves your mouth humming for a while afterwards.
Fabulous beer, wish I could get it again; worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 04:29:14 | More by TheDoctor
Photo of SteveB24

New York

4.51/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

appearance; orange/ gold, lots of visible carbonation, tons of thick, off white head.

smell; tons of pine and tons of grapefruit

taste; taste is subtle for an IPA. very smooth. pine is there. touch of citrusy hops. quite fruity, papaya and ,ango are definitely there, as well as other fruity notes. also slightly bread.

mouthfeel; medium body, quite creamy.

overall; very enjoyable IPA. very smooth, i cannot imagine who wouldnt like this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2014 05:35:51 | More by SteveB24
Photo of hellobeerz


4.48/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: clear hazy yellow/orange. Looks great in a glass. 2 finger head, looks amazing.

S: I am getting all the tropical notes, papaya, mango, orange, pineapple. Lots of citrus, some floral. Pine is easily detected.

T/M: Follows the nose completely, plenty of earth tones, with a pine cone taste. But the tropical fruits just keep hitting you along with the pine. You get all the best of grapefruit, pineapple, mango, with the earthy citrus taste. I couldn't ask for more.

O: Its great, the price is insane in my opinion, but can be justifiable by the taste. This is a must try IPA in my opinion. Pick one or two up, you wont be disappointed!

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2014 05:31:13 | More by hellobeerz
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle stamped SC443-14055. Sampled on March 23, 2014.

The color is a highly attractive bronze, golden amber with a modest white head that becomes a ring.

The aroma has a full hop nose countering and also balancing off the toasted biscuit malt character.

The body is medium and smooth.

The taste has this quick caramel barley malt note but it is quickly superseded by the full bitter hop quality of an IPA. An evolution as it were. But the bitterness lingers on at the end. I can see why this one gets high marks.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 18:40:12 | More by puboflyons
Photo of High-FivingMF


3.96/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I generally don't reach for IPA's but I decided to give Sculpin a shot given the reviews.

Appearance: Clear, orange-copper in color. I really liked the hue. Nice thick white head that hung around for a bit. Slight lacing left behind.

Smell: sl. Citrus, grapefruit dominant

Taste: Get hit with that hop sensation right up front, grapefruit dominating but not too overwhelming. For a moment it feels like i dodged the bitter bullet on this one. Then suddenly the linger kicks in and I'm assaulted by pine. I decided to stick it out and about halfway through my palate adjusts. Started to pick up the malt towards the end as the beer came to temperature.

Mouthfeel: medium carbonation. I liked the mouthfeel a lot, very smooth.

Overall: 30 minutes later and the linger is still there. I think this was a fine example of the style. It's certainly helped open my appreciation for IPAs.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2014 02:42:53 | More by High-FivingMF
Photo of Bonsall_Phil


4.66/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle; sparkling clear deep golden. Beautiful beer, head holds nicely even after sitting a minute.

Clean hop aroma with floral and a citrus note, lively on the nose.

Strong but not overpowering on the tongue, it's a rich hop first and a pleasant woody
bitterness that balances on the after taste. It would be a shame to try and reach for some other hidden 'hint of (this) ' flavor; this a straightforward and delicious beer.

It's silky on the palette, giving a spectacular mouthfeel, this is the kind of beer you can get carried with ;)

When I really studied this beer, I had to upgrade slightly from my original 4.5. San Diego IPA at its finest

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 06:38:42 | More by Bonsall_Phil
Photo of StuyBeerGuy

New York

4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I decided to try this beer on a weekend trip to the Adirondacks. After a long day of snowboarding on whiteface the colorful fish on the labelled beckoned with the promise of a unique experience far from wherever the contents of the bottle had been brewed. With the beer poured into a lovely pint class I was able to appreciate the copper color and slight head. The aroma consisted of enlivening hops and floral notes and the brew had refreshing bitter qualities.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 01:28:49 | More by StuyBeerGuy
Photo of MJKerr


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

Malt seems thoughtful, but this beer is all about the hops. Layer upon layer of bitterness. Complex but not overcrowded. Smell and taste is spice, with some pine, and citrus. Finish is loooong and bitter. Can't wait to give it a shot out of the can.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2014 18:24:18 | More by MJKerr
Photo of FitnessForBeer


4.88/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: dark golden color, typical of what I see from a lot of dipas, finger and half of head. Clear
S: grapefruit, citrus fruits, malt, smells like a west coaster.
T: malty on the front, then hops just overwhelm you, the hop flavor is just amazing. A lot of citrus fruits, floral, bitter. Alcohol is not detectable.
M: great, very smooth
O: outstanding, my favorite IPA that readily accessible. This IPA I think should be the standard with which most IPA today should be judged. IPAs aren't my favorite style, I know I'm crazy, but this beer is just phenomenal.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2014 07:07:05 | More by FitnessForBeer
Photo of BigMurph


4.78/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden body and a frothy 1" head

Smell: Bold grapefruit and floral/citrus aromas dominate

Taste: Starts out like a glass of sweet grapefruit juice with the grapefruit flavor coming through strong after the swallow, backed by the really clean pale malt

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Refreshingly drinkable, this is a great example of a west coast IPA. Very good!

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 03:09:18 | More by BigMurph
Photo of neurobot01


3.48/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

First review, umpteenth beer.

Poured from 22oz bomber into pint glass, roughly 2 weeks after bottle stamp.

-Appearance: pretty nice deep orange/golden color, very little head, decent carbonation.
-Aroma: lots of citrus, with some earthy undertones.
-Taste: some citrus, though less than the nose suggests; lots of onion notes (and I'm not prone to onion--I don't get it on Enjoy By, for instance). Taste seemingly doesn't linger at all: feels very hollow, almost watery.
-Feel: pretty slick, nice prickly carbonation, but suffers from the same watery affliction as the taste.
-Overall: maybe my expectations were too high, but this beer was overshadowed by many beers, including a number of SIPAs and PAs.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2014 01:44:54 | More by neurobot01
Photo of JimiO


3.38/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looking forward to this tasting... although IPA's aren't my thing... this one seems to be considered one of the benchmarks

Looks great in a glass... nice head that nice and white... its' head maintains itself for quite awhile... beer is clear and golden/honey in color

Love the nose... sweet and orangey... a bit of pine... smells very fresh and clean

Sits great in the mouth but then finishes a bit too dry and hoppy for my liking... which is my personal issue with IPA's. I do like the mouth... and understand why its one of the most loved IPA's. The nose and taste are very similar... no surprises... I taste orange and a bit of honey... bitterness like a grapefruit... very clean

Very active in the mouth... carbonation is very noticeable and mad more apparent by the grapefruit bitterness in taste

Overall... I respect it and understand the great reviews... but since I am not partial to IPA's, it's hard for me to love it... but I do get why its praised

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 20:07:29 | More by JimiO
Photo of sobuf

New York

3.3/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My opinion of Sculpin? I don't know what the hype is about. In fact, I wouldn't buy it again. Especially for $16 for a 6 pack. It's actually a really good, really smooth, really flavorful beer. Until about 5-10 seconds after it goes down. Then that aweful, bitterness overcomes the mouth and has you cringing, waiting for it to pass until the next sip. But the bitterness just never leaves. It's a beer that COULD be amazing, but the bitter after-taste is completely off-putting. I love a super hoppy ale...but Im not a bitter fan. Give me fresh, springy, whole cone hops in abundance. But the ale better be complete with a fresh, crisp finish. This beer doesnt fit my bill. If you're a fan of bitter IPAs, then this beer is for you. But in my opinion, theres nothing world class about it - at all. Mye I've got used to the more malty backbones of DIPAs like Dirt Wolf, 90 minute IPA, etc. Although I'd even rank Southern Tier's IPA well ahead of this. Because its springy and hoppy, without being bitter and hard to finish. I might rate this offering slightly higher if at had a little more abv, at least I could start to feel good while choking it down. But I don't see what the hype is. It's an okay beer, but if you never had it, you wouldn't be missing much.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 18:50:34 | More by sobuf
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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 7,295 ratings.