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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,306 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,306
Hads: 12,489
Avg: 4.38
pDev: 22.37%
Wants: 1,375
Gots: 4,348 | FT: 46
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: 2,306 | Hads: 12,489
Photo of Erlkoenig
3.96/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Bright yellow-copper, clear and lively with carbonation. BEAUTIFUL frothy head. Head dissipates at a moderate rate leaving just a bit of lacing.

S: Pine, citrus, grapefruit, very sharp and hoppy. A little tropical.

T: The Sculpin packs a punch. Hop flavor straight forward, the citrus and grapefruit and pine from the nose alternating on the palate. It's pretty much what I'd expect from a classic American IPA with added bitterness in the aftertaste.

F: Medium-bodied, silky-smooth, well-carbonated, probably a bunch of other descriptors with a hyphen in them. 'S good.

O: With the hype around the Sculpin and its Grapefruit sister, I was a little disappointed. Not in the beer as a great IPA, mind you; it was very good. I was disappointed that it wasn't something "more". That said, it's a solid brew and if you want a well-crafted, somewhat more bitter American IPA, this is a good bet.

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Photo of jeswasgui
3.9/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a vibrant copper color with a finger white head and good lace retention. The aroma had more of a malt smell to it than a hop smell. Some orange aroma to it but in the end the malts dominate. The taste is similar to the smell with some bitterness to it. It has a sticky feel to it as the lacing would suggest. I would consider it very good but not spectacular.

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Photo of MaltyPythonsHopCircus
4.41/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L orange, slightly hazy. Frothy head
A tropical fruit, some dankness
T perfect level of upfront bitterness. Malt is flavourful with a hint of sweetness
F slightly grainie, dry but no astringency
O so well balanced. Love it

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Photo of hotmailmsn
3.74/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

7% ABV, 70 IBU, 650ml bottle.
A - dark orange clear with one finger head.
S - grapefruit, lemon peel, pine, fresh cut grass, sweet malt, spice, tropical fruit, a bit mango. (smell like Sierra Nevada torpedo extra IPA, piney)
T - welly carbonated, dry palate, it's more in the piney, peel, hoppy side rather than sweet malty. little bitterness lasting yet not overpowering.
O - a really representative west coast IPA, solid beer, great balanced, piney, malty, hoppy, dry, bitten as lingering. luckily I can try one of the best IPA, but for $10 CAD a bottle, I would rather get local BC ipa, which has great amount of fantastic beers (like fat tug, amnesiac, red racer DIPA) with lower prices, haha

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Photo of brewmeister1984
3.4/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure if this was an old bottle or not but was extremely disappointed with this one. Malt bomb with a strange aftertaste. The grapefruit version is a step up. I wish ballast point put bottling dates since I can't be completely sure. At any rate, wouldn't spend my money on this again.

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Photo of ricke49
4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great balance of piney and grapefruit notes with malt sweetness. Slides down at 7 ABV like silk. Bit of a premium price but a reasonable occasional 'treat'. Great job by San Diego brewer!

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Photo of rynomagic
3.83/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Solid IPA. Has all the qualities you want from an IPA, but the taste isn't there for me. Pours well, good head and has a good, hearty feel. I enjoyed my 5g keg but I'll stick with the cans going forward.

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Photo of Bob_Rhoades
4.74/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Fantastic IPA. Smells of pineapple and grapefruit. Tastes like biting into a very ripe grapefruit at first, then the well-balanced barley hits your palate. This is a perfect representation of an American IPA.

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Photo of Strat58cat
2.69/5  rDev -38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I'm way in the minority on this, and I know it. Sculpin IPA in my opinion is an unpleasant ale that I won't willingly drink again. I'm not going to drink Bud Black Crown again either unless it's forced on me by circumstances, but I have to admit I would probably enjoy Black Crown more. I respect Ballast Point, but they've gone for the unpleasant aromas and flavors that I find in some IPAs. I don't care for it, that's all. Imho, Sculpin is a fishy IPA. Completely overrated. Many better choices.

Looks fine. Clear and notably light amber in color. The head suds up well but does not retain at all. Fades away to a thin film quickly, especially for an IPA. Nice white color while it lasts, which isn't long. Little lacing.

The aroma starts off well with full grapefruit, but then there is something off. Underneath, there is a little bit of a fishy smell.

The taste starts off well with grapefruit, but then that fishiness is very apparent. It's a fishy aftertaste. No. They tried to go light on the malt to bring out the hops. At least they named it for a fish, which is appropriate.

The feel is okay. It's a very light bodied IPA, by design. They just messed up the hops or the malt in this one and ended up with a fishy aftertaste. Notably oily finish.

Overall, it's not as good as many others in the IPA space. My money is on several excellent Stone ales at this price point. I can do a lot better by just picking up a Lagunitas - or even a Rebel - for less money anywhere in Southern California. This IPA is very overrated. Other Ballast Point brews I've tried are very good, but not this one. The emperor has no clothes. Professional reviews have gone nuts over this for no good reason.

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Photo of Secondfiddle7
4.65/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Just a delicious West Coast IPA. Not sure that the $70 case price (on the East Coast) is justified when I can buy a Lagunitas IPA for $40 a case, but Sculpin is a freaking delicious beer that is well crafted and I like to have a few in the fridge at all times, and there are times when I open the fridge, see it, and smile. On draft, it is smooth and so very drinkable!

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Photo of JackieKu
4.1/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can.

A: Clear pale amber. Great amount of foam and nice retention.
S: Tropical fruits, mainly pineapple. A little bit grassy.
T: Pineapple, grapefruit. Moderate bitterness. Dry. Bitter finish.
M: Creamy, medium- bodied. Medium carbonation.
O: Classic well brewed American IPA.

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Photo of Ksmoove27
4.39/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - poured an copper color, with a one finger off white head...nice lacing

Smell - floral, hoppy and citrus....a very pleasant nose full

Taste - a dry hoppiness, citrus with some pineyness...it does have a bit of a harsh aftertaste..

Feel - It's crisp, good carbonation, very refreshing

Overall -It's a very good IPA which is near the top of my list, but the aftertaste keeps AleSmith at the top.

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Photo of headlessparrot
3.84/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Does the world really need another Sculpin review? Absolutely not. But.

Pours from the 750mL bomber a caramel-y orange/amber colour, slightly hazy (chill-haze?) and capped by three fingers of rocky, uneven foam that persists decently and leaves a metric tonne of lacing on the glass.

Smell is piney, citrusy goodness. Slightly soapy. Orange zest, grapefruit zest. Resin. Very green.

Taste is much the same. Piney, citrusy. Slightly soapy, a bit of biscuity/crackery malt. Bitter but not overpoweringly so, although the finish is a bit of a mouth-puckerer. Good, balanced body and moderate carbonation.

An enjoyable IPA, but my controversial take: not worth the price Ballast Point asks, and not necessarily better than any great *local* IPA you might be able to get your hands on out there.

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Photo of mastergintoki
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a can
L: nice color kind of copperish, head subsided rather quickly
S: sweet. Hoppy, floral and citrusy. Has a bitter smell
T: it has bitterness but the sweetness that acvompanies it is great.. Some grapefruit peel.t. very balanced ipa
F: its very easy to drink. Medium mouthfeel
O: Very nice IPA. I prefer their habanero and grapefruit sculpin but its one of my fave ipa

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Photo of edward_boumil
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a can into a tulip
L: Sexy as hell. Beautiful clear copper color , head started off quite bubbly though it quickly subsided.
S: Very sweet. Also very hop heavy. Very floral in nature, some citrus as well. Has a bitter smell that is also accompanied by a toastiness as well as a slight butteriness (diacetyl?)
T: Crisp, but not overwhelmingly so. There is bitterness and it is assertive while also not being overwhelming. Also a beautiful sweetness. that pairs nicely with the citrus aspects of the hops. Reminds me of grapefruit. I find that this IPA is quite well balanced
F: Incredibly drinkable for an IPA. Definitely some astringency, which is expected. Carbonation is not to heavy.
O: Very nice IPA. Ranks up there with the best of them. Had high expectations with this beer and they were met.

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Photo of timfelix
4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I have had it on tap and from the bottle. Similar tasting experience. Lots of hop flavors throughout, while staying smooth even with quite a bite from all those hops. No malt noticed. If you like hops, this is excellent. But as another reviewer noted, there are other very good IPAs that will cost a lot less.
Full disclosure: I find many IPAs to be so hoppy I think I could bite into a fresh hop and chase it with cold water and get the same taste.

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Photo of dgmirelli
3.93/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

bought as a single serve establishment in a train station, payed $8 for one! expected alot for $8 needed alot for $8, drank out of bottle, beer had a steady hop balance, on this particular drink tasted as a straight IPA, not much on additional flavoring but again drank from bottle with bag wrapped around. this is limiting no doubt, this was however very pricey

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Photo of Niceroad77
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

What a delicious brew! This beer is very close to my favourite IPA (Fat Tug) in taste, aroma and feel. More head, retention, lacing and paler colour though. Living in British Columbia (Canada), I have a much greater accessibility tot he Fat Tug and don't have to pay as much for it. The Sculpin cost me 23.50$ CAN for a six pack. Never paid that much for a beer but I really wanted to try it because of its great reviews. Now I see why, it is in fact one of the greatest IPA's I had the opportunity to drink.

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Photo of BryanReed
4.11/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice clear gold orange pour with tight-bubbled head.

Aromas of juicy grapefruit, with a touch of really sharp pine.

Tastes just like it smells, with maybe a little spiciness added.

Overall, really nice. Tons of hop flavor. Complex, and delicious.

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Photo of basildog
4.58/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This poured a nice brownish-orange in color with a white head that rose up nicely and left some good lacing.

Smell - The hops here are very raw and fresh. The pine is all over the place almost completely drowning out the orangish aromas that you'd expect from the hop combination. Also, in the truest sense of the style, there is little malt to the nose.

Taste - Again, this is pure to the style. The malt is very much in the background of this flavor profile. The hops are incredibly fresh, almost like it's dry-hopped, and offer just enough orange sweetness to smooth out the raw edge to this beer.

Mouthfeel - This medium-bodied IPA is incredibly smooth considering the massive hop flavors and is just slightly dry.

Drinkability - The lack of a giant dry finish keeps this IPA going down like water. This is easily one of the smoothest most drinkable "big hop" IPAs that I've ever had.

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Photo of breardon1776
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Refreshing like drinking a cold glass of lemonade or sweet tea in a hit Georgia summers day. I typically give average smell rating for beers as I'm never impressed but here I am. Small fluffy head. Nice orange Amber color. Not bitter, more hops. I feel there is one more character of hops the beer should have(something bolder) but it is great the way it tastes now.

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Photo of rjmarten
4.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look and smell were a little underwhelming, but taste more than made up for it. A little disappointed how the linger went away so quickly, but then was pleasantly surprised as to how it returned. One of the more enjoyable IPA's I've had, but at $16.00 for a six pack of 12 ounce bottles, I will stick with those other few I enjoy as much, but whose price is easier to swallow.

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Photo of TomChiari777
4.36/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L -- Pours a coppery-gold with a fair white head that reduces to a ring around the edge. Slight lacing at first.

S -- Dank, grass, pine, citrus.

T -- First hit is pine and resin, some floral and grassy notes follow up, then dank comes in mid palate, and bitter takes it out through the end. With warmth, the citrus shows up stronger, mostly in the mid/end notes. The dankness also mellows out a bit, turns into herbal and earthy notes. There's also a sweetness to it that keeps it from being a hopbomb.

F -- Crisp, good bitterness, a little resin leftover.

O -- Good overall beer. Lots of dynamics in flavortown and they meld well together, none overpowering, each contributing in its own way.

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Photo of govlady
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured a darker orange into the glass with two fingers of foam that lingered
smell a lot of tropical fruit, mango?, citrus
taste - fruity with a hint of pine, bitterness on the back end
mouthfeel - medium carb, medium bodied, pretty refreshing beer
overall - a solid IPA. wish we had these out in MO, but with frequent trips to chicago and CA, i get my hands on sculpins when I can. i do prefer the grapefruit sculpin, which is odd because i dont love grapefruit.

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Photo of Flyjetz
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

One of the best IPAs I've ever tasted. A mouthful of flavor. First tried at the Yard House in West Palm Beach. If there is a perfect beer, this is close.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,306 ratings.