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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,329 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7329
Reviews: 1914
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
Ratings: 7,329 | Reviews: 1,914 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of PSU_Mike


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

Serving - Can poured into a Speiglau IPA Glass

A - Big white 3 finger head, golden straw color, very active carbonation. A touch lighter than normal for an IPA.

S - Very piney. I got a big blast when I cracked the can. A little resiny in the background.

T - A touch bitter and sweet. Follows the nose. It's a touch ordinary. The piney hops run the show. I'm not getting any citrus notes like others have suggested.

M - Lively as all hell. A sweet finish on the tongue.

O - Don't get me wrong here, it's a very good beer...with good being the operative word. I was left a little disappointed. I enjoyed it but it is nothing I would actively seek out. The carbonation was a little strong as well.

Serving type: can

12-19-2013 02:24:20 | More by PSU_Mike
Photo of gqqg

New York

4.61/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drinking this bad boy straight from the can like a piece of po' white trash! Can't beat the mango-guava-tropical nose. The hops make love to your tongue but in a totally violent way. Truly one of the finer IPAs out there. Would be a great beer to crush after a long run on a hot day.

Serving type: can

12-18-2013 00:42:37 | More by gqqg
Photo of alaimoa


4.09/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice west coast IPA that pours copper with a bit of off white head. Smells of grapefruit and pine. Taste semi bitter throughout most of the sip with nice florals and citrus.. Bit of a bite and good dry aftertaste. Easily a buy again and hopefully continua to show up fresh on the shelves in NY

Serving type: can

11-21-2013 23:57:41 | More by alaimoa
Photo of StaveHooks


4.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

12oz can to Sierra Nevada IPA glass

A - Brassy golden body, crystal clear, firm 2 finger off-white head. Textbook retention and lacing showing off.

S - Awesome bouquet of citrus aroma. Grapefruit, apricot, spicy, light bready malt. Yeast comes out more as it sets. The aroma is spot on. A harmonious balance of hops, yeast and malt.

T - Spicy grapefruit bitterness right off the top. Bright and clean. Sweet and bitter grapefruit flesh morphs into resinous grapefruit rind bitterness toward the end. Citrus, pineapple, and, stone unripened stone fruit dominate the palate. It has a simple sweetness that plays off the hops wonderfully. Semi grainy malts add just enough backbone to support the strong citrus hops. Finishes crisp and clean with a long bitter aftertaste.

M - Medium full body, low to medium carbonation, smooth with a very clean finish.

This might be the best IPA I've had to date. It is clean, precise, and executed almost flawlessly. It's bursting with hop flavor and bitterness without being over the top which is hard to come by. The layering of flavors are very impressive. As of right now this is my favorite IPA to date. This 6pack was 15.99 but worth every penny.

Serving type: can

11-01-2013 16:13:34 | More by StaveHooks
Photo of Ljudsignal


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

12oz can(!) poured into an English pint glass. Thanks to MarkJC1018 for giving me this little gem.

Pours a hazy deep golden-amber. A semi-vigorous pour yields a frothy, bone-white two-finger head which subsides fairly quickly into a sudsy collar. Spotty lacing with decent retention.

The nose is a little restrained, to be honest...grapefruit, bitter citrus, some melon, and a thickly resinous pine note. Nothing to write home about, although perfectly pleasant.

When the beer hits the palate, though, things start to get more interesting. Opens with light floral and tropical fruit notes--pineapple, apricot, mango, melon again--before a potent, bitter hop wallop emerges mid-palate. Subtle notes of biscuity, wheaty malt keep Sculpin just restrained enough to keep it from becoming totally unbalanced. Finishes dry and mostly bitter, with a slight resurgence of sweet fruits on the back of the palate just before the finish.

Medium-bodied and fairly oily, but with a crisp, snappy carbonation keeping the beer from feeling too thick. Clean and dry on the finish. The 7% ABV is nowhere to be seen...in fact, this beer feels dangerously sessionable.

An excellent beer that I would happily buy time and time again were it not so expensive. Still certainly worth the $11-$14 it can cost for a six-pack...but make sure to get it fresh, it makes a world of difference. Recommended, although there are definitely IPAs out there that I'm fonder of and that are available to me just as readily.

Serving type: can

10-11-2013 03:45:34 | More by Ljudsignal
Photo of lovethebelgians


4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bought a six-pack of cans, usually serve in a Sam Adams pint glass, poors easy to get a two fingered head.

appearance is a tad murky gold

the hops aromas are great, flowers and citrus

taste has a bit of the bite from hops and finishes with the fruit flavors heavy in the mouth, one is pretty filling

Serving type: can

10-07-2013 17:34:05 | More by lovethebelgians
Photo of snaotheus


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

12oz can poured into a pint glass. Can code is SC 305 13211.

Pours golden, clear, with a big beautiful fluffy head, starts to fade slowly, leaves nice lacing. Little carbonation ongoing. Smell is pungent and pleasant, piny, floral, honeysuckle, citrus. Very nice.

Taste is pine resinous, grapefruit, slight breadiness, unassuming but really delicious.

Mouthfeel is about perfect. Exactly the right combination of fluffiness and creaminess. Overall, I'm very pleased with this beer, and delighted to finally be able to try it.

Serving type: can

09-17-2013 23:56:00 | More by snaotheus
Photo of WTKeene


4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a can into a snifter. No date on the can or six pack box, unfortunately.

Appearance: A loose one finger white head, some lacing. Beautiful copper orange, almost red color. This is a beautiful beer to look at.

Smell: Lots of hops. Floral, some grapefruit. A light hint of something sweet, perhaps thats the malt.

Taste: Very hop-forward. Citrusy character, some bready malts after the hop bomb has gone off, lingering hop bitterness in the aftertaste, that I would personally call unpleasant. I prefer my IPAs to be a bit less overtly bitter. The rest of the flavor is quite nice though. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel: About as much carbonation as I'd want, it has a nice body to it. Certainly not thin.

Overall: Not my favorite IPA, but I can see what people like about it. I'd say the six pack was definitely a good choice, I could see myself drinking more of this.

Serving type: can

09-17-2013 04:35:34 | More by WTKeene
Photo of alucardswordlol

North Carolina

4.86/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Fresh Sculpin from Brawley's Beverage poured from the can into a glass.

Appearance: Pretty, dark orange colour with head retention expected from an IPA

Smell : Pick up on the lemon/grapefruit aroma subtlety, could be interpreted as mango

Taste: Like taking a bite out of a grapefruit. Fantastic rush of bittersweetness than lingers the perfect amount of time. Get some good lemon up front too.

Mouthfeel: A nice light body that helps to balance out the initial wave of hop bitterness.

Overall: I go through phases with IPA's and my go to was Founders Centennial (or lavery dulachan when available), but I have a new standby. This is one of the best Beers I have ever had, never mind an IPA. For a beer classified as an IPA this is a lesson and perfect example of artisan craftsmanship and deliberately imparting these flavours into a beer with the hops (Does anyone else feel a good amount of IPAs are just packed with hops without any rhyme or reason these days? Particularly double IPAs?) . Great work and if I wound up with another one of these in my lifetime, I'd call it KARMA!

Serving type: can

09-12-2013 16:27:02 | More by alucardswordlol
Photo of wethorseblanket


4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours clear orange from a 12 ounce can yielding a one-inch thick off-white head which leaves rings and spots of lace.

N: Juicy tropicals (mango and kiwi), peaches, floral. Very aromatic.

T: Citrus (tangerine and grapefruit), herbal dankness, caramel bready malt for balance and slight pine.

M: Moderate body and medium carbonation. Dry, sticky, resiny, and bitter finish.

O: A solid all around IPA. The can format is nice and packable/transportable.

Serving type: can

09-07-2013 22:25:35 | More by wethorseblanket
Photo of spoony


3.89/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From a 12 oz can into a wine glass. Reviewed from notes dated August 30, 2013.

A-A normal pour produces about one and one-half fingers of sticky, off-white head. The brew is orange-golden in color and clear. Retention is pour, but some lace is left behind.

S-This is a juicy beer. I get peach and sweet (tropical) citrus flavors with very little bitterness. The doughy, bready malts merely add to the juicy smell. Different from a typical supercharged, bittered-up IPA, but not terribly inspiring or complex.

T-The taste is similar to the smell with lots of juicy fruit...peaches, mango, and orange citrus are all represented. The malts are pale, mild, and doughy. Balance is good here with the hops being flavorful without being aggressive.

M-The feel is soft, with a moderate, slightly oily body.

O-I am somewhat disappointed. The juicy fruit flavors are pleasant, but I found them to be a bit one-dimensional. Not to say that this beer is not a good IPA, it is above average actually, but it is not the world-beater I was expecting. Perhaps my can was old and the complexity had faded or perhaps it really is just a case of setting unrealistic expectations, but there are better IPAs in California and elsewhere.

Serving type: can

09-06-2013 03:35:50 | More by spoony
Photo of BobZ


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

12oz. can poured into a hotel tumbler.

Appearance: Bright golden yellow with a nice 1" head that hangs around with sticky lacing.

Smell: Floral hops and citrus, nicely refreshing.

Taste: As in the nose citrus dominant, mostly grapefruit, floral hops. Flavorful IPA, grapefruit citrus balanced well against a malt backbone. Like the freshness and how the can helps keep out any adverse impact form light.

Mouthfeel: Extremely clean, smooth and refreshing.

Overall: Another very sessionable and well constructed IPA, really nice warm summer afternoon beer.

Serving type: can

08-23-2013 16:49:51 | More by BobZ
Photo of ISmith87


4.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 ounce can into a porter glass. This is a great beer that I've had from a bottle, draft and now in a can thanks to Ballast Point's decision to can their beers. I love it when great breweries can their beers because it makes it so much easier to take their beer to the pool or other places that don't allow glass.

A - 4.5 - Golden amber beer that has only the slightest hint of haze. 1 finger of off white head that fades off into a thin film of bubbles in the center of the beer with a thin ring around the outside. No lacing.

S - 5.0 - Wow. This beer smells great, mostly like grapefruit and citrus zest at first. But then you take a second whiff and get a plethora of tropical fruits --> mango, pineapple, papaya. The hop aroma is amazing.

T - 5.0 - The smell is just a foreshadowing of how amazing this beer tastes. Very strong grapefruit with orange, lemon lime, mango, pineapple, pine, and hop bitterness that sticks in your mouth. For an American IPA this beer packs more hop flavor in it than most Imperial/Double IPAs. I'd easily rank it up with Stone Ruination/Ruinten and Pliny. No real malt flavor in there but I'm pretty sure that's the point.

M - 4.75 - Great carbonation, amazing hop bitterness, the only thing is even at 7% it has a little bit of an alcohol bite.

O - 4.75 - This is an amazing American IPA, probably the best one I've had. I think what makes it so amazing is that hop flavor-wise it easily stands up to much "bigger" IPAs. And now that it's canned it's a great beer to take golfing, to the pool, or out on the boat without the worry of glass bottles laying around.

Serving type: can

08-11-2013 21:00:14 | More by ISmith87
Photo of Spikester


4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pale amber with one finger of white head and moderate amount of lace. Smell is pungent hop aroma. Lots of piney hop aroma with a minor amount of malt.
Taste is pine resins, white grapefruit, just enough malts to make it an IPA.
Mouthfeel is fully carbonated with a strong dry bitter finish.
Overall an excellent American IPA. At least in the top ten, maybe top five.

Serving type: can

08-01-2013 06:17:04 | More by Spikester
Photo of facundoCNB

New Jersey

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

a clean golden pour with 2 fingers of head which dissipated very slowly and left behind possibly the most lacing i've seen in any beer. aromas of pine and grapefruit, caramel, very hop forward. the flavor is again very hop forward mostly of grapefruit, citrusy sweetness with a lingering piney bitterness.. a nice caramel bready malt kicks in mid-palate. medium in body with moderate carbonation, creamy feel for an ipa.

this is a very nice ipa, and it's nice to finally try it in a can.. i've had this on tap and in growler before, but never got a chance to review it.. it's just as good, if not better than i remember.

Serving type: can

07-26-2013 00:31:43 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of Roguer


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

Thick, ~4 finger fluffy flat white head from a solid can pour. Very good retention. Brew is a light gold/amber, clear, transparent. Leaves behind thick lacing like a nightmare spiderweb.

Classic citrus IPA hop aroma: ruby red grapefruit, light caramel malts with a hint of biscuit, slight honey or flowers. Slightly delicate, not overpowering, not overly complex.

Flavor follows the nose, albeit with a fairly noticeable bittering hop component. Tropical fruit and juicy grapefruit up front, an earthy hop bitterness, and citrus peel finish. All along, it floats on a noticeable but balanced caramel malt backbone.

Very little carbonation sting, but I don't get any syrupy feel to it; it's a fairly light, easy drinking IPA. Nice lingering feel, slightly sweet but almost resiny bitter aftertaste. Great balance with the malts and a huge hoppy bitterness.

Finally, I get to see what all the hoopla surrounding this beer is all about, and I can say, it's deserved. This is an excellent single IPA. It reminds me of a slightly flatter or earthier Jai Alai or Flower Power, and could easily be a daily drinking IPA.

Serving type: can

07-11-2013 23:46:32 | More by Roguer
Photo of Alextricity


4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Canned 6/26/13 and picked up at The Beer Temple in Chicago. Oh, how I'm looking forward to this...

Appearance: Pours with a massive four finger soapy head that stays for quite awhile. Sculpin has a pretty clear light amber color. The lacing is fantastic. Excellent looking IPA.

Smell: Grass and peaches are the two things that I get most. There is also a slight citrus note in there as well. Really does smell nice.

Taste: Quite a lot like the aroma, really. Kind of tastes like a ripe peach at first, and the medium feel of Sculpin gives that impression even more. There's then a bitterness on the middle of the tongue, with a sticky, dry, piney and bitter finish. The aftertaste is just lingering pine and peach bitterness that I love. Sculpin's an excellent name for this IPA, especially as it warms up. After being out for about ten minutes, the bitterness intensifies, and the alcohol becomes traceable.

Canned and put onto my tastebuds here in Michigan just 12 days later. A six-pack ran me $14 or $15, which is definitely kind of steep (considering I can get a sixer of Two Hearted for $10), but this has an excellent bitter pine and peach flavor that I thoroughly enjoy. If this were available in Michigan, I'd definitely pick it up from time-to-time... even with the slightly higher price point.

Serving type: can

07-08-2013 15:56:13 | More by Alextricity
Photo of tone77


3.81/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I had this before from a bottle but found it better from the can. By the way, that can came from the creator of the canquest, woodychandler. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a dark golden color with a 1 inch head. Smell is very hoppy, some citrus. Taste is bitter, lots of hops, some citrus, a touch of malts, pretty tasty. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a fine beer.

Serving type: can

06-28-2013 05:05:05 | More by tone77
Photo of funkymonks


3.69/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: light pale, almost golden, medium head out of can

Aroma: citrus, grassy

taste: citrus, mellow grassy, buttery, biscuit

palate: light-medium malty body feel

overall: a great go to IPA that isn't overwhelmingly hoppy, tastes great out of a can.

Serving type: can

06-10-2013 04:17:07 | More by funkymonks
Photo of RobertColianni


3.73/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sculpin 12oz. Can poured into 16oz. Goose Island Pint Glass @ Hawthorne's Cafe in Philadelphia

A: A perfect orange/burnt amber tone and a slightly spotty head following decent froth.

S: Fresh, very sweet hopiness. Almost gives off the aroma of confectionery lozenges.

T: Sweet tones backed up by a killer bitter hop kick of resin.

M: Thin. Dry. Perfect levels of maltiness.

OVERALL: Hits the palate in waves and only thins out towards the end of the sip as the perfect flavors all come forward at once. This is what IPA's should taste and look like!

Serving type: can

05-05-2013 20:39:20 | More by RobertColianni
Photo of justintcoons


4.29/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz can poured into a shaker pint.

Gold with 1/2 finger of head. Excellent clarity with low-moderate carbonation.

Mango, papaya, candied orange and hints of pineapple.

Mango, papaya, candied orange and hints of pineapple. Caramel and pale candy sugars. Finishes with some tangerine and a touch of pine.

Medium bodied, crisp, juicy, dry and clean.

Yeah, still an outstanding IPA. Loads of tropical fruits striking a nice balance between the candy-like malts. Juicy and not overly bitter.

Serving type: can

05-04-2013 00:42:47 | More by justintcoons
Photo of arfenhouse


4.49/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Re-reviewing canned release. 6 day old can.

A: Clear copper with white head. Retention is above average. Decent Lacing.

S: Pine, juicy pineapple, caramel sweetness, and bitter grapefruit. Peach in the background.

T: Grapefruit, pineapple, and a some peach. The fruity bitterness is easy to handle. A small bit of sweet bread/honey sweetness. Aftertaste is bitter grapefruit.

M: Medium-full mouthfeel with medium carbonation. On the dry side.

O: Very tasty. Very fruity and overall fresh tasting. Not overly bitter, meets the standards of a high quality IPA.

The canned version differed mainly in the mouthfeel. Feels fuller bodied with a little less carbonation than the bottled versions.

Serving type: can

04-03-2013 06:54:27 | More by arfenhouse
Photo of CommanderOfAwesome


4.03/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

First wave of Sculpin cans finally hit in the area. Thought it would be a great time to revisit the classic and see how it's holding up.

A: The can artwork is sparse and unassuming. I kind of dig the simplicity of it along with the little marketing speal on the side of the can breaking up the rather large font BALLAST POINT on the side of the can. The off white also makes the can easy to see in the low light around a camp fire, and for that I appreciate the extra mile. The color scheme is highly suggestive to the outdoors/camp fire crowd and frankly sitting here on the couch, makes me want to get out to big sur for a camping/hiking trip. I could also see this beer pairing great on a rafting trip on the Klamath river. It's multi functional.

S: Getting a nice cat pee/liter box aroma wafting from the can. Hints of aluminum meld in perfect symphony with the citrus pine subtlety.

T: First swig getting a nice piney flavor wave with a sweet citrus finish. Slight grapefruit in this with a nice malt (albeit a slight surprised to find this here) presence to help balance this one out. The can produces the crisp-ness that I crave with my IPAs.

M: Medium bodied, but not heavy that you feel full. Sticky finish with a creamy-ness to the beer that I think most WCIPAs lack and make me yearn for the East Coast IPAs I grew up on.

O: I'm a fan of the canned package and would purchase this again over the bottles. Better to keep fresh longer, better for canning, nicer looking package (slight retro outdated look to it that I dig) though I hope they start putting canned on dates on the packaging somewhere or I doubt I'll buy again.

Serving type: can

01-08-2013 17:03:56 | More by CommanderOfAwesome
Photo of Axnjxn

North Carolina

4.56/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh can into a tulip.

Pours a beautiful copper color iwth an inch thick head with some amazing lacing. Smell is BIG on hops and malts; you can tell this beer is going to rock your world before you even sip it. The taste is not big on hops at all, but extremely balanced, just how i like my IPAs. good sweet malts to balance out the hops makes this beer go down super easy and you will enjoy every second of it. no alcohol detectable. medium bodied with medium carbonation.

overall a world class IPA. and now they brew it in cans too? amazing.

Serving type: can

12-13-2012 19:03:55 | More by Axnjxn
Photo of rawfish


4.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bottle to a tulip glass. The color is a clear gold with some copper highlights. White frothy head sits maximum of two fingers over the body. Retention was a little underwhelming, average for an ipa but leaves thick lacing on the glass.

Exceptional aroma, not alot of IPAs can even match this, very floral and unique, with grapefruit and mango front, notes of apricot, lemons and lychee streaking through at times. Sweet malt backing complements the fruit salad aroma well. Brilliant nose, could smell it all day.

Drops a couple notches here compared to the nose, bready malts lay down a good foundation with some thin grains, a bit coarse. Hop flavor kicks in grapefruit, lemon and pine, less bright and tropical than the nose would indicate but bitterness comes in moderate and bone dry. More piney and juicy than expected, the grapefruit flavor and mouthcoating come in early, the nose was so great it would be hard to match on the flavor as well.

Good carbonation and medium bodied. Finished with a good bitter kick and very dry helping the bitterness to linger. Expectations met, well done.

If you can get this one fresh it's absolutely worth it and the nose is unique even amongst the ever growing masses of IPAs. Flavor is crafted with emphasis on fruity hops, not overly bitter but great refreshing finish.

Serving type: can

06-13-2011 19:44:23 | More by rawfish
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 7,329 ratings.