Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

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2,224 Reviews
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Reviews: 2,224
Hads: 11,991
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.43%
Wants: 1,319
Gots: 3,818 | FT: 49
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: 2,224 | Hads: 11,991
Photo of TH28
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz can with 11/5/15 code date. Appearance: Golden and slightly hazy, with a thick white foam cap. Aroma: Intense mix of melon, grapefruit, pineapple, grass, and resin. Taste: Light bready malt that quickly turns to sharp bitterness and dank, resinous, earthy hop flavors. Grapefruit and grassiness is there, but very low. Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with a medium-high carbonation Finish: Seems to balance well on the finish, with only a slight lingering bitterness. It does leave a sticky resin on the tongue. Overall: Well done west coast IPA that has a great aroma, with a dominant hop bitterness that doesn’t overpower thru the finish. Fairly light malt base that let’s the hops shine but still remains balanced. (726 characters)

Photo of Kelz87
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bomber to pub pint glass

A- nice dark copper color with about a 2-3 finger head with a regular pour and some decent lacing

S- some tropical fruit, grapefruit, and other sweet notes I can't quite pick out

T- grapefruit, hints of tropical fruit, slight pine,with bitterness that is quite apparent and really hides the 7% abv

M- creamy mouthfeel with low-med carbonation

O- a very solid well rounded IPA, I'm not getting too many malty flavones which I prefer in my IPAs. It easy to see why it's a highly rated beer, but I still prefer the Freshly Squuzed IPA for the money. (588 characters)

Photo of TheBeerMaster1
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Really good ipa with a touch of apricot. Was drinking founders all day iPa back to back and it actually tasted like all day had more abv%, which has 4.7% compared to sculpin at 7%. Great beer but so expensive. (210 characters)

Photo of ColoradoPhil
4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Omg! this is good. I tried the Grapefruit which may be tastier for the delicious grapefruit added. but this is great world class beer no doubt. I could drink this everyday as a favorite but could drink a number of fine Microbrew IPA's everyday.. for $5.00 less a six pack. This is premium beer, but there are a lot of great beers to be had for $10.00 a six pack. We truly are in a golden age of great American craft beers! Life is good. (436 characters)

Photo of Tonyjenlasc
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best IPA I've tried thus far!!!! Beautiful look to it with a solid 2 finger creamy head and some good lacing. Immediate juicy grapefruit smell with a grapefruit / citrusy taste up front with a piney/resiny taste in the back. Good mouthfeel and goes down as smooth as can be. It's going to be tough to beat in my opinion. (324 characters)

Photo of fank2788
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz can served in a pint glass
Pours a bright coppery orange with a finger or so of bright white bubbles on top. The aroma is incredible with this one. Being a west coast IPA there is a ton of hop aromas and most of those are of the citrus and fruit varieties. There is also a bit of pine and even a touch of sweet caramel as well, great layers. The taste follows the smell with a big hit of citrus up front followed by another hit of resiny pine hoppiness. Its got a serious bitter hit but there is still enough malt in there to leave it at least somewhat balanced. It's quite prickly on the tongue both due to some tight carbonation and the tingly bitterness. Despite being relatively high in alcohol it is very well hidden by the everything else that is going on. Overall this is a very good beer maybe not the best IPA out there but certainly worth giving a try. (875 characters)

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

Quintessential American IPA. It is hoppy, complex, layered, refreshing and balanced. The aromatics found are what you'd find in a traditional American IPA. In summary, it is the traditional made very, very well. (211 characters)

Photo of scbeerman
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had it plenty of times. Even when fresh and from a can, it's just nothing spectacular when compared to a lot of IPAs. Definitely a great beer but it's not a 100. (161 characters)

Photo of Mortarforker
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought a 6 pack in cans from specs in Ft.Worth.Popped the top and right away I could smell this beer.Nose was grapefruit and some citrus and kinda faint pine.Taste was not bad at all,piney grapefruit with a nice bitter finish.Glad I got these.Prost! (251 characters)

Photo of ljjpowers
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Much like Daniel from Green Eggs & Ham, I could enjoy Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA in a box with a fox, in a house with a mouse, on tap, in a can, from a bottle, ON A BOAT, and theoretically, in any which way it was presented to me. In honor of this San Diego brewery’s affinity for naming beers after sea life, though, I’ve decided to take this particular tasting nautical (Longfin Lager, Wahoo White, Calico Amber, and Black Marlin Porter are just a few of its other marine-inspired classics).

Poured from the bottle, Sculpin draws you in with an inviting copper color that resembles the hypothetical love-child of a seven-year-old penny and the golden honey sticks that are sold at your local farmer’s market (“4 for $1!”). Hovering over the glass for just a few seconds, it becomes impossible to ignore the bouquet of floral, piney, and citrus scents— these components meld together to create an effect more substantial and compelling than their individual parts. Apricot and mango notes also announce their presence after just the third sniff. Now that the proper pleasantries have been exchanged with the guest of honor, it’s time to taste. The hoppy quality synonymous with the IPA style is evident from the get-go, but this bitterness is mellowed nicely by the combination of floral, piney, and citrus components that follow (as expected from the nose). The beer demonstrates smooth (yet crisp) and bitter (yet creamy) qualities in alternate succession that awaken and inspire the palate. And it is this very thing — the intoxicating interplay between elements of taste, mouthfeel, aroma, appearance, and environment — that makes tastings so special. While I’m sure that Ballast Point has a fantastic quality control process and although every Sculpin is virtually identical at a molecular level, no two tasters have the same perception of flavor and no two tastings take place in the exact same way. I, for example, am enjoying this particular brew while boating around the harbor and shooting-the-shit with a good friend. In all honesty, I could probably appreciate Sculpin in the worst of times and in the foulest of places, but the atmosphere in which a beer is experienced has the potential to elevate its subtleties and complexities. Not to mention that another participant provides a second opinion off of which to bounce your perceived tastes, smells, and ideas. Oh, and in my case, a boat captain (thanks, Alex). Make no mistake, Sculpin is everything it’s said to be and the only way to fully understand the fanfare that surrounds it is to try some for yourself. Cheers! (2,612 characters)

Photo of WestmontStorm
4.41/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Real nice IPA. Clean crisp refreshing aftertaste. In Illinois this stuff costs $14/sixpack. Very good but not worth the do-re-mi.
Lagunitas IPA is just as good. (160 characters)

Photo of Weisenbeer
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

As Bill and Ted might remark... "This beer is most excellent!" I have tried a lot of IPAs, and this one is near the top of the class. First beer I've had from this brewer. It cost a pretty penny (so my lady friend says), but appears to be worth the extra nickels. (265 characters)

Photo of d_porter
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First BA review! Still developing a taste for IPAs, but I have to say this is the smoothest one yet. Doesn't have that bite of a Stone or a DF 60 min. Goes down smooth and has just enough taste to let you know its an IPA! Poured out of a bomber into a 23oz pilsner! Easy to drink, so be careful! (296 characters)

Photo of soupyman10
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Looks like an IPA, amber, great white lacing and a finger of foam. Nose and flavor are well balanced, nice drying hops with a fair bit of fruit and a touch of caramel malt. Really good flavor, almost stereotypically what I think of when I think of an IPA. It's a great brew, on par with a lot of very good ones: Two Hearted, 60 Minute, Titan, etc. Seems like maybe the hype train got a little out of control with this one, but as I said, definitely a tasty everyday beer. Very happy it's started to show up all over the East Coast. (531 characters)

Photo of mdcrouser
4.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Beautifully fluffy white head sits atop a glass of transparent liquid glowing gold.

Freshly carved pineapple is most apparent.

Pineapple, pine, some other citrus - oh man, that's ridiculously good.

Creamy, some sharpness and spiciness in the hops, heavy on the tongue.

Love this beer (and I don't say that much) - well-balanced, lots of freshness, unique in the pineapple being so up front. (399 characters)

Photo of frozyn
4.14/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L -- Thick white head with a pale amber color.

S -- Pine, hoppy, tropical fruit, floral.

T -- Lots of hops creates a nice bitterness.

F -- Quite good for an IPA, a little fizzy.

O -- A very good beer, but I prefer Jai Alai. For the price, I don't feel it presents a good value, especially given what else is out there. (327 characters)

Photo of MaximalC
3.76/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a transparent gold color with an inch of coarse, white suds. Aroma smacks of fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit and little else; maybe a hint of honey-like sweetness sneaks through.

The taste features grapefruit, bready malt, and some grain husk (especially toward the back). Hints of bubblegum lurk beneath the surface as well. Pine resin seeps through more once the grapefruit acquiesces. Medium body and carbonation mostly stay out of the way and let the hops do their thing.

Overall, this is a solid, flavorful IPA. I don’t quite get the hype it receives, but it’s certainly good. (601 characters)

Photo of Short-Pour
4.06/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a solid IPA for sure. Very easy to get, and very consistent. Pours nice and clear with a nice one finger head into my glass. Great IPA for an early evening in hot weather. A little too much bitterness at the finish. (229 characters)

Photo of Uhopia
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Hype! Hype! Git'cher hype right here! Well, if you have the bollocks to back it up, then I say holler the F away. You earned it. You see, what we have right here is a tasty little blend of citrus-i-nessed-up hop cones of love, swirled in a mildly malty, yet high booze content-laden brew decanted into a proper glass for pure pleasure results - every time. And if you have read any of my other plugs, it also comes in a fricken 6-pack. Thank you Ballast. (454 characters)

Photo of craftbeersweden
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Golden color with a 2 finger high, white, head.

Nose: Grapefruit, lemon, pine, apricot, tropical fruit and caramel.
Taste: Smooth taste of hops, grass, pine, mango and a lot of tropical fruits. Body: A great smooth body with a little bitter taste at the end.
Perfectly balanced!

A really great brew! (305 characters)

Photo of car2052
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle to pint glass.

A: Hazy bright orange. 1 in. white head.
S: Peach, grapefruit, dark berry, yeast.
T: Grapefruit and pine right at the front of the tongue. Sweeter fruits take over. Sweetness towards the end.
M: Medium. Nice crisp alcohol at the end.
O: Very standard IPA flavors. I would want more tropical aromas and flavors for a higher rating. (372 characters)

Photo of do_ob
4.63/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a tulip. Pours a crystal-clear amber with nearly 3 fingers of white, sticky foam. Tropical fruit, citrus, pine, and bubblegum on the nose. Very sweet tropical fruit and floral notes up front on the taste. Medium-light weight, and a very creamy and crisp mouthfeel. Grapefruit, pineapple, mango, and banana all present up front, with a biscuity-malt settling in middleways. Finishes as creamy as ever, and produced a tingling hop bitterness on the finish. Tart fruit, pine, and hops on the aftertaste.

Incredibly well-made, well-balanced, and tasty IPA right here. It's not often I get to try these world-class brews, but this one is pretty special. Might be the best IPA I've ever had. (705 characters)

Photo of jweaver95
4.8/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

An IPA lover's dream. Was fortunate enough to have this at a Padres game out in San Diego, and I was not disappointed. I'm back in Chicago now, and I miss it like I miss California. (181 characters)

Photo of ryaneasterling
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a world class Cali IPA. Get it in the can. Ballast Point is very proud of their beer, and for good reason, but you can't cop a six pack for less than 13 or 14 bucks. (174 characters)

Photo of Cylinsier
4.53/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. can

Pours a clear golden color with a coarse two inch head, dissipates very slowly to a lacing.

Smells of honey, buttered bread, grapefruit, and pine.

The taste is of honey and bready malt with a maple hop followed by hints of strawberry, passion fruit, and orange citrus. Finished with a piney bitterness.

Medium body with tingly carbonation on the tongue.

An exceptionally good IPA that does everything right. Drinks very easy and smooth. Deserves to be in the pantheon of great American IPAs. If anything could stand improvement, its the mouthfeel which is every so slightly thin for what the beer is. Otherwise, top notch. (649 characters)

Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,224 ratings.