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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,308 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,308
Hads: 12,505
Avg: 4.38
pDev: 22.37%
Wants: 1,374
Gots: 4,359 | 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: 2,308 | Hads: 12,505
Photo of HotHands
4.57/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber with the tan label. I guess that means it isn't the new one? Regardless, BP doesn't distribute to western NY. The store owner brought these up from NYC himself. I'll take what I can get.

A - pours a translucent gold with a 2 finger white head that's quite persistent. Good lacing, too.

S - all citrus, all the time - lots of grapefruit, lemon, and tangerine. Some other fruit too - maybe honeydew?

T - follows the nose quite well. Lots of grapefruit flavors backed up by some tangerine and some pine. Some slightly sweet malt too, which complements the hop flavors. With pine flavors I like a more savory malt, but citrusy hops can handle a bit of sweetness.

M - finishes kinda dry for an IPA, which I like (but not too dry). I'm not the biggest fan of the real oily mouthfeel of some other IPAs.

D - I want more! This is great stuff, and I could drink it all night... and I would if I lived in an area that Ballast Point distributed to.

If you wanted to show somebody an example of a "typical" IPA, bumped up to its apex, Sculpin is where it's at. There's no unexpected flavors here, but everything about this beer is done at such a high level.

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Photo of thedon10
3.83/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a bomber on 9/30/10, smell is really fresh!

A- Nice 3 finger white fluffy head, with great retention. After 5 minutes watching it sit, the head remains with nice lacing on the glass.

S- Strong citrus smell. As IPAs go, this one seems like the citrus will dominate the piney taste.

T- Wow! Bitter hop blast but oh so smooth. Not as bright a citrus taste as I was expecting from the smell, but great nonetheless. Grapefruit taste is in the front. There's a nice earthy pine taste that comes in after the bitter front, something different here.

M- Feels less carbonated than many other IPAs I've had. Not a very bitter mouthfeel, almost has a sweet taste to it.

D- Solid beer, could easily drink a few of these. Not a super hop bomb but full of flavor

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Photo of dubinsky
4.84/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Bright golden yellow and orange. Poured into my RR "tion" glass with a nice, thick creamy two finger white head with good lacing.

S - Perhaps this is my favorite aspect of this beer. The Smell is wonderful. Pine, citrus, pineapple, tropical fruits and of course, amazing hop aromas. The smell is filling up the room before i even take my first sip.

T - This is arguably the most balanced IPA I've tried so far. Its got a great citrus and fruit flavor as well as an in your face hop punch, with a light malt presence. I love IPA's like this. Hop and citrus forward, with a hint of sweet, malty backbone to balance things out.

M - Medium carbonation with a light and creamy body.

D - I could drink this all day long. Sure its 7% ABV, but i couldn't tell. I find the balance to be what makes this a hugely drinkable IPA. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer every time i drink it and wish it was less expensive.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
4.11/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A gentle pour reveals a clear, yellowy orange liquid, topped by a lively, frothy head with beautiful sticky lacing. It's lighter in colour than your average IPA, that's for sure.

The aroma is a melange of freshly peeled citrus fruits--oranges, pink grapefruit, tangerines--as well as some hints of more tropical fruits like pineapple and mango.

The taste is surprisingly less bitter than anticipated, with a creamy mouthfeel delivering a nice tasty bitter grapefruit pith nicely smoothed out by a bready sweet malt with just a hint of caramel. It's bitter without being harsh or unpleasant. Finishes quick and doesn't quite pack the punch I was expecting at first, but with every sip the bitterness and resinousness grew. That is, of course, assuming resinousness is a real word. I don't know.

Really. What more can I add? This is the top American IPA here for a reason. This is an amazingly well crafted IPA, if not my own personal favourite.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bomber poured into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Clear golden orange with a thick, creamy, white two finger head. Retention is good and leaves behind sticky lacing.

S: Pine, melon rind, fruity citrus notes, and faint hints of a sweet grainy malt base.

T: Fruity and bitter. Honeydew melon, grapefruit, pineapple, peach, and orange. Pine is there, but not as apparent as it was on the nose. Grainy malt base tries to poke through at times and just barely succeeds intermittently. Fruity, juicy, bitter hop tastes remain on the tongue for a long time.

M: Mouthfeel is great: light and creamy with moderate carbonation.

D: Very high. This is an awesome beer. Tasty as hell and an absolute pleasure to drink.

Notes: Excellent beer. Bitter, but brimming with vibrant, juicy fruit flavors. Perfect West Coast IPA, and easily one of the best IPAs I've ever had. Great from the bottle if you can find it fresh, but a damn near religious experience on tap. Mandarin orange and grapefruit tastes are really augmented.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Golden yellow with a heavy haze. Four fingers of dense level super small white micro bubbles. Excellent lacing.

Big inviting citrus aromas are impossible to resist at more than an arm's reach. Lot of peach, apricot, mango, bit of lemon.

Good solid sweet foundation down the tongue is quickly engulfed by an enormous burst of juicy citrus - apricots, mangos, maybe some peaches. Delightful.

Mouthfeel has a solid firmness that holds everything together. Not watery, not syrupy, nicely in the middle, leaning a bit toward the light, and serves the beer well.

Drinkability so good I'm sorry this beer is almost gone.

A much talked about ipa that backed up all the talk. Bring on fresh six packs.

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber poured into a Duvel tulip. This is the new label, I picked it up at table & vine on Friday so it should be pretty fresh, sadly no bottled on date that I can see.

Pours a fairly clear and golden color with a nice one finger head that fades into sticky lacing. Nose is very floral, sweet and fruity. I get honey and sweet malt along with honeydew and light floral hop notes - classic IPA.

Taste is very nice, it's got a surprising amount of bitterness with a good light maltiness, it finishes very light and dry which makes this deadly drinkable. Very fruity and some earthy notes as well. Mouthfeel is full and rich, really creamy. This will be awesome once it's in 6 packs, it's so drinkable one bomber isn't enough!

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Photo of BeerNemesis
3.97/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sculpin India Pale Ale | 650 ml. | 7.0% ABV | 2010

Brewer: Ballast Point Brewing Company
Style: American IPA
Glass: Duvel tulip

I'm not a fan of the label at all. I like the idea of using a sculpin, but the design is off.

deep, golden orange -- crystal clear -- with an impressively foamy, snow-white head and phenomenal lacing.

Delicate but oh so juicy: bright and aromatic tangerines, grapefruit, apricot, peach, mango, and lemon flowers.

Wet, fresh hop taste derived from the same lush fruits evidenced in the nose. The bitterness is intense, almost overbearing. Aftertaste is pure, dry, bitter hops.

Light-bodied, crisp, clean, and cutting. It's thin, but sticky. Thin, cutting carbonation.

I am blown away by the smell, but somewhat disappointed by the palate. The hops are very intense and fresh. However, the lovely, lush fruit flavors make a brief appearance only to be dominated by the mono-faceted bitterness of the hops. I can imagine this going very well with spicy, greasy food.

Would I get it again?:
Yes, with food.

Bottled: ?
Served: September 27, 2010

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Photo of Phelps
3.82/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Having been disappointed by this beer twice before, I decided to give it one final shot to live up to its reputation. Fool me thrice, shame on me. This one was poured from the tap at Tops into a small snifter.

Looks: pale tangerine, slightly hazy, with a decent-sized head of filmy white that grips the sides in sticky ant-farm-shaped trails.

Smells: eye-opening. Bright aromas of pine, mango, grapefruit and orange woke me up.

Tastes: like a letdown. The hops contribute more bitterness than flavor. There's pine and grapefruit, but in muted form. The finish is nice and crisp.

Feels: smooth and nice. Medium in body, low in carbonation, with a tiny bit of warming alcohol.

Drinks: like positive reinforcement. My previous experiences now justified, I can safely say it: I don't get the popularity of this beer. It's decent, but not worth the price and definitely not worth wasting any more time seeking out.

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Photo of DevilSaint78
4.94/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours with a thick foamy head leaving lacey rings all over the glass. A beautiful rusty orange color with slight carbonation. Smells of a variety of citrus but the grapefruit really breaks through more than anything else. At first the taste matches the strong hints of grapefruit in the smell, followed by a punch of hops that complements the sweet citrusy flavor perfectly. Very slight alcohol finish but so so smooth I could sip on this all night long. Excellent!

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Photo of 321jeff
4.74/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy dark golden color with a couple fingers of off white head that slowly fades to a layer on top leaving some nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma is great, tons of fresh citrus hops with grapefruit dominating.

Tastes as great as it smells with tons of sweet grapefruit and orange. Sweet at first with a subtle bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium and oily with moderate carbonation that matches this beer perfectly. This is now the 3rd time I've had this beer, twice in the bottle and once on tap, and this must be the freshest I've had it. I'd drink this beer fresh anytime, anywhere. It's really just magical, but get it while it's hot...or should I say cold.

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Photo of robwestcott
4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

big thanks to nerdrocker101 and the Traditional GIF for this one.

poured very cold from the bottle a translucent clover honey orange to a sun king shaped pint glass with a nice big off white head leaving a fair amount of retention.

big hops aroma - floral, grapefruit, and a hint of piney hops to boot.

and as advertised, it's all about the hops. again, primarily floral and grapefruit hops. bitter upon the first sip, but not to the point of whacking you upside the head. it's an enjoyable IPA - not groundbreaking, but definitely enjoyable.

a bit thin, very smooth, medium carbonation, bitter to the tongue and even more after.

drinkable enough i'd guess.

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Photo of ToasterChef
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from my tasting notes of a decent sized sample I consumed at an epic tasting event held with the members of the SMBDC.

The beer is straw colored and translucent, with a clear area near the bottom of my glass. The head is soapy white foam that leaves a lot of film and foam as it recedes. It has a great warm hop aroma, full of citrus and spruce. The taste has some sweet malts and lots of hops. I can pick out a distinct grapefruit citrus flavor. The bitterness is tingly and impressive. It has a medium body and not too much coating. I find this to be impressive for a DIPA. Equally impressive is the drinkability. I could easily finish this entire 22oz bottle myself.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A killer side by side with regular sculpin at spinnerstown hotel. Double dry hopped with palisades and cascade and cask conditioned. Baller!

A- comes to me with a small cap of off white head that settles in a bit to a thin ring and some sweet sticky lace with some slowly cascading drips. Slightly hazy sunset yellow orange with the nicest of glows.

S- well its sculpin for sure, huge amounts of tropical and citrus fruits. A light, powered sugar and honey sweetness.

T- opens up with fruity hops bringing peaches, mangos, tangerines, oranges, maybe some pineapple. Its a cornucopia of fruits that will rival any ipa. A bit of wet vegetation in there as well. Malts are wonderfully used to keep things balanced but still never out shine the hops. Honeysuckle and powdered sugar. Juicy hoppy linger.

M- just about medium in body and as its on cask just the lightest hint of carb.

D- I would drink a few of these any day. And today I will. Yea!

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Photo of RTrain12
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber poured into my new DFH hand blown glass. Thanks to djmichaelk for this one. No bottle date, but this is the old lable.

A: Pours a nice bright cloudy orange with a off white head measuring in about 3/4 of a inch. Some noticable carbonation. Head faded quickley leaving behind some lacing.

S: Lemony, and citrus followed by some fresh hops.

T: Mmm... Good! One tatsey IPA! Citrus and hoppy in the beginig, then bitter at the end.

M: Little carbonation up front as it enters the mouth. This one slides over the palet so smoothly! Leaves the mouth just alittle bitter at the end.

D: Very high drink on this one. This bomber will be gone in no time! I'll be trading for this again in the future.

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Photo of ballz50401
4.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. No freshness date but is believed to be fresh because of the new style label that was just released.

Appearance: Pours a deep pale golden copper with a thick, dense head. The head never really disappears and leaves great lacing.

Smell: Aromas of mango, orange, and pine resin fill the bowl of my glass before a touch of sweet caramel/toffee make their presence.

Taste/Mouthfeel: What a great hop flavor! Grapefruit, lemon, mango, and pine resin round up the hop profile. Not much of a malt backbone, but this one is all about highlighting the great hops used. Some light caramel sweetness for some balance. Mouthfeel is meduim bodied with a firm bitterness.

Drinkability: This brew highlights the hops very well. Great hop flavor/aroma that is refreshing and enjoyable.

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Photo of Mooch273
4.82/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice head retention, glowing orange with a bright clarity allowing light to penetrate like a beacon of brilliance beneath feathery lace.

A: Pungent citrusy aroma: grapefruit, orange aromatics dominate with a slight peppery grass undertone.

T: Citrus blast of hops upfront and a nice sweet bitterness in the aftertaste. Booziness is nearly undetectable.

M: Smooth with a refreshing amount of carbonation; slight dryness on the palate typical of the style.

D: Appropriate carbonation, balanced flavor and bitterness, and inviting aromatics make this an excellent multi-pint IPA.

Overall: This deliciously hoppy nectar gets my vote for the best IPA ever.

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

a - poured a one and a half fingers thick eggshell colored head into a snifter that settles into a thick ring with good sheeting and tremendous lace. the body was a bright amber color.
s - very strong aroma of grapefruit and pine with a hint of some sweet citrus fruits.
t - strong piney bitterness with a hint of spice and some lemon and orange zest. this is all hops with not a lot of balance but it is as good as it gets for an ipa.
m - thin to medium with carbonation that dances on the tongue.
d - excellent beer and a top-notch ipa.

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Photo of johnnieoz
4.89/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

No longer a limited release as witnessed by the redesigned bottle. But still the King of IPAs...

A: Hazy gold shade with ample off-white froth sitting in the red wine goblet, beckoning with those aromas...

S: Name it, it's in there. Mango and grapefruit in abundance joined by all but the most coniferous, piney scents.

T: Bountiful sweet, tangy tropical fruit on the tip of the tongue giving way to mouth-puckering citrusy hops completely coating the palate and the gums. The malt backbone lurks in the equilibrium. Almost negates the need for DIPAs.

M: If I may quibble here...the carbonation lends to a little harshness. Could be my taste buds on the day, but I don't recall this w/ previous Sculpins.

D: Eminently and infinitely refreshing, delicious and thus drinkable. 'Nuff said.

Is there a better 7% abv IPA? No.
At 6%, I love the distinct DFH 60 Minute; and above 7%, it's all about PtE, Burton Baton, Exponential Hoppiness and PtY for me.

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Photo of nataku00
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a fluted Allagash chalice. Beer is a clear golden orange. The initial four fingers of snow white fluffy head was very beautiful, lacing lightly on the glass as you take sips and the head dissipated. A beautiful beer, that you should see in daylight to do it justice.

The nose is predominantly orange peel, with some grapefruit and lemon peel as well. Some pineapple as well, which is different and really adds to the aroma. One of the best smelling IPA's that I've ever had.

The taste follows the nose, with the bitterness sharp initially, but is quickly predominantly citrus that washes over your tongue. The lovely aroma is enhanced as the beer warms in your mouth and is really pleasant. The bitterness does not overpower your palate, and makes this IPA perfect for accompanying food (I had half with some fajitas and salsa, the second half of the bomber after the meal).

Light bodied beer with a small amount of carbonation sufficient to tingle your tongue. Sculpin is the most drinkable IPA I've ever had, delicious flavor profile without the overpowering bitter aftertaste common to this style

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Photo of dubc19382
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have had this on tap and in the bottle. Never a bad day with this beer to look forward to at the end of the day. Nice aroma, big IPA bite, and really cant say anything bad about it.

If you like IPAs this should be on you short list, and make sure someone else is driving you home.

Another great west coast beer!

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Photo of mjrod2142
4.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I found the last 22oz. bomber at Brookline Fine Wine & Gourmet for $10.99. Poured into a pint glass.

The beer has a beautiful straw-colored orangey-ness. I was surprised to see it's also a bit cloudy, but not in an unfiltered sense. The head was thick and creamy, but quickly dissipated. The aroma is beautiful. Very crisp, bright and floral with strong citrus and hoppy notes.

I immediately notice a sharpness to the taste on the middle of my tongue. Obviously, the hoppy bitterness is most prevalent, but the tingling sensation was very interesting. The finish is very long, with lots of complex hop flavors. It packs a bit of a punch at 7% ABV, but I found myself still wanting more.

A very solid beer.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours medium orange with an off-white foamy head. Good clarity. I expected more lace -- some, but not much.

Grapefruit rind and light toasted malt and some fruit. Nice aromas.

Great balance here. Citric hop bitterness, smooth toasted malt backbone, light fruit, but this is actually fairly dry. Silky brew. Clean flavors. Long lingering bitterness. Wonderful.

Good body and just a bit of a tingle on the tongue.

Overall, there is a reason this is in a bomber -- because you want more. Very drinkable, with just the right bitter/acid/sweet balance. Glad I grabbed this one.

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Photo of bronco94
4.44/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of the neck coded bottles (according to BP, they just started neck-coding the bombers ~6 weeks ago). Poured into a pint glass

A - bright golden yellow, thick creamy white head with good lacing.

S - a wonderful aspect of this beer...full of tropical/citrus hop smells (grapefruit, lemon) a touch of sweetness

T - follows the smell nicely, but not quite as intense. Balanced well between the hop punch and the malt backbone...definitely hop-forward but the malty sweetness is nice to balance things out and make this beer a pleasure to drink.

M - carbonation makes it feel lighter in the mouth than it probably is because it has a slight thickness

D - I wouldn't want to drink more than one bomber at a time simply because after the first, I couldn't appreciate the intensities of the hop flavor. Its a great, intense, IPA with a moderate alcohol content with good drinkability. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and I wish it was available closer to me.

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Photo of mltobin
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at DeCicco`s.

I used a wide wine for this one. Sculpin poured a light golden color with a big head on the initial pour, 2 fingers in size. The aroma pops with citrus first, then comes faint spice as well as the smell of fresh flowers. Alright, time to take a sip...the taste contains grapefruit, hops of course. The hop content seems to be just the right amount for an IPA in my opinion. And it finishes dry, but not overly so. Carbonation level is good as well. This beer receives praise regularly and I would say it is warranted. It is a nice deviation from some of the east coast IPAs that I drink on a more regular basis.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,308 ratings.