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Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

2,396 Reviews
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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally named Northstar IPA. Debuted in 2005.

Added by brentk56 on 04-02-2006

User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,396 | Ratings: 13,178
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.09/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent IPA. I finally got my hands on some. I can't believe how hard this is for me to get when I live an hour from the brewery.

Appearance is an orangish cloudy color. Not much head formed at all. There is a ring and slight lace.

Aroma is of pineapple, pine, citrus. Not a ton of aroma like pliney but pretty good.

Taste is great. One of the better IPA's. Pliney is still my fav but this one is still very good. Glad I still have another bottle left.

Mouthfeel is great. On higher end of carb for style but good.

Overall a very good beer. Go get it

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Photo of mdfb79
4.44/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a pint glass.

a - Poured an orangish/golden color with one finger of white head and a lot of carbonation evident. Somewhat transparent.

s - Smelled this as soon as the bottle was opened and while pouring. Lots of hops, pine, and citrus to it. Smells great and very fresh.

t - First tastes are of hops and citrus. Has a strong bitter taste throughtout drinking, and hints of bready malts after some of the bitterness and hops subside.

m - Medimum body, moderate carbonation, pretty easy to drink.

d - Overall I really enjoyed this IPA. The smell was one of the best smelling IPAs I've ever smelled, and the taste was great too. Very easy to drink and wonderful fresh. I would put this right below PTE and HopSlam in terms of my favorite IPAs and would highly suggest trying this if you see it.

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Photo of WYVYRN527
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to 7ways for the trade on this one. I've been eager to try it.
22 oz. bottle into my trusty pint glass.

A: Hazy golden color with a thick white head. Retention is average, but leaves great lace on the edge of the glass.

S: Hop aromas are great. Citrus, pine, and spring meadow dominate, but grainy malt aromas paint a picture int he back.

T: Hops are more mellow on the palate than the nose, but still dominant. Grassy, piney notes are subtle, with a massive citrus character. Malt balances out flavor with notes of hiney, caramel, and fresh bread.

M: Medium bodied, this brew is velvety on the palate, and well balanced. The finish is dry and clean, but still long.

D: One f the best IPAs I have ever had. If only I could still get it here. Once again, Thanks to 7ways for hooking me up with this treat!

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Photo of WesWes
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is awesome! Wow, what a hop nose on this one. It's light with mostly a pale malt grist. It's incredibly bitter with a ton of citrus hops. The taste is great as well. It has a tremendous hop flavor thats bitter up front and resinates in the finish. It's light and easy drinking with a solid pale malt base. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is a wonderful beer. It so incredibly smooth and drinkable. The hop character is outstanding.

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Photo of Patrick999
4.71/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Always great to come in possession of a fresh, highly-regarded IPA. There's never any hand-wringing over when to drink them, because the answer is always "as soon as you can!"

Poured into a Stella glass. Clear golden body with a slight pink grapefruit tinge. Decent but not overwhelming head, with a little lacing.

Popped the cap, and I got a whiff a couple feet away from the bottle - really fresh green hop. Pine resin and sticky bud. A little passionfruit. I'm not the biggest hophead out there, but this kind of hop aroma is pretty difficult to resist. Reminds me a lot of the hop aroma found in fresh Stone beers, kinda that rustic, fresh-picked-weed aroma.

It smelled like a hop blast, and that of course is what it is. A lot of intense pine up front. Mango and guava enter the equation as it warms, not so much cold. This makes me happy, as straight up Pine-Sol IPAs are never really my favorites. Not a lot of citrus presence here, I find. That's OK, there are plenty of grapefruit-heavy IPAs on the market. It's cool to find one that gets it done in a bit different way. I believe it's the noticeable tropical fruit esters in particular that help contribute in large part to the high rating here on BA, and I concur. Malt? Oh yeah, I forgot there is malt in here. It's not entirely an unbalanced beer, as a thick-ish grain does rise up and hit the palate here and there.

It has an astringent mouthfeel. Appropriate per style.

I'd have to give it a 4.5 for drinkability. I certainly won't have trouble finishing the bomber, but it stops just short of perfect here. A little high with the ABV, I find myself getting light-headed quicker than I would have expected. Or maybe this is just some secondary effect from the big hops....I seem to be a little sensitive to hops.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured ontap into a 12 oz glass. Appears a hazed orange in color with a small white head and some lacing too.

Smell isn't very strong, just some standard floral hops.

Tastes...well...very bitter. If you are into raw, bitter, leafy hop flavors then this is it. Citrusy, dank and quite bitter. Grapefruit and rind could best describe the hop flavor. Malt is just along for the ride with a subtle honey tinge.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a sting of carbonation and a solid hop bite.

Drinkability fares pretty well, this is a strong IPA and surely not to disappoint hop heads world wide. The San Diego brewery also boasts another IPA (Big Eye IPA) that is the mellow little brother to this hop heathen.

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Photo of joepais
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Tiklmelmo for sending me a fresh bottle
Bottle poured into a Sam Adams pint glass produced a finger worth of white head that laced out wonderfully. The body of the brew was a clear copper in color

I got huge aromas of citrus fruits and flowery grasses coming off the nose of this one. It was really a pleasant aroma not harsh like some IPA's it did add a lot to the experience. The flavor defiantly was a west coast take on a IPA very hop forward. There is also enough sweetness form the malts to keep this brew from being one of those one dimensional brews. It had a light to medium feel to it with good carbonation.

I enjoyed the bomber and would love to have another glass. It was worth the wait and I will continue to look for a fresh bottle in Mass if I can come across one. I have been looking for two years now with no luck, they just don't stick around. Now I know why.

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Photo of hophead247
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clearish light mahogany with a thin bubbly head. Nose is nice floral and piny hops. Mouthful is a bit on the thin side. This is a nice an easy drinker for the hop fan, and also for the non hop fan. The hop flavor is prevalent but not overpowering. There is a hint of sweetness up front, then it is full on hops with a nice and long lingering bitter finish.Very well balanced and extremely drinkable. Very solid IPA from BP...definitely on my top 10

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Photo of beagle75
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a tulip.

A: Hazy light orange color with a diminishing one-finger white foam head. Lacing on the glass is light.

S: Appealing aromatic hops that take on some similarities to perfumed hand soap after repeated whiffs. While no malts are detectable in the smell there is a slight note of alcohol, which I am surprised to find there.

T: There is substantial bitterness present and it arrives quickly after sipping. This results in a very pleasant simultaneous tasting of big, fresh citrus and melon flavors with bracing bitterness. Slight biscuit malt is detected in the finish, as the hops fade.

M: Light but dry texture with moderate carbonation.

D: Highly drinkable if you crave a good IPA like I do, but at 7% abv the alcohol content is a little high for the style. This beer blurs the line between the single and double IPA categories. Sculpin seems less balanced than some other single IPAs I enjoy, such as Racer 5, Marin IPA, and even BP Bigeye. It is strikingly similar to GF West Coast IPA.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.55/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Fresh filled growler served in a standard pint glass.

Clear golden color with a huge white head that settled to a layer leaving plenty of sticky lacing behind.
Citrus hops in your face!
The taste is full of bitter/sour citrus hop flavors with just enough malt to keep things semi-tame.
Medium bodied with a good carbonation level and feel.
Extremely easy to drink and extremely enjoyable.

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Photo of zoso1967
4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured slightly hazy golden amber into my imperial pint glass. Very nice fluffy head with fine lacing and marathon head retention. Wow, the aroma of this beer is insane. Citrus, pineapple and other tropical fruits. I am also getting some peach and other crazy fruity smells. I am detecting sweetness as well, but it really could just be from the amazing fruity hop bouquet. They need to make air fresheners that smell like this. The taste is like a hop punch to the tongue. I have heard beers described as tongue bruisers, and this one is a prime example. Hops, hops, hops. Pineapple, peach, citrus, pine... it is pretty amazing how intense the hop flavor is. Adding to this is a pretty high amount of bitterness. The bready malt is there, but really does not add much to the beer. It is basically just playing the role of a wingman to the hop goodness. My critical side keeps telling me that it is way unbalanced, but my hop loving side could care less. The more I drink this the more I like it. I would say this beer is fairly light bodied for the style, and the mouthfeel is not necessarily the best. A little bit too sticky dry from all the hops. Quite drinkable, but I find this beer is better to savor and enjoy the great aroma.

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Photo of oregonskibum
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired in a trade (thanks Jusdrinkit).

Poured from a 22oz bottle into two tulip glasses (had to share with my wife).

A: Bright pale amber with substantial bright white head. Foamy head was slow to dissapate. Good lacing.

S: Wow - very nice. Compares favorably to PtE. Huge flowery citrus, grapefruit flavors. Some grassy/piney hop smells as well. Almost perfect.

T: The citrus hops carries into the taste. More piney, resin flavors show up in the taste. There is just a touch of honey like sweetness, but not cloying at all. This is a hop monster through and through and what limited malts or sweetness comes through in the flavor is just enough to keep this beer balanced.

M: Medium bodied for an IPA. But not sticky at all. A little high on the carbonation.

D: I'll search this out again. Big hop flavors dominate and the bitterness carries from start to finish, but not in an unwelcome way. Not for the faint of heart, this beer is all about the hops. And they achieved it beautifully.

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Photo of jaxon53
4.79/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've finally gotten my paws on some Sculpin! This has to be good! Served this chilled, in a pint glass, from twenty-two ounce bottle.

Appearance: Sculpin pours out a slightly hazy, bright amber color. A vigorous pour yielded about two fingers of bone white fluffy head. Head hung around for almost the whole experience. As it faded it left behind generous gobs of thick lace. A pretty good looking beer.

Smell: Awesome nose! Actually a perfect one in my opinion. Huge hops dominate this brew. Strong citrus; lemon and grapefruit peel, pineapple, and a bit of mango. Great thick malt aromas that compliment the hops nicely.

Taste: Again, perfect in my opinion. Hops are huge in this beer, but not obnoxious. This isn't a one sided brew by any means. Nice citrus notes, lemon, mango, pineapple,and grapefruit to be exact. Slight medicinal tones sneak in behind the fruit. A generous amount of sweet bready malt cut through the hops just enough to balance this beer out. Slight notes of yeast in the dry finish. Alcohol is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Great medium bodied, resiny mouthfeel that is perfectly carbonated. Crisp and very clean.

Drinkability: Great drinkability. Smooth and easy drinking. Great job Ballast Point!!

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Photo of afausser
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a pale, light, almost clear golden color with near two inches of crisp, snow white head. Quite a bit of medium carbonation flowing to the top of the bubble. The head is pretty persistent, and what disappears leaves nice, foamy lacing. The head and lacing are excellent, and while the color at first seems a little strange, its clear and beautiful when held to the light.

Smell: Absolutely amazing. A ton of floral hops and honey dominate this one, as well as some light bready notes. Light and bitter citrus notes, particularly grapefruit, and slight hints of caramel and brown sugar. This one is blended just about perfectly. There's also a bit of cinnamon and cloves evident.

Taste: I first notice a fruity, cidery note--sweet apples, red and white grapes, maybe even a hint of spiced raisins thrown in and a definite grapefruit note. The next thing that kicks in is an almost overwhelming bitterness. Heavy grapefruity delicious bitter hops, which leave a huge (and amazing) aftertaste. Crisp and fruity, and also flavored by heavy pine notes.

Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied with good carbonation and a big aftertaste. It's quite crisp and smooth (though not creamy at all). Its not the best mouthfeel it could have--i think the carbonation could be improved upon--but its certainly excellent.

Drinkability: As drinkable as water-but delicious fruit and hop filled water.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to pint glass.

A: Orange/amber/honey in color. Very clear, bubbles rushing to the top. One and a half finger bubbly white head. Head retention is very impressive, a half finger layer of foam remains throughout. Great lacing that clings to the sides of the glass.

S: Could smell this beer even before pouring after the bottle was opened. Dank, resin, tropical fruits (mango, pineapple). A light maltiness is hiding behind the copious hop fragrance.

T: Dank, resin, a hint of pine, mango, peach, a bit of apricot, a hint of bubble gum, and again a hint of honey malts is scared to show itself in the presence of these glorious hop flavors. Lingering hop bitterness.

M: Clean, crisp, and well carbonated. Light to medium bodied. There's a nice bite at the end of each sip as well from the carbonation/hops. A bit creamy too.

D: I mean, if you like your IPAs complexly hoppy, you will want to drink as much of this as you can.

Hands down my favorite IPA.

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Photo of Brez07
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz bottle poured into a DFH snifter

A: Huge 3 finger head with an off white color. Has a light amber hue with lots of visible carbonation. Very impressive lacing

S: Gives a nice grapefruit, orange and lemon mix with some other fruit accompanying it (either pineapple or mango). Some pine present, but not much. There is even some bready malt after a while

T: A very creamy citrusy flavor. The pine more present then in the nose. There isn't much sweetness despite the fruit smells

M: As mentioned above, creamy. This beer is very nicely carbonated with a dry finish

D: This is a big IPA. Easily top 3 that I've ever had. That being said, it goes down very easy. Would like to see this is 4/6 packs, but it looks like it's just a limited release (per the bottle)

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Photo of snpub540
4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this very light amber with a clingy white 2 finger head that stuck around for a very long time. Had a slight haze to it and a slow steady carbonation. Delicate lacing left on the glass the whole way down.

Smell was a delicious "nosefull" of grapefruit. Also some piney, grassy goodness in there. Man did this smell great.

Taste is a beautiful interpretation of what hop-juice should taste like. I mean citrus and piney, resinous hops were all i could detect in there. Very dry, bitter finish and the aftertaste all hops. Basically in your face hop flavor and bitterness.

Mouthfeel was almost sticky and the alcohol was masked pretty well. Not alot of balance here, but I didn't care because the hop flavors were delicious and not harsh.

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

Serving type- 22 ounce bomber poured into a mug.

A- Pours a deep orange/straw yellow with a nice 2 finger white head that sticks around long after the pour. There is a fair amount of carbonation activity and there is a decent cling to the glass. Nice lacing to this beer. Overall a very nice looking beer.

S- There is a nice floral and piney bouquet to this beer. Both notes work well together and there is a nice balance to the smells. Overall a good smelling beer, nothing overwhelming to this beer in terms of smell but it holds its own compared with the rest of the parameters.

T- This is where the beer really sets itself apart. I am getting bitter piney note to start the taste followed closely with a citrusy finish. Even though there is some bitterness to the taste it is more subtle then I had orginally guessed. I think the combination of the bitterness and sweetness work very well together to make this a very tasty beer. I could drink this IPA over and over again.

The mouthfeel follows closely with the smell and taste. This is a very tasty very easy drinking beer. I recieved this beer as part of my Secret Santa haul from stevemcqueenjr. I was very excited to be able to taste this and I wish that I could get this brew more often. This is a very good IPA and I can see why it is such a highly rated beer. Thanks go out to Matt for hooking me up with this awesome West Coast IPA.

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

Poured from the bomber into a clean pint glass

Had a relatively small head, about 1-2 fingers, but the lacing was impressive for this one. Stuck to the inside of the glass quite nicely.

Smell - This one immediately reminded me of a barley wine. Lots of fruit, mainly grapefruit, very tangy.

Taste - This is where this beer fell for me. I wasn't a huge fan of the taste. It was very sweet and while one of my friends liked the grapefruit/sweetness, it came across to me as a heavy metallic taste. There were some hops in the end but I felt as if they didn't help this brew.

Mouthfeel - very syrupy, if I remember correctly.

Drinkability - I couldn't even finish the glass I had. Served a room temperature, I couldn't get past the taste. Maybe this beer just wasn't for me. Definitely didn't remind me of an IPA.

Tried again the other day:

I don't know what I was thinking, but this is one of my favorite, all-time IPA's!

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Photo of Casey10
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally able to track this one down. I found this at Nikki's in Providence RI. I think I may have grabbed the last two as there were none left had 1 already. Drinking and reviewing this one now.

A - Golden yellow wispy head but active bubbles rise to the top of the glass.

S - Grapefruit, mango, fresh citrus.

T - Smooth Mango, so blanced as well a small amount of malts but so nice.

M - not bad lively on the tounge. So nice and tangy feeling.

D - maybe give this one a 5 if it were not $10 a bomber if a bit less and bottled regularly look out this is a definate must have !!

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Photo of cavedave
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A big white head recedes ever so slowly atop a clear golden brew. Thick sheets of lace remain. I could gather the lace with a spoon it is so thick. Nice.

The smell is a marvel of hoppy goodness, fronted by sweet and pungent grapefruit, and is balanced by a neutral sweet, and a hint of yeasty tart. It is a very full aroma, very alluring.

The taste of this is extraordinary. For the second time in two days (The Abyss y'day) I feel unworthy to review. This was consumed at near to room temp. The front of the sip is a fruity marvel, lots of citrus, I got grapefruit more than the lemon predicted on the label, but it is a wonderful mix of mango, light touches of peach, and it crests with unexpected power. First an almost candy sweet rushes in as intense notes of earth and bitter usher the fruit flavors into a staggering finish that is clean, crisp, delicious, and ... well, perfect. It walks a tight rope between juicy and dry perfectly. I lack the palate to better explain the extreme deliciousness of this beer.

Very light in the mouth, med. carb (despite the huge head), and very clingy, despite the light feel. Confused? The mouthfeel of this beer showcases an amazing flavor profile as well as can be, and gives it a long finish of exceptional taste and satisfaction.

This is the most drinkable, flavorful, addictive IPA ever. Period. If there's better I hope to live long enough to try it.

Impression: Usually no. 1 on the IPA list. This beer deserves it. In a year of incredible IPA's from so many fine brewers, this one shines. Try this, esp. now that it is more widely available. You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of HopHooligan
4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up from a recommendation of a friend, turns out its a great brew and rated as the highest American IPA on the site, nice score!

A - Nice medium head, with a cloudy amber-yellow hue. Lacing sticks nicely to the glass

S - Citrus, tropical fruit smell, maybe a navel/mango/pineapple scent with a hop finish, sweet smelling overall.

T - Surprisingly smooth for a IPA, very light in initial flavor then a citrus/ hop follow up.

M - Decent medium carbonation, good body. Leaves a bitter crisp flower taste in the mouth

D - Highly drinkable, great tasting IPA with strong citrus/tropical flavors, I just wish it was a year-round brew. Well worth searching for this one, one of the best IPAs I've had in awhile.

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Photo of hayesez
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Random generosity of Kaiser81 landed this guy on my doorstep a couple of days ago. Thanks for the excellent brew, Ryan. Poured this into my new New Belgium globe. Poured a tawny straw colored with a great off-white frothy cap on the top. Nice white lacing is left behind as I slowly put this one away. The head retention is pretty impressive being that I drank this one over the course of an hour.

The smell is an impressive conglomeration of citrusy fruits. Definite orange or mango with some grapefruit as well. Floral notes are also evident. The smell was excellent, although not as potent as I had anticipated.

The taste is as I would expect - impressive amount of citrusy hops, balanced by a slightly sweet beginning. Very crisp. Smooth medium-bodied drinking with a citrus bitterness at the end.

Overall, a very impressive IPA. A very well-balanced brew that leans to the citrus as opposed to the pine. A very drinkable beer that is smooth and tasty. Thanks again, Ryan!

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Photo of JoeBloe
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

i just found this bomber sitting by itself after my last beer haul - must have been lost or stashed behind other beers for a while -
enjoying it now and i can't believe i haven't reviewed it yet - i grabbed up a case and a half since it's current release - this bottle is as good as the ones that came way before it -
pours big and settles into an almost clear golden 'tangerine' color - beautiful - a pure white head settles to one finger, and maintains a presence to the bottom, with thick, uniform lacing - smells heavy of the crisp citrus/ pine hops as others have noted - smells and tastes 'fresh' and crisp - very citrussy up front with a nice sweet finish - feels great on the tongue, a tingle from the carbonation, with a snappy ending - - begging for more -
i was glad to find this one last bottle, and to find that it's as good as the 'fresher' bottles from a month+ ago.

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

A nice hazy golden brew that has a thick white head. Slowly disappears leaving behind some white lacing right down the side of the glass as you drink.

This is one of nicest IPA's I have ever smelled. Citrus smells lemons and grapefruit mainly. Pine follows blowing everything out. Finally a finish of malts and orange.

This has an amazing balance to it. I get orange and lemon right away. Followed by pine and lots of it. It ends quickly and abruptly with grapefruit, that hits and fades quite fast. No real after taste which is amazing to me.

This is a thin, smooth, lightly carbonated brew. Nice quick crisp taste hits the tongue and disappears from the palate.

This was an enjoyable IPA, which is hard for me to say. I don't usually like IPA's, and what I do like are few and very far between, but this one i would have again. On top of that I would have another one right now even.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,396 ratings.