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Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

2,407 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

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Reviews: 2,407 | Ratings: 13,262
Photo of vrazionale
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650 mL bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into a snifter.

A - Bright golden body with a delicately-laced, frothy cappuccino head.

S - Beautiful and inviting. Lots of tropical fruit, floral notes, and citrus. The tropical fruits that are most prominent are mango, papaya, and pineapple - all sweet and juicy fruits. Just a touch of medicinal aromas on the finish.

T - So well-balanced. The sweetness of the fruit flavors combined with the citric, slightly piney bitterness work so well together.

M - Perfect carbonation - crisp and refreshing. No cloying stickiness here, unlike many other IPAs.

D - Wow. This is just about the most perfect IPA I can imagine. I found myself continuing to go back for more - it's almost too good to savor, you just keep taking sips. An absolute must-try for any beer lover, and especially so for lovers of fruity, floral IPAs.

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

Pours a creamy golden/orange with slight white head. Some nice lacing and carbonation evident.

Smell is outstanding, hops with strong citrus and peach smells. A very pleasant smelling beer.

Taste is very light, refreshing but still very hop forward. Citrus is obvious and lingers in the aftertaste. Malt is very subdued.

Mouthfeel very smooth, creamy, and pleasant. Very easy to drink.... i've gotten so used to the harshness of some DIPAs that this is a nice change of pace.

Very drinkable beer and one you could drink multiples of in a sitting. Glad I finally got to try it, but sadly this qualifies as another beer that, good as it is, is hard to keep justifying at the price point.

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Photo of irishgurl4
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got lucky to try this little dandy at a Ballast Point Pairing at my local Whole Foods last night. From notes on 2/28/2010.

A: Pours a warm orangey yellow with a very exuberant off-white head.

S: A very fragrant peach and mango aroma with the hops lurking in the background.

T: On first sip the peach flavor hits your tongue and then gently fades to the bitter hops as it moves across the palate.

M: Amazing balance in flavor that leaves a mild lingering bitter aftertaste that rapidly fades.

D: Refreshing, flavorful, and balanced. This one gets an overall "noms +" from me.

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Photo of abrand
4.52/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 ounce bomber acquired via trade from JesseTheHut. Thanks Jesse! This is the start of my west coast IPA tour!

The Sculpin IPA pours a brilliantly bright gold color with lots of carbonated bubbles flowing from the SN etched pint glass. A very frothy 2 finger head that does not go away throughout the brew. This is one of the best looking heads I have ever seen. Aromas are pleasantly hops with lot of fruits including apricots, lemons and grapefruit. Quaff is dominated with hops. Also some of the same citrus fruits from the aroma and also pine flavors. No alcohol is noted in the quaff but wow the hops in this are amazing. A hop heads dream come true. Mouthfeel is crispy and full bodied. Drinkability is unbelievable... Flavor profile is intense but incredible. Thanks again Jesse for giving me the chance to try this.

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Photo of fiver29
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours clear amber orange color with off white head. Aroma is pine, grass, pinapple, and lemon. There are just wonderful citrus flavors not typically present in other beers in this style and this one has them all in one. Medium mouthfeel. Flavors follow the nose and finish dry. Really nice beer and one I'd drink regularly if I could.

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Photo of Walken
4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ballast Point: Sculpin IPA (No date) (Tasted 02/28/10)
22 oz. bottle, poured into a tulip pint.

Appearance: Clear as day, golden beer with hints of orange, bubbles rushing up feeding the monstrous eggshell white head, looks like soap bubbles around the edges, circle of meringue in the center. Lovely. Retention is good, lacing is surprisingly minimal.
Odor: I can smell this from the glass, which is sitting about a foot away on my desk. Up close, rich "sweet" mango, pineapple, white grapefruit in the background. Relatively sure that this is all hop aroma, though the perception of sweetness might be coming from the malt?
Consistency: Light bodied, carbonation is solid and high-ish, but instead of prickling the tongue, it adds a creamy back-end to the feel of this beer. Hop oils are there, though they don't add much body.
Flavor: I'm slowly getting the point. Monstrous hop flavor, layered differently than the aroma. Grapefruit zest and pine on top, pineapple & mango in the background. Malt throws a nice background, sweetish with some very faint caramel notes waaaay in back. As if it needs to be said, there's no struggle for balance here, Mike "Hop Leaf" Tyson vs. Woody "Two Row" Allen, Tyson wins. Crisp, dry finish, which allows the bitter resin to start smacking the palate around. Slight alcohol presence in the finish. This is supremely drinkable hop juice, I want more...

Man, believe the hype. This is a great beer with absolutely no glaring flaws, likely because they only brew it when they have the time to do it right. I'm a sucker for tropical fruit leaning IPAs and this is one of the best in that vein of the style that I've had the pleasure of trying. I'll snag a bottle whenever it comes out this way.

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Photo of prg1976
4.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear straw color with a decent white head. Head sticks around, too.

Aroma is amazing! Pure citrus all around. Grapefruit, pineapple are in your face.

For all the aroma in there, the taste is a little lacking. I'm kindof disappointed. Just not enough malts to go with the hops. Seems too light for the way it smells.

Mouthfeel is fine, carbonation is good. Drinkability is good, almost too drinkable.

Disappointed in this one, especially after the aromas right after opening the bottle.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.23/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Firkin of Sculpin in a pint glass a few times. Thanks goes out to Ballast Point for deciding to send this dry hopped version (amarillo & 2 other hop varieties) to Philly at the Sidecar Bar, I love this town.

A- Sculpin has a nice bright gold look to it with some mild haze within the liquid. A bright white head formed while i filled the glass and reached at least two inches looking soapy. This foam is beautiful with frothy look plus shine. Some solid patches of lace here and the head never died.

S- A whole lot of love from the hops of which there are probably a few varieties. The usual grapefruit scent with other tropical fruits including mango which I love. Not really getting a malt sense but that does not mean it's not in there. Grapefruit by the boatload. It's hard to get around the tropical fruits. A great smelling IPA with class, probably my favorite in this category.

T- Yikes, this sure packs a punch for an American IPA, Sculpin borders on double territory, and I quite like it. Fresh tropic fruits with the mango making a nice appearance but the mango is a bit subdued in this serving type. Peach also in the top pairing nice with the mango. Some lemon zest and pineapple topping things off. Some bready hints from the malt but barely making a dent behind the hop bill. A hop lovers dream, basically grapefruit juice.

M- I had this deadly fish off a pin at Bella Vista some time ago and the mouthfeel was magnificent, this particualar firkin is not quite up to that level, but close enough. Sculpin is on the thinner side in feel but does not fall short in impression. Good carb but not too high and a bit on the bitter side, just like a good IPA should. The aftertaste sticks around and reminds me of just sticking a hop cone on your tounge.

D- Glad it's only 7% and it's impressive that it packs such a wallop with that lower type ABV. It took a few sips of this serving type to get the full effect from the taste but that changed by the second sip and stayed throughout the 16oz. While bitter this does not kill your ability to enjoy it and bask in the tropic plunge. I will gladly drink the shit out of Sculpin anytime and look forward to having it again soon.

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

Golden amber, thick one inch of off white head; cloying lace.

Intense aroma of tropical fruit, pineapples come to mind, and pine. Very fresh, with a sweet grain, biscuit malt undertone.

Resiny pine upfront coupled with grain sweetness. Pine flavor lingers well after swallow. Biscuit malt and fruit, oranges and mango, pleasantly balance this brew without detracting from the hops. Sweet aftertaste. Everything you could want in a IPA.

Medium carbonated, with a creamy and light body. Overall, the well balanced flavors and the creamy mouthfeel make this beer highly drinkable.

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Photo of SShelly
4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice bright gold with big white head, lots of retention.

Crisp big hop aroma, citrus, more citrus.

Big upfront bitterness ending in lemony hop flavor. Leaves lots of citrus in the mouth.

Dry and drinkable, balanced to to the bitter and hoppy, damn this is good.

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Photo of engisch
4.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a hard beer to find... Saw it on the best of BA and needed to seek it out. Found it on tap in the Hulmeville Inn in PA.

The appearance is a bit cloudy probably due to the large amount of hops. It is a orange/golden color with a decent head and substantial carbonation.

The smell is of mainly citrus with a very fresh aroma and a little pine smell. Great smell if you are a hophead!

Taste is of citrus hops. Very bitter. Not much malt character. A great American IPA.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are nothing abnormal or unusual. Just a really hoppy IPA. I like this beer and would have it again.

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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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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,407 ratings.