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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: 12,497
Avg: 4.38
pDev: 22.37%
Wants: 1,373
Gots: 4,353 | 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: 12,497
Photo of alleykatking
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle. Split with my friend who just got done tattooing me that night. Many many many thanks go out to mjl21 for this one. You rock Mike!

A- Pours a light hazy golden yellow color. Nice 2 finger white head leaves crazy lacing down the sides of the glass. Just a good looking beer. Period.

S- Big fruity and piney hops in this one makes my mouth water when I smell it. Some light bready notes to this beer as well from the malts. Mostly just pine and mango and pineapple with this beer.

T- This beer tastes amazing! Big citrus upfront on the hops making it feel like I'm biting into a piece of mango or pineapple. Light malts in the middle of this kind of wash your palate before it hits the tail end with a nice little bitter bite to it. The taste made me just want to drink it up and fast!

M- Medium mouthfeel to this. The carbonation was a little much for me. I think it could have been toned down a little at least the bottle I had. Crisp and clean in the mouth with fruity hops taking over everything. The pine was also tasted in the aftertaste while waiting to take another sip.

D- This is an amazing beer that I was more than happy to take a sip or two of. This beer is worth the hype and I can only hope to nail another one of these tasty gems.

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Photo of quinnsi
3.8/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass, Sculpin IPA is hazy gold, with a full finger of rocky head.

The nose very herbal and sligtly piney hop aromas. When first tasted, there's a nice tingle from the hop bite and carbonation, which leads to the big floral and grapefruit flavors I was waiting for. After taste is a first very refreshing, with nice hop aromas filling the mouth. But gradually the bitterness grows to be too much, bordering on medicinal.

Mouthfeel is nice and full, but I don't think I could handle much more than one of these brews at a sitting despite the nice flavors.

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Photo of JBogan
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler filled at the brewery (a HUGE thanks to Euel for sharing this). Beer doesn't get much fresher than that.

A clear orange/golden color liquid with a tight white head which stuck around for a long time and left good lacing. A nice but fairly typical looking IPA.

Now for a sniff...and we have a beauty. The aromas coming from the glass make you want to dab some behind your ears and wear out to a fancy restaurant. It's that good. Plenty of citrus fruits and pine, along with some other fruitiness (maybe strawberry and mango) make this an alluring smelling gem.

The tastebuds are greeted with the expected large dose of hop bitterness, but balanced nicely by a little bit of sweet malts. A bit of pepper as well. Only the slightest hint of alcohol present.

Mouthfeel was slick with a medium/thick body. Very smooth and slippery, along with just the right amount of carbonation to give it a lively feel on the tongue.

Anyone who enjoys IPAs owe this one a try. Certainly right up there among the better ones in this style.

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Photo of billab914
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into my Harpoon IPA shaped pint glass. Got this one in a shipment from South Bay Drugs.

This is the second time I'v had the pleasure of having this fantastic beer. Tonight I decided to open my Pliny and Sculpin and do a review of both.

Poured with a nice white head that all but disappeared as I drank it. Laced nicely down the glass.

Aroma is exceptional. A lot of citrus and tropical fruit flavors. Taste is exceptional as well. A lot of citrus and fruity flavors up front followed by a nice bitterness. Very drinkable, especially for a 7% beer.

This is a fantastic beer and deserves to be mentioned as one of the best IPA's there is. I would buy this often if I could.

12/18/2011 update. Revisiting this review now that I see this around more often. Still a excellent beer, but it doesn't blow me away like it did 2 years ago anymore. Updated from A:4.5, S:5, T:5, M:4.5, O:4.5.

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

22 oz. bomber into DT tulip. Exposing my beer ignorance at Wally's in L.A., I only picked this up after serious raving by the buyer and a customer. Thanks, guys. As foolish as I may be, eventually I end up with the good stuff and this is no exception.

The beer pours an orange/amber color, very clear. A couple fingers of head subside into a rim of foam, leaving tight but quickly receding legs. Useful info, I know.

The smell is fantastic, bready as others have stated, nice tropical fruit notes.

Taste is of fresh hops, citrus on the finish. The taste is GREAT. I'm very impressed, and while I would usually prefer a malty IPA this is a no-brainer to drink again.

It's very drinkable at 7%. Why did I only get one?

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

22oz bomber acquired in a trade with FooFaa. Thanks Dan for this killer extra.

Poured into a tulp glass, Sculpin is a bright golden color with a touch of red tint. Perfect clarity with a thick two-finger head that sticks around forever. Chunks of lacing all over the glass.

This one smells amazing. Lots of citrus and some herbal qualities, followed by tons of tropical fruits. I didn't get any pineapple like I've read in other reviews, however I definitely get some mango and peach/apricot notes.

Tastes just as is smells. Nice crisp bitterness that opens up into a sweet, juicy, tropical flavor as it gets warmer. Finishes clean without a lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel is very crisp and dry, however I feel it is a bit thin. All the flavors wash out after I swallow each sip. This only enhances this beer's drinkability, which is over-the-top to say the least. I had no idea this baby was 7%.

Is it the best IPA in the world? Maybe. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.

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Photo of Bubba83
4.67/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer many times in the bottle and on draft, but this is the first time I've sat and enjoyed it while at the computer. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Serving temperature was around 45 degrees.

From a normal pour I got a good 3 finger widths of bright white, creamy looking head with some sporadic medium sized bubbles mixed in. Considerably lighter in color than many IPAs, it's more like a golden yellow/orange color and has good clarity. Tiny bubbles continue to rise from the bottom of the glass, there is moderate lacing, and a thin ring of head maintains itself nicely.

I honestly don't think it would be possible to concoct an IPA that could beat the smell of this beer. I smell a little breadiness, but it's hard to discern much malty aroma because of the huge hop character eminating from the head. I love the fruity character, lots of bright fruit, including lots of mango, pineapple, apricot, lemon, orange, and grapefruit. There is also a dank type character underneath the bright fruits. What a treat!

It's important to continue smelling the beer as I sip this one, because it pulls the fruity flavors in a bit better. I get all of the same type of flavors that I described in the smell, but there is an underlying dry bitterness behind it that is much like the bitterness flavor in the grapefruit after the initial citrusy tang. There's a little more bread in the background than I got in the smell, and some faint sweet caramel type flavors that are harder to access. Wonderful, but not quite as great as the smell.

Mouthfeel is perfect, it's relatively thin which keeps it feeling refreshing in the mouth, the carbonation is invigorating, but doesn't aggrivate the palate, it's somewhat soft in the mouth despite being well carbonated.

This is one hell of an IPA, wow... Insanely complex hop flavor and has all of the desirable hop flavors without any of the downside of undesirable flavors from adding all those hops. I don't know how they pulled that off. Drinkability itself is somewhat impacted by a pretty damn bitter finish, but it just makes you want to go in for another sip to get the sweet/tangy flavors from the first portion of the sip again.

The best IPA in the world right now? Probably.

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Photo of drink1121
4.84/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Mauerhan for this!!!

A-Poured into a Duvel tulip, a straw color. Light lacing with good head retention.
S- HOPS!!! This is a great West Coast IPA that i wish I could get just a car re-freshener of. Citrus, melon hops all over the place with light malt in the background.
T- Basically the same as the smell with a light lingering bitterness. The hops were def. late additions.
M-Mouthfeel is to style, not too much to say here.
D- @ 7% I could have 3 bombers in one night easy. This stuff is gold and I may end up buying a case. Everything I thought it would be and more.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

New review updated 8/10/10 and score from this one.

A-pours a lightly hazed pale golden color with a dense creamy white head with a great lace left behind.

S-caramel and biscuit malt are light and present up front, hops dominate, tons of peach, orange, and notes of pine.

T-caramel and toasted biscuity malts up front, light pine, sugar, tons of fruit flavors, orange, peaches, tangerine. Moderate bitterness that lingers for just a moment.

M-medium to light in body, smoother on the palate, a little syrupy, strong carbonation, crisp clean finish, quite wet throughout.

D-this is a darn tasty IPA every time I drink it, there is enough malt to keep a balance but the hops are really the focus of this beer dominating the palate. the bitterness is quite present but doesn't linger unpleasantly.


A-hazy golden yellow color, two full fingers of white head that leaves a light lace on the glass

S-hops it is! love it! big hops in the nose of tropical fruit, grapefruit, citrus and some apricot. I'm excited!

T-expected hops, got hops! I am getting huge hops similar to the smell, I'm drinkin tropical fruit juice, big pineapple, apricot, some citrus, with a nice bitter hop finish

M-very smooth and lightly carbonated, slick down the back of the throat and lingers in a good way

D-I love the taste of hop and bitter hop, I could drink a million! this just became one of my favorites of all time!

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Photo of thain709
4.55/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - A vibrant, golden yellow body with carbonation bubbles running to the top...a tight, creamy, white head stands about three fingers and by the end of the glass only settles to about one finger...great lacing

S - An unbelievable fruity aroma...you would not be able to tell that this is a beer...it could pass as a candle...citrus fruits really stand out (grapefruit, pineapple, orange, lemon) for the hop characteristics

T - The hops are very plentiful in the flavors...they put away the malty flavor (if there is any)...the only sweetness that was apparent to me was the sweetness from the fruits...I know it's the hops that are giving away to those flavors...but it really tastes like the citrus fruits it's representing...all the flavors from the nose are present (grapefruit, pineapple, orange, lemon)...a tropical dream

M - Medium bodied...very smooth...carbonation doesn't shine through as much...no aggressive hop bite

D - Did someone say drinkability? Wow...I can't say anything more than what has already been said...I was super excited to finally try this beer and now I'm disappointed not having it all the time...Sculpin showed me why it is in the top 20 on this website...it's easily the best IPA I've had to this day

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

22oz bottle poured into tulip

A: Wow this is a pretty one she looks brilliant and Pilsner like. This should be handed to a Coors Light drinker to see if they cry.

S: Piney funky hops, smells of Chong's coat if pissed on by a cat. I love it. Must find a car scent to have this all the time....without the cat or dope. Hints of fruits linger in the nose as well peachy mango rum drinks.

T: I might actually have to call this somewhat balanced. The malt shines through in this hop bomb. There is a small touch of booze in the after-taste, but I like that. The alcohol suits this ale nicely

M:A teeny over carbonated for the style. Sculpin comes off a tad dry, but that is okay. The hops pop and the finish is quite a dry bitterness that lingers.

D: Very drinkable, a bomber is the serving of choice. Just enough to drink at your own pace, while pouring just enough to bring back the sticky head. This ale as it warms reveals a little heat and some malt, flavors hidden by carbonation and hops.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

As an ardent fan of IPAs in general, I was excited to sample this highly sought after West Coast creation from Ballast Point... Probably one of the best-balanced india pale ale's I've recently tried... up there with two-hearted ale and just about any other I can think of in recent memory... Pungent, citrus aroma reeking of tangerines and oranges up front, with a subtle bitterness that was tamed as time went on...
Great stuff and worthy of it's praise...

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

Paid $9.99 for a bomber from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA. Poured into a large snifter to review.

Pour is not too thick, about appropriate for an IPA. Lighter in color than some, it is a transparent golden orange hue. Head is white in color and about a half inch in height after a standard pour. It dissipates quickly leaving almost no retention. Great lacing.

Aroma is pure and clean; citrus and pine through and through. Taken from the bottle; aromas of apricot, peach, mango and lemon. Yeah, after closer inspection, I would have to agree with this tropical medley.

A true hop bomb, this one is unrelentlessly bitter, just the way I like an IPA to be. Certainly this one could have been classified as a double based on taste alone. I definitely recommend waiting for this to warm a bit, as the hop profile really is taking shape quite nicely as I'm getting to the bottom half of the bomber. Citrus and tropical fruit dominate.

Medium body and crisp in the mouth with nice carbonation levels. Long, hoppy finish. A bit of oil from the massive amount of hops used in this one.

In my opinion, this one is among Alesmith IPA, Blind Pig, Hop Rod Rye, Stone IPA and Two Hearted for best in class.

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

Appearance: poured a hazy amber color with a thick, off-white head.

Aroma: very fresh smell with hints of citrus, apricot, mango, and grapefruit

Flavor: really interesting and a lot more complex than most double IPA's. The hops give off a lot of tropical fruitiness, apricot, and then a clean citrus (lemon, grapefruit) taste.

Mouthfeel/finish: medium body, great carbonation level, with a lingering dry, bitter finish

Drinkability: very refreshing and easy to drink (even though its a bigger beer).

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

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into an Arrogant Bastard 0.5 L glass. There is no freshness date. Beer is hazy and amber in color. Carbonation is moderate to high with biggish bubbles. Head is thick, large bubbles, leaves some lacing as it falls away.

Beer smell like funky pine hops and not much else. Smells fine for an IPA.

Spicy, citrus and pine hops. Beer is not dry but rather wet. Almost no aftertaste. The hops cover you mouth. Second taste oranges, pine, lemon, some sweetness, a very good tasting beer.

Medium body good connectiveness in the flavors, hits all the centers on the palate, drinkability high.

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

Poured a nice yellowish orange color with good carbonation and a small white head. Nose is pine, grapefruit and other citrus, perhaps ornage, apricot. Taste is huge citrus and pine , sweet and nice bittering. Mouthfeel slight alcohol more citrus, pine and hops. Drinkability is phenom!

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Photo of theghost3
4.59/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, orange-gold with a 3-finger, frothy head. Lots of lacing.

The smell is outstanding--apricot, peach & citrusy hops. Best aroma of any IPA I've had. The taste is a nice combination of citrus, passion fruit, pineapple, mango, pepper & bitter hops. Mouthfeel is crisp & clean but seems to have some thickness to it.

This is an insanely drinkable IPA. The smell & taste are complex & the mouthfeel is pleasant.

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

22oz bomber poured into a tall pint glass. Courtesty of MASPuros who has become my favorite BA...thanks Mike!

A: Pours a very light amber with a big white head that reduces to a layering over the top and some very nice lacing.

S: The nose is divine full of tropical fruits like passion fruit and mango. Not much hops in the nose which was suprising.

T: Ah there are the hops and in big force. After the hops blast the palette you get a taste of the tropical fruits that leave a sweetness on the finish. The hops last throughout the whole experience though.

M: Good carbonation that makes this a bit creamy and a nice medium body.

D: Very drinkable and I could see me buying this on a monthly basis if it where available in my area.

Smell really reminded me of Alpine Nelson which is one of the more unique IPAs out there and something I enjoyed. Without the Rye of course...

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Photo of jrallen34
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drank this from the 22oz bottle into a rochefort chalice.

The pours a hazy amber gold with a one finger head that doesn't give much retention. The lacing is surprsingly great.

The aroma is light and I instantly think of PtE. There are light sweet hops with some citrus and a touch of apricots.

The taste is pretty good, very sweet, lots of grapefruit, not a ton of hops, just enough to make it an ipa.

The moutfheel is great with a rewarding lasting finish and the drinkabiltiy is great.

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

Poured this bad boy into my Bruery tulip. Clear gold color with a decent half inch head, decent retention. A little bit of lacing, but not much.

Aroma of apricot and pine. Very pronounced and pleasant.

Flavor mirrors the aroma almost completely. Had a great balanced flavor between the malt and the hops. Even sweetness to balance out the stinging bitter, earthy hops.

Medium bodied for a DIPA. Not too heavy and the hops don't kick your palate's ass too badly.

Damn good drinkability. Great flavor and the abv isn't too high either, making this a good choice for more than just one round.

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

A - golden amber, with a 1/2 inch head that receded pretty quickly, leaving streaks of lace that lingered for quite some time

S - this is the best smelling IPA I have ever encountered, indeed the most aromatically unique beer period that I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. The smell is a citrus bouquet, ranging from grapefruit to orange, lemon, pineapple and even a hint of bananas. I can smell the forest in this glass.

T - Although the taste is quite wonderful, the smell relatively supersedes it in quality and uniqueness. Pine and hops are most prominent, with a backdrop of citrus. The flavor is distinctly less hoppy than I anticipated. Despite being a huge hophead, I think the modest lupulin level serves to balance this beer to a better degree than many others and serves it well.

M - nice and smooth, especially as it warms

D - I'd take another!

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

California dreamin' Sculpin IPA. 2009 bottle.

Poured into a snifter.

Appearance is a beautiful golden orange color that looks to be nicely carbonated. A thin ring of white bubbly head sits atop the beer nicely and lays some graceful sheets of lacing throughout the drink. The aroma is phenomenal. Passion fruit is everywhere - mostly mango being the heaviest scent. There's also some fresh grapefruit citrus, honey, small amounts of pine, candied oranges and some subtle spice. Total package in aromas for an IPA, it's so inviting just by nose alone.

Yeah, this totally met my expectations for a beer on the top 15. Incredibly fresh and citrus-oriented with the fruits just bursting onto the palate. Mild malt sweetness is found towards the middle of the profile and ends on a sublime hoppy bitterness, which is very subtle and not cutting at all. Can't say much more about the taste. It's very straight-forward and wonderfully delicious.

Sculpin is actually very smooth drinking and not as crisp as I originally thought it would be by looks alone. Light-bodied and moderately carbonated, it has a nice silky and oily feel on the mouth with some bubbly presence. The drinkability is amazing, I can definitely have a whole bomber to myself. My first glass was finished in a span of ten minutes - too delicious to let be alone - and giving me quite a nice buzz. A perfect IPA overall.

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

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Pours a golden orangish color with a white head.

S: Lots of tropical fruit, light aromas, little to no pine.

T: Bursting with light tropical fruits such as mangos, tangerines, citrus, and pineapple. Very light malts in the background.

M: Medium bodied, sticky hop resin.

D: A very drinkable IPA due to the lightness of it. Extremely tasty with a most unique hop bill that results in little of the pine found in a lot of IPA's and all of the tropical fruits.

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Photo of rpstevens
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks again to ipa247 for this west coast IPA, poured into a perfect pint.

The pour yields a very big, sticky white foam head (about 3 fingers) on top of a crisp golden orange beer. As the head fades it leaves behind a generous amount of sticky lacing.

The smell is just awesome. Grapefruit, mango, pineapple, pine, fresh oranges. When you get into an IPA like this you expect these scents to give way to some malt tones, but the hops just don't quit on this beer, I'm excited to take a sip.

The flavors are fantastically hoppy. Grapefruit, bold orange, pineapple, mango, a nice backbone of pine resin and no malt. The flavors are juicy and sharp.

The mouthfeel is crisp and the beer has a nice medium body. The hops dry out the flavors and leave a nice citrusy aftertaste that leaves me craving more. This is in the class of Vortex I and Pliny the Elder for me, just a fantastic beer in my favorite style.

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Photo of TheKingsOfHop
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz. bottle poured into our Portsmouth tulip glasses:

A: 1/2 inch of white frothy head sitting afloat a dirty orange body. Just waiting...waiting to be sniffed.

S: In your face grapefruit citrus with piny floral aroma. Followed by hint's of apricot and lemon. Very fresh and inviting.

T: Grapefruit up front developing into mango/tropical fruit. Accompanied by a piny lemon zest on the middle of the palate that is extremely refreshing. The back of the palate ends with a slight bitterness teamed up with a smooth caramel that just flows down the back of the throat.

M: Medium body with the perfect carbonation for an IPA.

D: Were excited to see this become a year round brew (at least that's what we've heard). We could easily kill a few bombers together without a problem.

The Kings Of Hop

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