Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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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: 2,387 | Ratings: 13,103
Photo of Finkline
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a fantastic beer. I tried this on tap last year and I have been hooked ever since. I'm trying to get to all the flavors of Sculpin. There are a bunch. This beer is so good that that you don't want to put it down and you end up drinking the first one fairly fast. Then it's on to number 2, be careful this second one could sneak up on ya and bite ya in the @$$. It's potent! A 6 pack has put me down for the count. In a happy as a pig in slop kind of way. Can't wait to get down south to one of their breweries. If you see it in the store do yourself a favor and try it. It is pricey, especially for 6-pack, but well worth it.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.11/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I suppose the story here is what is called niche marketing.
Crafters brewers who love their trade make a ridiculously grape-fruity hoppy IPA.
It develops a major following of hop-heads... almost second to none.
During the course of this, the brewery makes other beers... proving their skill.
Some beverage company eventually buys them for a hard-to-believe sum.

Moral of the story: love what you do well and it all works out in the end.

P.S. For my palate, this is too hoppy... although I will admit that the hops eventually receded and the grapefruity came out as it warmed.

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Photo of HappyGuy12345
4.88/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Sampled from a tulip glass in Ballast Point Tasting Room in San Diego
Appearance: Golden honey color with approximately 1.5 fingers of head.
Smell: Mix of hops and citrus.
Taste: Very clean tasting IPA with plenty of characteristic hop taste along with hints of citrus. Achieves a very good balance of bitterness. As a good IPA, there is no bitter aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Moderate amount of carbonation. Goes down quite easy. Medium body.
Overall: An outstanding IPA that is surely worthy of its high score from Beeradvocate. Definitely one of the best IPAs that I have ever tried.

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Photo of NoYouDidnt
3.87/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A beautifully clear golden, slightly Amber color1 finger head. Aroma is a bit dank, citrusy, orangey, pineapple. Smells like it will be sticky. Tastes a little more sappy with some medium amounts of piney bitterness. Grapefruit. More orange and citrus. Overall, this could easily be a nice go to IPA. Though there are other IPAs you have access to NYD, that you prefer more. This is a nice change and something you'd certainly not turn down.

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Photo of jaehongcho
4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Much has been said about this beer and I'll make it short.

L: A clear golden body color, with very nice head retention that is an inch thick.

S: The aroma is again very citrusy. Pineapple dominant at first and then peach and apricot notes follow.

T: The taste is very complex. It's resiny, floral and piny while maintaining its hoppy character. That peachy/apricot aroma is fairly visible in the taste as well.

F: Moutfeel is very crispy. For me, it's on the harsher end but it's still nice.

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: This IPA pours a clear bright golden orange color.

Overall: The aroma on this beer is very unique for an IPA. Mango is the strongest scent along with peaches, lemon, orange, and a slight pine bitterness as well. The flavor is loaded with grapefruit and tangerines being very dominant followed up with a touch of caramel malt. The hops are extremely fresh and vibrant on the dry finish. The drinkability is superb on this beer, and is one of the best IPAs I’ve have ever had.

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Photo of 911CROFT
3.65/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

355ml bottle into a Tulip. Paid £3.50 for a single bottle.

Pours a bright, clear, shiny, golden-orange body with small amounts of sluggish visible carbonation. A thin, one-finger in height, white coloured head fades disappointingly quickly to a patchy film, leaving behind only two or three token splashes of soapy lace.

Big, juicy, citrus hop profiles make up the majority of the nose. Grapefruit flesh and peels undoubtedly dominate, but floral and pine aromas are also noticeable in the background. Gentle agitation reveals sweeter orange notes and hints of light-skinned stone fruit, but only after being allowed to warm. Taste initially follows suit with big, bold, juicy, sweet grapefruit leading upfront, followed by a little orange and a delicate floral profile. Towards the mid-palate, resinous pine flavours build with more intensity than the nose suggested, later combining with grapefruit pith and rind to provide an increasing bitterness towards the finish. Subtly sweet malts come through just enough on the end to keep bitterness in check, taming the 70IBU’s, without deviating from the hop forward structure. In the mouth a light body and low carbonation feel a tad thin, but still crisp and refreshing. Grapefruit and citric peels linger long after the swallow, giving a dry, thirst quenching gentle bitterness and a touch of astringency that quickly encourage another sip.

Overall this is a very good beer. It’s hugely crisp, zesty and refreshing, and at 7% ABV also ridiculously sessionable. It manages to deliver plenty of intense citrusy hop flavour without the over-the-top, unpleasant bitterness I usually associate with the style. If I had better access to it in the UK I could easily see it becoming a fridge staple. Recommended.

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Photo of CommonSense
3.5/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Support your local craft brewer. Even if it costs an extra buck or 2 for a 6-pack, it's worth it.

Better ingredients, better beer, better company.

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Photo of The_Snow_Bird
3.88/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer has a very clear amber look with a very thick creamy white head. Has a sweet hoppy aroma with a hint of pine. Not too overwhelming. Very hoppy with a light caramel taste.

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Photo of mjfv23
4.03/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 2/11/16
Poured into a Sam Adams pint glass (they were free).
Color: dark amber like apple juice w/ 1.5 inch head lots of quick rising bubbles even 3 minutes later.
Smell: not my favorite, seems a little dirty maybe even some rotten onion on there.
Taste: I didn't like IPA's for quite some time but drank them every know and then until I could appreciate them. This was an eye-opener for me. It's not so bitter that I want to eat something between sips. Rather it was enough to have me going back for another gulp. The malt definitely shows up mid palate but is quickly replaced on the finish. Finish is clean, with definite notes of grapefruit pith (the white part on the rind)
The mouthfeel is pretty smooth with just a slight tingle.

Overall I would have to say that this is one of my favorite American IPA's so far. However we shall see what the future holds.

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Photo of MarkQ617
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this poured into a pint glass. Color was a translucent gold, bit lighter than I like in my IPAs. Everything else about this beer was very very good. The flavor and aroma were strong on citrus, super that in an IPA. Mouthfeel was a little harsh, but not terrible. Meets the hype.

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Photo of Trevor11
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Having this beer tastes like what the fundamental idea of an IPA should taste. It is clear, amber gold that has about half inch head and considerable lacing. The body is bitter with lots of juicy, wet grapefruit and ends with a crisp tonic/La Croix/soda water ending. One of the most solid year round ipas I have had.

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Photo of chupachups01
3.11/5  rDev -29%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Hi points for this beer holding up this long. Poured into Teku glass after being bottled for 6 months. Slightly hazy pale gold. Aroma lacks what I had back in California. Taste is still a very well balanced beer. Solid.

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.36/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle, cloudy golden-orange. Bubbly, cream colored head that hangs for a minute before tapering off to a ring that stays around.

Smell is dank, piney grapefruit... very pungent. Light to medium body with good carbonation.

Sharp flavors hit you first with the pine and hops, bitterness sets in and develops throughout. Long finish really puts the citrus notes on display.

Overall, this is easy to drink and really delicious. If you didn't know Ballast Point was owned by one of the big boys you would be very excited to find this IPA, and in that spirit, I'm very happy to enjoy it!

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Photo of HotDogBikeRide
4.44/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a very small jar like glass. I didn't store the beer upright because I'm an idiot, and I'm kinda concerned it went bad after trying the first one, loving it and noticing such a difference from the second. But I'm going to review the second and update if I get it again or another from the pack jumps out. Edit: the third did.

Pours a straight gold with a thin line of foam, some lacing, smell is a deep floral, orange/citrus zesty hops with a touch of malt. Taste is on point with the smell but is different from many IPA's with the feel - very bright, refreshing, clean, creamy taste. A little bit of hop oil, resiny syrup taste that lingers on the finish. Definitely good, but it runs for pretty expensive at the gas station (who is the only one carrying it around, $14.99). I probably should've taken better care of the 6-er as the first one was tremendously more satisfying and unique. Will have to be back eventually.

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Photo of Hoppy_Time
4.04/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: Clear amber with a nice off white head, decent head retention.
Smell: Citrus and pine, toasty malt.
Taste: Grapefruit bitterness, a little pine, solid malt backbone, nice balance.
Feel: Medium body, good carbonation, light astringency.
Overall: A well balanced IPA, hops are not huge but malt is not too forward.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.39/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a translucent orange-yellow with a medium-thin off-white head. A fair amount of lacing. Smell is dominated by piney hop aromas. Taste is a refreshing mix of piney hop and citrus, but with an emphasis on the former. Mouth feel is rather nice. It feels strong and well carbonated. Overall, this is a great stock-standard IPA. Without any citrus emphasis, the hops get a much better chance to shine, and thus the hoppy taste may overwhelm some. It is on the medium-light hop side of American IPAs though.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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

Pretty much the best IPA I've ever had. The Ballast Point flagship beer really is amazing. A nice citrus flavored hop mixed with some sappy piney notes as well. Very balanced and refreshing. They charge a pretty penny for six-packs, but it really is worth the cost. Golden tint and crisp taste are great!

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Photo of GRPunk
4.19/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. can, no decodible date (from Teddy) poured into an imperial pint glass.

A- A normal pour creates 1-1/2 fingers of khaki head. The body is a hazy, golden-orange with medium- light carbonation. The head sustains at a nice foam and leaves fairly wide rings on the glass.

S- Quite aromatic. A good mix of sweet malts and fresh hops. Lots of grapefruit and other tropical/citrus scents. Actually, quite balanced. Just how I like an IPA.

T- A lot like the aroma. A hit of hops up front, sugary malts through the middle create a nice backbone and bring balance, the finish is all hops (mostly grapefruit, with some spicy qualities). Clean, dry finish.

M- Medium body with a good bite from the medium carbonation and the bold hopping alike. Bone dry finish.

O- A solid American IPA. For all the hops, the malt bill brings decent balance. I get the hype behind this one. It's a really good beer. If Two Hearted and Founders and Crooked Tree, and Huma Lupa weren't so readily available, I could see this being a "go to."

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Photo of mpyle
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brilliantly clear, deep golden color. Pours a whitish head, moderate in size but with nice retention.

Nice hop aroma with a lot of citrus character (grapefruit?) plus some pine notes. No single hop aroma overpowers...nice blend. A bit of sweetness to aroma...hops or malt, I'm not 100% sure.

Perfect blend of malt sweetness and hop flavors (again, a citrus/pine blend). Bitterness is initially subtle, but seems to amplify greatly in the finish. Not a killer bitterness bite, but definitely to my liking.

Medium body and carbonation. No astringency or warming. Mouthfeel generally stays out of the way and doesn't distract from the wonderful flavors and aromas.

I may have found a new favorite American IPA. Spot on to style for my taste buds. Great hop flavor and bitterness, but no harshness. Overall a very clean, well made beer.

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

Poured from 355 ml bottle in a glass mug. (Exp. 02/2016, according to importer's label.) Great aroma, very heavy body. Cloudy, light amber liquid. Nice retention foam. Low drinkability.

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Photo of MtnSoup
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Probably my favorite go-to IPA there is. Tropical, citrus-y, and of course plenty hoppy. Hides a wonderful 7.00 abv as well as it could. The brand standard.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.94/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a balloon glass.

This is one of those rare beers that I have seen on Beer Advocate for years and never had access too but finally have the chance as it is now distributed to my area. Beers like this rarely live up to their expectation.

It's a clear medium copper color with slowly rising bubbles. A cream colored head recedes to a cirrus cloud wisp with spotty lacing. The aroma is citrus (orange, grapefruit) and sweet tropical mango. Woody pine comes in the back end. The taste seems more dry and woody -- pine with grapefruit rind. Citrus in there, but lacking fruit sweetness. The finish is dry.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and dry.

Overall, definitely did not live up to the hype. I will never buy it again.

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Photo of crhall41
3.97/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look - Clear golden color, good carbonation and head retention. nice foam generation with a gentle swirl.
Smell - initially a not overwhelming citrus aroma, mild apricot/peach in the background.
Taste - nice mild citrus hop flavor with a bitter finish. Taste is similar to other good IPAs but it differs in that it has a subtle hint of apricot/peach flavor.
Feel - slight creamy taste with a crisp finish.
Overall - a good IPA that differentiates itself from others with the atypical hop flavors. This is a very approachable IPA for someone who is not used to hoppy beers. This would be a great beer on a hot summer day. Yes I would drink this beer again but I would not seek it out as I prefer a more citrus forward IPA.

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Photo of Kratman
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I was very pleasantly surprised at how good this was. Aroma to me came off with so flora / cotta combo. Poured beautifully into a 18th st snifter. I could fill a cooler and hit the beach with some of these. Eager to try the Grapefruit and pineapple soon. At 7% could drink these all day long.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,387 ratings.