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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,258 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7258
Reviews: 1912
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.52%

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:
Originally named Northstar IPA. Debuted in 2005.

(Beer added by: brentk56 on 04-02-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,258 | Reviews: 1,912 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Niners49


4.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an amazing IPA. It pours a beautiful gold with a nice white head. Wonderful citrus flavors from the hops and a nice mouth feel. If you are a hop head you can't go wrong with this beer. The bottles and cans are filtered. I've had an unfiltered version on draft in San Diego that is superb.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 20:45:54 | More by Niners49
Photo of 1000lbgrizzly


4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy amber with the fastest rising core of bubbles I've ever seen (including champagnes). Soapy head forms easily and sticks around, and to the glass. Reminds me of a rootbeer float- on my last, roughest pour, I had a kind of volcano-looking foam mountain that lasted even after my last swig.

S: Extremely expressive, tons of fruit aromas, and not just the super-citric stuff; mangoes, cantaloupe, orange, apricot, etc. Almost no pine- a plus! Balanced by background breadiness. Mmm.

T: All those fruits, no pine, malts/yeast provide balancing sweetness and a bready flavor, but don't diminish from the overall bitter finish. I'm not an IPA guy, but this bitterness is totally welcome after that refreshing array of flavors.

M: That lasting head gives this a really creamy mouthfeel, but the effervescence adds to the spicy-bitterness. Either way, it's fantastic.

O: Hands down my favorite IPA. Didn't know I don't enjoy pine from hops until this beer; their absence is very welcome! Not super harsh like other IPA's despite the respectable 70 IBU's, and I'm a fan of the unique array of fruit esters present. If I can find 6-packs (which should be more economical) this will become a go-to!

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 04:56:09 | More by 1000lbgrizzly
Photo of WunderLlama


4.66/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle poured into a glass

Translucent golden yellow pour creates a thick, white billowy foam cap. A barista would be happy with this foam.

Aroma of floral and fruits, orange and apricot. Gentle pine whisper.

Great tasting beer. Smooth start with a gentle hop bitter bite. Almost creamy. Hops on the front of the tongue.smooth throughout. Bitterness on the aftertaste but without the bite.

Medium mouthfeel, really good carbonation.

What a great beer. I gotta buy more of this one and will stock it my fridge. Excellent balance and very, very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 02:39:48 | More by WunderLlama
Photo of mtomlins

Ontario (Canada)

4.14/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful, clear, amber color to a tall, thick head, slowly settling to a creamy collar and leaving nice lacing. The aroma was big and hoppy less grapefruit and citrus to me though and more spicy, floral notes. The taste followed suite with some nice malty sweetness at first but quickly transitioning to spicy, floral hops with hints of pine and citrus rind. The finish is very dry and smacks of American bittering hops. Medium carbonation and body fit for style and keep the beer light and refreshing. Overall an excellent IPA, although much more floral and spice than the fruity citrus I was expecting from reading other descriptions (not a fault, just surprised).

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2014 20:15:51 | More by mtomlins
Photo of DenverHopHead


4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

On tap; poured into a pint glass.
Appearance - bubbly gold; modest white head that leaves solid lacing.
Smell - the citrus hops, mango and apricot grabs your attention and your senses; well done!
Taste - that's good; follows the nose brilliantly! More please!
Feel - an IPA like it should be; hop forward, but not overly aggressive, well balanced and easy drinking!
Overall - a bit pricey on their turf...I'd like to see this come to Colorado.

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2014 02:38:16 | More by DenverHopHead
Photo of Tony_D


4.56/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a very nice, translucent, amber color. Creamy white head quickly dissipates with nice lacing on the side of the glass.

S: Piney and floral. Get some small hints of simcoe in the nose but overall has a great hop aroma.

T: Taste is great. Perfect balance of maltiness and hop bitterness.

M: Once again this is spot on. Extremely well balanced and hop forward as one would expect from an IPA.

O: In my opinion this is one of the best IPAs that you can find in Georgia or North Carolina. It has a great flavor and aroma. This is a perfect beer for cold winter nights but would also be perfect on a warm summer evening.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2014 00:48:40 | More by Tony_D
Photo of Longstaff


3.03/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Bought a six pack of Sculpin cans the other day. code on the bottom says 14028, so I am assuming this is pretty fresh - abt 2 wks old - unless I'm not deciphering it correctly.

IMO, this is no better than old school caramelly New England IPA with just a little bit drier finish. Hop character was weak and grassy, no citrusy/tropical fruit flavors. Draft has been inconsistent too - sometimes boozy and thin, sometimes decently hoppy, sometimes malty. What the heck happened to that juicy hop bomb like when it first came to the boston area in bombers? I think I'm about done with this beer as I am with GF WC IPA - two beers ruined by increased production.

Serving type: can

02-13-2014 14:36:42 | More by Longstaff
Photo of paulytasker

New York

4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type) Poured a Pint out of a 22 oz. Bomber. Thanks to Wheelzntoys for sending this to me via trade!

A) Pours a bold golden, light orange that is topped with a frothy, creamy white layer of dense head. The head dwindles rather quickly, leaving behind a thin blanket of white suspended atop the brew. Some dense, (albeit patchy) lacing coats the side of the glass as I sip. Limited carbonation visible.

S) Grapefruit, grapefruit, and more grapefruit are very apparent to the nose, accompanied by a good deal of other citrusy fruits. Pineapple, mango, and maybe tangerine? All in all a damn delicious boquet of fruits. A slight whiff of, grassy, piney, earthiness rounds it all out.

T) Surprisingly, the citrus bomb I was expecting isn't quite as pronounced on the palate as it was in the nose. That being said, there is still a very pleasing dose of fruity tropicalness, but it is actually kept in check and nicely balanced by some maltyness. It's as if a bunch of tropical fruit rolled around in a tub of freshly cut bitter grass and dried off with a towel coated with a touch of caramel.

M) Medium bodied, with a decent amount of carbonation. This is one smooth, yet complex brew. All the qualities I look for in a West Coast IPA. One kick ass brew that lives up to the hype!


Serving type: bottle

02-12-2014 04:26:30 | More by paulytasker
Photo of eclipse54


3.28/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A translucent, golden body lurks beneath an inch of foamy, pure white head that lingers briefly before settling to a scant dusting across the surface of the liquid; minimal strands of lacing coat the glass. The aroma is of grapefruit and orange with a fresh pine punch. Some grass, herbs, and wet earth fill out the middle with a lemony zest towards the end. It tastes similar, with some large citrus notes up front that readily fade to a muddled, earthy center. Bitter hops give way to a soapy aftertaste on the finish, especially as it warms. Mouthfeel is thinner than anticipated, but well carbonated. Refreshing throughout with a dry finish. Overall, a solid IPA that I thoroughly enjoy. While there are plenty of new options available today, this one remains a staple and a great example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2014 21:53:02 | More by eclipse54
Photo of gradergator


4.16/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served fresh from a bottle into a pint glass. Appearance is nice orange haze with lots of lacing that seems to linger. Smell is fresh fruit but not that strong. Would like more punch. Taste is fresh but again not that aggressive. Mouthfeel is average and overall, I believe the first time I tasted it must have been stale as this experience was delicious.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2014 00:16:54 | More by gradergator
Photo of Jadjunk


4.26/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

"Our Sculpin IPA is a great example of what got us into brewing in the first place. After years of experimenting, we knew hopping an ale at five separate stages would produce something special. The result ended up being this gold medal-winning IPA, whose inspired use of hops creates hints of apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavors, but still packs a bit of a sting. Just like a Sculpin." Brewed in the style of an American IPA. Available year round in 6 packs, 22 oz. bottles and on draft.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a tulip glass. Served above 56º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pour yields a sudsy, frothed eggshell white head over an apricot-amber body. Light specked sediment in suspension are the only impediments to clarity. Retention is very good, lacing is medium-thick and patchy. 4

(Smell) Lots of fruity and citrus hop flavors forward, apricot, grapefruit, tangerine and mango. Medium peppery and lemony bitterness rounds out the potency of the hop profile. Malt profile is passive by association, clean pale biscuity malts. Very bright and hop forward with a pleasing hop aroma and perceived bitterness. Potency is high. 4.5

(Taste) The flavor is fairly more bitter than the aroma gave off. Grapefruit and peppery lemon up front, finishes with a touch of apricot and pine needle. Malt build is clean and simple, a smooth lightly toasted caramelized malt body. I don't quite find the flavor as diversified and impressive as the aroma, as mostly the bitter extremes come through and most of the subtle fruits are muted. 4.25

(Mouthfeel) Smooth, slick, very mildly viscous, clean. Carbonation adds a subtle froth, alleviates dryness. Body is medium+ for the style, medium overall. Alcohol presence is low, fairly well concealed beneath the bitterness. 4

(Overall) Sculpin may be a slightly more bitter and aggressive IPA than brighter and fruitier west coast IPA options, but the flavors are still so well displayed and plentiful that it is difficult to dislike Sculpin. A well-made and readily available IPA. 4.25

Ballast Point Brewing Company's
Sculpin IPA

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 03:13:04 | More by Jadjunk
Photo of GrumpyBeer


4.16/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a bottle pours a golden orange with off white lacing. Amazing smell of citrus and piney resins. The taste is a balance but lends more to bitter than fruity citrus. More grapefruit than orange but an outstanding IPA nonetheless. Leaves me craving more

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 00:22:47 | More by GrumpyBeer
Photo of dank203

New Jersey

4.14/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

pours solid orange, lot of white head. almost looks bottle conditioned. aromas are subtle but pleasant, citrusy, bitter, tart, grainy. flavors are perfectly balanced and drinks like a 5% beer with tons of flavor. hops perfectly balanced not overly bitter or lingering

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2014 19:08:58 | More by dank203
Photo of dar482

New York

4.79/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a clear dark amber orange with a huge huge foamy white head.

The aroma is papaya, bitter pineapple, grapefruit, tangerine, pine, a light bready sweetness.

The taste is beautifully flowery and fruity. There is papaya, dried mango, pineapple, bitter grapefruit, and more complex notes. There is a light white bready malt backbone that pushes the beer while keeping an extremely light body that is very clean.

There beer has stood up with my re-review. One of the best beers you can get on the shelf. One of my favorite IPAs ever and blows me away that it's a simple "shelf beer." Drink this beer more!

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 05:14:23 | More by dar482
Photo of Jeeshizz1


4.64/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Great beer, very hoppy, more hop then citrus. a MUST TRY for IPA lovers. The overall feel from it is very hoppy upfront, and smooth citrus in the back. Beautiful soft color betrays the mouthful of flavor. The citrus notes are in the smell and tail end of the taste, but this is definitely overwhelmingly a hoppy beer... in a great way!!

Serving type: on-tap

02-04-2014 21:15:32 | More by Jeeshizz1
Photo of lsiberian


4.76/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Sculpin is a clear blood orange beer with a strong light brown foamy head. On the nose it's sweetness and hops are not too strong, not to weak but just right. It's taste follows it's nose, with a wonderful grain finish that comes later in the drink. This smooth refreshing beer is unique in it's just right balance and is a good option for a new IPA drinker and a nice change of pace for the hardened one. Definitely a must drink for the beer advocate.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2014 00:53:38 | More by lsiberian
Photo of jjh19


4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Very bubbly, with a bright orange hue. Looks very refreshing.

Smell: Citrusy and tropical. Very appealing.

Taste: Hops were surprisingly sharp up front, given the aroma, but not in an offensive way. Just more punch to this beer than the smell would imply.

Mouthfeel: Medium body.

Drinkability: Very tasty and drinkable. I love the art and the tone it sets with the beer. A tough IPA with big hops.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2014 22:47:29 | More by jjh19
Photo of aepetzold


4.56/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a light orange color. Nice, white head, very few carbonation bubbles.

Smell: Very fresh, hops, orange, tangerine.

Taste: Citrus, grapefruit, and some pine from the hops. Small amount of malt at the end...little bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Great. Malt and bitterness at end really round out the citrus.

Overall: Could easily drink a lot of these. I'd love to try it fresher as I think the citrus would really stand out. I'm partial to citrus/floral/tropical IPAs and while this one was a little pinier (could be the freshness), I could drink a bunch of this.

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 21:57:17 | More by aepetzold
Photo of mjmadden


4.11/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz can poured a a beautiful bright golden elixir that omits a a finger or two of fluffy off-white head that is quick to dissipate however leaves a delicate foam lacing in the glass. The aroma is captivating with scents of citrus and hops and slight spice at the back of the nose. While the aroma is captivating the taste is addictive, a magnificent blend of bitter hops, citrus, bready malts, and a earthy over tone make for a fantastic beer. The beer has just the right mix of medium body and carbonation to enjoy from beginning to end. Overall I wish this was readily available to me on the east coast, but for now I will enjoy it often during my 6 weeks in beautiful sunny Southern California.

Serving type: can

01-29-2014 15:23:05 | More by mjmadden
Photo of VashonGuy


3.88/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can, coded on bottom 13357, which I assume means this was canned about five weeks ago.

Appearance: copper golden color, pretty clear. Good head which quickly disappears, leaving some lacing.

Smell: wonderful grapefruity and floral hop aroma. The best thing about this beer.

Taste: To me, this beer is less balanced than my favorite IPAs or DIPAs. It's hoppy, but the overall flavor is heavily bitter, and less fruity/floral than my favorites of the style. Starts bitter, finishes bitter. I wish the taste were more like the aroma.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, and a bit on the thin side, which is fine by me.

Overall: I get why this beer is popular and highly rated, but it doesn't quite work for me in the same way. My personal favorite IPAs have more maltiness, and an overall better balance. If you like your IPAs bitter and then more bitter, you'll probably like this a bit more than I did.

Serving type: can

01-29-2014 01:34:44 | More by VashonGuy
Photo of Goliveidaho


4.19/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I am nuts about Sculpins little brother, Big Eye, so I have been waiting on Brewforia here in Boise to tap into the Sculpin. Poured bright into a 12 oz glass. Head in moderation, carbonation delicate. Aroma like slicing a grapefruit in half- fresh, clean,inticing. Mouth feel- the Sculpin is break dancing on my palette. Of course grapefruit, tangerine,floral oils, but not nearly as fluent as Big Eye. This beer is bold yet exquisite what ever that means in beer,I guess in your face good. Finishes like a world glass IPA should, balanced, complex ,mystifies the taste buds. Hats off again to Ballast Point. Great beer. Cheers!

Serving type: growler

01-26-2014 21:59:41 | More by Goliveidaho
Photo of baakabak

New York

4.19/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Out of the bottle it's nice and ruddy gold.

Smell of apricot,mango and pine tar.

Taste is a mango and peach hops followed by pine resin finish.BIG fruity hops

Full mouth. Just the right amount if carbonation

Overall an excellent West Coast IPA. Not sure if it's deserving of the manna reputation it has, but very good and very easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2014 04:18:28 | More by baakabak
Photo of Or80rowley


4.54/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dude @ central market suggested this, did not disappoint

A. Bright slightly hazy gold, one finger white head

S. Grapefruit, peach, hop

T. Citrus peel, peach, bitter hop, nicely balanced

M. Medium mouth coat, nice carbonation, clean grainy aftertaste

O. Thank you for suggesting this one beer man! It's easy to drink, refreshing on a hot day in San Antonio

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 23:35:49 | More by Or80rowley
Photo of BSK_ONE

New Jersey

4.11/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Very light, golden-orange appearance. Quickly dissipating white head, with considerable lacing.
S: The best quality about this beer is the smell. It's filled with citrus fruits and floral scents. Very nice.
T: Classic IPA flavor. Bitterness, tastes of hops, straw, and citrus fruits. Grapefruit.
M: Bitter. Then once the bitterness wears off then bitterness kicks in. Did I mention that it is bitter?
O: This is a very good IPA in the classic definition. In today's age of complex multi-tiered flavoring, this hardens back to the old standard IPA brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2014 01:56:32 | More by BSK_ONE
Photo of DeFaz


4.29/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a very light orange color, almost straw color. Few carbonation bubbles can be seen. The head is fairly short.

Smell: Very pleasant aromas in the smell, although the smell itself isn't as strong as I would like.

Taste: Citrus, grapefruit, and some pine from the hops. A touch of malt to balance, but the hops work here the most. Fairly complex with all of the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Excellent. The thickness of the beer is spot on, and the carbonation is very good, although maybe a touch much. The beer finishes nicely despite the dryness and bitterness at the beginning of the taste.

Overall: This beer goes down incredible easy, has a nice flavor and nose profile (although neither are quite as pronounced as I would like) and an excellent mouthfeel. In my opinion the beer doesn't live all the way up to its hype, but it's still something I'd seek out again.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2014 04:27:08 | More by DeFaz
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 7,258 ratings.