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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

User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,407 | Ratings: 13,262
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 crisp...love 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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Photo of Beers-es
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a growler from a just-tapped keg, pours a nice orangey copper with an off-white, fluffy head that topped 3 fingers, even with a gentle-ish pour. Fair amount of lacing. Smell is mangos and a sort of spicy pine, though mangos always smell a little piney to me, so maybe it's just mangos. Also some grapefruit, some musty earth and a little bit of sweet fruit I can't place, but elements of peach, apricot, orange and pineapple.

Taste is initially a big blast of pine and spicy hops, with some fruity flavor coming in midway, before going piney and spicy again. The hops are the main show, but there is enough malt in the background to provide a good foundation. Feel is a little more full than medium, with nice carbonation and a drying bitterness that takes on a slightly sticky resinous quality in the finish.

Overall I think this is a great beer if you like a big, decently bitter IPA--which I do.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.41/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: huge white head, nice clean look
S: citrus! Love my ipas with citrus vs. pine
T: like the smell, very citrus forward. Gets some bitterness from the hops, but it doesn't finish dry which is what I look for in my ipas
F: easy drinking and doesn't have a dry finish.
O: a great ipa, and it's available year- round

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Photo of BrokenEdge
3.58/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a transparent amber orange color with a frothy, bright white head that lasted the whole glass. Big hop flavor and aroma with lots of grapefruit and other tropical notes. Slightly too unbalanced in the way of bitterness, imo, needs a stronger malt backbone. It ends up giving this beer an almost medicinal quality. Leaves a lingering bitter finish.

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Photo of Coopersbeer
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice lacing. Wish the head didn't so quickly dissipate. Very clear - I like an IPA that's a bit cloudy. Crisp. It's good. I'd definitely buy this again.

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Photo of schematix
4.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Wife got me a bottle as a stocking stuffer for Christmas. Very thoughtful gift. Knew of this beer but wasn't aware of how highly hyped it was.

A: Poured crystal clear gold to copper. KILLER head. In fact, top 2 for me in terms of best head of all time (for beer).

S: Hops.

T: This is where the hype fell flat. Syrupy hoppiness. Hops are noticeably citrus. Not much else.

M: Carbonation is spot on. Wow this is bitter. This has to be like 70-80 IBU.It's a tongue twister for sure. Too bitter to pair with food.

O: Over hyped. Good beer and i'd drink it again, but I don't like syrupy sweet IPAs. At this IBU it needs to be dryer. I would recommend trying it though as it is good, but I'd never pin this as a 'great' beer.

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Photo of Roadking1979
4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have criss-crossed this great nation in search of the perfect IPA, and the three I submit for your consideration are Sculpin, Union Jack, and Three Floyd's Broo Doo. I've consumed hundreds of bombers, thousands of pints, and a number of growlers I've lost track of. None have beaten Sculpin for consistent quality. Will buy it at any price, and have. It's just that good.

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Photo of jmasher85
3.9/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I will probably make a more in-depth addendum to this review later, but for now, let's just say that it's a solid IPA, not even an American IPA, but a true, almost-English-style one with a great sense of balance and nice malts to even the keel. Grapefruit is the dominant flavor in the hops, but bitter resins still preside over all and a smooth texture and light body make this an easy beginner IPA for anyone who likes a crisp, refreshing, bitter beer. Grapefruit variant of Sculpin takes things in the next logical direction, but I'm enjoying this as it is.

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