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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

8,503 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,503
Reviews: 1,976
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.52%
Wants: 882
Gots: 1,320 | FT: 45
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sculpin IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,503 | Reviews: 1,976 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Genghis22


4.53/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a golden honey color. Completely clear, with a nice frothy white head.

S - I could smell it from the counter as I was pouring it! Sweet grapefruit. Big bitter grassy piney smells. Can't wait to taste it.

T - The taste does not dissapoint. Beautifully flavored IPA. Strong bitter hops, lead into some citrus esthers, leading into a slightly sweet malt zone, and then the finish is all bitter hops again. Yum!

M - Medium body, with moderate carbonation. Just right for an IPA. The smell and the taste make you think it should be a DIPA, which would call for a more substantial body, but at 7%, this is just a damn good IPA.

D - Absolutely. One of the best standard IPAs I've had. Unfortunately this beer is prohibitively expensive, so it is one and done for me. The taste is great, and the alcohol is completely hidden. I'd drink it again for sure.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2009 07:15:54 | More by Genghis22
Photo of mbudner


4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bomber into an over-sized snifter.

A- Golden with a slight orange hue, quite clear, 1-2 finger white head that is quite luxurious looking, dissipated fairly quickly.

S- Immense hop profile. The most noticeable of the aromas are floral piney-ness balanced with a nice fruity smell that is not overly sweet, but more complementary of the floral essence. This is what I wish every IPA smelled like, only rivaled by Pliny the Elder (and I'm sure the younger, but I have not yet had the pleasure.)

T- The flavors on the tip of my tongue and fruity bubblegum and flowers. Almost immediately, the bitterness envelops my tongue. The pine-cone-like bitterness lingers in a manner not at all offensive to my palate, but quite welcome. Some grapefruit in the finish as well.

M- Quite substantial for a "single IPA," but not as chewy and oily as some of the bigger DIPAs. Great amount of carbonation keeping it zippy on the tongue.

D- This is one of the best IPAs I have ever had. The taste is amazing and the smell really sets it in a league of its own. All around a great brew and I could drink this all night.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2009 03:00:55 | More by mbudner
Photo of mnjeff


4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to tulip. Thanks to billab914 for a chance to get my hands on this.
A: Pours a fully translucent golden orange color. The sticky lacing is everywhere, and there is a frothy, milky head with white caps all over the place.
S: The smell is fruity and yet bitter. Easily identifiable are lemon and orange and a hint of sweet pineapple. I can also pick out an astringent hop oil smell.
T: The taste is well balanced for an IPA; Sculpin has found a happy medium between apricot, bittering hops, and orange rind. A buttery note rounds out the finish.
M: Mouthfeel is as smooth as I've ever seen in an IPA. Though this is a well carbonated beer, I never feel a prickle cross my tongue. Wow.
D: An incredible drinkable IPA. The only thing possibly holding it back are the bittering hops.

This is a beer certainly worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2009 17:37:06 | More by mnjeff
Photo of jsh420


3.98/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours clear golden with a white 1 finger head that leaves notches down the glass

smells is all fruity hops peach apricot - one of te best if not the best smelling ipa ever

taste - alot like it smells big fruity hops but a tad too bitter that lingers on the after taste

mouthfeel is good but a tad thin

drinkability is good with all this flavor and as light as this is

overall - this is a beer is very hyped and i can see why - but taste is all personal preference and i have had better

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2009 04:33:17 | More by jsh420
Photo of Telix


4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bomber into a Sam Adams Sensory glass.

A: The pour leaves a nice pillowy head sitting atop a clear golden beer with a nice amount of carbonation evident.

S: A nice fruity, citrus aroma that jumps out of the glass. There is a bit of the jammy undertones you get from some of the west coast DIPAs, but not nearly as much.

T: Bitter notes are immediately evident and are matched, but not quite balanced, by a subtle, light caramel sweetness. Lemon zest. Pepper. The finish is a bit alkaline, but leaves the tongue pretty clean for another sip. Not exceptionally complex.

M: Nice enough, not exactly thick but not too lean. A good match for the overall package.

D: An easy drinker with good overall enjoyment levels. This isn't even close to my favorite IPAs like Commodore Perry, Centennial IPA, Two Hearted, etc, but it's solid and unoffensive. I'm surprised at all the A's, but for a west coast single IPA it's quite good.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2009 21:46:54 | More by Telix
Photo of orbitalr0x


4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My second bomber of this pours a crystalline golden orange with a billowing three finger head of creamy white foam on top. Plenty of active carbonation. Stellar! Aromas start out with huge citric and tropical fruit hops and tons of resins. Green and a touch floral as well. Mild crystal and light toasted caramel malt backbone. Hop profile is just great here and draws you in with every inhalation.

First sip brings is just beautiful...mild toasted malt upfront with some caramel sweetness that's quickly bowled over by a boatload of citric, vibrant tropical hop goodness. A touch floral with tons of bitter, resinous hop flavor. Smooth on the finish with lingering fruity hops. Immensely tasty.

Mouthfeel is on the light side with good carbonation and a bit of crispness. This is the epitome of easy drinking for an IPA and super smooth and tasty. A bomber disappears like nothing and leaves me wishing I had more. Just a killer IPA that deserves the praises it has received.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2009 05:03:28 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of Dijeriduster


3.98/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this at Ballast Point in Linda Vista many times - but only in sample sizes. Much diff in a bottle - I wish they brewed this year round and had it on tap...

A - Slighty hazy golden color with a nice creamy head developed on the pour. Slight amber color indicates adjuncts beyond your typical IPA.

S - Wonderful - especially as it warms. Lots of citrus character with a resiny hint that you would typically find in a wet hopped beer. Obviously lots of diff hops here and a solid malt profile present in the smell.

T - Great, though again it benefits from warming (keeping in mind I did pour this at a slightly lower temp ~ 48. Has lots of hops character without being overwhelming. Not quite sweet, but not as bitter as some super hopped beers. At $8 a 22 from the brewery you know they've put a bunch in here....

M - Nice mouthfeel, somewhat thin given the style but very nice none the less. The malt characters really come thru in the mouthfeel, not so much in the taste. Carapils maybe? Something to give it body with out affecting the good hop taste

D - Pretty high. This is a great IPA, maybe not quite the hop profile of Pliny the Elder but still very complex with plenty of hops character to analyze. This beer begs to be served on cask - something Ballast has never done to my knowledge. Good example of a San Diego IPA, but not nearly as stunning as a Green Flash West Coast or other HYPER hopped beers. This is certainly Ballast Points most loved beer and with good reason. I'd also recommend the Dorado Double - which has a more defined hop character.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2009 03:15:01 | More by Dijeriduster
Photo of projectflam86


4.65/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A trade with JoeyBeerBelly landed me this brew. Thanks Joe!

A- Pours a light sunset orange color with a huge rocky white foam head. Sticky lace is left behind in rings all the way down the glass.

S- Ripe citrus fruit aromas dominate the nose. A very hoppy aroma with oranges, grapefruit, and some light floral scents. This baby smells exactly the way an IPA should.

T- Strong initial rush of hoppy bitterness comprised of grapefruit, apricots, orange peel, lemon, and tropical flavors. Some light floral and pine flavors are present as well. Quite bitter but the finish is very smooth and warm with a barely noticeable bit of alcohol.

M- Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Silky smooth feel with a crisp finish.

D- This bomber went down ridiculously quick! This brew has it all; looks great, smells great, tastes great and feels great! A hophead must try.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2009 03:28:57 | More by projectflam86
Photo of goodbyeohio


4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

got a bottle as an extra from a clown who sent me some black tuesday. killed it tonight.

much more orangey than i remember, almost sunny-d like. clean though, with a thoroughly herbaceous hop blast that finishes with only a slight bit of lingering citrus oil. the body of the beer itself is light yet buoyant, crisp yet not overcarbonated. i could drink this stuff all night, but i would eventually grow used to the bold up front flavor. agree with the good ratings on this one, easily double fucking good.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2009 05:25:00 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of jampics2


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

Extra from SwillinBrew. Thanks, Gil - this was a great bonus! Split with a buddy pre-gaming for a trip downtown to see a hockey game.

Golden orange, nice snow-white head.

Smells like heaven. Nice blend of peaches, oranges, pineapple, and other tropical citruses. Wow, the anticipation is killing me!

Tastes like heaven. Almost perfect. Malt takes a back seat, but is there with a little toast. The star of the show is the over-the-head smash from the hops. This is brilliant! I'm getting a ton of grapefruit and orange, plus the bitterness hits on a few peaks before subsiding. Guiness dudes, say it with me, This is brilliant - BRILLIANT!

Mouth is good, not great, but good. A touch too sharp, but the right consistency and feel going down.

Drinkability is great for a stronger hop bomb. Sure it wrecks a little havok on the pallate, but it doesn't leave me dried out or over-stimulated. I loved this world class beer!

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2009 16:56:49 | More by jampics2
Photo of dondeez21

New Jersey

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

I picked up a 22oz bomber from Capones in Norristown PA. Poured into a Weyerbacher tulip glass.
A: Light orange color with a finger thick eggshell white head. Very nice lacing left behind on the glass
S: Sweet Fruity Citrus Hops dominate the smell.
T: One of the fruitiest IPAs I have ever tried. Citrus hops with notes of other exotic fruits. Mango Tangerine and Orange/ Grapefruit with a slight piney taste than slightly lingers on your tounge.
M: Medium body with a slight burn to it.
D: This beer is a great easy drinking IPA. I would love to drink this more often but due to its limited availabilty that might not be possible. Overall a very solid IPA that stands up to all the hype.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2009 03:00:06 | More by dondeez21
Photo of bonkers

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap today at Capone's. It is a pale, golden honey yellow with a sticky white head. The smell is rich with copious amounts of citrus and tropical fruits. The flavor follows, sweet citrus, mango, guava. Sculpin has enough malt for balance, leaving a crisp finish. It taste like a DIPA with the drinkability of an IPA. The beer lives up to the hype.

Serving type: on-tap

11-27-2009 21:54:40 | More by bonkers
Photo of zeff80


4.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Poured out a clear, golden yellow color with a small, white, bubbly head of foam. It left soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled amazing. Loads of grapefruit, bubblegum, mango and other citrus aromas. It had a slight caramel nose, too.

T - It tasted of sweet citrus flavors with grapefruit and orange peel. It had a nice bitter hop bite and a bitter burnt toast malt flavor.

M - It was crisp and quite sharp. A medium-bodied ale with a smooth finish.

D - This is an amazing IPA. It has all the complexity and depth of an Imperial IPA without an over the top alcohol presence.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2009 22:38:16 | More by zeff80
Photo of kbutler1


4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Poured into a DFH tulip glass a hazed apricot orange color with a fluffy 2 finger head that leaves some clingy lace on the glass. This is a rather fruitful IPA to me with notes of mango, pineapple, and orange along with a citris rind hop bitterness. Starts of subltey sweet with the tropical fruit notes which is then accompanied by a building citris rind bitterness that lingers all well after your drink is finished. Some warming alcohol notes on the back end. Overall, just a wonderful IPA and in my top 5. Medium mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2009 18:15:59 | More by kbutler1
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks like a standard IPA, nice color, nothing spectacular. Smells very much like a standard citrusy grapefruity IPA. Tastes the same. Maybe a little more bitter than I expected. Well balanced nonetheless, a little maltier than I expected too, but I guess that's needed to balance the heavy alcohol and bitterness.

A very good IPA, if its not in the top 10 ipas, its close.

Did a bunch more of these at the SDIBF, was even better than remembered. Aroma really jumped out this time, its funny, sometimes, you drink a beer with other beers, it actually stands out more than it would on its own.

This beer is massively different with age. Don't be one of those fools who says it changed or whatnot. Go drink it on tap, fresh. You'll then see. . .

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2009 00:23:15 | More by Beerandraiderfan


4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

10 draft pour into a tulip ($6). From notes.

A: Small, off-white head, diminishing. Very clear golden sparkling body, somewhere in between yellow & orange and pale in color. Very small bubbles that appeared as a pixellized fragment of a cartographer's map.

S & T: Beautiful nose and very good taste. Very light, sweet bready malts offset by heavy citrusy (grapefuit) hops. Additional hop aromas and flavors were flowers and celery.

M: Very well balanced, medium body with a lively carbonation and bitter finish.

D: What a great beer. I understand what the hype is about. Well deserved.

Serving type: on-tap

11-25-2009 23:53:39 | More by FeDUBBELFIST
Photo of juhl31


4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks city beer store, sf

-yellowy gold. decent carb and lacing

-a sweet, citrus hop nose. takes a bit to pull it out though

-very balanced. tastes like a single IPA version of pliny the elder. some grapefruit, good hops

-lil carb bite at first and then smooth. a touch oily

-very good. would never mind drinking this. not sure about top 12 though, but thats fine

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 20:11:26 | More by juhl31
Photo of ArtofBrewing


4.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Clear, golden, with a moderate head.
Smell: Herbal w/ slight floral note.
Taste: Hoppy, slightly biter, w/ citrus aftertaste
Mouthfeel: Perfectly carbonated and smooth
Drinkability: Well-rounded IPA, would definitely drink this IPA again!

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 06:55:16 | More by ArtofBrewing
Photo of aglose45


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I was lucky enough to buy a case of this beer a month or so back and I am finally getting around to review it!

A: Beautiful golden color with a nice, barely off-white, fluffy head.

S: Smells of DELICIOUS HOPS! This smells so tart and citrusy, most specifically of apricots and peaches. Near the end there is a tiny bit of biscuity maltyness to balance out the hop aroma. This is the best smelling beer that I have ever had the pleasure of whiffing!

T: The taste is even better than the smell! It tastes just as the nose suggests. It is filled with citrus-like hop flavor, which is what I love the most in a beer. I am getting a ton of tart apricot up front, with some peach and grapefruit flavors as well. This is a nice dry flavor that I am getting from the hops, which is backed up quite nicely by a biscuit-like malt backbone. From the second this beer hits my palate until long after it is down the hatch, it is insanely bitter, and I love it!

M: Excellent carbonation for an IPA, a really sticky resin left in the mouth from the hops, and a light to medium body make this beer more than a pleasure.

D: This beer is so tart, so citrusy, and so bitter. There is nothign that I don't absolutely love. This is my favorite beer and I will always actively seek this beer out. Cheers to Ballast Point and this world class brew!!!

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 03:42:35 | More by aglose45
Photo of FishGetter


4.8/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pale orange apperance with loads of carbination streaming up. Thin frothy head, nice lacing left on glass.
Hop aroma rushes out at opening. Very fresh, crisp orchard aromas. Melow grapefruit/peach aroma.
Grapefruit, apricot, peach, and slight lemon all sworl around tastebuds. No one overwelming, all identifiable however blend nicely together. A touch of sweet gain lightens things up.
A lightly-medium mouthfeel. Very approchable IPA. Slight oily aftertaste that's repeatable of flavors, enjoyable.
Exceptional offering! Alot of flavors, however very distinguished. Wishing for year-round availability.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 23:03:38 | More by FishGetter
Photo of alleykatking


4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 02:44:02 | More by alleykatking
Photo of quinnsi


3.8/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2009 04:07:30 | More by quinnsi
Photo of JBogan


4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Serving type: growler

11-22-2009 15:33:44 | More by JBogan
Photo of billab914


4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2009 01:01:21 | More by billab914
Photo of realmpel


4.72/5  rDev +7%
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?

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2009 03:05:33 | More by realmpel
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 8,503 ratings.