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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

9,309 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,309
Reviews: 2,032
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.75%
Wants: 954
Gots: 1,718 | 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
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Ratings: 9,309 | Reviews: 2,032 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PCampbell
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a light golden color with a thick cream head to it.

First smell gives off plenty of citrus and floral hops and grapefruit along with a little bit of light malt. The taste continues with floral hops and a light light malt sweetness, but mostly hop flavors overall. Lots of citrus notes. Has a nice mouthfeel to it with great carbonation.

A great IPA that was very tasty, if you like hoppy beers then you're going to like this one.

PCampbell, Aug 04, 2011
Photo of dpnelson1978
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle into glass pint.

A: Bright straw body topped with a big tight white head of generous retention that slowly recedes to a thick rocky head and sticky lace.

S: The label is spot on. Dominated by peach, mango, and a grapefruit citrus. Potently fills the nostrils. Wonderful.

T: Slightly sweet bready backbone dominated by a strong peach/apricot hop presence. Very straight forward but well executed. A much delayed pine astringency ends the experience.

M: Medium body with moderate to heavy carbonation. Hop oils coat the tongue and a light astringency puckers the taste buds well after the sip.

O: Very solid IPA though I could do without the backside pine character. Well executed and a delight to any IPA enthusiast.

dpnelson1978, Aug 02, 2011
Photo of Hopfenpeter
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a deep clear golden color with a creamy tan head building about two fingers high. Great retention and good lacing.
Smell is a very inviting fruity nose. Peach, Mango and Orange are noticeable as well as a good amount of hop.
Tasting this beer the fruit notes will be encountered up front. In the middle a nice hop - malt combo balances the beer greatly. At the end the hops take it to a nice finish.
Very good beer!v

Hopfenpeter, Aug 01, 2011
Photo of BigDub
3.95/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass

A - Pours a hazy, golden color with a nice 1 inch head. Leaves some nice lacing the whole way down.

S - Citrus and floral hops, smells nice and lets you know the fun is about to start.

T - Citrus and pine initially , somewhat light malts. The bitterness was a nice balance and not over done.

M - Some creaminess with nice carbonation.

O - I was really looking forward to this one after all of the great reviews. I picked up this one on the beer road trip to SoCal. This is a really nice IPA done well and has a lot going on with good balance. A true definition of the IPA.

BigDub, Aug 01, 2011
Photo of jondeelee
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sculpin IPA has the kind of extraordinarily hoppy nose--bursting with grapefruit and pine, with hints of menthol--that lets you know you're in for a bitter blast. So strong are the hops aromas that they all but cover the malts, which only come across with light hints of brown sugar and toast.

On the tongue, the first taste is hops, which bring not only the grapefruit and pine notes from the nose, but also lemon zest and pepper. There are a few malty flavors as well--apricot, toast, orange--but these are subsumed beneath the hops. Ballast Point's website says that the beer clocks in at 70 IBUs, but the tongue sensation is much, much higher than that, and my tongue was buzzing lightly after only the first mouthful. The aftertaste is also hops (it's hard to get away from them in this beer), and lingers for a long time, with a slight rosewater tinge right at the end. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high, adding to the tongue buzzing.

Overall, if you're a hop lover, you have to try this one: the hop flavors are huge, but also well-balanced, and the result is delicious. I can see why this won gold at the World Beer Cup 2010; few beers can manage this level of bitterness, but still find taste, balance, and nuance at the same time.

jondeelee, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of Bendurgin
3.25/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks for the bottle Randy! Poured into a tulip. Pours a hazy golden orange with a finger of head.

Muted hops in the aroma. Candied orange in the aroma but not much a hop profile. The taste is a simmilar to the aroma. Candied orange flavors but a bit more of a noticable hop bittering to the finish. Much better.

The body is medium and the carbonation is a bit sharp.

Damn you Ballast Point! Put bottle dates on your beers. This can't be a super fresh bottle! I've had this beer before and I remember liking it a lot more. I'll try it again but I can only blow so much of my money on old beers.

Bendurgin, Jul 30, 2011
Photo of SFC21
3.13/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into Sam Adams pint glass

A - Pours a hazy, golden color with a nice 1 inch head. Leaves some nice lacing the whole way down.

S - Citrus and floral hops, smells lovely.

T - Citrus and light malts to start and then an absolute wallop of bitter, piney hops. Far too much bitterness for my liking and the bitterness just lingers at the back of my mouth.

M - Some creaminess with nice carbonation.

O - I was really looking forward to this one after all of the great reviews but unfortunately I was left disappointed. Perhaps this is more of a brew for the hop heads that love the bitterness but for me I prefer a little more balance.

SFC21, Jul 30, 2011
Photo of armock
3.23/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at the main brewery's tasting room.

A - Poured a golden color with a white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Well it smell like cat piss I hate when IPAs smell like this

T - It tastes better than it smells with citrus grapefruit hop flavors

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

O - I don't get the hype thats with this beer yes it does taste good but I feel like I can't breath before taking a sip because of the smell to each his own I guess

armock, Jul 30, 2011
Photo of eddiechilton
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber, poured into Victory pint glass

A- Two fingers of frothy white head, very clear body

S- Probably the most enjoyable aspect of this beer. I get a lot of apricot from the hops, along with lemon and grapefruit. Smells like the perfect IPA, in my opinion.

T- Damn delicious. Flavorful and distinct. Good mouth full of hops without wincing, and the end is just enough malt to prepare you for the next sip.

M- Perfect carbonation level for an IPA

O- My favorite ever IPA in terms of something I'd love to have all of the time. Drinkable and a nice ABV that doesn't knock you out, yet still a good beer to get your buzz on with.

eddiechilton, Jul 29, 2011
Photo of kaips1
3.68/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bomber into my sam a perfect pint glass
there is no bottle date so i dont know how fresh this one is

Ok, to start this off, it poured a nice clean goldenrod with a thick frothy 2 finger head that is coating ever bit of glass it touches. this is a very clear beer completely transparent with lots of lively bubbles partially in thanks to the laser etching in the glass. the smell is a little pungent with a slight grapefruit/citrus with some banana and bready notes. the malts stand out at the end of the nose with a certain sweetness i dont mind. I get more citrus than grapefruit in the taste but you definitely get the bready taste more the end of the sip than the beginning with a solid pronounced malt backbone the whole sip. This has some lively carbonation that i enjoyed, lots of tingling from start to almost finish, with a slightly dry finish that makes you want another sip. overall this beer never really amazes me especially with it sitting at the top of the ipa list, dont get me wrong this is a good beer and has lots of balance to it but i dont think i get the freshest bottles because its no in distro in my area. so one day i may change my mind but this beer is worth getting at least once to try.

kaips1, Jul 29, 2011
Photo of tdm168
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my friend Doyle for finding this in the Raleigh area

22oz bottle poured in a snifter

Pours a golden orange with one finger of head with decent retention. Nose is slightly malty, but primarily floral hops with a little pine. Alcohol esters are evident when the beer warms Taste is floral and piney up front. Fruity with hints of grapefruit or pineapple in the finish. All hop characteristics are equal and well balanced.There is an intense bitterness in the finish but it is welcomed here. A good deal of carbonation creates a lightness in this beer.

This is a great IPA worth having....more than once.

tdm168, Jul 29, 2011
Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA 7.0%

A: This pours with much pageantry, small bubbles, foam cascading like a 1930’s musical and not a single atonal note audible. It has a deep orange character that initially you expect a DIPA, then Sculpin gets all hood and shows you how single IPAs roll. You look deep into the swirling tiny bubbles and moderate lacing, you look back at the receipt reading $5.99; did you just discover the Marvin Gardens of beer? Yes; yes you just did. It has nice lacing and foam, at this price you can sling them against the wall and test all kinds of nonsense.

S: There’s a pronounce grapefruit and this beer, fresh, is the king of citrus notes. I cannot say enough good things about this beer when it is extremely fresh and it swings its deep drying citrus ague all over the place. Oh I am sorry, not a fan of drying deep juice and tart acidity? Well best move on, back to the east coast CAPTAIN BALANCE.

T: Speaking of Captain Balance, aside from the fact that, he’s our hero, gonna take IPAs down to zero; he is not present here. Here we have a beer that from the get go imparts a huge floral note, then cloisters back into juicy citrus notes and then- that’s it. You wait for more repeated blows to the head and chest but it subsides, like a cool tropical storm. Then you want more.

M: This rolls in like a low tide, nice maltiness at first that expands, releases its botanical droppings, then retreats. You aren’t left sitting around what happened, more likely you are considering how and when someone drank your 3 bombers of Sculpin. The next section of this coping phase is determining who left a pizza pocket in the microwave and determining where your pants are. We have all been there.

D: Oh, wait a second, let me hand a syllabus to captain obvious who showed up late. WHOSE CREDENTIALS I SERIOUSLY DOUBT. Well, captain obvious, this is a drinkable beer. The scary part is that this beer is like the Chinese military in that it is exceptionally capable and numerous beyond belief. This beer is everywhere and sought after universally. I don’t know what else to say about this beyond that it is the best SINGLE IPA, that I have ever had. Some may argue its ABV and OG and PLATOS place it in the DIPA range but, those people are all home brewers/virgins, so we will relegate them to iCarly and continue to review beers like adults do.

Narrative: The fish appeared slowly at first. They were reported within the streams of Michigan, then amongst the river beds within southern Kentucky. Soon all were pulling record “catches” and consuming huge game accordingly. What they did not know that the time was that the evolution of the punnet square had out evolved even gregor mendel himself. Put simply, this breed of fish had learned to feed on wild hop beds in the beds of nearly any algae, and offer itself up to sacrifice. The intense neurotoxins within the hypothalamus of the fish made the consumer feel as though they had done something exceptional. The fishing increased, as did the intense hop concentration. “I write to you now from a concentrated bunked in Utah, one of the only territories protected from hops, but, I smell the amazing grapefruit hops, maybe just a single bi-” AUDIO L0G DISC0nTINUED, ver 2.34t5

SubpoenaDeuces, Jul 28, 2011
Photo of peacebone116
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from my tap into a tulip glass on 7/6/11, the day after cleaning the line.

A: A hazy gold color with an egg-shell white head that stays for a long time, receding slowly to ,leave cloying lace at the leg of the glass.

N: Tropical fruit--mango, pineapple, peach, & kiwi.

T/M: Bitter hops assault the pallet. Pine and lime-like citrus and pineapple dominate the flavor profile. A light malt backing supports the bitterness, by adding a very pleasant sweetness to the middle. Light to medium body.

This is beer is just fantastic on draft! Very crisp, clean, and defined display of the the powers and qualities of hops!

peacebone116, Jul 27, 2011
Photo of d4114
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really light orange with a bright white head.

Big orange notes, like fresh orange zest. Has a good amount of pine too and a little maltiness is felt in the back.

Not as sweet as the smell but first big flavor is sweet orange followed by pine. Very hop forward beer but is really balanced out by the sweetness of the malt. Super Good.

Light-Medium body; Solid creamy feel but light enough to make me want to drink a ton of this.

Packed with flavor and well balanced, when I think IPA I think of this.

d4114, Jul 26, 2011
Photo of Retail1LO
4.88/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

My absolute favorite IPA. This is what good beer should be. The nose, the taste, the mouthfeel, the drinkability, the balance, and the ability to drink pint after pint...is all there. At 7%, it's perfect. If you're into your IPA's, and like something with some nice fruity tinges to it, this is it. I guarantee you can't have just one. I'm drooling just thinking about it whilst I type this review.

Retail1LO, Jul 23, 2011
Photo of SpillyBeers
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copied from my old handle

I love this beer

A- Pours a pale orange with decent white head, and minimal lacing

S-Tons of sweet mango, pear, tropical spice and nose tingling hoppyness

T-Oranges, mangos, floral character. Citrus hop deliciousness!

M-Great carbonation, bubbly, tingles every taste bud.

O-This is such a great representaion of he style and I could drink them any time of the year

SpillyBeers, Jul 22, 2011
Photo of vandemonian
3.78/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ballast Point Sculpin is an IPA with a great smell and a mediocre taste. The bitterness of the hops is evident without any of the other great flavour characteristics.

A: Yellow colour with a 1 cm head that fades to good lacing. 4

S: Intense hops along with a surprisingly strong malty smell. The hoppiness is neither particularly citrussy or floral, but smells great. 4.5

T: Bitter hops up front into a floral aftertaste that is a little bit sour and slightly metallic. This is a fairly dry IPA and I didn't find it especially hoppy. 3.5

M: Foamy. 4

O: The flavour was a disappointment after the great smell. 3.5

vandemonian, Jul 21, 2011
Photo of alee42
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was delivered in a pint glass with a nice foamy head. A sticky lacing lacquered on the glass. A typical, golden-rod color, with a fusion of orange and light yellow hues. A very citrus-y smelling brew, with floral tones and a sweet smell of mandarin dresses the glass. I also experienced hints of grapefruit, completing the presentation.

Not an overwhelmingly hoppy beer, it does deliver a bitterness that coats the mouth. After a few more sips, it turns from it's structured flavors to a rather bland taste that overpowers the palate. This started out as a great beer but it does lack balance and leans away from its seemingly aromatic fruitiness. You definitely need to get rid of the blandness before having your next round.

alee42, Jul 21, 2011
Photo of fsvan
4.08/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into New Belgium globe.

A- Light golden. Slight orangish. Little head.

S- Subdued piney hopes. A little grapefruit in there. Smell is very nice, but not as aggressive as I anticipated.

T- A very even mix of citrus and pine hops. No real malt presence. A lingering bitterness. A good dose of grapefruit as it warms. The taste is very good, but like the smell, I expected it to be more in your face.

M- Great lightish feel for a 'west coast' IPA.

O- This is a good beer, but in all honestly didn't live up to my admittedly very high expectations. Definitely worth trying, and glad that I did.

fsvan, Jul 21, 2011
Photo of jrsone
3.53/5  rDev -20%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm giving Sculpin this high of a rating because of how much I've enjoyed it over the past three years.
I'm giving it this "low" of a rating because of how mediocre it is compared to past batches.
So Much Sediment. I'm all for bottle-conditioning, but this is almost like Sculpin's yeasties coitus interrupted right into my bomber.
The smell and the flavor just aren't the quality they've been in the past. Bring back the clean juicyfruit hop bomb we all loved.

jrsone, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of BeerBuckeye
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a golden amber/copper with fluffy two finger head that leaves a lot of sticky lacing.

S - Great smell. Mix of pine, grapefruit, lemon, solid malty backbone.

T - Tons of bitter hops, I sense more pine than fruit in this one, great balance to this beer. A bit of sweet tart comes through to bring it to a complete finish.

M - Great mouthfeel, goes down smooth, crisp and refreshing.

Overall - A fantastic IPA, certainly one of the best out there.

BeerBuckeye, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of prdstmnky
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh batch into the area, 12oz bottle into a pint glass. A bit cloudy, dark gold color (nearly orange) with 2 fingers of thick creamy head. Nice retention and lacing as well.

Nose is really hoppy, lots of citrus / grass / pine / floral battling it out for aroma supremacy. The taste is certainly hoppy throughout, but not as intense as expected. More of a clean, balanced, citrus/pine thing going on, a tad resinous. Light to medium bodied, with good carbonation, somewhat dry. A nice IPA, though perhaps a tad over rated.

prdstmnky, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of OneEyedJack
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a DFH Signature Glass.

Aggressive pour yields a quickly-fading 1 finger head. Pours a dark golden, hazy copper. Nice, sticky lacing. Smells great - delicious citrusy, grassy hops and some slight bready malt. This is a bitter one. Very hop-heavy with little malt balance. Leaves a bitter, lingering aftertaste. Overall - a great smelling, bitter IPA. If you like more balanced IPA's - look elsewhere. This is a hoppy, bitter bomb.

OneEyedJack, Jul 19, 2011
Photo of nandemo1
4.88/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours a crystal clear gold with a medium head that leaves some a good amount of lacing as it recedes.

Smell and taste is all about the grapefruit. These guys have somehow perfectly replicated the feelings I get when I eat a raw grapefruit: sweet and tart, and a little bitter on the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is crisp and light bodied, making it very drinkable. There is a little burn, but nothing major.

Overall, one of my favorite beers with a reasonable abv.

nandemo1, Jul 18, 2011
Photo of Hachiman
4.53/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a short, snowy head over an nearly orange body.

Sell is of a bit of hops and a bit of malt.

The taste is very fine, the bitterness is tangible but not overpowering. It's more than matched by other hop flavors and alcohol. There's a fair amount of malt sweetness too.

The mouth feel is truly sensational. The bitterness the hops lights up the back of the tongue, the alcohol the throat, the hop aromatics the top of the mouth. Something to be savored, clearly not a session beer.

Hachiman, Jul 18, 2011
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 9,309 ratings.