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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

8,956 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,956
Reviews: 2,001
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.75%
Wants: 922
Gots: 1,558 | FT: 50
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: 8,956 | Reviews: 2,001 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of afksports

New York

4.58/5  rDev +3.9%

I drank this fine brew back when I was starting my quest to drink the top100. This review is from notes, but I almost don't need them because the memory sits so well in my head. I think I still taste it.

The appearance is like many other IPA's, golden to orange, fairly clear, lots of rich head. The smell blows you away with hops and citrus. The taste does the same. And then it sits on your tongue. And sits. You can go eat a sandwich, come back, no more sipping needed, still have the hop profile there. The only maltiness is at the start, with a bit of caramel, and the rest just carries the hops through. Forever.

The carbonation is great and its medium body drinks well. I'm not a huge fan of the hops myself, so although the taste is exceptional for me, the drinkability gets a small notch down. Overall though, this is a pretty ridiculous beer.

I even looked up Sculpin on Wikipedia. Because this beer teaches us things.

11-19-2010 00:10:43 | More by afksports
Photo of Blanco


4.75/5  rDev +7.7%

poured into a snifter. nice orange hi-c color with very white fluffy head. very citrus-like smell, grapefruit, orange, hint of lemon. the taste as smooth as hell. Very nice citrus flavor and nice malt balance. Also some nice hints of tropical fruit, maybe some peach. the bitterness is mild and subdued, which was an extremely pleasant surprise. it's there just enough to remind you you are drinking an ipa, but it's not strong at all. the mouthfeel is nice and lively. extraordinarily smooth for an ipa. I'm normally not one for hype and tend to be disappointed, but this was fantastic.

11-18-2010 03:22:33 | More by Blanco
Photo of mjn5036

New Hampshire

4.83/5  rDev +9.5%

I Picked up a bomber of this gem at Julio's the other day. Employee told me that it was no more than three weeks old - awesome. This one was poured into a large Piraat snifter. The pour gives way to a massive four finger bone-white head that mushrooms over the top of the glass. The head slowly, very slowly faded away and leaves behind some of the stickiest amazing looking lacing I have ever seen. Even after a few minutes a moderately sized head remains floating on top. The color is ruby, burnt orange.

The nose on this one is outstanding! A pure citrus and grapefruit bomb. These smells intermingle with a bit of a piney-ness and a really pleasant hop bitterness. Orange, grapefruit and pineapple and other faint fruits. Maybe a faint malty on the backstage. I am not really picking up on more than that- tons of sweet, sweet, citrusy smells and a nice hoppy bitterness. Amazing nose on this thing, simply superb.

The taste is impeccable. Tons of citrus - grapefruit and lemon. A lot of other fresh fruit going on as well; pineapple, mango and peach dominate. Sweet but not cloying, and pretty damn hoppy. As is warms I pick up some nice spicy notes and a decent malty profile that doesn't make this one completely one sided. Everything in this beer tasted incredibly fresh which is great.

The body is light to medium and the alcohol is not really present in the taste, but apparent as I finish the bomber. A nice amount of carbonation adds to the drinkability. My only qualm is the slight oiliness I seem to get off of this. A minute hiccup in its overall score however. This stuff is just insanely drinkable. This is easily the best single IPA I have had to date.

11-18-2010 00:54:02 | More by mjn5036
Photo of iPaleAle


4.72/5  rDev +7%

I bought this one out of town because simply my town doesn't carry this ale.

A: Golden color yet with some copper highlights. What a true IPA should be. Don't let the fish scare you.

S: Diffidently the aromas of all the hops that are used are there within the first sniff. Sour also comes to mind after a sniff. ( Personally i can never get fruit aromas)

T: Peach is something that stings the palate making this beer sweet. But yet the hops make an appearance towards the end, just in between the delight of its sweetness and sourness for which we should be great full.

M: Not Heavy, not light. many flavors one could pick out. Its medium roast feel begs for more.

D: Highly drinkable IPA due for the fact that all the things one looks for an IPA are there. The hops. The different notes of fruits. The sourness. And yet its smoothness.

I wish my local store would have this in stock. But ill manage with the Ballast Point IPA. which is just one notch under.

11-16-2010 00:27:49 | More by iPaleAle
Photo of smcolw


4.35/5  rDev -1.4%

Pours a dark gold with a mild chill haze. Wonderful and large off-white head--settles to a dome. Leaves a ton of chunky lace.

Strong grapefruit and pine hop aroma. Floral and fresh.

Excellent balance at the start of the taste. Starts with a dry pale ale malt flavor. The swallow brings out wallop of bitterness--very peppery with a hint of grapefruit rind. The body is spot-on.

After seeing the glowing reviews, I can honestly say this didn't disappoint. It is one of the finer IPA's in the world.

11-14-2010 21:58:44 | More by smcolw
Photo of metter98

New York

4.47/5  rDev +1.4%

A: The beer is slightly hazy and golden yellow in color. It poured with a large white head that slowly faded away, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface. A very light amount of carbonation is visible.
S: There are moderate aromas of citrus and pine resin hops in the nose. Notes of grapefruit stand out in particular.
T: The overall taste is very flavorful and well balanced; there is a medium amount of bitterness from the hops but this is nicely balanced by the underlying malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is some dryness in the finish.
D: The beer is highly drinkable; there's a strong amount of hop flavors but the bitterness is balanced by the malts and doesn't slow you down in finishing your glass.

11-14-2010 01:58:17 | More by metter98
Photo of shand


4.93/5  rDev +11.8%

Poured from a bomber into a nonic.

Appearance: Pours a golden, slightly hazy color with about one and a half fingers of head. The head retains very well and leaves very nice lacing.

Smell: The most delicious floral hops I've ever smelt. I'm salivating here sniffing it.

Taste: Perfect. Comes in with just a little bit of bracing sweetness until the delicious hops hit. They come as fast as they go, leaving a lingering, soft aftertaste of hops, citrus, and a bit of a floral aspect. Just perfect balance here.

Mouthfeel: Feels a little thicker than the floral and citrus aspects would let on, but otherwise without flaw.

Drinkability: The perfectly balanced aftertaste makes this extremely drinkable.

Really, the only flaw that Sculpin has is it's price. It's great, but is it twice as great as, say, a Sierra Nevada Celebration? I'm sure the six-packs will make this easier to swallow, but dropping more on this bomber than a six-pack of Celebration is a little tough to swallow. A great beer though, can't fault it anywhere else.

11-13-2010 23:51:23 | More by shand
Photo of pokesbeerdude


4.18/5  rDev -5.2%

22oz bottle courtesy of jyoungsbcp. This will be the second time having Sculpin. Into my DFH Signature Glass.

A: Nice copper color, slightly hazy, decent carbonation moving from the nucleation point. About half an inch or so of stark white head comes from the pour and recedes down to a thin cap, with a nice few gobs of lacing on the edge. Nice.

S: Nice resinous hops, huge grapefruit profile. Citrus rind is the the main player in the nose here. Underneath there is a decent little bit of malt, fairly grainy, maybe a more towards bread than straight grain. Fairly bright, and quite clean smelling as well.

T: Nice grapefruit up front, strong grapefruit and citrus rind in general. Very clean flavors from the hops, best described as juicy. Has a slightly piney note as well. Malt gets lost underneath a massive hop profile, yet the bitterness is mostly kept in check. Lots of late hop additions on this one. Just a bit of malt sweetness. Overall exactly to style and meets my expectations.

M: Lighter in body than most IPA's, maybe a touch over carbonated. Nicely dry, no noticeable booze. Decent mouthfeel, but the carbonation is just a touch too high.

D: Incredibly easy to drink, goes down without any effort. I'd have to say sticking with this all night would be a great choice. Very glad to try this again from the bottle.

Thanks Josh!

11-13-2010 23:41:38 | More by pokesbeerdude
Photo of orangesol


4.6/5  rDev +4.3%

Served on cask at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint. This was the fuggle dry hop version.

A - Pours a deep, hazy, copper orange with a small one finger white head that leaves light, sticky, lacing down the glass.

S - HUGE hope aroma. Hints of grapefruit, tangerine, and other pungent tropical fruits. A slightly sweet aroma from the malt is a welcome addition to all those hops. One of the best smelling IPA's I have ever had.

T - Starts out sticky sweet thanks to the roasted malt but that gives way quickly to the HUGE amounts of hops. Hops are similar to the nose with grapefruit coming thru more than the others. The grassy hops are not as pungent as in the nose but are still plenty strong. An absolutely amazing cask offering from Ballast Point. How can I drink normal sculpin after having all of these cask versions?

M - Fairly smooth feel with medium-light body and flavor with moderate carbonation. It hides the 7% very well but the big bitterness takes its tole.

D - Near perfection. I could drink this every day for the rest of my life and be very happy. I have now had four different versions of cask Sculpin and this was my favorite, narrowly beating out the simcoe version.

11-12-2010 21:20:48 | More by orangesol
Photo of codewarrior

New York

3.9/5  rDev -11.6%

22oz Bomber poured into a Chalice.

Many thanks to Smokepot23 for his generosity, have wanted to try this brew for a long while now.

L: Deep apricot and transparent, tons of frothy head.

S: Towering crisp hops with plenty of sweet behind to balance things out.

T: Slow start into a huge hit of hops, but not as hugs as one might expect. Slowly backs off into a lingering citrus sweetness. Balance is definitely on the sweeter side for the genre.

F: Good feel, nice carbonation, consistent. Just about rich in the thickness, touch thin if I had to split hairs.

D: Pretty damn good west coat IPA. Only problem here is that it doesn't stand up to some of it's California competition. Still, great brew here.

11-09-2010 06:09:35 | More by codewarrior
Photo of Anaz


4.65/5  rDev +5.4%

I love this beer because it really expands upon what an IPA can be. The honey-gold color and thick head are lovely. The sharp aroma of hops is clean and powerful-spice, citrus, pine, and strange tropical aromas that I normally wouldn't expect burst from the glass.

The taste is so lush, but so clean it's really amazing. The flavors follow the aroma with a spare honeyed malt that is so delicate it weaves it's way through the hops rather comes through in fore or mid palate waves. The bitterness is refreshing and light, never too much, and not too little either.

The mouthfeel is full, yet light, with fine carbonation. This beer is very drinkable, and if not for the expense, I would have this on hand all the time. It's expensive for a single IPA, but you'd have to be miserly to think about that once the bottle has been opened and the first drop hits you lips.

11-09-2010 05:32:18 | More by Anaz
Photo of stakem


4.5/5  rDev +2%

On the hand pump at Al's. This was a fuggle dry hopped version.

Served in a nonic it appears a clear light golden color with a finger of creamy white foam. The head slowly fades from a finger's strength leaving a patchy coating atop the brew and patchy lace clinging to the glass.

The aroma coming out of this glass is absolutely mouth watering. It is a bouquet of citrus, flowers and herbs. It is notable how the fuggles really make this aroma noticeably more aromatic in an earthy and herbal sort of way with a grassy touch that is quite different from the normal version of sculpin.

The taste is quite grassy, herbal, earthy and somewhat minty. Amazing how different this one-off of sculpin is from the norm, I wonder just how much fuggles it took to transform this. I keep going back to this brew and smelling it twice before taking a sip. I don't know what that means but I really like it. Despite all the hop character there is still a sweetness with a floral aspect to be found in the taste. What little grain character comes through is noted with a toasty quality before the onset of the herbal bitterness that lasts inside the mouth with serious clinging power.

This is a fantastic one-off of one of my favorite IPA's. It is medium to almost light bodied with an acceptably low level of carbonation. Very easy drinking with the alcohol almost completely suppressed. About the only gripe I have with this brew is that it is at times a little watery but that doesn't stop me from emptying this glass at an alarming rate. Very well done.

11-09-2010 01:27:32 | More by stakem
Photo of ne0m00re


3.03/5  rDev -31.3%

09/19/10- Had a bottle of this courtesy of Pabs311.
A: Hazy amber, nice cream head dies to a good film.
S: Nice mix of hops: grass, grapefruit, resiny pine; honey and mild fruit (like strawberries) come through as well.
T: Very bitter, resiny, with a cheese finish. There are roasted walnuts, honey and pale malts. It is clean and mild but overly bitter (unbalanced).
M: Slightly syrupy, but with a good frothiness.
D: Good, while being very bitter.

I had another chance to try this beer over this past weekend (06/18/11) in a bomber that was most certainly fresh. My description of this beer in this review is good, but my ratings are overly high. Smell was changed to 3.5 from 4.5. Taste was changed from 3.5 to 2.5. Drinkability was changed from 3.5 to Overall 3.0. One glass was more than enough and my group was fighting over who would draw the short straw to finish the bottle. This was a disappointing brew and I probably won't get it again.

11-08-2010 18:58:34 | More by ne0m00re
Photo of PTMcB


4.53/5  rDev +2.7%

A - A somewhat cloudy gold. Good head which looks like some good malt. Some decent lacing.

S - Amazing smell! Very powerful, yet not overdone. Citrus and pine.

T - Piny/hops with the sweetness of grapefruit and possibly some pineapple.

M - A perfect amount of carbonation for a very smooth feel.

D - Just great! This is a beer I will look foward to having again for time to come. I could sit back on this for a long time. Thanks to Duff for getting it to me!!!

11-07-2010 22:11:44 | More by PTMcB
Photo of telecomz


4.38/5  rDev -0.7%

Appearance - Nice ochre-amber

Smell - Incredible tropical fruit and hop. Better than Pliny the Elder.

Taste - Citrus and pine hops. Dry but not astringent. Lingering bitterness. Tremendous.

Mouthfeel - Medium body.

Drinkability - Very easy to drink. A wonderful beer.

11-07-2010 03:12:49 | More by telecomz
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.3/5  rDev -2.5%

A: Golden bronze with a huge white head, great retention & lace.

S: Tangerine, nectarine, orange, floral, pine and grass, great hop nose.

T: Nectarine, tangerine, mandarine, mango, hints of pine & grass. Biscuit & toffee from the malt, good bitterness (I expected a little more), alcohol well-hidden.

M: Moderate body is smooth with some hop acidity.

D: Where's the sting? I think this is an easy drinker!

11-07-2010 02:02:04 | More by Derek
Photo of beermanbrian


4.7/5  rDev +6.6%

Fresh growler from Brass Rail.

Golden color with a big creamy soap bubble head. Head sticks to the glass like glue and does not go away. Color is a little lighter than expected but there is nothing wrong with that.

Smell is a blast of citrus and pipe. Slips into grapefruit range, which is my favorite flavor in an IPA. Smell has me looking forward to that first sip.

First taste doesn't disappoint. Citrus up front and then it slips into oily pine. Very good.

This is one of those few beers that's been able to live up expectations lately. This one didn't let me down and has me looking forward to the full growler.

11-06-2010 20:15:11 | More by beermanbrian
Photo of awalk1227


3.9/5  rDev -11.6%

Consumed 11/5/10 ...found this gem sitting by itself at a liquor store!

Poured into Firestone Walker pint glass

A: Brilliant yellow with a crisp white head, very pretty in the light. It glows!

S: Wow, all tropical fruits here. Oranges, pineapple, grapefruit in the background. Can't really get any pine, but it's a pleasure to whiff. As it warms a bit and I pour more from the bomber, I get whiffs of stinky pot? Yeah, I think that's what it is.

T: Begins with a creamy mouthfull that immediately put a bittering feel on my tongue. It mellows out into a slight caramel malt, and finishes with the grapefruit and pine an IPA is known for. However, I feel like I got a slight prickle of alcohol on the finish, which was both unpleasant and startling to me. What is this? I think my palate may be acting weird on this one.

F: Like the bottle says, surprisingly light. very crisp though. A tiny bit of prickle on the tongue. Bitter feel from the hops but not overly so.

D: There's more at the liquor store. I may go back and get more.

11-06-2010 05:10:25 | More by awalk1227
Photo of wisrarebeer


3.83/5  rDev -13.2%

Purchased at City Beer in San Fran for $8.99

A: very nice amber-orange color, slightly cloudy - great creamy head
S: strong and full of hops - brimming with grapefruit
T: very good from a CA IPA, good malt - strong hop finish - perfumy, grapefruit with a kick of bitterness at the back of the tongue
M: very nice, good malt up front then floral and fruity, spicy hops and finishes with bitterness
D: good but too hoppy for my pallet to drink a lot

11-01-2010 00:49:21 | More by wisrarebeer
Photo of kazmaniac


4.93/5  rDev +11.8%

Appearance - Nice generous, off-white foamy head which leaves a lot of lacing. The beer has a cloudy amber appearance.

Smell - Strong grapefruit hop aroma.

Taste - Pleasantly dry and bitter with intense hops that tend towards a pine-grapefruit flavor. Smooth with a good mouth feel. Enough malt to balance the taste although definitely leans towards the hops. Clean finish. This description sounds way too close to the one I made for Stone's IPA yet they are very different animals. While the Stone was very good, it just seemed a little unsophisticated. I kept wondering why I couldn't seem to put the glass down. The Sculpin seems much more balanced and there's no wondering why I can't leave it alone.

Mouthfeel - Medium body.

Drinkability - Surprisingly easy to drink and a great IPA. I'm relatively new to finding IPAs enjoyable and I have Sculpin and Pliny the Younger to thank for it.

10-31-2010 01:15:45 | More by kazmaniac
Photo of RoyalT


4.7/5  rDev +6.6%

Appearance - This came out a gorgeous darkish-orange in color with incredible clarity and a wonderful sheen. The head was perfectly perched on an easy pout. As it slowly went down it left a thick film all along my mug. This is a real beauty shop.

Smell - Hop damn! This almost has to be dry-hopped because the hops are so fresh and pure like you just picked them from the field. The nice pine resin, which usually overshadows all other hop aromas, here is mated perfectly with some monstrous grapefruit and light orange peel. These smells all come together in a raunchy hop bouquet that leaves little chance for the light malt base to be appreciated.

Taste - Surprisingly the hops aren't toned down too much at the taste. This is a hop-burping factory I can tell already. The orange comes on much bigger now and really smoothes out the flavors.

I'm actually going to give a thumbs up to the grain bill here. Most people drinking this won't even notice it because the hops are so big, but the grain knew how and when to take a backseat here without being completely absent. Although I didn't get much from it at the nose, you could crank this down to 20 IBUs and have a nice-tasting beer. The grain is soft, very fresh like the hops, not grossly sweet, and give off a wonderfully light almost cereal flavor.

Mouthfeel - This is medium-bodied, maybe a tad lighter, with some smart carbonation and a very smooth character in between the cheeks. Although I enjoy a bitter beer, what I appreciated so much about this mouthfeel is that for all the hops it wasn't bitter at all. This made it amazingly easy to guzzle - hahaha! Usually a beer with such a huge hop profile takes a week to finish but the lack of bitterness here kept the suds flowing.

Drinkability - I kind of touched on it when reviewing the mouthfeel but boy o boy was this an easy-drinking ale. I don't think I've ever had a beer with this much hop flavor go down this easily. It is one of a kind and a must-try for any IPA enthusiast. This raises a standard that few if any will ever match.

Comments - I've handed out a lot of 4.5s in my day and more than my share of 5.0s, but as far as Drinkability goes this is the most drinkable hop bomb I've ever had. For the first time in almost 2,000 reviews I wish I could assign a 6.0 rating to something. You really have to drink this beer to believe it.

10-31-2010 00:36:31 | More by RoyalT
Photo of rtepiak


4.2/5  rDev -4.8%

an orange pour of something quite nice in the nose. a textbook balance of all the aspects of an IPA. Orange clear with a nice white head. there is retention. nose is a perfect balance of malt pollen, floral hop, and citrus fruit. otherwise the body seems to be just that. its right in the middle. textbook. feel is a bit soapy. grapefruit...

an all around balance of an IPA but not something that is characterized as uniquely great or number one. it may be a regional thing but i've had some better IPA's in the midwest. this is a good one to set examples too... but doesn't have any accent.

10-30-2010 23:04:09 | More by rtepiak
Photo of BeerAndBourbon


4.1/5  rDev -7%

Review from blinded tasting notes.

A. Pours yellow with a white head that leaves lacing.

S. Piney with some citrus peel.

T. Flavor profile matches the smell.

M. Good level of carbonation.

D. Very good - I'll definitely try to get this again.

Winner of round 1 blinded IPA tasting (over Red Racer and Stone)

10-28-2010 03:09:44 | More by BeerAndBourbon
Photo of dstc


4.4/5  rDev -0.2%

Pours a cloudy copper with a thick white head. Head falls very slow. Thick, clinging lace.

Aroma is all floral hop awesomeness. Getting a bit of an herbal flavor and hints of pine needles.

Taste is of strong hop and flowers. Very bitter but with a slight sweetness. Great stuff.

Medium bodied and very biting. Oily mouthfeel.

Good stuff. Awesome IPA.

10-27-2010 13:16:53 | More by dstc
Photo of acurtis

New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev -7.5%

Ballast Point Sculpin, 22oz bomber picked up at Liquor Outlet Wine Cellar. Pours beautiful hazy orange color with large white head in shaker. Head sticks to glass nicely. Great aroma of grapefruit and hops. Super citrus flavor, clean malt base. Light, smooth and silky. Very drinkable, this is a superb brew. I was worried that the bottle may not be fresh but that was put to rest the moment I open the bottle and poured it. It smelled excellent before I could even get my nose near the glass.

10-24-2010 17:14:12 | More by acurtis
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 8,956 ratings.