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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

9,266 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,266
Reviews: 2,025
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.75%
Wants: 952
Gots: 1,698 | FT: 47
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: 9,266 | Reviews: 2,025 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of azdback
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Surly pint glass. Dark side of bright orange. Lots and lots of carbonation bubbles cloud this just a bit but I think I would call this pretty clear in transparency. All of those wonderful carbonation bubbles lead to a wonderful, sea foam looking head. Just a hint off of bright white and really sticky. Lace looks like it's gonna be just as sticky, and is. Nice, fat lace rings and spotted webbing line the inside of the glass at the end.

Smell was first enjoyed when I cracked the cap on this one. A beautiful two foot perimeter of orange citrus aroma came with the opening. Nice start!! As I smell this from my pint glass it has some darker citrus smells. A blood orange? There are also some bready, yeast smells mixed with some sweet malts but not at all over powering.

Taste is a pretty well balanced "West Coast" IPA. I say that because there are very bitter citrus hop flavors of maybe even a lemon or yellow grapefruit but there are some sweet malt flavors like peach or apricot that mellow it out some. My tongue is still pretty wrecked though. Don't forget I did use "West Coast", if my pallet wasn't squirming after a glass it wouldn't be a Westy IMO. There isn't a hint of bread or earth or even at 7% any alcohol.

The mouth is very refreshing. Light, crisp, but not at all watery or weak all the way to the end of the swallow. Carbonation is great for the style and stays right on track with this ones crispness.

Overall this is one of my favorite IPA's of all time. I happen to be from the Left side of the country so I cut my teeth on IPA's like this and will always regard them as the best of the style. I know I said this one was balanced but I said that it was for a West Coast IPA. It is still a pucker bomb!! It's just not Ruination. I have had many of these in the past but this one came as an extra from t0rin0. Thanks again to him. A must try!! Even if you have to spend the money and time to trade for it!!

azdback, Jun 14, 2011
Photo of pmarlowe
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

RR 'tion glass.

Pours a mostly clear light golden color with three fingers of fluffy white foam. Very good retention, and some lacing. Smell is clean and freshly cut orange, white grapefruit, a little mango and spice. Taste is more red grapefruit, with malt presence and pineyness in the background. Moderately bitter. Overall, this is a fantastic IPA with great balance and flavor. I could drink this all day.

pmarlowe, Jun 14, 2011
Photo of mikul93
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pour a dark golden with a healthy head. Beautiful beer.

S- Grapefruit, Mango and pine.

T- Citrus, Mango, faint banana and of course hops. Bitter aftertaste.

M- Thin, light and refreshing.

The Beer guy at one of my spots was raving about this. He said he preferred this over Pliny. Well, not me. I'm still a Pliny guy. But I did enjoy this beer.

mikul93, Jun 14, 2011
Photo of rawfish
4.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bottle to a tulip glass. The color is a clear gold with some copper highlights. White frothy head sits maximum of two fingers over the body. Retention was a little underwhelming, average for an ipa but leaves thick lacing on the glass.

Exceptional aroma, not alot of IPAs can even match this, very floral and unique, with grapefruit and mango front, notes of apricot, lemons and lychee streaking through at times. Sweet malt backing complements the fruit salad aroma well. Brilliant nose, could smell it all day.

Drops a couple notches here compared to the nose, bready malts lay down a good foundation with some thin grains, a bit coarse. Hop flavor kicks in grapefruit, lemon and pine, less bright and tropical than the nose would indicate but bitterness comes in moderate and bone dry. More piney and juicy than expected, the grapefruit flavor and mouthcoating come in early, the nose was so great it would be hard to match on the flavor as well.

Good carbonation and medium bodied. Finished with a good bitter kick and very dry helping the bitterness to linger. Expectations met, well done.

If you can get this one fresh it's absolutely worth it and the nose is unique even amongst the ever growing masses of IPAs. Flavor is crafted with emphasis on fruity hops, not overly bitter but great refreshing finish.

rawfish, Jun 13, 2011
Photo of match1112
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

cloudy orange in appearance. head fades fast and leaves a white ring and a good amount of lacing. smells like a big bouquet of hops. citrus is most noticable and some pine, earthy hops also. taste is dominated by citrus/ grapefruit. slight pine taste just before the bitterness sets in. has a clean crisp mouthfeel with a slight dryness on the end. i'm glad my local shop finally started to carry this (or i finally noticed it) as this is an excellent ipa.

match1112, Jun 12, 2011
Photo of Knapp85
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm to the point now that if I see this at my local beer store I just buy as many as I can. This IPA is well worth the $2.75 a bottle I get it for. Sculpin pours out as a pleasing golden color with a nice soapy looking white head. The head settles and leave a white bubbly film over the beer that leaves a pretty damn good lacing down the glass. The smell of this beer is very inviting. It's got hops in there along with Grapefruit, lemon, orange, and a faint aroma of peach. The taste is very good as well it's gives off a really nice sweetness upfront followed but a cotton mouth bitter dryness in the back end. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation to it. Overall it's a very pleasing IPA, once of the best that isn't an Imperial in my opinion. The more you have the better they get. I really hope Ballest Point never pulls out of PA.

Knapp85, Jun 12, 2011
Photo of SummitVA
3.75/5  rDev -15%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Note: As this is a bomber, it's obviously an older bottle.

A - Poured from a bomber into nonic. Medium carbonation; pale straw in color. A ton of muck nearly poured into glass, but I was careful to watch. Put the other half of the bottle in the fridge to settle out.

S - Citrus and pine hops. Grassy, vegetal, and a bit of wet paper.

T - Citrus hops dominate. Solid grapefruit flavor that I just love in this beer. Vegetal character there in the background, but hop character and nice sharp bitterness in the finish save this bottle.

M - Crisp and light.

O - Some d-bag at our bottle shop sold my wife this older bottle saying they "just got it in". I was worried that it would be a complete drainpour, but it's actually not that bad. None of the uber-fresh hop character is there, of course; however, still plenty of grapefruit and tropical fruit flavor to keep me drinking it. It should go without saying, when you see Sculpin fresh or on draft, load up. Happy to have a little SD in my glass tonight, even in this shape. Cheers,

SummitVA, Jun 12, 2011
Photo of Alieniloquium
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Slightly hazy orange body with an ample white head. Good, slightly sticky lacing. Looks west coast, maybe a little darker than the standard look.

Smell - Citrus! Love it. It's got some pine in there for good measure, but it's a lot of grapefruit. I smell some biscuity malt, too.

Taste - Maybe not as hop forward as the smell. Good hop flavor of grapefruit and pine, nonetheless. Just doesn't have as much as the nose implies. The malt is more prevalent in the taste, too. A little bit spicy and and a little bit toasty. I'm glad it's not sweet, but I'd rather see the hops cover up the malt a bit more.

Mouthfeel - A little thinner that what I look for. It's got good carbonation and a medium body, but it's gone from the palate before you know. Maybe it's a lack of a bitter finish that makes it feel that way.

Overall - A great IPA that I can buy locally. Can't go wrong with it. There are others that I'd drink before this one, but none that I can actually buy here.

Alieniloquium, Jun 11, 2011
Photo of Jazzcrop
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tastes are citrus hops and awesomely more citrus hops, maltiness, floral and unfloral hops, fishy yeast, peppery flavors -- aspicy backbone-- a little heat, dry sugar, canned soups, garlic, flower stems, rye, pepperoni, losanges and aged, bittersweet sweetness.

Jazzcrop, Jun 10, 2011
Photo of ADTaber
4.93/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz btl poured into a Schlafly Tulip

A: pours a slightly hazy orange with a 1 finger white head that fades to a thin layer and leaves spotty lacing

S: the nose is dominated by citrus hops with oranges, tangerines, maybe a hint if mangos, smells delicious

T: citrus fruit upfront with a tad of sweetness with orange, tangerine, and mangos immediately followed by a nice amount of hoppy bitterness that lingers on the palate

MF: medium-light bodied, moderate carbonation, crisp

O: excellent beer, really like the citrus flavors, I suspect this will quickly become one of my favorite DIPAs

ADTaber, Jun 09, 2011
Photo of dougmaher434
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I tasted this beer for the first time after I realized it won the World Beer Cup for International Pale Ale. Rarely for a beer drinker do you encounter the beverage that you feel was designed perfectly for your taste buds. I'm not sure if this is the best beer out there but for me it is at the top of the list. Although this beer is a lighter IPA it tastes hoppier then most DIPA's.

The thing that stands out about this beer is that when judging a beer there is at least one category in which you can consider it lacking in the smallish of ways. Sculpin looks, smells, feels, and tastes wonderful. This beer tastes like the brewers obsessed over every detail. I imagine the process, the type of hops and the amount, the amount of malts and all the fine details that went into this beer. Because; if I could replicate its recipe it would make me happy for the rest of my beer drinking days.

It looks golden amber, and has the absolute perfect lacing I have ever seen. If you wanted to make shapes out of clouds you could do the same thing with the lacing left on the walls of my glass.

Its smell is the beginning of its taste because the taste matches its smell very well. It has a very citrus smell to it. Like you mixed a bag of citrusy/peachy fruit and scraped the sides of each fruit to create a fruity aroma. You mix that smell with the pine that are so characteristic of a strong hop scent.

Your first taste is a strong malt dash quickly followed by the full bodied hop taste of floural, fruity and piny. The after-taste creates a piny twang and afterthought on your tongue.

This reminds of Pliny the Elder by Russian River but it is a lot more medium bodied and Pliny tastes aggressively piny.

If you don't like this beer then you don't like hops.

dougmaher434, Jun 09, 2011
Photo of mocktm
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

While eating out with some friends at Digger O' Dell's in Riverhead, I was pleasantly surprised to find this, along with several other fairly rare and tremendous IPAs, on the bar's bottle list. Having heard of its legendary status among hop heads, I quickly snatched one up for immediate consumption.

Pours a slightly hazy copper with a light orange hue. Tiny carbonation bubbles rise quickly up the glass to lay the foundation for one and a half fingers of white fluffy head. Decent retention with mounds of decorative lacing building up on the glass as I drink it down.

Man, this stuff is pungent. It is as if a whole island of tropical fruit just entered my nostrils. Grapefruit, apricot, lemon, lime, papaya, pineapple and mango are all apparent, complemented perfectly by some serious upfront hops. Not much malt presence, which makes this a citric IPA fan's dream.

Taste delivers what the nose promised. Substantial hops and a manifold of citrus fruit sweetness up front balanced out perfectly by just a tad bit of a malt backbone in the finish. Really effin' good stuff.

Although the bottle advertises this as light bodied, I consider it more medium. Crisp and semi dry in the finish, this is one dangerously drinkable IPA that you can definitely enjoy a few of.

Overall, one of the best IPA's I've ever encountered. My only complaint is that I have no idea how fresh the bottle was from the absence of a bottled on date. I'll definitely seek this out again and would recommend strongly for others to do as well. If it was only available in six packs...

mocktm, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of Scrumtralecent
4.53/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle

A - Pours a nice hazy copper with a head that lingers and sticks to the side of the glass.

S - Plenty of citrus hops with some pine and lemon for good measure. Big and bold for an IPA.

T - Taste picks up where smell left off. Everything that is in the nose is nicely melded in the taste. Wonderful bitter from the hops with the lemon and citrus to bring it all together.

M - This one is nice and fresh so the hops stay and linger in the mouth afterwards, biting at the sides of the cheeks. Nothing like a good fresh IPA that stays with you for minutes after you take a drink of it.

O - Great IPA and an exceptional job of making all the hops work together and create a great IPA. I could drink plenty of this fresh. But one bottle will have to do.

Scrumtralecent, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of Treebs
3.58/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Review #50

Poured from bomber into snifter

A: Pours a nice clear golden apple color with a light peach 1.5 finger head. Great retention on this brew. An incredible net-like lace follows me down the glass.

S: Nice light citrus hops, sweet honey, floral hops as well.

T: Very sweet flowers with a light citrus hoppy note. Just a tad bitter on the backend but mellows back to a nice sweet oak.

M: Light bodied, incredibly smooth and a nice light carbonation as well. Leaves a nice sweet and bitter taste.

O: I think this was good, but the flavors and smell sort of fell flat. There was some sediment in the bottle so I plan on revisiting this when I know I'm having the freshest Sculpin I can have.

Treebs, Jun 05, 2011
Photo of ExtraStout
3.28/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden (with orange highlights) with a foamy white head that lasts and coats the sides of the glass throughout. Some active carbonation.

Flavor is sweet and bitter as anticipated. Sweet fruits, like apricot maybe, factor into the maltier-than-expected taste, complimenting the piney hop character. Some astringency and hop spiciness at the end, followed by a touch of tongue parching.

Refreshingly different and drinkable.

ExtraStout, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of saintwarrick
4.88/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Couple half growlers of this confirm it as probably the best beer I have had. Orange-ish gold color has a frothy white head, leaving white lacing down the entire glass. Not quite as aromatic as the bottled version. Taste does not suffer. Lip-smacking citrusy hops and a perfectly-balanced body hold this brew down. Taste is smooth and bitter. A rare treat on tap or in any version. Fantastic brew that everyone must have.

saintwarrick, May 31, 2011
Photo of farrago
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Average pour gets it foaming up close to half the pint glass, settles for a bit in the three finger range and then down from there, slightly off white, hard to imagine more whipped up froth and airiness, very good retention as well as gluey stickiness to the thick lacing streaks. Deep golden hue to the liquid, slightly metallic looking, consistent throughout, curiously for all the foam virtually no visible bubbles. Sour, zesty orange and grapefruit citrus sets the tone early in the nose, pepper and salt, fresh green grass, pine cone, pressed rose petals, wild yeasts, way in the back row you may find a few chocolate and coffee notes. Full-bodied, here the huge foaminess brings a creamy texture to balance against the bitter invasiveness of the hops. Grains, grasses, snap peas, pepper, coarse country breads, pine, coal tar, no doubt your tongue tingles and feels alive. The sour grapefruit, orange citrus leaves some room for the apricot, peach fruit to vaguely soften things. As in the nose, the cocoa, malt and coffee accents are super-subtle, more present at warmer temps. Given its high energy level is not over the top and pretty close to true stylistic form. Hard not to feel refreshed after a few sips, doesn’t need to be mixed with Red Bull.

farrago, May 29, 2011
Photo of gatorbreath
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Impressed with this offering in every capacity except East Coast availability.

App - Decent, orange, copper slick look with a foamy head to settle after a good while.

Smell - Lots of citrusy floral notes, very little malt i detect.

Taste/MF - Slick, not sharp, smooth and very full of flavor. Lots of floral hoppy notes with citrus to balance. Very well-balanced, indeed.

Overall - I enjoyed this beer from a growler fill for the first time, ventured to find some bombers and enjoyed them as well. I cant wait to hopefully get closer and try the freshest of offerings from ballast point.

On up there with my favorite IPAs.

Roots to Ballast Point on this offering.

gatorbreath, May 28, 2011
Photo of BS68280
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one on tap at Foster's pub in Mt. Pleasant. First day of my vacation so I figure it would be a good beer to kick things off with. I've had this one a handful of times now but I'm finally reviewing it.

A: Pours a nice orange copper color and clear not cloudy in the least. Leaves a little lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: Piney hops off the start with a nice citrus hop scent coming through in the end.

T: not too much of a surprise here. The slightest bit of a sweet malt backbone but this one is a hop bomb. Piney hops followed by a little bit of citrusy hop flavor. Ends with a huge bitter bite that sticks around long after your last sip.

M: Light to medium body with a medium amount of carbonation.

O: a very good ipa. Probably one of the bitterest ipas I have had.

BS68280, May 27, 2011
Photo of richkrull
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received this one from Crabbicuss in N00b BIF 4. Thanks a lot bud!

Poured a cloudy copper color with a decent white head and good lacing.

Good hoppy smell on this one. Not too much malt on the nose.

Taste is very very good. Nice and hoppy throughout. Great bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is light. Goes down smooth.

Overall a great beer. I'll likely add it to my wants permanently once I clear my list a bit. I recommend this one highly to anybody who likes IPAs at all.

richkrull, May 25, 2011
Photo of CHADMC3
4.65/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy orange with golden hues and a pure white, foamy head that really takes its time before dissipating to leave a scattered, yet sticky lacing behind.

Citrus and hop aromas waft from the glass with fruit aromas such as apricot and lemon just as advertised. This IPA is quite fruity with generous portions of citrus and tropical fruits. The hop character also seems to offer pine or grass.

Strong flavors of grassy hops, apricot and lemon immediately present themselves. There is a sweetness to this IPA that seems to be less of a result of any hop variety, but more so the fruit flavors that are derived from the hops. I cannot say there is any other IPA I have tried quite like this.

This beer is lighter in body, smooth and crisp with a pleasant bite at the end that is again countered by a fruity sweetness.

Overall this is an impressive beer that both fits into the style guidelines of the American IPA and breaks them all at once.

CHADMC3, May 23, 2011
Photo of beertunes
3.85/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to my buddy Chris who brought this one back from SD for me. Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a clean orange-amber color with about an inch of just off-white head that had very good retention and lacing.

The aroma was floral hop forward with a bit of pine in the background. There wasn't any noticeable malt in the aroma. The flavors were fairly similar, very hop dominant with just a bit of malt for support.

The body was pretty typical for the style. Drinkability was very good, you could easily drink several of these. Overall, a very good beer that I'd drink with some regularity if it were local to me. Worth trading for to try.

beertunes, May 22, 2011
Photo of MacQ32
4.69/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Courtesy of the Charleston Beer Exchange

A- Poured golden orange into my tulip glass ~1inch off white head. A fair amount of lacing left behind on the glass. Ok retention

S- Hoppy with a bit of sweetness. Piney hops are very distinct, citrusy aromas are present as well. Smells awesome

T- Quite bitter, delicious combination of mostly pine but also citrus (mangos, grapefruit, etc) hops. Both very bitter and sweet

M- Medium bodied or less - good carbonation

O- Top 5 favorite IPA here, bitter citrusy and piney. The dry refreshing bitterness stands out most to me

MacQ32, May 22, 2011
Photo of RedSpecial1
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy, light amber with a finger of white, creamy head that lingers. Lots of bubbles keep rising at a decent rate for a while. The nose is excellent, lots of piney hoppiness coming through, very fresh smelling. The taste is more of the same, but with a deeper level from the malts that balances the hop flavors quite well, almost giving it a woody character. There's also a bit of citrus flavor at the end. The mouthfeel is light with a fair amount of carbonation. Overall, this beer is quite enjoyable and has a nice balance between hops and malt.

RedSpecial1, May 18, 2011
Photo of Gushue3
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap or Brewhouse in Weymouth.

A- Golden orange and did not get to see the head. Medium lacing left on the glass. Can imagine there was a moderate sized head

S- Very sweet and hoppy. Bold citrus hops are prominent that are very sharp. Smells awesome

T- Very hoppy. Nice citrus taste with piney taste that sti fs the senses... really nice. Sweet ans bitter contrast is on point. Really well made IPA.

M- medium to lighter mouthfeel with the carbonation a litle heavier.

O- I really cant ask for much more from an IPA. GREAT taste that looks and smells great.

Gushue3, May 18, 2011
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 9,266 ratings.