1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

9,238 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,238
Reviews: 2,024
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.75%
Wants: 950
Gots: 1,692 | FT: 49
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sculpin IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 9,238 | Reviews: 2,024 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Cheesemoose
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%

A bomber split with the FIL. First time for the both of us.

Golden, straw with a glowing radiance when put up to light. Foamy, white head flows up, with small bubbles and a nice lacing that hangs out pretty well. Bubbles keep rising throughout the tasting. A nice touch.

The nose has a vibrant, very floral bouquet. Citrus, which quickly turns into a cracker/biscuit malt base, with a bit of buttery/fruit edges.

Taste is very balanced. Citrus hops are muted at first, leading off with a floral fore-flavor. This transcends nicely into a citrus and piney hop mid body, which is a nice transition from the very hop forward beers known to the west coast. A very nice finish. No revenge of the hops.

Diactyl is a bit present, but gives a nice buttery feel that is very well played. Carbonation is spot on, and the finish is very nice, clean and crisp. What you would want for a standard American IPA. Great example of the style.

Cheesemoose, Mar 16, 2011
Photo of gregalobeer
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%

Looks like there are over 1000 reviews of this guy, so I'll make it brief:

A: pale, lemon/honey yellow, foamy, silky head, good retention
S: pine, caramel
T: overall quite sweet, organe and lime citrus are prominent, lots of hops, but well balanced and very clean
M: woah, this is ultra smooth, like butter, not expected
D: super drinkable, wish I had more

gregalobeer, Mar 16, 2011
Photo of BranfordBound
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%

22 oz bomber into a shaped pint glass from DFH

Pours a golden color, slightly cloudy, with a two finger head that stays around for quite some time. Good lacing but very under-carbonated.

Smells of sweet hops. Leafy and fruity characteristics round out the aroma.

Only a hint of malt in this one, the hops are very reminiscent of Gandhi-Bot, very concentrated on the fruit. Tropical fruit, grapefruit, and peaches combined with a sweet malt make this one like juice. Not overly piney or leafy.

Slightly wet and fairly medium bodied, not as light as they say.

Drank the bomber myself, delicious IPA worthy of its rank. Very sweet and fruity.

BranfordBound, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%

Poured from the bottle into a Nonic pint glass.

Pours straw out of the bottle as a white three finger head forms. Head doesn't stick around for much. Body is a nice gold pale amber, slightly cloudy but with lots of carbonation coming from the bottom. Minimal lacing not much is present.

Smell is a fruit basket fleshy grapefruit, lemon, some floral hop and then an aromatic toasty bread that whaffs all around. That toast seems to be outside the glass just as if it was "around", diving my nose brings back that fruit basket again.

Taste is a real good bodied but borderline wet grapefruit, a little watered down. Hop bitterness comes through on the swallow but also feels quite dry. Some minor sugar tastes but fairly small. Kind of prickly interesting a neat sensation.

Pretty good here, glad I tried it out, easily drinkable and would have again.

smakawhat, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of ncaudle
2.95/5  rDev -33.1%

poured from bomber into snifter.
no date code on bottle but local bottle shop had just received it the previous week.

pours a orange/gold color with thick white head. some nice lacing left around the glass.

some hop aromas there but not in your face like most other IPAs - kind of subdued. citrus and floral. taste is crisp but there is this funk going on which I just can't wrap my tongue around... almost "fishy" tasting to use the bottle label as point of reference. not a pleasant taste.

nice mouthfeel with right amount of carbonation.

drinkability would be much higher if it didnt have that funky taste. not a drain pour or anything but I won't be buying this again.

ncaudle, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of LBBeer
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%

On tap at The Factory Gastrobar, Long Beach, CA.

A--Nice slightly orange straw color, with an ivory heas of about 1". Solid lacing.

S--Not a lot of aroma, but a nice green biotter note is there.

T--I love big bitter beers, this has a lot of bittering hops, not too much aroma. Dominates the palate. Malt isn't really noticeable, but there is plenty of body, so it's in there somewhere.

M-perfectly carbonated, and just hearty enough to support the hop bomb

D-I love this beer, because the hops don't linger too long--making me want more.

Ballast point wins again!

LBBeer, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of KevinBrewer
4.5/5  rDev +2%

A- Clear dark gold with a fluffy white head that lasts, lacing all the way down the glass.

N- Tropical fruit, resinous hops, flowers, and grapefruit rind.

T- Crisp biscuity malt backbone layered with piny hop resins, bright citrus notes, and grapefruit rind. The fruitiness of the hops compliments the rich maltiness. Hop resins and grapefruit linger into the aftertaste as the oils cling to the sides of my mouth.

M- Medium light mouthfeel, sticky with hop oils, crisp carbonation and a semi-dry finish.

D- This is a thirst quenching brew. Definitely goes down easy despite being full flavored.

KevinBrewer, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of Jesse13713
4.03/5  rDev -8.6%

A huge thanks to Madvermin for sending this beer in a trade!

Appearance - A huge full three fingers of head presents itself immediately and drowns a beer filled with cloudy orange and yellow hues. Slight shrouded; yet has shadow-like transparency. Appears low carbonated and reminds me of what a goldfish looks like.

Smell - Definitely a strong hop presence here. Lemon and orange citrus notes linger quite heavily in the nose. Heavy pine characteristics as well.

Taste - A very crisp ipa with consistent lemon all throughout the taste. Quite a delicious malt profile as well. Quite a funky and 'fishy' (heh) aftertaste. Definitely some grapefruit in here as well. The lemon and pine notes remain dominent all-throughout, however.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - A pretty good IPA. The caramel notes and underpowering citrus hops make this beer very drinkable. I guess that I wouldn't say it i underpowering; but just very balanced.

Jesse13713, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of AwYeh
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%

Poured from a 22oz bottle into snifter; thanks to Jesse13713 via madvermin for splitting this one with me.

A: Pours a cloudy apricot color with two fingers frothy, bubbly head. Good retention and some spotty lacing.

S: There's no hiding the citrus hops here, as big aromas of pineapple, grapefruit, and orange zest all make themselves apparent, along with a touch of pine. Not seeing any malty backbone here, but hey, no problem with this style- I appreciate the hops.

T: Again, big quantities of citrus and pine hops lead the way, though I am picking up a bit of caramel malts here. Balance is definitely in favor of the hops; great example of a west coast IPA.

M: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation; a very smooth, crisp beer. Moderately dry finish, with a light lingering of stickiness on the palate.

D: Goes down easily thanks to the solid taste; will definitely be having this one again out with madvermin in California.

AwYeh, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of CuttDeez
4/5  rDev -9.3%

A - Pours a golden color with tinges of orange in the light. It is clear with carbination running though it. The head on mine was aggresive from an aggresive pour.

S - This is one of the best noses I have found on a beer in a long time! Floral, fruity, crisp, balanced hop. Grapfruit, apricot, mango, lemon, orange in a whirlwind of citrus. A slight pine sweetness rounded off with hop bitterness. It is wonderful just to smell this beer.

T & M & D - All the tropic fruits I mentioned come through on the front end, then it is followed by bitter hop. It is a dry clean mouthfeel at the end.

I think this is a very nice IPA and I think you should pick one up just to smell its glory.

-Cheers

CuttDeez, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of tdevo
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%

Picked this up at Abe's in bethlehem.

A - pours a pale orange amber with little head that quickly fades to nice lacing around glass.

S - nice citrus, hoppy aroma that's not overpowering

T - very piney with a great piney aftertaste that hangs around on the tongue. This is a nice beer.

M - lighter in body than I expected with really nice carbonation, maybe more than I expected but it works well.

D - This where this beer shines. Classic example of an American IPA. I could drink this all day.

tdevo, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of tr0n
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%

Had this Sculpin on tap at Lord Hobo before Extreme Beer Fest.

Sculpin came in a pint glass, lightly colored and a very bright, citrus nose. It smelled refreshing and tasted that way as well. Strong hops were readily apparent from the nose, to the taste and mouthfeel. Taste was crisp with a sharp aftertaste, but very drinkable. This is a fabulous IPA, second only to Hopslam in my book. Once I try the elusive Plinii I may re-evaluate this list.

tr0n, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of n2185
2.8/5  rDev -36.5%

Beer stores around here just got this one in, so I assume it's fresh. No way of confirming though.

A: Pours a clear, honey orange with a finger of white head which quickly recedes into a ring with little lacing.

S: Grapefruit and pineapple up front with some pine on the finish. Quite nice.

T: Some bitter grapefruit up front followed by lots of resiny pine and bitterness. Lots and lots of bitterness on the finish, lingering around well after the beer is gone.

M: Medium body and carbonation, there is an oily character to it that coats my mouth along with the bitterness.

D: Drinkability is alright, though definitely hurt by the bitterness and oily character hurt it. Overall, not a terrible beer, but not particularly good either. It is extremely overpriced though at nearly $10 for a bomber when I can get sixers of better IPAs for less.

n2185, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of climax
4.53/5  rDev +2.7%

This one pours a lighter than expected glowing gold with slightly murky clarity. The head formed quickly to a creamy eggshell mass and had good retention.

The aroma was a burst of sweet citrus and tropical fruit. Pineapple, mango, lemon, and orange throw the nostrils into a bath of sweet citrus fruit while a grapefruit kick bitters it up properly. A little bit of a waxy soap bitterness shines through the orchard of citrus. Despite the sweetness, there really is no obvious sign of the malt even attempting to match this hop effort.

The flavor was crisp, clean, and kept with the fruit domination sensation as was the nose. . More herbal bitterness and earthy flavors are present in the taste. The toasted caramel malt, alcohol, and a bit of diacetyl are present in the backbone. That about sums up the malt cameo. What a juicy brew!

The feel is spot on. The carbonation is crisp and refreshing but stays well away from being overly sharp and distracting. The body is full and the feel is very creamy and slick. The finish is dry but not completely moisture sucking.

This is an excellent beer, a textbook IPA that covers all the bases. It balances the sweet and bitter qualities of our lupulin friend perfectly. It's easy to drink, but not TOO easy.

climax, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of Matador
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%

On tap at a The Fishery here in SD. Poured a nice amber and decent head retention with lacing down the side as it settled. Wonderful smell of sweet apricots as I worked my way down the pint. In the end I found it to be nicely balanced with the hop bitterness, fruity sweetness and drinkability.

Matador, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of Zodijackyl
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%

Pours amber with a thin white head, lacing all the way down the glass. Aroma has a lot of citrus and almost tropical hops, very potent and absolutely amazing smell. Taste starts out with the same fruity taste as the aroma, almost entirely hops with a touch of malt. While the flavor is great, the finish is bitter and the hop flavors feel sour towards the end. Too much hop bitterness without enough malt/yeast sweetness to balance it out, while the beer is good, this is disappointing. Mouthfeel starts out smooth with medium-strong carbonation, ends more sour/bitter. Still quite drinkable, but the hop bitterness becomes overwhelming as I finish the beer.

Zodijackyl, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of Arbitrator
2.7/5  rDev -38.8%

In the latest installment of "Angrytrator goes to the beer store," I'm re-reviewing Sculpin. I haven't bought this beer in over a year, because it's simply not worth $9 / bomber or $7 / pint.

But a $2.50 12oz bottle is quite fair. Since they just hit the area, I bought a sixer.

A: Pours a hazy burnt orange with lazy bubbles up the glass. Has 1.5" of off-white head with decent retention, but it recedes eventually into a light film on the brew and a moderate collar around the edges. Leaves a little sudsing down the sides of the glass.

S: Hmm. I remember this having a beautiful tropical citrus bouquet. This has barely any nose to it, despite pouring it into a snifter to enhance the aroma. I detect some grapefruit and a mild pale malt nose, but that's about it.

T: A nice blend of grapefruit, lemon pith, and apricot. Not much malt flavor, though there is a little sweetness on the finish. I seem to remember Sculpin being drier. Some pine, particularly in the aftertaste and exhalation. But nothing substantial or flavorful. Perhaps my palate is damaged, but I really don't taste a lot here.

M: Medium bodied, medium carbonation. Carbonation is creamy, not crisp. The flavor (what there is of it) is clean with no lingering bitterness or resin.

D: I don't know what's going on here. This has all the hallmarks of being an old bottle, but the bottling size (and its first appearance into our market) suggest it is fresh. Either they really screwed up the recipe, or some distribution snafu took place. Either way, this is a pretty big fall from grace. Ballast Point, feel free to start dating your IPAs so I can give these a fair shake.

Arbitrator, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of pjs234
4.65/5  rDev +5.4%

A - Poured into my SN tulip. Has a beautiful pale, but cloudy, orange color, with an off white 2 finger head. Appears to be very carbonated, as bubbles continuously appear from the bottom center of the glass and float to the surface.

S - One of the strongest hop aromas I have experienced. I could smell the hops as I poured it into my glass. The smell is a citrusy/piney smell.

T - Starts off slightly sweet, but quickly turns a big hop flavor. Strong aromas of pine and grapefruit. Also, very bitter, with a very dry finish. The hop flavor stays on the middle of your tongue for quite some time after each sip. Definitely one of the best IPA's that I have had.

M - Very nice mouthfeel. This actually feels a little creamy and has a good amount of carbonation.

D - This is a very drinkable beer, but one you really feel the urge to drink slowly and savor. The ABV also keeps you from going too quickly.

pjs234, Mar 07, 2011
Photo of lechroy
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%

Great overall IPA. Live the aroma, sweet with apricot and grainy sweetness. Little tail, and slightly bitter for my taste. Pretty darn nice. Not a total fave, but certainly interesting flavor and incredible aroma. Yum, but enjoy carefully with that 7 percent kicker.

lechroy, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of Fluke828
4.03/5  rDev -8.6%

Poured half of a 22oz bomber into a Cigar City Snifter, while the other half remained in the bottle until the snifter was emptied and then poured into a Liefmans gold-rimmed Goudenband Cervoise glass.
The reason I did things a little differently this time was 1) because I wanted to really get my nose in there with the snifter and get the aromas and swirl it around and 2) because I think my fridge might be a little too cold right now and I wanted to give this brew a chance to warm up a bit before reviewing it. (and maybe doing a not so side-by-side,side-by-side? Is that possible from the same bottle, lol? Anyhow I digress)

Appearance is very appealing pale orange with a 2+ finger head that leaves excellent lacing on the Cervoise. (Really love the nucleation action on this glass btw.)

Smells of almost candied fruits and sweet, sweet hops. Almost has a tropical fruitiness to the aroma with a splash of pine. Subtle, sweet malts are faint but present.

Taste is crisp and similar to the smell with the sweet fruits and not as much bitterness as I would have thought although it is more prevalent in the back end in transition to a malt finish. Incredibly balanced to say the least.

Mouth has great carbonation and pretty medium body.Very crisp, very smooth, very refreshing.

This is quite drinkable, however I have begun to feel the booze a bit. Not anything crazy and could definitely down another bomber to myself but significant nonetheless. All in all a delicious concoction that I am happy to have finally tried.

Fluke828, Mar 05, 2011
Photo of Chizoad
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%

Way better than the bottle. One of the best looking IPAs I've had. Great, frothy off-white head, perfect lacing, typical IPA amber beer with high clarity.

Good smell that highlights the citrus, particularly lemon peel.

The taste is up there with the best, great citrus hops with grapefruit, lemon peel, resinous pine. Some balancing malt flavor but it's like a little brother to the hops: keeps trying to stick its head up but keeps getting beat down.

This beer probably has the best mouthfeel of any beer I've ever had. It's creamy to start. The frothiness really helps to balance out the aggressive hops. But then, just when you've almost had enough of the heavy mouthfeel, it somehow becomes crisp and refreshing. Like a magic trick.

Highly drinkable. I couldn't quite give it a 5 because it's so aggressive but it's close.

Chizoad, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of The3rdbeer
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%

I have been drinking this beer and loving it for a few years and I feared when they started making it in 6 packs it would diminish in quality but thankfully I was wrong, poured into my Bruery Tulip glass.

A: Pours out an apricot hue with 2 fingers of head that subside to lacing and good thin layer of head retaining nicely.

S: Pine, Pineapple, tropical sweetness, hops, malt, smells amazing!

T: Tropical fruity sweetness forward quickly cascading into an earthy hop bitterness followed by some spice and finishing with malt. So balanced it walks down the palate.

M: Medium bodied, medium carbonation, lovely viscosity, that ends on a wonderful warmth from the alcohol right in the very back of the throat, not even close to being too much in any aspect.

D: amazing! I can drink this over and over and over again, pure gold, I am a fan of things that push boundaries, and to me this is signature. On par with Pliny m m mmmm

The3rdbeer, Feb 28, 2011
Photo of Woosta
4.53/5  rDev +2.7%

Bottle: 22oz, purchased a couple days ago.

Orange in color. Tons of pine notes in the body, in addition to citrus and melon notes. Light- to medium-bodied. The finish is on the bitter side with some residual citrus notes.

I will definitely drink this again.

Woosta, Feb 27, 2011
Photo of Kitt
4.38/5  rDev -0.7%

App - A light hazy copper with a bone-white, one finger, frothy head.

Ar - Deep and rich malt with hints of sweet honey and banana. Very pleasing - can't wait to taste!

Tst - A strong, eclectic, burning blend of bitter hops. Sweet undertones revealed in the aroma have been transformed to a piney-almond backbone. The malt is a bit overwhelmed by the hops but lingers a bit as well. The bitter hops persist for an unsual timeframe, barely waning before next sip.

mthfl - A good smooth and strong body.

Drnk - Carbonation and alcohol are obvious and up front.

Overall, an excellent IPA. The strong point here is the eclectic and lingering bitter hop blend. My only criticism: strong hops overwhelm the malt balance; a slightly more even blend would be preferable. But that might be a bit nit-picky!

Kitt, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of Rymar9
4.97/5  rDev +12.7%

What a beer! The smell is second to none..the perfect combination of hops brings out mango and peach followed by bitter pine hops with a clean crisp finish. A perfectly balanced American IPA ..A gold medal winning beer for a reason..definitely one of my favorites.

Rymar9, Feb 26, 2011
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 9,238 ratings.