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.

8,857 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,857
Reviews: 1,993
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.52%
Wants: 908
Gots: 1,511 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sculpin IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,857 | Reviews: 1,993 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TMoney2591


4.08/5  rDev -7.5%

Served in my trusty Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Big thanks to stevglad and the N00b Traders BIF for this catch!

Based on what the label tells me, I kinda wanna try some sculpin meat. Anyway, the beer pours a clear golden straw topped by over a finger of white foam. The nose holds plenty o' sharp pine and even sharper grapefruit, with a buttery toffee undercurrent. The taste follows pretty closely, though the toffee loses both some power and some butter. The hops, though, remain rather powerful throughout. The body is a light medium, with moderate carbonation and a very smooth feel. Overall, a strong IPA, but kinda overly one-dimensional in favor of the hops. I'd prefer a bit more balance, but it's pretty damn good nonetheless.

07-12-2010 16:23:48 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of tigg924


4/5  rDev -9.3%

Appearance: minimal inch head, hazy, bright gold in color, high carbonation

Smell: citrus hops

Taste: citrus hops, honey, grapefruit, some toasted malt, and a taste of toffee as it warms

Mouthfeel: light bodied, medium/high carbonation, sweetish start with a bitter middle and a super bitter end

Drinkability: A good citrusy and super bitter finishing IPA. A sipper that I could have a couple of. One of the better in the style that I have had, certainly in my top 10 of the style, but not in my top 5.

07-10-2010 15:05:25 | More by tigg924
Photo of bdupree

North Carolina

4.58/5  rDev +3.9%

This was recommended to me by Mike Brawley at Brawley's Beverage. Mike never steers me wrong!

A - Nice golden color, pours with big fluffy head with plenty of lacing. Looks to have a nice bit of carbonation, too.

S - One of the best aromas from an IPA I have ever sniffed. Immediately pick up peach (they are in season here in the south) and mango along with floral scents. Also, a fresh piney aroma from the hops.

T - This IPA is special, very special. Everything comes together in perfection... the fruits come through well in the first taste, and there is no overpowering with the hops... even though there is plenty there. Such a perfect blend and balance. There is some sweetness, but it is complemented so well by hops.

M - Medium-light, but with somewhat of a thick feel like most hopped up IPAs.

D - This suddenly became one of my top favorite IPAs... and that is about the only thing I buy these days. It was just incredible. I need to get back down to Brawley's to see how many he has left.


07-10-2010 15:01:54 | More by bdupree
Photo of airohead2001


4.13/5  rDev -6.3%

HUGE thanks to glazeman for this one. This has been one of my biggest wants since I've been getting into craft beer, and it surely did not disappoint.

A - Gold. Seriously, this beer looks like gold with a little bit of haziness. Fluffy two finger head that quickly fades to a persistent film of white bubbles. Wonderful lacing that coats my Westvleteren snifter.

S - Oranges, light lemons, cloves, and mild pines. Light and nicely balanced.

T - Similar to the smell, balance is the word. By far the most balanced IPA I have ever had. The taste begins with fruity hops up front - oranges and tangerines - and finishes with light bitter pines. Nothing harsh - nothing too sweet. The balance is perfect. It's not the most complex beer I've had, but for a beer that is so light and drinkable, it is definitely the tastiest.

M - Average mouthfeel - pretty thin, but appropriate for the light taste.

D - The most drinkable craft beer I have ever tasted. Outstanding. Just perfect. As drinkable as a Miller Lite and a billion times tastier.

This is a session beer - one I can drink one after the other. None of the layers of citrus hops, piney hops ,or malts are that complex, and the mouthfeel is pretty thin. However, for a relatively light beer that packs a great flavor, Sculpin IPA is the way to go. I would order this at ANY bar where it is on the menu and would purchase at least one bottle at any store where it is in stock.

07-10-2010 04:28:05 | More by airohead2001
Photo of Augustiner719

New York

3.45/5  rDev -21.8%

poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass:

First off this was a little dissapointing to me as i had been anticipating this being tremendous. I had a flower power prior to this and the flower power outshined this guy.

Pours a crystal clear, amber orange color with a big fluffy head and leaves soapy residue lacing. Tastes a touch flat to me, has a big hop bitterness with a lacking malt backbone, typical west coast style. Really this is a hoppy IPA, but its lacking balance. Mouthfeel is off as its too flat for me, dense bubbles leave the palate battered with the austere hop characteristics. drinkability is high on this as its got a realatively moderate ABV and would be nice on a hot summer day. not the best IPA i have ever had but still worthy by all means. not worth the 9.99 price tag though.

07-10-2010 02:47:28 | More by Augustiner719
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

4.93/5  rDev +11.8%

22oz bottle into a Duvel tulip pours a crisp bubbly orange with a nice frothy off-white head that lasts as a thin layer and leaves decent lacing on the glass. Aroma is like a freshly cut grapefruit, loads of citrus with a nice sweet malt backbone. The taste is just about IPA prefection, loads of citrus hops with a nice amount of pine as well. A nice burnt caramel backbone provides the right amount of balance. The beer is on the light side of medium, very smooth and refreshing after a hot day. This is without question one of my favorite beers, I can't wait for it to come out in six-packs this fall.

07-10-2010 01:04:55 | More by atsprings
Photo of TheFightfan1


4.83/5  rDev +9.5%

Thanks to the Hulmeville for this one. Poured a very soft looking hazy auburn with an extremely white heading. Left lacing all around the glass and left a nice white cap all the way until the end.

Smell is insane. One of the very best aroma's from an IPA I have ever smelled. Crazy tropical fruit aroma. Pineapple,mango, citric lemony nose. Crisp cracker like aroma from the malt's really have nothing to say except that "Hey I'm here too".

Taste is well more of the same but the hop aroma that was present earlier has turned green and taken over my tongue. An all out assault in which sting's the tastebuds with bitter goodness. A quick touchdown of the crackerboard malts but again quickly covered but the sweet fruits.

Mouth is more towards a mid bodied beer. Heavy hoppy linger that loves to just stick around and keep your mouth watering for much more.

Well this now could very well be my favorite IPA. Need I say if it is drinkable?

07-09-2010 00:49:36 | More by TheFightfan1
Photo of silver0rlead

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev -2.9%

Pours a nice deep golden color with a thick and frothy white head that retains impressively and leaves beautiful lacing. The aroma is equally impressive, with big citrus fruitiness upfront, along with some pine resin and passion fruit, some biscuit, caramel, esters, and alcohol...not especially complex but impeccably fresh smelling. The flavor is also nice, but a bit of a letdown from the appearance/aroma...notes of citrus and piney hops initially, a little mint, biscuit, herbs, caramel, orange marmalade, alcohol and a slight hint of funk. The mouthfeel is light and sprightly, and drinkability is excellent. Overall a really nice IPA, with a fresh hop character that is pleasant and clean at the same time, there isn't a massively bitter finish like with some lesser IPAs.

07-08-2010 03:42:43 | More by silver0rlead
Photo of Kala1073


4.6/5  rDev +4.3%

Appearance- A nice yellow-orange color with a nice white head. The head soon dissolves into to a thin lacing.

Smell- You can definitely smell mango, citrus fruits, and some piney hops. It smells incredible!

Taste- Like the smell, the flavors of mango, citrus, and pine can be tasted. Its crisp and refreshing.

Mouthfeel- It was not heavy at all. A very nice feel to it.

Drinkability- I could propably drink this all day during those hot summer days! A terrific beer!

07-06-2010 17:15:52 | More by Kala1073
Photo of steevo


5/5  rDev +13.4%

Bomber acquired through a worldly and generous tasting buddy.

Appearance - An impressive head disappeared into an equally nice lace.

Smell - Citrusy grapefruit and pine are very evident in the aroma.

Taste - Hops are balanced well with a light sweet malt.

Mouth Feel - Pleasantly lighter than expected.

Drinkability - This American IPA excelled my expectations.

07-06-2010 04:41:47 | More by steevo
Photo of Axic10

New Jersey

4.7/5  rDev +6.6%

Poured from 22oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark golden color with a finger of foam.

Smell: True definition of a West Coast IPA. Full of citrus aroma, pineapple, grapefruit, mango and tangerine. Slight sting of hops and a tiny bit of malty sweetness.

Taste: Taste mirrors the nose. Very strong grapefruit, pineapple and mango flavors. Smooth malty aftertaste finishes this beer off.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth and very crisp and clean.

Drinkability: This is probably the best regular IPA I've ever come across. I tend to order this whenever I see it on draft and pick up some bottles when it is available here in Philly, which is quite often.

07-05-2010 20:38:01 | More by Axic10
Photo of FickleBeast

New Jersey

4.6/5  rDev +4.3%

Bomber poured into a pilsner glass. Reviewed on my Droid.

Pour is a nice clear orange yellow color with a finger of foam that dissipates quickly. The aroma is potent - a delightful cocktail of tropical fruity hops. Can't wait to try it...

Fantastic. Overwhelmingly hoppy up front, with mango and citrus hop flavor assaulting your palate. That is followed by a quick kiss of malty sweetness before a bitter wave of hops finishes thing out. Bitterness lingers but is not harsh.

The tropical hop flavors really shine here. I'll have to remember to look up which varieties were used. This beer certainly lives up to its high scores.

07-03-2010 23:20:58 | More by FickleBeast
Photo of bigfnjoe


4.45/5  rDev +0.9%

Poured from a bomber into a Chimay goblet. Looking forward to this...

A- pours a beautiful gold with a paper thin white head that quickly fades. It does leave some very nice lacing, though.

S- awesome, heavily citric hops. Slight air of bitterness involved as well...mostly sweetness, but it doesn't smell overwhelming. Very nice.

T- oh yes, this is it. I get oranges and grapefruits to start, with a slightly piney bite at the end. The IBUs are kicking me pretty hard, and I've got a nice bitter aftertaste in my mouth. Love it.

M- great feel. Has a lightness to it I wouldn't expect, but still has that heaviness from the hop character. Excellent.

D- very drinkable, but those IBUs can kick your ass after each sip if you're not expecting it. One hell of an IPA

07-02-2010 23:43:15 | More by bigfnjoe
Photo of John_M


4.7/5  rDev +6.6%

Picked up a growler at Capone's the other day and figured one more review of this excellent beer would do it no harm.

Sculpin pours a prototypical peachy orange color with very good head retention and lacing (obtained the growler fill on Sunday and opened it on Tuesday). The nose is just typical sculpin perfection and immediately lets you know that you're in the presence of IPA royalty. I get an outrageous and intense aroma profile of dank earth, light tropical fruit flavors, marijuana, black pepper and tobacco. This is just an altogether fine smelling IPA, and is the standard by which all IPA's should be judged. The flavor profile generally replicates the nose, though it's not quite as intense or complex. In any event, this is a West Coast IPA all the way, with the modest sweet malt flavor completely dominated by the lovely hoppy bitterness. The finish in this excellent IPA is dry, long and bitter. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but there's a mouthwatering quality that one sees all too infrequently. The hoppy bitterness gives way to a crisp, refreshing finish. Drinkabiliy is unparalled... the beer is light and refreshing, with the alcohol barely an afterthought. I'm not sure I can think of another IPA where the alcohol is as well integrated into the flavor profile as it is with this outstanding beer.

Not much more to say really. Clearly, this is one of the best IPA's on the planet and is always an absolute treat to find fresh and on tap. Even poured from a 2 day old growler, this beer is/was just terrific. Yummm!!!

06-30-2010 15:39:24 | More by John_M
Photo of ZeroSignal


4.05/5  rDev -8.2%

Poured from a 22 oz bottle, no date

A - Pours a hazy light copper with a billowing white head that settles to a thin layer and laces nicely

S - Piney and citric hops

T&M - Citrus hops prevelant; orange, summer fruits, grapefruit, with a light pine resin background. Hops quickly coat the tongue and then nicely wash away with the finish. Malt presence is felt in balancing out the hops.

D - Highly drinkable; the flavors all blend nicely although 7% is slightly on the high side, I think I'll happily and relatively quickly finish this 22. I wouldn't characterize this as a "hop bomb", and I appreciate the subtlety of the flavors here.

06-29-2010 01:47:55 | More by ZeroSignal
Photo of philbe311


4.22/5  rDev -4.3%

On tap at Capone's...

A - Three fingers of tightly compact off-white head with a batter like top turning rocky as it begins to settle... Impressive retention... Once the head finally subisdes, a reach full inviting lacing is left in its place... A limited amount of slow paced carbonation swirls and rises throughout... A pale orange honey color... Some lace clings to the sides of the glass...

S - The aroma is intoxicating and truly something special... Pineapple... Mango... Kiwi... Lime... Hints of lemon... A modest pine hoppiness... Crisp outdoor mountain air...

T - Sweet tropical fruits... Ripe peach... Some piney hops... A subtle malt backbone keeps this incredibly well balance...

M - Luscious is the first word that comes to mind... It's incredibly smooth and silky... This one goes done very easily... Slight carbonation on the tongue to begin... Medium bodied... A tad on the dry side... A slight bitterness lingers in the back of the throat... Very smooth all the way around...

D - A world class IPA both on draft and in the bottle... Smooth... Easy drinking sip after sip...

I was excited to try this one on draft and it's still a damn tasty brew but I seem to enjoy this one out of the bottle a little bit more...

06-27-2010 02:55:51 | More by philbe311
Photo of jeffjeff1


4.7/5  rDev +6.6%

I picked this up at work yesterday as soon as I figured out that we had it in.
Poured into my Sam Adams glass

Appearance- golden amber color, great head, wonderful lacing

Smell- beautiful, fruity hop aroma

Taste- hops, delicious

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- This one was awesome. I loved it. It was so delicious.

06-22-2010 20:36:51 | More by jeffjeff1
Photo of phillybeer7779


4.47/5  rDev +1.4%

Poured from a bottle into a Duvel oversized tulip glass. Golden appearance with about a half inch of head. Citrus hops smell that carries over into the taste. Not the biggest hop bomb I've ever had, but very drinkable. Wonderful beer completely deserving of its ranking as a top IPA.

06-20-2010 01:43:00 | More by phillybeer7779
Photo of OneDropSoup


4.28/5  rDev -2.9%

Poured into a tulip pint: Deep gold body, transparent but hazy with moderate nucleation. Three fingers of glistening, off-white, lumpy, bubblebath head. Leaves big rings of lacing.

Smells of grapefruit zest, like squeezing the rind & having the bursts of essence come out. Very fresh smell. Other fruity smells, kinda peachy. Slight biscuity undertone, but just enough to give some scaffolding for the hops. Very nice.

Flavor is good -- again the grapefruit & peach, a little lemon, some leafiness like tea or tobacco. And again, just enough malt to back it up without it becoming sweet. What's really impressive is that the hop character is pretty assertive but totally drinkable -- it doesn't become overbearing or aggressive, doesn't turn into a bitter-bomb, but is right with you the whole time. Ends crisply, with the flavor resting gently on your palate. Excellent balance.

Feels very smooth & dry, medium-bodied. This has to be one of the easiest-drinking IPAs I've had, I like having a strongly hoppy beer I don't have to wrestle with. Good show.

06-18-2010 19:24:10 | More by OneDropSoup
Photo of deereless


4.43/5  rDev +0.5%

A: Decent head with some minor lacing, medium straw in color, extremely transparent - 4.00, S: Quite pungent and loads of pink grapefruit and pine, lemon zest and tropical fruits on the nose, mildly brash countered with a slight floral aroma, a wonderful aromatic American IPA - 4.50, T: Defined hop bitterness that lingers on the tongue, slightly grassy, grapefruit pith and pine, malt is present but hides comfortably behind all the hops, clean alcohol flavors - 4.50, M: Medium body, faintly dry - 4.00, D: This is one extremely drinkable IPA, extremely enjoyable and one I'd gladly drink again - 4.50

06-18-2010 01:34:53 | More by deereless
Photo of Naugros

New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev -5.2%

This beer immediately developed a much larger head than I'm used to from an IPA. Be careful pouring this one. Tightly packed bubbles underneath a cloud-like cover that has some serious staying power. The beer itself remains active underneath it with ample carbonation in the amber glow of the beer. Sticky and splotchy lace lines the sides of the glass.

Smells like a top-notch IPA from the West Coast...probably because it is a top-notch IPA from the West Coast. It smells as if it's going to taste like Ruination.

Okay, it does taste like Ruination at first, but it doesn't have as quite as strong of a resinous aftertaste despite the strong Cascade hops presence. I also find it to be more balanced with the malty caramel and vanilla flavors on the tongue. Still, the grapefruit of the hops dominates the taste as it dominates the smell.

Even though the aftertaste is better controlled for a Cascade hops-heavy brew, it's still there. The body is good and lighter than expected from the full-flavor.

These go down nicely. The 7% abv is hardly noticeable so finish one 22 ouncer and you may not be able to open another. Now I know what all the hub bub is about.

06-17-2010 23:27:12 | More by Naugros
Photo of IdrinkGas


4.7/5  rDev +6.6%

A:Orange copper color, almost no head

S:Floral hops, not much else but thats OK with me. I love the way this beer smells!

T:Tastes like it smells. Floral hops, some citrus

M:Lightly carbonated

D:One of the most drinkable beers I've ever had.

I've had this beer from a growler and it was even better.
Almost 2 years later and this is still one a my favorite Ipas.

06-17-2010 21:43:35 | More by IdrinkGas
Photo of plaid75

New York

4.1/5  rDev -7%

On draft at The Chip Shop, Brooklyn, NYC.

Poured a medium copper hue with a two finger foamy white head. There was good twtention and lacing.

The ell featured a sharp herbal hop and juicy orange.

The taste consisted of a multi-tiered hop that started herbal and finished with elements of grapefruit and orange. A good grainy malt backbone detected as well.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller end of the style.

Overall a tasty and complex hop bomb.

06-17-2010 15:03:39 | More by plaid75
Photo of scottfrie


4.45/5  rDev +0.9%

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

A: Pours an orange-golden with a fluffy white head that reduced into a thick dense film leaving some streaks of sticky lacing down the glass.
S: Fresh hops smell piney and citrusy. Big ruby grapefruit notes. Also hints of lemon zest and peach.
T: Very fruity yet not super sweet. Light notes of pale malt shine through the citrus hops. Large grapefruit and peach taste just like the nose. Aftertaste is lemon zesty, piney and bitter.
M: Body is light, maybe a tad too thin, but the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, and the alcohol is hidden completely. Bitterness is modest and comfortable and the finish is crisp, fresh and refreshing.
D: This beer has a phenomenal smell and taste, and it also light, crisp and refreshing. Closer to a DIPA than a regular one. Definitely one of my favorite IPA's.

06-17-2010 00:55:07 | More by scottfrie
Photo of thisisxxmyIPA

New Hampshire

3.8/5  rDev -13.8%

A - Appearance is extremely exceptional. It's pitch perfect clarity has me thinking that it may not be naturally carbonated. Pours a thick rocky white head that dissipates slowly. Beautiful apricot color. Lacing is decent.

S - Great hoppy goodness. Smells of tropical and citrusy fruits. Crisp with a sweet maltiness.

T - Good. Unfortunately not as impressive as the aroma. Sort of leaves something to be desired. The fruitiness is far harder to pick up in the flavors. Maltiness also far thinner than I was expecting from the aroma. A good IPA, but I've had better.

M - Pretty straightforward. Not watery, but not creamy or mouthfilling. Average.

D - Actually a very drinkable IPA coming in at 7%. I'd like to thank tbadiuk for the great trades again. You've got some Allagash coming your way!

06-17-2010 00:50:29 | More by thisisxxmyIPA
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 8,857 ratings.