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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

9,048 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,048
Reviews: 2,010
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.75%
Wants: 929
Gots: 1,599 | 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
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Ratings: 9,048 | Reviews: 2,010 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of FosterJM


4.22/5  rDev -4.3%

12th review on BA
Bottle poured into mug

App- Very rich colored orange with yellow highlights. 2 1/2 finger creamy head with lots of carbonation to it.

Smell- So much fruit. Its got apricot right from the start peach and mango. It was like being at a fruit buffet

Taste- Very robust hipe with a nice spice at the finish. Very big beer in my opinion. The 2nd sip was more fruit to the taste. Very clean and controlled flavors.

Mouth- Crisp, clean and savory. Bursting with fruit and hops on my palate.

Drink- It's very good. It goes down well and has a nice aftertaste. Like I said its a big bomber and I dont know if I could take down 2 in a sitting. It was a great beer.

10-23-2010 04:19:45 | More by FosterJM
Photo of Shaw


4.45/5  rDev +0.9%

Ballast Point is a new arrival in Florida. I'm eager to try the much-hyped Sculpin.

Pours a light gold color with a lovely foamy white head.

It's got that big, classic West Coast citric hop aroma with earthy notes.

The flavor is all about the hops. Big bitter notes mix with woody, earthy, tea-like and citrus hop notes. A hint of malt provides a slight sweet balance to the beer.

The body is lighter than I expected, but I see from the 22-ounce bottle's label that Ballast Point says it's supposed to be lighter.

This is a beer that lives up to its hype. Like Cigar City Jai Alai IPA, Sculpin is in that gray area between IPA and double IPA Hopheads, seek it out.

10-23-2010 02:53:03 | More by Shaw
Photo of emagana


4.83/5  rDev +9.5%

this must be fresh because it sports the black label.
poured a straw yellow with a 2 finger foamy white head that lingers for a good 5 minutes. medium carbonation.
floral notes of mango lemon zest and fresh pine. very inviting. wonderful smells all raound.
starts off with the great balance of pine and grapefruit. bitter of course but mellows out. well balanced and refreshing.
great beer all around. i will seek this out when i have a chance on draft.

10-23-2010 02:43:59 | More by emagana
Photo of DeanMoriarty


4.93/5  rDev +11.8%

A: Pours a light copper/golden hue with a fat head and thick lace from start to finish with a good amount of effervescence.

S: Big citrus spiciness, tons of sappy pine and fresh cut grass - there's some sweet malt at the end, but the hop runs the show.

T: Similar to the smell with tons of resinous hop, grapefruit rind, just a small amount of malt which is nice as it doesn't take away from the amazing hop flavor - it just adds a nice touch to the perfectly rounded flavor of this ale.

M: Well carbonated, medium-bodied (but on the lighter side), crisp and clean.

D: These go down like nothing and if you're not careful the 7% ABV will catch up with you over an evening of drinking these tasty little guys.

10-21-2010 04:28:42 | More by DeanMoriarty
Photo of Duff27


4.58/5  rDev +3.9%

A- Pours an orange or a dark golden with a slight red hue. Half-inch white head. Plentiful lacing. Magnificent.

S- Is "fresh" a smell? Wonderful floral hop notes. Wow.

T- Citrus...more specifically grapefruit. Pine. Hop spice. Hint of pineapples which is my favorite fruit, hmm.

M- Very creamy. Has a fantastic bite to it.

D/O- I'm overwhelmed at how good this IPA is. Don't know if this comes in 12 ounce bottles but when I asked if there were any in the back I was told "well, let's see if we have any big bottles of it." Luckily, they did have a few bombers on the shelf. I just want to thank all the BA's (especially Bob from the GLBF...don't know his BA name) that recommended this beer on a seemingly daily basis. Definitely worth making a special stop to check if a place 3 hours from home has it. I'm in IPA euphoria right now. Life is good.

10-20-2010 01:54:54 | More by Duff27
Photo of ncredible1


5/5  rDev +13.4%

A. Golden Orange Hue with impressive lacing. This is one good looking IPA

S. Super juicy grapefruit and tropicals (Pineapple,Mango,Tangerine)in the smell and flavor profile. This is probably the best smelling IPA I've ever had.

T. The taste is similar to the smell but with a heap of bitter hops. Grapefruit, pine, and more sweet tropicals. Some sweet pale malts round this beer out nicely. Definitely a sweeter IPA,and a great introduction to an IPA for those who have yet to attempt an IPA. The tast just keeps you coming back for more. Awesome!

M. The mouthfeel is superb. Hidden ABV. Just a well balanced Hoppy to Malt ratio.

D. A wonderfully crafted IPA, and the best one that I have tasted to date. This was a very pricey 22 oz. But if you are into the grapefruit tast of an IPA this hands is the winner.

10-19-2010 18:12:33 | More by ncredible1
Photo of busternuggz


4.6/5  rDev +4.3%

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass.
Beautiful clear golden-orange color with a foamy 1/2" off white head, dies down to 1/4" with good retention. Leaves soapy lacing.
Smells awesome, particularly as it warms a little. Tangerine, floral notes, passion fruit, pine, apricot, and mango. Seems like I get something different each time I smell it.
Nice juicy tastes of orange, lemon, apricot, and a little pineapple and mango with grapefruit coming out on the dry finish. The hop flavors are complex and not overpowering with just enough malt backing.
Very nice texture, medium bodied and smooth, even a little creamy as it gets warmer. Ends light and dry but at the same time feels like it leaves a juicy coat on my tongue.
Very drinkable, tasty and engaging, smooth and balanced.
With this praise in mind, it seemed like this year's batch was just a little more subdued than last year's. Still an excellent IPA though, probably my favorite.

10-18-2010 21:53:28 | More by busternuggz
Photo of dbhall

South Carolina

4.65/5  rDev +5.4%

Wow. great beer. poured from bomber. the color is so nice: orange/peach color. great carbonation with an awesome head. smells like peaches and citrus with some hops. extreme pleasant smell. the taste is incredible. great hops, and some initial peach flavor. how a great ipa should be. mouth is crisp with a very clean finish. i drank the whole bomber, and this was a very easy thing to do.

great beer. cant wait to have it again.

10-18-2010 18:39:26 | More by dbhall
Photo of fourplayed


4.2/5  rDev -4.8%

22oz bottle pour into 12oz sam adam glass.

1" off white head leaving lite amount of lacing. A clear medium lite golden & amber. some small tight bubbles rising up beginning to end.

Smells a nice sweet floral, hops, sweet citrus and fruits...lovely scents here.

Tastes not as pronounced as the smell. medium earty hops & lite on the malts. some citrus and fruit sweetness.

Mouthfeel is lite to medium. mild zesty carbonation stays with you start to finish. hops add nice bite and there's just a bit of a creamy feel.

Drinks easy, hops up front are balanced nicely with malt, fruit, citrus and carbonation. Just enough going on to keep it interesting. nice mild alcohol warmth in the end.

10-18-2010 16:34:27 | More by fourplayed
Photo of plumcrazyfx


4.47/5  rDev +1.4%

Now this is what I like in an IPA. I like them to be something more than just a flat bitter hop bomb. The beer pours a nice copper color with a nice head. Smells very nice and the taste just shines. There is a solid, slightly sweet malt base behind the hops. The hops linger with that slightly sweet flavor. I could drink a ton of these. One of the best IPAs I've had - right up there with Pure Hoppiness, Furious, ans Town Hall Masalla. Now if I could just get it here without breaking the bank.

10-17-2010 11:30:56 | More by plumcrazyfx
Photo of mdwalsh


4.58/5  rDev +3.9%

Huge surprise gift from a fellow BA upon moving to town.

A: Straw/Golden orange body, pretty hazy, big slightly off white head with small bubbles, ok lace, pretty good texture. Overall, this beer is good looking but too orange/hazy.

S: Orangey! Like a screwdriver. Very little malt, but it's there. Maybe a little herbal spiciness?

T: Super citrus, of course, more orange. There are other tropical fruit flavors as well, but to me, orange really dominates. I get next to no malt flavor, but there's so much depth and complexity to the hops, I'm ok with that.

M: Awesome, near perfect, but a bit of body might help. Active carbonation is great, it's very much there, but doesn't make this beer too filling/gassy.

D: Amazing.

10-15-2010 14:59:01 | More by mdwalsh
Photo of chickenm

British Columbia (Canada)

4.75/5  rDev +7.7%

Wow this is an amazing IPA. Pours a slightly hazy golden copper color with a big white head. Aroma is full of citrus fruits and pine. The taste is loaded with citrus, tropical fruits and hops flavors. Nicely balanced with the malts; this has good bitterness to it, but it is not too over the top. Mouthfeel is pretty much perfect for the style. Medium-light body, moderate carbonation and quite smooth. Great drinkability, the bottle did not last long!

10-13-2010 02:47:30 | More by chickenm
Photo of Dspohn


4.6/5  rDev +4.3%

22 oz bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Big dense off-white head on a glowing but slightly hazy orange body. Left some pretty impressive lacing.

Super juicy grapefruit and tropicals in the smell and flavor profile. This is probably the best smelling IPA I've ever had. Tons of papaya, pineapple, mango, and tangerine. Hardly any malt at all.

The taste is similar to the smell but with a heap of bitter hops. Grapefruit, pine, peach and more sweet tropicals. Some sweet pale malts round this beer out nicely. Definitely a sweeter IPA, I could definiitely see this as being a great introduction to those who are apprehensive to the bitter nature of IPAs.

The mouthfeel is superb. Not truly chewy but so damn juicy that it almost seems like it. No hint of ABV anywhere.

A wonderfully crafted IPA, even at 8 bucks a bomber I still jump at the chance to pick this one up. I hope the move to six packs leaves the quality of this product intact.

10-11-2010 02:05:02 | More by Dspohn
Photo of jeffthecheff


4.22/5  rDev -4.3%

Half growler purchased fresh from Decicco's. Pours into a tulip glass with a billowing, thick white head of foam atop a hazy, amber-gold color. Great lacing and at least a finger of retention.

Aroma is pungent, citrusy hops. There is so much citrus going on here, it reminds me of a wheat beer brewed with citrus zest. Strong grapefruit aromas are at the forefront, with a bit of mango and tropical fruitiness. There is only a slight herbal hop bite in the back. I usually wouldn't give a perfect aroma score to a hoppy beer without much of an herbal balance, but the strong, complex fruitiness deserves a 5.

The flavor is simple, with a dry, bitter tone dominating the brew. Malt profile adds nothing behind all these hops. Bitterness is very strong, with a somewhat harsh profile. Hops bring some grapefruit peel, grass, and leaves. Not as much fruitiness is represented as the nose does. I think the fruity hop profile could have given this more depth, but it's hard to please the palate after the aroma is so great.

10-10-2010 17:57:28 | More by jeffthecheff
Photo of Proteus93


4.38/5  rDev -0.7%

I had been interested in trying this for some time, and was always puzzled as to why it was not available among the other Ballast Point brews in Virginia. Nonetheless, when I saw a bottle, I snatched it up.

A: Nice golden colour, and pretty much what I hope for when I think of a 'pale ale.' A touch of haze... appears to be more of a slight chillhaze than an unfiltered brew. Head is modest... about 3/4 of a finger tall, but rather nice, tight, and creamy. Retention is good, leaving a generous collaring of lace and a soft sheet over the beer.

S: The aroma is probably the highlight of this beer. It wafted from the bottle immediately upon opening, and trails the glass wherever it goes, lingering in the air. It's a very citrus-scented beer... a lot of pineapple with hints of grapefruit and some pine qualities. I find myself detecting something like cracker (but not QUITE), as well, which plays into it nicely.

T: Flavour has many similarities to the aroma... the pineapple is there, but it does not have the sweetness, nor does it have the 'acidity' that one might expect when smelling something that seems so similar to pineapple. Rather, it merely 'influences' an otherwise leafy/herbal hop, along with a kiss of grapefruit (slightly sweet) and pine. There's a bit of a tropical note to it, as well. The bottle suggests apricot, peach, mango, and lemons. I can agree on the mango, but I personally do not find myself really getting the others. Nonetheless, it's an excellent tasting beer and that's the bottom line here.

M + D: This went beyond my expectations, and I'm very pleased to have local access to such a stellar IPA. Medium bodied, with a carbonation that's pretty much spot-on... sparkling, and giving way to just a little chewiness at the very end. The higher-than-average alcohol content is masked remarkably well and can go down perhaps a little too easily. A nice brew, and I look forward to having more regular access to it on the East Coast. Recommended.

10-07-2010 03:22:09 | More by Proteus93
Photo of Beernf


4.9/5  rDev +11.1%

On draft at the Ballast Point Brewery in San Diego.

I can't add much to what has been posted 800 times here already. This is my favorite IPA because of an outstanding taste and an amazing mouthfeel. Love sitting back and drinkin this beer. Go find it if you havent had it.

10-07-2010 00:31:01 | More by Beernf
Photo of Chaney

District of Columbia

4.88/5  rDev +10.7%

So I guess Ballast Point brewed this batch especially for the DC area. Lucky us! If we don't continue to get this stuff in our area after the overwhelmingly positive results that this smart move will produce (IMO), then I think I'll cry!

I poured this hard into a Founders pint glass. No date on the bottle, but I know through local marketing that this bottle was fresh as hell!

A: Cloudy, golden color with nice bubbly carbonation and about a mammoth 2 inch + head. The visual hop sizzle was a phenomenal spectacle!

S: Very piney, with am awesome display of peach, mango, grapefruit, and other assorted cast of characters of the citrus variety. Ballast Point should get into the air freshener business as a side venture.

T: Hop forward, West Coast style IPA, with all of the citrus fruits I described from the smell. Definitely not the most full-bodied brew I've ever tasted, but this was damn tasty! Any sort of malt backbone I detected initially was immediately slapped away by the overwhelming hops and citrus.

M: This was where the beer really shined. The balance was astounding and the carbonation was comfortable and where it should have been for this style. The grapefruit alkalinity kept the sweetness and/or syrupy quality in check.

D: There is no shortage of great IPAs in the world, and this is among the best. In my area, it seems that Bell's "Two-Hearted" is the go-to IPA that has legions of loyal followers. I've heard rumors that Sculpin is now going to be produced in 6-pks. When and if that happens, "Two-Hearted" may get kicked to the curb.

10-06-2010 12:53:55 | More by Chaney
Photo of wvsabbath

West Virginia

4.3/5  rDev -2.5%

Serving type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Nice golden tan, 1 inch light white head.

Smell - Nice aroma of citrus, hops, some malts
Pineapple and grapefruit is very present

Taste - Wow, my first impression was pineapple gallore. First beer i had that citrus wise pineapple was the big flavor. Nice balance of hops and malts also. I really like the dry taste the beer has. Its not a mouth crusher but as a ipa its up there in strength.

Mouthfeel - Its dry and mild bitter, so your tounge gets all the fruits, your palete gets the bitterness. Nice beer to suck down and enjoy.

Drinkabilty - Very high. This beer combines everything you want in a ipa, and adds that pineapple twist to make it unique and enjoyable. Limited release will make you enjoy it even more

10-05-2010 04:23:12 | More by wvsabbath
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 9,048 ratings.