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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

9,306 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,306
Reviews: 2,030
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.75%
Wants: 955
Gots: 1,717 | FT: 46
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: 9,306 | Reviews: 2,030 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CaptainIPA
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Since it's not distributed in Wisconsin, I've been waiting to try this IPA for quite some time. Purchased at Jerry's Foods on Sanibel Island and poured in motel glassware.

Pours a hazed apricot with a monstrous, billowy and pitted, eggshell-colored head with great retention and exceptional lacing. World-class nose: lemon zest, pineapple, grapefruit, honey and ambrosia.

Opens with hopcentric bitterness that rolls in waves and numbs the back of the palate. A medley of citrus and tropical fruit goodness surfaces in flavors of apricot, peach, lemon and mango. Deftly balances its hop bite with the tangs of juicy, tropical fruit. Relatively light bodied and highly drinkable. Finishes dry. Highly recommended.

Happy birthday to me!

CaptainIPA, Apr 21, 2011
Photo of evanlarkin
3.15/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lots of foamy white head, almost 3 fingers of it. The beer itself is more of a golden yellow honey color. It has some slight haze to it, but that might be from the low temperature.

Piney and lemony. What we have here is a bottle of Pinesol, no doubt. Some apricot also comes in, which is a pretty nice little change from the usual grapefruit flavors we've been seeing lately.

Wow, WAY drier than what I was expecting from the smell. On top of that, it's extremely piney. The bottle mentions several fruits, but if they're in there, they can't stand up to the crazy amount of pine in this thing. There's a good amount of bitterness sticking around too.

A light body that really sticks to you. There's something kind of syrupy about it actually.

Solid, but not as well balanced as I'd like. Definitely has a high drinkability, and it might be a good introductory IPA due to it's light body and non-overwhelming bitterness. Would I have another? Maybe. Would I buy another bomber? Probably not.

evanlarkin, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of spree92
4.05/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Have been hearing about Sculpin for a while now and have finally got the chance to try it. People talk highly of this beer.

I gave it a quick stir so it is a bit hazy pour. Small head but an oily film remains on the surface. The nose is a little weak. The noticeable west coast hops are here, probably cascade, willamette and a couple others. Does have a fresh quality to it. The taste is interesting. Not a bitter as I was anticipating. Nice fruit flavors of citrus and even peach?. A 7% beer, this is very light but is a little acidic. I already have been burping. This is a refreshing IPA and exactly what I wanted after work.

spree92, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of zrab11
3.7/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a copper orangish color with a small white head

S- smells of grapefruit and hops and some citrus notes in their as well

T-Bitter hoppiness followed by some citrus flavors. finishes crisp

M- Medium bodied with good carbonation

D- Overall this is just another IPA. Hoppy but nothing overall interesting. Good but boring. Im looking for more than just hops and citrus. Need to stand out to get me coming back.

zrab11, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of beer2day
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Straight gold pour with 1/2 finger medium cream head. Light retention and lace.

Strong grapefruit nose. Not getting much more than that. Strong enough to be sweet.

Tangy grapefruit and sweet light malt hit the tongue. Very citrus. Very fresh tasting. Nice hop burn in the finish. ABV is actually present, rare for me in a 7%er.

Body is slightly lighter than exepected.

Simply a great beer.

beer2day, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of macktbone
3.58/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Now that this is much more available it's time to crack a bottle for no apparent reason what so ever...

A- Probably the best lacing I've ever seen. Tons of stark white head that refuses to disapate. Nice combination of large and small bubbles. Very cloudy with a "heffe" color, not quite tangerine but close to the color of the sculpin on the bottle.

S- Lots of bitter citrus aroma, with a hint of all spice. A little green vegetable and cardboard.

T- Orange, honey, grass, and cardboard. Not the stunner I was hoping for

M- Beautiful mouth feel. If it was darker it would compete with some great imperial stouts.

D- Unfortunately I think this one has been over exposed to oxygen. I sure hope this is not the "great sculpin" i've been waiting for for that past few years. If so Captain Ahab wasting years on Moby Dick and so did I...

macktbone, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of PGHeppJr
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes 10OCT2010

Bottle from Marketplace in East Brunswick poured into Spiegelau tulip

This quintessential American IPA looks like an orange pop with a big scoop of fresh cream on top. Dynamite nose of Cascade goodness. Way too easy going down, the carbonation of this brew just makes your whole mouth tingle. An absolute treat.

PGHeppJr, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of eric5bellies
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank on Tap at Monk, Fremantle

A - Pours a real nice hazy yellow colour with tight white head that hangs around.

S - Nice sweet aroma of Mango and citrus

T - Wow, really nice Mango flavours with grapefruit, pineapple with a little pine on the finish that lasts a while.

M - Medium body and minimal carbonation.

O - A real nice IPA, possibly the best that I have tried to date.

From the bottle 28/01/2012

A - Pours a hazy Golden colour with a nice White head that retains well.

S - Sweet aromas of tropical fruit and citrus.

T - Up front some very nice tropical flavours dominated by Mango and Pineapple. Nice citrus undertones that give way to some malt flavours. The finish is a little sweet and bitter.

M - Medium body and carbonation.

O - Not sure when this beer was bottled, but it has stood up well to the time test. Not as good as off the tap but still a very good beer.

eric5bellies, Apr 11, 2011
Photo of dansmcd
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - body has an unusually bright orange hue, nice head, lacing carries through

S - like nothing Ive ever come across in a beer, intriguing tropical fruity hops, peach and mango in particular

T - sweet and hoppy, very refreshing, mildly shocked that it is 7.0%

M - a light tart mouthful, soft carbonation

O - just like an equatorial getaway, exceptionally refreshing, a distinctly new experience for me and one Im agreeable to repeating pronto.

dansmcd, Apr 11, 2011
Photo of GarthDanielson
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap at the brewery, this beer was served in a pint glass. I'm looking forward to this because I have had it before in a bottle and I have always enjoyed the beer. The colors are brighter than the Big Eye IPA that Ballast produces. The beer was slightly hazy, but more orange-toned to the amber coloring. The beer had no head to speak of. Heavy aromas of cedar and citrus hit the nose, with a very strong, hoppy background. Grapefruit sweet and tart on the tongue, with mild, peppery, green hops to balance. The beer is extremely well balanced, and ridiculously smooth. Tart and bitter aftertaste, with a surprisingly smooth finish. Well balanced and smooth bodied, I could drink this one all day.

GarthDanielson, Apr 11, 2011
Photo of b3shine
4.9/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks (again) to Dempsey16 for this delicious brew! Bottle to pint. Flagship for its type! Picture-perfect. Very good bouquet. Just. Plain. Tasty. Goes down as nicely as it hits your palate. If you can't get them, trade for them! The only thing better is a double...

b3shine, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter

A- Nice hazy brown yellow body, attractive lacing, 1 finger head, slight carbonation
S- Sweet citrus aroma, very nice, peaches, hints of grapefruit, very refreshing sweetness to this aroma.
T- Nutty Malty taste, grapefruit, citrus, nicely balanced with the bitterness and the nuttiness.
M- Medium mouth feel, leaves the palate a bit dry
O- Very nice IPA, amazing aroma and very tasty, very easy to drink, could throw down a couple in a sitting, very refreshing.

Chriscrundwell12, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of sentomaster
3.48/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap poured into a pint glass.

Bright and clear golden wheat pour with a one finger smooth head.

S- huge whiffs of pine and grapefruit. Grassy, earthy pine and all sorts of pink grapefruit. Hoppy indeed, no sweetness to be found.

T/M- follows the nose pretty darn close. Tons of pine and grapefruitey hops running the gamut from slightly floral and sweet, to earthy and bitter. It opens up and reveals a touch of lemon rind and tropical fruit. Really an IPA lovers IPA. Tough to find any sweetness in here. there's a hint of cracker like malt going on, but that's pushing it. I'm not a hophead so I really need more yin to this yang. It's not crazy bitter, but it really lacks any malt backbone.

O- Nice hopmonster if that's your bag, but that's just not my bag. It needs more balance than this.

sentomaster, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of Preismj
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up in a trade...thank you badboyrsl84

a: pinkish amber. Very pale. Medium fluffy head with mild lacing and stickiness to it.

s: smacked in the face with grapefruit. very sour, very bitter scent. bit of floral hops but the citrus is climbing out of the glass on this one. a touch of sweetness in the end of the nose.

t: very strong bitterness, followed with the sour and strong taste of grapefruit and candy. as it warms, there is a touch of alcohol in the taste along with a malty and nutty taste. nutty almond and sunflower seed flavors come out here and really add a touch of sweetness to an otherwise very bitter, fairly well balanced and clean finishing brew.

m: great carbonation here, doesn't coat the palette as well as I'd like...yet leaves me nice and dry...ready for the next sip.

d: this is a bitter smack in the face, but as it warms, it is balanced better by the sweet malts in the middle and the grapefruit is beautiful in here. very tasty and would certainly try to get this in the future again.

Preismj, Apr 09, 2011
Photo of MichaelLynBryant
4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Golden with a fluffy white head made of medium-to-big bubbles.

Aroma: Fruit nose with grapefruit peel. Reminds me of a Duncan, but luckily without the seeds.

Taste: Bitter, Flavorful, Fruity. All 3 bases of a West-Coast IPA covered. If this was on draft, in California... I imagine I'd be stating a home run. Creamy carbonation, fizzy, semi-sweet bitterness, and faint citrus. If this were less bitter and more flavor, it would be heavy citrus.

Mouthfeel: Perfect.

Overall: I'd be more apt to pick this up in a 6pack, but the bomber is good too. Delicious IPA.

MichaelLynBryant, Apr 08, 2011
Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle $3 from Abe's of Bethlehem

Appearance - Clear golden color with specks of yeast. Very full white head. Lots of visible carbonation. Lots of lacing and thin ring of fine bubbles.

Smell - Many fruity bitter hops! Way upfront cirtus, tropical aroma.

Taste - Perfect hop profile and little malt backbone. The combination is nearly perfect.

Mouthfeel - Very creamy and luscious. Strong carbonation. Aromas and bittering from the hop oils coat my palette.

I had this on tap at Blue Dog in Chalfont and I wasn't that impressed, however in bottle form this is truly a world class beer!

TheSupremeAJ, Apr 06, 2011
Photo of thagr81us
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a flared pilsner. Poured a golden yellow with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a half finger slowly. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, pine, citrus, and pine hop. The flavor was of sweet malt, pine, citrus, pine hop, citrus hop, and subtle grapefruit. It had a medium feel (almost resiny) on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was an excellent brew as I'm sure you are all well aware. I had this awhile back in the bottle and it was quite heavenly. If I'm honest I MUCH preferred it out of the bottle as compared to the tap. It still had a nice flavor but it just wasn't as balanced. The pine aspect really overpowered in the tap version. It improved slightly upon warming up a bit but still lacked that heavenly aspect. Still a definite must try!

thagr81us, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of uustal
4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light orange with a bit of golden yellow mixed in. One finger pearl white head, good lacing throughout. Awesome nose. Mango, grapefruit, floral hops, bit of apricot and more awesome tropical fruit. Light, crisp and extremely well integrated hop flavors. Mango up front along with a hint of apricot and yes, peach, as advertised. The sweeter hops give way to grapefruit and lemon flavors in the middle portion of the beer. A bit of semi-bitter pine resin and floral hops follow before some of the tropical sweetness from the beginning of the beer comes full circle on the close. Awesomely hopped, extremely well put together hop forward flavor profile.

uustal, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.98/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Sculpin, growler filled at The Pony Bar in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, $19 (plus tip).

Appearance: Served in my Sierra snifter, pours very carbonated and free-flowing, no effort whatsoever. At least two fingers of extremely white head- reminds me of the crown of a Belgian brew. Great retention and lacing. Color is a very light amber, sort of clear honey.

Smell: Floral aromas that remind me of bees pollinating freshly-bloomed flowers. Beautiful sweetness, apple cake, some coconut. Fruity bitterness, pomelo zest, some candied orange.

Taste: Follows nose, but less intense. Some honey-like sweetness, pollen feel, a bit of sour apple at the end. Reminds me of the open fields outside Columbus, Ohio, in late summer. Subtle or disappointing? Maybe both? A tad of spice and yeast, as if Ommegang had gone West Coast IPA in Cooperstown.

Mouthfeel: Undeniably a lightweight (more so considering the super-high expectations). Medium-low body, a tad watery, that feels "diluted" in the mouth. Unlike in the initial pour, carbonation is less than stellar during the taste. Very refreshing and sessionable, though. Sweet, tingly finish.

Overall: In the all drinkability, this would get a "5" and beyond. You could drink this all day and night without getting toasted. There is no stickiness or chewiness here, as in other California IPA's. No overwhelming hops or bitterness. Whether that is a good or bad thing, it is up to you. I find it a little tame and not totally satisfying, kind of like a coitus interruptus (hence my "4" overall), but I sure do appreciate the incredible drinkability.

This is the second growler I've had of Sculpin. The first one I got at Fat Head's in Pittsburgh and I liked it better. Next time I want to try Sculpin out of a bomber and see how it changes. Nice beer, but its cult status within the beer world is overblown, in my opinion.

DoubleSimcoe, Apr 03, 2011
Photo of MarcatGSB
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big hook-up from Hair6a11. Brandon went out of his way to ensure the freshness of a few California tasty IPAs. Poured from bomber into snifter.

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange with a half finger head with sticky resin like lacing.

Nose: Bright mango, biscuitlike crispness. Grapefruit and citrus heavy.

Taste: Good flavor, the clean hops shine with a nice pine like sticky feel. Lots of grapefruit, apricot, and fresh lemon zest. Strikingly mellow and well balanced. Hop forward, yet the bitterness is great at the end.

Mouth: Bitter. Quite drying, and sticky. Prickly carbonation.

Drink and overall: Alright. 3rd of 4 West Coast IPAs from Brandon (one IIPA and one RyePA), and I'm really digging them. Im a homer, I admit it. And I admit I would be one if I lived in California too. Some hop goodness I could get used to!

MarcatGSB, Apr 03, 2011
Photo of silentjay
3.85/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

hazy golden copper with a decent sized pure white head that quickly recedes, yet leaves chunky lacing behind on the glass.

tons of grapefruit and tropical fruit on the nose. a touch of sweetness behind that.

bitter and drying with tons of tropical fruit and bitter grapefruit. mango, tangerine, lemon zest. just a touch of pine resin, I would like this one much more if there was more pine and less tropical fruits. but thats not what they were going for, and they did a wonderful job crafting this bitter citrus bomb, but its not my style of IPA.

almost medium bodied with perhaps too much prickly carbonation and a bitter and tangy aftertaste.

I understand why it gets the acclaim it does, but its just not my favorite. It's good, but at the price, I'd rather a 6 pack of Torpedo and some change back than one bomber of this.

silentjay, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of haazer
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My standard pint glasses are dirty, so I poured this into my Samuel Smith's glass.

A- Pours a towering pile of foamy white head. Great retention. This appears to be fiercely carbonated. Bubbles not just rising but jetting to the top of this. The brew itself is a well filtered dark gold, apple juice color. Very faint spots of foam left on sides of glass.

S- Ouuuu! Oh dear! The smell is fruitier than my expression. Great blend of kiwi, mango, and lime. Incredibly tropical in profile. A decent bit of pine on the nose blended with a wall balanced amount of pale malt.

T- A delicious tasting IPA, but what is impressive is how subtle all the flavors are that mesh together so well. Flavors include the fruits mentioned in the nose, with some watermelon also. I can't tell exactly how fresh this bottle is but I can say that the potency of the hops used in this is STRONG. Not so much of a hoppy taste but a very, very strong bitterness.

M- Lighter side of medium bodied IPA. Fairly refreshing. Stinging bitterness on the tongue, yet stays smooth.

O- Yes I gave it a four on taste but what makes the overall a 4.5 is the forgotten aspect of drinkability. After sniffing this for awhile I found it hard to take my time on this because of how easy it went down. 7%? No problem, the booze isn't found nor felt in here. Not the best tasting IPA but probably the most drinkable.

haazer, Apr 02, 2011
Photo of IZoot
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer

A- Pours a pale orange with decent white head, and minimal lacing

S-Tons of sweet mango, pear, tropical spice and nose tingling hoppyness

T-Oranges, mangos, floral character. Citrus hop deliciousness!

M-Great carbonation, bubbly, tingles every taste bud.

O-This is such a great representaion of he style and I could drink them any time of the year

IZoot, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of rmalinowski4
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a chalice from a 12oz bottle.
Pours a clear golden color with two finger of white head. Lacing sticks to the side of the glass and leaves a 1/4 inch of lacing on the top.

Smell is citrus, pine and slightly sweet.

Taste is lemon citrus up front, followed by pine and then bitter hops. Malt is overpowerd by the hops, but this isn't a bad thing. Completely drinkable and enjoyable beer.

Mouthfeel is smooth and crisp, slightly dry on the finish. Carbonation is just right, will go down too quickly is not carefull.

Overall this is a very good beer. Easy to drink, very tasty and refreshing. One of the best in style that I have had. Absolutely want more of this one.

rmalinowski4, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of suspect
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head signature glass. Thanks to Dubinsky for the hookup!

A: cloudy pale orange in color. Mildly aggressive pour yielded a fluffy two-finger head. Strong lacing that stuck around for a long time.

S: hop forward but it's not overpowering. Floral notes, some pine and heavy grapefruit. Nicely balanced smell.

T: delicious first sip includes lemon and grapefruit bitterness but before you can let the bitterness set in, the sweet malt flows in the back of your mouth and takes control. It was really unlike any IPA have had.

M: light, airy, perfectly carbonated. Creamy aftertaste lingers but not too long.

O: wonderful IPA. One that I will definitely trade for again.

suspect, Apr 01, 2011
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 9,306 ratings.