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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

8,988 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 8,988
Reviews: 2,003
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.75%
Wants: 923
Gots: 1,571 | 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
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Ratings: 8,988 | Reviews: 2,003 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DNICE555


4.78/5  rDev +8.4%

On tap at Holy Smoke BBQ during the snooglefest 2010 tour. The best pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches I have ever had. I've had this in a bottle but fresh on tap gives it that little extra kick. Wow compliments my bbq perfectly. Smells of fresh hops citrus and bitter grapefruit. I love this smell. Heavenly. Tastes like everything you could want in a hop forward citrus bomb. Balanced. It was a challenge to make this beer last.

08-19-2010 01:54:44 | More by DNICE555
Photo of rudzud


5/5  rDev +13.4%

A - Really nice straw color with a nice fluffy 2 finger head that has huge lacing. Not only does the head not go away there is almost a solid layer of lacing down the sides of the pint glass.

S - Just great! Tons of big citrus notes and tropical ones at that. Pleasantly surprised that theres more to it than just the typical grapefruit, namely pineapple, mangos, and a tutifruiti type smell.

T - Wow..this is just stellar! At the first taste I knew this was the best IPA I've ever had. Big hoppy notes but not the typical big bitternerss that would acompany such flavors.The tropical aroma's dont really carey over to the taste for me except for a bit og pineapple. When drinking though all I can smell is the pineapple which is so sweet and nice.

M - Thanks to the almost high carbonation of this bottle it remains crisp, almost light! Not heavy or syrupy at all.

D - Wow, just wow. Do you've got all the head/lacing, the intense fruity aromas, that taste, and the nice carbonation. A winner in all aspects. I knew when I first tried this I would be giving it all 5's and spent the rest of this bottle trying to come up with reasons NOT to give categories 5's. I couldn't come up with anything. This IPA was just that good. I guess my only complaint would be the bottle price I paid ($10.25). Really wish I had another few bottles of this!

08-15-2010 04:20:20 | More by rudzud
Photo of bosox941827

North Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +6.1%

22oz bomb bottle poured into 22oz Harpoon IPA pint glass; poured cold and warmed during tasting. Pounced on this when I saw it yesterday at the awesome Sam's Quik Mart in Durham, NC.
A - Cloudy orange, with a head that dissipated to thin lacing; yeast is visible in bottle & glass.
S - Never smelled a beer that more clearly said "apricot" than this one; absolutely fantastic. Best nose on a beer for me, period.
T - Um, wow. As *pure* an IPA as I've ever tasted and damn near perfection. Insistent but not overwhelming bitterness, and it is a flavorful bitterness; pine(apple), mango (particularly in first few sips), grapefruit and apricot. Bitterness lingers and melds with malty sweetness that comes in pretty late and balances things out. Superb.
M - Appropriate carbonation level for an IPA and not overly syrupy as can tend to be the case with some IPAs I've had.
D - Need to resist urge to really slam this on a hot night in NC; drinkability is very high for an IPA.
IPAs are my beer of choice and this is as good an example as I've tried.

08-15-2010 00:04:45 | More by bosox941827
Photo of twiggamortis420


4.6/5  rDev +4.3%

22 oz bomber courtesy of cmurren25, much thanks! Pours a slightly hazed, light orange color with a large and fluffy off-white head. Supreme retention and lacing, great looking brew.

Nose is tropical fruit galore - mangoes, pineapple, grapefruit and maybe even some peaches. Really clean and not much malt at all, just the way I like a hop-heavy IPA.

I must profess that I am not a huge hophead, but my first sip of this was eye-rollingly delicious. Hop flavor is bursting with huge flavors of light fruits. Bittering is there, but not tongue-scrapingly resinous. Not much malt, maybe a hint or two of honeyed grains. Best IPA I have ever had? Probably. A fresh imperial pint of this after deep sea fishing with some fish tacos might make for a perfect day in SD...hey I can dream, right?

08-14-2010 14:15:14 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of STEG

New York

5/5  rDev +13.4%

What a beer, my new favorite IPA. Pours a golden orange hue into a Portsmouth brewery tulip. Smell is exceptionally fruity with mango, apricot, tangerine and pineapple all intermingling with each other with pine undertones throughout. Taste is initially perfectly balanced with hops, bitterness fruitiness and sweetness, but just a smidge, and I mean a smidge too bitter on the finish. Mouthfeel is silky smooth up front with a prickliness at the back. The only hit this one had for me was its very very slightly too bitter finish but it was much closer to a 5 than a 4.5. A well executed masterpiece Ballast Point.

08-11-2010 23:23:02 | More by STEG
Photo of jpmclaug

South Carolina

4.8/5  rDev +8.8%

Poured from the bottle into a stemmed tulip glass. I've had this brew several times now and have always enjoyed it. This will be my first review for it.

A - Golden yellow body that I can see through. Nice looking head on top. The head is white with a hint of golden yellow.

S - Nice citrusy hop aroma in this one with a bit of pine as well. This beer smells pretty good. You can tell from the aroma that this hop bomb will wreck your tongue with bitterness. While not extremely pungent this beer has one of the better aromas for a DIPA.

T - What a great beer. Nice citrus hop flavor up front with a bit of pine at the finish. The bitterness in this lingers and slowly wraps its way around your tongue. The bitterness really doesn't go away and I love it. Nice orange rind/grapefruit flavor up front. While it doesn't have any defining characteristics the malt backbone in this beer fights valiantly against the onslaught of hops. It loses, of course, but you know it was there. Fantastic.

M - medium body with a fair amount of carbonation. Nice sticky mouthfeel as well.

D - This is a real drinkable beer for a hop head. The bitterness keeps you coming back for more. As I've become accustomed to drinking really bitter beers this one still pounds my palate. I can't wait to see this in 6 packs. While I can easily drink a bomber of this it will be amazing to put away 12oz at a time.

08-11-2010 21:21:03 | More by jpmclaug
Photo of stimulus

New Jersey

4.45/5  rDev +0.9%

22 oz bomber.

A: Pours a cloudy orange with a bit of yeast sediment and a one finger white head.
S: Various citrus fruits and hop aromas.
T: Citrus fruits, perhaps grapefruit and peach, followed by hop bitterness, and then finishing with the fruit flavors.
M: Medium to light bodied and well carbonated.
D: Not a typical representation of the West Coast IPA, but Big Eye would fit that mold more. This fruit flavors balancing out the hop bitterness were a pleasant surprise, and this reminds me quite a bit like AleSmith IPA, another great San Diego IPA.

08-11-2010 14:04:19 | More by stimulus
Photo of Gosox8787

New Hampshire

4.88/5  rDev +10.7%

Presentation: Bomber bottle poured into a pint glass in two parts. This is my first time trying this beer after hearing a lot about it. No freshness date (as far as I can tell) on the bottle.

Appearance: Dark amber in color with no haze. Pours a nice creamy, two finger head with good retention.

Aroma: Big apricot and mango notes upfront. A very sweet hop profile in the nose. Some grapefruit and pine too in the background, but the sweet hop notes are front and center.

Taste: Like the aroma, big tropical fruit notes upfront. Mango and apricot in decadent amounts upfront. Some herbal pine and grapefruit are also somewhat present after the initial sweetness. The aftertaste is nice and clean, no bitterness whatsoever. I'm no picking up much malt here at all, but that's a good thing. The hop profile is so delicious that it would only interfere.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and crisp at the same time. Medium bodied, but manages to stay so refreshing and smooth. Perfect.

Drinkability: With a clean aftertaste and such a smooth, crisp mouthfeel, I feel like I could drink this all day. The only two things stopping me are the price and that the finish becomes more pronouced the more you have.

Overall, the best single IPA I have ever had. Hands down, no contest. The tropical fruit hop profile, crisp mouthfeel, and clean finish make this a tough one to top. Definitely something I will jump at the opportunity to try fresh whenever I can. Highly recommended.

08-11-2010 04:02:20 | More by Gosox8787
Photo of caddybuyer

New Jersey

4.43/5  rDev +0.5%

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a pint glass.

A-Golden pour with a huge white head that laces nicely.

S-As good as an IPA gets, pungent citrus, grapefruit and lemon zest stun the senses.

T-Nose carries over to the palate. Kudos for the hop bill on this one as it is lip smacking, mouth puckeringly good, with just enough malt in the background to provide the necessary balance. This is one of the best IPA's that I have ever had.

M-Well balanced medium mouthfeel with on spot carbonation.

D-An exceptionaly drinkable brew. I think I have found a new favorite IPA.

08-10-2010 22:41:00 | More by caddybuyer
Photo of BeerThursdays


4.58/5  rDev +3.9%

Short review, because I only got a taste. Growler was filled less than an hour before tasting

A - Poured from a growler into a small taster glass. Was a clear golden color with a small amount of head.

S - Amazing. Citrus all the way. Smells like a fresh cut tangerine. Smelled so good, my friend put his nose right into the beer.

T - Just as good as the smell. Super citrus from the hops. Mango and orange. Not super bitter at all, but the sweet bitterness from this type of IPA. Love this style, just fades so fast, it's hard to come by this good.

M/D. Was served cold, and we only got a taster, so not a lot of time to warm up. As served, it was pretty light and carbonated, but I expect it becomes more full bodied as it warms. Was excellent cold, I would think even better a little warmer.

Love this one. Wish I could get it this fresh more often.

08-10-2010 21:17:13 | More by BeerThursdays
Photo of Anthony1


4.43/5  rDev +0.5%

Poured into a fluted tulip, it's quick to generate a fluffy head of sticky foam. Instant resiny aroma packed with floral/herbal hops and tropical fruit. Color is a light high-clarity orange with tiny rising bubbles. Lacing forms in sudsy sheets, and sticks around for awhile. Concentrated citrusy hop flavors of pink grapefruit and bitter orange pith. Residual leafiness and a juicy mango aftertaste. Pale malt is relegated to the back of the bus, but provides a slight tip to the balance scale. Moderate and creamy carbonation with the obligatory hop bite to it. Slightly dry in the end with a fairly long finish.

08-10-2010 15:13:45 | More by Anthony1
Photo of EStreet20

New Jersey

4.63/5  rDev +5%

22 ounce bottle, 20 ounce nonic.

A - Very nice clear golden color with a slight coppery tinge. Off white head just shy of two fingers that barely shrinks.

S - Beautiful hop smell. Tropical fruits leading the way as far as I'm getting, with some pine undertones and a citrus touch.

T - A beautiful hoppy IPA, that's all I can say. Tea like flavors result from the balance of hop bitterness with the malt bill, along with the fruit tones noticed in the smell. The aftertaste is more pine hops and a smooth bitter finish.

M - Light-medium body and very smooth.

D - An excellent IPA. The layering of so many dimensions of hop flavor make this a very interesting IPA and make you want to sip more and more.

08-09-2010 22:40:37 | More by EStreet20
Photo of CraftAleRookie


4.3/5  rDev -2.5%

Poured from a 650ml bottle in a DFH signature glass.

A- cloudy, orangish dark gold hue, with a 1/4 inch thin but bubbly head- which clung immediately to the sides of the glass and hung high while the core head slowly bubbled down to nice lace.

S- as I scribbled my "appearance" notes on a scrap of paper, I caught whiffs of piney hops from 2 feet away from the glass. Citrus, pine, grapefruit, sweet-hop.

T- strong hop-bite up front; tart citrus taste. Bitterness remains through the finish- no hints of sweetness that can sometimes be present in an IPA of this reputation, but still solid.

M- outstanding- "light" for such a a tart/bitter IPA. Tingly bubbles, refreshing texture.

D- very very good IPA that is leaning toward the charactistics of a DIPA. Flavor is full and bitter- want to try one of these on draft!!

08-08-2010 21:08:40 | More by CraftAleRookie
Photo of DovaliHops


4.38/5  rDev -0.7%

Finally got my hands on one of these bottles from my work. Pours a beautiful, bright, slightly cloudy orange color with a nice white head. The citrus hop aromas hit my nose the second I opened the cap. Tons of sweetness and citrus with a nice piney edge as well. Smell is reminiscent of Pliny the Elder. Taste however differs (which is expected considering Pliny is a DIPA). The taste is still DAMN good though. Initially I get some nice hop bitterness, immediately followed followed by some fresh pine with grapefruit, mango, and orange flavors. It end with a very crisp bitterness. The mouthfeel is very dry and crisp. Very "west-coastish"...a great example if you ask me. The drinkability is quite high. Could probably drink 3 bombers of this stuff.

08-07-2010 04:45:01 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of EgadBananas


4.15/5  rDev -5.9%

Many thanks to Trevor (advent) for this!

Pours a transparent tangerine color with a pillowy, stark white 2 finger head. Laces well.

Smells like hop flowers and oil. Rather resiny and piney with touches of cirtus; orange, lemon zest and grapefruit.

Intense bitterness, with loads of pine and tangy citrus. Mild hints of malty sweetness.

The feel is crisp, clean, and slightly silky, and soft.

"Session"? Easy!

08-07-2010 01:43:26 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of homebrew311


4.53/5  rDev +2.7%

Finally got my hands on this brew...last bottle at the store. Poured into Delirium snifter.

A: pours a bright gold with a bone white head, the head dissipates quickly, lots of lacing

S: huge tropical aroma with tons of mango and pineapple, the hops smell amazing. Some notes of honey and some hints of bread at the end. This smells great.

T: the front is sweet and fruity with a good dose of bitterness to follow it up, nice balance, the malt profile isn't huge but it intertwines nicely with the hops

MF: high carbonation, medium to light body

D: wow, this is a great IPA. I've heard a lot of good things and they were all true. Can't wait to see this make it into the 6-pack format.

08-07-2010 00:22:13 | More by homebrew311
Photo of beerdrifter


4.8/5  rDev +8.8%

Thanks to Eric and Doug for hooking me up with this as part of our trade. Crystal clear yellow-orange pour with big fluffy two-finger head and great lacing. Big, unique, fresh, hoppy, complex nose that's perfumy and floral with lots of citrus and fresh grass. The taste is just as big and just as complex. Full of tangerine, grapefruit, pine and resiny, fresh wet hops with a touch of peaches. The balance of this beer is absolutely perfect. Great bitter hop bite, but a nice sweet, malty backbone to make this probably the most drinkable beer I've ever had. The mouthfeel is great, crisp and dry and just a tad resiny and chewy at the same time. I've had this beer once before when I was in San Diego on business, and it blew me away then. I have to say that this has just become my favorite IPA of all time. I'm trying to savor every drop as I finish off this bomber. What an awesome beer!

08-06-2010 17:14:53 | More by beerdrifter
Photo of Slatetank


4.78/5  rDev +8.4%

I had this particular cask offering at Al's of Hamdpen - it was dry hopped with Simcoe hops. Served at cask temp in a nonic

A - A beautiful beer in every way -Al mentioned a minor adjustment to the cask system yeilded a perfect cascade and the cream settles out to a band of whipped looking head rather than a distint beading, more like microfoam on a cappuccino. The color is brilliant marigold and has a rather hazed look from the resinous oily Simcoe usage. nice lace collection on the glass and I found myself mezmerized by each pour from the hand pump as the beer was presented in the glass.

S - the odors of fragrant, pungent citrus loaded hops greets you the minute you bring the glass nasal-ward. My proboscis was treated to the olfactory enjoyment Sculpin provides. I repeatedly stopped, swirled and smelled the array of citrus, tropical fruit and almost grassy bitter hop aromas. I enjoy the slight minneola sweet/tart aroma you get while at the same time it has the grapefruit dominant scent you excpect from Simcoe

M - What a great texture, I mean Shazam! the resins roll the smooth sweet nectar toward the back of the tongue and the hops take over with slight pricks of acidity, the bitter feel is clean and totally enjoyable with a dry quality produced the the oily hoppiness with the IPA. The malt is truly enhancing the intense fruity yeast notes that blend with the hops so well.

T - I have to say that American Ipa on cask is a wondrous thing. The way the hops are allowed to meld with the natural carbonation of the yeast and smooth malt foundation is sublime. This has to be one of the best cask ales I have had, just gushing with bitter fruity hop flavor and the taste is smooth with no one hop flavor asserting itself too much -but the gamut is experience here with floral, grassy, citrus and the astringent taste of pineapple for good measure - what an delicious hop profile!

D - What more can I say, I was blown away by how good this was and I was daydreaming at work all day about the chance to taste this beautiful beer - just incredibly drinkable and hardly any alcohol in the flavor, yet you may feel it a little if you have one on an empty stomach like I did

08-06-2010 16:57:25 | More by Slatetank
Photo of akorsak


3.73/5  rDev -15.4%

A firkin hand-pulled at Al's. This is dry-hopped with simcoe hops.

A: The hand-pulled ale has a hazy amber glow, hazy enough to be opaque except as the narrowest base of the glass. A fragile off-white head, thanks to the cask, has legs but it isn't the normal vibrant head you'd be used to seeing.

S: The nose caught me attention immediately. So much so that I almost had to cry. The hoppiness, piney and citrusy, is rather intense, augmented by the simcoe dry-hoppping. Resiny, the nose seems oily and rich.

T: Man, oh man. The taste just doesn't live up to the hype of the nose. The cask conditioning has settled the ale down, even with the dry hopping. The result is a full caramel base and plenty of hops that are nondescript. The intense Sculpin flavors have been lost behind the living, breathing ale. Perhaps the subtlety of cask ale is lost on IPAs of this magnitude?

M: The mouthfeel is smooth, aided by the lower carbonation levels. The finish is particularly enjoyable, but the flavorful hops get lost in translation.

D: I had two pints, so it's not a bad beer. It just seems out of place from a cask.

08-06-2010 11:52:36 | More by akorsak
Photo of MrDanno96


3.78/5  rDev -14.3%

A: Pours an opaque deep yellow with about two fingers of foamy white head. The head quickly recedes to a thin ring.

S: Fairly tropical on the nose - mango, oranges, a little apricot too. Pungent hop aroma overall - just what the doctor ordered.

T: Pretty one dimensional - tons of big, bitter hop flavor dominates. Bitter all the way through with a decently strong, puckering finish. This could really use some malt for balance. Some of the sweet fruit from the nose would be great too.

M: Medium bodied and crisp, with a bitter bite in the finish.

D: A pretty good IPA, but definitely not one of my favorites. A little overrated if you ask me.

08-06-2010 04:28:28 | More by MrDanno96
Photo of vkv822


4.38/5  rDev -0.7%

22oz bottle into tulip pint.

The body is a wonderful golden with light orange highlights and a thin veil of suspended yeast throughout. There is some very light carbonation rising to a thick, foamy off-white head that leaves great lacing.
Sweet resiny hops are up front, there are citric, floral and even some sweet fruit notes all blending together wonderfully. There are some very light bready malt notes.
The flavor is an extremely pleasant mixture of most of the same flavors noted in the aroma, citric, fruity and light floral hops. I particularly enjoy the tropical fruit hop notes. The malts peek in towards the finish just enough to give this some slight balance.
The mouthfeel is fairly medium to full bodied with perfect carbonation. It does a good job of coating the mouth without becoming overly slick and resiny feeling.

Unfortunately this is one of my favorite IPA's I have had so far and I only say unfortunately because this is not currently distributed to Oregon, as if it was this would without a doubt be my go-to IPA. It really is well balanced, as far as hop-to-malt ratio, as well as a balance in hop flavor.

08-05-2010 02:22:20 | More by vkv822
Photo of hopsbreath


4.55/5  rDev +3.2%

Got a case of this mailed to my home yesterday from Ballast Point and split it up among ramnuts, maltmaster420, skourtis, vkv822, and madhomebrewer. Thanks guys for making this happen! Time for the review.

I split the bomber between a couple 12 ounce tulips and shared with the wife. The light tangerine body was capped by a large soapy citrus pith colored head. TONS of lacing showed up on the walls of the glass. It doesn't get any better than this.

Lemon, pineapple, peaches, mango, and other requisite citrus aromas are all over this thing! I absolutely love this smell and it warrants the second perfect score so far.

Taste is bitter, dank, and palate destroying hops, not that there's anything wrong with that! The wife seems to think this is a double but it only clocks in at 7% ABV. A nice light malt background never gets in the way of the big hops and allows them to shine. That's how I like my IPA's to taste. It could have some more tropical in the taste so I'm docking a point.

Mouthfeel is so thin and well carbonated, this disappears way to fast. I must say that I believe this deserves the top spot among American IPA's. This screams California IPA and delivers in spades. Track it down if you can and enjoy!

08-05-2010 02:21:13 | More by hopsbreath
Photo of begforme4484


4.65/5  rDev +5.4%

Pours a bright amber color with decent head and nice lacing. Beer even LOOKS tasty.

The smell really threw me back. Mmmm! I could hardly contain myself from taking a sip right away before I could get a handle on what I was smelling. It smells tropical. Somewhere in between Mango Terrace and Apricot Boulevard. That citrus-tropical scent is very strong, it almost overpowers a nice piney hops scent, almost.

*sips* Yum! *sips again* Yep, I was right, yum!
This beer hits hard. Like a proverbial flavor kick to the groin. The bitterness to the hops is almost like a sting. It's very crisp and yet very light in body. It's like a rush of citrus, pine, and whoa all in one sip. I don't really detect any malts.

Mouthfeel is astounding. It's not sticky. It has a good amount of carbonation and the flavor doesn't stick to your mouth and ruin everything else.

Drinkability is high, only problem being is you normally can't find a lot of it too drink it so indispensably.

08-05-2010 01:59:42 | More by begforme4484
Photo of jeddsp


4.93/5  rDev +11.8%

What can I say about this beer that everyone else hasn't. I don't need to tell you what it smells or tastes like. There are plenty of reviews doing just that. What can I tell you about this beer? Drink it...drink lots of it! not just a fantastic IPA but just a great well balanced beer. If I could get it here in GA, it would be in my fridge all the time.

08-05-2010 00:13:08 | More by jeddsp
Photo of Pittsburgh


4.22/5  rDev -4.3%

I was happy to find this at a local store, I didn't think anywhere was stocking this right now....pleasant surprise.

A very hoppy offering, hits pretty hard, reminds me of Stone Ruination in that sense, very hoppy and bitter, lasts from beginning to end. Smell is very strong of hops.

Not malty at all, not very sticky either, more smooth and golden and basically scorches your taste buds. Hop heads will love this.

I had very high expectations, I have heard this mentioned in the same breath as Pliny, and this is no Pliny. It is a good IPA, but a little over-hyped in my opinion. I cannot determine when this was bottled so maybe it could have been fresher, but I was a bit let down.

Still a solid brew as my score will indicate, but I have had comparable IPAs.

08-02-2010 23:55:55 | More by Pittsburgh
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 8,988 ratings.