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

Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

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

9,243 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,243
Reviews: 2,024
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.75%
Wants: 951
Gots: 1,693 | FT: 48
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Originally named Northstar IPA. Debuted in 2005.

(Beer added by: brentk56 on 04-02-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sculpin IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 9,243 | Reviews: 2,024 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of McDiddyPop
4.53/5  rDev +2.7%

22oz bomber acquired in a trade with FooFaa. Thanks Dan for this killer extra.

Poured into a tulp glass, Sculpin is a bright golden color with a touch of red tint. Perfect clarity with a thick two-finger head that sticks around forever. Chunks of lacing all over the glass.

This one smells amazing. Lots of citrus and some herbal qualities, followed by tons of tropical fruits. I didn't get any pineapple like I've read in other reviews, however I definitely get some mango and peach/apricot notes.

Tastes just as is smells. Nice crisp bitterness that opens up into a sweet, juicy, tropical flavor as it gets warmer. Finishes clean without a lingering bitterness.

Mouthfeel is very crisp and dry, however I feel it is a bit thin. All the flavors wash out after I swallow each sip. This only enhances this beer's drinkability, which is over-the-top to say the least. I had no idea this baby was 7%.

Is it the best IPA in the world? Maybe. I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.

McDiddyPop, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of Bubba83
4.65/5  rDev +5.4%

I've had this beer many times in the bottle and on draft, but this is the first time I've sat and enjoyed it while at the computer. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Serving temperature was around 45 degrees.

From a normal pour I got a good 3 finger widths of bright white, creamy looking head with some sporadic medium sized bubbles mixed in. Considerably lighter in color than many IPAs, it's more like a golden yellow/orange color and has good clarity. Tiny bubbles continue to rise from the bottom of the glass, there is moderate lacing, and a thin ring of head maintains itself nicely.

I honestly don't think it would be possible to concoct an IPA that could beat the smell of this beer. I smell a little breadiness, but it's hard to discern much malty aroma because of the huge hop character eminating from the head. I love the fruity character, lots of bright fruit, including lots of mango, pineapple, apricot, lemon, orange, and grapefruit. There is also a dank type character underneath the bright fruits. What a treat!

It's important to continue smelling the beer as I sip this one, because it pulls the fruity flavors in a bit better. I get all of the same type of flavors that I described in the smell, but there is an underlying dry bitterness behind it that is much like the bitterness flavor in the grapefruit after the initial citrusy tang. There's a little more bread in the background than I got in the smell, and some faint sweet caramel type flavors that are harder to access. Wonderful, but not quite as great as the smell.

Mouthfeel is perfect, it's relatively thin which keeps it feeling refreshing in the mouth, the carbonation is invigorating, but doesn't aggrivate the palate, it's somewhat soft in the mouth despite being well carbonated.

This is one hell of an IPA, wow... Insanely complex hop flavor and has all of the desirable hop flavors without any of the downside of undesirable flavors from adding all those hops. I don't know how they pulled that off. Drinkability itself is somewhat impacted by a pretty damn bitter finish, but it just makes you want to go in for another sip to get the sweet/tangy flavors from the first portion of the sip again.

The best IPA in the world right now? Probably.

Bubba83, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of drink1121
4.85/5  rDev +10%

Thanks to Mauerhan for this!!!

A-Poured into a Duvel tulip, a straw color. Light lacing with good head retention.
S- HOPS!!! This is a great West Coast IPA that i wish I could get just a car re-freshener of. Citrus, melon hops all over the place with light malt in the background.
T- Basically the same as the smell with a light lingering bitterness. The hops were def. late additions.
M-Mouthfeel is to style, not too much to say here.
D- @ 7% I could have 3 bombers in one night easy. This stuff is gold and I may end up buying a case. Everything I thought it would be and more.

drink1121, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of cpetrone84
4.18/5  rDev -5.2%

New review updated 8/10/10 and score from this one.

A-pours a lightly hazed pale golden color with a dense creamy white head with a great lace left behind.

S-caramel and biscuit malt are light and present up front, hops dominate, tons of peach, orange, and notes of pine.

T-caramel and toasted biscuity malts up front, light pine, sugar, tons of fruit flavors, orange, peaches, tangerine. Moderate bitterness that lingers for just a moment.

M-medium to light in body, smoother on the palate, a little syrupy, strong carbonation, crisp clean finish, quite wet throughout.

D-this is a darn tasty IPA every time I drink it, there is enough malt to keep a balance but the hops are really the focus of this beer dominating the palate. the bitterness is quite present but doesn't linger unpleasantly.

***

A-hazy golden yellow color, two full fingers of white head that leaves a light lace on the glass

S-hops it is! love it! big hops in the nose of tropical fruit, grapefruit, citrus and some apricot. I'm excited!

T-expected hops, got hops! I am getting huge hops similar to the smell, I'm drinkin tropical fruit juice, big pineapple, apricot, some citrus, with a nice bitter hop finish

M-very smooth and lightly carbonated, slick down the back of the throat and lingers in a good way

D-I love the taste of hop and bitter hop, I could drink a million! this just became one of my favorites of all time!

cpetrone84, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of thain709
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%

A - A vibrant, golden yellow body with carbonation bubbles running to the top...a tight, creamy, white head stands about three fingers and by the end of the glass only settles to about one finger...great lacing

S - An unbelievable fruity aroma...you would not be able to tell that this is a beer...it could pass as a candle...citrus fruits really stand out (grapefruit, pineapple, orange, lemon) for the hop characteristics

T - The hops are very plentiful in the flavors...they put away the malty flavor (if there is any)...the only sweetness that was apparent to me was the sweetness from the fruits...I know it's the hops that are giving away to those flavors...but it really tastes like the citrus fruits it's representing...all the flavors from the nose are present (grapefruit, pineapple, orange, lemon)...a tropical dream

M - Medium bodied...very smooth...carbonation doesn't shine through as much...no aggressive hop bite

D - Did someone say drinkability? Wow...I can't say anything more than what has already been said...I was super excited to finally try this beer and now I'm disappointed not having it all the time...Sculpin showed me why it is in the top 20 on this website...it's easily the best IPA I've had to this day

thain709, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of llllDrGONZOllll
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%

22oz bottle poured into tulip

A: Wow this is a pretty one she looks brilliant and Pilsner like. This should be handed to a Coors Light drinker to see if they cry.

S: Piney funky hops, smells of Chong's coat if pissed on by a cat. I love it. Must find a car scent to have this all the time....without the cat or dope. Hints of fruits linger in the nose as well peachy mango rum drinks.

T: I might actually have to call this somewhat balanced. The malt shines through in this hop bomb. There is a small touch of booze in the after-taste, but I like that. The alcohol suits this ale nicely

M:A teeny over carbonated for the style. Sculpin comes off a tad dry, but that is okay. The hops pop and the finish is quite a dry bitterness that lingers.

D: Very drinkable, a bomber is the serving of choice. Just enough to drink at your own pace, while pouring just enough to bring back the sticky head. This ale as it warms reveals a little heat and some malt, flavors hidden by carbonation and hops.

llllDrGONZOllll, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of dsa7783
4.75/5  rDev +7.7%

As an ardent fan of IPAs in general, I was excited to sample this highly sought after West Coast creation from Ballast Point... Probably one of the best-balanced india pale ale's I've recently tried... up there with two-hearted ale and just about any other I can think of in recent memory... Pungent, citrus aroma reeking of tangerines and oranges up front, with a subtle bitterness that was tamed as time went on...
Great stuff and worthy of it's praise...
Recommended...

dsa7783, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of ibbjamin
4.53/5  rDev +2.7%

Paid $9.99 for a bomber from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA. Poured into a large snifter to review.

Pour is not too thick, about appropriate for an IPA. Lighter in color than some, it is a transparent golden orange hue. Head is white in color and about a half inch in height after a standard pour. It dissipates quickly leaving almost no retention. Great lacing.

Aroma is pure and clean; citrus and pine through and through. Taken from the bottle; aromas of apricot, peach, mango and lemon. Yeah, after closer inspection, I would have to agree with this tropical medley.

A true hop bomb, this one is unrelentlessly bitter, just the way I like an IPA to be. Certainly this one could have been classified as a double based on taste alone. I definitely recommend waiting for this to warm a bit, as the hop profile really is taking shape quite nicely as I'm getting to the bottom half of the bomber. Citrus and tropical fruit dominate.

Medium body and crisp in the mouth with nice carbonation levels. Long, hoppy finish. A bit of oil from the massive amount of hops used in this one.

In my opinion, this one is among Alesmith IPA, Blind Pig, Hop Rod Rye, Stone IPA and Two Hearted for best in class.

ibbjamin, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of brewgirl
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%

Appearance: poured a hazy amber color with a thick, off-white head.

Aroma: very fresh smell with hints of citrus, apricot, mango, and grapefruit

Flavor: really interesting and a lot more complex than most double IPA's. The hops give off a lot of tropical fruitiness, apricot, and then a clean citrus (lemon, grapefruit) taste.

Mouthfeel/finish: medium body, great carbonation level, with a lingering dry, bitter finish

Drinkability: very refreshing and easy to drink (even though its a bigger beer).

brewgirl, Nov 16, 2009
Photo of drabmuh
4.4/5  rDev -0.2%

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into an Arrogant Bastard 0.5 L glass. There is no freshness date. Beer is hazy and amber in color. Carbonation is moderate to high with biggish bubbles. Head is thick, large bubbles, leaves some lacing as it falls away.

Beer smell like funky pine hops and not much else. Smells fine for an IPA.

Spicy, citrus and pine hops. Beer is not dry but rather wet. Almost no aftertaste. The hops cover you mouth. Second taste oranges, pine, lemon, some sweetness, a very good tasting beer.

Medium body good connectiveness in the flavors, hits all the centers on the palate, drinkability high.

drabmuh, Nov 16, 2009
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%

Poured a nice yellowish orange color with good carbonation and a small white head. Nose is pine, grapefruit and other citrus, perhaps ornage, apricot. Taste is huge citrus and pine , sweet and nice bittering. Mouthfeel slight alcohol more citrus, pine and hops. Drinkability is phenom!

barleywinefiend, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of theghost3
4.58/5  rDev +3.9%

Pours a hazy, orange-gold with a 3-finger, frothy head. Lots of lacing.

The smell is outstanding--apricot, peach & citrusy hops. Best aroma of any IPA I've had. The taste is a nice combination of citrus, passion fruit, pineapple, mango, pepper & bitter hops. Mouthfeel is crisp & clean but seems to have some thickness to it.

This is an insanely drinkable IPA. The smell & taste are complex & the mouthfeel is pleasant.

theghost3, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of GregSVT
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%

22oz bomber poured into a tall pint glass. Courtesty of MASPuros who has become my favorite BA...thanks Mike!

A: Pours a very light amber with a big white head that reduces to a layering over the top and some very nice lacing.

S: The nose is divine full of tropical fruits like passion fruit and mango. Not much hops in the nose which was suprising.

T: Ah there are the hops and in big force. After the hops blast the palette you get a taste of the tropical fruits that leave a sweetness on the finish. The hops last throughout the whole experience though.

M: Good carbonation that makes this a bit creamy and a nice medium body.

D: Very drinkable and I could see me buying this on a monthly basis if it where available in my area.

Smell really reminded me of Alpine Nelson which is one of the more unique IPAs out there and something I enjoyed. Without the Rye of course...

GregSVT, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of jrallen34
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%

I drank this from the 22oz bottle into a rochefort chalice.

The pours a hazy amber gold with a one finger head that doesn't give much retention. The lacing is surprsingly great.

The aroma is light and I instantly think of PtE. There are light sweet hops with some citrus and a touch of apricots.

The taste is pretty good, very sweet, lots of grapefruit, not a ton of hops, just enough to make it an ipa.

The moutfheel is great with a rewarding lasting finish and the drinkabiltiy is great.

jrallen34, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of davexisxrabid
4.68/5  rDev +6.1%

Poured this bad boy into my Bruery tulip. Clear gold color with a decent half inch head, decent retention. A little bit of lacing, but not much.

Aroma of apricot and pine. Very pronounced and pleasant.

Flavor mirrors the aroma almost completely. Had a great balanced flavor between the malt and the hops. Even sweetness to balance out the stinging bitter, earthy hops.

Medium bodied for a DIPA. Not too heavy and the hops don't kick your palate's ass too badly.

Damn good drinkability. Great flavor and the abv isn't too high either, making this a good choice for more than just one round.

davexisxrabid, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%

A - golden amber, with a 1/2 inch head that receded pretty quickly, leaving streaks of lace that lingered for quite some time

S - this is the best smelling IPA I have ever encountered, indeed the most aromatically unique beer period that I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying. The smell is a citrus bouquet, ranging from grapefruit to orange, lemon, pineapple and even a hint of bananas. I can smell the forest in this glass.

T - Although the taste is quite wonderful, the smell relatively supersedes it in quality and uniqueness. Pine and hops are most prominent, with a backdrop of citrus. The flavor is distinctly less hoppy than I anticipated. Despite being a huge hophead, I think the modest lupulin level serves to balance this beer to a better degree than many others and serves it well.

M - nice and smooth, especially as it warms

D - I'd take another!

NYCWheatFanSC, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of infi
4.68/5  rDev +6.1%

California dreamin' Sculpin IPA. 2009 bottle.

Poured into a snifter.

Appearance is a beautiful golden orange color that looks to be nicely carbonated. A thin ring of white bubbly head sits atop the beer nicely and lays some graceful sheets of lacing throughout the drink. The aroma is phenomenal. Passion fruit is everywhere - mostly mango being the heaviest scent. There's also some fresh grapefruit citrus, honey, small amounts of pine, candied oranges and some subtle spice. Total package in aromas for an IPA, it's so inviting just by nose alone.

Yeah, this totally met my expectations for a beer on the top 15. Incredibly fresh and citrus-oriented with the fruits just bursting onto the palate. Mild malt sweetness is found towards the middle of the profile and ends on a sublime hoppy bitterness, which is very subtle and not cutting at all. Can't say much more about the taste. It's very straight-forward and wonderfully delicious.

Sculpin is actually very smooth drinking and not as crisp as I originally thought it would be by looks alone. Light-bodied and moderately carbonated, it has a nice silky and oily feel on the mouth with some bubbly presence. The drinkability is amazing, I can definitely have a whole bomber to myself. My first glass was finished in a span of ten minutes - too delicious to let be alone - and giving me quite a nice buzz. A perfect IPA overall.

infi, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of willjschmidt
4.6/5  rDev +4.3%

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a New Belgium globe glass.

A: Pours a golden orangish color with a white head.

S: Lots of tropical fruit, light aromas, little to no pine.

T: Bursting with light tropical fruits such as mangos, tangerines, citrus, and pineapple. Very light malts in the background.

M: Medium bodied, sticky hop resin.

D: A very drinkable IPA due to the lightness of it. Extremely tasty with a most unique hop bill that results in little of the pine found in a lot of IPA's and all of the tropical fruits.

willjschmidt, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of rpstevens
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%

Thanks again to ipa247 for this west coast IPA, poured into a perfect pint.

The pour yields a very big, sticky white foam head (about 3 fingers) on top of a crisp golden orange beer. As the head fades it leaves behind a generous amount of sticky lacing.

The smell is just awesome. Grapefruit, mango, pineapple, pine, fresh oranges. When you get into an IPA like this you expect these scents to give way to some malt tones, but the hops just don't quit on this beer, I'm excited to take a sip.

The flavors are fantastically hoppy. Grapefruit, bold orange, pineapple, mango, a nice backbone of pine resin and no malt. The flavors are juicy and sharp.

The mouthfeel is crisp and the beer has a nice medium body. The hops dry out the flavors and leave a nice citrusy aftertaste that leaves me craving more. This is in the class of Vortex I and Pliny the Elder for me, just a fantastic beer in my favorite style.

rpstevens, Nov 09, 2009
Photo of TheKingsOfHop
4.85/5  rDev +10%

22oz. bottle poured into our Portsmouth tulip glasses:

A: 1/2 inch of white frothy head sitting afloat a dirty orange body. Just waiting...waiting to be sniffed.

S: In your face grapefruit citrus with piny floral aroma. Followed by hint's of apricot and lemon. Very fresh and inviting.

T: Grapefruit up front developing into mango/tropical fruit. Accompanied by a piny lemon zest on the middle of the palate that is extremely refreshing. The back of the palate ends with a slight bitterness teamed up with a smooth caramel that just flows down the back of the throat.

M: Medium body with the perfect carbonation for an IPA.

D: Were excited to see this become a year round brew (at least that's what we've heard). We could easily kill a few bombers together without a problem.

Cheers,
The Kings Of Hop

TheKingsOfHop, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of merlin48
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%

Bomber pours a hazy golden amber body with a tall offwhite head. Excellent retention and lavish sticky lacing.

Aroma is a combo of floral and citrusy hops that produces an orange blossom note. Pink grapefruit, oranges, and hints of other tropical fruits are underneath.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with an ideal carbonation and some hop oiliness.

Taste has a dominant citrusy hop bitterness that screams pink grapefruit. Orange and tangerine notes are present throughout.A hint of honeyed caramel contributes just enough of a malt presence to create a pleasant balance. Finishes clean, with a crisp citrusy bitterness.

Really tasty and dangerously drinkable. This is my idea of a perfect American IPA.

merlin48, Nov 08, 2009
Photo of Kadonny
4.93/5  rDev +11.8%

Poured from tap at Capones in Norristown. I've been wanting to try this on draft for some time now.

A: A lighter golden orange color with a two finger fluffy white head. Full glass lacing is left.

S: Huge citrus aromas with grapefruit and other sweet fruits. Notes of malt sweetness. Again, this is the best smelling beer I have ever had. Awesome.

T: Huge citrus with loads of grapefruit, pineapple, mango, orange, tangerine and a real underlying sweet malt flavor. Nice bitterness through the middle of the body, but not overly bitter on the finish. A bit of alcohol warming is noticed on finish as it sweetens out.

M: Full, coating and bitter but smooth on the finish. Some alcohol warming but it does not hinder anything.

D: Forget it, highest possible.

I loved this beer from bottle, I love it from tap. Just a top notch citrus west coast style IPA that has no rivals in my opinion. What else can I say? Awesome.

Kadonny, Nov 06, 2009
Photo of BeachRez
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%

This beer was a referral from Hooliganlife. I would never had went after it without his recommendation.
Purchased from BevMo HB. Some guy asked to hold these but never picked them up...I got lucky, and he got skunked.

Poured into a pint glass. The color was a deep golden; but a transluscent color. Nice head with good lacing.

The smell was a citricy-hop. Strong. The taste was equal to the smell. It was not overly hopped, so it seemed to have a balanced flavor.

Very easy to drink. I don't really like IPA's, but this seemed to be a great example. Although not something I would go after.

The second bottle heading to you Hooliganlife.

BeachRez, Nov 06, 2009
Photo of ZAP
4.93/5  rDev +11.8%

A-Light hazy golden..light egg white creamy head...nice lacing..

S-Top notch...big juicy citrus and tropical fruits...a veritable fruit cocktail....mandarin oranges, pinneaple, mango, papaya, sweet grapefruit, tangerine, shoot I even get some peach out of it...

T-Much like the aroma, this has a big citrus/tropical fruit flavor...the grapefruit jumps out the most on the taste to me...then tangerines and oranges....a little mango/papaya exotic fruitiness also emerges....malt is very much in the background and contributes a light sugar cookie sweetness to balance the hops.

M-Just about right for an IPA...medium bodied...easy drinking...enjoyable deep fade of bitterness on the finish..

D-This is my kind of IPA...reminds me of my personal favorite IPA O'Dell. I still give my top vote to O'Dell but this is a worthy contender for the crown. Top notch and if you like a big juicy citrus laden IPA this is for you.

ZAP, Nov 05, 2009
Photo of Kaiser81
4.5/5  rDev +2%

Poured into a pint glass from a 22 oz bomber bought from the Ballast Point Brewery yesterday

A - Golden color with about 2 fingers worth of a frothy head that settles down to about a finger after a minute. Some lacing left on the glass after drinking.

S - Divine. Hops balanced by malts with citrus fruits...something tropical like mango. Slight hint of grapefruit

T - Citrusy and hoppy. Floral and grapefruit notes balanced by the malt and hops. Very balanced, very good.

M - Medium bodied with a thick head. Carbonation is perfect.

D - Oh yeah. Bring this IPA again and again and again. It's not too heavy, not too light. It drinks so easily.

Kaiser81, Nov 05, 2009
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 9,243 ratings.