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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

9,229 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 9,229
Reviews: 2,023
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.75%
Wants: 948
Gots: 1,687 | 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: 9,229 | Reviews: 2,023 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of grayburn
4.55/5  rDev +3.2%

Another perfect example of a beer living up to the hype. The hop aroma and flavor are ridiculously fresh. Just enough malt is present to balance things out quite nicely. The mouth is probably the best part. Smooth crisp and refreshing. Excellent beer, highly recommended.

grayburn, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of Ezekiel81923
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%

Have had this a few times, but this review will be of the fresh case I picked up at the Beeryard.

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice, clear-ish, glowing orange color. A nice, thick, fluffy white head rises and slowly falls, leaving sporadic lacing down the side of the glass.

Smell: Wonderful aroma. Very citrusy, lemon mostly, with some hints of tropical fruit. The aroma is strong and fills up a decent amount of the room where the glass is the epicenter.

Taste: Lemony, citrusy hops. Resinous hops explode with a front of grapefruit and finished with an oily bitterness. There is a bit of a malt backbone, but the hops really shine with this one.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth with mild carbonation. Finished clean and dry. All the flavors linger for a while after each sip.

Drinkability: I drink this slow. It's a good medium-bodied IPA but the hops slow me down a little. Still fantastic though. I can still drink several these over a few hours.

A terrific IPA. Glad it makes it out to Philly every now and then.

Ezekiel81923, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of KBoudreau66
4.65/5  rDev +5.4%

poured from a 22 ounce bomber in to a pint glass.

P- light orange/copper color with half a finger of white head that dissipates.

S- very fruity, almost like the aroma of a sleeve of lifesavers, but you can't decide which one stands out, with a nice citrusy hop aroma.

T- an incredible punch of citrusy, grapefruit like hop to the taste buds. A nice strange malt backbone thrown in the mix.

M- smooth, carbonated and slightly dry on the after taste.

D- I could drink this all day every day. A finely crafted brew to say the very least.

KBoudreau66, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of NJpadreFan
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%

Ballast Point- Sculpin

A- Bright light orange with a thick frothy white head. Thick lacing. S- Thick sweet sugary grapefruit and pine hops.
T- Big juicy sugary grapefruit with a big bitter dose of pine needles. thick sugary caramel malt slightly pokes through.
M- Thick sweet citrus and bitter pine hops dominate the malt.

Overall- Very juicy and very drinkable. Smooth drinking IPA. Hopefully the hype dies down on this 1 so its more available.

NJpadreFan, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of JoshW
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%

Nice golden color, one finger head, very carbonated.

The bottle says mango, lemon, peach and apricot aromas, and I can pick out every one, incredible smell, and equal taste. Very fresh, crisp and smooth, finishes with a solid hoppy flavor on the tongue.

Drinkable, indeed.

JoshW, Sep 30, 2009
Photo of Tilley4
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%

Finally... I get to the fabled Sculpin IPA... I've heard so much hype about this brew that I'm afraid it won't live up to it...

Poured into my Duvel tulip on a cool early fall evening...

A beautiful golden murky liquid topped by a thick creamy fluffy eggshell layer of foam...looks very fresh and delicious... Very murky appearance which is usually a good sign of a deliciously hoppy brew so this one is looking really good thus far...

Oh wow...this brings to mind some of the true elite brews like Alemsith IPA and even Pliny the Elder a little... Its loaded with citrusy juicy hops... Smells like a lemon pie with some other sort of tropical fruit thrown into the mix... Huge pungent aromas... I'm chomping at the bit to get at this one but I want to enjoy the experience so I'm forcing myself to slow down...really nice world class aroma with this

This is truly worth the hype...very juicy sweet lemony citrusy grapefruit hops explode right off and bring with it a juicy bitterness that is only found in truly great brews...not over the top bitterness either... No astringency or booze either...I can taste the balancing malts trying to keep pace but this is a highlight reel for hops all the way...juicy and sweet and leaves me puckering and wanting the next sip...

I could drink this everyday... I envy those who can get this regularly as it would be my standby IPA...I have one more bottle left that I will be opening on Wednesday, my birthday, and I'm already looking forward to it... Delicious...

Tilley4, Sep 27, 2009
Photo of mirish72
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%

I have been wanting to try this for a while and it just happened to be on tap at Armsby Abbey today. I have tried a number of other Ballast Point brews, but have always heard great things about the Sculpin and it did not dissapoint.

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Poured a hazy orange. Smelled of fruity, piney, hop goodness. Slight head that dissipated quickly.

Tasted very smooth, with a dry hopped profile. The citrus, piney taste was unbelieveable. This beer was really drinkable and made me want another almost from the first sip and it just got better.

This is a great IPA and it surpassed the other Ballast Point's I have tried in the past. Its hope profile seemed to exceed a number of imperial IPA's that I have tried. Now if only it were actually available to buy.

mirish72, Sep 26, 2009
Photo of HawkeyeDaz
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%

Got this from my guy Fred in Cali at beverages4lessinc

A: Pours a nice hazy orange, pinky finger full of head up top.

S: Hoppy and fruity.

T: Plenty of hops running through here along with citrus fruits, think I caught some peaches. Might have had a little bitterness in it too.

M: Smooth, very smooth

D: Extremley drinkable, this went down way too quickly. Not overwhelming at all with booze, not heavy.

This is one of the top rated IPA's for a reason friends. I am so glad to have got a couple of these and would highly recommend this.

Serving Type: 22oz. Bottle

HawkeyeDaz, Sep 25, 2009
Photo of popery
4.83/5  rDev +9.5%

A phenomenal IPA. Sculpin pours a relatively pale shade of golden amber with a creamy white head. The aroma is very hoppy with notes of peach, grapefruit and wildflowers. The smell is quite intense for the size of the beer. The flavor is dry and hoppy. I particularly like a good dry IPA. The hops are different, but it reminds me of Pliny the Elder in that respect. I was inspired to try them side by side and they're quite similar beers, both magnificent. Sculpin is clean and strong. The mouthfeel is quite dry with lots of pleasant bitterness and no alcohol. Sculpin is one of the finest beers that I've ever tasted and probably my favorite IPA thus far. It's great stuff and it's a shame that it's not more readily available.

popery, Sep 25, 2009
Photo of Thorpe429
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%

Was lucky enough to get a bottle of this in California from Freddie over at Beverages 4 Less.

A: Pours a copper orange with white head. Decent amount of lacing as it goes down.

S: Plenty of tropical fruits and citrus; there is a lot going on in the hop bill here.

T: Much along the same lines as the smell, although the hops aren't quite as strong as I was hoping, and I know that this was the freshest batch, so I feel like I was missing something, but it was the first beer of the night for me, so I don't think there was anything interfering.

M: Right in the range for the style, helping it to drink quite well.

D: Very drinkable. This is where it might have helped that the hop bill wasn't too strong in the taste. Good brew all around, and I'm looking forward to trying it again.

Thorpe429, Sep 24, 2009
Photo of cptierney
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%

Poured into a plain ol' pint glass from a lovely Ballast Point Bomber provided by that most excellent of friends, eliottjw.

Nice pour to this guy, around three fingers of frothy head with excellent retention. The beer is certainly lighter than I expected with an almost straw color.

The nose on this brew is phenomenal! I'm immediately transported to magical grapefruit land as the beer screams citrus into my nostrils. There is a piney base note to this smell to that compliments the soaring citrus very well.

The mouthfeel is just fine- a little oily, naturally, but substantial just the same. Carbonation stands up through the drink session.

To disagree with my drinking partner, I found this to be a particularly light IPA. Not on hops of course, as the grapefruity citrus notes yielded to a piney bite on the finish, but rather the malt character. While still a world class IPA, I felt that the backbone of this brew just wasn't quite as strong as I would have liked and the huge hop profile was almost overwhelming.

Easily and dangerously drinkable. Could definitely use a few more, if I can get my hands on them.

cptierney, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of bum732
4.68/5  rDev +6.1%

Pours a clear orange yellow, nice creamy head leaving amazing lacing. Smells primarily of orange and citrus, tangerine, grapefruit, touch of yeast breadiness. Tastes of peach and orange hoppiness with a moderately sweet malt backbone. A nice peach and mango like bitterness gives way to a light dry finish with some more peach. Nice clean carbonation complements an excellent body.

An excellent IPA, i absolutely love the combo of hops used here to produce a very unique peach, orange and mango aroma and flavor. Nice clean finish produces a beer that has huge hops flavor without being overall sweet, increasing the drinkability even more.

bum732, Sep 21, 2009
Photo of heliosphann
4.85/5  rDev +10%

22oz bottle. Served in my Bells tulip. One of several bottles I obtained from multiple traders. Thanks guys! I've had this a few times before. One fresh bottle, one not so fresh. This one is fresh and begging to be consumed.

A: Beautiful golden orange clear pour. Finger of white fluffiness which dissipates fairly quickly. Leaves some nice lacing.

S: Tropical citrus fruit hops explosion! Mango, peach, guava and a lot of pineapple. Mmmm...

T: Nice crisp hoppy goodness. The fresh, fruity hops shine through allowing a small amount of sweetness that's just right. Little or no malt presence. Very light on the bitterness. Pretty dry finish. Amazing.

M: Great mouthfeel. Light bodied. Carbonation is spot on. Not to much, not to less.

D: Simply fantastic. One of the best drinking IPA's I've ever had. It's been only 15 minutes or so and this bomber is on it's last legs.

Hands down one of the best IPA's I've had the pleasure of trying. Drink this one as fresh as you can get it! I just wish it was easier to obtain, or it'd be in my regular rotation. Note: After writing this review, I read the description on the bottle. I noticed quite a few similarities to what i wrote above. Maybe I actually know what I'm talking about???

heliosphann, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of rfgetz
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%

A- Hazy golden straw color... full fluffy white head. Good retention and lacing.

S- Definite citrusy grapefruit hops. Some pine and spice. Some sweeter fruit (peach). Decent malty backbone.

T- Sweet and Grapefruity hops, hints of pine, spice. Nice malt backbone to knock down the bitter end a touch.

M- Medium bodied, slightly sticky, sweet aftertaste.

D- Very good flavor. Very good beer.

rfgetz, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of atremains
4.78/5  rDev +8.4%

Good thing cbutova is on the look out 24/7. Pours a hazy gold that clears over time. Nice thick head that has some fight in it, lacing is moderate, carbonation fueled the head immediately and is not visible in the body. Smell is phenomenal: lemon, mango, orange, apricot. This has got to be the best smelling beer I've come across. The taste follows the nose quite strictly. The hop explosion it produces is amazing. I could use a little bit more of the fruit from the nose but then again that might cause an imbalance so this is a tough call. It's an extremely well balanced beer, a little on the hoppier side of the IPA style. The mouthfeel is nice and full (for an IPA), with a dry finish that leaves you salivating and thirsty for more. This beer has exceeded my expectations of what an IPA can be. Ballast Point wins with this one.

atremains, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of cbutova
5/5  rDev +13.4%

The elusive Sculpin has been caught. I would have saved this for #100 but it's an IPA and I wanted to drink it as fresh as possible. Grabbed this one at Table and Vine in W. Springfield today, they had 3 cases, I snagged the last two on the shelf (maybe more in the back). Pours a very golden color with a hint of orange, has a very bubbly two finger head that retains very well for an IPA, the carbonation on the pour is extreme, pour it carefully. Thick lacing is left on my pint glass as I drink this bad boy. Smell here is probably the best beer smell I have ever put my hands on. So much great things going on, a huge fruity aspect to the beer (mangos, peach, apricot, lemon), the sweeter fruits perfectly balanced by floral and piney hops, greatness. Taste is a bit different than the smell, less of a fruit characteristic but still enough to be very noticeable, a huge aggressive hop blast comes onto the tongue but backs off as you swallow to allow a very good sweet fruity taste to come through with an eventual delicious hop after taste. A very complex smelling and tasting beer. Mouthfeel is very well carbonated, medium bodied and a bit oily, maybe a TINY bit of alcohol warming but no alcohol taste = a very well balanced mouthfeel, I hate to give all 5s but its starting to look that way. Drinkability is great, the taste is enough for me to drink this all day long, its not filling, the price ($10) was worth it any day of the week, no bad flavors to ruin this one over time, and I would buy this one again over and over and over.

cbutova, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of somabeer
4.8/5  rDev +8.8%

I love poking my head into city beer on the way home from the week. You find great surprises on tap.

Poured into a 'lil 10 oz glass. The beer was a light gold almost a honey color. The smell was exquisite. There is a lot of citrus going on; orange, pineapple and lots of grapefruit. also a good amount of the classy west coast pine hoppiness there.

The taste is even better than the smell. Pure hoppiness goodness. It is incredible even with all the grapefruit hop going on it's not overwhelmingly bitter. This is beer is very well balanced and god damn delicious. There is mild carbonation here, and the beer surprisingly unsyrupy and with the 7% this beer is dangerously drinkable!

somabeer, Sep 18, 2009
Photo of capra12
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%

Reviewed at the Gotham Cask Festival at Rattle N Hum enjoyed with a new friend Sam aka Cootercaster on 9/11/09. Thanks to Sam for letting me know about a highly rated IPA and also Patrick from RNH for hosting.

Appareance: Slightly cloudy and wheat/amber in color with little head.

Smell: There most prominent nose in this was fresh pine and grapefruit.

Taste: Opens earthy and piney which carries over to the end with an almost mellowness and subtle malt backbone. Right in the middle to the end there is a hint of citrus leaving a mildy hoppy aftertaste but very enjoyable

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with minimal carbonation and slightly dry.

Drinkability: With out a doubt I would have this again and is definitely worth a try.

capra12, Sep 16, 2009
Photo of Gyle41386
4.7/5  rDev +6.6%

Poured from a bomber into a mug. Words cannot express how excited I was to finally have an opportunity to try this beer.

Pours a very vibrant, clear golden-orange. The pour was a careful one in order to fit 22 ounces of beer into a 24 oz vessel, so the head is sitting at about two fingers' width. The head retention is remarkable and leaves behind sticky streaks of lacing.

Oh man, oh man, oh man, I absolutely LOVE a citrus-forward IPA, and, from the smell of it, I'm going to love Sculpin. Just loads and loads of pineapple, grapefruit, and sweet oranges, as well as what I'm sure are a variety of other fruit scents, like mango, peach, apricot, and other random ridiculous deliciousness. Some further investigation reveals some sugary sweet malt and pine resin. Can I buy this as an air freshener?

I wanted to wait awhile to take my first sip, at least until the head went away, but I just couldn't stand it any longer. I had to. By the way, I know I mentioned the head retention earlier, but those same two fingers of foam stuck around pretty much the entire time. Ridiculous!

The flavor follows the nose, though it falls just short of producing a taste to match the aroma. One of the things I'm loving the most is that I'm tasting all of this delicious, seemingly tropical fruit, with no harsh bitter interruption. Great example of being hoppy without being a palate destroyer. Even then, given the grapefruit that's present, there's a light bitterness in the finish, but it's quite pleasant. No real hint of alcohol in the flavor, just a bit of a warming sensation as I near the bottom of the glass. I feel bad for complaining about it, but if just a little more tropical fruitiness came through in the flavor, just enough to follow up on the smell, this would be a 5, too.

I can drink Sculpin like it's water, which is bittersweet, because this is my only bottle. It's a nice, creamy drinker. I'd put the body right near medium, with a nice little tingle from the carbonation. Just a delicious beer. One of the best I've ever had, no question. Definitely keeping it on the Wants list.

Gyle41386, Sep 14, 2009
Photo of NorCalYeti
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%

taste- crisp, clean, bitter, lemon peel, citrus oil

color- light gold

clarity- clear

smell- floral, candy, citrus fruit, grapefruit, sourness

body- light-medium weight mouthfeel, medium-length bitter hop finish...most of the weight is at the front of the palate

appearance- nice candy white head when first poured then little carbonation and faint lace after

overall impression- solid effort, medium-weight ipa...easy drinker, interesting sweet and sour balance, a little leaner than i'm used to tasting in a 7% ipa

NorCalYeti, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of Reaper16
4.65/5  rDev +5.4%

Big ups to BdubleEdubleRUN for sending me this!
served from a 22oz. bomber into a New Belgium globe

Pours a hazy lemon yellow with three fingers of eggshell head. The head lasted for many minutes and didn't begin to recede until I started drinking it a lot. Lacing was nice and notchy. The score gets elevated to 4.5 because of the lacing.

Mmmmm, hoppy! The nose is chock full of various fruits. Whatever amalgam of lupulin Ballast Point used to generate this mix of mango, white peach, white grape, pineapple & starfruit is a heavenly amalgam indeed. Its pleasurable enough just on the merits of fruitiness, but deeper smells reveal piny resins. If they made a cologne of this I would clone myself, make my clone wear it and engage in sexual intercourse with my clone.

Mmmmm, hoppy! The taste, thank God, follows the nose. Such fruitiness! Yesss. Resins and oily hops meet white peach, grapefruit, pineapple and mango. Some lightly toasted biscuit on the back end and on burps. The more you drink Sculpin the more pronounced the bitter resin aftertaste is. I wish that I could write more, but it would be redundant. This is awesome.

The mouthfeel is exactly where I like my IPAs: light and prickly with carbonation. The reason that this hophead prefers the IPA style over its Imperial/Double sized brother is because of the thinner mouthfeel. At their best, IPAs feel like you're drinking a sort of hop juice, and Sculpin achieves this better than any other IPA that I've had. Drinkability is also superb; at only 7% I could drink multiple bombers in an evening.

The only problem with drinking multiple bombers in an evening is the fact that I can't actually buy Sculpin where I live. If I could, rest assured, I would buy it with an addict's frequency.

I must indulge myself here and compare this to Two Hearted Ale. Bell's Two Hearted is my favorite beer. By the time I finish my second of two bombers of Sculpin my mind may be changed. Sculpin is much less floral than Two Hearted, but much more pronounced in fruit characteristics. Also, if you've read my Two Hearted review then you know that I love Two Hearted so much partly because of its odd artwork. I have lovingly nicknamed it "Fish Beer." Well, Sculpin is named after a fish and features the sculpin fish on its label. So this is also "Fish Beer." Maybe this will end up tying Two Hearted as my favorite beer. That I spent a paragraph comparing Ballast Point Sculpin to my favorite beer -- asserting that it might be my new favorite -- is proof enough for me that this beer is brilliant and rightfully deserving of its accolades.

Reaper16, Sep 13, 2009
Photo of Doomcifer
4.15/5  rDev -5.9%

Pours an ever so slightly hazy golden with a massive, frothy white head that retains remarkably well. Sticky icky too.

Smells of INTENSE hop resin. Tropical fruitiness poking through along with pine and citrus but just beautiful IMMENSE resin aromas bitchslapping me in the face.

Taste is extremely hop forward, duh...initial citrus burst then grapefruit coming through, followed by more ultra-resin, wacky tobaccy-like flavors. I wanna soak my buds in this, put it in my pipe, and smoke it. Very bitter finish but not as astringent as expected. I would even venture to say it is juicy...hop juice.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, just right on carbonation, with a medium-dry, crisp finish.

Immensely drinkable. I would love for this to be available in 6'ers. Can't stop smelling this liquid crack. The world needs more single IPA's with this much flavor. Although, I don't find myself drinking this very often due to the inflated pricetag.

Doomcifer, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of scifan
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%

So I'd heard all the hype about this beer and was wondering if I would ever be able to try such a highly acclaimed IPA. Well I was in my local bottle shop the other day and what did I spy out of the corner of my eye, the ever elusive Sculpin. Anyway on to the review.
Poured from my 22 into my awaiting tulip. Pours a bright, clear golden color with a nice full white head. Smells exceptional. Buckets and buckets of juicy tropical, citrus, hops hit my nose like a ton of bricks. I could smell this thing as soon as I cracked the bottle. I'm picking up a hint of sweet pale malt lingering in background. Taste almost of good as it smells. Again lots of citrus flavors oranges, lemon, and I'm thinking a touch of pineapple as well. Hops are amazing. Not really much balance here but who cares!!! There's an intense blast of bitterness at end. Good mouthfeel and nice carbonation. This stuff is crazy drinkable I can't get enough.

scifan, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of khiasmus
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%

Clarity. Glowing, a golden glow, the sea at dusk, the fishies all pottering about their daily lives, and one in particular, a Sculpin, of course, a couple-finger-tall white head that floats about and leaves a sticky lacing along the walls as it drifts. Can one smell under-water? There has to be that possibility...
So the aroma, then, a ton of grapefruit, of course, an almost singeing, absurd amount of citric notes, he swims about lazily, caring nothing for the world, and a faint tinge of alcohol. A small amount of sugar seems to balance a bit, but only like a mild sprinkling of white sugar does on the top of a red grapefruit... so take a bite.
Mmmm... and much the same. Ruby red grapefruit juice, the whole way down. More flavor than bitterness, some peaches in there as he runs away from a hook.
Not many bubbles float off of his tail as he swims about, a mild creaminess in the mouthfeel, and he'll live to swim another day, a lightly bitter finish, but what can you expect for grapefruit juice? lightly warming in the finish.
He can swim like this all of the night, few cares in the world, the love of many, enjoyed by few. Here's to the night.

khiasmus, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of itcomesnpints
3.98/5  rDev -9.8%

On cask at Rattle N' Hum (NYC)

Golden, clear, typical IPA appearance, EXCEPT...no head, lacing or bubbles. Flat.

Very citrusy nose. Oranges, grapefruit. Blast of fresh hops.

Hop flavor rises tall above hop bitterness. Orange and strawberries. This is one juicy IPA.

Again, completely flat. I knew it was a problem the instant I saw them fill the glass. This was very unfortunate considering the caliber of this IPA.

I can tell this IPA would be right up there with the best of them (RR, Odell, Stone) if carbonated properly.

I have to rate the Sculpin I had, not the Sculpin I wish I could have had.

itcomesnpints, Sep 11, 2009
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 9,229 ratings.