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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

10,129 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,129
Reviews: 2,094
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 1,014
Gots: 2,109 | FT: 42
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: 10,129 | Reviews: 2,094 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bigdeuce
4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich, thick head which dissipates after about 90 seconds to a cool, thin layer. Has a deep golden color with that white head. Scents of some kind of a peachy, grapefruit hit the nose. Possible warrior hops? Exploding creamy malt fired back by a buckling generosity of mean, kick assed hops. Very bitter, but the bitterness fades back as the malt catches up. Extremely refreshing. Super beer for year round consumption. Website says 70 IBU but I say this tastes to me as if it is in the 90's. If you are a hophead or an IPA fanatic, this is one for you! Not for the the unsophisticated palate, for sure.

bigdeuce, Oct 08, 2011
Photo of jgagne
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to Bill for helping me get this one.

A-Very nice looking beer. Bright golden body with very robust white head.

S-Wow what a smell. Great pineapple and grapefruit notes that just excite your senses.

T-A really nice crisp hoppy taste throwout this beer. As you sit and let it warm up a bit, it just gets more and more complex. Very refreshing and easy to drink. Great for any mood.

M-Sits relatively light with nice high carbonation.

O-What a great beer. Clean and drinkable but still very complex.

jgagne, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of Spider889
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to sendsilk for this bottle. Review from notes. Can't wait to start seeing Ballast Point in Ohio later this year.

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - An opaque golden apricot color. Head is white and tall - very dense - frothy and with excellent retention on an IPA. Leaves very wide swaths of lace on the glass.

S - Floral in every sense of the word with additional aromas of lemon and pine. Wildflower, clover honey, and a bit o' peach really round out this beer, making Sculpin something worth savoring.

T - Pine is assertive, and the beer is quite bitter up front. Then, slowly, other flavors begin to emerge... white grapefruit and a light fruit cocktail of pear, peach, and some orange pith all flow through in succession.

M - Dry and very bitter with an extremely clean finish.

O - This beer is awesome. A great treat for the hop head, and a worthy beer to stock Ohio's shelves with aside the likes of White Rajah, CIPA, and Headhunter.

Spider889, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of s1ckboy
4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nice orange with a big 2-3 finger white head.

S - Pine, grapefruit, citrus notes.

T - Pine, grapefruit citrus, honey. A lot of honey in the finish.

M - Thicker side of thin. A tad sticky.

O - Great beer, quickly becoming my favorite IPA. Solid.

s1ckboy, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of dulwich
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent two finger head on the pour. Bright amber coloring as well as a strong floral nose. The first sip brings in notes of grapefruit and leaves your palate slightly dry with a breath of citrus. Not overly carbonated but lively enough to excite your senses, leaving you wanting to drink more.

One of the most sessionable beers out there. Sculpin continues to be one of my favorite IPA's. Always fresh tasting regardless of age, this beer is a must for all IPA lovers. Strong hop flavor but not overpowering to the palate.

dulwich, Oct 04, 2011
Photo of jamescain
4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip, thanks to Exiled for the extra.

Appearance: Pours a clear orange with yellow hues and a fluffy white head about a finger and a half thick that clings to the glass and fades to a lacing over the top of the beer.

Aroma: Pineapple, mango, pine, tropical fruit, and citrus. Complex and very appealing, I could smell this for a while.

Taste: Complex blend of flavors, pine, pineapple, citrus, and peaches, wonderfully executed.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and medium carbonation, lightly tickling your tongue.

Overall: Another example of a world class IPA, complex aroma and flavor, yet still very drinkable.

jamescain, Oct 04, 2011
Photo of Zorro
4.1/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A beer named after the California Scorpion fish, Does it have a sting?

Clear orange colored beer with a tall off-white head. This falls on the light end of the beer spectrum I call IPA Orange.

Smell is strong NW hops. Very strong on the pine and grapefruit. Little bit of menthol and mint, other than that no strange hop aromas here.

Starts out semi-dry with a good ale flavor. Grapefruit peel with pine resins tasty with no wood or tea flavors. Nothing outstanding about the taste but it is well balanced and tasty. This is one of the milder California IPAs.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall a tasty and very easy to drink IPA. Not outstanding in any respect except being very user friendly. I could see drink a pitcher of this by myself.

Zorro, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of JTSbeerislife
3.93/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, purchased 9/2011 from a reliable bottle shop, no dates on bottle

Poured into a British Imperial Nonic.

Pours a 1/2” head, which reduces rather quickly to a thin film. Some decent lace though.
Medium honey amber color, which is slightly cloudy from the residual yeast in the bottle.

Nice distinct hops are the first thing you smell, citrusy, with a hint of pine, followed by golden malt and some bready yeast. As the ale warms more distinct citrus emerges, mostly orange. A very pleasant and enjoyable aroma.

Crisp entry on the palate, citrusy hops with a good bitterness, followed by golden malt, the malt is not heavy at all and balances wonderfully with the not overly aggressive hops.

There is not much in the finish, just a touch of bitterness.

Very refreshing and easy to drink. The hops are definitely here, just not intense. The nice balanced malt finishes this ale off, making for a very nice drink, definitely a session ale. The 7% ABV is not noticeable at all. OK this is not a “killer” IPA, but it is a very balanced and easy to drink ale. Definitely worth a test drive.

JTSbeerislife, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of ILiveOffHops
4.73/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Thanks to Pat D for this bomber of Sculpin straight from his West Coast beer trip. I poured this one into my Ebenezer's 2011 Belgian Fest tulip.

Pale gold in color. Moderate carbonation leaves a decent head that settles to a ring of lace. Thick lacing remains. The aroma is citrusy- lemon, grapefruit, and pineapple. Flavor is American hops- grapefruit, juicy orange. Just enough malt to hold the bitterness. Very nicely dry in the finish. Overall a great dry IPA. Up there with Lagunitas and Stone IPAs.

ILiveOffHops, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks barfdiggs for the trade!

A light honey amber with a fluffy white head. The lacing cakes to the inside walls of the glass, but the head falls to a thin blanketing after a few minutes. The head regenerates very easily with gentle swirling. Very tight bubbles, no haze or sediment.

Heavenly aromatic hops which come off as ripe grapefruit and a little sappy pine. This is a great start in my opinion, I hate when APAs fall flat in the nose.

Pungent hops that coat the palate. The sweetness is overpowered by the hops, but would need to be a syrup just to compete. The bitterness from the hops is light and fruity, but starts to lean towards grapefruit rind in the aftertaste. Also, there is a slightly off flavor which didn't seem oxidative, but was unexpected nonetheless...I had trouble reproducing that flavor after a few more sips.

A little overpowering in its mouthfeel, but I must give it some credit for living up to its name as a west coast hopped-over-the-top beverage...and world-class APA. Carbonation is ample throughout and it is quite drinkable, but definitely at the borderline. I'd prefer a little more alcohol and sugar, but then I wouldn't be able to drink it so generously!

This is definitely a beer worth trying. It's got deliciously ripe citrus in its nose and a puckering bitterness in its aftertaste. Even though this is not a DIPA and can't fulfill all my desires for stronger sugars and alcohol, I have to give this beer some credit for working with what it's got. Very tasty and I may pursue this in future trades!

ThePorterSorter, Oct 01, 2011
Photo of Emerson1310
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the very first craft I tried that tastes of citrus and grapefruit from the first sip to the last, without fading to pines and resins.

A: Nice golden color with 3-finger head. Lots of active carbonation in the glass. Good lacing too.

S: Just tons of citrus and tropical fruits!! No malt smells.

T: Wonderful!! LOTS of citrus; orange and grapefruit. What fascinated me about this beer is the fruity taste which never fades out into hops and bitterness. Clean, tongue-washing mouth-feel. No hop buildup at all.

O: Only problem I have with this is its availability...Tis very hard to get!!! A super fantastic IPA, right up there with Pliny and HopSlam.

Emerson1310, Sep 30, 2011
Photo of Holland
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: normal IPA - clearish, slightly orange, good head that dissipates quickly to leave fine lacing.

S: fantastic citrus smell and bitterness mixed with sweetness.

T: also excellent, it tastes of citrus, sweet pale and maybe caramel malt, bitter hops, and it has some floral tones.

M: deliciously heavy for an IPA, around medium body. Great carbonation, but not too much that it drowns the sweetness.

O: great beer. Wish it was more widely available.

Holland, Sep 28, 2011
Photo of MoreThanWine
4.2/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 2" white head with staying power. Lovely clear golden color. There's a strong hops smell featuring pine and grapefruit. Taste is a milder version of the same smells. There's a decent length finish. All in all I'd say it smells like a top rate IPA but tastes more mid-range.

MoreThanWine, Sep 27, 2011
Photo of bierbrauer
4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle brought back from visit in November to Southwest. No freshness date, but "SCU75 23091" marked at base of neck. Poured into tulip glass.

A: Hazy gold; barely any effervescence; 1"+ white, fluffy foam that settles slowly and leaves thick ring of lacing.

S: Light lemon and pineapple, caramel malt, subtle floral.

T: Citrus hops, sweet malt, floral & fruit; very slight bitterness that grows a bit, then subsides.

M: Soft and creamy; low/medium carbonation and medium body; very slight alcohol warming; clean, neutral finish.

O: Remarkable balance; rich and delicious.

bierbrauer, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of slentz
4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed with Kiddynamite920. Thanks man! Super fresh sculpin bottle poured into Deschutes tulip.

A: Steady pour down the center of the glass leads to a beautiful two finger head. This one stays around a long time. Beer is a beautiful golden color hue. As the head recedes lacing stays. Looks absolutely fantastic 5.0

S: Smells of hops, grapefruit and citrus notes, super piney, a little sweetness. Not the best smelling IPA but definitely pretty damn good. 4.0

T: Tons of citrus and hops, apricot, Bitter a little astringent, tad bit of malts but the fresh hops dominate this one. This beer is never disappointing when fresh. 4.5

M: Nicely carbonated, pretty light medium body definitely a good thing. Tons of resiny hops all over the place. This one goes down super smooth. Awesome mouthfeel here. 5.0

O: Overall this beer is pretty damn awesome. Phenomenal hop flavors and mouthfeel. I look forward to this regularly and it never lets me down. 4.5

slentz, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of harrymattcody
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From he tap to a pint glass.

The pour is a nice golden sunset with a decent cap on top hat lays down some solid lace. Getting my nose in his beer is a real treat. Straight tropical fruit with no hint of a malt. Taste us pretty much in line with the nose. Big, bold and juicy tropical fruits dominate. There's no substantial malt to interfere and what's there acts more like a bowl to contain all that fruit. Perfect in the mouth with a nice tickle from the bubbles.

My go to beer if I could get it on a regular basis.

harrymattcody, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of CheezyBlaster
3.98/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears as that nice solid IPA amber, crazy-stiff, three finger head with large bubbles. Solid up top like a silly little bubble bath.

This is my second bomber of this stuff in the past two weeks. The first one was all pine, pine, pine hops in the nose. This one definitely shows some tenderness. Pineapple, peach, and a bit of apricot come through slowly and say: hey! we're sticky!

Like this: peach up front, then all grapefruit to the finish. Well of course grapefruit comes through in this west coast beaster -pink grapefruit. It's got a nice, relatively balanced sweetness up front for being so bitter after swallow. I also feel some of the sticky sweet pear juice -the stuff they ship some canned fruit in-- dancing around the edges. All this sweetness is gone instantly, along with a layer of your tongue, when the dry-bitter hops/grapefruit skin finish scrapes off any expected cloying sugars. Finish gets much more mild as the beverage warms. (Only drawback so far besides a very tiny bit of skunky funk.)

My mouth feels cottony and my tongue definitely feels a little dried out after some drinking. Decently robust body for this style.

I like this, I really do, but it's a palate stripper. It'll just blow me out after a few drinks. Ouch. This could have been a contender for best ever . . . need to fix up that finish. This is the most favored American IPA on BA, but I have definitely enjoyed Stone, Smutty, and 90 minute more than this.

CheezyBlaster, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of beerdown77
5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This pours cloudy golden with nice head and juice resin lacing. The smell is floral and mildly fruity. The flavor starts with a crisp bite but turns smooth with a subtle amount of fruit and punch-in-the-face hops. The flavor works through bitterness but it does not take over. I can taste some pleasant grassiness…but not overpowering. The whole feel is pretty much here and gone, but I would not classify it as “rounded” because of the lack of sweet malt. I love this west coast style, and would easily put this beer in my top ten. If you are looking for a rounded IPA with malt and hops at war, this is not it. If you are looking for awesome hop bomb that is easy to drink, this is a must try. Delicious.

beerdown77, Sep 24, 2011
Photo of econ
4.63/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It poured a deep amber with an airy, foamy two-finger head that receded all too soon. The lacing was awesome - I imagine shapes with lacing, just as how children imagine shapes made by clouds (this one was an arm reaching into the bottom of the glass, perhaps to sop up the remnants of this amazing brew). Even from the moment I opened the bottle, the cool, reassuring smell of mango, grapefruit, jackfruit, and dare I say it - maybe even a hint of durian - wafted through the air, made even more pronounced after I poured and swirled the glass. It evokes memories of a breezy Philippine summer, and the freedom of racing through the rows of sunflowers lining University Avenue in Diliman after a hard-fought academic year.

This is a very drinkable, refreshing beer. It has a sublime hop flavor up front along with a bit of citrusy sweetness. It is probably the most balanced IPA I've tried. The mouthfeel is just right: dry, not too carbonated, barely-there alcohol despite the 7% ABV, just enough body and easy to swallow. More hops on the finish, but not cloyingly bitter, which really adds to its drinkability. I can only hope to someday try this beer right from the taps in Home Brewing Mart in San Diego.

cross-posted on http://booksbitesbrews.blogspot.com

econ, Sep 22, 2011
Photo of ccrida
4.68/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bomber poured into a tall tumbler, Big Eye is light gold with a white head that leaves heavy, Brussels style lace. A light, clear body and big white head leaving gorgeous lacing, exactly what I look for in an IPA.

Smell is over-laden with dank, skunky hops, sour citrus. Yum yum yum.

Taste is similarly loaded with big hop FLAVOR, tons tropical fruits, a little resiny, a touch of ethanol, and a firmly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is very dry, but with creamy carbonation and a light body.

Drinkability is super high. I've had this a few times (the first occasional thanks to JohnMichaelson IIRC, thx!), and I love it, one of the best IPAs out there, in the a true west-coast style, exactly as I like them. I prefer it to Big Eye, which is another awesome IPA from Ballast Point, due to it amped up hops and lighter (e.g. nil) malt body.

ccrida, Sep 21, 2011
Photo of spinrsx
4.26/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml Bottle - huge thanks to zacs for this one

Appearance – Clear copper colour with a large size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation visible and there is a good amount of lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, caramel, grapefruit/oranges, peaches, pineapples

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and a fair amount of hops. The is also a great amount of fruit juiciness going on - pineapples, oranges, grapefruits, and peaches. It finishes with a juicy/fruity aftertaste with an above average amount of lingering hop bitterness.

Overall – I've drank a lot of different IPA's and this one definitely stands out as one of the best. It reminded me a little bit of a Firestone Union Jack that meets a Bells Two Hearted. It got a great fruity taste and the perfect amount of hop bitterness. It might be a touch too sweet to make it sessionable, but it's surely a beer I'd like to drink every day.

spinrsx, Sep 20, 2011
Photo of dbmernin83
4.3/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks a little like an IPA. Tight lacing.
I smell hops. Juicy, citrusy hops.
A little pine, and juicy citrus with hop resin on the back end.
Great carbonation, full in the mouth but light on the swallow.
One of the great west coast IPAs. A hophead must.

dbmernin83, Sep 20, 2011
Photo of ccm414
4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 22oz bottle...

A- Pours a straw yellow with a slight amber. Poured with a strong 3 finger head that slowly receeded leaving a nice lace around the glass.

S- A nice citrus/fruit hops aroma with some lighter pine notes. A slight malt seams to balance off the smell as well.

T- Decent hop bitterness right away, but quickly opening to a peach/apricot flavor. The crisp pale malt gives a nice light balance. Leaves a lingering resinous citrus hop finish.

M- Clean and crisp. Lighter in body with great carbonation. Very pleasing.

D- Overall a very good IPA. Very clean and refreshing. Extremely drinkable, too bad it's hard to find out here in MA.

Thanks to BeerMaverick for this brew!


ccm414, Sep 17, 2011
Photo of MicroBeerMan1980
4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Bright golden yellow. It has a creamy white head that dissipates after a few minutes. It leaves a very fine lacing around the glass.

S: It’s full of pine and citrus on the nose. I’m getting lots of additional fruit in there. There’s a lot of sweet, bready rounded malts that shine through the hops as well.

T: At first I’m greeted with the obvious hemlock/cedar and orange/lemon zest of the hops. I’m also tasting apricot and a slight hint of peaches. The hop profile is loud, but is balanced with the malt character. The malts are toasty, bready and sweet yet remain crisp. Finally, I’m getting a peppery/acidic after taste on the finish.

M: It starts out crisp and appears to be light on the palate. However, the intense hops and bold malts lay and weigh on the palate. There is a strong tannic quality to this ale, definitely from the hops.

D: Very drinkable, though a tad bit over whelming. Too many of these beers would inevitably blow out your palate. Enjoy slowly!

MicroBeerMan1980, Sep 16, 2011
Photo of kbnooshay
4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a super clear gold color with a high frothy white head that stuck around for awhile. Lacing is clumpy and random. Aroma is fairly piney and citrus-like but not as pungent as i would have liked. While the taste is very good i think i expected more of the fruity and tropical flavors that we all love. Lacking was the super fresh and juicy hop character i was hoping for. Feel is moderate to light making it quite drinkable. Slightly sticky with nice carbonation. Nice pale malt flavor is there but not dominating which is how i like it. I expected more out of the hop character but I will see if the next bottle I can get is fresher!

kbnooshay, Sep 13, 2011
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 10,129 ratings.