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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,306 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,306
Hads: 12,487
Avg: 4.38
pDev: 22.37%
Wants: 1,375
Gots: 4,345 | FT: 46
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: brentk56 on 04-02-2006

Originally named Northstar IPA. Debuted in 2005.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 2,306 | Hads: 12,487
Photo of chalsk
3.85/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber orange color with life and a thin foam head. Has an aroma of grapefruit and pine with hints of apricot. Has a creamy bitter taste with the bitterness becoming more pronounced through the finish. You get a very subtle hit of sweet up front and then lots of malt on the finish. Very tasty. But I feel it is a tad overrated.

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Photo of mgbickel
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. Instantly, a huge, 2-3 finger head formed...did someone put a slice of angel food cake in my glass? The foam receded slowly, leaving tons of itself behind. The body is yellowish gold with some tangerine lowlights.

The nose has lots of citrus hops up front...orange and lemon zest, grapefruit. The backbone of the nose is malted grain and sweetbread.

Man...the taste of this offering is fantastic! Pretty much right in line with the nose...starts off with some hops, but not overly bitter. The middle finds a sweet/grassy character and the finish goes back to the bitter (hop) side. Wonderful balance.

Medium mouth feel, a little oily with moderate carbonation.

This is one of my top overall drinking beers. Refreshing, easy to drink and complex (without being overpowering).

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Photo of MikeBrandman
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Body is an interesting amber on top and yellow on the bottom. Heavy carbonation. 3 fingers of very rocky white head. Great rims of lacing.

S - Grapefruit hoppiness in the nose. Something sweet in there too. That's what really separates this one from the rest.

T - Bitter fruits everywhere. Mainly grapefruit and even a bit of mango. Interesting hop profile. Mainly hops, but the malt gives it a good sweetness. Even a hint of mint in this. No alcohol bite.

MF - Smooth and on the lighter side. Surprisingly all the carbonation that you can see doesn't come into the mouthfeel or taste.

D - Easily the most drinkable IPA I've ever had.

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Photo of BeckyFreesTibet
3.93/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a 22 oz. bottle.

Appearance is overall very nice, with a light, peachy-gold hue and clear body. It pours with a good amount of eggshell-colored head and leaves a fair amount of lacing.

Aroma is heavy on floral hops, peach, grapefruit and tropical fruits. There is a touch of boozey sweetness and a hint of chlorine.

Although the taste was very balanced up front, it has a very piney finish. The aroma is a bit more complex than the taste, as you can't taste too much of the fruitiness in the smell. Grapefruit and lemon rinds are definitely present, but not much of the sweeter fruits. Bitterness lingers in the mouth along with a woodiness and hint of sulphur.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly thin and could be creamier. Carbonation gets foamy in your mouth and leads to a dry finish.

Although its a bit pithy on the back end, the drinkability is pretty good overall, since you don't notice the booze at all.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.84/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

GLASS: Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 55 degrees, set in fridge for about 20 minutes
Big thanks to adamharbaugh for this bottle! I just had someone else send me a bottle and it got smashed during shipping. Adam and I were also in the midst of a trade and he just happened to ask me if I'd have interest in a bottle of this. Sweet!

This pours up like sunshine in a glass. A beautiful, golden yellow color with light tinting of golden orange. The two-finger head of bone-white colored foam has some really nice retention. The lacing is spotty and while there doesn't seem to be alot of it, what is here is quite sticky.

Huge citrus nose bomb! Wow, that smells nice. Tons of grapefruit, lemon and oranges. A suprising amount of tropical fruits, as well. Loads of mango and pineapple. Small hint of pine. Light touches of caramel malts poke through the surface, but they are on the side of balance, not overpowering.
Probably the best nose I've ever smelled on an IPA. I love the tropical notes. They make this one seem super inviting!

You get a slight touch of the malts, right out of the gate. Then the hops explode on your palate. Huge notes of tropical fruits, following the nose. They bring many other fruits with them as well, most easily spotted are peaches and apricots and tangerines. These are followed by the tartness of the citrus hop notes. Lots of grapefruit, along with lemons and orange peels. The finish has a very slight return showing of malty sweetness, which is bringing balance to the bitter hop bite that closes the whole thing out.
Very tasty and very nicely done.

This one has a medium-to-almost-full body. The carbonation level is on the lower side of medium. This is very smooth and has a nice touch of creaminess, which kind of throws me off, for the style, but I really like it. Not as crisp as I'd expected it to be, but it totally works.

This is a very solid, well-made beer. The 7.00%abv is nowhere to be found and the body and flavor work wonderfully together. I'd have no problem drinking this one for an entire session.
(Now if someone would just send me a case or two...)

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Photo of dirtylou
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, split on a saturday of world cup action, 2nd in a long line of samplings following the Port Hop 15

thanks to lou91 for sending this one

appearance: split and served in an imperial pint, light golden body, big frothy white head with healthy retention

smell: pungent hops - grapefruit, orange zest, lemon, mango, tropical fruit.

taste: needed some palate cleansers after the Port DIPA to allow this one a proper tasting. The flavor profile is dominated by grapefruit and other strong citrus flavors. Hints of tropical fruit and mango are present in a very representative socal IPA. The finish was a little off for me - kind of grainy. A lovely IPA - i'd like to have some more to better gage where this truly falls on the IPA leaderboard

mouthfeel: light and crisp, well carbonated

drinkability: good

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Photo of SeasonalBrew
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received in a trade from StormKing47 a few days ago.. let's see how this beauty tastes..

A: Beautiful golden orange in hue with a thick one inch white head with a the proper pour. Some light lacing coats the glass as it goes down.. always a great sight.

S: Very strong hop aroma, with bitter grapefruit and other citrus and a little bit of a piney scent as well. Classic IPA scent. Makes me want to dive right in.. a few more sniffs and I actually get a little bit of sweetness, too.

T: Hits you with some sweet malts off the bat, then pow!, there's the hops. All together, the sweetness of the malts and bitterness from the hops and citrus blend together very nicely. This is definitely one of the best IPAs I've had.

M: Medium-bodied.. almost a bit thinner than I was expecting. Finishes smooth and crisp, with a bite from hops.

D: Well, I savored this entire bomber to myself with ease, so I'd say very drinkable! You don't have to be an IPA lover to enjoy this one.


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Photo of kirkpjr
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thrown in as a very generous "extra" by "thebouch01." Thanks Kevin!

Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a clear golden orange with two fingers of creamy head. Bubbles stream to the top of the glass from the laser etch. Spotted chunks of lacing. The final pour gives a nice haziness to the beer.

S: Pine, mango, and citrus hops. Not quite the hop bomb I had expected here. Very nice though - with a gentle malt in the background.

T: Wonderful crisp hops. Strong lemon zest with a lingering pine flavor. Light mango and peach also here - even though it might be the dialogue on the bottle inducing the peach distinction. Practically the perfect level of bitterness. A very faint malts balances out a little of the hops. Overall a solid and truly great IPA.

M: Medium in body and moderate carbonation. Resinous hop flavor. Extremely crisp and refreshing for the bitterness contained here.

D: Don't know if this one deserves the number 1 IPA, but it is up there. Highly drinkable and very tasty. Would love to have this one down South.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy mango orange with pocketed white foams that fades to a clinging ring at the edge of the glass that leaves sheets of lace. Nose is pineapple and skunk with a hint of other tropical fruit. Huge fresh papaya juice malts are crept up on by a hint of nettle but pineapple and lemon sorbet hops assertively take over. Hint of mint to finish.Tight tingly clove oil linger. Round, creamy, medium-full.

Straight hop bitterness comes out as it warms (?).

I was all ready to deny the hype and slam this if it deserved it. Well, it doesn't...

The most integrated IPA I've ever tasted - fruity malts meld seamlessly with citrus hops. I could drink nothing but this for a whole summer and be happy.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada imperial pint. 7% ABV, Bottled and shipped from the brewery a few weeks ago. Niiiice and fresh.

A - Poured at a tall height with vigor from my steady hand, Sculpin looks brilliant! A dense off-white foam froths up in no time and takes forever to lower but, when it reaches it's inevitable lumpy pile, thick lace coats the whole glass. The beer itself is a looker too; it shows off an almost completely clear goldenrod color. Perfection to look at.

S - The tall pour unleashes a palpable cloud of strong hop aroma into the air that's ripe with freshly cut grapefruit and pine needle with resins. A good malty backbone seems to hold up the hop nose well but is all but drowned out. The nose on this IPA would scare the pants off any non-hophead from two bar stools down.

T - Sure enough, piles of sweet malts hold up to the strong bite of the hops. Caramel and pale malts with a touch of honey lay down a foundation for juicy melon and grapefruit citrus with a sharp bite. Pine and hop resin is strong too but secondary to the fruity, grapefruit, citrusy hop flavor.

M - Sculpin is medium-full bodied and smooth going down with a sharp bitter bite to the finish. The balance and lingering flavor between the sweetness and citrusy bitterness is very nicely done.

D - It's not over-the-top in any regard which really helps Sculpin in drinkability. I've got the 22 oz bomber to myself tonight (which is good after the day I had) so I don't presume any left over [nope, none].

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Photo of garuda
4.64/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Mostly clear golden in color with a small white head, but it has decent retention and fairly good lacing down the glass.

S - Much bigger aroma from this brew on tap than the bottle. Big citrus hop profile with mangos up front, then grapefruit, orange peel, peach, and a touch of pine resin all making presence as it warms. Hints of toasted malt add some balance.

T - Follows the nose, with a bit more toasted malt presence, but still a deliciously complex hop profile.

M - Light side of a medium body, perfect medium carbonation level really helps bring out the hops. Creamy across the palate with residual stickiness from the hop oils.

D - This really shines on the CO2, lets the hop profile get a higher level of complexity. Alcohol is well hidden, I could sluck this down all night, until the 7% catches up to me.

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Photo of ebin6
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Had the very last bit available at Beachwood BBQ on Friday...couldn't have been happier.

A - Milky yellow coloring with the typical large, porous head which never leaves. Bits of hops, barley, what-have you floating around

S - You can really smell the hops well on cask. Not as sharp as on-tap, but makes up for it in the range: earthy, almost herbal notes to it

T - Again, it doesn't taste as sharp as it does on-tap, however, the same range of tastes you don't get on-tap are there

M - Almost a dryness to it. Lingers long after swallowing

D - Very impressed with how drinkable it was. I only had a small bit of it, but felt that I could have had many, many more before it would start to wear on me

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Photo of laituegonflable
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear pale amber colour, trails of bubbles up the glass leading to a very pleasant head, creamy-coloured with good retention and nice bubbly texture on top. Lace is pretty nice and clingy. Looks good.

Ooh yeah, get those hops India! Smells fresh and fruity, almost wet-hopped level, with huge pineapple, passionfruit and lemon pepper on the aroma, balanced beautifully by a nice caramel maltiness. Smell is zesty, fruity and pleasant, very nice indeed.

Taste is a very pleasant IPA palate. Hops are noticeable from the front, with notes of pine resin and lemon rind. Malt comes through in the mid-palate, mild with nice caramel notes, rich enough even to call them toffeed. Hops come back for the finish, slightly resinous but never a real harsh astringency, although they are potently bitter. Very nice, clean finish, with enough hop flavour to pack a whallop but not leave you gasping for golden syrup for balance. Yeah, in fact the finish is sweet, with some toffee malt notes, just great hoppiness as well. That is indeed a delicious palate, full of fruitiness and vegetative flavours, fresh, but sweet and balanced. Just a hint of an acerbic aftertaste drops it short of perfection.

Smooth, noticeable malty body, not sticky but thick enough, a little bit dry on the back, yeah, pretty great texture.

Overall beautifully drinkable. A tasty, tasty drop.

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Photo of LittleDon
4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on cask in a somewhat tulip shaped glass at the Stone Brewery (12 oz pour).

Dirty dishwater yellow. Not much of a head, but what there is sticks to the glass. Opaque. Resinous and piney aroma. Don't know why, and IPAs are my favorite, I'm always reminded of cat urine when I smell them (but, oddly enough, not in a bad way). Maybe too much time with my head over the litter box. Probably says too much about myself already. Piney and bitter up front. Smooth. Cask makes anything better. A tad of sweetness in the middle and on the back end. Smooth as silk. I'd have another if there wasn't so much to choose from.

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Photo of Hoops4life511
4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into pint glass. No freshness date visible, but I was told it was a brand new shipment.

Appearance - Absolutely perfect clarity in this golden sparkling beer. Quarter inch white fluffy head slowly fell to a persistent head that left amazing lacing throughout. A few streams of constant carbonation throughout the session. Overall a very pretty beer that makes you want to drink it.

Smell - Pineapple and apricot right up front. Some grassy and earthy notes follow. Very pleasant.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Taste is a continuation of the aroma, a very bright flavor up front, lots of hops flavors going on without being too harsh. Earthy and bitter dry finish is what you would expect. Thin feel without being watery, but still not all there. Nice carbonation, but maybe a bit much.

Drinkability - Very easy to drink, refreshing and not harsh, but toward the end leaves your mouth coated and unable to fully appreciate it. Not bad by far but not the best.

Overall, a very nice beer, one that I would gladly buy again. A must have if you are into IPA's or really any craft brew, but I don't know if it fully lives up to its top 20 rating.

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Photo of jsanford
4.59/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into my New Belgium globe on 5/27/10

A - Golden color, huge foamy head. Good retention & lacing.

S - Grapefruit, apricot, pineapple. Biscuit maltiness at the rear.

T - Grapefruit dominates followed by pineapple and mango. Malty sweetness and pine resin finish. Wonderfully balanced.

M - Crisp. Juicy. Medium bodied with great carbonation.

D - Refreshing and very easy drinking, particularly on a hot late spring day. 22oz disappeared quickly. Glad to see the legendary Sculpin hold up, I was very happy to have found this close to me. Excited about the 2nd bottle waiting in my fridge :)

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Photo of deapokid
3.97/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bubbly and rich gold with a trace amount of foam and moderate carbonation. Looks malty and smooth.

Scent of sweet hops, pear and apricot are at the forefront. It's a profound aroma that foreshadows big alpha hop flavor and tart citrus sweetness.

Opens with the tongue-puckering sweetness of grapefruit, followed by an aggressive, salty and bitter hop sting. Hints of buttery caramel and dough are also on display. A dry earthiness accompanies the hop blast, somewhat mellowing out this perfect storm of hop forcefulness.

The mouth is soft and a bit unassuming at first, followed by a stinging hop bite that seems to pack a bit of body and maltiness, which helps one avoid any hop-induced palate scraping.

The 7% ABV doesn't seem very far-fetched, but that's not to say that this sweet and sassy IPA couldn't be sessioned.

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Photo of david131
4.1/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- An ever so slightly hazed orange liquid with a creamy white head that has excellent retention for the style. There are some streams of carbonation making their way to the surface.

S- Orange rind and meat, caramel, and flowers. Pungent and very nicely blended.

T- Very bitter orange rind, caramel, and flowers. Tastes very fresh. A very nice example for the style.

M- A strong lasting bitterness keeps this on the dry side. The carbonation is a little high for my tastes, but everything works out in the end.

D- A very nice take on the style. If this came in six packs, you'd be all set.

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Photo of Xul
4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a clear, pale orange, capped by a frothy two finger eggshell colored head. Retention is good and leaves lacing down the glass.

S: Fresh Sculpin is one of the most beautiful smells I can think of. Tons of juicy fruits - orange, grapefruit, mango, some apricot, a bit of lemon zest - along with strong pine notes. A touch of malty sweetness shows through every once in a while but it's quickly replaced by more hops.

T: The tropical fruit notes aren't quite as dominant as they were in the nose, with a strong pine taste coming through right away. The fruits and pine trade control for most of the way through the mouth with the fruit taking on a slightly sweet character at times. Finishes with piney and grassy hops.

M: Body is a bit heavier than medium, with moderate carbonation. Very, very smooth.

D: The ABV is pretty much invisible, this drinks far too easy for such a hoppy beer.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.57/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Kickin' off IPA-athon part deux with busternuggz.

Semi-rusty gold color with a white crown that remains a thin layer throughout. Pale like I like my pale ales to be.

The nose on this beer is extraordinary. It takes about one second to know this is what beer is about. Blasting an orgy of juicy tropical fruits in your nose and all over your face. Mango. Apricot. Hints of pineapple and pine loom about.

The pine notes come out a bit more in the taste. Still, the fruity citrus pounds forward. Bitter orange, apricot, and a slight grassiness. It's medium-bodied, crisp, and dry with a refresing bitterness that is forward and delicate at the same time. Like a sexy doctor giving you a rectal exam. It's insane how they made this beer perform like this.

Loved it. Try it.

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Photo of beerwolf77
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into my pint glass the beer is clear golden yellow. Two fingers of off white head fade slowly to leave sticky lace everywhere.

The aroma is pure pine and citrus hop goodness. Grapefruit and lemons slathered in pine sap. Nothing else to smell here. That's a good thing in my book.

The flavor is pretty much a mirror of the nose. Loads of citrus and pine assult your taste buds. A modest amount of malt helps to keep this from going off the rails into unbalanced territory. Bitter mouth puckering finish.

Medium body with plenty of carbonation.

Overall a fantastic AIPA. So glad I was able to secure a few bottles of this.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.2/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer came to me thanks to sodonne1. Big thanks man!... The beer was served chilled in an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: The body of the beer is a pleasing apricot coloration. The head is a nice thick biege coloration. Thick lacing marks the passage of the beer from my glass.

Smell: A very nice aromatic combination of citrus grapefruit, lemon, lime very nice pine counternotes. A bit of malty sweetness peaks out but is swallowed up by the hops.

Taste: The aroma is delivered in the flavor. Very nice bitter hops lead the flavor. The citrus is layered and the brief sweetness is kind of like pine laced orange juice. In short this is awesome.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability: The body is light carbonation is perfect. This is a very easy to drink hoppy beer. Wish I had about a gallon of this beer.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Duvel tulip, Sculpin is a lovely light orange color. A good sized (~ 2 finger) creamy white head forms and leaves behind plenty of lace (though a little more would have garnered a 5). Sculpin smells incredible, a mega blast of peaches and juicy grapefruits. The first sips then are a little bit of a disappointment, as there's a little bit of an unwelcome bitter undertone to the citrusy flavors, that when combined with the clean hop bitterness is just too much.This issue fades as the beer warms though, so a bump up to a 4 is warranted. The medium carbonation is very fine, to the beer's credit, and the body is, for a beer with no appreciable malt presence, surprisingly full. Sculpin was a bit of a mini roller coaster ride for me, thrilled with the appearance and nose and initially underwhelmed with the taste, only to have the beer recover beautifully. As one would hope, there's no heat at all from this 7% ABV beer, a fantastic example of a hop forward IPA

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a light orange with yellow hues and a thin head that left pretty good sticky lacing.

S: grapefruits, citrus and great piney hoppy aromas. After a couple whiffs I also got hints of caramel and a good malt presence.

T: very crisp refreshing piny hop punch with grapefruit bitternes and hints of cramel with a good malt balance.

M: medium body with good carbonation that accents the flavor and a bitter crisp finish.

D: very good drinkable DIPA that deserves to be in the top 20. I'm glad I can get my hands on more

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.03/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured an orangeish-lemon with a good clarity and an impressive 4 finger plus rigid foamy head that was wallboard in coloring. The head towers in the middle breaching the glass rim with a sturdy structure that remains so for a good time only then yielding and leaving fat sticky trails for a lacing down the glass. Soft crackles and pops can be heard from the carbonation breaking the surface and head providing for both a good audio as well visual appeal.

S: The nose was sweet and fruity of strong intentions. Sweet mangos, Lemons and perhaps kiwi provide a fresh wet offering. On the trail was the faintest hints of wet grass providing subtle contrasting highlights. Its strongest moment was minutes after the pour, if it had a bit more staying power I would have had a hard time actually getting to the tasting portion. Soft dry lemon grains concludes things.

T: A smooth wet hopping mixes well with a sweet fruitiness of mangos, passion fruit and some grassy pineapple notes. Sweetly toasted grains add the perfect backbone while the hops come to show on the swallow with a dry hard offering and fade of citrusy flowers and grass. Smooth fresh wet hopping in the start concludes with a nice dry hop touch for the finish showing some complexity and layering.

M: Crisp with a medium body, hindering more towards the full end of the spectrum while providing a good tingle of carbonation. Very smooth texture with a dry grassy touch on the swallow.

D: Very drinkable, crisp hoppy ipa perfectly suited for a summer time quencher. I enjoyed this on a warm day of 85+F and it quenched the thirst quite nicely beating the heat and wetting the whistle. Get your own bomber, a limited release that is all mine.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,306 ratings.