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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,346 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,346
Hads: 12,833
Avg: 4.38
pDev: 22.6%
Wants: 1,400
Gots: 4,676 | FT: 48
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 2,346 | Hads: 12,833
Photo of Axic10
4.67/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark golden color with a finger of foam.

Smell: True definition of a West Coast IPA. Full of citrus aroma, pineapple, grapefruit, mango and tangerine. Slight sting of hops and a tiny bit of malty sweetness.

Taste: Taste mirrors the nose. Very strong grapefruit, pineapple and mango flavors. Smooth malty aftertaste finishes this beer off.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth and very crisp and clean.

Drinkability: This is probably the best regular IPA I've ever come across. I tend to order this whenever I see it on draft and pick up some bottles when it is available here in Philly, which is quite often.

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Photo of FickleBeast
4.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a pilsner glass. Reviewed on my Droid.

Pour is a nice clear orange yellow color with a finger of foam that dissipates quickly. The aroma is potent - a delightful cocktail of tropical fruity hops. Can't wait to try it...

Fantastic. Overwhelmingly hoppy up front, with mango and citrus hop flavor assaulting your palate. That is followed by a quick kiss of malty sweetness before a bitter wave of hops finishes thing out. Bitterness lingers but is not harsh.

The tropical hop flavors really shine here. I'll have to remember to look up which varieties were used. This beer certainly lives up to its high scores.

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

Poured from a bomber into a Chimay goblet. Looking forward to this...

A- pours a beautiful gold with a paper thin white head that quickly fades. It does leave some very nice lacing, though.

S- awesome, heavily citric hops. Slight air of bitterness involved as well...mostly sweetness, but it doesn't smell overwhelming. Very nice.

T- oh yes, this is it. I get oranges and grapefruits to start, with a slightly piney bite at the end. The IBUs are kicking me pretty hard, and I've got a nice bitter aftertaste in my mouth. Love it.

M- great feel. Has a lightness to it I wouldn't expect, but still has that heaviness from the hop character. Excellent.

D- very drinkable, but those IBUs can kick your ass after each sip if you're not expecting it. One hell of an IPA

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Photo of John_M
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a growler at Capone's the other day and figured one more review of this excellent beer would do it no harm.

Sculpin pours a prototypical peachy orange color with very good head retention and lacing (obtained the growler fill on Sunday and opened it on Tuesday). The nose is just typical sculpin perfection and immediately lets you know that you're in the presence of IPA royalty. I get an outrageous and intense aroma profile of dank earth, light tropical fruit flavors, marijuana, black pepper and tobacco. This is just an altogether fine smelling IPA, and is the standard by which all IPA's should be judged. The flavor profile generally replicates the nose, though it's not quite as intense or complex. In any event, this is a West Coast IPA all the way, with the modest sweet malt flavor completely dominated by the lovely hoppy bitterness. The finish in this excellent IPA is dry, long and bitter. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but there's a mouthwatering quality that one sees all too infrequently. The hoppy bitterness gives way to a crisp, refreshing finish. Drinkabiliy is unparalled... the beer is light and refreshing, with the alcohol barely an afterthought. I'm not sure I can think of another IPA where the alcohol is as well integrated into the flavor profile as it is with this outstanding beer.

Not much more to say really. Clearly, this is one of the best IPA's on the planet and is always an absolute treat to find fresh and on tap. Even poured from a 2 day old growler, this beer is/was just terrific. Yummm!!!

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Photo of ZeroSignal
4.03/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle, no date

A - Pours a hazy light copper with a billowing white head that settles to a thin layer and laces nicely

S - Piney and citric hops

T&M - Citrus hops prevelant; orange, summer fruits, grapefruit, with a light pine resin background. Hops quickly coat the tongue and then nicely wash away with the finish. Malt presence is felt in balancing out the hops.

D - Highly drinkable; the flavors all blend nicely although 7% is slightly on the high side, I think I'll happily and relatively quickly finish this 22. I wouldn't characterize this as a "hop bomb", and I appreciate the subtlety of the flavors here.

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Photo of philbe311
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Capone's...

A - Three fingers of tightly compact off-white head with a batter like top turning rocky as it begins to settle... Impressive retention... Once the head finally subisdes, a reach full inviting lacing is left in its place... A limited amount of slow paced carbonation swirls and rises throughout... A pale orange honey color... Some lace clings to the sides of the glass...

S - The aroma is intoxicating and truly something special... Pineapple... Mango... Kiwi... Lime... Hints of lemon... A modest pine hoppiness... Crisp outdoor mountain air...

T - Sweet tropical fruits... Ripe peach... Some piney hops... A subtle malt backbone keeps this incredibly well balance...

M - Luscious is the first word that comes to mind... It's incredibly smooth and silky... This one goes done very easily... Slight carbonation on the tongue to begin... Medium bodied... A tad on the dry side... A slight bitterness lingers in the back of the throat... Very smooth all the way around...

D - A world class IPA both on draft and in the bottle... Smooth... Easy drinking sip after sip...

I was excited to try this one on draft and it's still a damn tasty brew but I seem to enjoy this one out of the bottle a little bit more...

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Photo of jeffjeff1
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I picked this up at work yesterday as soon as I figured out that we had it in.
Poured into my Sam Adams glass

Appearance- golden amber color, great head, wonderful lacing

Smell- beautiful, fruity hop aroma

Taste- hops, delicious

Mouthfeel- medium bodied

Drinkability- This one was awesome. I loved it. It was so delicious.

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Photo of phillybeer7779
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Duvel oversized tulip glass. Golden appearance with about a half inch of head. Citrus hops smell that carries over into the taste. Not the biggest hop bomb I've ever had, but very drinkable. Wonderful beer completely deserving of its ranking as a top IPA.

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

Poured into a tulip pint: Deep gold body, transparent but hazy with moderate nucleation. Three fingers of glistening, off-white, lumpy, bubblebath head. Leaves big rings of lacing.

Smells of grapefruit zest, like squeezing the rind & having the bursts of essence come out. Very fresh smell. Other fruity smells, kinda peachy. Slight biscuity undertone, but just enough to give some scaffolding for the hops. Very nice.

Flavor is good -- again the grapefruit & peach, a little lemon, some leafiness like tea or tobacco. And again, just enough malt to back it up without it becoming sweet. What's really impressive is that the hop character is pretty assertive but totally drinkable -- it doesn't become overbearing or aggressive, doesn't turn into a bitter-bomb, but is right with you the whole time. Ends crisply, with the flavor resting gently on your palate. Excellent balance.

Feels very smooth & dry, medium-bodied. This has to be one of the easiest-drinking IPAs I've had, I like having a strongly hoppy beer I don't have to wrestle with. Good show.

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

A: Decent head with some minor lacing, medium straw in color, extremely transparent - 4.00, S: Quite pungent and loads of pink grapefruit and pine, lemon zest and tropical fruits on the nose, mildly brash countered with a slight floral aroma, a wonderful aromatic American IPA - 4.50, T: Defined hop bitterness that lingers on the tongue, slightly grassy, grapefruit pith and pine, malt is present but hides comfortably behind all the hops, clean alcohol flavors - 4.50, M: Medium body, faintly dry - 4.00, D: This is one extremely drinkable IPA, extremely enjoyable and one I'd gladly drink again - 4.50

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

This beer immediately developed a much larger head than I'm used to from an IPA. Be careful pouring this one. Tightly packed bubbles underneath a cloud-like cover that has some serious staying power. The beer itself remains active underneath it with ample carbonation in the amber glow of the beer. Sticky and splotchy lace lines the sides of the glass.

Smells like a top-notch IPA from the West Coast...probably because it is a top-notch IPA from the West Coast. It smells as if it's going to taste like Ruination.

Okay, it does taste like Ruination at first, but it doesn't have as quite as strong of a resinous aftertaste despite the strong Cascade hops presence. I also find it to be more balanced with the malty caramel and vanilla flavors on the tongue. Still, the grapefruit of the hops dominates the taste as it dominates the smell.

Even though the aftertaste is better controlled for a Cascade hops-heavy brew, it's still there. The body is good and lighter than expected from the full-flavor.

These go down nicely. The 7% abv is hardly noticeable so finish one 22 ouncer and you may not be able to open another. Now I know what all the hub bub is about.

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Photo of IdrinkGas
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A:Orange copper color, almost no head

S:Floral hops, not much else but thats OK with me. I love the way this beer smells!

T:Tastes like it smells. Floral hops, some citrus

M:Lightly carbonated

D:One of the most drinkable beers I've ever had.

I've had this beer from a growler and it was even better.
Almost 2 years later and this is still one a my favorite Ipas.

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Photo of plaid75
4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at The Chip Shop, Brooklyn, NYC.

Poured a medium copper hue with a two finger foamy white head. There was good twtention and lacing.

The ell featured a sharp herbal hop and juicy orange.

The taste consisted of a multi-tiered hop that started herbal and finished with elements of grapefruit and orange. A good grainy malt backbone detected as well.

The mouthfeel was toward the fuller end of the style.

Overall a tasty and complex hop bomb.

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

22oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

A: Pours an orange-golden with a fluffy white head that reduced into a thick dense film leaving some streaks of sticky lacing down the glass.
S: Fresh hops smell piney and citrusy. Big ruby grapefruit notes. Also hints of lemon zest and peach.
T: Very fruity yet not super sweet. Light notes of pale malt shine through the citrus hops. Large grapefruit and peach taste just like the nose. Aftertaste is lemon zesty, piney and bitter.
M: Body is light, maybe a tad too thin, but the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, and the alcohol is hidden completely. Bitterness is modest and comfortable and the finish is crisp, fresh and refreshing.
D: This beer has a phenomenal smell and taste, and it also light, crisp and refreshing. Closer to a DIPA than a regular one. Definitely one of my favorite IPA's.

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Photo of thisisxxmyIPA
3.83/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Appearance is extremely exceptional. It's pitch perfect clarity has me thinking that it may not be naturally carbonated. Pours a thick rocky white head that dissipates slowly. Beautiful apricot color. Lacing is decent.

S - Great hoppy goodness. Smells of tropical and citrusy fruits. Crisp with a sweet maltiness.

T - Good. Unfortunately not as impressive as the aroma. Sort of leaves something to be desired. The fruitiness is far harder to pick up in the flavors. Maltiness also far thinner than I was expecting from the aroma. A good IPA, but I've had better.

M - Pretty straightforward. Not watery, but not creamy or mouthfilling. Average.

D - Actually a very drinkable IPA coming in at 7%. I'd like to thank tbadiuk for the great trades again. You've got some Allagash coming your way!

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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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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,346 ratings.