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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,303 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,303
Hads: 12,476
Avg: 4.38
pDev: 22.37%
Wants: 1,374
Gots: 4,339 | FT: 47
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: 2,303 | Hads: 12,476
Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a surprisingly light, but very bright golden colour, with a huge and robust three fingers of frothy cream-coloured foam. Lacing makes some extremely intricate patterns down the glass. The bright colour actually wins me over as I'm looking at it, and the lacing is so gorgeous I might have to take some erotic photography of it.

Oh, the nose is just wonderful. This is why people say things like "Sculpin has a wonderful nose". Big fresh fruity aromas - green apple peel, peach, apricot jam, rubbed lemons. Such gorgeously realised hop characters that must have been a labour of love to get right. Absolutely divine.

Taste is also brilliant. Crisp with fresh hops, which fade to a single point, leaving a clean finish, but just a counterbalance to the sweet fruit characters which still linger, ripe and fresh. So amazingly crisp, drinkable and cleansing. Absolutely nothing off. Everything is so well contained it's as though the brewers went through with a tiny pair of scissors and clipped the flavour profile to the most tiny and exact specifications.

This is, as many people before me have said, an exceptional beer. It is never an extreme beer, but it is an excruciatingly meticulous production of an IPA. Wow - this is exactly, exactly what I want from my IPA; fresh, flavoursome, clean, crisp, drinkable - and I'm so pleased I've found it.

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Photo of regspeir
4.44/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had this beer more than a few times but never written a review. This one is based on a 22 0z. bottle. Poured a light golden amber with an ample two-finger head which dissapted into a white covering fairly quickly. Lacing was on the lighter side but lasted. Nose is a wonderful collection of orange and mango, some pine and floral hops. Taste starts with a some sweetness and citrus and then quickly folds into a pleasantly dry and mildly bitterness. There is some alcohol warming at the end as well. Feel is medium to light and oily. This is a very refreshing beer you must try - IF it's fresh. Highly recommended and near the top of my favs.

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Photo of mmtroop1218
4.2/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- goldeny straw appearance, cloudy, not to long of ahead retention,

S- the smell is what gets the rise out of me with this beer. smells awesome, big smell of hops with a touch of fruit, cant quite put my finger on it.

T - crisp and clean hops, and more hops, thin and tasty

M - nice bite cause of the hops, i think it feels thin in the mouth and finishes clean with you looking for more. gets better with every sip.

D- if i could find this more readily it would be in my fridge on the reg!!!!

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Photo of Wisconsinality
4.22/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into SA perfect pint.
Thanks to beerwolf77 for ordering a case of this and being generous enough to share.

A- Pours a crystal clear golden with a slight orange tint to it. After a good pour, it yields a nice finger and a half worth of head that sticks around for a while and leaves spotty lacing.

S- A big burst of crisp hops. Plenty of citrus of hops and maybe even a little orange and pineapple as well. A little bit of a bready finish rounds this one out nicely.

T- Like the nose, big, crisp hops. There is a little more pine in here but still has some lemon and orange. The breadiness in the nose becomes a little more apparent in the taste.

M- There is an initial bite on the front of the tongue but that is it. A semi-dry finish that begs you to take another drink.

D- The hop bite isn't as major as some IPA's so it doesn't wreck the palate. That makes the drinkibility high. A great all around beer that I am glad was finally made available to me.

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Photo of antoines15
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

again, thanks to BigBRob for this one

A: looks like an IPA

S: smells like an IPA, grapefruit, peach, and hops

T: Hops and very delicious. I can definitely see why this is rated so high

M: sorta thick at first but then smooth, very good

D: could easily drink more than my share of this, highly recommended IPA

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After hunting for many months, this one finally became available in West Springfield, MA. So, of course, I had to snatch one up. Given that it's in the top 100 beers right now, a $10 price tag seemed like a great deal.

Poured into my pint glass, this beer produced a one finger head atop a clear yellow body. Over time, this subsided to a thin layer, and left lacing on the glass.

Aroma was a blast of strong fruity hops, mainly grapefruit, but also hints of lemon and peach. Underneath was some bready malt, but there was no doubt that this one is all about the hops.

The fruitiness did not carry through to the taste... but that's not a bad thing. Initially, I got a fine dose of pine hops and hop resins, which was followed by bready malt and a little bit of caramel. Well balanced, and not overpowering.

Mouthfeel was nothing short of amazing. Despite the hop loading, it was surprisingly light and dry. Nowhere near as heavy as one might expect. Not heavily carbonated, either.

Drinkability is truly exceptional. This went down easy, and each sip left me wanting more.

Without a doubt, this is one of the best IPAs I have had. It easily ranks with 90 Minute IPA, which until tonight was my unquestionable favorite. Now... now, I would say it's a tie.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a hazy orangey color ale with a large frothy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of citrus hops with deep caramel malt backbone is quite enjoyable. Taste is also dominated by loads of citrus hops with some floral undertones though no grapefruit notes and a deep and solid caramel malt backbone with balanced sweetness level. Body is full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well done with great balance between malt and hops.

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Photo of Shumista
3.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber and shared with friends.

Pours clear yellow gold with a white head. Pretty light color for an IPA. Smell is fairly muted, citrusy hops is all I really get. Taste is citrusy hops and a strongly bready malt finish. Very interesting finish for an IPA, instead of lingering bitterness there is lingering bready malt. I actually have remarkably little to say about Sculpin, considering how highly it has been rated. It's a very drinkable, mild IPA, beyond that I don't see how this ended up where it is. Certainly good, but to quote Jim Carey "I've had better".

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Photo of beachbum1975
4.2/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Perry's Liquors and shared with newtonty.

Pours as a pale ale generally does. Mildly cloudy pale in color with a creamy white head. Decent lacing.

I get citrus, apricot and mango in the nose as the bottle label suggests.

The bitterness of this is much less then I was expecting... Overall, I thought this would be a "bigger" IPA. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed it. Very smooth, creamy and enjoyable.

I can understand the craze for this one.

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

A - beautiful golden pour with a finger head. A quarter inch remains throughout with light lacing.

S - I could smell this all day - there was one smell I had trouble picking out, but after reading the bottle, MANGO. So many other tropical fruits are present though, lime, grapefruit, mandarin oranges.

T - Much of the fruit you smell is present, very fruity and citrusy. Mounds of lemon, grapefruit, mango, tangerine, and plenty of grass. The hop presence is very light and mellow with a firm bitter finish. The malt is coming across as a light, slightly nutty white bread or cracker.

M - perfect carbonation and thin to medium mouthfeel is creating a creamy mouthfeel, very nice.

D - Really refreshing beer, I could drink this all night.

I drank this at a west coast ipa tasting last night and this was the favorite amongst beers like PtE and Pure Hoppiness. Very good...

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Photo of wedgie9
3.68/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted from bomber bottle. Pours a clear, pale gold with a medium white head that dissipates quickly. Nose is hoppy with some malt and some tropical fruits. This is somewhat malty on the front of the palate with a stone fruit sweetness on the mid-palate. The finish is bitter hops. Overall, this is a very solid single IPA.

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Photo of Lerxst
3.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After much waiting, I'm finally getting to try the legendary Sculpin!

A-Pours a clear golden/amber with a 1/4" white head. Fair retention, but leaves plenty of sticky lace.

S-Not as strong as I thought it would be, but its very pleasant. A plethora of fruits-grapefruit, pineapple, orange, peach, lemon. Some floral hops.

T-Follows the nose. Grapefruit, pineapple, lemon. A bit of biscuity malt. A biting pine resin bitter back end.

M-On the light side of medium. It works with the taste and nose of the beer. A bit of a sting from the carb bite, but it too works.

D-Goes down very easily. Highly drinkable.

Overall, a very pleasant and enjoyable beer, but it didn't blow me away.

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Photo of klikger
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber poured into standard pint glass

A - Lighter shade of amber than many IPAs; no head and not much lacing.

S - Red grapefruit and a touch of pine

T - A little bit light and malty on the front end, this tastes more or less like a balanced APA for the first few seconds. Then, in an instant, hops assault the back of the tongue and the roof of the mouth as if one were chewing non-chewable vitamin C tabs, ending with a memorable bitter aftertaste. Relatively simple, yet profound at once.

M - Clean, crisp, and refreshing with quite a bit of carb (not a bad thing)

D - The more I drink, the more I like. I wish this came in six packs, as I'd be happy to down three in a row. Two bombers at $7+ a pop...not so much.

This is a great beer. I was hoping for something out of the ordinary, and that's precisely what I got. The Midwest is where it's at and has many quality IPAs of its own, but Sculpin is another reason to retain just a bit of jealousy toward the west coast.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Father's Office in Culver City, CA.

A - Pours a clear honey color with a 1/2 inch head that fades to a very small cap. There were rings of lacing going down the glass on this beer.

S - Smells of delicious citrusy hops and summery peaches and mangoes.

T - Bitter citrus zest/peel with a peach/mango aftertaste.

M - Good carbonation and the hops leave an oily coating in the mouth.

D - Very solid and very tasty IPA. I will look for more of this one for sure.

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Photo of Yoonisaykul
4.11/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

My first ballast point.

A- Hazy dark gold topped with dog slobber.

S- Marmelade wrapped in pine. Smells great. Seems fresh.

T- All sorts of tropical fruitiness, peach. Pine. Bitter bubblegum aftertaste. Sounds like a good IPA right.

M- Soft with medium carbonation. Dry finish. Bitterness is kind of numbing.

D- Very good. Just enough bitterness to keep you wanting more.

Very happy to have tried it. A good beer I could drink all the time but wouldn't really seek it out.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.87/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. Big thanks to afausser for this one.

4.5 A: Hazy yellow orange color. Two fingers of thick creamy off-white head. Average retention for most of the head, but the last 1/8 inch or so sticks around for a long time. Tons of uniform lacing down the whole glass.

5.0 S: Wow! This isn't the strongest smelling DIPA I've had (it's up there), but it is the most harmonious mixture of citrus I've ever experienced. Pineapple and mango are the most intense, followed by orange, tangerine, and grapefruit. Touch of pine underneath with some floral hops in there as well.

3.5 T: The taste is a bit disappointing after the nose. Bitterness is there, but there isn't nearly as much fruitiness to balance it out. Still, there is some pineapple and some lemon. There's more pine and grapefruit than in the nose.

3.0 M: Lighter medium body, but it strangely lays heavy on the tongue. Could be a lot creamier. I'd also like a heavier body. Good moderate carbonation.

3.5 D: Pretty good, but one of the reason I really like DIPAs are for the awesome creamy mouthfeels. Still, I'm glad this comes to Pittsburgh from time to time.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a stemmed glass.

The color is a clear orange/gold with two or three fingers of foamy white head and some thick lacing.

The smell is pretty floral hops with some funky citrus flavor. This has a nice west coast IPA feel and I am impressed already.

The taste is pretty sweet and pretty bitter but with a fruity citrus flavor that does give off a bit of zing. Pretty good spiky flavor that does poke with a bitterness that is not surprising but fun. Some tropical fruit I can't name brings you to a slapped back fruity flavor.

The feel of this beer is a pretty smooth beer. It goes down pretty darn smooth but does leave it's mark on your mouth as it bitters the palate with some nice flavor.

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

22oz bomber poured into a standard pint

A slightly hazy orange body with a fluffy, thick yellow infused cap. Great head retention with thick gobs of lace sticking everywhere. Little streams of bubbles pushing north.

Loads of tropical fruit, especially mango. Initially, I only got bright, juicy orange and lemon peel, but as it got a little warmer, peach, and white grapefruit were easily detectable.

Tropical fruits all over the flavor profile too. Mangoes, oranges, peach and grapefruit. Equal parts bitter and sweet and just downright delicious. The malt base is sweet and light, reminiscent of sugar cookies. The hops are really front and center here, and the sweetness of the malt plays great with the tropical fruit.

The body is smooth and lush. The bitterness in the finish isn't overbearing, but it makes its presence known. Given that, the drinkability score goes up. This might be the best hoppy, clean, somewhat balanced, drinkable IPA out there. The hops really shine on this one.

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

Ive been waiting for this beer for a long time. I made a trip to Pittsburgh and brought back two bottles. This is a review from our second bottle.

A- Wonderful looking, bright orange beer that is pretty clear. The head is nearly what I would call huge. The retention and lacing are even more impressing.

S- Lovely smell. So far this is beer is living up to the hype. This is leaving me very excited to try a sip. The smell is nearly all tropical fruits. Thats really how I love my IPAs. Loads of pineapple, tangerines, apricots, peaches and some grapefruit. The hops arent totally one dimensional though. They also bring some pine resin to the aroma.

T- This tastes very very good, dont get me wrong. But the hype, here like so many other beers, is a bit too high. The appearance and smell really built this up to be amazing, and it is very very good, but not top notch.
Still plenty of delicious pineapple, apricot, tangerine/orange and lemon-lime with a more piney finish.

M- Obviously and thankfully not a super heavy beer. When I bought this beer I really wanted a nice, nearly sessionable, lighter beer. I am nearly rewarded here. It might be a bit heavier than I wanted but it is in no way a thick or oppressing beer.

D- OK, I could totally have more than one bomber of this. The alcohol is a tad high, I really wish it fell into the session ale limits of 5%.

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

thanks again pastradul
poured from bomber into Spiegelau tulip

A - nice almost see through golden wheat color, fair amount of white head, a little splotchy lacing

S - lemon, peach, a little menthol/mint in the back

T - more bitter than sweet - grapefruit, lemon; sweet only is found mid way like some caramelized citrus fruit (mango, pineapple), great dry, prickly aftertaste

M - great carbonation - keeps the head going throughout; light side of medium bodied

D - great warm weather drink, didnt doubt this beer at all, will continue seeking this out whenever i can

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

Poured into my SA glass, a goldish/orange color with about one finger of head, with good lacing. The aroma given off was of tropical fruits, but to my taste, it was grapefruit that stood out the most. Crisp and clean, very easy to drink, well balanced. I like this beer. I've bought two bombers, will be going back for more....

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Photo of organicbrewer
3.65/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Hazy gold with a large eggshell head.

S-Peach and pine. Very light strawberry.

T-More peach with citrus. Big bitterness. Bordering on harsh. Bready malt is almost hidden behind the hops.

M-Medium dry. Medium carbonation. No alcohol heat.

D-Nice beer. The previous bottle I had (a month or so ago) seemed to have more flavor/aroma. Maybe this bottle is showing its age.

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Photo of colts9016
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I got this in a recent BIF from boralyl, thank you so very much. I have been wanting to try this for a while. Poured into my NN glass at 41 degrees.

Appearance: a half finger white head that is foamy and bubbly with good retention. The color of the beer is a medium amber color. The clarity is clear to brilliant. There is some a small amount of carbonation.

Nose: A rich ripe floral, grapefruit, orange, lemon, peaches, apricots, and pine. There is a good amount of fruity esters in the nose. The malt is vibrant toasty, yeasty, bready and some phenols. The nose keeps changing with every sniff, awesome.

Taste: The rich nose follow through to the taste. The ripe hop flavor is bouncing all over my palate. There is grapefruit, orange, lemon, apricots, pine, and juniper. The malt is rigid, toasty, yeasty, and some bready notes. There is some phenols and solvent characters.

The mouth feel is dry, astringent, carbonated and abrasive.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium and the finish is full. This is a very good IPA, damn near perfect. I am so very glad that I got to dink it, I just need a few more in the fridge. Thanks boralyl, once again for getting me this.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A very clear IPA, nicely golden, little bit of lacing after a two finger head.

S - A sweeter IPA, appeal is in the citrus and sweet aspects of the hop profile, slightly grapefruit with some less bitter fruits in there as well.

T - Mostly citrusy with grapefruit being the one that sticks out most. Some floral hops come in on the backend and a nicely bitter finish that is not overpowering.

M - Medium bodied, nice carbonation, almost perfectly suited ot the taste.

D - Nicely drinkable, if it were a little lighter would score higher on that aspect, but not like I'm having a problem getting this down. Very good beer.

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Photo of sitarist
4.89/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to whitebricke for this one!

Pours a clear, golden honey color with hints of orange. About an inch of head falls to a ring and patches with some pretty decent lacing.

Smells sweet and fruity. Tropical fruits, pear, and apricots. Almost smells candy like. It tickles my nose, and begs me to take a taste.

Flavors match the nose with grapefruit added. Its like a tropical fruit salad with chunks of grapefruit. Bitter but not overly so. Peppery.

Its on the lighter side of medium bodied. Crisp and clean with a slight astringency. Its a little warm on the tongue.

Another great IPA from the west-coast. This beer is inviting, well balanced, crisp, and has great flavors; each sip deserves another.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,303 ratings.