Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company
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Ratings: 8,892 | Reviews: 1,996 | Display Reviews Only:
4.14/5 rDev -6.1%
Re-reviewing after having a pretty different experience from the first time I tried this. My old review (and scores) are listed below for science. The difference in experience can be chalked up to one of two things: vessel and/or freshness. The first review was a 22 oz bomber that was likely about two months old. This time around, I had it out of the can marked with a Julian canning date that translates to 3/6/2014, so less than a month old. Oh, I also poured it into a Speigelau IPA glass this time, so I suppose that could have had an effect as well.
Appearance - The color and translucency remains about the same--apricot and orange peel colored with lemon flesh highlights. However, this time around there is a bit less haze going on. I can't help but wonder if that's the result of being a month fresher or the vessel. The head is different as well, this time a towering three finger head with moderate retention that leaves pocking as it dissipates and sticky lacing that leaves moderate webbing around the sides of the glass.
Smell - The same tropical fruits are present as the last time around: pineapple and mango, as well as the balancing presence of cracker-like pale malt, but this time around, the citrus component--with both grapefruit pith and lemon zest--is much more forward, giving the aroma a pop that I don't remember it having before. It practically climbs out of the glass towards my nose. Definitely have to increase the score for aroma.
Taste - I will say this--while the smell seemed to have suffered with time, the taste of this IPA held up quite well. That part seems to degrade much more gracefully than the aroma. Big notes of ripe mango and grapefruit flesh as well as some more herbal grassiness to provide some depth alongside the tropical and citric fruit notes. As before, the grain element is pretty well hidden until it warms up a little bit, at which point there is a subtle bready component that provides a bit of backbone to the otherwise pungent fruitiness.
Mouthfeel - This may be a function of the more engulfing aroma, but it feels like it drinks a bit juicier than I remember. Carbonation also seems a bit more active, which is perhaps not a surprise, given that cans are known to have less CO2 seepage than bottles, but it's possible that's in my head. Not sure if it's actually a detectable difference.
Overall, an IPA that benefits greatly with freshness. Especially in the smell. In spite of previously saying I wouldn't likely get this beer again, when I came across it in cans, my curiosity got the better of me, and I was rewarded with a very fresh sixer for my troubles. Given the huge improvement in my experience, I had no choice but to update my review. I look forward to finishing the other cans.
Enjoyed on 9/13/2013 out of a brown 22 oz bomber marked clearly with an "best by" date of 11/9/2013. I remember reading somewhere that Ballast Point uses a 120-day lead time on their freshness dating, so best guess, this was bottled in mid-July. Poured into a 16 oz nonic style tumbler.
Appearance (4.25) - A gorgeous and prototypical IPA, with a hazy but translucent body the color of apricot and orange peel, with highlights the color of lemon flesh. The light behind it really makes for a refreshing-looking beer. The body is topped by a one-finger head with lots of medium-sized suds that slowly burst, leaving pocking. Retention is low-to-moderate, and the lacing is silky looking, but clings well.
Smell (3.75) - Dominated by tropical fruits--pineapple, mango, some faint bits of grapefruit, and an almost hidden element of the grain bill peeks through, very faint, like lightly toasted white bread. Upon subsequent inhalations, I think I can pick out some lemon zest as well, but it's very fleeting. Very enticing, but I wish it was a little more intoxicating and aromatic. Seems like I'm having to work a tad to get all the characteristics--perhaps because we're at about the two-month mark for this beer? Hard to say without a super-fresh version to compare.
Taste (4.0)- Very quaffable IPA, especially for one hiding a 7% ABV. The mango is predominant here, with bitterness, like grapefruit rind and even some hint of young garden greens balances out with the tropical fruitiness. Lemon zest is a little more obvious here than with the smell. And the malt becomes a bit more detectable with temperature increase.
Mouthfeel (4.0) - A tad on the juicy side, with a light body and carbonation shading on the low side of moderate. Clean, dry finish.
Overall (3.96), a very tasty IPA, but I was expecting to be blown away based on what I've heard about this beer. If it distributed to my area, I would likely grab it from time to time for a change-up, but since it's a bit of a hassle to get my hands on, I probably won't be going out of my way to procure more any time soon.
03-31-2014 05:51:16 | More by LambicPentameter
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 8,892 ratings.