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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,286 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7286
Reviews: 1913
rAvg: 4.41
pDev: 9.52%

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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Sculpin IPA Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,286 | Reviews: 1,913 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of JimiO


3.38/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looking forward to this tasting... although IPA's aren't my thing... this one seems to be considered one of the benchmarks

Looks great in a glass... nice head that nice and white... its' head maintains itself for quite awhile... beer is clear and golden/honey in color

Love the nose... sweet and orangey... a bit of pine... smells very fresh and clean

Sits great in the mouth but then finishes a bit too dry and hoppy for my liking... which is my personal issue with IPA's. I do like the mouth... and understand why its one of the most loved IPA's. The nose and taste are very similar... no surprises... I taste orange and a bit of honey... bitterness like a grapefruit... very clean

Very active in the mouth... carbonation is very noticeable and mad more apparent by the grapefruit bitterness in taste

Overall... I respect it and understand the great reviews... but since I am not partial to IPA's, it's hard for me to love it... but I do get why its praised

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 20:07:29 | More by JimiO
Photo of sobuf

New York

3.3/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My opinion of Sculpin? I don't know what the hype is about. In fact, I wouldn't buy it again. Especially for $16 for a 6 pack. It's actually a really good, really smooth, really flavorful beer. Until about 5-10 seconds after it goes down. Then that aweful, bitterness overcomes the mouth and has you cringing, waiting for it to pass until the next sip. But the bitterness just never leaves. It's a beer that COULD be amazing, but the bitter after-taste is completely off-putting. I love a super hoppy ale...but Im not a bitter fan. Give me fresh, springy, whole cone hops in abundance. But the ale better be complete with a fresh, crisp finish. This beer doesnt fit my bill. If you're a fan of bitter IPAs, then this beer is for you. But in my opinion, theres nothing world class about it - at all. Mye I've got used to the more malty backbones of DIPAs like Dirt Wolf, 90 minute IPA, etc. Although I'd even rank Southern Tier's IPA well ahead of this. Because its springy and hoppy, without being bitter and hard to finish. I might rate this offering slightly higher if at had a little more abv, at least I could start to feel good while choking it down. But I don't see what the hype is. It's an okay beer, but if you never had it, you wouldn't be missing much.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 18:50:34 | More by sobuf
Photo of hopflyer


4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

bottled 13351, so this is 3 months old

Pours golden honey with great clarity. Half finger head with good retention.

Aroma is tangerine at first whiff complimented with orange peel. Limited pine and barely some biscuit, bready malt.

Taste is tangerine and orange like the nose but pine and bitterness also shine thru. A little lemon. More of the Christmas tree comes thru further in as well as the malt base. Hop bomb up front but balances nicely as palate adjusts.

Light to moderate bodied with moderate to high carbonation. Pretty dry finish.

Funny I remember this carrying much more piney dankness but this bottle was much more citrus. Definitely a solid IPA. 7% abv, fairly light bodied and dry makes this a solid go to pretty much any time. Some just as good or better ones out there less than the price point though.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2014 01:00:36 | More by hopflyer
Photo of RavenForBeer


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is truly a world-class beer. If you have not had the pleasure of trying it, then you are missing out. I am looking forward to trying many of their other selections of beer that have just made it into my region.

Despite being served in a plastic go-cup, this beer is still amazing. When you live in Savannah and rarely sit at one place for very long, you must have a travel beer/roadie. Hence the plastic cup.

Even with the plastic, the lacing is beautiful and head is durable. The slightly citrusy aroma comes through as well.

I am big on mouthfeel, and the smoothness of this beer is unparalleled. I imagine that this is what separates many of the world-class beers from the rest.

Serving type: on-tap

03-11-2014 13:22:59 | More by RavenForBeer
Photo of weiserr


4.65/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had the pleasure of enjoying this beer many times and, looking back, I only wish I had reviewed it sooner. I think my palate has been altered since my first offering; an experience that probably would have resulted in a near perfect score. Make no mistake, this is a world-class AIPA.

It pours brilliant gold, bursting with fiery red highlights akin to Diane Lane in the Outsiders. The only difference is it's not lamenting with C. Thomas Howell about sunsets and underage alcohol sales. Stay Gold, Ponyboy. The last time I saw this much lace was my freshman year at a sorority house initiation. Ah, the memories.

Although the first smell was impeccable, subsequent offerings have not disappointed me in the least. This is a tropical fruit sensation; call it the Starburst of IPAs.

Taste and nose are strikingly similar, but it's so remarkably balanced that you want to drink it all night long. Can you hear me, Lionel? I can barely detect the ABV. Grapefruit bitterness, passion fruit and honey-layered donuts provide the perfect texture and consistency throughout. This is haunting me in an exceptional way.

The feel is amazing -- like resting on a Dux bed, except these luxury hops are coating your tongue, and soul. Call me a foreigner to this process, Lou Gramm, but it feels like the first time. It feels like the very first time.

Sculpin is an exceptional, upper echelon brew. Seek it out, believe the hype and be thankful.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 23:45:56 | More by weiserr
Photo of cjgiant

District of Columbia

4.18/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: clear pale yellow-orange with decent head and lacing.

S: light nose of tropical fruits, mango, papaya, as well as a little indistinguishable herbal note

T/M: quite similar to the nose, but with a dry grassy undertone. I get more mango in the taste than the nose, adding to a cane-sugar tinged beginning. Towards the end a slight lemony taste hits me, but it's fleeting. The draw on the mouth is steady throughout the taste, medium-light in nature.

O: this particular taste was not quite as good as I recalled my other tastes. I rated more on this taste, but accounted for the past (rated higher on an internal debate between 4 and 4.25, for example).

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 19:29:17 | More by cjgiant
Photo of MikeAg03


3.89/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Overall a very nice IPA and of the smooth variety. It has a nice aroma and bitterness to it. Poured into a glass with very little head. Carbonation seems nice and has a golden/orange-ish color. Overall a very solid beer, but on the pricey side. I'd consider buying again depending on the price.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 02:08:39 | More by MikeAg03
Photo of Jay43613


5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best IPA I have ever tasted. Sculpin captures the bitter that I look for in every IPA. The smell and flavor are perfect. The color adds to it. The head when you pour it does not over-flow, and there is no stale taste to it by any means. If you are looking for perfection in an IPA this beverage is for you.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2014 14:30:32 | More by Jay43613
Photo of tillmac62

South Carolina

4.51/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear golden pour, with just a touch of amber, coupled with a very nice head and long lasting lacing. The nose is a complex blend of grapefruit, mango and other sweet tropicals against a subtle spruce. Light medium body with a smooth texture. The carbonation level is a touch above normal. The outstanding flavor profile is expertly complex and follows the nose. Grapefruit leads then flows into the sweeter hop flavors. In the middle the biscuit malt comes through against a subtle spruce flavor. The finish effervesces into a grapefruit bitter tartness over a caramel sweetness. This is an outstanding complex hop flavor bomb.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 20:54:29 | More by tillmac62
Photo of SSS

Quebec (Canada)

4.74/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

S-light sweet IPA aroma
A-never left the bottle!
T-there is a nutty spicy note to the taste if this beer, almost like a smoke or porter, richness.goodbitterness with a hint of sweet.
M-good carbonation.
O- highly recommended. Very drinkable with a rich feel and full of flavour.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 20:18:07 | More by SSS
Photo of Beer4B


4.66/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

In my limited opinion, this is one of the best IPA's from the bottle that most anyone can get regularly. It is, however, priced that way so it isn't a constant feature in my fridge. There are better beers, but you can always grab of 6-er and enjoy every one.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 16:15:28 | More by Beer4B
Photo of fps_dean


4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden orange color.

The aroma of this beer is very mild, but pleasant. It smells fairly piney and fruity.

The beer itself tastes like piney hops... and grapefruit. I have had the habanero version previously, and the habaneros added their own fruity flavor but took away from the holiness of the beer itself. With the plain version of itself, the hops are a lot stronger and the flavor profile is improved (and believe me, I do love the flavor of habaneros too).

Overall this might be my favorite IPA without going into double territory and will definitely be picking it up again, although not as much as I like due to the price.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 04:53:16 | More by fps_dean
Photo of ksimons

New York

4.06/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-a clear light orange amber with two fingers worth of white head that sticks to the glass

S-pale malt backbone with citric hops and light sweet fruit

T-taste still has the pale malt backbone but the hops really comes out in the taste more. Citrus hops, lemon zest, and pine.

M-medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall a really hop forward IPA, very enjoyable, very easy to drink

Serving type: can

03-01-2014 21:54:28 | More by ksimons
Photo of TheMarkE


4.75/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Clear gold with a perfect head and good lacing. Quite a bit of carbonation.

Smell: Citrus, pine, and floral hops. Nice.

Taste: Citrus, pine, grassy malts, apricot, and toasted caramel.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slightly dry, with a surprisingly mellow bitterness in the aftertaste.

The Verdict: Delicious. One of the smoothest and well balanced IPAs I’ve ever had. I don’t know if my tongue could handle a fresh one from the brewery.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2014 00:21:19 | More by TheMarkE
Photo of keithmurray

New York

3.81/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - clear amber golden color with white head

Smell - pineapple, mango, grapefruit

Taste - mango, grapefruit, pineapple, pine, hops bitterness

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, lighter end of medium carbonation, minimal sweetness, hop bitterness at the back end

Overall - decent IPA that's worth a try

Price point - $2.25/12 oz can

Serving type: can

02-28-2014 00:19:57 | More by keithmurray
Photo of ZagZagg


4.4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz Bottle poured into tulip

A: Honey colored light amber elixir; streaming bubbles ascend to a bright white two and a half finger head that’s hanging around. Spider web style lacing hugs the inside of my tulip. Appears to have medium body – good clarity, no haze or sediment present.

S: Tropically sweet up front with mango and grapefruit notes tailing with bits of citrus that whirl into a sweet pine. Picking up a lot of creamy sweetness, peach, apricot, zest. Light flower aroma muted by more dominant esters. Tail end of the nose is remotely grassy – fresh overall nose

T: Pine needles, slightly dry, opening up into a piquant hop punch, with fresh flowers, mango, earth, pineapple juice. Not too spicy, but maybe some suppressed notes of coriander. Feels balanced enough, but the malt backbone isn’t apparent until the finish. The middle mouth is strong armed by big hops - dry hopped, the bitters are moderate at best, but this bursts with a slew of juicy fruits that battle it out with earthy grass and citrus peel, slick.

M: Medium- well bodied with pleasant carbonation. Mouth filling, almost creamy, progressing into a sugary dry after taste that has some resin; earthy mouth experience

O: Aroma is superb and taste is right with it. Juicy, fresh, sweet, delicious - If you’ve heard any hype concerning this brew, believe it. Not exactly your cheapest selection, but a fantastic treat. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2014 00:40:49 | More by ZagZagg
Photo of Franziskaner


4.06/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half inch thick of frothy white head. Light copper hue with good clarity. Nowhere as bitter as the DirtWolf I just had. The aroma is a balanced play of pine like hops and light malt backbone. Mouth is thick and sticky. The taste is a nice balance of pint like hops and light malt backbone. The bitterness is picking up as it warms. Nice!

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2014 23:57:14 | More by Franziskaner
Photo of Guess2814


4.35/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I've been up and down with this beer.. The first time I had it, it blew my mind..the second time I had it was in Vermont and it tasted very flat .. AND the third time I had it, it wasn't flat but it didn't have that nice hoppy IPA taste as the first time.. I think if you can find this beer fresh it's a top of the line beer but in my experience I was 1 for 3..

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 19:02:05 | More by Guess2814
Photo of Skendawg


4.29/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed While Drinking

A- After being poured a nice, mildy yellow, but mostly white head forms on top of a beautiful caramel body. The color is a combination of caramel, orange and gold. Absolutely Gorgeous.

S- Extremely fruity, a lot of grapefruit. Fantastic aroma. One of my friends, after one whiff, turned to me and said "That's just what beer is supposed to smell like". I agree.

T- A great IPA taste. Thick and rich without losing the fruitiness experienced in the aroma.

M- Very little carbonation, and extremely smooth. An easy ride over the taste buds and down the throat.

O- Overall a great beer. I may have to incorporate this into my top 5 beers. Great IPA.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 03:00:47 | More by Skendawg
Photo of fitzy84


4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bought a bottle at a local liquor store. This beer poured with a yellowish-gold appearance, though I noticed a little amber when I brought it up to the light. Also, the beer had a mushy, medium-sized head with patchy lacing on the side. Very rich aromas mixed with citrus flavors, like grapefruit, and plant tastes like pine and herbs. These aromas were quite good in the sense that were balanced: nothing too strong, but very noticeable. Good taste of citrus, like lemon and orange, as well as malts and hops. Loved that lingering bitterness that came with every sip. Great, crisp mouthfeel that makes this beer refreshing, while not being a watered down drink. Overall, this was one heck of an IPA!

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 02:39:25 | More by fitzy84
Photo of AFchino


4.63/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

First review on the site and first time trying this Pale Ale from Ballast Point. Very refreshing taste w/ nice citrusy aroma. Great introduction to the company and a very smooth India Pale Ale compared to others I've had. As a newer beer advocate I've definitely tried to find more and more of the site's 250 and this does not disappoint. Fully deserving of its ranking and will definitely purchase again and again.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2014 00:58:32 | More by AFchino
Photo of Niners49


4.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an amazing IPA. It pours a beautiful gold with a nice white head. Wonderful citrus flavors from the hops and a nice mouth feel. If you are a hop head you can't go wrong with this beer. The bottles and cans are filtered. I've had an unfiltered version on draft in San Diego that is superb.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 20:45:54 | More by Niners49
Photo of 1000lbgrizzly


4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Hazy amber with the fastest rising core of bubbles I've ever seen (including champagnes). Soapy head forms easily and sticks around, and to the glass. Reminds me of a rootbeer float- on my last, roughest pour, I had a kind of volcano-looking foam mountain that lasted even after my last swig.

S: Extremely expressive, tons of fruit aromas, and not just the super-citric stuff; mangoes, cantaloupe, orange, apricot, etc. Almost no pine- a plus! Balanced by background breadiness. Mmm.

T: All those fruits, no pine, malts/yeast provide balancing sweetness and a bready flavor, but don't diminish from the overall bitter finish. I'm not an IPA guy, but this bitterness is totally welcome after that refreshing array of flavors.

M: That lasting head gives this a really creamy mouthfeel, but the effervescence adds to the spicy-bitterness. Either way, it's fantastic.

O: Hands down my favorite IPA. Didn't know I don't enjoy pine from hops until this beer; their absence is very welcome! Not super harsh like other IPA's despite the respectable 70 IBU's, and I'm a fan of the unique array of fruit esters present. If I can find 6-packs (which should be more economical) this will become a go-to!

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 04:56:09 | More by 1000lbgrizzly
Photo of WunderLlama


4.66/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle poured into a glass

Translucent golden yellow pour creates a thick, white billowy foam cap. A barista would be happy with this foam.

Aroma of floral and fruits, orange and apricot. Gentle pine whisper.

Great tasting beer. Smooth start with a gentle hop bitter bite. Almost creamy. Hops on the front of the tongue.smooth throughout. Bitterness on the aftertaste but without the bite.

Medium mouthfeel, really good carbonation.

What a great beer. I gotta buy more of this one and will stock it my fridge. Excellent balance and very, very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 02:39:48 | More by WunderLlama
Photo of mtomlins

Ontario (Canada)

4.14/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a beautiful, clear, amber color to a tall, thick head, slowly settling to a creamy collar and leaving nice lacing. The aroma was big and hoppy less grapefruit and citrus to me though and more spicy, floral notes. The taste followed suite with some nice malty sweetness at first but quickly transitioning to spicy, floral hops with hints of pine and citrus rind. The finish is very dry and smacks of American bittering hops. Medium carbonation and body fit for style and keep the beer light and refreshing. Overall an excellent IPA, although much more floral and spice than the fruity citrus I was expecting from reading other descriptions (not a fault, just surprised).

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2014 20:15:51 | More by mtomlins
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 7,286 ratings.