Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

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2,226 Reviews
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Reviews: 2,226
Hads: 12,005
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.43%
Wants: 1,319
Gots: 3,825 | FT: 49
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
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Reviews: 2,226 | Hads: 12,005
Photo of Yeah_IPA
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Gold/Copper/Inviting

Smell - Sweet/biscuit/floral

Taste - Rich/Strong/Hops/Pine

Mouthfeel - Crisp, seltzer

Very enjoyable beer.
Almost like a meal drinking this. (179 characters)

Photo of Beertsipper
3.9/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Can. Had this on tap and it wasn't as impressive. Good bitterness. Oily yet dry. Grapefruit notes with nectarine. Average but very drinkable. Won't buy again due to the big price tag. Available IPA's similar to Sculpin in my area for $5 less per six pack. That's something you can't deny, especially if you have local IPA's that have similar taste profiles with comparable abv. (377 characters)

Photo of Veeblefetzer
4.46/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had a six pack of bottles, purchased in San Clemente. Very nice IPA. Citrus smells, lovely color. Nice hop taste with overtones of grapefruit. Very nicely balanced IPA. (171 characters)

Photo of bareju
3.84/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bomber. Very nice floral and citrus nose. Taste is lightly sweet malts followed by light citrus and floral hops, and are then overwhelmed by hoppy piney bitterness. Pretty full body for an IPA, and a good bit of carb. This drinks more like a DIPA, and I'm not a big fan of bitter piney hops in my beer. Nicely balanced, but not my favorite take on an IPA. I would love to try it on tap to see how the hop profile differs. Similar to torpedo from what I remember, although maybe a bit more complex. (498 characters)

Photo of blackett511
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Good lord. I first had a Sculpin IPA about two years back. Ballast Point has made one of the better IPAs I've ever had. A little heavier than comparitive IPAs but worth it for the ABV and myriad of tastes. The body is much lighter than you'd expect; caramel or burnished bronze, the aroma is fruity and pleasant. Carbonation isnt too high so the head--even on a bad pour--is pretty low. (386 characters)

Photo of J30wang
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drunk this straight from the bottle, so unsure what the liquid looks like. Can't say much about how it pours or how the head is, so i'm just going to skip right to smell.

The smell is remarkable. I am new to this drinking beer as an art craft instead of an alcoholic beverage, so did not smell it before I took a sip. But after I had finished the bottle, I took the time to give the bottle lip a few good whiffs--boy was it floral. It's not a light smell; reminds me of honey all thick and syrupy.

Your typical hoppy sip upon first drink. Reminded me of the Sierra Nevada Torpedo, but where it differs is what lingers on the palate after. It's very sweet! A good thick, sweetness that's more floral than citrusy (is it supposed to be citrusy?). Torpedo has got a more bitter/malty aftertaste, which is refreshing. This is a good beer, but will feel like too much 3/4 bottles in because it is so decadent. You won't realize at first, because the sweetness takes a while to sink in, though I can definitely see why many would be a huge fan of this.

It is not a light beer, and also not very carbonated. This might be because I let it sit for a while before I had popped it open to drink it. Realized that this beer was also on tap at the bar I visited later. I should probably give this beer a try again, from a draft pour--hopefully then I'll get a better idea at what Ballast is trying to achieve with this beer. I liked it very much, but there is a time and place for this kind of beer--probably better enjoyed in cooler weather. When it's hot out I still prefer my lighter, wheat beer/pale ales. (1,602 characters)

Photo of DoctorZombies
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Lite amber, off white head. Hoppy citrus nose. Hoppy lemon and stone fruit (apricot) flavors. Medium lite mouthfeel. Overall excellent easy drinking well balanced IPA. (167 characters)

Photo of RenzoD
3.35/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Yeah it's alright. Looks pretty thin. Not too much of a head. Aroma is amazing. Taste...well...More of a sipper. Drink too big of a swig and it tastes like cough syrup. I think it's a decent IPA and I'm glad I tried it but I probably won't have it again. Now Big Eye IPA, that one is killer. (291 characters)

Photo of Jacobob10
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Amber color with a fluffy white head. Massive citrus and tropical fruit aroma. Light caramel malts keep the balance towards the hops. Medium bodied. A light, fruity, juicy, and bitter IPA.

I remember the first Sculpin I ever had was 4-5 years ago on tap at DBDG in NYC. It blew me away then and has been one of my favorite IPAs to this day. (341 characters)

Photo of Beerds
4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Long sought after and scored some for my birthday. Well worth the wait (for fresh) and the price, $15 a 6 pack. Hard to drink others having this one. (151 characters)

Photo of radiopenguin
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

velvety mouthfeel, healthy lacing. Huge citrus aroma with a warmer finish. Taste is as close to palate perfect for me. Lives up to the 13.99 price tag. (154 characters)

Photo of EMV
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at the Main Street pub in Bally, PA - poured into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a deep clear amber with thick creamy white head. Great retention.

S: Citrusy hops on the nose, somewhat floral. Malts also detectable.

T/F: This is a great tasting IPA. Not as hopped up as an Imperial IPA, but a nice citrus hop backbone... a bit resinous, and good balance with the sweet malts. Very smooth and drinkable, with moderate carbonation.

O: Phenomenal session IPA, also great with a meal and as noted by many others this is a superb representation of the style. (572 characters)

Photo of Hoppity1
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured my first Sculpin from a 22 Oz bottle into a hotel 10 Oz plastic cup. It was wonderful. It is even better with real glassware! Excellent beer. (150 characters)

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found this at the local liquor store--very happy to see they've distributed into my neck of the woods. The bottling date states it was produced a little over 2 months ago. Poured right from a 12 oz glass in the fridge into a pint glass.

L: Pours a beautiful warm amber color with an inch of white head that falls to a film and ring after a few minutes and leaves considerable cling on the glass. Extremely clear, with moderate visible carbonation.

S: Big bouquet of citrus and herbal hops. Nice balance of brightness and earthiness. There's also definitely a floral aspect to this one. Some sweet and bready malt notes in the mix, as well.

T: Sweet and bready malts at the outset, with a suggestion of rye in the midst. The hops immediately open up, with a charge of herbal flavor and the citrus taking just a bit of a back seat. Some resinous pine notes are present in the middle, with the malt underside continuing to make its presence felt. The back might be my favorite part of this taste: it continues to bring those herbal and piney/earthy hop flavors in a very smooth balance with the malt. Just a suggestion of clear alcohol in the mix. The aftertaste is hoppy bitter, but in no way overpoweringly so. Dee-lightful.

F: Medium-bodied, but perhaps on the lighter side of what I was expecting with a beer of this ABV. It's smooth, creamy, crisp, and bitter in turns. While it brings the bitter, it doesn't feel overtly chewy/sticky/syrupy on the palate. Very nice, and very easy to put away.

O: I tried the Grapefruit Sculpin before this one, and I'm definitely impressed by both offerings from Ballast Point. Sometimes you come across a beer that has "well-crafted" written all over it, and this is certainly one of those times. I will be seeking out more of this beer in the very near future. (1,804 characters)

Photo of JustShutUpStupid
4.9/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Spent a day in San Diego and found a place that served Sculpin. So when I got home I did a comparison between Sculpin and Racer 5 (a regular). Sculpin is clearer on pour, better foam action that lasts a long time. Sculpin has a more distinct hops smell and taste. Racer 5 is more full bodied - malty. Both not far apart. At 14.95 a 12 pack, you can't beat Racer 5. The little fish would be the catch of the day if the price came down without cutting quality. (459 characters)

Photo of krbrevard
4.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this from Beer Run in Charlottesville, VA. From what I gather, it was pretty fresh.

A: On its cross country quest, tons of carbonation remain. Nice half inch head, golden copper color.
S: Wow- very floral. Some citrus and pine as well. Could possibly be the best i've smelled on a beer.
T: Very nice foretaste, not overpowering. Back end has all the components of the smell and i'm left with a subtle piney and bitterness which i've grown to love in this style of beer. No Alcohol taste whatsoever.
M: Very smooth, crisp, carbonation is very refreshing.
O: I am very impressed with BP. Had Big Eye a few years ago and definitely enjoyed it. The next time i'm in SD i will be coming to the brewery for sure! (720 characters)

Photo of SmashAdams
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Smelled great soon as I opened the bottle. Strong hop flavor with some citrus and solid bitterness. Really tasty and one of the best smelling beers I've had. For me this is the model for an IPA. yb (197 characters)

Photo of drmeto
4.01/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

-pours a clear amber with a big foamy off white head
-great head retension
-high carbonation visible
-huge grapefruit,orange,pine resin,peaches and lemon
-grapefruit,orange zest,resin-y,onions with a slight nutty finish
-medium carbonation,light-medium body
I expected more fruitiness and the onion note was off-putting.
Still a pretty good IPA (359 characters)

Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pure transparent golden in color. NIce frothy head. Very hoppy aroma jumps out of the glass. Citrusy, resiny, fine hop smell.

Wow. The hoppy bite from this ipa is wicked. Citrus-rind bitter hops continue to sting away and turn your tongue over well after the sip. This is an intense, high quality IPA.

It would be difficult for me to call this anything other than world-class. (384 characters)

Photo of MissSmisje
4.21/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: pretty Amber-orange with a fluffy head that dissipates into a thin layer. S: hoppy peach and lemon a little apricot. T: same as the nose, with some citrus peel and pith. Pleasant lingering bitterness. Tasty. (210 characters)

Photo of EggsBenny
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An awesome beer. King of the readily available IPAs, possibly of all readily available beers, in Connecticut. Floral-y and Citrus-y as opposed to malty and spicy (like Founders Centennial or Dogfish 90min). Very refreshing and crushable in my opinion. I work at a liquor store with a great beet selection and its tough for me not to buy this every time.

If you like this and are looking for similar things try check out DC Brau's The Corruption or Finch's Hardcore Chimera. (478 characters)

Photo of Maryobeerian
4.19/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Light honey color, clear but pours out of a 12oz bottle with virtually no head. Nice, effervescent mouth feel without too much fizz. Slight mango, pleasant smell. Taste is smooth. well blended, starting with citrus and then a clean dry finish. No flaws here and very nice but not especially interesting. I would happily drink again but at almost twice the price of some other IPAs I enjoy, will only do so when I am feeling flush. (430 characters)

Photo of dleigh
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I love the fact that this has gotten to be shelf beer. Some fresh Sculpin is always nice. A classic IPA. Back in '12, some friends and I had blind IPA taste testing, which included Pliny, and Sculpin won. (204 characters)

Photo of highTempo
3.69/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

I had this in a pint glass during a 'tap takeover' at one of the craft brewer conference events.

The look is solid - a fairly short (3mm) white head that dissipated pretty quickly. The body is very clear, darker-than-mid yellow with a bit of amber.

Smells great -- big and lots of pine.

The taste falls surprisingly flat for me. There's a lot of very flat bitterness to this one and really almost nothing else. The flavor seems to completely loose the piney-hop in the aroma. I get very little malt. Balance is missing in this to me.

Good active, feel. (563 characters)

Photo of uncleotis
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this both on draft and in the bottle, and I just don't get the hype. It's good and I'd never turn one down if offered to me, but I must be missing something, as everyone else seems to absolutely love this beer.

Update: 5th time is a charm? Had this again, this time after just finishing a Cigar City Maduro, and the Sculpin was great. I guess under the right conditions this is amazing, but in my experience it's been tough to taste this beer at its best. (468 characters)

Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,226 ratings.