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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,248 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 2,248
Hads: 12,153
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.43%
Wants: 1,334
Gots: 3,984 | FT: 50
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: 2,248 | Hads: 12,153
Photo of bennetj17
4.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a bright, clear, gold, topped by a thin white foam which leaves some spotty lace. The aroma carries an abundance of resiny/floral hops with loads of citrus. Some sweet malt notes lie mostly in the background.

The flavor is also very hop dominant, and I experienced perhaps the fruitiest ctirus tang possible in an IPA; lots of orange. The finish reveals a bit of dry toastiness, but it isn't quite potent enough to balance out the hops. Oh well. The bitterness doesn't seem too intense either, but it does add up after awhile. Overall a great flavor profile. Medium body, not too heavy or syrupy. The carbonation is perfect, not overpowering.

Intense, fresh hops all around in this brew. It is quite spectacular. Much easier to drink than their Dorado Double. Don't you just love California? (801 characters)

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

Tastes are citrus hops and awesomely more citrus hops, maltiness, floral and unfloral hops, fishy yeast, peppery flavors -- aspicy backbone-- a little heat, dry sugar, canned soups, garlic, flower stems, rye, pepperoni, losanges and aged, bittersweet sweetness. (261 characters)

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

A - Pours a straw yellow with a hint of orange color with two finger white head that fades rather quickly.

S - Lots of citrus right up front. Grapefruit, lemon, orange, tons of tropical fruit in this one!

T - Clean citrus hops smack you right in the face right away. A subtle malt backbone shows up just enough to keep this one is check. Flavors of pineapple, orange, grapefruit, mango.

M - Medium body with slightly dry finish. Perfect for an IPA.

O - Wow, what can I say? This is truly a world class IPA and one that is definitely worth seeking out and/or trading for. Perfect example of a west coast IPA. One that all others to be judged against. Wonderful job Ballast Point! (682 characters)

Photo of pmccallum86
4.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bubbly golden body with an enormous off white thick bubbly head. This beer leaves a lot of lacing as it subsides, very nice.

Smells very hoppy, tons of pine notes with even more grapefruit. A very fruity aroma, lots of pear, grapefruit, peach and lemon. Terrific nose, hard to improve on this aroma.

Big and hoppy! Just how I enjoy IPAs, tons of hop bitterness and variety. Lots of grapefruit, pine, lemon, pear, mango and just overall terrific hop profile. Not much malt noticeable, just a slight bready backbone. Very well done, near perfection.

Mouthfeel is light and bubbly, carbonation is on the higher end of the spectrum for an IPA, but I like it.

Drinkability is very good, pleasure on the palate, I wish I could drink it all day long. (758 characters)

Photo of dbossman
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Cloudy and orangish-yellow hue with a thin cream colored head; beautiful lacing

S: Very fruity aromatics from the hops: mango, lemon rind, pineapple, and grapefruit; also a fairly obvious but pleasant alcohol burn

T: Wow, really tropical: mango and pineapple; such a nice sweet tropical hoppiness sitting on top of a grainy malt backbone; way more tropical hops than the nose would indicate

F: A bit carbonated but it actually works pretty well here; good overall mouth feel

D: A really damn good IPA; alcohol (present in the aroma) is masked so well by the tropical fruitiness from the hops (598 characters)

Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA 7.0%

A: This pours with much pageantry, small bubbles, foam cascading like a 1930’s musical and not a single atonal note audible. It has a deep orange character that initially you expect a DIPA, then Sculpin gets all hood and shows you how single IPAs roll. You look deep into the swirling tiny bubbles and moderate lacing, you look back at the receipt reading $5.99; did you just discover the Marvin Gardens of beer? Yes; yes you just did. It has nice lacing and foam, at this price you can sling them against the wall and test all kinds of nonsense.

S: There’s a pronounce grapefruit and this beer, fresh, is the king of citrus notes. I cannot say enough good things about this beer when it is extremely fresh and it swings its deep drying citrus ague all over the place. Oh I am sorry, not a fan of drying deep juice and tart acidity? Well best move on, back to the east coast CAPTAIN BALANCE.

T: Speaking of Captain Balance, aside from the fact that, he’s our hero, gonna take IPAs down to zero; he is not present here. Here we have a beer that from the get go imparts a huge floral note, then cloisters back into juicy citrus notes and then- that’s it. You wait for more repeated blows to the head and chest but it subsides, like a cool tropical storm. Then you want more.

M: This rolls in like a low tide, nice maltiness at first that expands, releases its botanical droppings, then retreats. You aren’t left sitting around what happened, more likely you are considering how and when someone drank your 3 bombers of Sculpin. The next section of this coping phase is determining who left a pizza pocket in the microwave and determining where your pants are. We have all been there.

D: Oh, wait a second, let me hand a syllabus to captain obvious who showed up late. WHOSE CREDENTIALS I SERIOUSLY DOUBT. Well, captain obvious, this is a drinkable beer. The scary part is that this beer is like the Chinese military in that it is exceptionally capable and numerous beyond belief. This beer is everywhere and sought after universally. I don’t know what else to say about this beyond that it is the best SINGLE IPA, that I have ever had. Some may argue its ABV and OG and PLATOS place it in the DIPA range but, those people are all home brewers/virgins, so we will relegate them to iCarly and continue to review beers like adults do.

Narrative: The fish appeared slowly at first. They were reported within the streams of Michigan, then amongst the river beds within southern Kentucky. Soon all were pulling record “catches” and consuming huge game accordingly. What they did not know that the time was that the evolution of the punnet square had out evolved even gregor mendel himself. Put simply, this breed of fish had learned to feed on wild hop beds in the beds of nearly any algae, and offer itself up to sacrifice. The intense neurotoxins within the hypothalamus of the fish made the consumer feel as though they had done something exceptional. The fishing increased, as did the intense hop concentration. “I write to you now from a concentrated bunked in Utah, one of the only territories protected from hops, but, I smell the amazing grapefruit hops, maybe just a single bi-” AUDIO L0G DISC0nTINUED, ver 2.34t5 (3,271 characters)

Photo of aepetzold
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a light orange color. Nice, white head, very few carbonation bubbles.

Smell: Very fresh, hops, orange, tangerine.

Taste: Citrus, grapefruit, and some pine from the hops. Small amount of malt at the end...little bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Great. Malt and bitterness at end really round out the citrus.

Overall: Could easily drink a lot of these. I'd love to try it fresher as I think the citrus would really stand out. I'm partial to citrus/floral/tropical IPAs and while this one was a little pinier (could be the freshness), I could drink a bunch of this.

Serving type: bottle (597 characters)

Photo of Johnny_Muir
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Just a wonderful beer. Poured in a pint glass. 4/5 clear, Olympic bronze in color, thick foamy chunky cloud like head melts into your mouth. Light but full bodied and softly fruity. Amazing. Bottle art is spectacular too on the latest run of bottles. (250 characters)

Photo of humuloner22
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a good beer. I love the fact that you can get it in a can.

Appearance: Nice IPA color, what you should expect from such a beer.

Smell: Nice piney, citrus zest aroma, sweet but has the perfect balance.

Taste: This beer is great out of a can, its taste is similar to the aroma profile, floral, piney, citrus hop flavor. It was really good when really cold, as it warmed it was not as good to me anyway. It seemed to lack something but I cannot figure out exactly what.

Overall: This is a great beer. I think there are better but I would buy it again, just to see if something was off in this batch, not that there really was anything that was "off", it just perceived it that way this time. (702 characters)

Photo of TVolt1
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: great golden clarity. Poured with a small amount of perfect white head.

S: Very welcoming caramel malty smell followed by a good amount of citrus hops. Small amounts of lemon smell along with a little bit of brown sugar.

T: Great bitter taste but not a bad finish like some bitter beers. Wonderful citrusy hops to kick it off with a luttle grapefruit. The strong maltiness and caramel i smelled are barely there but just enough to match perfectly with the citrus.

M: good moutfeel. Highly carbed.

O: Overall an excellent beer. Havent been this excited about a bitter beer since Abrasive and my husbands home brew masterpieces. Even my burp tastes good! (659 characters)

Photo of Axnjxn
4.58/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh can into a tulip.

Pours a beautiful copper color iwth an inch thick head with some amazing lacing. Smell is BIG on hops and malts; you can tell this beer is going to rock your world before you even sip it. The taste is not big on hops at all, but extremely balanced, just how i like my IPAs. good sweet malts to balance out the hops makes this beer go down super easy and you will enjoy every second of it. no alcohol detectable. medium bodied with medium carbonation.

overall a world class IPA. and now they brew it in cans too? amazing. (546 characters)

Photo of nickd717
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh bottle shared by bring - thanks for "bring"ing this! Upon opening the bottle, it's obvious that this beer is legit. Awesome, intense floral hops waft from the bottle. This absolutely dominated Alpine Pure Hoppiness in a side-by-side, and that's saying something.

A - Pours bright golden-amber with a well-formed white head and good lacing.

S - Aroma is floral hops, tropical fruit, and sweet malt. Really intense and awesome.

T - Sweet pale/caramel malt, floral hops, as well as some grapefruit notes and a little pine. Also a hint of pineapple. Incredibly well-balanced and good.

M - Body medium for the style with nice prickly carbonation and lingering fresh hops on the finish, lasting for a long time.

D - Very high. I couldn't get enough of this stuff. (769 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Old Grove Ballast Point location on 3/18/10. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a fairly clear shiny copper, with a thin covering of bright-white frothy head. This stays rich and creamy for the most part, leaving some thick foamy lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is just chock full of juicy grapefruit, mango, and pineapple notes (with the emphasis on the grapefruit), floral hops, and spice. Bready caramel malts work with some of the tropical fruits to give the nose a bit of a sweet edge. Just so fresh and hoppy smelling. Mmmm....

The taste is aggressive up front with a firm dose of hops, laying a ton of spice and pine on the roof of the mouth. That succulant blend of tropical fruits and toasted caramel helps drench the mouth with a sticky and juicy blend of sweetness. Just great balance between the two extremes. Spice and resins linger for a good long bit in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a prickly creaminess to it that expands on the palate. This stays very smooth in the mouth overall, laying just the right amount of a sharp prickle on the tongue that really brings the bitterness of the hops out. And did I mention that the ABV is pretty non-existent? Yeah, that's pretty awesome too..

Just a classic American IPA here from Ballast Point, that combine massive but well balanced West Coast hop flavors into a wonderfully smooth and easydrinking package (for the size of it at least!). Just awesome stuff here as usual, that tasted the best that it could here on draft at the source. (1,541 characters)

Photo of theghost3
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, orange-gold with a 3-finger, frothy head. Lots of lacing.

The smell is outstanding--apricot, peach & citrusy hops. Best aroma of any IPA I've had. The taste is a nice combination of citrus, passion fruit, pineapple, mango, pepper & bitter hops. Mouthfeel is crisp & clean but seems to have some thickness to it.

This is an insanely drinkable IPA. The smell & taste are complex & the mouthfeel is pleasant. (421 characters)

Photo of jsanford
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into my New Belgium globe on 5/27/10

A - Golden color, huge foamy head. Good retention & lacing.

S - Grapefruit, apricot, pineapple. Biscuit maltiness at the rear.

T - Grapefruit dominates followed by pineapple and mango. Malty sweetness and pine resin finish. Wonderfully balanced.

M - Crisp. Juicy. Medium bodied with great carbonation.

D - Refreshing and very easy drinking, particularly on a hot late spring day. 22oz disappeared quickly. Glad to see the legendary Sculpin hold up, I was very happy to have found this close to me. Excited about the 2nd bottle waiting in my fridge :) (611 characters)

Photo of Immortale25
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Dogfish signature snifter. No readable freshness date.

A- Pours a somewhat hazy, glowing copper color with a 1/2 inch off-white head that retains before slipping down to an 1/8 inch ring around the edge of the glass with a healthy amount of surface foam. Nice slivers of lacing.

S- A very apprehensive yet enjoyable citrusy hop aroma that brings to mind wet grass, pineapple and grapefruit.

T- Sublimely citrusy hop flavor bringing with it notes of more pineapple, lemon and some spice. Very mellow and laid back unlike the assertive hop bombs you usually come across that are highly rated. Not much of a malt backbone, but there's just enough to offset the heavyish hop flavor.

M- Slightly oily with a semi-light body and medium carbonation. Also a bit tingly and dry.

O- What a great beer. At first I had trouble realizing why it was so highly revered but, now that I've had it a few times, I see that it's all in the subtleties just like Bell's Two-Hearted. (979 characters)

Photo of TaySuth
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very nice cloudy, golden-amber color with a two finger head and plenty of lacing.

Smell: One of the best smelling beers out there. Lots of hop aroma with grapefruit, mango, and orange. So very inviting...

Taste: Great bitterness is immediately apparent. Nice grain flavor but the fruity hops and the most prominent attribute of this beer. Tart mango with grapefruit following. Absolutely delicious.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is well balanced with the flavor and the body. Very nice.

Overall: One of the best beers I have had. It is always worth picking up a six-pack when it becomes available. (610 characters)

Photo of gameface23
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber

A: A very clean looking, golden beer. There was a small head, but the retention was somewhat lacking.

S: Insane. Tropical fruits abounded. Apricot, pineapple, peach, mango, orange, grapefruit and lemon. The smell was pungent with hop oil aroma.

T: Tropical fruits once again with a hefty dose of bitterness, but it finishes without an abrasive astringency.

M: Light to medium bodied. This beer is meant to showcase hops and it certainly achieves that.

D: If it weren't for the $10/bomber price tag and difficulty in finding this beer, I would drink this all the time. (587 characters)

Photo of alcstradamus
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A--Pours a pale copper color, very bubbly with about two fingers of head using a standard pour in a pint glass. Pretty good lacing left behind.

S--Delicious citrus hops. Let's see....orange, mango, white grapes, pineapple. If they ever made a hop cologne, it would probably smell pretty close to this.

T--The citrus profile remains in the taste, there is also a bit of a floral/pine resin to it as it washes down. There is a solid balance to this, I thought the hops would overwhelm based on the nose but that turns out not to be the case. This is very crisp and inviting. At first I was underwhelmed by the taste, but I think most of that can be attributed to the high expectations that the aroma caused me to have. The more I drank, the more I enjoyed it.

M--Medium bodied for a single IPA, finishes fairly clean

D--Great beer, I love the hop profile. Glad I was able to get a couple of bottles (900 characters)

Photo of TCMike
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Produced a two finger, white head. Some lacing. Beer color was a translucent gold.

Aroma is of citrus, pineapple, and light biscuit.

Taste was similar, but with some hop bitterness. The taste is very well balanced with the bitterness though. It has an upper medium carbonation, and a medium mouth-feel.

Very good beer! (321 characters)

Photo of MrSnrub
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was surprised to see this beer on the BA top 100, as I've found Ballast Point's other offerings to be good but unexceptional. I finally located a bomber of Sculpin at Fat Head's in Pittsburgh last weekend and cracked it open last night.

Believe the hype! This beer has a beautiful nose of fresh hops; notes of citrus, melon, and mango are prominent. It feels pleasantly creamy on the palate and absolutely explodes with flavor. Sculpin strikes an excellent balance between hops and malt and is a damn near perfect IPA. As I resisted the powerful urge to guzzle it, I observed that it got better and better as it warmed up. Next time I get a bottle of Sculpin I won't even bother putting it in the fridge.

Ballast Point must be the Don McLean of brewing: they expend all their creative energy on one brilliant beer, leaving none for the rest. (845 characters)

Photo of HeyItsChili
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured from a growler into a pint glass. Pours crystal clear gold with a tint of amber and a big, fluffy white head that slumps a bit and sticks around.

S - Smells fantastic. Apricot and grapefruit are potent, sweet, and sugary with and underlying hop bite.

T - Crisp hops tasting like a number of citrus fruits, a fair amount of bitterness, and a nice white pepper spice thrown in there.

M - Extremely light, crisp, and refreshing.

D - Extremely drinkable, the best IPA I've ever had. (493 characters)

Photo of willyc
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer pretty fresh from GBX in greenville, SC. Looks grest inch and a half of head pop and heavy lace. Smells like heaven, if heaven smells like mango and grapefruit. Good caramel malt with citrus hops, this is the kind of IPA I try a bunch of other IPA's for. Well balanced. Medium carbonation and just the right amount of boozey taste, I like a little. This one is a keeper. I wish I had a sixth barrel in my fridge at all times, paycheck willing. Good Day. (469 characters)

Photo of kevinv
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into my pint glass. Obviously no bottle dating. C'mon, Ballast Point, please start dating your stuff.

A - Pours a deep-golden, light-orange body which is slightly hazy. Ginormous creamy head forms. It looks so fluffy. Moderate, sticky lacing clings to the sides of my glass.

S - Very citrusy and tropical. Loaded with orange peel, tangerines, mangoes, and pine. Very inviting smell. No presence of alcohol in the nose. Easily in my top 3 IPA's when it comes to smell alone.

T - Ah, what we're all here for. The taste follows the nose. Big tropical fruit notes. Oranges and tangerines are on the forefront with a grapefruit-like bitterness that follows. Mild hop bitterness and light caramel malt notes. Again, no presence of alcohol in the taste.

M - The full body is one of the things that I love most about this brew. I can't recall having any other IPA's that feel this "heavy", which I really enjoy. Well carbonated.

O - Overall, I really enjoy Sculpin. Unfortunately, it's been a hit or miss with me due to the bottles not having a freshness date. There's no telling how long it's been on the shelf and I've ended up with a few bottles well past their prime. When it's fresh, Sculpin is completely deserving of the high ratings that it's getting here. (1,280 characters)

Photo of tomakeanend
4.59/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Excellent brew from down San Diego way. Ballast Point's Sculpin IPA is a very light kind of American IPA, with the hops balanced well with lots of fruit and citrus. The finished product is very drinkable and smooth, with a broad, albeit, indecipherable pallet. Pricey, but excellent. (283 characters)

Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,248 ratings.