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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,308 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 2,308
Hads: 12,498
Avg: 4.38
pDev: 22.37%
Wants: 1,375
Gots: 4,352 | FT: 46
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: 2,308 | Hads: 12,498
Photo of augustgarage
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On cask at Ballast Point night at Blue Palms in Hollywood. Served in a Ballast Point pint glass (which I got to take home :-), and subsequently in a 20oz nonic (one serving was simply not enough).

Pale gold and sunglow liquid, very hazy and rich with an off-white dense ribbon of foam forming a cap on top. Pasty lacing paints the sides of the glass as the liquid (quickly) dissipates.

Gentle aroma of lemon merangue pie, violet, lavendar, and citrus notes. A bit restrained...

Lemon, lime, very mild sugar cane, vanilla (?), though overall hops are the most prominent on the palate - a perfectly balanced variety that synergizes into more than the sum of their parts. Less bitter than many IPAs. Dry, malty finish, though apricots and mango play a role as well. Very hard to do justice to this flavor in words...

Creamy body with moderate carbonation, no astringency, and mild warming. Hard to imagine improving on this category.

Nearly impossible to put down, this is the most drinkable IPA I've ever had. I real stunner on cask...

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Photo of Jwburns75
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As far as west coast single IPAs that you can find on the shelf go, Sculpin is king. There just is not a better option. This beer has a huge citrus aroma, hops a-plenty yet still so smooth and balanced. As the glass goes down and the beer opens up a bit it just gets better and better. Had from a can today with the code 15050, so I think it means it was canned on the 50th day of 2015, so late February. Taste was superb, can't really find fault with Sculpin. This was my first IPA a bunch of years back when my buddy gave me a bomber, now it's a regular!

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Photo of Gmann
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10.24.09 Lost Review

Pours a slightly hazy pale honey color with a puffy pure white head that settles into a light cap. The aroma is of a beautiful fresh hop. Nice floral hop aroma with tropical fruit. Smells as if somebody just squeezed some hop juice in this sucker. Big fresh hop flavor with a blend of grapefruit and orange, floral, a touch of asprin in the end. Very nice hop flavor profile without any of the over the top bitterness or sweet malt. Moderate body with enough carbonation to help offset the hop flavor, thus more drinkable. Finishes only slightly bitter, which is surprising with the amount of hop flavor. This is one mighty fine AIPA. Drinks very easy for a brew with such a hop forward profile. Dang tasty.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber poured into a tulip glass

A: Pours an dark orange, amber color with a white fluffy head, lots of lacing, clear, not very carbonated, looks very good.

A: Citrus, lemon, grapefruit peel, some pine, picking up some malt, lemongrass, smells great.

T: Hit of citrus notes, grapefruit, lemon, some pine and resin in the middle, hint of malt sweetness at the end, alcohol is well hidden, finishes bitter and dry with a hint of biscuit/bread notes, grapefruit peel after taste, very tasty.

M: Medium mouthfeel, balanced carbonation, dry finish, very drinkable.

O: This is a world class beer, citrus, pine, some malt, not overly bitter or malty, very drinkable, a beer I am always willing to reach for and enjoy.

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Photo of ReelBigwigFish
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a chalice glass, Sculpin has a translucent pale golden color. The foamy white head piles up nicely at first, but recedes quickly to a moderately thick ring around the glass with some surface foam. While there is some lacing, it's definitely not the full on spider web effect that Stone IPA has.

After a good swirl, the aroma is all hop, not surprising since the beer is so pale. Fruity apricots, citrus, mango, grapefruit, as well as some bittering pine resin, pack a serious punch of hop aroma that is mouthwatering. This is seriously one of those beers that smells so good you wish you could have it as a candle or air freshener.

At first sip, Sculpin actually has a bigger malt presence than I anticipated. While not exactly "malty," there is definitely some sweet malt upfront to lay a bit of a foundation before the onslaught of hop deliciousness. The hop flavor starts out very juicy and sweet with lots of mango, apricot, pineapple, and grapefruit. Bitter and crisp grassy and pine hop finishes it out with a slightly dry finish. Even with all that bold flavor, Sculpin is remarkably light in body, extremely crisp and refreshing. Yes, many of us like our IPA's backed by a serious malt bill, but this one is truly special for packing such a punch, while maintaining the easy drinking mouthfeel of a pilsner. Not an easy feat!

It must be said that at my first sip, I thought this beer was a little watery and not all that special, but about 3 sips in, I realized how wrong I was. Not only is Sculpin IPA worthy of it's position at the top, but it's also just a regular IPA, not a DIPA. And to judge it against other IPA's truly proves how great it is.

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Photo of surfcaster
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful light golden/orange with small head and light lacing.

S: Pungent and bright, tropical fruits with layers of hops as I bury my nose in the light head

T: Hops up front and have an enjoyable sting on the tongue. A lot going on--citrus and tropical fruit notes--pine on the back end. Complex

M: On the thinner side

O: Fantastic IPA. This one is definitely a beer to have FRESH. To me it seems to make a bigger difference than some other popular IPAs. My local guy will only procure an amount he can sell fresh and then it is a wait till the distributor reloads. One of my favorites.

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Photo of SebD
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: It has a nice hazy golden/orange color to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down moderately and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of citrus, pineapple, mango, grapefruit, piney resin and some sweet bready/caramelly malts.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice tropical taste (citrus, pineapple, grapefruit), a nice piney bitterness and a sweet bready/caramelly malt balance.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a very nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with great flavors and aromas.

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Photo of zookerman182
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color is an orangish hello with a tall frothy head.
Aroma is super complex with fruity, citrus, and pine.
Very easy to drink. About medium bitterness and super flavorful.
Very sessionable ipa and one of my top 5.
Good any time of the day. Make sure it's as fresh as possible.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a dark orange with a thick white head.

smells like pure dank fruit hop. such a great smell, one of my favorite things about great IPAs.

tastes like bitter grapefruit, nice and sweet but not overpowering; has a nice hop bite as well. finishes dry, very good.

i've had this before, as well as the Grapefruit Sculpin. I like this more than the grapefruit sculpin, this has a better balance of bitter/sweet IMO. great beer, but not my favorite IPA. rating and price combined, this is still top 10 for me but not something I keep stocked up on.

for instance, a 6 pack of this (can or bottle) is $13.99 here. a 12 pack of Founders Centennial IPA is $16.99. i very much enjoy Centennial, rating is very close to this so considering price I'd go Centennial. on draft Sculpin is outstanding . one of the best IPAs, just not my top 3 favorite.

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Photo of glazeman
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A: This beer pours a golden straw color and has a 2 finger slightly off-white head that has excellent retention and excellent lacing.

S: A lot of citrus sweetness, but for some reason this smells a tad medicinal to me. In my opinion the weakest component of this otherwise stellar beer.

T: A little pine at the start, but then a ton of citrus in the middle and a nice, slightly bitter finish. The main citrus notes are pineapple, and lemons. This is really nicely balanced. I like the herby finish...a little rosemary maybe? Exactly like an IPA should be.

M: Spot on. Perfectly carbonated and wonderful medium body fell in the mouth. The taste is so great, I wish I had a little more of an aftertaste lingering around.

D: Superb. I had no problem polishing off the bomber, and could have easily had more. This is definitely a beer to search out and try if you haven't already.

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Photo of thegodfather1076
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Label artwork is very cool, nicely done, and eye catching with a nautical/fish theme. Label gives web info, a bit of brewery info, as well as an enjoy by date of 6/23/12. Neck label has Ballast Point logo as does cap.

Appearance: An aggressive pour from its 12oz brown bottle into a 16oz nonic pint led to a 2½ finger golden white head that is a bit on the light airy side atop a slightly hazy golden orange beer. Head retention was 3min 58sec before fading to a thick coating and ring with a very nice lacing.

Smell/Aroma: Nose is very tropical fruity with hints of mango, pineapple, and grapefruit. Hops are very prevalent as well as some sweet orange aroma. Nose has a nice malt backbone to it.

Flavor/Taste: Hops dominate that palette as well as grapefruit, orange, and a lemony on the front end giving way to a pine resin midpoint and a resin finish that is accompanied by a nice cracker like malt balance in the aftertaste.

MouthFeel/Drinkability: Medium bodied with a light carbonation making the very smooth with a dry finish. Very drinkable.

Overall/Comments: Sculpin is an exceptional IPA that ranks in my top 5 in the IPA style. Very well balanced while still being able to showcase the hops that make this beer so tasty and drinkable. I have also had this extremely fresh when I visited Ballast Point back in 2011. Consumed 7/29/13. Classified as an American IPA @ 7%.

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Photo of EMH73
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Starts off with a great smell of hops and fruit. Incredibly well balanced IPA, so many citrus and fruit flavors but none overwhelms. Moderate bitterness, just a terrific IPA.

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Photo of Seanem44
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Golden with a nice one finger ecru head and nice lacing.

S: Great! Apricot and sweet hops. Hints of peach. Really great smell.

T: What I expected. Top tier IPA. Simply great. I enjoyed it.

M: Same as the taste. A Symphony a flavor and refreshing.

O: Not much to say about this IPA other than it is great. Definitely one of the best I've ever had.

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Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

L: Crystal, clear yellow with a decent white head and some good lacing.

A: Peach, pine, tangerine, grapefruit, and some tropical fruit. Malt is clean, neutral and bready, and the yeast character is super clean, but maybe a little fruity. I can't tell if the fruitiness is all hops or if there are some stone-fruity esters in there..

T/M: Smooth bitterness, moves into bright citrus, peach, pine and pineapple/tropical fruit hop flavors with a clean, crisp bready malt backbone. Mouthfeel is dry but medium bodied and the carbonation is nice and crisp. Yeast profile is very clean.

Overall, this is a stellar West-Coast IPA, truly great. The hop character is unique and delicious, the malt profile is spot-on, and the result is nothing short of exceptional. World-class.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Beautiful translucent amber with an offwhite head.

S: Tons of tropical fruit, mango, papaya, pineapple, maybe passionfruit in the nose.

T: Dry, nice malt undertone, spicy citrus, floral, some tropical fruit in the finish.

M: Medium bodied, just the right amount of carbonation for an IPA.

O: An excellent IPA, made by brewers with excellent taste in hops. Great from a can, best when poured from a bottle (or maybe a fresh can).

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Photo of HopBomb515
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Deep orange with a big 3 finger white head and lots of lacing as you drink. Big citrus, mostly grapefruit notes, accentuated by peach and apricot giving this a largely fruity nose. Taste delivers, with some nice grapefruit bite, peach and mango all tied together with a sweet almost graham cracker malt bill. It finishes slightly bitter, but not nearly as much as expected. Very pleasing clean finish. Medium mouthfeel that's just spot on with carbonation. Great IPA that deserves its place toward the top.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my homeboy Petey for grabbing this from Julio's yesterday.

22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Neck stamped: SC26 AEJGJ, whatever that means.

Appearance: Hazy orange amber with fluffy bone-white head with great retention. Some chunks are present too, but not obtrusive.

Nose: Big sticky "weed" hops, dank so to speak. Pine, orange juice, oregano, thyme, granite. Some faint caramel sneaks through.

Palate: Crisp and sticky with chewy malt underneath and then WHAM-O! hops come crashing through and ride all over everything in a good way. Not overblown but very bitter and herbal. Long pleasant finish is spicy.

Notes: Really well balanced even though it's very hoppy and "dank." Not a lot of malt sweetness nor body. Awesome.

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

Kickin' off IPA-athon part deux with busternuggz.

Semi-rusty gold color with a white crown that remains a thin layer throughout. Pale like I like my pale ales to be.

The nose on this beer is extraordinary. It takes about one second to know this is what beer is about. Blasting an orgy of juicy tropical fruits in your nose and all over your face. Mango. Apricot. Hints of pineapple and pine loom about.

The pine notes come out a bit more in the taste. Still, the fruity citrus pounds forward. Bitter orange, apricot, and a slight grassiness. It's medium-bodied, crisp, and dry with a refresing bitterness that is forward and delicate at the same time. Like a sexy doctor giving you a rectal exam. It's insane how they made this beer perform like this.

Loved it. Try it.

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

HUGE thanks to torchednoodle for this brew.

22oz. brown bomber poured into an imperial pint. No dating.

A: Pours a light amber with some copper tinting and perfect clarity. A big 2+ finger ivory forms and has great retention. Great lacing throughout. The color is the only slight letdown.

S: So damn juicy. As the label suggests, plenty of peach, mango, a touch a apricot, and some more acidic lemon and grapefruit notes. Plenty of the west coast pine going on but not as oily or resinous as most are, but it fits perfectly here. Some malt sweet compliments the fruitiness and manages to attempt a balance.

T/M: Very good bitterness level. Assertive and just on the verge of puckering. More of the juicy fruits from the nose with a bit more assertive pine and resin. Malts are sweet and a touch caramel-y with some light toasted salty pine nuts in the back. The alcohol shows with just a little pop after swallowing that starts the dry and long lasting bitter finish. Body is medium light with average carbonation. Maybe a touch more carbonation to liven things up could be an improvement.

D: Tasty as all hell and ABV isn't too high for the style. This is a massive hop attack, though, especially for a single IPA. It's not too much for this hop head but just a bit too much for the style. A bit more carbonation could improve the drinkability of this hop bomb. Great beer.

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Photo of Janderson91
4.57/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite IPAs here. Last time I had this, it was my victory celebration beer in Glendale, AZ after the national championship. Thanks to stupac2 for sending it down to the beer desert in which I live. No freshness info. Enjoyed on 06/22/11.

A - Pours a wonderful pale orange, slightly hazy. A 1.5 finger white head rises and leaves great lacing. Big bubbles remain on top of the beer. Good looking stuff.

S - Wow! An aroma this good has only been achieved by Pliny, that I've come across. Grapefruity, citrusy, resiny hops. Very little malt sweetness and a hint of alcohol in the background. Smells delicious.

T - Surprisingly balanced up front. Then towards the back, it's an onslaught of hops. Bitter, juicy, citrus hops. Leaves a crisp bitterness on the tongue once it's gone. Up there with Union Jack for my favorite single IPA out there.

M - Mouthfeel is good, lively carbonation. Might like it to be a touch creamier.

O - Nothing to say about this one that hasn't already been said. It's a great beer. Seek it out.

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

Thanks be to god to PretzelCity for this trade. A bomber poured into a pint, which yields a smallish off white head of foam that all but disappeared by the time I looked again, leaving behind only a hint of bubbles which pool around the glass. The lace itself slides easily back into this vibrant, golden & crystalline beauty. When I dream of a west coast IPA it looks similar to this visage.
I forgot to mention that this is one of those bottles you open up and the room is filled with gorgeous fragrance. Dominated by tangerines and melon, all of my senses are almost overcome. Some biting citric & pine are also part of the ensemble, backed by some milk, honey & a bit of crisp biscuity malt.
T> Up front I taste a nice dose of bready sweet yeast and crisp biscuit, but it is relatively subdued until it reaches the nether regions of my mouth where it completely opens up. A supremely pleasing bitterness takes control. My tongue feels like a calf being roped up by an outlaw hop flower.
Thats not to say this beer is sloppy or disjointed. It speaks eloquently and concisely. This brew is very well put together. Biting pools of pine-like hop fluids build behind my tongue, with echoes of vanilla and sweeter flower & fruits.
minutes later the back of my mouth feels like whole hop flowers have camped out below my tonsils. The corners of my mouth are a treasure trove of weedy hop goodness. I am complete.
MF> viscous, oily, helped along by slightly above ave carbonation that I feel in the back of my throat..
D> Obviously I'm smitten. But how can I rank drinkability for an IPA at a perfect 5 when the ABV is 7%? This obviously isn't a session brew. In my mind, the perfect IPA is a bit lower in alcohol.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.57/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received today from dqderrick .... Immediately put into the freezer for a flash cooling ... this is one that I wanted to try as fresh as possible.... Thanks Derrick for the super trade!

Very pretty foamy 2 inch head leaves great lace for the entire glass.. the brew is a slightly hop hazed tangerine orange..

The nose is honestly pretty astounding... like a fruity citrus juice concoction.. lemons.. limes.. melon... yummy... I missed pineapple :-)

Wow! Tangerine and tropical fruit hoppiness from front to back on this one.. only enough pale malts to deliver the hoppy goodness .. finish reminds me of grapefruit zest..

Body is on the lighter side for the style.. but it adds nicely to the overall package.. sorta dry too.. and I appreciate it.. dangerously drinkable.. but more than one bomber and my palate would be shredded.

This is truly a fantastic IPA... Thanks again Derrick for suggesting we make this part of the package... Awesome beer that is worthy of the high grade.

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

Thank you to everyone who didn't show up to Teresa's today, so that there was still some of this left when I got there at 1:30PM. 3 more glasses poured after mine before the keg kicked.

A: Crystal clear orange color and produces about a half inch head poured into a standard outward-flared tulip. Head dissipates in the first five or so minutes, but the lacing this beer demonstrates is very nice.

S: Simcoe hops dominate the aroma, and they meld nicely with lemony notes.

T: Tons of grapefruit up front. I can also make out hints of lemon, apricot, and mango. Finish is deep and piney, with a light and wildly refreshing malt character. The hops are somewhat less intense in the mouth than the smell leads on, giving a beautifully balanced taste.

M/D: Delightfully carbonated with a light texture. The taste and complexity make this one IPA that I could drink all day long. A perfect IPA for a hot summer day, if you can get your hands on one!

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

A- Poured into an imperial pint glass, this fish pours a clear light-gold color with a white head that settles to a thick, patchy layer over the beer. Each sip leaves behind an array of web-like lacing.

S- A blast of white grapefruit and piney hops along with a myriad of tropical fruit aromas. The malt backing smells crackery and lightly grainy. This is one of the best IPA aromas I've ever encountered.

T- The initial juicy hop bite gives way to a malt backbone that again resembles grainy bread. Very clean and refreshing. The taste has that same tropical fruit undercurrent that the aroma posses. The finish is only moderately dry and leaves a flavorful lemony bitterness on the back of the tongue.

M- The beer feels medium-bodied with a slightly oily and slick texture as it moves over the palate.

D- A pure joy to drink. The 7% ABV makes this even easier to enjoy as make short work of this 22oz bottle.

One of the best IPA's on the market.

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

Huge surprise gift from a fellow BA upon moving to town.

A: Straw/Golden orange body, pretty hazy, big slightly off white head with small bubbles, ok lace, pretty good texture. Overall, this beer is good looking but too orange/hazy.

S: Orangey! Like a screwdriver. Very little malt, but it's there. Maybe a little herbal spiciness?

T: Super citrus, of course, more orange. There are other tropical fruit flavors as well, but to me, orange really dominates. I get next to no malt flavor, but there's so much depth and complexity to the hops, I'm ok with that.

M: Awesome, near perfect, but a bit of body might help. Active carbonation is great, it's very much there, but doesn't make this beer too filling/gassy.

D: Amazing.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,308 ratings.