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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,280 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 2,280
Hads: 12,309
Avg: 4.39
pDev: 22.32%
Wants: 1,358
Gots: 4,153 | 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: 2,280 | Hads: 12,309
Photo of Shooter1960
3.41/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into a tulip glass. poured an orange color with about a half inch of white foam. The smell was not noticeable. The beer did not have a particularly notable taste or mouth feel. The beer did leave a lacing on the glass. Overall I was disappointed. Was really looking forward to this since I found the strong hoppy flavor of Big Eye to be an incredibly enjoyable beer. I won't be buying Sculpin again buy will continue to try Balladt Point based on my experience with Big Eye.

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Photo of Augustiner719
3.43/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass:

First off this was a little dissapointing to me as i had been anticipating this being tremendous. I had a flower power prior to this and the flower power outshined this guy.

Pours a crystal clear, amber orange color with a big fluffy head and leaves soapy residue lacing. Tastes a touch flat to me, has a big hop bitterness with a lacking malt backbone, typical west coast style. Really this is a hoppy IPA, but its lacking balance. Mouthfeel is off as its too flat for me, dense bubbles leave the palate battered with the austere hop characteristics. drinkability is high on this as its got a realatively moderate ABV and would be nice on a hot summer day. not the best IPA i have ever had but still worthy by all means. not worth the 9.99 price tag though.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
3.44/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22-ounce brown glass bottle poured into a tulip glass. Served at approximately 40-45 degrees F.

Pours a beautiful deep golden hue, strikingly clear and with a fat frothy cap of white foam that leisurely settles to a thick crown that holds firmly to the walls of the glass, leaving behind a nice residue of lattice-like lacing.

After such a spectacular start, the nose fails to meet the promise that the looks seem to hold. A bit of pine, a touch of grapefruit, a hint of apricot and mango and the faintest biscuit -- but all of it subdued and boring.

Medium-bodied with a light-to-moderate carbonation, the feel is fine, but the flavors are just as subdued as the olfactory glands suggest. A touch of sweetish, slightly biscuity malt opens up to a palate that, despite touches of mango and papaya and swirls of grapefruit peel and flesh, is largely masked by an overriding harsh hop bitterness that is pervasive and extremely drying, almost puckering in nature. It dominates all, leaving behind a finish that is dryer than dust, leaving behind a lingering hint of bitter grapefruit pith.

For those interested in extreme bitterness or hyper-West Coast-style IPAs, this would likely hit the spot. Sadly, though, all of the greatness I've heard about this IPA is just not there, and that includes descriptions filled with rich fruity characteristics that, at least to this palate, simply do not exist to the extent that others have claimed. Perhaps this is a different beast when fresh, but right now it strikes me as just that -- a beast, and a bitter one at that. If you're looking for extreme bitterness in your brews, then by all means, this is sure to hit the spot. But if you seek nuance or big, bold flavor, look elsewhere.

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Photo of JimiO
3.45/5  rDev -21.4%
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

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Photo of JamesMN
3.45/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoy by date 9/27/13.

Appearance: Light honey golden with great clarity. Thin off-white head.

Aroma: Big blast of orangey citrus and caramel malt.

Taste: Immidiate hop bitterness with a slight onion/earthy character (its less apparent later). There is, however, some nice pineapple and tropical fruit notes hidden under the unfavorable hop flavor. The bitterness is nice probably around 80 IBUs and the 7% ABV seems just about right considering the balance that the caramel malt is able to strike with the heavy hopping in this beer. A nice juicy quality that makes it go down real smooth. The flavor is definitely getting better as I get further into the beer. Started too earthy and is becoming more citrusy. Despite the strong bitterness in the taste, the aftertaste is quite calm.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body and almost creamy in its smoothness. Good drinkability.

Final Thoughts: I'm a hop head and IPAs are my go-to style but I find myself really dissapointed with this one. Was room temperature when I bought it and don't know how long ago it was bottled but expected better. Would I drink it again? Yes, I'll try to find it on-tap.

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Photo of sentomaster
3.47/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap poured into a pint glass.

Bright and clear golden wheat pour with a one finger smooth head.

S- huge whiffs of pine and grapefruit. Grassy, earthy pine and all sorts of pink grapefruit. Hoppy indeed, no sweetness to be found.

T/M- follows the nose pretty darn close. Tons of pine and grapefruitey hops running the gamut from slightly floral and sweet, to earthy and bitter. It opens up and reveals a touch of lemon rind and tropical fruit. Really an IPA lovers IPA. Tough to find any sweetness in here. there's a hint of cracker like malt going on, but that's pushing it. I'm not a hophead so I really need more yin to this yang. It's not crazy bitter, but it really lacks any malt backbone.

O- Nice hopmonster if that's your bag, but that's just not my bag. It needs more balance than this.

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Photo of Bravak
3.5/5  rDev -20.3%

Seemed sorta oxydized, but was disappointed by the lack of substance compared to the outrageous price I paid. For the $$$, way better options locally.

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Photo of BillBabbitt
3.5/5  rDev -20.3%

I know this a very highly rated IPA, but I am not a fan. I have tried this beer on tap and out of a bottle. It pours a beautiful golden color with a rich creamy head , but I find the aftertaste a bit harsh.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.5/5  rDev -20.3%

A:pretty foamy head, rich tangerine color
S: a rich, fruity boquet, subtle hint of bitterness in the nose
T: bitterness is present but not overwhelming, sweet and fruity as the nose suggests, tangerine, a little bit of orange
M:creamy, silky at points
O: very enjoyable, a good, fun refreshing beer, there's nothing mindblowing here, nor should there be, it's not overly complex but as stated before it's a good solid palatable beer, a good entry point for IPAs due to it's relatively low bitterness

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Photo of thetomG
3.5/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sipping on this one as I type... form a bomber (obtained from foppa78 at DLD - thanks bro!) into my Dogfish Head signature glass.

Pours a mostly clear golden color with a nice fluffy white head. Aroma is solid but doesn't really blow me away. I'm picking up a bitter citrus almost slightly lemon flavor. Bubbly carbonation rules the palate at first with a more gentle smoothness on the finish.

Overall I have to say I was a bit disappointed by this. No doubt it is a great representation of the style, but I just didn't love it as much as I was hoping I would.

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Photo of JohnnyMc
3.5/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First beer from Ballast Point.

Pours out a pretty clear, orange with yellow and a 1 finger white head.

Smells of citrus fruits and a slight hint of piney hops.

The taste is pretty standard. There are notes of grapefruit and orange with barely any taste from the malt and a nice dry finish that's pretty bitter. The body is a bit thin and the hops aren't overpowering in the least.

Not a bad beer, but not as hoppy as I was hoping for. Would like to try more from this brewery.

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Photo of Nerudamann
3.5/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look - golden color, clear, with good carbonation and about two fingers worth of off-white fluffy foam that dissipates slowly.

Smell - lovely hop aroma. A hint of the mango is present as well.

Taste and Mouthfeel - I don't taste much of the "sting", but the hoppy taste is certainly there. There is a bit of a bite toward the end though. Only a little bit of the mango or orange is noticeable. The texture is pretty well balanced, but leans more toward the watery side.

Overall - not a bad brew. Love the hoppiness of it, although it's not terribly perplexing.

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Photo of neurobot01
3.52/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

First review, umpteenth beer.

Poured from 22oz bomber into pint glass, roughly 2 weeks after bottle stamp.

-Appearance: pretty nice deep orange/golden color, very little head, decent carbonation.
-Aroma: lots of citrus, with some earthy undertones.
-Taste: some citrus, though less than the nose suggests; lots of onion notes (and I'm not prone to onion--I don't get it on Enjoy By, for instance). Taste seemingly doesn't linger at all: feels very hollow, almost watery.
-Feel: pretty slick, nice prickly carbonation, but suffers from the same watery affliction as the taste.
-Overall: maybe my expectations were too high, but this beer was overshadowed by many beers, including a number of SIPAs and PAs.

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Photo of ChugginOil
3.53/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle marked "ENJOY BY 1/03/13

Pours a clear golden color with a finger of white head. There is a bit of lace randomly placed around the glass.

The nose is bringing some notes of pineapple and apricot, along with some citrus fruits and there is a bit of malt as well. Smelling pretty good.

The flavors of Sculpin are assertively hoppy with bitter notes of citrus rind, tropical fruits and caramel malt. I was hoping for a bit more of a "hop takeover" here.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and has a crisp carbonation level.

Overall, meh, decent IPA but i didn't see the 98/100 here. Or maybe my bottle is too close to it's ENJOY BY date.

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Photo of alkemy
3.53/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Somewhat large bubbling, off white in color. Faint golden orange in color. Some decent lacing

S - Not as impressive as others have noted. I've tried this on multiple occasions now and I just don't get much. Hops is a bit weak and I really have to search for the fruitiness most people gush over.

T - Again, it's a bit milder than expected. Hops isn't where I'd like to see. More hoppy in the finish than the jolt I was hoping for right out of the gate. Don't get me wrong, it's good, but I was hoping for more. Tastes more like a good balanced hoppy/slightly malty session beer.

M - A tad dry.

O - First try, I thought it had sat on the shelf for a while. Then I tried it a 2nd and 3rd time from different locations. Nope, it all tastes the same.

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Photo of jrsone
3.53/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm giving Sculpin this high of a rating because of how much I've enjoyed it over the past three years.
I'm giving it this "low" of a rating because of how mediocre it is compared to past batches.
So Much Sediment. I'm all for bottle-conditioning, but this is almost like Sculpin's yeasties coitus interrupted right into my bomber.
The smell and the flavor just aren't the quality they've been in the past. Bring back the clean juicyfruit hop bomb we all loved.

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Photo of DrewV
3.53/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure why this gets such high ratings. To me, there's nothing special about it at all. Aroma is similar to Sierra Nevada Torpedo. A bit sour with a very small hint of sweetness. Mostly floral, hardly any citrus in the aroma at all. Taste is a little better, but not by much. Still no citrus. Just some bitter hops. Thin body, not much mouthfeel. Has sort of a "tea-like" flavor to it that throws me off. The finish is clean, doesn't leave much of an aftertaste -- I guess that's the best part of the beer. This is $13.99 in my area and it's actually worth about HALF of that. A big disappointment for me.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.54/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: [2.75] Slightly hazy golden color. Forms a nice 2 finger head. But the head dissipates rapidly in a patchy fashion. Once the head is gone there is not much lacing on the glass. The can lists a Julian date code (2 months old) but no ABV or IBU.

S: [3.75] Nice burst of pine and some citrus. The pine is really sweet and nice smelling. Very inviting smell.

T: [3.50] A little more bitter than I expected up front. There is still a great deal of pine needles. I am not getting any sweetness from the malts.

M: [3.75] The body is smooth with low carbonation. There is a bit of a dry bite due to the bitterness.

O: [3.50] I have had this on tap and my recollection was that it was better. This is only 2 months old, and was kept refrigerated - but it feels like it lost a step. The piece that seems faded is a little citrus and some of the balance. I like this beer (especially on tap) and I will drink it again. But I would definitely rank this lower than the tap version.

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Photo of dwilson01
3.54/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served poured out of a bomber into a pint glass, lots of initial carbonation in the bottle but poured very smoothly, medium amount of head, dissipates pretty quickly but stays around due to constant release of carbonation.

Didn't appear cloudy at all, looks like it has been filtered , definitely glows when held up to the light, golden coloring.

Smell is not too intense for an IPA, between all the flavors I detect the bitterness of the hops coming through the most. I get no sweet smell, small amount of citrus but mostly the bitter west coast style IPA.

Taste follows the smell, it's all hop bitterness with not too much malt in there although I get a little more of that than in the smell. Very solid flavor though, consistent and stays with you after you throw it back for quite some time.

Pretty thin mouthfeel due to the small amount of malt in this one, I think they probably just threw barley in there with a single kind of hops to maintain a single flavor throughout the tasting which they definitely achieved.

Overall, likeable beer but forgettable. Maybe I got a bad one or something but I think this one may be a little sandbagged in the overall grade it snags on here. I guess that basically I was expecting a bit more than I got in the flavor and feel of the beer. This one was really just the big eye IPA with a greater amount of hops in it so not too exciting.

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Photo of Docer
3.55/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Alex for the trade.. nice to try a different IPA.

- Clear golden yellow.. hardly any head, little bits of lacing all about.

- Huge citrus scent mixed with a bit of bitter and sour hop skunkiness.. weed.. smells a lot like a Hop Stoopid to me.. extract and over-use of it.

- Dry and bitter, sour and sweet.. all IPA qualities wrapped up in one package... bit too dry and skunky for me though. Little bit of caramel malt profile but overall very unbalanced.

- Dry and oily .. bit sticky... bad dry/sour aftertaste..

- Great carbonation, too dry... bitter. To me this IPA is like mixing Indica IPA with Hop Stoopid. The over-use of this extract is getting on my nerves... but at first it was just Lagunitas I thought that used it... or more so stumbled across the flavor profile of it to get such a fruity, citrus-like flavor and scent... but for me it's unnatural in an IPA and uncalled for. I want to run to the closest bottle shop to regain my love for a real IPA, even if a double.. like Pliny the Elder... this IPA doesn't deserve the A that it has here... I'm afraid I have had many that are better and I felt deserved a better grade.

*** Anyone who wants to argue or send hatemail for this review.. come up to Oregon and let me buy you an IPA!

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Photo of femALEist
3.55/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on cask at the Firkin Festival 2010. Not sure if it's exactly the same beer as it says it's 8.7% abv.

This poured a cloudy,dark yellow.

It smelled incredibly sweet, with not too much of a hop nose, no pine, no grass, just juicy tropical fruits.

It tasted light but with a heavy bitter grapefruit skin ending. It had decent carbonation.

This was just ok for me, it wasn't anything to write home about.

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Photo of stephens101
3.56/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Thick, light tan and resilient froth topping a reddish orange brew. Big oily hops to the nose with slight caramel notes. Grapefruit to the tongue up front with a strong malt backbone and a herbal aftertaste. Some spice exists. Lighter than expected. This one seems pretty typical for the style, and I admit I wonder what I'm missing. Going with my honest opinion here, but will revisit when I get the chance. Perhaps I missed something.

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Photo of macktbone
3.56/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Now that this is much more available it's time to crack a bottle for no apparent reason what so ever...

A- Probably the best lacing I've ever seen. Tons of stark white head that refuses to disapate. Nice combination of large and small bubbles. Very cloudy with a "heffe" color, not quite tangerine but close to the color of the sculpin on the bottle.

S- Lots of bitter citrus aroma, with a hint of all spice. A little green vegetable and cardboard.

T- Orange, honey, grass, and cardboard. Not the stunner I was hoping for

M- Beautiful mouth feel. If it was darker it would compete with some great imperial stouts.

D- Unfortunately I think this one has been over exposed to oxygen. I sure hope this is not the "great sculpin" i've been waiting for for that past few years. If so Captain Ahab wasting years on Moby Dick and so did I...

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Photo of doppelmeup
3.57/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It was with great anticipation that I opened this bottle of Sculpin IPA.

Lemon yellowy-gold colored, this poured with just a so-so head. It refreshed fairly well as I swirled the glass, but nothing spectacular.

Aromas were nice: lots of citrus-primarily grapefruit and lemon. Also hints of cut grass, pine, apricot.

I was really let down with the taste. Definitely an IPA, but I didn't care for the hop profile. I'm not sure exactly which hop variety it contained that I don't care for, but my guess is Simcoe. The beer had a bitter, caustic quality that I did not care for.

Mouthfeel was okay, but not spectacular. Slightly dry finish. Not overly carbonated.

Overall, I did not care for this beer and was quite disappointed, especially given it's price. I paid about $10 for the bomber, and wish I had spent that money instead on a 6-pack of Two Hearted Ale.

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Photo of Crosling
3.57/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pure west coast hops in the nose. Authentic and just how an IPA should be. Very vibrant. Color is a very light gold, with ample foam. Flavor, however, is a bit of a letdown. Doesn't have a lot of malt depth. The hops arn't as vibrant as I'd like. Needs more bitterness. Still high quality, but just not as hoppy as I'd like.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,280 ratings.