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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,290 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7290
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
Ratings: 7,290 | Reviews: 1,913 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of jwolfie70


4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle, into a pint glass at the Stone Brewery.

Looks: Check. Poured an amber, golden brown with a white lacy head with good retention.

Smell: Check. Smelled of floral hops, with some bready undercurrents.

Taste: Check. Floral hops, with some distinct nuttiness coming through. Good tasting IPA.

This is a good/great IPA, and something to be tried if available. Don't lose sleep if you can't find it however.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2009 16:57:58 | More by jwolfie70
Photo of Schmaltzy


4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Great color, awesome amber golden color that is clear slight haziness.
S-Awesome, one of the best smelling beers, my wife likes to smell this one and she doesn't drink. Definate tropical fruit followed by citrus and with all IPA's pine.
T-Off the bat you get those citrus and fruit flavors followed by pine, but then a second burst of tropical flavors.
M-Good mouthfeel but maybe too much on this batch, last batch was light/medium this one is definately medium.
D-Great IPA I could continue drinking this all day long.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2009 18:35:28 | More by Schmaltzy
Photo of wagenvolks


4.13/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to hopsleeroy for sharing this bomber while watching the UT-OU game (hook 'em horns!!).

Pours a standard, if a bit nondescript, pale golden body with a thin cap of bone white foam. A slight haze envelops the carbonation rising up from the bottom of the glass. Heavily fruited aroma, with notes of mango, pineapple, and banana. Hints of citrus and pine from the hops balance nicely with a pale malt backbone.

The flavor of Sculpin is aggressively bitter, but in a way that still maintains a high degree of hop flavor. Pine wood, resinous greenery, and citrus all make for a delectable bouquet of an IPA. The malts show up just long enough to provide a balance of sweetness and body, but not much flavor. Mouthfeel is crisp and bubbly, with a medium body that, while rugged on the palate, is smooth at the same time. Great IPA, but I honestly liked Sculpin's Big Eye IPA better...

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2009 04:03:58 | More by wagenvolks
Photo of Foxtrot


4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Matt Olesh for acquiring a case of Sculpin. A bomber of this fantastic brew made my week.

Pours a opaque gold with good bubble action. Head was white and slowly disappeared to a light lacing around glass.

The aroma is just fantastic, for a lack of better words that would do this beer justice. Hops, pineapple, grapefruit, orange, lemon, and apricot all abound with reckless abandon making it a pleasure to behold.

...! That was the stunned silence I felt after the first sip realizing how fantastic this beer tastes. Start off with big hops, followed in suit my citrus tangerine, grapefruit, a nice dash of apricot, and lemon zest held loosely together with pale malt and some candied sugar to balance out this monster of a beer. Finish was nice and bitter, and not to residual.

Mouthfeel is a a good medium. Carbonation was superb, but did not take away this beers glory.

Drinkability is sky high. What else can be said.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2009 07:30:19 | More by Foxtrot
Photo of microbrew52


4.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There were two choices at the Daily Pint in Santa Monica... for now. Sculpin IPA and Sculpin IPA cask (very rare). The Cask is the one I will write about know. It has a very hazy orange glow in the glass. The head is like a high school cheerleader (very bubbly), and boy does it last a long time, also served a little warmer. I tried to get the owner to tell me what kind of hops they use but he said he could tell me but he would have to kill me. All I know is there are 5 different kind of hops in this beverage and taste/smell is very citrusy. Long live the cask!

Serving type: cask

10-17-2009 06:51:01 | More by microbrew52
Photo of SpdKilz


4.5/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

FINALLY! After months of trying to find this where I live I finally found it while going to my good friends bachelor party in Fountain Valley. I was extremely happy when I ran across this down there.

Appearance - Pours a beautiful golden color with about a finger and a half of white, fluffy head that is receding quite slowly and leaving an inordinate amount of amazing, chunky lacing.

Smell - Numerous tropical fruits citrus smell - grapefruit, pineapple, orange, a bit of lemon. After this recedes I smell a bit of pine followed by a sweet malt. This smells extremely balanced. Nothing is "shocking"...you simply breath in the nose and you are surrounded by amazing smells that seem to work together quite nicely. If someone can make this into an air freshener let me know and sign me up for a gross.

Taste - Hoppy, a bit bitter, citrus overload (the grapefruit shines through like I literally just bit into one) and a dry finish. A few more sips and letting it warm up lets me taste more of the pine and malty backbone to this beer. Unfreaking-believable. As with the smell, the taste is extremely balanced. Honestly - how can some IPA's/DIPA's be so extraordinarily better than others? (we all know the answer but still!)

Mouthfeel - Relatively light/medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation that prickles the tongue and ends with a nice, semi-dry finish (more so than PtE in my opinion).

Drinkability - Very much so. I wish they had this closer to where I live. I would add this to my "weekly arsenal" especially since they are suppose to start brewing this year round (so the rumors go). I was not disappointed with this and can't wait to get some more!

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2009 01:17:24 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of bret27


4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Smell: If they don't infuse this w/pineapple or peach juice they really have a special secret. More obvious citrus than I've had before. Sweet malt and little tartness in the nose, but mostly citrusy sweetness.

App: golden orangey, nice fluffy white head, lacing.

Taste: Pineapple juice, maybe little peach juice in the background. Then the hops bittering effects take over, w/piney and more orangey citrus. Good sweet malt character. Seems appropriate for style.

Mouth: medium smooth. Good. Dry and refreshing, no alcohol presence. Just bitterness lingering.

Drink: Pretty good. But most well-made IPA's are all pretty good really.

Overall: Can't believe the sweet citrus smell. I'd like to know their secrets. Only beer that I can remember that had this much was Dreadnaught from Three Floyds. I can't imagine a better beer to be drinking watching a San Diego sunset. (must add to to-do list).

Serving type: on-tap

10-16-2009 05:30:13 | More by bret27
Photo of bmbig


4.88/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A.) it's Gold, kind of hazy, and pours a great white head

S.) you put the glass up to your mouth and can tell what you're in for just by breathing thru your nose

T.) wow. real nice array of hops. Pretty dry, not too dry. Unbelievably well balanced.

M.) the body is medium. the hop bite lingers on the tongue.

D.) ABV is right where I want it at 7%. Although dry and hoppy, it still manages to be very refreshing.

If this beer was in 6-pack I'd reach for it in my fridge day after day.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2009 14:34:11 | More by bmbig
Photo of GRG1313


3.6/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very different beer in the bottle than when on tap!

Pours a honey yellow with firm white head. Huge very ripe and sweet pineapple nose. Huge and very appealing.

Mouth is full and medium rich; somewhat bold although does not have the bright character whatsoever of this beer on tap.

Flavors are bitter pine and pine resin with some grapefruit skin, not the bright bitter charachter when on tap.

Appealing but not nearly as bright and inviting as this one on draft. Draft and bottle are two very different beers for this one, draft being far more inviting and far more appealing. This draft rivals any "big hop brew" I've tried. In the bottle, it's good but that's about it-not outstanding as it is on draft. Bottle was actually quite disappointing after trying this on draft. EDIT 08/31/10 - the new batch with the first "new" label is wonderfully drinkable and appealing. Review stands as written and yes, tap is still better. But Ballast Point is able to make a wonderfully fresh and crisp hoppy beer and still make it creamy and mouthfilling. A wonderful drink. End Edit

Finish is grapefruit skin and lemon oil that goes to pine and resin.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2009 06:34:27 | More by GRG1313
Photo of Billolick

New York

4.43/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber, w/o freshness info. $9.99 at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY.

Pours slightly hazed golden, lighter amber with bubbles rising to the top. The off white head is very long lasting, tight knit froth, nice looking sheeting and gobs of lace.

Minty, earthy, bright hop nose.

Simply delicious AIPA. Hops out in full force, on the smooth, soft and earthy side, which is to say not crunching in their approach. With citric/orangy notes shining through. On the lighter side body wise, adding to the easy drinkability. Dangerous at 7%, cuz this goes down easy like a sessioner.

Very tasty and high quality, I can only hope this one will remain available locally for a while.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2009 00:31:28 | More by Billolick
Photo of bcm119


4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orangey-straw in color, slight haze, sticky white head.

Aroma is mostly hops- orange blossoms and some tropical fruit.

Floral hops, oily mouthfeel with a yeasty/bready malt finish. Very typical San Diego IPA flavor. Hop bitterness is relatively low and flavors lean towards tropical fruit. Not much in the way of leafy/herbal/piney hop flavors. Maybe they use extract. Malt is lean and cracker-like, but some sweetness sneaks in mid-palate. Finish is dry but some pale malt flavors linger. I can see where this might be better fresh from a tap; the hops could be a little brighter.

Overall a good IPA. Nothing to really fault it for but my tastes lean more in the Blind Pig direction.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2009 03:09:01 | More by bcm119
Photo of CathWern

New York

4.88/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Golden, a little hazy, nice lacing which remains all along the glass.

S: Hops, hops, hops. Piney and citrusy. Someone should look into making this into an air freshener - I wouldn't mind smelling this everyday for the rest of my life.

T: Again, hops and more hops. Nice and dry, exactly what an IPA should be.

M: Nice carbonation, dry - leaves you wanting another sip as soon as the last one ends.

D: Perfect drinkability. I wish I could find this all the time because I would have no problem drinking one after the other all night long. Might kill my wallet, but I think it would be worth it.

One of the best IPA's I've ever had. Not to be missed.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2009 23:05:56 | More by CathWern
Photo of jackorain


4.45/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from this 22 ounce bottle into my Stone Levitation glass. Beautiful golden, brassy color with a slight chill haze. Stark white head hangs around for quite a long time. As it does falls it leaves awesome lacing.

Wow, the aroma immediately brings outrageous amounts of grapefruit love. Biscuit and caramel malts come in the middle of the aroma to sweeten the grapefruit smell. A touch of tropical fruits also come in with mango and pineapple.

Much like the aroma, the grapefruit hits first and copious amount too. The tropical fruits are here too, but just a touch. The middle brings an astringent aspect. There is a caramel sweetness that comes in late. This, however is quickly beaten back by the second onslaught of fruity hops combined with grapefruit zest bitterness. The bitterness last long though the astringent finish and lingers even further.

The astringency is omnipresent during the quaff. This beer is also bone dry. The medium body is cut by medium level of carbonation.

While this beer is very, very good, it is short of greatness because of this odd astringency that is pervasive through the whole drinking experience. That being said this is one very drinkable beer of which I could have many.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2009 01:42:34 | More by jackorain
Photo of jlindros


4.38/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've head so much about this gem I've been salivating already since I finally found the bottle yesterday. Must be pretty fresh too. I'll have to pour this baby into my oversized DFH snifter, as with any awesome IPA.

A: Pours an airy decent sized head, little less than a finger. Lots of large bubbles disperse throughout as it slowly fades to a light head covering. It lightly covers the golden pale orange and pretty hazy color that almost mask the myriad of little bubbles rising to the top.

N: Oh yeah, with the crazy noble hops! Lots of pine and some citrus, it's got that similar malty like nose that most crazy ass IPAs have, that almost reminds me of a sweet like crystal malt, but it's actually the hops I believe. I think my nose is cringing from the bitterness itself and I haven't even tasted it yet. Lots of spiciness from the hops and some floral qualities also run deep. I get some juicy fruit (not the gum dammit!) thats almost a musty peach or apricot, but its not. Oh that brings me to my next point, it has that somewhat musty aroma that most fresh crazy hopped IPAs have, but this one is a lot more subtle than most.

T: Oh yeah, I can taste it too huh?! Sorry, still nosing it. Mhhmmmpppfff... Wow bitterness right out front. Lots of noble hops with pine and citrus hit right away, and it fades quickly to a really juicy and fruity hop taste, more ripe peach. A very slight malty taste, but it just flicks you enough to make you notice its there. The bitterness again takes over and really dominates once the juice fades. More musty tropical fruit taste in the center, that transforms into a piney minty taste, that reminds me of that time I ate a bunch of pine cones wrapped in mint leaves. Some hop resin and oil find their way through and tickle your tongue a little.

M: Semi thick with a slight sticky hop oil feel, actually its got a really rich fatty oil quality like an unchill-filtered whisky. Decent carbonation but nothing to brag about in this dep, not that that is bad. Also, slightly spicey hops.

F: Damn! It's bitter. What's the IBUs, some huge number? It almost scrapes the feeling off my tongue, like the crazy sculpin fish on the label. But it is saved by a slight touch of sweetness as its not too dry, and the juicy center really eases that tension. The bitterness leaves a winterfresh mouth feel, like I just used mouthwash, I'm totally serious. I think the crazy piney bitterness lingering along, and added the slight fruit it tricks the taste buds into tasting that.

Final thoughts: Wow, it was just as I anticipated. A crazy hop bomb with little malts, lots of pine, citrus, juicy fruit hops, some spice, and lots of greatness. The thing that did surprise me was the slight minty mouthwash feel. If this wasn't so limited and expensive I'd really use it as mouthwash and it would be so great!

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2009 01:11:42 | More by jlindros
Photo of seanbhudson


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

22 ounce bottle with no date. Pours a hazy gold/orange color with a large white head. Lots of lacing.
Huge wonderful aroma of citrus and tropical fruit. I pick up hints of pine too.
Big beautiful citrusy hops. Grapefruit flavors more predominant. There is a light doughy malt flavor in the background to give it some balance.
Medium body with a really nice almost silky texture. The finish is not very dry like many other IPA's.
On its own, I would prefer a tad more sweetness to balance the bitterness but when I started eating some spicy panang curry it seemed perfect. This is a seriously good beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2009 23:47:50 | More by seanbhudson
Photo of Mistofminn


4.93/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks a MILLION to two BA's, each sending me a bottle of this! Thanks to beandip (Adam) and BevmoIan (Ian) for their contributions to my beer addiction.

Poured into a standard pint glass. This is a light orange color, kind of a cross between a light orange and a straw yellow. Large white chunky head that has good retention and leaves chunks of lacing all over.

I was so excited to take a whiff of thise, as soon as I cracked the bottle I shoved the bottle neck halfway down my nose. Wow! Grapefruits and apricots, lemon and tropical fruits galore! I have never smelled such a fruity IPA before, this is excellent.

The problem with super fruity (grapefruit in particular) smelling IPA's is they rarely carry over into the taste department. The great thing about Sculpin, is that it actually does. Citrus fruits go wild in your mouth, grapefruit, mango, lemon and apricots, peaches and so much more...this is excellent.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side, with a very appropriate carbonation. Excellent fruity bitter aftertaste gives an added bonus to the smooth and creamy liquid as it slides down your throat.

Drinkability is insane. I can't imagine a beer being more drinkable and more enjoyable.

This honestly has to be one of the best beers I've ever had in my life, hands down. Big thanks go out to Ian and Adam for sending me this beast of a beer. Thanks a ton!

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2009 02:12:51 | More by Mistofminn
Photo of fropones


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

Had on tap at the Blind Pig today.
Poured a beautiful orange that was clear through with one finger of white head with great retention and just beautiful lacing. The smell was a lot of sweet candied grapefruit, pineapple, mango and some pine. The taste was a very good balance of sweetness and bitterness with a good aftertaste. There was a lot more hops in the taste than in the nose. The mouthfeel was medium bodied, nice and creamy, with a good amount of carbonation. Drinkability was good, well worth the $6 plus tip I payed.

Serving type: on-tap

10-07-2009 21:23:19 | More by fropones
Photo of pepsican


4.28/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cllear amber with a thin white head. Strong citrus hop aroma, not much else going on in this one for aroma. Up front citrus hop flavor with peach, mango, and oranges in the background. Finishes bitter, kind of on the thin side even for this style. Very easy to drink, love the mango in this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2009 17:12:08 | More by pepsican
Photo of bmanning

North Carolina

4.22/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours golden orange with a 2 finger beige head.
Massive tropical fruit aroma with pineapple in the lead followed by mango, passion fruit, guava, apple, and lemon. This is a fresh bottle as the hop profile is very pronounced with a nice tropical fruit complexity along with grapefruit, orange, and lemon. Overall an excellent IPA and one of my favorites.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2009 23:33:34 | More by bmanning
Photo of abecall98


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

Grabbed 2 bottles from Ledger's in Berkeley. Hot off this weeks delivery!

A - Very cloudy, with a nice half inch white head. Looks very appetizing, just wish for an IPA it was a tad more clear.

S - Hoppy as hell. This beer's aroma is very strong, floral, and bitter. I love it!

T - Sculpin is very hoppy. This beer is a burst of fresh hops and floral flavor that stays in your mouth after every sip. The hops hit with a hint of citrus, pine, and bitterness. Delicious for an IPA, but the bitterness lingers just a tad too much for my personal tastes.

M - very dry. This beer comes and goes. Very dry and leaves you wanting another sip after every single one. I love it, but the hoppy bite stays around just a little longer than I personal enjoy.

D - at 7.0% abv, this beer hits the nail on the head for drinkabilty. It masks the alcohol, it is something you want to keep drinking, and it does not have a bad aftertaste. I think this is almost as perfect of a drinkable IPA that I can think of.

Serving type: bottle

10-03-2009 00:33:42 | More by abecall98
Photo of grayburn

South Carolina

4.55/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Another perfect example of a beer living up to the hype. The hop aroma and flavor are ridiculously fresh. Just enough malt is present to balance things out quite nicely. The mouth is probably the best part. Smooth crisp and refreshing. Excellent beer, highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 19:23:35 | More by grayburn
Photo of Ezekiel81923


4.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Have had this a few times, but this review will be of the fresh case I picked up at the Beeryard.

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Nice, clear-ish, glowing orange color. A nice, thick, fluffy white head rises and slowly falls, leaving sporadic lacing down the side of the glass.

Smell: Wonderful aroma. Very citrusy, lemon mostly, with some hints of tropical fruit. The aroma is strong and fills up a decent amount of the room where the glass is the epicenter.

Taste: Lemony, citrusy hops. Resinous hops explode with a front of grapefruit and finished with an oily bitterness. There is a bit of a malt backbone, but the hops really shine with this one.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth with mild carbonation. Finished clean and dry. All the flavors linger for a while after each sip.

Drinkability: I drink this slow. It's a good medium-bodied IPA but the hops slow me down a little. Still fantastic though. I can still drink several these over a few hours.

A terrific IPA. Glad it makes it out to Philly every now and then.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 18:59:36 | More by Ezekiel81923
Photo of KBoudreau66


4.65/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 22 ounce bomber in to a pint glass.

P- light orange/copper color with half a finger of white head that dissipates.

S- very fruity, almost like the aroma of a sleeve of lifesavers, but you can't decide which one stands out, with a nice citrusy hop aroma.

T- an incredible punch of citrusy, grapefruit like hop to the taste buds. A nice strange malt backbone thrown in the mix.

M- smooth, carbonated and slightly dry on the after taste.

D- I could drink this all day every day. A finely crafted brew to say the very least.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2009 04:15:57 | More by KBoudreau66
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

4.47/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ballast Point- Sculpin

A- Bright light orange with a thick frothy white head. Thick lacing. S- Thick sweet sugary grapefruit and pine hops.
T- Big juicy sugary grapefruit with a big bitter dose of pine needles. thick sugary caramel malt slightly pokes through.
M- Thick sweet citrus and bitter pine hops dominate the malt.

Overall- Very juicy and very drinkable. Smooth drinking IPA. Hopefully the hype dies down on this 1 so its more available.

Serving type: on-tap

10-01-2009 00:48:53 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of JoshW


4.83/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice golden color, one finger head, very carbonated.

The bottle says mango, lemon, peach and apricot aromas, and I can pick out every one, incredible smell, and equal taste. Very fresh, crisp and smooth, finishes with a solid hoppy flavor on the tongue.

Drinkable, indeed.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2009 22:55:04 | More by JoshW
Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
98 out of 100 based on 7,290 ratings.