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Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,278 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 2,278
Hads: 12,296
Avg: 4.39
pDev: 22.32%
Wants: 1,357
Gots: 4,130 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 2,278 | Hads: 12,296
Photo of SFLpunk
4.56/5  rDev +3.9%
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 socon67
4.17/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a nice IPA split from a bomber among a small group. It hides the ABV % nicely, though I'm not sure if you would have a bunch at once.

I'm generally a tough grade on IPA's, and this doesn't stand out as one of the best I've ever had though it is darned good. The hoppy flavor is well done. Sculpin deserves the rating it gets, though I don't know if it justifies the high price tag.

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.79/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter. Amazing aroma of citrusy piney juiciness. One of those ipa's that you really don't even need to drink... Just smell. Borderline double ipa,has as much flavor as one. Biting bitterness with great citrus taste. I could go on and on. Just spectacular, bottom line.

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

Pours a golden color slightly tilted toward the dark side, with a good fluzzy, fizzy white head. Decent retention, but eventually settles into a thin crown with whispy film floating along the top. Moderate lacing.

Nose is heavy with tropical fruits...mango, grapefruit, etc. However, even with all that, the hops are still able to muscle their way in and demand your attention. Very good balance. As with the aroma, the same thing plays out in the taste. Lots of mango, grapefruit and such, but the hops again explode through and establish their position on the forefront with a very dank quality. I like that. The intense tropical fruit needs to be offset with a heavy dose of hops, and that's exactly what happens here. Excellent balance.

Mouthfeel is superb. Creamy medium to full bodied, augmented by just the right amount of carbonation.

In short, fantastic IPA. I'll put it right up there with Blind Pig. I prefer the BP, simply because it's drier - but Sculpin is no slouch. Excellent IPA.

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Photo of scottyb88
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Duvel glass. No date on bottle.

A- pours a semi-clear dark yellow-gold color with plenty of carbonation bubbles and a nice sticky white head

S- just as the bottle describes; me personally I get a nice dose of mango up front followed by the other fruity flavors; there is a definite hint of woodiness and pine

T- for me the woodiness and pine is more apparent in the flavor than the fruity mango and peach flavors; if anything more of the rind and peel of the fruit is in the taste; has a nice earthy dryness but not overly dry and malty; as I got half way into the bottle more of the mango and fruit flavors were starting to become more apparent

M-a nice light mouth feel which I think works well for this particular beer and the nice carbonation level really evens out the bitterness somehow

D-a very drinkable IPA that is bitter, yet refreshing and non-mouth numbing; really worth this high of a rating? mhm i dont know. a little pricey but definitely nice to try.

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Photo of e11a627
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a yellow-gold. Very clear and beautiful beer.

S: Lots o' hops, citrus and a little bit of skunkiness.

T: A nice crisp, hoppy beer. Full of grapefruit flavors.

M: Has a very enjoyable tongue-dance. Crisp and clean. Very yummy. You can feel the slight warmth from the %ABV while drinking it.

D: Very flavorful and overall a nicely done beer. Definitely not a session beer but great to split the bottle with friends.

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Photo of BeerTwigs
4.8/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I finally was able to have this beer on draft and it was worth the wait. I also tasted this beer from a bomber but I got a much better feel for it after a full glass. It pours a nice orange-golden color with about a one inch white head. It laces very nicely on the way down. The floral and citrus aroma is ony point with its flavor and really prepares you for its smooth but not over pouring taste. This IPA is very drinkable and I hope to have another glass before it runs out. I would definitely recommend trying this beer on tap.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a hazy orange-ish to copper color with a white head. In the aroma, grapefruity hops, big citrus. In the taste, dry grapefruity citrus hops and a nice malty backing. A small bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry grapefruity rind-ish aftertaste. Super big hops, nice everyday drinker at 7%.

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Photo of Aenema
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance - Pours clear honey with a bone-white head that leaves behind splotchy lacing.
Smell - Lots of citrus, grapefruit.
Taste - A torrent of juicy grapefruit, sweet bready malts provide some balance.
Mouthfeel - Clean, crisp medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation.
Drinkability - Very; dangerously so.
Overall - Wow, fresh on tap I'm not sure if I've had a better IPA. This drinks amazingly well and overflows with flavor; so much so that I expected the alcohol content to be a little higher merely due to the intensity and depth of flavor present.

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Photo of jgasparine
4.52/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured from the tap with a 1/2" white head, which slowly receded to a haze layer and some nice sticky lacing. The body was completely transparent and straw-yellow in color.

S- Predominantly citrus hop aromas co-mingle with impressions of marmalade and crackerlike malt to comprise this very rich yet subtly nuanced nose. Somehow they manage to avoid that citrus pith aroma that I don't prefer so much... just lovely.

T- Up front I get a bunch of citrus hop flavor with some crackerlike malt playing around in the background. On the mid-palate, the hop flavor gives way to a moderately strong hop bitterness... which is not overpowering... and gently lingers into the finish like a pleasant resin on the tongue. Tons of flavor and beautiful subtle nuance.

M- Medium body. Pervasive soft carbonation, which adds a particular creaminess to the mouthfeel. Surprisingly no astringency. The alcohol is exceptionally well-hidden... no heat. Wow- this can't get any better.

D- Incredibly quaffable. I wish so badly for this beer to come to Maryland!!!!

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Photo of hopheadjuice
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, no freshness date, $9.99.

pored into goblet, fast rising white head is very sticky, lush golden yellow straw in color with some haze and bubbles rising up.

Scent smells crisp and clean. Not overly hoppy but scents of pineapple and lemon are most notable. solid malt backbone is present.

Taste is well balanced, hops taste of apricot, pineapple, and grapefruit. Best aspect of this beer is the aftertaste, tropical fruits sweeten up the tongue. Pale malts balance the hops to make it not so bitter.

Mouthfeel is light and moderate with carbonation. Not very dry in the finish.

At 7% abv this is an easy drinker. In no way do i think this is the best IPA on the market. considering the disgusting hype and price this was a little bit of a let down. Ive have far better examples of this style from many different brewerys IMO. Maybe it wasn't super fresh, regardless it is what it is, a solid balanced IPA.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.83/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On cask at Al's of Hampden on 8/5/10. This was the dry hopped version with Simcoe hops.

A - Hazy orange/amber liquid with a dense frothy head that laced up magnificently. Beautiful, picture-perfect cask pour!

S - Bold fresh hop aroma with an array of spicy and citrus tones and a sweet malt backbone. Aroma is quite pungent.

T - Spicy Simcoe hops abound with just a fresh leafy hop goodness and a hint of spiced fruit. Finishes with a lingering hop bitterness on the palate. A slight alcohol presence emerged as the liquid warmed up a bit. Delicious and even better than the standard tap version.

M - Solid medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and oily texture. Finishes with a dry, spicy lingering hop bitterness on the palate.

D - Fresh, delicious and poundable! Freakin' awesome cask beer, actually. I prefer this over the Palisade cask version, though both are fantastic.

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Photo of gregshead
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Light Amber color, 1/4 inch of head. It definitely said "Drink me"

S: Light smell of citrus and something else.

T: A very nice balance of different tastes that include floral, citrus and light malt.

M: A nice mouthfeel, light carbonation feel for an IPA.


D: I understand why this is rated so high in the IPA category. I find it very drinkable for an IPA.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks be to TroyG2352 for this bottle.

Pours just lovely. Bright tangerine, golden pour with a nice billowing head that settle to a semi-rocky landscape. Lacing is sticky and consistent. Just a tad hazed.

Tropical soft fruit aroma. In India they have these big mo-fo papayas that are just delicious. This has a hint of that aroma, some pineapple and grapefruit, orange and melon. Soft aroma, with some bite. Not overly strong. Almost perfect.

Sculpin has a great flavor. It's a solid IPA that doesn't have the over the top flavors like some IPAs have. The tropical fruit is juicy, but dry enough to provide some bite. Flowery and soft, but solid.
The most interesting aspect is the lack of malt, yet the hops don't over power.

Great drinking. The big bottle didn't last long.

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Photo of mynie
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


I thought this was a double IPA, for some reason. It gets the hype of one. Smells like one, too. Big hops, mostly spicy with light fruit.

Tastes like wonderful jesus sunshine. Like, motherfuck. Fuck your mother. This is the fruitiest, juciest IPA I have ever come across. Lord Admiral Nelson almost came close to tasting this goodly fruity but, I dunno, its wasn't about the fruit hops in the same way this one is. This is like one of those newfangled layered gums that changes flavor halfway through, but really the first flavor lingers and taints the rest of it. Only here, by "taint" I mean "makes the more bitter hops all good'n'plenty fruity."

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Photo of SiepJones
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a Growler into a snifter

A: Pours a clear gold into the glass. There is a half-inch layer white bubbly head. The bubbles seem very tightly packed into the head.

S: I could smell the citrus hop scent on my pour from the growler. Aroma of sweet citrus fruit: orange, mango, grapefruit, and a little pineapple. Well-balanced aroma as the fruit nor the pine overpower one another.

T: Citrus flavors up front, more specifically grapefruit. Those flavors wash away quickly with the taste of pine hops. The hops finish has a sappiness to it. This is a very well balanced yet complex flavor.

M: The mouth is slick with a slight touch of crispness due to the hops. There is also a slight creaminess to the finish.

D: Really well balanced IPA, the body and flavor of this beer make it an easy drinker that won't completely ruin your taste buds. Enjoy this beer and don't worry too much as the ABV is only 7%.

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Photo of domtronzero
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Brand new batch (new label artwork - that's all I know).

A - Orange-copper colored, very clear, with a quickly-formed, long lasting, frothy, rocky, white head. Long lasting, leaving a lot of lacing on the side of the glass.

S - -Big citrus, grapefruits and lemons and tangerines. A little bit of bready malts and a nice estery component of apples.

F/M - Citrusy hops, reminiscent of tangerines and grapefruits along with a slight bready 2-row malt flavor typical of American IPAs, but balanced juusssttt right. Hop bitterness is strong and pronounced, but leads to a very clean finish. Mouthfeel is medium with a moderate carbonation, again typical of the best examples of this style.

D - Excellent. Easy to chug, but yet it's all the flavor that I'd expect from a world-class IPA. Definitely one of the best IPAs around.

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Photo of DNICE555
4.8/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Holy Smoke BBQ during the snooglefest 2010 tour. The best pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches I have ever had. I've had this in a bottle but fresh on tap gives it that little extra kick. Wow compliments my bbq perfectly. Smells of fresh hops citrus and bitter grapefruit. I love this smell. Heavenly. Tastes like everything you could want in a hop forward citrus bomb. Balanced. It was a challenge to make this beer last.

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

A - Really nice straw color with a nice fluffy 2 finger head that has huge lacing. Not only does the head not go away there is almost a solid layer of lacing down the sides of the pint glass.

S - Just great! Tons of big citrus notes and tropical ones at that. Pleasantly surprised that theres more to it than just the typical grapefruit, namely pineapple, mangos, and a tutifruiti type smell.

T - Wow..this is just stellar! At the first taste I knew this was the best IPA I've ever had. Big hoppy notes but not the typical big bitternerss that would acompany such flavors.The tropical aroma's dont really carey over to the taste for me except for a bit og pineapple. When drinking though all I can smell is the pineapple which is so sweet and nice.

M - Thanks to the almost high carbonation of this bottle it remains crisp, almost light! Not heavy or syrupy at all.

D - Wow, just wow. Do you've got all the head/lacing, the intense fruity aromas, that taste, and the nice carbonation. A winner in all aspects. I knew when I first tried this I would be giving it all 5's and spent the rest of this bottle trying to come up with reasons NOT to give categories 5's. I couldn't come up with anything. This IPA was just that good. I guess my only complaint would be the bottle price I paid ($10.25). Really wish I had another few bottles of this!

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Photo of bosox941827
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomb bottle poured into 22oz Harpoon IPA pint glass; poured cold and warmed during tasting. Pounced on this when I saw it yesterday at the awesome Sam's Quik Mart in Durham, NC.
A - Cloudy orange, with a head that dissipated to thin lacing; yeast is visible in bottle & glass.
S - Never smelled a beer that more clearly said "apricot" than this one; absolutely fantastic. Best nose on a beer for me, period.
T - Um, wow. As *pure* an IPA as I've ever tasted and damn near perfection. Insistent but not overwhelming bitterness, and it is a flavorful bitterness; pine(apple), mango (particularly in first few sips), grapefruit and apricot. Bitterness lingers and melds with malty sweetness that comes in pretty late and balances things out. Superb.
M - Appropriate carbonation level for an IPA and not overly syrupy as can tend to be the case with some IPAs I've had.
D - Need to resist urge to really slam this on a hot night in NC; drinkability is very high for an IPA.
IPAs are my beer of choice and this is as good an example as I've tried.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber courtesy of cmurren25, much thanks! Pours a slightly hazed, light orange color with a large and fluffy off-white head. Supreme retention and lacing, great looking brew.

Nose is tropical fruit galore - mangoes, pineapple, grapefruit and maybe even some peaches. Really clean and not much malt at all, just the way I like a hop-heavy IPA.

I must profess that I am not a huge hophead, but my first sip of this was eye-rollingly delicious. Hop flavor is bursting with huge flavors of light fruits. Bittering is there, but not tongue-scrapingly resinous. Not much malt, maybe a hint or two of honeyed grains. Best IPA I have ever had? Probably. A fresh imperial pint of this after deep sea fishing with some fish tacos might make for a perfect day in SD...hey I can dream, right?

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

What a beer, my new favorite IPA. Pours a golden orange hue into a Portsmouth brewery tulip. Smell is exceptionally fruity with mango, apricot, tangerine and pineapple all intermingling with each other with pine undertones throughout. Taste is initially perfectly balanced with hops, bitterness fruitiness and sweetness, but just a smidge, and I mean a smidge too bitter on the finish. Mouthfeel is silky smooth up front with a prickliness at the back. The only hit this one had for me was its very very slightly too bitter finish but it was much closer to a 5 than a 4.5. A well executed masterpiece Ballast Point.

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Photo of jpmclaug
4.77/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a stemmed tulip glass. I've had this brew several times now and have always enjoyed it. This will be my first review for it.

A - Golden yellow body that I can see through. Nice looking head on top. The head is white with a hint of golden yellow.

S - Nice citrusy hop aroma in this one with a bit of pine as well. This beer smells pretty good. You can tell from the aroma that this hop bomb will wreck your tongue with bitterness. While not extremely pungent this beer has one of the better aromas for a DIPA.

T - What a great beer. Nice citrus hop flavor up front with a bit of pine at the finish. The bitterness in this lingers and slowly wraps its way around your tongue. The bitterness really doesn't go away and I love it. Nice orange rind/grapefruit flavor up front. While it doesn't have any defining characteristics the malt backbone in this beer fights valiantly against the onslaught of hops. It loses, of course, but you know it was there. Fantastic.

M - medium body with a fair amount of carbonation. Nice sticky mouthfeel as well.

D - This is a real drinkable beer for a hop head. The bitterness keeps you coming back for more. As I've become accustomed to drinking really bitter beers this one still pounds my palate. I can't wait to see this in 6 packs. While I can easily drink a bomber of this it will be amazing to put away 12oz at a time.

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Photo of stimulus
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber.

A: Pours a cloudy orange with a bit of yeast sediment and a one finger white head.
S: Various citrus fruits and hop aromas.
T: Citrus fruits, perhaps grapefruit and peach, followed by hop bitterness, and then finishing with the fruit flavors.
M: Medium to light bodied and well carbonated.
D: Not a typical representation of the West Coast IPA, but Big Eye would fit that mold more. This fruit flavors balancing out the hop bitterness were a pleasant surprise, and this reminds me quite a bit like AleSmith IPA, another great San Diego IPA.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.87/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Bomber bottle poured into a pint glass in two parts. This is my first time trying this beer after hearing a lot about it. No freshness date (as far as I can tell) on the bottle.

Appearance: Dark amber in color with no haze. Pours a nice creamy, two finger head with good retention.

Aroma: Big apricot and mango notes upfront. A very sweet hop profile in the nose. Some grapefruit and pine too in the background, but the sweet hop notes are front and center.

Taste: Like the aroma, big tropical fruit notes upfront. Mango and apricot in decadent amounts upfront. Some herbal pine and grapefruit are also somewhat present after the initial sweetness. The aftertaste is nice and clean, no bitterness whatsoever. I'm no picking up much malt here at all, but that's a good thing. The hop profile is so delicious that it would only interfere.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and crisp at the same time. Medium bodied, but manages to stay so refreshing and smooth. Perfect.

Drinkability: With a clean aftertaste and such a smooth, crisp mouthfeel, I feel like I could drink this all day. The only two things stopping me are the price and that the finish becomes more pronouced the more you have.

Overall, the best single IPA I have ever had. Hands down, no contest. The tropical fruit hop profile, crisp mouthfeel, and clean finish make this a tough one to top. Definitely something I will jump at the opportunity to try fresh whenever I can. Highly recommended.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,278 ratings.