Sculpin IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

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2,223 Reviews
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Reviews: 2,223
Hads: 11,974
rAvg: 4.39
pDev: 8.43%
Wants: 1,318
Gots: 3,806 | FT: 49
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: 2,223 | Hads: 11,974
Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found this at the local liquor store--very happy to see they've distributed into my neck of the woods. The bottling date states it was produced a little over 2 months ago. Poured right from a 12 oz glass in the fridge into a pint glass.

L: Pours a beautiful warm amber color with an inch of white head that falls to a film and ring after a few minutes and leaves considerable cling on the glass. Extremely clear, with moderate visible carbonation.

S: Big bouquet of citrus and herbal hops. Nice balance of brightness and earthiness. There's also definitely a floral aspect to this one. Some sweet and bready malt notes in the mix, as well.

T: Sweet and bready malts at the outset, with a suggestion of rye in the midst. The hops immediately open up, with a charge of herbal flavor and the citrus taking just a bit of a back seat. Some resinous pine notes are present in the middle, with the malt underside continuing to make its presence felt. The back might be my favorite part of this taste: it continues to bring those herbal and piney/earthy hop flavors in a very smooth balance with the malt. Just a suggestion of clear alcohol in the mix. The aftertaste is hoppy bitter, but in no way overpoweringly so. Dee-lightful.

F: Medium-bodied, but perhaps on the lighter side of what I was expecting with a beer of this ABV. It's smooth, creamy, crisp, and bitter in turns. While it brings the bitter, it doesn't feel overtly chewy/sticky/syrupy on the palate. Very nice, and very easy to put away.

O: I tried the Grapefruit Sculpin before this one, and I'm definitely impressed by both offerings from Ballast Point. Sometimes you come across a beer that has "well-crafted" written all over it, and this is certainly one of those times. I will be seeking out more of this beer in the very near future. (1,804 characters)

Photo of JustShutUpStupid
4.9/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Spent a day in San Diego and found a place that served Sculpin. So when I got home I did a comparison between Sculpin and Racer 5 (a regular). Sculpin is clearer on pour, better foam action that lasts a long time. Sculpin has a more distinct hops smell and taste. Racer 5 is more full bodied - malty. Both not far apart. At 14.95 a 12 pack, you can't beat Racer 5. The little fish would be the catch of the day if the price came down without cutting quality. (459 characters)

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

Got this from Beer Run in Charlottesville, VA. From what I gather, it was pretty fresh.

A: On its cross country quest, tons of carbonation remain. Nice half inch head, golden copper color.
S: Wow- very floral. Some citrus and pine as well. Could possibly be the best i've smelled on a beer.
T: Very nice foretaste, not overpowering. Back end has all the components of the smell and i'm left with a subtle piney and bitterness which i've grown to love in this style of beer. No Alcohol taste whatsoever.
M: Very smooth, crisp, carbonation is very refreshing.
O: I am very impressed with BP. Had Big Eye a few years ago and definitely enjoyed it. The next time i'm in SD i will be coming to the brewery for sure! (720 characters)

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

Smelled great soon as I opened the bottle. Strong hop flavor with some citrus and solid bitterness. Really tasty and one of the best smelling beers I've had. For me this is the model for an IPA. yb (197 characters)

Photo of drmeto
4.01/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

-pours a clear amber with a big foamy off white head
-great head retension
-high carbonation visible
-huge grapefruit,orange,pine resin,peaches and lemon
-grapefruit,orange zest,resin-y,onions with a slight nutty finish
-medium carbonation,light-medium body
I expected more fruitiness and the onion note was off-putting.
Still a pretty good IPA (359 characters)

Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pure transparent golden in color. NIce frothy head. Very hoppy aroma jumps out of the glass. Citrusy, resiny, fine hop smell.

Wow. The hoppy bite from this ipa is wicked. Citrus-rind bitter hops continue to sting away and turn your tongue over well after the sip. This is an intense, high quality IPA.

It would be difficult for me to call this anything other than world-class. (384 characters)

Photo of MissSmisje
4.21/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: pretty Amber-orange with a fluffy head that dissipates into a thin layer. S: hoppy peach and lemon a little apricot. T: same as the nose, with some citrus peel and pith. Pleasant lingering bitterness. Tasty. (210 characters)

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

An awesome beer. King of the readily available IPAs, possibly of all readily available beers, in Connecticut. Floral-y and Citrus-y as opposed to malty and spicy (like Founders Centennial or Dogfish 90min). Very refreshing and crushable in my opinion. I work at a liquor store with a great beet selection and its tough for me not to buy this every time.

If you like this and are looking for similar things try check out DC Brau's The Corruption or Finch's Hardcore Chimera. (478 characters)

Photo of Maryobeerian
4.19/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Light honey color, clear but pours out of a 12oz bottle with virtually no head. Nice, effervescent mouth feel without too much fizz. Slight mango, pleasant smell. Taste is smooth. well blended, starting with citrus and then a clean dry finish. No flaws here and very nice but not especially interesting. I would happily drink again but at almost twice the price of some other IPAs I enjoy, will only do so when I am feeling flush. (430 characters)

Photo of dleigh
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I love the fact that this has gotten to be shelf beer. Some fresh Sculpin is always nice. A classic IPA. Back in '12, some friends and I had blind IPA taste testing, which included Pliny, and Sculpin won. (204 characters)

Photo of highTempo
3.69/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

I had this in a pint glass during a 'tap takeover' at one of the craft brewer conference events.

The look is solid - a fairly short (3mm) white head that dissipated pretty quickly. The body is very clear, darker-than-mid yellow with a bit of amber.

Smells great -- big and lots of pine.

The taste falls surprisingly flat for me. There's a lot of very flat bitterness to this one and really almost nothing else. The flavor seems to completely loose the piney-hop in the aroma. I get very little malt. Balance is missing in this to me.

Good active, feel. (563 characters)

Photo of uncleotis
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this both on draft and in the bottle, and I just don't get the hype. It's good and I'd never turn one down if offered to me, but I must be missing something, as everyone else seems to absolutely love this beer.

Update: 5th time is a charm? Had this again, this time after just finishing a Cigar City Maduro, and the Sculpin was great. I guess under the right conditions this is amazing, but in my experience it's been tough to taste this beer at its best. (468 characters)

Photo of AaronHomoya
4.39/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really impressive presentation at the new Ballast Point facility. Beautiful,big citrus hops with classic caramel malt backbone. Easy to see why this is so well regarded. (169 characters)

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

Served from a can into a snifter

A: Bright orange, a finger of heady, no haze as I can see right through
S: Mango, peaches, grapfruit, orange, orange peel, lots of tropical notes and a little bit of sweetness in the background. Not getting a lot of malt, just a lot of very citrusy hop aroma.
T: Little bite of bitterness followed by a taste that follows the nose really well. Big orange/mango flavor with a bit of grapefruit. Finishes up with a bit of sweetness.
M: Medium carbonation/body. Finishes up nice and dry and keeps you sipping it very quickly.
O: Pricey but an excellent IPA and worth getting from time to time. Great if you enjoy really tropical IPAs that still have a pleasant bite to them. Love this beer. (721 characters)

Photo of Plower
4.64/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer is slightly underrated. I'd describe it as a highly drinkable IPA with flavor leaning heavily toward the citrus fruits department. I'm tasting lemons, grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, but not nectarines because those are not citrus. I'd give this a solid 4.5 at a minimum. People are saying that the beer has been outshined by newer ones but I doubt that... (368 characters)

Photo of TBCE
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very good brew. Dark golden color with good head retention. Nice lacing left on glass. Smells of citrus, strong pine. Very light on the palate, with tastes of grapefruit, pine, maybe a little orange. Lightly carbonated mouth feel. Overall excellent. (249 characters)

Photo of arvidkoval
3.96/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L- Golden orange

S- Some citrusy grapefruit, kinda sweet. Little bit of pine.

T- Grapefruit bitterness. Hint of some sweet malts.

F- Medium bodied and nicely carbonated.

O- This is really good, but I think it's overhyped. I'm sure this was a game changer when it made its debut, but at this point there are loads of other IPAs I'd rather drink. (355 characters)

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

Gold in color with tiny bubbles rising to the surface. Off white head that froths around the top and settles to a slight layer of bigger bubbles. Lacing is evident along the edges of glass as it slides down. Smell is of pine and some citrus is found in the background. Tastes of pine, grass, citrus and maybe some bitter hops are dancing on the tongue. Smooth on the palate and slightly creamy with the bitterness finishing it off. Overall, a fantastic IPA to indulge upon! (480 characters)

Photo of Scottyboy
3.28/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I thought this ale was okay but for the price I was expecting to be knocked out. In fairness it was about 10 or 11 months old, maybe that left it a bit flat in taste (166 characters)

Photo of mmahanna41
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

For a beer I can find almost anytime, it's rarely missing from my refrigerator. I know a lot of people won't agree with this, but I also prefer the taste from a can over a bottle (poured into a 12oz snifter. (208 characters)

Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Medium gold. Brilliant clarity. Nice white head. A little underwhelming in the size, duration, lushness. Little lacing.

S: Good mix of bready malt, grapefruit and lemon citrus, nectarine and papaya tropical components. Sits on a bed of pine. Green smelling, definitely a little white vinegar.

M: Nice medium body, soft but characteristically crisp.

T: Fresh cut grass, pine needles, resinous. Grapefruit, sweet and sour citrus: orange, peel, lemon. More sour and tart on my account than bitter. (503 characters)

Photo of TonyBaloney
3.79/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Tell me what I'm doing wrong?

I've had this beer ten times in various settings, San Diego even, and have always been underwhelmed given the hype.

I want to love this beer, but don't find it extraordinary at all. (213 characters)

Photo of Jwburns75
4.56/5  rDev +3.9%
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! (556 characters)

Photo of FamousCharlie
3.04/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I am an IPA drinker mostly that is all I ever drink I just feel like I have had way better before just somthing about this beer never really made me want to go back out and drink it again (187 characters)

Photo of Trombone69
4.29/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A Solid offering. I am not a huge IPA guy, I'm a little burned out on the style. But this is pretty darn good. I have a few more in fridge. Perhaps I'll update this review after another brew. (195 characters)

Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,223 ratings.