Sculpin | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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SculpinSculpin
BA SCORE
4.38/5
Outstanding
14,402 Ratings
SculpinSculpin
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States
ballastpoint.com

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally named Northstar IPA. Debuted in 2005.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#486
Reviews:
2,561
Ratings:
14,402
pDev:
9.82%
 
 
Wants:
1,548
Gots:
6,111
Trade:
42
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 14,402 |  Reviews: 2,561
Reviews by Douglas14:
Photo of Douglas14
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured fresh at Ballast Point.

Pours a beautiful, light golden color with a nice, white head. The nose is of citic fruits, pine, and slight resin with a nice malt backbone. The taste is full of hops. It's nice and bitter, but it has such a great and complex hop flavor. It ends bitter and malty. It's definitely towards the bitter side, but in a good way. In the mouth it has a nice carbonation level...perhaps a little low though for the style. It's got a nice drinkability...this is such a wonderful beer! I'm so pumped I was able to try it fresh at Ballast Point!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BillBabbitt
3.5/5  rDev -20.1%

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 Aerocraft67
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this a couple of times but don't think it's worth the price or its vaunted status. A bit lighter and at least as complex as a Dogfish 60, I'll give it that. A fine IPA but the price just grinds my shorts. I also prefer the richness of the Two-Hearted at a bit lower price point.

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Photo of jkrich
4.25/5  rDev -3%

Poured a hazy, golden-orange hue with a sustained, foamy white-head. This seems to be the typical American IPA look. I could not locate a freshness date but there was a number code on the label that may indicate the ale was bottled on the 213 day of 2014.

A very fresh and bittersweet fruity aroma greets the olfactory upon opening the bottle, along with a faint piney, bitter aroma.

The flavor has a surprisingly soft and mellow, citrusy start with a lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue. Very flavorful, but not what I expected given the reviews and especially the aroma. Of course, the bottle is a few months old.

Light to medium bodied with a somewhat thin mouth feel. The citrusy bitterness does linger on the palate.

This is another fine example of the American IPA: full flavored, high in alcohol but so very drinkable.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
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!

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Photo of Cramshawbar
3.2/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Has to be one of the biggest disappointments of the year for me. I was quite excited, as I love the style, the ratings are high and this is the first time I saw this sold in Toronto.
The nose is decent, but man the taste isn't. Way too bitter (and this bitterness overwhelms any other possible flavour within), with lingering effects that also include an uncomfortable film in the back of your throat.
I bought a six pack and I will finish but...A real bummer, this one.

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Photo of OldGriz
4.93/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I'll never forget my first taste of Sculpin. It was a magical beer moment for me.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I got this bottle from South Bay D&L. Thanks Joey!

It pours a clear and very nice straw gold with a 2 finger head of foam. Plenty of lacing here as well. Very good head retention.

The smell is..whoah...the citrus hits my nose buds first but there's a lot of *other* things going on. Tropical fruit goes hand in hand with grapefruit and I can also smell some malty sweetness. Great nose...now, if I'll just point the glass away from my nose and point it towards my mouth. ;^)

First sip and what a treat. The grapefruit is there in big abundance as are flavours of apricot, peach, and oh yeah, mango; it has a huge presence here and boy does *that* ever work well. Wow. Just before the finish, I get a nice helping of pine but the finish itself, for me, returns to that darn tasty fruitiness that really hits my palate on just the right notes. Again, wow.

It has a near perfect mouthfeel for me and that's helped by a fairly light job of carbonation. Dang, I better slow down here, not because of the abv but because it's so damn tasty and I don't want to be looking at an empty bottle and glass! Yum!

Bottom line: Here's a world class IPA if I've ever tasted one. If you get the chance to try it, don't hesitate for one moment!!

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Photo of anakinhush
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Over a solid IPA. Not too bitter, sweet, or overpowering. Very smooth while drinking, ABV kicks in after swallowing. Very easy drinking beer, especially for 7%. Personally, I like the grapefruit version better.

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Photo of ddean
4.22/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance-
Golden yellow, which isn't my favorite color. I'd like more amber or orange in my IPAs. Could be more clear, but I like the frothy head that others have described: it builds quickly and then dissipates right after you have had time to take it in.

Smell-
Here's an interesting one. I get lots of hops, then some sulfur (rotten eggs, skunk?), along with some grapefruit and other citrus that others have put forth. You might think that would be disgusting, but it is quite interesting as a matter of fact, so high marks.

Taste-
I was a little let down here, but it is still quite good. Thin to me, because the grapefruit and the hops dominate. I don't get the pine that others describe, and that is my favorite characteristic of my favorite IPAs (Lagunitas Maximus, Stone Ruination). A little lemon and apricot later on. Definitely good, but there is not much of a counterbalance in the taste.

Mouthfeel-
Smooth, crisp, very nice. I like the superlingering hops. I'm in full agreement with my raving colleagues.

Drinkability-
Goes down nice and easy. The smooth crispness makes me think I'd have no problem reaching for more, but the taste doesn't blow me away quite enough to not want to try other brews in a pub.

In summary, very good stuff, just not the most balanced IPA ever to me. Like the crisp, strong hops, but I want more pine and caramel.

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Photo of tmbgnicu
4.91/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

If I am ever on deathrow, and I am allowed a last meal and can choose the beverage- I want a fresh bottle or can of Sculpin to be my drink. I grabbed a six pack of cans locally with a canned date of 5-20-14- just over two weeks old. The first six pack of Sculpin I had was about 3 months old, and boy was there a difference. The fresh Sculpin was the best ipa I have ever had. It was crisp and clean with the perfect notes and bitterness. West coast IPAs- fanfreakingtastic.

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Photo of Austinkrat
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great, balanced IPA. Just the right sweetness too balance the hops. May be the ideal IPA.

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Photo of clingy
5/5  rDev +14.2%

Classic favorite.

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Photo of Riggsby
4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I first drank this lovely at Stone in Escondido in 2007. At the time I was blown away by the citrus forward aspect of this beer. A couple of years later I toured the brewery just before this beer blew up in the national sense. We had a personal tour and were told they were putting 7 varieties of hops in each batch. The expen$e to make this ale was considerable. Thus the addiction began. I believe that, with my uncle, we put this beer on the map on the East coast because we were drinking at least a pallet/year. I have a set of garage doors nailed with thousands of caps to prove our consumption!! But what happened? As they grew this brew dropped off. I remember that on our West coast visit they were expanding tankage to outside fermenters. I believe this and hop shortages/prices changed this beer. Pliny on tap on the East coast, at least at Monk's, is close to what you taste in Santa Rosa. I can't say the same for Sculpin. Like a first love, she always fades with time. Thus the toying with grapefruit, kiwi, habaneros, etc to cover up the loss of what made this beer unique. Ballast boys- get back to the basics and make less so that we have "more"!

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Photo of drtth
4.84/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Served in a nonic pint glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served the beer is a clear golden orange color with a ½" firm, fluffy white head that recedes to leave patches of foam clinging to the sides of the glass, a ring around the liquid and a patch of foam on the surface of the liquid. Sipping leaves some nice lacing. At least some of the foam and lacing persist through out the beer and there are sticky patterns of lacing on the glass even to the end.

Smell: The aroma is dominated by tropical fruits with a lot of pineapple and mango and is simply a pleasure to sniff. There is also some citrus present but it is more tangerine than bitter grapefruit. Underlying the fruits there is a nice touch of light sweet malt.

Taste: The flavors are crisp, clean and are pretty much what is expected from the nose--a citric, pineapple and mango delight. There is no bite from the hops, just a smooth and balanced bitterness that is fruity, citric, piney, bitter and sweet all at once.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and smooth with consistent, persistent moderate carbonation. The finish is medium to long and is one of those where things fade a way so smoothly you just don't notice it happening until they are gone.

Drinkability: This beer is so drinkable that I finished it off in about half the time I would normally take with an IPA of the strength of this one. There is not even a trace of harshness in the hop bitterness. I definitely want another one and expect I'll do so without hesitation next time I have a chance. This IPA is now in my top few for the style and I'd love to be able to do a side-by-side tasting with this one, Bell's Two Hearted, and Founders Centennial.

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Photo of MisterDigger
1.52/5  rDev -65.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

I tried this highly rated IPA based upon the high number of reviews. This was my first and last brew from Ballast Point. If I wanted grapefruit in my drink, I would make a paloma from one of my fine tequilas. I am delving into craft beers very late in my life and this beer only backs up my theory that craft beers are for hipsters who have yet to graduate from snowball syrup to fine distilled spirits. I did find one great craft beer with Founders Centennial IPA and it's bye-bye Heineken for me.

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Photo of Jazzman1963
4.14/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice white head, a bit carbonated, with more a malty character than grapefruit. Great tasting drinkable beer. Price point is a bit high for an american IPA at 7% ABV

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Photo of BIGPOPPAS
3.89/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I guess we all have different palates, but I was really excited to taste this today , however was quite disappointed for a top 250 brew .
I'm not going to say it was bad overall, but being a noob to IPA's it was not even close to the Bolero Snort Rogue Bull I had earlier today .
I had with red beans and rice, so it was refreshing, however the bitterness at the end kind of let me down .
Beautiful amber color and a wonderful smell , however I just couldn't get past the bitterness.
I will try it again as even my friends truly love it as an IPA, but maybe I was expecting too much for a a common shelf beer .
As a stout and dark ale drinker it is quite an adjustment, so we will see in time :)
Next up will be Pineapple Sculpin ;)

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Photo of Harn_SOLO
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pretty much the best IPA I've ever had. The Ballast Point flagship beer really is amazing. A nice citrus flavored hop mixed with some sappy piney notes as well. Very balanced and refreshing. They charge a pretty penny for six-packs, but it really is worth the cost. Golden tint and crisp taste are great!

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Photo of citizennsnipps
2.36/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

No no and NO! I made an account because this beer should not be the second best American IPA. It is a solid beer, but the grapefruit is WAY too robust for this to be just an IPA. If this were a fruited beer section (no idea if they exist on here yet), then this beer would definitely compete for the top spot. There are dozens of incredible IPAs that I'd put above this.

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Photo of Jessefromthe9
5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of TeamMathis
4.24/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It has the best head retention I've ever seen in an IPA. Super frothy. The citrus smell is very, very inviting, but subtle. The taste also isn't overwhelming, but has a really nice bitter burn on the end. It's very close to the bitterness of an English IPA. Yes, I'd get this again. Is this one overhyped? Maybe, but worth getting.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.79/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wow, a really great IPA! Citrus bomb that smells and tastes awesome!

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Photo of BucBasil
4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pure clear orange color with a two finger off-white head. Smells pine with citrus rind in there. Smooth and somewhat fruity. Accessible but with a big character. The bitter dryness is just enough to make you want another sip. Very refreshing without being mouth-numbing like some other modern IPAs. Definitely a great example of the type.

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Photo of jmd1978
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pale copper color with maybe half finger of head. Nose of apricot, citrus, tropical fruits, little peach. Taste of lemon, pine, orange peel, tropical fruits, and nice hoppy bite on the back end with a hint of breadiness. Dry finish with a nice lingering feel at the end. This is a very good IPA. Very light and refreshing with the bitterness you love. I prefer their dorado but this is a close second in the Ballast line up.

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Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.38 out of 5 with 14,402 ratings