Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

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

Added by brentk56 on 04-02-2006

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Reviews: 2,478 | Ratings: 13,761
Photo of HipCzech
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Serving: 12 oz can (date code "17067") poured into a Spiegelau IPA glass.

Appearance: Clear, bright gold with a tall, foamy heady of white bubbles and thick, sudsy lace.

Smell: Pine needles and sap, grapefruit zest; peaches, apricots and mangos.

Taste: Fruity and juicy: plenty of ruby grapefruit, peaches and tropical fruit. Dank pine resin and herbal bitterness cut through the fruit notes for a clean, dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, slightly oily feel and moderate carbonation. Just a hint of alcoholic heat as it loses its chill.

Overall: Quintessential juicy IPA with plenty of citrus and tropical fruit notes, but still enough balance and bitterness - solid, drinkable IPA.

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Photo of DrGonzo
4.11/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Solid baseline IPA. Plenty of pine and hop, not too punishing of a finish. Doesn't hold up to the likes of Maine Beer Co, Treehouse, Trillium, Other Half etc... however, a solid beer that's very easy to get your hands on both on tap and in bottles around Boston.

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Photo of PNWhops
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

First of all, the beer looks spectacular in the glass with a dark gold look and nice head that holds well as you drink. The best thing about the drink is by far the flavor hints of pine yet has some sweetness to it. It doesn't have a strong scent to it. Not as bitter as its brothers to the north being Washington and Oregon IPA's but most definitely is a wonderful beer.

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Photo of camtheman
4.63/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

This is my go to IPA. Heavy pine notes, crisp finish. I ofter like to buy IPAs from the store that other people swear by (usually east coasters), and then I come back to this one and remember how good it is. When trying other IPAs from Whole Foods, etc, I'm disappointed more ofter than not, not because the beers I'm trying are bad, but just because I've become spoiled by how solid of a beer Sculpin is.

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Photo of PlinyMeNow
3.85/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Strongly aromatic with pine and citrus, pleasant in the front of the palate echoing the aroma, but it gets more unpleasant towards the back. Very bitter in the back of the throat with too much unpleasant linger. I understand this is a classic IPA staple but it is not my kind of IPA. I desire more malt and balance. Still, I admit that I need to revisit it in depth and it may grow on me.

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Photo of andrewh995
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Being in the top 250 I expected a lot more. Not that it isn't great, it really is a delicious IPA and I would buy it again if I could find it in 12 oz bottles rather than a bomber. It's just that I've had many other IPAs that aren't in the top 250 which have impressed me far more than this one. Once again it is great though. Easy to drink compared to other IPAs with plenty of citrus and hops, smells and looks great, and in my opinion would be a good starting IPA for newer beer drinkers.

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Photo of BJB13
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

17040 printed on the bottom of the bottle.
12 oz. bottle poured into a nonoic style pint glass.

This beer looks great with a 2 plus finger, soft and fluffy, almost white, lasting head resting over a crystal clear, golden amber body. It has a decent nose with pineapple and citrus notes. In the mouth it has the same citrus flavors with a decent malt presence, moderate hop bitterness and finishes dry with some lingering bitterness. With the medium carbonation and light body it is pretty smooth and easy to drink.

I think this is a great IPA that seems to pale in comparison to the new order of IPA's. I would drink this again but will most likely go with local options that haven't had to be shipped across the country. Though I am glad to have finally tried it.

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Photo of hydrate
3.25/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

You know, I've had this several times over a couple years and am just now rating it. I like it. There's nothing wrong with it. But in a market that includes IPA's that have become inventive and diverse in their flavors, this is kind of bland. Not unpleasant. Just not impressive and unique. But that's ok. Sometimes you want a higher ABV, non session IPA that is dry with medium to low hops (for an IPA), no floral or fruit or any other notes, and a super clean (again for an IPA), slightly dry finish. After normalizing your palate to IPA's, you'll probably find Sculpin to be good but unchalenging and palatable to drink over an extended period of time, as long as you don't fall down. I personally use Grapefruit Sculpin as my benchmark against which to measure citrus infused IPA's, but that's a different beer, different story. This isn't a shot across the bow of Ballast Point which I think produces some amazing brews, especially The Commodore, particularly the holiday version. Ok, now I'm just ranting.

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Photo of nick_perry
4.96/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Foamy head. Strong aromas and notes of hops, as you would expect. However, the hop taste is balanced by some malt and yeast character, so it’s not an IPA that punches you in the mouth, and is surprisingly smooth. Floral, tropical fruit notes. Dry finish with the faintest hints of citrus. Cool artwork on the label...ugly fish but a great beer. Pairs nicely with fish tacos.

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Photo of Mikebebop
3.76/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Drinkable; but, 97? No way. There are a hundred better IPAs out there. But, even at number 101, it's quite drinkable. What a country! I'm old. Trust me; we've come a long way.

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Photo of Beerdeathexperience
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is as tasty as the wicked-looking sculpin on its label is hideous. Mellow, bitter, and sweetish without any tang of alcohol at 7.0%. Bursting with flavor, will drink again.

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Photo of umichfan
3.34/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Not sure what the hype is surrounding this beer. Would not be a beer I would seek out again. In fact, I've yet to find a beer in their collection that I've enjoyed. Not sure if it's the marketing that's gotten them the hype, but this beer doesn't do it for me.

The pour was probably the best thing about this beer, though nothing stood out as memorable. Copper in tone with some haze & a decent head. The nose was strong on citra, but lacking any depth or complexity. It didn't get much better from there. A malty IPA with a piney finish and little bite that is characteristic of a west coast IPA. Decent mouth feel, a touch on the dry side which I actually prefer. Overall, an unimpressive beer in an overall unimpressive line up. Not sure how/why this makes the BA250.

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Photo of Bombelsky
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

355 ml bottle poured into a snifter. Light amber, clear. Small, white and frothy head. Slowly diminishing to a small crown. Decent lacing. Strong hop aroma. Resin upfront, later very citrusy some tropical fruits. Flavor shows very high hop bitterness. In a mouth-feel has a medium body, Is quite oily, smooth with an average carbonation. Long lasting dry finish, lingering but not harsh. Fantastic American IPA. Bit of warm alcohol in a finish.

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Photo of pmoersch
4.19/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Billion Dollar beer is responsible for many many of my friends' conversion to IPA's. Crisp taste with a bitter aftertaste that is less wet to the palette that many other IPA's. All in all a great go to as it is now widely available.

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Photo of Mark-Leggett
4.56/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy copper color with a small head and a little lacing. Smells of citrus, pine and dark fruit. Has pine and citrus flavors, nothing is over done it all blends together very well. Solid IPA for sure.

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Photo of Hackattack
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Good stuff but highly overrated in my opinion. It appears to be placed in the highest echelons of the finest beers. However the price for this beer is a bit (or more) higher than what we can get here in, 3 Floyds any brew selection which we can get FRESH here.

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Photo of Benjolovesbeer
3.62/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: malts and pine
L: hazy copper with a bubbly head that screams juicy bitter hops....too bad it doesn't succeed.
F: everthing is slightly: slightly dank, slightly oily, slightly malty, slightly nuggety, along with medium hopped.
T: piney and bitter but not bitter enough.
O: for a beer listed in top 250 I expected to be blown away, I'm not. This beer does not belong there and should be replaced with Stone Ruin 2.0 or Stone delicious IPA. It is an okay beer, okay IPA but nothing special, something is missing to make it excell. It is not a beer I plan to buy again as there are many better IPA's in the market. And for the record it's a month and half old so should still be good, not to mention I've had delicious IPA 2 and a half months old that tastes better than this one.

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Photo of peterpunk15
4.04/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one was really good. I liked the citrusy flavor, I've had the grapefruit but this one is even better. Not an outstanding IPA but for a standard one it's perfectly done.

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Photo of Blackop555
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark gold/amber with a tall, white head that lasts awhile

Smells of citrus, pine light malt.

Tastes mostly pine while smell is mostly citrus. Some light malts follow and then finishes dry and light pine. Medium body with smooth medium carbonation

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Photo of Jesterr44
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the smell of Sculpin. I feel each time i open one that's it's a unique smell even among all the IPAs out there. Listen to me, like I brew it. I've only has it about a dozen times. I also really enjoy Grapefruit Sculpin, although they're the only 2 I've tried. Taste in this one is all pleasant hops; definitely grapefruit & other citrus & floral; pretty juicy, light piney at first which then comes on more / with a touch more fruit maybe mango. Smooth & well balanced. I will enjoy this again.

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Photo of JackStott
3.2/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I was especially excited to try this IPA based upon the excellent ratings. It pours a hazy golden amber with decent head and lacing. The aroma is lightly citrus and pine. The taste is essentially a middle of the road IPA. It is rather poorly balanced with little citrus/pine hop taste. Definitely nothing special. I tried this IPA twice at different times on tap and once in a bottle. At $13.99 a six pack, it is no bargain. I can't understand all of the high ratings.

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Photo of california_republic
4.93/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

First Impression: The first non-fruity Ballast Point that I'm trying. So far have been pretty disappointed with Mango Even Keel and Watermelon Dorado. I thought grapefruit sculpin was good, but not great. Expected to not like this as much as grapefruit sculpin but was surprised that this is better.

Look: Dark golden and clear. Generated a rather large amount of head even though I poured down the side. Definitely looks refreshing.
Smell: Citrus, pineapple, and pine. Is this grapefruit sculpin? Or is it pineapple? Pleasant and inviting without being too overpowering.
Taste: I'm getting a lot of pineapple with a fair amount of hops. Almost tastes like I'm drinking juice instead of beer.
Finish: Crisp and refreshing helped along by the brightness of the citrus. Definitely a hoppy aftertaste with some slight malt. A fair bit stickier than I would have liked, but it's Ballast Point. Plus the fruit juiciness really helps mitigate it. Lychee flavor settles in long after drinking. Less stickiness and it would be perfect.
Overall: Very pleased with this after being disappointed by the Ballast Point fruit beers. I understand why BP decided to add grapefruit and pineapple since the beer has so much intrinsic grapefruit and pineapple flavor. However, adding fruit just messes up the balance so delicately created in regular sculpin. Only thing I wish is that it were cheaper. It's hard to justify $2.50/12 oz when there are many other great west coast IPAs for less.

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Photo of Drvitlkeyustolit80
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had 7/19/13 at Mom's Maxwell's on Main in Doylestown. I just don't love this beer like everyone else. Simcoe, and citrus are good, but the malt profile just doesn't agree with me. I actually, for once, approve of the fruity versions (pineapple, grapefruit) better than the original.

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Photo of matcris
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Slightly hazy, lotsa bubbles, peach in color, finger, finger of slowly fading white head and moderate lacing. Aroma, first thing that jumps out is that catty Simcoe hop, my least favorite hop. Citrus, mostly lemon and a little orange and a bit of peach. Flavor, bit of that astringent, ammonia/catty like quality, again, I bet this has Simcoe. Cracker bread malt, lots of citrus/lemon, nice building bitter bite. Feel is full carbonation, dry, and medium body. I'm sure if I was a fan of certain hops, I'd like this a lot more, so I'll keep that in mind when I choose brews in the future, and I'll be kind, here.

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Photo of Everydayoff
4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I once had it on-tap and got unpleasant experience thought my glass was pressed poorly without head and served in too warm temperature. So, I decide to have it again this time on bottle.

355ml bottle poured into a teku glass.

Translucent but not transparent gold amber color with thick white fluffy head, it stands with good retention before subsiding to everlasting foamy film atop and leaves plenty of sticky lacing patch all along.

Apricot, peach, lemon, orange peel, grapefruit, earthy, pine, resin, and spice, all of these scents are derived from its hoppy affair. Sweet malty, biscuity, slight caramel too, overall the aroma is well mellow with resiny and juicy hoppiness.

The taste is mostly leant towards piney and resiny hop yet some spice rather than fruity. The bitterness is upright and strong enough to satisfy any hopheads. Anyway, suggestion of fruit is still able to be sensed through apricot, peach, grapefruit, and orange peel notes while malt acts as a foundation of the flavor structure providing sweetness, caramel, and biscuit profile.

Light to medium body with smooth mouthfeel through the palate, medium carbonation with crisp and lively feeling through the taste buds, finish is pleasantly dry. This brew is the benchmark, the good work of craft, and the master representing American IPA character.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,761 ratings.
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