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: 13,755
Photo of kzoobrew
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Decadance for the bottle. Review input from notes.

Clear yellow orange colored body capped with a two and a half finger bone white head. The head recedes leaving a rather impressive cap. Thick lacing left firmly attached to the glass.

Aroma is full of juicy citrus and tropical fruits. Subtly sweet pale malt is set behind providing a bit of balance. Very hop forward but the simplicity of the grain bill is appreciated.

The nose steers the tongue true, the taste is exactly what you would expect. Strong citrus and tropical fruit flavor. More subtle pith and floral contributions from the hops lay beneath. The malt base is rather soft but sturdy.

Medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Soft and creamy on the tongue with a finish which is rather dry

Sculpin drinks far too easy. It is unfortunate this beer does not make it into my area or I would pick it up on some sort of regular basis. Well crafted beer with great balance, outstanding example of the style.

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

Bottle from Binny's in Champaign, IL
Poured into a tulip glass

Ballast Point's Sculpin IPA is a generally well-balanced American IPA that focuses on copious amounts of fruit flavors and moderated bitterness to earn its name. Definitely a solid IPA, alongside many others, one to pick up a few bottles of when it is occasionally able to be found.

Pours a 1.5cm head, slightly off-white in color, composed of small-sized bubbles. Head has solid retention, lasting a few minutes before it declines to a thin cap atop the body. Some lacing is left, a scattering of splotches and small lines. The body itself is a hazy, clearly unfiltered, golden orange color. Holding the beer to light reveals both some lighter gold highlights and some streaming carbonation.

Aroma is of pleasant citrus, most akin to grapefruit, along with noticeable (for me), peach and less-noticeable mango scents. A slight bit of the malt is able to make it through, faintly caramel-like.

Taste opens with moderately sweet, bread-like malt flavors mixed with bright citrus flavors. Imagine fresh wort with peach, grapefruit, apricot, and mango-leaning hops. By mid-palate, the taste becomes quite "thick" with hops, really quite rank, in a very good way, as the hops are never overly bitter and generally quite bright and fruity, just in massive amounts. Closes out with a lingering bitterness and slight fruitiness alongside mild malt sweetness, a combination that's very pleasing to me.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, creating a gently flowing beer across the palate. Very smooth and pleasant. Finish is expectedly dry, from residual hops and sugars.

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Photo of russpowell
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Based on 2nd bottle (cheers Bitterbill!) I'm bumping up Appearance, Drinkabilty & MF

Got this one from tendermorsel, cheers Mike! Very happy to try this!

Pours a honey color with a finger of cream colored head. Very good head retention & lacing

S: Citrus & floral hops

T: Grapefruit, lemons, a touch of apricot & breadyness, plus dryness up front. More grapefruit as this warms, then dryness & some honey & biscuitty malt, plus lemons. Finishes crisp, dry & with puckery grapefruit

MF: Medium bodied & assertive carbonation; fairly nice balance

Drinks easy, not a top flight AIPA, but almost there. Reminds me a lot of Odell IPA, but slightly better. Would love to try this on draft or cask. Finishes with lemony & grapefruitty hops, slight pepperyness. Another good one from Ballast Point!

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Photo of larryarms847
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Vibrant orange in appearance and developed a light and frothy two finger head when poured from a 12oz btl.

Very noticeable grapefruit as well as orange, lemon peel, and other citrus fruits. A delight for thy nostrils.

The taste of orange zest is immediate and long lastingly bitter, but that isn't to say that is a bad thing. The bitterness from the hops balances well with the tart and sweetness of the citrus. A citrusy hop bomb.

Kind of like eating booze soaked fruit, marvelous.

Overall, this brew was very enjoyable, but I do not agree with the excessive score it has received. At ~$16 for a 6-pack, I'd rather spend my money on better brews.

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Photo of NateTheHappyOne
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A Fantastic beer,
I would rather say what strikes my mind than to
elaborate on points already spoken a hundred times

When fresh, you will have your hops
honeyed and smooth like the travel
of a fish through gentle currents
a dank smooth citrus-rubbed
bowl of orange, apple and mango
never any one of them shouting loudly over the others

If not fresh, you
might pay too many
dollars for a six pack,

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 FL. OZ. bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on day 260 (Sept. 17) of 2013.

Appearance: Pours a light golden with a stiff doughy head.

Smell: Tons of aroma from the crack of the bottle cap. Delicious smelling peach, apricot, and mango aromas throughout the pour. Smells like candy!

Taste: More spicy than the aroma would suggest. I was looking for tropical fruit. Tastes ever so slight boozy. Sweet malt. Resinous. Not terribly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Great combo of light body with mouth-coating feel. Makes you salivate.

Overall: A great IPA.

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Photo of johndoe8
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got it at Bev4Less... best liquor store around :)

A-This is a perfect golden pour.
S-Honestly, poured in my favorite beer stein, this beer has a very subtle nose. Difficult to pick up, but maybe its b/c I've finished half the bottle already.
T-The taste is awesome. It's such a balanced taste. Hops are not overwhelming, very defined. I love it.
M-Mouth feel is very typical of good IPAs.
D-Enjoy the beer so much I don't feel the alcohol. Very easy to finish.

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Photo of nuggetlover
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

When fresh, this is one of my favorite go to's. My rating is submitted with that caveat.

Looks like mildly carbonated orange honey.

Smells like it's been racked over citrus, grapefruit in particular. Smells so good.

Tastes like it smells. Big citrus, so cleN, so easy to drink for a non session brew.

Feel is super clean and easy. More please!

Overall, always try to get this when the release date isn't too far off.

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Photo of uustal
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light orange with a bit of golden yellow mixed in. One finger pearl white head, good lacing throughout. Awesome nose. Mango, grapefruit, floral hops, bit of apricot and more awesome tropical fruit. Light, crisp and extremely well integrated hop flavors. Mango up front along with a hint of apricot and yes, peach, as advertised. The sweeter hops give way to grapefruit and lemon flavors in the middle portion of the beer. A bit of semi-bitter pine resin and floral hops follow before some of the tropical sweetness from the beginning of the beer comes full circle on the close. Awesomely hopped, extremely well put together hop forward flavor profile.

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Photo of snaotheus
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz can poured into a pint glass. Can code is SC 305 13211.

Pours golden, clear, with a big beautiful fluffy head, starts to fade slowly, leaves nice lacing. Little carbonation ongoing. Smell is pungent and pleasant, piny, floral, honeysuckle, citrus. Very nice.

Taste is pine resinous, grapefruit, slight breadiness, unassuming but really delicious.

Mouthfeel is about perfect. Exactly the right combination of fluffiness and creaminess. Overall, I'm very pleased with this beer, and delighted to finally be able to try it.

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Photo of Pontus
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my go-to IPA's and a great beer.

Light straw color with a slight haze.

Wonderfull grapefruit flavor and aroma that lingers on the tongue for a bit.

The quality of this beer seems to have gotten a lot better here in Arizona once they started canning the beer.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I would consider this to be one of those benchmark beers, one that other IPAs are measured against.
A bomber poured into a snifter. Coppery orange color, thick white head. Lace, but a little less than expected.
Citrus aroma, could really pick out the orange and tangerine. Some other sweet fruit. Bready malt aroma in the background.
Loads of citrus taste: orange, tangerine, grapefruit. I think the other fruit aroma was apricot. French bread, the nice crusty kind.
A wonderfully complex mouthfeel. Rolling around my mouth, all those different flavors.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks like a standard IPA, nice color, nothing spectacular. Smells very much like a standard citrusy grapefruity IPA. Tastes the same. Maybe a little more bitter than I expected. Well balanced nonetheless, a little maltier than I expected too, but I guess that's needed to balance the heavy alcohol and bitterness.

A very good IPA, if its not in the top 10 ipas, its close.

Did a bunch more of these at the SDIBF, was even better than remembered. Aroma really jumped out this time, its funny, sometimes, you drink a beer with other beers, it actually stands out more than it would on its own.

This beer is massively different with age. Don't be one of those fools who says it changed or whatnot. Go drink it on tap, fresh. You'll then see. . .

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - nice golden amber color w white head that dissipates quick
S - pine, grapefruit, overly ripe fruit, little bit of dank
T - pine and grapefruit up front, let it linger and you get mango, orange, papaya, passion fruit. No dankness on the taste
M - light to medium. Alc covered. Aftertaste is grapefruit.
O - it's a pretty standard ipa, but it's THE standard ipa.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on my tick list for a while. Not sure how old the bottle is but it has some weird date code and no sediment so it's OK by me.

Top beer number 34

A - Ah a lovely inch of crisp frothy head with a nice bit of carbonation in the glass. Color is a bit lighter than the IPA's I usually drink but it has a great level of clarity. Gave it a 4 since it's head is not very sticky.

S - Beautiful levels of pine and citrus both from the bottle neck and in the glass. Smells also very balanced since the hops are not really "in your face"

T - Damn that's nice. I love the aggressive bit of bitter pine but it doesn't get bitter enough to deliver any "soap" like flavors (like some west coast IPA's) And each sip seems to deliver a different shade of hop: first pine, then second was more of an apricot, now citrus. Exceptional.

M - Body is as it should be and drinks fairly light with a light to medium body.

Overall it's been a while since I had such an exceptional IPA. Bitter like Ruination but each sip rounding flavors of both bitter and sweet hops. This is what hop heaven tastes like.

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Photo of ibbjamin
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Paid $9.99 for a bomber from Perry's Liquor in Livermore, CA. Poured into a large snifter to review.

Pour is not too thick, about appropriate for an IPA. Lighter in color than some, it is a transparent golden orange hue. Head is white in color and about a half inch in height after a standard pour. It dissipates quickly leaving almost no retention. Great lacing.

Aroma is pure and clean; citrus and pine through and through. Taken from the bottle; aromas of apricot, peach, mango and lemon. Yeah, after closer inspection, I would have to agree with this tropical medley.

A true hop bomb, this one is unrelentlessly bitter, just the way I like an IPA to be. Certainly this one could have been classified as a double based on taste alone. I definitely recommend waiting for this to warm a bit, as the hop profile really is taking shape quite nicely as I'm getting to the bottom half of the bomber. Citrus and tropical fruit dominate.

Medium body and crisp in the mouth with nice carbonation levels. Long, hoppy finish. A bit of oil from the massive amount of hops used in this one.

In my opinion, this one is among Alesmith IPA, Blind Pig, Hop Rod Rye, Stone IPA and Two Hearted for best in class.

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Photo of MFMB
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

So to date this is my favorite IPA but preface that I haven't had anything from the northeast and many of the heavy hitters from the west coast so take this for what it is. Beautiful crisp reddish,orange pale hue. Super fresh refreshing citrus smell. A crisp grapefruit taste that I love. It's funny because I am not a fan of the grapefruit sculpin as I feel it takes the grapefruit over the top too much. Good beer

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

SCUUUULLLLPPPIIINNN! Finally. About time I tried this legend! Thanks to dmsohyea, I have a bottle of this San Diego-brewed behemoth in my hands. Thanks again, dude!

No more time for talk…I’ve been waiting for this long enough. Let’s get on with it!

A: This one pours a wondrously hazy gold, with a very active head of white foam. The bubbles rise vigorously to the surface, propelling the fizzy cream almost over the edge of my glass. It’s a volatile one! Now, while its haziness doesn’t necessarily make this beer opaque, there is definitely a lack of shine; it’s not too bad, though, because it gives it a thicker, yeasty look. And lots of lacing all around, though thin, works to give a good first impression.

S: Fresh, lovely hops, as expected. Ballast Point absolutely delivers, showing off pine resin, a distinct floweriness, and a grab bag of grape and citrus fruits. The heavily-malted backbone is evident, too, as a big, sweet undercarriage for the hops. Plus, that homey, barnyard freshness that so many IPA’s are missing makes an appearance near the finish. It’s not as strong as I would have liked, but it’s still there, and it’s still damn good.

T: Breads at the fore – I like the distinction! It’s a yeasty oasis in the normally bitter style, and it shows that these brewers know how to set themselves apart amongst their peers. Of course, the hops are still there, making their pronouncement soon after. They’re strong, but not in a tongue-puckering way – they merely showcase their bitterness as a balanced segment of the palate. While hop-bombs are a normal part of the IPA scene, I think it’s much more impressive to make an evenhanded beer like this, where the flavors compliment each other on a relatively equal level. For instance, the malts never make a huge statement, but they extend after the hop notes are gone; thus, a clean aftertaste is achieved, instead of a dry, hop-heavy one. If I lived in California, this beer would be in my fridge whenever I could get it. It has an incredibly versatile taste profile.

M: A good amount of effervescence propels this beer skyward in the drinkability category. It’s so appropriate for a style where you have to watch out for thin/watery bodies. I could drink this all day – well done!

O: An incredibly pleasant brew. Not too heavy, not too light – the happiest medium you can find in an IPA. I used to think of Two-Hearted as the best example piece for American IPA's, but this one takes the cake. It’s not as syrupy/thick, so it’s much more drinkable and style-appropriate.

These Cali brews are killing me! It makes me want to move out west for a month or two, just to visit some of these amazing breweries. While I’m more than happy with FFF, Founders, Bell’s, and the rest of the Midwest, I have had a ton of beers from the west coast that I can only describe as “showstoppers.” This is one of them. I guess it just goes to show: wherever you are, good beer can certainly be found.

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Photo of CFHMagnet
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoy by 10/11/2013 printed on bottle.

Head is a finger of translucent foam. Body is urine yellow. Some lace noted.

The nose is grapefruit, mango, mandarin orange and a hint of pine. Upon deep inspection, hints of caramel is found.

The taste seems simpler than the nose. It starts off with grapefruit, has a hint of caramel then delves into pine with a bit of mandarin orange. A dash of vanilla is noted as the beer warms.

The mouthfeel is what really makes this beer. I want more. Somehow they sculpted this beer to wash perfectly over the tongue and leave you wanting more.

Overall, I tried to not let the hype influence my judgement on this beer. It certainly was something special though, especially in a style I happen to drink often. I will enjoy this again soon.

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Photo of climax
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours a lighter than expected glowing gold with slightly murky clarity. The head formed quickly to a creamy eggshell mass and had good retention.

The aroma was a burst of sweet citrus and tropical fruit. Pineapple, mango, lemon, and orange throw the nostrils into a bath of sweet citrus fruit while a grapefruit kick bitters it up properly. A little bit of a waxy soap bitterness shines through the orchard of citrus. Despite the sweetness, there really is no obvious sign of the malt even attempting to match this hop effort.

The flavor was crisp, clean, and kept with the fruit domination sensation as was the nose. . More herbal bitterness and earthy flavors are present in the taste. The toasted caramel malt, alcohol, and a bit of diacetyl are present in the backbone. That about sums up the malt cameo. What a juicy brew!

The feel is spot on. The carbonation is crisp and refreshing but stays well away from being overly sharp and distracting. The body is full and the feel is very creamy and slick. The finish is dry but not completely moisture sucking.

This is an excellent beer, a textbook IPA that covers all the bases. It balances the sweet and bitter qualities of our lupulin friend perfectly. It's easy to drink, but not TOO easy.

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Photo of jgasparine
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
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 BigCheese
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

6 packs on the east coast, SWEET! 3-4 weeks old. Cash money.

A: A clear near copper, slightly paler. A big white head, left some decent webbing.

S: Some pine, with lots of super sweet tropical fruits. Papaya, mango, kiwi, and pineapple. Pungent. Very bright smelling. I get Citra and Centenial without looking at malt bill, maybe simcoe. Maybe something else Im not familiar with, amarillo perhaps.

T: Delish. Some pineapple, grapefruit, peaches, oranges, and a bit of lemon herbal notes. A tropical hop bomb. Bitterness is there, but excessive dry hopping helps meld it out. The only reason I know this has malts is that its alcoholic. Similar to flower power.

M: Medium carbonation. Medium to light body. Definitely got some oil slickness.

O: A must for hop lovers, a super bright IPA. Similar to union jack, flower power, lunch ect. Upper echelon IPA for sure. A bit overpriced but worth purchasing once for sure. Getting this fresh is as good as anything out there.

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Photo of stakem
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On the hand pump at Al's. This was a fuggle dry hopped version.

Served in a nonic it appears a clear light golden color with a finger of creamy white foam. The head slowly fades from a finger's strength leaving a patchy coating atop the brew and patchy lace clinging to the glass.

The aroma coming out of this glass is absolutely mouth watering. It is a bouquet of citrus, flowers and herbs. It is notable how the fuggles really make this aroma noticeably more aromatic in an earthy and herbal sort of way with a grassy touch that is quite different from the normal version of sculpin.

The taste is quite grassy, herbal, earthy and somewhat minty. Amazing how different this one-off of sculpin is from the norm, I wonder just how much fuggles it took to transform this. I keep going back to this brew and smelling it twice before taking a sip. I don't know what that means but I really like it. Despite all the hop character there is still a sweetness with a floral aspect to be found in the taste. What little grain character comes through is noted with a toasty quality before the onset of the herbal bitterness that lasts inside the mouth with serious clinging power.

This is a fantastic one-off of one of my favorite IPA's. It is medium to almost light bodied with an acceptably low level of carbonation. Very easy drinking with the alcohol almost completely suppressed. About the only gripe I have with this brew is that it is at times a little watery but that doesn't stop me from emptying this glass at an alarming rate. Very well done.

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Photo of dgfair
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Common Market in Charlotte.

Beer pours a hazy golden straw color with a nice layer of bright white head that leaves a nice layer throughout the drink and lacing all over the glass. The smell is fresh citrus, mostly grapefruit and orange with a little touch lemon zest freshness. The taste is deliciously bitter with a thin albeit adequate maltiness. The hops have a nice bit of fresh grapefruit flavor that tastes as fresh as anything I've had. Very smooth and drinkable for a 7%er, and while the beer is nicely bitter, it is definitely not too harsh to keep going back for more. Will seek out again.

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Photo of Willytee3
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into tulip glass.

Pours a clear orange with reddish hue. Random single bubbles slowly rise to a creamy one finger head that slowly receeds to a thick ring of lacing.
Smell of tropical fruit with strong pine and a tangerine citrus. Has a sticky sweet, candy smell going on. A touch of wet earth as well.
Tastes of bright tropical fruits with sharp piney bitter and tart citris that bounces between red grapefruit rind and orange zest. Tart dry finish with lingering hop bitter and a kind of rye bread crust comes out as it warms.
Good medium body, creamy almost froth like mouthfeel. I feel like it does not reach it's full potential and kind of thins out at the end, not in a bad way just not as full as one would expect. There is a surprising light alcohol taste on the finish.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,755 ratings.
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