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: 2,464 | Ratings: 13,674
Photo of THECPJ
3.75/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes 12/3/2010

A: smells slightly sweet, but profound citrus hop scents, and a hint of pine.

Ap: gold yellow with a 1 finger white head

B/T: mild carbonation, well balanced, smooth and crisp

Af: hits the tongue with a pungent citrus flavor, mostly lemony, bitter, lingers for awhile

O: not knowing the date of my bottle, i feel that i can't give a fair review, it's a well balanced west coast IPA.


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Photo of rcusick
4.07/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

recently acquired bomber poured into a dogfish head signature glass (1 main pour and one top off)

pours a bright golden color, much lighter then i expected. with a strong foamy inch of head, that slowly faded away into a thick (large bubble lacing).

this beer smells amazing. a clean and bright hoppy smell with out being over overpoweringly piny or citrusy, a very well balanced hop smell.

where the smell was very balanced the taste wasn't, this tastes of straight hops without much maltyness to balance it out. That doesn't mean its bad, its just a very hop centric brew, even for an IPA.

as for drinkability, i will have no trouble finishing this bottle off, but i will likely save my second bottle for when i have company that would enjoy it.

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Photo of krayziejman
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a New Belgium globe. Pours a hazy golden color with a large 3 finger head that lingers for some time.

S: Lots of citrus fruit and some pine. Mango also seems to be predominant.

T: Very smooth and well blended hop flavors. Tastes of mango, peach and grapefruit. Does not finish very bitter like many dipas.

M: Excellent mouthfeel. Perfect level of carbonation creates a creamy but not overdone sensation.

D: Very drinkable. I had no problem finishing the bomber in short order, and the 7% abv goes unnoticed.

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Photo of chaz01
3.99/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle courtesy of trade from mobz24, poured into a snifter glass.

A: Clear golden color with frothy head.

S: Very aromatic -- citrusy, tropical fruit flavors come through, especially pineapple, mango and grapefruit.

T: Mainly grapefruit and more tropical fruit flavors in the taste. A bit of sweetness to start off, but then comes hoppy bitterness taste that mixes citrus, tropical fruits, piney and grassy notes and some resinous flavors. Mainly citrus and grapefruit in the finish.

M: Light and crisp mouthfeel, good carbonation. Very long dry finish that leaves a resinous grapefruit flavor tingling in the mouth.

D: Very drinkable and enojoyable beer worth seeking out.

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Photo of pgaveau
3.92/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit frustrating that there is no bottle date for a rather expensive IPA. The appearance is a dense orange with a nice frothy head. The smell is intoxicating. Strong citrus and floral notes. This can't be fresh because it tastes like rotten grapefruit. A little more bitter than the average IPA. Very little after taste. Drinkability is surprisingly still high considering it isn't fresh. I will have to review this again with a fresh bottle.

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Photo of oreo
4.54/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into snifter.

With no bottle date I have no idea how old this is. Newer label though.

Pours a straw/orange color with one finger head.

Smells awesome. Grapefruit pine and tons of citrus. Reminds me of pliny.

Tastes a bit musty to begin, but rounds out with some really pronounced citrus flavors with hints of honey. A little sweet and a bit thin.

Very drinkable! Leaves a little harshness In the throat but a good drinker.

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Photo of rand
4.18/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12 oz bottle to pint glass

A: Pours a light yellow-orange with an opaque chilled-haze and a fluffy, one-inch head. The beer looks dense for 7% ABV. Plenty of sticky lacing as the carbonation and head form tiny bubbles, adding to the beer's viscous appearance.

S: A big rush of piny-citrus hops. Really citrusy, grapefruits and lemons, resulting in a fresh and clean aroma. Some bready malts linger in the backdrop that remind me of unbaked pastry dough. Unique and inviting bouquet.

T: The taste follows the nose with crisp, bitter hops up front. The citrus elements lean more lemony and light and make the beer taste amazingly fresh. Lightly sweetened bread balance out the hoppy front, but a dry hop twang carries through to the finish. Notes of buttered-bread crust become prevalent as the beer warms, along with an edge of leafy, earthy tea. Always finishes clean and slightly bitter.

M: Quite dense and oily-slick for the ABV. Carbonation is perfect, little residue is left after each sip.

Drinkablity: One of the more drinkable IPA's you'll come across. Plenty of big flavors here to please any hophead, but I'm yet to see a bitter-Sculpin face on anyone that's tried this. This is well-crafted and well-balanced, will be gone before you know it.

Notes: Ahhh, I finally got to try the new six-packs. Just picked a couple up last week and now they're all over San Diego. One of the best single IPA's in existence, would love to see this readily available year-round.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.03/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this IPA into my tumbler at 45 degrees. The beer was ugly cloudy colored but did have a very nice luxurious poofy head. The Hay colored beer was very hoppy and smelled very hoppy also. Just like it should have. I think it was what an IPA should be but I will not buy it again, tooo hoppy for me.

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

A - This beer pours a nice golden orange color, that has a good clarity to it. It also has a nice 2-finger white head on it, that left specs of lacing behind as it slowly fell. This is a great looking beer.

S - It smells of citrus and tropical fruits up front. There is also a very nice piney hop aroma, as well as some sweet light malts. This beer smells like paradise.

T - The taste follows the nose well. There is citrus, tropical fruit notes, and a nice bitter hop presence. This is a very well balanced beer. The finish is very clean, it has a bit of hop bitterness and some citrus notes that linger.

M - This has a medium body and moderate carbonation. It is very smooth and well balanced. There is also a nice creaminess to it. It's very refreshing, and leaves you wanting more with each sip.

D - The drinkability here is awesome. This is a very solid IPA. I have a hard time setting this one down, I just want to keep on drinking it. I really think this one lived up to all the hype. It is an Awesome IPa and I would love to drink it again.

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Photo of bbb099
4.32/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Shared with mjyoung.

A - Clear, yellow amber color. Half finger, pure white head with good retention.

S - Fragrant piney and herbal hop aroma. Smells incredibly fresh and inviting.

T - Solid, savory, bitter hop flavor that hits you from the first sip. Hints of apricot as it goes down and a clean, dry finish with little aftertaste. I also detected zero presence of alcohol, which is a big plus.

M - Light to medium bodied. Carbonation is a little on the light side.

D - A well-balanced, palatable beer. Goes along great with a big dinner.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very solid example of an IPA and my favourite of the lineup at an IPA tasting in October. Great pour with frothy head. Clean clear and crisp. Smells like hoppy goodness with some citrus and just a hint of malt. Tastes like a balanced hop profile between a few types of hopes... some citrus, floral hints, very good. A bit bitter on the back of my tongue but overall very drinkable

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Photo of jchow79
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a 22 oz bomber. This bottle did not say limited release so I assumed it was fresher.

The aroma seemed faint vs most of the reviews I've seen. I can only assume that this bottle wasn't the freshest around.

But I was told by my bottle shop that this was one of the newest offerings they received so I went along with them. I generally trust them.

The taste was fantastic. It picked up mango and citrus. The Head was white as powdery snow.

I want to revisit this with a full review after acquiring a fresh bottle.

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Photo of bsp77
4.39/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bomber into tall glass.

Appearance: Hazy honey gold with large stark white head and pretty lacing.

Smell: Very tropical and hoppy, with mango, grapefruit, lemon and a herbal spiciness. Milder than expected aroma but very nice.

Taste: Very hoppy and tropical, with mango, pineapple, grapefruit, peach and lemon. Some spicy kick at the finish with mild to moderate bitterness. Some sweetness that balances the beer quite nicely, but I can't tell if it is from the malts or the hops.

Feel: Moderate carbonation with a very creamy body and an exceptionally dry finish. This feels like a great Double IPA.

Drinkability: If I didn't know this was only 7% abv, I would have thought this was a Double IPA, both in terms of mouthfeel and taste. That is an impressive feat. The only downside to this beer (and I do not let this impact the score) is the very high price tag.

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Photo of charlesbyrd
4.64/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a footed glass. No freshness date on the bottle.

A: Pours relatively clear and bright amber in color. The head is soapy, white, and voluminous. Noticeable carbonation rises through the glass throughout the session. It looks slightly lighter and cleaner than I was expecting.

S: Huge hop aroma greets the nose immediately. Mostly floral with subtle notes of pine resin and bitter fruit. No real malt character to be found. The smell is truly explosive out of the glass and attacks the nose.

T: Again, hops are obviously the star in this brew. Quite bitter up front, with a cool herbal character that stands up to the hop bitterness. Not as much of a fruit character as, say, Two Hearted, this beer seems to be more about showcasing crisp, pungent hop flavor.

M: This beer covers the whole palate nicely with a solid medium body and great level of carbonation. The bitterness at the end fades into a minty cooling sensation, followed by a nice alcohol burn down the throat.

D: This beer seems to be made to fit any occasion. It's extremely crisp and refreshing, yet excitingly complex. This is right up there with the best IPAs I've tried.

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Photo of psiweaver
3.6/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Cloudy and an orangeish yellowish color and a soft slightly off white head.

Very floral and fruit based smell but not quite as hoppy or fruity as i would prefer.

average middle of the pack IPA taste. hoppy but without much fruit or floral taste that was present in the nose present in the glass. Not nearly as balanced as i would prefer.

good mouthfeel though not as balanced or integrated alchohol as the best in this style

pretty easy to drink but not something i would really seek out especially at its price point compared to what else is avaliable.

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Photo of phishgator
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber into an imperial pint glass. The color is a hazy orange hue with a large white lacy head. The head dissipates after a few minutes. The smell is centential hops through and through. The taste is floral, bitter, rose hips and a bit citrusy. The body is a medium and good carbonation throughout. I would drink this every week and now that it is available I probably will. This is very similar to my other two favorites (Two-hearted and Stone IPA).

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Photo of dbossman
4.58/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Cloudy and orangish-yellow hue with a thin cream colored head; beautiful lacing

S: Very fruity aromatics from the hops: mango, lemon rind, pineapple, and grapefruit; also a fairly obvious but pleasant alcohol burn

T: Wow, really tropical: mango and pineapple; such a nice sweet tropical hoppiness sitting on top of a grainy malt backbone; way more tropical hops than the nose would indicate

F: A bit carbonated but it actually works pretty well here; good overall mouth feel

D: A really damn good IPA; alcohol (present in the aroma) is masked so well by the tropical fruitiness from the hops

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Photo of BZero007
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recieved as a extra from Tieman.

Poured this on NYE for a group tasting of big IPA fans. Everyone was very surprised of the great aroma and flavor. The brew when poured formed a perfect slight orange/white head. The beer it's self had me take a step back on the color. The color was a perfect Orange and yellow mixture but was absolutely clear. The aroma was great, with fruit mixture rising with a snappy background. The flavor was very hoppy and was bursting my senses. Tons of bitter hops accompanied by citrus and other fruit flavors. Was a most welcome brew that everyone enjoyed.

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Photo of CliffBrake
4.77/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bright orange color with a creamy white head that leaves plenty of sticky lacing.

The aroma is HOPS! Spicy, pine and citrus - a layered hop aroma that does not hide. The taste is similar - layers of hop flavors supported by an invisible but well balanced malt backbone. Sweet juicy flavors fad to a pleasant lingering bitterness, that invites another sip.

Juicy mouthfeel with just the right carbonation, and well hidden alchohol makes this brew highly drinkable, especially for the alchohol content.

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Photo of ms11781
4.39/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz poured into some sort of goblet/tulip hybrid at The Union Brewhouse in Weymouth, MA.

Pours a nice golden, yellowish, orange color with a minimal head (most likely due to the way beer is poured at said establishment), just a thin, half finger white head that sticks around. Nice lacing all the way down to the bottom of the glass.

Easily one of the very best smelling IPAs I've ever had. Huge citrus notes. Grapefruit, mango, multiple tropical fruits, orange, lemon. Such a strong, fruity, hoppy scent that almost no malt is detected at all, maybe a hint of some caramel but the fruit hops are so overwhelming I think I may be looking to hard for the malt and just imagining it.

The taste and the nose go hand in hand. Huge (and I mean huge) citrus hop flavor, definitely some citrus hops notes that I have never picked up (or at least aren't as forward) as other beers I've had. The slightest hint of pale malt, with more citrus and a slight bitterness. Really just a ton of hops, tons of different flavors and none too much or overwhelming.

Very light and smooth. Definitely leaves a bit of bitterness on the tongue but not much. I'd call it more than medium carbonation but I probably wouldn't call it high. Carbonation seems to lend to the beer feeling lighter than it probably is.

Drinkability is really high with this beer. With the amount of flavor and 7%ABV it walks the line between the higher IPAs and lower DIPAs, but 12 ounces were gone before I knew it.

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Photo of JayQue
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow!! This is Avery Maharajah's civilized little brother. A blast of grapefruit hops in the nose and taste, but not as challenging and in-your-face as Maharajah. Pours a color half way between dull gold and light amber with an average size, slightly off-white head. Average retention and thick spotty lacing.

Aroma is pronounced and pleasing....citrus (grapefruit) hops and bitterness.

Flavor is hophead nirvana. Bitterness...grapefruit...smooth and civilized. This is a great IPA that is still accessible to those that do not usually wallow in hoppy goodness.

Mouthfeel is crisp and surprisingly light for the hop wallop it packs.

Drinkability is very good. I could keep drinking this until I ran into problems

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, 2011 is almost here...Crazy this year has gone so fast. Well, I loved the Ballast Point Big Eye IPA, so here goes the flagship Sculpin...

Pours a slightly cloudy amber with some mild carbonation. A couple fingers of soapy head rises to the occasion and quickly falls into a soft comforter of foam. Decent lacing. Strong, piney hop aroma cloacks you upside the face right away. VERY robust and forward. Lots of grapefruit, almost an ode to the fruit itself. That's is a dominant aroma, along with a bunch of pine. Well melded an unique given how much pine usually dominates the aroma profile for big IPAs. Flavor is wacky and not what I expected. I expected a much larger, in your face IPA. The flavors are substantially more well-balanced than most West Coast IPAs, which probably explains the universal acclaim for this particular brew. I love the blast of citrusy grapefruit in the flavor profile. It's a very "juicy" brew, and makes it quite drinkable and enjoyable. The hop character is not overpowering at all and is really well centered in the brew. It's very good. Looks like this is 7% ABV. The killer is the pricetag: $7.99/bomber - YIKES!! That keeps this from being as good as the Big Eye, in my opinion. Good beer, but too pricey for what it is.

What I like most: The wonderful balance in the flavor profile.

What I like least: The hefty price tag.

Verdict: You can find better-priced IPAs that are as good or better, but this is worth trying especially if you don't like over-hopped Lefty IPAs.

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Photo of IPAIPA
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very tasty beer however not worth the $10 for a 22OZ. Better off buying their Big Eye IPA ( $13-$14 a 6-pack) which is a staple in my fridge. I waited forever for my local Package Store to finally stock this. Needless to say, I was let down just a bit. After reading reviews and seeing how highly this beer is rated, I am a bit surprised as I do not feel it is any more special then their regular lineup of quality beers. Very good beer just not worth the $ in my eyes. I'll buy it again, just not something I'd pick up every time I go to the store.

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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 circlenine
4.12/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a large tulip glass 12/27/10.

A: Pours an orange-yellow in color with a large head, heavy lacing.

S: Citrus overpowers with a moderate pine aroma.

T: Hops dominated by citrus. Very strong taste with very little after taste.

M: Medium bodied. Light carbonation.

D: Relatively easy to drink, although I would prefer an IPA that is slightly more bitter with a slightly stronger after taste.

Comments: I have heard great things about this IPA. It was very good, but not on par with heavyweights such as the Heady Topper.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,674 ratings.
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