Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 2,427 | Ratings: 13,417
Photo of paytoplay
4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cask at Hamiltons in SD. This from cask is stunning. The aroma is tops with any beer ever. Cask from the 1st batch might have been life changing. This recent batch doesn't have the corn flavor like I tasted in the previous 2. Smooth and a bit short and watery on the finish. Cask conditioning changed all that. Great texture, nice that it was served cold. Super aroma. Nice complexities and finish that stretched further than any other sculpin. But man that nose was stunning.

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Photo of Maryobeerian
4.19/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Photo of twage04
4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great IPA, good taste and feel. Pine, citrus, herb, floral hops are all well represented, Malt is subtle, the hops are center stage per west coast style. Good depth of flavor and great all round example of the style.

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

Have had this one sitting in my cellar for about 2 weeks and decided to pair it up with a wasabi, soy, garlic tuna steak on Sat night.

A - Pours a brilliant golden color, crisp and delightful looking with a nice creamy white head rising up on the pour.

S - Brilliant pine and citrus smell dominate.

T - Follows the smell somewhat as the upfront pine is followed by a grapefruit/citrus explosion. It's all good for sure.

M - Very nice and the perfect match with something spicy. The bitterness cuts through the spicyness to make a wonderful treat to the meal.

D - Nice carbonation.

I looked forward to trying this and feels that this matches up favorably with just about any of the other world class IPA's. Worthy of its lofty ratings. Would def get again if it was not so hard to find. Check it out.

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Photo of bierguru
3.18/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A -
almost a clear straw color with high carbonation
head is pretty good stays well then laces fairly thick

S -
hop and citrus

T -
hop and finishes with a strong citrus dry bite

M -
mild feel with a drying to it

D -
its okay had better however better then most

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Photo of ELS
4.36/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm not a hop head so maybe I'm missing the boat with this beer but I found it to be very average. The past month I've been drinking nothing but IPAs and this one is far down on my list. The aroma has some nice floral and piney notes and the appearance is above average but I found the taste unbalanced with little malt to balance the bitterness of the hops. The citrus flavors that others have mentioned were lacking and mouthfeel was thin. Maybe my expectations were too high but I just don't see the appeal. I'm glad I didn't buy the six pack.

Revised review on 3/27/15 - Finally had a chance to try this beer on tap while visiting California. What a difference! I must have had some old bottled Sculpin because the beer I just drank today was terrific. Great citrus notes, smooth drinkability, good malt presence to bring balance to the hops. Really a great IPA. Now I know what the fuss is about. I'm bringing my old rating of 3.18 way up!

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Photo of Aaron_Ramson
4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In a word, perfection. Citrusy, lightly fruity, not much herbal hop flavor it all; a little residual sweetness from what tastes like a gorgeous marriage of caramel hops with the prerequisite two-row. Color is dark gold, not quite brassy with beautiful lacing and head retention. An exceptional and fantastic IPA, one of the best in the world.

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Photo of gyllstromk
4.67/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a beautiful, nearly-clear golden. Nose is pine, melon, mango, bubble gum, light citrus, and vanilla. Flavor is resiny hops, light fruit, with a nice bitterness and a perfume aftertaste. The hops are really put on front stage here and make for a delightful beer and one of the best examples of the style (a slight nit: the taste was not quite as strong as the aroma predicted). With a crisp, wet feel it makes for a refreshing summer (or anytime) beer. Highly recommended.

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

A - Body is an interesting amber on top and yellow on the bottom. Heavy carbonation. 3 fingers of very rocky white head. Great rims of lacing.

S - Grapefruit hoppiness in the nose. Something sweet in there too. That's what really separates this one from the rest.

T - Bitter fruits everywhere. Mainly grapefruit and even a bit of mango. Interesting hop profile. Mainly hops, but the malt gives it a good sweetness. Even a hint of mint in this. No alcohol bite.

MF - Smooth and on the lighter side. Surprisingly all the carbonation that you can see doesn't come into the mouthfeel or taste.

D - Easily the most drinkable IPA I've ever had.

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Photo of caskstrength
4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours golden yellow. No haze. Exactly what's expected. Take a picture for your IPA Fancy magazine.

Smells are citrus first. And second. Pine in third. Maybe some tropical stuff too. Very good and as hoped.

Tastes are right in my wheelhouse. Citrus, pine, yada, yada, yada. Done really well here. Like hopslam without the thicker honey sweetness. This is clearly a top shelf IPA.

Mouthfeel is great. A bit dry, clean. No odd or off flavors, zesty and fresh.

Probably won't be drinking/trading for it much, however, when I can get two 500ml Plinys for less than a bomber of this. Maybe the 6 packs will help the value equation.

I bet it's great on tap.

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Photo of mxchap
4.13/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dense head (~3 fingers) with a nice translucent amber color.
Aroma: Big citrus and grapefruit upfront. Also lemon, pine, and an underlying crystal malt.
Flavor: Sweet, caramel malt at the front followed by a blast of American hop flavor. A complex mix of hop bitterness takes over (mostly grapefruit and pine).
Mouthfeel: The only part about this beer I didn't really enjoy. Sculpin was a tad resiny and VERY dry for the style. Some residual sugar here from malt would go a long way.
Overall: A very solid west coast IPA. Not the best, imho, but quite a treat. A more balanced mouthfeel would make this beer truly great.

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Photo of warrenout330
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter

A- pours a hazy golden orange color. Creamy white head sticks around almost the whole time to the beer... big thick chunks of lacing to the glass

S- hop resin, pine sap, tropical fruits, malty back bone

T- pineapple, mango, citrus fruit punch... big ol' smack of pinney sap, cleaned up with sweet caramel malt swirl

M- medium body with medium carbonation... creamy mouthfeel... prickly bittereness in the back.... dry,wet finish to the beer... maybe its wet cuz its making my taste buds go crazy

O- once again I am not a IPA fan but all these good ones recently have really been making me think twice.... this is a damn good. My first offering from ballistic and now I will keep a close radar on this brewery

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Photo of blankenhoney
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle, from a case dated mid/late Feb. '14, poured into my trusty 3 Floyds teku.

A: Bright and hazy orange straw. Almost glowing. Looks great.

S: Can smell the hops from a few feet away. Pine, grapefruit, maybe some pineapple.

T: Crisp citrus/grapefruit up front, followed immediately and intensely by a dry, piney bitterness. Delicious.

M: Very smooth and mildly carbonated.

O: A great IPA; so crushable. A little too expensive ($14.99/6-pack around me) to be an everyday kind of beer.

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Photo of hail_seitan
4.55/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed from 12 oz. can

A - Drank straight from the can, but from a bit poured into a glass, a nice straw color.

S - A plethora of citrus aromas waft out of the can top. Grass, mint and even a hint of green onion sneak in, too.

T - A full-on citrus bomb. Really tastes like a orange Julius in beer form. Tangerine and clementine brightness with a hint of ruby grapefruit pucker. Some floral and garlic savory flavors are present. The malt is pleasantly low on sugar and has a biscuit flavor that lets the hops shine. Aftertaste is all bitterness and ripe orange.

M - A sprightly carbonation buoys up the hops atop a dry and light body.

O - A fine West Coast IPA. The pure orange and clementine citrus flavors are oh so enjoyable and make for a world-class beer experience summer or winter.

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Photo of Roby923
4.73/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Wow wow wow. On tap at the Park House PIT. Refreshingly hoppy and has just the right amount of malt. A real treat of an ipa. Another winner from SAN.

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Photo of raverjames
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had this beer in a bottle, but the growler was the real treat. This is a wonderful brew in the bottle, but on tap it is just about the best IPA out there.
When you first pour it, all you smell is ruby red grapefruit. The aroma is so intense, I just can't get enough. It has a half inch head that dissipates slowly as you drink. When you take a sip, you get a load of simcoe and amarillo hops in your mouth. The citrus taste is just amazing. This is all assisted by the fact that Ballast Point went for one of the cleanest malt bases I have ever experienced. Honestly, I just drank most of a growler by myself. I can't get enough of this beer. It gets my vote as best IPA available. It tops Pliny in every way. Good job, Ballast Point.

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

Appears as that nice solid IPA amber, crazy-stiff, three finger head with large bubbles. Solid up top like a silly little bubble bath.

This is my second bomber of this stuff in the past two weeks. The first one was all pine, pine, pine hops in the nose. This one definitely shows some tenderness. Pineapple, peach, and a bit of apricot come through slowly and say: hey! we're sticky!

Like this: peach up front, then all grapefruit to the finish. Well of course grapefruit comes through in this west coast beaster -pink grapefruit. It's got a nice, relatively balanced sweetness up front for being so bitter after swallow. I also feel some of the sticky sweet pear juice -the stuff they ship some canned fruit in-- dancing around the edges. All this sweetness is gone instantly, along with a layer of your tongue, when the dry-bitter hops/grapefruit skin finish scrapes off any expected cloying sugars. Finish gets much more mild as the beverage warms. (Only drawback so far besides a very tiny bit of skunky funk.)

My mouth feels cottony and my tongue definitely feels a little dried out after some drinking. Decently robust body for this style.

I like this, I really do, but it's a palate stripper. It'll just blow me out after a few drinks. Ouch. This could have been a contender for best ever . . . need to fix up that finish. This is the most favored American IPA on BA, but I have definitely enjoyed Stone, Smutty, and 90 minute more than this.

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Photo of 11-52_4hops
3.63/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I had a bottle of this about a year ago in which I thought the grapefruit bitterness was a bit overwhelming (even wondered at the time how they could also make a grapefruit sculpin that possibly had more grapefruit flavor). A friend gifted me a can, so I thought I would give it another try. This time, it is the opposite -- very little nose. The flavor is a nice smooth, tasty IPA -- but a little subdued and unremarkable. I don't know -- maybe the Thai food I had on Saturday destroyed my palate for the week - or maybe the can is old.

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Photo of nomomentwasted
4.59/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this out of a bomber today that I'd been saving for a special occasion, and turns out HBO's Sunday Lineup was that occasion. Poured into a pint glass and away we go.

Appearance: Pours with just a slight head and kind-of yellowish with less carbonation than I was expecting. Laces decently, but overall just a little lower than expected.

Smell: Where the look lets down, the smell refuses to. Awesome, unique, and for a lack of better words, perfect. Not your traditional IPA to say the least, as the hops aren't that floral or piny with say Centennials or Chinook types, but huge notes of grapefruit, pear, mango, and just general citrus that is out of this world. Hands down, I have never smelled a beer quite as diverse and aromatically pleasing as this one. God damn.

Taste: Whew, very much like the smell, with citrus upfront and malty balance on the back-end. Superbly balanced overall, but I really wanted just a bit more bitterness, since for as hoppy as this is, it's really not super-bitter. That's okay though, this is just at 7% and not a DIPA, but the flavor is fantastic and fruity hops. Fantastic and near-perfect, but it ain't quite there.

Mouthfeel: Dry and resiny at the same time. Tastes more crisp than the carbonation lets on, and terrifically smooth. Loved it.

Drinkability: It's been said, but I can drink this all day, no problem. Such an awesome beer, comes highly recommended, and I'm going to spring for 2-3 more of these to hold on to for the next few months, but as the sadness of poor aging hoppy beers goes, I suppose I'll have to enjoy these sooner than later. What a shame eh?

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Photo of fsvan
4.07/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into New Belgium globe.

A- Light golden. Slight orangish. Little head.

S- Subdued piney hopes. A little grapefruit in there. Smell is very nice, but not as aggressive as I anticipated.

T- A very even mix of citrus and pine hops. No real malt presence. A lingering bitterness. A good dose of grapefruit as it warms. The taste is very good, but like the smell, I expected it to be more in your face.

M- Great lightish feel for a 'west coast' IPA.

O- This is a good beer, but in all honestly didn't live up to my admittedly very high expectations. Definitely worth trying, and glad that I did.

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Photo of JulioH
4.16/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Very good IPA, to be enjoy any time.

Pours a nice yellow beer, with a nice head. Stays foamy for a while. Aroma from the bottle is faint. Taste is good, bitter, hoppy, a bit sweet. This beer has light body, easy to drink. This one could be had more than once.

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Photo of Lard_City
3.71/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Wow, not what I expected. Sculpin has all the physical characteristics of a good/great IPA but that, let's call it grapefruit, nose and front are matter of personal preference. Not my cup of tea.

I struggle a bit with Sculpin because I have had very different experiences with it each time I've had it. Sometimes it's been very skunky and sometimes it's been perfect. I seem to have had the best experiences with pouring out if the 12 oz bottles and the worst experiences pouring out of the bombers (I've also had it on tap at the brewery) but not sure why that would matter. I'll keep revising my review until I get a consistent taste and feel.

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Photo of scbeerman
4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had it plenty of times. Even when fresh and from a can, it's just nothing spectacular when compared to a lot of IPAs. Definitely a great beer but it's not a 100.

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Photo of GuzzLah
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - pours a clear gold with a white head and some lace. Bubbly.

S - prominent pine and onions with mild orange and pineapple. Faint malt. Aroma started strong and faded quite a bit after a few sips.

T - smooth. Orange and pineapple upfront with an easy piney finish. Slightly buttery.

M - medium body and medium carbonation. Slightly oily texture. Citrus tang. Smooth bitterness with a short sustain.

O - I thought it was pretty good, but I'm not as thrilled about it as most people seem to be. The onion aroma is not my favorite thing to smell in a beer, but I don't consider it to be offensive. The flavor is pleasant, but not outstanding. This beer reminds be of Lagunitas Sucks which I think is a slightly more enjoyable beer than this.

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Photo of seanbhudson
4.67/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle with no date. Pours a hazy gold/orange color with a large white head. Lots of lacing.
Huge wonderful aroma of citrus and tropical fruit. I pick up hints of pine too.
Big beautiful citrusy hops. Grapefruit flavors more predominant. There is a light doughy malt flavor in the background to give it some balance.
Medium body with a really nice almost silky texture. The finish is not very dry like many other IPA's.
On its own, I would prefer a tad more sweetness to balance the bitterness but when I started eating some spicy panang curry it seemed perfect. This is a seriously good beer.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.38 out of 5 based on 13,417 ratings.
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