Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA
14,101 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 14,101 |  Reviews: 2,511
Photo of jdense
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Apex PDX, enjoyed in relative peace day after Portland Beer Week California Beer event craziness (barkeep said it was more crowded/crazy than Pizza Port event earlier in the year, eek), 8.27.11.

Deep gold body with orange highlights, clear, multiple streams of carbonation rising to one finger small white bubble head. Nose is fruity, the apricot notes are fairly pronounced, a bit of light caramel and crystal malt. Taste is fruit forward, the apricot notes really dominate, crystal malt and some citrus in the middle, leading to a mildly bitter finish, piney not resiny, which became more aggressive as it warmed. Mouthfeel just on the full side of medium, good effervescence, a bit sticky finish.

Certainly one of the West Coast's best IPAs, harder than hell to get in Oregon, glad to have a chance to sample this quality brew. However, in retrospect, after my recent SoCal beer adventures, I'd put this tap version a bit behind Pseudo IPA, though the apricot esters gleaned from Sculpin are relatively unique, and this is an extremely drinkable beer I wish I could enjoy far more often. Tasty.

 1,110 characters

Photo of kdown
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of FrankHammer
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of RJLarse
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought a bottle of Sculpin IPA at Total Wine and More. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a rich gold color, clear with a small but thick white head.

Smell is a strong aroma of sweet citrus. Lemon blossoms and pine. A very good aroma indeed.

Taste is also quite good. A sweet malt favor up front, with a sweet and bitter grapefruit finish

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, slightly cloying but generally crisp and clean.

Overall a very good full flavored IPA. I would have this again and I'd love to try it on tap.

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Photo of Barleycorn
4.04/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Brolo75
4.56/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber poured into a tulip glass

A: Pours an dark orange, amber color with a white fluffy head, lots of lacing, clear, not very carbonated, looks very good.

A: Citrus, lemon, grapefruit peel, some pine, picking up some malt, lemongrass, smells great.

T: Hit of citrus notes, grapefruit, lemon, some pine and resin in the middle, hint of malt sweetness at the end, alcohol is well hidden, finishes bitter and dry with a hint of biscuit/bread notes, grapefruit peel after taste, very tasty.

M: Medium mouthfeel, balanced carbonation, dry finish, very drinkable.

O: This is a world class beer, citrus, pine, some malt, not overly bitter or malty, very drinkable, a beer I am always willing to reach for and enjoy.

 727 characters

Photo of Big_Dave
4/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of cjohns73
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of firkingroovin
4.31/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of smcel371
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Horbar
3.75/5  rDev -14.6%

Photo of DovaliHops
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally got my hands on one of these bottles from my work. Pours a beautiful, bright, slightly cloudy orange color with a nice white head. The citrus hop aromas hit my nose the second I opened the cap. Tons of sweetness and citrus with a nice piney edge as well. Smell is reminiscent of Pliny the Elder. Taste however differs (which is expected considering Pliny is a DIPA). The taste is still DAMN good though. Initially I get some nice hop bitterness, immediately followed followed by some fresh pine with grapefruit, mango, and orange flavors. It end with a very crisp bitterness. The mouthfeel is very dry and crisp. Very "west-coastish"...a great example if you ask me. The drinkability is quite high. Could probably drink 3 bombers of this stuff.

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Photo of spw109
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of TooGood
4/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of craigbelly
4.44/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Raime
4.01/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ballast Point Sculpin.

Finally. Finally. FUCKING FINALLYYYYYY arrived in Michigan!. Release date was today as a matter of fact. Went and grabbed a sixer for $12.99 . Was gonna get a few of the other ballast point beers but I'm already a bit strapped for the week. I genuinely hope this one lives up to the insane amount of hype it is given in the beer world. Enough talk, it's drinking time.

Look - From the twelve ounce bottle into a pint glass. Poured a slightly murky orange with a finger and a half of creamy looking white head that eventually settles down to a moderately thick froth amongst the top of the drink. Carbonation appears to be on about moderate levels with this beer. Lacing is sparse.

Smell - The nose starts off with a moderate to higher level of sweetness and centenniel esque hoppiness. Lots and grass and sweet candy like malts. The hops are lowly piney in nature and there is a rather large dosage of fresh cut grass. Pine levels are low though clearly present.

Taste - The flavor profile on this beer is very clean. Headed by a nice dosage of pine notes though not exactly bitter in any sense of the word. A bit of mango like juicyness and papaya. The malts are once again very sweet like in nature and not overly present. The thing I like the most is it's almost session ipa like in nature though without the cloying sweetness those beers tend to quickly bring on.

Feel - Mouthfeel on this brew is very creamy and coats the tongue along with the rest of the mouth very nicely. Carbonation is low to moderate depending on the specific swallow. Moderate pine notes without the bitterness really dominate this aspect as well. Beer swallows very easily and ups the bitterness a bit in the throat..

Overall - Well...I will admit I was expecting something truly beereligious(trademark) but instead I got a very well done session like IPA that manages to control the stupid sweetness that most of them allow to prevail. Reminds me of Oskar Blues Pinner with better balance which makes a huge difference. I will surely try more beers from these guys, but I do not think this one should be rated as highly as it it. In terms of Michigan beers, it was comparable to a less malty, slightly more hop forward Two Hearted Ale. As always, try it and come to your own conclusion..

 2,296 characters

Photo of Harrison8
4.39/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a translucent orange-yellow with a medium-thin off-white head. A fair amount of lacing. Smell is dominated by piney hop aromas. Taste is a refreshing mix of piney hop and citrus, but with an emphasis on the former. Mouth feel is rather nice. It feels strong and well carbonated. Overall, this is a great stock-standard IPA. Without any citrus emphasis, the hops get a much better chance to shine, and thus the hoppy taste may overwhelm some. It is on the medium-light hop side of American IPAs though.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of AltBock
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber bottle with a gray wrap around label. In the middle of this label is a colorful drawing of a poisonous Sculpin lying at the bottom of the ocean floor. It looks like he's either waiting for his next prey to swim on by or he's sleeping. At the top of the picture is "Ballast Point" in bold blood red letters and at the bottom of the picture is "Limited Release" in bold black letters. Off to the far left of the label is where you'll find all the mandatory US info. To the far right of the label is a lengthy paragraph that talks about Ballast Point's humble beginnings and a description of the beer. Just to the right off of that is Ballast Point's phone number. So if this expensive beer sucks, I'll call them up to complain. The one thing missing from the label or bottle is a bottled date or some kind of vintage year.

Appearance: I wanted a special glass for this special IPA, so I poured this beer into my Maudite Snifter. At first glance, Sculpin was a golden amber orange with streaks of lemon yellow along the sides. But when I held it into the light, I found out that it's more of a semi hazy golden lemon yellow with a small tint of amber. The complete opposite from what I thought it was. I thought it couldn't get any better, but then I saw the head of foam. This super fluffy head of foam was a good 1 1/2 inch in height and white as a cotton ball. This pure white head of foam had excellent slow retention that left behind a long lasting 1/2 an inch white film and 2 tons of sticky white streaks of lace. If you're not impressed by the way this beer looks like in your glass, then there is something definitely wrong with you.

Smell: The aroma was as bitter as a bitter old woman. This hugely hopped up aroma wasn't messing around. All of the bitter aromas in this beer will shoot up your nose and beat your sense of smell into submission. This bitter aroma was filled with bitter citrus hops, a ton of bitter and tart grapefruit, a subtle touch of apricot, plenty of pine, a hint of lemon grass, and then this super hopped up aroma will finish up tart lemons. It's hard to say which bitter aroma reined supreme because all of them were equally as bitter and hoppy as the next aroma. Malts in the aroma? You have got to be joking! The taste was so bitter and hoppy that you won't be able to find a subtle whiff of it.

Taste: What kind of taste will I find when this beer has such a powerful bitter and hoppy aroma? Malty? Nope! The taste was just as bitter and hoppy as the powerful aroma. Not only will this beer mess up your sense of smell, but it will also mess up your sense of taste. This taste will take it to your taste buds. The taste started off bitter with citrus hops and the taste never looked back from there. Quickly following the citrus hops was a strong taste of bitter and tart grapefruit. Once the grapefruit had enough, in comes the pine needles and a subtle splash of apricot and mango. This bitter taste wasn't done with your taste buds just yet. Not by a long shot! After the exotic fruits leave the tongue, the taste then finishes up with tart lemons and a touch of lemon grass. Was there a solid malt back bone to this hopped up beer? NO!! If the flavor was bitter, then the bitter hops kicked them out.

Mouthfeel: 7% ABV? You have got to f**king kidding! The taste was so jam packed with hop and other bitter flavors that it has to be stronger than 7%. Well, I guess Ballast Point would know more about that than me. I'm sure they have the right equipment. In the end, Sculpin was a full bodied Double IPA, with a good level of carbonation, and a long lasting full flavored aftertaste. This strong aftertaste contained bitter citrus hops, tart grapefruit, pine, and a few tart lemons. This aftertaste wasn't going anywhere. It will take a good 3 gallons of bottled water to wash away all the bitter and hoppy flavors.

Drinkability: My taste buds sure took a beating from this super charged hopped up Double IPA. That's not bad thing, that's a good thing! If you love your hoppy beers (If you're on BA, then you do), then Sculpin is a must try. It is expensive, but well worth the money. If you think this beer is good in bottles, then you should try it on tap. I don't know how you get any better than this, but Ballast Point did it. If you think the bottled version is excellent, then you must try this beer on tap. It's even better on tap!

 4,398 characters

Photo of paco1029384756
4.92/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear, light orange color with two fingers of foamy white head.

Scent of grassy and piny hops, mango, grapefruit, citrus, slightly bready malts. Incredible, that's all I can really say, so damn good.

Taste of piny hops, very juicy, strong grapefruit and citrus initially. The bitterness is subdued shortly with some very nice bready malts while still leaving a piny flavor from the hops. Finishes with piny hops and some bready malts.

Mouthfeel is clean and biting, very good, but lacks something, maybe a little more carbonation.

Drinkability is excellent, tied with Blind Pig for the most drinkable IPA I have ever had.

If this were available year round I would likely have a bottle, maybe even a case in my fridge at all times.

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Photo of Kyrojack
5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of SkinniePost
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of WheelsPSU
4.04/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a 12 ounce bottle of this from City Swiggers on the Upper East Side. I don't remember the date on the bottle but my guess is this fresh was entirely at its freshest. After reading several reviews and seeing the "world class" status this beer has, I see that it's almost an entirely different beer when you can consume it very fresh. That being said, I enjoyed this but don't see what all of the fuss is about.

It's definitely a hop bomb to the nose. Lots and lots of tropical fruits also. On the taste, it's a bit bitter right off the bar but eventually opens to some sweetness. It finishes with more bitterness and some grapefruit.

I was alittle dissappionted with this beer. It tasted good but wasn't close to the classic I was expecting. Ill give it another shot though.

 787 characters

Photo of mgr78704
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of rtepiak
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

an orange pour of something quite nice in the nose. a textbook balance of all the aspects of an IPA. Orange clear with a nice white head. there is retention. nose is a perfect balance of malt pollen, floral hop, and citrus fruit. otherwise the body seems to be just that. its right in the middle. textbook. feel is a bit soapy. grapefruit...

an all around balance of an IPA but not something that is characterized as uniquely great or number one. it may be a regional thing but i've had some better IPA's in the midwest. this is a good one to set examples too... but doesn't have any accent.

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Photo of Hophead717
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A bomber poured into my Dogfish Head Signature Glass.

A: Golden straw, with a one-finger head. Some lacing sticks to the glass.

S: Light lemon and light graininess. This is a somewhat tame scent, but what's here is pleasant.

T: Strong lemon-rind upfront with some nice bitterness from the hops upfront and lightly in the finish. Some earthy notes...slightly grassy. Mild grapefruit underlies the beer, but the lemony-citrus drive the beer. Absolutely excellent.

M: Light and very carbonated. Not overly carbonated, but close.

O: I'm a big fan of this different-type of IPA than I'm used to. The lemon and medium hops drive the enjoyable taste.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.39 out of 5 with 14,101 ratings
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