Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

BA SCORE
97
world-class
13,786 Ratings
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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States
ballastpoint.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
13,786
Reviews:
2,480
Avg:
4.37
pDev:
9.84%
 
 
Wants:
1,482
Gots:
5,636
For Trade:
43
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 13,786 |  Reviews: 2,480
Photo of kojevergas
3.92/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic pilsner glass in a friend's gaff in low altitude San Diego, California. Bottle acquired at Ballast Point a few hours ago. Reviewed live. Expectations are high; I had this on draught in Orange, California back in December and it was the best IPA I'd ever had - even though I usually don't like them. I'm hoping the bottle measures up to the draught.

Served refrigerator cold. Side-poured without any extra vigor as no carbonation issues were anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger head of off-white colour, nice cream, nice thickness, and great retention for the ABV. Colour is a clear copper. No floating yeast particles. Appealing, but not unique or special. Standard for an IPA.

Sm: Hoppy - mainly floral,with some buried bitterness. An orange fruit ester note emerges from the hops; maybe citra was used. A bit dry. A mild to moderate strength aroma.

T: Hoppy but very nicely balanced, with only mild bitterness coming through about the climax and third act. Floral, with hints of fruit like mango and perhaps apricot. Lovely grapefruit citrus zest. Fresh. Pleasant. Enjoyable. Refreshing. Clean bright malts form the foundation. The balance sets it a notch or three above most other IPAs. Lightly creamy. Very well built. I like it.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Some lovely welcome cream helps the mouthfeel complement the flavours. Near perfect thickness. Well done in that it doesn't get in the way of the flavours. The coarseness is adequate to bring out the flavours. Near perfect carbonation.

Dr: Very drinkable for the ABV and style. I quite like this IPA. Refreshing and enjoyable. Really fantastic. Worth the price tag. I do prefer it on draught. I'd definitely have this again. It's pricey, but well worth the money for the quality. I don't think Big Eye comes close to Sculpin. Even at $14-15 a 6 pack, I keep coming back for more.

High B+

***
08/30/16 impression:

B / GOOD

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Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the table with a hazy golden body and a frothy head; retention is good as is the lacing

Smell: Bold grapefruit and floral citrus aromas dominate

Taste: Starts out like a glass of sweet grapefruit juice with a growing pithy bitterness by mid-palate; the grapefruit flavor is unrelenting after the swallow, buttressed by the really clean pale malt

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied (a touch syrupy) with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Refreshingly drinkable, this is a great example of an IPA in the mold of what a lot of the San Diego breweries are producing (and marketing as a San Diego Pale Ale)

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Photo of oline73
3.94/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a mildly cloudy golden/light amber color with two fingers of fluffy white head. A layer of head remains.

Smell: Sweet and fruity hops with a hint of citrus fruit.

Taste: More bitterness and less sweetness compared to the smell. The dominant flavor is a strong citrus peel bitterness. There are hints of fruit(apricot) and herbs as well. There is a mild malt sweetness and a very bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a lot of tingly carbonation. The finish is on the dry side.

Overall: This is a really good IPA, but I don't know that It lives up the the hype. Both times I've had it, it has been from a bottle, so I'll look for it on tap when I get the chance. It's really bitter, but not super interesting other than that. I would have it again.

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Photo of emerge077
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super fresh bottle courtesy of Weibull...

Poured into a fluted tulip, it's quick to generate a fluffy head of sticky foam. Instant resiny aroma packed with floral/herbal hops and tropical fruit. Color is a light high-clarity orange with tiny rising bubbles. Lacing forms in sudsy sheets, and sticks around for awhile.

Concentrated citrusy hop flavors of pink grapefruit and bitter orange pith. Residual leafiness and a juicy mango aftertaste. Pale malt is relegated to the back of the bus, but provides a slight tip to the balance scale. Moderate and creamy carbonation with the obligatory hop bite to it. Slightly dry in the end with a fairly long finish.

This is a fresh and vibrant west coast IPA, check it out...

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a hazy orangey color ale with a large frothy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of citrus hops with deep caramel malt backbone is quite enjoyable. Taste is also dominated by loads of citrus hops with some floral undertones though no grapefruit notes and a deep and solid caramel malt backbone with balanced sweetness level. Body is full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very well done with great balance between malt and hops.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Perfectly clear pale amber with a dense frothy head that leaves behind thick sheets of lace. Can't really get any better here.

Smell: Fresh fruit and oily hops; grapefruit and mango with a touch of pine. Malts are subtle and don't get in the way of the incredible hop aroma.

Taste & mouthfeel: Similar to the nose, but with an even greater pine and mango presence. Malts are subdued and dry, little more than a foundation for the hops, though they lend a bit of biscuit-like flavor and a hint of honey as the brew warms. So damn crisp and light-bodied, I'd never guess this was 7%. Hop bitterness is perfect; coating but not overwhelming, assertive but not aggressive.

Notes: A nearly perfect IPA, easily ranking in my top 5 of all time for the style.

5.0/5.0/4.5/5.0/5.0

3/15/11:

Newer batches of this beer are significantly less impressive. The tropical fruit aromatics are largely gone, and the hop flavor less intense.

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Photo of zeff80
4.84/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Poured out a clear, golden yellow color with a small, white, bubbly head of foam. It left soapy trails of lace.

S - It smelled amazing. Loads of grapefruit, bubblegum, mango and other citrus aromas. It had a slight caramel nose, too.

T - It tasted of sweet citrus flavors with grapefruit and orange peel. It had a nice bitter hop bite and a bitter burnt toast malt flavor.

M - It was crisp and quite sharp. A medium-bodied ale with a smooth finish.

D - This is an amazing IPA. It has all the complexity and depth of an Imperial IPA without an over the top alcohol presence.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of LXIXME
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of dmorgan310
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of superspak
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 8/22/2016. Pours slightly hazy medium orange/amber color with a 2 finger dense and rocky off white head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Dense soapy lacing clings around the glass. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, apricot, peach, pineapple, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, pine, light caramel, toasted biscuit, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of bright citrus/tropical/pine hops and moderate bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, apricot, peach, pineapple, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, pine, light caramel, toasted biscuit, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/citrus rind/grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, apricot, peach, pineapple, mango, lemon/orange rind, pine, toasted biscuit, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of bright citrus/tropical/pine hops and moderate bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and minimal lingering hop astringency after the finish. Moderate dryness from bitterness, increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, sticky/resinous, and lightly creamy/grainy balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Minimal warming alcohol for 7%. Overall this is an incredible IPA. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of bright citrus/tropical/pine hops and moderate bready malt flavors; very smooth and easy to drink despite very resinous bitterness. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was lucky enough to get a bottle of this in California from Freddie over at Beverages 4 Less.

A: Pours a copper orange with white head. Decent amount of lacing as it goes down.

S: Plenty of tropical fruits and citrus; there is a lot going on in the hop bill here.

T: Much along the same lines as the smell, although the hops aren't quite as strong as I was hoping, and I know that this was the freshest batch, so I feel like I was missing something, but it was the first beer of the night for me, so I don't think there was anything interfering.

M: Right in the range for the style, helping it to drink quite well.

D: Very drinkable. This is where it might have helped that the hop bill wasn't too strong in the taste. Good brew all around, and I'm looking forward to trying it again.

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

Split with ThePeskyDingo

Poured into Sierra Nevada Tulip Pint Glass

Pours almost 1 finger of white thin head. Color is a clear golden orange. A medium level of carbonation bubbles. Head fades down to a thin layer, but leaves some great lace. Nice full walls.

Aroma: Damn this is a fruity ipa. Everything the bottle has listed is here: apricots, peaches, mangoes, and lemon. Big hop aroma: floral and earthy. One of the best smelling ipas I have smelt.

Taste: Very bready initially, then comes all the same fruits that are in the smell. A ton of hop and citrus flavors blend together. Big floral taste all around.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, but a little smooth. A nice bite for an IPA. Medium bodied. Good level of carbonation. Ends with a nice hoppy, only slight dry aftertaste. This is pretty much how an IPA should be for mouthfeel.

Overall, this is a very impressive ipa. Easy drinking and a ton of great fruit flavors. One of my favorite ipas. If I can get more fresh, I probably will. I can see why it is one of the top IPAs.

 1,031 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.36/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with one finger of white foam on top of a perfectly clear, copper colored body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice, thick lace.

S - Sweet, fruity hops with notes of orange and mango as well as a sweaty note in the background. Lots of bready malt and toffee as well.

T - Sweet malt and orange hops up front. Lots of sugary toffee in the middle with pine, orange, and mango hop flavors. The beer finishes with rich, sweet malt and some caramel with lingering mango and orange from the hops.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - Thick, rich, and impeccably well balanced. The fruity hop profile works very well with the malt and provides just enough bitterness to keep it drinkable. Not as pungently hoppy as some other west coast IPAs, but it is round and smooth in a way that you almost never see in this style while also expressing a really excellent hop profile.

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

Great to get my hands on some of this stuff (thanks Roger at Bestway).Poured into a small tulip glass a clear light golden with a clingy 1/2 finger white head.Holy smokes the aromas are just awesome!A mix of big citrus and tangerine just jump out at ya,a hint of caramel/biscuit is there but its a little faint but hey who cares the hop profile is frickin great.Fresh hop flavors abound with tangerine sticking out the most,its lemony with a bit of mango and overripe pineapple,the sweet biscuit malt base does not hide itself as it holds on thru the duration of the glass.Iam not sure if I have had a beer of the style with such fruity hop complexity,wow this is worthy of the rating.

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Photo of Boone757
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of jlindros
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've head so much about this gem I've been salivating already since I finally found the bottle yesterday. Must be pretty fresh too. I'll have to pour this baby into my oversized DFH snifter, as with any awesome IPA.

A: Pours an airy decent sized head, little less than a finger. Lots of large bubbles disperse throughout as it slowly fades to a light head covering. It lightly covers the golden pale orange and pretty hazy color that almost mask the myriad of little bubbles rising to the top.

N: Oh yeah, with the crazy noble hops! Lots of pine and some citrus, it's got that similar malty like nose that most crazy ass IPAs have, that almost reminds me of a sweet like crystal malt, but it's actually the hops I believe. I think my nose is cringing from the bitterness itself and I haven't even tasted it yet. Lots of spiciness from the hops and some floral qualities also run deep. I get some juicy fruit (not the gum dammit!) thats almost a musty peach or apricot, but its not. Oh that brings me to my next point, it has that somewhat musty aroma that most fresh crazy hopped IPAs have, but this one is a lot more subtle than most.

T: Oh yeah, I can taste it too huh?! Sorry, still nosing it. Mhhmmmpppfff... Wow bitterness right out front. Lots of noble hops with pine and citrus hit right away, and it fades quickly to a really juicy and fruity hop taste, more ripe peach. A very slight malty taste, but it just flicks you enough to make you notice its there. The bitterness again takes over and really dominates once the juice fades. More musty tropical fruit taste in the center, that transforms into a piney minty taste, that reminds me of that time I ate a bunch of pine cones wrapped in mint leaves. Some hop resin and oil find their way through and tickle your tongue a little.

M: Semi thick with a slight sticky hop oil feel, actually its got a really rich fatty oil quality like an unchill-filtered whisky. Decent carbonation but nothing to brag about in this dep, not that that is bad. Also, slightly spicey hops.

F: Damn! It's bitter. What's the IBUs, some huge number? It almost scrapes the feeling off my tongue, like the crazy sculpin fish on the label. But it is saved by a slight touch of sweetness as its not too dry, and the juicy center really eases that tension. The bitterness leaves a winterfresh mouth feel, like I just used mouthwash, I'm totally serious. I think the crazy piney bitterness lingering along, and added the slight fruit it tricks the taste buds into tasting that.

Final thoughts: Wow, it was just as I anticipated. A crazy hop bomb with little malts, lots of pine, citrus, juicy fruit hops, some spice, and lots of greatness. The thing that did surprise me was the slight minty mouthwash feel. If this wasn't so limited and expensive I'd really use it as mouthwash and it would be so great!

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Photo of ygtbsm94
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
I can't read all of the code on it, but it looks like this:
S _ _ _ _
J D J C A

Appearance: Hazy golden body. Creamy white head drops shortly. Some very nice lacing. Both tiny and larger bubbles rise to the surface... the larger ones run quicker along the side of the glass. Protein/yeast/hop residue (?) is clearly seen in suspension and 'wiggles' if I shake the glass.

Smell: Softly pungent. Hoppy, like opening a fresh bag. Grassy. Slightly cheesy. Some citrus fruit... I'm thinking tangerine, sweetish grapefruit, and perhaps a spritz of lemon; as well as some chalky rind. There are some apricots as well, and a hint of pine needles. It's quite pleasant, and it's not brash. I've had it via cask before and I remember it being a bit bolder, but that may have been dry hopped. Regardless, I actually prefer it as is.

Taste: The same hop and yeast flavors are wrapped in a round ball of rich pilsner-like malt. It's perfectly balanced with the depth of the malt flavor matching the depth of the hop flavors. It's solidly bitter, but not overdone. The resinous hops linger in the finish as the soft sweetness of the malt fades and the bitterness steps forward. The alcohol is well cloaked, and you don't find it at all until halfway through the glass when you get a bit of it in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Smooth and creamy across the palate.

Overall: A really nicely balanced, lush IPA. Nicely done.

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Photo of chinchill
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an orange-amber with a very slight haze and a smallish off-white head.

Exceptionally fruity aroma, featuring oranges and other citrus fruits. Some caramel here too. In fact, the aroma seems markedly sweet. Still, this much hop aroma can indicate a rather bitter brew; such is not the case here. The flavor is actually rather tame for style since there's plenty of sweet malt to partially counter the hop bitterness. No question, however, that this leans to the bitter side, as it should, and eventually one is left with an aftertaste consisting of hoppy, grapefruit bitterness. The premier feature of this IPA, however, is the powerfully fruity aroma and flavor. This actually tastes like it was somehow made with a citrus punch featuring tangerines. [Citra hops?]

M: very smooth; medium body; light harshness/bite from 7% ABV which is otherwise not evident in tasting.

O: an outstanding IPA for those who, like me, are particularly fond of a citrusy IPA.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is an excellent blend of fruity citrus, piney hops and light caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts with a strong burst of floral hops bitterness up front that is quickly followed by a sweet citrus flavor and background flavor caramel. The malt character is on the thin side for the style but works well for this beer. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Very tasty, goes down quite easily, not too filling, good kick, excellent representation of style, this is an excellent beer and a great hop bomb that is worth drinking for an entire evening.

 845 characters

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,786 ratings.
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