Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA
14,332 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 14,332 |  Reviews: 2,551
Photo of billshmeinke
4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to pint glass.

A: Orange/amber/honey in color. Very clear, bubbles rushing to the top. One and a half finger bubbly white head. Head retention is very impressive, a half finger layer of foam remains throughout. Great lacing that clings to the sides of the glass.

S: Could smell this beer even before pouring after the bottle was opened. Dank, resin, tropical fruits (mango, pineapple). A light maltiness is hiding behind the copious hop fragrance.

T: Dank, resin, a hint of pine, mango, peach, a bit of apricot, a hint of bubble gum, and again a hint of honey malts is scared to show itself in the presence of these glorious hop flavors. Lingering hop bitterness.

M: Clean, crisp, and well carbonated. Light to medium bodied. There's a nice bite at the end of each sip as well from the carbonation/hops. A bit creamy too.

D: I mean, if you like your IPAs complexly hoppy, you will want to drink as much of this as you can.

Hands down my favorite IPA.

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Photo of Brez07
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz bottle poured into a DFH snifter

A: Huge 3 finger head with an off white color. Has a light amber hue with lots of visible carbonation. Very impressive lacing

S: Gives a nice grapefruit, orange and lemon mix with some other fruit accompanying it (either pineapple or mango). Some pine present, but not much. There is even some bready malt after a while

T: A very creamy citrusy flavor. The pine more present then in the nose. There isn't much sweetness despite the fruit smells

M: As mentioned above, creamy. This beer is very nicely carbonated with a dry finish

D: This is a big IPA. Easily top 3 that I've ever had. That being said, it goes down very easy. Would like to see this is 4/6 packs, but it looks like it's just a limited release (per the bottle)

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Photo of snpub540
4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this very light amber with a clingy white 2 finger head that stuck around for a very long time. Had a slight haze to it and a slow steady carbonation. Delicate lacing left on the glass the whole way down.

Smell was a delicious "nosefull" of grapefruit. Also some piney, grassy goodness in there. Man did this smell great.

Taste is a beautiful interpretation of what hop-juice should taste like. I mean citrus and piney, resinous hops were all i could detect in there. Very dry, bitter finish and the aftertaste all hops. Basically in your face hop flavor and bitterness.

Mouthfeel was almost sticky and the alcohol was masked pretty well. Not alot of balance here, but I didn't care because the hop flavors were delicious and not harsh.

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Photo of cbros
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type- 22 ounce bomber poured into a mug.

A- Pours a deep orange/straw yellow with a nice 2 finger white head that sticks around long after the pour. There is a fair amount of carbonation activity and there is a decent cling to the glass. Nice lacing to this beer. Overall a very nice looking beer.

S- There is a nice floral and piney bouquet to this beer. Both notes work well together and there is a nice balance to the smells. Overall a good smelling beer, nothing overwhelming to this beer in terms of smell but it holds its own compared with the rest of the parameters.

T- This is where the beer really sets itself apart. I am getting bitter piney note to start the taste followed closely with a citrusy finish. Even though there is some bitterness to the taste it is more subtle then I had orginally guessed. I think the combination of the bitterness and sweetness work very well together to make this a very tasty beer. I could drink this IPA over and over again.

The mouthfeel follows closely with the smell and taste. This is a very tasty very easy drinking beer. I recieved this beer as part of my Secret Santa haul from stevemcqueenjr. I was very excited to be able to taste this and I wish that I could get this brew more often. This is a very good IPA and I can see why it is such a highly rated beer. Thanks go out to Matt for hooking me up with this awesome West Coast IPA.

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Photo of Genuine
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bomber into a clean pint glass

Had a relatively small head, about 1-2 fingers, but the lacing was impressive for this one. Stuck to the inside of the glass quite nicely.

Smell - This one immediately reminded me of a barley wine. Lots of fruit, mainly grapefruit, very tangy.

Taste - This is where this beer fell for me. I wasn't a huge fan of the taste. It was very sweet and while one of my friends liked the grapefruit/sweetness, it came across to me as a heavy metallic taste. There were some hops in the end but I felt as if they didn't help this brew.

Mouthfeel - very syrupy, if I remember correctly.

Drinkability - I couldn't even finish the glass I had. Served a room temperature, I couldn't get past the taste. Maybe this beer just wasn't for me. Definitely didn't remind me of an IPA.

Tried again the other day:

I don't know what I was thinking, but this is one of my favorite, all-time IPA's!

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Photo of Casey10
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally able to track this one down. I found this at Nikki's in Providence RI. I think I may have grabbed the last two as there were none left had 1 already. Drinking and reviewing this one now.

A - Golden yellow wispy head but active bubbles rise to the top of the glass.

S - Grapefruit, mango, fresh citrus.

T - Smooth Mango, so blanced as well a small amount of malts but so nice.

M - not bad lively on the tounge. So nice and tangy feeling.

D - maybe give this one a 5 if it were not $10 a bomber if a bit less and bottled regularly look out this is a definate must have !!

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Photo of cavedave
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A big white head recedes ever so slowly atop a clear golden brew. Thick sheets of lace remain. I could gather the lace with a spoon it is so thick. Nice.

The smell is a marvel of hoppy goodness, fronted by sweet and pungent grapefruit, and is balanced by a neutral sweet, and a hint of yeasty tart. It is a very full aroma, very alluring.

The taste of this is extraordinary. For the second time in two days (The Abyss y'day) I feel unworthy to review. This was consumed at near to room temp. The front of the sip is a fruity marvel, lots of citrus, I got grapefruit more than the lemon predicted on the label, but it is a wonderful mix of mango, light touches of peach, and it crests with unexpected power. First an almost candy sweet rushes in as intense notes of earth and bitter usher the fruit flavors into a staggering finish that is clean, crisp, delicious, and ... well, perfect. It walks a tight rope between juicy and dry perfectly. I lack the palate to better explain the extreme deliciousness of this beer.

Very light in the mouth, med. carb (despite the huge head), and very clingy, despite the light feel. Confused? The mouthfeel of this beer showcases an amazing flavor profile as well as can be, and gives it a long finish of exceptional taste and satisfaction.

This is the most drinkable, flavorful, addictive IPA ever. Period. If there's better I hope to live long enough to try it.

Impression: Usually no. 1 on the IPA list. This beer deserves it. In a year of incredible IPA's from so many fine brewers, this one shines. Try this, esp. now that it is more widely available. You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of HopHooligan
4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up from a recommendation of a friend, turns out its a great brew and rated as the highest American IPA on the site, nice score!

A - Nice medium head, with a cloudy amber-yellow hue. Lacing sticks nicely to the glass

S - Citrus, tropical fruit smell, maybe a navel/mango/pineapple scent with a hop finish, sweet smelling overall.

T - Surprisingly smooth for a IPA, very light in initial flavor then a citrus/ hop follow up.

M - Decent medium carbonation, good body. Leaves a bitter crisp flower taste in the mouth

D - Highly drinkable, great tasting IPA with strong citrus/tropical flavors, I just wish it was a year-round brew. Well worth searching for this one, one of the best IPAs I've had in awhile.

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Photo of hayesez
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Random generosity of Kaiser81 landed this guy on my doorstep a couple of days ago. Thanks for the excellent brew, Ryan. Poured this into my new New Belgium globe. Poured a tawny straw colored with a great off-white frothy cap on the top. Nice white lacing is left behind as I slowly put this one away. The head retention is pretty impressive being that I drank this one over the course of an hour.

The smell is an impressive conglomeration of citrusy fruits. Definite orange or mango with some grapefruit as well. Floral notes are also evident. The smell was excellent, although not as potent as I had anticipated.

The taste is as I would expect - impressive amount of citrusy hops, balanced by a slightly sweet beginning. Very crisp. Smooth medium-bodied drinking with a citrus bitterness at the end.

Overall, a very impressive IPA. A very well-balanced brew that leans to the citrus as opposed to the pine. A very drinkable beer that is smooth and tasty. Thanks again, Ryan!

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Photo of JoeBloe
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

i just found this bomber sitting by itself after my last beer haul - must have been lost or stashed behind other beers for a while -
enjoying it now and i can't believe i haven't reviewed it yet - i grabbed up a case and a half since it's current release - this bottle is as good as the ones that came way before it -
pours big and settles into an almost clear golden 'tangerine' color - beautiful - a pure white head settles to one finger, and maintains a presence to the bottom, with thick, uniform lacing - smells heavy of the crisp citrus/ pine hops as others have noted - smells and tastes 'fresh' and crisp - very citrussy up front with a nice sweet finish - feels great on the tongue, a tingle from the carbonation, with a snappy ending - - begging for more -
i was glad to find this one last bottle, and to find that it's as good as the 'fresher' bottles from a month+ ago.

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Photo of Kelp
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A nice hazy golden brew that has a thick white head. Slowly disappears leaving behind some white lacing right down the side of the glass as you drink.

This is one of nicest IPA's I have ever smelled. Citrus smells lemons and grapefruit mainly. Pine follows blowing everything out. Finally a finish of malts and orange.

This has an amazing balance to it. I get orange and lemon right away. Followed by pine and lots of it. It ends quickly and abruptly with grapefruit, that hits and fades quite fast. No real after taste which is amazing to me.

This is a thin, smooth, lightly carbonated brew. Nice quick crisp taste hits the tongue and disappears from the palate.

This was an enjoyable IPA, which is hard for me to say. I don't usually like IPA's, and what I do like are few and very far between, but this one i would have again. On top of that I would have another one right now even.

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Photo of barrelman
4.55/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Father's Office Santa Monica. I looked for this one for awhile in LA a year ago with no luck. It was nice to finally see it after being out of the country for a year in a mostly lackluster beer country.

Appears hazy-golden with the amber notes. Bright white one finger head and good lacing to the end. Aroma is citrus and soft. Mouthfeel is perfect with medium to light carbonation.

People talk about the great balance this IPA achieves and this is true but not just for the malt-hop balance (which is good), the real balance it finds is the balance within the hops themselves. It fits in nicely between the Stone IPA (harsh, sharp hops, huge bite) and the Racer 5 (real soft, citrus, lack of bite). Both good IPAs, but both lacking what the other has. The Ballast Point beer does it well.

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Photo of jminsc76
4.84/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured this into a pint glass, where it exhibits a large white head atop a yellow-ish body, slightly orange in tinge. The head dissipates slowly and leaves some nice creamy lacing spiraling down the side.

Fresh aromas of pine, oranges, lemons, some tropical fruit, and a little bit of vanilla. Holy Christ, its so intense yet so fresh. And damn near perfect.

Flavors of bitter pine, slight grapefruit, and a small dose of melon. The major factor behind the enjoyment of this IPA is the balance between the hops and malts. The hop profile is so fresh, with the malts backing it up with a restrained quantity of sweetness/caramel. Everything dovetails and comes together beautifully, from the sweetness on the front to the bitterness near the finish.

The mouthfeel is light on the palate, with a moderate thickness and an almost velvety consistency.

Overall my friends, this currently ranks among Russian River's Blind Pig and Green Flash's West Coast I.P.A. as the best of the West Coast IPAs. If you can get your hands on a VERY fresh version of this, consider yourself blessed. Nom nom nom...

Update on 1/1/10

An update: It rocks. Still. Just as fresh and mind-blowingly delicious as the first time I had it. So crisp from the hop bite, and so piney and citrusy. Love this IPA.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.2/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22 oz bottle (with the lovably unattractive fish on the label) poured to a pint glass. Surprised I've never tracked this one down before...even more surprising is the San Diego--->Long Island--->Portland route this took to get here (a nice extra from SpeedwayJim). If you're scoring the 'carbon footprint' at home, think of Sasquatch...

A: Pours with a huge pillow of spongy foam, 3-fingers of something close to 'white'. Slow to drop, seems to unknit itself as it ebbs and evolves to a rocky dollop (I floated the cap for several seconds atop this froth) . Lace is fairly strong a loose honeycomb. Color is a mildly hazy golden-honey. Carbonation is lazy and sporadic, but fills the glass well enough.

S: Mighty fine aroma! A bounty of sweet citrus (tangerine, meyer lemon) and an obvious 'tropical' fragrance: papaya, mango or melon. Enough caramel/toffee for a malt balance and sprigs of evergreen and spice to steer the hop notes away from the precipice of 'too-sweetness'. Enthralling and ambrosial.

T: All the citrus reflected in the nose, yet a bit more of a lemon-y/bitter citrus jolt. Pithy rind, a sun-sweetened grapefruit...then a bit more 'tropical' flavor: pineapple...and flat-out 'pine'. Caramel and a fleeting nuttiness, ending with more bitterness. Good balance, not perfect for my tastes.

M: Wonderful creamy smoothness. Medium/full feel that holds off from growing too sticky, nor too heavy/punishing with the hops. A little cheek draw, hardly a hint of the alcohol.

D: Very glad to have (finally) tried this one...its reputation is well deserved. Though my scores aren't as 'exceptional' as some from my fellow reviewers, that should NOT confuse the fact that this *is* a terrific brew - worth tracking down, or...uh... 'catching'. Thanks again, Jim.

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Photo of bonbini26
4.67/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Was excitied to see this when I picked it up @ Whole Foods, for $9.99. Pours a bright glowing orange/light amber color with a frosty/foamy white head that leaves a swiss cheese lacing. The smell is great, citrus notes stand out of grapefruit, but probably more on the tangerine side, piney, spicey herbs also come through, very nice. The taste is also very citrus-y with a complex hoppy bitterness taste, some caramel sweetness in the finish, with a lingering hop finish. Not a heavy IPA, easy drinking, well rounded, what I look for a great IPA, not too malty, just enough malt to keep the hops balanced, love the citrus in this one. Hardly can detect the alcohol. Wish this was available year round in a 6-pack!!

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Photo of Joeynocturnum
4.75/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I traded for one last year and was lucky to be able to find two bottles local this year thanks to the Craft Beer Outlet in Philly.

A: Pours beautifully into a Tulip glass producing an inch of head... leaves a slight amount of lacing.

S:Great aroma smelling mostly of hops and grapefruit.

T:Perfectly balanced b/w the taste of the hops and the grapefruit.

MF:The right amount of carbonation, very refreshing and thirst quenching wish that I could get this locally year round.

D:Extremely drinkable the 7% ABV is well hidden and would be the perfect drink any day of the year.

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Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this one on tap at The Library in Pittsburgh, yes Pittsburgh!!

Served in a pint glass with a 3/4" fluffy white head and an orange hued, slightly hazy body. The smell is amazing! There was a ton of citrus and pine from the hops as well as a slight hint of other fruits such as pineapple. The taste is very clean and well-balanced which is perfect for an IPA. The citrus and pine hop notes were incredible and the malt and sweetness balanced out the bitterness. There is a lot going on with all the different tastes but it all works together beautifully. The mouthfeel was creamy and silky with a slight tang from the hops. Not too much bitterness. The drinkability is high on this one for all the right reasons. I found myself not wanting to finish it but had a hard time putting the glass down. I am glad this one is here in Pittsburgh and will be looking for it more often.

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Photo of Gtreid
3.87/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to portia99 for sending this one as part of the Bowl Bash this year. 22 oz. bomber poured into my Cigar City tulip.

A: Slighty cloudy, light orange color. The pour drops a quarter size white head, that receeds to a thin rim and leaves a little stringy lace.

A: Citrusy hop presence with pine resin. Really big pineapple and other acidic citrus fruits. I get a small sweetness from the malts, but it really is overpowered by the massive amounts of hops.

T: Again the citrus shines. More acidic pineapple, orange, tangerine, and even some lemon. It finishes dry and bitter, as expected.

M: Thin, good amount of carbonation. A little crisp for the style. Would have liked this to be a bit smoother.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is just above average for the style. I would have liked a little more sweetness. Overall, I liked this beer, I just don't see how it is the top ranked IPA in America. IMHO, there are many better. That being said, I did enjoy this beer, I just didn't find anything that really stood out, solid, just not outstanding. Skal.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.37/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Everyone says how ugly this poor fishy is but I kinda like him (or her, I didn't check) in a lovable loser kind of way.

Clear, pale orange color with a thin white head. Head stays as is and rides an elevator down to glass bottom, leaving lacey mosiacs in its wake.

Mango. I beer that smells like mango without any mango, what will they think of next? Pineapple and other tropical fruit, it's like that "all night long," song by Lionel Richie in a glass.

Tastes is, again, mango with pine edges. Some orange liquor in there as well. Not as bitter as I would have imagined: just a lumpy, timid bitter in back. I would have liked more please. Thin,but appropriate, light malt launch pad.

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Photo of ken2cart1
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- just like an ipa should look like. straw color, bright yellow. 1/2inch head. can tell it is all hops and no emphasis on malt.

S- smells like a fruity/ citrus hop bomb.

T- so smooth, upfront a strait fruit bomb. assortment of tropical flavors- grapefruit, citrus zest. ends with a nice lingering bitterness

m- smooth, creamy

d- drink it all day, all hops/ no malt..true west coast ipa.

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Photo of jdg204
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a big bottle of this from the good folks at Abe's Cold Beer in Bethlehem, Pa. There was a lot of hype around this brew and I'd had the good fortune of trying Ballast's Big Eye IPA, so I was pretty excited to try this brew.

A: Starts with a light, cloudy amber body and a good thick head which has good lacing.

S: Classic grapefruit and citrus aromas fill the glass in anticipation of a great sip.

T: Opens up with citrus and grapefruit flavors (much more so than Big Eye which has more caramel) then quickly some pine and hoppy bitterness show up on the back end. Has a nice bitter finish, a classic West Coast IPA.

M: Medium body with solid carbonation.

D: Another fantastic brew from Ballast Point, they really did a nice job making this distinctive of Big Eye. Still, I have to say for all the hype associated with this brew, Big Eye is basically on par (I gave it a 4.4). A great beer, well deserving of accolades and one every beer lover should try if they get the chance. Special thanks again to Abe's Cold beer for being such a great supplier of hard ot find brews!

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Photo of Scojo2usa
4.73/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Awesome Awesome beer! Worth all of the $10.50 I paid for the bomber. Crisp golden color. Foamy white head. If you're looking for a Grapefruity citrus IPA this is your beer. Tough to come across but if you see it, defiantly pick it up. Well hopped but not overly hopped. Has piney notes to it but defiantly a citrusy IPA.
Leaves an great bitter taste on your tongue after a few seconds, which only makes you crave for an other taste. love it!

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Photo of Chico1985
4.82/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, the elusive Sculpin. This fish has eluded my grasp many a time, but I've got him this time! Although I had this on-tap last week, this review will be for the bottle.

Pours a golden orange with a nice fluffy white head, stays the whole time. Leaves great lacing. Many carbonation bubbles floating about.

Smell is pure fruity IPA bliss. Many fruits such as apricot, lemon combine with more expected smells like citrus and pine.

As amazing as the smell is, the taste nearly exceeds it. Almost like eating the entire fruit section of a grocery store in one sip. Citrus, lemon, mango, peach with loads of tingly hops that balance out beautifully. Second pour is a bit more hazy, but I can't see sediment, it just looks like a perfect fuzzy orange. Taste is definitely more of mango/peach towards the end for me, a little alcohol shows through but the drinkability here is excellent. Like usual for any beer, flavors truly shine once it warms.

Pretty ridiculous price for a single IPA but it just feels great to drink, a bomber is no problem whatsoever. Definitely a favorite IPA of mine, deserves the reputation it has.

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Photo of natelocc787
4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Amazing IPA. Golden Orange body with an antique white head. Great lacing leaving thick rocky sheets around the edges of the pint. Smell is heavenly: so much citrus and even moderate pine notes. Big juicy ripe pink grapefruit, pineapple slices, vanilla cake batter and tangerine wedges. Very similar in the taste with a sharp pineapple cake flavor, fresh citrus salad (sweet lemon, mandarin oranges and pink grapefruit). Pine in the background, amazing mouthfeel, unlike any mouthfeel I've every experienced before in this style. Bubbles are ample but not sharp, silky and sudsy coating everything. Very refreshing and extremely drinkable, I will be a happy camper when I move to the San Diego area this year.

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Photo of DoesntMatter46
4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured out of a 22 oz bottle into a half liter stein, and kept topping it off. Looks very yellow color and a clean white head. Looks like it could be a plisner- almost.

Smells of citrus, piney, hoppy goodness all over the place.

Grapefruit, unripe mango, and not quite as bitter as I first thought it would be. Still quite bitter, but it seems like the bulk of the hops were added later in the brewing, so you really get more flavor out of the hops rather than in your face bitterness. And has a very great after taste- still very reminiscent of grapefruit. Over all not very balanced, but that's what I expect in an IPA out of San Diego.

Feels well carbonated and not very viscousy, also somewhat oily feeling from all the hops, but it helps keep those flavors on the tongue longer.

A great beer that I could easily sit and drink most of the night. Bitter, but not to the point of insanity, just the perfect backdrop for showing off the hoppy flavor.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.38 out of 5 with 14,332 ratings