Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Sculpin IPASculpin IPA
14,290 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 14,290 |  Reviews: 2,544
Photo of eyncognito
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had numerous, ultra fresh bottles from HopHead84, this one is from dyan. Thanks to all. I've yet to review Sculpin, perhaps I've had too much fun drinking it-a great sign to say the least.

Pours a dull orange into my Duvel tulip, a thin white head leaves some spotty lacing. Aroma-chocked full of hops-a whirlwind of tropical and citrus fruits, resiny, and floral. Malt? a hint of honey sweetness, but it's an afterthought. The flavor is nothing short of exceptional. Mouth-bracing hops-mangoes, orange, tangerine, meyer lemon, grapefruit. I remember the first time I tried this beer, it was a jaw-jacking fruit riot. A wonderful blend of tropical and citric flavors. Only a hints a sweet malt, but it is not held in check, the hops are the boss.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, not too sweet or syrupy. Gentle carbonation that is spot on. Good drinkability, but the bitterness is pretty intense for a standard IPA. It really wrecks the mouth after 22oz. Not that I wouldn't welcome the challenge.

 1,000 characters

Photo of Smalty
4.95/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this in my cellar for a month, waiting for that special occasion but I couldn't wait any longer. The beer poured this beautiful orange - brown. It looks like Arizona Green Tea. There's lots of carbonation up front. I thought I poured it carefully but it still managed to bubble up around the rim.

The smell is just incredible. A citrusy - pine sweetness hits up front. I would use this as a car freshener.

Taste is just as great. Very bitter but goes down smooth. The pineapple - citrus combo feels juicy and mouthwatering on the pallet.

Overall a great beer worthy of the praise and hype.

 604 characters

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

A: Bright, clear, and golden with very thin white head.

S: Very strong, glorious smell. Very piney and citrusy. Notes of tangerine and grapefruit.

T/M: At first, it has a crisp, refreshing, citrus taste. It finishes with a piney, earthy taste. Stimulates all parts of the tongue. Phenomenal!!

D: I wish I could drink it all the time!

Overall: I've had so many good IPAs, and Sculpin has to be #1 on my list! The smell and taste will make you want to smack you mother! Buy it if you ever have the opportunity.

 512 characters

Photo of slasher007
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 22 oz bomber.

Pours a clear copper with an inch of off-white head, fair amount of retention if poured somewhat vigorously, small amount of lacing.

Mouth is bold, full, rich and full of huge tart bitter and very bright grapefruit skin and lemon oil but very bright, not flabby. Uplifting in your mouth and just about the perfect hophead beer I've tried. Layers of bitter, citrus, pine and resin but all very bright and uplifting in your mouth. Medium bodied, low-medium carbonation. A very clean flavor that vanishes quickly without leaving much bitterness, but there is some.

Drinkability for this beer is very good, it goes down so smooth and just tastes great. Really a definitive IPA and this is one of the top rated IPA's I had tried.

 755 characters

Photo of GilGarp
4.79/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber with no freshness date served cold into appropriate glassware.

The aroma strikes me before I even set the cap down. As soon as it's pried off, the fresh hops of a great IPA hit me square. Ok, let's not get ahead of ourselves...

Poured into the glass, it has a slightly hazy pale golden yellow color. The head is thick and fine settling into a nice rocky top. There is some chunky sediment left behind in the bottle but the first pour is clean. Lacing is minimal but should be noted.

Now, back to that aroma. It's just heavenly, to a hophead like me, to smell something so devine. It's got a sugar-crusted orange rind quality that is really outstanding. A little piney and dank, a little grapefruit, but the sweet citrus really shines through.

Flavor is, not surprisingly, excellent as well. It compliments the aroma with the orange zest and grapefruit. There's even a little pineapple in there. Fantastic balance - while it starts slightly sweet, the hoppy bitterness comes on stronger towards the middle to end but it's all in harmony. The malts have a tiny bit of honey and caramel but they really let the hops take center stage.

Mouthfeel is medium in body and low in carbonation which fits the style perfectly. Balance is key in a good IPA and this one nails it.

What a fantastic beer. I had my doubts but now I see how it earned it's ranking as the best IPA in the country. Now if only we could get it in Colorado with Ballast Point's other beers.

Big thanks to jyoungsbcp for this rare gem!

 1,510 characters

Photo of Jayli
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Acquired this one from speakorspasm so a big THANK YOU! goes out to him!

A: This beer pours a murky copper color with a one finger of sudsy off white head. Head retains nicely and leaves thick sticky sheets of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is very fruity, orange, tangerine peach and some mango with a muted citrus hops.

T: Taste is quite fruity as well. Not quite a hop bomb but very well blended. Tangy and citrusy hops at the forefront, with a nice malt presence that fills out the middle. Citrus hops make a reappearence in the finish with grapefruit really coming in here.

M: Lighter side of medium body, medium carbonation, oily body with a slightly sticky finish.

D: Nicely blended, goes down easily, highly drinkable - I could sit with this one all night!

 770 characters

Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours goldish colored, and fairly light. Not cloudy at all. Tall white thick frothy head that remains for a loooong time. Very sticky patch lacing. Smells very different from most IPA's than I'm used to. Kind of fruity, grapefruit, lemon(citrus).
Flavor is full of hops, bitterness on the backside, grapefruit...a little earthy.
Goes down pretty smooth and easy to drink.

 371 characters

Photo of Pfeifer
4.52/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22.5oz poured into a 12oz wine glass (I know, need to go shopping). Found 2 bottles at K&L in Redwood City and 4 at Whole Foods!

A - Honey yellow, amber, excellent lacing and head. A strong pour leads to a 1 inch head. Light legs

S - As the label says, mango, lemon, citrus. Less piney than many IPAs of this type. Balanced goodness.

T - Hops! Happiness. Mild sweetness offset by the right amount of bitterness. More citrus and than pine

M - Crisp, light. ALmost syrupy at first but ends dry/sweet.

D - Booyah. I'd knock out like six of these. And be a disaster. Good times! Actually surprised to see it's 7% ABV as it's nearly Pliny-like in taste.

My go-to IPAs are Pliny and this guy (at least until I have more trouble finding it). If I'm looking for something more citrusy, refreshing I usually go with this guy. But if forced to pick one for the rest of my life, I'd go with Pliny.

 896 characters

Photo of cassanoj
4.83/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. Wow, beautiful orangish-goldish color with a frothy white head. Serious amounts of lacing going on here.

The smell is a tropical paradise - mango and lemon zest lead the way, backed up by some peach, orange, and a bit of breadiness.

The taste is even better - I'm struck first by the lemon zest, then some apricot, nice bitterness, peach, soooo smooth.

Just feels out of this world smooth and light-bodied, but i wouldn't call it thin, no way. A little bit of zest sparks my tongue, livening up my mouth.

This is hands down, my favorite American IPA. Completely different from anything I've had before and so well balanced for having such a fruity base. I haven't often been so impressed.

 718 characters

Photo of ocelot2500
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear golden with a ragged white head that fades quickly. Plenty of lacing on the glass.

Smells of delicious hops. A lot of citrus, pine, and some tropical fruits like mango and pineapple.

Tastes of the bright citrus up front with some sweetness on the backend. Plenty of fruitiness from the nose and the sweetness cuts the bitterness well. A lot of grapefruit comes through along with pineapple and mango; touches of apricot and peach as well.

Mouthfeel is a light medium and allows me to gulp this wonderful beer.

 526 characters

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

Poured from 22oz bottle into pint glass

A- Pours a deep golden orange color. Nice 1 finger white head.

S- Big citrus and pine hops. Some light bready notes as well.

T- This is a fantastic tasting beer. Big citrus upfront with the hops. Light malts in the middle with a nice bitter bite at the end and hints of pine in the aftertaste.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Crisp and clean.

D- Highly drinkable, great bite with that West coast IPA style through out this beer.

 481 characters

Photo of gameface23
4.59/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber

A: A very clean looking, golden beer. There was a small head, but the retention was somewhat lacking.

S: Insane. Tropical fruits abounded. Apricot, pineapple, peach, mango, orange, grapefruit and lemon. The smell was pungent with hop oil aroma.

T: Tropical fruits once again with a hefty dose of bitterness, but it finishes without an abrasive astringency.

M: Light to medium bodied. This beer is meant to showcase hops and it certainly achieves that.

D: If it weren't for the $10/bomber price tag and difficulty in finding this beer, I would drink this all the time.

 587 characters

Photo of Genghis22
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a golden honey color. Completely clear, with a nice frothy white head.

S - I could smell it from the counter as I was pouring it! Sweet grapefruit. Big bitter grassy piney smells. Can't wait to taste it.

T - The taste does not dissapoint. Beautifully flavored IPA. Strong bitter hops, lead into some citrus esthers, leading into a slightly sweet malt zone, and then the finish is all bitter hops again. Yum!

M - Medium body, with moderate carbonation. Just right for an IPA. The smell and the taste make you think it should be a DIPA, which would call for a more substantial body, but at 7%, this is just a damn good IPA.

D - Absolutely. One of the best standard IPAs I've had. Unfortunately this beer is prohibitively expensive, so it is one and done for me. The taste is great, and the alcohol is completely hidden. I'd drink it again for sure.

 860 characters

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

Poured from bomber into an over-sized snifter.

A- Golden with a slight orange hue, quite clear, 1-2 finger white head that is quite luxurious looking, dissipated fairly quickly.

S- Immense hop profile. The most noticeable of the aromas are floral piney-ness balanced with a nice fruity smell that is not overly sweet, but more complementary of the floral essence. This is what I wish every IPA smelled like, only rivaled by Pliny the Elder (and I'm sure the younger, but I have not yet had the pleasure.)

T- The flavors on the tip of my tongue and fruity bubblegum and flowers. Almost immediately, the bitterness envelops my tongue. The pine-cone-like bitterness lingers in a manner not at all offensive to my palate, but quite welcome. Some grapefruit in the finish as well.

M- Quite substantial for a "single IPA," but not as chewy and oily as some of the bigger DIPAs. Great amount of carbonation keeping it zippy on the tongue.

D- This is one of the best IPAs I have ever had. The taste is amazing and the smell really sets it in a league of its own. All around a great brew and I could drink this all night.

 1,118 characters

Photo of mnjeff
4.19/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to tulip. Thanks to billab914 for a chance to get my hands on this.
A: Pours a fully translucent golden orange color. The sticky lacing is everywhere, and there is a frothy, milky head with white caps all over the place.
S: The smell is fruity and yet bitter. Easily identifiable are lemon and orange and a hint of sweet pineapple. I can also pick out an astringent hop oil smell.
T: The taste is well balanced for an IPA; Sculpin has found a happy medium between apricot, bittering hops, and orange rind. A buttery note rounds out the finish.
M: Mouthfeel is as smooth as I've ever seen in an IPA. Though this is a well carbonated beer, I never feel a prickle cross my tongue. Wow.
D: An incredible drinkable IPA. The only thing possibly holding it back are the bittering hops.

This is a beer certainly worth a try.

 836 characters

Photo of jsh420
4.01/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours clear golden with a white 1 finger head that leaves notches down the glass

smells is all fruity hops peach apricot - one of te best if not the best smelling ipa ever

taste - alot like it smells big fruity hops but a tad too bitter that lingers on the after taste

mouthfeel is good but a tad thin

drinkability is good with all this flavor and as light as this is

overall - this is a beer is very hyped and i can see why - but taste is all personal preference and i have had better

 491 characters

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

Poured from the bomber into a Sam Adams Sensory glass.

A: The pour leaves a nice pillowy head sitting atop a clear golden beer with a nice amount of carbonation evident.

S: A nice fruity, citrus aroma that jumps out of the glass. There is a bit of the jammy undertones you get from some of the west coast DIPAs, but not nearly as much.

T: Bitter notes are immediately evident and are matched, but not quite balanced, by a subtle, light caramel sweetness. Lemon zest. Pepper. The finish is a bit alkaline, but leaves the tongue pretty clean for another sip. Not exceptionally complex.

M: Nice enough, not exactly thick but not too lean. A good match for the overall package.

D: An easy drinker with good overall enjoyment levels. This isn't even close to my favorite IPAs like Commodore Perry, Centennial IPA, Two Hearted, etc, but it's solid and unoffensive. I'm surprised at all the A's, but for a west coast single IPA it's quite good.

 942 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My second bomber of this pours a crystalline golden orange with a billowing three finger head of creamy white foam on top. Plenty of active carbonation. Stellar! Aromas start out with huge citric and tropical fruit hops and tons of resins. Green and a touch floral as well. Mild crystal and light toasted caramel malt backbone. Hop profile is just great here and draws you in with every inhalation.

First sip brings is just beautiful...mild toasted malt upfront with some caramel sweetness that's quickly bowled over by a boatload of citric, vibrant tropical hop goodness. A touch floral with tons of bitter, resinous hop flavor. Smooth on the finish with lingering fruity hops. Immensely tasty.

Mouthfeel is on the light side with good carbonation and a bit of crispness. This is the epitome of easy drinking for an IPA and super smooth and tasty. A bomber disappears like nothing and leaves me wishing I had more. Just a killer IPA that deserves the praises it has received.

 978 characters

Photo of Dijeriduster
3.96/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this at Ballast Point in Linda Vista many times - but only in sample sizes. Much diff in a bottle - I wish they brewed this year round and had it on tap...

A - Slighty hazy golden color with a nice creamy head developed on the pour. Slight amber color indicates adjuncts beyond your typical IPA.

S - Wonderful - especially as it warms. Lots of citrus character with a resiny hint that you would typically find in a wet hopped beer. Obviously lots of diff hops here and a solid malt profile present in the smell.

T - Great, though again it benefits from warming (keeping in mind I did pour this at a slightly lower temp ~ 48. Has lots of hops character without being overwhelming. Not quite sweet, but not as bitter as some super hopped beers. At $8 a 22 from the brewery you know they've put a bunch in here....

M - Nice mouthfeel, somewhat thin given the style but very nice none the less. The malt characters really come thru in the mouthfeel, not so much in the taste. Carapils maybe? Something to give it body with out affecting the good hop taste

D - Pretty high. This is a great IPA, maybe not quite the hop profile of Pliny the Elder but still very complex with plenty of hops character to analyze. This beer begs to be served on cask - something Ballast has never done to my knowledge. Good example of a San Diego IPA, but not nearly as stunning as a Green Flash West Coast or other HYPER hopped beers. This is certainly Ballast Points most loved beer and with good reason. I'd also recommend the Dorado Double - which has a more defined hop character.

 1,574 characters

Photo of projectflam86
4.67/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A trade with JoeyBeerBelly landed me this brew. Thanks Joe!

A- Pours a light sunset orange color with a huge rocky white foam head. Sticky lace is left behind in rings all the way down the glass.

S- Ripe citrus fruit aromas dominate the nose. A very hoppy aroma with oranges, grapefruit, and some light floral scents. This baby smells exactly the way an IPA should.

T- Strong initial rush of hoppy bitterness comprised of grapefruit, apricots, orange peel, lemon, and tropical flavors. Some light floral and pine flavors are present as well. Quite bitter but the finish is very smooth and warm with a barely noticeable bit of alcohol.

M- Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Silky smooth feel with a crisp finish.

D- This bomber went down ridiculously quick! This brew has it all; looks great, smells great, tastes great and feels great! A hophead must try.

 862 characters

Photo of goodbyeohio
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

got a bottle as an extra from a clown who sent me some black tuesday. killed it tonight.

much more orangey than i remember, almost sunny-d like. clean though, with a thoroughly herbaceous hop blast that finishes with only a slight bit of lingering citrus oil. the body of the beer itself is light yet buoyant, crisp yet not overcarbonated. i could drink this stuff all night, but i would eventually grow used to the bold up front flavor. agree with the good ratings on this one, easily double fucking good.

 507 characters

Photo of jampics2
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Extra from SwillinBrew. Thanks, Gil - this was a great bonus! Split with a buddy pre-gaming for a trip downtown to see a hockey game.

Golden orange, nice snow-white head.

Smells like heaven. Nice blend of peaches, oranges, pineapple, and other tropical citruses. Wow, the anticipation is killing me!

Tastes like heaven. Almost perfect. Malt takes a back seat, but is there with a little toast. The star of the show is the over-the-head smash from the hops. This is brilliant! I'm getting a ton of grapefruit and orange, plus the bitterness hits on a few peaks before subsiding. Guiness dudes, say it with me, This is brilliant - BRILLIANT!

Mouth is good, not great, but good. A touch too sharp, but the right consistency and feel going down.

Drinkability is great for a stronger hop bomb. Sure it wrecks a little havok on the pallate, but it doesn't leave me dried out or over-stimulated. I loved this world class beer!

 924 characters

Photo of dondeez21
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked up a 22oz bomber from Capones in Norristown PA. Poured into a Weyerbacher tulip glass.
A: Light orange color with a finger thick eggshell white head. Very nice lacing left behind on the glass
S: Sweet Fruity Citrus Hops dominate the smell.
T: One of the fruitiest IPAs I have ever tried. Citrus hops with notes of other exotic fruits. Mango Tangerine and Orange/ Grapefruit with a slight piney taste than slightly lingers on your tounge.
M: Medium body with a slight burn to it.
D: This beer is a great easy drinking IPA. I would love to drink this more often but due to its limited availabilty that might not be possible. Overall a very solid IPA that stands up to all the hype.

 689 characters

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

I had this on tap today at Capone's. It is a pale, golden honey yellow with a sticky white head. The smell is rich with copious amounts of citrus and tropical fruits. The flavor follows, sweet citrus, mango, guava. Sculpin has enough malt for balance, leaving a crisp finish. It taste like a DIPA with the drinkability of an IPA. The beer lives up to the hype.

 360 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.57/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

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.

 581 characters

Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.38 out of 5 with 14,290 ratings