Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA
14,231 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: 14,231 |  Reviews: 2,528
Photo of BeachRez
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was a referral from Hooliganlife. I would never had went after it without his recommendation.
Purchased from BevMo HB. Some guy asked to hold these but never picked them up...I got lucky, and he got skunked.

Poured into a pint glass. The color was a deep golden; but a transluscent color. Nice head with good lacing.

The smell was a citricy-hop. Strong. The taste was equal to the smell. It was not overly hopped, so it seemed to have a balanced flavor.

Very easy to drink. I don't really like IPA's, but this seemed to be a great example. Although not something I would go after.

The second bottle heading to you Hooliganlife.

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

A-Light hazy golden..light egg white creamy head...nice lacing..

S-Top notch...big juicy citrus and tropical fruits...a veritable fruit cocktail....mandarin oranges, pinneaple, mango, papaya, sweet grapefruit, tangerine, shoot I even get some peach out of it...

T-Much like the aroma, this has a big citrus/tropical fruit flavor...the grapefruit jumps out the most on the taste to me...then tangerines and oranges....a little mango/papaya exotic fruitiness also emerges....malt is very much in the background and contributes a light sugar cookie sweetness to balance the hops.

M-Just about right for an IPA...medium bodied...easy drinking...enjoyable deep fade of bitterness on the finish..

D-This is my kind of IPA...reminds me of my personal favorite IPA O'Dell. I still give my top vote to O'Dell but this is a worthy contender for the crown. Top notch and if you like a big juicy citrus laden IPA this is for you.

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Photo of Kaiser81
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 22 oz bomber bought from the Ballast Point Brewery yesterday

A - Golden color with about 2 fingers worth of a frothy head that settles down to about a finger after a minute. Some lacing left on the glass after drinking.

S - Divine. Hops balanced by malts with citrus fruits...something tropical like mango. Slight hint of grapefruit

T - Citrusy and hoppy. Floral and grapefruit notes balanced by the malt and hops. Very balanced, very good.

M - Medium bodied with a thick head. Carbonation is perfect.

D - Oh yeah. Bring this IPA again and again and again. It's not too heavy, not too light. It drinks so easily.

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Photo of Lothore
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a golden hue with a nice, 2 finger, frothy off white head that is extremely chunky.

S- Deep citrus fruits, mango, floral notes, grapefruit.

T- Starts off light, floral hops, lots of grapefruit and tangerine on the back end with a deep bitterness.

M- Medium bodied with carbonation that is a little too low.

D- Very easy to drink. One of the best smelling IPAs out there. at 8.99 a bomber for an IPA it's definitely a once in a while thing.

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Photo of Pencible
4.39/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This poured a nearly clear light gold with a little bit of white head. It smelled like juicy peaches and pineapples and fresh lemon, with some sweet mango and light honey. It tasted like grapefruit and pineapple with some peach and mango, and a bit of tea leaves and honey. It was watery with some carbonation, and had a clean bitter aftertaste. Overall this is definitely one of the best IPAs out there. Delicious tropical hops flavors that few other beers can match. There was an herbal hops character in the aftertaste that was reminiscent of Ruination, which I wasn't a huge fan of, and I thought it could have used a hint more body. So there is honestly some room for improvement. But this was still a fantastic beer that was very easy to drink but also a delight to sip. This lived up to the hype.

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Photo of mattwjones
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally, I have drank the highly praised Sculpin IPA!
I bought a bomber from Beverages 4 Less in Santee. I could not find any mark of freshness on the bottle.

A: honey color with a slightly off-white head that laces very nicely to my glass.

S: sensational celebration of hops - citrus and just plain floral hoppiness.

T: the highpoint. the taste has everything that the smell may have fallen short on - citrus and floral tastes are all over - the bitterness is in full force and lingers on the palate. The amount of malt tasted provided a good balance with the hops. The amount of malt tasted was ever so slightly more than what I perceive as perfection.

M: good carbonation and good viscosity for this style, a slight lack of satisfaction kept me from giving this a perfect 5 in this category.

D: very drinkable beer. not too heavy or syrupy to impede your drinking speed (not implying fast whatsoever)

Overall, my impression of Sculpin IPA was a very good one, although I think that its rating hyped it up a little too much. Having had both Ballast Point's Sculpin and Alpine Beer Co.'s Nelson side by side, I can easily say that Nelson, for me, is far more enjoyable because of its superior aroma (both the scent and the amount of smell that is perceived) and taste.

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Photo of Intelligentsia
4.69/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22-oz. bottle.

Upon opening the smell of hops, apricots, mangoes, citrus eminates. Wonderful smelling beer. Poured into a glass, this beer left behind some seriously thick lacing with a two finger head that receded slowly. A bit stuck around, white in color. The beer poured a light bronze color.

Massive citrus, apricots, mangoes, tropical fruits on the nose. Perhaps the best smelling beer I've come across. Even the empty bottle smelled great.

The taste isn't subtle -- big fruit flavors familiar to the nose and fresh hops. More complex than the average Ballast Point. Not very well balanced until it warms. Big hop bitterness on the end. Absolutely sublime taste.

Medium carbonation and a 7% a.b.v. make this seem drinkable until you realize it obliterates your taste buds.

Honestly, one hell of a brew. Looking forward to it becoming a year-round release.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.14/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle - no freshness date, but they may as well, given that it sells out so quickly, and is much better when still in diapers.

Poured with huge, 4F white head over top of a relatively clear, pale gold body. Great load of lacing.

Smell is quite nice - mostly pineapple sweetness, with some sharp pine tree as well. "Nicely unbalanced".

Tasty - more tropical qualities come thru, especially as it warmed. The astringent hop bite continues to dominate, with narry a hint of balance - it almost stretches into the DIPA world, but does not show in the alcohol column.

Softens up a bit as it warms, and I would love to sample this pup on cask, but overall is a sharp, wet, towel-whip on the tongue. Certainly can't argue the fantastic aftertaste.

This is clearly not a session beer, but for the inviting smell, satisfyingly complimentary taste, and re-inviting mouthfeel, it surely gets an ole' thumbs up on the drinkability meter.

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Photo of dbalsock
4.26/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App: Light to medium amber with a great white head from a cask... the head stays for awhile displaying excellent carbonation. This looked perfect to me.

Smell: All hops on the nose, both piney and fruity, with no real sense of the malt background. I would have liked a little more going on with the aroma.

Taste: Excellent hop combinations. The hops are so pure and fresh on the tongue. Some light fruitiness with a hint of sharp hop spice. The malt background was again lacking, but the freshness of the hops took over and made me not care as much.

Mouthfeel: A little watery and not as smooth as I would have liked. The bitterness was ample for a cask ale and really made the mouthfeel above average.

Drinkability: I would drink this regularly if I could. The last time I had it was in San Diego a couple years ago and I think it's better now than it was then. A little more complex than I remember and definitely worth seeking out.

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Photo of biggied
4.89/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Gold, a little hazy, nice lacing which remains all along the glass.

S: Hops, hops, hops. Piney and citrusy but plenty of apricot and mandarin orange. Best smelling IPA by far.

T: Again, hops and more hops. Nice and dry, exactly what an IPA should be.

M: Nice carbonation, dry - leaves you wanting another sip as soon as the last one ends.

D: Perfect IPA drinkability. I wish I could find this all the time because I would have no problem drinking one after the other all night long.

One of the best IPA's I've ever had. Not to be missed.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Gmann
4.56/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10.24.09 Lost Review

Pours a slightly hazy pale honey color with a puffy pure white head that settles into a light cap. The aroma is of a beautiful fresh hop. Nice floral hop aroma with tropical fruit. Smells as if somebody just squeezed some hop juice in this sucker. Big fresh hop flavor with a blend of grapefruit and orange, floral, a touch of asprin in the end. Very nice hop flavor profile without any of the over the top bitterness or sweet malt. Moderate body with enough carbonation to help offset the hop flavor, thus more drinkable. Finishes only slightly bitter, which is surprising with the amount of hop flavor. This is one mighty fine AIPA. Drinks very easy for a brew with such a hop forward profile. Dang tasty.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared this one with capra12. Poured from a bomber into a tulip.

A: Poured a 3 finger fine white head with amazing retention. Beer itself was clear orange with clear carbonation continually buffering the head. Lacing was thick and layered and damn impressive.

S: Fresh citrus and grapefruit flesh. Hop character. What impressed me here was how clean and distinctive the nose was.

T: Upfront citrus and cane sugar. Hop character appears towards the middle and lasts through to the end, lingering in the aftertaste.

M: Light to medium bodied and very coarse. Brew is wet, clean, and very crisp. Finishes wet.

D: An IPA that tastes like an Imperial IPA. This is a purer 90 minute with all the best of that beer without the chaff.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.77/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Mikkeller tulip. Extra special thanks to tai4j12x for this kick-ass extra in our recent trade!

A: Pours a chill hazed medium gold color. Perched on top is about 1 1/2 fingers of off-white head that doesn't retain for very long, but does leave a generous amount of lace behind.

S: When first opened there was an awesome balancing act between two different hop aromas. One whiff would stink of pineapple, the next one mango. As it warms aromas of pine tar, apricot, toasted malt, and tangerines burst out.

T: OMG! What a delicious AIPA! Mango, guava, and other tropical fruit battle it out with pineapple...and pine. Pine is a lot more prominent in the taste than the nose. The pineyness starts subtlely and ends in a whallop. Tastes as if some one took fresh pine bough clippings, ran them through a press, and then blended it with apricot, peach, and tropical fruit. The piney finish is anything but subtle. The pine flavor in the finish is so fresh and strong it might be considered minty.

M: Oily and sticky. Juicy fruitiness coupled with a bitter and spicy hop astringency that laid a peppery patch across my tongue.

D: Well now, this is one of the best AIPA's I've had in a long time and I do believe it is worth every iota of hype it brings to the table. Seek.This. Out.

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Photo of strictly4DK
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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

S - Starts with an initial blast of grapefruit followed by a bouquet of tropical fruits.

T - As with the nose, starts grapefruit. Every sip brings a different fruit: apricot, sweet peach, juicy mango. Follows with a blast of piny hop resin. A slight malt backbone rounds out this glorious experience and a lemon zest lingers on the palate.

M - Sticky hops, slight puckering, feels like the taste left twigs and residue from a hop cone being scrapped across the tongue.

D - Medium carbonation lends itself to multiple bottles if only a PA beer geek could procure multiple bottles. Overall... WOW. Lose sleep over this one.

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Photo of luvND
4.17/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

P: 22 oz bomber w cool spikey fish on label, had this one at cellar temp
A: Reallly bright, pale copper, lighter than some other IPAs, great thick white head, very effervescent
S: Awesome, piney and citrusy, smells sticky
T: Very good, not great, major hops and very bitter, I dont get a lot of malt sweetness up front
M: Lighter than some but works well, actually makes it a little more drinkable, clean
D: Quite drinkable for the bitterness

Notes: A really good IPA from a brewery that is money. I could have used a little more malt in this one to balance out the bitterness. Not too filling and a good ipa. A little pricey at $96 for a case of 12 x 22 oz bottles.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.56/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On cask at Ballast Point night at Blue Palms in Hollywood. Served in a Ballast Point pint glass (which I got to take home :-), and subsequently in a 20oz nonic (one serving was simply not enough).

Pale gold and sunglow liquid, very hazy and rich with an off-white dense ribbon of foam forming a cap on top. Pasty lacing paints the sides of the glass as the liquid (quickly) dissipates.

Gentle aroma of lemon merangue pie, violet, lavendar, and citrus notes. A bit restrained...

Lemon, lime, very mild sugar cane, vanilla (?), though overall hops are the most prominent on the palate - a perfectly balanced variety that synergizes into more than the sum of their parts. Less bitter than many IPAs. Dry, malty finish, though apricots and mango play a role as well. Very hard to do justice to this flavor in words...

Creamy body with moderate carbonation, no astringency, and mild warming. Hard to imagine improving on this category.

Nearly impossible to put down, this is the most drinkable IPA I've ever had. I real stunner on cask...

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Photo of dborginis
4.04/5  rDev -8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Just in today at Capone's. I guess that's as fresh as it gets in PA. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Very cloudy, pillowy head. Almost creamy. Color is a little less orange than what I see in my head as a standard west coast IPA, but clear.

The smell, strongest on the bottle is floral, but very bitter hops. Not huge on beers that are just very bitter, so we will see what happens.

Taste is, thankfully, milder than the smell in bitterness. Still a very big and lingering bitter, especially with a nice big raise of the glass. A bready malt backbone, but that's definitely not screaming out like some other heavily hopped IPA's. Behind the bitter hops, is a bit of the citrus-y hops. They get a lot of bitter in here, with subtleties in the back that make the experience interesting.

Perhaps the best part: Mouthfeel is like drinking a nitro beer. Starting with the pillowy head, and continuing with the very smooth velvety feel throughout. Very impressed by this.

Drinkability has me thinking. Definitely feel the 7%, as well as the very bitter taste. However the smooth texture is bringing me back. I have another bottle, not sure if I will hold on to it and see how it changes or pass it on.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Daily Pint.

A - Pours golden with 2.5 fingers of white head. Does not dissipate and leaves beautiful lacing. Nice!

S - Honey, caramel, citrus, bittering hops, and some grapefruit in there as well. Very nice!

T - This is where the beer starts to turn downhill. The smell is intoxicating, and the flavor is there, but less potent and a bit more subtle. It just tastes like smoothness. I really wanted to taste the flavors that I smelled!

M - Moderate bodied and well balanced, but slightly hop dominated. Very smooth as explained earlier.

D - Great, it is so smooth you can drink several pints. However, I am disappointed that the taste did not replicate the smell.

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Photo of jwolfie70
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle, into a pint glass at the Stone Brewery.

Looks: Check. Poured an amber, golden brown with a white lacy head with good retention.

Smell: Check. Smelled of floral hops, with some bready undercurrents.

Taste: Check. Floral hops, with some distinct nuttiness coming through. Good tasting IPA.

This is a good/great IPA, and something to be tried if available. Don't lose sleep if you can't find it however.

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

A-Great color, awesome amber golden color that is clear slight haziness.
S-Awesome, one of the best smelling beers, my wife likes to smell this one and she doesn't drink. Definate tropical fruit followed by citrus and with all IPA's pine.
T-Off the bat you get those citrus and fruit flavors followed by pine, but then a second burst of tropical flavors.
M-Good mouthfeel but maybe too much on this batch, last batch was light/medium this one is definately medium.
D-Great IPA I could continue drinking this all day long.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.14/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to hopsleeroy for sharing this bomber while watching the UT-OU game (hook 'em horns!!).

Pours a standard, if a bit nondescript, pale golden body with a thin cap of bone white foam. A slight haze envelops the carbonation rising up from the bottom of the glass. Heavily fruited aroma, with notes of mango, pineapple, and banana. Hints of citrus and pine from the hops balance nicely with a pale malt backbone.

The flavor of Sculpin is aggressively bitter, but in a way that still maintains a high degree of hop flavor. Pine wood, resinous greenery, and citrus all make for a delectable bouquet of an IPA. The malts show up just long enough to provide a balance of sweetness and body, but not much flavor. Mouthfeel is crisp and bubbly, with a medium body that, while rugged on the palate, is smooth at the same time. Great IPA, but I honestly liked Sculpin's Big Eye IPA better...

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Photo of Foxtrot
4.82/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you Matt Olesh for acquiring a case of Sculpin. A bomber of this fantastic brew made my week.

Pours a opaque gold with good bubble action. Head was white and slowly disappeared to a light lacing around glass.

The aroma is just fantastic, for a lack of better words that would do this beer justice. Hops, pineapple, grapefruit, orange, lemon, and apricot all abound with reckless abandon making it a pleasure to behold.

...! That was the stunned silence I felt after the first sip realizing how fantastic this beer tastes. Start off with big hops, followed in suit my citrus tangerine, grapefruit, a nice dash of apricot, and lemon zest held loosely together with pale malt and some candied sugar to balance out this monster of a beer. Finish was nice and bitter, and not to residual.

Mouthfeel is a a good medium. Carbonation was superb, but did not take away this beers glory.

Drinkability is sky high. What else can be said.

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Photo of microbrew52
4.2/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

There were two choices at the Daily Pint in Santa Monica... for now. Sculpin IPA and Sculpin IPA cask (very rare). The Cask is the one I will write about know. It has a very hazy orange glow in the glass. The head is like a high school cheerleader (very bubbly), and boy does it last a long time, also served a little warmer. I tried to get the owner to tell me what kind of hops they use but he said he could tell me but he would have to kill me. All I know is there are 5 different kind of hops in this beverage and taste/smell is very citrusy. Long live the cask!

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

FINALLY! After months of trying to find this where I live I finally found it while going to my good friends bachelor party in Fountain Valley. I was extremely happy when I ran across this down there.

Appearance - Pours a beautiful golden color with about a finger and a half of white, fluffy head that is receding quite slowly and leaving an inordinate amount of amazing, chunky lacing.

Smell - Numerous tropical fruits citrus smell - grapefruit, pineapple, orange, a bit of lemon. After this recedes I smell a bit of pine followed by a sweet malt. This smells extremely balanced. Nothing is "shocking" simply breath in the nose and you are surrounded by amazing smells that seem to work together quite nicely. If someone can make this into an air freshener let me know and sign me up for a gross.

Taste - Hoppy, a bit bitter, citrus overload (the grapefruit shines through like I literally just bit into one) and a dry finish. A few more sips and letting it warm up lets me taste more of the pine and malty backbone to this beer. Unfreaking-believable. As with the smell, the taste is extremely balanced. Honestly - how can some IPA's/DIPA's be so extraordinarily better than others? (we all know the answer but still!)

Mouthfeel - Relatively light/medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation that prickles the tongue and ends with a nice, semi-dry finish (more so than PtE in my opinion).

Drinkability - Very much so. I wish they had this closer to where I live. I would add this to my "weekly arsenal" especially since they are suppose to start brewing this year round (so the rumors go). I was not disappointed with this and can't wait to get some more!

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Photo of bret27
4.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Smell: If they don't infuse this w/pineapple or peach juice they really have a special secret. More obvious citrus than I've had before. Sweet malt and little tartness in the nose, but mostly citrusy sweetness.

App: golden orangey, nice fluffy white head, lacing.

Taste: Pineapple juice, maybe little peach juice in the background. Then the hops bittering effects take over, w/piney and more orangey citrus. Good sweet malt character. Seems appropriate for style.

Mouth: medium smooth. Good. Dry and refreshing, no alcohol presence. Just bitterness lingering.

Drink: Pretty good. But most well-made IPA's are all pretty good really.

Overall: Can't believe the sweet citrus smell. I'd like to know their secrets. Only beer that I can remember that had this much was Dreadnaught from Three Floyds. I can't imagine a better beer to be drinking watching a San Diego sunset. (must add to to-do list).

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.39 out of 5 with 14,231 ratings