Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA
14,226 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: 14,226 |  Reviews: 2,526
Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bootleg Sculpin :-)

Dark gold with a decent off white head of foam. Nothing too big or too small, it rises and falls like Ziggy Stardust and the spiders from mars. Aromas are big citrus and tropical fruit, passion fruit, mango, marijuana, and a nice biscui9t/bread/shortbread malt character in the mid and back palate. Taste is nice and hoppy, juicy, fruity, resiny, with oil and weed in the mix. Abrasive, finish is sweeter than I usually like but malt balances it out well and make it work. Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, very good. Drinkability is very nice as well.

I wish that we saw this one up in the bay area.

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Photo of rallison
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Weibull for generously giving me this bottle.

Pours a gorgeous golden amber with a 1 finger white head that sticks around well and leaves some nice lacing.

Smells wonderfully citrusy with some tropical fruit smells coming out a bit. Nice and dank, this one is.

Wonderful taste here. Those citrusy/grapefruity hops come out to play. No piny hops here. There are definitely some fruits that come out from those hops - apricot and mango as the bottle mentions would be an appropriate comparison. Nice lingering hop bitterness. Not as bitter as some of the other IPAs here (but still nicely bitter), but a good hop character. The malt here is relatively soft.

Mouthfeel starts out well carbonated but gets softer as I drink more.

Drinkability is very good.

Recommended. A fine SD-style IPA.

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Photo of roan22
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I bought one of only three bottles available for sale at TJ's Everyday. I know its being discontinued temporarily probably because of the hops shortage, and I feel lucky to have scored one of the only bottles in the whole state of Pennsylvania. I shared this 22oz. bottle with 2 friends of mine, and they both have had enough IPA's by now to know that this one tasted like grapefruit. Very smooth grapefruitey flavor provided by the hops. Like most west-coast IPAs, it almost could pass as a DIPA, as the boozey taste is there as well, and the sweet malts. However it is not a full-blown DIPA to this well-trained IPA-lovin palate of mine. It is drinkable but I gave it a 4 because we won't be seeing it in PA for a long time. Its kind of a shame.

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Photo of thickerfreakness
4.87/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Ordered this beer from South Bay Drugs and Liquor. Thanks Joey!

This is probably my favorite IPA and I've only had it twice. It poured a nice thick off white head and it has a beautiful golden color. The smell is just exceptional, above and beyond any other IPA I have ever had. Smells floral, grassy, piney, grapefruit, pineapple, and mango. Just all sorts of things going on in the smell and this translates directly into the taste. It tastes nice and hoppy, similar to the smell, and it also has a nice malty sweetness then a lingering, pleasant bitterness at the end. The mouthfeel is pretty good and the drinkability is amazing. This is really the best IPA I have had to date and I will definitely try to get some more in the future. Highly recommended!

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle, served in a big wine glass at 52 F/ 11 C.

Brilliant golden color, inch and a half of dense egg shell head that sinks to form a sticky plateau. Mottled lace all around the glass like a mural.

Smells of fresh juicy citrus hops - mainly grapefruit, with orange, tangerine, lemon - and some spicy pine and fresh cut grass. Some creamy tropical fruit like Ataulfo mango, and sweet gentle malt like light honey and fresh baked sugar cookies.

Tastes as it smells. Fresh hop flavor. Grapefruit, with some spicy pine and grass. Sweet malt, light but with a bit of toast. Clean. Elegant, very well balanced. Bitterness grows. Long bitter finish, with a touch of remaining sweetness.

Pleasant slick oiliness, but a bit too much fizz. Perfectly drinkable.

Very well made; clean, pure expression of the hops.

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Photo of roadraper
4.02/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Stone IPA flute glass. Immediate pine aroma hit the nose as the glass filled. Clear light amber color with a small head that dissolved quickly with light/medium carbonation. Huge citrus and pine smell that carries onto the palate. Very light on the tongue...almost Summer ale and pilsner like. Fades to a sweet/light/hoppy aftertaste. Slight alcohol taste as the beer warmed up. A very good aromatic IPA that leaves the door open to the next endeavor.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz bottle courtesy of a trade with KingG, thanks! I always take a sniff off the bottle before pouring and this smells great! The color is a dark, but transparent, yellow and the head is full, sticky and firm. The aroma is pure West Coast IPA, piney, fruity, citrus, very nice. The flavor is a very green, almost vegetal hop flavor. There are also melon-rind notes which remind me of the Dorado DIPA. It does not quite live up to the aroma but it is still tasty. The mouthfeel is decent and the drinkability is good. Overall, this is a good West Coast IPA but I prefer the Big Eye from Ballast Point.

update 12/30/08 most recent batch

This is a very good IPA. I don't really taste the vegetal I got last time, just fruity, dank IPA. This is much better than Dorado or Big Eye. Friends said it was like Green Flash westcoast meets odell IPA. Awesome.

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bomber poured into a nonic.

Pours a crystal clear light copper hue with a fluffy two finger off-white head. Thin lacing left on the sides as the puffy cloud of bubbles slowly dies down to a thin layer. Smell is one of a kind. Fresh grapefruit, subtle evergreen, mandarin oranges, floral aromas, and pear. There is a faint scent of grass as well. By far the sweetest smelling IPA I've ever encountered. Taste begins with a sharp pine bite followed by an interesting creamy citrus flavor. Sour pink grapefruit sprinkled with sugar midway thorugh. Dry floral aftertaste with a lemon zest. Light to medium body with a pillow like feel. Very pleasant carbonation from start to finish. You don't see these IPA's brewed in the east. Such an amazing west coast IPA. Clean, refreshing, and goes down so easy. I really wish this one was avaialble in CNY. One of the best IPA's out there by far.

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Photo of throwitallaway
4.15/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Orangish color with a large head that dissipates quickly into a smaller one. Aroma of citrus and flowers thanks to the hops. Maybe a touch of sweet malts underneath. Taste is bitter and resiny hops, that fade into a floral and slight malty sweetness. Overall the flavor is all about hops like it should be. Medium-bodied with nice carbonation. This a very tasty beer that I could see myself drinking frequently. In fact, I had this on-cask the other night at Hamilton's and I drank quite a bit of it.

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Photo of Overlord
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Awww....suki suki now.

Pours a beautiful light orange ... almost more gold than orange. Great lacing, not much head. Bubbling carbonation keeps the mouthfeel lively, though.

Smells delicious. My wife commented that it was the best smelling beer she could recall (though she didn't like the hop bitterness). Aroma is uber florally with sweet tropical notes. The taste is largely juicy grapefruit, but the typical hop kick is muted and superbly integrated. There's a bunch of other fruit flavors here, payapa, mango, maybe some tangerine and pears ... it's a sweeter IPA, no doubt about it.

After having a few bottles, I'm upping the rating. This is just an absolutely wonderful IPA, and it's a kinder, gentler introduction to the style.

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

Here's to uber-drinkable IPAs.

Pours a perfect gold with rich head into my Levitation tulip. Solid lacing. Head retains to the final sip. Head could be a lil prettier, I guess, but I can't take off points for it. What IPAs should look like.

Drinkability is great, and the mouthfeel is spot on. Full but dry in finish, a bit of palate cleansing spritz from the CO2 but it doesn't overwhelm or lift the beer too far off. Only knock off the drinkability for there being just a bit of hot alcohols as I finish off the bottle (bottle was returned to fridge after initial pour), and while I drank the first half straight, I'm pairing the second w/ some local tacos from a favorite local stand. Additionally, I knock it off just a tad...

Because frankly, I think it just tastes good. This is the right profile for my West Coast IPAs... and I'm struggling, perhaps this deserves a 4.5 for flavor, maybe. There's a bit too much of the Summit hop here, which I think lends a musty, funky earthiness redolent of onions that I'm not huge on, but it's better held in check here than in some other beers I've tried... but it hangs out in the nose a bit, and while there are some IPAs that I just love to sniff, that's not the case here. Big tangerine and citrus, some floral notes, with the whisp of onion.

One last note, the bitterness is perfect here. It keeps threatening to become aggressive, but it remains simply assertive. Vinnie Cilurzo in one of his speeches said something about not wanting to bitterness to be too smooth, that you needed an edge. This beer walks the bitterness edge perfectly. Just a little bit ragged and raw, but never astringent or off-putting.

A great beer to take someone from the Just-Beyond-Newbie phase, to set them up for prime time.

That said, at 6 or 7 dollars a bottle... Why would I get this instead of Stone IPA/Ruination? Or Green Flash? Or Alesmith?

The Dorado Double had a unique richness and aroma and was strong enough to keep you a bit in check... this goes down so easily, I can imagine blowing a wad on this before you know it. Hopefully I stumble across it on draft...

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Photo of PhxHorn
5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dammmmn, what a beer this is. It's not as intense as some IPAs, or even the Dorado DIPA made by Ballast Point. This is a light, subtle, fruity, exquisite IPA that you should make every effort to taste. Appearance is a rich orange color with fluffy white foam. Smell is an intense peach and apricot flavor. The taste, as I mentioned, is not as intense as say a Stone or Dorado, but is unique among the IPAs I've tasted. Peach, apricot, lemon, grapefruit, plus the bitterness you'd expect. Really incredible mix of flavors which hint more than overwhelm. Carbonation is just right. I don't know what more I can say, except that this is a very special beer.

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Photo of sfoley333
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 22oz bottle into PP 7th ann. Real Als Fest english pint glass. Poured a golden orange honey color with thick foamy white head. Smell is a mixture of citrus, malt, and floral hop notes. Taste is like eating a grapefruit with a slight grassy bitterness followed by semi sweet malt profile. The alcohol is well masked in the flavors with a crisp mouthfeel and medium to light body. Carbonation was in great balance with the taste retaining a creamy feel. This is one of he best tasting IPA's on the market right now with just the right alcohol level and great balance still with an upfront grapefruit taste.

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

Pours a clear golden color. Nice finger head that fades leaving a nice amount of lace.

Smell is very crisp, floral like with nice citrus notes....even a little grassy note as well. One of the best smelling IPAs.

Taste is much like it smells. Very floral. It has a nice citrusy flavor to it. And again a tad grassy hop note to it.

Very crisp and refreshing. It goes down smooth. Nice hoppy bitterness aftertaste.

Wish I had more to make this a session. Would be a great session beer.

Overall: This beer is great!!! Possibly the best IPA I have ever had.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a golden orange in the glass with a full finger snow white head that lasts and lasts and leaves beautiful mapping in it's wake as you drain the glass.

Wow. The intensely fresh citrus peel and pine oil hops hits you in the face as soon as you pop the cap on this bottle. Bright, bite-you, grapefruit and orange peel.

Taste doesn't disappoint in the least. There is nothing fake or artificial in this brew. Lively bright grapefruit...just 'pink' enough to keep it from getting bitter...a little pine oil...then tangerine and orange peel.

This beer, is West Coast IPA at it's finest.

Note: I just looked at my review after posting and though maybe an A+ might be a bit high so I changed drinkability to a 4.5 from a 5....then I had to change it back. I could drink this one til the sun comes up and I've a massive headache.'s that good and easy.

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Photo of emerge077
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
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 srandycarter
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Gold goodness, near white .75 inch head, clinging persistent head.

S - Like stuffing my nose in a bag of high alpha pellets.

T - Malt comes first, but is squashed by the hops. If you like a beer dominated by hops, this one is for you.

M - Light, not very coating, carb ok.

D - Good session beer.

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

A- Poured into an imperial pint glass, this fish pours a clear light-gold color with a white head that settles to a thick, patchy layer over the beer. Each sip leaves behind an array of web-like lacing.

S- A blast of white grapefruit and piney hops along with a myriad of tropical fruit aromas. The malt backing smells crackery and lightly grainy. This is one of the best IPA aromas I've ever encountered.

T- The initial juicy hop bite gives way to a malt backbone that again resembles grainy bread. Very clean and refreshing. The taste has that same tropical fruit undercurrent that the aroma posses. The finish is only moderately dry and leaves a flavorful lemony bitterness on the back of the tongue.

M- The beer feels medium-bodied with a slightly oily and slick texture as it moves over the palate.

D- A pure joy to drink. The 7% ABV makes this even easier to enjoy as make short work of this 22oz bottle.

One of the best IPA's on the market.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a clear golden color, with a light yellow tinted head. The head fades slowly, leaving a large amount of lace.

This beer has a very crisp, floral aroma. It smells very complex. I smell a nice citrusy aroma as well. Some grassy notes mix in.

This beer tastes much like it smells. Very floral. It has a nice grapefruity flavor. As with the aroma, a nice grassy hop flavor is present.

This beer is quite crisp and refreshing. It goes down smooth, leaving a floral aftertaste. It is carbonated just right.

I think this beer would make a great session beer. It tastes good, and is only slightly high in alcohol.

Overall: This beer is great. It is well balanced and complex. It might be the best IPA from Balast Point. I am going to miss it when I move.

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Photo of Floydster
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

5 ounce serving today at Ballast Point 's 11th Anniversary celebration, only cask beer available, their Sculpin IPA on hand pump which they call "Firkin" because it does not have CO2 and it is grav fed

Color was a light cloudy yellow orange with a nice soapy head that stuck around for quite some time

Smell was not very hoppy and pretty mellow overall, hints of grapefruit were evident as well as some sweet piney aromas

Taste was much like several different San Diego IPAs (Oggi's, Stone, and Green Flash), pretty light on the bitterness scale, more citrus than I could smell, nice sweet and slightly dry finish

Could drink a lot of this, especially on cask but never had this bew on a normal tap, a lot lighter than originally expected, pretty strong for an IPA though

Glad to see at least one cask at the event and an IPA was a good break from all the barrel aged brews and assortments of doubles and other strong tasting beers

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Photo of GClarkage
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

08/11/07- Had on tap at the Bistro IPA Fest.

Presentation- Samples via the tap into tasting glasses.

Appearance- Light orange in color with a medium sized super white creamy head as well as nice lace patchwork.

Smell- Very fruity with the likes of oranges, tangerines and lemons. Light malt notes, mostly all fruity hops.

Taste- Pretty nicely balanced. Light toasted malt backing to go with a hefty and sweet hop explosion of fruityness.

Mouthfeel- Lasting bitterness to go with a mid level carbonation.

Drinkability- Of the 8 brews I had at the fest, this was about tied for my 2nd favorite. Good stuff as usual from Ballast Point.

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

Had at the Linda Vista brewery on tap in a 4 oz taster

Tried the complete lineup of beers so my palatte was pretty messed up when I got here, but it was excellent!

Only 7.0% ABV like the Big Eye IPA but way more hop bitterness, and way more tasty.

More hop flavor than the 9.6% Dorado Double IPA, without the syrup feel of a DIPA.

An Excellent IPA. Proud to have it here is SD.

They said it was a limited release beer, and so I grabbed the last 3 kegs on hand. They said they would make more in 3-6 months.

they also said if everybody asked for it they would have to make more.

My second favorite IPA ever, behind #1 Pliny The Elder (technically a double) Just beating out the DIPA 9.8% from La Jolla Brew House (now 3rd) and Reaper Ales Sleighor DIPA.

Pour Reaper you just got knocked out of my top 3

You have to try it. Great stuff.

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Photo of Morris729
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a semi-hazy medium amber color with a thick off-white head that slowly dissipates. Citrusy hops dominate the nose with notes of fresh grapefruit and pine. There is some sugary sweetness up front along with a light citrusy fruitiness followed by a strong bitterness of grapefruit rind and pine oil. A thoroughly enjoyable IPA here.

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

Wow, this is one heck of an IPA. Cask-conditioned and pumped into a pint glass, amber-gold with a glow, topped with an off-white head of 1/2 inch. It looks like a sparkling beer with a perfect carbonation to it. Good head retention and some nice sticky lace clings to the glass.

Grapefruit and pine make up the very brisk and refreshing nose.

The flavor is sweet citrus with white grapefruit dominating in the intro then turns sharply into a dense pine forest, a hop-bomb pine forest. Mouth puckering down to the finish that leaves your mouth feeling clean and refreshed with a later after taste of sweet oranges. Spikey, spicy and floral that damn near pushes to a DIPA. Really, really tasty stuff, I'd like too compare it to the regular Sculpin side-by-side just for fun.

Medium body with the alcohol well burried, I'd have to guess it's around 7%ABV, very high drinkability and hop-head of the best IPA's I've ever tasted!

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Photo of stoner420
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap.

appearance: medium yellow/golden, with a white head.

smell: hops hops and more hops. big citrus smell, little floral behind it.

taste: good amount of carbonation and alcohol taste, the complex citrus hop taste predominates, the bitterness is there, but so is the sweetness. I don't know if balanced is the right word, but its good.

mouthfeel: zesty, a taste sensation.

drinkability: not an easy drinker, more of an adventure, but not harsh by any means.

overall: one of my favorite double IPAs. They really got the hops right in my opinion. I hope they keep this one around for a while.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.39 out of 5 with 14,226 ratings