Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA
14,268 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: 14,268 |  Reviews: 2,541
Photo of torchednoodle
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

You can keep all your IR stouts. This beer has to get top marks. I've held off on reviewing it even though I've been drinking it steadily since its release a couple of weeks ago. Every time I put this stuff in my mouth it reminds me why I started getting into beer in the first place.

Pours a beautiful clear orange with outstanding lacing. The smell is grapefruit and pine. The taste is citrus, piney, and an aftertaste hint of bready goodness. Big hops indeed, but not obnoxiously so (if there is such a thing!)

This stuff is nectar to my palate! Drinkability is outstanding. I made three visits over the first three days to secure enough of this beer to last me through the NFL season, telling myself it's ok to spend this much money if this is all I'm gonna get to drink of this beer until the next release a year from now. And it is worth it. This is the beer I would take with me if I was stranded on an island.

I've had this on tap, on cask, and in bottle, and of course it's the same beer from the same batch. But the bottle always stands out to me, maybe because it feels like such a triumph to be able to drink such a quality world class brew in the comfort of my own home.

*edit 2/27/09* I've had three different batches of this beer, and I have enough currently to enjoy one every once in a while. I have to say, I drank one again tonight and this beer is STILL the benchmark by which I judge all other beers. It's not the crazy hoppiest beer you'll find, but it had enough bright and citrus hops and malt to satisfy me like crazy. Ballast Point is the SHIT.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very clear gold in color with only a ring of froth. Smell is very piney hops. Taste is very green, brutally bitter hops. This is very fresh and very green. Very bittering and tongue ripping. This is a aggressive and brutal onslaught on your palate. The bottle is incredible, I could only imagine how this is on draft. Wow.

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

I only had this thanks to the sick generosity of OlieIPA, who literally stumbled on the release and brought me a bottle. Thanks kid!

Pale orange hued clearness. Strikingly clear. You might mistake is for a common cheap macro if not for the frothy white head that hints at its true nature.

Smell is wonderful. Hops. Citrus. Pine. A camping trip in the forest, only stronger and cleaner.

Beautifully imbalanced. Like an IPA should be. Screw the malts! Lingering bitterness. I only noticed this at the end of my first glass because I couldn't stop 'sipping' it long enough to notice before. Excellent belch taste as well. I almost taste fish, but I've been staring at the bottle for awhile now.

Drinkability: all night long, all night

Overall: possibly the best tasting IPA ever

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Photo of TheodorHerzl
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received from Mauerhan in trade recently. Thanks for this tasty beer!

This IPA pours a gorgeous a clear bright golden orange color with a good sized bone-white head on it that left spotting lacing on my glass. The nose on this beer is very unique and interesting for an IPA. I think mango is the strongest scent followed by passion fruit, peaches, lemon and orange zest, floral hops, and a slight pine bitterness as well. The smell on this beer is leaping from my glass, and it never left for the entire beer how strong the aromatics were. The flavor profile is loaded with citrus fruits with grapefruit and tangerines being very dominant followed up with only a slight touch of caramel malt. The malt is only barely noticable, but somehow supports the hops beautifually. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation that left a very dry finish on the back of my palate. The drinkability is superb on this beer, and is one of the better IPAs I've have ever had the pleasure of tasting.

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

Pours a moderately hazy orange with a nice frothy two finger white head.

The smell is powerfully fruity and delicious. A bouquet of flowers and tropical fruit projected from the glass. Outstanding.

Taste is a complex mix of hop flavors. While bitterness is certainly there--almost enough to make this a DIPA--there is lots of other hop flavor in there as well. Peppery, grassy, citrus, and pine all make appearances, creating a wonderfully strong mix. Just enough malt to make the whole thing work.

Good level of carbonation, fine consistency.

A very tasty, impressive beer. A great hop fix, but not at all cloying or over done.

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Photo of SykDoc
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to brdc and stoutsnipas for sharing this beer.

This beer had a pour similar to many ipas, a reasonably clear yellow/orange with a frothy white head and medium level of carbonation.

The aroma seemed particularly strong of mango. There are the piney notes that one would expect. I was taken by how good this beer smelled.

There is a light-to-medium level of hoppiness in the taste. It has a relatively light body. Initially, you get a medium dose of carbonation. As the carbonation faded, it seemed like the dryness comes out. I'm not sure what it was, but the final taste in my mouth was not quite as formidable, perhaps because I had just had Pliny the Elder. Either way, this was a great beer and I again would recommend it to people that enjoy beers that are hoppy.

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Photo of brdc
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks olibeer22 for this one, large capped bottle poured into a tulip.

It is a quite clear yellow beer, minimal haziness, with a good white head that shows good retention but not a lot of lacing.
Aroma is very impressive, freshly picked fruits, particularly grapefruit and mango bursting out from the glass, along with multiple other citric notes and honey, which I did not expect to find inside.
Medium bodied, refreshingly bitter, with very little malts to be talked about; its backbone shows some cookie notes, but not a lot else. Hops, hops and more hops, with a fresh fruit explosion. Very impressive, if exquisitely unbalanced. This is a hophead's dream, and even for a moderate hop admirer, very well done.

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

A: Golden in appearance with a beautiful one to two finger head. Very frothy looking (if that makes any sense) accompanied by lacing that seems to show the history of every sip. Beautiful!!

S: A strong apricot aroma which seems to help balance the piney overtones. The beer also seems to give off some sort of other fruity/estery smell.

T: Nice and light hop bitterness up front that seems to stay pretty consistent throughout the whole sip. Very piney and earthy with little malt sweetness. Not as balanced or complex as the aroma indicated, but pretty darn good!!!

M: Light to medium body with low carbonation; sits on the palate for quite some time.

D: I can honestly say that this is one of the best beers I have had!!!! Little alcohol taste and light body makes this beverage quite easy to finish.

Overall: I wish I knew how to write better reviews, but simply have to try this beer!!!!

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

i without any regret or any sort of second guessing give this beer a five out of five.

the color is beautiful. a rich golden amber color. thick white head that leaves some of the best lacing i have ever seen. as i look into my taster i am filled with a sense of excitement, and hell i haven't even smelled it yet. speaking of smell. JEEZ. awesome. hops with subtle hints of citrus and apricots.

first sip is amazing. it forces a huge smile onto my face. im pretty sure i could just walk in on my girlfriend with three other dudes and this beer could still make me happy.

i get subtle hoppy bitterness that fades into an incredible smoothness. my taste buds are hit by the sweetness. god this beer is amazing.

mouthfeel is great. the perfect amount of carbonation. smooth follow through and a great aftertaste. the burp flavor is great. you get a chance to try this i dont care what you have to do. you try it.

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Photo of chrisafari
4.43/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz Bottle from Churchill's in San Marcos. Pours cloudy amber orange with a fluffy white head. Sweet aroma of hops and citrus. Flavor begins with sweet hops and ends with hints of lemon and orange. The citrus flavor and aroma really dominate, but it is very nice and very easy to drink quickly. Refreshing! A very very good double IPA!

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Photo of RedHaze
4.85/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received in trade back in May, but unfortunately I can't remember who I traded with anymore.

Pours a very clear orange tinged brass, with a fluffy with head that settles slowly to a thin cap The lacing is plentiful, leaving nice rings on the glass.

Smell; tons of citric fruits, with oranges, lemon zest, and a hint of grapfruit. Some sweet melons and mangoes, as well as soe other tropical fruits that I can't quite pin down, give this IPA a very tropical feel.

Taste; holy tropical fruits. Mangoes, pineapples, oranges, lemons and peaches are all present throughout. I can almost pick a different fruit after every sip. Some faint caramel malts fill out the middle, then it finally fades to a mild pine resin in the finish. I usually like to jump from one beer to another while drinking, but I think that I could drink this particular one all night long.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice carbonation that never becomes biting, and the drinkability is just fantastic.

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Photo of illidurit
4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured at the brewery during RBSG 08. Golden color, tightly packed white head, good lacing. Caramel malt aroma with accents of tropical citrus and stone fruit. Flavor is cakey malt, orange, grapefruit, and pineapple, with a solid bitterness. Long dry finish, extremely drinkable.

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

A- clear and bubbly straw in color, excellent retent on a fluffy white head

S- citrus, grapefruit, apricot, mango, pine, citrus rind

T- citric rind, grapefruit, hop oils, sweet cookie malt flavors, hoppy after taste

M- medium and coarse with a dry and sticky after

D- what a drinking experience, possibly one of the most complex scents I've ever come across on a beer, great flavors too back up the nose. do not miss this beer

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Photo of Damian
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a 22 FL. OZ/1 PINT. 6 FLUID OUNCES./650ml bottle
Served in a tumbler
Acquired in a trade with thickerfreakness

Poured a slightly hazed, orangey-amber with a tight, creamy, one-finger, bright white head that quickly faded to a thin ring. Short-lived streaks of lacing stuck along the glass. As the beer warmed, the chill haze disappeared to reveal a crystal clear body.

The aroma was quite hoppy, in a very fruity sort of way. Notes of apricot, peach and mango were rather apparent. A touch sweet. As the beer warmed, this sweetness intensified greatly.

The taste was quite hoppy as well, yet very well balanced. Malty rich up front (caramel malts) with hints of brown sugar. Ultra fruity and intensely citrusy in the center, with peach, apricot and candied orange notes coming through strong. Spicy, crisp and a bit sweet. Tropical fruits, such as mango and pineapple, were apparent as well. Slight grassy notes were also noticeable. A pleasant alcohol warming came through on the back end. The semi-bitter, lingering finish was piney, resiny and rather spicy.

The mouthfeel was very creamy and smooth with a fine, moderate carbonation. Frothy and supple on the palate.

Drinkability was terrific. This was a remarkably smooth, tasty and easy drinking beer (especially when considering its alcohol prowess).

This is a really solid brew that drinks almost like a double IPA. Definitely one worth seeking out.

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

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice hazy golden light orange color, very nice carbonation, awesome one-finger plus thick creamy off-white head, which leaves some small islands and sticky lacing behind. The nose is slightly malty, big time hops, some scents of lemon/orange, and piney. The taste is slighlty sweet, nice malt notes, very nice hoppiness, with some lemon/orange tones, and some pinyness. Medium body, a very nice chewyness with a slightly dry/bitter finish. Very drinkable, a truely awesome IPA, highly recommended. Thanks Bill!

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Photo of DrDogbeer
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a tulip. Pours a beautiful clear orange with a huge pillowy white head. Big & delicious aromas of citrus. Tastes like a perfect west coast ipa. Lots of hops up front, citrusy and bitter, but not just a hop bomb. Very balanced. Very drinkable. Right up there with the best ipas I have ever had.

Huge thanks to Srandycarter & Mikesgroove

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Photo of drunkmonk
4.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brilliant clear light amber with orange highlights. Billowing head with clumps of bubbles and massive 3-D stick. Pungent array of hop aroma's. Pinapple, mango, a veritable citric salad. No real malts detected. Starts with pineapple and apricot marmalade flavors some minty hop flavors as well, gives way to some candied lemon and dried fruit sweetness in the middle. The malts at play are light and definatly take the low road. Finishes with a punch of resiny citrus flavors wich coat the tongue. Only a moderate amount of bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is spot on, slick and crisp. The ethanol is nowhere to be found here. I could drink two more bombers after this one, I don't advise it but, I could. I guess it's a good thing I only have one. Fantastic stuff, I will definatly seek this one out again.

Thanks to HopHead84 for the opportunity.

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

Bottle shared by MiguelMandingo. Thanks!
Pours a clear honey amber color with a nice strong citrusy smell of grapefruit and perhaps pine. Tropical fruitiness.
Taste is fruity, crisp, clean, lightly bitter and citrus rind like. Medium bodied with prickly carbonation. Refreshing and very drinkable. Great IPA.

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

Got this particular bottle from mikesgroove, thanks mike for hookin' it up.

Pours a very nice nearly clear pale orange with full hanging head that leaves an attractive display of lacing.

Wow, that's the smell I look for in an IPA (or DIPA for that matter). It's satisfaction just to take a whiff. Big juicy grapefruit, light peach, sticky pine, and a mild cotton candy. Some caramel and resin. Man, that's good.

Holds lightly sweet up front with some bready flavor and an early bitterness that melts into fruity citrus and resiny pine. Stands out from nearly all other IPAs by the dry, slightly nutty, very bitter finish. The bitterness continues to swell deep into the finish, drying out and leaving the mouth watering for more.

Medium bodied in feel, with a mild carbonation. Gets a little oily slick, then astringent at the finish with a dry resin that very nearly becomes unpleasant, quenched by another sip, dries out, then repeat. I love the flavor too much to be detracted by the feel.

Overall a fantastic tasting IPA. I like the hoppy intensity and the uniqueness on the style. Somewhat less drinkable by abv and feel than other IPAs, but this is a tasty treat that I'd seek out to drink again if I have the opportunity.

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Photo of Crosling
3.57/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pure west coast hops in the nose. Authentic and just how an IPA should be. Very vibrant. Color is a very light gold, with ample foam. Flavor, however, is a bit of a letdown. Doesn't have a lot of malt depth. The hops arn't as vibrant as I'd like. Needs more bitterness. Still high quality, but just not as hoppy as I'd like.

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Photo of Viggo
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to biegaman for cracking this one at his annual saison tasting. Grub was also kind enough to open one about a week after.

Pours a lightly hazed golden, very thick white chunky head forms, drops a ton of lace, great retention, keeps a solid layer. Smell is great, very intense, tons of grapefruit, pine, floral, caramel, sugary malt, pineapple, complex hop aromas, just great. Taste is caramel and brown sugar up front, very fruity, grapefruit, pineapple, floral, very hoppy, pineapple is pretty intense, some alcohol near the finish, balanced but significant bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, some warmth, bit of spicy alcohol/hop bitterness kick in the finish, this one doesn't fuck around. Definitely all the hype, kickass IPA! Thanks Jan and Russ.

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

Sunkist orange with banana peel borders. The good-sized crown is the color of pineapple mousse, is at least as creamy and is twice as sticky. Foam bridges leave a gorgeous array of picture-perfect lace when they eventually rupture. The haziness imparted by yeast or hop flecks would have turned an already attractive beer into a gorgeous one. The label fish... not so gorgeous.

Ballast Point has devised a hop bill that leads to an IPA nose that is right up my lupulin lovin' alley. It's klieg light bright and is as explosively tropical fruity as they come. This may be the most mangolicious beer that I've ever smelled... short of one that actually contains mangos. Sweet orange and zesty lemon help out as well. Wow! Wow! Wow!

Sculpin tastes almost as good as it smells. The hops that were used must be some of my favorites or the beer wouldn't be this lip-smackingly delicious. I'll say Simcoe, Amarillo and... Cascade. There's no other way to get this much mango, tangerine and peach. Let's also add pink grapefruit to the orange and lemon of the nose. Talk about a bittersweet fruit salad in a glass! Pardon all the exclamation points, but this is an outstanding IPA!

The characteristics that shoot it into the stratosphere are a relatively skinny (for an IPA) malt backbone and the fact that nothing darker than pale malt is present. A few crumbles of sugar cookie are enough, because my palate wants to focus on the fresh green hop cones. This is quite possibly a 5.0 beer (for taste) immediately after bottling.

Greedy bastard that I am, I wish it was even more ridiculously hoppy. It doesn't destroy the palate, it just roughs it up a little. However, it's hard to argue with the final product. At this point, I'm reduced to nitpicking a beer that has no real faults.

The mouthfeel seemed a fraction too light in the upper half of the bottle. Thankfully, it firms up with warming and is now perfectly calibrated for rapid consumption (if one so wishes). In the end, it's lightly silky and luxurious without being overly sticky. Keeping style in mind, the score is a no-brainer.

Prior to popping the cap, I had doubts about whether Sculpin was the fifth best India pale ale in America. I still don't think it is, but it's in the top fifteen for damn sure. Ballast Point has never knocked my socks off... until now. If you love hops, hope and pray that this limited release will be brewed again.

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

sampled may 24/08 as part of biegaman's annual summer saison tasting, with a mix of BA/RB represented. not a saison, but i'm not complaining! biegaman contributed this one. thanks again jan! i also got one of these as an extra in a recent trade with seaoflament, so thanks too to carlos.

22oz bottle.

pours deep orangey gold with a big fluffy white head. the head drops very slowly and leaves lots of lace behind.

aroma is great. grapefruit and orange. tangerine. hints of pine, but more citrus than anything else. powdery hops. light alcohol. cracker. white bread.

taste is great. just over medium bitterness level. lots of hops. grapefruit, tangerine, orange. light pine. powdery again. cracker. white bread. bit of grain. light alcohol. hint of caramel.

mouthfeel is good. medium body. medium-light carbonation level.

drinkability is great. excellent balance. nice malt and hop depth. a top notch ipa.

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

Received this bottle courtesy of lightindarkness. Thanks, Christian.

Appearance: It pours a nice hazy golden color. Head is foamy white and is about two fingers deep. Retention was good and a nice coat of lace lined the glass.

Smell: It's citrusy sweet and loaded with piney hops. Citrus aromas consist of an excellent blend of grapefruit, pineapple, mango, and orange. The depth of fruity sweetness is very impressive. It's a little grainy. Hops are strong and piney though feature a bit of a floral scent, as well. Malts take a bit of a backseat, but are notable.

Taste: This is one hell of an impressive IPA. Absolutely bursting with flavor. The citrus component is every bit as impressive here. Grapefruit, pineapple, and orange flavors are sweet and incredibly tasty. They're perfectly balanced with piney hop bitterness. These two components are perfectly blended. Malt flavors add a little sweetness, but the hops complement everything so well. Words can't capture how well orchestrated it really is. It is a grainy and has just a slight yeasty taste. Finishes sweet and bitter.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied and extremely well carbonated. It's crisp and refreshing. It's smooth and nicely done for the style. It lacks a really silky feel, but it's very well done. I could drink this all night. Its low abv only bolsters that quality.

This is my first experience with Ballast Point and I'm damn impressed. I wish their distribution reached this far east, but unfortunately that's not the case. I'd buy this by the case if it were available. Sculpin's a truly impressive IPA. Among the finest available. Catch it if you can.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.1/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear apricot-amber color. Nice slightly off-white head with decent retention.

Smell: Nice, though light, aroma of pine and grapefruit, with a bit of florals.

Taste: Rather mild hop bitterness in the taste, along with grapefruit and other fruits like even peach. Generally refreshing, with stronger/bitter grapefruit in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with the tingly carbonation towards the finish. One of the lighter-feeling IPAs I've had.

Drinkability: Quite an even flavor, and alcohol is fine.

A nice beer: a bit unusual for an IPA but still quite enjoyable. It is a bit expensive; however, it is a limited release. Worth trying.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.38 out of 5 with 14,268 ratings