Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA
14,349 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

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Ratings: 14,349 |  Reviews: 2,555
Photo of Cresant
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured this 22 oz. brown bottle into a Tripel Karmeliet glass. No date. Thanks to Joey at South Bay Drugs for this one. The body was beautiful and clear golden-orange. The crisp white head slowly faded to a light film. Tiny velvety bubbles slide down the glass leaving only minimal lace.

Smell was the best attribute, Wow! Pine needles and satsuma oranges. Grapefruit pulp and mangos. Marmalade and pineapples. Not just juicy fruits but also a cannabis-funk aroma. There are so many wonderful west coast, hoppy IPA characteristics in this one, love it.

Taste was not as equally robust as the smell, however it was solid. Juicy oranges and never harsh citrus pith bitterness. Finishes with a grapefruit juice bitterness. Very drinkable.

Mouthfeel was medium to light with adequate carbonation.

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Photo of surfer4life
4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured into a pint glass from a 22oz bomber.

A - Transparent, dark golden with a egg white 2 finger head. Great lacing.

S - Like a bed of fresh pine needles, the floral hops dominate the nose. Grapefruit peels, pears and mango scents with a nice malty backbone make this a killer.

T - This one doesn't smack you in the face with a pine cone as the scent would suggest, but this has unbelievable balance. Fruity up front, pineapple and citrus all day. Middle holds on to some of that fruit but starts to give way to a mellow hop flavor but not so much bitter. As the finish approaches you get some real good hop bitterness.

M - Nice medium body with higher carbonation. Perfect drying finish, leaving me tingling all over.

D - Ever so drinkable. I can't wait to get some of this from tap/cask.

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Photo of raoulduke37
4.22/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber. This one left a nice two finger foamy head that stayed around for quite a while. The brew is light golden with a touch of orange. Absolutely LOVED the smell. I reminded me of a HopSlam (sigh). Lots of pineapple and citrus, with a definite backbone of malt. It smells very promising. Taste was a bit of a letdown - I was expecting HopSlam, and didn't get it. Extremely hoppy and spicy, no sweetness here. Lots of bitterness, citrus, lemon zest. I didn't enjoy the overkill of bitterness on the mouthfeel. Overall a great brew, but not one that's worth all the trouble to get. I would like to try it on tap, or cask.

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

650mL bottle purchased from South Bay Drugs for $8.99 (not including shipping). The beer is crystal clear, color of straw, with a thick wet foam that laces in dry sheets on the glass. The beer smells incredible, citrus fruit and herbal hops with a strong malty scent underneath. The taste is not overly abrasive, more delicious with the hops lending less bitterness and more flavor. Tons of fruit flavor, not just citrus, excellent. I found this too easy to drink, the bottle was gone in no time. Way worthy of the hype.

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

Cask at Hamiltons in SD. This from cask is stunning. The aroma is tops with any beer ever. Cask from the 1st batch might have been life changing. This recent batch doesn't have the corn flavor like I tasted in the previous 2. Smooth and a bit short and watery on the finish. Cask conditioning changed all that. Great texture, nice that it was served cold. Super aroma. Nice complexities and finish that stretched further than any other sculpin. But man that nose was stunning.

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Photo of seaoflament
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this one on cask at Hamilton's Tavern on April 24, 2009.

The beer was poured into a regular pint glass and exhibited a straw yellow color with a soapy 1 ½ inch of foam. Excellent retention and some thick coating on the sides of the glass.

The aroma was full of resin and pungent hops, grass, pineapple, apricots, mango, and orange citrus peel. Behind the hops was a lightly toasted malt and soft cracker malt base. Very appetizing and floral but the aroma did tone down after a few minutes.

Lots of hop flavor upfront, very similar to the aroma but the bitterness was more reserved than the tap or bottled version. Orange peel, grapefruit peel, red apples, pineapple, apricots, and hints of grapes. There's also the dry graham cracker flavor in the finish that I love in this beer. More flowery hops near the end.

Low carbonation and a tad watery but that is somewhat expected from a cask. The drinkability thought is off the charts! I could have easily guzzled down this pint in no time but it took me a few more minutes because I was reviewing it.

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Photo of maximum12
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to goodspeed94, whose box of hoppy goodness I'm going through at freeway speeds. Don't want to let these bad boys sit! Plus, I need some bitterness to wash the taste of the last "beer" I tried out of my mouth. Hops away!

Pours bright & orange, look IPA up in a dictionary (on-line I suppose these days) & you'd see a pic of Sculpin. Smells very good, with the piney, citrusy hops racing down the median.

Very nice! Bright, light, sunny like the gorgeous weather we had today. The hops in this are absolutely wonderful; I'm not sure what varities Ballast Point used, but they put the right ones in in the right quantities at the right times. Again, flowery, big citrus notes, enough to make it taste a bit orangey, which I haven't encountered before.

Drinkability? Damn straight. Any time.

I keep sticking my nose into my beautiful Terrapin snifter (thanks gford217!) & just sipping up the aroma; one of the best-smelling brews I've had, hands down. Excellent beer that lives up to its reputation.

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Photo of ChillMike
4.22/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Always a sucker for a new IPA to try and Ballast Point usually puts out some tasty beers. Let's give this a try

A: Pours a light orange color that's somewhat opaque with a nice bright white head that recedes quickly but does leave some nice lacing around the glass.

S:Very pleasant aroma, hop first but a very unique citrus scent is present, it really smells like mangoes, oranges and just a hint of a pepper and even a bit of what seems like peach or apricot.

T:A nice bitter flavor, the hops aren't as in your face as they are in the aroma but they are definitely present. A very floral tasting beer.

MF: Nice and light feel, great day for this beer as it got up to about 95 degrees, very refreshing beer.

D: Very drinkable beer, the taste and aroma make this a very easy beer. Another good offering from Ballast Point.

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Photo of 0110x011
4.07/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Toronado SD

A - pours a crystal clear straw/gold. Thin white head is nice and tight, with moderate lace.

S - Very fruity. Major citrus and tropical fruit aromas. Huge tangerine. Floral. Some breadyness.

T - Fruity sweetness on the front end, which continues through the middle to the back. The bready, floral aspect comes through in the middle, with a bitter hop bite at the back end. Long, hoppy finish.

M - a bit on the thin side. I like a touch more body in my IPAs. Carbonation is tight. Nice and smooth.

D - hides the abv exceptionally well. Would be quite sessionable if it weren't for the rarity.

A good, solid IPA. Would be one of the best if it weren't so hard to come by. Do yourself a favor. Don't sell your soul to a bottle. Do that for a bottle of Alesmith IPA.

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


Pours a beautiful golden orange with a nice white head that fades, though becomes a lacing machine.

Aroma follows suit from other reviews, incredibly tropical, sweet citrus and an undeniable peach dominate with a very underscored hop scent.

Flavor is very peachy with an extreme balance between malt and hop, very pleasant bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is great. Very tight carbonation rushes through quickly and finishes extremely refreshingly.

This is a fantastic IPA, extremely drinkable and refreshing (90 degrees out as I type). This was an extremely fresh bottle, which certainly played a large part in the awesomeness.

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Photo of mjd83goblue
4.57/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz bomber. Thanks to torchednoodle for the trade!

Pours a hazy golden orange with a frothy head.

Smell is quite unique. Pineapple, grapefruit, and peaches. Very tropical. Can tell its fresh.

The tropical overtones follow into the taste. The peach flavor is an interesting change. Great balance here. Nice bitter finish, but the hops are somewhat muted compared to some of the other brews coming from the West Coast. Enough malt to keep it together.

Drinkability is off the charts.

Just a great all-around IPA, with enough character to separate it from the pack.

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

HUGE thanks to ShrLSU for including this in my Secret Bunny Package. 22 oz bottle poured into my snifter.

A- Body is a nearly transparent bright orange hue that pours with a nice 1-2 finger creamy white head. Head subsides quickly leaving a thick collar and very little lacing in the glass.

S-What comes through first is a perfect balance of sweet caramel malt and a blast of citrus hops. In the background is a slight spicy hop presence as well.

T- Pink grapefruit, orange and citrus upfront with a substantial caramel malt backbone. The finish is all spicy hops as a big spicy hop bitterness blends with spicy hop flavors. At first the bitterness seems almost overbearing and prickly but after a few sips the spiciness really comes through more than the bitterness.

M- Medium to high tingly carbonation and a medium-to light weight, full quite oily, smooth body.

D- This brew is pretty awesome. Brews that emphasize the citrus/spicy hop combo are hard to come by and this one does an excellent job with it. Really happy that I had the opportunity to try this beer! Too bad it is a limited release.

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Photo of tpd975
4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A great big fuck yeah goes out to the local boy fogdog for this one! Thanks Kevin been looking to try this one for awhile.

A: Nice deep dark orange hue with a nice tall creamy off white colored head. Great retention exhibited with spotty lace left all the way down the glass.

S: Nice sweet malt aromas can be picked up but they are quickly overpowered by tons of hops. Nice sweet apricot melded with bitter citrus.

T: The malt profile comes through in the taste as well, but once again they are no match for the west coast hops. Tangelo, and peach up front. Bitter grapefruit rind and a touch of grass in the finish.

M: Medium in body, smooth and very rich for the style.

D: Good for the ABV. Tasty as hell and worthy of its top 100 ranking.

Thanks Kevin, I loved this one!

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

Thanks to dukedebourgogne for this one.

A-Golden tinged copper with a medium white head that reduces to a thin cap and leaves nice lace.

S-Intoxicating hop aroma of peaches and tangerine. A sweet backing of complex malt....nothing outstanding, not caramel, not bready, just a bit of sweetness to balance out the hops...but just a bit.

T-Mmmmm...West Coast hop yumminess! Peaches and citrus...of tangerine and orange.So freakin good it's crazy!

M-Medium-light body, crisp, residual sweetness and nice lasting hop bitterness.

D-Outta this world...with almost 6 months on this bottle it still drinks like a tasty and all about the HOPS!

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Photo of HopHead84
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this today (3-19-2009) at Ballast Point's Old Grove location. According the the description on the sign inside the tasting room, they added 2oz. each of Crystal, Centennial, and Amarillo hops directly to the Sculpin keg.

The beer is a translucent and vibrant orange, with a frothy one inch head. The retention and lacing are both good.

The aroma is like Sculpin, but a little different than I remember it. It's an explosion of citrus (orange pith and pineapple) and bitter grapefruit. It's still the same great Sculpin aroma, but with an extra hoppy punch. The flavor is a hophead's dream. Flavors are of Bitter grapefruit, pineapple, passion fruit, orange pith, and a small crackery malt profile. The finish has some alcohol, and is more bitter and a bit drier than the regular version. The high level of bitterness lingers for a long time.

Light-medium bodied with good carbonation. The mouthfeel is dry, crisp, and sticky. I'm glad I made the quick trip over to Ballast Point today to try this. I really like this but I think I prefer the regular version.

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

I just got back from work from my lunch break excursion from Ballast Point (Scripps Ranch Location). They hooked up this special keg of Sculpin with 2oz each of Crystal, Centennial and Amarillo hops.

Poured a nice orangish dark gold, 1 finger head. Smelled of extreme hops and went down just the same. WOW, I can't tell you how easy this would be to get hammered quickly on. DELICIOUS! Amazing grapefruit flavors...

Its funny when you can easily have no problem ordering two Sculpins when you can choose from a Dorado at the same time...stoked I live in SD!

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

22 oz. bomber purchased from the brewery 6 months ago. Refrigerated entire time.

A: amber/orange/reddish, little head, dissipated quickly. Fair amount of sediment floating, minimal lacing.

S: sweet tropical fruits, mango and peach most recognizable. Nice!

T: good bitterness, hop showcase. Not too much sweetness in the taste. Finishes w/ pleasant amount of bitterness.

M: good carbonation, soft, light body.

D: Goes down easy. I saved this for 6 months. Hop aroma may have faded a little, but not much. Great beer bottled, but even better fresh on tap. Can't wait for the next batch.

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

22 oz. bomber courtesy of seanpachefddfa - thanks a bunch!! Split w/ dkachur, w/ my portion poured into a 22 oz. brandy snifter.

Appearance: Pours a vibrant orange-color, bright and lively, capped by a one-finger, foamy white head of average retention. The carbonation is well-dispersed, of average speed, and of average size - perfect for a middle of the road IPA. The lacing on this one is very nice, too - very sticky, sheet-like, like desert sand patterns all over the sides of the glass, sheet-like in some places. The surface lacing is foamy, almost soapy-looking, though it leaves that bacteria culture-esque sheen in some places as well. Overall, a solid-looking brew.

Aroma: This beer's best aspect. The first wave that hits after agitation - huge tropical fruits. Just huge. Peaches, mangoes, and kiwi are all prominent, interlaced and intermingled with slightly heavier citrus zest notes, lemons and orange zest. Herbal spicy notes - perhaps basil, perhaps thyme - mingle with a few vegetal-esque notes that don't detract too much from the remainder of the brew. A few spicy pine notes round things out. The malt backbone doesn't factor in much in the aroma - this one's all about the hops.

Taste: Moderate bitterness in a dry, crisp malt body. On the downside, the water seems slightly metallic, and the slightly vegetal component of the hop schedule is still present. On the plus side, everything else is pretty much spot on: the dry, slightly caramelized malts, the strongly herbal (definite rosemary, slight basil, mint) and fruity (peach and/or apricot, lemon and orange, definite mango) hop notes, and a moderate, spicy bitterness. Just a pleasantly balanced brew.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, moderately carbonated with carbonation of a moderate size ... just a very nice, even, smooth beer. The effervescence is even and slightly creamy. Really good for the style, really good overall.

Drinkability: A solid, drinkable brew. There's not too much to dislike about this one, excluding the aforementioned slight vegetal aspects and the mineral quality, the latter of which is likely augmented by the dryness of this one. The hop notes - though light - are really fantastic, complex, authentic, and tasty/aromatic. The abv%, at 7.0%, is perfectly reasonable (even though it's near the upper end of the style). This is just a very solid, drinkable beer. Maybe not the best IPA I've ever had (though I'll have to check my ratings to be sure!), though it's definitely in the top 3. Recommended.

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Photo of mully
4.03/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Sean for the trade

Color is hone/apricot with a nice head with large bubbles snow white in color. Extremely clear with little bubbles streaming up.

Citrus and floral aroma, good malt back bone piney hints, true to it's american IPA style

piney hops and caramel malt, well balanced, smooth floral hints as it warms

good mouth feel, hops and malt balance each other on the palate

good drinkability a little bit of a sipper but it goes down easy

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Photo of NCSUdo
4.76/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle

A: Clear copper body under a medium white head. Nice lace and retention.

S: Very nice hop aroma. Rind, grapefruit, a bit of pine with a hint of a malt in the back ground. Very well done.

T: Nice taste all around. Hops are tangy, grapefruit, bit of orange and lemon. Bitterness is medium to high, but never over powering. Nice sweetness from the malt. A certain earthiness to the hop character rounds out a very well done taste profile.

M/D: Medium bodied, very slick/oily, light carbonation, body just slides over the tongue. Drinkability is very good for this one. Incredible beer offering a ton of taste but never overpowering.

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

A two finger light tan head quickly turns rocky as the active bubbles slowly fade. Dots of lace are left behind. Body is a beautiful pure rich amber in color. Nose is so big with luscious mandarin orange, fresh cut flowers, dandelions, and more citrus. Really gets the mouth watering. Hops are fresh, crisp and very juicy with first sip, really highlighting the citrus feel. Mouth watering all over the palate with a very subtle bitter character, not harsh at all. Carbonation is just right and carries a floral mineral feel on the back of the tongue. Mouthfeel has a crisp lingering bitter thickness. A sesionable, drinkable IPA that is uniquely refreshing.

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

A huge thanks to PretzelCity for sending this one my way. One of my favorite beers to date, this was just amazing.

Poured this one into my Duvel tulip. It's a really nice looking bright gold/banana with orange highlights. Very creamy and sticky head which leaves fantasticly thick lacing. The nose on this is super tropical with loads of mango, citrus, and orange. Jeez, this aroma is great! Taste is great too, with lots of mango, orange and peach. There's a bit of bitter lemon and grapefruit, too. Really well integrated, with a bit, but not much malt. The mouthfeel is light to medium, very smooth, and a bit sticky. This one is easy to drink, and I will for sure seek it out again. Damn, this is awesome! Thanks a lot, Mark!

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

decided to have this one on the first 70 degree day of the year. This was part of a birthday gift from my brother seanpachefddfa.

A= golden coper color, transparent nice fluffy white head

S= citrus, piney, hoppy. This was great just perfect!

T= wonderfull small amount of hops up front, very sweet on the back end. For me this is just perfect

M= light carbonation, just right right ammount of hop bite for a single IPA

D= I am easily going to be able to finish this bomber, wish i had more, not to heavy just right.

for an american ipa you cannot go wrong with this! No BS to this beer, just solid.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale orange pour, slightly murky, nice head

Smells nicely of mild citrus, slight booze and grass.

Taste is slightly off from the scent. Very bitter and biting, less citrus than expected.

Mouthfeel is slick.

Bitter but drinkable, enjoyable but not classic. Thanks to milwaukeeclassic for the brew.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.1/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A rare treat courtesy of Mauerhan (thanks Topher). 22oz bottle served in a standard pint. Poured a pale orange-gold with a hazy clarity. A quarter inch bright white cap embedded with tiny ringlets quickly dissipates into a soapy slick with a bubbly band around the edges of the glass. Some jagged slashes of lacing are revealed as the brew recedes. Nose is sweet grapefruit. Taste is bitter piney up front, followed by apricot and sweet grapefruit in the middle and a lingering bitterness at the finish. Mouthfeel fell between light- and medium-bodied (but closer to light), with a consistent background effervescence without being overly prickly. Easy drinking and refreshing. Bitterness was intensified because it was initially served a little too cold; however, the true flavor and complexity is revealed as it warms. Great IPA (think I'm finally starting to figure out what this hops thing is all about).

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.38 out of 5 with 14,349 ratings