Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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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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Reviews: 2,478 | Ratings: 13,757
Photo of greenmonstah
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle into DFH Snifter

A - Cloudy, light amber. Half a finger of whitish head. Nice lacing. Really not a fan of the color. Only average, because despite the nice lacing, the head isn't much and the color is ugly. Way too light.

S - Tons of citrus hop. The aroma is amazing. Reminds me very strongly of PtE. A handful of pine and a little bit of sweetness, too.

T - Tons of pine! Very little of the citrus, only a hint. Great balance from the malts. Finish has some grainy qualities, but isn't too strong. Finish neither adds nor detracts, it is barely there.

M - Medium body with lots of carbonation. A bit too wet. Finish needs to be drier.

D - Goes down so very easily. I love drinking it and wish I could get my hands on it more often. I will say that is is overrated, but at the same time it's probably the best smelling and tasting (single) IPA that I've had. It almost keeps up with the doubles, but the mouthfeel and appearance are pretty poor. That said, it's damn delicious and I love drinking it. I really can't stop take big quaffs of this amazing beer. I just wish It were a deeper color and had a more appropriate, dry, finish.

Sculpin and Big Eye complement each other brilliantly. Sculpin brings an incredible aroma and flavor, while Big Eye looks attractive and has a great mouthfeel. I'd love to see a double IPA based on a combination of these two recipes. I think it'd hold up to the PTEs and Hopslams of the world.

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Photo of dmsohyea
4.54/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 2/12/11 at Barley and Hops, Temecula, CA

While I have had this beer before several times, I haven't reviewed it. It's certainly one of my favorite beers. Possibly the best single IPA in San Diego.

A: Pours light orange with a significant amount of hazy sediment. In previous samplings, I don't recall such a large amount of haze. Lacing is perfect and sticks to the glass the whole way down.

S: Exceptional. Strong hop bouquet with a grapefruit and oranges. Very few other beers have this much punch in the scent.

T: Strong hop bitterness upfront with grapefruit, pine and orange. On the backside this beer is not bitter and very smooth. Incredible execution.

M: Creamy with moderate carbonation.

D: A strong, hoppy beer that I could easily drink several of. The alcohol is almost undetectable under all of the complex flavor.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this beer pours a golden yellow color that is ever so slightly hazy, with a thin white head that quickly dissapates. the smell is very citrusy, with grapefruit being the main componant. the flavor is similar to the smell with crapefruit being the main flavor foloowed by a strong bitterness. the mouthfeel is light and dry, but its funny because the grapefruit bitterness makes your mouth water so it seems a little less dry. this beer is very drinkable, i ordered it at the same time i ordered my meal and it was gone long before i saw my burger. all in all a very solid very drinkable ipa

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Photo of CHickman
4.66/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Pours gold color with a massive 2 finger foamy off white/beige head that faded very, very slowly, leaving great spotty lacing clinging to the glass and rings as it went down.

Smells of citrus hops, grapefruit, orange peel, lemon zest, floral hops, flowers, light caramel, herbs, coriander, sweet malt, biscuit, hay, grass and light yeast; very fruity and hoppy with soft hints of pine cone, fresh citrus fruit and graham cracker - really nice IPA aroma that lets the malts interact well with the strong hop presence.

Tastes like it smells with citrus hops, piney hops, grapefruit, orange peel, lemon, grapes, floral hops, flowers, light caramel, coriander, sweet malt, biscuit, hay, grass, pepper, light spices and light yeast; really nice hop and spice combo, with great balance, and a real nice malt backbone and crisp citrus flavor. The sweetness is mild and yet has pronounced citrus flavors, really highlighting the grapefruit and citrus hops. Mellow for such a potent IPA, very enjoyable overall, hiding the ABV masterfully and making it extremely easy to drink.

Mouthfeel is creamy, oily slick and smooth, with little to no carbonation, a medium chewy body and a bitter finish that trails off like fresh hop oil was left as residue. The aftertaste resembles grapefruit juice and has a dry bitterness that's sort of chalky in a good way.

This is a highly drinkable beer with no sign of the alcohol, and a crisp refreshing feel that lets the brew flow down with ease. A definite session beer that I enjoyed and will seek out again.

5/29/13: Just had this again from a bottle and it was outstanding.

2/15/14: Had this from a can and it was again very tasty, with fresh piney and citrus hops in the nose and flavor, balanced near perfectly with caramel, malts and graham cracker.

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Photo of chilly460
3.82/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours straw yellow with a rocky white head. Head dissipates quickly leaving a single ring of bubbles.

S - Pine and grassy hops, no malt background to speak of.

T - Very straightforward piney hops, some grass notes. No real malt signature, a one dimensional beer.

M - Thin is all I can recall

D - Fine for the style

I'm going to have to try this one again, I'm reading the reviews and I can't believe it's the same beer.

EDIT: Tried a fresher bottle and was happy to find it was much better. Big grapefruit aroma you can pickup as soon as you pop the top, more prickly resiny hops then anticipated with the nose but good. Light taste and mouthfeel, solid brew.

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Photo of Brad007
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Again, another beer from another brewery that I've never heard of until now.

This IPA pours a golden amber color with a nice head into my glass. What else should one expect for color?

There's a decent grassy, citrusy hop presence in the nose. I think this is a characteristic usually only found in DIPAs.

Grapefruit stands out as one of the flavors, followed by lightly buttered malt. It's a hop-lover's delight.

The taste of grapefruit lingers on the palate with nothing else to compliment it.

Another great IPA that you must sample.

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Photo of Someguy1989
4.53/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz poured into a pint glass.

A: Light yellow color with the slightest copper color.

S: Not a huge nose to it, but whats there is a lot of bitter, piney hops, a bit of citrus and possibly malt flavors

T: Citrus, Mango, very very tropical in the front. In the finish the hops are strong but subdued, which is this beers true stong point. I abhorr hop bombs that destroy the pallet and make the next sip difficult, this one got it exactly right, just enough bitterness for refreshment.

M/D: Medium mouthfeel, a bit creamy at times. Very balanced. I find it hard to believe this is 7%, as I have the strong urge to chug this its so good (which is something I never really do with any beer).

Ladies and Gentlemen I have found my new favorite IPA and maybe new favorite beer. If you can get your hands on this one try it, you will not be disappointed.

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Photo of fastsrt
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle poured in a wine glass

A: off white head, amber, hazy.

S: herbal, resinous hops, take over the smell

T: bubble gum, tropical fruit, unique taste, that I like.

M: finishes more sweet and fruity than bitter and is incredibly smooth.

D: this is the third time i have had this There are not too many ipa's that i buy more than once but this is a good drinking beer.

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Photo of GarrettMD
4.11/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Cloudy yellow hue. Half a finger white head that settles quickly. Not a ton of visible carbonation.

S - Hops, hops, hops, citrus, grapefruit, sweet orange, and a hint of pine. Some slight caramel sweetness might be coming through, though that could just be the vast amount of hops playing tricks on me.

T - Citrus just completely drops off. Pine is pretty much the only hop flavor in there. It's almost a different beer. Malt is well balanced. Sweet caramel malts balance out the bitter middle.

M - A little thinner than I imagined, though based on the aroma, I might have been expecting a double IPA. Finish is slightly bitter and watery. Not too much of a fan of the finish, it doesn't end the beer too well.

D - Good drinkability. Finish doesn't exactly have me needing to go back for more, but the bitterness isn't overpowering. Very easy drinking IPA, and not too high ABV for the style. Would definitely drink again but I feel it's slightly over-rated.

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Photo of mavbrew
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a light golden amber with a little haze in it. The head is a finger thick, white head that slowly dissipates and leaves a nice lace down the side of the glass.

S: The nose is very hoppy for an IPA, smells more like a DIPA should. There is a nice citrus scent that follows the hops, excellent scent.

T: As is expected, the taste is much like the smell. The hops hit you up front with a piney flavor, which is then followed by the citrus. The finish has some malts that compliment the bitters and give this a nice well balanced taste.

M: Medium light in body, bitters throughout with the malts taking over in the finish.

D: This is a highly drinkable beer, it has the characteristics of a DIPA, but drinks like an IPA. Excellent hop characteristics throughout with nice citrus bursts (mango seems to be the dominant flavor) and the malts completing this well balanced and smooth beer.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
4.72/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Now that BP is distributed to Florida, I have the luxury of on-tap Sculpin accessible. Nice.

A - Quite light in hue, basically a lemony yellow that is absolutely clear, it has a moderate white head and deposits a small but consistent amount of lacing.

S - The tangerine-mango-tropical goodness abounds. I am also reminded of NGs Moon Man and FFF Gumballhead in terms of the hop aroma (and flavor.)

T - This beer is not the most bitter or 'hoppy', but it is easily the most enjoyable IPA I can think of.

M - Not a huge amount of body, but that probably contributes to the outstanding drinkability.

D - Outstanding.

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Photo of bump8628
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours up a hazy straw-gold with an inch of pure white head that lays down a fair amount of lace before settling into a thin cap.

Lots of tropical fruit, smooth pine, and some bright tangerine citrus notes. Bitterness is ultra-smooth with just enough bite to let you know it's a West Coast IPA. Malt gets the hell out of the way providing a lean canvass for the hops. I'd be surprised if there is much of anything besides pale malt in this one...just the way I like my IPAs.

Not quite as explosive and juicy as I had hoped, but still an excellent IPA. The six pack disappeared way too fast.

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Photo of ratedz
3.65/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber received in a trade with MrTopher. Thanks Chris!

Pours a hazy golden orange with about an inch and a half of fluffy off-white head. The head was slow to dissipate and left a lot of sticky head on the glass.

The nose is full of citrus and some piney hops. There is a slight malt backbone to help balance the surplus of hops.

Taste is also loaded with citrus...pineapple, grapefruit, and oranges. The malts help to balance out any hop bitterness that may have existed.

Mouth feel is medium bodied with above average carbonation. Fairly drinkable and tasty, but I can't pinpoint any one thing that sets this well ahead of other beers of the style that would make me want to buy this on a regular basis if it was available here.

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Photo of gdrydenc
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with 2 fingers of thick foamy head. Lacing throughout. Color is dark straw, not much other than a dark yellow. Not what I would have expected, a lot less amber than expected.

S - Fruity for sure! Not very bitter smelling, just the fruit mostly. Apricot, orange, hints of grapefruit.

T - Taste is similar to the smell, very fruity. A good malt character in the finish takes away any bitterness that may have been there. There are some beers that overwhelm with bitterness, that is not the case here by any means. As it warms, the fruit character pulls through way more. For a fruity IPA lover, this beer is the ultimate.

M - Very juicy feeling, solid carbonation. It feels creamy on my tongue.

D - Very drinkable, delicious beer.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I would consider this to be one of those benchmark beers, one that other IPAs are measured against.
A bomber poured into a snifter. Coppery orange color, thick white head. Lace, but a little less than expected.
Citrus aroma, could really pick out the orange and tangerine. Some other sweet fruit. Bready malt aroma in the background.
Loads of citrus taste: orange, tangerine, grapefruit. I think the other fruit aroma was apricot. French bread, the nice crusty kind.
A wonderfully complex mouthfeel. Rolling around my mouth, all those different flavors.

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Photo of welldigger888
4.97/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from growler in to an imp. pint glass, Huge 2 finger rocky snow white head that laced all the way down. Slight hazed golden orange hue.
Tropical fruit grapefruit mango and the like.
Like drinking a grapefruit cream soda with mango and light golden biscuit.
Creamy dreamy!
Pour some more, send us more! These folk hit on an outstanding reciepe!

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Photo of jbertsch
4.69/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy straw color. Bright white 2-finger head. Decent lace.

Fresh blast of hops with tons of bright citrus notes: apricot, pineapple, grapefruit, tangerine. There's a biscuity malt backbone that's noticeable.

Explosion of citrus hops with all the same aomra notes coming through on the tongue. It has a nice honey malt note underneath it all. It's full flavor matches that of some of the best DIPAs, but without the heavier body or higher ABV.

Lighter. Almost thin. Below average carbonation.

Very tasty and desireable, but strong flavors may inhibit having more than 2 (or one bomber) - a good problem to have, though.

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Photo of ChrisPro
3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had a few times and finally reviewing.

On tap at Devil's Den.

A - Hazy golden color with great head and lingering lace

S - Big citrus notes with just slight hints of pine and other tropical fruits

T - A bit muted. There's some decent sweetness to balance, but this is definitely an overly bitter IPA

M - Very full-bodied. I like my IPAs to be balanced, but not thick. This had too much body. Great lively carbonation that brought out great aromas as you're drinking.

D - Unfortunately, this slightly disappointed. Still an amazing beer, but it took some effort to put down a couple glasses.

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Photo of LtCracker20
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes. Had on-tap at the Gingerman in Norwalk. Happily surprised and very excited to see this on tap over the summer.
Poured into an over-sized wine glass.

A- Pours a golden amber body. Crystal clear! Nice 2-finger white head with decent retention. Falls to a thin cap with good lace.

S- Piney and citrusy hops meld together up front. Grapefruit and pineapple, along with the pine. A little mango.

T- Just like the smell; Grapefruit, pineapple and pine. The mango shows up here as well. Bitter bite of a finish.

MF- Actually a lighter body than I expected. Very well carbonated, and the flavors linger for quite a while.

D- Especially at only 7%, this is very drinkable. Every hophead should try this. I can't wait to find some more.

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Photo of titosupertramp
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks goes out to sonicwaveofbees for sending this my way.

A: Nice golden color, with about a finger of soapy, white head. Recedes slowly. Tons of lacing.

S: A bit muted, but very pleasant. Wonderful citrus, pineapple...maybe a hint of peach. There's a juicy quality to the smell. I can't pick up any of the malt on this one.

T: Excellent flavor. Citrus from the nose is what I noticed right away, but there's also an herbal, earthy quality to this that I really like toward the end.

M: Light bodied. Finishes slightly bitter and dry.

D: The light nature, inviting smell and great taste make this a delight to drink. No noticable alcohol.

Wonderful example of a West Coast IPA. Really glad I had a chance to try this one.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasting notes from 2/1/11

Thanks a lot to Ultraman9000 for this bottle which he threw in as a EXTRA in a trade!!! Cheers.

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Medium yellow with an orange glow. Translucent. Half a finger of white, bubbly head that quickly disappeared.

S - An abundance of citrus up front. Grapefruit is the dominant scent withe some tangerine and light piney notes. Very subdued malt sweetness in the background that is definitely the secondary scent. A hop bomb!

T - Huge grapefruit bomb! Bitter hops dominate the palate as the nose indicated. Full of grapefruit with some orange peel. The malts are barley noticeable in the background but provide some sweetness to compliment the bitter grapefruit hops, which linger in the finish.

M - Medium body, nice chew. Some good oily texture comes from the hops. Lightly carbonated.

M - Definitely a hop bomb, but that's the way I like it. Very close to being a one dimensional beer but there was just enough malt sweetness to compliment the bitterness.

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Photo of modernartblues
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel Tulip

A: 1" white head is slow to recede, pretty good retention though, orange body with some cloudiness....very appealing

N: pretty big, orange, grapefruit, other citrusy notes, really pretty good, this is pretty excellent for an single IPA

T: good bitterness, nice complex hop profile, a little soapy, this is much better than past experiences with the beer, but still not my all-time favorite IPA, the soapiness is a bit of a deterrent

M: solid and full, this is quite the big mouthfeel for the 7% ABV, compared to my recent Hopslam experience this beer is a little bit overly thick for the style

D: good, but not great....I can see why its highly reviewed by many BAs, but for me its not the tops.

I once spent $25 bucks on a growler of this and was supremely disappointed. This bottle (courtesy of cduckett) is much better than I remember, but still doesn't match up to my favorite IPAs.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to THECPJ for the share. Review from notes 12/3/10.

A: Very clear golden/copper color with a small white head that dissipates to splotches of foam on top. Nice rings of lacing down the sides.

S: A strong pine aroma shows up first, followed up by some nice citrus fruits - grapefruit, apricots, and some peaches. Slight caramel malt aroma too.

T: Nice citrus fruits up front, the grapefruit and apricots return with a little bit of pine, but not as much as the in the aroma. Has a solid malt backbone, mostly caramel malts.

M/D: Extremely smooth and very crisp. Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Easy drinking, a well balanced IPA.

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Living in SD I have had the pleasure of enjoying this brew numerous times in many ways including double dry-hopped on cask but for my BA review I grabbed a few bombers straight from the brewery and into my pint glass at home.

A - Pours a golden orange honey hue with some slight haziness but incredibly clear for the IPA style. I had a little snow white head that dissipated quickly with slight lacing.

S - Smell is abundent with sweet citrus -grapefruit, tangerine and mango aromas.

T - An extreme burst of those bright citrusy grapefruit and mango flavors up front that lingers on all throughout. Very slight residual malt sweetness but alcohol barely detectable. Has you questioning "How is this 7% ABV" Hops continue to dance on the tongue as it finishes with a clean yeast bite that tickles your throat and leaves you wanting another gulp!

M - Very light bodied beer with great carbonation. This brew is deceptively good. As the description states Sculpin has a sting to your palate but tastes great.

D - Extremely high. For a hop forward beer Sculpin makes for very easy drinking. So well balanced. I am constantly hearing that even for folks that do not particularly enjoy hoppy beers they love some Sculpin.

I remember the days when Sculpin use to be a rare treat and always an incredible experience. For hop heads anywhere this is an incredible brew. A top 5 IPA on my list for sure. There is no wonder why it won GABF Gold 2010. I do contend however that with the scale up of production this beer has lost some of its luster. I have even seen 6-packs these days. Maybe because I have had some not so good Sculpin experiences at local establishments as well or that there are so many competetive hoppy beers in SD these days. Or maybe it is just me. None the less still a true masterpiece from the brewers at Ballast Point. Such a delicate and balanced use of mass hops. It is no wonder this brew is often sought after. Get to the point!

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Photo of Srsly
4.49/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had plenty of times, but I'm finally sitting down and really considering it for my first BA review!

A - pours a slightly hazy but beautiful orange with a nice head. Leaves lovely lacing.

S - this is really the standout aspect for me. If this were a cologne, i would put it on in buckets every day. Smells of delicious citrus, grapefruit and tangerine, with nice hints of peach and maybe even mango? or maybe i just noticed that because it says so on the bottle. Pine definitely comes in, but underneath the fruit.

T - follows the nose. Mostly juicy citrus, a hint of piney hops on the finish. really an excellent example of the style, though it does border on the hoppiness of a DIPA (which is a very good thing). I don't really notice the malt backbone, though I wouldn't call it unbalanced,

M - excellent. smooth with plenty of carbonation and a refreshingly bitter finish.

D - damn, I could drink this all day. the 7% ABV doesn't seem too powerful, but it really sneaks up on you with such an easy-drinking beer.

I know it's been said a ton, but Ballast Point really did a fabulous job with this beer. A wonderful hoppy monster that's still a very smooth drinker. The juicy aspect makes this easy to show to the less experienced as an example of a perfectly done IPA. Kudos to them!

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,757 ratings.
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