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: 2,461 | Ratings: 13,622
Photo of hawks10
4.07/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into my Duvel tulip...

Pours a fairly clear golden orange color. A nice meringue-like 3 fingers head forms, very soft and white and dissipates leaving some lacing and a cap of haze on the beer...

Wonderful floral and piny hop aroma at first...citrus fruits: grapefruit and faint hints of pineapple come forward after a few more sniffs. Not much malt presence, if any...this one is really about the aromatic hops, and it really works...

After such a great nose, I was a little, and let me stress, a little let down by the taste. Still very good however, just expected a bit more depth and complexity. Piny and dry, somewhat resinous. A bit citric, but not much, more-so just a one sided dry piny hop presence...still pretty tasty...

Felt that the mouthfeel was the only sub-par aspect of this beer. Could have used a little bit more tingle from carbonation on the tongue, a little too slick for my tastes in an IPA. Medium bodied and quite a lingering dry finish...

Pretty solid American IPA. Was a little caught up in the "hype" and extremely high BA rating (one that somewhat puzzles me) but it really didn't diminish this experience. I still very much enjoyed this beer and would definitely drink it again, do I think it is the best IPA's there is? Probably not, but it is pretty damn good nonetheless...

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Photo of ChinHoFive0
4.68/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from my new 1/2 gal growler fill from Ballast Point's Scripps Ranch brewery into my trusty Stone IRS tulip glass.

Full house today after their 2010 Beer Cup award & gold medals

A - Bright gold colored, lots of carbonation

S - Smell of pine, citrus, grapefruit, tropical

T - Grapefruit again, nice hoppy bitterness and a crisp, dry-like finish. Almost effervescent, cornicopia of fruits at play. Slight booziness well hidden. Feelin' good right now!

M - Good medium-light body, slight oily feel on lips and tongue.

A damn fine beer. (Piny light) West Side IPA represents at it's best!

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Photo of BDLbrewster
3.26/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Pours a goldenrod hued yellowish amber color with a small frothy head that leaves a bunch of sticky lacing.

The nose seems somewhat subdued, there are some light pine, orange pith and mild grapefruit aromas that mix well with sweet undercooked caramel.

The taste doesn't scream west coast to me, pine forward with hints of fresh orange pith and lemon. The backbone is on the weak side and the caramel that is there is overshadowed by the fairly strong pine needle flavors. The alcohol has somewhat of a medicinal bite to it and the finish leaves a lingering bitterness that is not undesirable.

The mouthfeel is light-medium and not overly viscous and the carbonation is pretty much on point.

Overall this is a solid IPA in its own right that sort of walks the line between IPA and DIPA. I can see how some people would swoon over this brew but with so many knock out IPAs coming from the west, this one comes off as run of the mill to me.

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Photo of thecarster1
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a- bomber poured into a pint, nearly two fingers of creamy, fluffy head with great retention that fades slowly to a covering of lace, bright honey coloring, crystal clear.

s- superfruity. thats the only 'adjective' that fits. mango, apricot, lemon, grapefruit, ever so slight malt backup. the fruit shines here.

t- wow, apricot, grapefruit pith, lemon, mango, really nice ipa here, great bitterness that lingers.

m- medium body with ample slickness and coating.

d- really nice ipa here, this beer lives up to the hype, it's a really flavorful, complex, interesting ipa, very delicious!

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

Poured a nice deep yellow with orange highlights, good carbonation running from start to finish. The head was creamy white with sticky lacing.

Has a very fresh and green hop smell, lots of pine and and a light bit of grapefruit.

The taste has a light caramel body with a bit of sourdough flavor, but the long lingering hops quickly take over. Balanced fairly nicely though tilts more in the direction of the hops the longer you drink as the bitterness is sort of a slow build on this one.

Mouthfeel is a bit oily and a bit on the thick side.

Very drinkable and very good IPA.

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

22oz bottle into a wine glass. If i could penalize this beer for not having a bottled on date, I would. For what it's worth, I got this bottle at a respectable store (Manchester Wine and Liquors).

Appearance: Vigorous pour yields a one inch fluffy white head that dissipates steadily leaving a ring of lacing. Pours a slightly hazy light amber. Beer leaves streaks of lacing across the glass.

Smell: Huge hops aroma. The main aroma is a giant, dank grapefruit note that smells a lot better than that sounds (i say 'dank' because it has this sort of dark, aggressive, earthy undertone to the grapefruit, but it's really pleasant). Smells sweet, with some various other hoppy notes, mainly citrus. IPAs should smell this big and hoppy, very nice.

Taste: First sip: like drinking a grapefruit with a really nice bready malt backbone. Bitterness is reasonably big at first, but not overwhelming. DIPA strength hops. Taste is a little sweet. The bitterness builds up, and gradually overwhelms the malt, though there does remain a nice toasty note in the finish for most of the bottle. I would like there to be a bit more going on in the flavor, and I'd love it if it stayed as nice and balanced as the first sip, but as is it's a really good straight ahead IPA.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a fair amount of carbonation that isn't at all distracting. Feels juicy, and sometimes borders on watery.

Drinkability: While the 7% ABV is undetectable, the bitterness really builds up, almost to an unpleasant degree. For me, the beer kind of lacks balance and depth, but on the other hand it does what it sets out to do perfectly. If I'm in the mood for a grapefruity hop bomb, I'd gladly have more.

Honestly, I was disappointed in this beer. I expected it to feel better, and to give me a little more balance and adventurous flavor. It's definitely a top notch IPA, but for me, there needs to be more than grapefruit and a little toastiness to justify 22ozs of gradually building bitterness.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Been wanting to try this for a long time, and finally, here we go, popping the top...and you can smell the hops immediately once the cap is off.

The head is huge, a fluffy, rocky thing that holds almost like meringue and leaves styrofoam-like sheets of bone white lace on the glass. Color is golden sunset with a washed out red-rust hue.

Intensely aromatic, recalling all kinds of orange/yellow citrus fruits (esp. apricot, lemon and mango). Also has that breezy, sharp, super-fresh smell that often makes me think of Bounce dryer sheets. Not a ton of depth or complexity, but so what, it delivers what it promises and is a totally entrancing smell if you're a big fan of hops.

Flavor is a massive wallop of citrus flesh and rind, but not too sweet, which means it leans toward the tartness of the rind. There's a grassy bitterness in the finish, and before that just a whole lotta fresh, prickly, bright hops. A little bit salty near the back and finish, but the citrus attack wins out. Yet, all that said, it's a balanced and reasonable flavor, not feeling extreme, but just right. What's the malt doing here? Keeping its mouth shut and just doing its job, that's what.

The mouthfeel totally works for the flavor, a big colorful tickle of carbonation within a lighter, airy body. Nice, very nice.

Sculpin is on the same level as Bell's Two-Hearted, another absolutely awesome IPA. Too bad I don't have the same kind of access to Sculpin as I do Two-Hearted, but no complaints, this was a fantastic experience. So, what's with the fish theme on all these amazing American IPAs!?

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

A honey gold amber with a touch of chill haze and a cream colored cap. Retention is great with a touch of carbonation visible.
Smell is good ol' grapefruit with a huge caramel malt center. Some pine and sweet citrus. A hint of ginger. A big breadiness and lovely tropical fruitiness as well. Taste is grapefruit and caramel. A smooth bitterness and hop oil astringency. This is so close to perfect. Finish is dry and clean with a touch of earth, herbs, and hop oil. Feel is crisp with a light effervescence and medium weight. Refreshing and super drinkable with a thirst quenching personality.

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

Finally got a chance to try Sculpin, I did not think I would get a chance to try this in Rhode Island. Pours a nice golden amber colour with a huge white head. The beer leaves a decent lace on the glass.

The aroma is absolutely awesome, the grapefruit and tropical fruits are overwhelming, but in a good way. The pine and toasted biscuit aroma is a bit subdued to round out the aroma.

The taste is a little different as the grapefruit dominates the tropical fruits on the palate. The grapefruit starts off off on the palate then the you get the hit from the tropical flavor and citrus. In mid-palate you pick up the malt before the hops whack you again with a piney bitterness.

This is truly a great beer and an easy drinkin IPA, to bad it is so tough to come by.

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Photo of doppelmeup
3.57/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It was with great anticipation that I opened this bottle of Sculpin IPA.

Lemon yellowy-gold colored, this poured with just a so-so head. It refreshed fairly well as I swirled the glass, but nothing spectacular.

Aromas were nice: lots of citrus-primarily grapefruit and lemon. Also hints of cut grass, pine, apricot.

I was really let down with the taste. Definitely an IPA, but I didn't care for the hop profile. I'm not sure exactly which hop variety it contained that I don't care for, but my guess is Simcoe. The beer had a bitter, caustic quality that I did not care for.

Mouthfeel was okay, but not spectacular. Slightly dry finish. Not overly carbonated.

Overall, I did not care for this beer and was quite disappointed, especially given it's price. I paid about $10 for the bomber, and wish I had spent that money instead on a 6-pack of Two Hearted Ale.

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Photo of emmasdad
3.94/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a beautiful bright gold color, with a huge white head that quickly disappears. Incredibly intense fresh hoppy nose here, with peaches, apricots, pine, citrus and bubblegum. Tasting this one is a huge letdown after that amazing nose. Mostly hops (pine, fresh mown grass, lemons), with no real malt to balance it out. Not all that bitter, and really not all that complex. A solid, but far from spectacular, IPA.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.63/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours brilliantly clear golden-amber with vigorous carbonation and a thick creamy white head that leaves sheets of sticky lacing.

Aroma is juicy citrus hop. Understated caramel malt.

Taste is grainy biscuit pale and caramel malt. Fresh citrus fruit - mango and apricot from the strong citrus hop. Piney resinous hop starts slow but continues to build to a leafy tobacco quality that tastes incredibly like chewing raw hops. Finishes with an orange rind bitterness and crisp lemon.

Mouthfeel is medium-full with slick and resinous hop that coats the tongue.

I'm surprised that this beer lived up to the hype. The intensity of the hops is amazing. Biscuit malt is there, but after a few sips your tongue is numb from the incredibly 'green' hop bitterness. A hophead delight.

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

From the bomber Sculpin pours a rich orange hue, somewhat hazy. Really nice fluffy head, with good lace and decent retention.

Aroma is big, hoppy and juicy with mango and apricot notes. Wonderful.

Flavor is what I'd imagine sucking on a hop cone would be like. The ridiculously herbal and citrusy hops seem to be numbing my tongue to this beer's outrageous flavor, a reality that is quite unfortunate as the drink progresses. But I still love it. They must dry hop this beer like mad.

Perhaps the best part about Sculpin is the nice creamy mouthfeel. The bready, lager-like malt presence contributes to this smoothness. Yet, it's very crisp at the same time. Top-notch IPA.

Sculpin's a hop bomb in every sense of the word, but not one I'm going to see or purchase very often for several reasons. Too bad, because it's that good.

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

This is a great IPA and a hop heads dream. The beer pours a nice amber color with a good head, some lace, some retention. The nose is very piney, some orange citrus hop aromas, some sweeter malts lurking in there too.

The beer is loaded with citrusy, piney hop. The hop is a melange of coniferous elements. There is some orange burst, some lemony citrus hop, some grapefruit sourish hop, but mostly just the estery and pungent piney hop. The beer is medium bodied, very tasty, and it has a nice smooth mid section that adds complexity and assertiveness so that the whole beer isn't taken up with just the strong hop presence. This is a very nice beer. The hops cleanse the palate and it has almost a medicinal quality to it. It is a beer worth coming back to if you need a strong hop blast. L'Chaim.

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

22oz bottle

Finally available in limited amounts here in NJ, and very fresh. Pours a bright orange brown color with a large, strong, fluffy white head. Tons of aromatics, very in your face hop character in the nose. Perfectly balanced, enough malt to really sink your teeth into while not distrubing the wonderfully grassy, fruity bitterness of the hops that stay center stage throughout. Less than medium bodied, perfect carbonation and at 7% this beer is plain dangerous. Amazing stuff here.

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ozer-- $8.99. This year's-- just released.

Appearance: Bright, clear yellow-gold. Head is white to off white with average retention. Lacing doesnt coat the glass, but leaves wet, sticky globs.

Smell: The citrus hops is just intense. Not the sweet, juicy orangey kind, but the raw bitter grapefruit and crushed pine needles kind. There are hints of sweet fruit, but they dont dominate. Just a hint of malt. This is a hop beast.

Taste: What an absolute tongue raping. I was pretty sure I smelled simcoe, now I'm just about positive. Bitter, bitter grapefruit. Big and piney. Some lemon and orange. A kiss of malt sweetness in the middle, then a long, slightly more subdued bitter finish. The bitterness borders on astringency and unpleasantness, but doesnt quite get there. I love the hops flavor, but could do with less of the lasting bitterness.

Mouthfeel: This is light colored and equally light bodied. Not too light though. Its refreshing in that way, but it does leave a resiny stickiness on the tongue.

Drinkability: This is a hell of a crazy IPA. Huge flavor in this relatively low alcohol beer. The bitterness is a little overpowering, and it is quite unbalanced (by design) but it is still very drinkable, and I wish my bomber wasnt empty.

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Photo of awinkro
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- It has a great Light/bright copper tint to it. The head dissipates rather quickly after drinking. Head has a very thin/soapy appearance.

S- The smell is my favorite feature of this brew. It has a nice pine and grapefruit essence to it.

T- It's a very nice IPA, but offers enough complexity to keep the drinker yearning for more. It has a great hop bite, but tends to linger after drinking. It has the typical IPA flavors of grapefruit and pine flavoring and I detects hints of peach.

M- After the initial sip, there was a nice creamy/malty finish, however the hops still seemed to grab my tongue.

D- I enjoyed this IPA and is a great example of West Coast IPAs. Definitely one of the better ones out there.

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Photo of muttyd
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Love the bottle art. 22 oz. bottle poured into an oversized wineglass.

A - Copper/yellow body with a thick bubbly head that settles into a pencil thick ring/head all around.

S - Wow. Blown away by pine hops, citrus, grapefruit, peaches, and usual bready maltness. Caramel sweetness present as well.

T - Pefectly balanced malt sweetness with a strong (very strong) hop bite. Earthy/pine hops are great. This is one delicious beer.

M - Bubbly, sticky, and bitter clean finish.

D - Only have one bottle, I may have to acquire another one, two, or six. Perfection (when it comes to drinkability).

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Photo of Musition12
4.53/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Purchased from City Beer Store in SF. Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a pale orange-amber with a hefty egg-shell white 2-finger head. Very good retention down to the last drop.

S: Pungent bouquet of pine and grapefruit hops with lemon zest and a lingering maltiness in the background.

T: Whoa. This is a pretty complex IPA. There are the usual suspects: Grapefruit, pine cone, lemon-lime, pineapple, and mango. But there's also some subtler berry and peach notes. All shock the palate with a big burst of fruit juiciness that descend to a sharp (but very short-lived) bitterness that stings the back of your throat and disappears. There's some sweetness here too: white bread and honey provide some stability for the orgy of fruitiness going on here. Fantastic.

M: Incredibly soft and creamy feel considering all the citrus in the taste. This overcomes the intense dryness in the finish and leaves a sticky, resiny hop film on the tongue. I can't imagine an IPA "feeling" any better than this.

D: I'll have another. And another. I wish I could afford to stock up on this.

For a standard West Coast IPA, this is out of sight. The most extraordinary aspect of Sculpin was the outstanding dynamism of its mouthfeel - sensual and seductive with a little "sting". This is a rare example of a West Coast IPA firing on all cylinders, reaching for extreme taste and an intriguing mouthfeel while remaining imminently drinkable. An instant favorite.

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Photo of Gorefiendus
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours like liquid gold. 1.5 fingers of bone white head.

S: Smells of Hops up front, with a slight sweetness hidden in back.

T: Heaven. Hops on the front end, quite a large dose. Sweetness peeking through only to be kicked aside by more hops.

M: Great carbonation. Rolls off the tongue and down the throat so easily.

D: I wish i had more. Very drinkable.

O: Great example of a West Coast IPA. Can't wait to get my hands on more.

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Photo of Popkas
4.32/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a golden yellow with a nice creamy head.

S: Unmistakeable Sculpin. Strong citrus and floral hops and some nice balancing sweetness - almost a floral honey scent.

T: Follows the nose with a nice bitter bite upfront followed by nice mellow sweet malt and then another hit of hops.

M: Medium to light body, nice carb.

D: Just a really nice beer that goes down well.

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

Pours clear gold with an ample head that dissipates into a ring of light foam.

Nose has malt, hops, brown sugar, some nondescript fruit.

Tastes of malt and concentrated, somewhat bitter ruby grapefruit hops. I am detecting strawberries and cream in the long finish which is also a bit peppery.

Mouthfeel is refreshingly crisp with tongue-scrubbing carbonation. This is definitely a good choice for the hot days of summer.

Altogether, very drinkable and at 7% it is sessionable. I could drink several pints of this, whatever the occasion. I especially enjoy the long extended fruity hoppy finish. Makes you pause between sips just to enjoy the extended sensation.

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Photo of Torps
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy golden color with very minute hints of amber. Very generous fluffy white head with a healthy amount of lacing. Looks great, though when I had this on tap I'd say it was a bit more clear and yellow.. befitting a west coast IPA.

Pineapply, citrusy, piney, resinous hops dominate the aroma. Bit of breadiness denote the malt profile. I detect a little medicinal aroma, perhaps from the abv.

Taste is in the typical west coast vein. Hop bomb! Lots of citrus fruitiness, with bitterness and astringency from the hops on the back side. I admit I'm one who doesn't get the hype behind dIPA's of the hop heavy variety. I'd rate Sculpin as very similar to PtE, though Sculpin has a stronger malt profile. Both are excellent dIPA's.

Mouthfeel is good. A bit chewy. Doesn't wreck your palate completely like say a Hopsickle. Carbonation is lively.

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Photo of Gavage
4.68/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: pours a orange color with a 1" head that breaks to a thick surface foam. Some spotty lace develops.

Smell: floral hop bitterness, orange citrus, and a mild fruit sweetness is easy to detect.

Taste: caramel, orange, lemon zest, pink grapefruit, a nice bitterness, and some pear sweetness to round it out. Alcohol is not noticeable at all. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout with some dryness late. Aftertaste is long as the bitterness and citrus ride the tongue.

Drinkability: this beer is refreshing, and hits the spot. Goes down quickly, one could savor a few pints of this in a session.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.59/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Old Grove Ballast Point location on 3/18/10. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a fairly clear shiny copper, with a thin covering of bright-white frothy head. This stays rich and creamy for the most part, leaving some thick foamy lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is just chock full of juicy grapefruit, mango, and pineapple notes (with the emphasis on the grapefruit), floral hops, and spice. Bready caramel malts work with some of the tropical fruits to give the nose a bit of a sweet edge. Just so fresh and hoppy smelling. Mmmm....

The taste is aggressive up front with a firm dose of hops, laying a ton of spice and pine on the roof of the mouth. That succulant blend of tropical fruits and toasted caramel helps drench the mouth with a sticky and juicy blend of sweetness. Just great balance between the two extremes. Spice and resins linger for a good long bit in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a prickly creaminess to it that expands on the palate. This stays very smooth in the mouth overall, laying just the right amount of a sharp prickle on the tongue that really brings the bitterness of the hops out. And did I mention that the ABV is pretty non-existent? Yeah, that's pretty awesome too..

Just a classic American IPA here from Ballast Point, that combine massive but well balanced West Coast hop flavors into a wonderfully smooth and easydrinking package (for the size of it at least!). Just awesome stuff here as usual, that tasted the best that it could here on draft at the source.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,622 ratings.
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