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: 13,755
Photo of cdizinno
4.95/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Poured into a tulip glass from a growler purchased at "GREEN's" at Piney Grove in Columbia, SC.

EDIT: 08-27-10 I had to bump up taste from 4.5 to 5.0. This stuff is incredible and powers up throughout with a nice fruity, piney hop taste.

A: Clear golden amber color. Two+ fingers of white head with moderate, fluffy lacing.

S: Grapefruit, piney hops with mild sweet floral aroma. ALL HOPS BABY!

T&M: Crisp, semi-smooth with pine, citrus hops. Mainly grapefruitish with a mild hoppy, pine bitterness. Semi-dry finish with the typical hop-oily rawness on the tongue. Not too heavy, but mild sandpaper hop roughness. Medium bodied.

Excellent IPA! This stuff is close to the smell of Hopslam and excellent.

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Photo of riored4v
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 4/26/10

Poured in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. 1.5 finger, white head. Clear, dark golden body with good lacing in the finish.

Smell had a malty sweetness. Very citrusy and tropical. Some nice resiny hop aroma as well. Mango and apricot really stood out.

Taste had a slight alcohol warmth. Citrusy and tropical appeared in the flavor with a nice piney bitterness in the finish. Medium malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel had a medium body, medium/high carbonation and a slight stickiness in the finish.

Drinkability was good despite some slight alcohol warmth.

Very good beer overall. All flavors were seemingly upfront and didnt leave for much complexity which lead to great flavor.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.63/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Had my first Sculpin in 2009 and the rest is history. Picked this up at The Best Damn Beer Shop in San Diego while on vacation. Had a limit of three per person. Awesome representation of a sweet looking fish on the label. Bomber pour into a pint glass and I am met with a yellow gold hazy brew with a nice big white foamy head. The aroma is amazing. Peaches, pears, grapefruit and lemon zest aroma. Taste is kick ass. Not as much grapefruit as I thought which was nice. Hoppy, bitter on the initial sip and tangy bite on the swallow followed by the drying of the buds until the next sip. At 7% this is extremely dangerous as multiple bombers can be easily achieved in one session. One of my favorite IPA's on the market.

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Photo of livewire78
4.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a pale yellow. Not too impressed by the color but the head was nicy and fluffy, almost couldlike. Minimal lacing.

Smelled of citrus. Typical aromas just more pronounced. Grapefruit and maybe lemon. Is that pine way in the back?

Tastes exceptional. Very clean with the citrus right up front where you'd want it. I'm getting pine way in the back end almost in the swallow. The different hop flavors themselves are really balanced and that's what I'm digging here. Long finish here. Decently crisp. I like it. Alcohol is hidden amongst the bitterness.

Feels pretty good. Nice and slick going down.

One of those beers you wish didn't have alcohol it it so you could have it all night without any hangover. But I had one anyway. Thanks to route66pubs for this one!

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Photo of femALEist
3.55/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on cask at the Firkin Festival 2010. Not sure if it's exactly the same beer as it says it's 8.7% abv.

This poured a cloudy,dark yellow.

It smelled incredibly sweet, with not too much of a hop nose, no pine, no grass, just juicy tropical fruits.

It tasted light but with a heavy bitter grapefruit skin ending. It had decent carbonation.

This was just ok for me, it wasn't anything to write home about.

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Photo of thetomG
3.5/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sipping on this one as I type... form a bomber (obtained from foppa78 at DLD - thanks bro!) into my Dogfish Head signature glass.

Pours a mostly clear golden color with a nice fluffy white head. Aroma is solid but doesn't really blow me away. I'm picking up a bitter citrus almost slightly lemon flavor. Bubbly carbonation rules the palate at first with a more gentle smoothness on the finish.

Overall I have to say I was a bit disappointed by this. No doubt it is a great representation of the style, but I just didn't love it as much as I was hoping I would.

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Photo of Bajasith
4.08/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a fresh bomber into a tall glass and instantly a nice foamy head began to form and retained well as I wrote this review.

Appearance: Nice golden color with a slight haze with plenty of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Can't go wrong with this one. Grapefruit, a red ruby sliced down the center, clean crist aroma.

Taste: Almost the same with slight bitterness in the beginning as the hops give you a kick but smoothe and dry.

Mouthfeel: Tell you one thing, this brew surely quenched my thirst. Not to dry well balanced with some slight sweetness to it and bitter as corbonation tickles the palate. Very nice...

Drinkability: All day... one problen is that of it's limited release. I realy enjoyed this local beer.

PS... I also love to drink this brew with a grilled fillet of fresh cought Sculpin.

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

22 oz. bottle tried 9 Apr 2010.

A large, thick, fluffy off white head fills about half of an Adambrau 0.5 L becker. Well carbonated. Amber colored with just a slight haze. Strong aroma of hops, resin, pine and pineapple, very nice. Lots of juicy sweet malt to start and then develops a lot of resin, grapefruit and pineapple flavors. Well balanced. Ethanol is present in the finish. Lingering resiny aftertaste. Body is a little on the light side.

Very tasty, recommended.

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

I was surprised to see this beer on the BA top 100, as I've found Ballast Point's other offerings to be good but unexceptional. I finally located a bomber of Sculpin at Fat Head's in Pittsburgh last weekend and cracked it open last night.

Believe the hype! This beer has a beautiful nose of fresh hops; notes of citrus, melon, and mango are prominent. It feels pleasantly creamy on the palate and absolutely explodes with flavor. Sculpin strikes an excellent balance between hops and malt and is a damn near perfect IPA. As I resisted the powerful urge to guzzle it, I observed that it got better and better as it warmed up. Next time I get a bottle of Sculpin I won't even bother putting it in the fridge.

Ballast Point must be the Don McLean of brewing: they expend all their creative energy on one brilliant beer, leaving none for the rest.

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Photo of djbreezy
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

appearance - pours a golden orange with some opaque qualities, decent head and lacing

smell - citrus and pine hop scents on the nose

taste - floral and citrus hops, some light malt to balance things out

mouthfeel - medium body, hearty for a single IPA

drinkability - very enjoyable for a single IPA, super flavorful

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

Pours a golden orange, nice pine and citrus on the nose. Taste is more of the same with some hop and alcohol bite balanced by some orange-y citrus flavors. Mouthfeel was prickly with nice carbonation.This was a nice IPA, but I'm not sure why it is ranked so high here. Good balance I'd guess, but Ive had a handful of single IPAs better than this, including Ballast Point Big Eye, not sure why this one gets all the love.

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

Extremely happy to find this on the shelf at Whole Foods Bowery. Like many, I've coveted this for a while.

A: Pours a golden yellow. Very clear. The pour creates a frothy finger and a half head that retains forever and leaves thick, chunky lacing throughout.

S: Giant citrus and floral hops. Grapefruit and mango. A bit of a peachy thing going on, too. A little pine. Not much malt to speak of -- a hop bomb through and through.

T/M: Big citrus rules again. Similar to the nose. The bitterness is powerful, omnipresent and delicious. There's a nice fruity sweetness, too, but this is definitely a hop showcase. The body's medium, with medium but slightly lazy carbonation. A bit slick for the style.

D: A world-class hop bomb to be sure. Though that doesn't make it a bitter bomb. Prime example of a West Coast IPA, as I understand it.

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Photo of dfillius
4.44/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stopped by the brewery while visiting parents in SD and picked this one up, let's see if it's worth the hype.

A: Aggressive pour yields 3/4 fingers of off-white head with good retention. Clear golden color. Pretty, noticeably lighter in color than most other IPAs. Slightly more head would be the only improvement I'd ask for.

S: Tropical fruit, lots of pine, musk, caramel malt. Full and nice.

T: Hop dominant in a piney and slightly sulfurous way. Some very minor estery alcohol and malt are in there too, but harsh hop is at the forefront. Overall, the malt character is clean and allow the hops to shine. A great IPA.

M: Pleasantly harsh and hoppy. Again, the malt character is light and clean, allowing the hops to shine.

D: I like it! I would have another and buy it again. Another winning IPA from San Diego.

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Photo of BigIrishman
4.64/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours clear light orange and full of carbonation. Capped with a nice big white fluffy head.

Smell: Big pines up front that are smoothed out with a great peach/mango fruity burst and it finishes with a resiny mellowing smell.

Taste: Soo crisp and hoppy. The fruits blast off at the start and fill the mouth with a wonderful array of hoppy awesomeness. Those earthy/piney hops are also hanging around on the taste buds for a while. There is no clear bitter bite on this, rather the bitterness weaves it's way through the blanket of hops leaving the mouth dry but full of tingly flavor.

Mouthfeel: The body is rather light but there is a definite stickiness to this beer, the bitterness is also very balanced out by sweet fruity hops throughout the full sip so no tongue cringing.

Drinkability: Ok so I went into this with a don't believe the hype mentality, and I arose with a worthy of praise attitude. This is not a bitter bomb, it's at the extreme end of balanced. If you want a big biting hoppy bitter enamel ripper, look elsewhere, this brew is simply it

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Photo of hardy008
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light amber color with a beautiful white one finger head with nice retention. The smell is out of this world. Grapefruit, orange, pineapple, and mango. This smells very much like the Abrasive Ale I had this afternoon.

The flavor is much like the aroma. The grapefruit flavor is front and center, along with some orange, and lemon. The pineapple and mango flavors are also present, but not as strong as I thought they would be from the aroma. This does not taste as sweet as Abrasive Ale, but is still very good.

Light to medium bodied. Bitter, dry, and nicely carbonated. A very nice beer, which I wish was more readily available. This is a highly drinkable beer.

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Photo of jhtipton
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice! One of my favorites from this brewery. Poured a rich three finger head that slowly receded to one finger head with bumpy foam. Nice aroma, very floral, piney and hoppy. Nice orangish hue but clear. Goes down smooth but since I purchased in a bomber, probably not a session beer. Will definitely try this agin. Nice label, too. Thank you, Whole Foods.

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

purchased under duress.

a: This was a clear golden color with peachy highlights. It poured with a moderately sticky medium sized head.

s: Beautifully hop forward. Bursting with flowery citrus along with a little pine. Prickly and bitter overall, I found a trace of vanilla and honey for balance.

t: One of the most bitter beers I've ever tried, but it is a flavorful bitterness. I did taste a little sweet, fruity vanilla. Overall though, this was all about the dank, skunky citrus.

m: Slick bodied with creamy carbonation, just what I was hoping for.

d: Fabulous IPA that lives up to the hype for sure. I've seen these around several times but never bought one until now. Its really hard to pull the trigger on a freshness critical $10 bomber that doesn't have a bottled on date. Glad I tried it because I absolutely loved it. I won't buy it again though, too expensive and too risky.

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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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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,755 ratings.
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