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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

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,447 | Ratings: 13,529
Photo of Skendawg
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Reviewed While Drinking

A- After being poured a nice, mildy yellow, but mostly white head forms on top of a beautiful caramel body. The color is a combination of caramel, orange and gold. Absolutely Gorgeous.

S- Extremely fruity, a lot of grapefruit. Fantastic aroma. One of my friends, after one whiff, turned to me and said "That's just what beer is supposed to smell like". I agree.

T- A great IPA taste. Thick and rich without losing the fruitiness experienced in the aroma.

M- Very little carbonation, and extremely smooth. An easy ride over the taste buds and down the throat.

O- Overall a great beer. I may have to incorporate this into my top 5 beers. Great IPA.

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Photo of SlothB77
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce bottle into mug

A: Poured golden yellow with one finger of cumulus cloud white bubbles.

S: Lots of florals, grapefruit, lemon and cut grass.

T: Starts off a very smooth citrus passion fruit mixed with white bread, orange, grapefruit, switches to a brief, slightly grassy taste, ends with burnt tobacco bite.

M: Light-bodied, medium acidity, medium carbonation, a smoothness. Not too hoppy or bitter.

O: Maybe i have become desensitized, but it doesn't taste as hoppy as I would expect an IPA to taste. Still a flavor that varies over the course of the taste very distinctly..

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

Smell is like i said before, nicely fresh, hoppy, fruity, and floral...but this time a good. Flavors have a kick of pine and lemon around the edges, with mango and peach in the middle...I don’t find it that one-dimensional this time...in fact, I think the hop combination in this one is rather awesome. I reckon this bottle was a lot fresher than the first one I had...not sure of release dates, though I know this bottle just showed up, so its gotta be fresh..

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

This beer was a referral from Hooliganlife. I would never had went after it without his recommendation.
Purchased from BevMo HB. Some guy asked to hold these but never picked them up...I got lucky, and he got skunked.

Poured into a pint glass. The color was a deep golden; but a transluscent color. Nice head with good lacing.

The smell was a citricy-hop. Strong. The taste was equal to the smell. It was not overly hopped, so it seemed to have a balanced flavor.

Very easy to drink. I don't really like IPA's, but this seemed to be a great example. Although not something I would go after.

The second bottle heading to you Hooliganlife.

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

Enjoy by 09/27/12 (day before my birthday). Emptying this one in a Church Brew Works pint glass. Prices out here are always a quite exceeding for this brew. Rather than fronting $19.99 four a sixer or nearly $75 for a case, I forked over $5.75 to take this one home.

Light orange liquid and great clarity in my glass with the cascade effect from the bubbles. Almost two fingers of head from the pour, and it's mostly still there (minutes later). Draping lacing.

Picked up aromatics as soon as this bitch got cracked. Pine, citrus, and ocean water in the hop nose. Got some dark wheaty-cracker type aroma peeking through among the fresh hop goodness. Grapefruit meets orange meets big ol' spruce tree.

Tropical fruits start creepin' in on the taste. Papaya, orange, grapefruit, pine tree, and a flourish of the floral. Malts are checking themselves, as they know where they should be. Supporting actors in the world of a fruity and lively hop profile that isn't snooty and bitter. Touch of mango and kumquat.

Touch of booze in the feel, but this is a bristly beer with some slappy wetness. Not creamy as I'd like it, but milky as I'll take it.

Exceptional IPA. Primo West Coast example with all the bells and whistles. No hype necessary; just a beer I could drink every night and every day.

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Photo of silverblaze540
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - An almost clear light amber color. Only a very slight murkiness. Thick foamy head with decent retention. Minimal lacing with lots of bubbles.

S - Sweet citrus fruits, lemon, orange peel, hints of hops.

T - Lemon peel front, sweet middle, then bitter aftertaste. Bitterness is fairly strong.

M - Medium body. Alcohol burn is not very strong.

O - Very nice smell; sweet and fruity. Taste is a bit bitter, but not unpleasantly so.

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Photo of hu5om
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks again to gon8888! delic. man.
split with newk340
a-orange bronze thin soapy head decent lacing

s-orange citrus, hoppy freshness, vaguely tropical. pineapple, mango.

t-hoppy orange citrus, with a spicy tropical end: mango and pineapple again. a unique ipa. very distinct. newk340 said fish and now i think i taste it! sad, i think it's just a bit oily. piney and lemony, pinesol in a good way somehow.

m-medium resine. not a palate killer by any means. bitter but a pretty decent finish. not pte delicate, but what can you do? a bit oily in texture.

d-excellent, overall i'm very happy. a sipper, but still quite easy drinking. i would have no reason to stop at one if it were easier to get in WI!

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

A nice big bottle of a highly ranked IPA. This should be fun.

Pours a dark gold, maybe orange. Head is a little pale white and not huge but good lacing.

Nose is citrus and clean

Taste is lots of grapefruit with some sweetness. Good citrus oil aftertaste; I mean great.

Carbonation is pretty darn good. Not dry either.

Overall, a fine example of this style.

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Photo of Momar42
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into Unibroue tulip. One month old.

A - Clear golden straw colored. Big 2+ fingers of white foamy creamy head. Good retention beautiful appearance.

S - Huge citrus aromas. From bottle to glass to nose, citrus abounds. Great nose on this brew.

T - Citrus hits right up front. Great bit in the hops. Hits all over the palate in an explosion of citrus. Finishes remarkably clean and smooth.

M - Light creaminess. Terrific mouthfeel. Really hate this category but I try and stick with the ASTMO.

O - Wow, had this on tap in DC but after having it in a fresh bottle in Dallas, my impression has changed. Truly great IPA. Hits good with the citrus hops..goes down smooth and finishes clean. One month old and still great. Love to have this one fresh in San Diego. If you find it fresh get it. You wont be disappointed.

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Photo of capra12
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed at the Gotham Cask Festival at Rattle N Hum enjoyed with a new friend Sam aka Cootercaster on 9/11/09. Thanks to Sam for letting me know about a highly rated IPA and also Patrick from RNH for hosting.

Appareance: Slightly cloudy and wheat/amber in color with little head.

Smell: There most prominent nose in this was fresh pine and grapefruit.

Taste: Opens earthy and piney which carries over to the end with an almost mellowness and subtle malt backbone. Right in the middle to the end there is a hint of citrus leaving a mildy hoppy aftertaste but very enjoyable

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with minimal carbonation and slightly dry.

Drinkability: With out a doubt I would have this again and is definitely worth a try.

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

Appearance- a gold colored brew with a light white head that seems like it could just hang out on top of my beer all night.

Aroma- like sticking your nose in a barrel of hops, a little grapefruit and pine present.

Taste- hop bitterness up front, there is a hint of malt sweetness, but the hops win out in the end. I actually would have preferred just a little more malt backbone to this beer. But only a little more, and honestly it's still fantastic.

Mouthfeel: nice crisp, light mouthfeel. Moderately carbonated.

Overall: great beer. I could drink this one all night.

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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 output01x
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Dan3279 for yet another awesome trade.

Poured from a 22 oz. capped bottle (no date) into a pint glass.

A strong pour yields a slow-rising 1/2-finger off-white head that quickly disappears to a tiny island and thin ring of foam. The body is a slightly hazy orange amber with traces of yellow amber at the edges. A decent amount of small, slow-rising carbonation bubbles are also visible. Almost no lacing can be seen at any point during consumption.

The nose is packed full of tropical citrus aromas. Notes of apricot, mango, mandarin orange, and pineapple are all apparent. A bit of grass and pine are also noticeable. As is typical with many other West Coast IPAs, this beer's nose is very unbalanced with very little malt aromas coming through.

Piny and grassy at first, each sip quickly transitions to strong citrus hops flavors of nectarines, grapefruit, apricot, mango, and cantaloupe. As the beer is swallowed, a pine flavor quickly comes forward along with more citrus hops flavors that quickly dominate the pine. As these flavors slowly fade out, the nectarine flavor sticks around and is soon met by a slight piny bitterness that lingers between sips as an aftertaste.

Light to medium bodied with excellent carbonation, this beer is like a non-syrupy fruit nectar. The body is truly thirst-quenching. It glides over the tongue easily while being just heavy enough to properly carry and deliver a tremendous amount of flavor. The carbonation is only slightly fizzy, making it difficult to notice. This is certainly a good thing as the lack of fizz causes no distractions. The carbonation is, however, just strong enough to properly match the body and create great drinkability.

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Photo of icetrauma
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is transparent orange with a 2 finger head that coated the glass as it was drank.

Smell - Citrusy and crisp with lots of grapefruit.

Taste - Above avg West Coast IPA. Little to no maltiness with citrus hops ranging from mango, lemon and grapefruit. Nice sharp grapefruit finish that lingers a bit after the last swallow.

Mouthfeel - Slightly above avg. Not thin or heavy just right.

Overall - This beer will be a staple in my IPA drinking. Easy to drink and no pine at all to me. Good job BP.

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Photo of papat444
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed one of the last bombers at Winooski Bevy.

Poured from a 22oz. bottle, enjoy by 02/26/13.

Appearance: A light gold body appears and even with a vigorous pour, nets me barely a 2 finger head. Retention is real nice on the sides.

Smell: Heady for sure. Peaches come strong as does sticky resin and a good dose of grapefruit.

Taste: Peaches first but then overwhelmed by a very assertive grapefruit flavor. Some orange tries to take the edge off as well as a sweet touch in the finale.

Mouthfeel: Bitter from the get-go, malt tries to keep things in check but the long lasting bitterness is stronger.

Overall: An awesome IPA that lives up to its reputation.

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Photo of hopdog
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle acquired in trade with WeeHeavySD (thanks!).

Poured a medium to deeper and clear golden color with an larger sized off white head. Aromas of pine, citrus (grapefruits and lemons), and grassy. Nice and hoppy aroma. Tastes of citrus, light caramel, pine, some melons, and a little fruity. Nicely bitter with a light sweetness.

Notes from 3/18/08

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Photo of DeFaz
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a very light orange color, almost straw color. Few carbonation bubbles can be seen. The head is fairly short.

Smell: Very pleasant aromas in the smell, although the smell itself isn't as strong as I would like.

Taste: Citrus, grapefruit, and some pine from the hops. A touch of malt to balance, but the hops work here the most. Fairly complex with all of the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Excellent. The thickness of the beer is spot on, and the carbonation is very good, although maybe a touch much. The beer finishes nicely despite the dryness and bitterness at the beginning of the taste.

Overall: This beer goes down incredible easy, has a nice flavor and nose profile (although neither are quite as pronounced as I would like) and an excellent mouthfeel. In my opinion the beer doesn't live all the way up to its hype, but it's still something I'd seek out again.

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Photo of Bulabeers
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

This was bottled on April 26th and came out of a mix 12 pack. I've had it before both fresher and older.
L: Orangeish golden beer with a finger and a half of white head and tons of lacing
S: Seems like the aroma is the most effected attribute of the beer at nearly three months old. Can pick up some high alpha acid bitter hop. Kind of resiny. A slight hint of muddled pine and citrus.
T: This is still a very good tasting IPA. Pine and citrus are coming through maybe grapefruit and lemons. Caramel and a lingering hop bitterness.
F: Phenols and medium carbonation. No alcohol present.
O: Great IPA. Wish it was two weeks old. Mix pack was 22 $ on sale and nearly three months old. Would hesitate to make this purchase again however this particular beer being reviewed price and packaging aside is a delicious beer.

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Photo of blackcompg
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours 2 fingers of golden eggshell foam, pours a very slightly cloudy light golden yellow orange. Lots of small bubbles in the body, good looking ipa. I keep a solid finger of foam to the end of the glass, with a ring of foam after each quaff - perfect.

Smell - Citrus, semi-sweet grapefruit, tropical fruits, light carmel - smells delicious.

Taste - Much like the nose, semi sweet citrus, alot of light tropical flavors, these quickly give way to semi-sweet grapefruit, finishing with citrus pith and a touch of pine. After a few sips I also pick up some nice floral flavors towards the end of each quaff. There is a slight sweet backbone throughout. Really complex, and perfectly balanced.

Mouthfeel - This is a solid medium mouthfeel, not mouth-coating, the medium feel comes from an abundance of complex flavors that fill the mouth. Carb is lower side of medium, not quite cleansing the palate, but very smooth, with a few crisp edges at the sides of the tongue. Extremely drinkable, refreshing and satisfying.

Overall - Definitely one of the top ipa's I've ever tried - very forward on citrus, tropical, and slight floral with just enough sweetness to balance. If you like these hop flavors like I do, then you will love this ipa. A must try.

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Photo of JBogan
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler filled at the brewery (a HUGE thanks to Euel for sharing this). Beer doesn't get much fresher than that.

A clear orange/golden color liquid with a tight white head which stuck around for a long time and left good lacing. A nice but fairly typical looking IPA.

Now for a sniff...and we have a beauty. The aromas coming from the glass make you want to dab some behind your ears and wear out to a fancy restaurant. It's that good. Plenty of citrus fruits and pine, along with some other fruitiness (maybe strawberry and mango) make this an alluring smelling gem.

The tastebuds are greeted with the expected large dose of hop bitterness, but balanced nicely by a little bit of sweet malts. A bit of pepper as well. Only the slightest hint of alcohol present.

Mouthfeel was slick with a medium/thick body. Very smooth and slippery, along with just the right amount of carbonation to give it a lively feel on the tongue.

Anyone who enjoys IPAs owe this one a try. Certainly right up there among the better ones in this style.

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Photo of paulozanello
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured it from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Sculpin pours a very nice orange amber color with a cloudy white head that has good retention and lacing. The beer is not cristal clear but almost.
Aroma is amazing: lots and lots of citrus, mainly grapefruit, tangerine, peach, apricots and mangos. Also some piney hop presence. Perfect hop combination!
Taste starts out with tons of grapefruit and some mild bitterness upfront. Then a lot of tropical fruit: peach, mango, pineapple. Ends with some grassy and piney notes. The mild bitterness persist throughout the sip and goes along very well with the citric and fruity hops.
Body is medium and carbonation is high.
Mouthfeel is very smooth and balanced. Citrus and light bitterness are present from start to finish.
Overall a very nice IPA, huge grapefruit bomb. I can't say it is the best one out there but after a certain level they are all worthy.

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Photo of Abrengle
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great Double/Imperial with a bountiful of hops and nice citrus notes that leave a deceivingly low alcohol presence on the finish. Sporadically hard to find with unreliable distribution. It seems to ebb and flow through inventory at local stores in the Phoenix market. One of my favorite limited/rotating release finds from Ballast Point in 2010!

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Photo of stinkydaddy
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I wish I had written out a full scoresheet when I had this beer. With a group of other folks after a meeting and did not have anything to write on with me. Not even a phone. This is what I remember from two nights ago.

o - Freaking tasty beer! Glad I had it on IPA Day.

Sucks getting old.

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Photo of Trombone69
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A Solid offering. I am not a huge IPA guy, I'm a little burned out on the style. But this is pretty darn good. I have a few more in fridge. Perhaps I'll update this review after another brew.

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Photo of putonyourwalkingshoes
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a goblet. Fairly fresh bottle as the brewery which is in close proximity

A - Bright amber-orange pour. Good amount of head. Not overdone with the carbonation. Pretty medium body for an IPA. Lot of lacing off the sides, a real nice crystalline retention.

S - A good clean and crisp IPA scent. Floral presence with a good amount of citrus bite. Nothing mind-blowing but clean.

T - Follows through with the smell. Good amount of citrus especially grapefruit followed by a solid bite from the hops. The hops carry through nicely leaving a bitter after taste. Still nice and for that amount of bitterness in the finish, very drinkable. It's borderline sessionable but can be dangerous considering the 7% ABV.

M - A great mouthfeel for a crisp IPA. That nice grapefruit citrus doesn't detract from the mouthfeel at all. Frothy and clean start to finish.

O - I drink this beer a lot. It being a local beer, still kind of pricey averaging a 6 pack at $12.99-$13.99 (on sale). I've had it old and fresh this being a fresh review. Like any other IPA an older bottle will lose a lot. That being said, this is a winner and one that holds a candle up to some of the more world class IPAs that cannot be found in 6 packs. For that reason, I can justify the price.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.38 out of 5 based on 13,529 ratings.
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