Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 2,422 | Ratings: 13,369
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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Photo of Coopersbeer
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice lacing. Wish the head didn't so quickly dissipate. Very clear - I like an IPA that's a bit cloudy. Crisp. It's good. I'd definitely buy this again.

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Photo of mattwjones
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally, I have drank the highly praised Sculpin IPA!
I bought a bomber from Beverages 4 Less in Santee. I could not find any mark of freshness on the bottle.

A: honey color with a slightly off-white head that laces very nicely to my glass.

S: sensational celebration of hops - citrus and just plain floral hoppiness.

T: the highpoint. the taste has everything that the smell may have fallen short on - citrus and floral tastes are all over - the bitterness is in full force and lingers on the palate. The amount of malt tasted provided a good balance with the hops. The amount of malt tasted was ever so slightly more than what I perceive as perfection.

M: good carbonation and good viscosity for this style, a slight lack of satisfaction kept me from giving this a perfect 5 in this category.

D: very drinkable beer. not too heavy or syrupy to impede your drinking speed (not implying fast whatsoever)

Overall, my impression of Sculpin IPA was a very good one, although I think that its rating hyped it up a little too much. Having had both Ballast Point's Sculpin and Alpine Beer Co.'s Nelson side by side, I can easily say that Nelson, for me, is far more enjoyable because of its superior aroma (both the scent and the amount of smell that is perceived) and taste.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Ballast Point Sculpin has a thin, white head, a clear, slightly bubbly, orange-gold appearance, and fairly heavy lacing left behind. The aroma is of strong piney hop resin, grapefruit, and generalized citrus. Taste is of all that, with sweet, white bread, and strong, but certainly not harsh bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium, and there is a bit of an unfortunate chalky aspect. The finish is dry and easy drinking.


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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle dated 3/15/14 (well... dated as the 74th day of 2014). Appearance is nearly perfect - honey-golden liquid with a thick off-white head that leaves lots of lace as it recedes. I wish there were a few more bubbles rising through the liquid, but that's a minor quibble.

Aroma is citrus and pineapple, with a well-balanced caramelly, slightly syrupy malt undertone.

The taste is citrus and pineapple up front, then some resiny, earthy, and piney notes come in, followed by the caramelly malts mid-palate, and they're all well-represented in the finish, which has just the right amount of bitterness to make you want to take another sip. There seems to be less of a malt presence on the tongue than on the nose, so it avoids the syrupy note I got in the nose, which is good news in my book.

Mouthfeel is great for the style - moderate thickness, lots of carbonation, pleasantly dry.

Overall, a really great IPA that gives the perfect amount of tongue-shredding hoppy goodness - not too tame, and not too over-the-top. Definitely a member of the pantheon of IPAs that I will buy again and again.

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Photo of jbone78
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Over all good beer. Pours a little hazy, with a finger of head. Hop aroma with a nice malt balance. Tastes the same; hop forward with a nice balance of toasty malt. Finishes with a citrus hop tartness. Balanced. Maybe not as much as their big eye, but balanced.

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Photo of leakyfaucet12
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a-huge white head that will not go away. Golden body that is full of fizzy bubbles.

s- Smells so good, tons of fruity hopps and tons of pine.

t- A little more fruity tasting than most of the IPAs I have had. THe hops are bitter and toung battering.

M- Tons of carbonation and great body to this one. I really enjoy it

D- I could drink alot of this beer thanks to afk sports for this surprise. A very pleasant one at that

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Photo of Drinkerofales
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear gold with a huge light tan head, leaving tons of lacing down the whole glass from the well retained foam.

Smells of citrus and tropical goodness, with some clean malt underneath.

Taste is bitter up front, which mellows in the middle to some malty sweetness. Just as the malt sweetness starts, it changes to mango fruit, and finishes with bitter pith, which lingers for some time.

While having a lighter body, it still has plenty of enjoyable bite, and is very drinkable.

It has been awhile since I had this, and that's a good thing. The last time I had this from the bottle was disappointing, due to the difference in the tapped/bottle versions.


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Photo of DevilsCups
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from bottle into my DFH Chalice.

A - Beautiful orange pour with a nice pillowy head that reduces to a great soapy top. Very clear and inviting. Lacing like a champ.

S - Awesome. West Coast nose for sure. Piney, grapeftuity, very strong hop aroma.

T - Outstanding. Floral hops right up front with a citrusy kick. The back end leaves a bready maltiness on your palette for the aftertaste. Very, very well balanced as it's not too much of a 'hop-bomb'. Very similar hop-notes to FW Union/Double Jack.

M - Carbonation is pretty good. A bit bubbly and could maybe benefit from a more creamy texture. This brew is probably a champ on cask. Leaves a nice wet coating in your mouth.

O - Sing it's praises. Solid every-day IPA. At 7% it's right in between that all-the-time and with-good-friends category. Great beer and would love to have a constant flow of it.

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Photo of kthoag
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Sixer sold from NJWineseller in Cranford.

Pours like liquid gold, thin but intricate lacing all the way down.

Smellls like pine, hops, floral

Taste like grapefruit, more pine, citrus, hops, very little alcohol for 8%ABV

medium-bodied mouthfeel, not ultra effervescent nor super creamy.

a great IPA, fruity and piney and all the things a good, balanced IPA should be. I could drink a few of these in one sitting. Well done, Ballast Point.

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Photo of FLima
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Clean amber color with a thick head with good retention and leaving laces.
Delicious citrus aroma with notes of grapefruit and other tropical fruits and biscuit malt.
Flavor of slightly toasted malts, grapefruits, pine, used tea bags, peaches and pineapple. Very dry and bitter aftertaste.
Medium to full body with medium carbonation with tiny bubbles.
Flavorful, quite hoppy and malty IPA, almost a DIPA. A nice hoppy bite surprise.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: shiny golden/orange body, finger beige head,
very nice lacing

S: grapefruit, lemon zest, pine

T: grapefruit, lemon peel, pine, grain/malt, oily
bitter finish

M: med body, nice oily/sticky mouth

O: YUM! Need to try more Ballast Point brews.
This is quite good and any hophead should
grab a pint.


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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,422 ratings.
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