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: 13,761
Photo of cadaugherty
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Generous extra courtesy of petecz, thanks man.

Served in my Great Divide IPA glass.

Appearance- Almost a copper/gold color with a lovely rich head off of a slightly aggressive pour. Great carbonation running out of the bottom.

Aroma- You guessed it, Citrus. I smell nothing but grapefruit, for me this is a big plus.

Taste- Great hop profile in the taste and wonderful bitter bite at the end. If there was a little more malt backbone this would be a 5 but there we are.

Mouthfeel- not to thick, not to thin. Good carbonation feel.

Drink- For a very hop forward IPA this is a remarkably drinkable beer. Best of all it doesn't leave a film your mouth the way some IPAs tend to.

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Photo of birchstick
4.57/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a hazy dark yellow with a tint of copper

S - HUGE hits of grapefruit & citrus hops with a bit of a caramel base - very sweet and very nice!

T - the nose translates very well to the palate. This is a hop bomb and isn't shy about being one. Loads of grapefruit and citrus hops blast your tongue from the start. Throughout the middle (and subtly through start and finish) are some caramel malts that lay a solid base and complement the sweet citrus hops well. The finish is some grapefruit rind. For the most part pretty one dimensional, but that's what it is supposed to be. Solid stuff!

M - a little thin, but what is there is creamy and smooth

D - one of the better IPAs I have tried (I can't believe this isn't a DIPA). In your face hops from the nose to the finish let you know that this beer isn't messing around. Great IPA - up there with the best of them.

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Photo of nhindian
4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle provided as an extra by thedindaniel. Thanks Daniel! Just received it today and decided to drink it ASAP to get the most freshness out of it.

12oz bottle poured into a large snifter.

I've seen this around a few times at one of my spots in Pittsburgh, but always passed since it had the old label and no date on it. However, this one has the new label and is a 12oz bottle, so I'm assuming it's relatively fresh even though it still has no date on it.

A - Pours a murky, sandy yellow with a nice 2-fingered, foamy white head on it. Retention is pretty low; it only lasts for a couple minutes before disappearing almost entirely. Can't see much carbonation, but the lacing is very pretty.

S - The smell is completed dominated by citrus and grapefruit. I can almost smell a perfectly ripe, juicy grapefruit due to the intense aroma. Reminds me of a tropical getaway, a far-cry from the wet pine tree smell of some other (D)IPAs (Pliny). Hops also add a nice floral component. Bitter as well but in a pleasing way.

T - Taste is straight citrus. A bombardment of pineapple, orange, grapefruit, lemon and other assorted fruits tickle the palate and keep everything nice and light. Surprisingly, there isn't much bitterness at all, just some slightly in the aftertaste. Speaking of the aftertaste, I can't exactly pinpoint it, but there seems to be something just a tad out of balance. Something that feels a bit off on the roof of the mouth.

M - Mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation. Relatively dry given the intense hop profile and leaves a noticeable bitter aftertaste.

D - Drinkability is high. Even given the off-balance in the finish, it's easily drinkable and the alcohol is masked well. The fruits in this beer really shine and help distinguish it from other hop bombs on the market.

I don't know how fresh this beer was, but I'd really like to try both this and Pliny side by side superfresh and see which I prefer better. Hopefully in January when BP dates their bottles. But as of now, I enjoyed Pliny a bit better than this.

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

appearance: golden color with good head retention

smell: nice strong piney aromas

taste: lopsided to the hops side. my style.. but depsite all the wonderful pine flavors it seemed to be lackign in complexity. probably could of used a tad of malt flavor...

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: a good beer to put up against pliny but just not as solid overall. anyways great hop head ipa.

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Photo of DJED69
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Outstanding IPA. This one ranks in the upper echelon with PtE, Hop Stoopid, Racer 5, etc, etc. Friend stopped by unexpectedly with a bomber bottle and I was more than happy to help split it. Pours a bright pale/light orange color with nice head and foever lacing. Smells wonderful---fresh hops, pine, fruit, etc. Taste follows suit with a creamy bitterness and dry finish. Very different than BP's Big Eye IPA which is much more malt dominated. The malt in Sculpin seems very minimal or light. Easily one of the best IPA's I've had the pleasure of drinking. Too bad bomber bottles are so pricey --- $8-10 locally.

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Photo of dedrinker
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Terrific beer in the vein of modern IPAs that use primarily late addition hopping for maximum hop flavor and minimal bitterness. This seems to be the trick for converting people that say they don't like hoppy beers, and even paves the way to eventually liking the beers with more hp bitterness.

Lots of fresh sweet juicy citrus peel and blossom flavors that remain light enough on the pallet to make drinking pleasant and possible. Some residual bitterness accumulates on the finish as you work your way through.

Smooth creamy mouthfeel that was medium-light bodied.

Too bad this is so expensive relative to similar tasting beers ($9.99 per 22 oz. bomber vs. $9.99 for a 72 oz. six pack of Lagunitas Lil' Sumpin' Sumpn").

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

Pours a light amber with lots of fine sediment, two finger foamy white head that fades to a thin cap leaving a few splotches of lace. Smell: a blast of bright pineapple, grapefruit rind, nectarine, light biscuit. Taste: pineapple, soft tropical fruit notes, peach + lemon tea, biscuity base. Light-medium bodied with prickly carbonation. According to their website this is year round now, and FL is a new market so I presume this is fairly fresh. A very good IPA, I see why it is highly regarded... there are a few other beers with *very* similar profiles that are rated far below this one though, so the (prior) limited availability has likely influenced the rating.

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

Thanks to hophead247 for throwing this in. Poured bomber into an IPA specialty glass.

A: Poured out a classic "Heathcliff" orange in color, little cloudy with a nice inch or so off-white head and brilliant lacing to follow.

S: Nose to the cap with an intake of citrus and juicy hoppy goodness. After the pour I got: tangerine, grapefruit, and lemon zest. Very easy on the nose, 5 star.

T: The citrus in this hits you right away. Then you get the pungency of the hops in the back, its truly a one way beer in all regards. 5 star

M: Medium in body, sticky, very nicely carbonated, abv very well hidden given the circumstance.

D: One of the best in the style.

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Photo of kinged8th
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a growler of this from my local shop. Was really impressed with it. Great appearance! Pours a hazy golden color with a nice head that left a decent lace. Mouthfeel of citrus and pine. Excellent hop presence which is what I like. I would like the mouthfeel to be a little more heavy. Overall, believe all the hype behind this beer. Though it is over priced, its well worth it. Too bad its not readily available round here.

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Photo of aubuc1
4.12/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured in to a goblet.

Pours a slightly hazy yellow/orange with a white fizzy head.

Huge grapefruit resiny smell. Can't be beer in this.

Taste is a sharply bitter, biscuity with a very dry finish. This doesn't taste fresh, as the biscuit is more pronounced than I would expect from a great ipa.

Mouthfeel is very goood, and this is a very well crafted beer.

I cannot say it is great, because it tastes like a 6 month old ipa. Smells great, but the hop taste has faded.

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

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy golden color, with a huge foamy white head. Nice retention, stays with the beer the whole way, along with some sticky lace.

Smell: Great floral hoppy smell, some cooling pine, and a splash of juicy citurs as well.

Taste: Starts with a candy sweet bready malt, quickly taken over by the robust hop bill. Floral, pine, and apricot and mango citrus. The pine almost turns into a cool mint flavor. Finishes slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel: The simcoe hops help to provide a cooling sensation on the tongue, with the dry hopping providing a tingling sensation on the tongue. Good, crisp, slightly creamy carbonation with a slightly above medium body. Finishes pretty clean.

Drinkability: This is a great IPA, in pretty much every category. Hopefully these bottles will be regularly available in Chicago soon.

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

very nice... a lot of hype about this one, and it pretty much lives up to it. just a simple, delicious san diego ipa. pours a fairly clear, glowing burnt-gold with a big white head that never goes away and leaves tons of lace as the beer goes. nose is fruit galore mixed with a nice, pale malt backbone that lends mild sweetness and blends and harmonizes just about perfectly. the malt character amplifies the hop profile instead of simply adding tons of sweetness to mellow the harsh flavor of tons of hops like other less-finessed ipas from ballast point's neck of the woods. mango, peach, nectarine, melon, citrus, pine and resin (read: pot) all with a really bright, pure, fresh-fruit-juice-on-the-beach-in-SoCal quality. speaks of the place where it comes from. unmistakeable. that awesome ocean-air-tropical-paradise thing that you get from the best SoCal ipas. taste is well-balanced, and like the nose suggested, the fruity hops (and yeast?) incorporate extremely well with the pale malt, which produces some sweetness and a touch of toastiness. some pineyness comes through in the end as well, and it kind of zips it up rather than bitters it up. medium body that seems to effortlessly carry the weight of all the hoppy goodness. another example of how well-chosen the grain bill is here. long, hoppy finish that is very mild on the bitter and virtually free of any alcohol taste or aftertaste. i've kind of grown out of my ipa phase, but this one was really well made, tasted like san diego in a bottle and definitely left me wanting more. a real treat. sets the bar as far as i'm concerned.

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Photo of BarrelO
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

A: Light orange body. Big two-finger head that leaves lots and lots of lacing.

S: A practical cornucopia. Peaches, mangoes, grapefruits, the works. Also a bit of pine. Incredible.

T: The bitterness is strong but not harsh. I think I detect some lemon notes. Some grassiness. Malt seems a bit biscuity.

M: Medium-bodied, slightly bready, medium carbonation.

D: This is a very good IPA, but I feel like it fell just short of the hype. I'd put Union Jack above it. Still, worth seeking out if you like hops.

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Photo of mulder1010
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle poured into a globe glass.

A-- Poured the typical IPA color, yellow gold. Lots of carbonation bubbles and beautiful head to this. Head stayed at about a solid two finger level. Well compacted, tight head to this. Just a little off white in color. Good, thick lacing on the sides of the glass.

S-- Mango, passionfruit, fresh citrus and a little bit of pine. Great nose and so full of flavors.

T-- Candied grapefruit, turns to fresh grapefruit, turns to pine and Carmel. YUM.

M-- Got how the grapefruit turns to several different flavors. Also get lemon, a bit of grass and then to bitter pine and grapefruit at the end. Long lasting pine and grapefruit flavor. Medium high carbonation and very creamy. The way the flavors change is excellent.

D-- Excellent. great beer. Well hidden ABV and for an IPA can have several of these. Bomber size is easy to put down. 12 oz bottles mean 4 is easy to do. Best IPA I have had due to the drinkability.

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Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.57/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice solid head and plenty of lacing. The color is a pretty standard gold/amber for an IPA but there is an amazing amount of bubbles.

The smell is sweet of grapefruit and citrus not much pine to it.

The taste is bitter as it touches your tounge but soon changes to very smooth and fruity and it goes down your throat.

This beer is talked up a decent amount and I must say it does not disappoint. A little on the pricy side about $8-$9 but it is a great IPA.

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

from a 12 0z bottle it poured a slightly hazed golden yellow color with a fresh white 1 finger head that stayed with good lacing on side of glass really fresh looking..smell was pine forest with citrus and tropical fruits just bursting with hops. ..taste was crisp pine with loads of tropical,pineapple tastes fill the pallet and just resonate full hop flavor ...then grapefruit and and floral hops..malts were there also..mouth feel crisp and fresh well carbonated and full of tropical hops..drink ability is outstanding this bottle was extremely fresh so full of hop flavor really one of the top 5 ipas ive had

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Photo of adam42381
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden orange color with a 1-2 finger foamy white head. Excellent lacing.

Smell: Pine and grapefruit with subtle notes of orange, tangerine, mango and pineapple. Smells amazing. Probably the best IPA aroma I've ever smelled.

Taste: Pink grapefruit up front followed by orange and lemon in the middle then ending with resinous pine at the finish. There is a hint of caramel malt in the background. Aftertaste is a mix of bitter lemon peel, pink grapefruit and fresh orange. The taste doesn't feature much of the sweetness that I expected coming from the aroma.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Goes down very smooth. Hops are very sticky.

Drinkability: High drinkability. After finishing a bomber, I could see coming back for seconds.

Overall: Excellent IPA overall. This is a must try for any hop head. I'll definitely be buying more once we get a distributor down here in Fort Myers.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.12/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice slightly hazy golden color with big pillowy white head. Some lacing, good retention. Smell is big grapefruit, big pine, big hops, basically. I would say it's citrusy with some piney undertones. The flavor follows suit with some big grapefruit flavor, followed by a piney finish. A bit sticky, but not dry on the finish. Clean bready malt underneath. MF is medium, very smooth, good drinkability. Overall, a really well put-together beer, though it kind of reminds me of very fresh Two-Hearted.

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Photo of stylinprofiylin
3.77/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: clear golden brown. white foam with some lacing.

S: hoppy pine aroma with a fruity afterthought

T: very strong initial hops taste that leads into a fruity citrusy feel that overwhelms your palate.

M: medium carbonation, but very dry.

D: kinda drinkable

Girlfriends input: i don't like it. hops tastes like Christmas barf/potpourri but it smells a lot better than it tastes

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Photo of hornitosmonster
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Hazy Golden West Coast IPA
S - Hoppy with and citrus
T - pine, hop, bitter, grapefruit, excellent
M - Fresh Hops
D - Easy to drink, hard to find

Excellent example of the west coast style IPA. I highly recommend this. Buy it when you find it. In fact buy them all because they are hard to find.

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

Finally scored a bomber if this one. Poured into a Sam Adams glass.

Nice looking brew here. More yellow than I would've expected, and pretty clear. I like to see a little more cloudiness in my big IPAs, but nice looking nonetheless. Lacing is nice, and the head leaves perfect rings as you go.

Really potent aroma, and clean hop flavor shoots up the nostrils. This is gonna be good.

Taste is just perfect for the style. Seems to encompass the citrus and floral characteristics, in equal parts. Nice sweetness to it as well. It's pretty dry on the back end, but pleasantly so.

Mouthfeel is just a little crisp and light to be truly great. I hope for real density to a big IPA, but this is pretty light. It still works for this brew, though, because the flavors themselves have incredible depth.

Drinkability is almost off the charts. You could easily go all night with this one. The dryness at the back end is more than tolerable, and increases the overall drinkability.

I'm glad I got a hold of this one, and hopefully some day I'll get a chance to sample from the tap. I'll bet it's superb.

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Photo of caskstrength
4.48/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours golden yellow. No haze. Exactly what's expected. Take a picture for your IPA Fancy magazine.

Smells are citrus first. And second. Pine in third. Maybe some tropical stuff too. Very good and as hoped.

Tastes are right in my wheelhouse. Citrus, pine, yada, yada, yada. Done really well here. Like hopslam without the thicker honey sweetness. This is clearly a top shelf IPA.

Mouthfeel is great. A bit dry, clean. No odd or off flavors, zesty and fresh.

Probably won't be drinking/trading for it much, however, when I can get two 500ml Plinys for less than a bomber of this. Maybe the 6 packs will help the value equation.

I bet it's great on tap.

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Photo of wikk3d
4.75/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked this up at a local store when someone left it behind after the clerk had put it aside. Never picked it up. Thought it was a good find.

Appearance - Pours a nice golden color with a thick white foam head. Doesn't go away too quickly either, the head settles to about a 2 finger thickness. See through.

Aroma - Fruity floral smell with a hoppy overtone. The hops are not too overpowering at all. More sweetness than anything. Has a slight hint of an alcoholic scent.

Taste - Very flavorful, pretty hoppy taste with a very sweet citrus and grapefruit flavor. The hops are not overpowering, it's actually very smooth. Once it goes down then the bitterness really kicks in. It just doesn't detract from the flavor though.Very good beer.

Mouthfeel - Again, this beer is pretty hoppy but it's really not to the point where it takes away from the overall experience of the beer.

Drinkability - I wish there was more, very good IPA. Can definitely finish off a bomber of this by myself.

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Photo of taylorparsons
4.94/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

a - golden liquid
s - hop flowers and citrus
t - nice bitters softened with a sweet top of mind
m - excellent exciting wanting more please more
d - please may I find this in Seattle

I was very surprised by this wondererful beer, which is excellent, and one beer is enough. I drank this brew after a pint of pliney the elder and it stood up on its own.

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Photo of afksports
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I drank this fine brew back when I was starting my quest to drink the top100. This review is from notes, but I almost don't need them because the memory sits so well in my head. I think I still taste it.

The appearance is like many other IPA's, golden to orange, fairly clear, lots of rich head. The smell blows you away with hops and citrus. The taste does the same. And then it sits on your tongue. And sits. You can go eat a sandwich, come back, no more sipping needed, still have the hop profile there. The only maltiness is at the start, with a bit of caramel, and the rest just carries the hops through. Forever.

The carbonation is great and its medium body drinks well. I'm not a huge fan of the hops myself, so although the taste is exceptional for me, the drinkability gets a small notch down. Overall though, this is a pretty ridiculous beer.

I even looked up Sculpin on Wikipedia. Because this beer teaches us things.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,761 ratings.
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