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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

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Reviews: 2,447 | Ratings: 13,529
Photo of robwestcott
4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

big thanks to nerdrocker101 and the Traditional GIF for this one.

poured very cold from the bottle a translucent clover honey orange to a sun king shaped pint glass with a nice big off white head leaving a fair amount of retention.

big hops aroma - floral, grapefruit, and a hint of piney hops to boot.

and as advertised, it's all about the hops. again, primarily floral and grapefruit hops. bitter upon the first sip, but not to the point of whacking you upside the head. it's an enjoyable IPA - not groundbreaking, but definitely enjoyable.

a bit thin, very smooth, medium carbonation, bitter to the tongue and even more after.

drinkable enough i'd guess.

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Photo of ToasterChef
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from my tasting notes of a decent sized sample I consumed at an epic tasting event held with the members of the SMBDC.

The beer is straw colored and translucent, with a clear area near the bottom of my glass. The head is soapy white foam that leaves a lot of film and foam as it recedes. It has a great warm hop aroma, full of citrus and spruce. The taste has some sweet malts and lots of hops. I can pick out a distinct grapefruit citrus flavor. The bitterness is tingly and impressive. It has a medium body and not too much coating. I find this to be impressive for a DIPA. Equally impressive is the drinkability. I could easily finish this entire 22oz bottle myself.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A killer side by side with regular sculpin at spinnerstown hotel. Double dry hopped with palisades and cascade and cask conditioned. Baller!

A- comes to me with a small cap of off white head that settles in a bit to a thin ring and some sweet sticky lace with some slowly cascading drips. Slightly hazy sunset yellow orange with the nicest of glows.

S- well its sculpin for sure, huge amounts of tropical and citrus fruits. A light, powered sugar and honey sweetness.

T- opens up with fruity hops bringing peaches, mangos, tangerines, oranges, maybe some pineapple. Its a cornucopia of fruits that will rival any ipa. A bit of wet vegetation in there as well. Malts are wonderfully used to keep things balanced but still never out shine the hops. Honeysuckle and powdered sugar. Juicy hoppy linger.

M- just about medium in body and as its on cask just the lightest hint of carb.

D- I would drink a few of these any day. And today I will. Yea!

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Photo of RTrain12
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bomber poured into my new DFH hand blown glass. Thanks to djmichaelk for this one. No bottle date, but this is the old lable.

A: Pours a nice bright cloudy orange with a off white head measuring in about 3/4 of a inch. Some noticable carbonation. Head faded quickley leaving behind some lacing.

S: Lemony, and citrus followed by some fresh hops.

T: Mmm... Good! One tatsey IPA! Citrus and hoppy in the beginig, then bitter at the end.

M: Little carbonation up front as it enters the mouth. This one slides over the palet so smoothly! Leaves the mouth just alittle bitter at the end.

D: Very high drink on this one. This bomber will be gone in no time! I'll be trading for this again in the future.

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Photo of ballz50401
4.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. No freshness date but is believed to be fresh because of the new style label that was just released.

Appearance: Pours a deep pale golden copper with a thick, dense head. The head never really disappears and leaves great lacing.

Smell: Aromas of mango, orange, and pine resin fill the bowl of my glass before a touch of sweet caramel/toffee make their presence.

Taste/Mouthfeel: What a great hop flavor! Grapefruit, lemon, mango, and pine resin round up the hop profile. Not much of a malt backbone, but this one is all about highlighting the great hops used. Some light caramel sweetness for some balance. Mouthfeel is meduim bodied with a firm bitterness.

Drinkability: This brew highlights the hops very well. Great hop flavor/aroma that is refreshing and enjoyable.

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Photo of Mooch273
4.82/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice head retention, glowing orange with a bright clarity allowing light to penetrate like a beacon of brilliance beneath feathery lace.

A: Pungent citrusy aroma: grapefruit, orange aromatics dominate with a slight peppery grass undertone.

T: Citrus blast of hops upfront and a nice sweet bitterness in the aftertaste. Booziness is nearly undetectable.

M: Smooth with a refreshing amount of carbonation; slight dryness on the palate typical of the style.

D: Appropriate carbonation, balanced flavor and bitterness, and inviting aromatics make this an excellent multi-pint IPA.

Overall: This deliciously hoppy nectar gets my vote for the best IPA ever.

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Photo of GPHarris
4.7/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - poured a one and a half fingers thick eggshell colored head into a snifter that settles into a thick ring with good sheeting and tremendous lace. the body was a bright amber color.
s - very strong aroma of grapefruit and pine with a hint of some sweet citrus fruits.
t - strong piney bitterness with a hint of spice and some lemon and orange zest. this is all hops with not a lot of balance but it is as good as it gets for an ipa.
m - thin to medium with carbonation that dances on the tongue.
d - excellent beer and a top-notch ipa.

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Photo of johnnieoz
4.89/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

No longer a limited release as witnessed by the redesigned bottle. But still the King of IPAs...

A: Hazy gold shade with ample off-white froth sitting in the red wine goblet, beckoning with those aromas...

S: Name it, it's in there. Mango and grapefruit in abundance joined by all but the most coniferous, piney scents.

T: Bountiful sweet, tangy tropical fruit on the tip of the tongue giving way to mouth-puckering citrusy hops completely coating the palate and the gums. The malt backbone lurks in the equilibrium. Almost negates the need for DIPAs.

M: If I may quibble here...the carbonation lends to a little harshness. Could be my taste buds on the day, but I don't recall this w/ previous Sculpins.

D: Eminently and infinitely refreshing, delicious and thus drinkable. 'Nuff said.

Is there a better 7% abv IPA? No.
At 6%, I love the distinct DFH 60 Minute; and above 7%, it's all about PtE, Burton Baton, Exponential Hoppiness and PtY for me.

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Photo of nataku00
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a fluted Allagash chalice. Beer is a clear golden orange. The initial four fingers of snow white fluffy head was very beautiful, lacing lightly on the glass as you take sips and the head dissipated. A beautiful beer, that you should see in daylight to do it justice.

The nose is predominantly orange peel, with some grapefruit and lemon peel as well. Some pineapple as well, which is different and really adds to the aroma. One of the best smelling IPA's that I've ever had.

The taste follows the nose, with the bitterness sharp initially, but is quickly predominantly citrus that washes over your tongue. The lovely aroma is enhanced as the beer warms in your mouth and is really pleasant. The bitterness does not overpower your palate, and makes this IPA perfect for accompanying food (I had half with some fajitas and salsa, the second half of the bomber after the meal).

Light bodied beer with a small amount of carbonation sufficient to tingle your tongue. Sculpin is the most drinkable IPA I've ever had, delicious flavor profile without the overpowering bitter aftertaste common to this style

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Photo of dubc19382
4.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have had this on tap and in the bottle. Never a bad day with this beer to look forward to at the end of the day. Nice aroma, big IPA bite, and really cant say anything bad about it.

If you like IPAs this should be on you short list, and make sure someone else is driving you home.

Another great west coast beer!

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Photo of mjrod2142
4.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I found the last 22oz. bomber at Brookline Fine Wine & Gourmet for $10.99. Poured into a pint glass.

The beer has a beautiful straw-colored orangey-ness. I was surprised to see it's also a bit cloudy, but not in an unfiltered sense. The head was thick and creamy, but quickly dissipated. The aroma is beautiful. Very crisp, bright and floral with strong citrus and hoppy notes.

I immediately notice a sharpness to the taste on the middle of my tongue. Obviously, the hoppy bitterness is most prevalent, but the tingling sensation was very interesting. The finish is very long, with lots of complex hop flavors. It packs a bit of a punch at 7% ABV, but I found myself still wanting more.

A very solid beer.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours medium orange with an off-white foamy head. Good clarity. I expected more lace -- some, but not much.

Grapefruit rind and light toasted malt and some fruit. Nice aromas.

Great balance here. Citric hop bitterness, smooth toasted malt backbone, light fruit, but this is actually fairly dry. Silky brew. Clean flavors. Long lingering bitterness. Wonderful.

Good body and just a bit of a tingle on the tongue.

Overall, there is a reason this is in a bomber -- because you want more. Very drinkable, with just the right bitter/acid/sweet balance. Glad I grabbed this one.

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Photo of bronco94
4.44/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of the neck coded bottles (according to BP, they just started neck-coding the bombers ~6 weeks ago). Poured into a pint glass

A - bright golden yellow, thick creamy white head with good lacing.

S - a wonderful aspect of this beer...full of tropical/citrus hop smells (grapefruit, lemon) a touch of sweetness

T - follows the smell nicely, but not quite as intense. Balanced well between the hop punch and the malt backbone...definitely hop-forward but the malty sweetness is nice to balance things out and make this beer a pleasure to drink.

M - carbonation makes it feel lighter in the mouth than it probably is because it has a slight thickness

D - I wouldn't want to drink more than one bomber at a time simply because after the first, I couldn't appreciate the intensities of the hop flavor. Its a great, intense, IPA with a moderate alcohol content with good drinkability. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and I wish it was available closer to me.

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Photo of mltobin
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at DeCicco`s.

I used a wide wine for this one. Sculpin poured a light golden color with a big head on the initial pour, 2 fingers in size. The aroma pops with citrus first, then comes faint spice as well as the smell of fresh flowers. Alright, time to take a sip...the taste contains grapefruit, hops of course. The hop content seems to be just the right amount for an IPA in my opinion. And it finishes dry, but not overly so. Carbonation level is good as well. This beer receives praise regularly and I would say it is warranted. It is a nice deviation from some of the east coast IPAs that I drink on a more regular basis.

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Photo of TKEbeerman
4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to portia99 for throwing this in as an extra!

A: Poured into my pint glass, this IPA pours a golden poppy yellow with a massive, intense, sea foam like, pillow of a head.

S: The nose lacks bright intenseness that I expect in a top-of-the-line IPA. Not to count the nose out here, Sculpin is a reflection of the tropical paradise I expect to see a fish like this. Fruity, citrus, floral hops, with a sturdy sweet malt background.

T: The flavor is more resin and piny bitterness. The malt profile adds to the "tropical" theme in this brew. Lots of notes of fruit, lemon/orange citrus.

MF: The mouthfeel is smooth and lightly carbonated. The body is a little less full then I'd like.

D: Drinkability is excellent. The way this brew is crafted to be flavorful, and big without being a gigantic pallet and liver buster makes this brew what it is.

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Photo of KYFriedChildren
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just had this fresh on tap at Capone's on 9/15/10.

Appearance- This golden yellow brew showed up at my table with a tiny little white head bubbling on top. For some reason I thought it would be a little darker.

Smell- Absolutely wonderful smelling beer. It smelled strongly of floral hops and tangerine. Just a pleasure for the nose.

Taste- Sculpin is a wonderful tasting beer, everything in this nose is right there in the taste. Supreme hoppiness, and citrus flavors.

Mouthfeel- Nicely carbonated but a tiny bit thin.

Drinkability- I could knock back quite a few of these at only seven percent. Very delicious and drinkable.

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Photo of foogerd
4.31/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- golden orange thick white head tons of lacing
S- fresh grapefruit malts lemon spice
T- an eyeopener coming from the nose so many fruits going on here hard to know where to start, mandarin orange with a sort of spice quality to it is the first thing that comes to mind, then comes the grapefruit, grassy hops some sort of sweet pineapple taste which manages to offset the usual bitterness thats present in an IPA. Plenty of malt backbone to this
M- amazing for an IPA all should follow its lead
D- if your palette could handle all this taste you could go all night

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Photo of aewinte1
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a nice golden yellow with generous 2 finger head
S- Smell is absolutely amazing. Aside from your standard citrus and hops aromas you expect out of an IPA, I get hints of sweet pineapple. I have had this beer numerous times and in every instance I can distinctly smell pineapple. The pineapple-hops smell kind of reminds me of a double-simcoe IPA.
T- Taste is very similar to the smell. Lots of hops balanced with strong malt flavor. Orange and grapefruit as well as pineapple.
M- Perfectly carbonated, but a little on the thin/light side for body.
D- While the hops are the star, they don't become overpowering when you drink a few of these. Alcohol is well hidden and this beer is extremely refreshing.
Overall- Probably my favorite IPA

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

A - Pours a crisp golden orange color with a moderate amount of carbonation, and very nice head retention. Easily a two fingered creamy head of foam. Looks good.

S - This is exactly how I envision an IPA to smell. Rich and generous amounts of orange, pineapple, some mango, bitter grapefruit, and crisp malt. The nose is dominated with tropical fruit, there's also some faint pine hopping in the background.

T - Crisp caramel malt on the tip of the tongue which disappears under the weight of the hops, then briefly surfaces again towards the end. Almost entirely throughout the palette is greeted with an onslaught of aggressive West Coast hopping. Pine, oranges, bitter grapefruit, some lemons, and some mangos are present on the tongue. There's also a little touch of grass flavoring in there too much ever so slight. The mouth is left with a solid coating of bitter citrus, lemon rinds, and a little pepper. Hop bitterness just lingers, and lingers, and...

M - Lighter side of medium body, crisp, and mild to moderate carbonation on the tongue. Finishes very dry.

D - Really nicely hopped, refreshing, crisp, and leaves me wanting another 22 oz bomber. Perfect ABV level, no dominating alcohol flavors and the perfect IPA to enjoy any time. Bought a case and although it's an awesom IPA, it's not worth the $100 price tag for a case of 12 bombers. The market is saturated with alot of good IPA's and there's many others I enjoy just as much that are far less money.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A - Pours bubbly with copper, orange, and golden colors. A creamy head with nice retention holds nicely as lacing kisses the glass.

S - A heaping dose of floral hops with a bite of citrus and a touch of sweet.

T - Quickly hoppy and bitter up front without becoming overpowering. The profile is inherently floral but contains plenty of juicy, oily hops centered around citrus fruit like pineapple and grapefruit. A mild, soft fruit sweetness in the middle eventually reveals the malt base with a hint of caramel. Finishes up with a pleasant, rounded hop blast and some bitter pine.

M - Lighter medium body, round and balanced. Some stickyness due to the hops.

D - Barely any hint of alcohol, drinks incredibly easy and pleasant.

This is an IPA which delivers a variety of hop flavors without becoming some sort of muddled mess. Sculpin remains super drinkable and delicious throughout, making it absolutely worth seeking out.

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Photo of HURTemHIZZY
4.64/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, this brew is incredible. Pours a clear orangeish amber with a one and a half finger off white head that takes a minute or two to dissipate to a small ring.

Aroma is of orange lemon, pine and tropical fruits with a very slight hint of caramel sweetness.

Flavor is head and shoulders above any ipa I've had. Huge tropical flavors blend with lemon, orange, grapefruit, and pine and override a only slightly noticeable caramel malt backbone that keeps the hops just balanced enough. Incredible.

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

A: Pours an orange/light brown color with a 1/2 in layer of just-off-white head

S: Intense aroma of peach/apricot with complementary aromas of orange, honey and a slight pine scent.

T: The flavor is very crisp and packed with citrus and hop tastes. There's a slight sweetness at first followed by a slightly bitter and astringent finish.

M: A moderate carbonation serves to lighten a medium heavy body

D: This is not something that could be drank in mass quantities but that's because it's intensely flavored...not because it isn't good.

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Photo of nas5755
4.64/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is one wonderful beer.

The appearance is a clear golden-orangery color with a nice head and lots of lacing on the glass. The nose is full of tropical fruits, mangoes, citrus fruits and pineapple. The taste is very similar lots of tropical fruit notes with a delicate bitterness that blends into the tropical notes. The malt profile is not to sweet or overpowering, the hops are really showcasing this beer. The carbonation levels are spot on. The finish is dry. I could drink this beer all day long just about everyday, it really is one the better IPA's on the shelf.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.57/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice medium orange, perfectly clear, big bubbly one finger white head, lots of visible carbonation.

S - Pretty much all hops on this one, almost DIPA-like. Strong floral aroma. Humulus lupulus can't really smell much better, as if I were holding a handful of hop cones in my hand and sticking my nose in them.

T - A little shocked the hop characteristic wasn't as complex/unique as much as the hype would suggest. Quite bitter, again almost reminiscent of a DIPA. Hop flavor is very much floral, pretty identical to the aroma. There is a slight citric flavor in the aftertaste.

M/D - Medium body, maybe a little thinner than I had hoped for. Plenty of carbonation to disperse the flavors amongst the palate and an aftertaste that lasts. Sticky hops and soft doughy malt characters get left over after each sip. Simple and pleasant flavor begs for more sips.

Always nice to see a beer live up to its hype and an excellent example of an AIPA with great floral characteristics.

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Photo of morimech
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear golden color with a massive white head that had good retention before settling to a thick cap. Moderate amount of lacing is left on the glass. The aroma is full of tropical fruit. The label claims apricot, peach, mango, and lemon. I definately pick out the mango but the other hop aromas meld together in a fruity punch. The flavor is 95% hops. More tropical fruit flavor with just a hint of dryness in the finish. Bitterness is moderate which surprised me a little thinking this was going to be a palate shredder after taking a whiff. The body is a little light but is pleasantly carbonated. I would place this beer in my personal top 10 of American IPAs. Just not enough malt to suit my Midwestern tastes.

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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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