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: 2,463 | Ratings: 13,663
Photo of dubc19382
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
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 +5.7%
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 -2.3%
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 +1.6%
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 -1.1%
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 -0.9%
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 +3.9%
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 -1.4%
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 +12.6%
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 -1.6%
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 +2.3%
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 +6.2%
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 -1.6%
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 +6.2%
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 +4.6%
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 -0.5%
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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Photo of cbak999
4.72/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed among new friends at the epic beer tasting.

A - pours a clear, yellow with a white head. Minimal lacing, but enough to leave a trace on the glass.

S - A blend of citrusy, fruit...but not overpowering by any means. Hints of apricot and mango.

T - WOW. A perfect IPA. Tastes similar to the smells come through, plus some earthy pine. Definitely hop forward, with a nice hop aftertaste that follows.

D - if available, I'd drink this just about every time I wanted an IPA. It's that good. Easy to see why it's ranked so high.

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Photo of herman77
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brought this one back from a recent trip to Myrtle Beach. Hoping it held up from its long journey all across the country.

A: Deep yellow/light orange with a tiny bit of haze to it. Nice soapy white head. Excellent lacing.

S: Wow. The citrus orange, grapefruit, pineapple, peach and mango notes are very strong and very delicious. A little bit of earthy and resiny pine hops as well.

T: Not as much citrus and tropical fruits here. More of a resiny pine taste. Earthy and grassy hops too. There is a little bit of carmel malt sweetness to provide some balance, but the hops still dominate. As it warms, the malt becomes more prominent. Long bitter and dry citrus finish.

M: Medium to light body. Carbonation seems a tad low, but it works really well making a very slick mouthfeel. It just slides around the mouth.

D: Good drinkability. If this had a little more malt balance and more tropical fruits it would be phenomenal.

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Photo of BMan1113VR
4.55/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Have had this many times in bottles, on tap and cask. This review is from my first time having it. In a bottle when it was still a VERY limited release (2008). Pours with a large, rocky, yellow tinged head covering a hazy yellow body. Aroma of apricot, pine, mango and some caramel. Taste is pine bitterness with some exotic fruit. Syrupy with lively bubbles. This stuff is awesome!

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

Big thanks go out to Pabs311 for throwing this in as an extra during the Math Trade Round 2 BIF. Saved for a few days, chilled in the fridge, and poured into my snifter to be reviewed and enjoyed live.

Finger of crisp white bubbles that start densely packed and begin to coalesce instantly. The retention is pretty good. Doesn't fade too fast or too slow.

Some interesting lacing develops upon the side of the glass. Nice honey coughdrop yellow body and the few hints of carbonation bubble through.

Fantastic nose on this bad boy. Floral fruity notes abound! Strong grapefruit and citrus notes. Pineapples and hops finish it off on the outflow.

Flavor Profile
I wish it tasted as amazing as it smells. The opening verse
is heavily pine in nature. Its like I'm using a branch of evergreen to brush my teeth with jellies. Pineapple jelly, grapefruit jelly that has orange peel in it. The two fruits gently mingle, but always come out strong and distinct at the same time.

Oral Sensations
It has a thickness most IPAs would die for. It is full bodied, perfectly carbonated, and a tad bit sticky. I wish that other flavors would stick around, but the predominant molecule is that of bitter hops. Not much sweetness to balance it out. It isn't awful, but just a desire to have. Also, it has the smoothness one desires in their beer.

This beer is absolutely amazing in the nose. There are probably only a handful of beers that match the deliciousness that this packs in a single whiff. Unfortunately, the taste is no where near the level it could be. I'd love to drink this again, but I'd more like to enjoy sharing this experience with another than anything else. Something to wave under their nose and just go WOW... maybe leave it at that, but its still good to taste, so I guess not.

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Photo of stonelis
4.87/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a hazy orange with a thick 3 finger head. Nice lacing. Aroma is incredible, citrus and floral hops. Light to medium body. Light to medium carbonation. Good mix of grapefruit, mango and pine. Very drinkable. This just might be my favorite IPA yet.

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Photo of glid02
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Pours a clear light copper color with a one-finger white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of large amounts of tropical fruit and citrus hops. Backing everything up are light amounts of pale malt aromas but the hops are in charge.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Light pale malt flavors kick things off and are quickly overtaken by large amounts of bright tropical fruit and citrus hop flavors. Midway through the sip hints of herbal hop flavors and slight honey make a brief appearance, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass very quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall this is a beer that I enjoyed revisiting and I'm glad to report that a fresh bottle stands up to the tap version. Both are very well worth a shot.

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Photo of steveganz
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

At only 7% ABV, this crisp hop bomb has the explosion of flavor usually reserved for an Imperial IPA.

My first impression a few months ago, when only getting a little taste, was that it warranted further investigation. When I got around to enjoying a couple of bombers, I fell in love.

With Pliny the Elder in such short supply, this is not simply just a worthy substitute, but a star that shines on its own. As a matter of fact, when I put the two side-by-side last night, I have to say that I enjoyed the Sculpin more. There...I said it.

This makes its debut in the top 3 of my all time favorite IPAs.

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Photo of Ryan011235
4.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter on 9/4/10

Much appreciation to PDXHops for the fresh Sculpin hookup

Bright, with extreme clarity, Sculpin is apricot/amber in color. This is a sharp looking beer. Pours one finger of foam that dissipates after several minutes. A bubbly skim & sporadic, droopy lace are left. Swirling revives some head retention. I some into a tulip; lacing was a touch better.

The aroma is simply phenomenal; it's a veritable fruit cocktail of tropical, hoppy excellence. Tangerine, peach, mango, lemon zest, apricot & hints of grapefruit. The hops are vibrant & juicy. Nips of pine here & there. Not much malt going on, just faint a toasty bread note. The aroma is more assertive than from the bottle I had earlier this year.

Sculpin boasts outrageous hop flavor, moderate bitterness & excellent dryness. Notions of pine underpin the strong citric hops; both of which work wonders together. Notes of tangerine, peach, nectarine, apricot with hints of grapefruit & lemon zest. It's a choice balance of hop flavor & bitterness; something of a controlled explosion. Malts are even less apparent that in the aroma.

The feel is pretty incredible, too. Maybe a touch lighter than medium bodied with fairly ample carbonation, especially when cold. Eschewing vigorousness, the carbonation is lively, accenting the hop flavors. An abundance of tropical tones linger on the finish.

Drinkability is superb. Out of a bottle of undetermined age, this was great. Fresh, from a growler, Sculpin is one of the finest I've tried from the IPA family. Thanks Jeff!

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Photo of flagmantho
4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a mug.

Appearance: medium brassy orange hue with a touch of haze. Head is two thick fingers of fluffy ivory foam. Not a bad looking brew.

Smell: bight citrus hops with a little bit of underlying funk. I can also just get a little bit of malt underneath the big hop bill. This is a good smelling beer, and I like it, but I'm not blown away.

Taste: good, bitey, piney, citrusy and dusky hops. In addition to this, bitterness is pretty extreme; there is no balance at all (this isn't necessarily a bad thing). I really do like the dynamic blend of hop flavors, though. A very solid IPA.

Mouthfeel: medium body with an appropriate level of carbonation. Pretty good, but nothing fantastic here.

Drinkability: a bright and pretty intense IPA. Normally I call citrusy IPAs refreshing, but I won't go so far with the Sculpin. It doesn't set out to be refreshing; just a bastard of a hop bomb, and at this it succeeds.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,663 ratings.
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