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Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Originally named Northstar IPA. Debuted in 2005.

Added by brentk56 on 04-02-2006

For Trade:
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Reviews: 2,446 | Ratings: 13,520
Photo of homebrew311
4.54/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got my hands on this brew...last bottle at the store. Poured into Delirium snifter.

A: pours a bright gold with a bone white head, the head dissipates quickly, lots of lacing

S: huge tropical aroma with tons of mango and pineapple, the hops smell amazing. Some notes of honey and some hints of bread at the end. This smells great.

T: the front is sweet and fruity with a good dose of bitterness to follow it up, nice balance, the malt profile isn't huge but it intertwines nicely with the hops

MF: high carbonation, medium to light body

D: wow, this is a great IPA. I've heard a lot of good things and they were all true. Can't wait to see this make it into the 6-pack format.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Eric and Doug for hooking me up with this as part of our trade. Crystal clear yellow-orange pour with big fluffy two-finger head and great lacing. Big, unique, fresh, hoppy, complex nose that's perfumy and floral with lots of citrus and fresh grass. The taste is just as big and just as complex. Full of tangerine, grapefruit, pine and resiny, fresh wet hops with a touch of peaches. The balance of this beer is absolutely perfect. Great bitter hop bite, but a nice sweet, malty backbone to make this probably the most drinkable beer I've ever had. The mouthfeel is great, crisp and dry and just a tad resiny and chewy at the same time. I've had this beer once before when I was in San Diego on business, and it blew me away then. I have to say that this has just become my favorite IPA of all time. I'm trying to savor every drop as I finish off this bomber. What an awesome beer!

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Photo of Slatetank
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this particular cask offering at Al's of Hamdpen - it was dry hopped with Simcoe hops. Served at cask temp in a nonic

A - A beautiful beer in every way -Al mentioned a minor adjustment to the cask system yeilded a perfect cascade and the cream settles out to a band of whipped looking head rather than a distint beading, more like microfoam on a cappuccino. The color is brilliant marigold and has a rather hazed look from the resinous oily Simcoe usage. nice lace collection on the glass and I found myself mezmerized by each pour from the hand pump as the beer was presented in the glass.

S - the odors of fragrant, pungent citrus loaded hops greets you the minute you bring the glass nasal-ward. My proboscis was treated to the olfactory enjoyment Sculpin provides. I repeatedly stopped, swirled and smelled the array of citrus, tropical fruit and almost grassy bitter hop aromas. I enjoy the slight minneola sweet/tart aroma you get while at the same time it has the grapefruit dominant scent you excpect from Simcoe

M - What a great texture, I mean Shazam! the resins roll the smooth sweet nectar toward the back of the tongue and the hops take over with slight pricks of acidity, the bitter feel is clean and totally enjoyable with a dry quality produced the the oily hoppiness with the IPA. The malt is truly enhancing the intense fruity yeast notes that blend with the hops so well.

T - I have to say that American Ipa on cask is a wondrous thing. The way the hops are allowed to meld with the natural carbonation of the yeast and smooth malt foundation is sublime. This has to be one of the best cask ales I have had, just gushing with bitter fruity hop flavor and the taste is smooth with no one hop flavor asserting itself too much -but the gamut is experience here with floral, grassy, citrus and the astringent taste of pineapple for good measure - what an delicious hop profile!

D - What more can I say, I was blown away by how good this was and I was daydreaming at work all day about the chance to taste this beautiful beer - just incredibly drinkable and hardly any alcohol in the flavor, yet you may feel it a little if you have one on an empty stomach like I did

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Photo of akorsak
3.77/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A firkin hand-pulled at Al's. This is dry-hopped with simcoe hops.

A: The hand-pulled ale has a hazy amber glow, hazy enough to be opaque except as the narrowest base of the glass. A fragile off-white head, thanks to the cask, has legs but it isn't the normal vibrant head you'd be used to seeing.

S: The nose caught me attention immediately. So much so that I almost had to cry. The hoppiness, piney and citrusy, is rather intense, augmented by the simcoe dry-hoppping. Resiny, the nose seems oily and rich.

T: Man, oh man. The taste just doesn't live up to the hype of the nose. The cask conditioning has settled the ale down, even with the dry hopping. The result is a full caramel base and plenty of hops that are nondescript. The intense Sculpin flavors have been lost behind the living, breathing ale. Perhaps the subtlety of cask ale is lost on IPAs of this magnitude?

M: The mouthfeel is smooth, aided by the lower carbonation levels. The finish is particularly enjoyable, but the flavorful hops get lost in translation.

D: I had two pints, so it's not a bad beer. It just seems out of place from a cask.

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Photo of MrDanno96
3.82/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours an opaque deep yellow with about two fingers of foamy white head. The head quickly recedes to a thin ring.

S: Fairly tropical on the nose - mango, oranges, a little apricot too. Pungent hop aroma overall - just what the doctor ordered.

T: Pretty one dimensional - tons of big, bitter hop flavor dominates. Bitter all the way through with a decently strong, puckering finish. This could really use some malt for balance. Some of the sweet fruit from the nose would be great too.

M: Medium bodied and crisp, with a bitter bite in the finish.

D: A pretty good IPA, but definitely not one of my favorites. A little overrated if you ask me.

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Photo of vkv822
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into tulip pint.

The body is a wonderful golden with light orange highlights and a thin veil of suspended yeast throughout. There is some very light carbonation rising to a thick, foamy off-white head that leaves great lacing.
Sweet resiny hops are up front, there are citric, floral and even some sweet fruit notes all blending together wonderfully. There are some very light bready malt notes.
The flavor is an extremely pleasant mixture of most of the same flavors noted in the aroma, citric, fruity and light floral hops. I particularly enjoy the tropical fruit hop notes. The malts peek in towards the finish just enough to give this some slight balance.
The mouthfeel is fairly medium to full bodied with perfect carbonation. It does a good job of coating the mouth without becoming overly slick and resiny feeling.

Unfortunately this is one of my favorite IPA's I have had so far and I only say unfortunately because this is not currently distributed to Oregon, as if it was this would without a doubt be my go-to IPA. It really is well balanced, as far as hop-to-malt ratio, as well as a balance in hop flavor.

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

Got a case of this mailed to my home yesterday from Ballast Point and split it up among ramnuts, maltmaster420, skourtis, vkv822, and madhomebrewer. Thanks guys for making this happen! Time for the review.

I split the bomber between a couple 12 ounce tulips and shared with the wife. The light tangerine body was capped by a large soapy citrus pith colored head. TONS of lacing showed up on the walls of the glass. It doesn't get any better than this.

Lemon, pineapple, peaches, mango, and other requisite citrus aromas are all over this thing! I absolutely love this smell and it warrants the second perfect score so far.

Taste is bitter, dank, and palate destroying hops, not that there's anything wrong with that! The wife seems to think this is a double but it only clocks in at 7% ABV. A nice light malt background never gets in the way of the big hops and allows them to shine. That's how I like my IPA's to taste. It could have some more tropical in the taste so I'm docking a point.

Mouthfeel is so thin and well carbonated, this disappears way to fast. I must say that I believe this deserves the top spot among American IPA's. This screams California IPA and delivers in spades. Track it down if you can and enjoy!

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Photo of begforme4484
4.67/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bright amber color with decent head and nice lacing. Beer even LOOKS tasty.

The smell really threw me back. Mmmm! I could hardly contain myself from taking a sip right away before I could get a handle on what I was smelling. It smells tropical. Somewhere in between Mango Terrace and Apricot Boulevard. That citrus-tropical scent is very strong, it almost overpowers a nice piney hops scent, almost.

*sips* Yum! *sips again* Yep, I was right, yum!
This beer hits hard. Like a proverbial flavor kick to the groin. The bitterness to the hops is almost like a sting. It's very crisp and yet very light in body. It's like a rush of citrus, pine, and whoa all in one sip. I don't really detect any malts.

Mouthfeel is astounding. It's not sticky. It has a good amount of carbonation and the flavor doesn't stick to your mouth and ruin everything else.

Drinkability is high, only problem being is you normally can't find a lot of it too drink it so indispensably.

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

What can I say about this beer that everyone else hasn't. I don't need to tell you what it smells or tastes like. There are plenty of reviews doing just that. What can I tell you about this beer? Drink it...drink lots of it! not just a fantastic IPA but just a great well balanced beer. If I could get it here in GA, it would be in my fridge all the time.

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Photo of Pittsburgh
4.25/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was happy to find this at a local store, I didn't think anywhere was stocking this right now....pleasant surprise.

A very hoppy offering, hits pretty hard, reminds me of Stone Ruination in that sense, very hoppy and bitter, lasts from beginning to end. Smell is very strong of hops.

Not malty at all, not very sticky either, more smooth and golden and basically scorches your taste buds. Hop heads will love this.

I had very high expectations, I have heard this mentioned in the same breath as Pliny, and this is no Pliny. It is a good IPA, but a little over-hyped in my opinion. I cannot determine when this was bottled so maybe it could have been fresher, but I was a bit let down.

Still a solid brew as my score will indicate, but I have had comparable IPAs.

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Photo of ncfranklin
4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a snifter.

A : Pours a golden orange with a very impressive inch or so frothy off-white head. HUGE amounts of carbonation bubbles pouring up and never seem to stop. Looks absolutely amazing. Considerable lacing as well.

S : Pine and citrus hop, apricot, a small biscuity maltiness. All very potent and definable.

T : Amazing balance. The hops are upfront but get accents from orange and apricot flavors. The malt peeks in but doesn't add any sweetness. A crisp finish and some ending pricks of hop touch the tongue.

M : A medium body presents a rich level of carbonation, prickly hoppiness, & a semi-dry finish.

D : Wow. Ballast Point hit a huge home run here. You'll go through this fast because not only is it delicious & balanced, but so very invitingly beautiful.

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Photo of ridglens
3.92/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

shared a bottle with a couple great BAs, thanks to rhodeska for the pour.Pours a medium orange-brown, with a thick head that ends up leaving a thin layer and an island of creamy head. has a steady stream of bubbles coming from the bottom of the glass. smeels great, of sharp bitter citrus american hops. smells Really, really good. tastes a little sweet, but with a big citrus hop bitter profile. tastes really good, but, the citrus hops don't have the crisp, fresh taste that make these beers world class... perhaps the bottle isn't fresh, I'm not sure. a good beer to be sure, but not incredible. feels pretty decent, but nothing extraordinary. never harsh, could drink several.

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Photo of rhodeska
4.07/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Genghis22 for this beer!

This beer had a nice look to it and an even better smell. The pour was nice and orange, could see through the glass. It also had a nice frothy head, and just looked like it was going to be great.

The smell added to this, having a great hops and citrus smell, with the hops being slightly stronger. The really full and strong smell made me think the taste was going to be the same way.

The taste was pretty hoppy, had some citrus/orange in the background, but wasn't as full as I would have guessed from the smell. Still a really solid taste, don't get me wrong.

Easy to drink, a good IPA.

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Photo of washburnkid
4.05/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at TJ Finley's in Bay Shore, NY.

About a finger of ivory head over a lighter than expected golden hue that's letting plenty of lights and shapes/colors through! Aromas are juicy from the hops. Citrus upfront on the nose. More balanced in flavor, with an obvious caramel malt sweetness that clings hard to the palate. There's some citrus in there, but not enough to overpower like a west coast hopbomb is known to do. Big bold hoppy bitterness creeps in from the back and actually takes me by surprise about halfway through the pint. Thick mouthfeel for an IPA, and lower carbonation. I love the mouthfeel because it leaves that IPA all over the surface of my mouth, leaving me wanting more!

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Photo of arizcards
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber last week at Bevmo for $7.99.

Beer poured a clear golden orange with a nice white head that is leaving big lacing behind. Nose is tropical and citrus, mango comes to mind. In the taste department the malt bill takes a backseat to let the alpha hop flavors shine thru. Lemon zest and mango hops hammer home a clean finish. Mouthfeel is smooth with a light to medium body and mild carbonation. Drinkability is very good, lots of aromas and flavors going on coupled with a clean finish make this one of the better IPA's out there. Recommended to fellow advocates to try if you can find it

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Photo of JamisonM
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

100th Review!! Yay! had to do something great and this is great!

A: Bright orange bright white head with fantastic head retention and lacing

S: sweet peach apricot and lemon zest

T: huge hop flavor with peach apricot and lemon zest drys out the mouth and makes you want to take another drink

M: light to medium mouth with medium carbonation

D: super drinkable what a great beer

overall: hell of a beer to do for my 100th great IPA the 70 IBU in this beer feels like its 90 IBU every hop head should try this.

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

Golden orange, lighter around the outside. Gentle pour elicits a small white head; however, the tenacity of the stick, structure, and lacing of the foam leads me to believe that good, hoppy things are in store. Slight haziness, but fairly clear with streaming bubbles.

The nose reminds me of those water-vapor fountains you can purchase in black many shades of rave-ready accent lights: it's as though the particles of hop resin are sauntering out of the glass and into your nostrils. My wife loves "bright" IPAs, and this one defines the term. I'm getting lots of citric fruit in addition to tropical, fruit punch notes. The orange was what came out to greet me, but the note of mango really drives the aroma here (and I just had a mango the other night - it's uncanny how much the Sculpin smells like it). Other fruits to discuss: tangerine, lemon, and grapefruit, both pink and yellow. Hint of herbs as well, especially as it warms: lemongrass, rosemary, pine resin, sweet mary jane...

Outstandingly hoppy flavor, this is one great IPA. The malt bill is a whipped puppy, bringing nothing more substantive than what could balance an APA. The hint of bubblegum suggests an estery yeast strain or maybe even a touch of wheat malt, and belies the only small morsel of sweetness that this beer can offer.

The hops add a host of citric, tropical, and herbal textures that are so fresh and so clean that Outkast could write a song about it. I won't get into a naming game here, but there is a great West Coast element of bright citrics like the orange from the aroma, and a very delectable fullness of flavor like a peach or tangelo. Remarkable. Peppery in the finish, with a tobacco-like herbal note that calls Simcoe to mind. Between the citric bitterness and hemp oil complexity, this is like slathering a Saltine with an aged Stilton. (This analogy can be taken two ways, of course. 1. Sculpin is amazingly hoppy and delicious. 2. Sculpin is dramatically out of balance.)

Carbonation is high, keeping this hop monster at bay with a little harshness towards the finish. Damn close to a Double IPA - packing this many alpha acids in a bottle really tugs at my heartstrings. While I initially considered this one a bit of a lightweight due to the weak malt profile and the bubbles, the second half of the bottle is silky enough to warrant a bump in mouthfeel, while the carbonation continues to keep my mouth scrubbed and ready for another sip. Or bottle.

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Photo of hoptrip619
3.85/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured off KnB Cellars new 32 tap system.

A: Bright sunny orange with a bit of haze an not much head.

S: No big surprise with the citrus zest and fruity nose.

T: Citrus and fruity hop flavor <insert obligatory citrus and floral hop descriptors>. This particular batch had a lot of residual malt sweetness and wasn't nearly as dry as past batches. Rushing production to meet demand? Perhaps...

M: Light-Medium in body which makes it much more refreshing than some of the heavier IPA's.

D: This is a good beer, it used to be a great beer but it's still up there with the better West Coast IPA's.

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Photo of IronLover
4.67/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Amber-orange in color with a dense white head that leaves a consistent white cap and wet lacings on the glass. Big floral, hoppy aroma. Grapefruit and tropical mango aromas are fresh and clean. Velvety smooth feel with refreshing carbonation. Sweet malty flavor in the beginning that leads to big grapfruit, mango citrus flavors and a clean balanced finish. Good balance of malt and hops. An excellent IPA and very drinkable.

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

Poured into my Zatec fluted glass. A medium golden color with about 2 and a half fingers of white head. Smell blasted up my nose of tropical fruit, peaches, and grapefruit. The smell that made me love IPA. Tastes very grapefruity and peachy. Very nice dry, medium strong bitter finish. Love this. Zaftig. Nice medium carbonation. I would drink a million of these.

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Photo of mlazzaro
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bottle
a- orangy - copper color. white head, holding decently.

s- smells really nice. solid quantity of dry hops used to make a beer this old taste this good. Notes of apricots, and highly citrousy fruit.

t- This is exactly what I expect in a good American IPA, with a decent dose of alcohol @ 7%. Malt is satisfying, but only in tribute to the extraordinary amount of hops and bitterness.

m- I like how the beer is sufficiently bitter, but the bitterness doesn't linger and ruin the next sip. And the alcohol is absolutely on point with the flavor, I am glad to have an aged bottle. Intense but balanced.

d- I enjoyed every sip and drop.

thanks Will

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Photo of bamadog
4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Special thanks to beerman207 for bringing this one back to me from his recent trip to PA. Review is from notes taken on 7/22/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a solid orange/coppery color; starts with a 1/2 finger off-white head with great retention; body is hazy/cloudy, but shows a lot of slow, but strong, carbonation; loose spots and streaks of lacing are left behind.

Smell: Quite wonderful -- lots of grapefruit and orange hops that very bitter in nature; backed by a wonderfully sweet maltiness with a slight toasty graininess; nose is quite robust.

Taste: Wow, it's a lot more bitter than I expected and it's like sucking on a grapefruit rind and orange peel; I do wish that the malts were more present as there's really no balance; I can't believe the malts don't show like they do in the nose, but it's still quite good, I just feel it could be a little better; overall, it's a pretty simple and straightforward IPA; the label discusses peach and mango, but I really get none of those flavors.

Mouthfeel: Body is moderately light and I feel that the carbonation is spot on -- soft, but lively enough; gums are left a little tingly and there is a dry sticky coating left holding strong to the roof of the mouth.

Drinkability: Aside from the slight lack of balance, this beer is really quite good; it's refreshingly bitter and not really heavy at all, so getting through 22 oz. really doesn't pose too much of a problem.

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Photo of UnDeadly
4.8/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 mL bottle, into standard pint glass.

I've had this beer multiple times, it never ceases to amaze me :)

Appearance - This beer is straight up sexy. Very clear, zero haze, a light yellow-orange color. I poured this one somewhat aggressively, resulting in about a two fingers high head. Could probably get more if I hit it hard enough. Once down to normal, it maintains a thin head perfectly. Lacing is gorgeous and sticks to the glass almost evenly with each drink.

Smell - Very floral, very citrusy, but sweet citrus. Grapefruit comes through strong. Some very light earthen notes as well, somewhat grassy.

Taste - Very complex but organized taste. Perfect bitterness does not come in waves, but hits early and through the entire sip and well into the aftertaste. Crisp through the middle, and at the end you get the sweet notes, dominated mostly by grapefruit. Malt notes are muted, but in my mind that is perfectly OK in an IPA.

Mouth Feel - Well carbonated, but not overly so. I feel like if I REALLY wanted to, I chug the hell out of this beer. Anyone that actually does though deserves to have their BA account deleted though :) Creamy feel, without being overly thick.

Drinkability - See above I guess. I could chug this beer all day if I had access to enough of it. But alas, bottles are few and far between, and must be savored.

I'm proud this beer is from my hometown, and I got to have one of the first batches quite a while ago. It hasn't changed, and has set the bar very high for future brews. Can't wait to have another!

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Photo of glazeman
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber into a snifter

A: This beer pours a golden straw color and has a 2 finger slightly off-white head that has excellent retention and excellent lacing.

S: A lot of citrus sweetness, but for some reason this smells a tad medicinal to me. In my opinion the weakest component of this otherwise stellar beer.

T: A little pine at the start, but then a ton of citrus in the middle and a nice, slightly bitter finish. The main citrus notes are pineapple, and lemons. This is really nicely balanced. I like the herby finish...a little rosemary maybe? Exactly like an IPA should be.

M: Spot on. Perfectly carbonated and wonderful medium body fell in the mouth. The taste is so great, I wish I had a little more of an aftertaste lingering around.

D: Superb. I had no problem polishing off the bomber, and could have easily had more. This is definitely a beer to search out and try if you haven't already.

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Photo of Tomdee74
4.97/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

okay this definitely gets an A+ in my book.. i've had this a few times but i'm finally going to review it.. All i have to say is... Are you kidding me??? i've had pliny, had so many good ipas and double ipas.... all i can is.... this is only a single ipa.... so i think this is the best ipa there is! truly phenomenal beer and of rating this as a single ipa, then it is way up there!!

A - Poured into a smutty big beer series tulip glass to see 2 and 1/2 inches of a great head and superb lacing... i gotta give it up to ballast point here...

S - This is what blows you away.. there is no way you smell this and think it's a single ipa.. get this fresh and smell it and you have to smile and shake your head it will astound you! a great trait this beer posesses!!

T - whoa again!! blows you away! how is this not a double IPA??? i see signs around here that flaunt stone ipa and claim it's the best ipa in america... this comes to mind immediately as the only brewery able to make that claim.. and i'm a huge smuttynose fan but i gotta give credit where it's due... and like i said i've had this several times... i've had many great ipas i just think when we talk about regular ipas this one has to come in way at the top...

M - perfect carbonation.. perfect body!! what more can i say???

D - low abv's make this one insane... and it's insane to make this the first beer of the night and try to switch up to something else unless your gonna do like a PTE it's brutal.. nothing really comes close to this... ughhh i hate that i gotta give it up like this but i do... i think this is the best single IPA I've ever had!

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.38 out of 5 based on 13,520 ratings.
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