Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Sculpin IPASculpin IPA

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

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

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

Added by brentk56 on 04-02-2006

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Reviews: 2,422 | Ratings: 13,370
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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Photo of zoolzoo
4.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ Prime 16, New Haven CT

This is a well regarded IPA that I see in bottles around town sometimes, but I normally avoid due to the fact that Ballast Point refuses to date their bottles. 22oz of this is at least $10 a pop in CT, so I usually dont bother as to avoid a faded expensive IPA. I was excited to see this on tap, now I finially get to try it undoubtably fresh.

An excellent and complete pour into a true pint glass. Golden, completely clear, no haze or cloudiness. A one finger frothy white head, just about ready to spill out over the glass.

The aroma from my glass is full of pungent, sticky, and resiny citrus hops. Im getting a little skunky cannibis and also a kiss of sweet malt.

As far as taste, what can I say? Fresh Sculpin is one of the best IPAs I have had to date. Completly west coast from the ground up, full of tangerine, grapefruit, mango, and a stern bitterness. Flavors here seem infinitely bright and lively. The hop profile is resiny and sticky, and the mouthfeel is thick enough to back it up without ever becoming too heavy. A malt presence acts as a sturdy base, but asserts itself no further. I reccomend anyone and everyone to try this fresh, its an excellent IPA that lives up to its good name.

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Photo of hu5om
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks again to gon8888! delic. man.
split with newk340
a-orange bronze thin soapy head decent lacing

s-orange citrus, hoppy freshness, vaguely tropical. pineapple, mango.

t-hoppy orange citrus, with a spicy tropical end: mango and pineapple again. a unique ipa. very distinct. newk340 said fish and now i think i taste it! sad, i think it's just a bit oily. piney and lemony, pinesol in a good way somehow.

m-medium resine. not a palate killer by any means. bitter but a pretty decent finish. not pte delicate, but what can you do? a bit oily in texture.

d-excellent, overall i'm very happy. a sipper, but still quite easy drinking. i would have no reason to stop at one if it were easier to get in WI!

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Photo of newk340
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

shared a bomber with hu5om in new belgium goblets.

A: a hazy golden amber with minimal visible carbonation and a thin head that left a decent lacing at the end.

S: faint citrusy scents coat the nostrils in a very pleasing and intoxicating manner.

T: initial bitterness confirms citrusy flavors such as pineapple, mango, and lemon. there is also a distinct aftertaste that is hard to place a finger on... fishoil maybe? reminded me of the ocean.

MF/D: not overly tart so each sip goes down very smooth as the carbonation is very front heavy and slightly numbs the tongue.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The simplest way to categorize this, for me, is Double IPA flavor in an IPA.
Big, hearty flavor. Dry, big on the peach and nectarine quality of bitterness. A well rounded citrus quality that plays with grapefruit, lemon and lime. A smidge of black tea, a bit of sweetness. Hops are sturdy and confident.
I try not to be influenced by ratings or hype but this is excellent stuff. It reminds me pretty clearly of my one sample of Blind Pig and my one sample of Pliny the Elder. There's a delicate balance to this coupled with a boldness of flavor that is very appealing. I am sad to see this bottle emptied, but I think I can get a couple more so I think I'll be ok.

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Photo of honestdave
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from bomber into my Westy chalice

A: Really bright lemon yellow color with a nice thick creamy head. Good amount of laciing as I swirl this in the glass. Carbonation bubbles rise to the top. Looks awesome and very inviting.

S: Sweet and citrusy. Lemon, pineapple, mango come through.

T: Lemon zest and pineapple basil. Citrus flavors abound and end in a herbal, hoppy zing with a light malt finish.

M: Medium mouthfeel, slightly warm alcohol. Sticky sweetness.

D: Very easy drinking IPA. Delicious brew. Exceptionally super balanced beer.

Summary: This is easily one IPA that I would buy again and again if it were available in my area. This is a treat to savor.

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

Growler into Duvel Tulip

A: Nice white head, good lacing. Golden color. The head becomes a ring around the glass. Overall a great appearance for an AIPA.

S: A huge pile of hops. Lots of late addition hops. Little malt smell.

T: Hops but not extremely bitter. Lots of citrus, and pine flavors from the hop resins. Very nicely balanced.

M: Very light mouthfeel. Less then normal for IPA. Not a bad thing but a little out of style.

D: Very drinkable. Though most probably shouldn't go through more then a bottle.

Great IPA. Highly recommended. Few are this good without being highly bitter.

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Photo of BostonBrewins
4.46/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours a crystal clear straw with the frothiest head I've ever seen. Fantastic. Lots of lacing.

S - Tropical and citrus fruits are abundant here. Notes of oranges, lemons, grapefruit, mango, and pineapple. Undertones of bread.

T - This IPA is refreshingly focused on the tropical fruit. The citrus notes come through in the finish. Juicier than many in this style.

M - The light body really works with this one.

D - With so many in this genre being glorified citrus bombs, its nice to drink such a refreshing, thirst quenching, easy drinking IPA. I could drink these all day.

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Photo of pwoody11
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Damn thats a scary looking fish.

From notes:
Purchased at Pinocchio's in Media, PA.

Pours an Orange-Gold with a nice frothy white head. I can smell the hop aroma almost immediately. A closer sniff brings notes of various tropical fruit. Grapefruit and Mango. Grassy and Piney. Hops all around. I'm tempted to snort the beer it smells so good.

Taste is not quite as pleasant as the nose, but very similar. Hops, Hops, and more Hops. Surprisingly it's not quite a palate destroyer like I thought it would be. Slight malt backbone, but barely noticeable. Not a bad thing though as I said the hops aren't kicking my ass.

Nice smooth beer. Glad I have access to it out here.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.69/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

100th Review!

Appearance -- Pours a pale orange, just slightly hazy, with two fingers of stiff, lily-white head.

Smell -- VERY aromatic. Bright tropical fruit aromas, tangerine, some grassiness and bready malt.

Taste -- The tropical fruity hop notes are immediately apparent, along with mild caramel malt sweetness. As the caramel makes way for the drier, bready malt flavors the tropical fruitiness fades into grassy notes and firm hop bitterness. Finish is crisp and exceptionally clean with little lingering flavor.

Mouthfeel -- Medium in body with the perfect amount of prickly carbonation that finishes smooth and crisp.

Drinkability -- Starts fruity and caramelized, finishes dry and bitter: the best of both worlds in one sip. When an opportunity arises to drink a top-rated beer I do my best to stay critical and not get wrapped up in the hype. This beer, however, rightfully deserves all of the accolades it has been bestowed. World-class!

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Photo of bohemiandonut
5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tropical flavors leap out of the glass, drawing you in. You draw...

Amazing. This is easily the most complex, beautiful IPA I've ever tasted. Superb mouthfeel with elegant balance of otherworldly hops and a citrus bite that starts bitter and leaves friendly.

If only this was an example of what for some reason are being called "Belgian IPAs" as of late. Than perhaps the brewers of respectable but unidimensional ales so prevalent on the west coast would have something to strive toward.

Simply a beer that could induce physical aggression upon under appreciation. God-tier.

(served in wine-glass, seafoam head, absolutely enviable lacing, like a goddamn tree trunk)

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearence- Golden amber in color with a thick white head.

Smell- This thing smells like angels. Pineapple, mango frutiness along with a sweet malty backbeat.

Taste- Easily one of the best tasting liquids I have ever imbibed. The taste follows the nose with the fruity hops, lasting bitterness and a well balanced malt.

Mouthfeel-Exceptional mouthfeel, stays on the tongue for quite a while.

Drinkability- I could drink these Sculpins all night if I could afford/acquire them regularly. Alcohol is masked beautifully.
This beer has a great reputation for a reason. Seek it out when its released.
Bottle: 4.5/5
Finally enjoyed this beer on tap. I found it to be a noticeable upgrade. First glass from the keg as well. Great beer. Not the most intense, but perhaps one of the most intricate and deep (especially for a non-Imperial IPA). The plethora of fruity hop flavors is matched only by a few other brews.
On-Tap: 4.75/5

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Photo of KAP1356
4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 650ml bottle into my Hoppin' Frog pint glass. No bottled on date, but it was refrigerated (thank God) in the store where I bought it...

A - Pours a hazy golden color. Did not give it a hard pour, but a 2.5 finger eggshell (slightly off white) white color head did form.

S - Honey, mango, grapefruit, some pineapple. VERY citrus hop presence. However not as strong an aroma as I would have thought for all that is going on here.

T - Honey and very citrusy hops stand out. It is sweet and bitter at the same time with neither overpowering the other. Sweet up front with the fruits coming out, and then bitter fnish with some piney elements coming through. Everything comes together in a tremendous way.

M - Slightly thicker than what I expected. Nice and smooth though.

D - Unbelievably well balanced. More so than most ofthe other IPA's I've had. I didn't even notice that it was a 7% beer. It is quite enjoyable and it would be a tremendous beer on a hot day in the summer.

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Photo of weissbierdrinker
4.2/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a golden color with big fluffy white head that leaves a decent amount of lacing. Carbonation is lively.

Smell is of peach, mango and some floral notes. Picking up on some pine to.

A well balanced IPA that isn't overpowering with the hops bitterness. Almost lacking in bitterness for an IPA but I'm digging it. A little bit sweet. Flavor is pretty much the same as the nose.
Mouthfeel is thick but light (does that make any sense?) Very drinkable.

Thanks daaaah!

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Photo of johndoe8
4.51/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got it at Bev4Less... best liquor store around :)

A-This is a perfect golden pour.
S-Honestly, poured in my favorite beer stein, this beer has a very subtle nose. Difficult to pick up, but maybe its b/c I've finished half the bottle already.
T-The taste is awesome. It's such a balanced taste. Hops are not overwhelming, very defined. I love it.
M-Mouth feel is very typical of good IPAs.
D-Enjoy the beer so much I don't feel the alcohol. Very easy to finish.

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Photo of chaz410
3.69/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this beer at the good ol' common market.
Pours a medium amber body with pale white finger length head.
Smells amazing! Lots of floral and citrus hops dance around your nose. Not much pine but a little dry smell comes out amist the grapefruit, orange, and flowers.
The taste is, well not as good as the smell in honesty. I was expecting a little more on the hop bitterness but not disappointed with how easy it was to drink. It has a little caramel sweetness and some obvious crystal malts that lay the stage for some subtle citrus and floral hop character. A moderate bite at the end from the hops but not overpowering.
Very drinkable and very floral

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in my trusty Devil's Backbone willibecher.

Big thanks to stevglad and the N00b Traders BIF for this catch!

Based on what the label tells me, I kinda wanna try some sculpin meat. Anyway, the beer pours a clear golden straw topped by over a finger of white foam. The nose holds plenty o' sharp pine and even sharper grapefruit, with a buttery toffee undercurrent. The taste follows pretty closely, though the toffee loses both some power and some butter. The hops, though, remain rather powerful throughout. The body is a light medium, with moderate carbonation and a very smooth feel. Overall, a strong IPA, but kinda overly one-dimensional in favor of the hops. I'd prefer a bit more balance, but it's pretty damn good nonetheless.

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Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: minimal inch head, hazy, bright gold in color, high carbonation

Smell: citrus hops

Taste: citrus hops, honey, grapefruit, some toasted malt, and a taste of toffee as it warms

Mouthfeel: light bodied, medium/high carbonation, sweetish start with a bitter middle and a super bitter end

Drinkability: A good citrusy and super bitter finishing IPA. A sipper that I could have a couple of. One of the better in the style that I have had, certainly in my top 10 of the style, but not in my top 5.

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Photo of bdupree
4.59/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was recommended to me by Mike Brawley at Brawley's Beverage. Mike never steers me wrong!

A - Nice golden color, pours with big fluffy head with plenty of lacing. Looks to have a nice bit of carbonation, too.

S - One of the best aromas from an IPA I have ever sniffed. Immediately pick up peach (they are in season here in the south) and mango along with floral scents. Also, a fresh piney aroma from the hops.

T - This IPA is special, very special. Everything comes together in perfection... the fruits come through well in the first taste, and there is no overpowering with the hops... even though there is plenty there. Such a perfect blend and balance. There is some sweetness, but it is complemented so well by hops.

M - Medium-light, but with somewhat of a thick feel like most hopped up IPAs.

D - This suddenly became one of my top favorite IPAs... and that is about the only thing I buy these days. It was just incredible. I need to get back down to Brawley's to see how many he has left.


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Photo of airohead2001
4.13/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

HUGE thanks to glazeman for this one. This has been one of my biggest wants since I've been getting into craft beer, and it surely did not disappoint.

A - Gold. Seriously, this beer looks like gold with a little bit of haziness. Fluffy two finger head that quickly fades to a persistent film of white bubbles. Wonderful lacing that coats my Westvleteren snifter.

S - Oranges, light lemons, cloves, and mild pines. Light and nicely balanced.

T - Similar to the smell, balance is the word. By far the most balanced IPA I have ever had. The taste begins with fruity hops up front - oranges and tangerines - and finishes with light bitter pines. Nothing harsh - nothing too sweet. The balance is perfect. It's not the most complex beer I've had, but for a beer that is so light and drinkable, it is definitely the tastiest.

M - Average mouthfeel - pretty thin, but appropriate for the light taste.

D - The most drinkable craft beer I have ever tasted. Outstanding. Just perfect. As drinkable as a Miller Lite and a billion times tastier.

This is a session beer - one I can drink one after the other. None of the layers of citrus hops, piney hops ,or malts are that complex, and the mouthfeel is pretty thin. However, for a relatively light beer that packs a great flavor, Sculpin IPA is the way to go. I would order this at ANY bar where it is on the menu and would purchase at least one bottle at any store where it is in stock.

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Photo of Augustiner719
3.43/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass:

First off this was a little dissapointing to me as i had been anticipating this being tremendous. I had a flower power prior to this and the flower power outshined this guy.

Pours a crystal clear, amber orange color with a big fluffy head and leaves soapy residue lacing. Tastes a touch flat to me, has a big hop bitterness with a lacking malt backbone, typical west coast style. Really this is a hoppy IPA, but its lacking balance. Mouthfeel is off as its too flat for me, dense bubbles leave the palate battered with the austere hop characteristics. drinkability is high on this as its got a realatively moderate ABV and would be nice on a hot summer day. not the best IPA i have ever had but still worthy by all means. not worth the 9.99 price tag though.

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

22oz bottle into a Duvel tulip pours a crisp bubbly orange with a nice frothy off-white head that lasts as a thin layer and leaves decent lacing on the glass. Aroma is like a freshly cut grapefruit, loads of citrus with a nice sweet malt backbone. The taste is just about IPA prefection, loads of citrus hops with a nice amount of pine as well. A nice burnt caramel backbone provides the right amount of balance. The beer is on the light side of medium, very smooth and refreshing after a hot day. This is without question one of my favorite beers, I can't wait for it to come out in six-packs this fall.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
4.82/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the Hulmeville for this one. Poured a very soft looking hazy auburn with an extremely white heading. Left lacing all around the glass and left a nice white cap all the way until the end.

Smell is insane. One of the very best aroma's from an IPA I have ever smelled. Crazy tropical fruit aroma. Pineapple,mango, citric lemony nose. Crisp cracker like aroma from the malt's really have nothing to say except that "Hey I'm here too".

Taste is well more of the same but the hop aroma that was present earlier has turned green and taken over my tongue. An all out assault in which sting's the tastebuds with bitter goodness. A quick touchdown of the crackerboard malts but again quickly covered but the sweet fruits.

Mouth is more towards a mid bodied beer. Heavy hoppy linger that loves to just stick around and keep your mouth watering for much more.

Well this now could very well be my favorite IPA. Need I say if it is drinkable?

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep golden color with a thick and frothy white head that retains impressively and leaves beautiful lacing. The aroma is equally impressive, with big citrus fruitiness upfront, along with some pine resin and passion fruit, some biscuit, caramel, esters, and alcohol...not especially complex but impeccably fresh smelling. The flavor is also nice, but a bit of a letdown from the appearance/aroma...notes of citrus and piney hops initially, a little mint, biscuit, herbs, caramel, orange marmalade, alcohol and a slight hint of funk. The mouthfeel is light and sprightly, and drinkability is excellent. Overall a really nice IPA, with a fresh hop character that is pleasant and clean at the same time, there isn't a massively bitter finish like with some lesser IPAs.

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Photo of Kala1073
4.62/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- A nice yellow-orange color with a nice white head. The head soon dissolves into to a thin lacing.

Smell- You can definitely smell mango, citrus fruits, and some piney hops. It smells incredible!

Taste- Like the smell, the flavors of mango, citrus, and pine can be tasted. Its crisp and refreshing.

Mouthfeel- It was not heavy at all. A very nice feel to it.

Drinkability- I could propably drink this all day during those hot summer days! A terrific beer!

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