Sculpin IPA | Ballast Point Brewing Company

2,472 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 2,472 | Ratings: 13,708
Photo of Pray_For_Mojo
4.23/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a tulip

Appearance: amber-golden. A vigorous light tan head of silky find bubbles forms immediately when poured. Very pretty. Good head retention.

Aroma: sharp, piney, like resin. Very "dry" smelling if such a thing is possible. Inviting.

Flavor: wow! This is much different and better than memory serves. The malt is sweet and extremely honey-like in flavor. Super hoppy and dry. The hops contribute more honey flavor and melon...honey melon?, but honey foremost. No off flavors whatsoever.

Mouthfeel: medium, but the body seems to add up as you progress through the bottle. Multiple beers would weigh you down.

Overall: much different than memory and far better. My memory was a positive one, but the refresher was better still. I can't stress enough the honey flavor. Other beers have this same honey flavor, but none with absolutely no off flavors. Very good. A repeat purchase for certain.

 929 characters

Photo of DraconusDesanctus666
4.04/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a cigar city pint glass.

Thin white frothy head,nice looking cascade that ends quickly along with the head.Golden straw color,with amber tint.Crystal clear through the glass,with light carbonation.

The nose is mostly hops,with a floral background.

The palate is mostly west coast hops,with notes is citrus.Small hints off floral notes,with a little bit of dankness.

The body is medium with some hop fizzling in the mouth.

This is a solid IPA.I personally think it is a little overrated,but that is my opinion.Definitely a good IPA,definitely one I would drink again...But it doesn't crack my top 10.

 636 characters

Photo of mrbasbl
4.44/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

New to IPA's, but very familiar w Ballast Point. Good tasting IPA. Not to heavy on the florals which are a slight turn off for me on some IPA's. Ballast Point continues to make awesome brews and this does not disappoint. I LOVE the Cali Kolsch so I had to give the Sculpin a taste. Not disappointed!

 311 characters

Photo of Malbiter
4.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Crack open a can and you will smell and see what all the fuss is about.
Pour the can and taste the brew and you will taste what the fuss is all about.

Very nice and clean IPA, with a nice citrus flavor and smell.

Pricy, but what can you do. Everything is.

 259 characters

Photo of Mad_Monkey
4.67/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

When looking to continue from a good IPA like a Dogfish 60min, you should give this a try. A clean, crisp, and light to medium weight IPA. A nice beer to start a cool night with a grapefruit taste that will be a good entry to other grapefruit IPAs that have been making grate advances in the IPA world.

 302 characters

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

Great IPA. I was avoiding it for years for some reason, probably stupidity. I now officially love this and dogfish 90 minute. I'm going to San Diego next week so maybe I'll find lucky number 3.

 195 characters

Photo of Kdouble
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Something new to my area and seemed a little pricey. Poured from a can into a snifter glass.

Nice golden color with a slight haze. Very little head.

Really nice citrus combination with pineapple and mango in it. Some malt in there that blends nicely.

Really like the bitterness of the hops in the first taste. The tropical fruit kicks in and slight taste of maybe caramel also.

Clean crisp feel that makes this very drinkable.

Overall a great IPA. Easy to drink and enjoy.

 479 characters

Photo of nicholas2121
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sculpin IPA brewed by Ballast Point Brewing Company, with an ABV of 7.00% This IPA pours out a golden amber color with a small white head. There is also a nice cloudy tint to Sculpin IPA. Sculpin IPA is an unfiltered brew you can not see though this IPA. The smell of Sculpin IPA, is nice with hops, grains and malts. You also pick up on a mild sweetness in the smell of this brew. The smell is really inviting. There is also a fair amount of lacing to this IPA. Now for the taste, it is bold with hops at first. Then it smooths out with sweet grains and malts. There is a lot going on in Sculpin IPA . This IPA had the look, smell and taste of most IPA's on the market. Not saying that is a bad thing. What sets this IPA form the others is how smooth it is. Sculpin IPA has a super nice balance to it, there is nothing overpowering about this brew. It is really hard to pick up on the 7.00% ABV in this brew. The month feel of Sculpin IPA is, Rich, Bold, Clean Smooth and Refreshing. I really how bold this brew is however it goes down nice and smooth. Overall I'm giving Sculpin IPA a 4.50 out of 5. I would buy this brew again. If you are a fan of IPA's look this brew up. Ballast Point Brewing Company, did a real nice job with this brew.

 1,244 characters

Photo of JonCorbett
4.21/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: A golden-coppery orange with a reddish hue. A good amount of rising foamy white head and some decent looking lacing left behind as it settles.

Aromatics: Fairly strong floral infused pineapple and grapefruit citrus with pine resin. I also get a good level of toasty raisin that keeps the balance closer to the sweeter end of the spectrum. I actually really like the how the subtle sweet malt seems to drift in just underneath.

Taste: There is a bit of a yeasty bread sweetness right at the start that quickly moves on to the more intense citrus peel and earthy pine of the hops. The bitter is equivalent to day old coffee with a hint of mocha added.

Mouth: A decent amount of carbonation (not too much) it sits just below "lively" and is good enough to add a nice sensation to the palate. Body is definitely medium, and doesn't wander closer to one end or the other. It's intake is slick and warming, the finish is of moderate length and intensity with a bitter that has a good heft to it.

Overall: I really enjoyed the complexity and freshness. It is one of the better IPAs I've had, even though IPAs are not my usual these days, and I tend to prefer East Coast hop varieties better than the West, so that probably plays a role in my overall impression. Would I drink it again? You bet! But I'm in agreement with many of the others who have ranked it and noted that it just seem to be as far up the chart as other highly praised beers.

 1,453 characters

Photo of superspak
4.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 8/22/2016. Pours slightly hazy medium orange/amber color with a 2 finger dense and rocky off white head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Dense soapy lacing clings around the glass. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, apricot, peach, pineapple, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, pine, light caramel, toasted biscuit, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of bright citrus/tropical/pine hops and moderate bready malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, apricot, peach, pineapple, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, pine, light caramel, toasted biscuit, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/citrus rind/grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, apricot, peach, pineapple, mango, lemon/orange rind, pine, toasted biscuit, and herbal/floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of bright citrus/tropical/pine hops and moderate bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance, and minimal lingering hop astringency after the finish. Moderate dryness from bitterness, increasing through the glass. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, sticky/resinous, and lightly creamy/grainy balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Minimal warming alcohol for 7%. Overall this is an incredible IPA. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of bright citrus/tropical/pine hops and moderate bready malt flavors; very smooth and easy to drink despite very resinous bitterness. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,726 characters

Photo of CRyan603
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very good IPA. Not as floral as some of the real good IPAs but still very hoppy and a good mouthfeel. Very unassuming by the looks, but tastes strong and finished smooth.

 172 characters

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

(poured into a pint glass) Yellow-golden, hazy, bubbly; off-white frothy head that leaves a thin, frothy layer; little spotty lacing.

Sweet, sugary IPA hop aroma: tropical citrusy fruits such as pineapple and orange and apricot and tangerine. Piney hops. Honey. A hint of white bread. Delicious, but sort-of mild.

Taste: mild but present hops: fruity (as described above), and the piney hops as well. Honey-oat malt character. I tell you what: this beer is so well put together. The flavors blend with such harmony. It's not so much a round beer as it is a well-blended beer. And the hop profile is one of the most pleasant hop profiles of my beer-drinking experience, for it is not too oily nor does it leave a lasting bitterness on the back of my tongue. I am not an IPA guy, but I could honestly drink this one year-round and not get tired of it. (Still, not as good as Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA.)

Mouthfeel/finish: medium-full, light carbonation; clean, bitter, refreshing.

Overall: I like it as much as I like Sierra Nevada but the price is outrageous, so I would probably go with Airrra Nevada Extra IPA

 1,122 characters

Photo of AnthonyJS
3.87/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a light amber color. It's flavor has hints of citrus and has a bready aftertaste with a dry finish. It has a hoppy bitter quality to it as well, but unfortunately I thought the bitterness was a tad too strong for my taste. Overall I still think it's a more than decent beer, and if I saw this at a party I wouldn't hesitate to grab a bottle.

 347 characters

Photo of mjurney
4.48/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Amber-gold color, a little chill haze. Full of carbonation. Small head.

Resiny, citrus, herbal, floral, mango, pineapple, sweet caramel malts.

Hop bitterness up front, citrus, resiny, piney, floral, herbal, tropical fruit. Strong malt backbone, caramel, toasty, sugary. Well balance. Finish is semi-dry, clean. Medium bodied, crisp, easy drinking, a little oily.

It's an awesome IPA!

 439 characters

Photo of dee4maine
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

solid west coast style IPA. was definitely a little too bitter for my palate. Probably will try it again on the tap somewhere and hopefully a fresher one will change my perspective.

 181 characters

Photo of neenerzig
4.12/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Having this on-tap. This beer draws a pretty clear, medium golden color with a bit of an orange hue and a white head that's about half an inch thick when first drawn and served. Head settles to a medium sized to thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with some bits of foam on the beer's surface. Aromas of slightly toasted caramel malt notes along with mango, melon, and citrus hops. The taste is pretty much the same, with slightly toasted caramel malt sweetness that gives way to mango, melon, and citrus hop bitterness that also has a bit of an earthy note to it. Good balance of flavors here. Has a mainly crisp, slightly smooth and frothy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Has a clean finish. easy to drink in the good way.


 779 characters

Photo of crimsonfloyd
4.53/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Medium amber color with soapy head. Smell is amazing. Nice, sharp and citrusy. Warm mango flavor with nice lemon rind flavor in the hops. Smooth texture driven by the malts. Really well rounded IPA.

 198 characters

Photo of Holderness
3.38/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L -- vibrant pale orange. Slight haziness. Medium head with significant lacing
S -- mango, hops, lemon, nutmeg
T -- bitter hops and burnt orange. Very similar to lagunitas little sumpin sumpin but far too bitter
F -- crisp and heady. Pretty standard IPA
O -- I would purchase little sumpin sumpin instead

 304 characters

Photo of brureview
4.27/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I actually reviewed this beer about a year and a half ago.
I deleted the review, because the beer was totally different than the last time.

Since Ballast Point is now part of a bigger company, it has better distribution, and fresher bottle dates. Years ago, it was not uncommon for Sculpin to be 8 months old.

This can was brewed in late July. Less than 2 months.

Poured a golden copper- red color with a 3F head in a Spiegalau glass.

Wonderfully fragrant aroma, spicy, piney, other fruit.

Taste follows the aroma : pine, fruit- stone fruit, very spicy and carbonated.

Good hoppy finish, not too strong.

Okay, this the Sculpin which has the great rep.
Class-act West Coast IPA.

More for the fridge in the near future.

 726 characters

Photo of Kubishark
3.98/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

An amber orange color with a rich smell of hops and citrus. Tastes very citrussy, a little piney, and has a mild bitter bite towards the end. Feels solidly medium bodied. Overall it's a fine example of the style.

 212 characters

Photo of wesdevclimb
4.17/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I enjoyed Sculpin from a 12oz bottle poured into a shaker pint glass. The beer pours a dark, golden, orange that looks as refreshing as it tastes. There was about a finger and a half of paper white head with good lacing on the glass.

The aroma is very strong and is dominated by citrus, floral, and fresh characteristics. I picked up lots of orange and grapefruit.

This is a medium-heavy bodied beer that feels hearty and sweet with a nice amount of carbonation and buttery smooth finish. It is a great level of bitterness compared to lots of other IPA's. I'll probably pick up another sixer of Sculpin as long as I can not look at the price.

 646 characters

Photo of Aerocraft67
4/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this a couple of times but don't think it's worth the price or its vaunted status. A bit lighter and at least as complex as a Dogfish 60, I'll give it that. A fine IPA but the price just grinds my shorts. I also prefer the richness of the Two-Hearted at a bit lower price point.

 284 characters

Photo of Brant
3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a gorgeous, brilliant tangerine-honey color with a thin head. Smells mostly of citrus/grapefruit and hops. Tastes like you'd expect a grapefruity IPA to taste - a balanced floral, grapefruit zing that quickly fades but with minimal bitterness. Seems only moderately carbonated, which I liked.

Overall I found this quite enjoyable and refreshing. I only bought one to try, but I could see my future self busting through the door with a six-pack of this stuff.

 469 characters

Photo of Hyptochrons
4.14/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

great looking brew. notes of bready and caramel malt, floral, grass, resinous pine, light grapefruit. mouthfeel is decent but doesnt stand up to other top IPAs.

 160 characters

Photo of adamhdg
4.67/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a beautiful straw color with a thin head. Smells of citrus and pine. Delicious flavors of the same including mango. Easy and light going down. Awesome for a hot summers day. Overall, the best IPA I've had.

 211 characters

Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,708 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.