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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,463 | Ratings: 13,668
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of gotzilla
3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Copper color, little head, light bubbles carbonation which I like.

Got hit by the smell right away in a really nice way. When I returned to get the aroma it seemed gone.

Love the smoothness, which is helped by the low carbonation.

Can't detect the alcohol and it's 7%

I'm totally getting the citrus, especially the grapefruit.

Ultimately, I don't love the taste. I like it, but there's something bitter that keeps me from getting into the hype. Maybe it's the hype itself that's getting in my way. I see how drinkable it is, I appreciate the comments about the foam on the side of the glass, but it's still a little one-dimensional, it's bitter at the end, and I don't think it's at the level of a Dogfish, Pliny, or Lizard's Mouth.

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Photo of Mateo2699
4.48/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My #1 go-to, accessible IPA for years now. Pours a clear golden orange, nice white tight bubbled head that lasts the whole session. Excellent lacing. Aroma consists of a citrusy burst of orange peel and grapefruit, pine and and a hint of sweet malt in the back end. That sweet bready malt initially in the taste, waves of grapefruit and pine and finishes with a subtle bitter hoppy after taste. Mouthfeel is relatively thin to medium bodied, moderate carbonation. A great easy drinker, hard to sense anything wrong with this.

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Photo of ryanswartz47
4.93/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Simply a prime example of an IPA. I didn't want to put it down to write this review. Therefore, I'll keep it short. Whatever comes to mind when you think "IPA" is what this beer looks, smells, tastes, and feels like. My only complaint is that I didn't buy two (or three). I didn't give 5's across the board because nothing is perfect.

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Photo of Theworldiscrazy
4.95/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is one of the highest rated IPAs, and with good reason. Tons of hops, but a very balanced flavor-profile as well. It's a bold IPA, well-suited to those that like west coast IPAs and hoppy bitterness, while still being extremely smooth and refreshing at the same time. My biggest gripe is with the price - yes, it is probably one of the best IPAs on the market and can command a premium price, but there are many other great options at 1/2 the price!!

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Photo of TeamMathis
4.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It has the best head retention I've ever seen in an IPA. Super frothy. The citrus smell is very, very inviting, but subtle. The taste also isn't overwhelming, but has a really nice bitter burn on the end. It's very close to the bitterness of an English IPA. Yes, I'd get this again. Is this one overhyped? Maybe, but worth getting.

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Photo of Nightmare1972
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a very clear amber look with a very thick creamy white head. Has a sweet hoppy aroma with a hint of pine. Very hoppy with a light caramel, and somewhat hidden apricot taste.

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Photo of nerdboy19
4.62/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look : Redish orange, very clear with white head - 4/5
Aroma : Huge citrus, grapefruit aroma. Balanced piney, malty nose. - 4.5/5
Mouthfeel : Medium carbonation, medium bodied, excellent. - 5/5
Flavor : Perfect balance with hop and malt for west coast ipa. Mainly very grapefruit like, but also has piney character. Balanced malty sweetness and great bitterness - 5/5
Overall : It might taste boring since there are so many great new ipas in the world right now, but this beer tops west coast style ipa. My all time favorite - 5/5

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Photo of HoppyBastard
4.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Shaker pint glass, there is no "best by" date that I can find.

APPEARANCE: pours a clear, copper color with one-finger white head, excellent retention, the head slowly settled until a thin, unbroken layer of small bubbles remained, there is significant lacing on the glass, higher than average carbonation, this is a beautiful looking beer to be sure.

SMELL: bread, flowery with some grapefruit citrus and pine.

TASTE: initially sweet bread and then grapefruit citrus and some pine, the citrus and hops are understated and the sweet malt is more pronounced, the end result is a wonderfully balanced IPA.

PALATE: medium body and higher than average carbonation.

OVERALL: I have been hearing about this beer for years and for the first time it is available in my area, sometimes I have high expectations and get disappointed.....not today, this beer is beautiful to look at and wonderfully balanced, I will buy this again and will recommend to everyone I know, my only gripe is that it cost $15.99 for a six pack, this beer should not cost more than $9.99, this would be my new "go to" if the price point were more favorable.

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Photo of 0_0
4.17/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L - Golden, like the fresh waters of your local lake
S- Fruity, mango, tropical.
Taste- citrus, pine a little thin
F- smooth
O - Took these out for a fishing trip. Solid choice.

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Photo of Bulabeers
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

This was bottled on April 26th and came out of a mix 12 pack. I've had it before both fresher and older.
L: Orangeish golden beer with a finger and a half of white head and tons of lacing
S: Seems like the aroma is the most effected attribute of the beer at nearly three months old. Can pick up some high alpha acid bitter hop. Kind of resiny. A slight hint of muddled pine and citrus.
T: This is still a very good tasting IPA. Pine and citrus are coming through maybe grapefruit and lemons. Caramel and a lingering hop bitterness.
F: Phenols and medium carbonation. No alcohol present.
O: Great IPA. Wish it was two weeks old. Mix pack was 22 $ on sale and nearly three months old. Would hesitate to make this purchase again however this particular beer being reviewed price and packaging aside is a delicious beer.

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Photo of TrueOregonian
3.78/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L- Hazy orange/golden color

S- pear followed by tangerine, apricot, fresh bread. Smells like it's gonna taste amazing.

T- very well balanced. The malt backbone is very big on the flavor.
You get pear, apricot, bread, a little grapefruit on the bitter side but just right. Just so well balanced.

O- decent ipa. I am more of a west coast kinda ipa guy but this is nice.


Trying this beer I had the lagunitas equinox and it tastes very similar. I liked it better though.

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Photo of pezhead_79
4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

While I am not an IPA fan, I do enjoy the beer style in small doses. This is perhaps the finest year-round IPA I have enjoyed. It hits all the right notes but is never overpowering in any aspect. Overall, I am really happy that it has become available in my region (Indiana).

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Photo of jrsqc7
3.09/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Are you in the market for a one dimensional IPA? How about one that really, substantively,, the embodiment of the "California" IPA, where you get one dimensional hop bitterness, no malt profile worth speaking of? If that sounds right up your alley, then, hey, you're gonna love this beer. It's got hops. Then, it's got more hops. Even more hops come in latter. The mouthfeel and head retention are the best things about this beer.

Enjoyed with an unfiltered lucky strike.

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Photo of KatyBeerGuy
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into tulip. One finger head went to 1/2 quickly. Very citrusy, orangy on the nose. Initial taste took over my mouth with sweet fruitiness. Like nectar flowing into the palate after biting into a super juicy orange, with some hops tart coming through big time. A fantastic IPA. Will find out after the bottle (or two) but this may be my favorite IPA.

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Photo of JacobusFavier23
4.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L-Pours a hazy yellow straw like color with a hint of amber, with a nice white foamy head.
S- Sweet, floral, hoppy, citrusy, piney and mellow all together.
T- I get the taste of strong ripe orange, grapefruit, with a slight boozy mix. It has the perfect citrus and bitterness that makes it have this juicy grapefruit taste. Ugh its so delicious.
F- Crisp fresh and delicious-exrtremely refreshing.
0- There is just no better ipa down in this region of the US (lower Alabama). This is the best IPA i've ever had. Delicious, everything you'd want in an ipa and refreshing with a mellow spin. If you haven't had this ipa do yourself a flavor and get it.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.07/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is one of those “long time coming” beers in that it’s so highly rated in the US (BeerAdvocate has it on their Beers of Fame list: The gold standard of tasting lists IMO) and Dan Murphy’s have stocked their Big Eye IPA for many years - I mean WTF took them so long to get Sculpin in?!? Anyway, it’s here, it’s overpriced, and it’s finally getting either the “Doc brand seal of Approval” or the “Doc brand seal of Meh!”... or something in-between those 2 seals [perhaps half of each seal? I haven’t really given it that much thought]. So take it away Ballast Point Sculpin IPA!

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Hazed amber body with a half centimetre dense cream-coloured head that leaves a decent bit of spider web lace on the side of the glass. Overall this is a top-notch looking, although a tad prosaic, American IPA. 8/10.

S: Quite a perfume of hops here - very flowery, with piney/citrus and a touch of pineapple. The most noticeable thing though is the bold floral character - which is not uncommon in an IPA, but intriguingly takes centre stage in the aroma of Sculpin. 9/10.

T: Sweet potpourri of flowers upfront crashes against assertive piney/citric bitterness and somewhere in the mid palate you’ve got light caramel malts and a touch of fresh pineapple [nowhere near the hefty “pineapple chunks in syrup” notes you get from another certain DIPA, which is Doc’s favourite... I won’t name names - you’ll just have to read my blog]. It’s got just enough to differentiate it flavourwise from Big Eye without being any more impressive [to me at least]. 8/10.

M: Medium bodied with a decent dense carbonation - it’s lacking a bit of wow in the mouthfeel. 7/10.

D: So it’s really just Big Eye with a slightly different flavour profile (for better or worse). I did dig the floral aroma of this one over Big Eye, but apart from that I’m finding Ballast Point to be a little overrated in the IPA stakes - there’s a good many excellent IPA brewers out there in that land they call ‘Merica: Where anyone, no matter how terrible their hairpiece is... I mean like an animal died and is withering away on their head, and no matter how bigoted the person, they can still run for president of the country - now that’s freedom right there! [or the slow decline into despotism]. 8/10.

Food match: Thinking Thai cuisine - like a Kaeng pa with fresh chilli or Som tam Thai (also with fresh chilli).

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Photo of oldn00b
4.17/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice, standard, well rounded west coast IPA. Typical of the style, one of the gold standards. Freshness definitely matters but it holds up really well for a month or two. Always happy to have this one.

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Photo of Gear54
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle into a pint glass.

Beer is crystal clear gold/light amber in color. Thick finger width white head with good retention and nice lace left on the glass. very good

Smell is mostly citrus hops. Nice orange zest and grapefruit aromas in the nose. Maybe some floral notes and caramel malt underneath the initial hop smell.

Taste is very well done. Nice balanced IPA with the bitter citrus grapefruit type hops up front and a sold malty backbone behind it. This is what my ideal representation of the style looks like.

Feel is crisp medium body with good carbonation. The excellent balance makes this very drinkable beer. Well done

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Photo of Doryman
3.52/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This is a perfectly fine, classic IPA, in fact, if there was a tastable IPA beer dictionary, you would probably find a pint of this beer under the definition of IPA. Not especially floral or fruity. It is suitably bitter, crisp and refreshing. I will always and happily drink one if offered but it really costs too much for me to ever buy it again. Thirteen dollars for a six pack? Really? It's not all that.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,668 ratings.
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