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: 2,423 | Ratings: 13,371
Photo of THSdrummer
4.39/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a translucent orange-yellow with a medium-thin off-white head. A fair amount of lacing. Smell is dominated by piney hop aromas. Taste is a refreshing mix of piney hop and citrus, but with an emphasis on the former. Mouth feel is rather nice. It feels strong and well carbonated. Overall, this is a great stock-standard IPA. Without any citrus emphasis, the hops get a much better chance to shine, and thus the hoppy taste may overwhelm some. It is on the medium-light hop side of American IPAs though.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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

Pretty much the best IPA I've ever had. The Ballast Point flagship beer really is amazing. A nice citrus flavored hop mixed with some sappy piney notes as well. Very balanced and refreshing. They charge a pretty penny for six-packs, but it really is worth the cost. Golden tint and crisp taste are great!

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Photo of GRPunk
4.19/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. can, no decodible date (from Teddy) poured into an imperial pint glass.

A- A normal pour creates 1-1/2 fingers of khaki head. The body is a hazy, golden-orange with medium- light carbonation. The head sustains at a nice foam and leaves fairly wide rings on the glass.

S- Quite aromatic. A good mix of sweet malts and fresh hops. Lots of grapefruit and other tropical/citrus scents. Actually, quite balanced. Just how I like an IPA.

T- A lot like the aroma. A hit of hops up front, sugary malts through the middle create a nice backbone and bring balance, the finish is all hops (mostly grapefruit, with some spicy qualities). Clean, dry finish.

M- Medium body with a good bite from the medium carbonation and the bold hopping alike. Bone dry finish.

O- A solid American IPA. For all the hops, the malt bill brings decent balance. I get the hype behind this one. It's a really good beer. If Two Hearted and Founders and Crooked Tree, and Huma Lupa weren't so readily available, I could see this being a "go to."

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Photo of mpyle
4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brilliantly clear, deep golden color. Pours a whitish head, moderate in size but with nice retention.

Nice hop aroma with a lot of citrus character (grapefruit?) plus some pine notes. No single hop aroma overpowers...nice blend. A bit of sweetness to aroma...hops or malt, I'm not 100% sure.

Perfect blend of malt sweetness and hop flavors (again, a citrus/pine blend). Bitterness is initially subtle, but seems to amplify greatly in the finish. Not a killer bitterness bite, but definitely to my liking.

Medium body and carbonation. No astringency or warming. Mouthfeel generally stays out of the way and doesn't distract from the wonderful flavors and aromas.

I may have found a new favorite American IPA. Spot on to style for my taste buds. Great hop flavor and bitterness, but no harshness. Overall a very clean, well made beer.

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

Poured from 355 ml bottle in a glass mug. (Exp. 02/2016, according to importer's label.) Great aroma, very heavy body. Cloudy, light amber liquid. Nice retention foam. Low drinkability.

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

Probably my favorite go-to IPA there is. Tropical, citrus-y, and of course plenty hoppy. Hides a wonderful 7.00 abv as well as it could. The brand standard.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.94/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a balloon glass.

This is one of those rare beers that I have seen on Beer Advocate for years and never had access too but finally have the chance as it is now distributed to my area. Beers like this rarely live up to their expectation.

It's a clear medium copper color with slowly rising bubbles. A cream colored head recedes to a cirrus cloud wisp with spotty lacing. The aroma is citrus (orange, grapefruit) and sweet tropical mango. Woody pine comes in the back end. The taste seems more dry and woody -- pine with grapefruit rind. Citrus in there, but lacking fruit sweetness. The finish is dry.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and dry.

Overall, definitely did not live up to the hype. I will never buy it again.

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Photo of crhall41
3.97/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look - Clear golden color, good carbonation and head retention. nice foam generation with a gentle swirl.
Smell - initially a not overwhelming citrus aroma, mild apricot/peach in the background.
Taste - nice mild citrus hop flavor with a bitter finish. Taste is similar to other good IPAs but it differs in that it has a subtle hint of apricot/peach flavor.
Feel - slight creamy taste with a crisp finish.
Overall - a good IPA that differentiates itself from others with the atypical hop flavors. This is a very approachable IPA for someone who is not used to hoppy beers. This would be a great beer on a hot summer day. Yes I would drink this beer again but I would not seek it out as I prefer a more citrus forward IPA.

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Photo of Kratman
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I was very pleasantly surprised at how good this was. Aroma to me came off with so flora / cotta combo. Poured beautifully into a 18th st snifter. I could fill a cooler and hit the beach with some of these. Eager to try the Grapefruit and pineapple soon. At 7% could drink these all day long.

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Photo of Beers-es
4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a growler from a just-tapped keg, pours a nice orangey copper with an off-white, fluffy head that topped 3 fingers, even with a gentle-ish pour. Fair amount of lacing. Smell is mangos and a sort of spicy pine, though mangos always smell a little piney to me, so maybe it's just mangos. Also some grapefruit, some musty earth and a little bit of sweet fruit I can't place, but elements of peach, apricot, orange and pineapple.

Taste is initially a big blast of pine and spicy hops, with some fruity flavor coming in midway, before going piney and spicy again. The hops are the main show, but there is enough malt in the background to provide a good foundation. Feel is a little more full than medium, with nice carbonation and a drying bitterness that takes on a slightly sticky resinous quality in the finish.

Overall I think this is a great beer if you like a big, decently bitter IPA--which I do.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.41/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: huge white head, nice clean look
S: citrus! Love my ipas with citrus vs. pine
T: like the smell, very citrus forward. Gets some bitterness from the hops, but it doesn't finish dry which is what I look for in my ipas
F: easy drinking and doesn't have a dry finish.
O: a great ipa, and it's available year- round

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Photo of BrokenEdge
3.58/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a transparent amber orange color with a frothy, bright white head that lasted the whole glass. Big hop flavor and aroma with lots of grapefruit and other tropical notes. Slightly too unbalanced in the way of bitterness, imo, needs a stronger malt backbone. It ends up giving this beer an almost medicinal quality. Leaves a lingering bitter finish.

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Photo of Coopersbeer
4.29/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice lacing. Wish the head didn't so quickly dissipate. Very clear - I like an IPA that's a bit cloudy. Crisp. It's good. I'd definitely buy this again.

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Photo of schematix
4.38/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Wife got me a bottle as a stocking stuffer for Christmas. Very thoughtful gift. Knew of this beer but wasn't aware of how highly hyped it was.

A: Poured crystal clear gold to copper. KILLER head. In fact, top 2 for me in terms of best head of all time (for beer).

S: Hops.

T: This is where the hype fell flat. Syrupy hoppiness. Hops are noticeably citrus. Not much else.

M: Carbonation is spot on. Wow this is bitter. This has to be like 70-80 IBU.It's a tongue twister for sure. Too bitter to pair with food.

O: Over hyped. Good beer and i'd drink it again, but I don't like syrupy sweet IPAs. At this IBU it needs to be dryer. I would recommend trying it though as it is good, but I'd never pin this as a 'great' beer.

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Photo of Roadking1979
4.66/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have criss-crossed this great nation in search of the perfect IPA, and the three I submit for your consideration are Sculpin, Union Jack, and Three Floyd's Broo Doo. I've consumed hundreds of bombers, thousands of pints, and a number of growlers I've lost track of. None have beaten Sculpin for consistent quality. Will buy it at any price, and have. It's just that good.

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Photo of jmasher85
3.9/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I will probably make a more in-depth addendum to this review later, but for now, let's just say that it's a solid IPA, not even an American IPA, but a true, almost-English-style one with a great sense of balance and nice malts to even the keel. Grapefruit is the dominant flavor in the hops, but bitter resins still preside over all and a smooth texture and light body make this an easy beginner IPA for anyone who likes a crisp, refreshing, bitter beer. Grapefruit variant of Sculpin takes things in the next logical direction, but I'm enjoying this as it is.

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Photo of Nickholland
4.11/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Great IPA, hops are dominant but enough malt to provide complexity. Reminds me a lot of Union Jack. Maybe not quite as good, but a great beer in its own right.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
3.98/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz, bottled Nov., 2015.

Look: Pours a very clear straw color, with a white head; very nice lacing.

Smell: strong smell of citrus.

Taste: lots of hops, and although its minor, there is something in there I am not a big fan of (dry hopped?); all in all, great flavor.

Feel: Medium, and nothing that really stands out.

Overall: I did a side-by-side of Sculpin, Grapefruit Sculpin, and Habaneno Sculpin. For straight up enjoyment, and drink-ability, I like this one best. One of the better IPAs I have had and nicely balanced. Good job Ballast Point.

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Photo of spamNeggs
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

fresh bottle.

Nice Amber/orange, white thick head. Little haze which mostly cleared.
Smell and taste are awesome. Pine, Cirtus/Grapfruit, and more subtle sort of floral fruit.
For me carbonation is just where it ought to be, probably a bit lower than others. It's there but it doesn't get in the way. good medium body for 7%.

Just, so nice. Really nicely balanced IPA for my tastes.


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Photo of Mlkluther
3.85/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This IPA is a perfectly balanced beer. More to the floral side of the IPA style - but a truly excellent beer. A nice change from some of the overly hopped one note IPAs out there. Glad to have it in Alberta!

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Photo of gandres
4.23/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz poured in wine glass
Appearance: Golden amber minimal head, clear, some lacing, appears is appealing
Aroma: smell of hops, hint of citrus
Taste: well balance bitterness
Overall: Excellent India Pale Ale, one of the best even from a bottle

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Photo of Chandango
4.34/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Freakin great. It pours golden amber and clear, with a frothy white head that lingers and laces. The aroma is strong with this one, caught a whiff as I poured and was immediately excited to dive in. Smells of citrus fruit, mostly grapefruit, with a backbone of dank hops. That first sip is fantastic, hitting with a complex array of fruit, hops, some malts. Very fresh and crisp. Bitter hops linger somewhat, balancing and adding nicely to the overall drink. Definitely up there in the realm of fantastic IPA

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Photo of frasergrove
4.49/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I remember the first time I tried this beer in a blind tasting, and I thought I had landed on my favorite IPA (Union Jack)...but then I was exposed to a whole new beer world....

Pours a mild amber golden, head is bone white, and dissipates medium quickly. Aroma is bright with tropical fruit, melon, mango, pine, light hint of breadiness...very complex and well balanced. Body is smooth, while hiding a bit of its bitterness with alcohol sweetness. Excellent finish, crisp with no lingering after bite. Absolutely excellent IPA, one of my two favorites (with the aforementioned Union Jack). Has a bit of shelf life, but fresh is out of this world.

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Photo of gusman61
3.75/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very Refreshing. It gets you past the interesting hump(back) very quickly. BTW, the "Interesting Hump" is the point down a pint glass where you suddenly get more interesting.

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Photo of starclassic21
4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer that got me into craft beer.

The quintessential West Coast IPA. Clear, filtered orange color. Smells of grapefruit, tropical fruit and slightly dank hops. Taste matches the nose. Well balanced, citrus fruits (especially grapefruit) with some tropical fruit notes as well. West coast dank. Medium bitterness. Medium mouthfeel. Very clean IPA.


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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
97 out of 100 based on 2,423 ratings.
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