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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Reviews: 2,472 | Ratings: 13,710
Photo of Taybeh
4.5/5  rDev +3%

On tap, Into a shaker pint, at the Union Taphouse in the Gaslamp district

A: gold orange, with a minimal head (curse the bartender)
S: nice and hoppy, with some apricot, sharper citrus, some earthy floral notes too.
T: great grassy notes, some citrus pith, a bit of pale malt in the front half to provide some balance, then the end has a nice aggressive bitterness that provides some prickliness on the tongue; bright, citrus rind, and a good bite but not at all overwhelming.
Very quaffable and refreshing, with some different interesting notes to taste and comes together nicely.
Better on tap than what I've had from bottles back in the midwest. This is outstanding.

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

A- Clear dark gold with a fluffy white head that lasts, lacing all the way down the glass.

N- Tropical fruit, resinous hops, flowers, and grapefruit rind.

T- Crisp biscuity malt backbone layered with piny hop resins, bright citrus notes, and grapefruit rind. The fruitiness of the hops compliments the rich maltiness. Hop resins and grapefruit linger into the aftertaste as the oils cling to the sides of my mouth.

M- Medium light mouthfeel, sticky with hop oils, crisp carbonation and a semi-dry finish.

D- This is a thirst quenching brew. Definitely goes down easy despite being full flavored.

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Photo of IPAdams
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Pours a transparent copper with a small white head that recedes to a small foam and leaves moderate lacing.

Smell-Strong citrus and grapefruit hops. Lots of resin in the nose.

Taste- Great taste. Starts with a light fruity sweetness that is then hit with lots of hops. Grapefruit, citrus, a little pine. Then the end is a good bitterness, not overpowering but enough to let you know its an IPA.

Mouthfeel- Good carbonation, the body is a bit on the lighter side for an IPA.

Overall- Very good IPA, great balance between hops, malts, flavor and bitterness.

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

Thanks to Paul (Lunch) for sharing this growler.

A: Mostly clear and light yellow in color with a thick, white head and an ample amount of sticky lacing.

S: Great fresh hop and tart citrus aromas. Simply wonderful.

T: Absolutely awesome flavor. Grapefruit presence is very prominent. Tangy and hop forward, this beer is incredibly smooth and bursting with flavor.

M: Medium / thin in body, the feel is smooth and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation.

D: I could drink this all night. One of the best IPAs I have ever had.

I have had a few experiences with this beer where the aste was phenomenal. however, Sculpin is inconsistent, whether from the tap or the bottle. Too many decent to mediocre experiences to sustain the soaring high score I gave it initially.

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

Quintessential American IPA. It is hoppy, complex, layered, refreshing and balanced. The aromatics found are what you'd find in a traditional American IPA. In summary, it is the traditional made very, very well.

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

Bottle received in a trade with funkydelic, thank you so much for getting this gem to me!

Appearance: Slightly cloudy, more towards golden than orange, with a 1 finger white crown that shows some retention and lacing. This looks like my kind of IPA!

Smell: Not the most pungent IPA, but still a fairly impressive array of grapefruit citrus notes and floral hop notes over a pale malt.

Taste: Grapefruit and a slight pine note coupled with grass. Nice amount of hop bitterness without much astringency!

Mouthfeel: I'm not sure on this one. It's a touch chewy, seems a touch undercarbonated, but is fairly spot on.

Drinkability: Fantastic for a brew with so much hop goodness.

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

Worth the hype. This is a delicious, clean, direct, assertive beer.

Pours a slightly hazy golden with a fluffy white head with amazing lacing. The aroma is sharp and piney, with a firm citrusy hop character. The flavor is clean and sharp, all hop, with both a piney and a citrusy taste. In the background is a clean, pilsnery malt that proves the perfect vehicle to carry the hops, which are the stars of the parade, with just a little whiff of breadiness and light caramel. The mountfeel is slick and the citrus bitterness clings wonderfully to the mount on the finish, with an almost menthol intensity.

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

Pour - big, bright orange and yellow with a glow that makes you think of that first morning sunrise of a long vacation. This is all topped off with a big fluffy white head.

Aroma - tropical fruits (mangoes, pineapples, papaya, guava) and loads of tangerine and grapefruit to boot. This smells heavenly, such a great mixture of fresh piney goodness from the hops. Its pungent and enticing, I am drawn in immediately.

Taste - big juicy tropical fruit flavors mesh with a great balance of cotton candy like malt sweetness. Its a perfect match for the big hop profile that Sculpin is packing. Pineapple and grapefruit really stand out on the tongue with just the right amount of bitterness and astringency but again this is backed up nicely by the sweetness.

Overall - absolutely excellent American IPA and one that stands out even amongst so many great choices on the shelves these days. This is what the discriminating hophead craves.

Would I buy more of it? - yes, yes, yes. Next time its released fresh I'll be stocking up on this super fine fish.

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

A: Six pack purchased from the local ballast home brew shop. Poured into a tulip glass with a nice frothy head over a lovely light orange body.

S: Right of the bat you get a multitude of citrus and fruity aromas most reminiscent of mangos, orange peal, and hints of lemon and pears.

T: Really wonderful flavor that is like drinking a fruit bomb made of oranges and lemons with a resinous hop texture kick started by a brilliantly sharp but smooth bitterness. 

M: Wonderfully dry with a hop texture that lays itself out on your tongue like a beach towel spread out on the warm sand. 

O: Easily one of the best drinking ipas for all reasons, whether its the full flavor, brilliant use of hops, or how dry, crisp and refreshing it is. An amazing beer.

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Photo of jera1350
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Carter for sharing this one with me!

Pours a lovely golden orange with a big fluffy head of foam and some generous lacing.

Smells of big plump citrusy hops with grapefruit and pine notes.

This is just how an IPA should taste. Tons of citrus in the form of grapefruit and orange with a little pine resin. The sweetness is there and compliments the hops. Just fresh and juicy tasting.

Smooth with soft carbonation that aids in quick consumption.

Overall, this is a world class IPA. Drinks so well and is just all around great. I look forward to the next time I can have this one already.

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Photo of DJED69
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Outstanding IPA. This one ranks in the upper echelon with PtE, Hop Stoopid, Racer 5, etc, etc. Friend stopped by unexpectedly with a bomber bottle and I was more than happy to help split it. Pours a bright pale/light orange color with nice head and foever lacing. Smells wonderful---fresh hops, pine, fruit, etc. Taste follows suit with a creamy bitterness and dry finish. Very different than BP's Big Eye IPA which is much more malt dominated. The malt in Sculpin seems very minimal or light. Easily one of the best IPA's I've had the pleasure of drinking. Too bad bomber bottles are so pricey --- $8-10 locally.

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Photo of Antnego
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden amber with a thin, fizzy head and thick lacing. Smell is of citrusy hops, pine, and sweet malt. Taste is strong citrus hops, fruity sweetness and a bitter bite at the finish. There is an undercurrent of bready malt. Mouthfeel is moderately thick and definitely sticky with hop resin. This is an excellent substitute for Pliny the Elder when it's not available. The two beers are on par with one another.

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Photo of Tuckeer
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Great IPA! Very strong in flavor. Subtle hints of citrus keep it smelling and tasting fresh and crisp. Definitely one of my top favorite American IPA's, wish it was more popular in NC!

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

swnicholson is once again the man for tossing this in.

A: Pours a hazy orange cold that looks closer to champagne near the narrow portion of the glass. Foamy, bubbly orange-tinted head that leaves sticky lacing as it falls to just a cover and a ring.

S: Huge tropical aromas; oranges; mangos; lemon, and bananas; something tangy/funky as well. Nice bisquetty malt aromas as well, you can smell a bit of depth and creaminess here.

T: Much of the nose mingles somewhere in the flavor, but again these flavors are more tropical than citric. The malt is sweet and creamy but balanced by a bitter hop finish. There's some citrus to the hops, but sweet fruit flavors still prevail.

D: A tad lighter than the nose would imply, but that's not a bad thing. A healthy medium body brew with moderate carbonation. Really smooth with a hint of creaminess.

M: A really well harmonized beer, one of the better ones. The lighter body is a plus too; it's refreshing without being too weighty. Good flavors of the tropics.

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

Golden yellow with a heavy haze. Four fingers of dense level super small white micro bubbles. Excellent lacing.

Big inviting citrus aromas are impossible to resist at more than an arm's reach. Lot of peach, apricot, mango, bit of lemon.

Good solid sweet foundation down the tongue is quickly engulfed by an enormous burst of juicy citrus - apricots, mangos, maybe some peaches. Delightful.

Mouthfeel has a solid firmness that holds everything together. Not watery, not syrupy, nicely in the middle, leaning a bit toward the light, and serves the beer well.

Drinkability so good I'm sorry this beer is almost gone.

A much talked about ipa that backed up all the talk. Bring on fresh six packs.

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

Heard a lot about this ale but finally got to taste it. Wegmans put some single 12oz bottles in the mix a pack area, thanks.
This is probably the best ipa I had out of a bottle. Thought the malt had what I thought would be overwhelming like too much honey malt. Not sure they use honey malt, but anyway if they did it was within boundaries to my taste. The hops schedule is very nice leaving the mango apricot citrus lingering for a long time on the palate. Smell is very good. Perfect lacing.
I like it. Can't wait to try it from a keg.

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Photo of warrenout330
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter

A- pours a hazy golden orange color. Creamy white head sticks around almost the whole time to the beer... big thick chunks of lacing to the glass

S- hop resin, pine sap, tropical fruits, malty back bone

T- pineapple, mango, citrus fruit punch... big ol' smack of pinney sap, cleaned up with sweet caramel malt swirl

M- medium body with medium carbonation... creamy mouthfeel... prickly bittereness in the back.... dry,wet finish to the beer... maybe its wet cuz its making my taste buds go crazy

O- once again I am not a IPA fan but all these good ones recently have really been making me think twice.... this is a damn good. My first offering from ballistic and now I will keep a close radar on this brewery

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Photo of Bradt0616
4.5/5  rDev +3%

Creamy citrus grapefruit with a very long west coast oily finish.

Very well balanced hop bomb with light carbonation- Lingering hop oils will please

Dangerously drinkable.

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

Poured from a bomber into a straight pint glass.

A. Golden amber with a strong white head. Decent amount of lace.

S. Very typical American IPA - lots of citrusy hops.

T. Really nice. Plenty of grapefruit in there but with a strong amount of malty sweetness to balance. Really well done.

M. Satisfyingly medium bodied.

O. A really good, well made American IPA. If I could get this fresh it would be even better. The malt and the hops are in perfect balance. Neither outshines the other and the result is a beer that, at 7%, is just a little too easy to drink.

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

Thanks to Decadance for the bottle. Review input from notes.

Clear yellow orange colored body capped with a two and a half finger bone white head. The head recedes leaving a rather impressive cap. Thick lacing left firmly attached to the glass.

Aroma is full of juicy citrus and tropical fruits. Subtly sweet pale malt is set behind providing a bit of balance. Very hop forward but the simplicity of the grain bill is appreciated.

The nose steers the tongue true, the taste is exactly what you would expect. Strong citrus and tropical fruit flavor. More subtle pith and floral contributions from the hops lay beneath. The malt base is rather soft but sturdy.

Medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Soft and creamy on the tongue with a finish which is rather dry

Sculpin drinks far too easy. It is unfortunate this beer does not make it into my area or I would pick it up on some sort of regular basis. Well crafted beer with great balance, outstanding example of the style.

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

Bottle from Binny's in Champaign, IL
Poured into a tulip glass

Ballast Point's Sculpin IPA is a generally well-balanced American IPA that focuses on copious amounts of fruit flavors and moderated bitterness to earn its name. Definitely a solid IPA, alongside many others, one to pick up a few bottles of when it is occasionally able to be found.

Pours a 1.5cm head, slightly off-white in color, composed of small-sized bubbles. Head has solid retention, lasting a few minutes before it declines to a thin cap atop the body. Some lacing is left, a scattering of splotches and small lines. The body itself is a hazy, clearly unfiltered, golden orange color. Holding the beer to light reveals both some lighter gold highlights and some streaming carbonation.

Aroma is of pleasant citrus, most akin to grapefruit, along with noticeable (for me), peach and less-noticeable mango scents. A slight bit of the malt is able to make it through, faintly caramel-like.

Taste opens with moderately sweet, bread-like malt flavors mixed with bright citrus flavors. Imagine fresh wort with peach, grapefruit, apricot, and mango-leaning hops. By mid-palate, the taste becomes quite "thick" with hops, really quite rank, in a very good way, as the hops are never overly bitter and generally quite bright and fruity, just in massive amounts. Closes out with a lingering bitterness and slight fruitiness alongside mild malt sweetness, a combination that's very pleasing to me.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, creating a gently flowing beer across the palate. Very smooth and pleasant. Finish is expectedly dry, from residual hops and sugars.

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Photo of russpowell
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Based on 2nd bottle (cheers Bitterbill!) I'm bumping up Appearance, Drinkabilty & MF

Got this one from tendermorsel, cheers Mike! Very happy to try this!

Pours a honey color with a finger of cream colored head. Very good head retention & lacing

S: Citrus & floral hops

T: Grapefruit, lemons, a touch of apricot & breadyness, plus dryness up front. More grapefruit as this warms, then dryness & some honey & biscuitty malt, plus lemons. Finishes crisp, dry & with puckery grapefruit

MF: Medium bodied & assertive carbonation; fairly nice balance

Drinks easy, not a top flight AIPA, but almost there. Reminds me a lot of Odell IPA, but slightly better. Would love to try this on draft or cask. Finishes with lemony & grapefruitty hops, slight pepperyness. Another good one from Ballast Point!

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Photo of larryarms847
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Vibrant orange in appearance and developed a light and frothy two finger head when poured from a 12oz btl.

Very noticeable grapefruit as well as orange, lemon peel, and other citrus fruits. A delight for thy nostrils.

The taste of orange zest is immediate and long lastingly bitter, but that isn't to say that is a bad thing. The bitterness from the hops balances well with the tart and sweetness of the citrus. A citrusy hop bomb.

Kind of like eating booze soaked fruit, marvelous.

Overall, this brew was very enjoyable, but I do not agree with the excessive score it has received. At ~$16 for a 6-pack, I'd rather spend my money on better brews.

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Photo of NateTheHappyOne
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A Fantastic beer,
I would rather say what strikes my mind than to
elaborate on points already spoken a hundred times

When fresh, you will have your hops
honeyed and smooth like the travel
of a fish through gentle currents
a dank smooth citrus-rubbed
bowl of orange, apple and mango
never any one of them shouting loudly over the others

If not fresh, you
might pay too many
dollars for a six pack,

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
4.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 FL. OZ. bottle into a pint glass. Bottled on day 260 (Sept. 17) of 2013.

Appearance: Pours a light golden with a stiff doughy head.

Smell: Tons of aroma from the crack of the bottle cap. Delicious smelling peach, apricot, and mango aromas throughout the pour. Smells like candy!

Taste: More spicy than the aroma would suggest. I was looking for tropical fruit. Tastes ever so slight boozy. Sweet malt. Resinous. Not terribly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Great combo of light body with mouth-coating feel. Makes you salivate.

Overall: A great IPA.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,710 ratings.
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