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: 2,478 | Ratings: 13,758
Photo of viverlee
3.15/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Doc review today. $MM-level deal and I’m pretty sure no one will read the summary or care about the risks until it goes south, when all of the sudden the group unit leaders will wonder out loud, “How the fuck did this get past legal?” Let me tell you now how: I told you it was poo-poo, and you went ahead and did it anyway because “we need the volume.” That’s how it got past legal. I was overruled.

I’m 100 percent certain more people will read this free post about a $7 beer than GULs will dare actually read about the seven-figure risk we just assumed.

STYLE: American IPA

ABV: 7%

LOOK: The fizz rises quickly, leaving a thin but firm cantaloupe jello. Can’t get a head to last more than a few seconds, first because I’m drinking it (more on that later) and almost just as importantly because it won’t hold.

NOSE: Apricot, mangoes, buttered popcorn. A pleasant hybrid of Magic Hat #9 and 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA. The fruit, it’s more real, less processed. The butter, it’s nicer, more subtle.

MOUTH: Straight to pine. Maybe some clean pebbles too? The weight is nice, but there’s really only one thing to remember: Make sure you get a good head because it absolutely changes the beer for the better — a real mellower. Soft foam and strong bite, it’s like hoppy espresso. Quite good if you can get it, rather meh if you can’t.

Beeradvocate Rating: 98

Hayward Abbey Rating: 77

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Photo of Prospero
3.16/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Interesting beer. Thought I should try this as I like more balanced IPAs that have the malt backbone to support the hops.

The pour looked great, clear amber/copper color with white head and smelt strongly of malts, maybe a hint of piney hops in the nose, but mostly the caramel & breadiness of the malts broke through. Slight hint of grapefruit in the nose, but not as much as I would have liked.

Taste wise it wasn't at all what I was expecting, strong malt-forward beer here that had a strong caramel and breadiness/yeast like flavor with the grapefruit noticeable, but not dominate. For an IPA I was baffled as to how the hops had fallen to the back in this beer.

Mouthfeel is great, it's a very drinkable beer that's very smooth, almost no bitterness to this beer, probably due to the lack of dominant hops. Light carbonation.

All-in-all a good solid beer, but not at all what I expected in a balanced IPA. Most of the time I think IPAs as overly hopped up and never would have figured there'd be an IPA that was overly malted up.

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Photo of justjonas
3.17/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This is a well balanced beer, but nothing really pops for me in this one anymore. I enjoyed the grapefruit variant very much. However I think the price of this standard edition is a bit much when compared to similar offerings.

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Photo of bierguru
3.18/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A -
almost a clear straw color with high carbonation
head is pretty good stays well then laces fairly thick

S -
hop and citrus

T -
hop and finishes with a strong citrus dry bite

M -
mild feel with a drying to it

D -
its okay had better however better then most

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Photo of armock
3.19/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at the main brewery's tasting room.

A - Poured a golden color with a white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Well it smell like cat piss I hate when IPAs smell like this

T - It tastes better than it smells with citrus grapefruit hop flavors

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

O - I don't get the hype thats with this beer yes it does taste good but I feel like I can't breath before taking a sip because of the smell to each his own I guess

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Photo of ifnkovhg
3.19/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. No freshness date as far as I can tell.

This beer was very Jeckyll and Hyde for me. Great appearance: burnt orange, maybe a bit hazy. Big, billowy head that never quite disappears completely. Great lacing.

The smell is also terrific: citrusy, apricot, peach (as others have noted). The taste is in keeping with the smell.

But in the aftertaste and mouthfeel, this one loses me. Oily mouthfeel that really dominates in the back of the throat, and parks itself. Should beer make you thirsty? Plus a bitter aftertaste that lingers.

I think that while my hop tolerance has climbed, I may not be ready for IPAs.

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Photo of JackStott
3.2/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I was especially excited to try this IPA based upon the excellent ratings. It pours a hazy golden amber with decent head and lacing. The aroma is lightly citrus and pine. The taste is essentially a middle of the road IPA. It is rather poorly balanced with little citrus/pine hop taste. Definitely nothing special. I tried this IPA twice at different times on tap and once in a bottle. At $13.99 a six pack, it is no bargain. I can't understand all of the high ratings.

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Photo of SFC21
3.2/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bomber poured into Sam Adams pint glass

A - Pours a hazy, golden color with a nice 1 inch head. Leaves some nice lacing the whole way down.

S - Citrus and floral hops, smells lovely.

T - Citrus and light malts to start and then an absolute wallop of bitter, piney hops. Far too much bitterness for my liking and the bitterness just lingers at the back of my mouth.

M - Some creaminess with nice carbonation.

O - I was really looking forward to this one after all of the great reviews but unfortunately I was left disappointed. Perhaps this is more of a brew for the hop heads that love the bitterness but for me I prefer a little more balance.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.21/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks for the bottle Randy! Poured into a tulip. Pours a hazy golden orange with a finger of head.

Muted hops in the aroma. Candied orange in the aroma but not much a hop profile. The taste is a simmilar to the aroma. Candied orange flavors but a bit more of a noticable hop bittering to the finish. Much better.

The body is medium and the carbonation is a bit sharp.

Damn you Ballast Point! Put bottle dates on your beers. This can't be a super fresh bottle! I've had this beer before and I remember liking it a lot more. I'll try it again but I can only blow so much of my money on old beers.

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Photo of evanlarkin
3.21/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lots of foamy white head, almost 3 fingers of it. The beer itself is more of a golden yellow honey color. It has some slight haze to it, but that might be from the low temperature.

Piney and lemony. What we have here is a bottle of Pinesol, no doubt. Some apricot also comes in, which is a pretty nice little change from the usual grapefruit flavors we've been seeing lately.

Wow, WAY drier than what I was expecting from the smell. On top of that, it's extremely piney. The bottle mentions several fruits, but if they're in there, they can't stand up to the crazy amount of pine in this thing. There's a good amount of bitterness sticking around too.

A light body that really sticks to you. There's something kind of syrupy about it actually.

Solid, but not as well balanced as I'd like. Definitely has a high drinkability, and it might be a good introductory IPA due to it's light body and non-overwhelming bitterness. Would I have another? Maybe. Would I buy another bomber? Probably not.

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Photo of Monkeypaws
3.23/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've had this several times, on draft, in bottles, in San Diego even, and I frankly don't get the ranking. I never get much smell off of it, and it tastes fine, but nothing special. I expected a blast of hops to the nose and the tasebuds, but it hasn't been there in over 5 tries. It was suggested that Sculpin must be absolutely fresh in order to shine, so I'll keep trying and revise this review if it ever happens.

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Photo of alalvarez75
3.24/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Bright Clear orange with a sediment in the bottle. I did not pour the end into the glass. Nice lacing.

S- Pine nut and citrus.

T- Dry and muted nice pine hoppiness. Not a hop bomb at all.

M- Very carbonated. Medium to a bit on the thinner side.

O- I've had on a fresh draft which I believe was better than the bottle I picked up. I do not rate this on the higher end of IPAs you can get, and will not be stocking the fridge with this for my next get together. But I would most likely have one if I saw it on my bar's draft list.

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Photo of hydrate
3.25/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

You know, I've had this several times over a couple years and am just now rating it. I like it. There's nothing wrong with it. But in a market that includes IPA's that have become inventive and diverse in their flavors, this is kind of bland. Not unpleasant. Just not impressive and unique. But that's ok. Sometimes you want a higher ABV, non session IPA that is dry with medium to low hops (for an IPA), no floral or fruit or any other notes, and a super clean (again for an IPA), slightly dry finish. After normalizing your palate to IPA's, you'll probably find Sculpin to be good but unchalenging and palatable to drink over an extended period of time, as long as you don't fall down. I personally use Grapefruit Sculpin as my benchmark against which to measure citrus infused IPA's, but that's a different beer, different story. This isn't a shot across the bow of Ballast Point which I think produces some amazing brews, especially The Commodore, particularly the holiday version. Ok, now I'm just ranting.

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Photo of Tom_O
3.26/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Recently tried this at one of my favorite pubs in CT this past weekend because the Ghabdi-Bot tap had kicked. My server mentioned he actually preferred it over the NE classic. What I honestly discovered was, in my opinion, an overrated IPA. Poured great but otherwise pretty standard in my book. Not saying it was a bad drink, but it was presented to me in comparison to Ghandi-Bot and that I thought it was far from. I would not go out of my way to seek out again.

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Photo of BDLbrewster
3.26/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Pours a goldenrod hued yellowish amber color with a small frothy head that leaves a bunch of sticky lacing.

The nose seems somewhat subdued, there are some light pine, orange pith and mild grapefruit aromas that mix well with sweet undercooked caramel.

The taste doesn't scream west coast to me, pine forward with hints of fresh orange pith and lemon. The backbone is on the weak side and the caramel that is there is overshadowed by the fairly strong pine needle flavors. The alcohol has somewhat of a medicinal bite to it and the finish leaves a lingering bitterness that is not undesirable.

The mouthfeel is light-medium and not overly viscous and the carbonation is pretty much on point.

Overall this is a solid IPA in its own right that sort of walks the line between IPA and DIPA. I can see how some people would swoon over this brew but with so many knock out IPAs coming from the west, this one comes off as run of the mill to me.

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Photo of FlyingBull
3.27/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this beer on tap at Hamilton's in SD today, and at the brewery tasting room 30 days ago. I've also had it in bottle multiple times over the last 4 months.

A: Transparent light amber body with a 1/2" head (generous pour or I think it would be bigger...). Lots of lacing left on the glass as the small head subsided.

S: Strong pine and citrus nose; dominated by tropical fruitiness to me. That was follwed by strong pine. Lots of grapefruit and astringent notes picked up.

T: Starts with a dominant hop bitterness with grapefruit citrus and pine, followed by a strong pine bitterness, and finishes with a strong, dry astringency dominated by a grapefruit taste.

MF: Medium mouthfeel, good style appropriate carbonation. Again, this beer has a strong biting bitterness and dryness.

O: A really solid IPA that everyone loves. For me, it's not to my taste. I've given it a few tries, and I just can't get myselft to like it. But, I think for those that like strong IPAs, it's a winner. So, drink and enjoy! I won't try and steal you beer. LOL

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Photo of Scottyboy
3.28/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I thought this ale was okay but for the price I was expecting to be knocked out. In fairness it was about 10 or 11 months old, maybe that left it a bit flat in taste

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Photo of ExtraStout
3.3/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden (with orange highlights) with a foamy white head that lasts and coats the sides of the glass throughout. Some active carbonation.

Flavor is sweet and bitter as anticipated. Sweet fruits, like apricot maybe, factor into the maltier-than-expected taste, complimenting the piney hop character. Some astringency and hop spiciness at the end, followed by a touch of tongue parching.

Refreshingly different and drinkable.

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Photo of Fergyx825
3.3/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

**Mexican food prior to tasting**

Appearance: this is a more golden amber hue than either of the two. Its right in the middle. There is moderate head after the pour. The brew is cloudy, and it is moderately bubbling.

Smell: Heavy floral aroma full of hops. No citrus hints noted.

Taste: Very bitter, the hops hit you hard. Alcohol level is not noticeable. Floral smell is missing from the taste, in general i feel that something is missing. It leaves me wanting something more.

Mouthfeel: light on the carbonation, but a very thick brew. This works well together. This brew is very very thick.

Overall: This was recommended to me by a guy at Sam's Quik shop in Durham, Nc. I am a bit disappointed in this beer, not as good as it smells.

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Photo of eclipse54
3.3/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A translucent, golden body lurks beneath an inch of foamy, pure white head that lingers briefly before settling to a scant dusting across the surface of the liquid; minimal strands of lacing coat the glass. The aroma is of grapefruit and orange with a fresh pine punch. Some grass, herbs, and wet earth fill out the middle with a lemony zest towards the end. It tastes similar, with some large citrus notes up front that readily fade to a muddled, earthy center. Bitter hops give way to a soapy aftertaste on the finish, especially as it warms. Mouthfeel is thinner than anticipated, but well carbonated. Refreshing throughout with a dry finish. Overall, a solid IPA that I thoroughly enjoy. While there are plenty of new options available today, this one remains a staple and a great example of the style.

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Photo of snilsen13
3.3/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Not world class. I hoped for world class but I won't even be buying it again. It's just another IPA. Maybe they increased production and the magic was lost when I finally got some. Maybe you need to have it fresh? I got my 6pack on the East Coast and, overall, I paid too much.

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Photo of predikit
3.34/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear amber with a small white head that receded fairly quickly,left plenty of lacing.

Smells hoppy, pine resin, citrus notes.

Tastes fairly average. Follows the nose, pine is most prominent. Cream and toffee. Hops are well balanced, but other than that this is a rather unremarkable IPA.

Feel is medium body, smooth and creamy, maybe a bit high on the carbonation. Alcohol is easily detected and very present.

Wouldn't bother giving this a try again, but I plan on trying other beers from the brewer soon.

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Photo of juice000
3.34/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Generally not as good as expected as far as taste. Almost a bit bland overall. Prefer IPA's more along the line of Odell IPA. Was really excited to try this one but meh. Not enough citrus tones overall and felt unbalanced. Maybe I got a bad batch. Too bad.

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Photo of umichfan
3.34/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Not sure what the hype is surrounding this beer. Would not be a beer I would seek out again. In fact, I've yet to find a beer in their collection that I've enjoyed. Not sure if it's the marketing that's gotten them the hype, but this beer doesn't do it for me.

The pour was probably the best thing about this beer, though nothing stood out as memorable. Copper in tone with some haze & a decent head. The nose was strong on citra, but lacking any depth or complexity. It didn't get much better from there. A malty IPA with a piney finish and little bite that is characteristic of a west coast IPA. Decent mouth feel, a touch on the dry side which I actually prefer. Overall, an unimpressive beer in an overall unimpressive line up. Not sure how/why this makes the BA250.

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Photo of RenzoD
3.35/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Yeah it's alright. Looks pretty thin. Not too much of a head. Aroma is amazing. Taste...well...More of a sipper. Drink too big of a swig and it tastes like cough syrup. I think it's a decent IPA and I'm glad I tried it but I probably won't have it again. Now Big Eye IPA, that one is killer.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,758 ratings.
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