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: 2,464 | Ratings: 13,670
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I would consider this to be one of those benchmark beers, one that other IPAs are measured against.
A bomber poured into a snifter. Coppery orange color, thick white head. Lace, but a little less than expected.
Citrus aroma, could really pick out the orange and tangerine. Some other sweet fruit. Bready malt aroma in the background.
Loads of citrus taste: orange, tangerine, grapefruit. I think the other fruit aroma was apricot. French bread, the nice crusty kind.
A wonderfully complex mouthfeel. Rolling around my mouth, all those different flavors.

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Photo of welldigger888
4.97/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from growler in to an imp. pint glass, Huge 2 finger rocky snow white head that laced all the way down. Slight hazed golden orange hue.
Tropical fruit grapefruit mango and the like.
Like drinking a grapefruit cream soda with mango and light golden biscuit.
Creamy dreamy!
Pour some more, send us more! These folk hit on an outstanding reciepe!

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Photo of jbertsch
4.69/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy straw color. Bright white 2-finger head. Decent lace.

Fresh blast of hops with tons of bright citrus notes: apricot, pineapple, grapefruit, tangerine. There's a biscuity malt backbone that's noticeable.

Explosion of citrus hops with all the same aomra notes coming through on the tongue. It has a nice honey malt note underneath it all. It's full flavor matches that of some of the best DIPAs, but without the heavier body or higher ABV.

Lighter. Almost thin. Below average carbonation.

Very tasty and desireable, but strong flavors may inhibit having more than 2 (or one bomber) - a good problem to have, though.

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Photo of ChrisPro
3.95/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had a few times and finally reviewing.

On tap at Devil's Den.

A - Hazy golden color with great head and lingering lace

S - Big citrus notes with just slight hints of pine and other tropical fruits

T - A bit muted. There's some decent sweetness to balance, but this is definitely an overly bitter IPA

M - Very full-bodied. I like my IPAs to be balanced, but not thick. This had too much body. Great lively carbonation that brought out great aromas as you're drinking.

D - Unfortunately, this slightly disappointed. Still an amazing beer, but it took some effort to put down a couple glasses.

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Photo of LtCracker20
4.45/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes. Had on-tap at the Gingerman in Norwalk. Happily surprised and very excited to see this on tap over the summer.
Poured into an over-sized wine glass.

A- Pours a golden amber body. Crystal clear! Nice 2-finger white head with decent retention. Falls to a thin cap with good lace.

S- Piney and citrusy hops meld together up front. Grapefruit and pineapple, along with the pine. A little mango.

T- Just like the smell; Grapefruit, pineapple and pine. The mango shows up here as well. Bitter bite of a finish.

MF- Actually a lighter body than I expected. Very well carbonated, and the flavors linger for quite a while.

D- Especially at only 7%, this is very drinkable. Every hophead should try this. I can't wait to find some more.

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

A huge thanks goes out to sonicwaveofbees for sending this my way.

A: Nice golden color, with about a finger of soapy, white head. Recedes slowly. Tons of lacing.

S: A bit muted, but very pleasant. Wonderful citrus, pineapple...maybe a hint of peach. There's a juicy quality to the smell. I can't pick up any of the malt on this one.

T: Excellent flavor. Citrus from the nose is what I noticed right away, but there's also an herbal, earthy quality to this that I really like toward the end.

M: Light bodied. Finishes slightly bitter and dry.

D: The light nature, inviting smell and great taste make this a delight to drink. No noticable alcohol.

Wonderful example of a West Coast IPA. Really glad I had a chance to try this one.

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

Tasting notes from 2/1/11

Thanks a lot to Ultraman9000 for this bottle which he threw in as a EXTRA in a trade!!! Cheers.

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Medium yellow with an orange glow. Translucent. Half a finger of white, bubbly head that quickly disappeared.

S - An abundance of citrus up front. Grapefruit is the dominant scent withe some tangerine and light piney notes. Very subdued malt sweetness in the background that is definitely the secondary scent. A hop bomb!

T - Huge grapefruit bomb! Bitter hops dominate the palate as the nose indicated. Full of grapefruit with some orange peel. The malts are barley noticeable in the background but provide some sweetness to compliment the bitter grapefruit hops, which linger in the finish.

M - Medium body, nice chew. Some good oily texture comes from the hops. Lightly carbonated.

M - Definitely a hop bomb, but that's the way I like it. Very close to being a one dimensional beer but there was just enough malt sweetness to compliment the bitterness.

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Photo of modernartblues
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel Tulip

A: 1" white head is slow to recede, pretty good retention though, orange body with some cloudiness....very appealing

N: pretty big, orange, grapefruit, other citrusy notes, really pretty good, this is pretty excellent for an single IPA

T: good bitterness, nice complex hop profile, a little soapy, this is much better than past experiences with the beer, but still not my all-time favorite IPA, the soapiness is a bit of a deterrent

M: solid and full, this is quite the big mouthfeel for the 7% ABV, compared to my recent Hopslam experience this beer is a little bit overly thick for the style

D: good, but not great....I can see why its highly reviewed by many BAs, but for me its not the tops.

I once spent $25 bucks on a growler of this and was supremely disappointed. This bottle (courtesy of cduckett) is much better than I remember, but still doesn't match up to my favorite IPAs.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to THECPJ for the share. Review from notes 12/3/10.

A: Very clear golden/copper color with a small white head that dissipates to splotches of foam on top. Nice rings of lacing down the sides.

S: A strong pine aroma shows up first, followed up by some nice citrus fruits - grapefruit, apricots, and some peaches. Slight caramel malt aroma too.

T: Nice citrus fruits up front, the grapefruit and apricots return with a little bit of pine, but not as much as the in the aroma. Has a solid malt backbone, mostly caramel malts.

M/D: Extremely smooth and very crisp. Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Easy drinking, a well balanced IPA.

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

Living in SD I have had the pleasure of enjoying this brew numerous times in many ways including double dry-hopped on cask but for my BA review I grabbed a few bombers straight from the brewery and into my pint glass at home.

A - Pours a golden orange honey hue with some slight haziness but incredibly clear for the IPA style. I had a little snow white head that dissipated quickly with slight lacing.

S - Smell is abundent with sweet citrus -grapefruit, tangerine and mango aromas.

T - An extreme burst of those bright citrusy grapefruit and mango flavors up front that lingers on all throughout. Very slight residual malt sweetness but alcohol barely detectable. Has you questioning "How is this 7% ABV" Hops continue to dance on the tongue as it finishes with a clean yeast bite that tickles your throat and leaves you wanting another gulp!

M - Very light bodied beer with great carbonation. This brew is deceptively good. As the description states Sculpin has a sting to your palate but tastes great.

D - Extremely high. For a hop forward beer Sculpin makes for very easy drinking. So well balanced. I am constantly hearing that even for folks that do not particularly enjoy hoppy beers they love some Sculpin.

I remember the days when Sculpin use to be a rare treat and always an incredible experience. For hop heads anywhere this is an incredible brew. A top 5 IPA on my list for sure. There is no wonder why it won GABF Gold 2010. I do contend however that with the scale up of production this beer has lost some of its luster. I have even seen 6-packs these days. Maybe because I have had some not so good Sculpin experiences at local establishments as well or that there are so many competetive hoppy beers in SD these days. Or maybe it is just me. None the less still a true masterpiece from the brewers at Ballast Point. Such a delicate and balanced use of mass hops. It is no wonder this brew is often sought after. Get to the point!

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Photo of Srsly
4.49/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had plenty of times, but I'm finally sitting down and really considering it for my first BA review!

A - pours a slightly hazy but beautiful orange with a nice head. Leaves lovely lacing.

S - this is really the standout aspect for me. If this were a cologne, i would put it on in buckets every day. Smells of delicious citrus, grapefruit and tangerine, with nice hints of peach and maybe even mango? or maybe i just noticed that because it says so on the bottle. Pine definitely comes in, but underneath the fruit.

T - follows the nose. Mostly juicy citrus, a hint of piney hops on the finish. really an excellent example of the style, though it does border on the hoppiness of a DIPA (which is a very good thing). I don't really notice the malt backbone, though I wouldn't call it unbalanced,

M - excellent. smooth with plenty of carbonation and a refreshingly bitter finish.

D - damn, I could drink this all day. the 7% ABV doesn't seem too powerful, but it really sneaks up on you with such an easy-drinking beer.

I know it's been said a ton, but Ballast Point really did a fabulous job with this beer. A wonderful hoppy monster that's still a very smooth drinker. The juicy aspect makes this easy to show to the less experienced as an example of a perfectly done IPA. Kudos to them!

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Iconic West coast IPA, generously hopped, and pleasing.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle . Label with a bit of a tacky illustration of the sculpin fish. Semi-erased and illegible date printed on neck. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Deep gold pour with a towering frothy head, good retention, nice surface memory, and rich lacing.

S - Rich hoppy sense, grapefruit, a bit of resin, nice floral finish.

T - Taste follows with a nice hopped character where the bitterness shines a bit more than the nuances suggested by the snow. Grapefruit bitterness takes the front seat with a touch of sweet malt behind holding it.

M - Medium/light body with medium/low carbonation, albeit with a clean and crisp tingle in the bitter finish.

D - Nice flow, this is a quality IPA worth seeking out.

Notes: First time hitting a Ballast Point brew. Maybe not the mind blower that some would suggest but this is a very nice IPA.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.73/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Found this at the Total Wine in Sarasota FL. Just got it in so I assume it's pretty fresh...

Poured a beautiful clementine orange, brilliantly clear, with a 1.5" white, dense head that left large chunks and bands of lace on the Gulden Draak tulip. Very good retention. The nose is a bit lacking in intensity. Quite muted, but the aromas are discernible: a fresh blend of grapefruit rind, grass, mango, and peach. Oh my this is delightful. I only wish it was more pronounced. However, there is no shortage of flavor! A nice, juicy, citrusy start with sweet honey that immediately gives way to the fruit basket of pomelo, tangerines, hint of pears, and peaches. There is a low lying bitterness throughout the experience that presents more prominently in the finish along with a touch of spruce and pine resin. There's a bit of lightly caramelized sugar too, that, along with honey, carries the malt to the finish. A very smooth and unfizzy carbonation makes for a velvety texture for this medium bodied beer. All of this forms a monolith of excellence in the quest for a great IPA. This is one of the best I've ever tasted. I will note, too, that by the time I've reached this point in the review, the beer has warmed a bit and the aromas are now MUCH more pronounced than before, which begs to raise the smell rating from a 3.5 to a 4.0. Truly an exceptional beer that I am grateful to have sampled for the second time and hopefully for many more times to come. Thank you, Ballast Point, for creating this goodness!

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Photo of Gunslinger711
3.85/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to treehouse for this beer.

Poured into a pint glass.

Smell: This beer has a strong hoppy smell to it.

Appearance: It pours a pale amber/orange color, with bubbles throughout.

Mouthfeel: Pretty smooth all things considered. Not even a lot of bubble feeling from the carbonation.

Taste: The citrus hit comes and goes early on in the taste. It all hops from the middle to the end. Not too much of a hard, sour taste on the back end either.

IPA isn't really my style of beer, usually they're too sour/bitter for me. This is about the smoothest one I've had. While I wouldn't drink more than one, it was awesome to get to try what is supposed to be the top beer in this style.

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Photo of paulozanello
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured it from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Sculpin pours a very nice orange amber color with a cloudy white head that has good retention and lacing. The beer is not cristal clear but almost.
Aroma is amazing: lots and lots of citrus, mainly grapefruit, tangerine, peach, apricots and mangos. Also some piney hop presence. Perfect hop combination!
Taste starts out with tons of grapefruit and some mild bitterness upfront. Then a lot of tropical fruit: peach, mango, pineapple. Ends with some grassy and piney notes. The mild bitterness persist throughout the sip and goes along very well with the citric and fruity hops.
Body is medium and carbonation is high.
Mouthfeel is very smooth and balanced. Citrus and light bitterness are present from start to finish.
Overall a very nice IPA, huge grapefruit bomb. I can't say it is the best one out there but after a certain level they are all worthy.

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Photo of Palesmith
4.77/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful cloudy orange, with a nice white head.

The nose is very fresh and citrusy, with some pine and tropical fruit.

Taste...soo good! All the things listed above for the nose applies here as well. Citrusy and fruity up front - some pineapple and apricot, followed by a nice hoppy pine.

A very smooth and effervescent ale that finishes clean and crisp.

If Pliny is the best DIPA, then this is my favorite IPA.

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Photo of aasher
4.57/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This growler was courtesy of thagr81us (thanks Calton!), who sent it to me for my birthday despit the package I sent him being destroyed by FedEx. The growler "popped" when I unscrewed the lid, unleashing a multitude of in your face bitter and hoppy aromas. This was poured into a Goose Island pint glass. It poured a rich and beautiful gold in color with a two finger, whispy off white head that laced the glass. The aromas are very wet, bitter, and full of pine. It features very citrusy and sweet hops. There is so much going on here for an IPA! I love the variation. The taste of is of pine and honey. I'd say that this is somwhere in between Hopslam and 90 Minute. It's excellent and a must try. It drinks very crisp and has excellent carbonation. It doesn't leave you with cotton mouth like many IPAs and actually leaves your mouth watering for more. This beer is superb! Thanks for the birthday growler Calton!

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into in Ballast Point pint glass...

A - Pours golden honey with a two finger off white head. Nice amount of head retention and lacing to be had...

S - Lots of citrus fruits come through on the nose. Also pick up hoppy scents, and a little pine. A little milder than I would have expected...

T - Wow, this one is extremely smooth. The citrus fruits that came through in the nose emerge in full force. Oranges, grapefruit, and maybe a touch of apricot. Ends with grapefruit, and a smooth hop bitterness. BP brewed an extremely balanced brew. Nothing is over the top. Very nice...

M - Medium bodied with a mild amount of carbonation...

D - One of my go to brews when I am in the mood for the style. What else can I say? BP brewed a winner here...


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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 inlimbo77
4.6/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into DFH snifter signature glass. No bottle date present. 12oz bottle purchased at Capone's in Norristown, PA.

A: Pours a slightly (it is nicely filtered) hazy, golden color. One finger, white head fades quickly. Good lacing. Great carbonation, bubbles throughout.

S: AWESOME fruity hops. I got citrus and pine off the nose. Lots of grapefruit. Amazng....

T: Taste is just like the nose....hops and more hops. Delicious stuff. Crisp bite at the start and a clean finish. Mild to no malt kick. It's there but doesn't overpower.

M: Mouthfeel is nice and coating, but doesn't completely mouth pucker. This isn't overly chewy like some Imperials get.

D: I could drink this all night! I really put this up there as one of my top 5. A little harder to find though. And that 7% ABV does catch up to you.

Overall, as mentioned this is a top 5 IPA for me if not #1. Love the A/S/T/M/D in total. Great package. Really enjoy the products from this brewery. Big Eye is good too, but Sculpin is much better.

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Photo of diomz88
4.8/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - poured in a tulip, golden amber in color, little hazy, one finger white head that recedes slowly. with lacing.
S - fruity and citrusy, like grapefruit! i like it alot. with some hints of spice and herbs, but mostly grapefruit.
T - as expected for an IPA, it can easily be mistaken for a double IPA, but still taste awesome! grapefruit and some other citrus involved, spicy, malty, some sweetness to it, and the hops, lots of hops. for a 7% abv, I barely taste the alcohol.
M - medium bodied, very smooth, creamy, bitterness at start to middle, and finishes clean, no aftertaste for me on this one.
D - very, very, very drinkable. I love this beer! That's why alot of people like this.

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

Golden, amber, copper with a white, two-finger, frothy head.

Smells piney, not super big (reminder that this one isn't imperial), malt comes through as toast, butter, and a bit of caramel. Standard ipa aroma and no citrus or fruit.

The tastes come through in cycles. First is hops, pine leads. Then malt, mostly butter, some biscuit, a little bread, and in there is some fruit. Bit of pineapple and a tinge of grapefruit. Then pine comes back into the mix.

A well-rounded ipa, that approaches drinking like a double. Multiple flavors are present. It's not hop or malt dominant. It's also not totally pine or fruit dominant. Very good.

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

I think everyone else has covered the basics here, bright orange color with fine frothy foam. Citrus overload on the nose with piney sticky hop notes. Taste is decadent, crisp, refreshingly bitter. Awesome finish with lingering resiny hops. Great pucker factor on this one, a stellar IPA.

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

Poured into a pint glass and laced all the way down. The nose was big grapefruit. Lots of hops and citrus. Taste was wonderful with a big hop punch. Great finish and what I have come to expect from really well-made IPAs. Mouthfeel was good with perfect carbonation. Really easy to drink for the ABV. One of my favorite IPAs

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Photo of tigernipples
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bomber, no date on bottle.

A: wow , the smells fills the air right as the cap is removed. Pours a nice honey yellow/orange. This is one of the better looking IPAs i've had to date.

S: Peaches grapefruit, and a bit of apricot up front. Citrus and a splash of bananas, followed by more peaches and a backbone of pine. smells delicious.

T: the taste follows the smell with Grapefruit and peaches. very balanced, VERY balanced. Once swallowed you get a nice bitterness of hops to dry and the mouth to make you want more.

M: Very creamy feel for an IPA. Best mouthfeel I've had on an IPA. Smooth.

D & Overall: Love this. For an IPA and not a DIPA this is the best I've had. If I could find these in 6 packs I'd buy these regularly. I found this locally for $9.99 a bomber. Thats high to me for a 7% ABV but its worth it. You can easily drink a 22oz of this and move onto something else(unless you had another bomber which I'd be tempted to open) Really was the best IPA I've had, can't imagine drinking a better one.

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Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
4.37 out of 5 based on 13,670 ratings.
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