Sculpin - Spruce Tip
Ballast Point Brewing Company

Sculpin - Spruce TipSculpin - Spruce Tip
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IPA - American
Ranked #917
Ranked #8,080
4.03 | pDev: 6.7%
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Sculpin - Spruce TipSculpin - Spruce Tip
Notes: Our flagship Sculpin IPA shows its complexity in this limited Spruce Tip edition. For a different twist on our traditional IPA, we added fresh Oregon spruce tips that contribute a unique piney, citrus and woody character on the nose. Plus, their flavor notes of red berry, lemon and wine grapes perfectly complement our hop profile. A great brew for the holidays and well beyond, this is a standout in a forest of IPAs.
Reviews: 36 | Ratings: 130 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of defunksta
defunksta from North Dakota

3.59/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a heavy, completely clear, medium orange color. Flat and heavy. SRM of 11. (3.25)

Aroma: Strong aromas of orange marmalade and pine. There is some tropical and black tea too. (3.75)

Flavor: Flavors initially of dank tropical and orange marmalade, but this is brief. It quickly evolves into a not-bitter pine and spruce flavor, and then it finishes with a broad berry flavor including raspberry and blueberry.

Feel: Body is medium. Carbonation is medium. Finishes relatively clean given the lack of bitterness. Some detectable alcohol at 7%

Overall: A pretty good IPA, but not what I was expecting from Sculpin. Nice classic Sculpin flavors of orange marmalade with just a hint of spruce and pine, but not bitter like I was expecting. Probably wouldn't even classify it as west coast. It's good, but only a slight tweak off of the original Sculpin, and my bottle was fairly old so I was probably missing some hop quality. (Final Rating: 3.59)

Oct 27, 2019
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monkist from Hungary

4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I loved the original Sculpin so I tried the Grapefruit and this Spruce tip too, but they don’t seem to be able to catch up with the first one...
I mean, they are decent IPAs, especially Spruce tip, adding this ingredient makes your brew even more dank and earth (and of course piney!) which is great. Kind of enhances the hop aroma and bitterness as well - but it kind of fails to bring that punch the original had. Why is it so?
Nevertheless, the end result is still a way-above-average IPA, with the exciting extra of spruce tips. Good enough for every craft beer aficionado.

Aug 19, 2019
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tone77 from Pennsylvania

3.56/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has an orange/beige color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is dominated by spruce. Taste is of spruce, citrus peels, a bit of resin. Feels medium/full bodied in the mouth and overall is an interesting take on the style, and a decent beer.

Jul 10, 2019
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Nass from Florida

3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Yes, there is a date on the side of the bottle. The pour is orange. The aroma is spruce tips & so is the taste. If you like west coast IPA's you should be delighted with this beer, but it's very bitter, not a beer that you want to sip & savor. I like this beer better than the regular Sculpin IPA. Cheers! B

May 19, 2019
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WunderLlama from Massachusetts

4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at ballast point

Draft poured into chalice

Clear copper, white foam ring

Aroma of pine, spruce

Taste the spruce

Hop taste , smooth , lingers nicely

Good beer

Mar 22, 2019
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oldred1492 from Minnesota

3.27/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Have enjoyed other sculpins so gave this a shot since DFH PA Tuxedo is a personal favorite but harder to find. Pours a nice golden color with head that quickly dissipates. Smells hoppy but no significant spruce detected on the nose. Nice smooth feel but the taste doesn't flow right. The hoppiness fights the after spruce taste.

Mar 06, 2019
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teromous from Virginia

3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From the bottom of the bottle: "SC1975ST 14:18 PKG 08OCT18"

Appearance: It is a very hazy gold and beige color with a short creamy textured white head. It has good head retention and lacing.

Aroma: There is a very light aroma of what smells a bit like peaches.

Taste: There is a good amount of a pine flavor to the beer and just a touch of orange character.

Mouthfeel: It is smooth and easy to drink with a medium bitterness. Good carbonation.

Overall: The beer label states that this is an "INDIA PALE ALE WITH SPRUCE TIPS." It doesn't smell like spruce but it definitely has an "evergreen flavor." There is a lot of pine character to the beer but it cuts it a bit with a note of citrus. It's enjoyable and I would drink it again. I would recommend it.

Mar 02, 2019
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AdmiralOzone from Minnesota

4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a clear honey gold with a white pillow of a head. Nice lacing. Aroma is tropical fruits and berries. Flavor is berries and honey. Just a hint of piney hop bitterness in the finish. Feel is syrupy. Overall a very fun beer.

Feb 26, 2019
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dcotom from Iowa

4.31/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Question: Is this as good as the brewer's notes make it out to be? Answer: Indubitably. Appearance doesn't leave much to be desired, for sure. An aggressive pour from a 12-ounce bottle into a long-stemmed wine goblet yielded three fingers of thick white head atop a slightly hazy dark orange body. Pretty reddish-orange highlights, lots of sticky lacing. Nice burst of resiny spruce aroma, with notes of light caramel,orange, grapefruit, strawberry, and citrus zest. Medium bodied, with a sticky, resiny finish and a bitter and slightly fruity aftertaste. This sample was a little on the malty side, but deliciously drinkable nonetheless.

Feb 09, 2019
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craftbeersweden from Sweden

3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Light hazy with a white head. A lot of lacing.

Fruity, piney nose. Pineapple, caramel malt, pine needle and citrus.
Taste: Pine, hops, pineapple, grass and caramel.
Mouth: Medium body and carbonation. Dry and hoppy. Bitter ending.

Feb 06, 2019
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AyatollahGold from Indiana

4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pouring from a 12 oz. can into a pint glass, this beer pours out a copper color and forms a pinky width of white crown. Not hazy, but not clear. Can see finger shadows on the other side of the glass.

The nose brings pine being the most prominent. It mixes with a nice tropical like citrus. Some wood notes.

The taste comes in with beautiful berry notes, almost making a gummy candy reminiscence. White grapes.

The mouthfeel is dry from pine, grape presence.

Overall, I love those berry notes and it still provides a nice pine to it. All balanced, dry and clean. And the most balanced pine beer I’ve had so far.

Jan 26, 2019
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TheBrewsky from California

3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Pours amber in color. Unfiltered appearance. 2 fingers of a bubbly white cap that dissipated rapidly. Tight ring retention around glass perimeter with appealing amounts of lacing on glass.
S: Malt backbone prominent with notes of citrus. Spruce is mild on the nose.
T: The malt backbone sets the foundation. The spruce really shines, especially on the finish. Citrus flavor throughout with moderate dank resin. Nice hoppy piney er I mean, sprucey finish. As I drink it, the more malty bready sweetness I get. Spruce flavor resides in aftertaste.
F: Medium in body and in weight. Soft in feel but still is light and smooth to drink. ABV is on the lower side, but that seems to work well here.
O: Very enjoyable offering. Makes me want to revisit the OG sculpin. This was a treat! I am very grateful to have tried. Cheers!

Jan 22, 2019
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Parmesan from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L:. Pours a yellow copper orange with a medium white head and fingers of lacing around the glass.

S:. Pine, lemon and sweet orange mixed with some berries, quite an inviting aroma.

T:. Pine and woodiness, there is lemon and sweet orange but not as pronounced as the aroma, and a medium bitterness.

F:. Medium body and smooth carbonation.

O:. This is a great West Coast style IPA.

Jan 12, 2019
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Greywulfken from New York

4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a kinda amber-gold color, faintly hazed, with a finger or two of white foam that persisted as a white cap to the end and left lace sheets behind on the glass... Been a while since I had any iteration of Sculpin, but fresh Sculpin was always a pleasure... This one kicks up nice pine aromas to accompany the grapefruit pith and citrus and follows up with more of the same on the sip... Lays down a nice shellac of pine while also airing out the roof with breezy pine impressions... Sweeter fruits of citrus and tropical natures underscore the flavors... Medium-light feel, ample carbonation, mild sweetness, moderate bitterness... A real nice addition to the family... If I'd bought more, I'd be drinking another...

Jan 10, 2019
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TBoneJones from Texas

3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

32oz. growler for the game. Poured into a pint and it’s a clear copper color. Nice fluffy white head here, caked lacing.
Aroma is bready malt, a hint of pine.
Taste is a sculpin as far as balance superbly-done, but the rest is different: Earthy pine and a near-medicinal, heavily malt-backed beer.
Feel is medium-thick, nice medium carbonation and creamy before the bitter bite.
Spruce tips in beer seems hard to master to where you want to even think of sessioning it. This reminds more more of a recent pint of Lagunitas Born Yesterday pale ale than it does any of the couple of spruce tip beers I’ve had (eg DFH’s PA Tuxedo & Skagway’s spruce beer). This is more medicinal than it is earthy compared to the Lagunitas I mentioned. Maybe it’s just my taste buds.

Jan 06, 2019
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maximum12 from Minnesota

3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single 12 oz. hoovered up at a local because I can’t keep up with the IPAs in my fridge. In theory, this sounds like a slam dunk.

The pour is Sculpin orange, though I left a few fingernails of refuse in the bottom of the bottle. Smells like northern MN. Maybe a little hoppiness. Maybe.

Sculpin – Spruce Tip tastes mostly like a tame, neutered version of Sculpin. Citrus & spruce enough that one cannot tell where one begins & the other leaves off. Sub-palate brings grass, sweet malt backbone, Hawaiian Sweet Bread, rounded out by a whiff of spearmint on the finish. Bright & sunshiney. I could drink a few of these, but, well, nah.

Interesting spruce character, but a significant step backwards from the hoppy goodness of Sculpin Straight Up. Good beer.

Jan 05, 2019
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Jugs_McGhee from Colorado

3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

When I tried my first bottle at a beer tasting, I found the spruce drowned out the base Sculpin. But I've found myself coming around when drinking more bottles from my sixer.

APPEARANCE: Matches regular Sculpin with a vibrant copper body and a healthy off-white head that takes a good 6 minutes to fully recede.

AROMA: Genuine spruce leaps out of the glass. Hop and spruce resins harmonize. Oily hops. Hints of pine. Woody yet fruity. A vibrant and enticing aroma that balances hop aromatics with genuine spruce to good effect.

Aromatic intensity is moderate.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Oily sticky spruce tip flavours blend well with resinous, floral, and slightly fruity hop flavours. Hints of grapefruit inject more perceived bitterness, bringing this beer into a careful balance of hop bitterness, additive bitterness, and malt sweetness rarely found in IPAs distributed as widely as this is. Spruce lingers long through the aftertaste, bolstering this beer's duration of flavour.

Flavour intensity is moderately high as it should be in a good IPA. Depth of flavour is good.

The hop profile is excellent and works well with the spruce additive.

Crisply carbonated. Medium-bodied. A bit sharp on the palate but nevertheless refreshing. It's an aggressive beer but its balance keeps it pleasant and approachable.

OVERALL: I wouldn't say the spruce tip notes make it "better" than ordinary Sculpin, but they do make it pleasantly different and I do prefer this to the other additive-laden Sculpin variants. Ordinary Sculpin (or OG Sculpin as the kids call it) is one of my usual sixtel keg buys for my home keezer, and I'd consider cycling in Spruce Tip Sculpin occasionally. Definitely a drinkable well-executed IPA - and a fairly priced one in the contemporary landscape of $16 4-packs. I'll definitely buy this again and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys spruce tip beers (think Alaskan Brewing). I do have to wonder how a Spruce Tip Cascadian Dark Sculpin would taste based on the strength of this..

B (3.68) / GOOD

Dec 27, 2018
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VABA from Virginia

4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a copper color with a slight head and lacing
A-Aroma has piney resin hints
T-The taste follows the nose with a nice piney resin flavor
M-A light bodied well carbonated beer
O-A nice easy drinking IPA

Dec 23, 2018
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Czequershuus from Minnesota

4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours a clear orange with a solid head. The aroma features tangerine, cedar dust, caramel, wet pine, mango, grapefruit peel and a touch of melon. The flavor is vert lively, with a big hit of fresh pine up front, along with tangerine and grapefruit, followed by a complex melange of guava, spruce, birch gum, cotton candy, and mint. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with average carbonation. Overall this is a really excellent rendition that reminds me why I always thought Sculpin was worth the price. Hugely flavorful, vibrant, and utterly clean in body, this is a huge hit.

Dec 21, 2018
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up, kind of a sucker for the variants once, the base Sculpin is one of those true Hall of Fame beers that has been produced in big quantities and been a top player in the scene for a decade plus. Pours similar to original Sculpin with that light amber/orange and yellow kind of color property and 1/2" white head. Aroma was like a Chinook Sculpin. Just had lots of that pine needle winter tree kind of vibe on top of the usual plethora of citrus notes from base Sculpin.

Taste is nicely not a far stray from the base Sculpin. Where every other variety tends to have the adjunct dominate the base to where it becomes a significant departure (downward like federal sentencing guidelines) from the excellence of regulare Sculpin. Usual west coast dry body with a more woody and pine texture, again, like this was dosed with a substantial amount of Chinook hops is kind of the vibe the spruce gives it. Spruce, pine, really not distinguishable from each other, very similar. Plenty of bitterness, usual body and carbonation very evident in this beer. I guess we're at the point where $2-2.50 for a good ipa is a relative deal sometimes with the $5 a can craze in ipas.

Dec 14, 2018
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Antg8989 from New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Yet another solid sculpin, but nothing that makes me want to buy it again. Habanero sculpin is still my favorite. The feel on this one has a bit more of a mouth coating. Aroma is somewhat spicy, with pine and citrus. Berries on the retronasal, but you've got to be looking for it. Taste is similar.

Dec 11, 2018
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TrojanRB from California

4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an unfiltered golde, nice finger of white head with good retention

Nose is big time pine and a surprising amount of citrus

Taste is pine needles, lemon rind, very bright, some resin

Full bodied, nice astringent hop presence without being overly bitter. Moderate carbonation

Great west coast ipa, probably my favorite sculpin variant

Dec 09, 2018
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TheRougeBastard from North Carolina

3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been wary of "different" Sculpin's since the HORRIBLE watermelon debacle...IMHO! Nevertheless, I was intrigued with the desciption of this one, given the resiquite "pineyness" quality sought after in an IPA. First impression, in all honesty, was a mouthfeel as if one had walked by with mouth open as one of those spray air-fresheners loaded with a "Christmas tree" scent and it unloaded!!! As the head subsided, the berries and wine grape flavor came out (not miuch lemon though), and it settled into a nice, flavorful IPA. Worth a try, but one I won't seek out again.

Dec 02, 2018
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RyanK252 from California

4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a Mountain Rambler Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours golden orange amber with a frothy khaki head that settles to a firm layer and laces well.

S: Resinous pine, citrus, tropical and candied fruity notes, a touch of bready malt, and caramel sweetness.

T: Resinous pine, citrus, grapefruit, lemon, lime, and orange, tropical fruit, mango, passion fruit, apricot, hints of green green grapes and red berries, floral notes, bready malt, and caramel sweetness.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: After the last couple so-so variants (Aloha and Unfiltered) I was worried the downward slide of this classic IPA would continue, but I do rather like this one. Spruce tips bring it back to being a gloriously piney west coast IPA.

Nov 28, 2018
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Darkmagus82 from Texas

4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a pint glass

Appearance – The beer is served a super hazy orange amber color with a one finger head of white foam. The head has a good level of retention, slowly fading over time to leave a ton of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the brew is a nice mix of tropical fruit smells of tangerine, mango and papaya, as well as hop aromas of pine and grapefruit. Along with these smells comes a little bit of a breadiness and a light yeasty smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a nice tropical fruit and bready flavor that creates a base taste of the brew. The tropical fruits are mainly of mango and pineapple with some tangerine mixed within. At the start there is also a strong showing of grapefruit hop and a little bit of pine as well. As the taste advances the breadiness dries a tiny bit all while the pine gets stronger and stronger. At the end, the pine and grapefruit are equal in intensity, and are joined by a little bit of grass, which in the end, with the mix of hop, sweet, and bread, create a rather pleasant and diversely hopped taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is on the slightly chewier side in terms of thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is average. The feel is great for the mix of fruit, grapefruit hop and more dank hop tastes and makes for a wonderful and refreshing, but still slightly slower sipper feel for the brew.

Overall – The spruce/pine flavor does well to balance out and compliment the sweeter fruit and grapefruit flavors. This is a very nice rendition of the Sculpin. Well done and delicious.

Nov 28, 2018
Sculpin - Spruce Tip from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 130 ratings