Grapefruit Sculpin | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Grapefruit SculpinGrapefruit Sculpin
6,226 Ratings
Grapefruit SculpinGrapefruit Sculpin

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Award-winning IPA, with a citrus twist.
Our Grapefruit Sculpin is the latest take on our signature IPA. Some may say there are few ways to improve Sculpin’s unique flavor, but the tart freshness of grapefruit perfectly complements our IPA’s citrusy hop character. Grapefruit’s a winter fruit, but this easy-drinking ale tastes like summer.

The Sculpin IPA is a testament to our humble beginnings as Home Brew Mart. It showcases bright flavors and aromas of apricot, peach, mango & lemon. The lighter body also brings out the crispness of the hops. The Sculpin fish has poisonous spikes on its fins that can give a strong sting. Ironically, the meat from a Sculpin fish is considered some of the tastiest. Something that has a sting but tastes great; sounds like a Ballast Point India Pale Ale. This version of our Sculpin IPA has grapefruit added; the grapefruit flavor really enhances the citrus aroma of the hops.

Added by arfenhouse on 01-19-2013

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,226 |  Reviews: 882
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.3/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

i should come right out and say that i prefer the regular sculpin to this one, it just doesnt need that fruit to make it interesting, refreshing, and memorable. that said, i love this edition of it. still crystal clear orangey in color with a bubbly lacy white head with superb retention. the fruit is so authentic, not sweet and sugary and concentrated like some of the shandy to hit the market recently, but true to the fruit, like the fresh juice of it, and it marries up excellently with the hop complexion of the base ipa, which has a lot of bitter citrus to it. the malt here i have always liked, honey malt seemingly, moderately sweet, lighter than medium bodied, but flavorful and fresh without getting into that caramel and darker crystal malt spectrum. it fits the hop profile brilliantly. i am surprised more acid isnt present from the fruit, but the acidity feels about the same as the base beer. cool accent flavor, as its real refreshing and not overly done. it also was one of the first ipa styles i have had my girlfriends parents actually like, so this was a hit in a number of crowds for us. my only critique really is that i cant buy this on the regular. nice brew, best use of grapefruit i have seen in an ipa, but i will take a sixer of regular sculpin still.

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Photo of acurtis
3.85/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of jaydoc
4.06/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.89/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap for The Full Pint 6th Anniversary Celebration held at 38 Degrees in Alhambra, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy bone head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and grapefruit aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus zest and grapefruit flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a very nice citrus presence that make this one easy to drink.

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Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of Knapp85
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured out as a clear orange color with a white head on top. The smell of the beer is pretty much all grapefruit, subtle hops but all grapefruit otherwise. The taste of the beer is a little sweet, but finishes with a decent bitterness. The feel of the beer is juicy, kind of refreshing. Overall it's a pretty good brew.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of djrn2
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of metter98
4.13/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is clear yellowish amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high white head that died down, consistently leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface, a collar around the edge of the glass, and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of fresh grapefruit are present in the nose.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of grapefruit, but with little in the way of associated acidity. There is a light to moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels a bit shy of being medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very drinkable and goes down easily. It has nice aromas and flavors of grapefruit, but doesn't really taste that much like an IPA and the grapefruit seems to overwhelm the underlying beer. It seems a lot lighter than a 7% abv beer, almost to the sense that it could be sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of nmann08
4.31/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of biboergosum
4.36/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, thanks be to the good doktorzee for bringing this back for me. Nice label imagery depicting some cross-species genetic melding.

This beer pours a clear, pale copper amber hue, with three fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and mildly bubbly ecru head, which leaves some streaky coral atoll lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells quite pungently of fresh grapefruit juice, orange and lemon rind, faint grainy pale malt, a touch of caramel sweetness, faint hard water flinty notes, and some further herbal and grassy hops. The taste is bitter white grapefruit, orange, and lemon peel, gritty, lightly bready pale and caramel malt, a bit of herbal tincture, and seltzer spiked with Absolut Ruby Red.

The bubbles are fairly widespread in their tingly and perky frothiness, the body a decent middleweight, and smooth like, um, well, you know, grapefruit juice. It finishes
dry, the fruitiness of the guest and inherent grapefruit maybe lending an iota of sweetness, but nah, not really.

Egad, is this grapefruity! Once the aroma beset me, I was reminded of the various radlers kicking about of late - lots of real juiciness, because, that's what they are, no judgment here. However, the base Sculpin IPA is not to be trifled with, coming around quickly with its own brand of citrus palatal pleasure, and a few other base elements that obviously don't mean much in the grand scope. Yeah, this is refreshing, and freaking great!

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 5/19/2015. Pours slightly hazy golden orange color with a 2 finger dense off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of huge grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, pine, honey, light caramel, and floral/grassy earthiness. Incredible aromas with fantastic complexity and balance of bright citrus/tropical hops, grapefruit peel, and light-moderate malt notes; with great strength. Taste of huge grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, citrus rind, pine, honey, light caramel, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/citrus rind bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon/orange peel, pine, honey, light caramel, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of bright citrus/tropical hops, grapefruit peel, and light-moderate malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and moderately crisp/sticky mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an incredible citrus spiced IPA style. All around fantastic complexity and balance of bright citrus/tropical hops, grapefruit peel, and light-moderate malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.46/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of kojevergas
3.48/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

BOTTLE: 12 fl oz. Brown glass. Branded white & red pry-off pressure cap. Great label art & design.

Purchased at an Austin, TX grocery store. Cost was ~$15.00 USD per 6 pack.

Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Vintage: 2015. Couldn't be more than 6 weeks old.
ABV: 7.0%.
Style: IPA (per the label).
Serving temp: Cold.
Serving vessel: Pilsner glass.
Expectations: Sky high; I love Sculpin and have high hopes for this.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: ~3-4 inches wide. White colour. Nice foam and frothiness. Creamy enough, lending it a soft pleasant look. Great consistency and complexion. Leaves a ring of light even lacing as it recedes.

Retention: Great - ~8-10 minutes.

BODY: Vibrant copper of high clarity; this is more or less what I picture when I think of an IPA. Clean, with no pesky yeast particles visible.

A very good looking IPA, but it's not a unique or profoundly special appearance. I'm certainly excited to try it.

AROMA: Bursts with plenty of hop profile, but the key here isn't the hop content or apparent bitterness, but rather the seeming balance; in spite of how hoppy it is, it's still pleasant and inviting. The fragrant perfumey hop profile brings notes of dominant grapefruit (but without any unpleasant bitter bite), pith, hop resins, mild oily notes, citrus rind, and pleasant floral character. It's magnificent, and I find it alluring. The hop bitterness is tamed by a near-perfect malt sweetness from just the right amount of pale malts.

Aromatic intensity: subdued.

It has a great aroma without coming on too strong or being overbearing. True to form, it seems like a grapefruit-heavy variant of the original Sculpin.

TASTE: Grapefruit does dominate, but it's placed carefully amidst a delicate balance of floral, oily, resinous, rindy, and pithy hop notes, which are themselves well balanced by an apt pale malt sweetness. It does get a biteen too bitter right on the finish, where that zingy grapefruit bitterness bite comes in, but overall this is a nice Sculpin variant which showcases Ballast Point's expertise in terms of balance - a value often lost on West Coast breweries.

Depth of flavour: Good.
Flavour duration: Lasting.
Flavour intensity: Above average.
Flavour amplitude: Solid.

It's never boozy or yeasty, true to style, and it has plenty of cohesion - which is impressive given its diverse hop profile. It's nearly gestalt, and boasts notable intricacy for an IPA. This is hard stuff not to like, and its fruit-forward build is interesting. The hop selection is spot-on, and it's an inspired take on a style that's tough to innovate in.

TEXTURE: Coating without being sticky. Aptly medium-bodied. Thickness, heft, and weight on the palate are all apt. Slight overcarbonation fits the schema, accentuating the grapefruit bitterness with a crisp bite.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

The overcarbonation and relative lack of refreshment holds this mouthfeel back, though it does complement the taste nicely overall. It just doesn't quite elevate the beer as a whole.

OVERALL: A great variant worthy of the original Sculpin, Grapefruit Sculpin is a balanced and highly drinkable IPA that will remind even the most discerning of drinkers why Ballast Point has been one of the West Coast's best IPA producers for a long time. While I do think I prefer the original, this beer is absolutely worth trying and I'll definitely be returning to it. Considering its high quality, its price point is absolutely worth it. Every IPA fan owes it to herself to try this. I tip my hat to Ballast Point; this stands out in the grapefruit-forward IPA category - and there's no lack of competitors. Well executed across the board.

Brewers at breweries like Stone and Green Flash should drink this and take note; balance is important in an IPA, and simply increasing perceived bitterness, hop quantity, and/or IBU does not in itself make a beer better.

High B (3.73)

10/22/15 2nd impressions:

Grapefruit-forward, with an overzealous hop bite and untamed hop bitterness unraveling the balance. I prefer ordinary Sculpin, but this will appeal to fans of more imbalanced IPAs.

I do dig the citrusy zesty notes and the fruity esters. Highly drinkable for its high ABV.


07.21.17 on-draught @ American Whiskey, New York, NY.

Has a genuine grapefruit citrus flavour and accompanying tinges of juicy bitterness, but it overwhelms the hop profile of the base beer. Still tasty and drinkable.

Low B / GOOD

07/10/18 bottle:

Has a pleasant hop bite and a scraping mouthfeel that accentuates the grapefruit, but the grapefruit has an artificial bend to it...why not use real grapefruit, Ballast Point?

High B- / WORTHY

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.27/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ballast Point's "Sculpin" has always been a fruit-forward IPA in its hop character alone. But hops can only take you so far. If the preferred character of grapefruit is what's so desired, then the actual grapefruit additions to the beer might be in order.

Grapefruit Sculpin pours a lot like standard Sculpin- deep straw with the signature hoppy haze. What's not common is the compromised head character that's a result of the citric acid from grapefruit. But that's of little consequence as the nose is rife with the most pungent and vibrant red grapefruit character possible. Its taste is tangy with citrus fruit but is also supple in caramel and honey sweetness.

Yet as the beer blossoms over the middle palate, its floral, fruity and tangy citrus character puts on a full display that leads with overt grapefruit but also claims apricot, mango, passionfruit, orange and gooseberry. With the light honied sweetness dropping out, the ale turns decidedly hoppy and bitter beyond it's halfway point.

Its medium weighted feel dries wonderfully but also falls flat and still after its creamy-dry body lacks life quickly, again due to the citric acid that chases away the carbonation and head retention. But its deeply resinous bitterness is of pine, but more so of grass, herb and a distinct cannabis afterglow.

 1,312 characters

Photo of oline73
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of zeff80
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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Grapefruit Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.32 out of 5 with 6,226 ratings