Has Ballast Point's quality changed post-sellout?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by frkonalsh2003, Mar 19, 2017.

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  1. Daveshek28

    Daveshek28 Initiate (180) Nov 10, 2015 Massachusetts

    IMO opinion, the biggest thing is the availability of "better" local and fresh beer at the brewery releases now. Around here, a lot of the sculpin has been sitting on shelves for months, so I haven't had any super fresh since I was actually at the brewery. The quality may be the same, but it's just the supply of so many new IPA's that are local and fresh, that the sculpin isn't as good to me as it once was. I will agree with the people who are stating the victory at sea has seemed to have taken a down turn this year.
    jrnyc likes this.
  2. ElijahSF

    ElijahSF Initiate (0) Aug 30, 2013 California

    Grunion is still great.
    beergoot, Gajo74, broadway848 and 4 others like this.
  3. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Have you link to this information? Based on the information I've seen the brewer who was among the 4 people that left "to pursue other opportunities" was the head brewer and distiller for the Spirits Division, for not the brewery itself.

    #43 drtth, Mar 21, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  4. Thecalmdrinker

    Thecalmdrinker Initiate (0) Jun 27, 2015 Nevada

    Their 'Victory at Sea' still tastes exactly the same to me (Delicious). It's the only beer I buy from them, though.
    Bitterbill and ElijahSF like this.
  5. Hoppedelic

    Hoppedelic Initiate (193) Dec 6, 2010 California

    You're reading that wrong, in that link it says Churney co founded the brewers (Ballast Point's) spirits division and was also its (Ballast Point's) head brewer, referring to the brewery Ballast Point. Churney was the head brewer of Ballast Point and was also the head distiller of their spirits division. Distilleries don't have head brewers, just head distillers.
    drtth likes this.
  6. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Yeah I do seem to have misread that wording. Thanks!
    #46 drtth, Mar 21, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  7. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Defender (685) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    Fresh Grunion is better than Sculpin... there, I said it. It is. You know it in your heart to be true.

    CJNAPS Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2013 California

    I haven't noticed a change, I also haven't bought some Ballast point beer in awhile.
    beergoot likes this.
  9. SCW

    SCW Initiate (0) Jul 25, 2004 New York

    This is not true though. The entire senior leadership team AND founders of the company are gone (most likely threatened with termination and/or forced to resign with severance packages). This is not a multi-generational, 100 year old company we are talking about. These people were the executives and founders of the brewery - you can't expect to discard the entire leadership team at a company and think that "move along now, nothing to see here, everything is the same......"

    I've tried many of the beers from Ballast Point before AND after the buyout. As a matter of fact, I used to regularly have Ballast Point on tap on my kegerator at home from 2011-2014. It was staple in the rotation. I was intimately familiar with the taste and flavor profile of the beers given the heavy amount of sampling I did - we (my friends, family, and I) crushed several kegs per month at a regular clip!

    I also regularly drink Firestone Walker, Lagunitas, Sweetwater, and many other breweries who have been bought out in the past few years, whether by big brewing conglomerates, private equity, or other means.

    I have sampled Ballast Point on at least 10 different occasions in the past few months. I've had it on tap at several bars, bought cans at grocery stores, bought bottles at bottle shops, and even had some beers at an event. The beer has been fresh at times and I tried it in multiple formats. And I will say the beer does taste different...

    Sculpin was an awesome beer, it had plenty of bitterness but the beer was an aromatic, flavorful juice bomb. However, the past few times I had it, the beer was very aggressively bitter, but it lacked the flavor, aroma, and juiciness that it used to exude.

    Is it my faulty memory? Is it me that changed, and not the beer?

    Could be, but keep in mind I used to drink Firestone all of the time as well, and that beer actually tastes better now to me, and as good as ever. I will concede that any individual's "memory" of beer is subjective and not perfect, but I do find it odd that Firestone has improved while Ballast Point seems to have gone downhill.

    However, it appears I am not alone here, as many of the original supporters feel the same.
  10. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Poo-Bah (3,575) Aug 12, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    Did my stalwart reference confuse you? I know the originators are not in place. I'm just glad that someone finally agreed with me that this isn't the same beer. Very easy to tell.
    SCW likes this.
  11. RBassSFHOPit2ME

    RBassSFHOPit2ME Initiate (0) Mar 1, 2009 California

    If you can find Manta Ray fresh, it's arguably the best new widely distributed west coast DIPA on the market IMHO.
  12. SCW

    SCW Initiate (0) Jul 25, 2004 New York

    yeah, thanks for clarifying - and it seems that you and I are a growing list of people who think the same
  13. ianous

    ianous Initiate (88) Oct 26, 2013 Connecticut

    I have not noticed a change.
  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,614) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The only Ballast Point I drink is Sculpin (Grapefruit Sculpin) on draft. Since it is a draft product I have no idea how old that beer is.

    Hoppy beers will 'evolve' with age. A Sculpin that is a few weeks from packaging should taste the same as another batch of comparable age (assuming that transport/storage is comparable). A Sculpin that is a couple of months old will taste different due to hop aroma fade.

    So, how do I know whether my Sculpin tastes notably different due to the difference of the age of the beer or whether it is being brewed differently? The answer is: I have no way of knowing.

  15. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Crusader (744) Mar 28, 2009 California

    You speak the truth. I had it fresh from the brewery about a month ago and it was ridiculous.
  16. Gaddabble

    Gaddabble Devotee (476) Mar 8, 2014 Ohio

    Big difference. I can't taste the independence anymore.

    Otherwise, it's the same.
  17. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Disciple (300) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    Besides what you can get better and fresher at a similiat price point I'm confused. If you happened to be in the area of that brewery you wouldn't want fresh sculpin? What's the reason behind that.
    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  18. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Disciple (300) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    I agree with fresher ipa offerings around me that date their products I will never go for a sculpin but I haven't noticed a difference at all with Victory at Sea. Maybe I can attribute that to issues being hidden behind darker malts but it was still very good to me.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  19. Boulez

    Boulez Initiate (7) Nov 11, 2014 California

    I've been drinking several Ballast Point beers regularly for years and have not noticed any decline in quality lately. I would also note that, with regard to some responses that have been offered, when a beer consistently rates highly in blind tastings, and some individual says it is "overrated", they are objectively wrong and probably self-overrating their own ability to taste.
    Gajo74 likes this.
  20. Warren2621

    Warren2621 Defender (614) Sep 26, 2014 Indiana

    Not sure about a quality decrease.. because their beer wasn't that good to begin with. Sculpin is good and everything else can go the way of the dinosaurs
  21. Critofur

    Critofur Initiate (0) Oct 21, 2010 Ohio

    When I first tried a Sculpin, which was around the time it was becoming well known, and, distribution spread to here in Ohio, it was impressive. I got a very fresh six pack and it was one of those IPAs where a dank blast of hop aroma wafts to your nose the moment you pop the cap - in fact, the only beer I have had previously or since, that was more impressive in that regard, was an extremely fresh Nelson Imperial IPA.

    Sadly, it seems that (here in the midwest?) getting an IPA with a strong fresh aroma ranging from the smells of a pine forest, to dank marijuana smells, to tropical fruits is quite rare and exceptional, like trying to spot a magic elf amongst a the crowded hubub of a busy Manhattan sidewalk? Yes, it's all to easy to find "bitter bombs" which assault the taste buds and mouth without wowing our noses. I sometimes wonder, has something happened to deeply dull my sense of smell? Does drinking many IPAs simply destroy one's ability to smell hops very clearly?!?

    Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA seems to be one to have withstood the demands of scalling up to meet large audiences, but, I've never known it to have the most dank/piney/floral hop aroma, just to be well balanced by delicious malts and other beer flavors so as to stay far away from the "1 note watery bitter bomb" that some DIPAs are (I'm looking at you, Fathead).
    beergoot likes this.
  22. BrewsOverHoes

    BrewsOverHoes Poo-Bah (1,543) Nov 17, 2013 Georgia
    Society Trader

    Just now seeing this reply for some reason. :astonished:

    Progress report: still going strong. Haha.
    jakecattleco likes this.
  23. semibaked

    semibaked Zealot (590) Mar 27, 2007 Minnesota

    I have had Sculpin, Unfiltered Sculpin, and Manta Ray within the last few weeks on draft and I thought all of them were excellent.
    Gajo74 and AZBeerDude72 like this.
  24. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (8,224) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    I've had fresh Sculpin recently and there's no way that I would score it a 4.92 again.
    beergoot, cavedave and drtth like this.
  25. R_i_P

    R_i_P Initiate (0) Jan 30, 2017 California

    Funny how Ballast Point's website mentions nothing whatsoever yet about Corona's buyout.
    Prince_Casual and ebin6 like this.
  26. HopHunter19

    HopHunter19 Initiate (0) May 2, 2015 Missouri

    Just like when Lagunitas started making Sucks year round I think Ballast Point has gone through the same shift. Sculpin flew off the shelves around here at first. Then it didnt. Then it was 8 - 12 months old and was a much different beer than it is 2 weeks old. Not saying its bad when its older, just not my cup of tea. I like my IPAs wet behind the ears.
  27. HopHunter19

    HopHunter19 Initiate (0) May 2, 2015 Missouri

    In addition, interestingly enough their mainstay imperial porter Victory at Sea is a coffee imperial porter, which like any other coffee beer also loses its oomph as it gets older. And again, I like to be smacked in the face with coffee when I drink a coffee beer. I wish some of these breweries would stop distributing so far, its ruining the fun!
  28. flaskman

    flaskman Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2015 New York

    I never enjoyed Ballast Point to begin with. For me, Sculpin was way over rated and the Sculpin based variants were very unremarkable at best. :flushed:
  29. teromous

    teromous Poo-Bah (3,433) Mar 21, 2010 Virginia
    Society Trader

    It's hard for me to keep track of their quality because they are always coming out with something new. If I feel like grabbing a Sculpin or Big Eye they have something new on the shelf that I end up giving a try. The end result is that the beer I would have purchased now sits on the shelf and gets old. That means that when I do end up buying most of the more classic Ballast Point beers they are past their prime. This in turn makes it even more unlikely that I will buy that beer again.
  30. CommanderKeen

    CommanderKeen Initiate (0) May 16, 2017 Texas

    Victory at Sea was once my all-time favorite beer. However, I firmly believe it is not as good as it used to be. I was unaware that they had been sold at the time (only found out relatively recently as I've not paid super close attention to the craft beer scene until recently). It has become cloyingly sweet.

    It could be that my palate has changed, I realize. But, at the same time, I have to say that I don't like it at all now. The Commodore is still great, though.
  31. Ipaupaweallpa

    Ipaupaweallpa Initiate (0) Dec 26, 2014 Alabama

    Still love ballast point. And will pick up gf Sculpin, Sculpin, manta ray granion whatever, when I can find it fresh. Which sometimes they are shelf turds yes, but new shipments come around a lot more every few months than they used to since the buyout. So I see it as a positive. Nothing tastes "the same" always to me. Even enjoy by, the same six pack one night will taste highly of alcohol, the next night it'll be super juicy like I grew accustom to. Same with Pliny or any other beer. It always changes depending what you've had to eat or whatever. Ballast point still rules to me. And if I see it fresh I will still pick it up without thinking twice.
  32. GetTheYayo

    GetTheYayo Initiate (0) Aug 26, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Their quality started going down hill 2-3 years ago, imo.
  33. mushroomcloud

    mushroomcloud Poo-Bah (3,272) Mar 4, 2005 Texas

    I just bought a very fresh Sculpin Variety 12pk last weekend,,,(Sculpin GF Sculpin, PA Sculpin), I don't drink Ballast Point all the time so not a great reference point for decreasing quality here.....what I can say is all 3 were delicious and I'd buy again - no hesitation.
  34. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,514) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Brewbound - New Packaging, Lower Pricing on Tap at Ballast Point
    cavedave likes this.
  35. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Disciple (300) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    I like the new can design and a price drop. I think they will be able to compete now.
    PorterPro125 likes this.
  36. Mugaipa

    Mugaipa Initiate (0) Aug 28, 2017 New York

    If you mean change in quality as in a change of recipe then yes. Not the same anymore.
    PorterPro125 likes this.
  37. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    Never drank much Ballast Point good beer but overpriced.
  38. Haybeerman

    Haybeerman Poo-Bah (2,457) May 21, 2008 Colorado

    I was in the habit of giving the new beers a try. Seems they were headed down the flavor variation path already (before the sale). I don't have hard data, but it seems the beers linger a bit on the shelves. I don't know if it's some people boycotting, transitions from one flavor to the next or what. It's still the same distributor. I tend toward the fresher of what's available but the beer is pretty good. Not wow, but other than a coupke (like Victory at Sea, GF Sculpin and a couple others) I didn't think they wow in the first place.
  39. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Disciple (300) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    If I find victory at sea in cans at 10.99 a sixer I will buy the fuck out of it.
    jakecattleco, Grizzarky and Eddiehop like this.
  40. HermitDan

    HermitDan Disciple (357) Apr 30, 2016 New Jersey

    That Red Velvet beer was garbage when it first came out. I hate Nitro beers so much. They kill the flavor and body completely.
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