Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: Ballast Point's Sculpin

So, after much prodding from a couple friends, I caved and shelled out the $15 for a six-pack of Ballast Point's renowned Sculpin IPA. I wasn't doubting that it'd be an intense experience, because it got a 98 on Beer Advocate. As a fan of IPAs, and having a pretty set top 3 IPAs (Bell's Two Hearted Ale, Uinta's Dubhe, and, of course, Dogfish Head's 90 Minute IPA) I was looking for something to knock me out of the park.

So I'll get right into breaking down this fish - I mean IPA.

Appearance: 4.5/5

Sculpin sports a finger's worth of white foamy head which sticks around. Some decent lacing is of note. The color is a beautiful golden amber which I love. It looks like a straight-up IPA should.

Nose: 5/5

Sweet citrus hits my nose. It's a beautiful, lightly sweet fruity scent. I sense pine notes in the background, which is nice. The sweet, yet subtle nature of the nose is very inviting. Almost tropical with how fruity it is.

Taste: 5/5

Slightly bitter grapefruit hop notes come first, followed by some other fruity notes like mango and pineapple. It's a clean and crisp IPA that doesn't dominate the palate with any one aspect of the flavor. In the background are spicy pine notes. I think the fact that this IPA is so clean is what makes it stand out. The flavors speak for themselves without overdoing it.

Mouthfeel: 4.5/5

A medium body and a creamy nature. It's simple, bright, and clean.

Finish: 4/5

Sculpin finishes very smoothly, but also kind of more wet than dry because of its creamier body. It leaves slight tropical fruit and grapefruit notes behind with a bit of bitterness. In fact, the bitterness may come through more in the finish than the taste.

Total Score: 96.5/100

I really really liked this IPA, and not because it was pushing boundaries or ridiculously hoppy, but because it was clean, simple, and knew what an IPA should be. The fruity grapefruit flavor was delicious. I'd definitely say Ballast Point hit this IPA right on point. They knew what they were doing, and it's both a little original while being a very straight-up IPA. Thought it's a tad expensive for a six-pack, it's great! One of my highest recommendations in the style.

Until next time, cheers!


[Above photo via David Jensen of]

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