Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

There are some IPA’s out there that for what ever reason have a lot of cache associated with them, Pliney the Elder , Hopslam, and Nugget Nectar are at the top of most people’s list another one at the top of many lists is Ballast Points Sculpin.  I’ve not seen it in NJ for whatever reason, even though many Ballast Point beers are.   So, when I saw it at the Whole Food Bowery (NYC) I bought a bottle.ballastpoint_sculpin2

Here is how Ballast Point describes their beer:

The Sculpin IPA is a testament to our humble beginnings as Home Brew Mart. Founded in 1992, the Mart continues to be a catalyst for the San Diego brewing scene, setting the trend for handcrafted ales. Inspired by our customers, employees and brewers, the Sculpin IPA is bright with aromas of apricot, peach, mango and lemon. Its lighter body also brings out the crispness of the hops. This delicious Ballast Point Ale took a Bronze Medal at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival in the Pro Am category. The Sculpin fish has poisonous spikes on its fins that can give a strong sting. Ironically, the meat from a Sculpin is considered some of the most tasty. Something that has a sting but tastes great, sounds like a Ballast Point India Pale Ale.

ABV: 7%

Bottle: 22oz capped

Price: $9.99


This beer is off to a good start, nice clear auburn/gold color and lots of carbonation.  There is a torrent of bubbles rising from the bottem helping promote the head.  There is a big thick, dense, creamy head with a ton of lacing.


Now this is what I’m always talking about for an American IPA, you have to have a big nose, in my opinion. This beer doesn’t quit in that department. The aroma is loaded with tons of apricot and mango with some underlying resinous bubblegum notes.



We now have anticipation to taste this beer, great aroma and appearance, I hope the flavor lives up.

My initial take is the Aroma is the best part of the beer, I prefer my IPA’s to have a bit more balance between the malt and bitterness.  This beer is a bit thinner then I expected, with a mild malty, more grainy taste which transitioned quickly into a nice sharp piney, grapefruit, and slightly peppery bitterness that lasts throughout the rest of the beer.  The bitterness will last for several minutes after each sip.

Just refilled my glass with the 2nd half of the bomber, It has a much better flavor balance, a bit warmer and some nice tropical fruit notes right before that long bitterness.

Glassware: Nonic or Tulip

Calories: at 7% abv, The Calorie Chart would estimate between 225 and 240 calories per 12/oz

Overall Impression:

I enjoyed this beer very much, but I don’t think it is a “seek and destroy” to acquire type of beer.  Very typical of a west coast IPA, big aroma, with tons of bitterness.  The beer does get easier to drink and more flavorful with bit of warming.  Like I said above, my preference is for more malt balance in my IPA’s.

Have you had this beer?  What did you think of it?


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6 Responses to “Ballast Point Sculpin IPA”

  1. Lee Williams Says:

    This is by far one of my fav American IPA’s super hoppy, super west coast, super drinkable – basically SUPER! I love it #ibelieveinIPA – Great review Peter!!!

  2. Richard Says:

    Have to disagree on the Sculpin – it is absolutely on of the best IPA’s out there! But, I am a total hop head and like only enough malt in the IPA to give it some backbone – so, really, 99% hops and 1% malt. Sculpin fits this bill as does, I think, Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig, and Alpine Brewing Nelson.

  3. John Hoyos Says:

    Don’t worry, Peter. Starting April 1, you’ll be able to get Sculpin 22s in NJ as well as 6-packs of Big Eye IPA, their Centennial hop IPA.

  4. Simply Beer Says:

    @lee & @Richard, thanks for the comment. I love my hops, but need the malt too. It wouldn’t be fun if we all liked the same stuff now would it! :-)

    @John thanks for the heads up looking forward to trying some more Ballast Point beers.

  5. CHUG Says:

    Sculpin just took first place in the world cup of beer ’10 in the international pale ale category.

  6. Simply Beer Says:

    Very cool, still doesn’t change my opinion :-) , but now that it is carried in NJ, I’ll probably drink it once and awhile.

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