Ballast Point Sculpin IPA Review

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA is a delicious IPA where dominated by citrusy hops yet with an expertly crafted balance of sweetness and bitterness. Sculpin IPA comes out of San Diego, CA from Ballast Point Brewing Company. Ballast Point was founded in 1996 after two home brewers, Jack White and Yuseff, built a brewery in the back of a the homebrew shop that White had opened 4 years prior.

In the years since opening, Ballast Point grew their reputation of producing well crafted and delicious beer. It was exciting to finally find their top notch beer available in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially Sculpin IPA, which won a Gold Medal at the World Beer Cup in 2010 for International Pale Ale.

Although Ballast Point produces a wonderful line of craft beer Sculpin IPA and Calico Amber are consistently beers that I seek out and clear off the shelves whenever I see them available.

Date Reviewed.

Where I Found It. La Beau Nob Hill Market, San Francisco, CA

Serving Type. 22oz. bottle to nonick pint glass

Appearance. Although it started to pour crystal clear, the agitation of pouring must have loosened some sediment and it eventually poured as hazy glowing golden orange color. The head is slightly off white with good retention with a thick foamy texture. It leaves a nice thin lacing on the sides of the glass.

Aroma. Sculpin IPA has wonderful floral hop notes with a strong bouquet of citrus-like sweet oranges, ruby red grapefruit, and a touch of pine. It has a malty-sweet aroma, which is almost biscuit-like in nature. The sweet citrus hops combined with this malt aromas almost reminds me of a slightly melted gourmet creamsicle, made of orange sorbet and creamy vanilla ice cream.

Taste. This is an excellent tasting IPA with just the perfect balance of sweetness and hop bitterness. This is certainly not a dry IPA and I might go so far as to describe it as just a little sweet but not overly so. The effect of the sweetness is enhanced by the floral and citrus aromas that you experience while drinking it. The bitterness is slightly harsh but not quite as prickly as a sculpin fish. The bitterness and builds on your palette over time but is cooled by the sweet malt flavors.

Mouthfeel. It is a full-bodied beer with a smooth and a nearly velvety texture that helps contrast and cool against the ever building bitterness accumulating on your palette.. The carbonation is just the right level.

Overall. Starting with the pour and the light color, this beer is inviting you to quaff it down. As you bring it close to you mouth, the aromas from Sculpin IPA get you salivating until you taste this wonderful IPA. The sweetness and the bitterness combine into a wonderful experience. I wouldn’t consider this a dessert beer by any means but I also would not characterize it as a crisp and refreshing beer. It is a slightly-sweet very-hoppy IPA. As you can see by my rating the high point is the wonderful aromas, which Ballast Point has mastered in so many of their beers. The taste does not disappoint and the aroma is incredible.

Rating. Ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score.

  • Appearance (6%): 4.0
  • Aroma (24%): 5.0
  • Taste (40%): 4.5
  • Mouthfeel (10%): 5.0
  • Overal (20%): 4.5
  • Total: 4.64/5

Reviewed by .


  • Style: American IPA
  • Brewery: Ballast Point Brewing Company [more info]
  • Alcohol by volume: 7%
  • Bitterness: 70 IBU

Other Reviews

Other Reviews of Sculpin IPA
Guest Beer Review: Sculpin IPA – By Bernardo Pena | BarleyPop – A Beer Blog

Gotta love having friends that are as passionate about beer as much as I am. Mr. Bernardo Pena, close friend of 20+ years has been sending me tons of texts about all the beers he’s been trying in LA and abroad the past few years.
Sculpin IPA | Mike Loves Beer

Name – Sculpin IPACountry – United StatesType – American IPA A little over a week ago I did my first video review for Ballast Point’s Big Eye IPA. And during I said that a review would be coming soon the IPA brother in the Ballast Point household, Sculpin.
The Barley Blog » Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

California’s Ballast Point Brewing makes an IPA that, when I can find it, is a favorite of the household here on the East coast. My wife and I have enjoyed the piny, hoppy Big Eye IPA on several occasions through the years.
Cleveland Food and Brews-CraftBeer: Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

Here is what the Brewer says: The Sculpin 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.
Awards & Accolades 
Ballast Point Sculpin IPA – Voted Best IPA! |

We had a close race for our Best IPA poll. With so many tasty, hoppy dank IPAs to choose from, San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits Sculpin IPA came out on top as the Best IPA. While there was nothing in the rules discouraging disproportionate voting, this poll was pretty even Steven as far as online polls go.

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About David Jensen

David is a craft beer and photography enthusiast.
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5 Responses to Ballast Point Sculpin IPA Review

  1. Pingback: All About IPA: A Primer on Indian Pale Ales | The Menuism Blog

  2. David Jensen says:

    I took the lead photo in the water at Tomales Bay while eating oysters. Yum!

  3. Pat Tugend says:

    God damn I love Sculpin. Good job great review

  4. Damn it I love Sculpin. This beer is seriously close to my top three. Good review

  5. erwin21 says:

    Nice beer, This Good Post…

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