Ballast Point Sculpin IPA Review


One of the hottest breweries over the last couple of years has been Ballast Point Brewing out of San Diego, Calif. This interesting outfit is almost the picture of diversity, with a homebrew shop, a brewery and a line of spirits. Ballast Point can trace its beginnings to the Home Brew Mart opened by college roommates Jack White and Pete A’Hearn in 1992. Ballast Point began offering its pale ale to the public in 1996 and expanded to its current location in 2004.

Currently the brewery offers seven year-round beers with a fish theme (Wahoo White, Longfin Lager, for example) and several other special offerings. Today we’re trying Sculpin IPA, one of the more popular offerings from Ballast Point that comes with high price tag for a six pack (about $13-14). Is it worth the price of admission?

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA Review

ABV: 7%
IBU: 70
Method of Pour: Keg into a globe glass

Color: Sculpin IPA pours an orange, translucent color with a head that stays. This eventually reveals a foam which remains on the surface and glass. I am getting plenty of tree fruit on the nose (pears and the like).

Nose I have to admit, malt was the first hint I received. This was balanced by flowers such as hibiscus and some grapefruit smell (citra hops, probably). There is definitely pine on the nose as well, which tells us there are Northwest hops. Ballast Point has more Columbus hops and peach notes than expected, and I promise I smell apricot.

Palate: Subtle, almost malty on the front of the palate, this opens to reveal the hop/floral aroma on the back end. Peppers appear. There is a Texas grapefruit-like finish (sweet/tart) which I think diminishes from this beer, but it certainly doesn’t knock it down from “A” status.

Bottom line: Sculpin IPA is a solid IPA, and it’s a good West Coast IPA. The high cost is prohibitive to make this a “regular,” but it’s worth working it into the rotation.

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