I’m almost ashamed to admit that I had never heard of Ballast Point Brewing, much less their Sculpin IPA, prior to this tasting. My brother picked some up and, after doing some research, I realized I should have become acquainted with this brew a long time ago. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA boasts a score of 98 on Beer Advocate, and comes in at number 36 on their list of the 250 top beers. I was anxious to give it a try and to see if lives up the high praise.
A vigorous pour into my glass reveals a very clear, vibrant orange beer with about two fingers of white head.The retention is lacking, but there is decent lacing on the glass. This is a highly carbonated beer, which is evident by watching all the little bubbles float to the top of the glass.
The first scent that greets my nose is the unmistakable aroma of hops. There is also a considerable amount of citrus in the aroma in the form of grapefruit and pineapple. I also get a lot of pine and some floral notes. This is very easily identifiable as an IPA, and it’s complexity is refreshing.
To go along with the complex aroma, Sculpin IPA packs a very complex flavor profile as well. There are a lot of fruits here, including orange, mango and pineapple, and this adds a bit of sweetness to the initial taste. The pine and floral notes from the aroma really shine through in the taste as well. In the middle I taste some bread malts. This beer is really aggressively hopped and bitterness is impressive but not overpowering. The finish is long and dry with a moderate level of alcohol warmth. It feels creamy, a bit oily and highly carbonated.
Overall, this is an exceptionally well balanced beer. The flavor is complex and exceeding interesting. Also, at just 7% ABV, it’s an easy beer to enjoy over and over again. I’m a little disappointing that I’m just now discovering this gem, but I’m glad I finally did. Although I may not be able to rate it quite as highly its rating on Beer Advocate, I’ll certainly be coming back to Sculpin IPA again and again.