Jun 29, 2011

Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

Sculpin IPA label

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. It’s not an easy find in our area, but when I see it, I tend to pick up at least a sixer or two.

While we love the Big Eye a good deal, we’ve always had our eyes on the look out for it’s slightly smaller brother — Sculpin IPA. Both beers weigh in at 7% ABV, but usually differ in IBUs by about 15 points with the Sculpin on the lower end at 70 IBUs. Now, that’s not a huge degree of change, but it’s the more fruity nature of the Sculpin that really sets it apart from the Big Eye.


Sculpin pours a mildly hazy golden amber in color with a white head that held its form quite nicely.


Where the Big Eye packs more of an earthy, piny character, this IPA has a much more aromatic nose with loads of fruit (grapefruit, tangerine, orange peel) and a slightly lighter emphasis on the pine resin.


All of the tropical fruit notes that were present on the nose are there as the beer hits the tongue with a crisp mouthfeel. For having fewer IBUs, the Sculpin still has a heck of a bite from the hops. I’m not sure what combination of hops are used within the beer’s recipe, but they certainly make for a refreshing and enjoyable brew. The 7% ABV is well hidden throughout the drinking experience.


I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite between the two beers (Big Eye versus Sculpin) because they are both wonderful beers for completely different reasons. While I enjoy the tropical fruits of this latest, the earthy pine character of the Big Eye is also quite enticing. Perhaps, I’ll just have to sit down with a glass of both next time around.

Rating: 4/5

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