The industry is abundant in choices when it comes to IPA’s. The great breweries know how to balance the hop characteristics from “mild” all the way to “wrecked palate”. Then there are breweries like Ballast Point that feel the need to elaborate on the run-of-the-mill IPA with special edition IPA’s, then limited, special editions of those IPA’s. That is what they did with one of the best IPA’s on the shelf in Sculpin.
The original gangsta that is Sculpin is one the most well rounded IPA’s that I can think of. If the first taste is with the eyes then its delicious before hitting the lips. The hop characteristic is crisp and not overpowering which allows the fruitiness to come through in the aromas. The light body contributes to the ease as to which this beer goes down but no more than the enjoyable sweetness from the malt sugars. This bit of love in your mouth rings up at 7% ABV and falls on the UrD scale at 8.5/10.
Now, you have one of the best IPA’s coming out of your brewery, what do you do? I mean, how does a standout, standout more? How about putting one of the hottest peppers in the world in it? Yes, lets do that. What you have is initially that great Sculpin flavor and aroma followed by the dull sting and flavor of the nuclear orange chile. As much as I love the spirit of it all, the habanero takes away from the balance the OG Sculpin has. Not enough to disrupt the pleasure of course but still leaves you thinking that you would rather have a regular one, and that is what brings this version down to 7.5/10 on the UrD scale.
Then Ballast Point keeps spinning the wheel of what else they can do to this brew, and it stopped on Grapefruit Sculpin. The citrus notes that some IPA’s inherently have are part of my favorite taste characteristics in these beers. The grapefruit being the bitterest of fruits only makes sense. If you’re going to do something, do it all the way and that seems to be the mindset for all Ballast Point brewing. The grapefruit notes do something that I never thought could happen and that is turns this Sculpin up to 11! Everything I love about the OG Sculpin is amplified by the grapefruit and is dangerously drinkable. This beer can become an obsession if they are not careful and factoring in its elusive availability it gets a higher rating at 9/10 on the UrD scale. This is a beer that stands out in a field of standouts so let me know if you agree… which you better.