Total Score: 8.1/10
This is one of those “long time coming” beers in that it’s so highly rated in the US (BeerAdvocate has it on their Beers of Fame list: The gold standard of tasting lists IMO) and Dan Murphy’s have stocked their Big Eye IPA for many years – I mean WTF took them so long to get Sculpin in?!? Anyway, it’s here, it’s overpriced, and it’s finally getting either the “Doc brand seal of Approval” or the “Doc brand seal of Meh!”… or something in-between those 2 seals [perhaps half of each seal? I haven’t really given it that much thought]. So take it away Ballast Point Sculpin IPA!
Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Hazed amber body with a half centimetre dense cream-coloured head that leaves a decent bit of spider web lace on the side of the glass. Overall this is a top-notch looking, although a tad prosaic, American IPA. 8/10.
S: Quite a perfume of hops here – very flowery, with piney/citrus and a touch of pineapple. The most noticeable thing though is the bold floral character – which is not uncommon in an IPA, but intriguingly takes centre stage in the aroma of Sculpin. 9/10.
T: Sweet potpourri of flowers upfront crashes against assertive piney/citric bitterness and somewhere in the mid palate you’ve got light caramel malts and a touch of fresh pineapple [nowhere near the hefty “pineapple chunks in syrup” notes you get from another certain DIPA, which is Doc’s favourite… I won’t name names – you’ll just have to read my blog]. It’s got just enough to differentiate it flavourwise from Big Eye without being any more impressive [to me at least]. 8/10.
M: Medium bodied with a decent dense carbonation – it’s lacking a bit of wow in the mouthfeel. 7/10.
D: So it’s really just Big Eye with a slightly different flavour profile (for better or worse). I did dig the floral aroma of this one over Big Eye, but apart from that I’m finding Ballast Point to be a little overrated in the IPA stakes – there’s a good many excellent IPA brewers out there in that land they call ‘Merica: Where anyone, no matter how terrible their hairpiece is… I mean like an animal died and is withering away on their head, and no matter how bigoted the person, they can still run for president of the country – now that’s freedom right there! [or the slow decline into despotism]. 8/10.
Food match: Thinking Thai cuisine – like a Kaeng pa with fresh chilli or Som tam Thai (also with fresh chilli).