Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sculpin- Just Another Really Good IPA From California

I haven't had a beer since Saturday and you know I couldn't hold off that long on my bottles of Ballast Point Sculpin IPA that was just released at the brewery last Saturday. The last day of my 3rd of 6 4th year rotations was cause enough to celebrate.

This beer strikes me much different than it did when I had a pint on tap at Ballast Point a few days ago. I could not believe how similar this was to Pliny the Elder. The color is obviously much different, as Sculpin pours a clear orange. The head can be quite big, the reason mine was a fairly thin cap was because it looked like it was building up too much so I backed off a lot on my pour. It can really form a nice frothy head.

I poured some into my nonic and some into a tulip. In the tulip it smelled super citrusy, mostly orange as far as I could tell. From the pint glass I get more of a greenery and the similarity here to Pliny the Elder is striking. The taste produces much of the same result. The bitterness and the way the hop flavors flow over the tongue remind me of Pliny so much. The bitterness in this is definitely there, as it should be, but it's soft and lends a really nice bitter aftertaste. There's also some body to this thing. It's a bit oily, slick, but not syrupy (thank God), and lacks any residual sweetness of those *cough* East coast IPA's *cough*.

Ballast Point says Sculpin should be "bright with aromas of apricot, peach, mango and lemon, but I seriously get none of those and pick up orange a lot. What I do pick up from this beer is how solid it is. Very good.

This beer gets a 4.6/5 from me on the BA scale. I don't think the aroma is as great as it could be but the taste is as good as you can ask for. I still think $8 a bottle is a little much. If it were $6 a bottle I'd buy a lot more.


JRhode said...

Yet to crack a bottle. My brother mentioned oily/resiny when he cracked his first bottle. Working on an underwhelming bottle of Rogue Yellow Snow IPA. Hutt says it tastes Oregonian (Deschutes, Elysian?).

Steve said...

Ah that Yellow Snow. That was on tap at Lucky Baldiwn's for the last few weeks. I was there at the end of November with the Baltimore Beer Guy and he had a pint of it. I don't think he had many complaints, tho he didn't rave about it at any point.

I always thought Oregon brewed some awesome hoppy beers, but now I'm not so sure. None of the ones I've had from up there have been mind blowing or even VERY good, except maybe Deschutes Hop Trip.

Rational Realist said...

That's an awesome picture. Picked up two bottles tonight, yet to open one. Had The Bruery's Partridge in a Pear Tree tonight instead. I am partial to California's IPAs over Oregon, although I do like Bridgeport's IPA. I've only had it on tap and found it much more citrusy and less hoppy than a traditional West Coast IPA, but very good all the same.

J.Rhode said...

Sculpin appeared at the local La Mesa Bevmo this week for a buck cheaper, $6.99. I was kind of pissed.

Steve said...

Haha, I heard about that. Up here in Cypress in OC too. I hear it was 1 bottle per person. That's gotta be a first.... 1 bottle limit on a 7% IPA!