Ballast Point: The Sculpin Trilogy

Ballast Point Brewing Company

Here is the Sculpin Trilogy, three variations of the same fine IPA.

BPSculpinCropSculpin

A company flagship, this pours amber with a cream colored, fairly brief head. It has a full bodied nose of piney hops and caramel malt. Medium bodied and almost creamy on the palette, cookie & more caramel malt emerges in the flavor with subdued hops and a hint almost like a Belgian yeast. The finish carries these with more malt than hops. This beer is an exemplar of the IPA style. 7% ABV, 70 IBU

BPGrapefruitSculpinGrapefruit Sculpin

This has a more generous foamy head, but otherwise the same appearance as regular Sculpin. The aroma is of strong fresh grapefruit with a little sweetness like pink grapefruit or even orange sherbet. On the palette the fruit steps back and the bakery malt and piney hops come into balance with it. The finish is more bitter, like the rind rather than the flesh of the grapefruit, with hops riding along. 7% ABV, 70 IBU

BPHabSculpinLabelCropHabanero Sculpin

“Do you feel lucky? Well do ya, punk?” After Ghost Face Killah, I approach any “hot” beer with a bit of caution, but I am not to be deterred. This pours gold with a generous foamy white head. There’s an immediate aroma of citrus, a little pine, and a hint of pepper. On the palette things start with an effervescent medium body, initial malt, and the quick arrival of the strong flavor of habanero peppers. The heat then follows, sparkling wherever the beer touches. The heat is like a restrained hot salsa, spice and bite without blowing you away. The hops are there on the finish, with citrus and pine, amping up the lingering heat. Be a little careful where you put it in your mouth, it can bite tender spots. I don’t think I’ll swirl this one all around–oh, okay–it can be swirled but then the mild burn is everywhere. I feel a touch of sweat breaking out, always a good sign. This isn’t a session beer at 7% ABV anyway, but I wouldn’t want more than one or two . . . but I would want one! 70 IBU

Ballast PalePale Ale

Sculpin isn’t the only fish in the sea, but this is the one not named for a fish. The Pale Ale pours as advertised, pale with a brief bubbly white head. I get a very malty nose–bakery malt–with a nice brush of lightly spicy hops. There’s lots more malt on the palette with slight sweetness, swiftly dried out by hops with almost a mineral note. That dry malt persists on a medium long finish. Unlike the Habanero, one could drink quite a few of these. 5.2% ABV, 23 IBU

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