Posts Tagged With: Ballast Point Sculpin

Ballast Point: The Sculpin Trilogy

Ballast Point Brewing Company

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


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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Some tasting notes, after aging one month

Just some tasting notes that have been lurking in my drafts folder for exactly one month.  I visited Ramsey Wines & Liquors, and despite the name, for me their beer has become the main event.  Their beer selection is huge, and several times recently I’ve gone on the “beer finder” for one or another brew, and up pops Ramsey. Anyway, they have “mystery” 6-packs in a stapled brown bag, with two sorts at the moment.  One is “Even More Hops” and the other is some name like “New for Spring.”  Since I’m on a hop kick I picked up one of the former last week, and tried again this week.  To my very slight disappointment, the latest one is exactly the same as the previous one, but that’s not much of a complaint.

dalesOne that I discovered and mentioned last week is Dale’s Pale Ale from Oskar Blues in Colorado.  As I said before I would have been put off by the fact that it’s in a can, but more fool I.  Good stuff, and now I have another.  Perhaps more importantly, I got the mystery 6-pack for $13.47 (how they pick that number I don’t know).  Well, I saw Dale’s Pale Ale at Stew Leonard’s this week . . . for $9.99 per can!  Can you say, “quite a deal”?  I knew you could. *

Another one in the 6-pack is Ballast Point Sculpin West Coast IPA, and as I mentioned, the funny thing was that the night before I bought the first mystery six, I had the Ballast Point Sculpin at The Dog & Cask.  Excellent, rich IPA.  That IPA is from San Diego, like Stone, a brewery of which I’m very fond.  However, another item in the 6-pack is Stone’s Go To IPA, and I was disappointed by that one.  It struck me as all hops and little else. [Note that my impression was quite different, one month later.]

I had another one last week, Lasso from Great Divide, also in Colorado.  This one I didn’t find very memorable, quite drinkable but not one I would choose again . . . but now I have the opportunity to see if I change my mind

Today I had a Lancaster Hop Buggy Amish Grain Amber Ale.  This was pretty nice, good hops with a slightly nutty edge. Not a favorite, but I won’t mind having another.

SamichlausMeanwhile I took a detour, a very unusual brew from Austria called Samichlaus Classic from Castle Brewery Eggenberg.  They note on the label that it’s brewed only one day each year, December 6, then aged for 10 months before bottling. However, it may then be aged for several years before release.  I have to say I’ve never had anything quite like it. My very first impression was chocolate, followed by molasses, and the very viscous quality emphasizes the molasses.  It coats the palette and the finish goes on and on.  I don’t know how they age it during those ten months, but I find a hint of oak giving a touch of toast and vanilla. That could come from something else entirely, of course.  They recommend storing and serving it at cellar temperature, so I only left it in the refrigerator for an hour or so.  This pays off in depth of flavor.  They call this a malt liquor.  I don’t know—yet—what distinguishes a malt liquor from an ale. It’s obviously a long way from the cold brewing and storage of a lager.

* To be fair, that was $9.99 for the large can, not the 12-oz.

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