Every Rose Has Its Sting

Brewery and Country of Origin: Ballast Point Brewery of 10051 Old Grove Road, San Diego, CA, 92131, USA

Date Reviewed: 8-09-12

A Sculpin is a fish known for both its tasty meat, and potent venom. As stated on their site, Ballast Point's named this eponymous brew after the Northern Pacific fish because of its sting. If a fisherman is smart enough to not get stung (and subsequently poisoned) by the fish, the reward is what many people think to be very excellent tasting meat. So it's a treat, but not without its responsibility. Don't know why the first person who ate a Sculpin decided that going after a poisonous fish in a region of the world where seafood is abundant was a good idea, but in a way, that could have been said about the first person who discovered explosives, quantum physics, or... fermentation... Either way, this particular beer starts out a bit like trying to catch a Sculpin. Sharp points, a bitter bite, and of course, potent with its active ingredient (ethanol, not poison... though it is technically toxic anyway). But does this beer live up to its name? Is that oh so flavorful "meat" there?
Date Sampled: 8-05-12 At: The Grog, 13 Middle Street, Newburyport, MA, 01950, USA
Beer Style: American IPA
Alcohol by Volume: 7.00%
Serving Type: Keg, American Pint Tumbler Glass
Rating: 2.87


This is a choppy pouring beer with a darker amber color and a medium light level of carbonation action giving this beer a short, very thin, low density foam head. Virtually no lacing occurs on the glass with this one.


Like a traditional IPA, this beer gives off an aroma primarily full of hoppy smells with a small bit of sweeter malty aromas mixed in. These smells give off a slightly lower than average level of prominence, mostly due to the relatively lower level of carbonation.


The Sculpin is a medium light bodied beer with an average weight. There is a below moderate level of carbonation and the same goes for this brew's level of viscosity. A more crisp than not finish accompanies a drier, hoppy lingering aftertaste.


Typical of the style, this is a very hoppy and strong bitter tasting beer with very little maltiness present. The only slight malty flavor detectable is somewhat caramel like, and is noticeable toward the beginning of the taste. Definitely a pronouced level of hoppiness. There is a lingering hoppy aftertaste.

Our Take

Though this is a unique beer in that it starts off nearly overwhelmingly bitter and hoppy, much of the rest of this beer's overall experience is pretty orthodox when it comes to American IPAs. Unfortunately, while this is a decent go-to IPA, nothing about this beer, save perhaps the pronounced beginning flavor, is terribly exciting or noteworthy. That said, the Sculpin is going to be a good second or third choice. Not what you're going to start the night off with, and certainly not what you'd call a favorite. Overall, the Sculpin offers a subtle bit of quirkyness to your night. But no fisherman, and no beer enthusiast is going to grab one of these and find themselves immersed in a world of sensual pleasure so great, it's worth risking injury for. Perhaps a more appropriate name would have been... The Carp IPA.