Ballast Point Sculpin IPA is a damn fine IPA, and is exactly what you expect from a West Coast IPA. It smells like fresh fruit, mango, peach, apricots.
It pours golden amber with a roughly inch head that fades to a collar as it warms up. The smell is absolutely amazing, everything a West Coast IPA should be. The “sting” that Ballast Point mentions definitely is there. The hops very much stick around and coat your mouth. It’s a damn smooth IPA, at 7 % ABV and 70 IBUs. It’s not super bitter, and it’s not super hot.
Now to the Ratebeer style review:
Appearance – Golden amber, light carbonation, off white head
Smell – Smells like fresh citrus fruits, with malt slowly sneaking in. Alcohol smell creeps up as it warms
Mouthfeel – Lightly carbonated, coats the mouth. It definitely sticks around.
Taste – Tastes like it smells, with herbiness as it fades out. You get some heat, with the 7 % ABV
Overall – 4/5 . A very solid IPA. I can’t compare it to bombers (but I’d love to) or draft (but I’d really love to), but it’s very good. I was happy to see it on my trip home from work, One Stop Market in Haverhill, MA has a great beer selection and I look forward to getting more from not only Ballast Point but everything else they carry.
Available year round / 8.7 ABV / IBU (Not listed, but guessing right in the 65-75 Range) / 12 oz. Bottle
Poured easy into a 12 oz beer mug, ended up with about ¼” of white head that lasted about two minutes. The body was golden-yellow, bright, and clear. The beer looks like it has a fairly thin body, but I don’t think Victory aspired to achieve anything close to balance here…this beer is clearly about the hops. In fact, American hops crush your nose from the time you pop the crown. At first, there is some subtle underlying pine scent, but the big ones are grapefruit and citrus. Clearly, this is a moderate-heavily hopped beer, but is still less than that overwhelming dank bitterness you get in some DIPA’s. The citrus flavors help to keep this bitter beast palatable and the carbonation is medium, which compliments the medium bodied mouth feel, making this easy to drink. You are left with the pine and grapefruit after you drink, which subsides when you get the blast of citrus in your nose while moving towards your next taste. Overall, this is an enjoyable DIPA that I would drink again. I was expecting a bit more from it based on what I have heard from others. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this brew. It is a very, very good beer, just slightly more towards a “common” DIPA than I would have liked. On the Rate Beer scale: Appearance: 5/5 Aroma: 9/10 Palate: 4/5 Flavor: 7/10 Overall 18/20
Next came NH’s Smuttynose, from their Short Batch series, Bouncy House. As the implied, this was a limited run, all bottle in November 2013. Smuttynose’s main goal was to make a beer that is low in alcohol, high in flavor, and hoppy. Some might call this a “session IPA” as it is hoppy and runs at 4.9% ABV, but Smuttynose wanted to avoid labels and called it a hoppy ale.
When you taste Bouncy House, you’ll taste a modest malt bill of North American 2-row, British pale ale malt, C-60 and Aromatic malt mashed for a refreshingly light body that leaves plenty of spotlight for a melange of Warrior, Calypso, El Dorado and Citra hops.
This was a very smooth, low ABV IPA with detectable hops, but they weren’t over the top. Malts were definitely there, and while complex, also very light. We enjoyed drinking this beer, and it was a nice slow ramp up to the beers coming later. Another good quality, flavorful, easy drinking beer.
This was the first of many beers in our latest tasting night. It was definitely an interesting beer, and I enjoyed it. If you like Saison/Farmhouse Ales, I recommend this to you. It comes from Oregon’s Logsdon Organic Farmhouse Ales.
From the Logsdon website:
This unfiltered bottle of seizoen, with it’s beeswax seal, is naturally refermented and carbonated with select yeast strains, producing fruity and spicy flavors that are balanced by hops and soft malt character. Special Brettanomyces yeast provides added dryness and crisp complexity to the Seizoen Bretta. Bottle conditioned with pear juice for a natural carbonation.
Honestly, we didn’t notice the pear juice (we also didn’t know it had it in there, as we hadn’t read up on the beer. It ran at 8% ABV, and that was not clearly evident. It definitely had the farmhouse smells you expect, with the crisp bite of a saison. The addition of Brettanomyces brought out a pleasant Belgian-style beer note (dat phenols). This was definitely a fun first course, and is a very smooth, easy drinking beer.
SoMe Brewing launched in York, ME just before Christmas, and has produced some very good beers. This is my review from their pre-launch party, including their 4 beers available at the time. They are debuting a new beer tonight (Friday 1/3/2014), a session rye ale called “York Gold.”