Sunday, 21 December 2014

Ballast Point: Sculpin (IPA)

Bought from The International Beer Shop, Leederville (Perth)

The supurb beer named after the super-strange fish.

Mother nature must have got heavy on the turps when she drew up the blueprint for the sculpin; a truly strange looking and at times (depending on the genera) downright ugly fish. When man wants to get on the turps, he can turn to Sculpin, a beer brewed by SoCal legends Ballast Point that is perhaps a lot more attractive than its namesake.

According to the brewers themselves, hops were added over five stages during the brewing process. Moreover, the idea behind Sculpin was to see Ballast Point relive the spirit of its home brewing roots. The end result is a beer that showcases what is great about the SoCal scene.

Sculpin pours a dense ochre colour with a decidedly unfiltered look to it (which is not at all a bad thing). Its head is hued to the same colour of the beer and quickly dissipates to light lacing.
Tart, tangy and zesty aromatics get things going right from the off. There is even a hint of oceanic sea breeze, but one should not be surprised given that this is a SoCal beer.

Rollicking resinous hop bitterness bounds forth immediately on entry, leaving no doubt in my mind that this is one bottle in amongst a fresh batch. As the beer warms, the intense bitter resin backs off somewhat, leaving in its wake bountiful tropical fruit flavours. Lemon zest, apricot, mango and grapefruit dominate. There are even surprising suggestions of leafy greens such as kale, herbaceous notes and plenty of brininess on the finish. Hop bitterness in all its resinous glory returns to round out proceedings.

Sculpin's mouthfeel reflects the unfiltered appearance of the beer in that is not at all coarse while maintaining a home brew-like yeasty character, while its carbonation is quite low for its style.

Indeed, the sculpin fish is as dangerous as it is ugly. Much like the poisonous spikes on the fish's fins, there is a certain sting to this beer. Sculpin is yet another terrifically complex and impactful SoCal IPA well worthy of sampling time and time again.

Special thanks to the lads at The International Beer Shop who selflessly let me have the very last available bottle instead of keeping it for themselves!

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