Review: Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin IPA

Review of Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Co. in San Diego, CA

Beer Type: India Pale Ale  IBU: 70  ABV: 7.0%  Tried from bottle

Their Description: “Our Grapefruit Sculpin is the latest take on our signature IPA. Some may say there are few ways to improve Sculpin’s unique flavor, but the tart freshness of grapefruit perfectly complements our IPA’s citrusy hop character. Grapefruit’s a winter fruit, but this easy-drinking ale tastes like summer.”

The Reality: When you pour this beer you get an airy medium head with the unmistakable scent of grapefruit. Then you take the first sip and it tastes just like it smells, a fairly aggressive grapefruit flavor, but that quickly gives way to a bitter pith taste and a hoppy aftertaste. They say it’s an “easy-drinking ale” that “tastes like summer”, and they’re half right. It is easy drinking, as it is fairly light and smooth even at the 7.0% ABV, as for tasting like summer, I didn’t detect any hints of beach ball, sand, baseball games or sunburn.


Final Verdict: There’s a difference between an IPA that has a pleasant grapefruit aftertaste due to the particular hops used, and a grapefruit flavored IPA. This beer is the latter. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, I actually thought it was pretty good, it’s just not that subtle or well-balanced. Even at 70 IBUs the bully grapefruit pushes the hop flavor to the ground and takes its lunch money. The only way you could probably improve this beer is if the hop’s parents told it to fight back and punch the bully in the mouth, but the school system frowns on that sort of thing.