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Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

386 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 386
Hads: 2,007
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 35.37%
Wants: 160
Gots: 496 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: billshmeinke on 02-26-2011

Our Sculpin IPA with Habanero Pepper began as a crazy experiment that’s taken on a life of its own. While its bright fruit notes and hoppy bite has made the original one of our favorites, this version takes that balance of flavors to the next level with the citrusy, floral heat of habaneros. Sculpin are known to sting, but this one’s got a kick.
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Reviews: 386 | Hads: 2,007
Photo of Pencible
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

A: This poured a hazy gold with thick white head.
S: It smelled like fresh grapefruit and orange zest and hot habanero, with a little resin and honey malt.
T: It tasted like grapefruit and orange zest for a moment, then very hot peppery habanero, with a hint of sweet honey malt. It had a clean and sweet aftertaste with lasting heat.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was a brutally hot drink, but otherwise a great IPA. The scent and taste were dominated by habanero. The body was a little weak, and the finish was very spicy, so it was not easy to drink. Interesting to try a few sips, but I wish they dialed back the spice, a lot.

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Photo of gopens44
2.55/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Looks like a Sculpin, sure enough. Maybe the lacing is a touch more slick than our more customary version, or perhaps I'm just being nitpicky?

Nothing overwhelming in the nose, yet it makes me feel like sneezing? I still get the same fairly tropical hop presence along with a malt presence but it leads away with that sneeze inducing peppery finish.

There's the hop, but wait - it faded to crackery something an instant before the tongue is thoroughly awash in hotness. Yep, it's spicy. Another swig clarifies the cracker thing a bit more as it actually is more like stale bread laced within a barely noticeable hop thing, but the pepper simply overwhelms. No doubt.

Conclusion? This is every bit as novelty as Ghost Face Killah. Look, I LOVE spicy food. I LOVE IPAs, and especially appreciate Sculpin, but the addition of the spice does something, I'm guessing, on the molecular level that fundamentally changes the characteristics of this beer that renders the IPA qualities useless. Judging from the reviews, this is also beginning to look like a fairly polarizing beer. I do not doubt that there are plenty of folks out there that enjoy this extreme experience, just really not what I would ever consider a drinkable, enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Das_Reh
4.39/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The aroma and flavor of habanero chilis plays no second roll in this IPA. The taste is like biting into a fresh, hot chili. Don't underestimate the burn in this beer as it creeps up on you sip after sip. If you love spicy food, you'll love this beer!

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Photo of Ljoreilly
4.57/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

If you like the taste, smell, and experience of Habanero peppers you will appreciate this beer. The taste is so close to the real thing it is amazing. The smell only gives you a hint of what's to come and the closer you get to the bottom of the glass the more flavorful it becomes. Just plain awesome!

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Photo of The_Kings_Thirst
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Golden orange with nice off white head.
S: Grapefruit and floral with some earthiness and pepper (stronger from bottle)
T: For me the spiciness overwhelms any other flavors. Beer fades, but heat remains. Maybe a tiny bit of nuttiness at the very front.
F: Medium

O: Interesting, but my least favorite Sculpin variety of the ones I've tried so far. Wouldn't want to drink more than one at a time and If I had again, I would likely try to pair with some food.

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Photo of JayQue
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A hard pour will give you an fairly impressive size head with slightly better than average retention. Some lacing on the glass. A nice, mostly clear gold color. Aroma is mild, some citrus hops with just a hint of pepper in the background. Taste is something else again. A short experience with bitter, citrusy Sculpin, followed by a quick blast of hot pepper that obliterates the beer flavor. Unlike that abomination from Twisted Pine (Ghost face Killah), your taste buds and mouth recover quickly, and with subsequent slow sips, the pepper is more manageable, pretty much under control by the last quarter of the beer. Mouthfeel is dominated by the effects of the pepper, this is definitely a slow sipper. The beer is rich enough and crisp when the featured element is not blasting you away. On the whole, not bad if you like this sort of thing. Some chile beers feature crap beer underneath the pepper flavor, others are an exercise in pain.. This allows you to experience thepepper, but still have a decent beer as the underpinnings.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.26/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

In a pint glass the beer was a slightly hazy brass color. There was a small, off-white head that left a bit of lace.

Aroma of peppers and citrus. Peppers really got in my nose.

Taste more of the same. Very strong pepper presence, some grapefruit in the background.

This was about the hottest beer I've tasted. Now, I love heat, so I thought the mouthfeel was just about perfect. Felt the burn, but wasn't taken prisoner by it.

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Photo of ScaryEd
2.26/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.25

Pours a nice golden color with a bit of haziness and a soapy white head that leaves a minimal amount of lacing around the top of the glass.

The smell is...interesting. Hoppy with notes of grapefruit and orange, followed by a good amount of hot pepper. Not unpleasant, but there's something off about it.

The taste. Just...no. I really, really don't get spicy beer. Now, this beer is not a habanero bomb akin to something like Stone's aptly named "Punishment", but the spiciness is there and it does not go away. I love spicy food. But for some reason, spiciness and beer just don't mix for me. There's still plenty of IPA in this beer, with notes of grass, grapefruit, and pineapple, but it is sent to the back of the line by the spiciness of the habanero.

The feel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. My mouth is still on fire.

Overall, I wanted to try this because I love regular Sculpin and Grapefruit Sculpin so I figured I'd give this a fair shot. This beer just is not for me. It's too spicy, and the beautiful, floral hoppy notes are simply overpowered by the spiciness. I think I'm going to stay away from spicy beer from now on.

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Photo of Evilyak
4.41/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

this beer pours a color not that dissimilar to its signature flavor profile. it's orange with a slight head and not a lot of lacing. Pretty beer.

you easily get the citrusy fruit from the ipa, but you can smell the heat on this one. there's some obvious pepper in there.

the flavor is habanero. it dominates everything, but like really great thai food, you don't lose the flavors underneath. this isn't just hot; this is a tasty beer with ripe, spicy pepper. heat lingers a bit, but not annoyingly so.

i wouldn't pound a bunch of these in a row, but paired with an interesting meal or on a hot summer day, i would go back for seconds.

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Photo of rjd722
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my spiegelau IPA glass producing a slightly orange-amber color with a pretty thick three-finger foam, dissipated fairly quick and leaves some lacing throughout. Aroma is mostly fresh habanero, backed by some citrus and pine (same base but less pronounced than the original sculpin). Habanero pepper spice hits right away and almost entirely masks the rest of the flavors normally associated with sculpin. Hints of citrus and pine come through a little, but the habanero is definitely featured. Mouthfeel is slight bitterness, dominated by heat similar to what you'd experience having a little too much hot sauce. I've had pepper beers before where the spice is only complimentary, but not here...heat lovers will enjoy!

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Photo of CJCouillard
4.63/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: Dark golden in color with a warm orange tint.
Smell: Smells like a typical IPA with a very subtle hint of pepper
Taste: A mild to moderate hoppy taste is noticed initially , followed by a spicy peppery bite.

Warning! If you do not like spicy things, this beer is not for you. The bite from the habanero is very hot.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
2.92/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Fresh bottle served cold in a pint glass.

Violence in a bottle. This beer started out with no chili in the nose at all with maybe some pepper skin. The taste was IPA for 1 second then a wave of fire and lava drowning out every other sensation. For me, it was far too hot and not worth drinking. I shared a bottle between 3 people and that was more than enough. In truth, I didn't want to finish my glass but I did.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The Sculpin that we've known and loved takes a baptism in the capsaicin pool for a spicy and sinister session that begs for the high quaffing rates of the bright IPA but with a kick that suggests otherwise.

Bright and coppery, its brilliant glow pushes a creamy, cottony swath to the rim- not all in all separate from the original. But Its hop-driven scent carries a tinge of evaporated heat that hides neatly behind the citrus, tropical and exotic herbal scent. Caramel and honey give an even coat to the tongue and seduce the tastebuds with its creamy softness before the heat begins to build.

Shortly into the middle portion of taste, the beer's floral spiciness peaks through the grapefruit, tangerine, mango, pineapple and passionfruit and introduces a slow simmering heat. As the taste unfolds, the hops turn resinous and decidedly bitter while the growing warmth takes the senses by surprise.

Creamy, dry and unquestionably warm, the medium-light ale releases its sweetness and favors hops and peppers there on out. Its spicy capsaicin exacerbates the hops and creates a sharper, spicier hop bite than the hops can merely achieve on their own. Piney, grassy and pithy flavors accompany the heat into a long simmering fruity aftertaste.

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Photo of RyanK252
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours slightly hazy golden amber with a frothy off white head that settles to a nice layer and laces well.

S: Citrus, orange, lemon lime, tropical fruit, mango and pineapple, some caramel malt sweetness, and of course plenty of habanero, though not too much heat is coming through.

T: Citrus, tangerine, lemon lime, tropical fruit, pineapple and mango, some caramel malt sweetness, then a wall of habanero heat that leaves some lingering flames. I love that the base beer gets a chance to come out, even for a short time before the flame thrower takes over.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, plenty of warmth and then some from the habanero which is to be expected.

O: Ballast Point didn't mess around here. If you can handle the heat it's a very cool one to try.

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Photo of JebBeerFish
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Disclosure: I am not a fan of spicy beer and food, although I don't mind moderate heat.

The heat in this beer is not overpowering, but I am not a fan of chile beer, and this had more heat than I cared for. Compared to Grapefruit Sculpin, Grapefruit Sculpin is much more enjoyable. If you like heat, you may like this one. If you do not, then you probably won't

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Photo of drdiesel9483
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L - Great golden orange pretty clear color with a great white head.
S - Very fruity citrus scents with maybe just a hint of pepper in there.
T - Holy cow does it have some habenaros in it! Lots of citrus just like the smell and some grapefruit if you can think beyond the hot pepper taste.
F - Sticky medium body but you have to think beyond the burn.
Overall, hot pepper beers are a hit or miss and this one is really good if you can deal with the hotness of it.

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Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wow, this beer is wild!!! On the nose you get citrus notes, tons of hot pepper spice, green peppers, tons of herbaceous notes. The taste follows perfectly with a hit of citrus up front followed by an onslaught of hot peppers & green peppers. And a wonderful spiciness that lingers on the palate.

I didn't know what to expect with this one but man was I pleasantly surprised. Step out of your comfort zone and give this beer a try. Ballast Point rarely disappoints.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.89/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, orange amber colored with a foamy white head that lingers leaving some lacing, tons of floaties

S: like traditional sculpin, grapefruit, citrus, west coast hops, only a slight peppery pimento nose would indicate anything different that the sculpin we know and love

T: grapefruit peel, citrus, orange, lime, wait a second, intense painful heat, a hot burning sensation overwhelms all other, habanero takes over on the end, it is just hot, really really hot

M: sticky but you really can't get past the mouth numbing burning sensation

O: think pepper spray, it is as advertised, one of the hotter beer I've drank, approach it as a chili beer, it is really damn hot, the other 5 will be turned into micheladas

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4.09/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I love the flavor of this when you can taste it but it's just too damn hot for me to drink. If they could dial it back a notch or ten it would be fantastic.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
3.39/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This bastard was all HOT pepper. I do like heat. The bartender told me it grows with every sip but after my first sip I had enough. I finished the half pint because I kept wanting to find new and small nuances that I liked, but getting to the bottom of the glass was a chore. Generous score as it is a hot pepper beer but not too enjoyable and not much base beer to be found.

On tap somewhere in Reno, NV.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.57/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a bright, hazy orange body. Head is pearl white and 1/4th of an inch. Head retention and lacing are good.

Smell is of mandarin orange, sweet malt, Alcohol is very light and peppers are in the background.

First taste is an immediate sting of habanero pepper. Sweet citrus counters the spice but the heat dominates. Little bit of honey comes through too, alcohol wasn't very present.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated. Roof of my mouth is burning, head added some creaminess to beer.

Overall there were some interesting flavors in the beer but the heat was just too much to enjoy all 12 ounces of it. Would like a little more hops and a little less peppers to balance things out.

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Photo of remingtonsteele1987
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm a big fan of Sculpin, and had a chance to try a 12oz bottle of the Habanero. You can definitely taste that traditional Sculpin in the background and what follows is a mouth burning sensation that will continue for at least 30 minutes from the final sip. Yes, it was quite the experience, but I probably wouldn't try it again. If you like hot and spicy foods/beverages, then definitely give it a try.

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Photo of raiderandbeerfan
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours yellow, like regular sculpin. This one has a thinner white head on it.

Aroma is sculpin hoppy, but the habanero is all over it too. Its my fave thing about the beer. Heat is very prevalent when drinking, tropical fruit flavors are there too, but muted behind the heat. Feel, feel, feel, feel my heat! Light bodied. Not better than sculpin, reminiscient of Lagunitas habanero ipa.

First got to try this at the Firestone Walker invitational in 2013.

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Photo of Roland7792
4.27/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Love the look of all Sculpin IPAs and this no different. Aroma of bright citrus hops but with wonderful spicy peppers. The habanero is well complimented by the citrus and sweetness. I can't believe how well they go together. The habanero heat and flavor build on the tongue and back of the throat. The label is correct, the heat does vary from bottle to bottle. Goes very well with spicy food!

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It looks like Sculpin. It smells like Sculpin with a bit of habanero. It tastes like Sculpin with a bit of habanero. No wait, make that a LOT of Habanero. Ballast Point really didn't fuck around with the peppers here. Naturally, it burns going down the palate and esophagus (making it less drinkable than the other Sculpin variants), but overall, the heat level stops just short of being 'excessive'. Probably the least 'impressive' member of the Sculpin family, but it's still a really fun beer to drink for a heat lover like myself. This will be a fantastic addition to a pot of chili, too.

3.8/5: It has more sting than an actual Sculpin, but it's still damn good

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 386 ratings.