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Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

383 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 383
Hads: 1,997
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 15.43%
Wants: 157
Gots: 491 | 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.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 383 | Hads: 1,997
Photo of jspaner
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful orange-amber color with the usual citrusy, hoppy aromas one associates with BP IPAs. The taste is very good, but is quickly overtaken by the peppery heat of the habanero & whatever other chilies may be in there. Overall, its a fine brew, but there's definitely a heat kick to it, so be ready for it.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.04/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz.

Pours nearly clear golden, white film for a head. Pretty similar to other Sculpin variants.

Scents of honey, grapefruit citrus, fresh pine, and a whisper of capsaicin.

Tastes of honey and grapefruit citrus. A piney fresh hop character starts to come on before a sudden fruity chile heat overwhelms everything. Finishes with a fresh vegetable bitterness.

Medium body, tingly carbonation on the roof of the mouth, and potent chile burning at all points of contact. Burns going down as well.

This is no joke, very spicy. If you like chile peppers or pepper beer, then this one is a must-try. Otherwise, it's a novelty at best and dangerous at worst! As far as the Sculpin, it's the same great beer under the somewhere, but the pepper sort of steals your attention from it. Still, as a fan of spicy peppers, this is a blast to try even if it is a one-time thing for me.

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Poured into a Duvel tulip. The liquid is a slightly hazy golden amber, maybe a smidge on the dark side. The pour produces a nice topping of near-white foam that clings to the glass as it goes down. Just what I want an IPA to look like.

Aroma is bigtime grapefruit, oranges, and pineapples, backed up by a hint of a sugar cookie malt backbone. There is just a hint of a habanero scent that I honestly don't think I would have noticed if I didn't already know it was there. Other than that, nothing to distinguish it from the classic sculpin we know and love so far.

Flavor is regular sculpin up front - that is to say, more pineapple and grapefruit, a bit of resin, and caramel malt undertone. But on the swallow, the habanero really comes out in an almost painful way. It's weird how it barely asserts itself on the front of the tongue but then when it gets to your throat it feels like you're swallowing glass. After the swallow, the finish is totally dominated by the habanero... maybe there's a hint of some tropical fruit in there somewhere, but it feels like I just drank hot sauce.

Mouthfeel is again just like regular sculpin - moderate thickness and lots of carbonation.

Overall, I had to try it for the novelty, but I guess I should have known what I was getting myself into. For me, there is way too much habanero here to be that much fun to drink. The bottle does say that the amount of habanero can vary from bottle to bottle, so I can imagine that this would be good with less. I can imagine it tasting like a nice pineapple salsa. But instead what I get is the time I made chili without realizing that actual habaneros are way stronger than pickled jalapenos. I'll give them an A for effort, and the benefit of the doubt that other bottles taste better.

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Photo of Thirstygoat
3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A friend of mine used to grow Habaneros. They'd turn yellow and once dry would keep for ever.
I stopped adding them to chilie a while back and now remember why.
The bottle says " Heat May Vary." I hope this was on the warm end?

Pours with a nice pillow of white head that remains for a few minutes. Clear amber hue.

Smells of citrus

Then the peppers sting the top of the mouth, ouch!

Mouthfeel about the same as the base or Grapefruit.

Glad I tried this, but not for me.

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Photo of owenwood
4.93/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

OK, no point in going any further with this craft beer snobbery. This is my favorite beer by a wide margin. To be fair, it is not for everybody. The pepper in this beer is an aggressive pepper, and you really have to be partial to this type of palate assault to truly enjoy it. Combine that pepper with the "regular" Sculpin, which is world-class in its own right, and no other beers need to be tried. Lacing is typical of the brewer's products, aka perfect. Nose doesn't really tip off the hot pepper, which can add some high hilarity when offered to unassuming newbies. Only caveat is that in PA a sixer costs a small fortune..

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Photo of senglish7
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I mean if you like peppers this is your beer. The pepper hits you right in the face on the initial sip. I don't understand the buzz about this particular brew. Its not for me.

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Photo of casfam1
4.24/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Yummy- Got used to the burn after a few sips. Found myself enjoying more with each sip. Fruit note with burn on the back end. The pallet cleanses wit every sip, almost like enjoying spicy food whilst drinking a Sculpin.

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Photo of smanson56
3.59/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 6 pack at my local bottle shop since it's now available here in NH. As I am a big fan of Grapefruit Sculpin I had to try the Habanero Sculpin I will have to say the Habanero over powers this beer way to much burn to be a pleasant beer to drink on a regular basis. Maybe at a chili fest but not for normal drinking day to day.

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Photo of LeRose
4.06/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer poured a nice, golden color - extremely clear with a healthy head of foam in a nonic pint.

Aroma - I get a vegetable/fruity/flowery note from the peppers and an underlying bread sweetness with some grapefruit. A little bit of "spice" is suggested as in heat.

Taste - I was expecting a whallop of heat initially. That didn't happen. I found the flavors to be nicely layered. First got the bread-like malty sweetness with the grapefruit citrus notes to balance with some bitterness. Then followed the bright floral notes I recognize from making habanero hot sauce - and I know the heat is coming after that. I found the heat on the back end of the taste and by no means overbearing for my palate. It does vary, but I have yet to drink one of these beers and need to put out the fire. The heat is short-lived on small sips. I imagine it would be intense if the beer was drunk quickly.

Feel - smooth, medium-bodied to slightly heavy. A pleasant level of heat lingers from the peppers that could become overwhelming if drinking it too quickly. Fairly dry on the finish as well. There was a bit of a soapy feel that I would attribute to the peppers.

Overall - I am a habanero fan and for me this beer was a very pleasant surprise.Thought it had to be a gmiick, but it isn't. The base beer is excellent and i think teh heat plays nicely as an added layer of flavor. I can see where it could be overwhelming and the beer would be come muddled. Not the case in the bottles I have had, which I have found to be nicely balanced with the flavors layering and playing well together. I think it retains the character of the IPA rather than being a nuclear habanero assault.

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Photo of ricke49
4.35/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle sez "heat may vary" and that may be why some reviews near-wretch at the flavor. Bottle I drank tho was damn near perfect re: heat. If I'd wanted a normal IPA I'd bought one, but this one was supposed to be different, and it IS in a delightful manner. Just enough heat to make it interesting, and just enough hops to make it an IPA. Bravo Ballast Point!

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Photo of Dope
3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No bottling date.

A: A clear light orange pour. Tall, light and frothy white head.

S: Okay, definite vegetal pepper aroma. A little heat and a little citrus, but mostly it's that actual vegetal pepper aroma.

T: More of the same. Lots of vegetal habaneros up front with a little citrus in the background. Then the heat comes on...an impressive wave of it. Middle and finish is all chili pepper heat. It's legit, not some wimpy stout with a little cinnamon added. This has a real burn that totally dominates the beer in at least the middle half or so. Finish has a nice wave of bitterness mixing with the heat - nice combination. Lightly dry citrus rind and lingering heat last forever.

M: Medium bodied, spicy and bitter and dry.

O: Well, the pepper flavors and heat obliterate 85% of the base beer but I still like it. I'm a bit of a pepper head though. Heat isn't horrendous like one of those Stone abominations but it's up there. If you don't like spicy things then avoid this one at all costs. If you enjoy a nice capsaicin kick then this will be right up your alley. Not something I'd have many of, or often, but as a spicy beer this one is done very well.

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Photo of SaucedBoss
3.29/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - Golden, copper color
S - Habanero made for a spicy smell
T - Habanero was overwhelming. Too spicy. The spice overpowered the hop structure of the ipa.
M - Spicy
O - I love sculpin and spicy food. But I was not a big fan of mixing spicy with and IPA.

As someone who loves spicy food, this beer was not for me. I love sculpin and one of my favorite beers is grapefruit sculpin, but this habanero sculpin was just too much for me. I felt like i needed water to go along with this beer.

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Photo of fx20736
4.53/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bought a single bottle from Beers of the World on 8/1/15 from Beers of the World. Served cold in a Duvel tulip. Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. copppery amber, white head that diminishes to a thin film. Aroma of grapefruit and Habaneros. Taste: a flash of bready malt before a full scale assault of Habanero sweet, juicy fire. This is a unique, bold, stunning beer. OMG. I love it!!!!!!!

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Photo of hophugger
3.39/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a slightly deep, gold color. Decent couple fingers of head, rapidly leaving and ending in some nice, moderate, spotty lacing. Aroma is a little hard to figure out, with pine hops, slightly sweet coming through. Also getting a good amount of citrus, especially grapefruit. Not really getting much pepper aroma, maybe a little if I think real hard, lol. Taste is definitely peppery, with backgrounds of grapefruit and assorted citrus and hops. They are quickly overtaken by the heat and slight burn of the habeneros. I am a pepper fan, so I love this beer. This beer takes the heat to the limit of being too hot, but stops before it gets there. The burn on the back of the throat is ok, not too, too hot, but lets itself be known. Overall, I like this beer a lot, but wish that the habeneros had been a touch less, so that the other citrus and hop presences could have been a little more predominant..

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Photo of Fitzy01
3.26/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first pepper beer and I was a little hesitant on trying it, but I'm glad I did! Very different and a nice change but not exactly for me. Everyone should try one at least once.

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Photo of RenzoD
2.8/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

My first pepper beer so I don't have much to compare it to, but I can safely say that this isn't for me. Every once in a while you catch a hint of actual habanero flavor but for the most part the biting fire finish just does not blend with the hoppy bitterness in an enjoyable way. Maybe ill try a pepper beer with a style other than IPA.

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Photo of Trifecta1
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A hot treat! All the bright citrus hop flavor of Sculpin with habanero flavor and some heat. I'm a pepper junkie and this hits the spot between pleasant and medium; that being said, most people will find this between spicy and hot (uncomfortable). I love the taste of peppers in beer, and this one is no exception. Great IPA, wish there were more like this around.

On a side note, I've had this multiple ways; fresh bottle, fresh tap, properly aged bottle, improperly aged bottle, and I must say, I prefer an improperly aged bottle. You get a more striking balance between the malt and habanero, and the habanero to hops, creating a sort of flavor triangle. Or maybe I'm crazy.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.64/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a dark copper gold color with a white fluffy head and n ice retention.

S - Bright citrus: Mango, oranges, pineapple with some of those spicy peppers coming through.

T - The fruity citrus keeps trying to fight its way to the top but keeps getting beat down with big waves of Habanero, the two keep swirling and duking it out to the firey end. Lots of lingering spicy heat. I like heat but the peppers are too overpowering and is a "big glass of fire".

M - Heavy medium body, lingering hot finish that leaves your mouth salivating from the peppers

O - Too hot.

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Photo of VincentJB
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I know this sounds stupid, as it is a "habanero" beer, but it was hotter than I expected. I was confused. Usually I eat spicy things, and drink beer to put the fire out. Now the beer was the spicy thing... so I drank more beer, and got more spicy... aghhhh. Seriously though, it was good, and spicy (as advertised) but just not my cup of tea.

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Photo of dav2080
4.49/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I like pepper beers. Pours a golden brown with a short lived head. Smell the hops, fruity and citrus and for me faint pepper. Taste the Sculpin clean and then the heat from the Habanero. This is a great beer for a hot summer day just unwinding from a day at work.

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Photo of MatthewWalters
3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a cool brew. You immediately smell the peppers, and I even told my buddy it tickled my nose, at which point he laughed... I definitely taste the peppers as well! It feels like an alcohol burn going down yet lingers much longer in the back of the throat. Super interesting and not something I would expect from a beer, but one that must be tried if you're into out of the box stuff.

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

(draft, Quinn's Pub & Grill, Long Beach) finally tried this albeit reluctantly, glad I did, the habanero gives it a nice little kick without ruining this beer. If you LOVE the flavor of habaneros, this is a must try.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a golden copper color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a thin cap

S: Citrusy hops and some fruitiness stick out amidst a background of habanero heat. Heat not overwhelming but definitely quite present

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with the base of citrusy, fruity, and floral notes imparted by the hops. Get a bit of maltiness and then the habanero heat kicks in in full force. Peppery and spicy notes get kicked around with the habanero. Finishes with the habanero and peppery notes with just a hint of the fruity and citrus notes

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: As long as you're okay with spicy foods and peppers, this one is a great take on the base beer. The heat doesn't overwhelm (though it is VERY present) the base and works nicely with the hops. Obviously the drinkability is cut down a bit, but a couple is enough in a sitting anyways. Again, recommended if you're into things like jalapeños, habaneros, or spicy peppers in general. Not so recommended if you can't handle the heat

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Photo of aleckpa
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Too hot for my liking. You get the initial taste of the Sculpin IPA. However, the heat kicks in and it kicks hard. Undrinkable for me. Some pepper beers are balanced, but this is all heat.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.09/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My extremely good and awesome buddy Jon Passow, who is the Barrel Operations Manager at Anderson Valley Brewing Company, sent me this in a package from northern, CA a few weeks ago. then like 4 days after receiving this package my wife and I began our 2 week trip to California, one week of which was spent going to many breweries there with my friend Jon. I also got to try this beer on-tap when we went to Ballast Point about a week and a half ago. Onto the review. Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass of mine, this beer pours a slightly cloudy and hazy, but mainly clear, medium golden color with a nice copper/amber hue with a white head that is about 1/2 of an inch thick when first poured that settles quickly to a solid surface coating along with a pretty thick ring lining the inside of the glass. Not too much lacing unfortunately. Aromas of some toasted malts, citrus hops, and certainly the habanero. Has a slight toasted malt sweetness presence upfront followed by a nice floral, citrus hop bitterness. The spicy heat bite from the peppers is at just the perfect level for a chilihead like myself, and I understand how and why this might be too much of a hear bite for others people. Has a clean finish. Has a crisp, slightly smooth and frothy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Easy to drink for me in the a well crafted beer ought to me.


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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 383 ratings.