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Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

415 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 415
Hads: 2,113
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 35.11%
Wants: 166
Gots: 552 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Habanero Sculpin Alström Bros
Reviews: 415 | Hads: 2,113
Photo of BeerSnob1022
4.27/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap (twice).

Looks like a nice orange DIPA.
Smells like the regular Sculpin.
The taste of the first pour was fabulous. Everything I wanted from a chile beer. Pour two a month later was not as hot. A little disappointing in fact.
Piney, citrusy and sticky with a pepper kick.

Nice peppery flavor the first time I had this but not so much heat the second time. It seems like it's hard to get a consistent heat level to the chile beers. Looking forward to trying the bottled version.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.01/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a shaker pint glass at Beer Market - Schaumburg.

After a handful of malt-bombs, I felt it time to take on something different. This stuff pours a clear brass topped by a half-finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises grapefruit zest, chile peppers, pine resin, and a touch of honey. The taste brings in more of the same, the citrus, pine, and new-coming greens melding surprisingly well with the peppers' heat, holding it at bay 'til it's able to spread its wings near the finish. The heat is palpable, but nowhere near o'erwhelming. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, a very nice beer, one where hops and heat peacefully and successfully coexist. Good times.

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

On tap at 16 tons thes other day.

The beer pours a golden peach color with pretty good head retention and lacing. The is impressive, with the expected dry citrus, light dank weed, and hint of pine and green chili. The flavor profile replictes the nose, but the habenero chili flavor really comes on strong, giving the beer some very noticeable heat in the finish. It's not bad, and adds an interesting element to the flavor profile, but sculpin is so good on its own, the chili flavor really doesn't enhance the drinking experience in this beer. Moutfeel is at most medium bodied, with the beer showcasing a long, hot (from the chili peppers) and bitter finish. As always, alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile.

A nice beer, no doubt, the chili flavor really doesn't add anything positive to this beer. Given a choice, I'll take my sculpin without the chili pepper heat.

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

Let me start off by admitting I'm not a chili beer fan. That said, this was an excellent beer.

A - poured a deep, copper gold in the glass, with a bright white head consisting of tiny bubbles. These last quite a while, leaving interesting lacing as you drink the beer.

S - Aroma like Sculpin. Citrus (tangerine and orange peel) on the nose. Pleasing, with some hop astringency.

T - Wow, lots of citrus and definitely heat from the habanero. Not uncomfortable, but definitely lingering and warming. Very complex like a regular sculpin.

O - Really the best chili beer I've had. Well worth trying. I'd recommend pairing with obviously, Mexican food; or sweet pork barbecue. Try this beer.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.46/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap a couple times lately, enjoyed chilled in a pint at Al's Pizza and Subs and Holy Hound Taproom.

The color is hazed tarnished golden with a thick white head and fine bead with good lace/retention. The smell is peppery and both citrus/spiced in a habanero earthy way with dank hops and orange zest. the feel is warming with a hint of pepper at the outset and long linger that is enhanced by medium carbonation and resinous hop w/ back of the throat on the way down as it finishes w/ alcohol augmenting the heat slightly intense the more you drink...finish is dry with peppery accent.

The taste is great considering this is an IPA transformed into a chile beer. The flavor of the habanero takes over but is supported by the hop tanginess and citrus elements with a very good flavor of pepper and mild tangerine in the background. The flavor is as good as the feel which is why to me this is an exceptional take on the style - all the quality of sculpin with a great deal of Habanero that does not exceed the levels of common sense-enjoyable if you like chile pepper in beer
Original ratings -A - 3.75 S -4.25 T4.25 M -4 O-4.25
re review
I tried this on tap 8-7 at Peachtree Family Restaurtant served chilled in a pint.

The color is a beautiful golden amber with very good head retention -a bump up from the original with ringlets of lace sticking. The smell has a mild yeast ester with light tropical fruit and mild malt smell with an earthy habanero aroma like putting a pepper up to your nostrils. The feel is very good with fierce spicy and moderately bitter combo with slight hint of tangy yeast and gentle malt with moderate carbonation and semi-dry finish with lingering heat.

The taste begins with moderately light hop flavor with slow burn of pepper creeping in with slight earthy flavor and mild fruity habanero quality with the lingering heat as mentioned in the feel adding depth to the hops with mild malt flavor in the finish. Overall I loved this even more than the first time, maybe because I knew what to expect but it is a great hot pepper IPA perhaps the best blend of Habanero in an American IPA I have tried.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.55/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I’ve only had this on tap (so far, at least) and to be honest I preferred it to the Sculpin I’ve had as of late (from the bottle)… I imagine the freshness factor to be key here, but also… ah, that habanero heat! It brings everything into focus in a way that I just love.

Pours a golden-amber with nice foaming. There’s a sweet habanero kick to the aroma atop a light citrusy hop profile. The flavor starts off smoothly bitter with a touch of fresh citrus and a hint of pine… but then BAM! Up kicks in the heat, and that sweetness. Long, lingering, spicy finish. Love it or hate it, this is not for the timid.

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

It was a good idea just to do a half-pour...and to share...

This version of Sculpin seems maybe a shade darker than the golden-amber brew I remember. The pepper's oils, most likely, seem to have stunted the growth of the head a bit. The beautiful big, strong head I remember isn't quite that, but is a certainly respectable finger's height with equally respectable hold and lacing.
The earthy, floral, bright citrus and tropical notes, and resin are still here, They pour out like the original, and I'm pretty excited that very little is changed. Early on, though, the heat and pepper skin, mildly vegetal, that come out do dull the beauty a little. I'm glad to note that I can still call it very good, even if not as good as it is in its original form.
Juicy hops are still allowed out on the tongue, but the burn starts at the very beginning of the sip. The beauty of any well-made beer including hot peppers is both in the build-up of heat without being overbearing straight off, and allowing the flavors to coalesce as a whole despite the heat. This beer just about manages that, but the habanero is quite powerful. I can't quite get the full effect of the hops, but almost.
The peppers' oils seem to add a bit of slickness to what would be a creamy, fluffy beer with a good bite to it. It's still crisp, and it maintains a moderate smoothness, though the finish loses its cleanness.

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Photo of fps_dean
4.16/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I had this on my birthday on tap at a local restaurant. This was my first beer from the Ballast Point brewery but will be far from my last.

I have never had a pepper beer before this either. Being a huge spicy foods fan, I had to try this. I was not worried about the heat -- I cook with habaneros, ghost and scorpion peppers regularly.

It was a light orange color in my glass.

Smelled like an IPA. Tasted like an IPA. I did not find the heat particularly overwhelming, and my mouth didn't even noticeably burn until I drank half of the glass, but I think that's my pepper tolerance from eating so many so often because others said this beer was hot. Overall, it's a very good tasting IPA and I would buy it for that, but not for the burn. I think I need to try the ghost pepper version.

Compared to regular Sculpin, the habaneros add a slight sweet, fruity flavor, so the hop flavor is toned down a little bit.

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Photo of Zach136
3.37/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear yellow thin head.

Aroma: Fruity habanero and hops.

Flavor: Sculpin for like 2.5 seconds, then an explosion of habanero heat. Down the throat... oh God.

Mouthfeel: Medium+ body, lingering burn.

Overall: Completely undrinkable for me. Luckily I've got some grapefruit to blend it with.

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Photo of 01001111
4.23/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: That IPA nectar orange.

S: Strong habanero fruit with a slight citrus note.

T: Overwhelming heat with habanero fruit, caramel sweetness and only a hint of floral hops and grapefruit.

M: Nectar.

O: Interesting. As a big fan of spicy food, this was just at the edge of my comfort level. However, the heat was a bit too dominant and could use a bit of tempering to let the other great Sculpin flavors shine through.

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Photo of TwoBeers
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Hazy orange straw in color. 1 finger head that stayed with the beer for a little while. Light lacing. Light bubbling.

S: The nose on this beer is amazing. The overwhelming aroma is the habanero peppers. Nosing around a little more the Sculpin character comes though. Citrus, pine and maybe even some apricot. The aroma is very complex and definitely inviting.

T: After the beautiful nose on this beer the taste is kind of a disappointment. The habanero is quite overwhelming. I did pick up on some sweet fruits right off (apricot, peach), but the peppers quickly took over. Although not a dry beer, this did leave my mouth fairly dry from the heat of the peppers. The flavors were all there and this has a ton of character. I just wish the peppers had not been so overwhelming. Had a hard time finishing this one.

M: Light bodied, medium carbonation. Very crisp and clean with a dry habanero finish.

O: Was really excited about this beer, especially after smelling it as soon as the bartender set it down, but was a little disappointed. I'm a big fan of Sculpin and usually really enjoy chili beers (and spicy foods for that matter), but this one was just a little too much for me. Left my mouth really dry and had a hard time getting through the last half of the glass.

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Photo of Sacrifice
5/5  rDev +33%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

it's sculpin (the best), but really spicy (even better). wish i could get this in bottle. it's close to as desirable as sculpin on nitro.

just try it if you get a chance. you won't regret it. even if you don't like ipa, if you can tolerate spicy you'll enjoy it.

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Photo of Gavage
3.99/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: orange in color wih a 1" head that lasts a bit. Moderate lace paints the glass during the session.

Smell: citrus, pine, and a hint of spiciness comes through to the nose.

Taste: caramel, tropical fruit sweetness, orange, lemon zest, a soft pine flavor, and a late habanero bite that has some kick to it. Nice complimenting bitterness here.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp to start, less crisp with some dryness and hot pepper bite at the finish. Aftertaste is long as the habanero stays on the tongue.

Overall: an interesting modification of a great IPA. I found one pint enough in a session here, but defintely worthy of a try if you see it on draft.

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Photo of joeboe2001
4.49/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I enjoyed a pint of this at Adam's Rib on Kent Island on craft beer ($4 pints!) night last week.

A: The reviews I see here report everything from golden to orange to amber to yellow. I would go with golden. I guess it depends on the lighting at your favorite bar!

S: Eau d' Habanero was evident but not overpowering. Strong enough to get my attention!

T: A relatively light IPA flavor with some spice upfront and a pleasant burn on the back of your tongue after you swallow.

M: Medium and consistent carbonation-smaller bubbles that enhanced the jalapeno, but did not beat up your tongue.

O: Heat was pleasant and sufficient to add to my enjoyment of some relatively hot wings. A very good accompaniment to spicy foods.

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Photo of joe1510
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

13oz Draft
Trabes Aleshouse - Tinley Park, IL

Habanero Sculpin was set in front of me sporting a glowing orange body with surprising clarity for an infused beer. The clean white head was a finger in height and left some thin, intricate lacing down the glass. Looks Sculpin-esque.

The nose was all about brightness and depth. You're typical Sculpin aromas were present; sweet mango, ripe peach, apricot and a touch of vibrant but sweet lemon. The habaneros add a touch of earthiness to the nose. The malt profile is clean and biscuity simply lending a backbone.

I'm not a big chili beer guy, the flavors usually seem to clash. With that said Habanero Sculpin is spicy but balanced, bright, and delicious. Citrusy habanero leads things off followed closely by the strong tropical notes of mango and papaya. Stone fruit and a squeeze of lemon finish things off. The malt profile is unnoticeable but adds enough sugar to keep the hop and habanero from running rampant. I'm a fan.

A medium weight body pushes through slowly and softly with smooth carbonation. The finish is pretty dry and the habanero heat builds with each successive sip but never becomes overbearing. For a spicy beer this was incredibly easy to put away and surprisingly refreshing.

I'm a Sculpin fan and I really enjoy the habanero twist thrown into this particular batch. There's spice but the habanero is citric enough it works perfectly with the tropical, stonefruit notes of standard Sculpin. I'd order this again without a doubt.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Max's (from notes).

A: Lacing and golden amber.

S: Spicy, spicy with some pine.

T: Pine and heat spice. Coats your mouth. Don't really get the IPA in it. All spice up front.

M: Lots of carbonation. That really brings out the spice.

O: Hot but not as hot as Ruination Tropical Heat nor as good. This was just a weird and spicy IPA.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.74/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Sculpin has always been a headache-inducing IPA for me - at its best, it's tropical, resinous, oily, and extremely vibrant. At it's worse, it's underwhelming for the price, or worst yet, displays off notes of barnyard funk and even baby diapers. I've found that on tap it's far more consistent than in the bottle, and it was drinking very well that day, which prompted me to try this edition. Consumed at Mikkeller Bar SF during Zwanze Day. Poured into a 9oz tulip wine glass.

Pours exactly like regular Sculpin on tap - orange-amber, glimmering, resinous, and thick. Contains a super frothy head with huge bubbles piled atop one another that leave behind a good deal of lacing, as well as strong head retention. This version, however, is very cleared up, and I'm wondering if the peppers made a difference overall. Bubbles glide very well on this, and I can tell that this is a fresh batch right away from the appearance.

The aroma is also pretty much like fresh Sculpin, with notes of mangoes, papaya, passion fruit, and grapefruit and orange zest, as well as piney spices. Underneath, however, the habaneros are not shy to reveal themselves, and produce a flavor that adds (duh) green peppers, chili peppers, and pepper seeds to produce a bit of heat. The result produces a Sculpin that is far more vegetal and herbal, displaying predominant notes of spicy dried flowers, tarragon, and enhanced piney, dried resin. Not as intense as expected, and pretty well done here as far as chili beers go.

Whoa! Intense heat immediately coats the palate, with an extreme bite and sting from the peppers, as well as the astringent oily piney and citrus flavors from the hops. Notes of passion fruit, mangoes, grapefruit, and limes meld with notes of spicy chili peppers, with the habaneros adding an additional tropical, warming flavor to the mix. Extra tangy and vegetal in the case, but very intense in terms of maintaining a drinkable character. This Sculpin in particular is extremely green, as displayed by the herbal, near cannabis-like qualities, but the peppers make the experience a little extra intense. Acidic, dry, and very, very prickly. Definitely a well done chili beer, but more fun for the sake of novelty than actual practicality.

This is probably the best chili beer I've had to date, but it's definitely got a lot of heat on it, as I expected and feared. I managed to finish my glass, but it required some help overall. This would be brilliant to have with honey-glazed dessert item, or used to marinade on fish or chicken, or perhaps add to a stew. I'd imagine that this tastes best fresh, and it seems to go pretty quickly as well. Not for the faint of heart, but definitely for those looking to try an actually well made (if only difficult) chili beer to drink.

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Photo of KeatsShelley
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer is interesting. Tastes like Sculpin but with serious fiery/peppery notes in the nose and on the palate, which can dominate the sweetness of the beer. I just flat out didn't enjoy it, but I didn't enjoy it because it's a bad beer, if that makes sense. I just didn't enjoy the actual habanero features of the beer. So, it's successful in that it combines Sculpin and habanero in exactly the right way, so if you like that definitely try this one. Or...get a 2oz sample of it.

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Photo of SuperbikeShaun
4.4/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Newhall Refinery in Santa Clarita, CA.

Beautiful deep golden amber in color, creamy white head with minimal lacing. The nose is dominated by peppery and citrusy aromas, primarily grapefruit coming through. It tastes exactly like Sculpin, with just a hint of capsaicin on the taste buds. However, let me warn you, this beer is genuinely hot. A 12 ounce snifter glass was a daunting task to finish. Overall, I was extremely pleased with this beer, simply a rock solid IPA with a habanero kick.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at The Avenue in Allston

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is an orange color with a great clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Pineapple, mango, tangerine, habanero, caramel, and bready malts.

Taste: It's habanero spicy hot. All other traditional sculpin characteristics follow.

Mouthfeel: Lots of habanero heat. I can't feel anything else. Drinks smooth, a bit hot, low to medium carbonation, and light to medium bodied. The beer got easier to drink after my mouth handled the heat.

Overall: Awesome veer, but I wish the heat could be turned down a tad. Smells like pineapple mango salsa, but the habanero takes over all the good features of the beer. Still a good beer though. I would drink it again.

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
3.89/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had on tap at blind tiger- pours a clear golden orange color with 1.5 fingers head, decent retention, barely any lacing.

Smell is peppery and woody. A little pine hops in there.

Taste is very interesting- starts out a lot like sculpin; malty and pine hoppy, but them it takes a spicy turn. The habanero comes in full force and stays for a long while. Much spicier than other hot beers I've had.

Mouthfeel is pretty nice- medium body, well carbonated, and them that prickly vinegary burning sensation from the habanero. Very interesting beer- not something Id drink again by itself but might pair really nicely with barbecue.

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Photo of MikeMilanoDesign
4.67/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

First off if you don't like spicy things stay away. however if you spicy stuff this is great.

a: color is a nice strawy yellow.

s: hoppy but oddly warm

t: warm and woody at first. Then the habanero flavor and heat comes in at full force. not like any other pepper beer ive had where the pepper flavor is subtle. if you like habaneros you will really enjoy this beer. finishes out with a peppery hop flavor and feel.

mf: very oil heavy. first sip delivers a mouthful of hop and habanero oil that coats your mouth. then warm heat and a dry finish

overall i would recommend at least giving this beer a go. it was amazing

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Photo of rudzud
4.51/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Enjoyed at the Armsby Abbey.

A - Poured into a standard pint glass a crystal clear honey hue with a one finger one head that fades to leave nice lacing and a thin blanket.

S - Aromas of very juicy sculpin backbone, juicy hops, citrus, and tropical notes (aka pineapple), nice meaty habanero flesh and some subtle heat. Incredibly inviting.

T - Taste is initial delicious sculpin tropical fruits and then KAPOW habanero flesh and great. Oh my goodness, initial pepper warmth, slightly bitter (from the seeds possibly), heady lingers in the back of the throat lightly. More of a chili beer than an ipa, however, there is a fair amount of ipa backbone that lingers. The combination of heat and hops is very well done.

M - Mouthfeel is very nice for the style, crisp, refreshing.

O - Overall this was exponentially hotter than I thought it would be. The habanero is balanced wonderfully by the bitter hops. Very well done but in the end not for the individual who fears heat.

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Photo of CasanovaCummins
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm a big fan of Ballast Point. I've been to the brewery and can honestly say their barrel-aged brews stand up well against anyone else's, but this offering is all flame and not as much flavor as it should be. In other words, HOT, HOT, HOT.

At first it pours and tastes like regular Sculpin, but then, WHAM, your mouth is over-whelmed with heat and any subtlety of flavor goes missing. This would be a great dare pour, but not one to have on regular rotation.

If you like Sculpin, try it. But only to see how much better the regular pour is.

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Photo of Smarty_Pints
4.28/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A- looks just like sculpin copper color with a nice sized head and a quickly dissipating head that leaves little lacing behind.

S- not overwhelming spicy like I though it might be. Smell follows regular sculpin with a good amount of spice added in.

T- there is more sweetness to it then the regular incarnation. The sweetness is just the start to it the regular hop characteristics come through that we all love from the regular sculpin but the bitterness is hidden with the spicy finish from the habanero.

M- medium carbonation and light bodied.

O- very interesting beer well balanced but I still prefer the regular variety.

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 415 ratings.