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Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

449 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 449
Hads: 2,263
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 35.11%
Wants: 174
Gots: 621 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 449 | Hads: 2,263
Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Pizza Port san clemente's Hoptoberfest.

Interesting copper color, that has just a hint of haze to it.

Can smell the heat from the pepper on the nose. Citrusy fruity hops that make it a Sculpin are still there.

Hoppy upfront, but then the habanero starts to emerge like a phoenix from the ashes. Nice warming sensation that continues. More tropical citrus flavors, but they really struggle against the habanero. The flavor is actually somewhat balanced.

Mouthfeel is actually very nice. The heat from the pepper builds up, but never reaches critical mass.

This is actually a really well done beer. I've never given chili beers a chance, but I have to say this is very well done. If given the choice, I'd always reach for a regular Sculpin. However, I really have to applaud the brewer's effort on this one. Very good beer.

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Photo of ianroodt
4.7/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an exciting spiced/peppered beer. I have had the pleasure of enjoying this fine brew from both a fresh keg, and an almost empty one. The heat ranges from a 2 out of 5 to a 4 out of 5 depending on how low the keg is. If you like peppered beers then this is a must try, it has all the taste and aroma of Sculpin but includes a progressive heat that begins as you swallow and proceeds to go from warm to fiery hot in a matter of seconds.

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

Was lucky to find this on cask @ ballast point tap takeover @ bierkraft in bk. Initially tastes like sculpin minus the pepper. Just an unbelivable beer, Hoppy smooth hints of citrus. Then slowly peppers take over. I like hot foods so it wasn't overbearing but warms the stomach nicely. We filled a growler on cask you can get through about Half the growler before you need to switch it up. Suggest drinking only a few pints but a different and welcomed variation to an awesome Ipa

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Photo of ithacabaron
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a squishy gold with apricot highlights. Looks busy, but appealingly so.

Aroma is of mango and papaya; very little, if any pine here. A little overcooked pepper sneaks in there, a little out of place. Was hoping for a "fresher" hit on the nose. Still, it certainly hints at something powerful underneath.

Taste is surprisingly balanced; this isn't just a firebomb. There's a nice backbone of sweet malt underneath, and the juicy flickers of pure sugar-coated mango and passion fruit round out the swallow. That's not to say that there isn't a nice burn, though. I've always liked habanero peppers for their bright, sweet heat -- those excellent qualities are amplified here by a nearly-perfect match in backing beer. A lovely package.

Mouthfeel is foamy but not dense, like swimming in the ocean the day after a storm.

A very, very nice beer; it would be a dream with Thai cuisine. Not for everyday, but it is a tremendous occasional treat. Strongly recommended.

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Photo of Phelps
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a shaker pint at Papago’s tenth anniversary party.

Pale gold, perfectly clear. One finger of frothy white head descends a bit, then sticks around as half a finger of fuzz.

Bright orange and lemon peel in the nose, backed by vegetal peppers. Wet grass and some floral notes as well.

Hoo boy! Hey there, spice. The habaneros hit immediately at the back of the throat with capsaicin heat that lingers for a long time between sips. Sinuses now open, I can pick up the other stuff: sweet apricot, mango, orange. Nice sweetness before the spicy finish. One of the smoother chili IPAs I've had.

Medium carbonation with moderate fizz in a medium-light body.

Disclaimer: I don’t think the basic Sculpin is as fantastic a beer as everyone else seems to. That said, the peppers here are beautifully integrate and add an interesting twist to the sweet, subtly tropical brew.

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Photo of ottovon
4.42/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap for Papago's 10th anniversary.

A: orange hue with a white head.

S: lots of citrus hops. I get hints of caramel and straw. there is a touch of spice in the nose.

T: caramel malt and citrus hops. i get quite a bit of citrus hops and that leads into heat. there is a nice spice that burns in the back of the throat and tongue. it is not overpowering, and just the right amount. hints of chili flavor.

M: medium-thin with good amount of carb.

O: this is a great beer, that I could drink daily.

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

Enjoyed at Stone 15th Anniversary on draft

Pours a fairly mirky golden-amber color with a large bubbly white head. The most noted amount of head of any beer on the day. Good retention and medium lacing.

Sweet citrus, mild grapefruit, light caramel or a touch of fruit. Not intense smell but pleasant. Faint faint chili pepper essencse.

Nice, not overwhelming hop citrus up front with notes of grapefruit transitioning in a slight sweet middle. Notes of faint fruttiness grasping towards peach or mango. Right in the early-middle of the beer is when the peppery flavor kicks is and you get a parabola-like rise and fall of heat.

Light bodied with good carbonation. Crisp. Solid fluctuation of heat with a good but not uncomfortable linger.

Overall a great IPA with a great spicy twist. This beer is definitely not for everyone, but being that I love spicy food, I thought this beer was great.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Stone 15th Anniversary Celebration
CSU, San Marcos
San Marcos, CA

Orange, glowing, pineapple, translucent color. Inch-high head that sticks around; the head looks thick, tight, and flat, pearl in color.

A somewhat muted version of the typical Sculpin aroma. There's still plenty of tropical fruits, including pineapple, orange, and mango, and there's an underlying, yet not overpowering habanero spice element coming through.

This is one of the most interesting beer-drinking experiences of my life. At initial sip, it tastes like Sculpin, and then an incredible amount of fiery spice attacks the sides of the throat, but only for a few seconds, and then it's gone.

Medium bodied. Ample carbonation, though perhaps a touch more oily and not nearly as drinkable as Sculpin.

I was worried the habanero would ruin an incredible base beer, but they actually pulled it off creating an interesting and unique IPA--initially spicy along with all the wonderful tropical fruit flavors I love in a Sculpin.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On Cask at The Birch in Norfolk, VA

A- pours a golden amber color with some spotty white bubbles.

S- aroma is classic sculpin aroma of fresh pungent hops with notes of tropical fruit and mango. Mice soft biscuity malt in the middle. Finishes with a soft pepper smell with a bit of heat in the nose as well.

T- short hoppy blast up front with a bit of dry biscuity malt flavor. Some mango and a touch of pineapple from the hops come out. So everything is going pretty normaly and then the habanero brings an intense heat that oblitorates the hops and leaves a smoldering pepper heat and flavor. The flavor is whole fresh pepper skin and the seeds. Very unique and interesting just something that I wouldn't want more than one glass.

MF- the pepper heat seems to thin the body out a little. Slick mouthfeel with low carbonation.

D- the heat cuts down the drinkability way lower than the super drinkable normal version.

Overall a great experience that was super unique and flavorful. On to the ghost chili version!

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.22/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On cask at the GBBF, 2011.

Hazy gold with film. Straight gooey jam (Amarillo) nose.
Honey and jelly up front, but the heat is right there and kills all the hops. Smaller sips reveal some tangerine and mango.
Medium, some chew, chili heat lingers long.

Way heavy-handed. Heat kills a nice beer. A bad idea.

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Photo of BARFLYB
2.81/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Out of a firkin at good dog bar.

Sculpin came in the glass looking golden with a slight yellow tint to itself. Just a patch of loose bubbles that turned to nothing, no lace. Smell was very muted. Almost nothing noted here. I only make out a small malt scent. Taste starts out with just a hint of the awesome sculpin with citrus mango and papaya. This last for a second before a rush of habanero smacks the mouth up. The heat lasts for a bit and Im takin back by it. Feel is medium and hot and lasting, not much carb from the firkin. Drinkability is not much, 5 ounces at most. This is a waste of sculpin but I did stomach it better than Cave Creek Chili Beer.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Well, what would I expect for a habenero ipa... Its sculpin, super tasty, looks great, smells just like sculpin, tastes just like sculpin... But wait! Hottness! There is a ton of spiciness on the back of my tongue and throat. The burning grows the more I drink. I am glad I only had a small taster as I fear if I had a full pint I would be breathing fire by my last sip! Overall, significantly better than I had expected but still, not particularly drinkable or enjoyable after the first few sips

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Photo of oglmcdgl
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Off a firkin at good dog.

A- comes to me with no head at all and a crystal clear golden orange yellow in color.

S- smell a lot like sculpin but a bit more subdued then you get a bit of the pepper coming off with a touch of spice and fruit that one would expect from them.

T- right out of the gate you are taken aback by the habanero and its means business. While it sure as hell is spicy the hops blend in well and combine to make an interesting flavor profile. I'm not going to lie the spice does over take most of the rest of this beer and you have a hard time getting past it.

M- medium body and no carb. The palate does get a good scorching from the habeneros.

O- well its interesting and odd but it kinda works.

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Photo of mcallister
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Firkin at the Pony Bar in NYC. Pours murky orange copper with that loosely elastic head of white only firkin carbonation can produce.

Aromas of tropical fruits, mango, papaya and guava with some citrus and pine on the side. Only a hint of pepper in the nose.

The habanero adds a very nice element to the Sculpin. Starts with the tropical fruitiness of sculpin and on the finish a nice fruity, spicy pepper hits the back of your throat and chest. Great balance with the pepper and makes this a very translucent food beer. On. Ask this is nice. Light carbonation and very quaffable.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served a golden-orange color with a thin layer of white head atop. The head faded fairly quickly leaving behind a touch of lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet caramel malts and grassy/piney hops. The pepper is noticeable in the background but not too strong.

T - Starts off with a mix of caramel sweetness and piney hops and bitterness. There is some growing heat in the background from the pepper, but not too strong. Through the middle, the heat grows a bit along with stronger bitterness. As the beer finishes, the heat explodes and takes over and lingers for quite a while.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. It feels pretty smooth and super hot, and keeps your tongue on fire for a while.

D - Very much a sipping beer. It is so hot that if you drink it any faster it would be painful. Not really what I would call balanced, but a very interesting beer.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.66/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sculpin with Habanero Peppers on cask at Pony Bar, Hell's Kitchen, NYC.

Appearance: Two fingers of super frothy white head, soapy bubbles and sparkles, great retention. Head lingers forever! No lacing and almost no carbonation, as it befits a cask serving.

Smell: Reminds of the regular Sculpin, with sweetness and citrus, some tropical aromas. Sugar, pineapple syrup, a slight pepper punch at the end. Deceptive! Nothing on the nose prepares you for the intense chili attack that comes through the taste.

Taste: Yes, folks, this is pure habanero! And it's all on the back of the throat. It just burns and stays there, itching. Quite a unique brew, stronger than any chili beer I have ever had. Rather one-dimensional, this is all pepper and nothing but pepper, plus a tad of bitter hops and grass tossed around to keep some resemblance of an IPA.

Mouthfeel: Hard to measure, as this is all pepper burn! Low carbonation, medium to ful body, full habanero. Not balanced, but quite an experiment.

Overall: I enjoy daring brews, so I applaud this. That said, Sculpin Habanero is not something I will seek or have again. Not very drinkable or pleasant. It burns!

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

A: Amber in color with minimal head and lacing.

S: Typical smell of hops and citrus as expected with no noticeable spice.

T: The initial taste is typical of Sculpin and until you start to swallow and then BAM! You get slapped across the face with capsaicin and just as you think it's about to over it returns and backhands you.

M: Medium carbonation with some stickiness.

O: This is initially interesting but I don't think I could drink more than a 4 oz taster of this stuff and I like spicy food.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Bruery Provisions

A: The beer pours a clear golden orange color with about a finger of white head.

S: At first the fruity and citrusy hops are all you smell. But soon after the habanero pepper provides some heat and a little bit of its fruitiness as well. Notes of pineapple and grass round out the nose.

T: The flavor has retained a lot of the great hoppiness that makes Sculpin what it is. Still a good amount of tropical fruit and citrus with a mild pine. The pepper flavor is mild at first but comes out a bit more as it warms. There is a definite heat on the back of the throat.

M: Medium in body and perhaps on the low end of medium in carbonation.

O: This was much better than I had anticipated, but I can't help but feel like it's just a big waste of Sculpin.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Provisions,

A: Pours orange with a light medium white head, some lace, solid head retention.

S: Classic Sculpin nose, mango and apricots, very tropical and distinct.

T: Still very much an IPA initially. Tropical fruit, mango and pineapple. There is some heat on the back end from the chiles, but nothing that grabbed me, nothing that screamed Habanero.

M: Medium-bodied play, fairly smooth, some capsaicin on the back end, but only mildly spicy.

O: I would have liked to see more interplay between the chiles and the hops, I think it would have worked out well like mango salsa. Still a solid effort.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2


On tap at Old Grove.

A: Light Straw gold with a frothy white head. Nice color. Apposed next to regular Sculpin it's notably lighter in color. That's odd.

S: Actually has more hop character than recent batches of Sculpin. Nice mango notes meld with grapefruit and orange. The spicy habanero is quite nice in the aroma: powerful and unique.

T: Very spicy up front and it stays strong throughout. Pretty nice flavor from the pepper which goes well with the grapefruit, mango, and orange. Bitterness is subjugated by the heat. Burns the throat and the back of the palate at the end.

M: Lower medium in body with upper moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is sticky and dry.

Overall: Good appearance, aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel, but the heat from the pepper affects the overall. I don't want more than 2 ounces. Definitely worth trying, but not something to drink in quantity.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had the first batch of this on my birthday back in November. Taken from notes.

A: Has the same great looks as regular Sculpin. Perfect golden color.

S: Smells hot. There's that characteristic Sculpin mango, pineapple, apricot smell, but there's a heat mixed in there.

T: The heat hits right away. It's not overpowering and the Sculpin is still detectable underneath it, but it's a nice long burn that lasts a good while. I heard that the later batches were hotter than this one, so I'm definitely seeking this one out again.

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Photo of bs870621345
4.27/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had at Ballast Point today.

Pours like sculpin, orange/amber color with a little bit of head. Nice lacing, yet nothing too special.

Smells like sculpin again, with hot sauce. Has the citrus, pine, and slight malt bread in there, but the spice makes an appearance. Makes the nose tingle in a great way.

Taste is of citrus and pine. Spice is hinted at with the nice fruity habanaro taste. What really makes it is the spice builds up on you and by the end of the glass its tingling all over the tongue and throat.

Mouthfeel is average, like an IPA but the spice gets in the way/annoying after a while.

Overall its good, I wouldn't want another pint but so interesting and I love how the spice builds up on you.

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4.21/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a half pint at the Verdugo during Ballast Point's tap takeover.

Looked just as beautiful as its friendly bretheren (normal sculpin).

Tons of piney and mango hops on the noise.

Normal delicious sculpin taste up front, forcefully shoved aside by the raging hababero heat that sustained itself for a while.

Mouthfeel was just thick enough to support the contrasting flavors.

Although I throughly enjoyed this exciting brew, with that much of a heat profile you most definitely must be prepared.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a goblet at Blue Palms.

Hazy golden body. About a half inch of frothy white head. Minimal lacing left behind.

The nose is almost pure habanero spiciness. Just a touch of pineapple/ mango that I'm sure I would have missed if I didn't know what the base beer was like. Habanero totally dominates.

The taste is habanero up front the tropical fruity flavors of mango and pineapple are there as well, but just like in the nose. Damn, this beer is actually spicy. Basically imagine you just put a tiny piece of a habanero in your mouth and immediately took a swig of Sculpin.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, nicely carbonated, and spicy! Like eating spicy food spicy. Nice chop of spicy to the back of the throat.

If spicy food is not yOur thing avoid this. If you like spicy food, get some atomic wings and this and you'll be psyched!

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 449 ratings.