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Habanero Sculpin | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
488 Reviews
For Trade:
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by billshmeinke on 02-26-2011

User Reviews
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Reviews: 488 | Ratings: 2,429
Photo of yesterdayfaraway
1.78/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

L: darker yellow, small off white head
S: not much, a little citrus
T: holy spicey! Crazy hot, didn't take a second drink. Drain pour
F: burning
O: too spicey. Glad I bought only one in a mix-a-six

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Photo of HeightsEats
4.85/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark golden, aroma is of complex hops and capsaicin. Full-bodied mouthfeel with a good malt backbone followed by grapefruit / orange hops and a lingering burn from the habanero that intensifies slightly as you make your way through the bottle. As the only drinker in the house, I tend to get bored near the middle of a six pack, but not for this beer as it's so interesting.

Also, this makes the best beer margaritas you could imagine, just 50/50 Habanero Sculpin and fresh lime juice margarita.

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Photo of gustavmahler-09
1.81/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.75

I was given a bottle by a friend to try. It looked fine, smelled ok, but was so hot that I couldn't drink it, and had to pour it out. I admire Sculpin IPA but this is for someone else!

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Photo of SmashAdams
2.25/5  rDev -40%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

This is a super weird beer. The smell is grapefruit and hops and a touch of floral habanero peppers. The taste starts off as a normal IPA and then strong habanero flavors overwhelm and it finishes with a slightly spicy kick. I love habanero but this seems unnatural and I couldnt finish it. nb

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Photo of Thankin_Hank
3.79/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The first time I tried this it was on draft and I loved it. I found a six pack and it tasted exactly the same as the draft. The Second six pack was H_O_T, very hot. The third six pack was little milder(today's rating) and I will keep buying this IPA beer that I will drink.
Ballast Point also makes a craft Habanero Vodka "Fugu" which is very good. ATTABOY's to Ballast Point, San Diego, California.

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Photo of beantown_hopster
2.7/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I almost didn't review this beer because I didn't think it was fair... maybe it wasnt my cup of tea so I gave it one more try. I love spice, I love heat, I love beer, but I couldn't handle this altogether. I tried twice, I love Ballast Point, but this was just too odd of a heat profile for me. :(

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Photo of ordybill
4.96/5  rDev +32.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a clear light copper color with a medium sized thick white head. The aroma is hot pepper and hops, a fantastic smell. The taste is awesome, the heat is perfectly blended with the hops to create an insane flavor mix. Overall, a world class beer.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.14/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz, bottled Nov., 2015.

Look: Pours a very clear straw color, with a white head; very nice lacing.

Smell: I get hops, and a faint something that I think must be spicy peppers, but it's hard to be certain.

Taste: It tastes similar to Sculpin, and the heat is not present at first, but then after about 5 seconds it starts to build, and then, WOW! I can feel the spicy hotness around the bottom of my mouth and in the back of my throat (as one reviewer put it, hot, but still bearable). Absolutely amazing!

Feel: medium body, smooth and creamy.

Overall: I did a side-by-side of Sculpin, Grapefruit Sculpin, and Habaneno Sculpin. This one was similar to Sculpin (although not quite as fresh or citrus-y), with that amazing spicy bite in the finish. Not a beer to drink regularly, but very fun to try and share with others that love spicy food!

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Photo of SometimesIfart
4.44/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin.

Went back to a shop I said I'd never return to because I heard through the grapevine that they had some singles I wanted to try. Regular sculpin was a solid ipa but it didn't live up to the incredible amount of hype surrounding it. Grabbed two new variants tonight. Single twelve ounce bottle from Monroe Liquor Plaza for $2.49. Lets see how this one stacks up.

Look - From the twelve ounce bottle into a dimpled pint glass. Hard poured. Body is a nice transparent see through golden witg a frothy, immediately stick white head that leaves pits and craters as though you were looking at an image of the moon. No pepper pieces floating around anywhere. Carbonation appears to be extreme in increments that could likely pop a champaigne bottle into the ceiling. Remaining lace after the drink is finished is sticky and soapy.

Smell - Smells much like the regular sculpin with a noticable vegetative peppery aspect with just a tinge of nostril synging (sp?). Floral hoppyness with just a touch of the malts. More well balanced than the regular sculpin with a nice new dimension from the peppers. Not a HUGE nose by any means, but very welcoming. Let's see how the heat stacks up in the flavor.

Taste - Yep, it's definitely better and more flavorful than the regular sculpin. Floral hoppyness like the regular version, but with a good bit more malt to keep things better balanced. The heat is definitely real and will bother those who are not fans of spicy foods and sauces and it adds yet another nice dimension to an otherwise typical session IPA. I'd put the heat as double that of tabasco sauce ( around 10,000 scoville units ).

Feel - The feel is also very nice. Sits medium to full bodied and very creamy though surprisingly the carbonation isn't as strong as you would expect due to the appearance. Moderately strong hit of heat as the beer sits in the mouth. As you continue into the beer is tingles the lips and slightlt numbs the mouth. Heat at this point would be guesses at around 13,000 scoville units. Swallows spicy and very clean.

Overall - If you don't like hot foods you won't be able to handle this beer. Me? Everything I eat it hot so this is a nice treat tor myself. Drink it with a bowl of chili hot or not. I would go far enough as to even say this is my favorite ' chile ' beer so far. Good beers with peppers are hard to come by, but if you are a fan of the style this one will tickle your pickle or clit. As always, try it for yourself and come to your own conclusion..

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Photo of JeanJacketLover
4.09/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

It's sculpin with a big kick. The least refreshing beer I've ever have, by far. Can't imagine drinking it while eating food. If you enjoy spicy food (which I don't) you may love. If you don't like spicy food you'll be very overwhelmed.

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Photo of gandres
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz too wine glass, with spicy dinner
Appearance: Dark Golden Yellow, light amber
Smell: Aroma of Hops and Pepper
Taste: Spicy and Bitter, but doesn't go very well

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Photo of russpowell
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent gold with a thumb of eggshell colored head. Great head retention & lacing, stays effervescent

S: Pineapple & breadyness, some grapefruit pith.

T: Grapefruit, some pepper burn, not too much, some dryness & breadyness up front. More heat, grapefruit & a little breadyness. Finishes with grapefruit, heat & a little smokeyness

MF: Medium body, fairly firm carbonation, pretty decent balance

Drinks pretty easy, I couldn't session on this but, would work well with food, or as a pallet scrubber

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 10/29/2015. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy golden orange color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, habanero pepper, lemon zest, orange peel, light pine, honey, light caramel, and floral/grassy earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of citrus/tropical hops, habanero pepper, and light-moderate malt notes; with good strength. Taste of huge grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon zest, orange peel, habenero pepper, pine, honey, light caramel, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/grassy bitterness and pepper spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, pineapple, peach, mango, lemon/orange peel, pepper, pine, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/tropical hops, habanero pepper, and light-moderate malt flavors; with a great malt/bitter/spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Good amount of dryness from bitterness and pepper spice after the finish as well. Moderate amount of pepper heat, but not overwhelming. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and moderately crisp/sticky/spicy mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming other than the pepper heat on the finish. Overall this is an incredible pepper spiced IPA. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/tropical hops, habanero pepper, and light-moderate malt flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink even with the pepper spice and heat. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Glanzman
4.14/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a clear, dark golden color with a frothy 1 finger head. Good lacing.

Smells like an ipa... Floral and citrus.

Taste is HOT. I was expecting subtle heat but this has quit a bit of heat to it. I like spicy food but has a bit too much to it.

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Photo of Myotus
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4

Poured at 49°F from a 12oz bottle into a Spiegelau IPA glass.
LOOK: Pours with 2 finger's worth of dense, off-white foam that halves itself after 1 minute and 50 seconds. Orange in color. There is a large amount of both small and medium-sized rising bubbles. There is also a subtle amount of large bubbles stuck to the sides of the glass. Lacing is high in quantity and both thick and very thick in various areas.
SMELL: Strong aromas of habanero peppers, papayas, guavas, and mangos are backed by mild grapefruit and tangerine aromas and subtle aromas of buttered bread.
TASTE: Strong flavors of habanero peppers enter intially and are immediately followed by mild buttered bread aromas. Subtle mango, guava, and papaya flabrks enter next as buttered bread flavors grow slightly stronger. About 3 seconds after the initial taste, subtle bitter hop, grapefruit, and tangerine flavors make their debut on the palate as all previous flavors persist.
FEEL: My tongue is numb from the spiciness, but it is not anything that is unbearable. I can't tell if it is light, medium, or heavy bodied because my tongue is practically paralyzed nor can I determine the amount of carbonation. It does go down smooth and creamy, so I can only assume that it's not light-bodied and not highly carbonated. It does, however, finish with a high amount of dryness.
NOTE: I love spicy foods, so this was tolerable. With that being said, the habanero is not the tastiest pepper to me. I always thought it had a slight vinegar-like taste to it. If it wasn't for the balancing by the malts that tasted like buttered bready, this beer would have been a disaster.

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Photo of HopHunter19
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - clear golden amber color, white head that dissipates quickly, no lacing
S - hops - citrus, pine, little bit of dank, no spiciness/pepperiness on the nose
T - Big pepper flavor up front, peppery/piney hops in the middle, burn on the back of the tongue. The usual sculpin flavor is covered by the heat.
M - "light-medium", keeping in mind this is a spicy beer, alc covered, aftertaste is piney/grapefruit hops and spicy
O - Exactly what it's supposed to be. That said, I don't understand what the point is. They basically took a great IPA and covered up most of the hop character with heat. Little bummed I bought a six pack of this. I should have bought one bottle and got a six pack of the regular or grapefruit.

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Photo of MJSFS
3.36/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured in a pint glass. Large two finger head with very large bubbles. Not much of a nose which really deceives what is lying within. This is pepper spray IPA. Interesting novelty, but not something I will ever revisit.

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Photo of biegaman
4.27/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In the words of Johnny Cash: "Love is a burning thing. And it makes a fiery ring". My love is for hops, and bound by wild desire, I've fallen here into a ring of fire. Habanero Sculpin has a fiery orange colour and highlights that grow higher (though ironically the head looks like what comes out of a fire extinguisher).

Spice can't be sensed by smell, though just to be safe I wouldn't let the liquid touch my nose. Habanero Sculpin has an aroma virtually identical to that of the regular Sculpin - which is to say awesomely hoppy. Citrus and tropical fruits abound, their heaping piles of peel and pulp are very enticing.

Juicy fruit notes distract the palate while the habaneros go about setting fire to your throat; each sip peels off a layer of mucus or flesh or whatever it is that lines your the inside of your neck and the back of the mouth. It is soft but steady burn that's more the like glowing embers than seething blue flames.

But it's definitely hot! Not an empty heat, however, the taste of the actual peppers is discernible and plays to the lime-like flavour and acidity of the hops, not to mention the vague notion of bitter green herbs. I can think of few beers better designed to pair with food. This recipe is genius, the execution perfect.

It goes without saying that those who enjoy hot peppers will love the beer. More impressive, however, is that even those without the affinity for heat should enjoy it as well. The spiciness is prominent, yes, but is but a cup of coffee in the finish; it doesn't last long and leaves pine and grapefruit to do their things.

If there isn't already an official beer of San Diego I nominate Habanero Sculpin. It combines the sunny, citrusy California climate with caliente Mexican heat. There is no better liquid accompaniment to tacos anywhere on the planet. If I ever find myself on death row my last meal will be fried white fish tacos, guacamole, pico de gallo, fresh cilantro and a bottle of this. Heaven with a kick!

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Photo of cjgator3
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. I've been looking forward to trying this one for a while. In my opinion, the balance between the citrusy hops and the heat from the habaneros is damn near perfect. You definitely get some heat from the spices, but it is not too subtle nor does it overpower the beer. Well done.

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Photo of HiWire
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a golden yellow with 1/2 finger head with minimal retention. Smells spicy, who would have guessed? Spicy, peppery throughout drinking with classic sculpin cleaness. Numbs the lips a bit. Solid 1 drink then done, can't see myself taking down a six pack. Might throw one into some red beans or gumbo.

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Photo of SStein
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a crisp, clear amber with good lacing. Smells of citrus, and hides the coming spice. Citrus upfront then the habanero hits. Decent carbonation, but with the spice it is not s gulper. Drank half by itself, and added the other half to a michelada, which was great.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Have had this iteration in a few different formats. Looks the part of sculpin, a darker yellow, west coast ipa. Aroma kicks you with both heat and hops. Heat from the peppers that is, not alcohol.

Taste, wooo, this is hot, but not so hot that it is the only thing you taste. The body comes off even lighter given the carbonation and heat. Starts to get tiresome downbottle.

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Photo of morrisseywilde
4.49/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

For me this is a bucket list beer. Very glad to have tried it, but not sure I would need another. Probably the most interesting and unique beer I have ever had. Color is golden clear, nice head. Smell is hoppy and piney with a faint aroma of the peppers. Taste is truly surprising. I really love how they went for it and didn't hold back on the habanero, but it is pretty overpowering if you are not familiar with it. The heat is intense, and it is surreal to be drinking something that makes you want to drink something to take away the heat (try bread if you must). I think they nailed the hop to habanero balance, and again it is wonderful that they really brought the spicy capsaicin flavor in without apologies; it is just a bit much for me. Hops and of course peppers stay on your palate for a long while, this is a beer to sip slowly and savor. The Ballast Point top shelf craft excellence is all over this. If you are an IPA guy like me this is a must-try - very glad I got to do so. But for now I will stick with the Sculpin Grapefruit as my go to Ballast Point beer.

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.19/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle into pint glass in November 2015. No date on the bottle.

Appearance: Golden with light head. Beer color is clear. Head is thick, and leaves a thick film on the glass.

Smell: Aroma dominated by hops, and citrus. There is some pine aroma as well, but it is dominated by the citrus.

Taste: The spicy flavor is a pleasant surprise. The taste is also dominated by the bite from the hops. There is also citrus fruit flavors. The aftertaste has with a bite from the hops and spice.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium alcohol, which confirms the 7.0% on the bottle.

This is a smooth light-bodied APA. The spice makes this ale more interesting.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.24/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Welcome to Michigan, Ballast Point -- it's about time. Bottled October 29th. The bottle was $2.99. Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

Appearance: A clear golden color with two fingers of a soapy white head. Active carbonation coming up from the bottom of the glass. There's also quite a bit of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Piney and peachy like I remember the original Sculpin being when I had it over two years ago. The difference being, this beer's added habanero shows up in the aroma as well. It's not super strong, but it's there, and adds an interesting twist. This is a pleasing, fresh, and light smelling beer that smells unique with the peppery aroma.

Taste/feel: For some reason, straight out of the fridge, my first sip reminded me faintly of ginger ale, and in a not pleasant way. After that first sip, I fortunately didn't get that again. This is a pretty nice beer. The peach flavor and malt sweetness with the piney hops and habanero burn makes for a very strange, albeit good, experience. As the bottle says, "heat may vary", since habaneros are so fickle in their Scoville levels. The mouthfeel is medium in body and carbonation, the latter of which intensifies the burn and ensures an afterburn. For some reason, I'm finding that this beer has a little less flavor than I remember Sculpin having. That's likely due in part to the fact this variety has habaneros, but also because I'm still getting over a cold.

Habanero Sculpin is pretty tasty and interesting ... I just don't understand the reasoning for the terrible scores. Alright, fine, say you can't man up and take the heat (which in my opinion is "moderate" at worst), but don't say the beer tastes like Tabasco -- that implies it tastes like hot sauce, which is stupidly inaccurate. I will agree that it's not as good as the original, but just because the base of this beer doesn't taste like I remember. Regardless, worth a try if you think you can handle the heat.

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 488 ratings.