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Habanero Sculpin | Ballast Point Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
85
very good
480 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
480
Ratings:
2,405
Avg:
3.75
pDev:
35.2%
 
 
Wants:
172
Gots:
696
For Trade:
11
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin
BEER INFO

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: 480 | Ratings: 2,405
Photo of RobTheKnob
2.52/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

This beer looked promising. Good color, unusual but interesting aroma, solid body... but the taste was awful. You could tell there was a good IPA hiding in there somewhere, but the habanero is just so overpowering. I like spicy stuff, don't get me wrong, but Ballast Point probably should have dialed back the fire.

Glad I only bought a single, something I never say about Ballast Point.

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Photo of gopens44
2.55/5  rDev -32%
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 justintcoons
2.56/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle poured into a shaped pint glass.

4.25 Appearance
Gold with 2 fingers of creamy, white head. Good clarity with hop (pepper?) oils floating around. Moderate carbonation.

Nose
Habaneros, mango, papaya, and candy sugar.

Taste
Full-on habanero blast of heat assaulting my tastebuds. Tropical notes hide beneath with papaya and mango. Some candy sugar sweetness. ...But mostly habanero heat.

Mouthfeel
Medium bodied, spicy, hot, and unforgiving.

Overall
Wow, who can drink this? It's Not really enjoyable as it's just burning my ears and giving me impending diarrhea. Not cool, Ballast Point. not cool at all.

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Photo of QuakeAttack
2.6/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I had a taster at the Ballast Point at Miramar.

Oh, this one was a mess. Glad that I had a taster. While I like beers with some spice (Bomb!), this one was way, way too much. You couldn't taste any hops. While it wasn't too hot, the habanero just overpowers everything else. Pass.

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Photo of Gipsy_Danger
2.64/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

S: Smells like habanero/cheapy Walmart hot sauce. Not much else.

T: Tastes like some a*hole dumped Frank's Red Hot into what could have been a solid IPA. Habanero
overwhelms everything I like about regular Sculpin'. Now I have 5 more of these beers because some a*hole from bumfukc PA convinced me to buy this at $16 for a six pack.

F: Very light, smooth.

Overall: Mediocre flavor infusion that ruins the character of a standout IPA. Habanero is bush league anyways. Sriracha lyfe.

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Photo of unklemike
2.65/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I'm a bit of a spicy food freak so this was right up my ally. The fruityness and spice of the habanero complemented the dry mild apricot like taste of the ipa. The best form of sculpin in my opinion

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Photo of Ryancthomas7
2.65/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

I truly had good intentions prior to drinking this beer. However, it actually tastes like you are swallowing acid reflux or suffering from terrible heartburn. I love me some spicy, but daaaaamn!

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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 vkv822
2.71/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

12oz SN IPA Glass

Pours a lightly hazy golden orange with a foamy off white head.

Brief notes of tropical, citrus hops followed quickly by a strong spicy, peppery blast.

Mostly just peppery heat, faint hops in the finish.

I enjoy spicy foods, and peppered/spicy beers but this was really over done. Drinkable, but not enjoyable.

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Photo of probert
2.72/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

Looks, even smells like a normal beer until about 2 seconds after it goes down. Then you get the burn in your throat from the habernero's. The bartender didn't think I would finish it but I did manage to drink the whole thing but won't be getting it again. I guess if you like inferno chicken wings or the like it might be your style.

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Photo of Stevedore
2.72/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Essentially, I tried to drink a full 12oz bottle and couldn't even get through one ounce. The body is a light copper body, two finger white head, nice retention time, a bit of lacing, moderate film. Smells slightly peppery, almost a vegetal aroma, along with a bit of citrus, pine, caramel. Flavour is exclusively peppers and a strong heat that kicks in say, 1/4 of the way through the palate. It's strong and makes it incredibly difficult to drink. My lips and tongue are burning. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, good carbonation, but the finish is what makes it undrinkable for me. So much heat, tingling and burning along my oral digestive tract. Overall, a cool concept but I'm not sure why they bottled this. Good God, this is way too hot for me.

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Photo of Nunya
2.73/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

One of the oddest beers I've ever had. The habanero is way too overpowering. I like spicy food and I like Sculpin but I can barely taste the Sculpin here. Glad I tried it but won't have it again. If you want to drink some habanero give it a try. If you want to taste Sculpin or something that resembles an IPA stay away.

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Photo of harpus
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I have tried the Sculpin IPA, Grapefruit Sculpin and the Habanero Sculpin. This is my least favorite of the 3 that I have tried, it was too hot and was not drinkable to me. I still prefer the just the standard Sculpin.

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Photo of SLambert0926
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

First of all, I love spicy food, so I was very optimistic about this beer and had to look hard to find it locally. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. This one had a very good initial flavor, but very quickly, all I could taste was the pepper. It wasn't too hot and didn't last long, but I didn't like the taste. I will say that I did not have any food with it and plan to save the last one until I can try it with some good heavy food. If my opinion changes then, I'll come back and re-rate it.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
2.77/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint.

A - Clear orange with a fluffy two-finger white head.

S - VERY strong aroma of capsaicin, vegetal pepper, and a hint of pine.

T - Just a hint of IPA flavor before the pepper taste takes over. Tastes less like a beer and more like carbonated pepper juice. Heat starts out a prickly and slowly builds from there.

M - Lighter bodied with medium carbonation.

O - Unfortunately too spicy (and I love spicy foods) and too gimmicky to really be considered good. Glad I tried it, but would never rebuy and probably wouldn't even take one if offered.

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Photo of almostjay
2.79/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I had to try this beer despite the mixed reviews. It looks and smells like a nice IPA. The habanero is slightly noticeable in the nose, but that doesn't really detract from it at all. The taste on the other hand, wow.

The label says "heat may vary". Maybe I got an extra spicy bottle, but man, this beer burns and the habanero is on the forefront. Really bad.

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Photo of RenzoD
2.8/5  rDev -25.3%
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 mactrail
2.8/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is one of those "I dare you" beers. I suppose people either love it or hate it. Looks nice enough in the glass with a decent foam and the attractive clear orangey amber color.

On first taste this seems to open a raw stripe down the throat. I can't even seem to taste the usual hop overdose, it's just hot with the afterburners blasting down your gullet. I would think there would be some aroma but my nose seems to be anaesthetized. Clearly they went for the maximum capsaicin rather than any flavor subtleties. I always find a gulp of IPA when eating hot food just throws fuel on the fire. So I suppose this is the case study of IBU plus Scoville index equals hellfire.

I"m trying to taste this objectively, but it's really more pain than pleasure. On tap at California Kebab in Pacific Beach.

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Photo of BARFLYB
2.81/5  rDev -25.1%
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 smogfood
2.81/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I like Habaneros. I grow them every year in the garden and make salsa that I love to consume with a nice Sculpin IPA, but putting the Habaneros in the Sculpin didn't work for me. I get the nice smokey sweetness of habaneros as well as the heat, but that's about all I get. I'm missing the awesome hop profile that makes sculpin occasionally worth spending a bit more for. I don't want to have to wash down each sip with a different IPA, so I think I'l take my habaneros on the side from now on (or maybe in a big stout that has the malt backbone to carry such a pepper). Tonight I tried the 3rd bottle of the six pack, and I can't say I want to drink the last 3. I feel like this experiment is finished.

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Photo of bcm75
2.81/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The habeneros completely overpower the excellent base beer. It's not solely the excessive heat - hops are less pronounced as well. Adjuncts should complement the flavors of the base beer, not obliterate them. Very disappointing.

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Photo of brywhite
2.82/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

I don't have a method to detect the Scoville units to quantify the heat of this beer but to this craft beer drinker, the 2015 version of Habanero Sculpin is very hot, essentially making it undrinkable for all but the most die hard and perhaps masochistic pepper lovers out there.

I would have liked to have tasted a more subtle Habanero presence... maybe one that complimented or enhanced the flavor of fresh Sculpin IPA instead of destroying it. This beer is sadly one dimensional and really has no recognizable flavor character other than that of a Habanero pepper.

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Photo of IPAGeorge
2.84/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Shared 12oz bottle 3 way with brothers into tulips

A. Looks like normal Sculpin really. Yellow/Golden and pretty transparent.

S. Aroma smells like Sculpin also. But I can pick out a hint of chile.

T. What? It's just way too hot... All 3 of us agreed. And we all like spicy food. This just doesn't work tho. It's too much.

M. After the burn the carbonation doesn't do anything to help so this doesn't help the beer at all.

O. I wanted this beer to be good. But it's just too much heat to be enjoyable as a beer. However I do see some possibilities of using it in cuisine.

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Photo of pattyB
2.89/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

So pumped to try this and so disappointed. The smell seemed like there was somewhat of a balance between Sulpin and habanero. There was no such thing. Instead, you're left with a throat closing burn with little trace of ever consuming an IPA. Heatlovers will be hip and claim to love this one.

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Photo of charlzm
2.9/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 1

Finally tried this on draft last night. Looks and smells just like regular Sculpin. My first sip (which, it turned out, was my only sip), tasted fine for a fraction of a second. Then, an earthy pepper flavor was noted a split second before a burst of chili heat.

Putting chili in beer ruins it. Period, full stop.

Regular Sculpin and its grapefruit variation are fantastic beers but this is an abomination.

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 480 ratings.