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Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

410 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 410
Hads: 2,102
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 35.11%
Wants: 166
Gots: 549 | 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: 410 | Hads: 2,102
Photo of Treyliff
2.98/5  rDev -20.7%

Bottle poured into a tulip

A- pours a slightly hazy golden orange color with a small foamy white head that reduces to a film skimming the top, short lasting lace 4

S- grassy hops with some tropical fruity notes of mango & passionfruit, sweet & bready malt, not really picking up any habanero aroma, but perhaps a little bit of singe on the nose, however I could just be imagining it 3.75

T- Wow, the habanero taste is the first thing that is noticed, with flavors of dried red pepper, followed by a big pepper burn on the palate that continues into the throat. The burn of the habanero masks nearly all trace of hops, and continues to dominate through to the finish 2.5

M- medium body and carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel with an intense burning finish and linger 3

O- I'm all for spicy chile beers, but this one was just too much heat. So much that it masked all of the wonderful hop notes from the base beer. The habanero needed to be cut back a bit to achieve more balance. This should be classified as a chile beer. 3

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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 Pencible
3/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

A: This poured a hazy gold with thick white head.
S: It smelled like fresh grapefruit and orange zest and hot habanero, with a little resin and honey malt.
T: It tasted like grapefruit and orange zest for a moment, then very hot peppery habanero, with a hint of sweet honey malt. It had a clean and sweet aftertaste with lasting heat.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was a brutally hot drink, but otherwise a great IPA. The scent and taste were dominated by habanero. The body was a little weak, and the finish was very spicy, so it was not easy to drink. Interesting to try a few sips, but I wish they dialed back the spice, a lot.

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Photo of beer2day
3.04/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Ridgewood Wine and Beer in Raleigh.

Poured into fluted goblet with no head and no lace. Amber gold color.

Nose hints at the pepper, but get some of the standard Sculpin fruit and pine.

And then the fun begins. This is nothing but pepper, from start to finish. Hits hot, finishes hotter. All pepper with very little else. Really no indication that this is a Sculpin. While that's not all bad, it would be much better to tone the peppers down ... a lot.

Feel has some of the oily resin from the hops, but after the first couple of sips all you "feel" is fire. And I like spice in my food.

Good to try, but one and done.

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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 Benish
3.09/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. No known bottle date.

Appearance: some head while pouring, but not much. Light amber in color.

Smell: Peppers, peppers, peppers. All over the place. It really over power the hops - if there are any. Despite the peppers, its not all bad. Just something very out of the ordinary.

Taste: Starts out light and refreshing. Then halfway though that sip, the heat kicks in hard. It kind of taste like what it smells. No hops though. Maybe it's an old bottle??

Mouthfeel: light and refreshing in the mouth but then the heat kicks in. Heat in the back of the mouth and tingles at your lips. Handle this beer carefully.

Overall: this is a gimmicky beer. It's definitely fun to try though. The one positive side I have to say about this beer is that the heat doesn't stick around. Fifteen minutes after drinking this beer, you should have no trouble drinking and enjoying a different beer. Unfortunately the hops were barely noticeable. It wouldn't surprise me if this was an old batch. If I had excess to a fresh batch, I'd be excited to try it again.

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Photo of MikeyLegend
3.12/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours out like a regular sculpin. Smell is a bit citrus and hops but is quickly over powered by the peppers. I love spicy food, but I'm guessing I don't like my beers that way. All things considered, this beer is delicious and at first taste like the original sculpin. Problem is the habenero finish burns it all out very quickly. Too spicy.

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Photo of leitmotif
3.13/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

I have to justify my rating with a review.

Well there is nothing much there to say. I love the looks and the smell just gets me there, wanting to drink this. But as soon as you get a hold of a sip everything is wasted. No beer there. Just pepper. And hotness. And... that's it.

I like spicy food. But this beer is dominated by the chili and has nothing to do with an overall good drink.


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Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
3.13/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

At first there was the familiar taste of Sculpin (which was enjoyable), then a merciless rush of habanero (which was not). The heat obliterated any trace of the base beer. More subtle heat would have made this way better.

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – Pours a clear golden orange color with a nice head and light lacing.

Smell – A grapefruit like citrus with habanero.

Taste – Initial taste is like Sculpin - citrus and pine; but the habanero quickly takes over.

Mouthfeel – Good carbonation, lightly and creamy. But the heat is a bit much.

Drinkability – A little hot for my liking.

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Photo of dbnarley
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Different. The heat starts at the back of the throat and works forward. A one off novelty beer. For the money I would rather drink Sculpin or grapefruit sculpin.

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Photo of Jetlag767
3.17/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Maybe a personal thing. I love Ballast Point. Other styles are home runs. This one, is way overpowered by the habanero and should not have the Sculpin name included. Time to move on....

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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 jera1350
3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A slight numbing just smelling it. Fresh hot garden pepper scent with a hint of citrus. The taste is just overpowering spicy habanero that I barely get the fruity hops until the finish. The malt sweetness is drowned out by the heat also. Palate is still smoldering well after the beer has left the mouth. Just too much pepper to even drink a whole bottle.

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Photo of maedhros09
3.19/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Look: Golden amber with generous frothy head, some cloudiness introduced from bottle sediment
Smell: fresh habanero and citrus
Taste: Begins about the same as the Sculpin with a nearly dry citrusy hop and malt balance. Then, the habanero heat ramps up and all subtlety is lost. In the middle of this maelstrom there are some fairly harsh flavors that I don't associate with habanero but must somehow be a result of the combination with the base beer.
Feel: Light to medium body and relatively smooth yet effervescent mouthfeel. Also, radiating burn from the lips to the throat.

Overall: In terms of realizing a concept this brew has done a decent job. The great thing is that the habanero flavors and aromas, and not just the heat, really come through and have a freshness to them. The downside is that the habanero is not only too spicy but contributes harsh flavors to the palate and predictably drowns out a lot of what I enjoy about the Sculpin. Added flavors should complement rather than detract from the base beer. With the Habanero Sculpin you can find some of both.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
3.21/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

All I can say is WOW ! But it's all just too much man. Very peppery, a palate wrecker so to speak. Really any sign of hop presence is squashed by the overwhelming hababero heat. Very creative, well made but in the end not for me.

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Photo of Braz
3.22/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

For pepper beer this one is the finest example I've tasted so far. Very punchy with the habanero. Caught me off guard. But this is an ipa and I have to rate it as such. The peppers completely mask any hops so for ipa it is sub par.

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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 TheRougeBastard
3.23/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

Initial taste was pure Sculpin, then immediately followed by a blast of peppery heat that burned all the way down my throat! After the burning faded, you're left with a slight IPAish aftertaste. This went great with a bowl of salsa and chips! If you're looking for heat, this one's for you!

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Photo of alienlifeforcecube
3.25/5  rDev -13.6%

I love sculpin. The habanero was very strong, killing anything that made sculpin nice. However, if i disregarded that it was a sculpin variation, it was a nice beer.

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Photo of HopsForBrains
3.26/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Completely lacks the smell/taste semblance of any IPA
Smell - spicy watermelon
Taste - a hint of watermelon but EXTREMELY SPICY, so much that it lingers in the back of your throat and a tad in the nostrils
Feel - way too much for me
Overall - somewhat interesting but it comes no where near the enjoyableness of the regular sculpin

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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 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 beerhan
3.31/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had this on draft a year or two ago and I could not stomach it. This is a bottle review.

A-pours a nice golden color with orange hues and a one finger head.

S-earthy, green pepper, there is some fruit but it is like trying to sniff o r single fruit out of the vegetable section at the grocery store.

T-habanero pepper. I could not taste anything else, it is over dominating.

M-I like spicy food so this does get points on mouthfeel. The medium carbonation combined with the peppers gives you a nice burn going all the way down to your stomach without causing any discomfort.

O-this is not an IPA. This is a fruit/vegetable beer. Nothing in here reminds me of the original sculpin but the pepper over takes all flavor. It's a gimmick, nothing else. I would not buy this again but alas for $2.50/bottle it was a worthwhile experience.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.31/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours golden yellow with a noticeable copper orange hue and a solid finger of off-white foam. Very hazy, but a peculiar, semi-off-putting, oily haze, which I assume to be in direct relation to the habanero.

Orange and lemon zest, some spiciness coming from the habanero but not overpowering, very tempting aroma.

Wow, the faint citrusy sweetness in the aroma is immediately removed by the strong habanero flavor and spiciness.

Light-medium bodied, medium-heavy carbonation, oily, spicy, slick.

Overall, the color is nice, but immediately, the noticeable oily haze is slightly off-putting. The aroma is spicy, but rather subtle in comparison to the overpowering spicy habanero flavor. The noticeable oily haze is apparent in the slick mouthfeel and the habanero spiciness lingers for a while. I have to say I'm very bias and disinterested in using pepper in beer, not a fan no matter the style, but this did nothing to impress me nor change my opinion on pepper as an adjunct.

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 410 ratings.