Habanero Sculpin | Ballast Point Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
85
very good
474 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
474
Ratings:
2,381
Avg:
3.75
pDev:
35.47%
 
 
Wants:
172
Gots:
686
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: 474 | Ratings: 2,381
Photo of yetijosie
2.91/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

this beer is extremely abrasive, but also very interesting. the fact that it burns when it goes down and leaves a spicy coat on your throat and stomach just gets me excited.(reminds me of drinking a good whiskey) the thing that does not excite me about this beer is the super hoppy flavor, i feel like its kinda hard to stomach at times.(then again, im not big on the stronger ipas)

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Photo of ClavisAurea
2.92/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Fresh bottle served cold in a pint glass.

Violence in a bottle. This beer started out with no chili in the nose at all with maybe some pepper skin. The taste was IPA for 1 second then a wave of fire and lava drowning out every other sensation. For me, it was far too hot and not worth drinking. I shared a bottle between 3 people and that was more than enough. In truth, I didn't want to finish my glass but I did.

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Photo of BB1313
2.94/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours golden with nice clarity; fluffy eggshell white head that leaves great retention and sticky lacing. The aromas are nice. Lots of citrus and tropical notes with lots of peppers. There's a nice balance between the hops and peppers in the aromas. There's absolutely no balance in the flavor department. This is definitely the spiciest beer I've ever had. You take a sip, and the heat will hit you pretty quickly in the finish. And it lingers. You really feel the heat in the throat and even on the lips. The heat diminishes the flavors and anything else going on. The spiciness is no joke. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with nice moderate carbonation. The heat seems to become normal by the time you get to the bottom of the glass, most likely because my palate is fried. It's ultimately hard to drink. Makes a nice sipper.

Haha I don't like this at all. But you gotta give them credit for execution. They deliver what they advertise. We all know what a habanero is capable of, so of course it's going to be hot! If you're a genuine fan of hot/spicy stuff, then this beer is absolutely for you. I like spicy stuff, but this just isn't enjoyable for me. I'm glad I gave it a try, but this isn't for me at all.

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Photo of DefenCorps
2.95/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ummm...no. This looks like Sculpin, alright, with it's nice clarity, nice head, nice lacing and retention. It also smells like Sculpin - fruity, punchy, with grapefruit, orange and pungency, though the spice character is noticeable on the nose. The habanero character is nice - it is fresh, clean, focused and not vegetal like many chili beers end up being. The palate is dominated by the habanero. Big heat, palate coating and aided by the hop oils that make the flavor and the heat stick to every exposed surface. The hop flavor appears briefly with the grapefruit and tropical fruit proving enjoyable before they are obliterated by the habanero heat. Light in body, crisply carbonated, this beer has a long, burning finish. Thanks, but I'll pass. I love spicy food and heat in general, but this is just a complete bastardization of what Sculpin is.

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Photo of kemoarps
2.95/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Quite pale. Clear clean and crisp. Head is those large soapy bubbles that don't really settle into a nice film so much as just kind of get less. OK. Acts as a good window for the carbonation show climbing the pillar though.

Starts to hint at sweet malts and juicy hops but is quickly overhwelmed by the vegetal peppers. Like, over overwhelmed. Womp womp.

Flavour has the same MO. Starts in to a solid foundation of sweet malts and juicy citrus hops but quickly the vegetal pepper flavour rushes in and starts smashing the place up.
There's some heat to it as well, but not so much as to be unpleasant. The bitterness here isn't so much hop bitter as it is like... have you ever made a red sauce and overspiced it (I mean neither have I. I wouldn't mess up a sauce!)? It's that kind of vegetal overwhelmed herb/spice bitter that isn't a pleasant bitter. At least for me. I actually like the heat level they have here, but the flavour I'm tried to have described above just brings it too far into the realm of unenjoyable for me. Maybe I'm just not a fan of chili beers in general.
Basic Sculpin I always felt was overrated, but nothing actually wrong with it, Grapefruit I really enjoyed but this one... this is a miss for me. I don't know if I even really feel like drinking the rest of this bottle.

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Photo of NorthSideSean
2.96/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Love Sculpin. Love grapefruit Sculpin as much if not more so. I'm good with heat so was willing to pony up a big $16 for a 6'er. Rarely write reviews but... consider this a public service announcement. This is awful. Tastes like you left your beer to go piss and your friends pranked you and dumped a bunch of burning hot sauce in your pint glass. Don't let your enjoyment of Sculpin trick you into wasting your hard earned beer money on this Tabasco IPA.

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Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
2.97/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This beer was one of the biggest disappointments of my beer drinking life. I love sculpin and grapefruit sculpin, but this one was unbearable. The heat is, in a word, INTENSE. You basically can't taste anything else except for a deep burn in one's throat that is present for the entire drinking "experience". I don't mean to be discouraging, if you like spicy beer by all means give it a try. It just wasn't for me.

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Photo of Treyliff
2.98/5  rDev -20.5%

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 jopezu
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a clear amber orange with a medium head that poofs. nose; vegetal hot pepper, and buried, mildly discernible ipa notes. taste; toasted malt and immediate hot pepper burn. there's some grapefruit and citrus hop backbone here from the sculpin, but the habanero is too heavy-handed for any subtleties to even matter. pepper and an almost acid reflux sensation builds in the back of the throat midway through the glass. medium carbonation & mouthfeel. they've torpedoed the original brew with enough pepper to make it an extreme novelty at this point. i love hot and spicy food, but i'm hard-pressed to finish a single serving here.

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Photo of CasanovaCummins
3/5  rDev -20%
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%
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 -18.9%
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 -18.7%
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 -17.6%
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 -16.8%
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 -16.5%
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.

Cheers

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Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
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 kalosjakar
3.14/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Slightly orange in color, mostly cloudy.

Aroma is very citrusy, not getting much else.

Holy hotness, spicy to say the least.
Ive had a couple beers which added chile peppers but nothing even remotely close to this in regards to heat.

I would probably love this stuff if the heat was closer to subtle, but there is no mistaking the heat. Overpowering.

If I had some margerita mix I would try it as others have suggested.

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
3.15/5  rDev -16%
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%
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 -15.5%
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 -15.2%
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 Skrumpy
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured 12 oz bottle into standard pint glass. I'm not a big fan of pepper heat. If you are, this may be a winner. I could not finish the bottle. The look is like the Sculpin, and the smell is rather light. The pepper heat kicks in and you can feel it in the back of your throat. I couldn't tell what remaining flavor was there because the heat killed it. I took a few more sips & could feel it in my stomach. Stopped right there. My friend drank it & drank grapefruit Sculpin in between sips. Said it was a good mix.

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Photo of jera1350
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
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 -14.9%
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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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 474 ratings.