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Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

370 Reviews
THE BROS
96
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 370
Hads: 1,936
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 16.14%
Wants: 160
Gots: 453 | 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
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Reviews: 370 | Hads: 1,936
Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
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. (359 characters)

Photo of dbnarley
3.15/5  rDev -16.7%
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. (161 characters)

Photo of Jetlag767
3.17/5  rDev -16.1%
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.... (185 characters)

Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
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. (1,784 characters)

Photo of jera1350
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
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. (355 characters)

Photo of maedhros09
3.19/5  rDev -15.6%
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. (1,079 characters)

Photo of TheFightfan1
3.21/5  rDev -15.1%
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. (229 characters)

Photo of Braz
3.22/5  rDev -14.8%
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. (233 characters)

Photo of StJamesGate
3.22/5  rDev -14.8%
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. (308 characters)

Photo of alienlifeforcecube
3.25/5  rDev -14%

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. (165 characters)

Photo of HopsForBrains
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
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 (331 characters)

Photo of Fitzy01
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
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. (186 characters)

Photo of SaucedBoss
3.29/5  rDev -13%
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. (489 characters)

Photo of beerhan
3.31/5  rDev -12.4%
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. (840 characters)

Photo of larryarms847
3.31/5  rDev -12.4%
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. (979 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
3.32/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Have had this on tap before and today. Knew to only get a sampler size for this review. Essentially this beer has definite pepper notes in nose and taste, but the heat makes this beer a tad uncomfortable to be refreshing.

Look is nice clear orange-golden, with decent white head.
Nose is vegetal, mostly green pepper, sweet pepper, and some onion.
Taste is quite fine initially, and I mean immediately, because the heat is quickly ratcheted up. If it stopped at about 20%, I think it would've a very interesting, tasty beer, but it keeps going.
I gave it a 3.5 in taste because, what should you expect from a habanero beer. I reduced the feel for the burn - which forces this to be a sipper.
For the novelty, I might grab this once in a while, but not on pure enjoyment. (775 characters)

Photo of Gmann
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear golden color with a big pillowy white head with some large bubble action.

The aroma has a nice hoppy scent, some grapefruit. Not as strong as the normal Sculpin.

Whoa, holy pepper taste. This beer has a very vegetal flavor; tastes like raw peppers. The normally awesome hops are subdued only providing some light grapefruit flavors. The heat in this sucker is significant. This is quite warm from the heat, the habaneros very much dominate the flavor profile.

The body is moderate and the carbonation is flat (to be expected for a cask). The heat from the peppers pretty much wreck the palate.

An interesting beer for sure. Not sure why you would want to ruin a sculpin by dumping tongue numbing habaneros in it. Way too peppery in the taste and in the burn. (776 characters)

Photo of SlothB77
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From the tap.

Just too much habanero spice for me. The pepper is not moderated enough. The sad thing is that the original Sculpin is just a great beer, that adding this much habanero just ruins it. Don't ruin something amazing, Ballast Point. (246 characters)

Photo of mjk1979
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Same beautiful Sculpin color, but the base beer is completely overpowered. Must note that from beer to beer, the habanero flavor is widely varied and goes from benign to a rather unpleasant olive flavor. The heat bite is very nice, especially with food, but overall disappointed with the overwhelmingly unbalanced adjunct infusion. (331 characters)

Photo of Zach136
3.37/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear yellow thin head.

Aroma: Fruity habanero and hops.

Flavor: Sculpin for like 2.5 seconds, then an explosion of habanero heat. Down the throat... oh God.

Mouthfeel: Medium+ body, lingering burn.

Overall: Completely undrinkable for me. Luckily I've got some grapefruit to blend it with. (305 characters)

Photo of cfox142
3.37/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pepper beers aren't my favorite but this was a gift. It's the best one I've had but still couldn't drink it all. Very balanced and spicy but just not my thing. (159 characters)

Photo of hophugger
3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a slightly deep, gold color. Decent couple fingers of head, rapidly leaving and ending in some nice, moderate, spotty lacing. Aroma is a little hard to figure out, with pine hops, slightly sweet coming through. Also getting a good amount of citrus, especially grapefruit. Not really getting much pepper aroma, maybe a little if I think real hard, lol. Taste is definitely peppery, with backgrounds of grapefruit and assorted citrus and hops. They are quickly overtaken by the heat and slight burn of the habeneros. I am a pepper fan, so I love this beer. This beer takes the heat to the limit of being too hot, but stops before it gets there. The burn on the back of the throat is ok, not too, too hot, but lets itself be known. Overall, I like this beer a lot, but wish that the habeneros had been a touch less, so that the other citrus and hop presences could have been a little more predominant.. (905 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle $2.49 (glad I didn't grab a sixer). Appearance is typical Sculpin: orange, ok head, might have a bit of extra particulate. Aroma is all habanero pepper, smells like I just sliced one up, uncanny. Flavor is hot, definite habanero flavors but where is the Sculpin? It's there but it's sneaking into the background, too subtle. Habanero owns the show here. (366 characters)

Photo of BoatsSinkBro
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Public House, SF Beerweek 2012.
-Color akin to regular sculpin, hazy amber.
-Aroma was akin to regular sculpin, citrus notes, but with a bit of pepper heat. You can smell this was different and was gonna be hot.
-Taste was citrus IPA start and a a little bit of piney hop middle/finish, but the habanero kicks in towards finish and stays.
-The heat sticks with back of tongue and throat almost like oil.
-Every consecutive drink was just hotter and stronger than the citrus/hop flavors.

Here's the thing, I'm betting this beer would be a GREAT food beer (I had it by itself), something to take the edge off the heat (food) and with a renewed gulp of well-loved sculpin + heat flavor in between. But as a beer drunk by itself, unless your taste buds is highly developed, it's just gonna burn with every consecutive drink and that'll be most of what you taste for the whole session. (891 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap at khyber in philly

Pours a slightly hazed golden color with some orangey hues. Thin white head rests on top, wispy retention and spotty film on the glass.

Interesting combination of scents - beginning with grapefruit and pineapple and then turning into a peppery spice. Almost a grilled habanero scent with hoppy bitterness.

Nice bitterness up front with citrusy pith. Grapefruit, pineapple, and apricot come through for a brief moment before....Boom! Explosive peppery heat begins to creep in and burn the palate. Pretty wild stuff, as this really sneaks up on you and continues to build on the back end. Finishes with peppery heat and spice.

Medium body, decent carbonation, slightly creamy, hot on the tongue. This is a fun one to try, but not something I'd want more than two ounces of. (804 characters)

Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 370 ratings.