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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: 2,100
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 35.11%
Wants: 166
Gots: 543 | 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: 2,100
Photo of techn0phobe
3.31/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Sculpin you will (should) know - aggressively hopped single San Diego style ipa. This is one of their twists - habanero chilli in the mix. The effect is to make it more savory, which pairs with the citrus hops pretty well (it's not a huge leap from asian food with sweet/chilli combos to this).

My issue with this one is one of measure and consistency bought a 6 pack and literally every bottle seemed to come out with significantly more/less chill. At least one was so spicy to be barely drinkable. How this is possible I don't know.

Overall- superior to other similar experiments I've tried (Rogue Chipotle being the one I recall) but not one I'll go back to in a hurry.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.32/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

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Photo of Gmann
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
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.

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Photo of SlothB77
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

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Photo of mjk1979
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

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Photo of Zach136
3.37/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

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Photo of cfox142
3.37/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
3.39/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This bastard was all HOT pepper. I do like heat. The bartender told me it grows with every sip but after my first sip I had enough. I finished the half pint because I kept wanting to find new and small nuances that I liked, but getting to the bottom of the glass was a chore. Generous score as it is a hot pepper beer but not too enjoyable and not much base beer to be found.

On tap somewhere in Reno, NV.

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Photo of hophugger
3.39/5  rDev -9.8%
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..

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.39/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

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Photo of BoatsSinkBro
3.42/5  rDev -9%
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.

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Photo of Tone
3.42/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, orange color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Good retention and great lacing. Smells of strong citrus and piney hops, sweet malt, and a hint of hot pepper. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. The heat from the habanero is quite prevalent. Tastes of sweet malt, hops, and mostly hot peppers. Overall, the pepper heat is very dominant, while the aroma is varied the blend is all pepper and nothing else.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.42/5  rDev -9%
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.

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Photo of W_Des
3.42/5  rDev -9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Objectively, Ballast Point does a great job in capturing the floral habanero aroma in the nose and the fruity flavor in the body. They also capture the heat finish well. Very well. It pairs nicely with some rich fatty salty foods but on it's own it is difficult for me to take down since the heat just lasts and is very prevalent. I prefer some balance to the heat like Mexican Cake.

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Photo of ChrisCKrueger
3.42/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Man, Ballast Point could hock Sculpin under any flavor and people would buy it up and force themselves to think it's good. Makes me wonder what the next concoction will be. Well, seeing how regular Sculpin is grossly over-hyped, I've decided to see if habaneros do anything to spice up an otherwise forgettable IPA. I know most beer nerds are more dramatic than an 8th grade lunch table full of cheerleaders, so I doubted how hot it really was. It smells like peppers, and not much else. Which isn't a horrible thing. First sip was actually spicy on a clean palate, but after a few swings it all blends together into a warming flavor. Nothing hardcore about it. It pretty much tastes the way it smells, all chile pepper and pretty much nothing else. As if you thought any other flavor would shine through with true habenero. Its like drinking some weird pepper beverage, something my wife would make which is really healthy, but really weird in taste. Nothing I would seek out again. Word of warning.....don't drink the whole 6 pack in a sitting. Let's just say I would have been better off drinking battery acid. My stomach was in shambles for a week and did more peeing out the back end than the front.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light golden color with a white head that does fade a bit quickly, lacing slightly. The aroma has the grapefruit notes and hop explosion found in Sculpin, and there is an ever so small hint of peppers in the nose. Its not letting on much for the drinker to be prepared.

The taste has hops, some pepper flavor, finishing with a heat that lasts a good while, though is cut a bit by grapefruit and bitterness into the finish. As a few sips are taken, the heat builds.

Full bodied, crisp, with building heat and bitterness that finishes out the flavor.

Overall, it is an interesting and tasty beer. That being said, Habanero beers always get the pepper flavor stuck in my throat for a while, and I don't really dig that so much. I was happy to try this one but I wouldn't buy a six pack anytime soon. If I had another bottle I would probably cook with it.

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Photo of 57md
3.46/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this as part of a side-by-side with a regular Sculpin.

Slightly darker in color than Sculpin. There is only a hint of heat on the nose but it is less hoppy for sure. The habaneros are clearly present in the flavor profile; in fact, they overwhelm pretty much everything else.

The heat is not so overdone as to make this offering undrinkable but the awesome citrus and hop flavors that make Sculpin such a special IPA just get bombarded by the heat.

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Photo of Chcshammonde
3.47/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Holy shit. This particular 12oz was like drinking a liquid jalapeno cheese popper. I appreciate the invention of this beer. I loved trying it. It does read "heat may vary" on the front, and my goodness it was high on the heat. I feel like it would be a really good creation I would drink again, but with 1/4 of the habanero.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On Cask at The Birch in Norfolk, VA

A- pours a golden amber color with some spotty white bubbles.

S- aroma is classic sculpin aroma of fresh pungent hops with notes of tropical fruit and mango. Mice soft biscuity malt in the middle. Finishes with a soft pepper smell with a bit of heat in the nose as well.

T- short hoppy blast up front with a bit of dry biscuity malt flavor. Some mango and a touch of pineapple from the hops come out. So everything is going pretty normaly and then the habanero brings an intense heat that oblitorates the hops and leaves a smoldering pepper heat and flavor. The flavor is whole fresh pepper skin and the seeds. Very unique and interesting just something that I wouldn't want more than one glass.

MF- the pepper heat seems to thin the body out a little. Slick mouthfeel with low carbonation.

D- the heat cuts down the drinkability way lower than the super drinkable normal version.

Overall a great experience that was super unique and flavorful. On to the ghost chili version!

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Photo of JayQue
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A hard pour will give you an fairly impressive size head with slightly better than average retention. Some lacing on the glass. A nice, mostly clear gold color. Aroma is mild, some citrus hops with just a hint of pepper in the background. Taste is something else again. A short experience with bitter, citrusy Sculpin, followed by a quick blast of hot pepper that obliterates the beer flavor. Unlike that abomination from Twisted Pine (Ghost face Killah), your taste buds and mouth recover quickly, and with subsequent slow sips, the pepper is more manageable, pretty much under control by the last quarter of the beer. Mouthfeel is dominated by the effects of the pepper, this is definitely a slow sipper. The beer is rich enough and crisp when the featured element is not blasting you away. On the whole, not bad if you like this sort of thing. Some chile beers feature crap beer underneath the pepper flavor, others are an exercise in pain.. This allows you to experience thepepper, but still have a decent beer as the underpinnings.

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Photo of Abe_Froman
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This is certainly an interesting beer, and I am glad I tried it. I have enjoyed some chili beers in the past but the ones I have had were balanced by chocolate.

The sweet counter is something I find missing here. It's all ipa up front then pure pepper flavor/heat. The heat isn't overwhelming, but I feel I would get a similar experience by sipping a sculpin then biting a pepper. It just not well integrated. All in all a fun experience, and if you love hot peppers this is for you.

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Photo of mrkun
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber in color with minimal head and lacing.

S: Typical smell of hops and citrus as expected with no noticeable spice.

T: The initial taste is typical of Sculpin and until you start to swallow and then BAM! You get slapped across the face with capsaicin and just as you think it's about to over it returns and backhands you.

M: Medium carbonation with some stickiness.

O: This is initially interesting but I don't think I could drink more than a 4 oz taster of this stuff and I like spicy food.

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Photo of Roxie_B
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Serving Type: Bottle
Appearance: Amber; transparent; couple of fingers of white head that falls to legs collar and lacing.
Smell: Apricots and oranges with a hint of spice
Taste: Begins with juicy citrus and sweet peach jam taste that quickly swerves to a brutal burn of surprising intensity. If you like capsaicin you will enjoy this one!
Mouthfeel: Light bodied with some sparkly crisp carbonation.

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Photo of The_Kings_Thirst
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: Golden orange with nice off white head.
S: Grapefruit and floral with some earthiness and pepper (stronger from bottle)
T: For me the spiciness overwhelms any other flavors. Beer fades, but heat remains. Maybe a tiny bit of nuttiness at the very front.
F: Medium

O: Interesting, but my least favorite Sculpin variety of the ones I've tried so far. Wouldn't want to drink more than one at a time and If I had again, I would likely try to pair with some food.

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Photo of nkelley77
3.51/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is amazing in the sense of how you can taste the pepper but the heat makes it difficult to drink the whole bottle. I was happy to give this a try and would love to cook with this beer.

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