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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

448 Reviews
THE BROS
96
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 448
Hads: 2,261
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 35.11%
Wants: 174
Gots: 619 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: 448 | Hads: 2,261
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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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 far333
3.32/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear copper colored with a bright beige head that settles out quickly and leaves a low cap. Bright aroma of citrus hops, no sign of the sweltering heat that lies quietly beneath. Flavor of citrusy hops upfront, could be your standard benign Sculpin, but shortly a spicy note emerges and goes from a low simmer to a rolling boil, and shortly morphs to a dallop of lava swirling over the tongue and cheeks. A faint numbness eventually sets in to even it out. I like spice and heat but this feels just a bit overdone to me. Not much, a little. Interesting beer and definitely worth a try.

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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 MJSFS
3.36/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured in a pint glass. Large two finger head with very large bubbles. Not much of a nose which really deceives what is lying within. This is pepper spray IPA. Interesting novelty, but not something I will ever revisit.

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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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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 448 ratings.