Habanero Sculpin | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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498 Reviews
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

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

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Reviews: 498 | Ratings: 2,466
Photo of barczar
3.72/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is initially dominated by capsaicin and grapefruit, with subtle habanero fruitiness playing with mango against a caramel malt backbone. Resin rounds out the profile.

Flavor reveals a pervading heat that lingers throughout. It's not quite strong enough to drown out the bready caramel malt, floral, and grapefruit pith hops, but it definitely dominates, finishing with a hot bite that lingers indefinitely, and resiny bitterness. Bit of a novelty, for me, and not one I'd drink regularly.

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Photo of Zanico
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this as part of a mix six pack. Love Sculpin so I had to give this a try. The front is just good ol' Sculpin IPA, the back end is fire. Nothing to compare this to, so I had a little trouble rating it. Just not my cup of tea, or should that be cup of beer. I just rated it pretty much down the middle. Glad I tried it, but probably won't buy this again.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Light gold color, white head.
Smell is straight normal IPA, no hint of peppers at all.
Taste has the burn! Yeah, baby. Love the spicy, the hops balances well, good malt presence.
Body is solidly middle, carbonation is light. A good brew.

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Photo of JPadilla
1.97/5  rDev -47.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

As a heat lover, this was completely undrinkable for me. Couldn't take more than a few sips from it, the aftertaste is too strong. It just doesn't work.. I still can't understand how did this go into production.

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Photo of professorchow
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Look is same as the other Sculpins. I found the smell more muted, less fragrant--I missed a lot of the other Sculpins' citrus aromas. Taste starts like an excellent California IPA, ends by burning your tongue. love Sculpin. I love Grapefruit Sculpin even more--a great IPA, I think. I'm kinda into chiles, too. Burning your tongue at a kickass Thai place? I'm there. While sipping my beer? Not so much, as I just discovered. Sometimes things you like separately don't play well together. It's cool Ballast Point tried, and there's surely no false advertising. But I don't think it works.

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Photo of RaphaelSC
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very unique, this beer spice can be very overwhelming.

When poured this beer look like its sisters Sculpin. But once you sip you can feel how hot this beer is.
The burn feel takes hold and the overall sensation make you feel your face and body burning hot.

I really into pepper, but I feel that a beer made with it is not exatly a great idea.

In the end it felt like this is waste of a great IPA just to make this awkward experiment.

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Photo of Korbynlehr
4.4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

For the love of spice, this is the real deal! This sculpin creation is exactly what the label indicates, habanero heat. More than I would want to drink regularly, but good for what it is.

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
3.39/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bought this on a whim this morning,.

Poured it into a glass beer mug. Pours a nice copper/amber color with not much of a foam head.

Smells strongly of hops, as expected from an IPA.

Tastes initially at first sip like an IPA, bitter with hops but quickly turns into a hot burn of the habanero. It's a hoppy beer with hot pepper juice. Very interesting.

Feel? As I said, lots of burn to it, kinda thin and would drink easy ifnot for the heat of the pepper.

Overall a very interesting pick, very hot.

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Photo of Kadonny
3.51/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. I've been wanting to try this for some time now as I'm a hot pepper fan.

A: A medium amber orange color with a two finger white head. Not a lot of lacing.

S: I got the habanero right away on the nose. The BAer that said it smells like regular Sculpin is nuts (with all due respect). The habanero does mix with the traditional Sculpin smell of tropicial fruit, citrus and some floral notes. Slight pine too.

T: I got the traditional Sculpin flavors immediately with tropical fruit, citrus and floral flavors, but then the hammer comes down with a large amount of spicy pepper flavor. I got more actual "habanero" smell than flavor, but no doubt the flavor is very spicy and hot peppery. The beer just burns, I mean really. Burns the tongue and throat all the way through the finish. Finish is spicy with some pine mixed in. The pepper actually dulls the other flavors IMO. Long lasting burn after the beer is gone. I will say thought the more you drink it the more you get numb to the pepper.

M: Full, spicy, peppery, burning but not alcohol.

O: Ok, I'm a huge hot pepper guy as stated early on, however I'm not a fan of this. It just seemed so out of place for me, and as I said it seems the pepper flavors squash the other traditional Sculpin flavors. Maybe if they dial back the pepper this would be better? Anyway, not a huge fan. If someone hands me one ok, but I won't seek it out.

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Photo of daledeee
3.86/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this as a father's day gift.

Poured and got a bright clear gold with white floaties. Head and lacing are good. Nose is not much.

Taste is well...habanero. I was surprised how hot this is. After I got used to the spice, I noticed the hops was still there but not as much as some of their other beers. It is an interesting twist but I would not seek this out as a go to beer.

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Photo of The_Epopt
4.21/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The spice hits first, takes you by surprise but then mellows through the rest of the beer. The habanero is well balanced with the IPA which makes it quite enjoyable if you like Chile beers.

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Photo of avalon07
3.27/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a clear consistency. There was an inch of foamy head that lasted a fair amount of time. Middling lacing.

S: A surprisingly muted aroma of citrus, hops, and the advertised habanero peppers.

T: Before the fiery, esophagus-destroying habaneros took hold, I did get a hint of some hops, pine, light malt, and citrus (grapefruit). The heat from the peppers is so great that it overpowers everything else, and that's really all you remember. Could have been more balanced.

F: A decent amount of carbonation with the aforementioned uncomfortably fiery finish. Medium-bodied.

O: To paraphrase what another reviewer said, this isn't a beer, it's a dare. Unless you really, really like habaneros, drinking one of these is plenty.

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Photo of Bear_Lawyer
2.26/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

No thank you. I couldn't find one redeeming quality in tasting this beer. The heat from the habanero just makes it undrinkable. The capsaicin is so upfront and overwhelming that it felt like I was drinking watered down hot sauce.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
2.47/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This isn't a beer, its a challenge, and not one I'd take again. Had this after a mango magnifico which managed the habanero's very well, this set my chest on fire for an hour afterwards.....how this is rated world class is almost as strange as the beer itself.

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Photo of spacecake9
1.81/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a pint glass.
A - Pours a nice orange amber color with a small white head.
S - The aroma is somewhat muted, not as strong as other Sculpin varieties. What does come thru is citrus.
T - First you get heat, then some nice citrus IPA flavors and then more heat.
M - Hot, with medium carbonation.
O - Do not like this beer and won't drink again. I like heat in my stouts (occasionally) but not in my IPA's. If I was going to drink this again I would have a pile of watermelon slices handy to try to offset the heat. Maybe I could get through it.

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Photo of MonkeyboyATL
2.44/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

I love hot and spicy foods and will put habanero hot sauce on just about anything. This however was not something I enjoyed. The capsaicin really overpowers all else in this one and in the end it just seems like an interesting novelty rather than a good beer. That's a shame because the other Sculpin varieties I've had are all fantastic.

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Photo of zshaft
2.91/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

holy crap. this beer is like drinking hot sauce. its hot. tastes like spoiled green peppers. ugg. won't be drinking this again. this is the worst. why is this a beer.

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Photo of leantom
4.48/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I thought that this beer was just as good as regular Sculpin. Here goes:

A: Great. Clear orange-amber with a large head and great lacing. Also fairly decent body carbonation. Just like regular Sculpin.

S: Smells just like regular Sculpin. Pine, flowers, herbs, a tinge of grapefruit, and some malt sweetness. Overall, very well-balanced.

T: Follows the nose, which is a good thing. Also accompanied, however, by some spice from the capsaicin (courtesy of the habanero extract). Spice is most apparent at the back of the tongue and on the lips. Can also feel it in the chest after consumption.

F: Great. Nice and smooth - dangerously drinkable.

O: I felt that this beer was just as good as the regular Sculpin. It's really just Sculpin with added spice.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, no bottled on date present. Finally getting around to reviewing this one; acquired a single bottle of this stuff at the local bottle shop. "India Pale Ale with Habanero Peppers Added" "Heat May Vary".

Poured into a Duvel tulip snifter.

A - Pours a juicy cloudy golden orange body, lots of sediment in the glass with two fingers of frothy fluffy off-white head that lingers, leaving some random scattered lacing. Appears aptly carbonated. Looks very nice.

S - A nice traditional IPA aroma: fresh herbal / floral hop aroma, with some balancing bready biscuit malt sweetness. A fresh, floral, & soapy aroma; no real indication of any vegetal, peppers, or heat as far as I'm concerned.

T - The fruity / juicy hop presence & the sweet bready malts fade quickly, as the habanero pepper heat quickly takes over. The peppers are authentic; juicy & vegetal, very delicious stuff, until the fiery capsicum heat hits you. It's definitely very good, but the heat is, for me, very overpowering to the point of being unenjoyable. If you enjoy tons of heat / spice, then this is for you. Notes of juicy fruity grapefruit, orange, mango, lemon are perceivable beneath the waves of heat.

M - The feel is smooth, crisp, & creamy. A fairly light-bodied, well carbonated beer, but the fiery heat makes this very difficult to drink, almost to the point of being unbearable. Definitely a beer meant to be savored and sipped, probably best served with food.

Overall, a unique and interesting beer, to be damn sure. If fiery IPA's (or spicy food in general) then i can't think of a better beer for you. The pinnacle of habanero IPA's for the fans. For the rest of you, avoid.

Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin -----4/5.

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Photo of Czequershuus
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours a hazy orange with a large head. The aroma reminds me of classic Sculpin - Grapefruit is dominant, with some mango, pine, and a touch of pineapple. The flavor starts with a tropical fruit, as well as grapefruit and orange peel, and then the spice hits. There is no discernible pepper flesh flavor, it is all pure capsaicin, searign brillint spice tearnign through the second half and swallow of the beer. The mouthfeel feel is whatever my mouth can still feel. At this point the spice does dominate. However, as a chili beer it does work. Unlike others I have had I could easily finish a glass of this, and I did not end up with heartburn. First time I enjoyed a light bodied chili beer. I am sold on the concept in stouts and porters, but now I see it can work in a pale ale as well.

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Photo of constantine_272
3.34/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dark reddish copper, that foamed up nicele leaving a good lacing. Smells of pine resin with a hint of bell pepper vegetable. The taste, wow, yeah. That's unique. The beer starts off pine and bright but immediately turns vegetable with carrot and bell pepper. The beer finishes with a big rush of heat in the back of the throat and then travels down and warms the stomach. Feel is just heath it obliterates all else. Too much of everything for me. Too much vegetable and too much heat.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.49/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours hazy golden orange with floaties and a big frothy white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is subdued - bready malts, piney hops and a quite a bit of chili pepper.

The flavor is bready malts and some fruit that is quickly overwhelmed by a ton of heat from the pepper. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, nice spice heat, but that overwhelms the base beer. Good chili beer, not much IPA.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Mega-heat. On both counts.
count #1: Habanero Sculpin pushes the standard for IPA alcohol... before it graduates to the imperial IPA.
And it definitely pushes the heat with the Habanero.
Here is my theory on hot (and chile) beers: it should not be spicier than the food.
I had this with a spicy Chinese, Szechuan dish.
The beer was hotter than the dish and I couldn't taste the food.
Beer should complement food, not overpower it.

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Photo of witster18
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I love this beer because the heat from the habenero kinda masks the actual abv. It's truly 'hot', and that's not a bad thing at all. I love the fact this beer gets the heat right. If you don't like hot stuff - you won't like it. Even though the bottle says that heat may vary - the beers I've had have been very consistent. I love the fact it's a sipper beer, because it's a sipper beer you wanna keep sipping, and the heat isn't that 'bad' fermentation heat, it's just straight-up great habanero heat on a great ipa backbone. You can actually taste the habanero, and the grapefruit and citrus backbone o f the ipa still shines nicely. Very good quality overall. I would love this with a super light fruit-filled lunch or other light mid-day fare. Awesome brew.

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Photo of ktferber
3.94/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I'm a fan of ballast's sculpins and every one brings something new and unique to the tableand this is no exception. It looks like your typical IPA but a good sniff and you detect the slight aroma of hot peppers. The heat hits you right up front and blends really well with the citrus notes. I've had a few other pepper brews that leave the heat to the back but this one puts it right out there. Very unique and awesome brew but be forewarned if you can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen.

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 498 ratings.
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