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: 2,465
Photo of Stevedore
2.72/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Essentially, I tried to drink a full 12oz bottle and couldn't even get through one ounce. The body is a light copper body, two finger white head, nice retention time, a bit of lacing, moderate film. Smells slightly peppery, almost a vegetal aroma, along with a bit of citrus, pine, caramel. Flavour is exclusively peppers and a strong heat that kicks in say, 1/4 of the way through the palate. It's strong and makes it incredibly difficult to drink. My lips and tongue are burning. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, good carbonation, but the finish is what makes it undrinkable for me. So much heat, tingling and burning along my oral digestive tract. Overall, a cool concept but I'm not sure why they bottled this. Good God, this is way too hot for me.

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Photo of Auraan
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a clear amber body with a nice cap of off-white foamy head. Overall impression of appearance is of a nice IPA, but not amazing. Scents of tropical fruit with notes of mango and pineapple, mingling with aromas of bright citrus flesh, grapefruit flesh and rind, light pale malt with notes of caramel, a light fruity red pepper aroma and a light dank and resinous hop presence. Overall impression of aroma is of a bright, fruity IPA, with just a touch of resinous hop dankness. The habanero are not heavily apparent, but take a complimentary background role. A nice take on the base beer. Flavor begins with a nice high level of hop flavors taking on notes of grapefruit peel and flesh, balanced by a light sweetness and notes of tropical fruit, particularly mango and notes of pine resin. Middle brings in vegetal and fruity flavors imparts by habaneros with an increasing presence of grapefruit peel and some pine resin. Finish is highly spicy and modestly bitter with notes of fruity, vegetal habanero peppers mingling with grapefruit flesh and peel and a light pine resin bitterness. Aftertaste is spicy habanero peppers, grapefruit peel and grainy malt. Overall impression of flavor is of a very spicy beer, but not so spicy that the flavors of the base beer are lost. Rather it serves to compliment the normal flavors of Sculpin and add a new dimension to a very good IPA. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a slick, resinous feel with a very strong pepper burn that lingers well after the sip. Overall impression is of an excellent IPA with the burn of a good pepper. Overall this is a fantastic IPA made all the more interesting by the pairing of IPA with habanero. It lends its tropical fruitiness and vegetal notes to aroma and flavor, and creates a spicy mouthfeel that makes this beer refreshing, spicy and complex, with all the hop flavors of Sculpin.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. Pours a semi translucent burnt orange color with a 1/2 inch of head. Some lacing. The aroma is spicy from the habaneros but still has a good deal of citrus and tropical fruits. The taste is really where you get the habaneros. Spicy at first followed by more heat. Slight hop presence but really all taste is blanketed by the heat. Some citrus hop notes at the finish but mostly the habanero flavor. Medium bodied. No where near as good as the grapefruit version but still an interesting twist on a great beer. Couldn't drink more than 1 of these a sitting although it probably pairs much better with food. Overall, worth a try.

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Photo of Dentist666
3.74/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into english pint.
Clear golden/orange beer with off-white head, moderate retention. Smell - medium to intense pepper, floral hops. Taste - malt sweetnes in the further edge, some citrusy hops and a hurricane of pepper. Utterly hot beer, fetch me a jar of cold water.

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Photo of Dikfour
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: Couple of fingers soapy white head. Pale opaque in color. Nice carbonation.

Smell: Floral and tropical fruits followed closely by a little pepper. Not overwhelming though.

Taste: Grapefruit up front but the Habanero comes to the fore front pretty quickly. A little mango. A little bitterness before the heat kicks in.

Feel: Same near perfect body as the other Sculpins. Heat and carbonation create a fun mouth feel. And Hey, my lips aren't on fire like other pepper beers.

Overall: The most complex pepper beer I've had. Not just straight up insane heat. Certainly worth a try. I'm enjoying it with Mexican food.

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3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I'm gonna start by saying that I under stand that this is a hot pepper beer. I'm gonna rate it appropriately. Off white head sits on a honey deep gold body. Nose has a hint of floral hops up front then yields to huge pepper aroma. Peppers are up front and super dominant. The heat really builds as you drink. This beer is very very hot. But it is true to the pepper.

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Photo of terence
1.57/5  rDev -58.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

The habanero overpowers everything. It masks the grapefruit flavors and the heat lingers far too long.

I'm a fan of IPA's and hot goods. I did not like this one. This is a big miss from Ballast Point. The Grapefruit Sculpin is fantastic. Very disappointed with this version.

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Photo of razorsdescent
4.54/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a stellar pepper beer. I have been trying to find the perfect pepper beer. I thought maybe I had it with Stone's series, but anyone who has followed up with the reviews on that knows how it turned out. This was quite a pleasant surprise, with just the right taste and heat in an already stellar IPA. A bit more mellow than their yardstick IPA, so beware of that caveat.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.55/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter bottled on April 25th

A: nice soapy looking head nice orange hue with good clarity looks like it is well carbonated too

S: you get peaches and mango then spicy peppers it smells hot

T: Slight citrus and then a huge dose of habanero peppers you can actually easily taste the pepper and identify which one it is nice soft hoppiness

M: effervescent and tingly from the heat of the pepper lighter bodied

O: I love this beer the pepper taste is extraordinary it is so prominent and the burn from the pepper is incredible a delightful beer if you love the taste of peppers and can handle some heat.

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Photo of Reema
4.24/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving type: 12 oz bottle into a pint glass

Pours a clear honey orange color with tiny sediments floating around. Smell is of pineapple, mango, heavy habanero scents, with a semi-sharp citrus hops dankness. Taste reflects the smell. Initial pineapple and grapefruit bitterness lead into a medium hops bite that finishes with a lingering habanero heat and flavor. Feel is fluffier but not too light. Overall this is a fantastic rendition of Sculpin that makes chili heat work without sacrificing hops flavor. Definitely my favorite chili beer.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.04/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Mixed a couple bottles of this into a sixer. Hopefully not too spicy since I am slamming them both.

A - Amazing pour a two finger head atop a clear amber brown colored beer. Head takes a while to dissipate.
S - Smells like regular Sculpin to me no real heat in the nose so it is rather balanced.
T - Wow thats pretty spicy! But balanced but a very consistent heat. Ow my that is something. Every sip the biting sting is consistent but man is it smooth! I can actually feel the burn on my lips!
M - Medium bodied and quite smooth despite the pain!

Overall as expected this is a palate crushing heat so don't crack any other beers you want to enjoy afterwards. Despite this it is one of the smoothest pepper beers I ever drank!

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Photo of drpimento
4.84/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Excellent beer, tho I like the Grapefruit version more.This does have the very intriguing aroma with the fruity hop malt caramel thing. Flavor loses almost all of the fruit and gets fairly dry with mostly malty hop and a little capsicum taste. Body is great and the heat from the Habenero is just right. Good drinking brew.

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Photo of ohnelly
4.71/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Just the right amount of spice that I'm looking for in a hot beer. It goes down exceptionally smooth but then the aftertaste is where the spice hits you. Incredible.

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

If you don't like spicy, don't bother. My wife said this tasted like fire. To me, the spice was there but not overwhelming. Definitely would drink more of this!

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Photo of MacSon1982
4.44/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nose is almost identical to regular sculpin but a bit lighter. Small IPA presence up front and a slow and medium burn begins to follow. The burn continues slowly until you're ready for the next sip. Really good, and this doesn't get the ratings it deserves. Balance.

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Photo of HattedClassic
3.72/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The appearance is very nice with a white foamy head that takes a long while to dissipate. The beer itself is a very nice looking clear deep gold.

The beer smell has those strong habanero notes to it as well as a nice apricot hop note. The two mix well but the habanero seems to take some of the strength of the hops away.

The beer TASTES LIKE BURNING!!! I mean, Holy Cow! You get a double punch from the hops and the habanero taste. The habanero taster is pretty strong and mixed with the grapefruit hop bitterness really makes the tongue work. Unfortunately, the habanero taste is extremely strong and the burn overshadows all other notes. The hops barely makes it out.

The mouthfeel is interesting. The most noticeable feel is the burn. Some will find it enough while others will find it to much. I found to be a little much especially without any stronger notes dealing with it. The beer has a dry finish.

Overall, this is one of those beers that you either love or hate depending on your tolerance for BURNINATING!! I found it to be good but flawed.

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Photo of whatthehull
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter/wine glass

A - Beautiful California sunset orange, one finger silky white head and some sticky lacing

S - Hot pepper sauce without the vinegar and other than that this does not differentiate from the original Sculpin itself.

T - The taste is backward from the smell you taste all the Sculpin glory and then a huge quite spicy pepper kicks you in the teeth and sticks around

M - The pepper makes this one feel slightly more full bodied, interesting balance and complexity, the carbonation is still nice and basically Sculpin in all of its glory with a kick arse pepper backbone

D/O - I could drink this everyday but for the usual IPA lover this one may be not what you're looking for in anyway shape or form. Sculpin + Habanero = this IPA

Final thoughts - I will never be a fan of a six pack that costs $14 and only boasts a 7% ABV. However the Sculpin taste with a pepper kick is pretty neat and at the very least worth a try

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Photo of unklemike
2.65/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I'm a bit of a spicy food freak so this was right up my ally. The fruityness and spice of the habanero complemented the dry mild apricot like taste of the ipa. The best form of sculpin in my opinion

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Photo of harpus
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I have tried the Sculpin IPA, Grapefruit Sculpin and the Habanero Sculpin. This is my least favorite of the 3 that I have tried, it was too hot and was not drinkable to me. I still prefer the just the standard Sculpin.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.48/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours beautiful orange with a fluffy, sticky head. Scent of ripe mango, pineapple, sugar, citrus, and spicy habanero peppers. Habanero heat rushes initially, fillowed quickly by mango, pineapple, citrus, grapefruit, grass and a lingering dry heat.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, no apparent freshness date
A - tangerine colored ale, thin frothy off-white head
S - tropical regular Sculpin aroma with a garden vegetable habanero heat
T - like nothing I've had before. The habanero flavor hits the palate with the usual Sculpin tropical citrus notes, but then the heat comes. It's just right for a guy who likes a spicy kick
M - medium body, spicy and resinous, habanero and heat linger and build on the palate
O - I came into this with an open mind, but I expected not to like it. It's actually pretty good for what it is. I could see myself bringing this to a blind tasting or sharing it with someone, as it's definitely something to talk about.

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Photo of QuakeAttack
2.6/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I had a taster at the Ballast Point at Miramar.

Oh, this one was a mess. Glad that I had a taster. While I like beers with some spice (Bomb!), this one was way, way too much. You couldn't taste any hops. While it wasn't too hot, the habanero just overpowers everything else. Pass.

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Photo of W_Des
3.42/5  rDev -8.8%
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 Fatehunter
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a finger and half of head on a clear straw body.
The aroma is grain and a hint of pepper.
The taste is mild lemon and grapefruit bitter at first, then hot habanero in the middle to end. The heat is medium and finishes slow. Nice.
The texture is crisp.
Great use of the peppers.

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Photo of SDBeerGere
4.83/5  rDev +28.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer isn't for everyone. I happen to like spicy beers, and this one is great. It definitely stings the throat and I won't have more than two in a sitting, but it's a really good spicy IPA.

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