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Habanero Sculpin | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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511 Reviews
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

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: 511 | Ratings: 2,516
Photo of neenerzig
4.09/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My extremely good and awesome buddy Jon Passow, who is the Barrel Operations Manager at Anderson Valley Brewing Company, sent me this in a package from northern, CA a few weeks ago. then like 4 days after receiving this package my wife and I began our 2 week trip to California, one week of which was spent going to many breweries there with my friend Jon. I also got to try this beer on-tap when we went to Ballast Point about a week and a half ago. Onto the review. Poured out of a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass of mine, this beer pours a slightly cloudy and hazy, but mainly clear, medium golden color with a nice copper/amber hue with a white head that is about 1/2 of an inch thick when first poured that settles quickly to a solid surface coating along with a pretty thick ring lining the inside of the glass. Not too much lacing unfortunately. Aromas of some toasted malts, citrus hops, and certainly the habanero. Has a slight toasted malt sweetness presence upfront followed by a nice floral, citrus hop bitterness. The spicy heat bite from the peppers is at just the perfect level for a chilihead like myself, and I understand how and why this might be too much of a hear bite for others people. Has a clean finish. Has a crisp, slightly smooth and frothy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Easy to drink for me in the a well crafted beer ought to me.


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Photo of Jeffwise
4.32/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Great beer... Amazes me how they can nail the sculpin taste the whole way until u swallow. Then the heat... Very spicy although I disagree with the reviews saying it's too much heat. If you like all things heat this is a great beer for you to try.

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Photo of arizcards
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single May 1 from TW Arrowhead for $2.99. No visible bottling date but i remember this being a fresh batch.

Beer poured golden orange with a nice white head that had some ok hang time.

Nose is wonderful, fresh citrus and tropical hops!

Taste is just like the regular Sculpin and them wham-o, the pallet is assaulted by a strong habanero infusion. You start to get the wonderful citrus, tropical, and pine and then the habanero takes over.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied and quite lively.
Overall as a hophead i love the base beer. The habanero has been a novelty to try but it is doubtful i will do this again.

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Photo of TheDonster
4.76/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Smell doesn't really match the flavor, but that's alright here. This is a great chili beer. I love the regular Sculpin, and the additional flavor in this one really works for me. If you like subtle, complex flavors, this probably isn't your beer.

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Photo of HopsForBrains
3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
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

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Photo of TheIPAHunter
4.21/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I really enjoyed this beer, but I'm a fan of the habanero. Imagine regular Sculpin with the same exact balance, yet just a touch of heat. I had it extremely fresh, so the citrus notes were unbelievable, as well the dank resinous action I got on the finish. I know this beer isn't for everyone, hence the overall score; however, if you enjoy eat, this beer will be right up your alley. Larrrrrrrrrrrrge.

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Photo of madelfonatree
4.11/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - Light orange see through body. Thin, white to tan head with moderate pour.

Smell - Don't notice peppers here. Grapefruit and citrus. Dank.

Taste - Strong pepper up front and fades slowly. Has a plastic taste as well.

Palate - Dries up quickly with pepper. Lighter bodied.

Overall - Smell was surprising. I don't know where the faint plastic smell comes from. Heat from a beer you expect heat.

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Photo of endovelico
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It just works, surprisingly. The heat adds a depth to the original that is refreshing (no pun intended) but unfortunately a beer this spicy will prove itself too unapproachable even for the more venturous beer drinker. I'd say take this for fun, if nothing else as it will undoubtedly make you question everything you think a beer should be.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Bright orange with good clarity. Head settles after a time. Thin, broken rings of lacing.

S: Vegetal and hot habanero peppers are forward on the nose. Bright tangerine and citrus notes underneath. Whiffs of toasty malt too.

T: Fruity and vegetal habanero flavors are forward. The heat kicks in after a few seconds. It's pretty hot as far as pepper beers go, but not outrageous. the heat does build sip to sip until it peaks at about a 7 on my personal 1-10 scale. As the palate adjusts to the heat, bright tangerine, cantaloupe, mango, and pineapple notes come forward. Fleeting pine and resin too. Toasty malt. Hot peppery finish lingers for a long time.

M: Medium bodied. Creamy and smooth, though the peppery heat doesn't let you pay much attention to the texture of it. Fine carbonation.

O: Drinking the whole bottle would probably give me raging heartburn, but I actually really enjoyed this one. It has enough heat to put hair on your chest, but the nice tropical hop flavor that is so central to Sculpin is still allowed to come through. Of course this will be a very polarizing beer for most people though. Putting it in a six pack might be a little much, but it's not like a bomber would be a better choice. Best bet is to find a bottle shop that sells singles.

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Photo of milwaukee512
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Such an unnecessary beer; obviously IPA fans know that Sculpin is practically a legend in this category. Habanero Sculpin retains the excellent feel and look of Ballast Point's beers, but the spice overwhelms everything else here. Interesting to try one, but kind of a waste. Stick to the real thing.

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Photo of dcotom
4.64/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Twelve-ounce bottle, poured into a chalice. Very pretty light copper color, two fingers of head with good retention. Piney aroma with some citrus, particularly grapefruit. The taste, though, is where this one really shines: nicely balanced, pleasant hop bitterness on the finish, and the heat was not overpowering. The distinctive flavor of the habanero became slightly more pronounced as the beer warmed up. I found this very enjoyable with food as well as on its own. Well done!

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Photo of WunderLlama
3.94/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Growler poured into antique GermN bier glass

Two finger white foM cap, very good lacings. Clear Amber with some carbonation

Aroma of grapefruit and pine

Taste of the hops and then an explosion of haberno spicy heat. You taste the habanero and then feel the heat

Spicy, habanero afterburner!!!! Lingers in the mouth and the back of the tongue.

It's fun, it's different . Love the regular sculpin , interesting variation

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Photo of Stevedore
2.72/5  rDev -27.3%
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 +9.6%
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 +1.9%
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%
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 +9.1%
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 +1.9%
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%
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 +21.4%
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 +21.7%
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 +13.4%
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 +8%
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 +29.4%
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 +25.9%
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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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,516 ratings.
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