Habanero Sculpin | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
521 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: 521 | Ratings: 2,554
Photo of AlpacaAlpaca
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

At first there was the familiar taste of Sculpin (which was enjoyable), then a merciless rush of habanero (which was not). The heat obliterated any trace of the base beer. More subtle heat would have made this way better.

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Photo of TravvyTrav
4.39/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

If you like a little heat, check this out. It's not overwhelming, but having said that, not for the faint of heart. Such an interesting taste. The aftermath of it doesn't linger more than half a minute, so it's not like eating a straight haby. Love it!

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Photo of Dexterityviking
4.37/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Slowly becoming one of my favorites and go to beers. I love the tropical fruit at the beginning followed my heat at the back end. Not a beer for someone that does not like heat on the pallet.

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Photo of JosephBieske
3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Heat is intense on the aroma. Hops push through on the front along with their bitterness, slightly over powered by the heat on the back. Quite delicious though.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Looks like a Sculpin pouring brilliant gold under a 2” cream colored foam cap that hugs the side of the glass.
S: The nose is mainly hops with a bit of chili vegetal aroma in the background.
T: Starts malty and hoppy and then an enormous habanero heat comes forward toward the finish.
F: Creamy and hot. Medium body and carbonation.
O: They have achieved a nice blend of heal and malt to produce a beer with heat but avoids that fresh chili vegetal flavor – we have the Sculpin flavors and the chili heat.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

No label information. Brewed in the style of an American IPA with Habanero Peppers added. Available in 12 oz. bottled 6 packs and on limited draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a tulip glass. Served above 57 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a smooth foamy head of a golden ivory color over a mildly hazy medium amber body with light spritely carbonation and mild flecked haze. Retention is good and lacing is light and patchy. 3.75

(Smell) Abundant grapefruit character forward from the hop profile atop a slick and lightly sweetened caramel and pale syrup body. The habanero character comes through subtly in the aroma, generating the passive vegetable character and some aromatic spiciness tingles. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) The grapefruit hop character and the habanero oils mix right from the start, generating a clean but noticeable blend of grapefruit and peppery spiciness. The burn is strongest at the finish as the grapefruit and citrus hop flavors drop out, the habanero character lingers on. Malt characters are smooth, slick with a light sweetness, perfect for balancing the grapefruit character. Despite having a flavorful hop profile and a peppery heat that is far from overly abusive, the habanero character takes the majority of the attention of this beer. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) The texture is slick, moderately oily, smooth, peppery but clean and mildly dry. Carbonation is light, generating a moderate frothiness and a lightly crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, medium overall. Balance is slightly spicy and bitter over sweet. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 4

(Overall) It's hard not to notice the pepper character by the end of a serving of this beer, but while this is no doubt the most divisive of Sculpin variants, I enjoy the flavor variation and think that this would be ideal with spicy and flavorful foods. All that said, the habanero oils and flavor, like the grapefruit character in the Grapefruit Sculpin, is front-and-center in this beer and it would likely not be worth your money unless you were interested in a beer that packs some notable heat. If this seems interesting to you, this is one of the best beers integrating hot peppers that I have yet sampled out there, although I do not know if I attribute this beer's success to the peppers themselves or the phenomenal base IPA recipe that Sculpin already is. It's an excellent pairing, nonetheless. Reportedly your heat potential per bottle may vary, so get a few in case the first sampling is disappointing. 3.75

Ballast Point Brewing Company's
Habanero Sculpin

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

Two fingers of loose, light tan bubbles on the classic Sculpin amber-orange hue. Slight hot/green pepper skin atop of a juicy grapefruit theme. Amazing that the hops come through. Taste is quizzical. Heat up front, bright citrus notes in the mid, and heat on the finish. Not JUST heat, but some habenero character as well. Clean mouthfeel, allthough hard to let go of the heat. Sipper definitely. Nice diversion, nice head scratcher... but eventually the habenero really starts to kick your ass. If you like chili beers, then seek this out. If you don't, don't. If you're not sure, I'd say just try it. Really cool to taste and smell such seemingly dichotomous flavors and aromas in like this together. Neat stuff.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The smell was nice combination of citrusy hops and a pepper smell. The flavor was hot and spicy with a decent hoppy taste on the back end. Although this beer was good, I drink IPAs as a refreshing drink generally in the summer. The heat seemed like it would be counter-productive to that refreshing quality after awhile.

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Photo of Austin32
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

essentially the standard sculpin only with a very spicy after taste that definitely lingers. If you drink a whole 12oz you will have a very tingly mouth. I enjoyed it but could not drink more than 1.

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Photo of beerhan
3.31/5  rDev -11.7%
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 bsp77
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into IPA glass.

Appearance: Golden amber with good sized white head and lacing.

Smell: Milder than expected with citrus, tropical notes and slight pepper.

Taste: Good God that tastes like habanero. Really strong pepper flavors balanced (probably not the right word) by citrusy and tropical hops. Hard to tell if the finish is bitter with all that pepper heat.

Feel: I guess it is well carbonated with a good body, but it burns like hell. That is good with salsa, not so much with beer.

Overall: This does not use the light touch that many pepper beers do, meaning that this tastes damn good but is heartburn inducing. Not sure if it is worth it.

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Photo of yetijosie
2.91/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

this beer is extremely abrasive, but also very interesting. the fact that it burns when it goes down and leaves a spicy coat on your throat and stomach just gets me excited.(reminds me of drinking a good whiskey) the thing that does not excite me about this beer is the super hoppy flavor, i feel like its kinda hard to stomach at times.(then again, im not big on the stronger ipas)

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Photo of rajendra82
4.78/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Looks very much like regular Sculpin, whose orange color also coincidentally happen to match the skin of a Habanero pepper. The head atop the clear body was two to three fingers thick. foamy, and durable. The aroma was very hoppy and did not bring to mind any kind of pepper, as I could detect grapefruit and orange rind. On deeper inhaling there possibly was a hint of chili pepper, or may be it was just my imagination. The taste however had a very definite pepper kick to it. The Habanero was once considered the hottest pepper in the world, and while it has since given up that crown, it was still king of this beer. The pepper head was clearly evident in every sip, forcing the normally dominant citric hops to play second fiddle. It was quite one dimensional, and it was glorious. The feel was medium thick, with a pepper burn at the end of each sip. This was not quite a harmonious pairing like the Grapefruit Sculpin. Instead it was a showcase for pepper lovers.

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Photo of rodmanfor3
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is a novelty beer that you drink at the end of the night when you are ready to destroy your palate.

The habanero does nothing to compliment an already great base beer, and the heat is painful rather than enjoyable.

Drink this one for the tick.

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Photo of Peleugene
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The heat compliments the hops making this one of the best IPAs I've had. Aroma is overall purely hoppy with the heat only being noticed after it's been on your palette a few seconds. The combination of the aroma and the heat with the overall mouthfeel left me hoping that this beer is a year-round offering.

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Photo of chessiejackson
4.35/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm a fan of heat, and I think ballast point pulled it off well. Initial taste is in the sculpin family, then the heat hits shortly after. Paired my growler with different foods that may normally be spicy, but I held off on the hot sauce and drank the sculpin with those meals and it complimented well.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

look: clear light gold. Looks like "regular" Sculpin.
smell: Habanero up front. That rich citrusy Sculpin nose is there but Habanero has it by the throat.
taste: Pepper burn up front. The base beer takes a brief stand and the pepper burn kicks it's butt in the finish. This is not overbearing though, nothing like the over the top Crime and Punishment.
overall: Really like this variation.

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Photo of jp32
4.58/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Caution: *HOT* You must enjoy the heat of habanero to enjoy this offering. They did not wimp out on this.

Pours transparent copper/golden in color. A small amount of fluffy head retention. This smells sharp and hoppy.

Flavor and heat in this one is insanely perfect. I like spicy things. I've tried several chile beers in the past, none of which could hold a candle to this one. This is incredible. Its the perfect amount of hop flavor paired with actual, intense, real habanero flavor. As intense as the habanero is in this, the hoppy sculpin ipa flavor never backs away. Pair them together and I feel like I've gone to ipa heaven.

I'm buying as much as I can tomorrow. The end.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.57/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Taster from the Grille Next Door.
Deep golden color with a huge sticky white head. Big capsaicin mixed with earthy pine on the nose. The heat lingers coating the throat all the way down. Good in a small dose, glad I got a tiny glass.

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Photo of cfalls
3.89/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I was expecting a subtle hint of habanero, but this is pretty spicy, on the same level as the spiciest bloody mary's I've had.

I don't know what to say -- if you want a peppery beer, this is a good one. But I'm questioning whether that's something you should want.

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Photo of Somber
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This is an interesting and appreciated beer. After some not so pleasant experiences with "spicy" beers in the past, I was very VERY happy with this one. This does not hide the habañero, but balances it nicely. It does blow out a lot of the initial that you would get with their regular sculpin, but adds another stage to the flavor journey you're enjoying. I enjoy spicy foods, and the balance was perfect. It works well with the IPA flavors on the back end and provides a very strong experience. Not one that I tire of quickly like many other less balanced flavored beers. Worth a shot if you enjoy the adventurous side of beer making.

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Photo of kemoarps
2.95/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Quite pale. Clear clean and crisp. Head is those large soapy bubbles that don't really settle into a nice film so much as just kind of get less. OK. Acts as a good window for the carbonation show climbing the pillar though.

Starts to hint at sweet malts and juicy hops but is quickly overhwelmed by the vegetal peppers. Like, over overwhelmed. Womp womp.

Flavour has the same MO. Starts in to a solid foundation of sweet malts and juicy citrus hops but quickly the vegetal pepper flavour rushes in and starts smashing the place up.
There's some heat to it as well, but not so much as to be unpleasant. The bitterness here isn't so much hop bitter as it is like... have you ever made a red sauce and overspiced it (I mean neither have I. I wouldn't mess up a sauce!)? It's that kind of vegetal overwhelmed herb/spice bitter that isn't a pleasant bitter. At least for me. I actually like the heat level they have here, but the flavour I'm tried to have described above just brings it too far into the realm of unenjoyable for me. Maybe I'm just not a fan of chili beers in general.
Basic Sculpin I always felt was overrated, but nothing actually wrong with it, Grapefruit I really enjoyed but this one... this is a miss for me. I don't know if I even really feel like drinking the rest of this bottle.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
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 BastardKing24
4.64/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I love pepper beers, and this could be the big one, being as I love sculpin. This is my first time having this brew so here goes...

Smell is similar to a classic west coast IPA, but one exception, peppers. Up front is the big aroma like slicing peppers for a dish or what not. Its in your face I think, and I'm saying this before tasting it. YAY HABS.

Wow. Just wow. Big hit of capsaisin, Heat level I'd say 5/10 for anything hot. So what I'm saying is this is drinkable to anyone that loves pepper heat. I also notice lots of flavor from the habs, being the pepper lover that I am and having eaten Habaneros raw before. They have a nice tropical fruity flavor before the intense heat hits your senses. This beer does not hit your senses, only imparts a hint of it, to me atleast. Its bold none the less. Beware!

Feel is superb, cant get any more or less carbonated to please beer heads.

Overall as far as a pepper beer goes, this is the best I've had. You really can't make this any better. It is a phenomenal beer with huge dimensions based on what sculpin is, and how you could possibly alter it. Try this beer if you can, it's worth it.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.99/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

no doubt this is an enormously high quality brew, but i just dont get the fascination with chili peppers in beer. that said, this is among the best i have had, certainly the best that isnt a dark beer. something about the citrusy hops and the habanero spice really work well together. i like that you can get all the flavor of the pepper before the heat comes on, this might be one of the few beers that shows the flavor of the pepper first, and i appreciate that immensely. the hops are awesome, but they cant beat the heat in the finish, which comes on slow but burns low and slow in the back of the throat awhile. the sweetness at the end helps balance it, and it still feels juicy. in the end, i was glad to be sharing a bottle, and truthfully, it just reminded me how good sculpin ipa is as a base beer. it needs nothing at all. that said, its one of my favorite chili beers going, and if thats your cup, then this is your tea. i have no doubt at all about that

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.75 out of 5 based on 2,554 ratings.
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