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Habanero Sculpin | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
84
good
512 Reviews
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States
ballastpoint.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
512
Ratings:
2,517
Avg:
3.74
pDev:
35.83%
 
 
Wants:
183
Gots:
755
For Trade:
12
User Reviews
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Reviews: 512 | Ratings: 2,517
Photo of beerhan
3.31/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

 840 characters

Photo of bsp77
3.76/5  rDev +0.5%
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 -22.2%
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 +27.8%
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 +0.3%
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 +10.2%
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 +16.3%
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.

 302 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

 389 characters

Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.58/5  rDev +22.5%
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 -4.5%
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 +4%
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.

 266 characters

Photo of Somber
4.15/5  rDev +11%
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.

 644 characters

Photo of kemoarps
2.95/5  rDev -21.1%
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 -8.3%
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 +24.1%
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.

 1,145 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
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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Photo of uvachief
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

See sculpin review by same brewer. Base beer but they infused it with habanero peppers. Had it on draft. Spice Burn is insane. I can't stomach more than a glass. Good but spicy.

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Photo of logicalparadox
4.55/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow. The sculpin is a truly great IPA. Throw in some habanero and what do you get? A truly great chile beer!

Pours a pristine amber with a beautiful off white 3 finger head that leaves rings of lacing around the glass.

Nose is full of fruit; citrus, predominately grapefruit, orange and... Ugli fruit (now renamed unique fruit). Also some tree sap and resinous pine in the background--not too heavy. A faint heat and bits of chile are there if you know to look for them.

Bam! The palate is assaulted, but not a full frontal assault of bitter hops; more like an indirect flanking maneuver of citrusy and piney hops, then bringing up the habanero for the master stroke. The heat is no joke. Not too much, but as you drink it builds a definite sting. The lips and throat are left with a glorious burn, the tongue and palate get a long finish from the hops and the fruity chile notes, and the soul feels complete. You just want... More!

Mouth feel is not too sticky, but full and firm. The bitter hops are gripping but the malts are quite unctuous.

 1,048 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

Heavy chili on the nose foretells the capsaicin assault about to be unleashed.

Pours near clear, typical amber, soft medium khaki head. leaves a thicker collar and respectable lace.

Crushing and quite warming chili assault overlaid upon a sturdy and world class IPA. Heat in the back of the mouth and tingling on the lips. If you are not into chili/spicy I would stay away from this one....chili heads rejoice and go get some

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Photo of Jetlag767
3.17/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Maybe a personal thing. I love Ballast Point. Other styles are home runs. This one, is way overpowered by the habanero and should not have the Sculpin name included. Time to move on....

 185 characters

Photo of Beer-Revelry
2.47/5  rDev -34%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.25

This just isn't my thing. Color was fine, smell was promising, but the taste, it's just way too much habanero pepper for me to really get passed to pick out more subtle nuances of things like hop profile and such. I understand for some people this would be a dream come true, but for me, it's just way too hot to enjoy. Gave a middle of the road 3 score to mouthfeel due to the fact that I couldn't drink enough to really properly asses it.

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Photo of ScottJJ
4.31/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is a special beer. Sculpin is an excellent IPA and when they say they added habanero..they mean it. This has a bite and mixing that with the hoppy-ness is unexpectedly pleasant and refreshing!

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Photo of cfox142
3.37/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

 159 characters

Photo of bmeGT
1/5  rDev -73.3%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I've never give anything a one, but if I wanted to taste peppers I would buy a pepper. Got this as an extra in a trade and couldn't finish it. Take one sip and your throat is on fire.

 183 characters

Photo of Abe_Froman
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This is certainly an interesting beer, and I am glad I tried it. I have enjoyed some chili beers in the past but the ones I have had were balanced by chocolate.

The sweet counter is something I find missing here. It's all ipa up front then pure pepper flavor/heat. The heat isn't overwhelming, but I feel I would get a similar experience by sipping a sculpin then biting a pepper. It just not well integrated. All in all a fun experience, and if you love hot peppers this is for you.

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,517 ratings.
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