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 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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Photo of uvachief
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
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 +21.3%
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.

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Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
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 -15.5%
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....

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
2.47/5  rDev -34.1%
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 +14.9%
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 -10.1%
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.

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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.

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Photo of Abe_Froman
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
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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Photo of lukeskyrocker
4.57/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is straight fire. Not for the delicate palate. It will also decimate most palates so taste this beer last. I had it on draft and from a bottle while in San Diego last summer and I assumed it never journeyed very far from home; as I am now having a Habanero Sculpin in Boston, I'm glad to have been proven wrong.

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Photo of goochpunch
4.79/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep and clear ocher with a barely there head. Smells of pale malt, lighty charred chile, and citrus hops. In the flavor, this has a nice malty base with a touch of caramel and solid citrus hops. Chile takes over completely. Fruity habanero and great heat. Did they use some roasted chile? Did they use both green and fully ripened habaneros? Awesome. Mellow carbonation and a moderate body. This is an amazing beer. Close to a perfect beer to pair with a number of harder cheeses.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a nonic, the beer is a bright, crystal clear, caramel-gold coloring with a steady flow of carbonation in the body and a fluffy, clingy, off-white head. Aromas of grapefruit and tangerine forward, very bright and sweet, with very subtle peppery notes, and a sweet malty character. Flavors are grapefruit tart and sweet forward, with an immediate backbone of pepper spice and heat. The heat remains constant throughout, and lingers after each sip. It never overpowers, but it never leaves, either. The citrus blend does work nicely with the heat, and the light, effervesced body keeps the drinkability high for this beer. The aftertaste is completely overtaken by the pepper spice and heat. The finish has a long spicy linger. Interesting twist on a great IPA.

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Photo of beergoot
4.37/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bright, clear, yellow hued body; thick, chunky, white head. Bold floral and fruity aroma; berries and melon. Malty, pleasantly hopped IPA offering, then a fiery pepper heat. Light to medium in body; juicy; crisp; mostly dry finish.

I knew I was in for a peppery treat when an intense burn touched my lips while I was sampling the aroma and got a bit of foam on my mouth. The beer looks great, like a solid BP IPA offering and the hop aroma is top notch but without a hint of the coming heat. Even the initial sip doesn't really reveal the habanero heat that follows, but it does come on - strongly! The great thing is that after several sips, the IPA and chili beer characters meld together in a very satisfying way. The juicy, hoppy IPA part reveals itself at the beginning and then transitions to a powerful chili pepper heat midway through and lingering well into the finish. Anyway, it's a fine pairing of two distinct beer styles. If you like both styles, this beer is sure to satisfy. If you like chili beers, this should truly be enjoyable. If you're strictly a hoppy IPA kind of person, the habanero pepper may not cut it for you. For my money, this is one fantastic, unique take on mixing and blending to seemingly disparate beer styles and doing it in a notable, very appealing way.

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Photo of kkleu357
1.55/5  rDev -58.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.25

Interesting to say the least. Tastes like jalapenos and nacho cheese. Pretty awful. Oddly, I’d probably buy it again to share with other people, even though I would not enjoy the experience. Sure took a great beer and made it terrible.

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Photo of minterro
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Brough this beer from Little's Wine and Liquor in Denver CO for around 2.5 a single. Poured into a pint.

A&S: White head pours at about a finger, but does not stick around. Head retains in a ring, with no lacing. Lively, transparent, light orange colored beer. Very, very little hints of spiciness in the aroma. A generous amount of citrus (grapefruit) with a little balance of light toasty grains.

T&M: Upfront is pretty much just spicy, but not like blow you back spicy. Towards the end you get a little more of a balance. The spiciness really hangs in your chest and stomach region with a bit of a tingle in the lips. Medium carbonation medium body.

Overall: Not as extreme as I was expecting, but in a good way. I still wouldn't drink more than one, might even be a good splitter. This beer was solid, it did what it was advertising, but wasn't extremely, over-the-top spicy, making it drinkable.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.31/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours golden yellow with a noticeable copper orange hue and a solid finger of off-white foam. Very hazy, but a peculiar, semi-off-putting, oily haze, which I assume to be in direct relation to the habanero.

Orange and lemon zest, some spiciness coming from the habanero but not overpowering, very tempting aroma.

Wow, the faint citrusy sweetness in the aroma is immediately removed by the strong habanero flavor and spiciness.

Light-medium bodied, medium-heavy carbonation, oily, spicy, slick.

Overall, the color is nice, but immediately, the noticeable oily haze is slightly off-putting. The aroma is spicy, but rather subtle in comparison to the overpowering spicy habanero flavor. The noticeable oily haze is apparent in the slick mouthfeel and the habanero spiciness lingers for a while. I have to say I'm very bias and disinterested in using pepper in beer, not a fan no matter the style, but this did nothing to impress me nor change my opinion on pepper as an adjunct.

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Photo of farrago
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Finger plus head, fairly openly knit with a mottled surface, light tan color, the lacing is a wispy netting but does cover a good bit of territory. Coppery colored liquid, on the reddish side, darkened by the fine silt floating within, translucent, the bubbles more dispersed than in strong beads. The nose is sort of muted because the habanero has more directness than breadth, you have to concentrate to get any pine, grapefruit notes or even the, I guess, apricot to peach fruit scents, just not much to parse. Medium-bodied, carbonation is average to below. Still, has a semi-creamy texture which is needed because basically all you taste is habanero and more habanero. Now, to its credit, this is a very pure and clean expression of the flavor. But you have to use your imagination to get at any fruit, citrus or basic hoppy flavors. I want to reiterate that this is a fresh and cleanly direct drinking experience. But it is pure habanero and packs the heat you’d expect as such. Take it at face value, make your own call, just have a glass of water at your side.

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Photo of Aliiyoob
4.29/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

For someone who is a big fan of peppers, I honestly liked this beer more than the traditional Sculpin. The hops was masked a bit by the pepper, which isn't bad, but interesting nonetheless. Out of the few bottles I had, the "hotness" was variable.

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Photo of nc41
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Kinda digging the brew. Smells like fresh grapefruit, drinks like a Sculpin, until you finish your sip. A decent pepper hit at finish, a bit of flat chili pepper. Spicy, yes, really hot no, it's not Ghost Face crap kinda hot. One would be enough, better to split a bottle, nice novelty brew, but not quaffable at all. But it does taste good. Nice to try well worth a try, and I don't rate on my ability to drink 3 or 4. Depends on your love of things hot with this, if you love hot and spicy you'll appreciate the heat, if you don't you won't. I would love this heat level with say Mexican Cake, that would be outstanding, this year was a bit flat on the pepper.

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Photo of jopezu
3/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a clear amber orange with a medium head that poofs. nose; vegetal hot pepper, and buried, mildly discernible ipa notes. taste; toasted malt and immediate hot pepper burn. there's some grapefruit and citrus hop backbone here from the sculpin, but the habanero is too heavy-handed for any subtleties to even matter. pepper and an almost acid reflux sensation builds in the back of the throat midway through the glass. medium carbonation & mouthfeel. they've torpedoed the original brew with enough pepper to make it an extreme novelty at this point. i love hot and spicy food, but i'm hard-pressed to finish a single serving here.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

All I can say is WOW ! But it's all just too much man. Very peppery, a palate wrecker so to speak. Really any sign of hop presence is squashed by the overwhelming hababero heat. Very creative, well made but in the end not for me.

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Photo of Ryancthomas7
2.65/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

I truly had good intentions prior to drinking this beer. However, it actually tastes like you are swallowing acid reflux or suffering from terrible heartburn. I love me some spicy, but daaaaamn!

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