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Habanero Sculpin | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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512 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: 512 | Ratings: 2,517
Photo of ThreeKingdoms
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

IF you like the habanero pepper, you will probably like this beer. however, the aromatics and much of the flavor components of regular sculpin are muddied by the habanero. it works for me. niche beer.

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Photo of AllanPatchin1016
4.19/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Seeing a lot of negative reviews on here but they don't seem very justified. Habanero peppers are hot... This beer, as the bottle explicitly states, has habanero added to it. Of course its going to be hot. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but an excellent sipping beer for fans of spicy foods/drinks.

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Photo of Nunya
2.73/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

One of the oddest beers I've ever had. The habanero is way too overpowering. I like spicy food and I like Sculpin but I can barely taste the Sculpin here. Glad I tried it but won't have it again. If you want to drink some habanero give it a try. If you want to taste Sculpin or something that resembles an IPA stay away.

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Photo of rudimon
4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

enjoyed a couple on tap at Railroad Street Bar & Grill in linfield circa 2013
tasted like regular sculpin that really dropped a burn in the throat. i'm a chilli head so i really enjoyed the heat.

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Photo of BB1313
3.19/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours golden with nice clarity; fluffy eggshell white head that leaves great retention and sticky lacing. The aromas are nice. Lots of citrus and tropical notes with lots of peppers. There's a nice balance between the hops and peppers in the aromas. There's absolutely no balance in the flavor department. This is definitely the spiciest beer I've ever had. You take a sip, and the heat will hit you pretty quickly in the finish. And it lingers. You really feel the heat in the throat and even on the lips. The heat diminishes the flavors and anything else going on. The spiciness is no joke. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with nice moderate carbonation. The heat seems to become normal by the time you get to the bottom of the glass, most likely because my palate is fried. It's ultimately hard to drink. Makes a nice sipper.

Haha I don't like this at all. But you gotta give them credit for execution. They deliver what they advertise. We all know what a habanero is capable of, so of course it's going to be hot! If you're a genuine fan of hot/spicy stuff, then this beer is absolutely for you. I like spicy stuff, but this just isn't enjoyable for me. I'm glad I gave it a try, but this isn't for me at all.

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Photo of retry4z
4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I'm not a diehard chilihead but enjoy a good amount of spice. The spiciness is toned up a notch compared to their Thai Chile Wahoo White, however, it is nowhere near eating an actual habanero or even a jalapeño pepper. The spiciness level here is comparable to Cholula Hot Sauce, so on the low end, but very pronounced nevertheless. Speaking of jalapeños, I would *love* to try a jalapeño Sculpin, as the flavor would is much more complex and the "kick" turned down.

As for the taste, I can still taste the malt and hops underneath the heat. The feel on the tongue is slick, and the carbonation adds to the experience. I would recommend this beer to anyone who is at least mildly interested in chile beer.

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Photo of jera1350
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A slight numbing just smelling it. Fresh hot garden pepper scent with a hint of citrus. The taste is just overpowering spicy habanero that I barely get the fruity hops until the finish. The malt sweetness is drowned out by the heat also. Palate is still smoldering well after the beer has left the mouth. Just too much pepper to even drink a whole bottle.

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Photo of brywhite
2.82/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

I don't have a method to detect the Scoville units to quantify the heat of this beer but to this craft beer drinker, the 2015 version of Habanero Sculpin is very hot, essentially making it undrinkable for all but the most die hard and perhaps masochistic pepper lovers out there.

I would have liked to have tasted a more subtle Habanero presence... maybe one that complimented or enhanced the flavor of fresh Sculpin IPA instead of destroying it. This beer is sadly one dimensional and really has no recognizable flavor character other than that of a Habanero pepper.

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Photo of hotpauko
3.64/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not sure where to go with this. If you are not a fan of IPAs or hot peppers, do not try this beer. I am a hophead and a huge HOT pepper fan... I know well the Puckerbutt Pepper Company a few miles down from me (the hottest pepper in the world), but this was too hot for a beer. The beer was tolerable mainly because Sculpin is such a good IPA. If combined with any other beers of average quality, this would have been a mess. It smells peppery and hits the mouth very hot. It will subside a little to try and get the Sculpin flavor. But really just too much. I'd like to see the next batch toned down. If not I won't buy it again.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12o bottle poured into a tulip. 329 14 A3 19:35 is the bottle code.

Pours clear, amber, with very little head and not much carbonation. I don't remember Sculpin being this still. Smell is habanero pepper! Exactly what I hoped for in that regard, but a little lacking in the Sculpin aroma that I know and love. There is some slight tropical hoppiness.

Taste is habanero again -- surprisingly spicy, but not overwhelming (for me, but I have a high tolerance for spiciness). Slight honey sweetness, slight fruity flavor. Overall, tasty but a little muted.

Mouthfeel is dense, a tiny bit sticky. Overall, it's pretty good (if you like habaneros).

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium coppery amber with fine, one finger off-white head with excellent retention and lots of lacing. Aroma of citrus hops, tropical fruit, particularly pineapple, orange family citrus, light spiciness. Flavor starts, briefly, with citrus, mild malt, tropical fruit, then almost instantly, with intense habanero chili heat, which totally dominates the flavor. A light citrus is detectable as well as hints of hop bitterness, but this is pretty much all about chili. Medium bodied, with light creaminess. I enjoyed sipping on this, but really wanted to taste a little more of the (quite excellent) Sculpin IPA base. As the habanero burn receded, I got the classic endorphin rush of really hot chilis, which is always a pleasant feeling as is the slow, fading of the intense hotness. I regret not drinking this with an appropriate meal; as an evening sipper it is interesting, but too intense. Well made, but I'm not sure I'll finish the bottle in one sitting. I might try this again when I'm prepared to eat the appropriate Mexican food with this interesting IPA. The habanero is authentic.

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Photo of RyBrew54
3.61/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

"Tastes like burning" -Ralph Wiggum

Surprisingly not much to the nose. Take regular Sculpin and crank up the heat with one of the hottest peppers around. Not bad if you pair it with fajitas or some awesome spicy food.

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Photo of yas
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A unique take on an IPA. On first sip, starts off with the usual IPA characteristics, then BAM leaves your tongue lingering with capsaicin from the habanero. I enjoy spicy foods regularly, so I didn't find the spiciness overwhelming. But, I'd recommend drinking this beer with something to cleanse your palate in between sips to maximize its flavor profile. Otherwise, the habanero will overwhelm your palate.

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Photo of MLDucky
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I have to agree if you don't like spicy food don't review it, lol. The nose is incredible, lots of spice. after a few sips the spice lingers but it's not overdone, still drinkable. Probably the most heat I've had in a beer though. My only criticism is that the hops are lost for me. The hop forward flavor of regular sculpin takes a distant back seat to the heat. Like a spicy pale if that makes sense.

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Photo of krl2112
2.04/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Since I love the grapefruit sculpin I thought I would give this one a try. Honestly for me, this beer is horrible. I like spicy things but I can't even drink this. I took one sip and my mouth is still burning 5 minutes later. For me this is a horrible beer. I like beers with peppers but I can't even drink this one.

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Photo of Crunk_certified
3.79/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Hot! The craftsmanship overall is world class. Damn spicy, but works. If your a fan of ballast point and spicy food I would try it. Would I buy again? no. But happy i grabbed a sixer.

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Photo of AFCPar-tie-ers
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you dont like hot shit, dont drink it. It says 'habanero' so if you know anything about beer, I imagine you might know about food and know that habanero is hotter than any other pepper you can buy at the grocery store, by far...So if you expected this to not have a good kick, then you missed the point. This beer is GREAT! By far the best 'chili' beer. And still a VERY good beer for anyone that likes a little heat. Get some! Pours with a one finger head...but the heat leaves my gf asking for more

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Photo of Sparty1224
4.01/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving: 12 oz. bottle poured into a Founder's pint glass. Bottled on 12/19/14, making this just over a month old.

A: Looks like regular Sculpin, clear, dark, golden-yellow. There is a lot of floating sediment if you look closely enough, which may have to do with the addition of the peppers.

S: First thing I pick out is fresh pepper. Not necessarily habanero pepper, since this isn't a sweet aroma, but definitely fresh, earthy pepper aroma. There is some subtle hoppyness in the background, with subtle notes of tangerine and grapefruit, but it definitely does not explode with hops like regular Sculpin.

T: Wow, this guy is hot. It may not be the equivalent of biting into a habanero (that's just cruel), but this is definitely hotter than your average hot sauce or jalepeno pepper. It's a good natural burn and I like it a lot. Because this is so hot, I can't really comment on much else. Any trace of Sculpin underneath is pretty much obliterated by the heat. I even have a hard time discerning if this is an IPA vs. some other style like a golden ale or pale ale. It's all heat from the moment it hits your tongue.

M: Hot, hot, hot.

O: This is a tough beer to score. Purely on the style, it's not too bad. I'd dial the heat back a touch and maybe bring the IPA elements forward, but overall, this is an IPA made with habanero and they nailed it. Compared to other beers though, it all depends on how much you like spicy foods. Me personally, I like spicy food, so I enjoyed this beer, but could really only have one. It reminds me a lot of Founder's Spite, which is also really good. Way hotter than Mango Magnifico, and not quite as balanced. Easy to forget this is a world-class IPA underneath.

Recommendation: Avoid if you don't like really spicy food. If you like things moderately hot to really hot, and you like IPAs, would definitely try this one out.

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Photo of rab53
1.87/5  rDev -50%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Vile. Looks innocent, like the regular Sculpin. Smelled vegetal and savory.
As soon as the beer touched my lips, I retched. Managed to swallow the second sip with a cringe.

Soon afterwards, the back of my throat began to burn unpleasantly. Now, I enjoy spicy foods, but hate "spicy for the sake of spicy" stuff. I returned a few minutes later determined to get a few ounces down. Mission accomplished, regrettably.

The rest of the bottle is currently eroding through my kitchen plumbing.

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Photo of RobTheKnob
2.52/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

This beer looked promising. Good color, unusual but interesting aroma, solid body... but the taste was awful. You could tell there was a good IPA hiding in there somewhere, but the habanero is just so overpowering. I like spicy stuff, don't get me wrong, but Ballast Point probably should have dialed back the fire.

Glad I only bought a single, something I never say about Ballast Point.

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Photo of Celtics17
4.29/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This is a unique beer in its effect. It's very spicy, and it leaves you not wanting more. But not in a bad way. It's aroma was green peppers, and a slight hint of hops. The taste was much like the aroma. This left my lips numb, and it changed as it warmed. I liked this one by Ballas Point, but without a doubt you can't drink more than one at a time. Better with a food pairing.

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Photo of 57md
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this as part of a side-by-side with a regular Sculpin.

Slightly darker in color than Sculpin. There is only a hint of heat on the nose but it is less hoppy for sure. The habaneros are clearly present in the flavor profile; in fact, they overwhelm pretty much everything else.

The heat is not so overdone as to make this offering undrinkable but the awesome citrus and hop flavors that make Sculpin such a special IPA just get bombarded by the heat.

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Photo of IMFletcher
3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I consider myself to be a spicy beer fan, but this one is extreme. It's not undrinkable, though, but all I can get is heat and carbonation. However, I find myself wanting to try another. Go figure.

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Photo of SlothB77
3.35/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From the tap.

Just too much habanero spice for me. The pepper is not moderated enough. The sad thing is that the original Sculpin is just a great beer, that adding this much habanero just ruins it. Don't ruin something amazing, Ballast Point.

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Photo of almostjay
2.79/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I had to try this beer despite the mixed reviews. It looks and smells like a nice IPA. The habanero is slightly noticeable in the nose, but that doesn't really detract from it at all. The taste on the other hand, wow.

The label says "heat may vary". Maybe I got an extra spicy bottle, but man, this beer burns and the habanero is on the forefront. Really bad.

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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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