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Habanero Sculpin | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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507 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: 507 | Ratings: 2,498
Photo of 98green
4.6/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks like sculpin. Smells like sculpin. Tastes likes sculpin. But you came for the heat. Yeah it burns. It isn't insane or anything, but the tingle is real. Even got a few beads of sweat. I think there is even some nice "green" taste from the peppers. This is a winner, but I think one in an evening is plenty

 310 characters

Photo of OldManMetal
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This habanero IPA is a slightly hazy, sparkling deep gold beer with a medium fluffy white head; lacing is only fair, but cryptic, consisting of abstract structures that show some very unusual variations in coarseness. The aroma is a medium-intensity blend of pineapple, citrus and sweetish florals, with slight alcohol overtones; no habanero notes are detected. Up front, bitter pineapple is dominant, and a notable chile heat is present; by mid-palate the heat reigns supreme, although the pineapple notes are still discernable. Again, habanero flavor notes (fruity and vegetal) are absent. The finish shows a moderate bittersweet nutty character, followed by a nice chile burn at the back of the throat. The linger is a whole-mouth chile burn of significant intensity, with a less apparent style-moderate piney bitterness behind it, and lasts quite awhile. Mouthfeel is biggish for the light body, and the texture is slightly creamy and medium-peppery from the well-expressed carbonation. The label notes that "heat may vary"; this particular beer has a capsaicin burn intensity that I would equate with a thick stripe of El Yucateco green on an otherwise mild enchilada: satisfyingly assertive but not overbearing. Given that I eat stupidly spicy food, that probably means that this beer would be unpleasantly spicy to a normal American palate. (12 oz bottle, illegible code date)

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Photo of avflinsch
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

light amber, notes of citrus, pine and fruit - pepper is forward in the nose the aroma of the habanero is unmistakeable

this brew is surprisingly good, the heat is present but not overpowering, not a brew that is to be gulped or chugged (that might prove to be painful)

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Photo of auroracrisis
3.87/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz into a snifter.

Deep orange with a little head that disspiates into foam. Clear body

Smell is pine, citrus, and peppers. Lots of hot peppers.

On the tongue there is citrus rind with a huge kick of heat that lingers for a long time.

Mouth feel is thin medium with a touch of carbonation, heat on the finish that lingers.

A great IPA with a huge dose of awesome pepper flavors and a hot finish.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Ballast Point Brewing Co. "Habanero Sculpin"
on tap @ The Boathouse, Conshohocken, PA

Pepper beers are always a personal thing. You can review it as you would any other beer, but in the end it's always hedonistic when it comes to having a glass in front of you. Personally I like pepper beers. I like the flavor of the pepper, and the spiciness. With that said, I found a nice habanero flavor to it, which is always hard to get because of the heat, even if you've de-veined and de-seeded. I know people will argue that point, but keep in mind I'm saying I liked that they got a good amount of flavor. They did a good job. As to drinkability, that's up to your palate. I was a little worn out halfway through, but not to the point I couldn't finish it.

On the other hand, after a few sips I was losing the habanero flavor. And that goes for the IPA itself, which is a bit disappointing (because why not just use a basic golden ale?), but at the same time good in that it allows for the beer to continue for a bit. Flavor-wise I feel it's a trade-off. The habanero is nice, but then you don't get the full Sculpin experience.

In the end, about halfway through the serving I'd had enough. Not that I couldn't finish it, but that my senses were shot and there didn't really seem to be any reason to keep going. So, in conclusion, I'm going to place this above a lot of other pepper beers, but still say that it has limited drinkability. I'd drink this at the end of the night for a change of pace, or on special occasions (i.e. backyard BBQ, Cinco de Mayo, etc) - I might even drink it if I just got the passing desire for something peppery - but I wouldn't drink it on a regular basis.

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Photo of JLaw55
1/5  rDev -73.3%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Horrendous. Took a great beer and made it undrinkable. I like spicy, but not this. Tried twice and couldn't stomach it. It was in your face, unadulterated heat. Nothing but heat with a small touch of hops on the back end, once your face finishes melting that is.

Would drink again: No
Would purchase again: No

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Photo of JMD
4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Bright amber with orange tones, foamy white head that fades slowly.

S: Big hop aroma, citrus and tropical fruits. Big hints of mandarin orange and peach, with some light earthy pine.

T: Wow, big IPA flavor, but holy shit, the habaneros bring the heat! Big time. Big juicy IPA flavors that we love about Sculpin with liquid fire added. After a few sips you can feel the heat on your lips and tongue.

F: Medium bodied, typical ipa

O: Well crafted and interesting. I couldn't drink more than one of these for sure, but this is still an outstanding beer for what it is. Its exactly what you would expect. Great Sculpin flavor with habanero fire added. I love hot spicy food, so I found this one enjoyable.

 711 characters

Photo of buschbeer
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a tulip glass

This beer pours a brilliant amber color with golden highlights. Suspended yeast is visible. It is topped with several inches of beige head.

I get the typical citrus and tropical fruit that I get from regular sculpin. I also get the aroma of fresh peppers.

The taste starts out like a normal sculpin with citrus and tropical fruit and a little pine. It does not take long for the habanero to come through in a complimentary way. The heat is not overwhelming, but it does build with each drink.

Medium mouthfeel

I like this beer as a change of pace to the standard IPA. I don't want to drink it all the time or even drink a whole six pack. I like it every now and then to challenge my palate.

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Photo of musicsherlock
3.36/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Sculpin tasting #4

No bottling date noticed

Prototypical translucent orange with a soapy off-white head, thinner than the base beer

Sweet and peppery nose, again made my mouth water in anticipation. A bit more malt notes in this one. Tingled my nose hairs

Hot! no trace of a beer whatsoever. I once had a chile pepper bathing in a Corona or something for days. Tasted like this. Or felt rather. Makes me want to mix it with a stout to balance. Hops are no match for this thing.

Creamy, well carbonated

Overall another unnecessary addition to the Sculpin line. Novelty. Possibly will buy a single to use as mixer.

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Photo of JaimeLondon
4.22/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh what to say?
This beer has the most incredible feel ever. I'm not saying it's the best, it's probably not for 99,9 % of everybody that have ever tasted it. But it's definitely incredible. It ranges from bitter to alcoholic and from spicy to hot (oh, what a heat in the chest!). Yeah, it's amazing, check it out!
And all the rest makes it even better. Hoppiness and fruitness are such that you don't doubt this is an incredible IPA. Pepper has its place as well in the mouth and nose. Citrus is, of course, evident. If you like that peppery feeling, you should taste this one for sure!

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Photo of Gipsy_Danger
2.64/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

S: Smells like habanero/cheapy Walmart hot sauce. Not much else.

T: Tastes like some a*hole dumped Frank's Red Hot into what could have been a solid IPA. Habanero
overwhelms everything I like about regular Sculpin'. Now I have 5 more of these beers because some a*hole from bumfukc PA convinced me to buy this at $16 for a six pack.

F: Very light, smooth.

Overall: Mediocre flavor infusion that ruins the character of a standout IPA. Habanero is bush league anyways. Sriracha lyfe.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

-Spiegelau ipa glass.

A: Lightly tarnished orange, generally good clarity, with a good show of effervesce. Light barley colored head of 0.5 inches is relatively lasting with a sponge-cake like texture. Decent display of soapy lacing.

S: Light traces of the habanero, but more hoppy forward and focal. Toasted chili-grapefruit, with an intial moderate awareness, but a short duration to enjoy it.

T: Good dose of habanero peppers for flavor, its there, but blended nicely with the hoppy quality of the style, not to overwhelm or distract. Grapefruit and pine hops with a nice lingering heat from the habanero chili peppers. Toasted malt and bready chili and citrus hints.

M: Decent crispness, habanero bite and warmth on the tongue and inner cheeks.

O: A very good balance of the hoppiness and emphasis on the habanero chili peppers that blend together nicely. Dry finish, good drink-ability for a chili-hop beer that provides a nice heat kick, while maintaining a good rate of drink-ability.

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Photo of GStone899
2.46/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hot hot hot! The habanero peppers are not so subtle in this one. I've had spicy beers before but this one burns on the way down. Had to sip this one due to the heat. A little more subtlety from the peppers would have made this one better.

 238 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on January 30, 2016.

Golden yellow pour under a modest white foamy head. It settles back and leaves a tad of lacing.

The aroma is grapefruit, tropical and floral for the most part. Not much in the way spice.

The body is medium or better.

The spicy pepper sensation kicks in big time in the flavor and has a slight burning note on my tongue.

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Photo of TH28
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. Bottled 12/11/15. Appearance: Clear dark golden with a fluffy white head and decent lacing. Aroma: Like the original Sculpin, dominant hop aroma of tropical fruit, peaches, and mango. No apparent maltiness of sense of pepper. Taste: Starts with a soft malt sweetness, and then, holy hell one sharp bite of capsaicin heat! Kinda overpowers the rest of the flavor profile from there, and is compounded by the sharp bitterness: Mouthfeel: If I could feel my tongue...Medium body with a moderate bitterness. Finish: Strong capsaicin heat lingers long after the finish and seems to intensify. Only a hint of fruity and grassy hop bitterness is perceptible. Overall: The look and aroma of this beer are true to what Sculpin is, then then habanero hits the tongue and it’s game over. The good news is that this beer is exactly what I thought a habanero sculpin would be, it’s a well made beer. But that’s also the flaw in my opinion. The sharp heat eventually overpowers and after a few drinks I find myself not wanting to take another. The spicing becomes cloying.

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

L: Deep and bright orange. About a finger of off-white bubbly head. Little visible rising carbonation.

S: Citrus (particularly grapefruit) and pine hops. Maybe a bit of spice as well, but that could be my mind playing tricks on me.

T: Pine citrus hops, with the citrus aspect being very grapefruity (as in the smell). A lot of resin and dankness as well. I don't remember the normal Sculpin having this much resin/dankness, though maybe I am misremembering. There is a very minor spice kick at the end of the sip. The spice is very mild. I am disappointed by how mild it is.

F: Pretty typical mouthfeel.

O: Overall I was disappointed by this beer. There are plenty of better spicy beers. I love the Sculpin and the Grapefruit Sculpin, but I think I'll be sticking to just those two in future. The Habenero Sculpin is subpar compared to those two.

 851 characters

Photo of Dragginballs76
3.64/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours deep orange with thick white head that is gone in about a minute or so decent lacing.

Smell I get notes of grapefruit and some orange peel.

Taste very spicy and hot the first taste numbed my tongue also get grapefruit and citrus flavors.

Feel very light body the heat causes a little burn and some numbing but not in a bad way!!

Overall I liked this beer but was a little warm for me but that is what it was supposed to be.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.58/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a fire, habanero orange, with a frothy white head, which leaves behind a ring of lace. It gives a spicy, pepper type aroma reminiscent of splitting a fresh spicy pepper open. The taste is where this beer really stands out. Immediately upon sipping this beer, your taste buds are soaked with hoppy flavors from the base beer - Sculpin. As the hop flavor recedes, the habanero heat ratchets up on the back of the tongue much like the heat you experience when you take a bit out of a fresh habanero, or after soaking a slice of pizza in hot sauce. It feels good in the mouth. Make no mistake, this beer can be hot. Since the heat varies by batch, and everyone has a different interpretation of what "spicy" means, I'd caution drinkers before they chug a glass of this. Overall, I really enjoy it. I love hot sauces, and trying out spicy food in general. Until this beer, I had not tried a single spicy drink that I enjoyed drinking. Habanero Sculpin has changed that. Very, very pleased.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of kalosjakar
3.14/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Slightly orange in color, mostly cloudy.

Aroma is very citrusy, not getting much else.

Holy hotness, spicy to say the least.
Ive had a couple beers which added chile peppers but nothing even remotely close to this in regards to heat.

I would probably love this stuff if the heat was closer to subtle, but there is no mistaking the heat. Overpowering.

If I had some margerita mix I would try it as others have suggested.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
1.78/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

L: darker yellow, small off white head
S: not much, a little citrus
T: holy spicey! Crazy hot, didn't take a second drink. Drain pour
F: burning
O: too spicey. Glad I bought only one in a mix-a-six

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Photo of HeightsEats
4.85/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark golden, aroma is of complex hops and capsaicin. Full-bodied mouthfeel with a good malt backbone followed by grapefruit / orange hops and a lingering burn from the habanero that intensifies slightly as you make your way through the bottle. As the only drinker in the house, I tend to get bored near the middle of a six pack, but not for this beer as it's so interesting.

Also, this makes the best beer margaritas you could imagine, just 50/50 Habanero Sculpin and fresh lime juice margarita.

 504 characters

Photo of gustavmahler-09
1.81/5  rDev -51.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.75

I was given a bottle by a friend to try. It looked fine, smelled ok, but was so hot that I couldn't drink it, and had to pour it out. I admire Sculpin IPA but this is for someone else!

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Photo of SmashAdams
2.25/5  rDev -39.8%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

This is a super weird beer. The smell is grapefruit and hops and a touch of floral habanero peppers. The taste starts off as a normal IPA and then strong habanero flavors overwhelm and it finishes with a slightly spicy kick. I love habanero but this seems unnatural and I couldnt finish it. nb

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

The first time I tried this it was on draft and I loved it. I found a six pack and it tasted exactly the same as the draft. The Second six pack was H_O_T, very hot. The third six pack was little milder(today's rating) and I will keep buying this IPA beer that I will drink.
Ballast Point also makes a craft Habanero Vodka "Fugu" which is very good. ATTABOY's to Ballast Point, San Diego, California.

 400 characters

Photo of beantown_hopster
2.7/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I almost didn't review this beer because I didn't think it was fair... maybe it wasnt my cup of tea so I gave it one more try. I love spice, I love heat, I love beer, but I couldn't handle this altogether. I tried twice, I love Ballast Point, but this was just too odd of a heat profile for me. :(

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.74 out of 5 based on 2,498 ratings.
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