Habanero Sculpin | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
85
very good
498 Reviews
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin
BEER INFO

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
498
Ratings:
2,468
Avg:
3.75
pDev:
35.47%
 
 
Wants:
184
Gots:
735
For Trade:
12
User Reviews
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Reviews: 498 | Ratings: 2,468
Photo of dbnarley
3.15/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Different. The heat starts at the back of the throat and works forward. A one off novelty beer. For the money I would rather drink Sculpin or grapefruit sculpin.

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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 MasterfulIdiot
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Poured into a Duvel tulip. The liquid is a slightly hazy golden amber, maybe a smidge on the dark side. The pour produces a nice topping of near-white foam that clings to the glass as it goes down. Just what I want an IPA to look like.

Aroma is bigtime grapefruit, oranges, and pineapples, backed up by a hint of a sugar cookie malt backbone. There is just a hint of a habanero scent that I honestly don't think I would have noticed if I didn't already know it was there. Other than that, nothing to distinguish it from the classic sculpin we know and love so far.

Flavor is regular sculpin up front - that is to say, more pineapple and grapefruit, a bit of resin, and caramel malt undertone. But on the swallow, the habanero really comes out in an almost painful way. It's weird how it barely asserts itself on the front of the tongue but then when it gets to your throat it feels like you're swallowing glass. After the swallow, the finish is totally dominated by the habanero... maybe there's a hint of some tropical fruit in there somewhere, but it feels like I just drank hot sauce.

Mouthfeel is again just like regular sculpin - moderate thickness and lots of carbonation.

Overall, I had to try it for the novelty, but I guess I should have known what I was getting myself into. For me, there is way too much habanero here to be that much fun to drink. The bottle does say that the amount of habanero can vary from bottle to bottle, so I can imagine that this would be good with less. I can imagine it tasting like a nice pineapple salsa. But instead what I get is the time I made chili without realizing that actual habaneros are way stronger than pickled jalapenos. I'll give them an A for effort, and the benefit of the doubt that other bottles taste better.

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Photo of Zanico
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this as part of a mix six pack. Love Sculpin so I had to give this a try. The front is just good ol' Sculpin IPA, the back end is fire. Nothing to compare this to, so I had a little trouble rating it. Just not my cup of tea, or should that be cup of beer. I just rated it pretty much down the middle. Glad I tried it, but probably won't buy this again.

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Photo of Skrumpy
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured 12 oz bottle into standard pint glass. I'm not a big fan of pepper heat. If you are, this may be a winner. I could not finish the bottle. The look is like the Sculpin, and the smell is rather light. The pepper heat kicks in and you can feel it in the back of your throat. I couldn't tell what remaining flavor was there because the heat killed it. I took a few more sips & could feel it in my stomach. Stopped right there. My friend drank it & drank grapefruit Sculpin in between sips. Said it was a good mix.

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Photo of jera1350
3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
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 maedhros09
3.19/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

Look: Golden amber with generous frothy head, some cloudiness introduced from bottle sediment
Smell: fresh habanero and citrus
Taste: Begins about the same as the Sculpin with a nearly dry citrusy hop and malt balance. Then, the habanero heat ramps up and all subtlety is lost. In the middle of this maelstrom there are some fairly harsh flavors that I don't associate with habanero but must somehow be a result of the combination with the base beer.
Feel: Light to medium body and relatively smooth yet effervescent mouthfeel. Also, radiating burn from the lips to the throat.

Overall: In terms of realizing a concept this brew has done a decent job. The great thing is that the habanero flavors and aromas, and not just the heat, really come through and have a freshness to them. The downside is that the habanero is not only too spicy but contributes harsh flavors to the palate and predictably drowns out a lot of what I enjoy about the Sculpin. Added flavors should complement rather than detract from the base beer. With the Habanero Sculpin you can find some of both.

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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 Braz
3.22/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

For pepper beer this one is the finest example I've tasted so far. Very punchy with the habanero. Caught me off guard. But this is an ipa and I have to rate it as such. The peppers completely mask any hops so for ipa it is sub par.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.22/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On cask at the GBBF, 2011.

Hazy gold with film. Straight gooey jam (Amarillo) nose.
Honey and jelly up front, but the heat is right there and kills all the hops. Smaller sips reveal some tangerine and mango.
Medium, some chew, chili heat lingers long.

Way heavy-handed. Heat kills a nice beer. A bad idea.

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Photo of TheRougeBastard
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

Initial taste was pure Sculpin, then immediately followed by a blast of peppery heat that burned all the way down my throat! After the burning faded, you're left with a slight IPAish aftertaste. This went great with a bowl of salsa and chips! If you're looking for heat, this one's for you!

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Photo of alienlifeforcecube
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%

I love sculpin. The habanero was very strong, killing anything that made sculpin nice. However, if i disregarded that it was a sculpin variation, it was a nice beer.

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Photo of HopsForBrains
3.26/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Completely lacks the smell/taste semblance of any IPA
Smell - spicy watermelon
Taste - a hint of watermelon but EXTREMELY SPICY, so much that it lingers in the back of your throat and a tad in the nostrils
Feel - way too much for me
Overall - somewhat interesting but it comes no where near the enjoyableness of the regular sculpin

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Photo of Fitzy01
3.26/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my first pepper beer and I was a little hesitant on trying it, but I'm glad I did! Very different and a nice change but not exactly for me. Everyone should try one at least once.

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Photo of avalon07
3.27/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a clear consistency. There was an inch of foamy head that lasted a fair amount of time. Middling lacing.

S: A surprisingly muted aroma of citrus, hops, and the advertised habanero peppers.

T: Before the fiery, esophagus-destroying habaneros took hold, I did get a hint of some hops, pine, light malt, and citrus (grapefruit). The heat from the peppers is so great that it overpowers everything else, and that's really all you remember. Could have been more balanced.

F: A decent amount of carbonation with the aforementioned uncomfortably fiery finish. Medium-bodied.

O: To paraphrase what another reviewer said, this isn't a beer, it's a dare. Unless you really, really like habaneros, drinking one of these is plenty.

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Photo of SaucedBoss
3.29/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - Golden, copper color
S - Habanero made for a spicy smell
T - Habanero was overwhelming. Too spicy. The spice overpowered the hop structure of the ipa.
M - Spicy
O - I love sculpin and spicy food. But I was not a big fan of mixing spicy with and IPA.

As someone who loves spicy food, this beer was not for me. I love sculpin and one of my favorite beers is grapefruit sculpin, but this habanero sculpin was just too much for me. I felt like i needed water to go along with this beer.

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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 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 techn0phobe
3.31/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Sculpin you will (should) know - aggressively hopped single San Diego style ipa. This is one of their twists - habanero chilli in the mix. The effect is to make it more savory, which pairs with the citrus hops pretty well (it's not a huge leap from asian food with sweet/chilli combos to this).

My issue with this one is one of measure and consistency bought a 6 pack and literally every bottle seemed to come out with significantly more/less chill. At least one was so spicy to be barely drinkable. How this is possible I don't know.

Overall- superior to other similar experiments I've tried (Rogue Chipotle being the one I recall) but not one I'll go back to in a hurry.

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Photo of far333
3.32/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear copper colored with a bright beige head that settles out quickly and leaves a low cap. Bright aroma of citrus hops, no sign of the sweltering heat that lies quietly beneath. Flavor of citrusy hops upfront, could be your standard benign Sculpin, but shortly a spicy note emerges and goes from a low simmer to a rolling boil, and shortly morphs to a dallop of lava swirling over the tongue and cheeks. A faint numbness eventually sets in to even it out. I like spice and heat but this feels just a bit overdone to me. Not much, a little. Interesting beer and definitely worth a try.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.32/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Have had this on tap before and today. Knew to only get a sampler size for this review. Essentially this beer has definite pepper notes in nose and taste, but the heat makes this beer a tad uncomfortable to be refreshing.

Look is nice clear orange-golden, with decent white head.
Nose is vegetal, mostly green pepper, sweet pepper, and some onion.
Taste is quite fine initially, and I mean immediately, because the heat is quickly ratcheted up. If it stopped at about 20%, I think it would've a very interesting, tasty beer, but it keeps going.
I gave it a 3.5 in taste because, what should you expect from a habanero beer. I reduced the feel for the burn - which forces this to be a sipper.
For the novelty, I might grab this once in a while, but not on pure enjoyment.

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Photo of Gmann
3.33/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear golden color with a big pillowy white head with some large bubble action.

The aroma has a nice hoppy scent, some grapefruit. Not as strong as the normal Sculpin.

Whoa, holy pepper taste. This beer has a very vegetal flavor; tastes like raw peppers. The normally awesome hops are subdued only providing some light grapefruit flavors. The heat in this sucker is significant. This is quite warm from the heat, the habaneros very much dominate the flavor profile.

The body is moderate and the carbonation is flat (to be expected for a cask). The heat from the peppers pretty much wreck the palate.

An interesting beer for sure. Not sure why you would want to ruin a sculpin by dumping tongue numbing habaneros in it. Way too peppery in the taste and in the burn.

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Photo of constantine_272
3.34/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Dark reddish copper, that foamed up nicele leaving a good lacing. Smells of pine resin with a hint of bell pepper vegetable. The taste, wow, yeah. That's unique. The beer starts off pine and bright but immediately turns vegetable with carrot and bell pepper. The beer finishes with a big rush of heat in the back of the throat and then travels down and warms the stomach. Feel is just heath it obliterates all else. Too much of everything for me. Too much vegetable and too much heat.

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Photo of SlothB77
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
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 mjk1979
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Same beautiful Sculpin color, but the base beer is completely overpowered. Must note that from beer to beer, the habanero flavor is widely varied and goes from benign to a rather unpleasant olive flavor. The heat bite is very nice, especially with food, but overall disappointed with the overwhelmingly unbalanced adjunct infusion.

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