Viva Habanera
Night Shift Brewing

Viva HabaneraViva Habanera
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Rye Beer
Ranked #144
Ranked #29,428
3.76 | pDev: 13.56%
Night Shift Brewing
Massachusetts, United States
Very Good
Viva HabaneraViva Habanera
Notes: Rye ale with agave nectar and habanero peppers
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Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 326
Photo of Admiraldinty
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap in the brewery itself. Interesting. They may have changed the recipe somewhat, since what I had was 5.9% abv, not the 7% listed here. Pours a dirty, dark amber. Not much of an aroma. Habanero provides a little sweetness and heat up front, but appropriately, the heat doesn't linger. You're not going to be reaching for a glass of milk or anything. Lots of bitter earthiness.

I'm glad I tried it, but I don't know if I'd seek it out again.

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Photo of Sheppard
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a mahogany-ish amber. Not terribly aromatic. Nice levels of heat with a bready undertoning that asserts itself on the finish. Kind of a sweet bread. Not getting much in the form of rye. This is fine and I'm glad I got to try it. The heat is actually really nice and the right amount, measured, I'd say. However, the underlying beer isn't great, like it's sweet and under-attenuated or something.

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Photo of CDKing80
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I opened my nearly 3 year old bottle (bottled June 9 2014) and its still a decent beer. Head was pretty thick but died down fairly quickly. Still has a spicy bite to it. Seems to taste like i remembered.

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Photo of Stephenmheadley
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Intense drink due to the spicy kick so many folks may not be able to drink more than a single glass. For those who enjoy a spicy beer, this is a beer for you.

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Malty, caramel, russet body with light khaki colored head. Beer drinks rather smooth for having the spicy kick it has on the back end. Nice rye presence. Night Shift experiments well with flavors. This may not be a home run, but it's a solid sacrifice fly.

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Photo of gonzo000
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I like this beer quite a bit. The spice flavor on the finish is very mellow -smooth and not overpowering. I usually do not seek out spiced beers, but this one is a winner. Perfect amount of spice on the finish for a 'non spicy guy' like myself.

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Photo of galwayjoyce
5/5  rDev +33%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Disclaimer: this is a VERY small-batch beer, from a very small-batch, craft/artisan brewery. For this reason, the intensity of heat varies WILDLY from bottle to bottle. If you love/know your craft beer, this is a sign that they are making this product with love and caution. As a company, I have loved watching NS learn through trial and error, and this process adds to the ride that NS takes you on, every time you open their products.
Boston: We have future legends on our hands.
Best chile beer on the market. Rich, amber color. Perfect head and lacing. Overwhelming nose. Great balance and mouthfeel.

If all things SPICE and FIRE are up your alley, then Viva Habanera is the whole damn boulevard. HEAT and HOP heads unite...stand up...your king has arrived, and he wears a crown of foam.

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Photo of Doomcifer
4.1/5  rDev +9%

Rye Malt and habanero pepper flesh along with a nice kick to the back of the throat. If you're not used to spicy food, avoid this. It is quite hot for the average person. Warms the entire chest. Personally, I love it.

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Photo of HuskyHawk
3.07/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This pours a stunning cinnamon color. Gorgeous but no head. The smell is slightly vegetal, but is really not much at all. Taste is essentially missing on the initial taste, then a lingering burn in you throat. There are some pepper flavors, no noticeable hops. It's a decent beer overall, but I came away think they could have done much more with it, with more initial hop or malt flavor and less heat.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.49/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Night Shift Brewing in Everett, Massachusetts.

A- Clear dark brown body. One and half finger white head with nice retention. Some lacing. Looks really quite non-descript, and certainly does not have any indication of the heat inside the beer.

S- Vegetal pepper nose, with a non-descript heat to it. Some sweet bready pale malt and citrus fruit hop notes. This is the first warning I have that this is going to be real hefty.

F- GOOD GOD THIS IS HOT. HOT. HOT! Vegetal pepper qualities mix in with sweet rye bread that immediately segues into a burning capsaicin sensation complemented by tropical fruits. Wow, this is a spicy beer. It can be unpleasant if you don't like spiciness like my wife does (she loved it), so I found it to be a difficult beer to finish. Still, it's well constructed between the hops, malts and the adjuncts, so I can't dock this too hard just because I don't like overwhelming spiciness.

M- Medium bodied, a bit slick and resinous, slightly lower in carbonation. As above, hot capsaicin burn on the backend complemented by tropical fruits and citrus. Pretty good otherwise.

O- Just not for me, but this is a well constructed and brewed beer that really brings the heat. Despite my below rAvg rating, I do strongly encourage any capsaicin addicts out there to try this beer.

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Photo of fourstringer
4.09/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL corked and caged bottle into a Brewer's Art goblet. Moderate hand. Bottled on 3/24/14. Had this on tap @ the brewery and bought a bottle to bring home.

A: Hazy, orange-amber body. 1 finger of off-white head. Ok retention. Scant lacing.

S: Sweet, bready malt. Rye spice. A hint of hot pepper essence. Touches of apple, mango, raisin, date. Trace floral notes.

T: Slightly spicy rye and malt open along with some light fruit notes. A pronounced, habanero-fueled burn develops quickly and lingers beyond the semi-dry finish. Hops are felt via a drying quality, but are mostly obscured by the capsaicin heat. One of the hotter pepper-augmented beer I've had and I'm not complaining. A complementary amount of sweetness from the malt and agave syrup, but nicely in check. Alcohol is well hidden.

M: Moderate carbonation with a creamy texture on the first glass. This somewhat abated as I moved down the bottle. Similarly, the initially moderate body lessened as the beer warmed.

O: I was surprised to read some earlier reviews: I found this one to bring a solid heat. Perhaps the bottle was a step-down from the version I had on tap, but was tasty nonetheless. Interestingly, I found it to fade a bit as it warmed, which is contrary to the typical experience. Overall, a well-balanced integration of hot peppers' sting, agave syrup's sweetness and rye's spicy maltiness.

As an aside, this would probably be better classified as a chile beer.


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Photo of papat444
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

***Batch 25, bottled 1-14-14***

Bought directly from the brewery, poured from a 750ml bottle.

Pours a dirty brown muddled body with pretty good retention. Aroma has a nice spicy pepper to it. Flavor though is a let down. Mild black pepper mixed with spicy habanero but not as powerful or forceful as on tap at the brewery.

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Photo of dar482
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The beer comes in a light brownish orange.

The aroma has heavy pepper skin notes, rye and breadiness.

The flavor follows of that fresh green pepper skin note. There's some stone fruit from probably the yeast. There's a dense spicy peppery rye character. The heat is almost nonexistent.

A disappointing brew without much heat and complexity.

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Photo of tigg924
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: moderate-high carbonation, 1/3 inch head, hazy, red-brown in color

Smell: caramel and light pepper

Taste: big caramel, rye, and lots of peppery heat at the end

Mouthfeel: sweet with a great deal of heat, medium-light body, moderate carbonation

Overall: The caramel and rye base of this beer is very tasty. However this is about as hot a beer that I have ever had. The taste is good but may be a bit much for some people and is fairly one note after the initial caramel. This is a quality beer to get every now and again, but I could not imagine myself drinking a full bomber by myself.

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Photo of rudzud
3.34/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Reviewed from notes.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice lightly hazy light brown with a two finger light tan head that fades to leave nice solid lacing.

S - Ehh...light rye, super super faint habanero. Pretty much that's it. This was MUCH more potent on tap at the brewery.

T - Taste is similar to the nose unfortunately. More light rye, some sweet honey and malts, finish is light habanero flesh. Again, it is not that hot at all. Fairly disappointing.

M - Mouthfeel is rather thin/watery with light carbonation.

O - Overall, this is just okay. It was so much better on tap at the brewery. On tap it was potent and delicious, this is just a weary version.

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Photo of hopdabble
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - absolutely toffee colored, opaque - only such colored beer I've yet met. Moderate head, white, 1/2 inch...spare bit of lacing.

S - deep, spicy without acid....faint resin...faintly like wild-yeasted bread while it's rising/resting. ....should that mean anything to you.

T - bitter without any sharpness at all, sweet near-finish then warming heat at the back of the tongue.

M - fine carbonation (meaning small but consistent, not at all flat, not overwhelming...) substantial body

Overall - such an interesting and tasty beer. Not something I'd likely get again, as this is not so much my style - very glad I tried it. I can imagine a friend who especially enjoys beer/food pairings having a lot of fun with this..

Batch # 20 - bottled 9/19/13 - consumed on 11/9/13

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Photo of MattyLedoux
4.41/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nightshift is awesome, just found out about them recently, everything I have tried is delicious.
This beer is awesome cook with. Marinate Chicken, Steak, vegetables etc... and interesting to drink, although i probably wouldn't want to kill a whole bottle. I'll definitely be doing it again.

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Photo of Brew_42
2.86/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Saw this bottle and I couldn't resist giving it a try.

I was not a fan.

Pours reddish brown with an off-white head.

Smells peppery but also some fruitiness.

Taste-The habanero tast is not subtle. Its not overpowering but you can miss it. It was kind of one note though as the I didnt get any after taste.

MF-The beer would be pretty refreshing but the heat hangs around between sips.

Overall- I personally didnt like it but the beer delivers exactly what it promises so if it sounds good to you will probably like it.

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Photo of jlindros
3.94/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Big fluffy foamy head, hazy dark maroon slight orange color.

Nose nice pepper, light sweet malts, little fruity candy, light candy malt sugar, hint caramel, bit earthy.

Taste plenty of hot pepper, hot pepper, sweet candy malts, caramel, toasty reddish malts, light candy reddish malt, hint fruity yeast additions, light fruity hops. Lots of hot pepper that builds, sweet finish, lots of hot pepper finish.

Mouth is med bod, lighter carb.

Well the beer delivers the hot pepper, decent beer to go with it, but nothing too special or crazy.

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Photo of cbutova
3.69/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Heard about this one a long time ago and looked forward to trying it. Notes from the weekend. Batch 16

A- Dark red body, almost brown, with a silky off-white head. Fine bubbles and a nice thick ring around the beer. Good legs and some nice lace webs.

S- Fruity up front for me with apple, banana and pepper notes. Clove and Belgian yeast spice certainly from the strain used here. Some toasted malts and brown sugar as well.

T- Definite habanero pepper flavor leads the way but does not overpower in any way, it gives off a pepper flesh flavor like the vegetable itself. Apple, raisin, grape, banana and some yeast spice. Toasted nutty malt, caramel and slight rye.

MF- Moderately thick body with a foamy, somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Spicy feel builds with time but at a low to medium level at it's peak. Carbonation is silky and on the higher end.

Nice Belgian Brown feel almost with good fruit and some habanero flavor.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This was a pretty beer. In a snifter it was a clear cherry amber color with virtually no head.

A spicy/peppery aroma. Grain. Faint hops.

Mostly a peppery taste. Some rye. Late hops.

I thought this was nicely spiced. Tangy, but not overdone. I had this with a Mexican salad (beans, peppers, onions, etc) and thought it complimented the entrée well.

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Photo of nootch23
3.66/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured this into a tulip glass.

A - I love the color of this beer. It pours a dark reddish brown color with about a fingers worth of off white head to it. Clearer at the bottom of the glass but gets darker from the middle of the glass up. The entire time I drank this I admired the color of this beer.

S - can definitely pick up traces of spiciness with a little floral hop characteristic. A little sweet honey mixed in there as well.

T - up front its very smooth with tiny traces of sweetness. Picked up quite a bit of maltiness and honey and little hints of dates or cherries. The magic happens in the back of the throat after swallowing. Thats when a little explosion of spiciness occurs. The spice isn't overpowering at all and still allowed me to enjoy the sweetness of the honey.

M - there was a semi-dry finish for me on this one. All that was left in my mouth was the spice, almost like I had some hot sauce or something.

O - this was the first time I had anything by Night Shift after hearing so much about them. I thought this was a very well crafted beer that was enjoyable. The spicy quality to it was great when I first started drinking this beer but as I made my way further down to the bottom of the glass, the enjoyment of the spice kind of wore off. It was a really good beer and I would recommend it to people. I've never been a fan of pepper beers but I did really enjoy this one.

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Photo of AlexFields
2.81/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pours a fairly murky mahogany color, sizable and very bubbly tannish head.

Smells like...Tabasco sauce? Strong garden vegetable character with fresh peppers and tomato and, I dunno, vinegar I guess.

Taste opens with some weird sweet spicy tomato juice character, this might be some odd V8 or Bloody Mary condition, fades into a pretty spicy zing in the aftertaste. There is definitely some odd and almost unpleasant stuff going on here, but I actually enjoy the spicy veggie aftertaste...God I have no idea how to rate this beer.

It would be strange to say drinkability is good in a beer that tastes like sauce and leaves you wanting water to put out the fire, and it's hard to pay attention to the mouthfeel beneath all the strange stuff going on here, but it feels pretty good as far as that goes.

Well, this was something.


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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.45/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Batch 11

Poured from a 750ml into a snifter, the beer is a dark, vibrant, ruby color with a frothy, light, off-white head that starts a robust two inches and rapidly settles into a sparse, filmy coating. Smells a bit like a big quad...Belgian-like yeast characteristics, both fruity and floral, with a touch of pepper at the end. Flavors of mild roasted grain, but only for a split second because that's how long it takes for the sizzling burn to set in on your tongue and mouth. Very subtle to start, but this fire builds. Very good, as it doesn't overpower or sacrifice the flavor for the heat. The more you drink you start to get more Belgian characteristics, with a bit of yeast funk again, as well as some farmhouse spicing. The rye definitely gives a nice roasty and even grain backbone, and that pepper just keeps on coming. By the end of the palate, the pepper adds flavor as well as heat. Spicy, hot aftertaste, with touches of the grain bill once again. Clean and light in mouth, which helps keep things sharp overall. Smooth, clean finish. Interesting brew.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

First had: on tap at Night Shift

Rusty brown pour with a thin off-white head. Aroma of caramel malts, mild peppery spice, light fruit notes. The taste was pretty mellow for a habanero beer, nice pale malt and honey/agave sweetness up front, toasty grains, green pepper, followed by some hot pepper prickle that was kept in check by the sweeter elements, making for a pretty smooth mouthfeel overall. Medium-bodied and quite enjoyable.

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Viva Habanera from Night Shift Brewing
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 326 ratings