Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin

The Stats
Style: American IPA
ABV: 7.00%
Current Ratings...
- Beer Advocate: 3.77/5
- RateBeer: 3.42/5

Ballast Point Sculpin is one of the standard IPA's in the craft beer world. It's arguably  the best, year-round, widely distributed IPA on the market. I've previously reviewed Grapefruit Sculpin (which I loved), but now we are headed in a completely different direction today as we will now try Sculpin made with habanero peppers.

Pours a hazy orange with a finger of pure, white head.

Surprisingly the aroma is quite bland. I pick up just faint hints of the classic Sculpin IPA with subtle grapefruit peel and some dank hops. The habanero is coming through more like pepper skin, but also subdued.

I can't say the same for the taste as a kick of spicy habanero leads things off, but luckily it isn't setting my mouth on fire. After the initial "burn" of the heat, the spice parts to let some ripe pineapple, mango, and the bitter hops show their stuff. The burn from the pepper comes back on the finish as the back of my throat sizzles with each sip. For the most part I can pick out each individual flavor, and their all very fresh and tasty, but I can't help but feel that they don't all work together as a unit. Maybe some more earthy/herbal hops would have paired better with the peppers instead of the tropical notes.

Mouthfeel is perfectly medium with good carbonation. The heat from the peppers tend to linger for a few minutes after each sip. Spicy food veterans will find no issue with this, but those with less experience may want to keep a glass of water handy.

Habanero Sculpin is an interesting addition to the Sculpin family. The idea of spicy peppers and hops together seems to be a good matching and in terms of just those two ingredients, this works nicely. It's when you add in all of the tropical fruits of the base beer that it can become somewhat of a traffic jam of flavor. I think a full six-pack to myself may be a bit much, so I'm glad I stuck with the one lone bottle. If you can take the heat, give it a shot.


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