no stranger to peppers and capsaicin. I’ve grown jalapenos, habaneros
and Trinidad Scorpion peppers. The thing is, peppers and beer only work
when the pepper is as subtle as possible; but in the case of Ballast
Point Habanero Sculpin the pepper is quite prominent to say the least.
This is definitely a beer for those that can handle the heat.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no freshness date and it cost $3.85 ($0.32 per ounce).
Appearance: Mostly clear shade of orange proper. Pours to a fairly
large, ivory foamy head which retains and laces quite well for a pepper
Smell: Nearly identical to classic Sculpin. Fairly potent citrusy aroma
though the habanero is noticeable as well (and diminishes it a bit,
Taste: There’s really two separate palettes to this beer. The first half
of every swig drinks like regular Sculpin: classic San Diego-style
citrus and floral hops with a pretty strong bitterness. The second half
is all habanero: intense heat at first followed by the familiar earthy
pepper flavor (very soil-like). The hops are strong enough to provide a
barrier or at least prepare the mouth for the pepper, but not strong
enough (nor the pepper weak enough) to relegate it to a background
spice. It’s a bit contrasting though it is interesting. I do get used to
it by drinking more, though I don’t especially enjoy it any more.
Drinkability: Much like the taste, the actual drinkability of this beer
could go either way. I have drank hotter, more intense beers than this,
though a good pepper beer is derived from the taste – not just the
Scoville units. The Sculpin character makes it drink like an IPA with a
medium body and some crispness; though the habanero sets my throat on
fire and it lingers for a little while. The 7% ABV is kind of a moot
feature since I can only drink about half a bottle. Ballast Point
Habanero Sculpin pretty much requires some kind of food to offset the
heat (though nothing spicy I’d say).