A friend included this bottle of Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin as part of a Christmas goodie bag. I've been anxiously waiting for the chance to try it out. One of the benefits of a "staycation," besides not shaving everyday, is having the chance to relax with some good beer. I grabbed the bottle to try out before dinner one evening.
Habanero Sculpin has an aroma of fruit and citrus, with only a faint note of habanero. I was concerned as I had been told the heat level is variable. Would this bottle live up to the name? I need not have worried. The initial flavor is that of a nice, citrusy IPA, and then it hits — Habanero alert! The pepper heat comes in strong and unmistakable. It's exactly what one would experience from fresh habaneros. But it's a tasty, not destructive flavor. Interestingly, the heat does not linger long. After a minute or two, the habanero heat diminishes leaving the palate is ready for another sip.
I'm a fan of spicy food. If the top of my head doesn't sweat just a bit, I don't consider the food to be spicy. While I didn't break out in a sweat from the beer, I did get the impression of eating a habanero-laced dish. It was just a couple weeks ago I enjoyed another habanero-enhanced beer, Starr Hill Mango Genius. That beer had a more subtle heat, and was a perfect accompaniment to a spicy food dish. I enjoyed the Habanero Sculpin on it's own, and I think I prefer it that way. It's a novelty beer, and probably not one I'd drink several of in a sitting. That said, it's quite flavorful and enjoyable. I wouldn't hesitate to pick up a six pack if I see it in the store in the future.