Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ballast Point Brewing Company - Sculpin India Pale Ale (Brewed with Habanero and Ghost Pepper)

This is actually a two part review, but these beers are pretty similar so I'm going to take these two down at once.

On my birthday, my friend Brian and I went over to Ballast Point for something a little different- two new versions of Sculpin. One was brewed with the insanely spicy Habanero pepper and the other was brewed with the hottest pepper on earth- the Ghost Pepper (Naga Jolokia).

Both of these beers look exactly like Sculpin. They had a beautiful amber color with very little head. Definitely hard to top Sculpin.

I thought that the smells of these were going to blow me away, but they were actually relatively tame. I got the Ghost Pepper while Brian got the Habanero, and for some reason, his smelled hotter than mine. That couldn't be though. Mine was supposed to be the hottest pepper in the world. Maybe it just didn't smell like it. It was time to find out.

I braced myself and took a sip. I got the familiar Sculpin taste (mango, pineapple, perfect hit of hops) and then something new. It tasted a bit like a Thai pepper at first. There was kind of a metallic, dirty taste that really hot peppers have right before they knock you off your feet with a blast of heat. But the heat never came. There was a bit of a prickly, tingly sensation on my tongue, but nothing that would suggest that I had just ingested the hottest pepper on earth. I was pretty bummed. I tried the Habanero one and it was much better. As soon as you take a sip, the heat hits. It's not unbearable, but it's definitely hot. It wasn't perfect with the Sculpin, but it worked well enough and I definitely enjoyed it a lot more than the Ghost Pepper one. Overall, I was glad to get the chance to try these two variations of Sculpin. Don't know if I'd rush to try them again though.

Final Grade: Ghost Pepper- C
Habanero- B

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