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Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

370 Reviews

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Reviews: 370
Hads: 1,936
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 16.14%
Wants: 160
Gots: 453 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: billshmeinke on 02-26-2011

Our Sculpin IPA with Habanero Pepper began as a crazy experiment that’s taken on a life of its own. While its bright fruit notes and hoppy bite has made the original one of our favorites, this version takes that balance of flavors to the next level with the citrusy, floral heat of habaneros. Sculpin are known to sting, but this one’s got a kick.
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Reviews: 370 | Hads: 1,936
Photo of drdiesel9483
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L - Great golden orange pretty clear color with a great white head.
S - Very fruity citrus scents with maybe just a hint of pepper in there.
T - Holy cow does it have some habenaros in it! Lots of citrus just like the smell and some grapefruit if you can think beyond the hot pepper taste.
F - Sticky medium body but you have to think beyond the burn.
Overall, hot pepper beers are a hit or miss and this one is really good if you can deal with the hotness of it. (472 characters)

Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow, this beer is wild!!! On the nose you get citrus notes, tons of hot pepper spice, green peppers, tons of herbaceous notes. The taste follows perfectly with a hit of citrus up front followed by an onslaught of hot peppers & green peppers. And a wonderful spiciness that lingers on the palate.

I didn't know what to expect with this one but man was I pleasantly surprised. Step out of your comfort zone and give this beer a try. Ballast Point rarely disappoints. (466 characters)

Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.89/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, orange amber colored with a foamy white head that lingers leaving some lacing, tons of floaties

S: like traditional sculpin, grapefruit, citrus, west coast hops, only a slight peppery pimento nose would indicate anything different that the sculpin we know and love

T: grapefruit peel, citrus, orange, lime, wait a second, intense painful heat, a hot burning sensation overwhelms all other, habanero takes over on the end, it is just hot, really really hot

M: sticky but you really can't get past the mouth numbing burning sensation

O: think pepper spray, it is as advertised, one of the hotter beer I've drank, approach it as a chili beer, it is really damn hot, the other 5 will be turned into micheladas (760 characters)

4.09/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I love the flavor of this when you can taste it but it's just too damn hot for me to drink. If they could dial it back a notch or ten it would be fantastic. (156 characters)

Photo of angelmonster
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a bright, hazy orange body. Head is pearl white and 1/4th of an inch. Head retention and lacing are good.

Smell is of mandarin orange, sweet malt, Alcohol is very light and peppers are in the background.

First taste is an immediate sting of habanero pepper. Sweet citrus counters the spice but the heat dominates. Little bit of honey comes through too, alcohol wasn't very present.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated. Roof of my mouth is burning, head added some creaminess to beer.

Overall there were some interesting flavors in the beer but the heat was just too much to enjoy all 12 ounces of it. Would like a little more hops and a little less peppers to balance things out. (703 characters)

Photo of remingtonsteele1987
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm a big fan of Sculpin, and had a chance to try a 12oz bottle of the Habanero. You can definitely taste that traditional Sculpin in the background and what follows is a mouth burning sensation that will continue for at least 30 minutes from the final sip. Yes, it was quite the experience, but I probably wouldn't try it again. If you like hot and spicy foods/beverages, then definitely give it a try. (406 characters)

Photo of raiderandbeerfan
3.84/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours yellow, like regular sculpin. This one has a thinner white head on it.

Aroma is sculpin hoppy, but the habanero is all over it too. Its my fave thing about the beer. Heat is very prevalent when drinking, tropical fruit flavors are there too, but muted behind the heat. Feel, feel, feel, feel my heat! Light bodied. Not better than sculpin, reminiscient of Lagunitas habanero ipa.

First got to try this at the Firestone Walker invitational in 2013. (465 characters)

Photo of Roland7792
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Love the look of all Sculpin IPAs and this no different. Aroma of bright citrus hops but with wonderful spicy peppers. The habanero is well complimented by the citrus and sweetness. I can't believe how well they go together. The habanero heat and flavor build on the tongue and back of the throat. The label is correct, the heat does vary from bottle to bottle. Goes very well with spicy food! (397 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It looks like Sculpin. It smells like Sculpin with a bit of habanero. It tastes like Sculpin with a bit of habanero. No wait, make that a LOT of Habanero. Ballast Point really didn't fuck around with the peppers here. Naturally, it burns going down the palate and esophagus (making it less drinkable than the other Sculpin variants), but overall, the heat level stops just short of being 'excessive'. Probably the least 'impressive' member of the Sculpin family, but it's still a really fun beer to drink for a heat lover like myself. This will be a fantastic addition to a pot of chili, too.

3.8/5: It has more sting than an actual Sculpin, but it's still damn good (668 characters)

Photo of Todd
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Peppery, Heat, Fruity, Citrus

The label reads: "Heat may vary." And it does. Opening this bottle releases a fruity bouquet with a blast of pepper in the nose indicating the heat to come. It’s creamy and a bit chewy with a big dose of spicy pepper that drops layers as it builds up to a very noticeable heat. The beer’s fruitiness and citrus bite complement the habanero, while the underlying sweetness rounds things out and a raw, leafy hop finish reminds you that this is still a West Coast IPA. To those who complain that it’s too hot: No shit. It's a habanero beer! Protip for those who worship at the Temple of Capsaicin: Blend some Habanero Sculpin into your Grapefruit Sculpin.

As reviewed in BeerAdvocate magazine #103 (August 2015). (748 characters)

Photo of GameOfBeers
3.89/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

While sculpin is amazing, this isn't a beer for most. While I enjoy spicy things, a beer should offset them, not make you want milk to cure it. Bought to kick this kid my want to try list. Glad I tried it, won't buy again. A bit too hot for me. (244 characters)

Photo of Jeffsta1
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good looking, slightly cloudy, yellow-orange color, white head.

Smells ok, nothing off, nothing special. In fairness I'm not using the ideal glass to gauge this.

Taste is of a good quality IPA, almost sessionable. Decent bitterness, not too intense, well balanced with apricot and citrus.

Moderately rich mouthfeel.

Habanero comes on in the finish - not subtle, not overwhelming. Nicely done, guys. Really though, 6-8 oz is enough of this. Who'd need a second? (465 characters)

Photo of jspaner
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful orange-amber color with the usual citrusy, hoppy aromas one associates with BP IPAs. The taste is very good, but is quickly overtaken by the peppery heat of the habanero & whatever other chilies may be in there. Overall, its a fine brew, but there's definitely a heat kick to it, so be ready for it. (309 characters)

Photo of Cylinsier
4.04/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz.

Pours nearly clear golden, white film for a head. Pretty similar to other Sculpin variants.

Scents of honey, grapefruit citrus, fresh pine, and a whisper of capsaicin.

Tastes of honey and grapefruit citrus. A piney fresh hop character starts to come on before a sudden fruity chile heat overwhelms everything. Finishes with a fresh vegetable bitterness.

Medium body, tingly carbonation on the roof of the mouth, and potent chile burning at all points of contact. Burns going down as well.

This is no joke, very spicy. If you like chile peppers or pepper beer, then this one is a must-try. Otherwise, it's a novelty at best and dangerous at worst! As far as the Sculpin, it's the same great beer under the somewhere, but the pepper sort of steals your attention from it. Still, as a fan of spicy peppers, this is a blast to try even if it is a one-time thing for me. (891 characters)

Photo of MasterfulIdiot
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Poured into a Duvel tulip. The liquid is a slightly hazy golden amber, maybe a smidge on the dark side. The pour produces a nice topping of near-white foam that clings to the glass as it goes down. Just what I want an IPA to look like.

Aroma is bigtime grapefruit, oranges, and pineapples, backed up by a hint of a sugar cookie malt backbone. There is just a hint of a habanero scent that I honestly don't think I would have noticed if I didn't already know it was there. Other than that, nothing to distinguish it from the classic sculpin we know and love so far.

Flavor is regular sculpin up front - that is to say, more pineapple and grapefruit, a bit of resin, and caramel malt undertone. But on the swallow, the habanero really comes out in an almost painful way. It's weird how it barely asserts itself on the front of the tongue but then when it gets to your throat it feels like you're swallowing glass. After the swallow, the finish is totally dominated by the habanero... maybe there's a hint of some tropical fruit in there somewhere, but it feels like I just drank hot sauce.

Mouthfeel is again just like regular sculpin - moderate thickness and lots of carbonation.

Overall, I had to try it for the novelty, but I guess I should have known what I was getting myself into. For me, there is way too much habanero here to be that much fun to drink. The bottle does say that the amount of habanero can vary from bottle to bottle, so I can imagine that this would be good with less. I can imagine it tasting like a nice pineapple salsa. But instead what I get is the time I made chili without realizing that actual habaneros are way stronger than pickled jalapenos. I'll give them an A for effort, and the benefit of the doubt that other bottles taste better. (1,784 characters)

Photo of Thirstygoat
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A friend of mine used to grow Habaneros. They'd turn yellow and once dry would keep for ever.
I stopped adding them to chilie a while back and now remember why.
The bottle says " Heat May Vary." I hope this was on the warm end?

Pours with a nice pillow of white head that remains for a few minutes. Clear amber hue.

Smells of citrus

Then the peppers sting the top of the mouth, ouch!

Mouthfeel about the same as the base or Grapefruit.

Glad I tried this, but not for me. (475 characters)

Photo of owenwood
4.93/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

OK, no point in going any further with this craft beer snobbery. This is my favorite beer by a wide margin. To be fair, it is not for everybody. The pepper in this beer is an aggressive pepper, and you really have to be partial to this type of palate assault to truly enjoy it. Combine that pepper with the "regular" Sculpin, which is world-class in its own right, and no other beers need to be tried. Lacing is typical of the brewer's products, aka perfect. Nose doesn't really tip off the hot pepper, which can add some high hilarity when offered to unassuming newbies. Only caveat is that in PA a sixer costs a small fortune.. (638 characters)

Photo of senglish7
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I mean if you like peppers this is your beer. The pepper hits you right in the face on the initial sip. I don't understand the buzz about this particular brew. Its not for me. (175 characters)

Photo of casfam1
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Yummy- Got used to the burn after a few sips. Found myself enjoying more with each sip. Fruit note with burn on the back end. The pallet cleanses wit every sip, almost like enjoying spicy food whilst drinking a Sculpin. (222 characters)

Photo of smanson56
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 6 pack at my local bottle shop since it's now available here in NH. As I am a big fan of Grapefruit Sculpin I had to try the Habanero Sculpin I will have to say the Habanero over powers this beer way to much burn to be a pleasant beer to drink on a regular basis. Maybe at a chili fest but not for normal drinking day to day. (337 characters)

Photo of LeRose
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer poured a nice, golden color - extremely clear with a healthy head of foam in a nonic pint.

Aroma - I get a vegetable/fruity/flowery note from the peppers and an underlying bread sweetness with some grapefruit. A little bit of "spice" is suggested as in heat.

Taste - I was expecting a whallop of heat initially. That didn't happen. I found the flavors to be nicely layered. First got the bread-like malty sweetness with the grapefruit citrus notes to balance with some bitterness. Then followed the bright floral notes I recognize from making habanero hot sauce - and I know the heat is coming after that. I found the heat on the back end of the taste and by no means overbearing for my palate. It does vary, but I have yet to drink one of these beers and need to put out the fire. The heat is short-lived on small sips. I imagine it would be intense if the beer was drunk quickly.

Feel - smooth, medium-bodied to slightly heavy. A pleasant level of heat lingers from the peppers that could become overwhelming if drinking it too quickly. Fairly dry on the finish as well. There was a bit of a soapy feel that I would attribute to the peppers.

Overall - I am a habanero fan and for me this beer was a very pleasant surprise.Thought it had to be a gmiick, but it isn't. The base beer is excellent and i think teh heat plays nicely as an added layer of flavor. I can see where it could be overwhelming and the beer would be come muddled. Not the case in the bottles I have had, which I have found to be nicely balanced with the flavors layering and playing well together. I think it retains the character of the IPA rather than being a nuclear habanero assault. (1,674 characters)

Photo of ricke49
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle sez "heat may vary" and that may be why some reviews near-wretch at the flavor. Bottle I drank tho was damn near perfect re: heat. If I'd wanted a normal IPA I'd bought one, but this one was supposed to be different, and it IS in a delightful manner. Just enough heat to make it interesting, and just enough hops to make it an IPA. Bravo Ballast Point! (362 characters)

Photo of Dope
3.96/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No bottling date.

A: A clear light orange pour. Tall, light and frothy white head.

S: Okay, definite vegetal pepper aroma. A little heat and a little citrus, but mostly it's that actual vegetal pepper aroma.

T: More of the same. Lots of vegetal habaneros up front with a little citrus in the background. Then the heat comes on...an impressive wave of it. Middle and finish is all chili pepper heat. It's legit, not some wimpy stout with a little cinnamon added. This has a real burn that totally dominates the beer in at least the middle half or so. Finish has a nice wave of bitterness mixing with the heat - nice combination. Lightly dry citrus rind and lingering heat last forever.

M: Medium bodied, spicy and bitter and dry.

O: Well, the pepper flavors and heat obliterate 85% of the base beer but I still like it. I'm a bit of a pepper head though. Heat isn't horrendous like one of those Stone abominations but it's up there. If you don't like spicy things then avoid this one at all costs. If you enjoy a nice capsaicin kick then this will be right up your alley. Not something I'd have many of, or often, but as a spicy beer this one is done very well. (1,167 characters)

Photo of SaucedBoss
3.29/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - Golden, copper color
S - Habanero made for a spicy smell
T - Habanero was overwhelming. Too spicy. The spice overpowered the hop structure of the ipa.
M - Spicy
O - I love sculpin and spicy food. But I was not a big fan of mixing spicy with and IPA.

As someone who loves spicy food, this beer was not for me. I love sculpin and one of my favorite beers is grapefruit sculpin, but this habanero sculpin was just too much for me. I felt like i needed water to go along with this beer. (489 characters)

Photo of fx20736
4.53/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bought a single bottle from Beers of the World on 8/1/15 from Beers of the World. Served cold in a Duvel tulip. Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. copppery amber, white head that diminishes to a thin film. Aroma of grapefruit and Habaneros. Taste: a flash of bready malt before a full scale assault of Habanero sweet, juicy fire. This is a unique, bold, stunning beer. OMG. I love it!!!!!!! (399 characters)

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 370 ratings.