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Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

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BA SCORE
85
very good

1,420 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 1,420
Reviews: 301
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 16%
Wants: 132
Gots: 256 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,420 | Reviews: 301
Reviews by DavidBart:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Treb0R
4.4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

If you dislike heat, then you will dislike this beer. However, if you have an open mind and you are familiar with the habanero as an ingredient, then you will know that Ballast Point completely nailed it here.

In the chile beer category, you will not find another habanero beer as good as this one. The head brewer expertly combined habanero with Sculpin.

After each sip, you get an even, but bearable heat throughout your mouth. A minute passes, and the heat disappears until the next sip.

The aroma is amazing. You get a blast of habanero carried by the head, which smells tropical and fruity. The taste is on par with the aroma, but due to decreased drinkability, I rated taste a quarter point lower.


Not too many people are familiar with habaneros and that is a shame. They are my favorite chile and extremely unique in flavor. I use them in place of jalapenos and serranos whenever I can.

Photo of beerdedking
4.59/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Easiest beer to rate ever. If you like Habanero peppers as I do, you will find this delectable. Spicy food lovers and heat heads do not miss this beer. Much less IPA than Chili beer, it goes right up to the line but does not cross. The Habanero flavor is very real, while the Sculpin flavor is bringing up the rear. I'll buy this whenever I see it. The most perfect pizza beer I can now think of....

Photo of Brent212
5/5  rDev +33.3%

I love spicy food/beverages, so one could say that this review is biased. But I think it's really the opposite. You wouldn't want someone who hates IPAs reviewing regular sculpin, would you?

This really is one of my favorite beers of all time. I get that most people can't handle it, because it is actually hot enough to make me break out in a solid sweat, but I frickin' love that. Really bummed that it hasn't caught on as much as the grapefruit variant because I could drink this all day on a regular basis. Definitely nothing noteworthy from the IPA perspective... the habanero basically dominates so much that it could be any beer hidden under there. But god damn is it tasty as a whole.

Photo of Userme59
1/5  rDev -73.3%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Sorry, could not drink this beer. My own fault, I read the label, just didn't expect that.

Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
2.97/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This beer was one of the biggest disappointments of my beer drinking life. I love sculpin and grapefruit sculpin, but this one was unbearable. The heat is, in a word, INTENSE. You basically can't taste anything else except for a deep burn in one's throat that is present for the entire drinking "experience". I don't mean to be discouraging, if you like spicy beer by all means give it a try. It just wasn't for me.

Photo of IMFletcher
3.72/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I consider myself to be a spicy beer fan, but this one is extreme. It's not undrinkable, though, but all I can get is heat and carbonation. However, I find myself wanting to try another. Go figure.

Photo of Kevinpitts
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

You must like heat to like this beer, otherwise don't try it. Lots of heat and habanero flavor, het still tastes like an IPA. Good beer and great job by Sculpin in my opinion.

Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap last night at Jake's Billiards here in GSO.Came in a goblet a burnt orange infused golden with a 1/2 finger head that lasted for awhile.Big citric hops than a big burning heat,both are large and in charge.At first the flavors were of big citric and resiny hops with a slower burn but as I drank more the heat overpowered the hoppiness and kinda took over.I like heat and I liked this beer but one goblet is all I could really drink of it.

Photo of tjumfrid
4.48/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I love the heavy spiciness from the habanero. Several minutes after taking a sip, your mouth will still be tingling. If you love spicy foods, give it a go.

There really isn't a lot of other flavors from the base Sculpin that come through, however. You really only taste the habaneros. Like emptying a packet of pizza pepper flakes into your mouth. I did enjoy my beer, but was quite done after the 12 oz. bottle was finished. It gets a little tough to gulp down toward the end.

But yet, I did really like it. Do I want another one right now? Not really. Gimme another week.

Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

Heavy chili on the nose foretells the capsaicin assault about to be unleashed.

Pours near clear, typical amber, soft medium khaki head. leaves a thicker collar and respectable lace.

Crushing and quite warming chili assault overlaid upon a sturdy and world class IPA. Heat in the back of the mouth and tingling on the lips. If you are not into chili/spicy I would stay away from this one....chili heads rejoice and go get some

Photo of SuperbikeShaun
4.4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Newhall Refinery in Santa Clarita, CA.

Beautiful deep golden amber in color, creamy white head with minimal lacing. The nose is dominated by peppery and citrusy aromas, primarily grapefruit coming through. It tastes exactly like Sculpin, with just a hint of capsaicin on the taste buds. However, let me warn you, this beer is genuinely hot. A 12 ounce snifter glass was a daunting task to finish. Overall, I was extremely pleased with this beer, simply a rock solid IPA with a habanero kick.

Photo of tigg924
4.31/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really enjoyed this one. You get all the beautiful juiciness of Sculpin with a bunch of fire from the habaneros. Plenty of grapefruit and citrus that quickly makes way for heat. There is about as much heat in this IPA as I have had in any beer. Perhaps my new favorite from Ballast Point.

Photo of Motleydrunk56
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz Bottle.I love Sculpin but this was just to spicy for me.If your into spicy things this may be just the brew for you.I just could not overlook the Habanero taste.Just to strong.

Photo of alienlifeforcecube
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%

I love sculpin. The habanero was very strong, killing anything that made sculpin nice. However, if i disregarded that it was a sculpin variation, it was a nice beer.

Photo of MikeyLegend
3.12/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours out like a regular sculpin. Smell is a bit citrus and hops but is quickly over powered by the peppers. I love spicy food, but I'm guessing I don't like my beers that way. All things considered, this beer is delicious and at first taste like the original sculpin. Problem is the habenero finish burns it all out very quickly. Too spicy.

Photo of deebo
4.24/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The habenero definitely comes through in the aroma. Works well in the taste and finish. Like it.

Photo of hotpauko
3.64/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Not sure where to go with this. If you are not a fan of IPAs or hot peppers, do not try this beer. I am a hophead and a huge HOT pepper fan... I know well the Puckerbutt Pepper Company a few miles down from me (the hottest pepper in the world), but this was too hot for a beer. The beer was tolerable mainly because Sculpin is such a good IPA. If combined with any other beers of average quality, this would have been a mess. It smells peppery and hits the mouth very hot. It will subside a little to try and get the Sculpin flavor. But really just too much. I'd like to see the next batch toned down. If not I won't buy it again.

Photo of ehammond1
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Stone 15th Anniversary Celebration
CSU, San Marcos
San Marcos, CA

Orange, glowing, pineapple, translucent color. Inch-high head that sticks around; the head looks thick, tight, and flat, pearl in color.

A somewhat muted version of the typical Sculpin aroma. There's still plenty of tropical fruits, including pineapple, orange, and mango, and there's an underlying, yet not overpowering habanero spice element coming through.

This is one of the most interesting beer-drinking experiences of my life. At initial sip, it tastes like Sculpin, and then an incredible amount of fiery spice attacks the sides of the throat, but only for a few seconds, and then it's gone.

Medium bodied. Ample carbonation, though perhaps a touch more oily and not nearly as drinkable as Sculpin.

I was worried the habanero would ruin an incredible base beer, but they actually pulled it off creating an interesting and unique IPA--initially spicy along with all the wonderful tropical fruit flavors I love in a Sculpin.

Photo of MattyG85
4.37/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a bright copper golden orange with a little bit of floating sediment. Moderate amount of bubbles and about one finger of white head which settles into a thin patch.

Smell: A spicy and juicy hop forward aroma with big hints of peppers and citrus fruit. Big upfront scent of habanero peppers. Citrus hops with hints of grapefruit, mango, orange peel, lemon, apricot, pineapple, and melon. Also some hop hints of pine and grass. Light background hints of malt with some hints of cracker, grains, and yeast. Very forward with the pepper. A pretty solid aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a hot, spicy, and juicy hoppy taste with notes of peppers and citrus fruit. Huge upfront taste of habanero peppers that pack quite a punch of heat. Citrus hops with juicy notes of grapefruit, orange peel, mango, apricot, lemon, pineapple, and melon. Also some light notes of piney and grassy hops. Light background malt notes of grains, cracker, and yeast. A pretty hot and interesting taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very spicy, hot, juicy, and drying.

Overall: A pretty good spicy twist on Sculpin. The pepper flavor is huge and not for the faint of heart. You pretty much have to like hot peppers to enjoy this, which I do.

Photo of GOBLIN
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pretty good ipa. I actually like the heat on this one, it's about where I like my spicy foods to be at. I wouldn't buy this again. Not something I would drink on a regular basis. Sculpin and Grapefruit Sculpin are fantastic. This is a lil' gimmicky. Ballast Point did a good job on this for what it is.

Five minutes later . . . On second thought it's like drinking hot sauce ! I can actually feel the the indigestion coming on. Might struggle through the rest of this.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed at the FW Invitational 2013. On such a hot day, one of the hottest beers I've ever had. . . Pours nice and yellow, looking just like regular Sculpin with a slightly lighter, thinner white head to it.

Aroma is both parts spicy habanero and the plentitude of Sculpin hops. Pretty nice, its my favorite thing about this beer.

The heat is amped up spice wise. Plenty of tongue beating pepper notes satiate the mouthfeel, the taste is still plenty hoppy and Sculpin like, with its tropical fruit forward hop flavors. The body is light, feels even lighter with the habanero kick if anything, but the base of beer is awash.

Overall, this variation is not better than original Sculpin, but it is far better than most pepper beers. Very comparable to Lagunitas Habanero IPA. Its one of those that is so hot that I can't imagine drinking more than a pint. But its not so hot that its all there is to the beer.

Would recommend.

Photo of chinchill
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On tap at the Ballast Point Tasting Room and Kitchen.

A: clear, amber with a semi-durable tan head and limited lacing. Fine clariy.

Aroma: habaneros and hops in near equal balance.

Flavor: Wow! lots of habanero flavor here and medium-high hotness. The most chili flavor I've encountered in a beer, and one of th hottest.

Feel: Medium body with soft, medium carbonation. Medium+ heat.

O: an exceptional IPA well worth seeking out. Available in 6 packs.

Photo of 01001111
4.23/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: That IPA nectar orange.

S: Strong habanero fruit with a slight citrus note.

T: Overwhelming heat with habanero fruit, caramel sweetness and only a hint of floral hops and grapefruit.

M: Nectar.

O: Interesting. As a big fan of spicy food, this was just at the edge of my comfort level. However, the heat was a bit too dominant and could use a bit of tempering to let the other great Sculpin flavors shine through.

Photo of Brenden
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It was a good idea just to do a half-pour...and to share...

This version of Sculpin seems maybe a shade darker than the golden-amber brew I remember. The pepper's oils, most likely, seem to have stunted the growth of the head a bit. The beautiful big, strong head I remember isn't quite that, but is a certainly respectable finger's height with equally respectable hold and lacing.
The earthy, floral, bright citrus and tropical notes, and resin are still here, They pour out like the original, and I'm pretty excited that very little is changed. Early on, though, the heat and pepper skin, mildly vegetal, that come out do dull the beauty a little. I'm glad to note that I can still call it very good, even if not as good as it is in its original form.
Juicy hops are still allowed out on the tongue, but the burn starts at the very beginning of the sip. The beauty of any well-made beer including hot peppers is both in the build-up of heat without being overbearing straight off, and allowing the flavors to coalesce as a whole despite the heat. This beer just about manages that, but the habanero is quite powerful. I can't quite get the full effect of the hops, but almost.
The peppers' oils seem to add a bit of slickness to what would be a creamy, fluffy beer with a good bite to it. It's still crisp, and it maintains a moderate smoothness, though the finish loses its cleanness.

Photo of Velosopher
4/5  rDev +6.7%

I like spicy, but this is on the verge of ridiculous. A great first taste, but hard to get through the pint without food.

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,420 ratings.