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Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

366 Reviews
THE BROS
96
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 366
Hads: 1,929
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 16.4%
Wants: 162
Gots: 447 | 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.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 366 | Hads: 1,929
Reviews by Nugganooch:
Photo of Nugganooch
3.84/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle to my FW snifter glass
From notes on 05/16/14

Have had this on tap at the brewery a few times and now from the bottle

A: Pour is a caramel amber body and looks to be a shade darker than original Sculpin. Has a faint but noticeable haze along with some coagulated protein thingies floating to the bottom. Bubbly with a finger width of khaki suds building up top. Good hang time and some nice strokes of stick across the glass.

S: Mangoes and tropical fruit with some candied citrus up front. Fresh and fruity with bright apricot and tangerine. Then the fiery Habanero spice starts to assert. I get some layers of pine and grass in between but man dat pepper. It's a formidable scent... It stings the nostrils. In a good way.

T: Starts out with a delicious fresh Sculpin highlighted by juicy mangoes, pineapple, tangerine, and some earthy evergreens. Follows with a wave of mildly hot pepper juice. Distinctly Habanero with a swelling hotness to it and a spicy burn on the finish. Fairly intense. The beer is hoppy but any bitterness is all but melted away from the peppers and same for any alcohol notes. I do like spicy and this one is a nice little stinger.

M: Light to medium body with ample carb to give a nice frothy consistency throughout. I would say there is some hop resins at play and a nice drying to it. But reality is this has a numbing effect from the pepper oils and a fiery finish! Is burning a mouth feel?

D: Pretty nice in small doses. Overall this is a very successful chili beer however going with Habanero’s reduces the drinkability considerably. The Scovilles really start to take hold of the palate. Done well but will definitely have you sweatin’ to finish the bottle.

Pairs great with cheese and works wonders for a morning beermosa or Bloody Mary. (1,796 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of Treb0R
4.4/5  rDev +16.4%
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. (900 characters)

Photo of beerdedking
4.59/5  rDev +21.4%
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.... (405 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 TheIPAHunter
4.21/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I really enjoyed this beer, but I'm a fan of the habanero. Imagine regular Sculpin with the same exact balance, yet just a touch of heat. I had it extremely fresh, so the citrus notes were unbelievable, as well the dank resinous action I got on the finish. I know this beer isn't for everyone, hence the overall score; however, if you enjoy eat, this beer will be right up your alley. Larrrrrrrrrrrrge. (402 characters)

Photo of DerekCarruth
2.01/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Completely unnecessary addition to a great line of beers. Don't like this. (75 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 Brent212
5/5  rDev +32.3%

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. (694 characters)

Photo of Userme59
1/5  rDev -73.5%
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. (91 characters)

Photo of Nctide
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I was happy to finally try this one. I was surprised to not get any spice on the nose, but it was definitely there in the taste. This beer is very well constructed. Unlike some other pepper beers I have tried, the spice doesn't build on successive sips. It numbs the tongue a bit but isn't overwhelming. That said, none of the great qualities of the base Sculpin come through. It's a good pepper beer if that's what you are looking for. (442 characters)

Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
2.97/5  rDev -21.4%
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. (420 characters)

Photo of IMFletcher
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
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. (197 characters)

Photo of bcm75
2.81/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The habeneros completely overpower the excellent base beer. It's not solely the excessive heat - hops are less pronounced as well. Adjuncts should complement the flavors of the base beer, not obliterate them. Very disappointing. (228 characters)

Photo of endovelico
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It just works, surprisingly. The heat adds a depth to the original that is refreshing (no pun intended) but unfortunately a beer this spicy will prove itself too unapproachable even for the more venturous beer drinker. I'd say take this for fun, if nothing else as it will undoubtedly make you question everything you think a beer should be. (342 characters)

Photo of Jadjunk
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

No label information. Brewed in the style of an American IPA with Habanero Peppers added. Available in 12 oz. bottled 6 packs and on limited draft.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a tulip glass. Served above 57 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a smooth foamy head of a golden ivory color over a mildly hazy medium amber body with light spritely carbonation and mild flecked haze. Retention is good and lacing is light and patchy. 3.75

(Smell) Abundant grapefruit character forward from the hop profile atop a slick and lightly sweetened caramel and pale syrup body. The habanero character comes through subtly in the aroma, generating the passive vegetable character and some aromatic spiciness tingles. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) The grapefruit hop character and the habanero oils mix right from the start, generating a clean but noticeable blend of grapefruit and peppery spiciness. The burn is strongest at the finish as the grapefruit and citrus hop flavors drop out, the habanero character lingers on. Malt characters are smooth, slick with a light sweetness, perfect for balancing the grapefruit character. Despite having a flavorful hop profile and a peppery heat that is far from overly abusive, the habanero character takes the majority of the attention of this beer. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) The texture is slick, moderately oily, smooth, peppery but clean and mildly dry. Carbonation is light, generating a moderate frothiness and a lightly crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, medium overall. Balance is slightly spicy and bitter over sweet. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 4

(Overall) It's hard not to notice the pepper character by the end of a serving of this beer, but while this is no doubt the most divisive of Sculpin variants, I enjoy the flavor variation and think that this would be ideal with spicy and flavorful foods. All that said, the habanero oils and flavor, like the grapefruit character in the Grapefruit Sculpin, is front-and-center in this beer and it would likely not be worth your money unless you were interested in a beer that packs some notable heat. If this seems interesting to you, this is one of the best beers integrating hot peppers that I have yet sampled out there, although I do not know if I attribute this beer's success to the peppers themselves or the phenomenal base IPA recipe that Sculpin already is. It's an excellent pairing, nonetheless. Reportedly your heat potential per bottle may vary, so get a few in case the first sampling is disappointing. 3.75

Ballast Point Brewing Company's
Habanero Sculpin
3.78/5.00 (2,613 characters)

Photo of Kevinpitts
4.5/5  rDev +19%
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. (175 characters)

Photo of Dentist666
3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into english pint.
Clear golden/orange beer with off-white head, moderate retention. Smell - medium to intense pepper, floral hops. Taste - malt sweetnes in the further edge, some citrusy hops and a hurricane of pepper. Utterly hot beer, fetch me a jar of cold water. (274 characters)

Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.58/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Caution: *HOT* You must enjoy the heat of habanero to enjoy this offering. They did not wimp out on this.

Pours transparent copper/golden in color. A small amount of fluffy head retention. This smells sharp and hoppy.

Flavor and heat in this one is insanely perfect. I like spicy things. I've tried several chile beers in the past, none of which could hold a candle to this one. This is incredible. Its the perfect amount of hop flavor paired with actual, intense, real habanero flavor. As intense as the habanero is in this, the hoppy sculpin ipa flavor never backs away. Pair them together and I feel like I've gone to ipa heaven.

I'm buying as much as I can tomorrow. The end. (694 characters)

Photo of rajendra82
4.78/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Looks very much like regular Sculpin, whose orange color also coincidentally happen to match the skin of a Habanero pepper. The head atop the clear body was two to three fingers thick. foamy, and durable. The aroma was very hoppy and did not bring to mind any kind of pepper, as I could detect grapefruit and orange rind. On deeper inhaling there possibly was a hint of chili pepper, or may be it was just my imagination. The taste however had a very definite pepper kick to it. The Habanero was once considered the hottest pepper in the world, and while it has since given up that crown, it was still king of this beer. The pepper head was clearly evident in every sip, forcing the normally dominant citric hops to play second fiddle. It was quite one dimensional, and it was glorious. The feel was medium thick, with a pepper burn at the end of each sip. This was not quite a harmonious pairing like the Grapefruit Sculpin. Instead it was a showcase for pepper lovers. (979 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
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. (449 characters)

Photo of legalag11
4.39/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of MadScientist
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

Photo of CavemanRamblin
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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)

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 366 ratings.