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Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

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BA SCORE
85
very good

1,585 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 1,585
Reviews: 365
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 15.69%
Wants: 144
Gots: 319 | FT: 14
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: 1,585 | Reviews: 365
Reviews by nmann08:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Treb0R
4.4/5  rDev +17%
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 +22.1%
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%

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 -73.4%
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 Nctide
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
2.97/5  rDev -21%
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 -1.1%
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 Jadjunk
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
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

Photo of Kevinpitts
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%
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 jasonpeckins32
4.75/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

Photo of rajendra82
4.78/5  rDev +27.1%
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.

Photo of oberon
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
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 woodchipper
3.69/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not the beer for every occasion! However, this is an exciting departure from normality. Drink with a cheese plate to squelch the heat. Print at the very bottom of the label warns "Heat may vary". Well my bottle was about as hot as I would want it, but it was good.

Photo of tjumfrid
4.48/5  rDev +19.1%
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%
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%
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 +14.6%
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 -2.1%
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 -13.6%

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 bsp77
3.76/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into IPA glass.

Appearance: Golden amber with good sized white head and lacing.

Smell: Milder than expected with citrus, tropical notes and slight pepper.

Taste: Good God that tastes like habanero. Really strong pepper flavors balanced (probably not the right word) by citrusy and tropical hops. Hard to tell if the finish is bitter with all that pepper heat.

Feel: I guess it is well carbonated with a good body, but it burns like hell. That is good with salsa, not so much with beer.

Overall: This does not use the light touch that many pepper beers do, meaning that this tastes damn good but is heartburn inducing. Not sure if it is worth it.

Photo of MikeyLegend
3.12/5  rDev -17%
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 +12.8%
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 -3.2%
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 pat61
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Looks like a Sculpin pouring brilliant gold under a 2” cream colored foam cap that hugs the side of the glass.
S: The nose is mainly hops with a bit of chili vegetal aroma in the background.
T: Starts malty and hoppy and then an enormous habanero heat comes forward toward the finish.
F: Creamy and hot. Medium body and carbonation.
O: They have achieved a nice blend of heal and malt to produce a beer with heat but avoids that fresh chili vegetal flavor – we have the Sculpin flavors and the chili heat.

Photo of ehammond1
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,585 ratings.