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Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

410 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 410
Hads: 2,098
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 35.11%
Wants: 167
Gots: 541 | 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: 410 | Hads: 2,098
Photo of bmeGT
1/5  rDev -73.4%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I've never give anything a one, but if I wanted to taste peppers I would buy a pepper. Got this as an extra in a trade and couldn't finish it. Take one sip and your throat is on fire.

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Photo of kkleu357
1.55/5  rDev -58.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1.25

Interesting to say the least. Tastes like jalapenos and nacho cheese. Pretty awful. Oddly, I’d probably buy it again to share with other people, even though I would not enjoy the experience. Sure took a great beer and made it terrible.

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Photo of terence
1.57/5  rDev -58.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

The habanero overpowers everything. It masks the grapefruit flavors and the heat lingers far too long.

I'm a fan of IPA's and hot goods. I did not like this one. This is a big miss from Ballast Point. The Grapefruit Sculpin is fantastic. Very disappointed with this version.

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Photo of bretmaverick24
1.83/5  rDev -51.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Worst beer i have ever had in my life period! Having the name sculpin in this beer is a disgrace to the name. This beer taste like drinking hot pepper juice with nothing but heat on the tongue. I like spicy food alot and was excited to try this, but it is just pathetic attempt at making a beer. there is just nothing going on in this beer except heat. I'll stick to the grapefruit sculpin which is a amazing beer. One thing i will say is try mixing about 1/4 part habanero sculpin and 3/4 parts grapefruit sculpin and it is quite good.

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Photo of rab53
1.87/5  rDev -50.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Vile. Looks innocent, like the regular Sculpin. Smelled vegetal and savory.
As soon as the beer touched my lips, I retched. Managed to swallow the second sip with a cringe.

Soon afterwards, the back of my throat began to burn unpleasantly. Now, I enjoy spicy foods, but hate "spicy for the sake of spicy" stuff. I returned a few minutes later determined to get a few ounces down. Mission accomplished, regrettably.

The rest of the bottle is currently eroding through my kitchen plumbing.

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Photo of krl2112
2.04/5  rDev -45.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Since I love the grapefruit sculpin I thought I would give this one a try. Honestly for me, this beer is horrible. I like spicy things but I can't even drink this. I took one sip and my mouth is still burning 5 minutes later. For me this is a horrible beer. I like beers with peppers but I can't even drink this one.

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Photo of BuccoFan
2.06/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

After having the Grapefruit, I knew to expert not just a subtlety spicy beer, but a fiercely habaneroed beer. And indeed it is. It has the perfect look and feel of a Sculpin, but it all goes down hill from the point in which you tip the glass. The Grapefruit I could deal with and semi-enjoy, but this I poured out after only a few sips.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
2.18/5  rDev -42%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Bottle. Pours like Sculpin. Mostly clear, nice head. Aroma is quickly spicy. I can tell that those peppers aren't going to be shy. Underlying hoppiness that is very dulled down compared to the original. The flavor has an initial flourish of hoppiness, then comes a stunning amount of heat. It's like fruity/hoppy hot sauce. Habanero water. A few sips is enough for me. Far too hot. I couldn't even imagine drinking a six pack of this in one sitting. A full six pack would be torture and probably cause life-altering, spraying diarrhea. Sweat inducing heat. I didn't like Grapefruit Sculps that much and this one is twice as bad. Leave the fish alone, it's good enough in its natural state.

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Photo of NorCalAussie
2.24/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

This was an extra and I was super excited to try it. After I tried it I was super excited that it was an extra and I didn't spend money on this.

Let me start by saying I am a big fan of Sculpin, grapefruit Sculpin and habanero chilis but this was a mix that just did not work.

Look is great like regular sculpin and the mouthfeel is about the same also with good carbonation and texture.

That's where the sculpin comparison ends. The smell was not good and the fruit and hops were replaced with jalapeños and vinegar.

The taste was terrible and not because it was too hot (I like spicy) but it was just muddled and wrong in all kinds of ways, basically The spice overtook all other flavors.

I wanted to like this one but sadly most of the 12oz bottle didn't get consumed.

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Photo of daryk77
2.25/5  rDev -40.2%

Had on draft. Beer tasted good but so much heat it is pretty much undrinkable and I am someone who enjoys spiciness. I managed about 2oz and called it quits. I am wondering if the draft version I had was more intense than the bottled version reading some of the other reviews.

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Photo of ScaryEd
2.26/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.25

Pours a nice golden color with a bit of haziness and a soapy white head that leaves a minimal amount of lacing around the top of the glass.

The smell is...interesting. Hoppy with notes of grapefruit and orange, followed by a good amount of hot pepper. Not unpleasant, but there's something off about it.

The taste. Just...no. I really, really don't get spicy beer. Now, this beer is not a habanero bomb akin to something like Stone's aptly named "Punishment", but the spiciness is there and it does not go away. I love spicy food. But for some reason, spiciness and beer just don't mix for me. There's still plenty of IPA in this beer, with notes of grass, grapefruit, and pineapple, but it is sent to the back of the line by the spiciness of the habanero.

The feel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. My mouth is still on fire.

Overall, I wanted to try this because I love regular Sculpin and Grapefruit Sculpin so I figured I'd give this a fair shot. This beer just is not for me. It's too spicy, and the beautiful, floral hoppy notes are simply overpowered by the spiciness. I think I'm going to stay away from spicy beer from now on.

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Photo of JSuperman
2.26/5  rDev -39.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

If you are a habanero lover, you may really like this one. As someone who likes mild heat, this was far too much and didn't last past one sip. The hear is immediate and intense. It lingers a long time on the palate and is not unpleasant if you expect this much heat. The sculpin taste is lost on me due to the amount of heat. The most uniqueness beer I have had.

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Photo of krh
2.38/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

This beer tastes like burning. Can't detect any Sclulpin or hops. Any other label and I'd say it's a mess. With Ballast Point, I applaud the effort, but it's likely still a mess. Trying to finish the entire $2.99 bottle, but I don't like my chances.

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Photo of TCog
2.45/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I know it's habanero, but having had a number of other pepper beers, I expected a lot more complexity. Especially from people like ballast point that know what they're doing, this is really disappointing.

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
2.47/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.25

This just isn't my thing. Color was fine, smell was promising, but the taste, it's just way too much habanero pepper for me to really get passed to pick out more subtle nuances of things like hop profile and such. I understand for some people this would be a dream come true, but for me, it's just way too hot to enjoy. Gave a middle of the road 3 score to mouthfeel due to the fact that I couldn't drink enough to really properly asses it.

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Photo of jcruelty
2.48/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

WAY too spicy for me. I honestly found this beer undrinkable. I've had good chili beers-- in particular Prairie Artisan Ales "Bomb!", which is surprisingly delicious-- but this one didn't do it for me. I poured mine out halfway.

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Photo of HunterSBeerson
2.5/5  rDev -33.5%

This was the equivalent of Atomic hot wings. It is just too hot to enjoy. There is almost no undertone of the great IPA that is supposed to be it's base.

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Photo of jopezu
2.5/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

the star of the show here is the not-subtle pepper flavoring. smells, tastes and feels like pepper; simply too overpowering of an implementation. i appreciate the experiment, but i split a 6-pack among friends and nobody finished a full single bottle.

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Photo of Gotti311
2.5/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I like spicy food. On a heat scale this beer is fine, definitely on the upper threshold but not unbearable.

The only reason you add things to beer is to enhance them. Some spicy in stouts can play really nicely due to the fact the dark roast malts and often chocolate can support the spice. The spice completely obliterates the base beer. You could add that amount of spice to any IPA and it wouldn't taste any different.

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Photo of rapayn01
2.5/5  rDev -33.5%

Both the bartender and I thought she was pouring a regular Sculpin. One large mouthful of this and I had to have something else to drink urgently. The pepper taste is overwhelming and very hot. I cannot imagine why anyone would do this to a great beer like Sculpin.

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Photo of RobTheKnob
2.52/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

This beer looked promising. Good color, unusual but interesting aroma, solid body... but the taste was awful. You could tell there was a good IPA hiding in there somewhere, but the habanero is just so overpowering. I like spicy stuff, don't get me wrong, but Ballast Point probably should have dialed back the fire.

Glad I only bought a single, something I never say about Ballast Point.

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Photo of gopens44
2.55/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Looks like a Sculpin, sure enough. Maybe the lacing is a touch more slick than our more customary version, or perhaps I'm just being nitpicky?

Nothing overwhelming in the nose, yet it makes me feel like sneezing? I still get the same fairly tropical hop presence along with a malt presence but it leads away with that sneeze inducing peppery finish.

There's the hop, but wait - it faded to crackery something an instant before the tongue is thoroughly awash in hotness. Yep, it's spicy. Another swig clarifies the cracker thing a bit more as it actually is more like stale bread laced within a barely noticeable hop thing, but the pepper simply overwhelms. No doubt.

Conclusion? This is every bit as novelty as Ghost Face Killah. Look, I LOVE spicy food. I LOVE IPAs, and especially appreciate Sculpin, but the addition of the spice does something, I'm guessing, on the molecular level that fundamentally changes the characteristics of this beer that renders the IPA qualities useless. Judging from the reviews, this is also beginning to look like a fairly polarizing beer. I do not doubt that there are plenty of folks out there that enjoy this extreme experience, just really not what I would ever consider a drinkable, enjoyable beer.

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Photo of justintcoons
2.56/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle poured into a shaped pint glass.

4.25 Appearance
Gold with 2 fingers of creamy, white head. Good clarity with hop (pepper?) oils floating around. Moderate carbonation.

Habaneros, mango, papaya, and candy sugar.

Full-on habanero blast of heat assaulting my tastebuds. Tropical notes hide beneath with papaya and mango. Some candy sugar sweetness. ...But mostly habanero heat.

Medium bodied, spicy, hot, and unforgiving.

Wow, who can drink this? It's Not really enjoyable as it's just burning my ears and giving me impending diarrhea. Not cool, Ballast Point. not cool at all.

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Photo of QuakeAttack
2.6/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I had a taster at the Ballast Point at Miramar.

Oh, this one was a mess. Glad that I had a taster. While I like beers with some spice (Bomb!), this one was way, way too much. You couldn't taste any hops. While it wasn't too hot, the habanero just overpowers everything else. Pass.

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Photo of unklemike
2.65/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I'm a bit of a spicy food freak so this was right up my ally. The fruityness and spice of the habanero complemented the dry mild apricot like taste of the ipa. The best form of sculpin in my opinion

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Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 410 ratings.