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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

372 Reviews
THE BROS
96
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 372
Hads: 1,940
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 16.14%
Wants: 160
Gots: 455 | 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: 372 | Hads: 1,940
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 IPAGeorge
2.84/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Shared 12oz bottle 3 way with brothers into tulips

A. Looks like normal Sculpin really. Yellow/Golden and pretty transparent.

S. Aroma smells like Sculpin also. But I can pick out a hint of chile.

T. What? It's just way too hot... All 3 of us agreed. And we all like spicy food. This just doesn't work tho. It's too much.

M. After the burn the carbonation doesn't do anything to help so this doesn't help the beer at all.

O. I wanted this beer to be good. But it's just too much heat to be enjoyable as a beer. However I do see some possibilities of using it in cuisine. (591 characters)

Photo of pattyB
2.89/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

So pumped to try this and so disappointed. The smell seemed like there was somewhat of a balance between Sulpin and habanero. There was no such thing. Instead, you're left with a throat closing burn with little trace of ever consuming an IPA. Heatlovers will be hip and claim to love this one. (297 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 zac16125
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle into a tulip
No bottling dates

Thanks to AintNoTele for hooking me up with this as an extra in an IP trade!


A: Crystal clear, golden yellow, 2 fingers width of white colored head, very fine sedimentation, decent retention and lots of lacing. 4.25

S: Tons of peppery heat, and really the peppers dominates the nose. The standard Sculpin tropical fruit notes are there, as are citrus and pine, although all these take a back seat and are difficult to fully appreciate secondary to the habanero notes. 3.5

T: Wow, very hot. I am a huge fan of hot things, I eat really spicy food all the time, and its still even hot to me. The base beer flavors are there, particularly up front, with a malty sweetness, tropical fruits, and hop bitterness; however, they quickly fade to the habanero heat that lingers long after every sip. 4

M/D: Medium body, carbonation appropriate, huge heat, drinkability is limited. 3.5

O: Its hard to say that the habanero’s add to this beer. In my opinion they very much detract from it (and Sculpin is one of my favorite IPA’s). I will give them props for the huge amount of heat, so in that way it is a very interesting brew, and presumably they achieved what they were aiming for. But for me, I’ll take a regular Sculpin any day of the week. 3.75 (1,306 characters)

Photo of jsurfs82
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Love the original and Grapefruit Sculpin. This however was a bit of a surprise. Actually alot more pepper flavor than I expected which made it interesting. This was the most pepper forward beer I've had since Stone's Crime. This isn't a terrible beer but not all that great either. Kind of a one off conversational beer really. I'd never buy a 6 pack of this. (359 characters)

Photo of NorCalAussie
2.24/5  rDev -40.7%
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. (781 characters)

Photo of krh
2.38/5  rDev -37%
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. (253 characters)

Photo of tdmccarthy
4.31/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I absolutely loved this for what it is. I couldn't drink it often but the heat and fruity flavor of the habanero added to the delicious Sculpin base is really enjoyable to me. It's spicy as it's supposed to be, but not hot for hot's sake. It stings the lips and tongue and lingers just enough for me to want more. I'm really glad I finally got to try this. (356 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.37/5  rDev +15.6%
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. (1,317 characters)

Photo of Braz
3.22/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

For pepper beer this one is the finest example I've tasted so far. Very punchy with the habanero. Caught me off guard. But this is an ipa and I have to rate it as such. The peppers completely mask any hops so for ipa it is sub par. (233 characters)

Photo of ThreeKingdoms
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

IF you like the habanero pepper, you will probably like this beer. however, the aromatics and much of the flavor components of regular sculpin are muddied by the habanero. it works for me. niche beer. (201 characters)

Photo of AllanPatchin1016
4.19/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Seeing a lot of negative reviews on here but they don't seem very justified. Habanero peppers are hot... This beer, as the bottle explicitly states, has habanero added to it. Of course its going to be hot. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but an excellent sipping beer for fans of spicy foods/drinks. (306 characters)

Photo of Nunya
2.73/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

One of the oddest beers I've ever had. The habanero is way too overpowering. I like spicy food and I like Sculpin but I can barely taste the Sculpin here. Glad I tried it but won't have it again. If you want to drink some habanero give it a try. If you want to taste Sculpin or something that resembles an IPA stay away. (325 characters)

Photo of rudimon
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

enjoyed a couple on tap at Railroad Street Bar & Grill in linfield circa 2013
tasted like regular sculpin that really dropped a burn in the throat. i'm a chilli head so i really enjoyed the heat. (196 characters)

Photo of BB1313
2.49/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 1.75

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours golden with nice clarity; fluffy eggshell white head that leaves great retention and sticky lacing. The aromas are nice. Lots of citrus and tropical notes with lots of peppers. There's a nice balance between the hops and peppers in the aromas. There's absolutely no balance in the flavor department. This is definitely the spiciest beer I've ever had. You take a sip, and the heat will hit you pretty quickly in the finish. And it lingers. You really feel the heat in the throat and even on the lips. The heat diminishes the flavors and anything else going on. The spiciness is no joke. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with nice moderate carbonation. The heat seems to become normal by the time you get to the bottom of the glass, most likely because my palate is fried. It's ultimately hard to drink. Makes a nice sipper.

Haha I don't like this at all. But you gotta give them credit for execution. They deliver what they advertise. We all know what a habanero is capable of, so of course it's going to be hot! If you're a genuine fan of hot/spicy stuff, then this beer is absolutely for you. I like spicy stuff, but this just isn't enjoyable for me. I'm glad I gave it a try, but this isn't for me at all. (1,248 characters)

Photo of retry4z
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

I'm not a diehard chilihead but enjoy a good amount of spice. The spiciness is toned up a notch compared to their Thai Chile Wahoo White, however, it is nowhere near eating an actual habanero or even a jalapeño pepper. The spiciness level here is comparable to Cholula Hot Sauce, so on the low end, but very pronounced nevertheless. Speaking of jalapeños, I would *love* to try a jalapeño Sculpin, as the flavor would is much more complex and the "kick" turned down.

As for the taste, I can still taste the malt and hops underneath the heat. The feel on the tongue is slick, and the carbonation adds to the experience. I would recommend this beer to anyone who is at least mildly interested in chile beer. (710 characters)

Photo of jera1350
3.18/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A slight numbing just smelling it. Fresh hot garden pepper scent with a hint of citrus. The taste is just overpowering spicy habanero that I barely get the fruity hops until the finish. The malt sweetness is drowned out by the heat also. Palate is still smoldering well after the beer has left the mouth. Just too much pepper to even drink a whole bottle. (355 characters)

Photo of brywhite
2.82/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

I don't have a method to detect the Scoville units to quantify the heat of this beer but to this craft beer drinker, the 2015 version of Habanero Sculpin is very hot, essentially making it undrinkable for all but the most die hard and perhaps masochistic pepper lovers out there.

I would have liked to have tasted a more subtle Habanero presence... maybe one that complimented or enhanced the flavor of fresh Sculpin IPA instead of destroying it. This beer is sadly one dimensional and really has no recognizable flavor character other than that of a Habanero pepper. (572 characters)

Photo of hotpauko
3.64/5  rDev -3.7%
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. (630 characters)

Photo of snaotheus
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2015-01-31
12o bottle poured into a tulip. 329 14 A3 19:35 is the bottle code.

Pours clear, amber, with very little head and not much carbonation. I don't remember Sculpin being this still. Smell is habanero pepper! Exactly what I hoped for in that regard, but a little lacking in the Sculpin aroma that I know and love. There is some slight tropical hoppiness.

Taste is habanero again -- surprisingly spicy, but not overwhelming (for me, but I have a high tolerance for spiciness). Slight honey sweetness, slight fruity flavor. Overall, tasty but a little muted.

Mouthfeel is dense, a tiny bit sticky. Overall, it's pretty good (if you like habaneros). (656 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium coppery amber with fine, one finger off-white head with excellent retention and lots of lacing. Aroma of citrus hops, tropical fruit, particularly pineapple, orange family citrus, light spiciness. Flavor starts, briefly, with citrus, mild malt, tropical fruit, then almost instantly, with intense habanero chili heat, which totally dominates the flavor. A light citrus is detectable as well as hints of hop bitterness, but this is pretty much all about chili. Medium bodied, with light creaminess. I enjoyed sipping on this, but really wanted to taste a little more of the (quite excellent) Sculpin IPA base. As the habanero burn receded, I got the classic endorphin rush of really hot chilis, which is always a pleasant feeling as is the slow, fading of the intense hotness. I regret not drinking this with an appropriate meal; as an evening sipper it is interesting, but too intense. Well made, but I'm not sure I'll finish the bottle in one sitting. I might try this again when I'm prepared to eat the appropriate Mexican food with this interesting IPA. The habanero is authentic. (1,142 characters)

Photo of RyBrew54
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

"Tastes like burning" -Ralph Wiggum

Surprisingly not much to the nose. Take regular Sculpin and crank up the heat with one of the hottest peppers around. Not bad if you pair it with fajitas or some awesome spicy food. (218 characters)

Photo of yas
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A unique take on an IPA. On first sip, starts off with the usual IPA characteristics, then BAM leaves your tongue lingering with capsaicin from the habanero. I enjoy spicy foods regularly, so I didn't find the spiciness overwhelming. But, I'd recommend drinking this beer with something to cleanse your palate in between sips to maximize its flavor profile. Otherwise, the habanero will overwhelm your palate. (409 characters)

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

I have to agree if you don't like spicy food don't review it, lol. The nose is incredible, lots of spice. after a few sips the spice lingers but it's not overdone, still drinkable. Probably the most heat I've had in a beer though. My only criticism is that the hops are lost for me. The hop forward flavor of regular sculpin takes a distant back seat to the heat. Like a spicy pale if that makes sense. (408 characters)

Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 372 ratings.