Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

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very good

343 Reviews
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Reviews: 343
Hads: 1,839
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 16.71%
Wants: 158
Gots: 400 | FT: 15
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: 343 | Hads: 1,839
Photo of rab53
1.87/5  rDev -50.4%
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. (489 characters)

Photo of RobTheKnob
2.52/5  rDev -33.2%
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. (388 characters)

Photo of Celtics17
4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This is a unique beer in its effect. It's very spicy, and it leaves you not wanting more. But not in a bad way. It's aroma was green peppers, and a slight hint of hops. The taste was much like the aroma. This left my lips numb, and it changed as it warmed. I liked this one by Ballas Point, but without a doubt you can't drink more than one at a time. Better with a food pairing. (379 characters)

Photo of 57md
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this as part of a side-by-side with a regular Sculpin.

Slightly darker in color than Sculpin. There is only a hint of heat on the nose but it is less hoppy for sure. The habaneros are clearly present in the flavor profile; in fact, they overwhelm pretty much everything else.

The heat is not so overdone as to make this offering undrinkable but the awesome citrus and hop flavors that make Sculpin such a special IPA just get bombarded by the heat. (454 characters)

Photo of IMFletcher
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
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 SlothB77
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From the tap.

Just too much habanero spice for me. The pepper is not moderated enough. The sad thing is that the original Sculpin is just a great beer, that adding this much habanero just ruins it. Don't ruin something amazing, Ballast Point. (246 characters)

Photo of almostjay
2.79/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I had to try this beer despite the mixed reviews. It looks and smells like a nice IPA. The habanero is slightly noticeable in the nose, but that doesn't really detract from it at all. The taste on the other hand, wow.

The label says "heat may vary". Maybe I got an extra spicy bottle, but man, this beer burns and the habanero is on the forefront. Really bad. (361 characters)

Photo of vkv822
2.71/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

12oz SN IPA Glass

Pours a lightly hazy golden orange with a foamy off white head.

Brief notes of tropical, citrus hops followed quickly by a strong spicy, peppery blast.

Mostly just peppery heat, faint hops in the finish.

I enjoy spicy foods, and peppered/spicy beers but this was really over done. Drinkable, but not enjoyable. (333 characters)

Photo of Kevinpitts
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
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 bretmaverick24
1.83/5  rDev -51.5%
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. (545 characters)

Photo of Roguer
3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Great looking orange/amber clear brew. Notes of hops and chile.

Almost no aroma; slight biscuit, citrus, and pepper heat.

Flavor is almost completely dominated by the habanero. Extremely, extremely spicy; the spiciest beer I've ever had, by a fair margin. Behind the pepper heat is a nice citrus hop profile, but the lovely and juicy flavors from regular Sculpin just cannot get to the forefront and shine.

This is a tough beer to drink, but in no way is it unenjoyable. I highly recommend splitting the bottle; finishing an entire bottle would be too much for me. Pepper heat is really dominating, vice complementary, but it's still a good beer.

Not recommended for people who don't like spicy food. (705 characters)

Photo of stickyv
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

It has some kick but just enough for you to feel it. The heat doesn't linger so don't be afraid of what you're purchasing. A glass of milk won't be necessary ;) (160 characters)

Photo of leitmotif
3.13/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 3

I have to justify my rating with a review.

Well there is nothing much there to say. I love the looks and the smell just gets me there, wanting to drink this. But as soon as you get a hold of a sip everything is wasted. No beer there. Just pepper. And hotness. And... that's it.

I like spicy food. But this beer is dominated by the chili and has nothing to do with an overall good drink.

Cheers (398 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
2.95/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ummm...no. This looks like Sculpin, alright, with it's nice clarity, nice head, nice lacing and retention. It also smells like Sculpin - fruity, punchy, with grapefruit, orange and pungency, though the spice character is noticeable on the nose. The habanero character is nice - it is fresh, clean, focused and not vegetal like many chili beers end up being. The palate is dominated by the habanero. Big heat, palate coating and aided by the hop oils that make the flavor and the heat stick to every exposed surface. The hop flavor appears briefly with the grapefruit and tropical fruit proving enjoyable before they are obliterated by the habanero heat. Light in body, crisply carbonated, this beer has a long, burning finish. Thanks, but I'll pass. I love spicy food and heat in general, but this is just a complete bastardization of what Sculpin is. (851 characters)

Photo of Motleydrunk56
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
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. (182 characters)

Photo of Taybeh
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

from a single (6 weeks old)
a: color is a beautiful deep orange red.
s: nose is bready and caramel malty sweetness, then some faint bits of Sculpin's normal hop profile, then a tinge of the peppery heat to come
t: I'm not sure how well this builds off and complements the base beer...the habenero tends to dominate the last 1/3 of the mouthful to the point that it drowns what came before and indeed everything else out. The heat builds and while it isn't overwhelming on its own, it tends to dominate all other flavor notes instead of complementing them.

I like habeneros and heat generally, but this is more of a curiosity. I'd try it again if I was pairing it with the right kind of food...on its own, the first 3-4 oz, I enjoyed, and the rest were an interesting chore. A little hard to know how to rate this; doesn't seem right to rate it against normal IPAs.... (873 characters)

Photo of crob3888
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful golden red, with an off yellow head with big bubbles. Smells like sculpin, but with a slight kick. Tastes like a muted sculpin at first, and then the peppers kick in. The heat may be strong for some. But it's perfect if you like hot spicy foods. I paired it with a taco salad and it was one of the best experiences pairing beer with food that I have had. (364 characters)

Photo of ronricorossi
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Holy Jesus, that's spicy. Sting your mouth, level spicy. As big as they brought the grapefruit blast, so now does sculpin bring the pepper. The stinging is so pronounced, this beer is tough to drink on its own, it cries out for food pairing! Drink this with fish tacos you just bought at a taco truck on the streets of LA. (322 characters)

Photo of Soneast
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%

I like Sculpin and I like spicy foods, and particularly enjoy the fruity flavor of habaneros, which I feel compliments hoppy beers surprisingly well, better than other peppers/chiles at any rate. Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. The heat is present but, IMO, does not overwhelm the underlying Sculpin base beer, but rather compliments it. (353 characters)

Photo of SensorySupernova
3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Golden with a white head. Not bright red like I was expecting!

Smell: Very nice strong citrus and floral hops.

Taste: Moderately bitter up front, followed by strong spicy pepper flavor that drowns out all else. It isn’t spicy in a way that burns or makes my eyes water, but just a very distinct habanero flavor that completely dominates everything that comes after, including any hint that this is 7% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Moderately thin and carbonated, but once the pepper flavor hits you won’t notice.

Overall: ...interesting. It delivers exactly what it advertises. The base IPA is good, and Ballast Point certainly succeeded in the habanero area. However, this is not something I would drink more than one of, or very often, or to relax. I’m actually not sure when I would drink this. It is definitely a memorable beer, but peppers are not as good in an IPA as they are in a stout. (902 characters)

Photo of beerdedking
4.59/5  rDev +21.8%
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 bluejacket74
4.04/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, bottled on November 19, 2014. Served in a DFH IPA glass, the beer pours an amber/orange color with about an inch off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The brew smells like habaneros, citrusy hops (grapefruit, mango, orange peel), and a bit of sweet malt. I think the taste is pretty much like the aroma, except that the habanero heat overpowers the other flavors. There's also a lingering spicy peppery finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's coating and has a good amount of carbonation. It's not the hottest beer I've had, but it's certainly hotter than most chili pepper beers I've tried. If you like spicy chili beers, then you need to try some of this. I won't have any problems finishing this 6-pack! (750 characters)

Photo of Brent212
5/5  rDev +32.6%

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 rapayn01
2.5/5  rDev -33.7%

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. (265 characters)

Photo of Hawkgear
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%

Just had it on tap. I love Sculpin and Habenero so it was a no brainier for me. Maybe a tad in the hot side but it was served in a 6 oz brandy glass and was the perfect portion. (178 characters)

Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 343 ratings.