Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

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very good

344 Reviews
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Reviews: 344
Hads: 1,843
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 16.71%
Wants: 159
Gots: 402 | 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: 344 | Hads: 1,843
Photo of mjk1979
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Same beautiful Sculpin color, but the base beer is completely overpowered. Must note that from beer to beer, the habanero flavor is widely varied and goes from benign to a rather unpleasant olive flavor. The heat bite is very nice, especially with food, but overall disappointed with the overwhelmingly unbalanced adjunct infusion. (331 characters)

Photo of bcm75
2.81/5  rDev -25.5%
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 kevdemers
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Delivers what it says, with the habaneros first affecting mouthfeel in the aftertaste then really making their presence felt down the hatch! That said, this seems to be zero sum where the heat takes away a little of the hoppy flavors rather than add to the base beer. I'll stick to the straight ahead Sculpin for the time being. (330 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
2.18/5  rDev -42.2%
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. (689 characters)

Photo of jeffjeff1
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- clear copper color, almost no head
Smell- hops, habanero peppers
Taste- spicy habanero at first but it cools down a bit, then hops as well
Mouthfeel- medium bodied
Drinkability- I thought it was very good but you have to like the spicyness. If you don't like spicy, then it isn't for you. The flavor is still very good though. (338 characters)

Photo of dd43
3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The habanero addition does not improve sculpin. This beer is far less aromatic than the base beer. That coupled with the flavor change made both myself and another person trying the beer remark that we'd have no idea this was sculpin in origin if we weren't told that ahead of time.

Flavor is not bad but honestly I feel like the sculpin branding was a disservice to ballast point and the excellent base beer. It should stand on its own. The heat hits you initially in a profound way but it is not overpowering, especially because it dissipates more quickly than one would assume when it first kicks in. This is a one and done beer, meaning I can't imagine having more than one pour of it in a session. (704 characters)

Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Pours hazed golden amber with a fluffy head.

The smell is of the classic Sculpin mixed with habanero. The habanero covers some of the beer's other characteristics, though.

The taste is of the original, but then within seconds the hot habanero nearly wipes it out. Interesting that there is a short delay.

The heat lingers a long time.

An interesting novelty brew. One, maybe two, and that's it for me. It is hot. Different. (428 characters)

Photo of TCog
2.45/5  rDev -35%
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. (205 characters)

Photo of ChrisCKrueger
3.42/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Man, Ballast Point could hock Sculpin under any flavor and people would buy it up and force themselves to think it's good. Makes me wonder what the next concoction will be. Well, seeing how regular Sculpin is grossly over-hyped, I've decided to see if habaneros do anything to spice up an otherwise forgettable IPA. I know most beer nerds are more dramatic than an 8th grade lunch table full of cheerleaders, so I doubted how hot it really was. It smells like peppers, and not much else. Which isn't a horrible thing. First sip was actually spicy on a clean palate, but after a few swings it all blends together into a warming flavor. Nothing hardcore about it. It pretty much tastes the way it smells, all chile pepper and pretty much nothing else. As if you thought any other flavor would shine through with true habenero. Its like drinking some weird pepper beverage, something my wife would make which is really healthy, but really weird in taste. Nothing I would seek out again. Word of warning.....don't drink the whole 6 pack in a sitting. Let's just say I would have been better off drinking battery acid. My stomach was in shambles for a week and did more peeing out the back end than the front. (1,204 characters)

Photo of gcamparone
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Purchased on North Providence, RI.

Pours a clear golden amber body with a 1-2 finger white head that reduces moderately to leave little lacing but good retention.

Lots of habanero on the nose, the type of aroma that reminds you of fresh hot peppers, sliced veggies, fresh garden, with a slight hint of IPA in there, but the peppers comes in full force. I love hot peppers, so this is really enjoyable to smell.

On the tongue is big habanero notes, tons of fresh peppers.. slight hop bitterness on the follow through and big spiciness on the finish. Sticks on the tongue for a while, quite spicy! Mouthfeel is similar to sculpin - medium body and carbonation.

This is a spicy pepper bomb. This is the spicy bloody mary version of beer. I love the taste of peppers, and I love spicy things, so I absolutely love this beer. I've crushed a six pack in a night. I know most people can't say the same, but I really like everything this beer is about. Not recommended to anyone who doesn't like spiciness! (1,046 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Spiegelau IPA glass.

Deep bright and shiny orange amber, crystal clear body with a tangerine glow, nice thin rising carbonation in the middle, crawling at a good clip up the middle. Head is very soapy, but large, with pill and scattered like shot lacing all around the glass. Aggressive and bright, with some light head touches and off white color. Great classic West coast looker.

Fresh roasted pepper, green and fresh smelling on the nose. Very warm but also tolerable and salivating on first whiff. Small hints of tropical citrus but the peppers dominate nicely. Real impressive but also very tolerable if a bit one dimensional.

Palate does not shy away from it's name sake. This is a very powerful pepper brew. Slow grasping at first pepper green warmth, which really pops and builds in the mid palate. Hot oil, green peppers, and big quenching hot burst on the finish. Aftertaste is no joke, this is not going to be everybody's cup of tea here, as the chili angle on this is very strong. Some time is needed to let some of the other characters wash in, but they do come after some time. Some tropical juiced body, a little bit of citrus, but the chili is incredibly dominant. Body is classic and basic and solid with a simple depth of malt and feel.

It is what it is, and in many ways takes away from the greatness that makes sculpin what it is, by burying much of it's excellent character. However, the chili angle is done on such a great tolerable heated angle it's also real impressive, but this is definitely not some casual thing. For real hot heads only. (1,614 characters)

Photo of Jojosaute
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A- great look. Light honey or burnt gold. Half finger head. Not a ton of lacing yet but I can't drink a lot so well see.
S- great floral and citrus hops.
T- it hits your tongue with a great citrus/tropical hops. Then the heat comes in. Habaneros are fairly strong. I am not a huge heat guy but liked the Serrano stout from green flash and in comparison this is much hotter. Habaneros take a starting lineup spot in flavor next to the hops. Heat dissipates and only slightly lingers on tounge. As I drink more it gets easier. Like jumping in a cold pool.
M- a full taste. Very rich for a ipa. Really like mouth feel
O- this beer is great if you like heat. It's a bit Hot for my liking. This is top notch though not for me. Well made and a heck of an experiment. (769 characters)

Photo of LittleDon
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

For a chili infused beer, it's possibly the best. The heat is noticeable, starting mild and building to an intensity that would make a chili-head happy. The habenero flavor is a background note, so it doesn't overwhelm the hops. The heat may, although I was still able to taste their tropical fruit characteristics to the bitter end. The malt leans toward the sweet side and it works well to balance the heat and hops. Medium light body and carbonation. (453 characters)

Photo of woodchipper
3.69/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (270 characters)

Photo of BuccoFan
2.06/5  rDev -45.4%
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. (337 characters)

Photo of von_kaiser
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My mouth is burning. Citri-spice scent that turns to a habanero flame ball in your mouth. I've never experienced anything like it. Glad to have tried. Glad to have purchased one 12 oz. Unique..cheers!! (206 characters)

Photo of swierczt
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.75

Nice floral/fruity nose from the addition of habanero pepper. First sip was the best. Was able to taste the hops complemented by the fruitiness of the habanero pepper. After that, the heat numbs your tongue, mouth, lips, and it becomes more difficult to pick out any specific flavors. Give it a try if you like it spicy. Otherwise, pass on this one. (352 characters)

Photo of StinkyFishBoys
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Celebrity guest review from the fish boys sister. " it starts out like a beer and then it punches you in the mouth". Lulz gang she said it. By far the hottest end swig of any cold cruiser this fish has sipped. Super limited. To those who are curious I say go ahead a swim upstream if you have to to get a taste. Two fins up. (325 characters)

Photo of Beerds
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Strongly enjoy beer and heat so gave this a shot. It's a good beer but prefer the regular sculpin, haven't tried grapefruit yet. Beer is smooth until the finish and the habanero grabs a hold of you throat. Worth trying for sure. (230 characters)

Photo of dbnarley
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Different. The heat starts at the back of the throat and works forward. A one off novelty beer. For the money I would rather drink Sculpin or grapefruit sculpin. (161 characters)

Photo of smogfood
2.81/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I like Habaneros. I grow them every year in the garden and make salsa that I love to consume with a nice Sculpin IPA, but putting the Habaneros in the Sculpin didn't work for me. I get the nice smokey sweetness of habaneros as well as the heat, but that's about all I get. I'm missing the awesome hop profile that makes sculpin occasionally worth spending a bit more for. I don't want to have to wash down each sip with a different IPA, so I think I'l take my habaneros on the side from now on (or maybe in a big stout that has the malt backbone to carry such a pepper). Tonight I tried the 3rd bottle of the six pack, and I can't say I want to drink the last 3. I feel like this experiment is finished. (703 characters)

Photo of Maryobeerian
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured at local craft pub. Nice body, soft carbonation. Clean, grapefruit, citrus hop ending with a bang of pepper at the back of the mouth. This beer accomplishes what it sets out to, and the hot Habanero mellows as it warms, making the initial heat feel less wow as you drink down the glass. Nice -- I enjoyed it, but don't need a whole pint of it. Very good one-off or occasional beer. (390 characters)

Photo of Nctide
3.58/5  rDev -5%
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 scottfrie
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into tulip.

A: Pours a clear amber with a thick and greasy off-white head that slowly faded into a bubbly film and collar. Rocky chunks of sticky lace were left down the glass.
S: Huge dominating and fresh hop notes hit first with huge citrus notes. Spicy pepper notes poke through beneath. Smells of fresh pepper.
T: Follows the nose with fresh hoppy sculpin flavors immediately followed by spicy pepper oil that burns the throat on the way down and lingers long after the swallow. Fresh grapefruit, citrus juice, and slight hop bitterness is noticeable beneath the burning pepperiness. Juicy and burning.
M: Medium body, greasy mouthfeel, soft carbonation, huge long lasting, coating, and lingering burn.
O: I loved how juicy the base beer was despite the heat, but damn this is spice. One of the longest lingering burns from any spicy beer I've had to date. For what it is it's very drinkable and balanced. (923 characters)

Photo of Chcshammonde
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Holy shit. This particular 12oz was like drinking a liquid jalapeno cheese popper. I appreciate the invention of this beer. I loved trying it. It does read "heat may vary" on the front, and my goodness it was high on the heat. I feel like it would be a really good creation I would drink again, but with 1/4 of the habanero. (333 characters)

Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 344 ratings.