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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

369 Reviews
THE BROS
96
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 369
Hads: 1,935
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 16.14%
Wants: 160
Gots: 453 | 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: 369 | Hads: 1,935
Photo of Stevedore
2.72/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Essentially, I tried to drink a full 12oz bottle and couldn't even get through one ounce. The body is a light copper body, two finger white head, nice retention time, a bit of lacing, moderate film. Smells slightly peppery, almost a vegetal aroma, along with a bit of citrus, pine, caramel. Flavour is exclusively peppers and a strong heat that kicks in say, 1/4 of the way through the palate. It's strong and makes it incredibly difficult to drink. My lips and tongue are burning. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, good carbonation, but the finish is what makes it undrinkable for me. So much heat, tingling and burning along my oral digestive tract. Overall, a cool concept but I'm not sure why they bottled this. Good God, this is way too hot for me. (747 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 harpus
2.75/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

I have tried the Sculpin IPA, Grapefruit Sculpin and the Habanero Sculpin. This is my least favorite of the 3 that I have tried, it was too hot and was not drinkable to me. I still prefer the just the standard Sculpin. (220 characters)

Photo of TempeBeerMan
2.77/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint.

A - Clear orange with a fluffy two-finger white head.

S - VERY strong aroma of capsaicin, vegetal pepper, and a hint of pine.

T - Just a hint of IPA flavor before the pepper taste takes over. Tastes less like a beer and more like carbonated pepper juice. Heat starts out a prickly and slowly builds from there.

M - Lighter bodied with medium carbonation.

O - Unfortunately too spicy (and I love spicy foods) and too gimmicky to really be considered good. Glad I tried it, but would never rebuy and probably wouldn't even take one if offered. (588 characters)

Photo of almostjay
2.79/5  rDev -26.2%
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 RenzoD
2.8/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

My first pepper beer so I don't have much to compare it to, but I can safely say that this isn't for me. Every once in a while you catch a hint of actual habanero flavor but for the most part the biting fire finish just does not blend with the hoppy bitterness in an enjoyable way. Maybe ill try a pepper beer with a style other than IPA. (338 characters)

Photo of mactrail
2.8/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

This is one of those "I dare you" beers. I suppose people either love it or hate it. Looks nice enough in the glass with a decent foam and the attractive clear orangey amber color.

On first taste this seems to open a raw stripe down the throat. I can't even seem to taste the usual hop overdose, it's just hot with the afterburners blasting down your gullet. I would think there would be some aroma but my nose seems to be anaesthetized. Clearly they went for the maximum capsaicin rather than any flavor subtleties. I always find a gulp of IPA when eating hot food just throws fuel on the fire. So I suppose this is the case study of IBU plus Scoville index equals hellfire.

I"m trying to taste this objectively, but it's really more pain than pleasure. On tap at California Kebab in Pacific Beach. (801 characters)

Photo of BARFLYB
2.81/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Out of a firkin at good dog bar.

Sculpin came in the glass looking golden with a slight yellow tint to itself. Just a patch of loose bubbles that turned to nothing, no lace. Smell was very muted. Almost nothing noted here. I only make out a small malt scent. Taste starts out with just a hint of the awesome sculpin with citrus mango and papaya. This last for a second before a rush of habanero smacks the mouth up. The heat lasts for a bit and Im takin back by it. Feel is medium and hot and lasting, not much carb from the firkin. Drinkability is not much, 5 ounces at most. This is a waste of sculpin but I did stomach it better than Cave Creek Chili Beer. (660 characters)

Photo of smogfood
2.81/5  rDev -25.7%
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 bcm75
2.81/5  rDev -25.7%
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 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 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 yetijosie
2.91/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

this beer is extremely abrasive, but also very interesting. the fact that it burns when it goes down and leaves a spicy coat on your throat and stomach just gets me excited.(reminds me of drinking a good whiskey) the thing that does not excite me about this beer is the super hoppy flavor, i feel like its kinda hard to stomach at times.(then again, im not big on the stronger ipas) (382 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
2.95/5  rDev -22%
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 kemoarps
2.95/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Quite pale. Clear clean and crisp. Head is those large soapy bubbles that don't really settle into a nice film so much as just kind of get less. OK. Acts as a good window for the carbonation show climbing the pillar though.

Starts to hint at sweet malts and juicy hops but is quickly overhwelmed by the vegetal peppers. Like, over overwhelmed. Womp womp.

Flavour has the same MO. Starts in to a solid foundation of sweet malts and juicy citrus hops but quickly the vegetal pepper flavour rushes in and starts smashing the place up.
There's some heat to it as well, but not so much as to be unpleasant. The bitterness here isn't so much hop bitter as it is like... have you ever made a red sauce and overspiced it (I mean neither have I. I wouldn't mess up a sauce!)? It's that kind of vegetal overwhelmed herb/spice bitter that isn't a pleasant bitter. At least for me. I actually like the heat level they have here, but the flavour I'm tried to have described above just brings it too far into the realm of unenjoyable for me. Maybe I'm just not a fan of chili beers in general.
Basic Sculpin I always felt was overrated, but nothing actually wrong with it, Grapefruit I really enjoyed but this one... this is a miss for me. I don't know if I even really feel like drinking the rest of this bottle. (1,301 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 Treyliff
2.98/5  rDev -21.2%

Bottle poured into a tulip

A- pours a slightly hazy golden orange color with a small foamy white head that reduces to a film skimming the top, short lasting lace 4

S- grassy hops with some tropical fruity notes of mango & passionfruit, sweet & bready malt, not really picking up any habanero aroma, but perhaps a little bit of singe on the nose, however I could just be imagining it 3.75

T- Wow, the habanero taste is the first thing that is noticed, with flavors of dried red pepper, followed by a big pepper burn on the palate that continues into the throat. The burn of the habanero masks nearly all trace of hops, and continues to dominate through to the finish 2.5

M- medium body and carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel with an intense burning finish and linger 3

O- I'm all for spicy chile beers, but this one was just too much heat. So much that it masked all of the wonderful hop notes from the base beer. The habanero needed to be cut back a bit to achieve more balance. This should be classified as a chile beer. 3 (1,057 characters)

Photo of CasanovaCummins
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I'm a big fan of Ballast Point. I've been to the brewery and can honestly say their barrel-aged brews stand up well against anyone else's, but this offering is all flame and not as much flavor as it should be. In other words, HOT, HOT, HOT.

At first it pours and tastes like regular Sculpin, but then, WHAM, your mouth is over-whelmed with heat and any subtlety of flavor goes missing. This would be a great dare pour, but not one to have on regular rotation.

If you like Sculpin, try it. But only to see how much better the regular pour is. (543 characters)

Photo of beer2day
3.04/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Ridgewood Wine and Beer in Raleigh.

Poured into fluted goblet with no head and no lace. Amber gold color.

Nose hints at the pepper, but get some of the standard Sculpin fruit and pine.

And then the fun begins. This is nothing but pepper, from start to finish. Hits hot, finishes hotter. All pepper with very little else. Really no indication that this is a Sculpin. While that's not all bad, it would be much better to tone the peppers down ... a lot.

Feel has some of the oily resin from the hops, but after the first couple of sips all you "feel" is fire. And I like spice in my food.

Good to try, but one and done. (635 characters)

Photo of aleckpa
3.05/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Too hot for my liking. You get the initial taste of the Sculpin IPA. However, the heat kicks in and it kicks hard. Undrinkable for me. Some pepper beers are balanced, but this is all heat. (188 characters)

Photo of Benish
3.09/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. No known bottle date.

Appearance: some head while pouring, but not much. Light amber in color.

Smell: Peppers, peppers, peppers. All over the place. It really over power the hops - if there are any. Despite the peppers, its not all bad. Just something very out of the ordinary.

Taste: Starts out light and refreshing. Then halfway though that sip, the heat kicks in hard. It kind of taste like what it smells. No hops though. Maybe it's an old bottle??

Mouthfeel: light and refreshing in the mouth but then the heat kicks in. Heat in the back of the mouth and tingles at your lips. Handle this beer carefully.

Overall: this is a gimmicky beer. It's definitely fun to try though. The one positive side I have to say about this beer is that the heat doesn't stick around. Fifteen minutes after drinking this beer, you should have no trouble drinking and enjoying a different beer. Unfortunately the hops were barely noticeable. It wouldn't surprise me if this was an old batch. If I had excess to a fresh batch, I'd be excited to try it again. (1,064 characters)

Photo of MikeyLegend
3.12/5  rDev -17.5%
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. (341 characters)

Photo of leitmotif
3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
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 AlpacaAlpaca
3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

At first there was the familiar taste of Sculpin (which was enjoyable), then a merciless rush of habanero (which was not). The heat obliterated any trace of the base beer. More subtle heat would have made this way better. (221 characters)

Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 369 ratings.