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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: 2,100
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 35.11%
Wants: 166
Gots: 544 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Habanero Sculpin Alström Bros
Reviews: 410 | Hads: 2,100
Photo of Ryancthomas7
2.65/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

I truly had good intentions prior to drinking this beer. However, it actually tastes like you are swallowing acid reflux or suffering from terrible heartburn. I love me some spicy, but daaaaamn!

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Photo of vkv822
2.71/5  rDev -27.9%
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.

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Photo of probert
2.72/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.5

Looks, even smells like a normal beer until about 2 seconds after it goes down. Then you get the burn in your throat from the habernero's. The bartender didn't think I would finish it but I did manage to drink the whole thing but won't be getting it again. I guess if you like inferno chicken wings or the like it might be your style.

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Photo of Stevedore
2.72/5  rDev -27.7%
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.

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Photo of Nunya
2.73/5  rDev -27.4%
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.

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Photo of harpus
2.75/5  rDev -26.9%
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.

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Photo of SLambert0926
2.75/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

First of all, I love spicy food, so I was very optimistic about this beer and had to look hard to find it locally. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. This one had a very good initial flavor, but very quickly, all I could taste was the pepper. It wasn't too hot and didn't last long, but I didn't like the taste. I will say that I did not have any food with it and plan to save the last one until I can try it with some good heavy food. If my opinion changes then, I'll come back and re-rate it.

 498 characters

Photo of TempeBeerMan
2.77/5  rDev -26.3%
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 -25.8%
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 -25.5%
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.

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Photo of mactrail
2.8/5  rDev -25.5%
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 -25.3%
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 -25.3%
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.

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Photo of bcm75
2.81/5  rDev -25.3%
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.

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Photo of brywhite
2.82/5  rDev -25%
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.

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Photo of IPAGeorge
2.84/5  rDev -24.5%
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.

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Photo of pattyB
2.89/5  rDev -23.1%
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 charlzm
2.9/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 1

Finally tried this on draft last night. Looks and smells just like regular Sculpin. My first sip (which, it turned out, was my only sip), tasted fine for a fraction of a second. Then, an earthy pepper flavor was noted a split second before a burst of chili heat.

Putting chili in beer ruins it. Period, full stop.

Regular Sculpin and its grapefruit variation are fantastic beers but this is an abomination.

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Photo of yetijosie
2.91/5  rDev -22.6%
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)

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Photo of ClavisAurea
2.92/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Fresh bottle served cold in a pint glass.

Violence in a bottle. This beer started out with no chili in the nose at all with maybe some pepper skin. The taste was IPA for 1 second then a wave of fire and lava drowning out every other sensation. For me, it was far too hot and not worth drinking. I shared a bottle between 3 people and that was more than enough. In truth, I didn't want to finish my glass but I did.

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Photo of BB1313
2.94/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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 DefenCorps
2.95/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

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Photo of kemoarps
2.95/5  rDev -21.5%
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.

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Photo of NorthSideSean
2.96/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Love Sculpin. Love grapefruit Sculpin as much if not more so. I'm good with heat so was willing to pony up a big $16 for a 6'er. Rarely write reviews but... consider this a public service announcement. This is awful. Tastes like you left your beer to go piss and your friends pranked you and dumped a bunch of burning hot sauce in your pint glass. Don't let your enjoyment of Sculpin trick you into wasting your hard earned beer money on this Tabasco IPA.

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Photo of Pourharddrinkslow
2.97/5  rDev -21%
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.

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