Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

1,725 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,725
Reviews: 414
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 15.43%
Wants: 154
Gots: 376 | FT: 14
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,725 | Reviews: 414
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Photo of Bloodbuzz99
2.84/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Pretty impressive they were able to capture that much habanero flavor in the beer, but it's dominating & overwhelming. I could not finish it.

Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
2.84/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Way too much heat and not even remotely enjoyable for a beer.

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.

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
2.87/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.25

Way too hot. Heat lingers forever. It is painful.

Photo of Hoppyalein
2.88/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I love sculpin and grapefruit sculpin. This is the red headed step-child of the family to be sure. Good chili heat though!

Photo of mbmiche
2.89/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Too much pepper, not enough ipa. Not enjoyable

Photo of DaveRinn
2.89/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

it burned ALL the way thru

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.

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)

Photo of MitchRogers
2.91/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

I wanted to like this one because I like Ballast Point beers in general. I like spicy however the habanero blast finish is too much for me.

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.

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.

Photo of durlta
2.96/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Spiciness completely overpowers everything else.

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.

Photo of Jeffrey_Ryan
2.97/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Looks like a sculpin, tastes like you're drinking peppers. Just too hot. Maybe I just wasn't ready for it but it was just too much for me.

Photo of Treyliff
2.98/5  rDev -20.7%

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

Photo of BryanP
2.99/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

good smell, decent heat, but has too much of a pepper taste

Photo of CasanovaCummins
3/5  rDev -20.2%
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.

Photo of Steban
3.02/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

No smell of habanero but burns like hell on the way down.

Photo of Justinbshelton
3.02/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 2.5

Too much habanero. One dimensional.

Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,725 ratings.