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Habanero Sculpin - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

366 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 366
Hads: 1,931
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 16.4%
Wants: 162
Gots: 448 | 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: 366 | Hads: 1,931
Photo of W_Des
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Objectively, Ballast Point does a great job in capturing the floral habanero aroma in the nose and the fruity flavor in the body. They also capture the heat finish well. Very well. It pairs nicely with some rich fatty salty foods but on it's own it is difficult for me to take down since the heat just lasts and is very prevalent. I prefer some balance to the heat like Mexican Cake. (383 characters)

Photo of ChrisCKrueger
3.42/5  rDev -9.5%
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 Stinkypuss
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light golden color with a white head that does fade a bit quickly, lacing slightly. The aroma has the grapefruit notes and hop explosion found in Sculpin, and there is an ever so small hint of peppers in the nose. Its not letting on much for the drinker to be prepared.

The taste has hops, some pepper flavor, finishing with a heat that lasts a good while, though is cut a bit by grapefruit and bitterness into the finish. As a few sips are taken, the heat builds.

Full bodied, crisp, with building heat and bitterness that finishes out the flavor.

Overall, it is an interesting and tasty beer. That being said, Habanero beers always get the pepper flavor stuck in my throat for a while, and I don't really dig that so much. I was happy to try this one but I wouldn't buy a six pack anytime soon. If I had another bottle I would probably cook with it. (870 characters)

Photo of 57md
3.46/5  rDev -8.5%
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 Chcshammonde
3.47/5  rDev -8.2%
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)

Photo of Viciousknishs
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On Cask at The Birch in Norfolk, VA

A- pours a golden amber color with some spotty white bubbles.

S- aroma is classic sculpin aroma of fresh pungent hops with notes of tropical fruit and mango. Mice soft biscuity malt in the middle. Finishes with a soft pepper smell with a bit of heat in the nose as well.

T- short hoppy blast up front with a bit of dry biscuity malt flavor. Some mango and a touch of pineapple from the hops come out. So everything is going pretty normaly and then the habanero brings an intense heat that oblitorates the hops and leaves a smoldering pepper heat and flavor. The flavor is whole fresh pepper skin and the seeds. Very unique and interesting just something that I wouldn't want more than one glass.

MF- the pepper heat seems to thin the body out a little. Slick mouthfeel with low carbonation.

D- the heat cuts down the drinkability way lower than the super drinkable normal version.

Overall a great experience that was super unique and flavorful. On to the ghost chili version! (1,017 characters)

Photo of Abe_Froman
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

This is certainly an interesting beer, and I am glad I tried it. I have enjoyed some chili beers in the past but the ones I have had were balanced by chocolate.

The sweet counter is something I find missing here. It's all ipa up front then pure pepper flavor/heat. The heat isn't overwhelming, but I feel I would get a similar experience by sipping a sculpin then biting a pepper. It just not well integrated. All in all a fun experience, and if you love hot peppers this is for you. (491 characters)

Photo of mrkun
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber in color with minimal head and lacing.

S: Typical smell of hops and citrus as expected with no noticeable spice.

T: The initial taste is typical of Sculpin and until you start to swallow and then BAM! You get slapped across the face with capsaicin and just as you think it's about to over it returns and backhands you.

M: Medium carbonation with some stickiness.

O: This is initially interesting but I don't think I could drink more than a 4 oz taster of this stuff and I like spicy food. (501 characters)

Photo of Roxie_B
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Serving Type: Bottle
Appearance: Amber; transparent; couple of fingers of white head that falls to legs collar and lacing.
Smell: Apricots and oranges with a hint of spice
Taste: Begins with juicy citrus and sweet peach jam taste that quickly swerves to a brutal burn of surprising intensity. If you like capsaicin you will enjoy this one!
Mouthfeel: Light bodied with some sparkly crisp carbonation. (401 characters)

Photo of nkelley77
3.51/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is amazing in the sense of how you can taste the pepper but the heat makes it difficult to drink the whole bottle. I was happy to give this a try and would love to cook with this beer. (194 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
3.54/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to KevSal for throwing this guy in as an extra. I'm a huge fan of Sculpin and things infused with habanero. I'm a little skeptical about how this IPA will pair with fire. Lets see...

Pours golden and clear with thin layer of persistent white head. Nose features citrusy notes up front along with some mango flesh and tropical notes. The hops certainly seem to be tamed down by the presence of the peppers. There are slight hints at pepper in the nose, but its not overly obvious. The has a split second of the familiar and delicious sculpin IPA but then quickly transforms into straight fire. As it passes the palate, the habanero begins to singe everything in its path including the back of the throat. Mouthfeel is moderate with medium carbonation. Overall, the pepper is just too heavy handed here. The mangoey hops paired with habanero is a great idea in concept, but the juiciness of the hops unfortunately gets buried. (932 characters)

Photo of dd43
3.56/5  rDev -5.8%
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 BucannonXC5
3.56/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Type: Draft
Glass: Pint glass
From: Clem’s Tap House in Kensington (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $5 (for Happy Hour)
Purchased: July 24, 2014
Consumed: July 24, 2014
Misc.: N/A

Poured a honey, orange, murky color with two fingers of frothy white head when I got it. Good layered foamy lacing along the sides. Good retention on the top all the way down.

Wow on the smell! Got citrus hops, pine and floral hops, then bam! Here come the spices. Got jalapeno, habanero and red peppery spices. Already feel it on my nose and mouth somehow. Late orange rind notes. That’s pretty much it because the hot spices dominate.

Taste was pretty much the same as the smell. Got those citrus and floral hops, but then the jalapeno and habanero spices come flying in. Also spicy red pepper notes dominating heat on the hops. Really wanted more hops here. Not balanced at all.

Medium body. Oily texture. Average carbonation. Long, spicy finish.

A decent beer for what it is, but just too spicy and not enough hops. (1,002 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Taster from the Grille Next Door.
Deep golden color with a huge sticky white head. Big capsaicin mixed with earthy pine on the nose. The heat lingers coating the throat all the way down. Good in a small dose, glad I got a tiny glass. (234 characters)

Photo of angelmonster
3.57/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a bright, hazy orange body. Head is pearl white and 1/4th of an inch. Head retention and lacing are good.

Smell is of mandarin orange, sweet malt, Alcohol is very light and peppers are in the background.

First taste is an immediate sting of habanero pepper. Sweet citrus counters the spice but the heat dominates. Little bit of honey comes through too, alcohol wasn't very present.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated. Roof of my mouth is burning, head added some creaminess to beer.

Overall there were some interesting flavors in the beer but the heat was just too much to enjoy all 12 ounces of it. Would like a little more hops and a little less peppers to balance things out. (703 characters)

Photo of Nctide
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
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 Czarkazm
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Color is what you would expect from a sculpin', clear and amber. Nose is inviting, nice pine and citrus hidden underneath a sweet pepper skin with no heat evident. One taste though and there's no going back. This beer is no joke. The heat lingers a long time between sips to dance the tango on your taste buds. I kind of liked this beer more as I drank it. You kind of get numb to the habanero kick to enjoy what the base beer has to offer. Bottle states that heat varies but if Ballast Point cut back on their use of habanero in this beer, it'd be money. (564 characters)

Photo of angrybabboon
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to Goblinmunkey for the bottle

Review copied from notes dated 3/12/15

A: Clear, copper orange – pours with a small to medium, white head, less robust than other iterations of Sculpin – fades to a slight crap, with a moderate collar, leaves a few splotches of lacing

S: Ripe, fresh habaneros – if you have wondered what it is like to slice into a habanero and sniff the flesh, this is it – fleshy, oily, vegetal habanero – the Sculpin backbone is not completely overpowered – nice citrus aromas, with grapefruit, orange, and some tropical notes – habaneros always smell lightly tropical to me (as I may be insane), and I think this adds to the aroma – spicy and peppery, if I have failed to mention that

T: I love Sculpin, and I love habanero, but I do not love this – I do respect it though, as it is a wonderful union of spicy and hoppy flavors – ripe habanero peppers – fleshy and oily, with a moderate level of heat – decidedly hot, but not burning (this is not making my eyes water or eliciting hiccups) – beyond the pepper, the hops are still here – grapefruit and orange flesh, with some tropical flavors, hints of pineapple and mango – some light malt sweetness – I love the flavors, but my brain screams “no” every time I sip, as drinking habanero just feels wrong

M: Medium body, smooth, oily, adequate carbonation

O: I want to love this beer, but love is hard sometimes

This is a masterful pairing of habanero spice with the potent, juicy hops of Sculpin. But thanks to the dignity-destroying Stone Punishment and a recent experience with Ghost Face Killah, I think I am done with in chile beers in general. I am going to attempt to not let this new bias trash this score. (1,732 characters)

Photo of smanson56
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 6 pack at my local bottle shop since it's now available here in NH. As I am a big fan of Grapefruit Sculpin I had to try the Habanero Sculpin I will have to say the Habanero over powers this beer way to much burn to be a pleasant beer to drink on a regular basis. Maybe at a chili fest but not for normal drinking day to day. (337 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2


On tap at Old Grove.

A: Light Straw gold with a frothy white head. Nice color. Apposed next to regular Sculpin it's notably lighter in color. That's odd.

S: Actually has more hop character than recent batches of Sculpin. Nice mango notes meld with grapefruit and orange. The spicy habanero is quite nice in the aroma: powerful and unique.

T: Very spicy up front and it stays strong throughout. Pretty nice flavor from the pepper which goes well with the grapefruit, mango, and orange. Bitterness is subjugated by the heat. Burns the throat and the back of the palate at the end.

M: Lower medium in body with upper moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is sticky and dry.

Overall: Good appearance, aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel, but the heat from the pepper affects the overall. I don't want more than 2 ounces. Definitely worth trying, but not something to drink in quantity. (883 characters)

Photo of RyBrew54
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

"Tastes like burning" -Ralph Wiggum

Surprisingly not much to the nose. Take regular Sculpin and crank up the heat with one of the hottest peppers around. Not bad if you pair it with fajitas or some awesome spicy food. (218 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Hunahpu Day pour #9. Pours golden copper with a small white head. Smell is mango grapefruit, very similar to regular Sculpin. Havanero spice up front and on the finish. Hides some of the great flavor of the base beer though still has some fruit citrus bitter underneath. I just don't get the pepper beers. This is probably the best of them in the pepper beer style, but why ruin such a great beer? Meh. (402 characters)

Photo of poppollutesminds
3.62/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Way too much heat on this to enjoy a full 12 ounces. The great does grow on you after the first sip but definitely overwhelms the awesome sculpin base. (151 characters)

Photo of kevdemers
3.63/5  rDev -4%
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 Beerds
3.63/5  rDev -4%
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)

Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 366 ratings.