Sculpin - Habanero
Ballast Point Brewing Company

Sculpin - HabaneroSculpin - Habanero
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American IPA
Ranked #4,489
Ranked #23,010
3.82 | pDev: 15.71%
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Sculpin - HabaneroSculpin - Habanero
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 544 | Ratings: 2,648 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of macrosmatic
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Cycle Brewing goblet.

A: Hazy gold with a fairly low amount of visible carbonation. Forms a thin white head that fades to a ring of foam.

S: Grapefruit and spicy peppers almost in balance. Some tropical fruit, mangoes, and a light cracker malt body. Not as big of an aroma as I expected, but pretty decent.

T: Spicy peppers and citrus fruit. Some tropical fruits again. Can’t taste much of the malts here – just a touch of sweetness. Then the burn from the hot peppers takes over – quite spicy, to the point of tingling gums and a fire in the belly. A nice chili flavor develops though - it tastes like you’re biting a pepper (though not into a whole habanero, of course). The spice grows and lasts for quite awhile after the swallow, masking any of the fruity hop bitterness that I typically enjoy from Sculpin.

M: A medium body, average carbonation sensation. Who knows about the alcohol flavors that might be lurking under the pepper burn…but it doesn’t seem overly alcoholic.

O: Look – it’s a good (very good) beer that has had a huge amount of spicy peppers added. If that strikes you as something you’d like, I think this is really good. I’m having difficulty finding fault in the beer, other than it’s too spicy for me. And I like spicy food, hot sauce, etc., but I don't look for it in my beer very often. But true faults are few in this beer if you can get around the sheer undrinkability factor - other than you can’t taste around it to find the Sculpin characteristics at all. I will say that the more I drink through the beer in the glass, the less "burny" the beer seems. Maybe my taste buds are seared off.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
1.09/5  rDev -71.5%
look: 1 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 1

Unknown vintage; drank 7/3/14 @ World of Beer Evanston.

Clear dandelion hue.

Off-white head; decent lace.

Mild mango nose.

Thin mouthfeel.

Um, nope. From the moment this touched my lips, an unpleasant burn set on my tongue, lips & esophagus.

Endurable but thoroughly unenjoyable. Got through 3-4 sips & rejected it like a baby bird touched by humans.

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GuyFawkes from Illinois, Apr 01, 2019
Photo of kevin3046
4.45/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful orange haze with light head and lacing. Smell of grass and fruit. Now let's get to what makes this one of the most interesting and unique beers out there. This thing stings as soon as it hits the front of your tongue and doesn't stop till it goes down your throat. It like drinking hot sauce, but that is a good thing because I personally love spicy stuff. There is the flavor of a decent IPA in there as well. This one is not for the faint at heart. Very different and interesting to say the least. Highly recommended!!!

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kevin3046 from Arkansas, Mar 08, 2018
Photo of labisch
3.42/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is my least favorite Sculpin, but I'm not a huge fan of spiced foods or drinks in the first place. The heat is pretty substantial at the end of each sip and lingers for several minutes.

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labisch from Michigan, Feb 25, 2018
Photo of brewerburgundy
3.84/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

In tulip at Danville, VA brewery.

Slightly hazy copper with average white head.

Ooh! The floral, sweet heat of the delicious habanero pepper is apparent. It’s complemented by some lemon and orange citric hopping.

Habenero up front again, delicate but domineering. Low key citric accompaniment.

Soft carbonation on a medium body.

The peppers are a very good addition and while they dominate the beer, the base keeps things in balance.

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brewerburgundy from California, Dec 22, 2017
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.19/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a lightly hazy orange with a rocky, long lasting cap. The aroma is awash with citrusy, tropical hops and smoky habanero heat. Sweet maltiness in there too. A barrage of grapefruit, pineapple, peach, mango hops is immediately countered by lots of habenero heat. The two battle for supremacy while a sturdy, cookie dough malt balast somehow keeps things in check. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a light carbonation. Lips tingle immediately from the heat and it builds. The finish is quite spicy and moderately to highly bitter.

This is a fantastic spiced beer. The Ballast Point levels of hops stand up to the potent habanero heat and their interplay is interesting. Highly recommended for hot food lovers but may be too much for some.

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CAMRAhardliner from Ontario (Canada), Nov 07, 2017
Photo of citizencane
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Can't tell how this looks, rated off general experience with the sculpin beers. Smells malty with some hops, malt, and spicy notes. Pretty balanced between generic hops and smooth malts. Tastes same, with a heavy amount of pepper spiciness on the aftertaste that lingers and slowlyi intensifies. Not bad. If you're looking for a drinkable fairly mild IPA with a spicy and vegetal twist, this is it. Not as excessive as Flying Dogs Carolina Reaper, but still heavy pepper presence. Overall not for those who don't enjoy spicy, but pretty good for those who do or don't mind it. Malt background shines through clearly and counteracts spiciness a bit.

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citizencane from Pennsylvania, Oct 05, 2017
Photo of dsa7783
2.5/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Six pack copped from Barnstable. Pours a copper ruddy hue with minimal frothing. Spicy aroma replete with hints of hops and hot peppers. Similar overall flavor profile. Undrinkable.

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dsa7783 from New Jersey, Sep 03, 2017
Photo of haines710
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very interesting and unique beer. Picked up a bottle at the local supermarket and poured into a pint glass. Beautiful golden color and fruity IPA smell. The pepper is hidden but definitely kicks in the taste. A nice burn makes this a slower drinking beer. Enjoyable if you like hot. Glad I tried this one.

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haines710 from Delaware, Jul 04, 2017
Photo of DFrisselll
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I don't care for this Sculpin version as much as I do some of the others. The look and smell is great but the taste and feel are not to my liking. The habanero is there but not overbearing.
My issue is it leaves a "scatchy" feeling in my throat the other versions did not. I thought maybe it was a bad bottle so I tried another a few days later and the same thing. Must be a reaction to the habanero.
If you like a little spice in your IPA you should give this a try its just not for me.

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Photo of Dbrown144
3.86/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is really quite good. After having your first, it's just something that you kind of crave from time to time. Something about it keeps bringing me back to buy it. Habanero taste and hotness is definitely there and while it's not too hot, its still fairly spicy. The bitter bite of the IPA complements the spicy bite of the habanero nicely.

Really unique beer.

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Dbrown144 from California, Jun 18, 2017
Photo of BeerDawgs
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L - Gorgeous copper cover, with 1 finger of head and lots of lacing

S - Great citrus and bitter hops dominate, and the heat is under the radar in the nose

T - The peppers are too hot to me - a very slow sipper. The heat masks the amazing beer underneath

F - Medium body and carbonation

O - Some may like it, but the heat is too heavy for me. Great brew underneath though

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BeerDawgs from Georgia, Jun 17, 2017
Photo of andrewh995
3.77/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear orange gold with a finger of white head. Smells of peppers and hops. Has a mild hoppy bitterness with plenty of habanero flavor and a mild spice (I think people are exaggerating the spiciness. While it's there, it's not overpowering). Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Overall this is a great chile beer. The habaneros make for an interesting twist on Sculpin, and while not preferable over the sculpin, it's still awesome.

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andrewh995 from Arizona, Jun 02, 2017
Photo of MtnBiker
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great pepper beer. Definitely tastes like habaneros and it is spicy, so if you don't like heat, don't drink this one! Like some others have said, this would be great for cooking with. I'm going to buy a bottle next time just for making some wings.

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MtnBiker from Oklahoma, May 27, 2017
Photo of Figit
4.14/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pure habenero , I'm frankly surprised by how clean the flavor is without being unbearably hot. Ya, it has a bite, but it has all the great fruity floral attributes that you expect. If this was boiled down and mixed with honey, it would make a great wing sauce.

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Figit from Illinois, May 18, 2017
Photo of clm9
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

...If you aren't a fan of heat, why on earth would you drink (let alone rate???) something called a "habanero beer"? The amount of significantly low scores almost entirely attributable to the poster's dislike for spicy/hot things is ridiculously asinine. This, like the grapefruit and pineapple sculpins, is a master-class in balance between the original template (sculpin) and the additional flavor pairing. So, to reiterate one more time for any too slow yet to grasp this simple concept, if you like heat, this beer will give you a new appreciation for what is possible in regards to chile beers; and if you don't like heat...don't drink a habanero beer?

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clm9 from North Carolina, Apr 28, 2017
Photo of bdajedi
3.24/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Medium golden color, light head. Quite spicy finish. If you like spicy things go for it, if not then it's not much more than a fun talking point. Not a sessionable beer

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bdajedi from Bermuda, Apr 21, 2017
Photo of Shanex
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a teku glass.

Ballast point is a bit of a whale in Europe... glad I could try. An interesting ipa even though I could have done without the pepper extra. Cheers!

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Shanex from France, Apr 12, 2017
Photo of AngusOg
3.24/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Too hot, and not enough hops. I like beers that have a slight burn too them, but this one had my mouth on fire, and kept me from being able to taste anything else. Drinkability is low, drain poured mine after I got about 3/4 through it. Maybe good for those that like super spicy things, but this is not for me.

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AngusOg from North Carolina, Apr 02, 2017
Photo of Benjolovesbeer
5/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip:

L: hazy orange, 1" foam, slight carbonation

A: citrus, pine, hops, spicy habanero

F: hot and spicy alcohol burn

T: habanero, badass hot beer, but can taste slight IPA character.

O: this is a badass beer and my favorite hot beer and favorite ballast point. A lot better than expected.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale amber with a frothy white head that leaves a trail of lace.

Smells of citrus, tropical fruit, earthy hops, and pepper.

Taste is in your face tropical fruit and citrus is immediately turned up by the habanero which takes over and lingers to the end. Finishes dry with spicy, earthy hops and habanero. This is an intense beer not for the faint of heart.

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Chickenhawk9932 from Pennsylvania, Mar 26, 2017
Photo of maxdeusphallis
4.57/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a golden clear amber with a finger of white head.

Smell is grapefruit and strong citra hops. Very nice on the nose. Grapefruit, pineapple and mango.

Taste is a juice / hop bomb followed by some significant habanero/ capsaisan heat on the end. Burns my mouth and throat, not from alcohol but from chiles.

I love it, but you have to be a heat head to enjoy this beer.

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maxdeusphallis from North Carolina, Mar 04, 2017
Photo of WoodBrew
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought a bottle of this off the single shelf at Binnys. It poured a clear copper with white head that left some lace. The scent was habanero pepper. The taste is spicy with habanero. The Mouthfeel is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall it's a solid beer. Not necessarily my fav style....ut this would be great with sausage pizza.

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Photo of Stooven
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

As advertised. My gripe is not the heat, but that Ballast sells this in 6ers. If I hadn't found it in a mix-a-6 section, I probably wouldn't have tried it (esp. considering how Ballast prices Sculpin in the Midwest). Maybe a bomber is more appropriate? Shared with a friend with whom you normally eat hot wings, Thai, etc.

I feel this way about a lot of beers. Particularly those of the pumpkin variety.

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Stooven from Illinois, Jan 30, 2017
Photo of Gajo74
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pouring out of the bottle and into the glass, this version is practically indistinguishable from the original; the bright gold color and moderate froth is all there.
The aroma seems to be dominated by a caramel malt sweetness that belies the surprise that will hit the tongue.
Almost instantaneously, the habanero pepper sets fire to the palate. It burns in the mouth and in the finish. The malt backbone is subtle but barely discernible; you really have to look for it. The hops are there too. They are resiny, citrusy and spicy. However, this is all overshadowed by the atomic spice bomb that lights a fire to the senses. It's definitely more of a sipper due to this.
I have mixed feelings about how to rate this one. The spiciness practically wrecks the palate and overshadows any subtleties or elements of the IPA style. I can say for certain that this brew is not for people who hate spicy tastes. However, if you like spice like me, it's worth a try. I liked it and will rate it well although I wouldn't make a session out of it.

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Gajo74 from New York, Jan 12, 2017
Sculpin - Habanero from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 2648 ratings