Habanero Sculpin | Ballast Point Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
very good
498 Reviews
Habanero SculpinHabanero Sculpin

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by billshmeinke on 02-26-2011

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 498 | Ratings: 2,468
Photo of krl2112
2.04/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Since I love the grapefruit sculpin I thought I would give this one a try. Honestly for me, this beer is horrible. I like spicy things but I can't even drink this. I took one sip and my mouth is still burning 5 minutes later. For me this is a horrible beer. I like beers with peppers but I can't even drink this one.

 316 characters

Photo of Crunk_certified
3.79/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Hot! The craftsmanship overall is world class. Damn spicy, but works. If your a fan of ballast point and spicy food I would try it. Would I buy again? no. But happy i grabbed a sixer.

 184 characters

Photo of AFCPar-tie-ers
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you dont like hot shit, dont drink it. It says 'habanero' so if you know anything about beer, I imagine you might know about food and know that habanero is hotter than any other pepper you can buy at the grocery store, by far...So if you expected this to not have a good kick, then you missed the point. This beer is GREAT! By far the best 'chili' beer. And still a VERY good beer for anyone that likes a little heat. Get some! Pours with a one finger head...but the heat leaves my gf asking for more

 507 characters

Photo of Sparty1224
4.01/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving: 12 oz. bottle poured into a Founder's pint glass. Bottled on 12/19/14, making this just over a month old.

A: Looks like regular Sculpin, clear, dark, golden-yellow. There is a lot of floating sediment if you look closely enough, which may have to do with the addition of the peppers.

S: First thing I pick out is fresh pepper. Not necessarily habanero pepper, since this isn't a sweet aroma, but definitely fresh, earthy pepper aroma. There is some subtle hoppyness in the background, with subtle notes of tangerine and grapefruit, but it definitely does not explode with hops like regular Sculpin.

T: Wow, this guy is hot. It may not be the equivalent of biting into a habanero (that's just cruel), but this is definitely hotter than your average hot sauce or jalepeno pepper. It's a good natural burn and I like it a lot. Because this is so hot, I can't really comment on much else. Any trace of Sculpin underneath is pretty much obliterated by the heat. I even have a hard time discerning if this is an IPA vs. some other style like a golden ale or pale ale. It's all heat from the moment it hits your tongue.

M: Hot, hot, hot.

O: This is a tough beer to score. Purely on the style, it's not too bad. I'd dial the heat back a touch and maybe bring the IPA elements forward, but overall, this is an IPA made with habanero and they nailed it. Compared to other beers though, it all depends on how much you like spicy foods. Me personally, I like spicy food, so I enjoyed this beer, but could really only have one. It reminds me a lot of Founder's Spite, which is also really good. Way hotter than Mango Magnifico, and not quite as balanced. Easy to forget this is a world-class IPA underneath.

Recommendation: Avoid if you don't like really spicy food. If you like things moderately hot to really hot, and you like IPAs, would definitely try this one out.

 1,876 characters

Photo of rab53
1.87/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Vile. Looks innocent, like the regular Sculpin. Smelled vegetal and savory.
As soon as the beer touched my lips, I retched. Managed to swallow the second sip with a cringe.

Soon afterwards, the back of my throat began to burn unpleasantly. Now, I enjoy spicy foods, but hate "spicy for the sake of spicy" stuff. I returned a few minutes later determined to get a few ounces down. Mission accomplished, regrettably.

The rest of the bottle is currently eroding through my kitchen plumbing.

 489 characters

Photo of RobTheKnob
2.52/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

This beer looked promising. Good color, unusual but interesting aroma, solid body... but the taste was awful. You could tell there was a good IPA hiding in there somewhere, but the habanero is just so overpowering. I like spicy stuff, don't get me wrong, but Ballast Point probably should have dialed back the fire.

Glad I only bought a single, something I never say about Ballast Point.

 388 characters

Photo of Celtics17
4.29/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This is a unique beer in its effect. It's very spicy, and it leaves you not wanting more. But not in a bad way. It's aroma was green peppers, and a slight hint of hops. The taste was much like the aroma. This left my lips numb, and it changed as it warmed. I liked this one by Ballas Point, but without a doubt you can't drink more than one at a time. Better with a food pairing.

 379 characters

Photo of 57md
3.46/5  rDev -7.7%
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 IMFletcher
3.72/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I consider myself to be a spicy beer fan, but this one is extreme. It's not undrinkable, though, but all I can get is heat and carbonation. However, I find myself wanting to try another. Go figure.

 197 characters

Photo of SlothB77
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

From the tap.

Just too much habanero spice for me. The pepper is not moderated enough. The sad thing is that the original Sculpin is just a great beer, that adding this much habanero just ruins it. Don't ruin something amazing, Ballast Point.

 246 characters

Photo of almostjay
2.79/5  rDev -25.6%
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 vkv822
2.71/5  rDev -27.7%
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.

 333 characters

Photo of Kevinpitts
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

You must like heat to like this beer, otherwise don't try it. Lots of heat and habanero flavor, het still tastes like an IPA. Good beer and great job by Sculpin in my opinion.

 175 characters

Photo of bretmaverick24
1.83/5  rDev -51.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Worst beer i have ever had in my life period! Having the name sculpin in this beer is a disgrace to the name. This beer taste like drinking hot pepper juice with nothing but heat on the tongue. I like spicy food alot and was excited to try this, but it is just pathetic attempt at making a beer. there is just nothing going on in this beer except heat. I'll stick to the grapefruit sculpin which is a amazing beer. One thing i will say is try mixing about 1/4 part habanero sculpin and 3/4 parts grapefruit sculpin and it is quite good.

 545 characters

Photo of Roguer
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Great looking orange/amber clear brew. Notes of hops and chile.

Almost no aroma; slight biscuit, citrus, and pepper heat.

Flavor is almost completely dominated by the habanero. Extremely, extremely spicy; the spiciest beer I've ever had, by a fair margin. Behind the pepper heat is a nice citrus hop profile, but the lovely and juicy flavors from regular Sculpin just cannot get to the forefront and shine.

This is a tough beer to drink, but in no way is it unenjoyable. I highly recommend splitting the bottle; finishing an entire bottle would be too much for me. Pepper heat is really dominating, vice complementary, but it's still a good beer.

Not recommended for people who don't like spicy food.

 705 characters

Photo of stickyv
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

It has some kick but just enough for you to feel it. The heat doesn't linger so don't be afraid of what you're purchasing. A glass of milk won't be necessary ;)

 160 characters

Photo of leitmotif
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%
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.


 398 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
2.95/5  rDev -21.3%
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 Motleydrunk56
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz Bottle.I love Sculpin but this was just to spicy for me.If your into spicy things this may be just the brew for you.I just could not overlook the Habanero taste.Just to strong.

 182 characters

Photo of Taybeh
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

from a single (6 weeks old)
a: color is a beautiful deep orange red.
s: nose is bready and caramel malty sweetness, then some faint bits of Sculpin's normal hop profile, then a tinge of the peppery heat to come
t: I'm not sure how well this builds off and complements the base beer...the habenero tends to dominate the last 1/3 of the mouthful to the point that it drowns what came before and indeed everything else out. The heat builds and while it isn't overwhelming on its own, it tends to dominate all other flavor notes instead of complementing them.

I like habeneros and heat generally, but this is more of a curiosity. I'd try it again if I was pairing it with the right kind of food...on its own, the first 3-4 oz, I enjoyed, and the rest were an interesting chore. A little hard to know how to rate this; doesn't seem right to rate it against normal IPAs....

 873 characters

Photo of crob3888
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful golden red, with an off yellow head with big bubbles. Smells like sculpin, but with a slight kick. Tastes like a muted sculpin at first, and then the peppers kick in. The heat may be strong for some. But it's perfect if you like hot spicy foods. I paired it with a taco salad and it was one of the best experiences pairing beer with food that I have had.

 364 characters

Photo of ronricorossi
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Holy Jesus, that's spicy. Sting your mouth, level spicy. As big as they brought the grapefruit blast, so now does sculpin bring the pepper. The stinging is so pronounced, this beer is tough to drink on its own, it cries out for food pairing! Drink this with fish tacos you just bought at a taco truck on the streets of LA.

 322 characters

Photo of Soneast
4.5/5  rDev +20%

I like Sculpin and I like spicy foods, and particularly enjoy the fruity flavor of habaneros, which I feel compliments hoppy beers surprisingly well, better than other peppers/chiles at any rate. Needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. The heat is present but, IMO, does not overwhelm the underlying Sculpin base beer, but rather compliments it.

 353 characters

Photo of SensorySupernova
3.66/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Golden with a white head. Not bright red like I was expecting!

Smell: Very nice strong citrus and floral hops.

Taste: Moderately bitter up front, followed by strong spicy pepper flavor that drowns out all else. It isn’t spicy in a way that burns or makes my eyes water, but just a very distinct habanero flavor that completely dominates everything that comes after, including any hint that this is 7% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Moderately thin and carbonated, but once the pepper flavor hits you won’t notice.

Overall: ...interesting. It delivers exactly what it advertises. The base IPA is good, and Ballast Point certainly succeeded in the habanero area. However, this is not something I would drink more than one of, or very often, or to relax. I’m actually not sure when I would drink this. It is definitely a memorable beer, but peppers are not as good in an IPA as they are in a stout.

 902 characters

Photo of beerdedking
4.59/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Easiest beer to rate ever. If you like Habanero peppers as I do, you will find this delectable. Spicy food lovers and heat heads do not miss this beer. Much less IPA than Chili beer, it goes right up to the line but does not cross. The Habanero flavor is very real, while the Sculpin flavor is bringing up the rear. I'll buy this whenever I see it. The most perfect pizza beer I can now think of....

 405 characters

Habanero Sculpin from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 498 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.