I gotta be honest, you guys. I was not excited about this review. I made eye contact with this beer and tried my best to ignore it. I thought you might enjoy a nice review of Boulevard’s ginger radler, or maybe the latest sour from Crooked Stave. But some jerk-o in the liquor store recommended it and used the words “special” and “limited”, which is basically like telling a crack addict that this week’s shipment is extra cracky. I had to review it, which unfortunately means I also had to drink it.


In general, I love Ballast Point. Any brewery that can go from a perfect coffee vanilla porter (Victory at Sea) to a perfect IPA (Sculpin) is doing something right. Plus they advertise that they are “dedicated to The Craft”, which is a film that I too am greatly devoted. But I’ve never once had a good pepper beer. Most of the time they are just too jarring and overwhelming to be enjoyable. I was hoping that their Habanero Sculpin could change that.


Cracking it open, the smell is pure IPA. Bitter, floral, and no heat or spice anywhere. This is a good sign. Unfortunately, the first sip is an explosion of taste that can only be described as “the Devil’s barf.” I started uncontrollably shaking my head no. I had visions of the scary chick from The Craft belittling me. I regretted every decision I’d ever made that led me to this moment in my life. It was like drinking straight pepper jelly while being stung by a scorpion/wasp hybrid monster. I am truly, deeply unhappy right now.

So, in general, this is a pass for me. I guess if you enjoy sucking hot sauce out of a sewer’s butthole, then this beer might satisfy your needs. For everyone else, I’d suggest the original or grapefruit version of Sculpin.

Likeliness of Me Watching The Craft Tonight Rating: 8 out of 10
Current Sadness Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Overall Rating: 0 out of 10

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5 Responses

  1. Wendooku says:

    I love a good pepper beer, and I enjoy this one. However, other great pepper beers include Prairie’s Bomb!, Westbrook’s Mexican Cake, and Central Waters’ Space Ghost. They are much less aggressive. If you’ve not tried them, I highly recommend you do so. Cheers!

    • Junk Banter says:

      Great suggestions! I actually don’t mind Prairie’s Bomb!, but I guess I put that in a different category–it’s got a chile spice to it but it’s so much more subtle. I haven’t had the chance to try Mexican Cake, but hopefully one day!

  2. Nmitsthefish says:

    You went about this review all wrong. OK maybe not wrong because its spot on, but it requires a second part that you did not investigate: combinations. I’ve yet to meet the psychopath that can bring a sixer of this to a gathering and put away all 72oz of what can only be satan’s fiery semen. But when I crack one of these open, it gets introduced into every other beer I have throughout the night: for science! A quarter of a bottle of this (even an eighth) mixed into a nice oily stout is magnificent. Play with a whole set of beer mixology and then you’ll have an amazing and robust review. 😉

    • Junk Banter says:

      Intriguing idea! If I’m ever dumb enough to buy this liquid form of Hitler again, I’ll give your experiment a shot. I will probably curse your name the entire time though.

  1. August 22, 2015

    […] years ago and she is probably furious that I am reviewing a sour before her. She recently reviewed Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin, which almost made her projectile vomit like a certain dog that I know. While I happen to like […]