I have understandably high expectations for Hot Ones branded sauces. Brain Burner is the first sauce on the new Hot Ones game show so I’m expecting some fireworks. There’s no lead up on the game show, none of that starting with sriracha or the classic and slowly building up nonsense. From the reactions of the contestants I should be in for some pretty extreme heat.

Not only is this sauce on a nationally televised TV show, but it’s following up The Classic, Los Calientes, and The Last Dab…all of which are legit sauces in their own right.

Before I get into the review (or even open the bottle) I’ll praise the labels on all the game show bottles, (especially ‘Eye of the Scorpion’ and ‘Brain Burner’) really great graphics, and I always judge a sauce by its cover. This label was created by Natalia Garcia Briceno.

From the label…

“BRAIN BURNER will melt you mind with its diabolical blend of Scotch Bonnet and Carolina Reaper peppers, but there’s pleasure in the pain thanks to a kiss of sweetness and zesty lime. This sauce will consume your consciousness with capsaicin and leave you wondering which way is up.”

Those are bold words…lets open the bottle and see if this sauce deserves to be on TV.


Heat Level


Sauce Score


Ohhh nice. I can tell you right off the bat this sauce is going to be great. It smells like a freshly opened jar of roasted red peppers. I’m not getting any of the lime flavor that’s boasted about on the label. There’s not as much Reaper pepper as I expect from this sauce but I would expect the mash to be more Scotch Bonnet heavy since it isn’t the hottest sauce on the show. My mouth is watering from this smell, if you’re into hot sauces you know that electric brain feeling you get from a great sauce…I’m getting that without having tasted it yet. The ingredients list is super simple, no garlic, no cumin, just peppers, lime juice, vinegar, and salt. I hope this isn’t an instance of “it smells better than it tastes”. 


Woah woah woah. Sauce is way hotter than it smells. There’s definitely an initial sweetness that goes away super quick. I get why it’s on the show, this a tough sauce to just jump into without a warmup. There’s a lot of Reaper in the spice mix, it’s a long long burn and I can feel it all the way down in that way that on the Reaper pepper can achieve. The spice fades away after a couple of minutes, but the stomach burn is legit and I understand the reactions on the game show. I can’t taste any of the lime, it would be nice if they tossed in some zest to amp that up a little bit.

This is a legit spicy sauce, way more legit than I was expecting. I’m not sure that this sauce will make it into heavy rotation, but it will get a spot on the fridge door. I’m sure I’ll break it out when we have friends over to mess them up, but I can’t imagine eating this in any real way with food unless I’m just in the mood to fuck myself up for a couple of minutes. There are super spicy sauces that still taste amazing…this sauce tastes good, and has a really solid heat level, but I’m not going to be tossing it onto any steak dinners anytime soon. 

Eat It With

I usually have some recommendations for food to go with sauces but this one’s a little tough to nail down. You could honestly put it on most things without worrying too much, but it just doesn’t lend itself to enhancing food. Frankly, it doesn’t quite live up to the hot ones hype. It’s a sauce meant for a game show, and that’s exactly what it is, a lot of razzle dazzle but just not much more than a TV set when you zoom out.