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California Ale - Telegraph Brewing Company

Not Rated.
California AleCalifornia Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

118 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 118
Reviews: 62
rAvg: 3.58
pDev: 16.48%
Wants: 5
Gots: 13 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Telegraph Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SBPCGuru on 03-15-2006

Telegraph California Ale is our flagship beer and is our interpretation of the unique ales that were commonly brewed up and down the West Coast in the 19th century. It is an unfiltered medium-bodied beer, with a rich amber color and a rocky, white head. The beer is crafted using domestic American ingredients and fermented with a unique yeast strain that accentuates the hoppy spiciness, while also imparting fruity and subtly tart flavors. The aromas are spicy and earthy, reminiscent of the rich agricultural valleys surrounding Santa Barbara.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 118 | Reviews: 62
Reviews by tyanow:
Photo of tyanow
2.55/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I really want to love this brewery. Really!

I wish I had a ll great things to say about them but so far I have yet to be overly impressed.

This California Ale is so airy and gassy that it is hard for me to even rate, but here's the lowdown based on my one bottle experience.

I do not know how anyone can call this a saison. It has no grassy spiciness and no rustic flavor. If you put this in front of me in a blind taste test, I'd call this an ajunct lager.

It was stored in my beer fridge for a couple of weeks, but when I popped the cork, the thing foamed over and made a mess of my floor, my shirt and my table - bad start.

Once I got that under control, and waited for a a half a glass of foam to settle down I got to see the lovely amber color of the ale. If is filled with a lot of tiny fast moving bubbles.

The taste.... um well... there isn't much of one. Maybe a little yeast but it's hard to tell through all of that foam. Kind of reminded me of Gennesse which i haven't sipped in 25 years.

The worst part for sure is the mouthfeel. it's like filling your mouth up with soda pop and swishing it around your mouth for a minute. It's so lively yest with no payoff.

Clearly this is not on my recommended list.

More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.05/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - This poured a deep orangish-brown with an overly-explosive head.

Smell - The light, easy grain that typifies the style was present but trounced by a heavy yeast aroma.

Taste - The yeast came on way too strong and ruined the delicate balance of this ale.

Mouthfeel - This is a bit bigger than light-bodied but I wouldn't say medium. It had some nice carbonation and no bitterness.

Drinkability - The grain base of this ale was wonderful but the heavy yeast character ruined the experience.

Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Surprising beer. Pours clear copper with a big white head. Spicy hop and malt nose; akin to a Sierra Nevada. The taste is very smooth. Sweet malt and crisp hops, nice balance of citrus and resin, with a very distinctive finish. Sour, funky, bretty, and delicious. Its like a Flemish take on an APA. Neither overrun the other, but instead bring out the best in both.

Photo of ELDAVIS69
4.77/5  rDev +33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is probably one of my favorite Telegraph beers. 750ml poured into my super classy HOTD tulip, the beer pours an intense amber hue with great head retention. Smell is that of yeast & honey with a dash of farm animal. Taste is superb I'm diggin the yeasty spiciness/funk, overall a damn good beer from an under appreciated local brewery.

Photo of sloejams
4.3/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this beer now several times and each time I find myself enjoying it more. My brother now lives in Santa Barbara; so one fine sunny afternoon while visiting him, we biked over to the Telegraph Brewery. It's a small operation that offers tastings - I definitely recommend swinging by if in SB.

Since then I've been seeing their quality beers popping up throughout Los Angeles and more often than not - it's this one.

It's darker and a bit maltier than a traditional saison. In fact, there's no indication by Telegraph themselves that this is a saison. The rest of the elements certainly suggest it though. It has the pepper and citrus tones. A flavor that is quite complex but enjoyed so simply. The malty edge Telegraph infuses will probably be a bit confusing initially - for me the first two times I've tried it. But it warms up to you and you can easily see how this helps it transcend to a be a beer that can be enjoyed all year round.

Photo of MiScusi
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Father's Office in Santa Monica, CA. Poured light brown and had lots of earthy and spicy character to it. Thought there was quite a resemblance to the Russian River Perdition I had earlier. Carbonation was very lively and on the higher side. I have to go with an all around good for this beer because I think it could be an exceptional one to start a night out with. I will need to sample this again to pick up it's nuances.

Photo of Dukeofearl
3.6/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$7.49 for a 750 ml bottle at Lone Hill Liquor in Glendora, May 2008.

Pours a medium amber, more biere de garde looking than saison. A low-moderate carbonation requires a hard pour ro get a head, but once it's there, it lasts a long time.

Aroma of butterscotch and bready malts, a bit of organic tartness alongside.

Flavor is a nice malt mix with a yeasty, slightly herbal tones, and a tart, almost sour ending (after a slightly sweet beginning). Interesting and enjoyable, a bit plain and toned down for my style, but easily drinkable.

Good stuff.

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very big thanks to a kind CA trader who sent me a bunch of these new beers to try. I was intriqued to say the least and dove into this one right first. Served chilled and poured into an oversized wine glass, this one was consumed on 12/22/2008.

The pour was very nice with a rich copper color coming through right away. Nice clarity to it really let the color shine through quite nicely. A small white head of foam rose up but quickly settled down into a light broken crown.

The aroma was very intresting I have to say. Rich notes of citrus hops, some light sour fruits and an abundance of grain notes. Carried over well into the flavor which I can only akin to a nice california steam beer with brett, super friggin cool. Smooth, mellow carbonation and a light body left this one with a nice clean taste to it. Very nice beer that was sippable despite low abv.

Overall I have to say this was a very nicely done beer. One of the most interesting light beers I have had and something of an enigma I have to say. Solid through and through and very much recommended.

Photo of rallison
4.18/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Z's Taphouse in Goleta. Served in a 20 ounce hefeweizen style glass. Served a bit too cold, although not as cold as some places do...at least the glasses weren't chilled. Thank you Z's.

A: Nice semi-cloudy brown/red color with a 1/4" white head that stays as lacing throughout the whole session.

S: This was the only area that was not too impressive. Picked up some standard maltiness, nothing out of the ordinary here.

T: Interesting. That is my first impression. It really is an amber meets a saison, like other people have said. And this exact description was used by me while drinking it, only to come on here and see that as a common thread. But it's quite true. You get a good amber ale basically in the malt bill, but then get just a hint of the funky characteristics of belgian saison yeasts plus a nice spiciness. It really is a nice combo. And it's perfectly balanced, with just the right amount of carbonation. If more ambers had these extra characteristics, I'd be drinking a lot more ambers!

M: Very good. Body is consistent with the good amber ales.

D: Definitely very good. The perfect balance of this beer keeps it very sessionable. Extremely drinkable.

I know this beer is very local, but I'm glad to see another Santa Barbara brewer doing some interesting things. I'm really looking forward to trying their porter. I have high hopes based on this beer and the reviews for the porter. I'd recommend giving this a try if you come through the Santa Barbara County region. Or trade for a bottle, as these are bottled (distribution is extremely limited though).

So yes, recommended.

Photo of metter98
3.5/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is light amber in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a two-finger high off white head that died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of citrusy hops and fruity yeast in the nose.
T: The taste has earthy flavors with hints of spices towards the finish and is accompanied by a very light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a high amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite tasty and is a good representation of the style.

Photo of plaid75
1.99/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

On draft at Toronado, San Francisco, CA.

Poured a dark copper hue with a half finger foamy white head. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured doughy malts and bret.

The taste consisted of an unpleasant tartness.

The mouthfeel was average for the style with a moderate astringency.

Overall a confused steam beer. Not very good.

Photo of RichardWalter
3.89/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours tall. My glass was cold. Full pint glass with a little bit of lacey white foam that stays on the glass during the drink. Lighter reddish brown color. Opaque. No noticeable aroma.
Tastes full, hops, earthey, citrusy, hint of orange. Mouthfeel was also full with carbonation.
Great with fish tacos.

Photo of megahurts4
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Telegraph California Ale

Appearance: amber, huge head, some nice lacing.

Smell: yeast, grain, and malty hop.

Taste: mild yeast, a maltiness, mineral water, and a light sweetness.

Mouthfeel: medium-light and smooth.

Overall:
This is a decent brew. It is nicely crafted but has a potent mineral water flavor. It seems to mask most of the other nice flavors unfortunately.

Photo of wedgie9
3.16/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tasted from bottle at Lush West Town. Pours clear amber with a medium off-white head that leaves heavy lace. Nose is fairly light with some caramel malt and a bit of non-descript fruitiness, black licorice, and something metallic. Flavor is slightly tart up front with the malt and yeast kicking in heavily on the middle and finishing with solid bitterness, and the metallic flavor comes through as well. The body is medium with lively carbonation and a long, bitter finish.

Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ML from the San Luis Obispo BevMo.

Near clear amber colored ale with a tall off-white to tan colored head that dissipates fairly fast. Quite dark for a beer in the Saison category. Amber might be generous and maybe I ought to be calling this a brown colored beer. But there is a bit too much orange in there to really call it brown.

The smell is a little sweet and spicy with the flowery aroma that you would expect from a beer of this type. Quite spicy for this beer type and much more like a Belgian pale in this respect. Lots of pepper and a little cinnamon and coriander.

The taste begins dry and quite spicy and a little bitter. Quite a smack in the mouth taste-wise this is certainly no mild and subtle beer this really gets your attention. Dry and peppery and solidly bitter this isn't a Saison with lots of subtle flavors this is the type that stuns you mouth with the power of it. Definitely at the extreme end of Saison flavor.

The mouthfeel is rather thick for the style.

Drinkability is always subjective to the drinker but for this beer it will be more so. Very powerfully flavored this is comparable to Imperial IPA in its flavor intensity. I would have to call this an extreme beer and the strongest flavored Saison I have ever tasted. If you want a mild flowery beer then THIS is NOT the beer for you. I you like EXTREME beers then this IS a beer for you.

Photo of JayTheFinn
3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had one of these after work out on the deck at Peabody's in Montecito. Great beer for such an occasion and location. It's very reminiscent of a hefeweizen but with a little more body and while going down much smoother. I like the cloudy look. I don't know why that tends to excite me, probably cuz whenever I've had a cloudy hefe or pale I do seem to prefer it over the pristine clear ones I've had. It's just a bias of mine, one that could probably smashed by a really decent beer in those styles.

Photo of ibbjamin
2.06/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A workmate gave me this 750ml bottle to try and get back to him on its quality. Apparently the brewer is a friend of his mother. I told him I'd give my honest opinion. Poured into a pils glass.

Pours leaving a standard sized fizzy off white head. Transparent and golden yellow in color. Minimal head retention.

I detect a lot of Belgian yeast and bready hints in the nose. Banana peel, clove, grassy hops and white grape as well. Reminds me more of a tripel than anything.

Taste is off to me. Hard for me to describe, I mean some of the characteristics I noted in the nose, but much more confused.

Mouth is lighter body with a somewhat watery medium finish. A bit funky, but to me, this is not the good kind of funk I have become fond of.

I will gladly try another of their beers, maybe even this one again. I am hoping this may just be a bad batch or something because this one just can't be right.

Photo of roblowther
3.19/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Ah! Saison. Couldn't place it. So much for my beer judging skills. It is a clear golden copper with a thin head, and it puts on a good carbonation show. The smell is caramel, pine, butter, and straw. (I guess I did pick up on something farm-ish after all). The taste is malty with a clean, crisp finish. It is a bit transparent, if I may use that term, and a touch metallic. The mouthfeel is nicely carbonated but a bit thin. The beer has good balance but finishes a bit harsh. All in all a decent brew, but not worth the price of the ticket to CA to get it.

Photo of grub
3.7/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

group tasting may 26/07 with biegaman, Viggo, Lexx, crwills, blankboy@RB, tupalev@RB, and me (grub). everybody threw something into the mix and we had a great lineup of beer. biegaman contributed this one, so thanks jan!

750ml bottle, corked and caged.

pours reddish amber colour, getting lighter and more hazy towards the bottom of the bottle. very small white head drops fast and leaves no lace.

aroma is nice. bit of malt vinegar. light lemony sourness. bit of funk. light cracker malt. bit of citrus character.

taste is good. light cracker malt. bit of lemony sourness. medium-low bitterness level. touch of orange and grapefruit.

mouthfeel is good. medium carbonation level. fairly light bodied with a dry finish.

drinkability is good. balanced and interesting beer.

Photo of Samuel906
2.82/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance:

Light reddish brown with a ton of carbonation and head up front that leaves very light lacing. Very high clarity. A pretty nice color actually; looks more like iced tea than beer to be honest.

Aroma:

I'm can't really put my finger on it, but I do not like the smell of this beer, and for someone who likes gettin my nose up in that, it is a turnoff. And reading some of the other reviews, it sounds like this can be hit and miss. It was very muted, some yeast and citrus, green apples spices and cloves.

Palate:

Pretty light, and super high carbonation. Refreshing, crisp, good very cold. The sweet leaves you feeling a little sticky.

Taste:

Citrus... Yeast... Malt... Spices... Pretty simple but it works; clean, tasty and refreshing.

Overall:

I'm honestly having a hard time calling this one... Very drinkable but very simple. Not an adventure for your taste-buds and it's not gonna get you very drunk. I liked it, something a little different, but I can't see myself every buying it again.

Photo of kojevergas
3.15/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with a cork and screwcap top served into a N'ice Chouffe stem-goblet in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live.

A: Pours a one and a half finger head of slight cream, good thickness, and decent retention. Colour is a semitransparent light copper.

Sm: Light cream and barley. Some light raw or candied sugar. A bit yeasty. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Candy sugar, barley, light malt, and yeast. Pleasant but simple. Nicely balanced, but a bit edgy on the yeast end. Strangely built for the style. My main problem is its simplicity.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and sharp. Too thick for the lack of flavours and relatively low abv. Doesn't really suit the flavours.

Dr: Drinkable but forgettable. Pretty mediocre. If you're a hardcore fan of the style (if those exist!) you might like it, otherwise steer clear.

Photo of throwitallaway
3.18/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought from South Bay Liquor. Poured from a 750ml. bottle into a pint glass. Amber color with a small head that recedes quickly. Unless my nose isn't working properly today, this isn't the most aromatic beer. I get vague notes of spice and sour. Taste starts off with spice and sour and then transitions to fruitiness that's backed up with malts. Some hop bitterness too. The mouthfeel is on the thin side unfortunately. Overall this beer is a little hollow and boring. The taste and mouthfeel simply aren't full enough. Bummer.

Photo of Kc12349
2.33/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: average looking, amber, slightly cloudy
Smell: sweet and acidic
Taste: again acidic overtones are a bit overwhelminh
Mouthfeel: thin with little head
Drinkability: a struggle to continue after half a glass

I gave this a try because the label looked respectable enough and on the whim that it was named after the state of my youth. It took me a couple sips to decide on it, but it grew quickly tiresome. I regretting buying the wine size bottle I had purchased. I am unsure in retrospect if the beer had gone bad or if it was intended to taste as acidic as it did. Regrettably I lean towards the later.

Photo of scottfrie
3.11/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap in Lodi.

Deep lightly cloudy golden iced-tea color with a half inch of dense head. Great film retention, wispy lace. Surprising amount of sugar and fruit, with a little bit of yeast and peppery spices coming through. The nose is a lighter version of this, and a bit grainy. Thicker mouthfeel than I was expecting with a creamy body and ample, fuzzy and frothy carbonation. Tingly at times. Not terrible but I didn’t really dig it.

Photo of micromaniac129
3.85/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours quite clear and has a amber hue. A super tall white head sits atop a massively carbonated brew. The white foamy cap doesn't fade but instead grows, now thats a carbonated beer.
Aroma is malty with a tad of spice and yeast.
Taste is dry with some caramel malts. Hop profile here is low with not much flavor although there is some bitterness. Towards the end I can pick p some grains or bread and biscuits. I found this beer to be extremly over carbonated, perhaps to much sugar, that produced way too much foam. There was an easy three fingers worth the whole time. I think it taste good on the whole and by reading other reviews I'll put this in the rereview list and check at a latter date.

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California Ale from Telegraph Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 118 ratings.