California Ale - Telegraph Brewing Company

Not Rated.
California AleCalifornia Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

62 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 62
Hads: 124
rAvg: 3.49
pDev: 13.47%
Wants: 5
Gots: 18 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 62 | Hads: 124
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.89/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Field Of Drafts held at The Hanger in Lancaster, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, and caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and caramel flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink. (560 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
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. (552 characters)

Photo of brentk56
2.86/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: It's a looker, with a huge head sitting atop the clear amber liquid; great retention and lacing

Smell: Toast, Granny Smith apples, horseblanket and a flinty aspect

Taste: The carbonation is so high that it is hard to discern the flavor elements up front, but once the bubbles settle down, the Brett and Granny Smith apple flavors take over; the lemony tartness builds, after the swallow and the finish is chalky

Mouthfeel: Overcarbonated, with a medium body

Drinkability: At first I thought that perhaps I had a bad bottle, but then I read a number of other reviews; I wasn't expecting a sour but this beer is way out there; the label says that it is subtly tart but there is nothing subtle about this one; I have had a number of sours and keep trying to like this one in that context but I am afraid I cannot (825 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ripe tangerine with barely perceptible showers of superfine yeast. I'm sure there will be more yeast on subsequent pours (note: there isn't). The softly creamy crown is slightly more beige than eggshell and looks pretty good as it deflates. I could be looking at an Oktoberfest, a bock, an amber ale or any number of other styles.

The aroma is slightly more toasted than (but is otherwise similar to) a Belgian pale ale. It smells like a spicy yeast strain was used and there's a fair amount of earthy-musky fruit. Farmhouse funk is nowhere to be found. In the end, the nose falls short in the personality department.

California Ale does not fit neatly into any single style (the brewery admits as much). The flavor is most similar to the small handful of 'Belgian amber ales' that I've had. The malt is almost as toasted, as earthy and as nutty as it is in many Oktoberfests.

A peanut brittle-like flavor and sweetness is perfectly balanced by bitterness and spice. It's difficult to know if the spiciness is due to the yeast or the hops. Probably both. This is good beer, but it doesn't have the chops (depth and complexity) to hang with the world's best. Or the country's best, for that matter.

The mouthfeel is pretty good if judged in isolation. It's medium in heft, is slightly slick on the finish, and is softly bubbled. If judged strictly as a saison (note: the style has since been changed to California Common), the score would be one notch lower due to a lack of fluffiness and energy.

California Ale's biggest assets are its uniqueness and its drinkability. I'm having a pretty good time with this '750', but have no desire to buy another bottle. It will be interesting to taste Telegraph's take on a few other styles. (1,735 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +14.6%
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. (1,068 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.15/5  rDev -9.7%
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. (858 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
4.19/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle,

A: Pours amber with a frothy almost gushing white head, fair retention.

S: Yeasty white pepper, almost Bretty, hay.

T: Candied oranges, rum, tangerine. Yeasty, rustic flavour. Saison like for sure.

M: Nice full carbonation, but not over the top. Full-bodied, crisp.

D: An intriguing beer. Very tasty, another winner from Telegraph. I don't know why it is listed as a Common, it's an ale and Telegraph says it's in the farmhouse style. Whatever its true style it's good stuff. (495 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev +20.3%
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. (1,390 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap from brewery.
Poured a nice amber color with a white rocky head. The beer is unfiltered, medium bodied. Nose has a fruity, spicyness with nice malts. Taste is good. hops and spiciness with a mix of fruits and tartness that is really good. Motuhfeel is good and sweet. (274 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.63/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What is California Ale? Like the state itself, it's a diversity of colours that all sort of just come together. The glass is brimming with orange and reddish highlights awash against a tarnished golden backdrop. Ironically enough, it seems to appear darker when held into the light. Its head has great big bubbles in it that sit like giant boulders.

The beer may be called California Ale but it definitely smells more like it's Belgian - a peppery, effervescent bouquet let's known that this Golden State brew has implemented a little help from an old-world strain of yeast, one that surely speaks French or Flemish, but Spanish probably not. It has soft notes of bruised fruits and an overtly phenolic persona.

The zesty yeast keeps things interesting and lively on the palate. Alongside a bubbly, bottle-conditioned carbonation notes of apple and bruised fruit dance the Charleston, meanwhile subtle but peppery phenols poke away at your tongue little by little. Fortunately there's sweet, caramelly malts to keep them both in check, especially on the finish.

A beer like this, which has a lot of character packed into a relatively modest frame, is quite easy to drink. The malts are assertive with some toffee and bready notes, but they are by no means heavy. The spiciness you become immune to, a tolerance is built up over the course of the 750 ml. It's pleasant and while more flavourful, still has mainstream appeal.

California Ale is a nice, albeit everyday kind of beer. While nothing extraordinary, it is, like a good brand of table wine, something worth stocking the house with if only to be enjoyed casually and often, best amongst a group and over a nice meal. Beer culture would be much improved if this (and not light lagers) were found in the fridges of average Americans. (1,795 characters)

Photo of plaid75
1.99/5  rDev -43%
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. (354 characters)

Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at biegaman's super extravaganza spring Saison tasting! Biegaman cracked this one open.

Pours a cloudy orange/brown, thin off white head, lace spots, settles to a thin layer, head lasts. Smell is neat, sweet, honey, bit of funk, sour fruity middle, citrus/lemons, kind of yeasty. Taste is similar, malty, wheat, citrus, sourness, floral and fruit, bit of vanilla, yeast and fruits in the finish, decent complexity, flavours work well together. Mouthfeel is light bodied with medium carbonation, good drink, easy to put down and refreshing for the heat. Thanks Jan! (575 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
3.05/5  rDev -12.6%
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. (505 characters)

Photo of illidurit
3.68/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy bulletrain76. Pours a hazy, opaque, orange-copper color with a big billowing white head. Aromas of lemons and caramel, maybe orange zest too. Honeyed caramel malt flavor with a light lemony tinge on top. Some pepper and possibly clove too. Pours overly effervescent but after some time and swirling it becomes more drinkable. (341 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
3.11/5  rDev -10.9%
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. (441 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
3.44/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My thanks to brianthompson for another chance at this beer. I graded it poorly the first time and I believe it was a bad bottle. He was kind enough to connect me with another. Instead of a second tasting, I will re-write my first.

Telegraph Apr 29, 2008

A - Murky golden honey. Not much head, leaves quick. Lacing almost non existent.

S - Pungent wild and barnyard, in a good way. Perfume too.

T - Thin malt center with lots of spice and wild yeast filling the ticket. Kind of one dimensional and watery at finish, but still pretty good.

M - Light, medium body, fair coating, good carbonation.

D - Not my style, but easy enough to quaff. Thanks again, brianthompson. (672 characters)

Photo of Floydster
3.48/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle shared by Noah today, thanks again for picking this up on your way down from San Luis Obispo, poured into a Duvel tulip glass

A-Golden orange color, 1 1/2 inch creamy white head, decent retention, some lacing at first
S-Tons of earthiness, citrus, flowery accents, yellow fruits, yeast, a bit of funkiness, and light hops
T-Starts off with an earthy flavor, citrus and chewiness in the middle, finish is moderately funky with some hops providing a dry backbone along with floral aspects, gets a little sweeter as it warms, definitely remains earthy all the way through
M-Dry, rustic, funky, and yeasty mouthfeel, medium bodied, moderate to soft carbonation, taste lingers a little bit
D-Could have drank this bottle by myself and that is about it, pretty light overall but heavy for a saison at times, alcohol is hidden well and is smooth for the most part

Not what I was exppecting from the name or color, was a nice surprise though, not badly priced for its style around seven dollars either, would drink again, worth trying (1,059 characters)

Photo of micromaniac129
3.85/5  rDev +10.3%
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. (697 characters)

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.88/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Telegraph California Ale has a hazy gold to yellow body with a small white head. Retention and lacing are both ok.

Interesting aroma. Some citrus hops, pale malt and a little bit of brett.

I've heard of Telegraph brewing before, but I knew nothing about this beer when I ordered it at a small beach-side bar. Based on the name I assumed it was a steam beer, and it had some steam characteristics, but it also has similarities to a Belgian Saison. The strongest flavor is the musty, horsey flavor of brett, which also makes this beer extremely dry. I like the brett, it was a pleasant surprise, and it is there in just the right dose. Besides the brett there is a little bit of lightly tart fruit, a light, pale malt backbone and just a little nip of citrus and bitterness from the hops.

Bone dry with fairly active carbonation.

This beer doesn't really fit into any style guidelines, but it was definitely enjoyable. (920 characters)

Photo of grub
3.7/5  rDev +6%
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. (789 characters)

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 750ml corked bottle poured into a nonic pint glass. The saison appears a cloudy golden amber color with about two fingers of fluffy bone white foam. Smells and tastes of sweet citrus such as orange peel, sour lemon, yeast, slightly peppery, mildly sour. A notch better than medium bodied with more than ample carbonation for a saison. Not too bad. (349 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.57/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1 pint, 9.4 oz. bottle into a pint glass. Color was caramel coppery. Lots of head, thanks in part to a bad pour by me. That probably also contributed to the frothy film on the sides and the frothy lacing on the top that stayed throughout the pour.

Smelled of sweet floral notes up front. Seems to be lots of sugar in the nose as well. Could almost smell the stickiness. Citrus hops in the nose, too, led by tangerine and lemon zest.

Surprisingly the taste was a bit different than the nose. It’s almost like the makers forgot to finish the beer. Tastes include sugar, spices (cloves, pepper?), caramel, light citrus.

Medium body. Thin texture. Average carbonation. Abrupt, watery finish. Clean and refreshing.

Nothing too exceptional about this beer except for the smell. (794 characters)

Photo of magictrokini
4/5  rDev +14.6%
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. (365 characters)

Photo of jwinship83
3.01/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

750ml corked and caged bottle that i picked up at the naperville whole foods. i didnt know that this brand was sold in illinois and havnt seen it anywhere else. batch 72. drank out of my samuel adams perfect pint glass.

A- this one pours out a translucent light copper colored body with a small off-white head made up of very tightly knit bubbles. the head has above average retention and leaves behind a nice wall of lacing.

S- the first thing i notice about the nose is yeast. very spicy smelling with plenty of fresh cracked pepper. theres also almost a brett like odor. toasted bread malts. earthy and spicy hops at the end.

T- the spice that i could smell comes back in force in the taste. very spicy and peppery. after that i get some toasted bread malts and a slight nuttiness. earthy hops and more spice at the end.

M- the body is on the lower side of medium. the carbonation is very high.

O- overall i think they need to tone the spices down in this one. theyre very strong and make this seem pretty one dimensional. the price isnt bad (i think i paid around $9 for this bottle which is cheaper than most 750s) but i still dont see myself picking this up again. (1,177 characters)

Photo of number1bum
3.47/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from BeerTruth, thanks man.

Pours a pretty clear amber color with a finger of off-white head that settles quickly and doesn't keep much of a lace or leave any stick.

Smell has some buttery toffee aromas, a subtle honey sweetness, some earthy yeast notes and has a bit of sourness.

Taste is the same as the smell really, with a subtly sweet honey/buttery caramel taste, a bit of fruitiness and some sourness. Barely any yeast character. Just a bit of spice. Overall, I suppose you could characterize this as subtle...I think I'd go with bland. Not terribly interesting, but it's smooth and drinkable.

The clarifying note here does help, because I was very puzzled that this was listed as a saison at first. The resemblance is a stretch, and the bottle itself doesn't make any mention of it being a saison, so I was scratching my head. Saison or not, it's a decent beer, but nothing to get excited about. (920 characters)

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California Ale from Telegraph Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.