1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

California Ale - Telegraph Brewing Company

Not Rated.
California AleCalifornia Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

106 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 106
Reviews: 61
rAvg: 3.57
pDev: 17.09%
Wants: 7
Gots: 9 | 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:
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 added by: SBPCGuru on 03-15-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 106 | Reviews: 61 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
2.75/5  rDev -23%

t0rin0, Feb 26, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.9/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

UCLABrewN84, Nov 11, 2013
Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -16%

djrn2, Nov 30, 2013
Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -2%

zestar, Aug 10, 2014
Photo of acurtis
3.25/5  rDev -9%

acurtis, Nov 30, 2013
Photo of metter98
3.5/5  rDev -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.

metter98, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of brentk56
2.8/5  rDev -21.6%
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

brentk56, Mar 04, 2011
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 20, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +12%
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.

mikesgroove, Dec 24, 2008
Photo of Halcyondays
4.2/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

Halcyondays, May 01, 2010
Photo of kojevergas
3.18/5  rDev -10.9%
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.

kojevergas, Nov 03, 2011
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.

barleywinefiend, Sep 01, 2008
Photo of dbrauneis
3.5/5  rDev -2%

dbrauneis, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of Zorro
4.22/5  rDev +18.2%
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.

Zorro, Aug 11, 2007
Photo of biegaman
3.63/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

biegaman, Jul 31, 2011
Photo of LXIXME
3.75/5  rDev +5%

LXIXME, Oct 24, 2013
Photo of plaid75
1.98/5  rDev -44.5%
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.

plaid75, Oct 16, 2010
Photo of Viggo
4/5  rDev +12%
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!

Viggo, Jul 10, 2007
Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.5/5  rDev -2%

GraduatedCashew, Aug 29, 2013
Photo of RoyalT
3.05/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

RoyalT, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of illidurit
3.7/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

illidurit, Jun 28, 2009
Photo of scottfrie
3.1/5  rDev -13.2%
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.

scottfrie, Aug 24, 2012
Photo of srandycarter
3.43/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

srandycarter, May 17, 2008
Photo of ste5venla
3.25/5  rDev -9%

ste5venla, Jun 20, 2013
Photo of Floydster
3.48/5  rDev -2.5%
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

Floydster, May 26, 2009
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
California Ale from Telegraph Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.