Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 373 | Reviews: 271 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by portia99:
4.53/5 rDev +13.8%
12oz bottle poured into a Portsmouth tulip.
A - Pours a crystal clear pale golden color. Orangey highlights complete the color palette. A finger of short lasting white foam dies to a thick collar with some sticky lacing that clings to the glass all the way thru this one.
S - Wow...huge fresh grapefruit aroma leaps from the glass. Slight medicinal aroma creeps in along with some grassy hop aromas. Only the slightest hint of biscuity malt but the hops dominate this completely.
T - In a word - hoppy! There is an intense bitterness up front that is the first thing that I notice. Surrounding this bitterness are fresh grapefruit and resiny pine. Extremely mild sweetness derived from the malt. Not especially complex - this is all about the hops.
M - Light/medium bodied with a crisp medium/high carbonation level. Very tingly with a bit of a bite on the tongue. Resiny and sticky hops hit every corner of the mouth. Citrus and hop bitterness linger forever after the swallow.
D - This is a pretty impressive hoppy APA. Is this the direction that pale ales are gonna go in the future? Makes me think back to the first time I tried SNPA in the early 90's and falling in love with the west coast hoppy beers. Times change and SNPA doesn't seem that hoppy anymore compared to other beers out there. Right now, this is as intense, bitter and hop flavorful a pale ale as there is out there. The fact that this beer manages to pack all this flavor into a 4.2% session beer is amazing. I'd be tempted to buy cases of this (if I could find that much!) and put it away, but time is going to be an enemy of this one, I'm afraid. Guess I'll settle for having the last couple of these I picked up very quickly and be happy...and hope that somehow this can become a regular offering.
09-24-2010 01:51:11 | More by portia99
More User Reviews:
4.15/5 rDev +4.3%
Poured into a standard pint glass a clear lighter copper/bronze shade with a well defined one finger white head atop.Big grapefruit rind packed in the nose,really fresh and it jumped out at ya,I deteced a little mineral in there as well.Sharp hoppy flavors hit the palate with a sweet biscuit malt base thrown in,it doesnt hold up to the hops though.A little prickly in the feel but this a hop heads dream here,big hops,and very quaffable,this is a cool beer.
10-28-2010 20:28:01 | More by oberon
4.1/5 rDev +3%
12 ounce bottle
Best before 11 10 10, etched onto the bottom of the bottle.
Lightly hazed, dull, lighter tangarine. Off white head, a slow fader, thick collar and leaving ample thicker bits of lacing.
Pungent hopped nose, with grapefruit jumping out.
Fresh tasting, hopped up and thoroughly enjoyable ale. More grapefruit, sweat biscuity malts pave the way for this tasty and at 4.2% quite sessionable offering...duh...nice beer....but no bargain @ $3.99 for the 12 ouncer
12-14-2010 00:31:17 | More by Billolick
4.1/5 rDev +3%
The beer pours a slightly hazy golden orange color with a white head. The aroma is very fruity. I get a lot of fresh papaya and some pine hop character. The beer smells about like an IPA.
The flavor is a mix of papaya and pine with low to medium bitterness. There is a little bit of bready malt, but this beer is all about the hops. Very drinkable.
Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.
This beer has a ton of flavor in a lower alcohol package. I wish breweries would brew more beers like this, instead of just seeing how high the alcohol can be.
10-18-2010 19:29:05 | More by Mora2000
4.03/5 rDev +1.3%
Holiday Wine Cellar
Slightly hazy golden orange and amber. Thick off-white head that sticks around for a bit and then leaves gobs of sticky lacing down the glass.
Pungently hoppy aroma--lots of citrus and floral notes along with some sweet baking bread and biscuits. Well balanced, though still pungently hoppy. Pretty impressive, especially since this bottle has actually been sitting around for quite some time now.
Incredibly well balanced and massively drinkable. Lots of citrus and piney hops balanced well with a biscuity, bready malt backbone. This reminds me of Stone's Pale, with it's very biscuity malt presence, though this Session Pale seems more pungently hoppy. It's delicious stuff.
A fantastic session pale--this and Stone's own Levitation seem quite similar to me. This one leans a little further toward the biscuity side of things while Levitation is a touch more sweet and caramelly.
07-29-2011 01:53:35 | More by ehammond1
4.21/5 rDev +5.8%
Scored a couple of these while in the area for BT. Super clarity, ebbs from yellow to very light orange. Good tiny bubble head.
Aroma was amazing, perfect. Lots of amarillo and maybe nelson?
Taste, pretty easy going, very full of floral hop mouthfeel. One of the best session hoppy beers around. Line this one up with some Daisy Cutter, and I'll take this one every time. Its that good. $3 a bottle is pretty expensive for a session beer, but since it is pretty much the best in its style, I'd say its worth it.
Downside, it is one dimensional to a degree, but how complex of a session ale do you need?
11-07-2010 16:08:19 | More by Beerandraiderfan
3.58/5 rDev -10.1%
12oz bottle into a Stone shaker pint.
A: Very pale yellow, almost like translucent straw, A healthy head sits atop the brew for several minutes, ultimately fading into a thin layer of froth atop the brew.
S: Bright hops. Not face smacking, but certainly respectable given the ABV. It's apparent by the nose (and the name) that hops are the focal point of this brew.
T: Floral and hoppy, but quite thin. A lingering bitterness on the back end, with a hint of grain. Respectable for a "session" pale ale.
M: Very very thin, but nicely carbonated.
D: Strong point of the beer, obviously. Very quaffable.
As a side note, why in the world is this beer $3.49 for a single? This is the sort of beer that I could drop $7-9 for a six pack and feel like I got a decent deal. It's a solid beer, and I appreciate what the West Coast guys did on this one, but the hops, malt, yeast, and water in this one don't add up to the final price. Collabo tax, I guess.
10-15-2010 21:27:33 | More by mondegreen
3.53/5 rDev -11.3%
Appears a pale golden orange copper hue with a bright white head, fine speckled lacing from the head forms tight. Aroma has quite a bit of garlic/onion spiciness amongst the grapefruit rind citrus peels. Mild pale biscuit malts in the background. Flavor makes you pucker up a bit with rough raw bitterness citrus peel/grapefruit rind/onion this has to have loads of summit to be giving me that onion tone. Drinks with a thinner body than the average hoppy as hell west coast ale, but this is designed to give in a bit in the malts to keep the alcohol in check. This is a bit like comparing Michelob Ultra to a standard Mich if you're talking to a beer lay person, but way more flavor with way less calories. Carbonation is moderate steady no complaints. A bit thin compared to some of the hoppy ales out there. Drinkability is solid a bit abrasive with the onion I guess it just depends how sensitive that is.
10-09-2010 06:19:27 | More by WVbeergeek
4.75/5 rDev +19.3%
This beer pours a cloudy, golden yellow color, with a thick, very fluffy white head. the head has a slight yellow tint to it. It fades slowly, leaving a massive lace.
This beer has a grassy hop aroma. It smells more hoppy than I expected. I also get some citrus zest. Not much else.
This beer tastes much like it smells. Hoppy, with a very subtle toasted malty backbone.
This beer is crisp and refreshing. It leaves a grassy hop aftertaste.
This beer would make a good session beer. It is low in alcohol, and the flavor is mild enough. I suppose that is why they call it a session ale.
Overall: This beer is pretty good. For what it is, it has loads of flavor. I like it, and would drink it again. I like seeing Stone brew a beer that is more sessionable. Levitation is great, but a few more options would be good too.
11-06-2011 23:48:46 | More by OStrungT
4.05/5 rDev +1.8%
San Diego County Session Ale Growler fill from tap at BierKraft 10/1 -
on 10/4 poured into greenport harbor shaker. Pours golden with huge off white head that
lasted almost entire glass. Wonderful sweet aroma of hops, smells so good. Very flavorful and drinkable pale ale. Nice finish. Cool collaboration idea but will it create a great brew? Well....It is at least a very good brew and should be tried by all IPA lovers.
10-04-2010 20:46:37 | More by acurtis
4.43/5 rDev +11.3%
Aopearance= Golden orange
Smell- Grapefruit, Citru. Strong and aromatic
Taste- Carbonated, grassy, orange, spicy, piney,
Mouthfeel- bubbly, crisp
Overall, this beer is the closest thing to FFF gumballhead that I can recall tasting. It's a bit more balanced on the hop/malt side than GH is, with a little bit thicker mouthfeel, but pretty close.
09-14-2010 03:45:42 | More by klshanks
4.18/5 rDev +5%
12oz bottle, served in a Stone pint glass
A - pours with almost half an inch of creamy, white foam with a slightly yellowish tint. the beer is crystal clear, on the darker side of gold in color. leaves behind a moderately heavy wall of sticky lace on the glass.
S - fresh, bright citrusy, grassy, slightly piney hops. citrus dominates with some slightly over-ripened melon and pineapple.
T - assertive hop bitterness right out of the gate. hop flavors take their time settling in, with bright wet grass and pine taking hold first. more fruity and mellow citrus fruits come in, as well as some mild spice and "cattyness". malts barely play any role in this, with some some light caramel coming in near the end as it warms.
M - adequate moderate and pinchy carbonation. body is on the thin side, and finishes dry with a big lingering piney hop bitterness.
D - very well done. cures a hop craving with a light (almost to a fault) body, and an insanely manageable ABV. 2 or more of these will go down without a problem. many thanks to BA'er electricant for sending me a couple of these as part of his first trade - welcome to the madness.
10-24-2010 19:01:55 | More by Stigs
4.1/5 rDev +3%
Bottle poured into NB globe. Slightly hazy golden orange with a thin white creamy head with nice retention and lacing. Smell is great - up there with some of the best pale ales and IPAs. Lots of tropical fruits, apricot, and subtle sweet malts. Taste is not as intense as the smell but still pleasant. Bitter hops with a touch of tropical fruit and pine, slightly sweet malt finish. Medium light body with a medium carbonation. Overall a very flavorfull pale ale, my only complaint with this is the price... $20+ for a 6 pack is too much for a session beer, but I will most likely buy a single bottle of this now and then.
01-04-2011 04:17:49 | More by nkersten
4.43/5 rDev +11.3%
Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.
Amber liquid with a soapy finger of ghost white foam. Good retention, rich sticky sudsy lacing.
The aromatics are typified by intense pungent juicy hops - full of tropical fruit (mango, guava, pineapple), citrus (grapefruit/pomelo), and lighter waves of pine and flowers.
Assertive spicy hop bitterness on the palate is balanced by a clean brisk pale malt. Subtle fruit can be noted throughout the flavor profile, but the finish is cutting and dry and suggestive of white tea.
Light bodied, well carbonated, and vaguely creamy.
A crisp, drinkable, lovely APA...and yet fresh, I would say hop-heads only need apply.
08-30-2010 04:28:36 | More by augustgarage
4.65/5 rDev +16.8%
On tap at Blue Dog in Lansdale, PA.
A- A little dark for a Pale Ale and likely why its referred to as session ale. A little light for a session ale in my opinion.
S- Smells hoppy for a session ale... it seems like a very good pale ale a few steps above my old favorite classic SN pale ale.
T- Outstanding! Hoppy, malty, not bitter or boozey!
M- Very nice with a cool mouthfeel.
D- Very high drinkability and very non-offensive. This could be my to drink with dinner beer and remain composed.
Very good... and I want a case.
01-21-2011 02:57:42 | More by TheSupremeAJ
4.18/5 rDev +5%
12oz bottle into mug.
A: This session ale pours a very nice, light golden color and the white head sits in a nice fluffy manner. The lacing is left in a thick layer. The appearance of this brew would say that it could be a larger, more strong brew, like its counterparts.
S: The aroma is medium intensity, but shows strong notes of grapefruit. A bit of a herbal aroma.
T/M: The taste is a bit of an over powering grapefruit, one that is some what nice, because it is sensed that the taste is coming from the hops, but not too complex with other flavors. The mouthfeel is very nice, with a smooth and refreshing wash down, leaving a dry and bitter off taste.
D: This is a really good session brew, light in body, but still holds the key hop flavors that are enjoyed. The cost 3$ per 12oz bottle, does not make it that much of a session ale. not some thing I would spend almost 20$ for a 6pack of.
10-22-2010 13:12:26 | More by GDBEERMAN
3.88/5 rDev -2.5%
A - Orange color and quite cloudy. Sticky lacing on the glass. Tan foam settles a bit slowly.
S - Pine cones and hop resin smell. Has a light malt and light grain smell. Smells a little like pancake batter.
T - Very nice session beer. Light drinking with a residual sweetness. Finish has a mild bitterness. Tastes very much like a mild west coast IPA, but without the citrus nites and more sweet malt.
M - Easy to session. Light feel, solid balance, and keeps your taste buds interested.
O - Doubt I'll see this one again, but I'd enjoy finding it.
10-29-2012 02:07:35 | More by socon67
3.58/5 rDev -10.1%
12oz. bottle into a Heady Topper pint glass. Shared with schen9303.
Pours a 1 finger coarse white head with low retention. Beer is a cloudy orange-peach. Lacing is spotty at the top and patchy near the beer. Suffers for clarity, head retention, and lace.
Nose is aromatic. Big citrus, cane sugar, and hop notes. Simple but very enticing. Some nice creaminess in there too.
Opens spicy with a citrus hop bitterness. Some cane sugar in the background supporting a strong, hop forward bite that lasts until the end. Finishes bitter with a filmy, hop aftertaste. Enjoyable.
Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Lively and aggresive in the mouth and prickly and bubbly going down. Finish is messy with a lingering aftertaste. On point.
A bit more aggressive than the average pale ale and very well flavored for a session beer. Definitely quaffable.
09-08-2011 22:48:44 | More by SpeedwayJim
4.3/5 rDev +8%
San Diego County Session Ale is a light copper color. It's a tad bit hazy, and looks a little orange when held to light. A cream colored crown sits on top and stands over two fingers tall. It's slow to recede, and leaves a wealth of sticky lace in its wake. Good looking stuff.
The nose is quite good. It's very hoppy! It smells mostly piney, but there's some citrus grapefruit and orange that follows. There's a light caramel malt scent. It's a little sweet, and clearly behind the hops in terms of strength. It shouldn't be surprising that there's no alcohol in the nose. Yeah, it's not complicated, but it does smell nice. No hophead could deny that!
The flavor is likewise impressive. It kicks off with a very piney, bitter hop flavor! Citrus orange, grapefruit, and pineapple flavors follow and only add depth the hop flavor. I don't think I've ever encountered such a strong hop flavor in a beer this light. Excellent. There's some caramel malt underneath. It is a tad sweet, but mostly yields to the intense hops. I wouldn't say it's balanced. Alcohol is buried. It finishes bitter and dry.
San Diego County Session Ale has a light body. Carbonation feels light and restrained. It surprisingly has a smooth feel for lighter bodied beer. I'm impressed. Drinkability is incredibly high! This is incredibly tasty stuff for a 4.2% abv beer! It goes down so easy, and the abv really is attractive for drinking multiple bottles.
I really didn't know much about this beer before tonight, but I love the concept and the end result! If you're a hophead, you should love this beer and the idea behind it. It's a lower abv beer that's chock full of flavor! For anyone who hates not being able to session IPAs, this is intended for you! I love it! I actually hate that it's not available all the time in 6-packs. Find it while you can.
11-21-2010 03:35:33 | More by prototypic
4.33/5 rDev +8.8%
Thank you, the world needs more beer like this - hoppy, full-flavored, and ridiculously drinkable. The aroma and flavor are bursting with hops. I'm smelling orangey floral mixtures and tasting the near-lavender and flower notes of Simcoe hops, before a big bitter citrus rind kicks in to leave a slightly peppery, biting bitterness. It's almost like herbal juicy with a mild toast and biscuit running under the hops.
I'm reminded of the few other beers out there like this I know of - Surly's Bitter Brewer and Full-Suspension Pale Ale. Brewers please take note, brew hoppy session beers and I'll be stocking up by the case. Come on, help me out.
10-24-2010 00:47:45 | More by tempest
Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 373 ratings.