Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session AleBallast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale

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very good

373 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 373
Reviews: 270
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 12.56%
Wants: 14
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  4.20% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: mcallister on 08-07-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 373 | Reviews: 270 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bobhits
1.6/5  rDev -59.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

I feel weird giving this review but sorry guys this isn't for me!

OK for some reason I thought I had the farm house collaboration and I went in expecting some funky stuff. Oddly this came off pretty damn funky to me, with the exception being that the malt was absolutely an american APA. It actually made me instantly think of Stone Levetation only the rest of the beer was a damn mess. The hops are there but they don't work well. Citrus and well off putting. They have an almost spicy and funky finish and the malt honestly doesn't go with them.

Sorry guys I think we got REALLY close to pulling this off, but with low ABV beers you don't have much room for error and this is without a doubt a truly flawed beer.

Photo of chugalug06
1.75/5  rDev -56%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A - Cloudy peach color with lots of whites and oranges. Head pours strong with a nice pop to the bottle cap. Lacing left behind looks quite good too. Head is straw colored with holes in foam.

S - Smells like an arm pit... Think sweaty locker room... ;p Very piney and sweet smelling. Camomile? Gross.

T - Tastes like a bad homebrew. I'm beginning to wonder if I got a bad bottle...??? Very borderline flavoring, there's not a whole lot of APA flavors in this one. Tastes a lot like corn and pine resin. Quite bland and watery.

M - Great carbonation. Nice and light on the mouth. Very slight bitterness. Extremely low abv too. There's not much flavor distribution.

O - I wish this brew had more aggressive hops.... Not my favorite, but this would be a nice brew for a hot day. I wouldn't seek this brew again. All over the board. Perhaps I got a bad bottle? Drain pour.

Photo of emdawg
2/5  rDev -49.7%

Photo of palma
2.15/5  rDev -46%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

slightly hazy yellow body. Small fizzy white head leaves a lasting lace.

Smell is grass, lemon, musty.

Taste is lemon, hay, big time citrus rind. Significant soapy flavor that is not good. Tastes like a sorachi ace attempt gone bad. No depth of malt either. This is a one dimensional, poorly hopped beer. Try it only if you like non-complex, overly hopped, palmolive flavored beers.

Photo of Naerhu
2.15/5  rDev -46%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Wow, I'd never thought I'd ever have a weedy uninteresting beer from stone, but here it is.

The aroma is huge amounts of citrusy hops, but no complexity.

There is very little malt to back up the intense weedy / pine bitterness of this beer. There was a bit of grapefruit as well, but no sweetness bring out the fruityness. Unless you are really focusing, all you get is a mouth full of bitter with this beer.

The mouthfeel leaves me flat as well, just completely thin body.

I finished this beer, but thats the best I can say about it, and did not leave me wanting another.

Photo of nrbw23
2.4/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A- Pours a clear, light golden amber with a thin white head. Head turns into a thin layer of bubbles and leaves some spotty lacing.

S- Very Earthy, herbal and grainy. So far I'm not really digging this one, and not really picking up much either.

T- A bit of bitterness, and an odd metallic taste. Pretty dry overall. Hops are kind of all over the place. Not quite sure what to think.

M- Lighter side of medium in both body and carbonation.

O- Quite the disappointment on this one.

Photo of kojevergas
2.58/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into De Molen stemware in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Serving temperature was cold but not overly so; it was pulled from the fridge and left to sit a bit.

A: Pours a two finger head of slight cream, pretty good thickness, and good retention - though the ABV is low. Colour is a hazy dark copper.

Sm: Toasted malt, overdone bittering hops, and some buttery biscuity yeast. Did stone dump too many hops in for no reason as is their MO? The aroma is strong.

T: Toasted malt and bittering hops. Simple. A bit imbalanced. There's just not a whole lot going on here. Session doesn't mean boring. Uninspired and boring.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but too thick for 4.2%. Doesn't really complement the flavours of the body.

Dr: Drinkable, but not sessionable (ironically) on account of its limited quality. I wouldn't have it again. It's so damned boring.

Photo of axeman9182
2.73/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

16oz pint served at the Rattle n Hum.

The newest Stone collaboration beer looks great. It's a slightly hazy straight orange color. There's fluffy white cap sitting on top is about a finger in height, and plenty of lacing gets left down the side of the glass. Wow... this beer has a pungent hop aroma, bigger than some IPAs I've had. I can find both pine and citrus notes, as well as some resiny ones. There's no malt influence at all detectable, not sure how this bodes for the beer. San Diego County Session Ale proves that there is such a thing as a beer being over hopped. The same hop flavors from the nose are appreciable, but even moreso is a huge blast of hop bitterness that, without any malt sweetness whatsoever to act as a counterpoint, runs roughshod over this beer. The bitterness also lingers unpleasantly, growing a little more intense as I work my way down the glass. At least the mouthfeel is solid, a nice light body (without being watery) and decent, average level carbonation. Unfortunately the overhopping and resulting bitterness suck any real joy out of drinking SDCSA, which could have been a good beer if the hops got turned down from eleven.

Photo of Spider889
2.8/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Had this one on tap at Bodega. The descriptor claims that this was designed along side home brewers to create an extremely sessionable, low abv ale. I'm not so sure they succeeded, for a low abv alone does not a session ale make.

Slightly hazed orangish/amber color with a small head, but leaving decent lace on my pint.

Smells pretty good; slightly sweet, with mild malts and citrussy hops making up the aroma. Some pine intermingles with the grapefruit and pineapple notes.

The flavor is full of lemon and orange. Then, suddenly, blatant hop bitterness overtakes all. I found this beer to be much too bitter for a brew designed solely to be a session ale. Granted, this is a Stone beer, but nevertheless, that's even more reason to dial the bitterness back a bit. I don't know what the ibu's actually are, but it tasted like 50+. Crushed aspirin bitterness also pervades as I get through the glass. Overall, I was fairly disappointed.

Well carbonated, and appropriate for the style.

Drinkability is bad, because I don't think this beer accomplished what its intent was. I most definitely did not find myself even contemplating a second glass of this. Maybe this is what passes as a perfect session beer in CA though....

Photo of dhartogs
2.8/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on tap when visiting San Diego and again in bottles.

Smell was nice, mild hops, but I felt the body was lacking as was flavor compared to the aroma. Around here it sells for $3/bottle, which is a bit steep considering the abv and mild flavor. Good effor and nice to see these collaborations but this beer really didn't do it for me.

Photo of Offa
2.83/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is a well-made, but thin, one-dimensional, unbalanced beer of essentially grapefruit with hints of pine and not really anything else, and bitterness that is in of itself not strong but lacking enough sweetness or character to support it. It's hop character is bright and fresh, but one-note and practically all alone. I love some Stone beers, but this, like Levitation, is another loved and supposedly "flavourful" ale for an abv of between 4-4.5% that, in my opinion, really doesn't compare to similar-abv English bitters or other ales, which I find to have A LOT more flavour and complexity.

Anyway, faintly hazy pale amber, it has a medium off-white head slowly shrinking and leaving a little lace.

Aroma is bright, clear, fresh grapefruit and pine, a hint of orange, hint of raisiny malt. Somewhat pleasant for what it offers, due mostly to the juicy, fresh character and seems well-made,it is nevertheless very standard and one-dimensional.

Taste is similar, dryish a lot of grapefruit with a hint of pine and a faint yeasty juiciness barely evident underneath. It has faint minerally element. Bitterness is not strong, but unbalanced it is sharp and too dominant for the thin character of this beer. It is very one-note and merely a well-made, fresh, clean example of a standard, basic, uncomplex, uninteresting, largely characterless, one-dimensional west coast style beer. It quickly becomes exceedingly tiresome.

Photo of claspada
2.93/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The aroma is mostly citrus, with grapefruit dominating as well, but a few traces of pineapple and orange.

Taste is average at best. Unfortunately the overall flavor falls a little flat. Somewhat salty taste; wierd indeed. I get decent amounts of bitter pine and pale malts, but overall the taste just seems a little hollow to me.

The body is light-medium with an abundance of bubbly carbonation. This beer is fairly refreshing, but I just want more flavor out of this beer. NOT AT ALL worth the inflated "collaboration" price tag associated with this beer. Maybe better on tap, but not necessary to seek out or purchase if over $2 a bottle.

Photo of nerdrocker101
2.98/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice golden, straw yellow with a dense, billowing white head that never seems to fade away.

The smell is mostly citrus, with grapefruit dominating but a few traces of pineapple and orange.

Okay, so far, so good. Unfortunately the flavor falls a little flat for me. Somewhat salty taste. I get little amounts of bitter pine and pale malts, but overall the taste just seems a little hollow to me.

The body is light-medium with an abundance of bubbly carbonation. Slightly powdery.

Fairly refreshing, but I just want more flavor out of this beer.

Photo of sweemzander
3/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Thanks to cjacobsen for tossing a bottle my way!

(A)- Pours a clear orange color that produced a decent off-white head with good retention and lace.

(S)- A dry piney hop profile. Subtle hints of spice in the background.

(T)- Very dry and bitter. Lots of pine with subtle citrus characters. Subtle bits of a sweet caramel or honey too.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Again, very dry and bitter; this would put many IPA's to shame in regards to how bitter this really is. It actually almost kills off any other flavor this would otherwise have.

(D)- Not bad. It would be more sessionable as it is called if it was not so bitter.

Photo of mcss
3/5  rDev -24.6%

3/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of ObeMaltKinobee
3/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of micstache
3/5  rDev -24.6%

Photo of mikey711
3.1/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Bright straw color with a nice level of rising carbonation. a small head that holds pretty well and leaves a bit of lace.

S: soapy floral notes with a touch of pine and a bit of lemon citrus. a slight bready note is present as well.

T: Very piney upfront before transitioning to a bit of soapy floral hoppiness. a touch of earthiness as well.

m: very light and slightly oily but not googy hop oil but almost buttery

D: I could definitely drink a good amount of this but the overly soapy and perfumy pininess is somewhat off putting

Photo of BrewingViking
3.1/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

S - sharp hop aroma
A - orange with slight haze. thick white head leaving lacing
F - malty with citrus/piney hop flavor. slight bitterness that lasts on the tongue
M - medium light body and dry finish
O - good pale session ale. nothing really special but nice to just sit and enjoy. another good collaboration ale

Photo of corby112
3.1/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy dark golden yellowish ripe banana color with golden yellow hues when held to a light source and a two finger frothy, pillowy white head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that coats the glass with large rings and splotches of soapy lacing. A bit darker than I expected but it looks pretty damn good.

Dank, uber-fresh, earthy, resinous hop aroma with lots of pine, oily hops, kind bud and slight sweet citrus fruit. I'm picking up some grapefruit and lemon peel as well as a slight creamy element and subtle pale malt. I was expecting this to have more citrus and tropical fruit notes but it smells like fresh hops and earth.

Chewy full body with a bitter, earthy hop blast that lingers throughout over the slight citrus notes and malt backbone into a dry finish. Very dry and bitter up front with a lot of earthy pine needle that kind of dominates the flavor. Again, there isn't much balance in the hop profile. All earthy bitterness and sorely lacking the sweet tropical and citrus fruit notes that I love in WCIPAs. The malt backbone is way too strong and although it doesn't cut down the hop profile much, it just adds to the mouthfeel without contributing much flavor. Even though this beer is only 4.2% that alcohol isn't well masked. I had a lot of hope for this one but it turns out to be a one-dimensional mess with a tongue coating, sticky dry finish.

Photo of ncvbc
3.13/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pour is clear golden with medium white head and some lacing down the glass. Good smell of fresh, strong-ish hops. Fresh, green, yummy. Seems stronger than labeled based on the nose. Taste falls short for me. A tad watered down, likely due to a lack of any malt presence. The hops are there, citrus and pine. Quite bitter but again, watery, therefore lacking that crisp/dry sensation on the level that it should be. Fairly one dimensional. I feel that the choice of hops and the overwhelming presence of the hops in this beer are more suited for an IPA than anything. Mouthfeel has a sure bitterness but is a tad thin. Overall, I wouldn't want another. To me, this is a good example of a session beer that falls short of session material. It just doesn't have any redeemable qualities that would bring me back. It's like a watered down baby Sculpin in regard to hop flavor. So to that I ask, wouldn't you rather have a Sculpin?

Photo of kbutler1
3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours a clear, fairly effervescent golden color with a fluffy 1 finger head. The aroma is that of citrus rind hops the like of grapefruit and orange. Medium/light mouthfeel. The hops on this take center stage throughout your whole drink, starting with a slight bitterness that just keeps building until the end. Slight soapiness in the taste. Not a whole lot of lace left on the glass. Lingering rind bitterness. Overall, an ok beer but not sure if I would want to session this all day or not.

Photo of beertunes
3.2/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in straight pint glass. This beer was very lively and the bartender had a hard getting more beer than head in the glass. It poured a semi-hazy orangeish-yellow with a lot of white head that had moderate retention and lots of lacing.

A very strong pine hop aroma greets the nose without a noticeable malt foundation. The piney hops also dominate the tongue, again no noticeable malt presence. There was a weird taste that I couldn't identify, even after trying the beer several times. Kind of metallic or coppery, but different.

The body was too thin to be enjoyable. Other than the weird taste, drinkability was pretty good. I've had several and will have more.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.23/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. Purchased from K&L in Redwood City.

Ok, ok... This is "not a session ale" by Ding's definition, but since that has never been substantiated by any concrete proof (to my knowledge), I will arbitrarily grant a +/- 5% swing. 4.2% is now sessionable.

A: Pours a murky, glowing orange body in my Hair of the Dog tulip. I poured carefully so I could get it all in the glass in one go. Nonetheless, it maintains a nice cap with a substantial collar for the duration of the drink. Nice.

S: Citrus! It doesn't have the clean, bright aromas of Sculpin; it is instead tempered with a dose of herbal hops, grass, and a touch of pale malt. This is a dead ringer for an IPA.

T: This is extremely hoppy, as the nose might suggest. Unfortunately, that's about it. There's a light maltiness, but I can't pick up anything else. It has a nice grapefruit, orange peel, and grass flavor going on, with the last component lingering into the finish for some remaining bitterness.

M: Dry finish with lingering bitterness. The body is light-medium. Clean flavor, but truthfully, I'd liken it to "watery."

D: I'm not realistically going to pay $4 for this again; I bought it to show my support for the experiment more than anything. Not a successful one in my eyes. What ever happened to the balanced, subtle, refined English malt that Ding is always talking about? This is just dry-hopped to death.

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Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 373 ratings.