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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

371 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 371
Reviews: 271
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 12.56%
Wants: 11
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: 371 | Reviews: 271 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0


4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

02-24-2013 15:58:25 | More by t0rin0
Photo of Thorpe429


4.53/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Churchkey during the Stone 40 tap event.

Pours a light orangish copper with a nice white head and a good amount of lacing on the way down. Nose is pretty big with nice citrus, floral, and herbal notes. Taste is even bigger with a pretty whopping amount of bitterness. That is about it--just straigt, unrestrained hops. Mouthfeel is light and dy. Drinkability is off the charts. The ulimate session beer, falling only behind Bullfrog Citra-Delic.

Serving type: on-tap

10-05-2010 11:26:32 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Somewhere between amber and tangerine (depending on your light source) with a lovely looking chunk of alabaster cream filling the upper third of the pint glass. The foam has all sorts of interesting surface topography and is beginning to lay down bits and pieces and swirls and whirls of lace.

The nose is wall-to-wall citrus fruity and spruce-like American hops. The rundown includes Centennial, Amarillo, Simcoe and Citra, which are some of my very favorites. Believe it or not, I could have made some pretty good guesses along those lines if blinded.

San Diego County Session Ale tastes exactly like what it was brewed to be. Even four months after the release, this here is some hoppy beer! At least part of the reason is paper-thin malt support, which was necessary to keep the ABV down.

If you like any sort of sweet-bitter balance, drink a different beer. Hints of crackery malt barely hold up in the face of a significant alpha acid attack. Each gulp delivers a blast of white grapefruit pith, bitter orange zest, pine boughs, and hints of pineapple.

Multiple bottles in a row would probably result in dulled taste buds, which sort of defeats the purpose of a session ale. Besides, if previous Stone collaborations are any indication, the price is probably too high to buy it in bulk. That said, this bottle is pretty damn tasty.

The mouthfeel is a wonderful combination of smooth and creamy... biting alpha acids... and lightly tongue stinging carbonation. Since I'm not sure how this attribute could be improved, the higher of the two considered scores will be granted.

Stone/Ballast Point/Kelsey McNair San Diego Session Ale is probably precisely the brew these guys set out to create. Hopheads will love it, but this hophead needs more malt support in order to grant the really big taste and drinkability scores. Sorry, but that requires an ABV in the 6.5-7.0% range. Buy a single, then decide.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2011 14:00:12 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of nmann08

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev +0.5%

11-24-2011 19:59:54 | More by nmann08
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice clear amber with an ample white head about two inches tall. This faded and left behind a ton of lace. Good visible carbonation.

Very hoppy, lots of very sweet citrus flavors. A touch of sugar and some malted grains in the backend of it. Very nice, and very hoppy. Had a very clean, cut taste. Not much of an aftertaste here, just straightforward hoppy pale ale. Nice grain fresh cut grass in the back. Silky smooth, albeit a little thin, but very smooth. Again very clean and refreshing, light. Very good. I coud easily session this one all night ling. It was just a nice light IPA, or pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2011 02:42:38 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of acurtis

New Jersey

4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: growler

10-04-2010 20:46:37 | More by acurtis
Photo of womencantsail


3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Stuffed Sandwich

A: The pour is a very light copper sort of color with a big soapy white head.

S: The nose is incredibly piney and floral with hints of grapefruit citrus aromas. The low gravity nature of this beer doesn't leave much room for malt character, but there might be a hint of bread in there somewhere.

T: Intensely bitter and heavy on the resinous pine flavors. However, after the initial hop blast, the flavor is a touch watery and does not exhibit much else.

M: The body is on the lighter side of medium with a crisp carbonation and solid bitterness.

D: One of the better collaboration beers with that signature San Diego hop character. Nice and easy to drink, but unfortunate that this one will only retain its pleasantness for a relatively short time.

Serving type: on-tap

09-03-2010 03:32:11 | More by womencantsail
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dropped off at the outdoor patio table a lightly hazed, light pale copper body with a slim, white head.

Smell: Hoppy, citrusy aroma full of pith, peelings, and acidic, citric juices paired with a bit of pine. At least in the nose, this definitely suppresses and squashes the milder biscuity malts way, waaayy underneath.

Taste: Light pale malted barley with modest hints of biscuits and crisped, crackery grains and sweetness. Really, it's just enough to check off the 'malt' box on the to-do brewing list. Then, in comes blistering waves of citric, pithy grapefruit, tangerines, and resinous pine. Medium-plus bitterness. Bitterness holds strong until the firmly dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A light alcohol option for the hopheads, so your liver will be happier, but, it's a somewhat pricey product, so your wallet might get unhappy, even going so far as to un-friend you on Facebook.

Serving type: on-tap

03-11-2011 14:31:35 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-28-2010 20:28:01 | More by oberon
Photo of GRG1313


3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light amber orange with short, light white head that quickly fades.

Light pineapple "bitter" nose but more restrained than an IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied but nice carbonation and good balance; a bright quality to the mouth that's pleasing.

Flavors are very nice- bitter grapefruit, bold burnt toast and big yeasty biscuit character. Nothing shy about these flavors which makes this a pretty damn nice "session" beer which is generally not my style, in any event.

This one has a big bitter grapefruit finish that's appealing and pretty long lasting. Very decent. Not terribly complex or layered but big bitter, yeasty, toasty flavors and character.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2010 04:37:00 | More by GRG1313
Photo of Knapp85


3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saw this one tap at one of my favorite places. The beer poured out as a hazy golden yellow color with some fizzy white head on top. The aroma of the beer was probably the best part of the beer, I found it to have a very floral aroma to it and it was rather inviting. The taste of the beer wasn't as floral or hoppy as I was hoping it'd be. The mouthfeel was decent, pretty typical stuff for an APA. Overall the beer was quite good and had a solid amount of flavors and aromas from start to finish.

Serving type: on-tap

07-18-2011 21:09:34 | More by Knapp85
Photo of TMoney2591


4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a German lidless glass stein.

Finally, a Stone collabo in decent quantities at my local store. It's nice to be back in IL. But is this really a session beer? I think certain British expatriates (or even just one vocal one) may have something contrary to say on the subject...

This brew pours a clear rich straw topped by a half-finger or so of white foam. The nose is pinier than I expected, with a touch o' ruby red grapefruit and a gentler touch o' sugary caramel sharing the closet in this robot's apartment (...the closet in the closet, I guess...I really hope this makes some sense later on...). The taste is nearly identical, with the usual uber-hops we've come to expect (and, for some, to love) from the boys at Stone. The body is light, with a light carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, a very nice little beer, extremely drinkable due to the all-level lightness.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2010 01:45:10 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of JAHMUR


4/5  rDev +0.5%

11-27-2011 21:40:08 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of largadeer


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

On tap at The Trappist in Oakland.

Clear golden amber with an inch of head that retains well, leaving some lacing clinging to the glass.

The nose reeks of grapefruit and pine, it's very rindy and resiny, very bold dry hopping with little discernible malt. Exactly what I was hoping for from a beer like this.

The palate, unfortunately, is quite thin, though nicely balanced between hop flavor and bitterness. Grapefruit, orange peel, pine, cut grass, a bit of pepper - the hop flavor has a lot going on. It finishes dry and bitter, though it could use just a bit more body to be completely satisfying.

Serving type: on-tap

10-11-2010 23:38:51 | More by largadeer
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr


3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

01-09-2013 21:54:44 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a thin white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains grassy hops, citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with a strong burst of floral hops bitterness. The some mild sweetness comes in from flavors of citrus and caramel. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and creates a good balance. The after-taste is hoppy.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent hoppy and poundable beer worth drinking for a long time.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2010 03:38:23 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was surprised to find this where I did, and figured it would be too far gone, but alas, this was not the case. Great vibrancy and distinct hop tones. Pretty clean with a lot of character getting in on the mix. I definitely like this as a "session ale." It's too bad I don't have more of these ready to drink.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2012 05:35:18 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of Kegatron


3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ the Three Penny Taproom (Montpelier, VT) on 9/25/10. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a clear copper, with a finger of tight looking bright-white foamy head. This retains with a frothy richness that covers the sides of the glass with some rather robust lacing. This was a good look to it. The aroma is floral in the nose, with notes of sweet citrus and toasted malts. Some notes of pine and spice work themselves into the mix as well but this just seems to be a little too light at times. I was definitely looking for a touch more power to the flavors, especially considering how the taste comes off.

The taste is fairly aggressive with West Coast attitude, with a hoppy punch of bitter rind; green citrus, spice, and a heady dose of pine all laying it on thick in the mouth. There is some sweet toasted graininess across the back of the palate that seems to be placed right were it needs to be, balancing out the overt bitterness here while still allowing those hops to shine brightly. Pine and spice hang fairly hard on the tongue with a deep bitter dryness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a touch of lighter sharpness that prickles the mouth with all of those hops. There is some slickness to the body but the combo of the bitterness and that shaprness to the feel just keep this from feeling completely smooth in the mouth.

Is this beer San Diego? Absolutely! Is it sessionable? Eh, I'm not quite sure about that. Just a lot of bitterness here and while it was balanced and drinkable for the most part, I don't know if I could handle pint after pint of this. I could definitely see how others might see that differently though. I'm still glad that I got to try this one, as this latest Stone collaboration had slipped under my radar.

Serving type: on-tap

09-29-2010 16:19:58 | More by Kegatron
Photo of drabmuh


4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another beer on draft at Churchkey last night and another stand out.

Beer is yellow with a mild haze and a big head of medium and large bubbles that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low.

Aroma is like an IPA, its a great great smelling hugely hoppy beer. Awesome.

Beer is medium bodied and very hoppy with strong bitterness and some good hop flavors. Not sweet at all and a very sessionable beer. This was one of my favorites of the night.

Serving type: on-tap

10-05-2010 15:44:35 | More by drabmuh
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2010 06:19:27 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of jlindros


4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fluffy 1.5 finger head fades slowly with a slight lacing over very hazy golden orange color.

Nose of some light fresh hops, a touch of musty hop resin, hint of pine, citrus, and grapefruit, and that's about it.

Taste is light, a slight hint of malts just to hold the beer together. mostly light hop flavors, some grassy herbal hops, a bit of spicy hops, hints of citrus, musty hop resin, and a slight chewy mineral candy like flavor, almost like a seaweed. It starts to get kinda bitter and a hint of astringency. As it finishes the bitterness builds a bit as it dries. It dries off quite a bit, leaving more of the hop resins, otherwise a nice crisp finish.

Mouth is light and crisp, with good carbonation.

Drinkability is pretty good. It drinks lighter and has a nice dry finish, not off flavors or sticky feel. The only issue I find is that the astringency gets a little high for how light the beer is. IMO a bit more malts to balance that would have worked a bit better.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2010 00:34:27 | More by jlindros
Photo of Mora2000


4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2010 19:29:05 | More by Mora2000
Photo of Rifugium


3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden, Media, PA

Definitely gets points for complexity. Pours a nice copper color with a white head. The nose is strong with pine notes and undertones of grapefruit and meadow grass. As far as taste goes, this genuinely has 3 distinct phases. Starts off VERY hoppy, but crisp, clean, and grassy. Moves on to a sweeter taste, a little bit watery, but not in a bad way, just in a clean soda-watery way, as opposed to syrupy sweet. Fresca-ish. Finishes off bitter with more hops, and leaves a slightly stale aftertaste of a piney IPA. Medium mouthfeel. An interesting drink that I'd like to try again, but probably won't since it was only brewed once.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 21:20:20 | More by Rifugium
Photo of oline73


4/5  rDev +0.5%

11-16-2011 02:04:42 | More by oline73
Photo of mdfb79

New York

4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. Enjoy by date of 12/10/10 on the bottle, drank on 12/08/10.

a - Pours a somewhat transparent amber golden color with one finger of fluffy white head and moderate carbonation evident. Head lasts for two minutes and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

s - Smells very strongly of citrus hops, fruity hops and malts, light pine hops, and light honey. Light tropical fruits as well. Smells great.

t - Tastes of bitter hops, citrus hops, floral/soapy notes, and fruity malts. Quite bitter up front but it subsides as you drink it.

m - Light to medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth and creamy, really nice mouthfeel.

d - A really nice beer. I actually thought it was an IPA now an APA; sure smelled like one. At 4.2% ABV and with the mouthfeel it's really easy to drink. I felt like I could easily have a few of them and would want to. This sat in my fridge for over a month, kind of wish I had drank it right away now. Would love to have again.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2010 23:18:56 | More by mdfb79
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Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 371 ratings.