California Amber | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
446 Reviews
For Trade:
California AmberCalifornia Amber

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Calico Copper Amber Ale

Added by xlperro on 04-10-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 446 | Ratings: 1,363
Photo of Skrumpy
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured 12 oz bottle into standard pint glass. Deep, copper color with moderate, bubbly head. Receded rather fast. The aroma is earth & herbal, pine, and toasted malt. The flavor is similar, more on the side of spice and herb than the sweet malt. This is an ESB inspired amber, so that makes sense. Bitter aftertaste and a rather watery mouthfeel on the finish. Not a bad beer, but not something I'd drink on a regular basis.

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Photo of oldn00b
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber, decent tan head retention. Loose light carbonation.

Nose is a bit muted, definitely malt heavy with a few spice notes coming through.

Flavor is a bit surprising for an amber - maltier, spicier, and sweeter than expected.

Definitely a bit more dense and viscous than expected. It's fine but not something I'd seek out again.

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Photo of constantine_272
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Lots a dark copper brown with a dark tan head. Low head and head retention.

Smells of cedar, red clay and a light pine.

The taste retains all the same character as the nose, but a syrupy been english malt takes over the midsection while a tingly finish with carbon and graphite lingers long with a fresh dried pine wood.

This beer is drinkable with dryness on the medium light side. The tangy finish mixed with the sweetness of the malt is s nice balance.

At first I was taken back because this beer was darker and with more malt than I expected for an amber. In all honesty, thus beer felt more like and English brown ale to me. After getting past the unexpected flavor profile, I grew to like this beer. It's nice and mellow and drinkable just like the way I prefer my amber ales: a good mix of earthy notes and malts and just enough hops to round out and balance the whole package.

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Photo of SABERG
3.52/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on draft at the Lady Killigrew, poured into a shaker pint glass.
A - Nice copper color, wonderful clarity, set the backdrop for refined carbonation to trane skyward. A thin cap
quickly dissipates.
S - A touch of roast meets with malts, and a bit of pine.
T - Right down the middle with this one, start to finish, refined flavors of piney hops, mated with a semi sweet malt base. Exceedingly well balanced.
M - Thin on the palate, with enough carbonation to keeo this bordering on lite.
O - A wonderful amber ale, that balances the hops to malt just right.

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Photo of edward_boumil
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice orange/red colored beer, pretty clear and with some head retention. Little lace as well
The aroma and taste is very toasty, with cereal grain flavors present. Quite dry.
Not quite as sweet, fruity, and drinkable/refreshing as I typically expect in red ales, but certainly not bad either. Malt profile is nice and robust.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.64/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

Look: Clear copper body, cream colored head. Light head retention, little or no lacing.

Aroma: Very faint malt bills, mostly spicy hops and cedar.

Taste: Much like the aroma with hardly any malt presence and a very bitter black tea leaf finish and a bitter, woody aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slightly dry.

Overall: Approachable and drinkable, just too hoppy and woody for my own preference.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber/copper color. Not much head retention. Aroma has a nice balance of malts and bitter hops. Some caramel and toffee present also.

It's flavor starts with some of those bitter hops with a fruity/citrus background, and ends with a malty, carmelly, buscuity note.

It's a medium bodied beer. Good tasting beer if you are big into amber ales.

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Photo of Gobearswalter34
3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, dark orange, but looks red without light. Has a thick, off-white head that dissipates quickly. Light carbonation.
A very sweet caramel malt smell.
Taste of the sweet caramel malt up front, then blends very well to finish with some hop.
The hop ads to the malt experience of most amber ales.
I love a good, non hoppy amber ale, but this is a good one.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle.Sampled on February 26, 2016.

The pour is copper amber in color with a big, lingering tan head.

A rich caramel malt character in the aroma. Clean, mellow hops.

Medium to bigger body.

Caramel sweetness in the taste too with a mild bitter finish. A balanced ESB that feels rather traditional.

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Photo of brewmudgeon
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

light amber clouded by tiny bubbles and topped by whitish tan head.
smells of citrus-soaked caramel. immediately upon sipping, presents a
much crisper and cleaner mouthfeel than expected. the mid-palate goes quickly, rushed along by the bubbles, and the finish is mostly green hops with a lingering but mild bitterness. not too sour or rindy.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
3.02/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled this evening on 2/18/16. Comes in a 12-ounce bottle. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a "FISH TALE WILD SALMON PALE ALE" pint glass.

Brew pours a reddish-amber in color with close to a 1-finger foamy off-white head. Some decent lacing is seen when sipped. Aroma is of caramel, sweet malts with some floral hops with a hint of pine. Taste is close to the nose actually. More like a ESB (Extra Special (or Strong) Bitters) actually in my opinion. Slightly hoppy dry finish but wasn't that bad.. Medium-bodied with decent carbonation. Overall, it was OK but nothing real special for a 'Red Ale'.

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Photo of breadwinner
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This is a nice brew, sort of a hoppy American Amber/hybrid ESB sort of thing. BP was really into alternative labeling for a while, eh -- this is, apparently, an ESB-style ale (their words), their Pale Ale was really kolsch-style, and so on. Anyway, it really is a nice drinker, lovely stuff out of the bottle, big rocky beige head that hangs around a bit, leaving light lacing in the glass. Aroma was malt, not as sweet as you'd expect for a beer that clearly must have a good amount of caramel malt, plus some American hops that offer a bit of tea, a bit of herbs/flowers, and maybe a dash of citrus. It all works nicely. Palate is similar, with a goodly hit of bitterness from the hops. In some ways, I like it, because I am, after all, an American craft drinker, weaned on hops. On the other, it got perhaps a touch woody bitter at times, just a bit overdone, and I would've appreciated more restraint and more openness toward letting the malt shine. Still, it's a tasty drinker, a welcome mid 5%'er in these days of oversized ABVs. Like so much of BP's core lineup (Pale Ale, Wahoo Wit, Longfin Lager, and even Big Eye), these are all clearly very well crafted, very dialed in, very reliable. Those may sound like backhanded compliments, but increasingly I value that more than all the daring and creativity in the world.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Amber colored amber ale, leaning brown, gleaming clarity for what it is, amazing head going beyond a full inch on the top. Aroma was muted red malts.

Taste was decent, a little bit of hops, but still the malt leans heaviest profile wise. Substantial bitterness for style. A sturdy amber ale. Definitely not a thin one.

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Photo of bnes09
4.19/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brilliant red color. Excellent head and lacing. Hoppy, crisp and refreshing with subtle toasty tones. Well balanced with lively carbonation. Great stuff.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
2.66/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

L - Murky ruby red with a finger of off-white head

S -Straight up red ale with a massive malt presence and maybe even some raisin and fig. A weird tin can and green bean aroma makes me wince.

T - Plenty of sweet malts with some caramel, but I get a lot of cherry Robitussin on this which doesn't blow wind up my dress. No hops to speak of and there's almost a raw pizza dough/flower/powdery taste on the finish. I hate to even say it, but there is actually a copper-like taste akin to sucking on a penny.

F - Some cloying malts and muted hops linger. No alcohol presence. As I continue to sip, this is causing unbelievable cotton-mouth. It's basically the Sahara in my mouth.

O - Some unusual flavors, but at least sweet malts were here. No hops at all and an odd copper taste. I just don't know what they were going for here.

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Photo of HopHunter19
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - nice clear red beer with a nice off white head that sticks and leaves nice lacing
S - big flowery hops, caramel.malts
T - smell
M - light, alc covered, aftertaste light flowery hops
O - good red ale, not great but good

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Photo of sentimetal
4.24/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up some Lagunitas Censored and Ballast Point Calico recently, so tonight will be all about red/ambbers. Poured into a stemmed glass - a Founders Sweet Repute glass, to be exact.

Look - A deep ruby/copper color with an eggshell colored head. Very inviting.

Smell - A fresh grassy scent with a nice toast-like scent following.

Taste - Initial taste is a slight, pleasantly bitter taste with a grassy caramel (weird combination, I know) following.) I will say that all the tastes are quite subdued. The ABV and the smoothness of this beer makes me want to have more than a few due how smooth the flavor is. This is a very session-able red ale.

Feel - Chewy like an Anchor beer with mild carbonation

Overall - This beer reminds me of a steam beer. It has a slight metallic essence with a bread-y mouth feel to it. I like it! However, if I'm looking for an exemplary red ale I'd turn to a beer like Red Rocket ale

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Photo of andrewjraab
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a chestnut brown with red tints, with layers of off white almost gray head that has nice webbing and stick after each sip.

S - Caramel malts, some hops, piney, earthy aroma.

T - Piney hops balanced by caramel malts, some grains present, resinous on the back end. Good level of carbonation present to keep the low to medium bodied brew alive.

O - Usually the hop / bitterness level of ambers are subdued and take a back seat to malts, but not in this one. I love the aggressive (for the style) use of hops in this beer. Overall, very well balanced and nicely crafted brew. I will definitely come back to this.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice head formation with a 2-finger head. The head retention is decent. As the head recedes, you are left with nice lacing. Foam splotches spring up sporadically. This brew is very clear with a reddish-copper color.

Slightly fruity and tart scents. Malt (caramel) and slight nuttiness. Slight cirtusy hop aroma as well.

Instant hop bittering before the sweet, malty, buttery flavor takes over. On the tail end, you get citrus and pine flavors. This brew dries out significantly at the end. There is a nice roasted malt and charred wood flavor after all else disappears.

Medium mouthfeel. It remains bubbly and is quite interesting on the tongue.

Really good beer. Closer to some IPAs that I have had though. It may be too high on the IBUs for an Amber ale and too strong of a hop flavor for the style, but I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of NickTheGreat
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L (4.5) - Beautiful, crystal clear dark amber/orange colored beer. Light white foam that dissipates quickly.
S (3.75) - I didn't get much aroma at all. No hop, and just a very little bit of malt/caramel
T (4.25) - A little bitter at the front, but that gives way to a very malty flavored beer. Not especially caramel, but certainly not coffee or chocolate.
F (4.25) - Medium bodied beer, with a bit of carb bite. Easy enough to drink.
O (4) - Wasn't sure what to expect, but I liked this one. I really like ambers in general, so this one did not disappoint. I'd buy and drink again.

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Photo of delta490
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep clear copper with a light tan head. The head has moderate retention and leaves some tight, soapy lacing. It still manages to cling to the glass, though. The aroma is decent, mostly nondescript malts, a little toward the sweet side. The taste recovers and offers some nice caramel and dark fruit plus some bready qualities with just enough hops to balance. This beer emphasizes the malt over the hops. The body is lighter and smooth with just a hint of carbonation.

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Photo of stevoj
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Perfect blend of sweet malt and gentle hops. Nice copper color with small beige head, malty, biscuit aroma, taste comes on with a hint of bitter hops. Bitterness lingers on the palate, along with some nutty and sweet flavors.

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Photo of JackieKu
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

A: Cropper. Clear. Moderate foam.
S: Toasted biscuits. Somewhat earthy. Slightly nutty.
T: Toasted bread. Caramel. Medium bitterness. Dry.
M: Medium to full bodied. Creamy.
O: An interesting and malts oriented amber. Not as hoppy as I'd like, perhaps because of its freshness.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium red-orange with a half finger, off-white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of balanced caramel and biscuit malt, light grassy and citrus hops, lightly spicy. Flavor is biscuit malt with light caramel tones, lightly earthy and nutty, dry grassy hops; a very British profile, close to an ESB. Medium bodied with good carbonation. Delivers what it promises: a very nice take on an English ESB. Spot on hopping and a very nice biscuit malt body that is as good or more enjoyable than traditional ESBs I've had. Satisfying and full flavored.

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.19/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: crystal clear; amber colored; 1 finger medium khaki head that receded slowly to a thin cap; OK lacing;

S: earthy, caramel;

T: raisins, caramel, earthy; slightly sweet; very mild bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish;

O: more complex than most ambers;

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California Amber from Ballast Point Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 446 ratings.