Calico Copper Amber Ale - Ballast Point Brewing Company

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Calico Copper Amber Ale
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very good

1,198 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,198
Reviews: 431
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 31
Gots: 129 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xlperro on 04-10-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,198 | Reviews: 431
Reviews by JayTheFinn:
Photo of JayTheFinn
4.04/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very tasty amber from Ballast!

A - This is the most impressive part of this one for me. It's got a beautiful brown body with a fantastic, super long lasting tan head. It's been sitting there for a while now and the head is still going strong.
S - Piney hoppy scent.
T - Piney hop flavor with some spicey notes that give it a fresh lively taste.
M - Lively as mentioned, but there's no overwhelming carbonation, which makes the long lasting head kind even more amazing.
D - Tasty and smooth. Almost perfect!

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good hopped up American amber is one of my favorite styles,this fit the bill very well.Poured into a standard pint glass a clear...well copper amber with a fluffy 1 1/2 finger crown atop.A mix of deep caramel/biscuit malt and citric,piney hop,neither wins out leaving great balance.Big malty start with caramel and biscuit stickin out,the piney and citric hop presence comes through in a nice finish.I would give the nod to the malt by a narrow margin but there is more than enough hop profile going on.

Photo of RoyalT
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Beautiful copper color with a terrific head that went down slowly and left some big foam on the inside of my Ruination glass.

Smell – Wonderfully balanced nose here. The pine hops are sharp but subdued, mixing well with the lightly-toasted caramel malt. Floral hoppy undertones play thoughout, making this one nice.

Taste – The malt comes out more in the taste. There’s also an added sweetness to this one. My best guess is orange or grapefruit, or maybe a mix. The hops are there as well, but reserved.

Mouthfeel – This is the ale’s strong point, IMO. This medium-bodied ale was smooth as silk. I thought I was drinking from a tap.

Drinkability – This would make a great session ale, something you can share with your Coors Light buddies to bring them over from the dark side.

Comments – Many thanks to mickeymac for sending me this Ballast Point offering. It was fabulous.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue III:

California-style Amber Ale here. Inspired by the English Pale/Amber Ales, aren't they all in a way? Big, dense and rocky off-white lace reaches up high and leaves a draping of stickage on the glass. Bright and clear tawny color. Sight orange rind and some biscuity malt in the nose. Slick medium body with sufficient crispness and smoothness. Nice mingling of hops and malt both come out and end intertwined with little complexities. Hop bitterness is solid but not sharp with bitter orange peel and collard greens flavor. Maltiness leans toward dry, though there is a hint of caramel deep in the center, toasted biscuit is dominant. Semi-dry finish.

This one sits right at the benchmark for the style, easy to drink and very flavorful with the Californian flare. West Coast session ale all the way.

Photo of Dmann
4.74/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an outstanding brew from one of San Diego's smaller breweries. It poured a very nice dark amber/brownish color and had a nice slightly off white head that was very dense and laced my glass nicely. I could smell this beer from across the room once I poured it into my glass. The great scent of sweet malt and a touch of earthiness was very nice. The taste was excelent as well. Aided nicely by a near perfect mouthfeel, the taste was quite malty but never cloying and had a great carmel flavor in the middle followed by a nice balanced hoppy finnish. Another quality brew from Ballast Point.

Photo of blitz134
4.01/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear caramel colored body. Plenty of dense light beige head that reduced to a lumpy mass. Lacing grabs the glass nicely.

Smell is okay, kinda simple. Sweet biscuit malts with a touch of caramel. Some floral hops come through. Taste is kind of the same but with a maltier backbone and without the sweetness. Hops come through again with some pine resin and herbalness. A good bit of hop flavor but without the bittnerness. Good flavor overall.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied or so, nothing overly heavy. Coats the mouthwell but the flavor doesn't seem to linger for too long. Superb drinkability with its balanced flavor and overall good taste. Mouthfeel isn't too heavy. Just a good beer.

Photo of Jason
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz brown bomber with a blurb about the beer on the side of the label, no freshness date.

Appearance: Clear deep reddish copper with a thick two fingered head that does not go away quickly at all.

Smell: Toasted biscuit, raw honey / vanilla and light peppery hops in the nose.

Taste: Medium in body with a full malt palate and moderate crisp carbonation. Hop oil flavour hits first with an even bitterness, malt sweetness is delicate with a big toasted malt flavour, caramel and a very light roasted character. Fruitiness is mild, slight citric note from the hops. Caramel flavour lingers into the after taste with a faint biscuity malt and a light handful of residual sweetness.

Notes: A blend of six American, Belgian, and English malts with the additions of Cascade and Progress hops lend to the complexity. Big malty American ale, well balanced and well structured. A brew I could get real fond of when looking for a malty session brew.

Photo of merlin48
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle pours a clear dark amber, almost copper body with a large beige head that quickly becomes rocky and pitted. Lavish sticky lacing is all over the glass. Nice looker.

Aroma is citrusy grapefruit flesh with undertones of caramel, toffee, and some florals.

Mouthfeel has a nice creaminess but is decidedly thin. Moderate carbonation.

Taste has some assertive hopping that is mostly citrus. Some earthy hops, as well. Solid caramel malt backbone is toasty but takes a backseat to thhe hop bitternes.

A solid amber with aggressive west coast hops.

Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer w/o freshness info. Pours clear, blood orange darker amber. Fairly long lived puffy medium tan head, leaving respectable, slippery and scattered lacing upon a gentle swirl. Toasty/caramel malt nose, opens things up on this worthy BP selection. Malt carries the load here, plenty of toast, and more caramel. Moderate smooth hoppyness late. Fine sesssioner. More quality brew from the S.D. nation

Photo of ElSid
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The Beers of California


Bottled Date: None

A: Deep amber with burgundy hues and a light tan head with a sheet like lace on the glass.

S: Syrupy caramel sweetness and biscuity malt. There is a fresh pine scent which pairs with the malt in a balanced way.

T: Caramel and sugar thick up front transitioning to a mostly earthy, leafy, and pine bitterness with a tinge of citrus zest.

M: There is both crispness and smoothness which adds to the medium body. The carbonation is moderate and there is a nice linger on the palate.

O: The balance and smoothness makes for an extremely drinkable and sessionable brew. Although enjoyable the beer fails to stand out. A beer that I will enjoy when around but not one that I will actively seek out.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Common Table in Dallas. The beer pours an amber color with a white head. The aroma is very nice. I get a lot of floral and citrus notes, as well as quite a bit of bread and toffee from the malt. The flavor is much more of the same. I get some orange notes from the hops, as well as some grass, floral and perfume notes. There is also quite a bit of biscuit malt and a little bit of toffee. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of bsp77
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Reddish-amber with decent off-white head.

Smell: Seems to be a singular smell, but it is a mix of caramel, cherry, citrus and spice.

Taste: Semi-sweet malt base of caramel, cherry and other dark fruits. The hops are perfectly balanced with the malts, and provide spicy notes, as well as citrus and pine. Finish is bitter, but restrained.

Feel: Medium body, moderate carbonation. Very dry finish for a balanced Amber. Nice.

Overall: This is a perfectly executed everyday Amber. There really is nothing to complain about; it just isn't the kind of beer that I want to return to over and over again. I think that is my personal flaw and not any fault of this very well made beer.

Photo of magictrokini
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Possibly one of the best ambers out there. Pure copper pour with heavy caramel and malt aromas. The toffee is prevalent in the taste, but comes with a nice blend of malt, caramel, and vanilla flavors. Liek the Yellowtail, there is a nuttiness that shows through on occasion. Hoppy/citrus quality which seems to borrow from an XPA or a California pale. Not as bitter as the traditional ESB, but very, very nice.

Photo of pat61
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%

Very slight fresh grain smell.
Pours brilliant copper amber with a frothy, finely bubbled off-white foam cap that produce good lace.
Malt driven graham cracker biscuit palate leads a creamy attack that dries out on the finish with a light bitter hop accent.
Medium body, medium to just a hair above on the carbonation but very fine and soft.

Photo of MattyG85
4.21/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber orange with a moderate amount of rising bubbles. Solid three fingers of off white head that slowly fade into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a nice amount of lacing.

Smell: A fairly sharp hoppy aroma with a solid caramel malt balance and earthy hints. Upfront earthy, floral, and grassy hops along with herbal hints of pine resin. Light citrus hints of grapefruit, orange, and lemon. Big sweet and bready malt balance with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, grains, yeast, and toast. Slight hints of spice as well. A pretty solid red ale aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma hints at, a juicy and earthy hop taste with a big balance of sweet caramel malt. Upfront bitter hops with earthy, grassy, and floral notes. Herbal notes with some pine resin. Citrus hop notes of grapefruit, orange peel, and lemon. Good toasted malt balance with notes of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, grains, cracker, toast, and yeast. Slight rye like spice note. A nicely balanced red taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Nicely juicy, creamy, and slightly oily. Finishes dry.

Overall: A very solid take on the Amber/Red Ale style. Good bitter hop presence with a good sweet caramel malt balance.

Photo of RyanPS
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was excited to try this brew after having both Sculpin and Big Eye. Poured into a pint glass.
A: Deep copper/amber color, slightly cloudy, white, creamy 2 finger head that leaves good lacing
S: Some sweet maltiness with hop notes
T: Like the nose, I get a good sweet malt character with a good hoppy bitterness.
M: Leaves a good coating on the tongue, moderate carbonation
O: Another great brew from Ballast Point, I haven't been disappointed yet, would happily have more of this amber.

Photo of far333
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazed honey amber colored with a thick two inch head of dimpled meringue that slowly settles out.

Aroma of doughey malt and cracker crust, fruit and toffee.

Subtle flavor of toasted malt, nutty, some floral and herbal hops, cinnamon and toffee, good balance of bitterness against the hops.

Full and creamy mouthfeel. Rich and satisfying.

Tasty and drinkable, good representation of the style. Thanks to barleywinefiend for sending this one my way.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.36/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours like an amber ale, amber in color, maybe a little darker than average, but despite that, there is good clarity, great head on it, perfect 1.5". Kind of a malt forward aroma, a small noticeable hop existence.

Tastes of caramel and that minor bitterness from the standard hopping on an amber ale. The bitterness continues in the mouthfeel as if it keeps growing. Not a big fan of when bitterness is the dominant trait of a beer, its fine with a good hop mouthfeel or even some sweetness or heavier consistency to balance it out, but not necessarily so here.

Not the best beer by any means from Ballast Point, but has a respectable position in their lineup.

Photo of mondegreen
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a standard shaker pint.

Appearance is deep amber with a dense, lasting head. Moderate lacing.

Smell is sharp. Brown sugar mingles with a moderate hop aroma.

Tastes like a lighter Arrogant Bastard, which is not necessarily a
bad thing. A rigid malt backbone holds up unforgivingly bitter hops. Tastes like chinook, but I'm no expert. Finishes dry, with only a touch of bitterness lingering on the back of the palate.

Mouthfeel is moderately slick, further comparisons to Stone's AB.

Drinkability is wonderful. Ballast Point has squeezed all te flavorthey could muster into this 5% Amber.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this on tap and bottle so far it's been a solid version of a west coast amber. Appears a deep caramel amber hue with a light khaki tan head forming fine even speckled lacing as it dwindles down. Aromatics offer up a slight caramel malt presence with a mild citrus/pine cone accented hops. Flavor has some sweet cereal grains with herbal/citru/pine hop combo, mild approachable hop bitterness not to brash and off putting but great flavor and balance within this beer's profile. Mouthfeel is lighter to medium bodied, smooth even carbonation levels, great feel hits the palate quaffable and refreshing. Drinkability, smooth session ale nice balanced mix of malts and hops not another generic amber ale.

Photo of chinchill
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle.

Dark amber brown with a towering beige head.

Aroma: fairly equal mix of hops and malts.

Flavor follows although the balance is a bit maltier.sweet light and medium roast malts with a touch of darker (chocolate?) malts.

O remarkable flavor for style. Recommended.

Photo of OStrungT
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours an amber color, with a slight red tint. It has a thick light tan head that fades very slowly, leaving many thick laces.

This beer has a caramel malty aroma. A subtle citrus hop aroma is present as well. It also smells slightly floral. Kind of plain.

This beer tastes much like it smells. Sweet caramel, with some slight biscuit like flavor up front. Some floral and citrus hops as well.

This beer is carbonated just right. It goes dowm smooth, leaving a caramel aftertaste.

This beer would probably make a great session beer. The flavor is not agressive, and it is low in alcohol.

Overall: I think this beer is rather boring. It is not by any means bad, just boring. I bought the bottle to use for beer chili and beer cheese dip. I still had half a bottle left, and decided to review it.

Photo of SPRichard
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

brownish copper....decent tan head leaving patches of spotty lace

light...sweet caramel and honey....faint bit of hops

bitterness from the hops on the first sip followed up by sweetness from the malt which hangs around in the aftertaste

medium bodied...nice crispness

nice maltyness and hop balance....very sessionable at 5% ABV

Photo of jbphoto88
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a lovely copper, amber color with a giant agressive bubbly head. Calico Copper is clear with thin bubbles freely moving up to the surface. Not bad looking but that head is too much being that it makes up more then have the beer.

Nose is sweet with touches of citrus and roasted malts. A little on the peach side of things and all around mild. Good for an amber.

The taste is very balanced and quite flavorful for a thinner feeling beer. There are nice roasted grains with a distinct hop bite in the finish. Calico Copper has an all around brewed flavor that isn't my favorite but has been much more distracting in other beer.

Smooth on the tongue with a peppery bite of carbonation and slight hop bitterness. Well balanced and easy to drink. Not the best beer I've ever had but a solid drinker. Very nice.

Photo of JHS123
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Great copper color nice carbonation with a genuine balance of hops and malts on the front. Bread, dough on the nose. I liked just about every component of the Calico with the exception of the finish which imparts a very strong bitterness but hey its an ESB so what do you expect. Its not my favorite from Ballast Point (Sculpin or Big Eye) but its a good alternative to a typical ESB. 2013 Labeling is way different from what is posted here at Beer Advocate.

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Calico Copper Amber Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,198 ratings.