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California Amber | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
447 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: 447 | Ratings: 1,372
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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Photo of slusk
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Pours a clear copper with a I finger off white head. Decent head retention.

S: Bready malt with a balanced floral hop aroma. tiny bit of citrus peel.

T: Malty, a bit nutty. The roasted grains come through well in the malt flavor. The hop flavor is just right with a nice grapefruit, melon and orange peel.

F: Medium light body with a little slickness to the mouthfeel. Finishes semi-dry.

O: Not bad at all. A nicely balanced brew for me with a nice roasted malt character that compliments the overall flavor and balances well with the floral hops. I'd definitely buy more.

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Photo of LennyOvies
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L- Deep, slightly dark amber body. Creamy beige head.
S- Malts and caramel, a very slight hoppy hint. Also could feel a smoked smell.
T- Toasted malts and caramel, ends with hops and strong bitterness.
F- Full, creamy, solid.
O- Expected more from an Amber/ESB mix, but it just didn't fulfill expectations. Still a good beer.

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Photo of JJOVa
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Hoppier than a true ESB, but mellower than a lot of other ambers (which are too often practically IPAs in disguise), this sort of falls in between styles. There's nothing that stands out and makes you take notice, but that's a good thing in my book--it's a very pleasant, easy-to-drink option among Ballast Point's other outstanding beers.

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Photo of Troy-Hawaii
3.39/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Was expecting more from this beer. Nice dark amber color. Taste a little more watery than I was expecting. Nothing exciting about it. Probably would not buy again.

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Photo of benheredunthat
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not something I would put on the top shelf with my favorite ambers. This is a typical San Diego hopped-up brew designed to try and either brink us dark drinkers over to the IPA "dark side" or make IPA drinkers feel better about going with "a brown-skinned beer".

I am an avid amber, stout and porter drinker and this one is clean and crisp without any off notes. That's about where the glory ends for me. It's too hoppy for an AA and too thin to keep up with the big boys. Without a doubt if I have to choose a beer at BP, it's going to be Victory at Sea or Yellow Tail (get over it, that's the real name and everybody knows it).

Final score: bait bucket.

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Photo of moundbz
4.19/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

More brown than red color with nice glass staining head. The smell is great, slightly smokey, taste is smooth with some nice light hop undertones, the aftertaste is a little hoppy lasting. over all solid beer

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Photo of TH28
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. No code date. Appearance: Deep amber red and clear, with a khaki head. Aroma: caramel, toasty malt hits the nose, with some floral and herbal hop notes. Taste: Caramel and toffee maltiness dominate, with a crisp, balancing bitterness. Hints of floral hops, but maltiness dominates with some vinous qualities. Mouthfeel: Medium body with a sharp carbonation. Finish: Floral hop bitterness perfectly balances the rich caramel maltiness. Very dry. Overall: A really nice drinking English pale/American Amber hybrid.

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

A: Pours a deep copperish amber with one finger of creamy beige head. Head lingers for a bit before settling to a thin layer atop the brew. Lacing is prominent.

S: Toffee, caramel malts, slight citrus and dark fruit notes, also some floral hops.

T: Toasted malts, caramel, citrus, toffee, and a nice hop bitterness.

M: Light to medium bodied, moderately carbonated, wet and crisp finish. Drinks similar to an ESB.

O: A fantastic Amber. It's hard to find a better readily available amber/red ale. I highly recommend this to any fan of the style.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer has a very beautiful appearance because of the hue. The beer pour an off-white cream color head that takes a while to dissipate. The beer itself is a nice dark amber color that comes off as a slightly dark purple. It almost resembles a ripe plum.

The beer smell is nice and sweet. Strong toffee malt smell with a slight citrus hop note to it. Floral notes as well. The overall hop note is pretty good and mixes well with the malts.

The beer taste is also very good. Nice bitter hop taste offset by a toasted malt note that strongly resembles an ESB style ale. Also, slight mineral taste to it.

The mouthfeel is fantastic. Light carbonation on the tongue to lighten the beer a little bit. The beer seems to be more medium bodied than anything else but on the lighter side. Pretty refreshing feel but with a slightly dry finish.

Overall, I really like this beer and really love ESB styled beers, which is probably why I'm rating this one slightly higher than others. I think is beer is probably the closest I've had to an American ESB that actually resembled an ESB. Highly recommend.

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Photo of RyanK252
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours deep red-orange amber with a frothy tan head that settles to a nice layer and laces well.

S: Toffee and toasted malt, hints of dark fruit, floral, a little spice, and maybe a little light citrus.

T: Toasty malt, light citrus, lemon, floral, a bit spicy, hints of dark fruit, and some toffee sweetness.

M: On the lighter end of medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: Maybe nothing super special, but still a solid drinkable amber.

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Photo of Lard_City
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Color is nice dark Amber and the aroma is an OK mild maltiness but the flavor and feel a outstanding sweet malty toffee with hints of fruit and very mild carbonation. So far this is my favorite from Ballast Point.

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Photo of Moose90
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served On-Tap

A — Pours a deep rich looking amber/brown, very nice and clear bodied, off white, almost khaki colored head forms and leaves behind nice lacing.

S — Smells of rich fresh and sweet malts, little bitter, noble hop tone here too.

T — Tastes of fresh lightly roasted malts, slightly sweet and hoppy, nice balance.

M — Medium bodied, a little thin perhaps.

O — Nice from BP, more known for their hoppier beers this one was a nice surprise.

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Photo of stricklandscottm
2.59/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

The only thing Amber is the color. For an ESB inspired ale it is chock full of hoppy American badness that it ruins any mellow bitter malty flavor this style beer would have otherwise.

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Photo of MUTINY
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Quick review. I'll tell you what I like - great mouthfeel, burly malt & solid carbonation really come together nicely here. I'm liking the look of it too, nice deep amber/red. Beyond that, this brew is a bit malt-forward for my taste, I tend to go for the thinner, spicier red/ambers.

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Photo of milwaukee512
4.6/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another hit from Ballast Point. Well-carbonated, fresher and a bit hoppier than most in this category. Reminds me of Lakefront's Riverwest Stein or New Belgium's Fat Tire, but with a little bit of a west-coast IPA lean. Nothing wrong with that.

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Photo of uvachief
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Draft into a pint glass on kick the keg night which means the keg has been on awhile. Pours a beautiful amber copper red. Little to no head. Doesn't have much of a smell other than floral with some roasted malts. Very clean and light tasting. But not a lot of flavor. Would go down easy on a warm sunny day. Above average red ale.

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Photo of Stevedore
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle served in a snifter 4/23/2015.

A- Dark copper-amber body, two finger offwhite head, fair retention, no lacing.

S- Crisp grassy and earthy aromas, a mild toffee backbone. Not complex or interesting, but certainly no off flavours.

F- Moderately malty toffee up front with a mild pine and grass bitter finish .

M- Medium-thinner bodied, good carbonation, nothing too complicated or challenging aside from a fair amount of grassy bitterness.

O- A fair Amber/Red ale with a decent amount of malty flavour with a moderate hop bite on the backend, but nothing to write home about.

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Photo of maedhros09
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Look: They got the color right! Deep beautiful clear ruby amber with very nice fluffy head and lacing
Smell: malty
Taste: Lots of malt character - some fruitiness and a lot of grain, but not sweet or heavy. The only part I kind of dislike is a sourness that just seems out of balance. Otherwise it is a refreshing though flavorful beer.
Feel: light to medium body with a typical mouthfeel.

Overall: I enjoyed this beer somewhat but I really have no desire to buy another one. The malt dominance is not a problem at all - rather it is the character of the malt that just seems rough around the edges and not terribly pleasant. Beautiful presentation though!

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Photo of chuckpalka
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I liked this. Poured it from a bottle in my glass at home. A nice rich copper clear look with a off white nice head. Carbonation is low which is fine. A slight bread malt smell that stays with the taste with a hint of citrus for a subtle nice combination mouth feel. The foam head holds up well and provides nice lacing. Bought it with a mix and match six pack and will buy again.

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Photo of Redneckwine
3.56/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into SA pint

Appearance - Coppery amber and crystal clear, fluffy 2 finger offwhite head retains well and leaves good sticky lacing. Quintessential amber ale look here.

Smell - Pretty aggressive for an amber, raw honey and toasty cereal grains shine through. A little bit of fruity ester going on mixed with more citrus/herbal hops than expected.

Taste - Toasty bread and raw grains right away mixed with some honey/caramel-like flavor brings a very modest sweetness. Some fruity notes coalesce with minor piney/citrusy/herbal hopping. This beer dries out super-fast and includes a fairly assertive resinous/earthy hop bitterness in the finish (WAY more than expected) that lingers quite awhile. Quite a bit of hop bitter but not a great deal of hop flavor.

Feel - Snappy, bubbly carbonation makes for a light feel on the medium body. Maybe a bit more carbonated than I'd like (even after a reasonably strong pour). Interestingly crisp for an amber ale, but at the expense of some smoothness.

Overall - A decent amber here, but some things about it rub me the wrong way. The carbonation seems a bit too high and effervescent and the high bitterness level doesn't really seem to jive all that well with the overall taste. Not bad, but not great either. Not strong enough to be a repeat purchase for me.

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear deep amber/pale brown with a reddish hue producing 2 fingers of somewhat lasting, pale tan, foamy/frothy head that leaves a clumpy coating of streaky, webby lacing. Aroma is disappointing & promises little: thin toffee, caramel & earthy herbal hops. Taste is another kettle of fish altogether (no pun intended). The mouth is an intense version of the nose on steroids with dark bread, roast and nutty notes, more intense earthy hops & yeasty/malty fruity esters. The sip finishes with caramel, roast & nuts, fruit, some pepper & an increasing hop bitterness. Afrertaste is a dry, astringent & bitter bomb that is out of character for the style but most welcome to card carrying Hop-Heads such as myself. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation, dry, creamy, silky with slight spice & a pleasant astringency. I don\'t remember an amber ale with this much bitterness.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up a few weeks back up in Totowa, having never had this before. I've been on a big Ballast Point kick lately and was hoping that this would measure up to the Sculpin beers that I've enjoyed. While a bit too earthy and malty for me, this was a solid take on the style that went down easily and at the same time wasn't too terribly strong.

As expected, this was amber in hue with a ruddy clarity to it. Nice head that took a while to settle down and left parting shots in my pint glass via three lings of lacing that slide down to the next one. Caramel malt up front that gave way to a leathery mouthfeel later on and a fair amount of citrus and point hops. While the bitterness was not strong, it balanced out the base of this well without this beer accidentally falling into the Pale Ale category. The right amount of carbonation kept the balance in tow while allowing for the hop bitterness and slight stickiness to faintly linger in the back once the liquid went down.

While not technically a session beer, I could have had another in a sitting had I picked up more than one bottle of this. This would be great to take along for a day of fishing as there's enough here to please any beer lover while not being too heavy-handed. Once again, Ballast Point has brewed a beer that's spot-on when it comes to a particular style while keeping a good toasted undertone and pretty crisp finish that wanted me coming back for more. Relaxingly nice stuff!

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

Appearance - Pours a clear copper red with a finger width khaki colored head. Fair retention, resulting in a thin layer of suds across the top. Strong lace left around the glass.

Smell - Caramel and earth with light grass.

Taste - Follows the nose. Primarily earth and caramel flavor. Slight metallic undertone that strengthens in the finish, leading to an earthy, slightly grassy bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with moderate carbonation. Semi-dry finish.

Overall - Decent, but not really my bag. Too much bitter earth and metallic flavor. Might be an old bottle, but hard to say. There's a bottling code on the bottom, but it's nigh impossible to read.

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Photo of Kolbfusion
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful amber color but head dissipates quickly. Lovely floral hop aroma. Moderate bitterness but can taste the malt. Mouthfeel seems typical for the style. Moderate carbonation. Overall a good example of the style. One that I don't frequently drink but should explore a bit more.

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California Amber from Ballast Point Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 447 ratings.