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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: 1,373
Photo of BowWowWowYippyYoIPA
3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

No bottle date

Look - Beautiful clear garnet color with a cherry creme head. Decent head retention and bubble distribution. 4.5 paws.

Smell - Very dry, hints of piney citrus hop. Classic balance of hop and malt, with neither shining through. 3.5 paws.

Taste - Roasty, nutty malt character balanced by a subtle hop bitterness. Bits of black pepper with a counteracting sweetness. 3.5 paws.

Feel - Expected medium thin viscosity. Tingle is mild over entire tongue. Classic moist finish I've come to know from most american pale/amber ales. 4.75 paws.

Overall - I've never been a huge fan of amber ales. Not to say that I dislike them, but they are not a style that I seek out. They've always been the maltier little brother to pale ales to me. With that being said I am trying to appreciate them, and I actually found myself enjoying this one quite a bit. I haven't had a lot of others to put this one into context, but I'd say this is quite tasty overall. 3.75 paws.

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Photo of BEERWOLF1951
2.73/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

I like this beer for the most part, lingering bitterness in the finish somewhat puts me off. May not buy it again, because there's better beers out there.

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Photo of dcmchew
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clear amber/copper, small light beige head for a while.
Smell of buttered toast, honey, light caramel, some light generic dark fruit (dried cherry stands out a bit), toffee. Not a strong smell anyway.
Malts from the start with caramel and toast, but also a nice citrus zing that develops into bitter grapefruit pretty early on. Light butter note, light dark fruit, grainy biscuit. Finish has an English hoppy character, dry leafy, a bit earthy, but quite bitter.
The hoppy finish prolongs into the aftertaste, keeping some crisp citrus peel too. Just a bit of malt sweetness here. Medium body and carbonation, the light sticky buttery note doesn't really disturb that much.
Pretty cool, wouldn't mind to find it easier, but that's out of the question unfortunately.

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Photo of tastybeer
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Color is right between the red on the bottle label and the brown of the beer bottle glass. Nice red glow in the sunlight with a creamy slightly orange tinted off white head. Good looking lace. Aroma is quite nice. Fruity and British-like with cherry, tangerine, flowers, creamy biscuits, fall spice (or something alike), earthy rooty tea.... Taste is brisk, fruity, earthy, and woody. Pear, cherry, some pine, and lingering grassy bitterness. Mouthfeel is prickly, fluid, and dry. Not a bad beer at all.

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Photo of jkrich
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a deep and clear red-brown with a foamy, sustained off-white head. According to the label, this ale was bottled the 212th day of 2014.

When I opened the bottle, the aroma was minimal to nonexistent. After the pour I could detect some sweet, fruity and wine-like aromas.

This is a well balanced amber ale with a nice hop profile in the first sip with lingering, biscuit malt on the palate. There are hints of dark fruits and molasses while the ale always maintains a refreshing and zesty mouth feel. This amber has more complexity than most "amber" style ales I have tried. The label does state this is an "ESB-Inspired Ale."

This is one I will seek out again, and I would put this at the top of the amber style.

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Photo of i4ourgot
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Nice beer I was expecting more hoppiness coming from Ballast Point. Despite the lack of hops this beer still has lots of flavor. There is a subtle bitterness to the beer but that really allows the malt flavors to come through . The most noticeable while not overpowering was the roast malt flavor, giving the beer a nice mellow subtle coffee flavor. Very nice mouth feel to the beer it was very light but it still had a creamy aspect to the beer. The aroma was very mellow but at a restaurant I always have a hard time smelling my beer.

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Photo of rjs246
3.32/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

You can taste the quality but the sweetness in the nose just doesn't do it for me. I'll bet there are plenty of people who like this one, but it isn't for me.

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

Bottle with dinner in Anaheim.
Clear, dark copper with a foamy tan head. Foam shrinks to a thin film, thin lace sheets left behind.
Smell is of malt, and herbal hops. Slightly fruity yeast aroma.
Taste has a good malt base, finishes with floral herbal hops.
Low level of carbonation, medium body and mouth feel.
Overall, this is a pretty good beer.

Note to self: Rated #89 American Amber / Red Ale when I tasted it.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Red-orange in color. Good clarity. Pillowy cream-colored head billows up and retains forever. Lacing sticks in sheets. A very good-looking beer.

S: Chewy caramel, toffee, bready, shortcake, pinch of cocoa, cherry and red berry. Earthy hops. Herbal, tobacco. Very well balanced and polished.

T: Toast and shortbread up front. Toasted crust. Toffee. Citrus rind bitterness from the hops- bitter grapefruit rind. Lots of woody, herbal, and tobacco notes as well. Hop bitterness spikes toward the back end and really clamps down. Red berry and cherry flavors buried deeply. Grapefruity hop bitterness edges out receding caramel and toffee malt flavors on the finish.

M: Medium bodied. Full, round, and very creamy with a whipped and airy texture. Modestly carbonated. Awesome mouthfeel.

O: This is far from the simple amber ales that flooded the market in the early days of craft. At its heart it is really more of an English ESB, and a well-made one at that. It's generously hopped in the American fashion too. Worth a look if you're into ESBs or want a change of pace. Don't just write it off as another boring amber ale.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a style of beer that all too often does very little to nothing for me, but this one is something different and something special, leave it to ballast point for that. the color is great, largely clear with an almost ruby red amber color and a khaki head, thick and frothy and slowly fading, but it leaves spiderweb lacing as it drinks. the nose is hoppy and dry, the exact opposite of what we usually get in these beers. the hops have a subtle perfume character, bright and floral, a little tangy, citrus peel, clean though, only bitter enough to balance these richer grains out a little bit. is love to know which hops they used here, its so different, and for once the red malt base enhances hops for me, rather than crowds them out with sweetness. its super dry too, and at a low abv this is something i could drink endlessly. wishing my single would morph into a sixer pretty hard right now. one of the driest reds i can recall, and one of the most beautifully hopped. this is top tier for the style, no doubt. its exactly what my palate likes!

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Photo of barczar
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%

Beautiful deep amber color, excellent head retention. Aroma is dominated by toasty and fruity specialty malt, with a hint of citrus and pine. Flavor follows suit, but adding a fairly bitter finish. Well balanced, with notes of toffee and citrus countering, though the finish is more bitter than I'd prefer. Really wish I had purchased more of these. Fairly complex for an amber.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

If you are planning to visit me in Lancaster, PA (or if you are just passing through) and want to score some singles, The Friendly Greek Bottle Shop on New Holland Avenue (at N. Franklin St.) is one place that I highly recommend. Ted(dy), the owner, is usually amenable to breaking sixers if there is open space in the cooler and I can always find something new and interesting. This one was a part of a recent score!

From the bottle: “ESB-Inspired Ale”; “Dedicated to the Craft”.

I dedicate this beer and its review to both my cousin, Colby Chandler, Ballast Point’s Specialty Brewer and to Paul Elder, the artist behind all of their labels! Cheers, gents!

I just love to Pop! The cap and start an inverted Glug! Following a pseudo-cascade, anything could happen, including overflow, which is what really set #TheOldLady off last summer. In this instance, I got three fingers of dense, puffy, tawny head with great retention. Color was Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity. The head suddenly fell like a soufflé, leaving behind a load of sticky lacing. Somebody from BPBC had better be coming by to clean this up! Nose explained why they are using “inspired” since it was very hoppy for an ESB. Yes, they do call it an “Amber Ale” so fair dinkum, lads. My point that I was getting to is that it had a very pine-hop forward nose. Do try to keep up. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was initially quite hoppy, but then a caramel malt sweetness began to assert itself on the tongue. It was about a decade ago that John Frantz proclaimed that “Ambers are a dead style among craft brewers” and at that point, I had to agree. They were the foundation of craft beers, but they tended to be very malty just as AIPAs were coming into vogue. The shift towards a hoppier Amber makes them more palatable and marketable as a result. Off of my soapbox. Here, the hops were prevalent, but there was still some malty sweetness. Finish was semi-dry, not really what I would consider sweet under any circumstances. This may or may not be your cuppa tea, but for me, I am awaiting its release in CANs. Ya hear me, Colby?!? CANs!

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Photo of pat61
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%

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.

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Photo of ttroha
3.52/5  rDev -8.1%

Tap. Semi-hazy brown with minimal white head. Aroma of caramel, pine hops and floral hops. Taste is sweet with bitter hops at the back end, Bitter, hoppy aftertaste. Medium bodied.

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Photo of Brew_42
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

A-Dark copper with an off-white head

Smell- Malty with some sweetness. A hint of citrus too.

Taste- Malty with some caramel up front. Turning more bitter towards the back end. Some citrus and pine. More bitter than you would expect from the smell.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation

Overall- Pretty decent beer. Smell's great but a little bitter for my tastes.

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Photo of woemad
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%

12oz bottle purchased at Huckleberry’s in Spokane for $1.79. No obvious freshness date, but the label has been stamped “CA 419 14691.” This date makes no sense according to BP’s own explanation of their dating system on their website, unless this bottle is from the future. The label is different than the one pictured on BA, and “Copper” seems to have been dropped from the name.

Poured a hazy, orangey-amber color, with a big, creamy beige head and some sediment visible. Judging by the sediment, the time machine that brought this bottle here took a roundabout route.

More hoppy in the nose than most amber ales. This makes me happy. I’m not into the malt bombs that most ambers tend to be. I also detected a honey-like aroma, and what reminds me of orange peel.

Bittering hops and toasty, bready malts are almost equally present in the taste, with the hops slightly in the lead. This could easily pass as a malty version of a west coast pale ale.

Medium bodied, with a mouthfeel that manages to be both creamy and dry.

Although it’s labeled as an “Amber Ale,” this seems coser to an ESB. Regardless of the style, it’s a sessionable amber-colored ale with a hop bite. Fans of sweeter, more malty amber ales might not care for this. I find it very drinkable, but wish I knew how old it really is. Just stamp the actual bottling date on the bottle, fer cryyi! Don’t make us do math with what turns out to be a wrong number!

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Photo of jjh19
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: A dark red/copper color with an average tight-bubble head. Surprisingly dark for an Amber.

Smell: Not a ton of aroma, but I did detect some toasted notes and some floral hops.

Taste: This one tasted a lot like New Belgium’s Fat Tire ale. For better and worse. There’s no denying that Fat Tire (and I’m sure Calico) has it’s fans. I’m just not one of them. It must be the balance of hops and malts - it doesn’t sit well on my tongue. The hops feel unnecessarily assertive.

Mouthfeel: Medium body.

Drinkability: This Amber Ale is okay. One and done.

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Brick red with bubbles floating to the top. some lacing on the glass.

S: Bitterness and malt.

T: Grassy taste, citrus hops, English malt, chalkiness, raisins, and clove. This is a lovely taste and I love the mix between a true American amber and an English bitter.

M: Medium-light and creamy. It's got a nice touch of carbonation.

O: A good beer definitely. Might buy a six pack of this soon. I love the IPA-cross-English bitter style.

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Photo of S_Weinstein95
4.19/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: An amber brown with a thin white head that turns to a nice lace

Smell: A great malty scent hits the nose. Scents of caramel, nuts, and a bit of chocolate appear as well.

Taste: The malts balance nice with the strong roasted flavors found in the beer. More of the caramel appears on the back end as does a hint of nut. Finishes smooth with a bit of a chocolately aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: A very smooth, drinkable beer. Nice carbination throughout.

Overall: An exemplary example of the style. Absolutely worth revisiting!

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Photo of Zach136
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Deep ruby, rocky off white head. Solid lacing.

S - Medium intensity tones of nuts, caramel and grassy hops.

T - More of the same from the nose. Malt forward with a sweet toasty character finishing with an astringent grassy hop character, really not my thing personally but very true to style.

M - Refreshing and quaffable.

O - Amazing take on the style.

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

Poured into a Sam Adams "Perfect Pint Glass."

A: Nice dark amber red with hints of orange and brown. Significant head, little lacing, nice appearance.

S: Wheats, malts, lots of hops. Kind of a sweet caramel on top.

T: Initial flavor is standard for an amber, but it has a significantly large hoppy bitterness. Sweet caramel notes and lots of good roasted malt. Significant bitter aftertaste.

M: Smooth, crip and not too rich but drinkable.

O: Not a bad selection. It's a Boston Lager with more hops. Quite a nice, flavorful beer that's full of malt, caramel and hops. Solid B+.

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Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Dark amber body with a chunky cream-coloured head.

S: Strong orange rind and fudge combination.

T: Has the marmalade and the fudge but the sweetness is masked by a rindy bitterness, making it fairly dry. Malt character is undetectable.

M: Soft but lively effervescence.

O: It's no Sculpin but an enjoyable beer none the less.

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Photo of chinchill
3.87/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of thomda11
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another solid brew from Ballast Point. It pours a beautiful rich amber color with modest head. The beer has a sweet malt aroma with just a touch of citrus hops. The taste is similar to the aroma. There is a strong caramel malt presence with a hop bitterness that is reminiscent of bitter citrus. Overall, I cannot say this is the best Amber Ale I have had; but, it is certainly one I'd grab again.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, red amber colored with a large off white head that lingers leaving good lacing, clear

S: light citrus hops, lemony and zesty, caramel malt

T: citrus peel bitterness up front, sweetens only slightly in the middle, hop profile is balanced by caramel malt, finish is bitter citrus, bready and tangy

M: medium with higher carbonation

O: above average but a bit one dimensional, flavors are reserved

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