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Calico Copper Amber Ale - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Calico Copper Amber AleCalico Copper Amber Ale

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

981 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 981
Reviews: 387
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 10.79%
Wants: 23
Gots: 56 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 04-10-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 981 | Reviews: 387 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gyllstromk
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%

Pours a clear amber with nice head and lacing. Nose has a strong malt character with honey, cinnamon, and floral hops. Taste has a caramel approach with a nice hop finish. A bit wet but quite drinkable. Ambers don't excite me but this is a fine example of the style.

gyllstromk, Feb 27, 2009
Photo of gabeerfan
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%

Pours a nice, iced tea-caramel amber. Thick, pillowy, rocky head that falls to a fairly thick cap. Lots of lacing down the glass.
Fairly malty aroma. Bits of caramel, brown sugar, toasted bread. Hops balance the sweet aromas, but are not as pronounced as you would expect from a west coast beer. Hops seem grassy, piney with grapefruit/citrus in the background.
Malty flavors too. A lot of the same flavors as in the aroma. Caramel, honey, toasted bread, iced tea are balanced with the pine/citrus hops. While the hops are definitely present, they aren't as overpowering as you may think.
Medium bodied. Good carbonation. Not very oily or resiny.
Very drinkable. Great flavors for a "low alcohol" beer. Quite sessionable and I could see drinking this all night.
Ambers are usually one of the weaker offerings from a lot of craft brewers. This one is by no means a weak offering and recommend giving it a try.

gabeerfan, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of oriolesfan4
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%

Had 2 beers from this brewery before and enjoyed them immensely.. this one is also very good. I'm a sucker for a nice red ale and this one is different, but refreshing. Pours a reddish/brown color, tons of lacing and a nice head=glorious. Taste is more malty than expected, very malty actually. The bitterness of the hops kick in at the end but its not as hoppy as most other red ales out there. Don't get me wrong, I lvoe me some hops but this beer mixes it up and good and makes for a nice well balanced brew. Greta mouthfeel and body make this an easy drinker. Too bad I have only found it in Massachusetts (boo Connecticut)

oriolesfan4, Feb 21, 2009
Photo of MisterClean
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%

Bottle purchased from Total Wine in Roseville.

A - Pours copper red, 2 fingered head, and dissipates slow. Leaves nice lacing.

S - Burnt toffee, breadiness, cinnamon, and smoked peat.

T - Same as above, but more smokiness, and some bittering hops. The taste is very similar to a Strong Scotch Ale versus an amber. I question why Ballast Point boasts this beer as an American Amber Ale. Clearly, it is not (from Category 9E, Strong Scotch Ale): "Flavor: Richly malty with kettle caramelization often apparent (particularly in stronger versions). Hints of roasted malt or smoky flavor may be present, as may some nutty character, all of which may last into the finish. Hop flavors and bitterness are low to medium-low, so malt impression should dominate." Pretty much describes the taste to a T (no pun intended).

M - Well-balanced, full mouthfeel, but very dry.

D - Good, but should contain more Amber like characteristics and I was displeased with the dryness in the mouthfeel.

MisterClean, Feb 09, 2009
Photo of Oxymoron
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%

Calico, the cat of the sea? Pours a crystal clear, copper color with amber hues through out. A fizzy white head did last through most of the tasting or at least hid to the edge of the glass and ok lacing.

The nose has more of an amber ale appeal (vs red) with sweet caramel aroma. Some minor grainy notes as well but more balanced with some yeasty and hop notes. A distinct citrus aroma with orange and tangerine. Some yeasty notes as well, with a light phenolic aroma. Some peppery notes as well.

The taste is limited in taste. The malt is particular with some candy like caramel flavors. Some bready and doughy like flavors and some chalky notes in the finish. The citrus comes out nicely though with a great citrus/orange finish. Mostly finishing hops not much bitterness but not much in the body either. The yeast is much cleaner versus the nose. Some minor phenols, rose peddles specifically but still nice.

The body is light to moderate with some wispy notes. Would like a bit more depth. Very light and easy to drink. Overall I would have like some more depth on the malt side and balance with the great hop flavor.

Oxymoron, Jan 29, 2009
Photo of callmemickey
4/5  rDev +5.3%

A: Clear amber body. Thick white head, good staying power. Decent lacing.

S: Bready malts, slight pine/resiny hop aroma. No hints of alcohol.

T: Bready/biscuity malt flavor is dominant. Some bitter hops toward the finish. Well balanced.

M: Medium bodied. Decent carbonation. Smooth. No hints of alcohol.

D: A good session beer. Not overly complex, but does the trick.

callmemickey, Jan 29, 2009
Photo of cvstrickland
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%

Poured into my pint willibecher glass, Ballast Point's Calico Amber is bronzed reddish-copper in color with a huge grainy-bubbled cap of cream-colored foam atop. The head recedes in ragged, rocky fashion, leaving fluffy connected puffs and fine sheets of lacing on the glass.

The smell is sweet and spicy with notes of green citrus, cool orange, and zippy ginger candied in brown sugar.

The taste is bold and malty with a fat, nutty toasted character that fades to fruit oil and mild brown sugar. A spicy edge brings solid, dry bitterness into play against a lingering bready syrupiness that lasts well into the aftertaste.

The drink is fullish in body with good carbonation and a thickish, almost syrupy linger on the palate. Drinkability is okay, but all in all, the brew is nothing to write home over.

cvstrickland, Jan 28, 2009
Photo of tmoneyba
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Draft sample at Pacific Fish Co., SD location.

Poured clear dark amber hue with medium frothy white head that diminshed slowly with good lacing.

Medium aroma of hops and malt.

Medium body with a smooth texture.

Well balanced flavor of malt, hops and citrus with a medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration.

Good drinkable brew.

tmoneyba, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of ncvbc
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%

Very nice pour, a clear copper with amber hues. Creamy head with excellent retention and lacing, steady carbonation. Smell is pretty average. Sugary sweet, a little toasty brown sugar, somewhat chalky hop character. Taste is a bit bitter. A little more balance. Good brown sugar, toffee, light caramel and a nutty character underneath. Somewhat piney and again a lightly chalky hop presence. Light toasted bread. Well carbonated and pretty creamy with moderate bitterness. Pretty drinkable, maybe a couple bottles. Past that, not too interesting.

ncvbc, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of merlin48
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

merlin48, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of orangemoustache
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Pours a transparent copper with some red highlights. A three finger khaki colored head caps this beautiful brew, big lace is a bonus. The nose leads me to believe this is going to be a very balanced offering from Ballast Point. Sweet caramel malt blended evenly with floral hop aromas,very enticing for a Amber Ale. Good amount of hops greets the tongue fading into bread crust and back to a bitter hoppy finish. The subtlety of the caramel malt adds complexity while not competing to hard for the top spot,that award goes to the citrusy hops. This is so creamy and drinkable, my taste buds are telling me to sip slower and make this last, while my hand I can barely remove from my glass, this is an outstanding Amber Ale.

orangemoustache, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of jujubeast6000
2.73/5  rDev -28.2%

Reviewed 12/29/2008 (bottle):

Pours a nice clear brown colored body, fizzy. Big creamy off-white heap, good lacing, lasting. Some alcohol in the nose, some flowery maltiness. Dusty and musty too. Carbonated palate. Malty nutty taste. Dusty too. Some hoppiness, grapefruit. Some sweet spiciness. A little tastier as it warms more.

jujubeast6000, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Grabbed this one as part of a mixed sixer at total wine the other day. I had not had some of the regulars from Ballast Point so it seemed like a good choice. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 01/06/2009.

The pour was good enough for me. Nice amber in color with a good clarity to it. Rich white head of maybe two inches then rose up from the bottom and stayed on top for a good long while dropping lots of side glass lace along the way/

The aroma was a touch light. Bready malts and grains with a touch of light piney hops. Smooth, mellow flavor here. Definetley malt driven as the biscuit flavors came through quite nicely. Mellow carbonation kept it from coming across too light and a nice added little bite of hops in the finish was the icing on the cake for a very sessionable and quite enjoyable little amber ale.

Overall very solid here with a mellow profile and an easy session drinker. I would have no issue with having this one again, nice to see it relatively cheap on shelves.

mikesgroove, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of brentk56
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with frothy beige head that retains to an inch and leaves stringlets of lace

Smell: Very limited aroma, with hints of earthy hops and some malt

Taste: Balanced bitter and malt flavors at the outset, with pith and biscuity flavors intermingling; turns a bit more bitter by mid-palate and after the swallow, but while the beer is balanced through the finish, it leaves a metallic flavor in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Mighty bitter for an amber but in the final analysis it is still an amber

brentk56, Jan 06, 2009
Photo of nick76
3.05/5  rDev -19.7%

The aroma is piny with citrus and caramel. The appearance is amber with a large tan head. The flavor is astringent and malty with plenty of hops. The palate is thin. Overall it's average. I was actually having high hopes for this one that turned out to be just drinkable.

nick76, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of Halcyondays
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours amber with a rather thick white head, good lacing.

S: Strong notes of spicy hops, a bit grungy, caramel malt.

T: The first time I had this I remember it being much maltier, that was last year. Perhaps they changed the recipe. This bottle has strong hoppy notes, very grassy and herbal. Malt is relatively light, providing some balance to the heavy hop character.

M: Rather light body, smooth, certainly resiny.

D: A pretty good beer from Ballast Point, just needs more balance.

Halcyondays, Dec 21, 2008
Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%

Reviewed on 5/27/08. Bottle. Pours a deep amber with a light head. Aroma is fruity, like a Belgian ale. Flavor of sweet malt, some dark fruit (plums, raisins). This beer got a bit bland at the end and I didn't care for it too much. Lots of bitterness, but not in a way that complimented the beer. In the description on the bottle this beer was advertised as an amber ale (as the name also implies) and it didn't quite taste like one, although now that I learn that the beer is classified as an ESB[EDIT: I see this has now been classified as an amber], this makes things even more confusing to me...But bottom line, decent, fairly drinkable, but boring.
6/4/7/4/13 (3.4/5)

LilBeerDoctor, Dec 19, 2008
Photo of rowew
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%

Presentation: 12 oz longneck, fish on the label. No ABV or date listed.

Appearance: Dark copper color, very slight haze. Very nice firm off white head with great retention, and lacing as it drains.

Smell: Very malty, a lightly roasted aroma with some bready aromas, and a slight sweetness.

Taste: Highly drinkable, great balance of malty flavors with just a bit of grassy hops buried in there. Definitely malt dominated.

Overall impression: This is a very nice malty amber, and you may find the six pack disappearing much faster than expected.

rowew, Dec 18, 2008
Photo of racer2k
4/5  rDev +5.3%

A - Dark reddish amber with a fingernail head that is cake batter in color. The head thins out very quickly. Nice look to this beer

S - Malt, Caramel and a thin whiff of some hops. The balance of the smell is semi sweet and malty..

T - Dark roasted malt taste with a hint of caramel and semi-sweet chocolate. There is a nice finish to this beer with some hops on the back end. The finish starts chewy and finishes dry.

M - A medium thickness on this beer with light carbonation and plenty of chewy sweet malt to boot.

D - Great session beer that is relatively light in alcohol @ 5%. Nice interpretation of the amber beer style.

racer2k, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of Vendetta
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%

Original Rating Date:
September 11, 2008

Picked this up due to the cheap price and my love of amber ales. On the open and pour, dark, typical amber ale. Sexy. Medium-thin head. Leaves a medium lacing that fits the beer. Smells super bready, yeasty, like biscuits. Taste is SUPER spicey, first thing you notice is the spice. Lots of piney hops here. There's a spice in here that I can't quite put my finger on, but it gives the beer a dill pickle type taste to it. Almost seems like it's coming from the hops, but something tells me it doesn't. Maybe this is an old batch? Either way, it sounds gross, but it's good, and it works with the piney hops extremely well. Really satisfying, incredibly drinkable. Super enjoyable beer, my love amber ale continues and I'm sure to pick up some more Ballast brews. What is it about San Diego that produces such good breweries?

Vendetta, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of Bitterbill
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%

This one pours a clear amber with a 2 finger head of foam. Good lacing and it looks like head retention wil be very good.

The smell is fairly delicate but I can smell some citrus hops in there, mostly grapefruit.

The taste has a big grapefruit kick up front which I was sorta expecting from the nose but it still caught me somewhat by surprise. Then I notice some caramel malt sweetnes with a light note of bread and ok, this is pretty darned good. I didn't want a hop bomb in this American Amber and I didn't get one. ;^)

The mouthfeel is a solid medium and excellent, the carbonation is a notch below medium, and it finishes semi sweet with the malt and hops working in fine unison. And hell, the abv is just right so this is a very easy drinker. And as I guessed, head retention is very good.

Thanks go out to getkrunkhoe for the chance to try this one.

Bitterbill, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

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.

magictrokini, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of Offa
2.9/5  rDev -23.7%

This is fairly tasty but is overly bitter, with too much pine-grapefruit bitterness dominating the finish.

Reddish amber, it has a big, light tan head that shrinks slowly but steadily to a thin ring and leaves a little weak lace.

The aroma is wheat, honey, citrusy hops, and dust.

The taste is malty and fruity, bitter before becoming a bit sweet, with faint flowery hops and a hint of toffee. It then finishes very bitter and dry with a strong hoppy pine-grapefruit aftertaste lingering long past its welcome. The hop bitterness gets more prominent as one drinks more.

Offa, Dec 03, 2008
Photo of thekevlarkid
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%

Picked this bottle up while driving through Death Valley in Southern Cali! Out of the bottle this award winner poured out a dark amber/copper color with great clarity. Two finger head of off-white foam, good retention and broken bands of lacing. The aroma was sweet caramel malt and some floral hops. The flavors were good, a blend of sweet malt up front followed by a more biscuity malt in the middle and a grassy/floral hops bite at the end that made it crisp. The body was medium and almost light but not watery, the carbonation right on and the mouthfeel quite smooth. Solid and very sessionable; it deserves to be an American award winner.

thekevlarkid, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of hopdog
4/5  rDev +5.3%

22oz bottle acquired in trade with DarkElf (thanks!).

Poured a deep orange color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of caramel, lightly spicy, and some citrus. Tastes of caramel, citrus, and a little nutty. A very nice and solid Amber Ale.

Notes from 5/28/06

hopdog, Nov 22, 2008
Calico Copper Amber Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 981 ratings.