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California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
80
good
366 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
366
Ratings:
1,011
Avg:
3.53
pDev:
24.08%
 
 
Wants:
36
Gots:
159
For Trade:
0
California KölschCalifornia Kölsch
BEER INFO

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

Style: Kölsch

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Yellowtail Pale Ale and Pale Ale The Original.

There's no wonder why our Pale Ale is so popular--it is skillfully crafted in the style of the Kolsch beers of Cologne, Germany. We've chosen German hops for aroma, and rounded out the recipe with a blend of American and German malts.

While it is very much like a pilsner, our Pale Ale is fermented at ale temperatures, giving it a subdued fruitiness--a perfect compliment to the crispness of the wheat and maltiness of the Munich malt. If you like a lighter brew but also like the complexity of craft beers, then our Pale Ale is for you.

23 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-26-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 366 | Ratings: 1,011
Photo of tronester
3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden, with a big creamy white head. Smells of mild grain. Taste starts with some initial light caramel sweetness, then some grain husk, finishing with a flowery, earthy hop finish. Mouthfeel is medium. Carbonation is a bit high, but not too bad. Overall a good beer.

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Photo of matjack85
3.63/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Roommate brought a few of these home to share so not sure of the price. 22oz. (650ml) brown bottle with an expiration date and blurb about the beer on the front label.

The beer poured a slightly hazed straw color, but for some reason it produced absolutely no head and zero lace. Hope this isn't a bad bottle.

Big pineapple smell along with some wheat.

The main flavor is like a can of fruit cocktail. After that it has a lemony flavor with a bit of bready malt, wheat, and a kiss of honey sweetness. There's also a bit of bittering hops.

Light bodied with moderate to medium carbonation.

Light, crisp, and refreshing, yet still not one of my favorite Kolsch's.

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Photo of ExaltedNecrosis
3.56/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

A - Clear light golden straw color with a finger and a half of white head.

S - Smells like wheat, straw, and sweet corn.

T - I get wheat, lemon, corn, and a bit of straw. It is sweet and not very bitter; quite refreshing.

M - Thin body and moderate carbonation. This is a crisp, easy drinking beer that's perfect for summer.

O - A good take on the kolsch style. Nothing spectacular, but a solid brew that I could drink multiples of.

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Photo of JackieTH
3/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Meager yellowish ale pours smoothly kicking up a white foam cap. Sticky and leaves substantial lacing. Sweetish, bready, lemony and yeasty odor. Tastes of crackers, lightly sour- lemons, and yeasty. Mildly sweet. A bit of wet earth. Body is light. Definitely has kolsch elements, it's just not my style of pale ale.

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Photo of ZAP
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

If it's a Kolsch why not call it one instead of a pale ale. I expected a lot more from this in the way of hops but now reading what it is I understand. I'm still pissed though as I wanted a true APA from BP...As a Kolsch it is decent enough...some malt sweetness....relatively clean...some bready/cereal notes....light fruitiness (apples/pears)...decent for the style but still pissed this is not an APA..I'll rate for style though

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer is clear and ligh golden with a small white head. The aroma brings grain, earth, hops, malt. Some sweet corn character in the flavor. A balance of malt and hops with some wet earth character. Dank hops and lingering bitterness. This is neither a good kölsch nor pale ale. It certainly lacks the attributes of either style. Too sweet. One beer was more than enough. Not again.

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Photo of ISmith87
3.28/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - golden/amber clear color with a thin head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

S - Nothing. Rice, wet cardboard, corn, light banana.

T - slight bitterness, rice, corn, light banana, wet cardboard, wheat, etc. c

M - light, aftertaste is basically nothing. Alc hidden.

O - yea it sucks, closer to Rolling Rock than it is to Dale's Pale Ale or any of the other greats.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.24/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

a - poured a one finger thick off-white head into an english pub glass. the body was an orange-golden color. not much lacing and sheeting here unfortunately.
s - citrus hops
t - citrus hops balanced by pilsner and bready malts.
m - moderate, a little on the thin side.
o - i had high hopes for this one and while it's a decent pale ale it fell short.

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Photo of vkv822
3.47/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz : tulip
best by: 10/28/13

The label is a bit misleading, as it just says "Pale Ale", which led me to expect an American Pale Ale, but it turns out it's a Kolsch! Anyways. . .

Pours a fairly clear, golden with a foamy, bubbly white head.

Pale, malts upfront with some grainy notes, grassy hops, and light floral/fruity notes as well.

Medium+ body, foamy carbonation.

A well done Kolsch, easy drinking with a subtle, but tasty hop profile.

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Photo of JWeldon
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a tulip at 46F

A: Pours gold with a fleeting white head

S: Hops, lemon, grass, bread, hint of apple

T: moderate hops, good citrus, grass and a dry, gentle hop finish

M: light bodied, unexpectedly creamy, light malt, high refreshing carb. Well balanced.

O: Refreshing and thirst-quenching, but not what I expected from a beer labeled “pale ale.” I had heard it was more of a kölsch styled brew before I drank it, but my eyes read “pale ale,” and I wanted a pale ale when I cracked it open. (Strangely, I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had been labeled “kölsch.”)

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Photo of tone77
3.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to the creator of the canquest, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a light golden color with a 1 inch head. Smell is mild, some malts are present. Taste is crisp, malts, a touch of hops, a bit of wheat, pretty refreshing. Feels light in the mouth and overall is a pretty good summertime beer.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.03/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Served in a bowtie glass)
Best by 09/21/2013
A- This beer pours a clear glowing yellow body with a thin white film of heat that breaks up after a few sips and a slow carbonation pushing toward the surface.

S- The green bitterness of Noble hops and some dry field corn notes is all that come through this lagered clean aroma.

T- The dry pale malt has some stronger field corn taste that leads to a soft Noble pungent bitter note that lingers with a slight almost sulfury dryness. The taste also has a lagered cleanness to it.

M- The light mouthfeel has a tight scrubbing fizz in the finish.

O- The clean beer has lots of qualities of an American adjunct lager with lots of field corn qualities and Noble hop hints. It was a bit of a let down.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours cloudy lemon yellow with an orange tint. A hell of a head of foam that stayed forever to a cap and collar. Great lace. Nose is dank and yeasty up front with light bread. Hops are perfumey and floral, There is a light apple smell and sweet grain with grass. Taste is smooth. Light with the apple and cracker malt. The malt is just awesome in this. Hops are noble, floral and reserved. There’s a pleasant sweetness from the malt but nothing you could point at and name and say "honey" or "caramel;" and a little sour from the yeast. A faint touch of spice and straw. The finish was dry and had a nice bitter twang. Finished malty. This is actually a kolsch and tastes like a kolsch. I t derived it’s dryness form the malt more so than from alcohol or hop bitterness. It was a cereal dryness.

I like it. Its not loud, it’s not really fruity. It has a small pucker from the sweet apple and that’s where it gets it’s sweetness. The malt sweetness is understated and behind that. A good kolsch reminds you that malt is sweet in and of itself without caramel, toffee or sugar . The malt stayed dry and breaddy . Very impressive.

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Photo of SebD
3.57/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: It has a nice clear golden/yellow color to it. It has a nice off-white head that dies down somewhat fast and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of sweet caramelly malts, some breadiness and faint citrus.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has some sweet bready and caramelly malts, faint citrus and some floral hops.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a decent overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.29/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Well, until I started typing this I had no idea this was considered a kolsch. I mean, why would they call it a pale ale if it was another style altogether? It does explain things, though... It pours a clear brass topped by a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises sweet biscuit, flowers, and a hint of candied orange peel in the background. The taste brings in more of the same, but with more of the orange peel and some mild grass for good measure. Overall, a decent little kolsch, and a sad excuse for a pale ale, depending on how you wanna look at it.

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Photo of GuzzLah
3.63/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Well, I bought this thinking it would be a citrusy and medium hoppy APA since it says Pale Ale on the bottle and Ballast Point brewed it.

Come to find out, this is a Kolsch made with Euro hops. OK?

I suppose it tastes pretty good for a Kolsch, but I feel as if I have been duped.

False advertising!

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Photo of EagleTalon
3.62/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours to a nice but thinnish white head with minimal lacing and pale gold color. Aroma is sweet grainy pale malt and grassy, floral hops. Flavor starts slightly sweet with a dry wine and noble hops finish to balance it out. Mouthfeel is a bit rough for the style. Overall a great beer that is pale and an ale but is nothing like a "pale ale". I ordered it not knowing it was a kolsch. But I was pleasantly surprised.

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Photo of natedirka
1.18/5  rDev -66.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This was not good... At all. Had this on tap and thought it was a pilsner. My girlfriend ordered a pilsner and thought the glasses were switched in front of us.

It had almost no nose and tasted like dishsoap.

I enjoy IPA's more than Pale Ales and can still enjoy less hoppy ales but this was just plain bad.

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Photo of obrike
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Bought a single at Round Rock World Market.

Poured a clean, pale gold with a minimal head. Not much retention and little to no lacing.

Pretty fresh scent of apple, pear, and hint of citrus. Some grassy hops in the background.

Taste follows... some fruit, maybe apple and lemon, just a touch of flowery hops. Uber smooth with a medium carbonation...super easy to drink. Almost downed this one in a matter of minutes. Very light, crisp and refreshing...just not a ton of personality... a very good session beer or warm weather beer however.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.59/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden color. Not much head here, a half finger white color that fades quick.

S: The malt profile has a strange biscuity aroma to it, almost like smoky meat. Not a good smoky meat, either. Some neutral malts and light noble hops hide behind this strange and even unpleasant note.

T: Very biscuity to start. This nature is honestly kind of intrusive. The finish sees a surge of mild noble hops and lemon esters, too bad the balance is out of whack. Not great overall, but better than the nose - that's for damn sure.

M: It feels a lot heavier than a kolsch should in my opinion. The hefty, creamy texture works in concert with the strong carbonation to make this one hard to drink.

O: I haven't been super impressed with Ballast Point so far, and this one is no exception. To me, this drinks like a cross between a kolsch and Fat Tire - and it doesn't really work. Maybe a fresh bottle/keg would be better? I wouldn't be averse to giving this a second chance.

Note this gets a 2.61 as a kolsch; if I reviewed it as an APA, the score would be even lower.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.69/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer was served on tap at The Old Toad in Rochester, NY. It arrived in a Blue Point pint glass, glowing a golden straw coloring. It held a one finger head of white bubbles, showing moderate retention, and foamy, patterned lacing down the sides of the glass. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appeared higher end. The aroma gave big mustiness, paler malts, light lemon, light plastics, warm nuttiness, wheat, orange flesh, clove, and grassy hops to cut. With warmth the hops came to a sweeter end, with barnyard funkiness, mineral, and freshly-cut-grass cleanliness. Our first impression was that the flavoring gave a nice blend of pale malts and citric sourness. As we sipped, sour wheat and pale malts, lemon flesh, citric rind, huge metallics, and the dryness of straw and all of its bitterness mixed for the start. The middle peaked with dirty copper, big adjuncty bite, lemon rind bitterness, hoppy grassiness, and chalky bitterness. The finish came with white flour, baker’s yeast, bright melted plastic warmth, continued grassy hop, and citric rind to the final puckering drop. The aftertaste breathed of massive coin, straw, barnyard yeastiness, chalk, grassy hops, mineral and mud, floury adjuncts, and light fusel air. The body was medium, and the carbonation high, with prickle across the hard palate. There was big foam on the swirl around the mouth, with an otherwise decent slurp, sip, and smack. Froth and cream were lesser. There was an initially wet coating that turned into a strong pucker and eventual dryness. The abv was fine, and the beer drank decently.

Overall, our favorite thing about this beer was its crisp freshness and robust flavoring for the style. Many beers in the style go too far with the drying flour bite and the adjuncts, with big puckering grassiness, and further drying elements of straw. While this guy teeters on the edge, it doesn’t go overboard in these aspects, making for a decently drinking, crisp beverage.

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Photo of riversider76
3.39/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a honey gold with a thin white head. Good retention, and a nice lace. Aroma is of toasted grains, and malts. Nice, but very weak.Body is on the light side of medium, and quite carbonated.
Taste is of bready malts. Hops comes through in the finish. A nice brew.

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Photo of Kendo
3.56/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Consumed on 12/14/12. Bottle has an "enjoy by" date of 1/31/13.

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body is light honey/golden with a small whitish head.

S: I thought there was something "off" about the smell - toasty malt and sweet malt predominate. No hops discernable at all.

T: Sweet malt, fruity malt and a touch of earthy spice.

M: Call it light-to-medium in heft, closer to medium. Good amount of visible carbonation is modestly active on the tongue.

O: A note to brewers: label your beers with the correct style. When I drank this, I was expecting an APA (the label does say "Pale Ale," after all) and was disappointed. On my notes regarding the taste, I wrote: "British style?" - because it didn't seem to have enough hops for an APA. Then in my notes for the "overall" category, I wrote, "Not what I'm looking for in an APA." I've modified my scores knowing, in hindsight, that this is a Kolsch and not an APA (originally I gave it closer to a 3.25). But at the time I drank this, I thought it wasn't a good APA at all, and my initial scores reflected that. I may have felt better about this beer had I known when drinking it that it wasn't an APA and was instead a Kolsch.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.25/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into snifter. Best by 01/19/13. Thanks for bringing these over, Matt.

A: Pours a very light shade of amber with a finger of frothy white head that faded into a soft film.
S: Big kolsh nose with notes of light malts and toasted grains.
T: Dry grains, creamy oatmeal taste, slightly sweet caramel, tons of wheat, and mellow fruity hops. Very creamy, complex (for the style) and smooth. The finish is full of pepper spices and the aftertaste is that of wheat and fruit.
M: Creamy mouthfeel from soft carbonation, medium-light body, drying and refreshing mouthfeel. Very smooth, light, and drinkable all-around. J
O: A pleasant surprise. I’d be disappointed if this was a true pale ale as the hops are too mellow and the wheat and grains are too prominent. However, if you’re looking for a very flavorful light beer give this one a try.

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Photo of Murrhey
2.8/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured in a taster at Ballast Point, in San Diego, Calif. Reviewed from notes.

A- Finger thick foamy white head. Middling retention. Crystal clear pale gold color. Not very appealing.

S- Some pale malts. Wet dogfood is a smell I can't shake, unfortunately.

T- Sweet and crisp flavor. Some bitterness. Best part yet.

M- Light but crisp carbonation.

O- Flagship beer? Unfortunate. The smell especially really put me off. Not terrible, but not something I'm rushing back towards.

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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 366 ratings.