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California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
80
good
363 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
363
Ratings:
1,001
Avg:
3.53
pDev:
24.08%
 
 
Wants:
37
Gots:
157
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: 363 | Ratings: 1,001
Photo of BrokenEdge
3.28/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I had this back when it was titled a Pale Ale with the words "kolsch" buried underneath. The name change is perfect for this beer in several ways. 1) It really is more of a kolsch than an APA so I'm glad they put that in the forefront and 2) a boring name for a boring beer. This isn't bad, but just so average for it's price point.

Pours a pale yellow gold color, with a thin off white head, and faint hints of soapy lacing. Looks not unlike a lot of macro beers, except slightly more gold in color. Smell is weak but has some mild yeasty spiciness and lemon. Taste has more of the same, with some grassy notes, white fruits (apples, pears, etc), and biscuity maltiness. Faint noble hops, and generally tilting in favor of sweetness. Feels pretty light with high carbonation, but still mostly smooth going down. Crisp fruity finish. Overall, I think this beer is just not worth the cost (about $16 a 6 pack) and there are so many more great pilsner style beers that I'm not sure why anyone would spend so much on this one. Not a hit for me.

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

Ok, round two of my intro to Ballast Point. Poured from a bottle, a hazy blonde that's a bit darker than traditional Kolsch styles. Tight head that quickly dissipated. Nose was yeasty, mild spiciness. Taste was yeasty, hint of cloves, a bit of fruit/banana sweetness and slight malt, and a modest bitter late in the finish and the mild lactic taste characteristic of the style. Mouthfeel was nice with fine but moderate carbonation.

Overall this is a pleasant drinking beer, good for a session and hews close to the Kolsch style. Pro hone of the better American examples. Now, if they can do something about their stupidly high prices. This is a good beer, but there are others as good and for much less. I can't help but feel like Ballast Point's following is a bit cultish.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.46/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the Pinon Pub at Whole Foods in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Served in a shaker glass.

Good golden-color and clarity but not much head. Smell was faint on everything, just light sweet malt notes and hints of bread and biscuit.

A bit more on the taste, grassy hops most notably. Very nondescript in a way that a non-craft drinker could enjoy.

Drinkability was pretty impressive. Drank very lightly. Easy to kill a pint and didn't have a filling effect.

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer pours a clear gold color.

Overall: The aroma is a toasted malt smell with a hint of citrus. The taste has malt and citrus along with a buttered biscuits finish with a very slight hop bite. This is one refreshing beer recommended during the summer.

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Photo of NickTheGreat
4.17/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L (4.25) - A bit more of an orangey yellow, and has a nice white foam on top.
S (4) - Not a lot of aroma, but a little bit of hops are noticed
T (4.25) - I find this very well balanced between hop and malt. If you think about the malt, you notice that, but start considering the hops and they pop out. Very well balanced.
F (4) - Easy drinking beer, carb'ed about right.
O (4.25) - All in all, I liked this beer. I'm kinda hit or miss on some BP stuff, and this is much more "hit."

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Photo of THSdrummer
3.9/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, golden-yellow with a medium-thin biege head. LIttle to no lacing left behind. The aroma features a tasty backdrop of lemon, citrus, and a balance of light hops and malts. Taste is a smooth transition between lemon and citrus, and sweet malts and hops. Very well balanced and subtle, and yet fun to drink. Mouth feel is good. Not too harsh in the carbonation, it's easy to drink, and is not watery. Overall, a good rendition of the Kolsch style of beer. It's easy to drink on a warm summer day spent grilling, tail gating, or to wet your palette after a long run or ride.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of Strike00
3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

L: pours light amber, almost yellowish.
S: smells sweet and lager style yeast
T: Malt driven with a nice hop presence. an underlying sweetness that I actually like
F: pretty smooth with fairly high carbonation. Dry finish.

O: Not too bad. im not going to seek it out but an enjoyable, refreshing beer.

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a wonderful clear golden color with a one finger white head. Aroma is sweet bready malt with some spicy noble hop character. Taste is lightly fruity, floral, spicy, grassy, all the noble hop characteristics. Mouthfeel is light, but spritzy on the palate with carbonation. Overall, a wonderful kolsch/pale ale hybrid that deserves respect and a spot in every true beer lovers graces. Doesn't have the huge hopping, barrel aged, adjunct pieces, but that is what makes it special.

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Photo of TH28
3.41/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. 11/15/15 bottle date. Appearance: Crystal clear light golden, with thick white head and nice lacing. Aroma: Grainy, cracker, subtle pear like fruitiness. Taste: Light, cracker like malt sweetness that turns to a strong spicy bitterness that lingers long after the swallow. Mouthfeel: Medium body with a light creaminess and moderate carbonation. Finish: Fairly dry on the finish with a strong spicy bitterness that lingers. Overall: Has the look and smell of a true Kolsch, but seems to have the bitterness level of an APA. Still a pleasant, easy drinking beer, but balance shifts more towards the hoppy side than any other Kolsch I’ve had.

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Photo of Gabriel_Vaughn
2.85/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A: golden straw, slightly hazy

S: tad fruity like dried fruit, sweet

T: fruit again, stale not to my liking

M: meh

O: I'd love to try their other pales but I'm no fan of this fellow

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Photo of Hahnin
4.5/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

BP is the friggin bomb. I love pretty much everything they do. This is a classic beer. It is solid, good drinkability, but nothing fancy or anything to keep you coming back.

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Photo of vabeerguy
3.86/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a pilsner glass. Noticed immediately that a straight hard pour produced too much foam but it dissipated quickly. The first taste produced noticeable lacing. The color looks like it could be your average pilsner or kolsch. The name indicates it is a pale ale but it does not seem to fit into that category. That said, the beer is very tasty and refreshing. If you are looking for a hoppy or bitter beer (like an APA or IPA), than this would not be the one. If you are looking for a beer or two (or more) for a hot summer day, this would be a good selection.

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Photo of Urk1127
2.05/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

-Hazy yellow
-Pretzel dough, salt, sweetness, grass, grains
-Odd doughy sugar sweetness, grassy
-Creamy, fizzy

-did not care for the weird sweetness, but i do like other Kolsch

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Photo of Antg8989
3.91/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: Pours a pale gold with a one finger white head.
Aroma: Crackery malts, pepper.
Taste: Malts up front. Spicy hops.
Feel: Medium bodied, high carbonation.
Overall: Decent pale ale. Not great, not bad.

3.5, 3.75, 4, 4.5, 3.75

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Photo of Catracho5
4.15/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce can poured into a pint glass

A: Pale, golden straw color with a white head, lots of carbonation streaming off the bottom, slight lacing, a really good looking beer.

A: Straw, hay, malts, slight bitterness, slight fruit aroma, smells pretty good.

T: Hay, grain, malts, dry, slight bitterness, there is a hint of pears, finishes dry and malty, fairly complex for a pale ale.

M: Smooth mouthfeel, easy drinking, dry finish.

O: This is a quality beer, a little different than other pale ales I've tried but good, more grainy and malty than it is citrus and easy drinking, another great beer from Ballast Point and new beer I will definitely reach for.

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Photo of LennyOvies
3.49/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

L- Gold hazy body and a creamy head.
S- Fresh malt aroma with a citrus backbone.
T- Fresh malt within initial sip and then lemon gets mixed.
F- Fresh, light, a bit oily.
O- Fresh easy drink. Didn't really like the mouthfeel. Just good.

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Photo of paco1029384756
3.81/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours golden, perfectly clear, but seems a little low on carbonation
Scent of rich grain, freshly cut grass, and a hint off citrus; not much else is needed. Fresh grain, grassy hops, oats, and a hint of hemp in the finish. The body is a little low in carbonation as well. A clean and supremely drinkable beer.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.25/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm not sure I get the low scores either, other than frustrations over A) it's actually a kolsch-style ale, not a pale ale and/or B) it's not a big old hop bomb of a beer. Regardless, I thought this was clean and delicious and the description from the brewer incredibly apt -- "...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." The German hops natural spice and grassiness work well with that understated citrus fruit note from the ale yeast, but never cover up a clean malt base. Will be reaching for this one very often indeed this summer.

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Photo of stonefan55
2.58/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

My fault for not reading the label, As it states ''pale ale'' I thought It was a Pale Ale. either way not bad but also not a taste that a west coast pale ale should be. It is as the label says in tiny print, a kolsch style beer thats like a lager but brewed like an ale. I love Ballast Point for all of their other styles...
Looks more yellow in color than a pale ale, Smells a little skunky, tastes between a Heineken and fat tire, feels too lite with little alcohol on it, crisp and dry...

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Photo of cbutova
3.47/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says Pale Ale: The Original but same artwork as Yellowtail so here goes nothing.

A- The tall 12oz bottle pours a mostly clear golden yellow brew into my tumbler glass. The head is white and creamy rising just over one finger with good retention. A large pillow and ring remain dropping a few large webs of lace but not much else.

S- Easy going but plenty of yeast character leading the way in the aroma. A fruity yeasty feel with notes of pear and apple opens up for a bready, biscuity pale malt hint. Noble hops hint in the background.

T- As with the nose most of what I get is from the yeast. The fruits are rather apparent with pale things like white grape, pear and slight apple coming to mind. Bready, biscuits, hint of grassy spicy hops and minerals.

MF- Very light overall thickness with a noticeable lack of texture. Feels a bit thin as the carbonation comes down in moderate amounts. Light herbal bitterness towards the finish.

Light yet flavorful with a host of yeast derived notes cascading onto the palate. My only knocks are the texture is a bit thin and the flavors seem to clash at times but besides that it does its job.

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Photo of GilGarp
3.59/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served cold into a shaker pint glass.

Yellowtail pours a clear golden yellow color with thick white head. It settles fairly quickly and leaves spoty lace behind.

Aroma is mild and light with no real hop character.

Flavor is also very mild with pilsenser like attributes. Nothing too remarkable.

Mouthfeel is light In body and balanced.

Overall a disappointment. Calling this a pale ale is misleading. Yes it's an ale that is pale but it is not what one expects when ordering a pale ale.

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Photo of dd43
3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

It's funny. I love what ballast point does, generally speaking. And this is a decent beer. But I feel like the recipe could use a couple of tweaks to make it pop more. The malt base is nice but I could use a little more of that noble hop aroma. It doesn't really need more bitterness, per se, I'm looking more for a pungency to the earthy/spicy/floral thing I want in a German style pale ale like this.

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Photo of maedhros09
3.9/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I didn't look at the label too closely before trying this one so I was expecting more of an American Pale Ale. That considered my first reaction was disappointment - the flavors seemed dulled and there was not the freshness that I expect from an APA. When I saw the Kolsch "subheading" it made a lot more sense. A good enjoyable brew, but not one that I expect to repurchase.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 5/30/2014. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy golden color with a 2 finger dense and rocky white head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon, pear, apple, wheat, cracker, bread, herbal, straw, grass, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance of pale malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of lemon, pear, apple, wheat, cracker, bread, herbal, straw, grass, and yeast earthiness. Light earthy herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, pear, apple, wheat, cracker, bread, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness and balance of pale malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. A fairly clean finish as well with no overly estery yeast notes present. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, fairly crisp, and lightly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with no warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice kolsch style. All around good balance and robustness of pale malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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

A - Golden clear with a small white head
S - Malts and yeast
T - Much like the smell with some spice and hops showing up.
M - Medium body and just a little hop bite.
O - Not bad its easy to drink

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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 363 ratings.