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Yellowtail Pale Ale - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Yellowtail Pale AleYellowtail Pale Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
79
okay

853 Ratings
THE BROS
86
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 853
Reviews: 338
rAvg: 3.53
pDev: 14.73%
Wants: 19
Gots: 61 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Kölsch |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
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

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-26-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Yellowtail Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 853 | Reviews: 338 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At long last, nepotism rears its ugly head on The CANQuest (TM)! For those not in the know, I write for Ale Street News (and others) while my cousin, Colby Chandler, is the specialty brewer at Ballast Point B.C. It has been a closely-unguarded secret for some time and I have written about our relationship as well as making appearances with Colby at various venues and events. He knows of my affinity for CANned beer and especially craft CANs, so when they began CANning their beers, he knew precisely who to send some for a fair and balanced review.

From the CAN: "Handcrafted & CANned in San Diego, California"; "Dedicated to the Craft"; "The Beer That Launched Ballast Point"; "Our original Pale Ale is a rich golden brew, crafted with aromatic German hops and rounded out with a blend of American and Munich malts. While it's hopped like a lager, we ferment it like an ale to create a smooth, bright taste that has just a hint of fruit and spice. It's extremely drinkable, like a Kolsch should be. And complex, like a good craft beer demands."

The Crack revealed yet another brimful craft CAN and I was ready to see what was inside. An inverted Glug later, curtailed midway through as it threatened to overflow the sides of the glass, and I had a massive finger-and-a-half of French Vanilla-colored head with good retention in the face of today's humidity. Color was a deep, rich gold with NE-plus quality clarity, allowing me to see into the future.

I will be returning to the site of the creation of the term, "NE-quality clarity", which refers to one being able to read the Sunday comics through it, a level of clarity used by the brewer at Empyrean BC in Lincoln, NE to describe the kind of beer his patrons wanted in 2006 when I visited. I will be going back in late-February 2015 for a joint birthday celebration with Val MidWest who turns 21 y/o on Valentine's Day of that year while I will hit the big 5-Oh on the 25th. The party is planned for Yia Yia's and Old Chicago on Saturday, 28 Feb 2015 if anyone wants to join us.

While I was typing, the head fell, allowing me to lean in for a good whiff. The nose had a distinct biscuit malt/bready yeast quality, like freshly baked bread or biscuits. Yum! Mouthfeel was medium and the initial flavor was of mixed fruit, but followed with a subdued yeasty spiciness. It was like JuicyFruit gum, but with a bite. Finish was semi-sweet and highly refreshing on this hazy, humid day. Of the two so far (Longfin Lager) and this one, I am giving the majority of the cooler space to this, but neither really trip my trigger the way that the next two CAN.

The following is my original Bottle review dtd 12-31-2009

It arrived with a finger of bone-white head with good retention. Color was a bright golden-yellow with NE-quality clarity (although that is redundant when using the term "bright" to describe a beer). Nose had an interesting tang, a little sweet, as though the hops and yeast were fighting it out. Mouthfeel was medium with a sweetish, spicy black pepper taste on the tongue. Finish was dry, but not overly so.

woodychandler, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of wrightst
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

wrightst, Jun 08, 2014
Photo of orangesol
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

orangesol, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.23/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very interesting. Of course a kölsch is a pale ale, technically, but one marketed as a pale ale in America seems like something of a misnaming. Anyway, let's see how it is.

Pours a very pale yellow colour, with a filmy but fine-bubbled head of white foam, that leaves some abstract lacing. Looks very lagery, which is stylistically true for a kölsch at least. But thin, but decent enough.

Nose is slightly grainy, with a sharp German hop profile. Hint of molasses or raw processed sugar, along with something slightly phenolic. It reminds me a lot of a Munich Helles. Less fruity and clean than I expect for a kölsch, but not bad.

Taste is similar. Some graininess on the back, fronted by a light sweetness and a sugary, slightly nutty aftertaste. There's something all a bit insipid about it, however, and the characters don't mesh together particularly well. Mouthfeel light, which is expected, but it doesn't add anything to the beer, which really needs a lift.

Eh, drinkable enough, but really, there's something unappealing about it. It's not so far as to be offensive, but there's so little to it, I wonder why they bother.

I'll stick to Sculpin, thanks.

lacqueredmouse, Oct 31, 2010
Photo of Billolick
3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bomber, no freshness info offered. Pours light and clear, under a fairly thin off white tiny bubble head, that leaves plenty of sticky, fine sheeting. Resiny hop nose. Easy drinking, snappy, hopped up offering. I personally find it confusing when a brewery puts out a "pale ale" that actually is a Kolsch beer. Anyway, this beer is a pleasant enough light sipper. Nothing special going on here.

Billolick, Apr 19, 2008
Photo of tempest
3.65/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from Abe's.

Well it's a good thing they're calling this a kolsch, because it wasn't much of a pale ale. This beer just has a clean pale malt flavor with a touch of sweet biscuit and a hint of hops. The aroma has sort of a bland light malt smell, but not much more. Still a tasty beer, nothing wrong with drinking this if you want something lighter.

UPDATE: 5/13/10: I'd just add that there's an interesting popcorn aroma and pleasant mineral character to the flavor and water.

tempest, Jul 02, 2008
Photo of LXIXME
3.1/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Big white head settles to a very big lacing that crawls up the edges of the glass above a clear pale straw golden golden colored beer.

Sour lemons and slightly soapy aroma.

Wet slightly sour grains taste with a little bit of lemony hops that is also probably adding to the sourness of the taste.

Wettish yet slightly dryish aftertaste with a bit of the lemony sourness remaining behind with this light to medium bodied drink.

A bit to much on the sour taste for a pale ale for me, not really what I think of when I grab a pale ale.

LXIXME, Oct 31, 2013
Photo of ejimhof
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

ejimhof, Sep 08, 2013
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.

Huhzubendah, Sep 22, 2013
Photo of DoubleJ
3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thank you Cost Plus World Market for carrying this in your vairety pack! On to the beer:

A soapy head forms on top of this golden ale, albeit one that doesn't last too long. But it does the job on a pleasant warm day. It's semi-sweet with some hop grape and bready flavors. The crispness is light and finishes a touch dry. A great beer to have when the weather is too much to have something big.

DoubleJ, Jul 10, 2007
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.

rhoadsrage, Jun 18, 2013
Photo of BARFLYB
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz single bottle into a regular kitchen glass. 1st time trying this.

A- Yellowtail has a yellow appearence with some white gold specs here and there. A semi aggressive pour popped up a inch of nicely layered white foam. Sadly no legs on the foam as it died quick leaving no lace. Some sediment.

S- not getting much hops in fact none, I am getting some toasted malts. A big scent of straws with some fruit hidden beneath. Not so bad.

T- Light toasted malts and some earthy grass plus straw. Pretty tame but this is a simple style. Some faint fruit on the aftertaste. No bitterness at all as hops are not a factor.

M- Light carb and a light body. Not much of an aftertaste except for some fruit. The malts are soothing going down making this enjoyable.

D- Sessionable and good for a go. Im not sold on the Kolsch style yet as i've only tried two in the style but this does not make me jump for more. A good summer beer and I could see myself taking a case to a party.

BARFLYB, May 18, 2009
Photo of Zorro
3.9/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden brew with lots of carbonation.

Smell is sweet grain and a mild perfume smell.

Taste is sweet with lots of grain. There is a tartness to this gives it a different flavor. The hop bitterness is in balance with the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is good.

A super drinkable brew, very mild brew.

Zorro, Apr 01, 2004
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light gold in color. A pale ale or a Kolsch? Make up your mind Ballast Point! This brew leans more to the kolsch side, making it a good summer option. Light floral hops, no real bite. Crystal and pale malts. Tinge of lemon. Fairly bitter, and very clean at that. Easy to drink but just a run of the mill kolsch style beer.

Stinkypuss, Sep 08, 2010
Photo of BillRoth
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

BillRoth, Oct 21, 2013
Photo of Wasatch
3.13/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear golden orange/yellow color, nice carbonation, tiny fizzy/creamy white head, some sticky lacing around the edges. The nose is slightly sweet, hoppy/malty, spicy, and some caramel. The taste is soury though, slightly hoppy, some spices thrown in and caramel. The finish is dry. Medium body. Drinkable, I bought this thinking is was a Pale Ale, WRONG! Not really a fan of Kolsch brew's.

Wasatch, Aug 29, 2007
Photo of smakawhat
3.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a make shift Stange, my old collins glass.

A nice simple pale lemon with green hues on the edges hints of dark buttery gold for the body. Some orange colors also A very large even foamy head of pin sized bubbles is produced which takes much time to receed but doesn't leave much lacing either.

Bouquet is subtle but nice if unexpected. Faint grain, very light and airy and dry smelling. A small toasty bread sense, some gas, even a hint of faint spritzy lemon.

Taste is strange... dry and powdery sensations of flour mostly. Powdery with some sweetness in the finish, missing bread action

Overall a real unique and nice nose, but taste doesn't deliver as much. This is not bad but I think I'd grab a different Kolsch if I could.

smakawhat, Jul 13, 2011
Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yellowtail is, in fact, yellow (but a rather dulled shade of it at that). It is actually so dense that I had thought its natural haze was condensation built up on the glass, but no, that's just what happens when you use the right amount of malt in your brew. Its head is incomplete but does make the 5-inch or so trip round the whole circumference of the glass.

The aroma showcases a very assured, wholesome maltiness that is so thick as to be almost doughy. It smells like crackers or biscuits and is deliciously aromatic, even despite its paleness. With quality malts like this I don't even want hops or yeast to interfere and I'm quite happy they don't (although others might detect a subtle fermentation-driven fruitiness).

You don't need a million different flavours for a beer to be flavourful, sometimes you only really need one. This kölsch, like most golden beers in this alcohol range - and in particular the German-style ones - is not terribly complex, but it is extremely flavourful. Cracker-like, noticeably biscuity maltiness is all you taste, but it's really all you need. These malts are highly-attenuated and very rich in flavour yet incredibly simple and clean too.

I could have a beer like this every day with lunch and be a very happy man. (I'm not sure the bomber would fit in a lunch box but this is definitely the kind of thing you'd want alongside a big sandwich.) Despite being so approachable and easily quaffed, it is still a considerably hearty and flavourful beer so far as its maltiness is concerned. A beer like this makes me think that if I never saw another DIPA again I wouldn't miss them one bit.

There's not one beer style that Ballast Point does badly. In fact, I have yet to rate even one of their beers as 'just alright'; all of their brands are exceptional examples of their respective styles and Yellowtail is certainly no exception. I don't think any other brewery makes as many of my #1 favourites when it comes to examples of different styles.

biegaman, Jul 28, 2011
Photo of dmorgan310
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%

dmorgan310, Feb 13, 2013
Photo of chinchill
3.6/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz undated but very recently purchased bottle served in a pint glass. Small amount of sediment at bottom of the bottle added mid-tasting.

Near clear golden liquid with a substantial amount of fine-grained carbonation visible. Small white head has moderate retention. More lacing than expected, given the head.

Smells like a malty lager, albeit with a fruitiness that is much more characteristic of ales. The flavor is not as expected. Both the aroma and the "pale ale" labeling led me to expect something with much more hop flavor, but there's only a rather subtle touch of spicy hops in the taste. If I hadn't tried the beer before seeing the description "crafted in the style of the Kolsch beers of Cologne, Germany" I would have been surprised. This beer is mild in flavor, as per the kolsch style. In fact, I had a quite similar, but perhaps even less flavorful kolsch last weekend at the Pisgah (NC) Brewery.

It has a nice, if near watery, mouthfeel with excellent carbonation and some dryness in the finish. Slightly bitter balance, yet more malt than hop flavor.

O - a highly drinkable and refreshing beer that makes an excellent substitute for a light beer ... not that you'd want one of those. Plenty flavorful for the kolsch, but not the PA style.

chinchill, Sep 07, 2011
Photo of beerthulhu
3.55/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a clear, bright tangerine color with a billowy, dull white head that slowly settled to a creamy, bubbly layering that left a sticky and clumpy lacing behind. Visible carbonation was very strong and vibrant with rapidly rising bubbles rushing to the surface.

S: surprisingly light with freshly squeezed lemons and tangerines.

T: The initial flavor was fresh citrus/lime and tangerines. The palate was incredibily clean with light pale malts and a sharp citrus hopping that was well rounded and very smooth flavor wise. The finish was crisp with a short duration of bright wet citrus.

M: very light, slick with a surprisingly light carbonation presence on the tongue despite the strong visible nature. The beer finished clean with a moderate citrus bite left on the tongue.

D: An extremely clean, crisp drinking pale with a wet citrusy nature makes this a classic example and easy to drink and enjoy.

beerthulhu, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of sendbeer
3.75/5  rDev +6.2%

sendbeer, Jan 15, 2014
Photo of Bighuge
3.13/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dirty looking orange-amber color. It's got brown to it as well. Thus a dirty look. The head is ivory white and thin. Well retained though. And the lace left is nice. The aroma is quite thick and gritty for a kolsch. Very grainy. And dusty. (Like the grain room at the local homebrew shop.) Not that that's bad. Taste is average. It's quite grainy as well and not really quenching (as a kolsch should be). Dry finish. A bit of herbal and earthy hoppiness. Pretty average.

Thanks for yet another Ballast Point offering Mr. Bum.

Bighuge, Aug 20, 2004
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.45/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big gold color with a relatively ample head.

Taste is maltier and hoppier than mosts kolschs I've come across. Damn good tasting on a hot day around the pool. Kinda dry, yet sweet nuances. The most restrained beer I've had from these guys, and yet a great representation of a style I've traditionally shyed (sic?) away from.

A little pricey for what you get.

Beerandraiderfan, Mar 30, 2010
Photo of DrJay
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, bright, pale gold with a white collar and thin skim of very fine bubbles coating the surface of the beer. Even with a meager head, there was still spotty lacing. Fruity aroma, oranges, grassy, citrus rind, cakey, but fairly mild overall. Moderate bitterness with a fruity sweetness, basically the same character as found in the aroma. Lingering citrus oil bitterness. Light bodied and dry with moderate carbonation, fairly crisp. Quite drinkable and nicely balanced with hops and bitterness just surpassing the sweetness. Solid overall.

DrJay, Sep 06, 2008
Yellowtail Pale Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
79 out of 100 based on 853 ratings.