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California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
80
good
369 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
369
Ratings:
1,027
Avg:
3.53
pDev:
24.36%
 
 
Wants:
37
Gots:
166
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: 369 | Ratings: 1,027
Photo of mithrascruor
3.65/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear golden orange color. Frothly white head becomes a nice film.

Smell: Has an aroma of florals and spices.

Taste: Mild taste of semi-sweet floral malts, with a bit of spices and some very light hop bitterness. Maybe a bit of bread too.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with soft carbonation. Light- to medium-bodied.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, physically, though it doesn't fully keep my interest.

An enjoyable beer, but nothing that particularly stands out. A bit too sweet for a beer this light, at least for me. But it's certainly worth trying.

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

As others have said and the label states this is not a pale ale but a kolsch.

Pours a medium gold with little head and little hops aroma. I don't pick up any hops or malt aroma. Taste is a bit soapy? Not much body or hops. Mouthfeel is a light-which is good for a Kolsch. Drinkability-I have to give this beer a good because it is drinkable and is one I could have after mowing the lawn (if I had a lawn)

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Photo of uberabr
3.87/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 into a pint. I'm going to go ahead and review this one as a Kolsch and not a PA, otherwise we'de have some problems...

Minimal head even after a hard pour. The serious hop oil up top is probably the culprit. Lacing and carbonation are great, however.

Appearance is a light yellow amber, faint red and gold hues. Not getting much out of the nose...smells like a lager. Spicy malt and a hint of bitter.

Taste is deep and rich for such a light beer. The bitterness is subtle but complements the sweet malt very well, although there is a slight grassy effect. Lots of bread and butter, some sweet honey, oats and rye. The body is quite full and i'de rank the drinkability as solidly quaffable.

This is a great Western take on a traditional European style. It's really quite good. The name is confusing though, as this is definitely not your typical california Pale Ale, and the text on the label clearly calls it a golden Kolsch. Weird. I probably won't drink it again, but if you're into this style I'de highly recommend it.

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Photo of Talisker
3.82/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice example of a non-American style from a West Coast brewery.

Poured from a 22oz bomber (BevMo SF area, $3.99). Basic clear yellow with an orange tint. Foamy head that dies down quickly - no lace. Crisp German hops flavor (no citrus) - nice to experience without the metallic lager aftertaste. Nice light bready malt complement. Finish is long, maybe lingers a little too long for such a crisp beer.

If you can find this fresh and like the style, it's worth a try. Very nicely integrated beer.

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Photo of Barleywhiner
3.95/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz., this beer is very clear with a light orange tint, there was a decent head that faded away after a minute or two, good amount of carbonation. The smell is very nice, a light citrus fruit that was unexpected. The taste/mouthfeel is somewhat watery, yet not bad. It is very light on the tongue, not really much malt flavor, and leaves a slightly tangy finish that fades about 15 seconds later to a earthy aftertaste. Overall this was a very smooth and well balanced beer, very drinkable.

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Photo of MiScusi
3.73/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy golden straw color with no head, smell was pale malt. I was expecting it to be clear, but realized the cloudiness is from using some wheat. Taste was light bready malt and slight hops, that combine with a medium carbonation to give it a bit similar to a pilsner, although the body is a little heavier. It was still crisp and clean.

This was an good tasting Kolsch style beer.

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Photo of TheLiterati
2.03/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a bright gold with reddish highlights and a smallish off white head. Smells of bread, malt, and a hint of hops.

Mouthfeel is watery and thin. Taste is slightly off as well, and is mostly weak. The bottle says it’s styled after “the crisp golden Kolsch ales of Cologne, Germany,” but I’m not so sure about that. Though I didn’t see a freshness date, I’m wondering if I might have gotten a bad bottle.

Has the potential to be a good beer, so maybe I’ll try another bottle at some point. However, if this is the norm for this beer, then I’ll have to pass.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
3.85/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Zorro and BIF 41 for this bomber.

Pours a clear golden color with a white two finger head that quickly recedes to a ring. Moderate lacing remains. Bubbles rise steadily to the top.

The aroma contains citrus fruits, light doughy bread and hints of cinnamon (or something close to it). Smells good, but it has a very light scent to it.

Crisp taste. Some spicy citrus, caramel, bread, and lighter floral qualities at the end. Nice balance between the sweet and spicy. More malt and yeast flavors than were noticed in the smell.

Medium body with crisp, refreshing carbonation. The ABV makes this very sessionable. Ballast Point hasn't let me down yet. Nothing absolutely outstanding, but every one very solid.

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Photo of Enola
2.48/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer is a little lighter than typical. There is a foamy head. The smell is similar to a lighter beer combined with a wheat beer. The taste is a bad bitter. Not a very desirable beer. this is kinda hard to drink. I don't think this beer will be in my cabinet again.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.57/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Many thanks to BeerRun13 and NC Lotto BIF for providing the oppertunity.
Pours a clear golden color with a head that rises about 2" and quickly recedes to a halo of lace.
Smell is nice and strong. Very noticable hop aroma. Also a hint of butterscotch.
Taste starts of biscuity but the hops come in quickly. Very earthy tasting.
Mouthfeel is light bodied.
Overall a very drinkable quaffer on a hot summer day.
This is a style I don't really have a lot of experience with, but this beer motivates me to explore more.

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Photo of BeerRun13
4.23/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a super clear golden copper color. Has a small white head that stays, as it is being fed by a constant flow of bubbles rising to the top. Good lacing.
Smells crisp and clean. Malty, biscuit aroma, and German hops?
Wonderful flavor. Nice balance between the malt and hops.
Light bodied. Good carbonation. Smooth AND CRISP FINISH.
What a good refreshing beert. Highly drinkable, and perfect for a hot Summer day.

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Photo of BeerAmbassador
3.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice two finger head with good lacing. Pale yellow color. Looks a bit like a domestic lager.

S: Bread-like aroma with some yeasty smells and a bit of citrusy fruitiness.

T: Very malty and buiscuit-like flavors with a nuttiness that I can't quite place. Finishes with a small amount of citrus and floral at the end.

M:Nice tight, bright carbonation. Although head has dissapaited.

D: Very Smooth and drinkable, something that I would drink for a thirst quencher when I wanted something a little more complex than your run of the mill macro.

Overall I really like this beer, it has a really pleasant nutty malt. And for an ale it is really smooth, bordering on a lager. This is my first of the style so I dont have anthing to compare it to but i really like it.

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Photo of tonistruth
3.83/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- clear golden straw with an orange tint to it. 1" fluffy white head, retent is decent. Some lacing as well.

S- faint sweetness, hoppy aromas as well. Not much on the nose.

T- biscuity, maltly for sure. Strong pear flavors. Floral hop behind the scenes, come forward in the aftertaste.

M- silky smooth and light on the palate.

D- this is a good summer brew. Refreshing with good flavor. I'll reach for this when i need to cool down and unwind.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliantly clear, light copper color and is topped by a two-finger thick, frothy, light tan colored head. This beer has a light, herbal, lemon-like hoppy aroma to it. As I dig around a bit deeper in the nose I get an interesting aroma of something like cinnamon.

The beer has a fairly light taste to it, in fact it is almost completely dry. The hops almost get it a tangy tartness though and there is a noticeable herbal hop character found throughout this beer. The flavor almost reminds me of those exotic, yet mellow, basils (e.g. cinnamon basil), but that is not quite it. A light lemon-like note is here as well as some spicy hop notes. This is not your typical American Pale Ale, but I really like its hop leanings. Light and quaffable as well and it makes for an easy drinking 22oz bottle.

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Photo of rousee
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Nice light translucent gold color. Smell and taste are very typical of a british pale ale yet this is described as a German Kolsch style on the label--strange..

It has a smell of malty cider and is quite woody. The taste is a dry full flavored caramel with some nuttiness- cedar-like finish. Extremely drinkable --a little too chalky in the mouthfeel.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
2.73/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A: Crystal clear orangish gold body with an off white rapidly diminishing head

S: Smells mildy malty with hints of fresh cut grass and wheat. Very organic smelling

T: Wow thats standard. Minor tastes of caramel, creamed corn and cantelope on top of a plain kolsch base

M: Bit spritzy and prickly.

D: eh. So why don't they bottle the DIPA?

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Photo of Padron4KM
2.8/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, no freshness date.

clear golden with a frothy white head, lively carbonation.

minimal lacing.

Sweet and grainy malt aromas.

Lightly sweet, grainy with a light crisp bitter finish.

nothing memorable, just a middle of the road quaffer. I'd drink again if offerd, but wouldn't seek it out.

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

Had this last week-end at a Ballast Point tasting, hosted by a local pizzaria, with which they had paired the pizza to the beer. Quite a tasty event it was.

The Yellowtail Pale Ale was the first of the five ales that were served. It was served from their 22oz. bottles into pint glasses. This one pours a nice light gold, with a white, bubbly head. The head dwindles quickly leaving some nice lace behind.

Nice light malt aroma that was doughy, bisquity and had a faint wheat, as well as hop, peering through the back door.

The taste mimicked the smell, with a mildly sweet malt up front, then a much more pronounced fresh hop, to even things out. A nice clean, refreshing Kolsh style ale that went perfectly with the artichoke and olive, thin crust pizza it was paired with.

Quite a tasty beer that was light in body, had a good smooth mouthfeel, with a modest ABV making it a very easy beer to enjoy. I happily recommend this one, cheers!

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Photo of chargerfanjess
3.77/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Pizza Port Carlsbad. Crystal clear clear clear yellow pale straw. Fair size head that left bunch of white lace. Very light hop nose and malt as well. First sip light corn flavor and grain. Very crisp finish and very full mouthfeel for this type of light brew. No aftertaste which was nice for this type. Good drinkable beer on and on

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.33/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured an ever so slightly cloudy light, pale amber with a med head and tiny bubbles whitch seemed perfect for this style.
Aroma is sweetly malt with a very faint citrus.
Mouthfeel is crisp from the carbonation.
Taste is first sweet malts, then sharp hops, followed with a slightly banana and lemon taste. Actually, much more balanced than it sounds. The flavor of this brew is very complex, but pleasingly so.
Aftertaste is drying hops with a lingering pleasant bitterness.
Although this probably has more of a hops signature than is usually found in this style, I found it extremely refreshing and qualfable.
I could drink these all summer long
NOTE: I just read up a little on Yellowtale brewing from their web site and found that they use 5% wheat in this beer...THAT is the crispness I was tasting...there is definately a bread thing going on in the taste and aftertaste. Wonderful!

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Photo of nvsblman
3.4/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pale yellow with about a half finger of white head. Grassy, earthy hop aroma with a light biscuity background. Well balanced hop/malt flavor. The grassiness plays well with the caramel malt. The medium mouthfeel and slightly dry finish makes this really refreshing and enjoyable.

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Photo of germaniac
3.95/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A tasty Kolsch from Ballast Point. Dark yellow gold with a foamy white head, with hints of yeast in the aroma. Smooth and medium bodied with a great light hop bitterness that adds a little spiciness to this easy drinkin' brew. 12 oz bottle from a sixpack purchased at the Mission Valley(San Diego) BevMo.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.49/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Not much to look at. Loose white head falls to a small island and no retention to speak of. Color is a pale yellow w/ multiple sized carbonation, similar to a run of the mill macro lager.

I couldn't pick up to much in the smell. Bready malts and nothing else. Pretty smooth on the palate and it has a creamy feel to it as it going down. Hop presence is very subtle and more or less helps to crispen this up more than any flavor I get out of it. Fruity undertones of bananna and sweetened lemon round it out.

Notes: I like some hops to balance out a good kolsch. This stays on the bready side all the way through and it leans towards doughy. Good malt character. Delicate finish. Not one of my favorites but its an approachable offering with some depth.

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Photo of beersarang
3.15/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale gold with a big bubbled head that didn't last long at all. Macro?!?

Faint aroma... not much to discern here.

Slight grainy malt flavor gives way to the tiniest of hop bitterness and flavor. Grassy if anything. Wimpy all the way.

Light bodied. Would be great on a hot day, but overall pretty bleh and plain.

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

Polished brassy gold with a suggestion of juicy orange. There's almost no visible carbonation, which looks a little odd, especially right after the pour. The head is bone white and picks up a hint of yellowish orange from the beer beneath. Soapy ropes of lace arrange themselves into (transient) rough rings as the cap lazily retreats.

The nose lacks both power and personality. I realize that Kolsch isn't a style that lends itself to bold aromas, but a little more fragrance would be welcome. It's mildly sweet pale malty with a little fruitiness for good measure. I'm having a hard time picking out anything resembling hops.

Things still aren't wonderful on the palate. I'm fully capable of appreciating subtlety. I even desire subtlety at times, especially on a hot July day like today. Yellowtale Pale is overly subtle, though, and would benefit from more flavor. It tastes like an all-malt ale. In other words, it has the simplicity of an all-malt lager, but with an ale yeast fruitiness and a slightly more full, ale-like mouthfeel.

Speaking of the mouthfeel, it's on the light side of medium, feeling a little more full thanks to the quiescent carbonation. Each upending of the glass stirs up a cloud of fine bubbles, so I know the beer has retained its CO2. Too bad it isn't that evident in the mouth.

Yellowtail Pale Ale is a decent Kolsch that doesn't put any kind of a serious scare into the world's best versions. After enjoying Big Eye IPA, it was my hope that this one would be just as good. No such luck. While I don't have any desire to throw it back, I won't be mounting it above my mantle either.

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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 369 ratings.