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California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
80
good
366 Reviews
BEER STATS
Reviews:
366
Ratings:
1,012
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: 1,012
Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Common Table in Dallas. The beer pours a cloudy orange color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the toffee with some orange citrus and some light grass notes. The flavor follow suit. I get a lot of toffee and caramel malt as well as some citrus and pine notes from the hops. The malt is much more prevalent than the hops, but there is still a light bit of bitterness and some hop flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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

22 oz bomber, has a bottle code but I can't figure it out, poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a hazy golden orange color, topped with a big fluffy, sticky white head, leaves excellent lacing.

S- Lots of bready malts, mild citrus and grassy hops.

T- Light, bready malts, which actually taste pretty nice, some grassy hops, grain, and lemon zest add some character.

M- Light-bodied, moderate carbonation, has a creamy feel with a smooth, slightly dry finish.

O- I really enjoyed drinking this, it isn't the strongest offering from Ballast Point, but for what it is, a very simple, easy-drinking beer, it's not bad at all, I would definitely buy this again next time I want a nice summer beer.

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Photo of shand
4.35/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

I'm sure lots of people pick this up looking for an APA and are disappointed. I picked this up looking for a good Kolsch, I hope it doesn't let me down. It looks good, it's got the golden body, high carbonation, and white head that are indicative of the style. The aroma is nice and crisp, with bready malts, zesty hops, and some light citrus aspects. The taste is also fantastic, it's a nearly perfect Kolsch style. It's got nice crisp, noble hoppy sort of taste at first, that seamlessly crosses over to a wheat and bread finish. The mouthfeel is great, it's perfectly crisp. The drinkability is very good. It's a great Kolsch. A really great Kolsch. No idea why it took me so long to give this a try ... maybe finally figuring out how to read Ballast Point's date codes so I could get a fresh bottle was the kick I needed.

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Photo of tony223366
3.5/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: First of all, huge fluffy white head with immediate lacing. The head looks just about perfect to be honest. The color is a nice golden straw. Tons of action from the carbonation but the clarity isn't great. There's a definite fogginess in the beer.

S: Smells great. It's got a nice crisp aroma. First thing I get is some moderate fruitiness. That's followed by tons of bready malts and just a touch of hops.

T: Taste is good, although it does fall a bit flat. The first thing I get is a touch of fruitiness with almost a slightly sour bite. That's followed by the huge bready malts. After that I get just a bit of crisp hop flavors. The finish is largely bready. Finish is extremely clean though.

M: Very tight, almost painful carbonation. Light body and smooth.

O: I really do enjoy the malt depth in this beer. It juggles rich breadiness and crisp flavors nicely. However in some ways it does fall a bit flat. Still a little above average though.

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Photo of ahq514
3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into NB globe glass. When purchased, I was expecting it to be a pale ale as advertised, not a kolsch.

Pours a slightly hazy bright golden color. Fairly light, bright white head. Appears to have fairly light carbonation. Great lacing all around the glass.

Light grainy straw with a hint of citrus. Very subdued aroma.

Very clean and crisp while maintaining an ale like quality. Very close to aroma. Fairly bland overall, but has some light notes of grain and straw.

Fairly dry beer. Light body and lighter carbonation.

A decent kolsch overall, just fairly bland. I would consider it a good lawnmower beer, it was pretty refreshing.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.53/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

App: Very clear golden color with a good sized fluffy white head, good retention, fair lacing.

Smell: Slightly grassy hops and biscuity malt. Nothing too big, just a modestly bitter and malty aroma.

Taste: Lightly grainy and malty, with a more traditional-feeling European hop profile, bitter but balanced between the two elements. Grassy and floral, maybe a touch lemony. Malt isn’t particularly profound, again on the light side. Not a west coast super-hopped pale or an IPA in disguise at all. Very mild.

Mf: Light bodied with a short, dry finish, just a touch of lingering bitterness. Medium-high carbonation.

Overall: Easy drinking but somewhat bland, even for a kolsch, which is for me not the most exciting style to begin with. Lacking any particularly distinctive characteristics.

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

Review from notes on my recent trip to Arizona for vacation. Beer reviewed 4/16/2011.

A - Brown 12 oz yellowfin bottle without any noticeable dates. The beer pours a cloudy golden color with a brilliant white bubbly 1 finger head. Good retention and lacing throughout.

S - A nice blend of light citrus, a bit of floral hops, sweet malt, and wheat.

T - The beer starts with a sweet toasted malt base with a nice fruit presence. Apples and citrus though not too powerful. Very mild bitterness. Very clean and crisp throughout. Easy drinking beer for sure.

M - Light bodied and adequately carbonated.

O - A light refreshing beer for sure. I am glad to have had the opportunity to try it as Ballast Point beers aren't available locally for me. Not a whole lot of character but pleasing.

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 04-22-2011 15:14:35

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Photo of kojevergas
2.95/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

650ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high based on the rating average here on beeradvocate. I usually quite fancy kolschs, so I'm excited to try this one. Here we go!

A: Pours a three finger head of no cream, fair thickness, and average (~2 minute) retention. Colour is a semitransparent yellow.

Sm: Light barley and subtle bright fruit notes. A mild strength aroma, but a pleasant one.

T: A touch creamy over top a clean barley foundation. Too malty. I don't detect the wheat the label mentions at all. A very simple beer. Boring but pleasant. Built decently but without boldness or inspiration.

Mf: Smooth and wet - overly so in fact. A bit thick for a Kolsch as well.

Dr: They got the style wrong, but its a pleasant simple beer, with muted flavour. It's too restrained to be truly good, but if you're not expecting much, it's a highly drinkable beer. It's certainly sessionable. I'd try it on draught on a rainy day, but it won't be coming up in conversation anytime soon. Nice try, lads, but you didn't do anything interesting.

***
12/29/15 2nd impression:

C+

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Photo of vande
3.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - a nice clear, crisp looking golden pour with a thin layer of lacy head left atop

S - not your typical pale here.. some malty-bready-biscuity characteristics going on here... light, somewhat subdued hops intermingling with the rest

T - unique but tasty. Definitely German presence with the hops & malts used, yet crisp and clean like a pils.. bready-biscuit type flavor follows the nose...light grassy quality

M - clean, crisp, easy to drink

0 - different. Kolsch is not my style, but this was actually pretty good..

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Photo of Nugganooch
3.23/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Notes from 11/02/11 – wifey brought home a 6er!

*12oz to pint glass

A: Yellowtail Pale Ale pours a super clear golden straw colored hue. Bubbly with a thin egg-white fizzy head that dissipated out rather quick leaving minimal lace.

S: Smells real bready with a spicy hop note and some fruity ale yeast aromas.

T: Taste is very grainy and bready with a real Pilsner like quality to it. Moderate bitterness from European hops that add a real spicy element and there is a subtle tart yeasty finish. This maybe like the gold standard of a BMC gateway beer. Refreshing and well balanced but very standard.

M: Very light in body. Slight creamy texture. Super Dry with a crisp finish.

D: Very light and refreshing with a big European influence. German hops and malts give more of a Kolsch character than an American Pale Ale to me. Not bad and nice balanced but just not really what I go for these days. Again your go to for a BMC gateway brew I would think.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear yellow-gold color with a 1 inch white head that settles to a thin film. Broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is good but basic with malt and floral hop aromas. Taste is of sweet malt and some floral and herbal hop flavors. Mild bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good carbonation level with a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a solid beer from Ballast Point. Nothing too special but nice and easy to drink for what it is.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.38/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a nice looking golden color, kind of hazy. The head was a little fizzy but ended up sticking around for a little while. The smell of the beer was pretty nice, giving off some decent hop aromas and malts. The taste of the beer has a nice crisp bitterness that faded into a sweetness as is settled on the tongue. The mouthfeel was crisp and sharp, nicely done. Overall I pretty Solid pale ale.

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Photo of NickRivers
3.54/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A&S - Pours a golden yellow with a finger of paper white head. Not too much coming through on the nose. A few grainy malts, along with a mild breadiness and a floral hop aroma.

T&M - Hits crisp and grainy, the middle of the mouth is sweet with the faintest banana flavor. Finishes dry and clean with a small amount of floral hop bitterness. A nice, refreshing light bodied beer.

O - Overall a great session brew from BP. Calico wasn't half bad, but Big Eye IPA is their best session brew. Its got tons of malt and hops without being overpowered and makes for a great introduction beer. Check out everything BP has to offer, you won't be disappointed. Cheers!

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Photo of beerdown77
3.33/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours slightly cloudy golden with one finger of head. This beer is quite honestly, disappointing. It tastes like a tolerable golden lager at best. Although the beer is still “crafty” in its quality, the flavor is heavy on the bitter malt side of things. It kind of reminds me of a Dortmunder from Great Lakes…only thinner and not as good. Admittedly, I was expecting an APA, and didn’t realize that this was actually a Kolsch midway through my experience; I still didn’t love this beer.

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Photo of mactrail
4.18/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tasted this at a German restaurant in Ocean Beach, where it is a house draft called "Kaiserhof Kölsch Pale Ale."

Crisp and slightly hoppy. Such a nice clean taste. Very light body. Pale golden color in the mug, nice lacing. Like a lager with a rich tangy flavor. Flowery nose. Malty, yet delicate. Best Kölsch I've tried in a long time, not knowing what the heck it was. Score one for the local lads, but it really is a highly decent drinkable light beer and well worth a try.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
2.68/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza in La Mesa. Color was clear golden. Minimal head and minimal film on the sides. The lacing, however, stayed for awhile. Appeared to be heavy on the carbonation.

Smells were skunky malts and somewhat bitter. Grainy malts also were involved.

No improvement on the taste. Skunky malts lead the way. A tad bit bitter at the end.

Medium-to-high carbonation. Medium body.

A pretty big disappointment, considering how much I enjoy the Calico Ale.

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Photo of chinchill
3.61/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a kolsch glass. Had a pale yellow color and a hazy texture. There was a big, foamy, long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: Had a muted aroma of hops, light fruit, and some malt.

T: Tasted of light hops, fruit (a little citrus), and some bready malts. Not an unpleasant flavor in the least, but certainly underwhelming.

M: A generally well-carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Light-bodied.

O: This is not necessarily a bad beer, but definitely an unmemorable one. A good summer beer if you don't care what you're drinking.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.26/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On Tap

Brazen BBQ
San Diego, CA

Clear golden yellow with a thin white cap. Lots of lacing down the glass.

Simple and muted aroma--lots of bready malts, grain, and little else.

Flavor follows the aroma--very simple and plain. There's some mild bitterness, lots of bread and grain, and a touch of floral and citrus, but not much at all. Though nothing unpleasant, this beer lacks much hop character and is simple and boring.

Medium mouthfeel. Clean, dry, crisp, and refreshing.

I think Ballast Point do themselves a disservice by calling this a pale ale. This is a simple, bready ale, but there's a lot more flavor and character in Sierra Nevada and Stone Pale Ales.

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

Bomber split with the guys from work and poured into a 7oz glass. Thanks to ADZA for the trade!

Pours a very clear, bright golden colour with a nice white fluffy head of foam that levels out just above film later on. Decent head retention and the clearness of this is quite impressive.

The smell is of bready malt, clean, consistent and inviting.

Taste is very malt driven, with just a shade of Euro style hop grassiness to break it up. Like the smell, the taste is consistent and pleasant. Just a little bit of honey comes through to sweeten it up a shade.

Mouthfeel is decent, good body for the style, just a touch cloying at the end, but otherwise ok.

Overall, a clean, decent, not earth shattering Kolsch that would be a decent go-to beer on a sunny, mild to warm day.

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

A: Clear golden color with a thin eggshell-colored head.

S: Honey and a slight hint of grassy hops. Very clean smelling.

T: Lots of honey malts with a grassy hop backbone. A slight breadiness towards the finish. A solid and very very drinkable pale ale.

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Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.78/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: clear full gold, decent white head.
S: bready, crackery malts and grassy, spicy noble hops,
T: saa, malts are lightly sweet and well-balanced by a smooth hop bitterness. Finish is crisp, clean, and dryish.
M: just over light bodied, frothy.
O: a fine kolsch, but as has probably been said 1000 times, why call it a pale ale? I forgot this was a kolsch and got it wanting an apa.

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Photo of Preismj
3.05/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a: copper/orange. Moderate white head fades away quickly with spotting around the glass. Hazy brew...lots of murk in here. Looks a bit more syrupy than anticipated.

s: sweetness and the small hint of wheat and belgian spice (clove or nutmeg...just a hint). hint of leather/grass in nose.

t: barley and wheat like presence of grain. Sweet malts, but mild sweetness. spices I cannot pinpoint...very mild flavor. grassy, earthy notes poke through and this beer finishes with a sweetness complemented with a bitter hop presence.

m: syrupy. Coats the mouth well. thick and decent carb.

o: not a bad beer, but nothing is shining through. I don't need to try this again after having once. Would not seek out. it is middle of the road, as average as you can get.

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Photo of t420o
3.02/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- straw colored beer with a 1/2 finger white head that fizzles away quick leaving very little lacing

S- Slight bitter hop scent, toasted bread, grains, slight alcohol. Very similar to a pilsner.

T- bland! Grains, slight bitter hops, toasted bread. Everything is very light tasting and watered down tasting. Tastes like their is salt water in here. Very average

M- Slightly over carbonated. Good other than that

O- A decent Kolsch, but below average as a pale ale, which is how they labeled it and how I will grade it. Below average drinkability.

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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.

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