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Yellowtail Pale Ale - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Yellowtail Pale AleYellowtail Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

353 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 353
Hads: 962
Avg: 3.52
pDev: 24.43%
Wants: 31
Gots: 123 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-26-2001

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Yellowtail Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 353 | Hads: 962
Photo of vkv822
3.47/5  rDev -1.4%
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 -0.6%
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 -2.8%
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 -13.9%
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 +6.5%
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 +1.4%
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 -6.5%
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 +3.1%
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 +2.8%
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 -66.5%
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 +0.9%
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 -26.4%
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 +4.8%
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 -3.7%
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 +1.1%
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 +20.7%
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 -20.5%
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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Photo of argock
3.13/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a clear pinot noir wine glass. Best by 02/15/13 stamped on front label. Purchased as a 6-pack at Trader Joes (Mission Beach, San Diego, CA) for $9.99.

A; Extraordinarily clear amber-copper with ample 1-2 fingers of off-white frothy head with decent retention and good lacing around the top of the glass.

S: Aromas are very crackery-bready malty with some spicy herbal hops and a very light citrus fruitiness

T: Tasted like an extremely tame APA with bready and somewhat grainy maltiness that was a little less rough on the second pour but still not as smooth as it could be, especially since, after looking at the 6-pack holder it's a Kolsch! Come on BP! As a kolsch, this is pretty average with too much graininess to really muster much support. The hops are also overly spicy and not smooth enough -- this is supposed to be a beer that reaches the top of the drinkability scale, but this beer isn't even close.

M: THere are many problems here. The carbonation is way too high and contributes to an astringent feel. THe spicy hops and graininess with a light body also equate to a overly sharp beer, almost peppery, exactly what a kolsch is not supposed to be.

O: Certainly not terrible but not all that great for the style. I downgraded them for not calling it what it is -- come on BP, in hops country, do it right.

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Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Slightly hazy golden yellow with one-finger, white, creamy head that lasted a couple minutes and left a nice film. Okay lacing.

S: Caramel malt, citrus, and floral.

T: Moderate sweetness and moderate bitterness. Toasted malt and bread. Light citrus.

M: Light to medium bodied with fizzy carbonation.

O: The taste was mild and a bit of a let down. Average overall.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.93/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-dark gold with a nice frothy and sticky white head

S-smooth creamy grass and crisp biscuity malts. strong aroma. smells quite decent.

T-comes in with a great flavor of crisp and grainy biscuits. its quite a strong and flavorful taste. it does have a small hint of adjunct lager to it, that isn't exactly a turn off, i think what i'm tasting is actually the european touch to it. that comes more so in the after-taste. almost zero bitterness.

M-creamy medium carbonation with a crisp finish

O-well if you get this because you want a good fresh American Pale Ale, then you'll find that you were fooled by the name. it definitely does taste very much like a kolsch. its definitely tasty for what it is. it goes down easy, but its really missing any quality that begs me to go out and buy more.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.91/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

120z bottle poured into a Pilsner glass.

A: Pale, clear golden-yellow color. Three fingers of rocky white head cap the beer, and it doesn't budge an inch. Thick collars of lacing form on the glass. Perfect appearance for the style.

S: Floral hops, very slight herbal edge, ghost-like hint of light fruits (grape skin?). Malts are grainy with a touch of musty bread.

T: Hop tastes wash over the palate with a very mild bitterness. Floral, green and slightly oily. Subtle hint of herbal spice. Doughy malt tastes shift as the beer dries toward the finish and shift into grainy tastes and hints of cracked wheat. Light fruity notes. Dry finish of grain, bread, and a fading hop bitterness.

M: Light in body. Some firmness of malt texture. Creamy and somewhat full. Active, scrubbing carbonation.

O: This is a very good representation of a Kolsch. It should have broad appeal, owing to the care with which it was crafted and the nature of the style itself. I find it curious, however, that Ballast Point chose to call it a Pale Ale on the label. That's bound to cause confusion when someone purchases it expecting a hoppy American Pale Ale or something of that ilk.

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Photo of TBoneJones
3.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice light golden with a bubbly head, but not too thick.
Smells of light malts and yeast.
Tastes like it smells, malt presence and little to no distinct hop/ fruit presence. This I know is due to the German style of brewing this beer. For what light malts are involved here, I'd say this is a refreshing beer for what it is. A peppery aspect too. Other than that, not much blowing me away here. Crisp. Really dry finish.
Carbonation was light medium to me, Bready dry feel, spice-like aftertaste is not my favorite.
Overall a semi-interesting beer from a great brewery. Not for hoppers, but worth the try. I consumed this indoors in the late evening, and I can see my overall score bumping this up by a .5 if I ever try this in the summer heat such as after yard work.

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Photo of ThePaleRider
2.97/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Dark straw in color. Crystal clear with absolutely no head at all.

S - Very light hops. Malts kick in pretty well and leave a nice nose. Almost has a pilsnery scent.

T - Almost tastes more like pilsner than a pale ale. Not a lot of hops seem to be floating around in there. Very malty and sweet. Lots of bread in the after taste with a little bit of toffee sneaking around in there.

M - Light bodied with not carbonation to speak of.

O - Eh, nothing too spectacular here. Might as well be drinking Sierra Nevada (which I like).

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Photo of jpro
3.91/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler from CBX... poured into an antique milk glass stein...

A: Honey gold with a puffy white head; nice retention leaves a few thick spots of lace.

S: Pilsner-esque malt / wheat aroma; light earthy and floral notes; a little metallic.

T: Lightly bready with a peppery dry hop bite on the end; biscuit; cracker; it has a nice little bite for a Kölsch.

M: Medium-light body; moderate carbonation; a touch viscous... more mouthfeel that I was expecting.

O: A nice little Kölsch; a bit more mouthfeel than average, but has a nice bite for the lower abv; a definite top choice for a summer beer.

*from notes 9.8.12

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Photo of mooseo
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into pint glass.

A - Slightly hazy golden copper with a small white head.

S - Sweet bready malt, lemon oil, floral hops, hints of caramel.

T - Bready doughy malts, bitter lemon citrus, grassy hops, herbal spice. Lots of sweetness up front, but the hops quickly lend a solid bitterness to even things out.

M - Light-medium bodied, crisp, and refreshing. Slick with a semi-dry finish.

O - Decent brew. I haven't had that many Kolsch style beers, but this example makes me want to seek more like it. Great balance and flavor, easy to drink.

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Yellowtail Pale Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 353 ratings.