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Ballantine XXX Ale - Pabst Brewing Company

Ballantine XXX AleBallantine XXX Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

227 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 227
Reviews: 151
rAvg: 3.02
pDev: 21.52%

Brewed by:
Pabst Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Blonde Ale |  4.85% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-02-2001)
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Ratings: 227 | Reviews: 151 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of metter98

New York

2.91/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

A: The beer is crystal clear yellow in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high bright white head that died down, leaving some patches of bubbles on the surface, a miniscule collar around the edge of the glass, and bits of lacing running down the sides.
S: Light aromas of grainy malts are present in the nose along with some slight hints of skunk.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell and I can pick up traces of corn adjuncts along with a light amount of bitterness. There are also hints of skunk and these seem to be most prominent in the finish.
M: It feels light-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There seems to be slight amounts of wateriness.
O: This beer came in a green bottle, so that might explain the bits of skunk that I picked up in the smell and taste of this beer. However, it's not bad for a macro beer and doesn't have much in the way of adjuncts in the smell and taste. It also doesn't seem to be as bland as other blonde ales.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 16:18:14 | More by metter98
Photo of MasterSki


3.55/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

40oz from Bruz. Busted this out to class up a whale tasting. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

A - Big white foam that lingers, leaving behind loads of splotchy lace. Transparent pale golden body.

S - Skunky, courtesy of the classy green bottle. Some herbal noble hopping, but largely evocative of the finest adjunct lagers; doubt anyone can perceive the ale yeast here. Perhaps a bit of cereal grain, and fairly restrained corn character.

T - The taste is surprisingly pleasant, with a mix of pale malt and corn sweetness, and some faint grassy hop. Quite mild, with no obvious alcohol.

M - Pleasant carbonation, medium body, slightly grainy in texture, and no alcohol heat. Fairly refreshing actually.

D - Surprisingly enjoyable once you get past the skunky aroma. I'd much prefer to drink this over PBR or other adjunct lagers, particularly if canned or kegged. Very much a lawnmower beer that wouldn't offend anyone. Not particularly complex, but significantly better than anticipated.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2013 16:06:14 | More by MasterSki
Photo of ProfessorValue

New York

3.61/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this in college (early 80s) but did not recall the flavor. Today, liking the full range of ales, I found and purchased this locally at Finger Lakes Beverage. Ballantine is one of my favorite beers. Sure, it does not have the "punch" of heartier ales, but that's not what this beer is. Instead, it's clean, very dry and light in body. Good for drinking several at a sitting. I always keep a case on hand when it's in stock. Highly recommend.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2013 17:02:28 | More by ProfessorValue
Photo of beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

3.59/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a rocky snow white head over clear pale golden liquid. Nose is perfumey, a small amount of sharp metallic hop, mixed with light maltiness. Taste is light-bodied, with some more metallic hoppiness, some mouth coating sweetness and some adjuncty flavors as well. Finishes sharp and tangy though a shadow of it's former self and the poor relative to the legendary Ballantine IPA which was phenomenal. A nice, low-priced ale...very drinkable, especially on hot days.

Serving type: can

06-20-2013 21:49:16 | More by beerluvr
Photo of yankinoz


4.08/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm working from memory of my go-to beer, back when Ballantine brewed in Newark and this really was America's most popular ale. A point to emphasize about xxx is that to my tastes it was far better on tap than in bottles, a bigger difference than I have found in any other beer. Not only was bottled xxx often skunky, it always seemed slightly cooked and a bit thin in comparison. Once I tasted the draft, I rarely went back to the bottles.

From the tap it poured with a good head, although retention was below average. The aroma was floral and fairly strong, though less than from opening a bottle. Lacing? I was too young to care.

Malt came out in in the aroma, mouthfeel and a trace of sweetness, though it finished dry like a pilsner, all qualities less evident in the bottled beer. It was noticeably more bitter than any of the domestic lagers then available, but less than the German lagers then coming in. Overall, a beer that taught me what balance was.

I spent a year in England about then. Obviously the English bitters were different, but I can't say I liked the run of the mill ones better, only certain ones like Abott Ale and just about everything brewed in Yorkshire.

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2013 22:35:42 | More by yankinoz
Photo of barczar


2.75/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dated August 12, so about 4 months late.

Pours a slightly hazy golden straw with a solid one inch white head that slowly dissipates, leaving sticky lacing.

Skunk, grain, and corn adjunct form the aroma. Lightly sweet malt is secondary.

Flavor leaves the skunk behind. Grain, lightly sweet, cracker malt, and a hit of floral hops form the flavor profile. Metallic flavors emerge.

Body is on the light side, with moderate carbonation and a touch of astringency.

Can't believe this beer got the ratings it did. Flavor is neutral, aroma skunky.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2012 07:18:16 | More by barczar
Photo of Tucquan


3.28/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on 2012-12-12 in Columbia, PA

A - Clear, bold yellow with a 1.25-finger white head and mild lacing.

S - Lemon, light hop floral, cracker. Not bad. Better than Bud or Miller for sure.

T - Tastes like a somewhat hoppy lager with corn sweetness, lemon and light bitterness. Perhaps leaning towards a Victory Prima Pils but nowhere as sophisticated, bitter, or, well, really not in the same league. Not upleasant though. The green bottle could have been badly skunked. I kept it out of the light and so perhaps did most of the rest of the supply chain since it's evident but barely.

M - Light-medium body and medium carbonation. More body than I expected.

O - It's not the piney / bitter brew I remember from the early 70's in North Jersey. I didn't know what hops were then but I knew I liked the flavor of Ballantine XXX , which I learned many decades later, used hop oil extract. This beer could use some of that but even so, I enjoyed this more than most adjunct brews.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2012 23:22:57 | More by Tucquan
Photo of TwinSox33

New Hampshire

3.45/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a "Half-Quart" 16oz can

A: Golden hued traditional AAL look

S: Milled grains, husky grass.

T: Semi-sweet malts rounded out with a citric hop bitterness. The beer has a crackery presence, and the hops are like a watered down IPA.

M: Slightly above average for the style. Smooth and Creamy.

Very good for a retro Pabst owned (brewed by Miller) product. When you see it for $5-6 for a 6'er do not hesitate to pick some up! When PBR is at the same price point this wins.

Serving type: can

11-16-2012 23:26:47 | More by TwinSox33
Photo of billybob


3.53/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours yellow-gold in color good one finger white foamy head and a nice spattering of lace. smell is on the weak side with a grassy metallic note. taste grassy along with a malt grain and slightly salty and metallic finish. mouthfeel is light with a crisp carbonation. overall a easy beer to drink a good beer for summer and summer time cookouts. or just anytime.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2012 19:05:20 | More by billybob
Photo of MoreThanWine


2.5/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

It claims to be America's largest selling ale. Really? I see so little of it I find that hard to believe. Do they just mean it comes in a big can?

Poured an 1/8" white head which faded fast. Clear straw yellow color with almost all the carbonation exhausted. Smells very mildly of malt and grass. Taste mirrors the smell and really is just a pure BMC of a beer. Thoroughly average and forgettable.

Serving type: can

08-05-2012 09:19:55 | More by MoreThanWine
Photo of BeerKangaroo


3.23/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Into a nonic:

A: light golden colored body with a large one finger foamy and lumpy white head. Spider-webbed, foamy lacing speckled the sides of the glass. Slowly rising bubbles were seen rising

S: centered around some grains and malts while some floral hops presented themselves in some light fruity notes

T: brought back the grains and malts with a bit of light sweetness. Some corns came out mixed with a slight hop bitterness.

M: medium with light carbonation felt on the tongue. A slight dry finish appeared. I'd say it was mostly drinkable.

O: its not bad, I've got five more that I don't think I'll have a problem to eventually drink but don't think I'd buy this again.

Serving type: can

07-19-2012 13:37:19 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of adjunctjonez


3.93/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ballantine ale is primarily a NE / east coast regional brew. This 2012 version is owned by Pabst, sub brewed by miller. The overall impression is a much hoppier/maltier profile than your average adjunct. I would rate it as one of the best adjuncts available, right up there with Schlitz Gusto. I avoid the green bottles and buy it in tall boy cans to ensure no skunk flavors. Unclear why Pabst does not distro this nationwide as I think it would sell well.

Serving type: can

06-29-2012 19:38:05 | More by adjunctjonez
Photo of Clydesdale

District of Columbia

3.4/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a bright, medium golden color. The white head is tall, foamy, and frothy. Retention is solid, leaving a decent spackling of lace stuck to the glass.

S: Some grainy and crackery maltiness in the nose. A medium dose of floral and herbal hops is present. There are also significant sulfur and fruit notes from the yeast.

T: Grainy malts up front, with some light sweetness. A bit of corny flavor, as expected. Hop bitterness eventually builds into something fairly firm, with some herbal, floral, and lemon-soapy flavor. A bit of unclean lager yeast flavor pops up towards the finish to add character.

M: Medium mouthfeel, with average carbonation. A bit slicker on the tongue than most standard American throwback lagers. Still, a bit of a dry finish arrives as expected.

D: This is an interesting beer. I'd be shocked if this weren't actually a lager. I actually found this pretty similar to Yuengling's Lord Chesterfield, though this has a more European hop character. My curiosity got the best of when I picked this up, but at least it's drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2012 23:12:12 | More by Clydesdale
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly

New York

3.85/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can sucked right out of the can.

L - I've seen it before, it's clear and yellow.

S - grainy aroma.

T - there's something about this beer that makes me always enjoy it. It's mostly sweet and grainy but it does have a slight bitterness at the end.

F - medium bodied, it's crisp, clean and refreshing.

O - a beer I always enjoy anytime of the year.

Serving type: can

01-11-2012 21:55:13 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of NiceTaps

New Jersey

2.45/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I hadn't had this for such along time so I thought I'd give it a try given the limited choices at an Atlantic City casino sports bar. The weekday special was $5.00 for a forty. Price and value went hand in hand.

A- very light, pale golden color. Fast fading head, no lacing.

S- almost aroma free, maybe a touch of sweet maltiness.

T- sweet and malty, no hop bitterness. Is there a mineral taste to that brew, ala Miller beers?

M- lots of carbonation and no texture.

I really wanted to like this, in the end I couldn't even enjoy it. yuk.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2012 01:50:17 | More by NiceTaps
Photo of RheinSchaefer85

New York

1.7/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried this once in the 40z form of course wasn't overly thrilled with it though. Its so so . I have heard though the Ballantine Lager was good though sad to say they don't make it anymore oh well. Over all if you want a Cheap Ale with some Nostalgia get a Ballantine .

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2011 06:55:24 | More by RheinSchaefer85
Photo of Derranged

New York

3.1/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First time trying this. Tall boy can poured into a pint glass.

A- Clear golden color with a thick white head that quickly disappears.

S- Slightly metallic, sweet malts, floral notes, hops, even a little green apple candy.

T- Mostly sweet malts, slightly hoppy and a bit metallic.

M- Thin and very carbonated.

O- Considering what this this, it really isn't bad. It does taste like a watered down pale ale. Not all that good, but I think it has more character than popular adjunct lagers.

Serving type: can

11-14-2011 01:40:58 | More by Derranged
Photo of CaptJackHarkness

New York

3.83/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was my grandfather's favorite beer, and I can taste why.They did not have "craft" beer back in the day.
This poured a clear golden yellow with white foamy head. Scent was a touch skunky, so I let it rest a bit before drinking. Surprisingly good despite scent, bready malt, grassy hops a bit "tinny" though, but not bad.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2011 23:32:46 | More by CaptJackHarkness
Photo of ChainGangGuy


2.9/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle - $1.09 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, light golden-toned body with a half-inch head of white foam.

Smell: A full sniff of coarse skunkiness as soon as I twisted off the cap. Let's give that a moment to trail off. After that's had a moment to waft away, it's mainly grassy-scented hops ahead of the lightly malted barley.

Taste: Faintly sweetish, soft barley flavor. Grassy hops with a slight, slight hint of lemon. Modestly bitter. Finishes clean, crisp.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation, though lively textured.

Overall: "It's got that golden flavor, true ale flavor." It's a bit sad such a famous beer has been tanked, it's quality diminished as the brand has been shuffled from brewery to brewery, eventually arriving at such a pitiful state. Ah well.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2011 02:54:25 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of LAMAGS

New York

1.45/5  rDev -52%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Has a thin sickly yellow pour with weak soapy head that fades instantly. The nose is similar to the armpit of a man who just completed his first bungee jump, skunky and disturbing. The flavor doesn’t disappoint, like many skunks were rounded up and then distilled by squeezing them in a coffee press, water grass and a hint of urine round out this beverage. Watery body with spotty carbonation, best drunk if your homeless, or aspire to be so in the near future.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2011 23:58:10 | More by LAMAGS
Photo of schlimenhaumer

New York

2.38/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 40oz bottle of the "America's Largest Selling Ale" into a pint glass at low altitude.

A: Pours a clear yellow color with a two- to three-finger stark white foamy head that sticks around longer than expected. Not much lacing here.

S: Stale malts with some metallic notes on the finish. Nothing to suggest any bitterness at all.

T: Bready malts all the way through. The metallic notes from the nose didn't come through too much. There's really nothing unpleasant about this one. Surprisingly okay.

M: Light- to medium-bodied with a little bit of carbonation. Appropriate for a 40.

D: At this point, the best 40 I've consumed to date.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2011 02:33:36 | More by schlimenhaumer
Photo of BoozySmurf


3.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ran out of Chesterfield, and saw this at the local distributor. Always wanted to give it a try, but a tough call because its a bit pricier than the macros. What if I don't like it? What if she doesn't call me back? In the end I manned up and bought the case. It pours a straw gold, clear with some white head formation. Head dissipates and leaves behind some lacing, uneven distribution but its there. Smell is grassy, a bit of sugar too and some citrus. There's some sweetness and hops there, nice aroma. Taste is decent, macro-ish but a lot more hops are present. Now this is an APA, and it doesn't have the hop bill of SNPA or Sam Adams Boston Ale, but what am I judging this against. In a pinch I'll take Yuengling's Lord Chesterfield over this, but both are poseur craft beers with crisp carbonation, appreciable hop bitterness and easy drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2011 05:09:19 | More by BoozySmurf
Photo of PapillonJohn


3.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 7/17/2011 from a bottle. Born on date: May 09, 2011

Appearance: Pours a very deep, golden color. The best way I could describe it is cut, wet hay. Plenty of bubbly carbonation
working it's way to the top of the brew. Not too much of a head to speak of. I didn't really pour it that aggressively though since I was drinking it from a tulip glass and doubted that a large head would fit without exploding over and flooding my kitchen in sticky suds... What I did get was about a fingers worth of white, fluffy suds that floated on top like a boat in calm waters. Didn't stick around for all that long. Gone and lonely in about a minute flat.

Smell: Fairly sweet nose at first. After taking a few more whiffs I was getting a little bit of a light malt and some subdued hops in the background. I really wish that the hops scent was more brave than it is. I'm not too keen on the sweet scent that this brew gives off.

Taste: Here is where this $20 brew becomes not just a cheap beer, but a pretty well done, cheap beer. First glug reveals some pretty good hop bitterness right up front that follows into a light malt middle. After you get through the middle you get this odd medicinal taste that only sticks around for a short second. But, this medicinal sweetness is a bit off putting for me, not enough for me to dislike this brew, but I just can't get over that taste... I'm not even sure what it is. Corn? The beer starts off a bit sweet with some pretty good hops and finishes with a tad of hop bitterness. The beer contains far more hops than any of your standard macro lagers or "retro" beers. The only one that even comes close is Schlitz, but that's a tale for another time.

Mouthfeel: The beer is fairly watery, which is a bit of a downfall. I would have liked it to be a bit more sturdy but I won't complain all too much. Carbonation is really vamped up and a bit in your face. Not enough that it burns the back of your throat or esophagus out, but your tongue has a bit of a boxing match in store.

Over all, you know what this really makes me think? This is your grandfather's beer. This is what he use to drink back in the 50's and 60's, while smoking a hearty cigar. I would hardly consider this a good American Ale or Ale showing, but you know what for $20 I will
definitely start keeping this beer on rotation in my fridge. This has easily become my new, favorite, "cheap" beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2011 07:59:46 | More by PapillonJohn
Photo of Tone


3.03/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, straw color. 5/4 inch head of a white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of pale malt, strong grain, hint of sulfur, and a hint of citrus hops. Fits the style of an American Pale Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of pale malt, grain, and slight citrus hops. Overall, akin to a Light Lager with extra hop.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2011 22:46:41 | More by Tone
Photo of Ralphs66

New York

3.5/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There is a restaurant in Purdys NY called the Blazer Pub...some of the best burgers in the NY Tri-state area, and a regular stop for me. Well, recently they decided to go retro and are now offering, in cans, Schaefer, Ballantine, Rheingold and Schlitz....with PBR on tap. Whether you like these beers or not, the concept tickled my fancy and I decided to make my way through the list; revisiting some of the beers of my youth. None of them are great; in fact most of them are poor in comparison to the Captain Lawrence offerings that the Blazer also has on tap. But you know what? They were like an old friend, a blankie that I could hold at the bar and not feel self conscious about. Yes, I drank them all proudly and chances are, I will again.

Serving type: can

06-10-2011 12:27:36 | More by Ralphs66
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Ballantine XXX Ale from Pabst Brewing Company
71 out of 100 based on 227 ratings.