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Ballantine XXX Ale - Pabst Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Ballantine XXX AleBallantine XXX Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

244 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 244
Reviews: 153
rAvg: 3.03
pDev: 21.45%
Wants: 17
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 244 | Reviews: 153 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of clickpush


2.25/5  rDev -25.7%

Pour: 12oz bottle to pint glass. Pale golden / yellow body fills the glass with lots of bubbles but no more than a half inch head with no retention whatsoever.

Nose: Extremely unappealing. Very grainy. Corn is perceptible. Touches of grass around the edges, but nothing that comes close to attractive hop notes.

Mouth: Strongly carbonated - makes for a very stinging mouthfeel, which isn't altogether un-enjoyable. Taste is exactly like it's smell, but with an even worse sour aftertaste, like a bar room floor on a Sunday morning.

Wouldn't touch this again if it was the last beer on Earth.

10-16-2006 20:48:52 | More by clickpush
Photo of Bitterbill


3.58/5  rDev +18.2%

Poured from 16oz can a straw gold with a lot of foam that settles down to a fine broken layer.

The smell is on the sweet malty side with just a bit of "lemon pledge" nose to offset it and that's ok with me.

The taste is sweetish malty up front with some graininess and just a wee bit of bitterness right before the finish that could easily get over looked and the finish itself? That's on the watery side and probably the weakest taste feature for this APA. I remember this brew from back in the 70's and 80's and it had a really nice hop bitterness bite to it that threw the flavours totally out of balance but that's what made it so darn tasty. I really miss that old formula but this one is pretty good as well. If I had it in my market, I'd visit it often.

10-12-2006 23:57:05 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of NeroFiddled


3.83/5  rDev +26.4%

Made by Falstaff, Wilwaukee, WI but contract brewed at the Lion in Wilkes Barre, PA.

This was one of my favorite beers in art school because they sold it in cans at one of the dive bars I went to, and you could sneak a 6-pack in with you in your bag, and then drink all night with your friends after buying just one beer (which was like $2). But I liked it because it had more flavor to it than Budweiser or Miller or Coors Lite, and there wasn't much more available at the time (at least that I could afford). Surprisingly, it doesn't taste much different now.

It pours a very dark gold, that could actually be called amber, although we tend to think of "amber" beers as being darker. The thin white head drops fairly shortly and it leaves only a few splashes and spots of lace here and there about the glass.

The nose pleasant with a decent amount of grainy malt, some lightly floral but mostly non-descript hops, and a delicate whiff of lager yeast sulphur.

In the mouth it's medium-light bodied and crisp with a standard carbonation.

The flavor delivers a nice, distinctly grainy, gently straw-like maltiness. There's obviously some adjunct in use here, but it's far less than you find in most large-scale commercial beers. The hop flavors are well-entwined, but appear more distinct across the middle and into the finish. It's well-balanced with a firm bitterness that carries through into the finish along with some herbal and mildly leafy hops.

Overall it's a pretty nice beer. Much better than Yuengling, but it's really all about the brand, right?

08-27-2006 14:27:14 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of maximumsheehan

District of Columbia

3.43/5  rDev +13.2%

This beer catches a lot of flack from my friends. Maybe it's the can that has the color of a shag carpet or the fact it used to be brewed in Newark but I had always steered clear of it until last week.

Net of 6 16ozers. Poured it out, resembled most macros but had a fluffy head. The first taste... My God! Are there discernable hops in there? Yes! Is this incredibly refreshing? Yes! Is it a great bargain? Yes again!

Look, it's not pretty, it's not hopped to hell, and it drinking it at a party probably won't get you laid, but it's American, it's old school as shit, and I like it!

08-09-2006 19:01:50 | More by maximumsheehan
Photo of jwc215


3.08/5  rDev +1.7%

Poured yellow with fairly high carbonation and a two-finger head that diminished to about half the size - fairly well-retained. Left some lacing.
The smell was thin - some sweet malt and only the slightest hints of any hops.
The malt was a bit on the sweet side. The hops were barely noticeable. It was a bit watery, but overly thin - for a macro. Nothing special going on, but nothing really offensive, either.
It was fairly clean and refreshing. Some creaminess emerged.
Fairly smooth and easy to drink. However, it really wasn't much of an APA - reminded me more of a cream ale perhaps. Anyway, there's nothing great about it - very basic. A bit too bland for me. But, again - nothing offensive - and not a terrible choice for 4 bucks a six-pack.

07-26-2006 17:29:35 | More by jwc215
Photo of bubrewer


2.1/5  rDev -30.7%

I was suprised enough to see this bright green 16oz can in the store that I had to give it a try. I'd heard nice things about Ballantine from the 60's; I hope this is a shadow of its former self.

Looks like a typical BMC. Head holds and laces better, but otherwise it's just very pale straw and brilliantly clear.

Smell is mostly sulfur. Not skunky really, strikes me more like a lager ferment that was arrested prematurely. This is an Ale? I'm starting to have my doubts.

There is more hop character than a usual BMC, but it's not very nice hop character. Proper bitterness level for a pilsner, but it's cheesy and not terribly pleasant.

Wish I hadn't wasted my $1.50 on this one. Don't you waste yours too.

07-26-2006 01:14:56 | More by bubrewer
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

1.65/5  rDev -45.5%

Appears a light golden tone and forms a large white head leaves fine lacing behind on the fluted glass. Aroma is of some semi skunked herbal toned hops with a touch of fruitiness among light toasted grain and an adjunct mix of corn and rice that's evident. Taste is strong with a cloying sweetness adjunct ridee with evident alcohol presence and a very low bitterness touch of mineral character and her skunked hops. Mouthfeel is light bodied with fizzy carbonation. Drinkability some have a sentimental outlook on this brew not me...nothing classic about it.

07-24-2006 20:31:48 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

2.28/5  rDev -24.8%

Hey its $.89 cents so I grabbed it and its America's largest selling ale....hmmm Iam guessing its not but hey who knows.It had a decent pour light gold with a 1/2 finger white head that was gone rather quickly but left a mass on top,light skunkiness from the damn green bottle and some toasted grain no trace of hops though to be found.The beer tastes mass produced somewhat cooked and vegetal-like goes down a little harsh made me wince a little going down.Eh wont get it again even if free but its an old brand glad I can say I tried it anyways.

07-17-2006 21:23:48 | More by oberon
Photo of PBRstreetgang


3.13/5  rDev +3.3%

Pours straw with decent clarity. Fizzy one-finger head shows moderate retention but poor lacing. There is certainly some skunkiness in the nose, but it is accompanied by authentic saaz aromas as well; mild vegetal notes in the background. Pale malt and corny sweet at first sip; aftertaste is dry and presents some noble hop bitterness. Medium-high carbonation but not overly crisp, thin body but this helps it attain it's high drinkablity. Finishes mostly clean with a bit of light-struck flavor. Nicley balanced with a good use of hops; an unimpressive yet non-offending brew.

07-14-2006 05:10:19 | More by PBRstreetgang
Photo of tugdriver7


2.6/5  rDev -14.2%

The green bottle skunk hit me when the lid came off. I almost said, "forget it," right then and there. But I persisted. Once the skunk wore off, it poured with a decent (though quickly disappating) head. Low carbonation, extremly light mouthful. No taste to speak of, except the skunk wore off and bit of hop bite lingered. I see why the price was less than half the others I purchased today. Not even really drinkable. If you want a hoppy, cheap "ale," go for the Yuengling's "Lord Chesterfield."

07-13-2006 02:41:25 | More by tugdriver7
Photo of edskirk3


2.85/5  rDev -5.9%

Pours from 12oz can a very clear gold with a white foam a finger or so thick. Is this even an ale? Because it looks awful lagery to me.

I think there's an aroma but I'm not really sure. There might be some hoppiness in there. And aluminum.

It tastes very light and delicate, which contradicts the 'XXX' on the can, and there's also, to coin a term, "token hop bitterness" at the end.

So, there's two occasions that I can see drinking this beer:

1. To wash down something that I ate, like pizza.

2. If it's really effing hot.

Because, after all, it is kind of refreshing. And it cost $2.75 for a sixer!

07-03-2006 05:02:22 | More by edskirk3
Photo of alehopman


3.75/5  rDev +23.8%

Surprisingly low carbination, medium gold color, one finger head with some retention. Just enough ale fruitiness to stave off excessive adjunt smell and flavor. This really takes me back, sitting beside my dad and uncle at a local tavern, and absorbing that "old time beer" flavor/aroma. I heard this is hopped with Cascade, and I do get some floral elements, but I mostly get earthy/grassy smell and flavor. Some sweeter malts though the middle but good bitter finish. Mouthfeel is substantial for a macro produced beer of any kind. I drank this camping last weekend and at $15.00 a case I will drink more this summer if I can get a hold of some. The one to turn to when on a budget.

06-30-2006 02:25:57 | More by alehopman
Photo of BEERchitect


3.23/5  rDev +6.6%

Thought it was pretty good when I thought it was a Pilsner. Now that I have learned it's a Pale Ale, I changed my mind a bit. Has a nice blend of pilsner (tasting) malts with a lightly grainy body (which is allowed in a pils). The hops add an earthy, spicy character after the skunky hop aroma subsides. The body never really reaches medium or full proportions. The hops never reach citrus levels, although there is a light green apple, light lime flavor. The malts are not really caramelized or mildly toasty. Anyhow, I'm going to pretend it's an averagely brewed pilsner.

06-19-2006 23:40:41 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of mynie


4.1/5  rDev +35.3%

This was my white whale. When I was little, I loved old commericals. I'd get tapes of them for my birthday. One tape had nothing but beer sports commercials, which included a couple spots for Ballantine. Being young, and therefore being repulsed by the scent of something so inoffensive as Bud, beer ads never really did anything for me. Except, strange enough, this Ballantine ad, which showed the beer being quickly poured into a ballpark cup. It looked tasty.

So, for years afterwards, I searched out Ballantine. Being in the midwest, this was quite tricky. Once I had tracked down a sixer, at a Binny's Beverage Depot, but was turned away because I had brought with me a small child. They can't serve you if you bring in under 21 with you, said the clerk. I think he was just being a prick.

Anyhow, I recently and finally came across some Ballantine, and it's actually pretty darn good.

One of the very finest macro pours I've ever seen, deep dark gold with a large, retentive head and great lacing. Certainly an ale, not an adjunct.

Smells of light, grassy and folar malt and a small hop.

Tastes sweet and grassy upfront, moving into a more floral, less sweet malt in the middle, and ending on dry, bitter hop.

It's simplistic, but it's still flavorful. And sometimes, simplicity is grand.

06-17-2006 03:44:18 | More by mynie
Photo of hudsonvalleyslim


3.6/5  rDev +18.8%

Gots to agree with much of the Advocates. Ballantine is a very decent beer. (I believe it's now being brewed by PBR, not Falstaff.) It is actually the first beer I ever tasted. But this was one of the few ales that were available back in the day, the other I remember was Genesee Cream Ale, going back to the late 60's. Don't know fer sure, but there is a taste in today's version that I surely recognize. I think Ballantine would stand up pretty well in a blind taste test.

PS - I, too, am financially embarrassed, and find myself searching for good cheap beer. I'm brewing at home but Ballantine costs half what Dogfishhead is getting. Just sayin....

06-16-2006 03:08:51 | More by hudsonvalleyslim
Photo of mattcomstock213


3.1/5  rDev +2.3%

Feeling nostalgic I went for some Ballantine. The smell was yeasty and, surprisingly, hoppy. The color of the beer is nothing special, but more of a deeper gold than the other cheap beers. The taste is suprising, its good, very good in fact. It tastes of hops and is clean and smooth. Nicely carbonated mouthfeel with superb drinkabilty. Its clean and smooth and feels more substanial than other cheap beers. I like it, alot in fact. I think this is one of the best economy beers around. I wish it was more readily avilable.

05-24-2006 14:48:59 | More by mattcomstock213
Photo of mcallister


3.2/5  rDev +5.6%

Pours a medium light golden color with high carbonation and a decent sized head with slight lacing.

Very yeasty and barley-y, with malt, and slight hops in the aroma. A little bit of freshly mown grass as well.

Not a bad beer to be honest. Definitely better than the big name macros. Big on the barley, with the same fresh grass taste, a bit yeasty and malty as well.

Nicely carbonated mouthfeel. Type of beer you would want to drink if you had to all day at a friends cook out. But otherwise I'd stray toward a pale ale or IPA.

05-03-2006 20:45:45 | More by mcallister
Photo of edchicma


3.55/5  rDev +17.2%

Pours a nice clear light gold with an ample head and some lacing. Good carbonation. Aroma is mainly grainy with a hint of grassiness, not too bad. Taste is once again grainy, but with a nice smoothness and a hint of bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium, with a slight chewiness that I was not expecting. Very easy on the drinkability scale, most notably its smooth quality.

05-02-2006 22:27:28 | More by edchicma
Photo of DaggerEyes

New York

3.43/5  rDev +13.2%

This very well maybe the BEST of the cheap beers! Perhaps it deserves a ribbon or something that. I've been watching my wallet and unfortuantely that means making craft brews more of a treat than the norm. So i'm exploring the seedier side of macros with my new found wisdom and apprecaition for the art of brewing.... one I surely dind't have at 19 or so when I probobly last had ballantine.

Pours a typical straw yellow gold "beer" color. With a froathy and foamy two finger thick head and LOTS of carbonation, which is very vocal.

Faint smells of citrus and super sugary hops

A sweet malty and bready taste with a body that is not exactly watery but still rather thin and a good ammount of carbonation.

I can't imagine this beer offending anyones pallete yet by the same token it won't light your world on fire, it sure as hell beats bud though

04-11-2006 22:30:49 | More by DaggerEyes
Photo of Zorro


3.48/5  rDev +14.9%

12 OZ bottle Sample provided by Thaichile.

Pours a clear golden ale nearing a yellow color, momentary white head.

Smell is light and slightly herbal and a little sweet. Not very sweet smelling but there is a faint trace of corn in the scent, but I am really looking hard for it too.

Taste is light and nearly neutral with a tiny bit of sweetness. Slight sourness and a mild but appealing herbal bitterness here from Lager type hops. An ale that tastes a great deal like a good lager. Mild and clean tasting.

Mouthfeel is light and clean but by no means watery.

This is what an American Macrobrew lager should really taste like. Clean with an honest good level of bitterness and good taste combined with very easy on the senses intensity. The ultimate lawnmower beer I think. This is what Budweiser should try to taste like.

04-01-2006 01:50:57 | More by Zorro
Photo of MrSeth


2.48/5  rDev -18.2%

Pours with a very clear, almost watery light yellow body. The head is a thick white meringue consistency.

Smells softly of malt, almost like pretzel dough, and there's a seaweed nori, briney, harbor water stink, a bit off.

Huge bitter taste.. wall of bitterness. whew! Opposite from alot of ales, this one seems to start bitter and finish with a faint sweet maltiness. There is still a bready flavor giving this ale some kind of natural quality.

The mouthfeel is a bit overcarbonated, finishes clean enough though. I'd like to say that these are very drinkable, but the off-smell throws me a bit.

03-27-2006 21:32:11 | More by MrSeth
Photo of marcobrau


2.93/5  rDev -3.3%

My favorite after work beer when I want to feel like an ale drinker in the 1960s or '70s. This is probably the best cheap macro-brewed beer that I can recommend. It's a beer with a lot of history and I like that about it. Of course, it's the taste that really matters, and this is a pleasant enough tasting light cream ale. It's not that good of a pale ale -- in fact, I think it's barely an ale at all -- with just a slight hint of ale-like fruitiness and diacetyl.

Ballantine XXX Ale pours with a brilliant white head that drops leaving a bit of lace and a thin layer of foam. The aroma is certainly nothing to write home about with a little whiff of canned corn and just a hint of hop spice. Light in body and in flavor, Ballantine shows off a little bit of grassy hops, under a blanket of sweet malt and corn. The hop bitterness is just enough to prevent this beer from being too sweet. Well-carbonated, yet smooth, Ballantine's is very drinkable and remains a bit of a classic.

03-21-2006 02:43:31 | More by marcobrau
Photo of joeskirkie

New Jersey

2.65/5  rDev -12.5%

Gold, fizzy, soapy looking head that goes quick.

Scent is light, nothing real strong, possibly some citrusy hops but really nothing. It turns out not to be very bitter at all. It has a light sweetness and is very dry.

It's easy drinking and does manage to encourage me to have another one, but overall...eh.

02-25-2006 01:08:29 | More by joeskirkie
Photo of LarryV


2.9/5  rDev -4.3%

16oz can. Pours a weak golden color with a large fluffy head. The head settles to a 1/8" layer of foam that hangs around for the duration.

Aroma is very light, grainy. Slight hops in the aroma, but no citrusy notes detected. First thing that hit me when tasting it was the sweetness of the malt, but it fades quickly to a dry finish. I couldn't detect much of a hop presence. Even though it says it's an ale, it definitely tastes more like a lager to me. It lacks the crisp dryness that some of the other macros tend to have. I would have preferred a 12 oz can as 16 just seems to be just enough to fatique the palate with this beer. I can only drink one of these and would have to move on to something else. I don't really think it's significantly better than any of the other macro competition out there. In my opinion, it would be best as an accompaniment with some pizza or spicy food. To have one by itself for the sole purpose of enjoying a brew, it doesn't really cut it.

02-20-2006 22:43:25 | More by LarryV
Photo of MarkBlackout


3.45/5  rDev +13.9%

Ballantine is an American classic, even if they changed the recipe. I'm not sure if I've ever poured it into a glass. If you can get this and haven't tried it, you should. This is one of few true macros out there with any significant hop content, even if it is a weird, sour brew! I enjoy it about once a week now that I live in Brooklyn. Economical at $2 even for 40 cold ounces.

01-31-2006 23:03:26 | More by MarkBlackout
Ballantine XXX Ale from Pabst Brewing Company
71 out of 100 based on 244 ratings.