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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.

250 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 250
Reviews: 154
rAvg: 3.02
pDev: 21.85%
Wants: 18
Gots: 7 | 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: 250 | Reviews: 154 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rudgers73
2.73/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Well, it says it is an APA, but it smells remarkably like a pilsener to me...

Pale yellow color, moderate carbonation, small bubbles, retentive 1/4 inch white head. Smells like pilsener hops with wheat and bready yeast in the back. The taste is a bit thin, crisp at the end. Fruity/corny taste. Pretty much one-dimensional flavor profile.

Well it says "Purity, Body, Flavor" on the bottle and it has almost none of each.

Better than Bud Light, not as good as Miller High Life.

Rudgers73, Jul 09, 2007
Photo of Slar211
3.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from the B-Side Liquor Lounge on Coventry, Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

Appearance: Pours a clear gold into a pint glass. Foamy white head fades fast and leaves little lacing.

Smell: Sweet yet grainy malt with a slight hint of generic hops.

Taste: Sweetness reminds me of a farm, grainy and grassy. Bitter hops balance the taste well enough.

Mouthfeel: A decent medium body that finishes very crisp, bordering on harsh but never going overboard.

Drinkability: This would be a nice summertime beer.

Slar211, Jul 08, 2007
Photo of Hibernator
3.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ballantine XXX
16 oz can
Served in a pilsner glass

Pours a medium shade of yellow with a slight orange tint. Fluffy bone-white head on top with impressive sticky lace patterns.

Whiffs of sweet corn and grains in the nose.

Clean and surprisingly well-balanced. Flavors of corn with a lemon twang and obvious adjunct filler. A middle of the road brew and drinkable when the time is right.

Love the color and design of the Ballantine can.

Hibernator, Apr 27, 2007
Photo of RBorsato
4.43/5  rDev +46.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light yellow gold with a wispy white head and good carbonation. Nice balanced earthy hop and light adjunct aromas. The most hops I've ever noticed in a Macro ... esp. anything that comes in a "40"! Nicely balanced light adjunct, some grain, and non-descript hop flavors. Light-medium bodied with a crisp dry bitter finish.

Macro Ale or APA ... your call, but not a bad one either way. I rated it as a top-end macro.

Per Label: Falstaff Brewing Co / Milwaukee, WI.

Tasted: 02/22/07

(Approx $2.50 / 40 oz. green screw top bomber)

RBorsato, Mar 26, 2007
Photo of geexploitation
3.33/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours very light, almost yellow, and clear with no head to speak of. Immediate funky hop aromas tickle my nose, along with some acrid sweetness and corn grains. On the palate, pretty sweet up front with corn flavors, with just a touch of carbonation and bitterness for bracing. The finish is only off-dry, and this beer sticks to your mouth with that macro aftertaste that I can't describe any better than that. Light in mouthfeel, average for a macro. Overall, this is certainly a macro style beer, but I find it strangely compelling. I would actually drink this if no better options were available. It's pretty smooth, has a bit of sweetness and, in spite of the obvious presence of grain adjuncts, isn't a corn bomb like a certain popular Mexican beer. Not too bad.

geexploitation, Jan 17, 2007
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
2.73/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

12oz green bottle obtained at the local Hannaford. Pours a very light yellow body with a thin film of white head. Cereal grains characterize the aroma, very reminiscent of an American macro-style lager. Tastes somewhat sweet, with cereal grain and just a hint of grassy floral hops toward the finish. Very light mouthfeel with plenty of carbonation. A super-easy drinker, not very challenging or heavy. Not a horrible beer but is not at all good for an APA. As a macro-style lager or a cream ale, this is a solid beer - simple, drinkable, adjunct characteristics... But this is no APA.

MrHurmateeowish, Oct 18, 2006
Photo of clickpush
2.25/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

clickpush, Oct 16, 2006
Photo of Bitterbill
3.58/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Bitterbill, Oct 13, 2006
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.83/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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?

NeroFiddled, Aug 27, 2006
Photo of maximumsheehan
3.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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!

maximumsheehan, Aug 09, 2006
Photo of jwc215
3.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

jwc215, Jul 26, 2006
Photo of bubrewer
2.1/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

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.

bubrewer, Jul 26, 2006
Photo of WVbeergeek
1.65/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

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.

WVbeergeek, Jul 24, 2006
Photo of oberon
2.28/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

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.

oberon, Jul 17, 2006
Photo of PBRstreetgang
3.13/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

PBRstreetgang, Jul 14, 2006
Photo of tugdriver7
2.6/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

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."

tugdriver7, Jul 13, 2006
Photo of edskirk3
2.85/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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!

edskirk3, Jul 03, 2006
Photo of alehopman
3.75/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

alehopman, Jun 30, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
3.23/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

BEERchitect, Jun 20, 2006
Photo of mynie
4.1/5  rDev +35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

mynie, Jun 17, 2006
Photo of hudsonvalleyslim
3.6/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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....

hudsonvalleyslim, Jun 16, 2006
Photo of mattcomstock213
3.1/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 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.

mattcomstock213, May 24, 2006
Photo of mcallister
3.2/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

mcallister, May 03, 2006
Photo of edchicma
3.55/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

edchicma, May 02, 2006
Photo of DaggerEyes
3.43/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

DaggerEyes, Apr 11, 2006
Ballantine XXX Ale from Pabst Brewing Company
71 out of 100 based on 250 ratings.