St. James Pale Ale | Half Pints Brewing Company

18 Reviews
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St. James Pale AleSt. James Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Half Pints Brewing Company
Manitoba, Canada

Style: Kölsch

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Like the Kölsch beer that makes Cologne famous, our St. James Pale Ale is a medium bodied blonde brew that’s soft on the palette with a malty finish. Restraint is shown by our hop loving brewers as they add four additions to achieve low bitterness and a floral finish. Slow fermentation gives this beer its smooth fruity flavour that makes us say “yes, we’d gladly have another!”

11 IBU

Added by Phyl21ca on 09-11-2009

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Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 50
Photo of zeledonia
3.64/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Tasted 10 May 2015, reviewed from notes.

Pours clear golden yellow. Not much head, and what's there is gone quick.

Smell is dull and grainy, warm. Not much hops, but they bring a weedy smell. Light malts.

Taste is just sort of blah - there’s not much to it. A little bit of bitterness in the back-end. Reminds me of pale ales I made when I first started home-brewing. Flat, very low bitterness, grainy, a little weedy, a little corny.

Feel is fine. Medium-light body, surprisingly mouth-filling.

I find this a very blah beer. A passable pale ale, not bad, but nothing notable about it at all.

EDIT: I had this beer again a few weeks later, and liked it quite a bit more. Especially the taste and the feel. Updated my ratings to reflect that.

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Photo of FondueVoodoo
3.48/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Special thanks to tdadiuk for sending this beer out west.

A: Pours a clear lit straw colour with 1 finger of white head that dissipates leaving a slight rim.

S: Light grassy, straw scents - quite faint.

T: Similar to the scent with the inclusion of lemon rind and wheat. Refreshing and clean.

M: Clean and refreshing with light carbonation.

O: A decent light beer that pairs well with summer and patios.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.08/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a tall Carlsberg tall pint glass. From notes.

Golden eighteen and crystal clear body, stupidly slow and little rising carbonation. Head is rocky white and clumps slightly with little lacing. A verly large three finger head off the pour.

Nose is a bit small and slightly non existent. Slightly grassy/floral hop, some dry grain sense mixing in but pretty closed.

Taste is a big wow. Giant bakery white bread and wonderful dense crisp body. Chewy bakery bread body, with wonderful mellow floral hop action on the finish. Mouthwatering. Crackling palate with a mellow honey big density. Wonderfully balanced.

What a great go to beer for Half pints, sure reminds me of a Kolsch and a dam good one too!

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Photo of biegaman
3.53/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Staring into St. James Pale Ale is like trying to look directly into the sun; do it too long and your eyes get blurry. Or maybe that's just the beer's complexion. Well, either way, its bright golden colour does have a lot of shine. Its head, on the other hand, is pretty lackluster; it can't quite cover the whole surface and fails to leave any lace.

Kölsch don't always have a lot of character to stand on, and fermentation will sometimes mark them with a white wine-like fruitiness that resembles apples or pear. Not this example though. Oh no, it has more than enough maltiness to conceal any hint of by-product and smells overtly, delightfully like a fresh country loaf coming out of the oven.

St. James Pale Ale may be a lighter beer but it's not exactly delicate. The malt profile is substantial and the hop presence appreciable, albeit dainty. While the beer is far from filling, mouthfuls are plenty satisfying (granted, they tend to come in rapid success). Sparkling carbonation and dry water minerals lend the beer a crisp edge.

Unlike many beers south of the 5% border, there's no mistaking this for water (or corn syrup for those more adept palates). This has such a dough-y texture it tastes of fresh bread and wheat. Indeed, the flavour is biscuit-y and sweet, or would be if not for the earthy, almost floral traces of hops that have been scrupulously whisked in.

Kölsch is the Rodney Dangerfield of the beer world - it get’s no respect! And true, it isn't the most exciting style, but that doesn't matter much on a hot, sticky day like this. In fact, it shouldn't really matter ever. Let other styles sleep in the barrel, or be inoculated with wild yeasts, when I'm thirsty I'll be reaching for one of these (or something just like it).

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Photo of bylerteck
3.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first house I lived in was in St. James so I have a soft spot in my heart for this beer and Winnipeg. Thanks to kjyost for this. Had it a couple times on tap and was impressed so let's see how the bottle goes.

A - Pours light gold, good carbonation, bright. Half finger soapy white head that seems to wanna stick around. Good thick rings of lace and a good thin quarter finger of retention.

S - Grassy and herbal hops with a crackery note. More herbal than anything.

T - More of the same with a distinct lemon and dusty note with some obvious noble hops. Some floral notes as well.

M - Gentle but well done carbonation and a light to medium body. Definately a creamy feel with a noble hop type finish.

O/D - For a Kolsch this is great. Having tried about ten in Cologne, this is among the better ones. An uncommon style but a well executed beer by Half Pints. Sure it's nothing special but it's an easy drinker and would probably act as a gateway for many. Not bad.

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Photo of wordemupg
2.72/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

341ml bottle poured into pint glass 5/7/11

A golden yellow with almost a faint greenish haze when held to the light, lots of carbonation and tiny pieces of sediment and a large soapy head that has great retention but only leaves a little lace

S smells like apple juice, lemon and canned corn

T the apples not nearly as strong but the lemon's turning bad, a little cracker but I can't get past the sour lemon flavor

M light bodied with plenty of bubbles and little aftertaste

O something off with this beer, I had no issues finishing it but it's almost as if it was light struck but in a brown bottle inside a fully closed 12pack it's unlikely

A rare miss from one of the best breweries in the country, looked great but taste and smells just a little off don't worry though Half Pints I still love you

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Photo of BasementBer
2.96/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This IS a Kölsch....Thanks for the clarification Dave! Not a style I prefer or have the option of buying, little to compare it to for that reason. But after having it three nights in a row i feel qualified. For the record I prefer $ellout $tout to this boon of beer.

A: Light, crisp color. Little head, with little to no lacing. Lots of carbonation.

S: Grainy smell with floral undertones.

T: A light refreshing. Relatively full for the pale ale style.

M: Doesn't linger, but provides a full coat for the tongue and mouth.

D: Could go end to end with this beer but no surprises await.

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Photo of marty21
3.58/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy golden colour with a big foamy white head. Settles to a half finger head that lasts the entire time. Left some lacing when I was halfway through the beer.

S: A sweet malt and fruity aroma. I get lemon, pineapple and grainy scents.

T: I get a grainy taste. Buttery biscuits. For a second when swallowing I seem to get a hint of orange for a split second when swallowing.

M: Light body with medium carbonation. Very creamy mouthfeel and has a dry finish.

D: One of Half Pints milder beers but makes for a great session beer. I bought the taster pack this time and it seems these 3 St. James pale ales are more carbonated then ones I've had before. I was a little surprised at the head especially. I hope that this is a permanent change because it is a big improvement to the appearance and mouthfeel.

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Photo of papat444
2.91/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to kjyost for this one.

Poured from a 341ml. bottle.

Appearance: Clear pale yellow body with wisps of sediment floating around and a solid 3 finger head that goes down to one.

Smell: Not much except some corn maybe (not in an offensive way) plus some very mild earthy tones.

Taste: A bit of fruit suggests a light sweetness with some low bitterness and a bit of a mineral edge. All very low-key.

Mouthfeel: Least enjoyable of the beer. Carbonation is very low, the body is light which is good but it feels lifeless in the palate. Not very alive at all and no zest or snap to it.

Drinkability: Not bad but i'm not sure i would have this again.

Overall: There's nothing inherently offensive with this beer but it lacks life. The flavor is ok but this beer just didn't do it for me.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a pale, slightly hazy, golden colour, thumb of bubbly head, solid retention (5+ minutes), and some nice sticky draping lacing.

S - Scent is dominated by sweet caramel, followed by bready grains, sweet corn and honey. Hops are faintly detectable, but definitely on the mild side.

T - Caramel malts masked by bready grains and sweet corn, much like the scent. Finish is tart with the bready malt lingering on the tongue. Very mild grassy hops are detectable, but again, rather mild.

M - No complaints in this department, light, bubbly, smooth and finish is slightly dry, consistent with the style.

D - One of the milder offerings from Half Pints. I'm a bit biased as I prefer their more flavourful offerings, however, this is extremely drinkable and non-offensive. I'd never turn one down, but I'd prefer any of their other offerings above this one.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - very pale golden yellow, 2 fingers of soapy white head retained very well leaving intermittent lacing
S - bready malt with a buttery smell, light leafy green hops, very mild citrus note, a little peppery
T - grainy bready malt seems to be the feature reminding me of fresh buttered bread, leafy and floral hops are light but tart, just a slight orange hint
M - relatively thin like the colour, decent carbonation kick, with a mix of slight dry and bready feel
D - i found the buttered bread flavour to be the stand out characteristic, it goes down very easy but is almost too unassuming in flavours and feel, could be very sessionable

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Photo of Noxious26
3.7/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown twist-off bottle poured in a pint glass. Part of a taster 12-pack.

Pale gold and a little hazy. Thin white head on the pour recedes to a tiny ring around the edges. Mild carbonation.

Nose is malty and sweet. Hints of floral in the background.

Biscuity malt up front. Followed by sweet, caramel/honey malt in the middle. Finshes with mild floral hops in a flash.

Surprising amount of carbonation given the little amount of bubbles in the glass. There's a bit of a rush of bubbles kind of like a soda. Light bodied.

This is a good summertime beer. Light and refreshing with subdued tones and character. I can picture myself on a deck right now...

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Photo of grub
3.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Viggo brought this one over. thanks eric!

12oz bottle. sampled march 25/2010.

pours clear golden yellow with a thin cap of fine white head. the head quickly drops to a ring around the glass and leaves only a few spots of lace.

aroma is nice. white bread and cracker. touch of biscuit. light alcohol. caramel. light fruity kolsh character. fresh light herbal component.

taste is ok. a diluted and watered down version of the aroma. bit of white bread and cracker. hint of biscuit. faint herbal character. bit of dms. touch of alcohol.

mouthfeel is pretty good. medium-light body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is ok. nice balance, but entirely underwhelming overall. a rare miss from the half pints crew.

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Photo of Viggo
3.18/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, thanks to kjyost for the hookup!

Pours a very lightly hazed light amber, some light golden highlights in the corners, thin white head forms and quickly settles to a thin ring around the glass, a few lace spots stick.

Smell is light, a little sweet and grainy, light floral, some biscuit, honey and sugary sweetness, lightly tropical and fruity, wheat, light toast, pineapple, light but refreshing, light lemony character.

Taste is weird, very dry and toasty, lots of wheat, almost a bit of anise through the middle, lightly fruity and sweet, honey, more toast/biscuit, very dry in the finish and a bit of a buttery aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is light bodied with medium to high carbonation, very dry but decently refreshing. However its a bit oddball. Thanks Ken!

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Photo of kjyost
3.87/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Straw yellow with a light head that left light lacing throughout the multiple sleeves of the beer that I consumed. There was a light hoppiness on the nose with a bit of bread. The beer was crisp and finished cleanly, with the lightest of bitter tones about it. It was a clean, crisp that was very sessionable. It is a solid Pale Ale, which is a beer type I do not seek out, although it is quite good for the beer type that it is.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.6/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a good drinking APA that comes in the lighter end in both colour and hopping rate. I have drank quite a few of these in both bottle and on tap while in Winnipeg and like the drinkability and the balance. The beer does need more hops and a bigger mouthfeel to really put in the best pale ales in Canada zone( aka St Ambroise, Alley Kat, Tree, Propeller). However a easy sessionable beer from Half Pints

I noticed it says that this beer is a Kolsch but can find no info the website to verify this.

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Photo of eat
3.41/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very pale straw-yellow in colour with a great frothy, bright-white head. Great retention and lacing. This is an impressive head on such a pale beer. I can't knock points for being's a pale ale!

Pale ale with a pale smell. Grain, cracker...that's about all I can pull off this. Doesn't smell like much.

Light grain and...light grain. Clean, uncomplicated taste. A slight touch of hops seems responsible for a bit of dryness on the finish but it doesn't stay for long. An equally slight touch of sweetness balances it out. The label only says pale ale but here it's listed as kolsh. I'm not sure if that's true, but if it is would make sense. This ale tastes very much like a lager.

Awesome feel. For the style, I'm not sure that I've had better. Most light tasting pale ales are as runny as piss but this one has a surprising creamy, medium body. Half Pints consistently nails mouthfeel and this is no exception.

This is obviously meant to be extremely drinkable and it is. I wouldn't buy this for myself as I like a beer with more flavour but if you're a Canadian or Blue drinker, this should be an easy conversion. I've never been a fan of light pale ales, but for the style this one has just about all it could have going for it. By definition it's just not going to be full of flavour. Looks great, great feel and the taste isn't offensive in any way.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a light dirty yellow color ale with a rather large foamy head with good retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of light sweet malt with not much other characteristic distinguishable. Taste is also dominated by light sweet malt with some very subtle floral notes and some cereal notes are also distinguishable. Body is about average with good carbonation. Interesting but nothing extraordinary - not the best this brewery has to offer.

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St. James Pale Ale from Half Pints Brewing Company
3.43 out of 5 based on 50 ratings.
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