Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale | Stone Brewing

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Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session AleBallast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale
Very Good
376 Ratings
Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session AleBallast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mcallister on 08-07-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 376 |  Reviews: 270
Photo of Britton
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of alamode
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of kkrez
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of rhino54
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of nomisma
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of Travisnin
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of ucsbmullet
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of Givemesome
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow, smells like Double Bastard to me, or maybe just Arrogant Bastard! This has to be my favorite beer right now. A bit expensive for a session ale but worth it! I hope Kelsey McNair starts making this brew in massive quanities soon because he has a winner. Hop's Hop's Hop's! I love it, taste similar to Blind Pig from Russian River and priced pretty much the same with less Alc/Vol. I can drink this all day! Has a very strong Piney, grassy, hop taste that I personallly love in I.P.A's This would be always stocked in my fridge if it were a bit cheaper!

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Photo of marct
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of DoctorB2B
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of Discordian
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of rab53
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of BigV
5/5  rDev +25.3%

Photo of FARGO619
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes: Poured into a room temp tulip glass from a 12oz. bottle.

appearance: golden yellow orange with a 2 finger head that lingered for some time.

smell: floral, citrus, hops, and some pine.

taste: floral, pure bitterness that just goes down smooth.

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, light to medium body, crisp

drinkability: definitely a session beer. was hoping for something more unique.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of LittleDon
4.92/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A pint had at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA.

Golden with a touch of amber and clear. Some carbonation and a sufficiently dense head. Good head retention. Grapefruit aroma and a bit on the resinous side. Leans toward the soft side up front, carbonation is noticeable, but no bite. Pine and citrus shows up in the middle with back of the toungue bitterness showing up early. Bitter in the finish, but fading quicker than most West Coast IPAs. Medium mouthfeel.

I can certainly see why this is about as perfect a session IPA as you can get. Definitely West Coast, but not over-the-top like many. Very drinkable, particularly with the low ABV. Not to worry, as the balance and flavor make up for the low alcohol.

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Photo of DrMattyB
4.89/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a light amber/dark yellow with a hint of orange. Slightly hazy (surprising for a Stone beer), but as a homebrewer, I love it. The head, however, is super thin and dissipates quickly.

S: You can smell the hops in this one as soon as the cap is popped (probably from across the room). Wonderful bouquet of American hops is featured here. Citrus, lemongrass, and a little pine.

T: Bitter bite at the front, gives way to a little light malt sweetness in the middle and leaves you with the great taste of grapefruit hops at the end. Sort of makes me think of a "session" celebration ale (which is the upmost compliment).

MF: Just about right. Light carbonation against the roof of the mouth, but still there. Nice velvety middle and ends dry as any IPA should.

D: "Please sir, may I have another?" I am all for Stone packing this one up in a six pack so that this can be my go to studying beer. (There's a point when too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing)

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.85/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up this 12oz bottle for $3.50 in Columbus, finally thinking I've found the collaboration I've been waiting for, one that focuses on hops instead of spices. After bringing it home I realized the name is "San Diego County Session Ale", which I understand as it's a low ABV beer with neoclassic San Diego hops treatments. But on another level it doesn't make sense as I believe a session ale should be more affordable, as it will be consumed in large quantities...

To start with it looks and smells incredibly good. Hazy dark golden color, thick wet white foam and gorgeous lacing all over the glass. Citrus hops take over the aroma, no malt balance at all. This smells like an Alpine Duet, maybe one of several Ballast Point beers too, so much west coast hoppiness. I'd guess Citra and Amarillo, but almost certainly there are others too.

And what you smell is what you taste, the hops really are the whole story. No malt balance which is OK by me, and I guess it was no problem keeping the malt bill weak in order to achieve a low ABV. Still, it must take some skill to put together such beautiful looking beer with such delicious qualities and keep it low. Tropical and citrusy fruits, well done. Funny, it's not a stretch to call this abrasively hoppy, you can feel a little stomache burn even in this low ABV ale.

Thin bodied, easy pounding, everything I could want, except at a price point that guarantees I won't buy too many.

 1,443 characters

Photo of engagechad
4.84/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this beer on draft at the Saison du BUFF tasting at capital ale house in Richmond, Va on 1-6-11.

A - Kind of a murky yellow but still pretty

S - amazingly fruity and fresh

T - very smooth. perfect definition of what a session would be in my opinion

M - medium, not thick but not thin

D - I could literally drink this all night, possibly my favorite of the night.

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Photo of DrBrewDay
4.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of OStrungT
4.74/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a cloudy, golden yellow color, with a thick, very fluffy white head. the head has a slight yellow tint to it. It fades slowly, leaving a massive lace.

This beer has a grassy hop aroma. It smells more hoppy than I expected. I also get some citrus zest. Not much else.

This beer tastes much like it smells. Hoppy, with a very subtle toasted malty backbone.

This beer is crisp and refreshing. It leaves a grassy hop aftertaste.

This beer would make a good session beer. It is low in alcohol, and the flavor is mild enough. I suppose that is why they call it a session ale.

Overall: This beer is pretty good. For what it is, it has loads of flavor. I like it, and would drink it again. I like seeing Stone brew a beer that is more sessionable. Levitation is great, but a few more options would be good too.

 823 characters

Photo of JizackFH
4.73/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Beautiful color, looks like it is going to go down really smooth. not too much head on this beer. You can see through it pretty well but the color is like no other low alcohol beer i have seen before. I thought it would be a much light color.

S - Smells great. Very hoppy, which i love, and a little bit of a fruit scent.

T - I think i may have found my new go to beer. This stuff tastes awesome. I never would have thought that this would be so hoppy. The low ABV is a bit of a back draw but who cares with such a great taste. Grapefruit hops, a little piney. Not watery at all, which is what i was afraid of with it being only 4.2% alcohol.

M - Pretty light but it coats the mouth nicely. i was worries it would be too light but it isn't at all

D - I could honestly drink this beer all day long. It goes down really really smooth, but has a great hop flavor. I don't seem to run into too many beer like this very often.

So this beer is just great. I was very skeptical after buying this beer that it was going to be very light, but as it turns out I am super glad i bought this. I just keep wanting more. I hope I keep seeing these in stores. they are just perfect for an anytime beer. Once again, thank you Stone.

 1,225 characters

Photo of cdizinno
4.72/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Poured into a pint glass from growler purchased at Green's off Piney Grove in Columbia, SC

A: A bright golden, light amber color with a nice 2 finger white head that dies down a bit and clings to the sides of the glass moderately.

S: THIS is an IPA! Not an APA. The fruity, citrus and pine smell gives me that impression. I can't wait to taste it.

T&M: Piney hops all the way through. Fragrant, fruity hops that are mildly bitter all the way through to the end. The malts balance it out a bit, but it is all hops. Crisp and somewhat smooth, but there is a mild roughness from the oily hops that remain on the fade.

This stuff is excellent. Very drinkable at only 4.2% and I guess it may be considered an APA due to the ABV's. Not sure, but very good beer.

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Photo of berebrando
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Light orange and yellow. Pours with a thick white head that slowly dissipates. I love the smell - fruit, sweet fruit, like tangerines and various other sweet, not sour, citrus. As it warms, I get more hops and pine. The taste is the best - it's soft, balanced and has a dry, bitter finish. Taste is dominated by a combination of citrus and pine. It feels good in my mouth. Drinkability has to be superior, as this is a high quality, tasteful session beer - you could drink it all night and live to die another day.

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Photo of sdsurfer217
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a tulip glass

Appearance: Copper in color, very clear. Small amount of white head. Looks inviting.

Smell: Lots of hop smells, pine, floral. Little bit of roasted character. Also some citrus zest. I smell a hint of pineapple in there.

Taste: Plenty of hops initially, pine, with a bitter aftertaste. Pineapple/tropical fruit taste is stronger than in the aroma

Mouthfeel: Coats the mouth nicely and goes down smooth.

Drinkability: Easy to drink for anyone who likes hops. Very balanced beer makes it easy to drink.

Great beer and would love to have many more, but for the price it's a little steep to make it a "session" beer for me.

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Photo of whiskeysoda
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I am going to forgo the formal A/S/T/(M) protocol for this beer.

Why? Because it is beautifully simple. Every character of a crisp, floral, refreshing IPA that finishes with a dry and piny tip of its proverbial hat. It accentuates the hop component of the beer without being resinous or abrasive. As my friends who don't normally drink IPAs messaged me minutes after I gave them a bottle, "Ooh! It tastes just like pot! But without the burning! :cD"

As hoppy as a double, but with the body of a (light) munich pilsner, I could literally savor this all day.

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Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 3.99 out of 5 with 376 ratings
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