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

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.

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Reviews: 270 | Ratings: 376
Photo of bobhits
1.66/5  rDev -58.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

I feel weird giving this review but sorry guys this isn't for me!

OK for some reason I thought I had the farm house collaboration and I went in expecting some funky stuff. Oddly this came off pretty damn funky to me, with the exception being that the malt was absolutely an american APA. It actually made me instantly think of Stone Levetation only the rest of the beer was a damn mess. The hops are there but they don't work well. Citrus and well off putting. They have an almost spicy and funky finish and the malt honestly doesn't go with them.

Sorry guys I think we got REALLY close to pulling this off, but with low ABV beers you don't have much room for error and this is without a doubt a truly flawed beer.

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Photo of chugalug06
1.77/5  rDev -55.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A - Cloudy peach color with lots of whites and oranges. Head pours strong with a nice pop to the bottle cap. Lacing left behind looks quite good too. Head is straw colored with holes in foam.

S - Smells like an arm pit... Think sweaty locker room... ;p Very piney and sweet smelling. Camomile? Gross.

T - Tastes like a bad homebrew. I'm beginning to wonder if I got a bad bottle...??? Very borderline flavoring, there's not a whole lot of APA flavors in this one. Tastes a lot like corn and pine resin. Quite bland and watery.

M - Great carbonation. Nice and light on the mouth. Very slight bitterness. Extremely low abv too. There's not much flavor distribution.

O - I wish this brew had more aggressive hops.... Not my favorite, but this would be a nice brew for a hot day. I wouldn't seek this brew again. All over the board. Perhaps I got a bad bottle? Drain pour.

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Photo of Naerhu
2.18/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Wow, I'd never thought I'd ever have a weedy uninteresting beer from stone, but here it is.

The aroma is huge amounts of citrusy hops, but no complexity.

There is very little malt to back up the intense weedy / pine bitterness of this beer. There was a bit of grapefruit as well, but no sweetness bring out the fruityness. Unless you are really focusing, all you get is a mouth full of bitter with this beer.

The mouthfeel leaves me flat as well, just completely thin body.

I finished this beer, but thats the best I can say about it, and did not leave me wanting another.

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Photo of palma
2.23/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

slightly hazy yellow body. Small fizzy white head leaves a lasting lace.

Smell is grass, lemon, musty.

Taste is lemon, hay, big time citrus rind. Significant soapy flavor that is not good. Tastes like a sorachi ace attempt gone bad. No depth of malt either. This is a one dimensional, poorly hopped beer. Try it only if you like non-complex, overly hopped, palmolive flavored beers.

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Photo of nrbw23
2.39/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A- Pours a clear, light golden amber with a thin white head. Head turns into a thin layer of bubbles and leaves some spotty lacing.

S- Very Earthy, herbal and grainy. So far I'm not really digging this one, and not really picking up much either.

T- A bit of bitterness, and an odd metallic taste. Pretty dry overall. Hops are kind of all over the place. Not quite sure what to think.

M- Lighter side of medium in both body and carbonation.

O- Quite the disappointment on this one.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.6/5  rDev -34.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into De Molen stemware in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Serving temperature was cold but not overly so; it was pulled from the fridge and left to sit a bit.

A: Pours a two finger head of slight cream, pretty good thickness, and good retention - though the ABV is low. Colour is a hazy dark copper.

Sm: Toasted malt, overdone bittering hops, and some buttery biscuity yeast. Did stone dump too many hops in for no reason as is their MO? The aroma is strong.

T: Toasted malt and bittering hops. Simple. A bit imbalanced. There's just not a whole lot going on here. Session doesn't mean boring. Uninspired and boring.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but too thick for 4.2%. Doesn't really complement the flavours of the body.

Dr: Drinkable, but not sessionable (ironically) on account of its limited quality. I wouldn't have it again. It's so damned boring.

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Photo of axeman9182
2.83/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

16oz pint served at the Rattle n Hum.

The newest Stone collaboration beer looks great. It's a slightly hazy straight orange color. There's fluffy white cap sitting on top is about a finger in height, and plenty of lacing gets left down the side of the glass. Wow... this beer has a pungent hop aroma, bigger than some IPAs I've had. I can find both pine and citrus notes, as well as some resiny ones. There's no malt influence at all detectable, not sure how this bodes for the beer. San Diego County Session Ale proves that there is such a thing as a beer being over hopped. The same hop flavors from the nose are appreciable, but even moreso is a huge blast of hop bitterness that, without any malt sweetness whatsoever to act as a counterpoint, runs roughshod over this beer. The bitterness also lingers unpleasantly, growing a little more intense as I work my way down the glass. At least the mouthfeel is solid, a nice light body (without being watery) and decent, average level carbonation. Unfortunately the overhopping and resulting bitterness suck any real joy out of drinking SDCSA, which could have been a good beer if the hops got turned down from eleven.

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Photo of Offa
2.88/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is a well-made, but thin, one-dimensional, unbalanced beer of essentially grapefruit with hints of pine and not really anything else, and bitterness that is in of itself not strong but lacking enough sweetness or character to support it. It's hop character is bright and fresh, but one-note and practically all alone. I love some Stone beers, but this, like Levitation, is another loved and supposedly "flavourful" ale for an abv of between 4-4.5% that, in my opinion, really doesn't compare to similar-abv English bitters or other ales, which I find to have A LOT more flavour and complexity.

Anyway, faintly hazy pale amber, it has a medium off-white head slowly shrinking and leaving a little lace.

Aroma is bright, clear, fresh grapefruit and pine, a hint of orange, hint of raisiny malt. Somewhat pleasant for what it offers, due mostly to the juicy, fresh character and seems well-made,it is nevertheless very standard and one-dimensional.

Taste is similar, dryish a lot of grapefruit with a hint of pine and a faint yeasty juiciness barely evident underneath. It has faint minerally element. Bitterness is not strong, but unbalanced it is sharp and too dominant for the thin character of this beer. It is very one-note and merely a well-made, fresh, clean example of a standard, basic, uncomplex, uninteresting, largely characterless, one-dimensional west coast style beer. It quickly becomes exceedingly tiresome.

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Photo of dhartogs
2.9/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this on tap when visiting San Diego and again in bottles.

Smell was nice, mild hops, but I felt the body was lacking as was flavor compared to the aroma. Around here it sells for $3/bottle, which is a bit steep considering the abv and mild flavor. Good effor and nice to see these collaborations but this beer really didn't do it for me.

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Photo of claspada
2.97/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The aroma is mostly citrus, with grapefruit dominating as well, but a few traces of pineapple and orange.

Taste is average at best. Unfortunately the overall flavor falls a little flat. Somewhat salty taste; wierd indeed. I get decent amounts of bitter pine and pale malts, but overall the taste just seems a little hollow to me.

The body is light-medium with an abundance of bubbly carbonation. This beer is fairly refreshing, but I just want more flavor out of this beer. NOT AT ALL worth the inflated "collaboration" price tag associated with this beer. Maybe better on tap, but not necessary to seek out or purchase if over $2 a bottle.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.01/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Thanks to cjacobsen for tossing a bottle my way!

(A)- Pours a clear orange color that produced a decent off-white head with good retention and lace.

(S)- A dry piney hop profile. Subtle hints of spice in the background.

(T)- Very dry and bitter. Lots of pine with subtle citrus characters. Subtle bits of a sweet caramel or honey too.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Again, very dry and bitter; this would put many IPA's to shame in regards to how bitter this really is. It actually almost kills off any other flavor this would otherwise have.

(D)- Not bad. It would be more sessionable as it is called if it was not so bitter.

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Photo of nerdrocker101
3.03/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a nice golden, straw yellow with a dense, billowing white head that never seems to fade away.

The smell is mostly citrus, with grapefruit dominating but a few traces of pineapple and orange.

Okay, so far, so good. Unfortunately the flavor falls a little flat for me. Somewhat salty taste. I get little amounts of bitter pine and pale malts, but overall the taste just seems a little hollow to me.

The body is light-medium with an abundance of bubbly carbonation. Slightly powdery.

Fairly refreshing, but I just want more flavor out of this beer.

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Photo of BrewingViking
3.12/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

S - sharp hop aroma
A - orange with slight haze. thick white head leaving lacing
F - malty with citrus/piney hop flavor. slight bitterness that lasts on the tongue
M - medium light body and dry finish
O - good pale session ale. nothing really special but nice to just sit and enjoy. another good collaboration ale

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Photo of mikey711
3.13/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Bright straw color with a nice level of rising carbonation. a small head that holds pretty well and leaves a bit of lace.

S: soapy floral notes with a touch of pine and a bit of lemon citrus. a slight bready note is present as well.

T: Very piney upfront before transitioning to a bit of soapy floral hoppiness. a touch of earthiness as well.

m: very light and slightly oily but not googy hop oil but almost buttery

D: I could definitely drink a good amount of this but the overly soapy and perfumy pininess is somewhat off putting

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Photo of ncvbc
3.17/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pour is clear golden with medium white head and some lacing down the glass. Good smell of fresh, strong-ish hops. Fresh, green, yummy. Seems stronger than labeled based on the nose. Taste falls short for me. A tad watered down, likely due to a lack of any malt presence. The hops are there, citrus and pine. Quite bitter but again, watery, therefore lacking that crisp/dry sensation on the level that it should be. Fairly one dimensional. I feel that the choice of hops and the overwhelming presence of the hops in this beer are more suited for an IPA than anything. Mouthfeel has a sure bitterness but is a tad thin. Overall, I wouldn't want another. To me, this is a good example of a session beer that falls short of session material. It just doesn't have any redeemable qualities that would bring me back. It's like a watered down baby Sculpin in regard to hop flavor. So to that I ask, wouldn't you rather have a Sculpin?

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Photo of corby112
3.18/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy dark golden yellowish ripe banana color with golden yellow hues when held to a light source and a two finger frothy, pillowy white head. Excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap that coats the glass with large rings and splotches of soapy lacing. A bit darker than I expected but it looks pretty damn good.

Dank, uber-fresh, earthy, resinous hop aroma with lots of pine, oily hops, kind bud and slight sweet citrus fruit. I'm picking up some grapefruit and lemon peel as well as a slight creamy element and subtle pale malt. I was expecting this to have more citrus and tropical fruit notes but it smells like fresh hops and earth.

Chewy full body with a bitter, earthy hop blast that lingers throughout over the slight citrus notes and malt backbone into a dry finish. Very dry and bitter up front with a lot of earthy pine needle that kind of dominates the flavor. Again, there isn't much balance in the hop profile. All earthy bitterness and sorely lacking the sweet tropical and citrus fruit notes that I love in WCIPAs. The malt backbone is way too strong and although it doesn't cut down the hop profile much, it just adds to the mouthfeel without contributing much flavor. Even though this beer is only 4.2% that alcohol isn't well masked. I had a lot of hope for this one but it turns out to be a one-dimensional mess with a tongue coating, sticky dry finish.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.22/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours a clear, fairly effervescent golden color with a fluffy 1 finger head. The aroma is that of citrus rind hops the like of grapefruit and orange. Medium/light mouthfeel. The hops on this take center stage throughout your whole drink, starting with a slight bitterness that just keeps building until the end. Slight soapiness in the taste. Not a whole lot of lace left on the glass. Lingering rind bitterness. Overall, an ok beer but not sure if I would want to session this all day or not.

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Photo of beertunes
3.22/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in straight pint glass. This beer was very lively and the bartender had a hard getting more beer than head in the glass. It poured a semi-hazy orangeish-yellow with a lot of white head that had moderate retention and lots of lacing.

A very strong pine hop aroma greets the nose without a noticeable malt foundation. The piney hops also dominate the tongue, again no noticeable malt presence. There was a weird taste that I couldn't identify, even after trying the beer several times. Kind of metallic or coppery, but different.

The body was too thin to be enjoyable. Other than the weird taste, drinkability was pretty good. I've had several and will have more.

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Photo of FunkyMacGroovin
3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden copper with lots of bubbles and a 1/2 finger head that is thick and foamy. A surprising amount of lacing is left on the glass as the foam subsides.

S: Strong hop aroma, both citrus and resin. It smells almost as hoppy as an IPA. There's a touch of grain on the nose, but it's very faint.

T: The hops are very strong for a pale ale, especially one with an abv this low. I like the hops on the front and mid-palate - fresh with some grapefruit and pine - but an intense bitterness comes on in the finish that lingers longer than I would like. There's very little malt backbone here, so the hops take control and leave things a bit out of balance.

M: Body is on the lighter side. Lots of carbonation lends a bit of crisp and a bit of creamy to the mouthfeel, without which I think the beer would come across as just being watery.

D: This may have a sessionable abv, but there's too much hop flavor for me to want more than one. I'm halfway through the bottle and the bitter taste at the back of my mouth is just getting stronger.

I think the idea of creating a session ale is great, but this one doesn't cut it. If the hops were dialed back a bit this could be a much better brew.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Chilled bottle into a glass. Purchased from K&L in Redwood City.

Ok, ok... This is "not a session ale" by Ding's definition, but since that has never been substantiated by any concrete proof (to my knowledge), I will arbitrarily grant a +/- 5% swing. 4.2% is now sessionable.

A: Pours a murky, glowing orange body in my Hair of the Dog tulip. I poured carefully so I could get it all in the glass in one go. Nonetheless, it maintains a nice cap with a substantial collar for the duration of the drink. Nice.

S: Citrus! It doesn't have the clean, bright aromas of Sculpin; it is instead tempered with a dose of herbal hops, grass, and a touch of pale malt. This is a dead ringer for an IPA.

T: This is extremely hoppy, as the nose might suggest. Unfortunately, that's about it. There's a light maltiness, but I can't pick up anything else. It has a nice grapefruit, orange peel, and grass flavor going on, with the last component lingering into the finish for some remaining bitterness.

M: Dry finish with lingering bitterness. The body is light-medium. Clean flavor, but truthfully, I'd liken it to "watery."

D: I'm not realistically going to pay $4 for this again; I bought it to show my support for the experiment more than anything. Not a successful one in my eyes. What ever happened to the balanced, subtle, refined English malt that Ding is always talking about? This is just dry-hopped to death.

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Photo of Kanyon22
3.28/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into my Murphy's tumbler pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy dull orange color with a super frothy head that is just sitting there doing nothing, which is quite amazing.

S: Citrusy grapefruit with a piney resiny, typical west coast hopped beer smell. Wish I could smell some malts but hops really dominating nose, which isn't a bad thing.

T: Starts out smooth almost lager like, then hits you with a nice zip of the citrus hop and has a pungent clean bitterness at the end. I know at 4.20% abv. the grain bill would be low, but this one seems none existent compared to the hops. Nothing but hops, hops and more hops, which is okay but after your palate is numb to the hops there really is nothing to keep you interested.

M: It sits on the light side of they style verging on watery. It also seems to be lacking carbonation, also has a slight resiny piney coating in the throat.

D: Its an easy drinker for sure at 4.20% abv. but after hops kill your mouth your left with an easy drinking beer that gets boring really quick.

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Photo of Stunner97
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured with a very thing white lacing then faded quickly off and was amber in color with moderate carbonation. The beer had floral hop notes there on the nose but nothing crazy. Overall in flavor this beer was very one dimensional and really didnt blow me away in any direction. Showed just bitter hop tones with less the impressive malt tones and just kind of bland and simple, inoffensive but simple. Mouthfeel was very light and soft. The drinkability was okay on this beer but just nothing amazing overall. Its just kinda simple and lacking that overall wow that you get with a lot of the different stone products i have tried in the past. Basically if you were looking for a very good session ale this is a very much weaker beer then levitation which i would recommend much higher. To me considering price as well this beer was sort of a miss just nothing to go crazy for.

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Photo of patobandito
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very light, crisp golden color, very clear. Thin white head with some lacing. Smells very flowery, with not much else on the nose. Tastes mostly of flowery hops, and again, not much else. Pretty good beer, but somewhat unbalanced in my opinion. Would be hard to have more than a couple at a sitting, so calling it a session beer seems to be a bit of a misnomer.

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Photo of sway0925
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The aroma smells of a light citrus style ale with a nice balance of hops, but not too must as to over power the nose.

This beer does what is says it is a session beer, the taste is very light and well balanced. Unfortunately it is hard to pin point specific notes within this beer. I can pick up a slight floral note due to the hops followed by a very weak taste of citrus and some light malt. The body to this beer is not complex at all they kept it very simple but gave it enough taste to be recognizable. The only down fall i see with this beer is the price, although i would have love to see something with a little more body the price throws me off for round two.

Overall a good session beer as an in between beer but nothing compared to some of the other collaborations.

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Photo of Cavery
3.32/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz shared with Klym at the start of a Friday session. Poured into small tulips.

A: A cloudy lemony yellow pale malt body with some decent small bubble foam. Modest retention is likely caused by a very violent moving body and lack of stickiness. Comes off very light in the visual, almost like a pale wheat ale. A decent ring of foam sticks around the edge of the glass.

S: Yummy light herbal hops with an almost pear skin like quality to it. There's a bit of a medicinal linger but not one that makes me feel like I'm getting my vitamins. I'm getting an actually kind of funky note of cucumber from the hops. Not bad, just comes off really light. The theme so far is lightness!

T: Once again, light. A fairly simple flavor of semi-old hops and supplement powders. There really is an aged taste to this thing, and it's really not very welcome. There doesn't seem to be any sign of infection, just kind of a funky mellow taste that takes the malt sweetness to a realm of bitter medicines. some mild orange rind before the medicine sets in.

M: An appropriately light slow bubble dissipation in the mouth. I like how there's a real effort to keep the theme of drinkability a top priority. Very light and almost air like, but still has a very noticeable IPA hop presence and general flavor transition. Not wet from alcohols, and not overly dry from the medicines. If the flavor could keep up with the mouth this would fair better.

O: I had this before, and I didn't remember it being this mediocre. I actually remember thinking it was very drinkable and respectable despite the suspicious low ABV and small clear-ish bottle. However, I think that this bottle may have seen a bit more time than it needed. The hops really come off tasting like a preservative, and the malt is ridden with cobwebs. This is an enjoyable beer fresh, but a mediocre beer without that element of freshness. Don't make a session ale out of this unless you are certain of the bottle date!

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Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale from Stone Brewing
3.99 out of 5 based on 376 ratings.
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