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 darkstang96
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a very interesting beer, the snell was amazing. Beat hops smell, almost a little sweet. The taste was a litte underwhelming, there was very little body and the extreme carbonation also took away from the mouthfeel of the beer. I am a huge stone fan, but I must say I was expecing a lot from this and was a little disappointed, however it was an enjoyable beer. I plan to try it on tap soon to compare.

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Photo of ikats
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours golden in color, a bit hazy, with white, sticky head. Aroma is full of hops. Mostly grapefruit I guess. Maybe some pine and other citrus. No aroma notes coming from malt. I personally love hoppy aromas, so this one is for me. Clean, soft taste. Hops are quite evident in the aftertaste (quite a bite, but a pleasant one). Mouthfeel is very smooth. And it's light body. I would consider this beer a wonderful example of light, but full flavored beer.

I feel that US beer scene is lacking true session beers, and I am in constant search. I picked up a bottle of San Diego County purely based on name "Session". I am not disappointed. Excellent example of what I would consider a session beer (easy drinking at around 4%). Hoppy aftertaste may get a bit tiring toward the end of a session, but it's a minor complaint.

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Photo of Billolick
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle

Best before 11 10 10, etched onto the bottom of the bottle.

Lightly hazed, dull, lighter tangarine. Off white head, a slow fader, thick collar and leaving ample thicker bits of lacing.

Pungent hopped nose, with grapefruit jumping out.

Fresh tasting, hopped up and thoroughly enjoyable ale. More grapefruit, sweat biscuity malts pave the way for this tasty and at 4.2% quite sessionable offering...duh...nice beer....but no bargain @ $3.99 for the 12 ouncer

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Photo of mjaskula
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass. The beer pours clear golden with a bit of sediment haze. The head is moderately thick with a soapy white head that thins to a film and leaves some thin lacing.

Immediately upon popping the cap you can smell the floral hops. The aroma is very strong and entirely hops. The flavor is almost all bitter hops. The bitterness stays in your mouth a little to long. There's a little bit of malt breadyness, but not much of a balance.

The mouthfeel is thin and carbonation is high. Does well as a session beer, but would like a little more balance.

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Photo of tdawgydog
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always look forward to giving the Stone Collab brews a try. Not the best Stone Collab I've had but pretty good none the less.

A - Pours a nice cloudy yellow with a representable head that survives the life of the beer.

S - The smell of evergreen hops in the bottle, mostly dissipates once the beer is poured. More of a malty scent once in the glass.

T - A little more of bitter bite than I like from my APA but the strong hop character that one should expect doesn't seem to be there.

D - Has a taste well beyond it's 4% ABV. The complexity of the style would leave you to believe that it has more alcohol than that.

M - Well carbonated solid body.

I picked up two of these from my local beer store. I also picked up two bottles of Cali-Belgique which I am really looking forward to cracking open (my Fave Stone Brew!!)

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Photo of cooncat
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Live review ... bottle decanted into a standard 'shaker pint' style glass.

The beer pours a hazy golden orange; I'm assuming this was bottle conditioned, since there was some sediment at the bottom of the bottle. If I'd known that up front, I'd have kept the dregs in the bottle. The white head is a good one finger+, with good retention and some nice lacing.

The nose is light but definitely hop forward. I'm getting mostly citrus notes, with some pine in the background. Biscuity and caramel malts are barely noticeable.

The flavor is surprisingly hoppy, but then, what else would you expect from Stone? For me, the hops are tangerine, orange and grapefruit rind. Some pine elements round out the hop profile. Malt flavors struggle to get past the hop onslaught. While there's a tad of caramel and biscuit malt flavors, they are for the most part background players. This is as hoppy as some IPAs I've had; its way beyond 'pale ale' hoppiness. Mouthfeel is medium, which again was a pleasant surprise. Medium carbonation keeps it from being too sharp.

I'd put the drinkability in the good range, especially if you're a hop head. If you like maltier, sweeter beers, this may not be your session beer. Hop heads will enjoy this, and with a very modest ABV level, one could enjoy this beer all evening, risking palate burn-out from the hops.

Nice offering from Stone. It proves that big hop monsters don't have to be 8% to 10%! Recommended to hop heads everywhere!

Na Zdravje!

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Photo of JohnQVegas
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into Sam Adams sensory glass. Thanks, Jeff! Another Perfect fit.

Pours a very hazy deep gold, heading just barely into pale copper territory, with a long-lasting, creamy, one-fingered off-white head on top. Nice streams of bubbles showing through towards the bottom of the glass.

Nose is fantastic - intensely floral notes of pine and citrus smack you upside the head, IPA-level for sure. No real malt showing through at all, which doesn't hurt this one even a little bit. Fantastic nose.

Taste is right up there with the nose as well - this one is literally all hops. Again, intensely hoppy without being overly bitter, the piney, grapefruity hop note is just fat and intent on raining all over your palate's parade. Bitterness is aggressive but moderate - there's an unrefined edge to it for sure - and certainly manageable throughout the experience. Still, this is aggressive on the level of many IPAs, and significantly more aggressive than many of them. Dry, long finish carrying moderate bitterness that doesn't seem to build too badly.

Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied, quite oily, almost grainy with hoppy goodness. Like every other aspect of the beer, intense, not unpleasant, but not exactly smooth and refined either. Carbonation is moderate but fairly big bubbled.

Drinkability is good, especially considering the aggressiveness behind the beer. Pure hop showcase, and done very very well.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a vibrant golden tangerine color, which, although slightly hazy, still allows for visibility of the replenishing carbonation from the bottom of the glass.

Smell: A floral hop bouqet, some citrusy hop notes as well, and a touch of light, sweet malt.

Taste: There is just a touch of biscuity malt up front, and then this is a surprising hop bomb. Very bitter, particular just after the malt sweetness subsides and as an aftertaste. Some juicy grapefruit citrus, but very strongly floral as well. The sip closes juicy and puckering.

Mouthfeel: Something is just a little bit off with this feel. Maybe the low (for Stone standards) ABV is doing it, trying to pack so much hop flavor into a tiny alcohol content, but the feel comes off as trying to be creamy but fizzy at the same time. The plethora of hops give my tongue a tingly, almost numb feeling. Leaves a ton of hop oil all over my tongue.

Drinkability: Not sure if this was there intention or not, but they definitely made a mini - Stone IPA here, although just by dropping the ABV I am not sure if they are able to appropriately attach 'Session' to the name. This is not one I would really want to drink too much of.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. Enjoy by date of 12/10/10 on the bottle, drank on 12/08/10.

a - Pours a somewhat transparent amber golden color with one finger of fluffy white head and moderate carbonation evident. Head lasts for two minutes and leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

s - Smells very strongly of citrus hops, fruity hops and malts, light pine hops, and light honey. Light tropical fruits as well. Smells great.

t - Tastes of bitter hops, citrus hops, floral/soapy notes, and fruity malts. Quite bitter up front but it subsides as you drink it.

m - Light to medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth and creamy, really nice mouthfeel.

d - A really nice beer. I actually thought it was an IPA now an APA; sure smelled like one. At 4.2% ABV and with the mouthfeel it's really easy to drink. I felt like I could easily have a few of them and would want to. This sat in my fridge for over a month, kind of wish I had drank it right away now. Would love to have again.

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Photo of goatgoat
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Stone tulip. It's a clear honeyed gold with a moderate white head. Shows good retention with little lace.
Aroma is big hops. Tropical, fruity, and a candied undertone. Taste follows, with a heavy hop presence. Feel is medium light and resinous.

Not so much an APA as much as an IPA light. Though I admit, I enjoy a lower alcohol hop heavy brew.

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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 arizcards
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a single from Total Wine in early October for $2.99.

Beer poured a cloudy orange with a white soap bubble head.

Nose is citric hops all the way - very nice.

Taste is well balanced between the pale malts and the grapefruit hops.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Drinkability is very good - this is the perfect session beer; big flavor, good mouthfeel, well balanced. Nice effort in this collaboration - try this before too long!

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Photo of DovaliHops
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange color with a medium white head. Smells very hoppy with a light, sweet caramel backbone. Taste is very interesting... It's like a little APA that wants to become an IPA, but just can't do it. This beer definitely is trying. It has some great hoppy notes to it, but just kinda dies off quickly. It's got a nice punch at the beginning with hoppy bitterness and grapefruit notes, but then dies off into a watery, not-so-great flavor profile. Mouthfeel is crisp and a little on the watery side. Drinkability is fairly high. Not a bad beer at all, but if I'm gonna have something of this style...I would MUCH RATHER have a FW Pale Ale. Similar ABV, but flavors cannot even compete.

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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 tbrown4
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bought a single bottle at Perfect Pour in Columbia, MD.

Bright splash of flavor across the tongue. Very nice, but short lived. Washes away quickly with little to no aftertaste. Little malt presence with a balance of slight pine hops.

Quick and easy to drink. For the price I paid I would not get again. At $8 a six pack I'd buy all year.

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Photo of Gmann
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly hazy golden color with a small, dense off-white head that settled into a solid ring. The aroma is of a beautiful grapefruit hop, quite buddy and fresh. Some tropical fruit notes and honey. The taste is not quite as strong as the aroma. The hops are more grassy, herbal and grapefruit rind and the malt is quite weak. It is still very hop flavorful. The feel is light and very carbonated. It just feels very thin for a APA; almost watery. I must say this is a very flavorful session brew. Strong hop flavors without the blistering high ABV. I would like to see the malt a tad thicker but it is a good trade off for the low ABV.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Howdy friends!!! Ok, fine: "acquaintances"!!! Pours a cloudy, pale amber. A finger or so of creamy head. Dwindles down to a small ring of foam and leaves excellent lacing. Wow, only 4.2% ABV - they really meant Session....A collaborative brewing with a homebrewer that dbas under the name North Park Beer Co., Stone, and also Ballast Point...Nose is pretty durn hoppy. That's pretty much all I smell - lots o' piney hops. A hint of sweetness also, but not much else. OK, maybe a little citrus, too. This is starting to get like that seen from "The Jerk" where he gets kicked out of his house: "That's all I need, these hops, these pine needles and this fruit...That's all, nothing else..." Flavor is what you might expect: It's loaded with hops, and there's a nice malt backbone to it. These two flavors are kind of tap dancing on top of each other. I taste some hops, then malt, then hops, then hops, then hops, then malt...You get the idea. At 4.2% ABV, this is really drinkable. They hit their mark for certain - it's a Session ale. Whole drink is really dry, and never tastes thin. Pretty good, but ultimately I keep thinking it's just for HopHeads, and I ain't one of them. Super well-priced at $2.99/12oz. bottle. I'd say this is worth checking out.

What I like most: The price and seemingly decent balance in the flavor profile.

What I like least: Tastes too much like hop extract.

Verdict: So well-priced it's worth every penny. Find and try, folks.

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Photo of Durge
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A beautiful clear amber with a modest white cover and fair lacing. The aroma is IPA like citrus woodsy hop. Solid and enticing. The flavor is bright citrus, grapefruit straw-biscuit, crisp with minor carbonation but very refreshing. Pretty light in body and very drinkable with a crispy feel. Lots of biscuit and floral ideas here. Grassy finish with an almond sweetness hidden somewhere. A very pleasant surprise to find at the Ale House in Amesbury, MA.

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Photo of Bajasith
4.36/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured an exceptional cloudy amber color with a thin one finger head that cleared quickly...

Loads of ripe floral and citrus aroma dominating the olfactory...

Assertive hop bitterness takes the stage as a hint of grapefruit lingers in the back of the tongue. Malts have a limited role as small amount of caramel mellows the bitterness...

Medium bodied. Earthy piney crisp from start to finish. Some dryness arrives late. Pure joy with this Session...

Very well collaborated. A hop craving cure. This beer was very easy to quaff and the low 4.2 alcohol level make this a perfect beer to consume over and over again.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to warriorsoul for this brew.

Poured into a Stone pint glass a semi-hazy golden color, very nice carbonation, very nice thick/creamy one-finger off-white head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is a very nice malty/hoppy blend, mostly hops thought, with some slight citrus thrown in. The taste is very nice, hoppy, slightly malty, with some citrus notes. Medium body, with a very nice dry/bitter finish. Very Drinkable, a very nice APA.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint glass.

A: Pours a slightly cloudy golden iced-tea color with a couple fingers of oily off-white head that slowly faded into a thick film that left damn near a solid wall of sticky lace down the glass.
S: Very fresh and green smelling. Big notes of grapefruit and citrus dominate, but there is more going on with notes of pine, hop resin, tropical fruits and marijuana. I even get a hint of tea. Very very good smelling!
T: Hints of sweet caramel and toasted malt hints your tongue first, but are quickly overpowered by bitter grapefruit pith and herbal and tobacco flavors. Balanced is not a word for this IPA. The finish is very earthy and herbal with maybe even a hint of mint, and the aftertaste is lingering and bitter.
M: Medium body, dry mouthfeel and even, bubbly carbonation. Surprisingly dry and very bitter.
D: The nose on this beer is great, so is the look. The flavor is far from bad, but it is not as potent and the smell. I would definitely try this again and it's worth seeking out if it's around.

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Photo of BeerdedEric
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A goldish yellow color in body. A slight off white head. It looks really carbonated with the bubbles rushing upward. The head is sticking around quite long and is forming into a creamy head. It's slightly cloudy but not over the top, still able to tell what's going on it the mug. Nice lacing on the glass as well.

The smell is very piney. Maybe it was more wet hopped than dry hopped. It's definitely has a nice smell.

It's pretty smooth, light body. The carbonation is there but not overpowering. It feels like it's going to leave the mouth feeling dry right away but doesn't.

A piney taste with bitterness. This is all hop flavoring here. It tastes if I stuck my tongue directly onto a single hop. I taste some dry fruits as well in the background. This reminds me more of an IPA.

I could definitely drink another one and another one and another one... I think you get the idea. It's a nice tasting beer, smooth and not filling at all. It's low in the ABV department, which is strange to taste in a Stone Brew. A nice collaboration between Kelsey McNair, Ballest Point and Stone Brewing Co.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep golden color with a smallish fluffy white head that sticks to the glass on the way down. Smells of grapefruit and earthy citrus and pine hops and a tiny hint of caramel malt sweetness if I squint a bit. Taste is earthy bready lightly caramel with lots of pine and citrus. Finishes kind of dry with a long lingering earthy pine bitterness. While not all that complex it tastes pretty damn good. Body is medium to thin, mouthfeel is watery with a hint of resin, medium to high level of carbonation. I like this one for its simplicity, it doesn't get overly complex but is still very flavorful. If this weren't close to four dollars a bottle I might actually enjoy a session of these.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to freud for throwing this one in as an extra in a trade.
Poured in to pint glass

A - Slightly cloudy yellow colour with small amount of bubbly white head.

S - Crisp citrus and earthy bitter hops up front with a slight malt backbone. Nice hop nose for 4.2% ABV. Doesn't smell like a typical session beer.

T - Follows the nose - full of bitter hops with predominantly citrus notes and some pine as well. Very faint malt presence. As odd as it sounds to say this about a session beer - this is a true hop bomb!

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation.

D - This is by far the best 4.2% ABV beer that I have ever had. I would buy this all the time if it were available to me. A great concept that I hope catches on.

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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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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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