California Amber | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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California AmberCalifornia Amber
Very Good
1,475 Ratings
California AmberCalifornia Amber

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Calico Copper Amber Ale

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,475 |  Reviews: 473
Reviews by prototypic:
Photo of prototypic
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Calico's a very solid copper collision with amber. There's some orange highlights when backlit. A light haze clouds the field. Carbonation is very active and walks a fine line. It's close to being overcarbonated, but I'm not ready to make that declaration yet. More later. It produces an off-white head that stands three and a half fingers tall. It receded slowly, but wasn't quite annoying. Sheets of thick lace clung to the glass.

The nose is excellent, especially for the style. It features an intense hoppy aroma that's missing in this style more often than not. The hops are very citrusy in character and feature the usual gambit of aromatic suspects (grapefruit, pineapple, and orange). Toasted and caramel malts are noted, but they're overshadowed by the hops, at least that's the case here. It smells sweet and a little yeasty toward the end. Very well done here. I hope the flavor meets expectations.

Unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up, but it's very good nonetheless. Calico features a very vibrant hop flavor. It's buzzy, bitter, dry, and features a citrus blast of flavors. Orange is the strongest, but grapefruit and pineapple aren't far behind. Toasted and caramel malts provide some balance and depth, but it's still skewed toward the hop end of the spectrum a little. It finishes dry and a little bitter. So, where does it go wrong? It doesn't go wrong exactly, the hop flavor just isn't quite as intense here as it is on the nose. It'd be a little better if it were.

It features a nice, smooth medium body. Carbonation is just a tad buzzy and knocks it down a peg. After the pour, I was apprehensive of an bad overcarbonation problem. Fortunately, it's just a little overcarbonated. Drinkability is very high. Calico has a really nice flavor and goes down very easy and smooth. At 5% abv, it's perfect for kicking back with a few.

I'm sticking to my story with Ballast Point. These guys know how to brew some seriously citrusy beer. Calico's a really nice Amber Ale that I like quite a bit. I'd prefer just a little more hop bitterness, but when isn't that true? All in all, this is a really nice take on the style that's way too drinkable. I wish we saw this here in Ohio. Good stuff.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good hopped up American amber is one of my favorite styles,this fit the bill very well.Poured into a standard pint glass a clear...well copper amber with a fluffy 1 1/2 finger crown atop.A mix of deep caramel/biscuit malt and citric,piney hop,neither wins out leaving great balance.Big malty start with caramel and biscuit stickin out,the piney and citric hop presence comes through in a nice finish.I would give the nod to the malt by a narrow margin but there is more than enough hop profile going on.

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Photo of mojohawk21
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of RoyalT
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Beautiful copper color with a terrific head that went down slowly and left some big foam on the inside of my Ruination glass.

Smell – Wonderfully balanced nose here. The pine hops are sharp but subdued, mixing well with the lightly-toasted caramel malt. Floral hoppy undertones play thoughout, making this one nice.

Taste – The malt comes out more in the taste. There’s also an added sweetness to this one. My best guess is orange or grapefruit, or maybe a mix. The hops are there as well, but reserved.

Mouthfeel – This is the ale’s strong point, IMO. This medium-bodied ale was smooth as silk. I thought I was drinking from a tap.

Drinkability – This would make a great session ale, something you can share with your Coors Light buddies to bring them over from the dark side.

Comments – Many thanks to mickeymac for sending me this Ballast Point offering. It was fabulous.

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Photo of woodchipper
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue III:

California-style Amber Ale here. Inspired by the English Pale/Amber Ales, aren't they all in a way? Big, dense and rocky off-white lace reaches up high and leaves a draping of stickage on the glass. Bright and clear tawny color. Sight orange rind and some biscuity malt in the nose. Slick medium body with sufficient crispness and smoothness. Nice mingling of hops and malt both come out and end intertwined with little complexities. Hop bitterness is solid but not sharp with bitter orange peel and collard greens flavor. Maltiness leans toward dry, though there is a hint of caramel deep in the center, toasted biscuit is dominant. Semi-dry finish.

This one sits right at the benchmark for the style, easy to drink and very flavorful with the Californian flare. West Coast session ale all the way.

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Photo of Dmann
4.74/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an outstanding brew from one of San Diego's smaller breweries. It poured a very nice dark amber/brownish color and had a nice slightly off white head that was very dense and laced my glass nicely. I could smell this beer from across the room once I poured it into my glass. The great scent of sweet malt and a touch of earthiness was very nice. The taste was excelent as well. Aided nicely by a near perfect mouthfeel, the taste was quite malty but never cloying and had a great carmel flavor in the middle followed by a nice balanced hoppy finnish. Another quality brew from Ballast Point.

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Photo of SuomiHobbit
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very rich, delicious molasses finish.

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Photo of blitz134
4.01/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear caramel colored body. Plenty of dense light beige head that reduced to a lumpy mass. Lacing grabs the glass nicely.

Smell is okay, kinda simple. Sweet biscuit malts with a touch of caramel. Some floral hops come through. Taste is kind of the same but with a maltier backbone and without the sweetness. Hops come through again with some pine resin and herbalness. A good bit of hop flavor but without the bittnerness. Good flavor overall.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied or so, nothing overly heavy. Coats the mouthwell but the flavor doesn't seem to linger for too long. Superb drinkability with its balanced flavor and overall good taste. Mouthfeel isn't too heavy. Just a good beer.

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Photo of freshflesh
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of DaftPatrick
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of iemailjack
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Magister_Beav
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jason
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz brown bomber with a blurb about the beer on the side of the label, no freshness date.

Appearance: Clear deep reddish copper with a thick two fingered head that does not go away quickly at all.

Smell: Toasted biscuit, raw honey / vanilla and light peppery hops in the nose.

Taste: Medium in body with a full malt palate and moderate crisp carbonation. Hop oil flavour hits first with an even bitterness, malt sweetness is delicate with a big toasted malt flavour, caramel and a very light roasted character. Fruitiness is mild, slight citric note from the hops. Caramel flavour lingers into the after taste with a faint biscuity malt and a light handful of residual sweetness.

Notes: A blend of six American, Belgian, and English malts with the additions of Cascade and Progress hops lend to the complexity. Big malty American ale, well balanced and well structured. A brew I could get real fond of when looking for a malty session brew.

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Photo of merlin48
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle pours a clear dark amber, almost copper body with a large beige head that quickly becomes rocky and pitted. Lavish sticky lacing is all over the glass. Nice looker.

Aroma is citrusy grapefruit flesh with undertones of caramel, toffee, and some florals.

Mouthfeel has a nice creaminess but is decidedly thin. Moderate carbonation.

Taste has some assertive hopping that is mostly citrus. Some earthy hops, as well. Solid caramel malt backbone is toasty but takes a backseat to thhe hop bitternes.

A solid amber with aggressive west coast hops.

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Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer w/o freshness info. Pours clear, blood orange darker amber. Fairly long lived puffy medium tan head, leaving respectable, slippery and scattered lacing upon a gentle swirl. Toasty/caramel malt nose, opens things up on this worthy BP selection. Malt carries the load here, plenty of toast, and more caramel. Moderate smooth hoppyness late. Fine sesssioner. More quality brew from the S.D. nation

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Photo of ElSid
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The Beers of California


Bottled Date: None

A: Deep amber with burgundy hues and a light tan head with a sheet like lace on the glass.

S: Syrupy caramel sweetness and biscuity malt. There is a fresh pine scent which pairs with the malt in a balanced way.

T: Caramel and sugar thick up front transitioning to a mostly earthy, leafy, and pine bitterness with a tinge of citrus zest.

M: There is both crispness and smoothness which adds to the medium body. The carbonation is moderate and there is a nice linger on the palate.

O: The balance and smoothness makes for an extremely drinkable and sessionable brew. Although enjoyable the beer fails to stand out. A beer that I will enjoy when around but not one that I will actively seek out.

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Photo of henryclay_
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of mctizzz
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of aquazr1
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of KolbMarley
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Common Table in Dallas. The beer pours an amber color with a white head. The aroma is very nice. I get a lot of floral and citrus notes, as well as quite a bit of bread and toffee from the malt. The flavor is much more of the same. I get some orange notes from the hops, as well as some grass, floral and perfume notes. There is also quite a bit of biscuit malt and a little bit of toffee. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of talbotjf99
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of olradetbalder
3.25/5  rDev -14%

Photo of Meyers1023
4/5  rDev +5.8%

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California Amber from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 1,475 ratings