California Amber | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
461 Reviews
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

Added by xlperro on 04-10-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 461 | Ratings: 1,424
Photo of Thirstygoat
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A local shop had multiple bottles of Celebrator in their $9,99 pick a six bin. After a couple of those and some Odells this seemed the most interesting.
I could session this during a summer night if I wanted something with some sweetness but not too heavy.
Soft white head that lingers as does the lacing over an orange red translucence.
Bit of malt and hit of hops but not that aromatic
Hops and sweetness on the front of the mouth and crisp almost cleaning on the back
More texture here than I'd expected
Altogether a pleasant surprise, then again most BP beers without odd flavors tend to be tasty.

 607 characters

Photo of josanguapo
4.81/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From Beergium. In Teku glass. After dinner. Full of delicious toffee toasted notes. It demonstrates that this isnt a style I dislike but a style with lots of bad examples around

 177 characters

Photo of kitch
3.54/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

A 12 fl oz bottle with a Julian bottled on date of 16321, meaning that it was bottled on 16th November 2016. Poured into a Lost Abbey teku glass.

Appearance: A clear dark copper colour with an orange-reddish hue and a slightly less than two finger cream head that had great retention and left some nice lacing.

Aroma: A touch light but there’s caramel malt and pine with hints of fruit and herbs.

Taste: It’s exactly what I expected from the aroma with sweet caramel malt, toffee, pine and fruit with a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall: A decent amber ale that I’d drink again, but not sure I’d want to pay for it.

 678 characters

Photo of Darhawk
3.21/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I bought and paid ( $2.26 for a 12oz bottle ( in Utah ( 3 actually ).
It had a reddish copper color with 1.5 inches of head poured into pint glass.
Head lasted until I drank the last drop.
Medium bodied, light pine, woody, caramel and some bitterness on the finish. No biscuit flavor at all.
Mine had high carbonation; lot of bubbles. Mouth feel was sort of tingly.

For me, It was more like a Ale/lighter IPA but with more character and a hint of amber thrown in. Just wasn't a classic Amber that I normally enjoy.

I really wanted to like this Amber, as I had been reading about the Ballast Brewery recently and really wanted to add it to my go to list. I would not repeat a purchase again. I will give Ballast Brewery another chance, as I have already had their Stout and I have an IPA, I still need to try out.

 817 characters

Photo of shiu-chan
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reddish Copper tone with almost no head.
Caramel and piney nose.
Medium bodied, pine, resin, caramel and bitterness at the end. Mid carbonation.
Overall, a mix between an IPA and an Amber ale giving a little more complexity.

 224 characters

Photo of GreatHammerhead
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Presentation: 12 oz. poured into a pint glass.

Look: Nice coppery red coloration with a khaki two finger head. Good head retention.

Smell: Piney hops overshadow a bed of malts.

Taste: Follows the nose. Surprising amount of hops for an amber.

Feel: Medium body, moderate carbonation and a little dry.

Overall: A good beer but to me it seems more like a session IPA then an amber ale.

 388 characters

Photo of KatyBeerGuy
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from tap at world of beer in Columbus ohio. Not much Head, reddish color. Smelled hoppy. Initial taste not what I expected but still good. Definitely cherry and bitter. Good.

 186 characters

Photo of jmd1978
3.52/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Nice red Amber color with little tan head. Nose malty with hints of pine and resin. Taste caramel, cinnamon and spiced fruits. Warming finish that is clean. Not what I really expected from this beer. Not a bad thing. As usual all of ballast point's are fantastic but this one is not their best. Would buy again.

 311 characters

Photo of lastmango
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a medium reddish amber with two finger tan head that dissipated but remained as a film. Little lacing. Aroma is light malt with pronounced hop pine notes. Caramel malt forward with pronounced hop bitterness on end. Feel was a bit heavier than expected. Medium carbonation. A ok beer but not something I would buy again.

 332 characters

Photo of puck1225
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Beautiful tan head atop a deep red brown beer, with good lacing. A pleasant smell, fruity and bready. The taste is of orange and cinnamon, with lemon and and a nice finish. I will buy again.

 227 characters

Photo of Libeertarian
3.69/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From notes taken 06/20/16:

Slightly tarnished copper color, fairly clear. though with fine flakes in suspension. Fizzy to foamy sandy tan head of good retention. Caramel, alcohol, spice, resin, pine aromas, all subdued. Very spicy, resinous, piny and herbal throughout, caramel and toasted grain in the back. Tea-like finish. Quite good, different from what I expected. Medium-bodied and astringent. Fizzes up fast, softens to cream.

 434 characters

Photo of Spikester
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear deep red with two fat fingers of cream color ten minute head. Lots of fine bubble lace.
Smell is caramel and some hop oil pine notes.
Taste is sweet caramel white bread and some hop oil pine.
Mouthfeel is medium with plenty of carbonation. Finish is lightly dry and bitter.
Overall a hop forward beer for this style. Tasty though.

 337 characters

Photo of BethanyB
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: A deep copper with a beautiful orange-red hue. There's much haziness here, but it can almost be overlooked due to the lovely coloring; it comes off as mysterious rather than sedimentary. The off-white head is quick to melt into a few low-lying bubbly puddles.

Smell: The aroma is light and malt forward, with some earthy and resinous hops breaking through. Nothing too tantalizing, but nice, nonetheless.

Taste: A solid amber ale when it comes to flavor. The diverse grainy malt bill is perfectly toasted, complementing the medium hop bitterness. Hop flavoring is a little less prominent, but still a crucial component. Earthy, with oily herbal extracts. A bit of black pepper and a hint of rye create a nice kick.

Mouthfeel:,The smooth, medium-light body and medium-high carbonation render an ideal mouthfeel for the overall style, as well as this particular recipe. Crisp, clean, refreshing...nothing left to be desired.

Overall: Well-balanced and easy to drink. Simple, but rightfully appealing to the masses. I have greater appreciation for something more diverse, but this brew still deserves much respect.

 1,124 characters

Photo of beergoot
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, copper hued body; thick, sticky, creamy head. Scents of roasted grains and charred sugars; suggestions of rye and other spices. The flavor follows the aroma with additional hop bitterness adding to the mix. Crisp with a mild bite; sweet but with a finishing dry character.

Malt-forward ale with a fine addition of spicy and hop bitterness edge. A nice alternative for when your tastebuds are burned out on IPA hop overload. A great little ale.

 450 characters

Photo of Skrumpy
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured 12 oz bottle into standard pint glass. Deep, copper color with moderate, bubbly head. Receded rather fast. The aroma is earth & herbal, pine, and toasted malt. The flavor is similar, more on the side of spice and herb than the sweet malt. This is an ESB inspired amber, so that makes sense. Bitter aftertaste and a rather watery mouthfeel on the finish. Not a bad beer, but not something I'd drink on a regular basis.

 431 characters

Photo of oldn00b
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber, decent tan head retention. Loose light carbonation.

Nose is a bit muted, definitely malt heavy with a few spice notes coming through.

Flavor is a bit surprising for an amber - maltier, spicier, and sweeter than expected.

Definitely a bit more dense and viscous than expected. It's fine but not something I'd seek out again.

 340 characters

Photo of constantine_272
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Lots a dark copper brown with a dark tan head. Low head and head retention.

Smells of cedar, red clay and a light pine.

The taste retains all the same character as the nose, but a syrupy been english malt takes over the midsection while a tingly finish with carbon and graphite lingers long with a fresh dried pine wood.

This beer is drinkable with dryness on the medium light side. The tangy finish mixed with the sweetness of the malt is s nice balance.

At first I was taken back because this beer was darker and with more malt than I expected for an amber. In all honesty, thus beer felt more like and English brown ale to me. After getting past the unexpected flavor profile, I grew to like this beer. It's nice and mellow and drinkable just like the way I prefer my amber ales: a good mix of earthy notes and malts and just enough hops to round out and balance the whole package.

 888 characters

Photo of SABERG
3.52/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on draft at the Lady Killigrew, poured into a shaker pint glass.
A - Nice copper color, wonderful clarity, set the backdrop for refined carbonation to trane skyward. A thin cap
quickly dissipates.
S - A touch of roast meets with malts, and a bit of pine.
T - Right down the middle with this one, start to finish, refined flavors of piney hops, mated with a semi sweet malt base. Exceedingly well balanced.
M - Thin on the palate, with enough carbonation to keeo this bordering on lite.
O - A wonderful amber ale, that balances the hops to malt just right.

 571 characters

Photo of edward_boumil
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice orange/red colored beer, pretty clear and with some head retention. Little lace as well
The aroma and taste is very toasty, with cereal grain flavors present. Quite dry.
Not quite as sweet, fruity, and drinkable/refreshing as I typically expect in red ales, but certainly not bad either. Malt profile is nice and robust.

 336 characters

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.64/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

Look: Clear copper body, cream colored head. Light head retention, little or no lacing.

Aroma: Very faint malt bills, mostly spicy hops and cedar.

Taste: Much like the aroma with hardly any malt presence and a very bitter black tea leaf finish and a bitter, woody aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slightly dry.

Overall: Approachable and drinkable, just too hoppy and woody for my own preference.

 438 characters

Photo of jp32
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber/copper color. Not much head retention. Aroma has a nice balance of malts and bitter hops. Some caramel and toffee present also.

It's flavor starts with some of those bitter hops with a fruity/citrus background, and ends with a malty, carmelly, buscuity note.

It's a medium bodied beer. Good tasting beer if you are big into amber ales.

 360 characters

Photo of Gobearswalter34
3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, dark orange, but looks red without light. Has a thick, off-white head that dissipates quickly. Light carbonation.
A very sweet caramel malt smell.
Taste of the sweet caramel malt up front, then blends very well to finish with some hop.
The hop ads to the malt experience of most amber ales.
I love a good, non hoppy amber ale, but this is a good one.

 370 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle.Sampled on February 26, 2016.

The pour is copper amber in color with a big, lingering tan head.

A rich caramel malt character in the aroma. Clean, mellow hops.

Medium to bigger body.

Caramel sweetness in the taste too with a mild bitter finish. A balanced ESB that feels rather traditional.

 322 characters

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

light amber clouded by tiny bubbles and topped by whitish tan head.
smells of citrus-soaked caramel. immediately upon sipping, presents a
much crisper and cleaner mouthfeel than expected. the mid-palate goes quickly, rushed along by the bubbles, and the finish is mostly green hops with a lingering but mild bitterness. not too sour or rindy.

 345 characters

Photo of BeerWithMike
3.02/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled this evening on 2/18/16. Comes in a 12-ounce bottle. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a "FISH TALE WILD SALMON PALE ALE" pint glass.

Brew pours a reddish-amber in color with close to a 1-finger foamy off-white head. Some decent lacing is seen when sipped. Aroma is of caramel, sweet malts with some floral hops with a hint of pine. Taste is close to the nose actually. More like a ESB (Extra Special (or Strong) Bitters) actually in my opinion. Slightly hoppy dry finish but wasn't that bad.. Medium-bodied with decent carbonation. Overall, it was OK but nothing real special for a 'Red Ale'.

 639 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
California Amber from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.83 out of 5 based on 1,424 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.