California Amber | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
460 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

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Reviews: 460 | Ratings: 1,421
Photo of Sammy
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At Mondiale 2008. Neutral malt aroma. Amber with little foam head. Creamy mouthfeel, bitterness is in the aftertaste, it hides in the malt. Above average carbonation. Lacey. The malt profile has an interesting complexity, there is some dark malt.
I the end, it is basically a malt job, and just another American amber.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On nitro tap at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours a clear dark copper with a foamy tan head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the entire glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, and herbal hops. Taste is much the same with a floral flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the mouthfeel is not all that great.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a style of beer that all too often does very little to nothing for me, but this one is something different and something special, leave it to ballast point for that. the color is great, largely clear with an almost ruby red amber color and a khaki head, thick and frothy and slowly fading, but it leaves spiderweb lacing as it drinks. the nose is hoppy and dry, the exact opposite of what we usually get in these beers. the hops have a subtle perfume character, bright and floral, a little tangy, citrus peel, clean though, only bitter enough to balance these richer grains out a little bit. is love to know which hops they used here, its so different, and for once the red malt base enhances hops for me, rather than crowds them out with sweetness. its super dry too, and at a low abv this is something i could drink endlessly. wishing my single would morph into a sixer pretty hard right now. one of the driest reds i can recall, and one of the most beautifully hopped. this is top tier for the style, no doubt. its exactly what my palate likes!

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Photo of Knapp85
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured out with a really nice rich looking copper amber color. The head is solid and has a good retention, not much lacing but still has a good appearance. The smell of the beer is hoppy and had a decent sweetness. The taste of the beer is nicely hopped and quite bitter. The sweet caramel flavors comes through in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated. Overall this brew was pretty good.

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Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark amber in color and poured with a thin tan head that quickly dissipated into lacy patterns of bubbles. A light amount of carbonation is visible.
S: Aromas of piney hops stand out in the nose, which also has some notes of caramel malts. The smell becomes sweeter as the beer warms up.
T: There's a good mix of caramel flavors from the malts and bitterness from the hops; the bitterness takes over through the finish. The overall taste becomes sweeter as the beer warms up and the bitterness becomes less noticeable.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate. There isn't much carbonation.
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink and its low alcohol content can make it sessionable. The drinkability improves as the beer warms up.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had 2 beers from this brewery before and enjoyed them immensely.. this one is also very good. I'm a sucker for a nice red ale and this one is different, but refreshing. Pours a reddish/brown color, tons of lacing and a nice head=glorious. Taste is more malty than expected, very malty actually. The bitterness of the hops kick in at the end but its not as hoppy as most other red ales out there. Don't get me wrong, I lvoe me some hops but this beer mixes it up and good and makes for a nice well balanced brew. Greta mouthfeel and body make this an easy drinker. Too bad I have only found it in Massachusetts (boo Connecticut)

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Photo of brentk56
3.61/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with frothy beige head that retains to an inch and leaves stringlets of lace

Smell: Very limited aroma, with hints of earthy hops and some malt

Taste: Balanced bitter and malt flavors at the outset, with pith and biscuity flavors intermingling; turns a bit more bitter by mid-palate and after the swallow, but while the beer is balanced through the finish, it leaves a metallic flavor in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Mighty bitter for an amber but in the final analysis it is still an amber

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Photo of emerge077
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served on nitro at Howells and Hood in a rounded pilsner glass.

It took awhile for the foam to settle, but once it did, the body was a bright copper with a compact head of velvety opaque foam. It left sheets of lace in the glass, and completely covered it. Slow rising carb trails visible.

Aroma was fairly muted, didn't get much due to the nitro other than vague traces of malt and maybe yeast.

Taste was a different story as it had a nice little bit of orange rind bitterness to it, and a very smooth malty body. Creamy feel from the nitro, somewhat substantial. Overall it was pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.56/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Served on-draught into a nonical pint glass at the Yardhouse in L.A. Live, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were average. Was overpriced at that location.

A: Pours a two finger head of great cream, nice thickness, and good retention. Colour is a semitransparent copper-amber.

Sm: Amber hops. Light toasted malt. Some light caramel. Maybe nuts. Some cream. A mild strength aroma.

T: Some floral notes. A weak cherry ester. Wretched caramelized dry malts. Poorly balanced and built. Not good. Tame and underplayed. Simple for what it is. Not subtle.

Mf: Smooth and dry. Too thin. Adequate carbonation. Doesn't quite complement the flavours adequately.

Dr: I wouldn't get it again. Poorly executed. Fairly pleasant. Not at all refreshing. A bit pricey on-draught, but the bottled version is likely more affordable.


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Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an amber/burgandy color with a tan, small head that left nice rings of lace.

S - It smelled of hops, very citrusy and floral. Also, some malt in the nose.

T - It tasted very hoppy and grassy. A nice roasted malt taste, too.

M - It was crisp and sharp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - I am really impressed with this amber ale. One of the hoppiest I've ever had.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark copper with a good white head. The nose is a bit simple, with a dominant caramel breadiness to it. The flavor is nicer, with the caramel malt coming through as well as a nice, slight hoppiness. Medium body and good drinkability all around. By the end, I was really enjoying this.

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Photo of nickfl
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of off-white foam on top of a hazy, amber body. The head fades away fairly quickly and leaves average lace.

S - Sweet, malty notes of dark bread and red apples with caramel and a hint of pine hop character in the background.

T - Fruity malt up front with red apple and a touch of cinnamon. Some caramel and toasty malt come out in the middle and fades to a dry, toasty and even lightly roasted finish.

M - Medium body, moderately high carbonation, and a fairly dry finish.

D - Not bad, I was hoping for a more hop forward beer, and while this beer is balanced it is very much about the sweet, malty side rather than the hops. Drinkable, but not something I'm real excited about.

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Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
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 superspak
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 1/18/2013. Pours lightly hazy reddish copper color with a nice 2 finger dense off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of grapefruit, caramel, toast, biscuit, toffee, floral, orange zest, grass, and herbal. Very nice and pleasant aromas with good strength and balance. Taste of caramel, grapefruit, toast, biscuit, orange zest, floral, toffee, light nuttiness, and light herbal spiciness. Light herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, caramel, toast, biscuit, toffee, orange zest, floral, and light herbal spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance of hop/malt flavors that feel fairly robust; zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with almost zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice amber ale. Very nice malt and hop flavor balance with good complexity; very smooth and easy to drink. A very enjoyable offering, no complaints at all.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, very dark amber / copper colored body capped by a short, creamy, ivory head that holds well and leaves some nice lace. A pronounced aroma of caramel and biscuit malt greets the nose, followed shortly by some soft piney hops. Quite welcoming! Upon tasting, an exceptionally nice creaminess fills the mouth due to the combination of a medium body and moderate carbonation that's made up of very fine bubbles. The flavor displays an excellent balance between full, sweet, toasty/biscuity caramel malt upfront, grassy/spicy/lightly citrusy hops towards the swallow, and a bitterness that doesn't interefere with the maltiness but dries out the finish. A pleasure that offers a great deal of malt character, some complexity, and a very good drinkability. This is the first beer that I've tried from Ballast Point but it will certainly not be the last! Well worth trying and the ship directly to quite a few states!

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

12oz bottle.

Dark amber brown with a towering beige head.

Aroma: fairly equal mix of hops and malts.

Flavor follows although the balance is a bit maltier.sweet light and medium roast malts with a touch of darker (chocolate?) malts.

O remarkable flavor for style. Recommended.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

A: The beer is a light coppery brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, citrus and a good amount of floral hops.

T: The taste is well-balanced with sweet flavors of caramel and citrus and a strong but not overpowering hops bitterness. The malt character is hearty. The after-taste is slightly sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, this a nice choice to pound down when you want a beer with some substance and a decent hop presence that won't try to knock you over.

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Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Mitch's Seafood in San Diego where they seem to never run out of this stuff. Dark amber, near brown in the pint glass. Quite decent foam that lasts well down the glass. Plenty of malt in the mouthfeel followed by some scratch hoppiness. Aromatic hops provide some resiny and earthy notes.

A fairly substantial sweetness makes up the malty backbone, with an aroma of lemon and caramel. The bitterness makes its way forward for the long finish. Quite an acceptable quaff of a more robust sort of Amber Ale. While nothing special, this defines the style. This should appeal to those liking a hoppier Amber, but it's definitely in the maltier vein with a murky aftertaste.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Misconduct Tavern, Philly, PA

Poured into a nondescript pint glass, a clear tangerine-amber color with a thin, wispy head. Pretty basic aroma, with a decent balance of citrus hops and sweet caramel malts, almost reminiscent of an APA. Basically the same in the taste, with a nice balance of the malt and hop elements. Very nice for an amber ale. Meduim mouthfeel, and very easily drinkable.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a lightly hazy dark amber in color with some very light amounts of visible carbonation when held up to the light. The beer has a finger tall dark beige head that reduces to some thick patches and an even thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed.

S: The beer has some sweetness to the aroma from the caramel malts with some light hints of dark fruit that becomes more pronounced as the beer warms. In addition to the malt sweetness, there is a light aroma of pine hops as well.

T: The flavor starts out with the caramel malt sweetness that is enhanced as the beer warms up. Also, there is a pleasant pine hop bitterness in the finish that lingers.

M: On the heavier side of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: This beer is very easy to drink and very sessionable. The beer has pleasant flavor that improves as the beer warms and the low ABV makes it one you could have several during a session. I like this beer though it is not as great as some of the others from this brewery.

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Photo of dcmchew
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clear amber/copper, small light beige head for a while.
Smell of buttered toast, honey, light caramel, some light generic dark fruit (dried cherry stands out a bit), toffee. Not a strong smell anyway.
Malts from the start with caramel and toast, but also a nice citrus zing that develops into bitter grapefruit pretty early on. Light butter note, light dark fruit, grainy biscuit. Finish has an English hoppy character, dry leafy, a bit earthy, but quite bitter.
The hoppy finish prolongs into the aftertaste, keeping some crisp citrus peel too. Just a bit of malt sweetness here. Medium body and carbonation, the light sticky buttery note doesn't really disturb that much.
Pretty cool, wouldn't mind to find it easier, but that's out of the question unfortunately.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finely dusty, rusty orange with bright orange edges. There's almost no visible carbonation. Thankfully, the head doesn't appear to need it at the moment. The tangerine-tinted ecru cap is a fat three fingers in height and looks like whipped butter. It's sticky enough to cling in ragged sheets, making the glass look even better on subsequent pours.

The nose is closer to an APA than to an amber ale due to its reliance on hops rather than on balance. I like it just the way it is. Cascade and Centennial are in use, providing the usual citrus zestiness. As well, a little caramel malt peeks out from behind the hops.

Calico Copper is much more balanced on the palate and is more in accordance with the style as a result. Actually, it tastes like an ESB that uses American hops. There's a toasted caramel maltiness that very nearly meets the hops on equal terms. Although orange and grapefruit rind isn't as prominent as it was in the nose, it still rules the roost.

The beer is gently sweet at all points along the flavor arc, becoming increasingly bitter on the finish. The see-saw stays in relative balance throughout, neither side rocketing skyward at any point. The vibrant, yet still well-mannered flavor profile makes this an easy beer to drink, as does the mouthfeel. Barely medium in heft, it has no rough edges and goes down frightfully easily. An understated amount of carbonation helps to ease the way.

Ballast Point Calico Amber Ale is one of the better amber ales to have crossed my palate in quite a while. It stresses the hoppy side of its personality without losing sight of its roots. This is a tremendously drinkable beer about which I have only good things to say.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep red/copper color with a fluffy, off white, two finger head. Thick foamy lacing down the sides.

S: Upfront there is a lot of biscuity malts and some caramel and a slight roasted aroma. There is also a floral hop aroma as well.

T: Nice floral hop flavor upfront the slightly roasted malts come through followed by a sweetness on the finish.

M/D: On the lighter side of medium. Had a little less carbonation than I was expecting. Overall very pleasant and easy drinking, would definitely get some...if only it was sold where I live.

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Photo of russpowell
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up in AZ

Pours an orangey/amber with 3 fingers of sand colored head. Excellent head retention & above average lacing

S: Caramel & bready malt as this warms

T: Caramel & orangey & leafy hops up front. A touch of piney hops , slighter honey malt & caramel as this warms. Finishes with citric hops & bit of dryness

MF: Medium bodied, with low carbonation with great balance & some wetness

Drinks pretty easy, straight forward enough not to overpower. A very good amber

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

Grabbed this one as part of a mixed sixer at total wine the other day. I had not had some of the regulars from Ballast Point so it seemed like a good choice. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 01/06/2009.

The pour was good enough for me. Nice amber in color with a good clarity to it. Rich white head of maybe two inches then rose up from the bottom and stayed on top for a good long while dropping lots of side glass lace along the way/

The aroma was a touch light. Bready malts and grains with a touch of light piney hops. Smooth, mellow flavor here. Definetley malt driven as the biscuit flavors came through quite nicely. Mellow carbonation kept it from coming across too light and a nice added little bite of hops in the finish was the icing on the cake for a very sessionable and quite enjoyable little amber ale.

Overall very solid here with a mellow profile and an easy session drinker. I would have no issue with having this one again, nice to see it relatively cheap on shelves.

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California Amber from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.83 out of 5 based on 1,421 ratings.
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