California Amber | Ballast Point Brewing Company

very good
459 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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 459 | Ratings: 1,418
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Amber colored amber ale, leaning brown, gleaming clarity for what it is, amazing head going beyond a full inch on the top. Aroma was muted red malts.

Taste was decent, a little bit of hops, but still the malt leans heaviest profile wise. Substantial bitterness for style. A sturdy amber ale. Definitely not a thin one.

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Photo of bnes09
4.19/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brilliant red color. Excellent head and lacing. Hoppy, crisp and refreshing with subtle toasty tones. Well balanced with lively carbonation. Great stuff.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
2.66/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

L - Murky ruby red with a finger of off-white head

S -Straight up red ale with a massive malt presence and maybe even some raisin and fig. A weird tin can and green bean aroma makes me wince.

T - Plenty of sweet malts with some caramel, but I get a lot of cherry Robitussin on this which doesn't blow wind up my dress. No hops to speak of and there's almost a raw pizza dough/flower/powdery taste on the finish. I hate to even say it, but there is actually a copper-like taste akin to sucking on a penny.

F - Some cloying malts and muted hops linger. No alcohol presence. As I continue to sip, this is causing unbelievable cotton-mouth. It's basically the Sahara in my mouth.

O - Some unusual flavors, but at least sweet malts were here. No hops at all and an odd copper taste. I just don't know what they were going for here.

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Photo of HopHunter19
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - nice clear red beer with a nice off white head that sticks and leaves nice lacing
S - big flowery hops, caramel.malts
T - smell
M - light, alc covered, aftertaste light flowery hops
O - good red ale, not great but good

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Photo of sentimetal
4.24/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up some Lagunitas Censored and Ballast Point Calico recently, so tonight will be all about red/ambbers. Poured into a stemmed glass - a Founders Sweet Repute glass, to be exact.

Look - A deep ruby/copper color with an eggshell colored head. Very inviting.

Smell - A fresh grassy scent with a nice toast-like scent following.

Taste - Initial taste is a slight, pleasantly bitter taste with a grassy caramel (weird combination, I know) following.) I will say that all the tastes are quite subdued. The ABV and the smoothness of this beer makes me want to have more than a few due how smooth the flavor is. This is a very session-able red ale.

Feel - Chewy like an Anchor beer with mild carbonation

Overall - This beer reminds me of a steam beer. It has a slight metallic essence with a bread-y mouth feel to it. I like it! However, if I'm looking for an exemplary red ale I'd turn to a beer like Red Rocket ale

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

A - pours a chestnut brown with red tints, with layers of off white almost gray head that has nice webbing and stick after each sip.

S - Caramel malts, some hops, piney, earthy aroma.

T - Piney hops balanced by caramel malts, some grains present, resinous on the back end. Good level of carbonation present to keep the low to medium bodied brew alive.

O - Usually the hop / bitterness level of ambers are subdued and take a back seat to malts, but not in this one. I love the aggressive (for the style) use of hops in this beer. Overall, very well balanced and nicely crafted brew. I will definitely come back to this.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice head formation with a 2-finger head. The head retention is decent. As the head recedes, you are left with nice lacing. Foam splotches spring up sporadically. This brew is very clear with a reddish-copper color.

Slightly fruity and tart scents. Malt (caramel) and slight nuttiness. Slight cirtusy hop aroma as well.

Instant hop bittering before the sweet, malty, buttery flavor takes over. On the tail end, you get citrus and pine flavors. This brew dries out significantly at the end. There is a nice roasted malt and charred wood flavor after all else disappears.

Medium mouthfeel. It remains bubbly and is quite interesting on the tongue.

Really good beer. Closer to some IPAs that I have had though. It may be too high on the IBUs for an Amber ale and too strong of a hop flavor for the style, but I enjoyed this one.

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Photo of NickTheGreat
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L (4.5) - Beautiful, crystal clear dark amber/orange colored beer. Light white foam that dissipates quickly.
S (3.75) - I didn't get much aroma at all. No hop, and just a very little bit of malt/caramel
T (4.25) - A little bitter at the front, but that gives way to a very malty flavored beer. Not especially caramel, but certainly not coffee or chocolate.
F (4.25) - Medium bodied beer, with a bit of carb bite. Easy enough to drink.
O (4) - Wasn't sure what to expect, but I liked this one. I really like ambers in general, so this one did not disappoint. I'd buy and drink again.

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Photo of delta490
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep clear copper with a light tan head. The head has moderate retention and leaves some tight, soapy lacing. It still manages to cling to the glass, though. The aroma is decent, mostly nondescript malts, a little toward the sweet side. The taste recovers and offers some nice caramel and dark fruit plus some bready qualities with just enough hops to balance. This beer emphasizes the malt over the hops. The body is lighter and smooth with just a hint of carbonation.

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Photo of stevoj
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Perfect blend of sweet malt and gentle hops. Nice copper color with small beige head, malty, biscuit aroma, taste comes on with a hint of bitter hops. Bitterness lingers on the palate, along with some nutty and sweet flavors.

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Photo of JackieKu
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle.

A: Cropper. Clear. Moderate foam.
S: Toasted biscuits. Somewhat earthy. Slightly nutty.
T: Toasted bread. Caramel. Medium bitterness. Dry.
M: Medium to full bodied. Creamy.
O: An interesting and malts oriented amber. Not as hoppy as I'd like, perhaps because of its freshness.

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

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium red-orange with a half finger, off-white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of balanced caramel and biscuit malt, light grassy and citrus hops, lightly spicy. Flavor is biscuit malt with light caramel tones, lightly earthy and nutty, dry grassy hops; a very British profile, close to an ESB. Medium bodied with good carbonation. Delivers what it promises: a very nice take on an English ESB. Spot on hopping and a very nice biscuit malt body that is as good or more enjoyable than traditional ESBs I've had. Satisfying and full flavored.

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.19/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: crystal clear; amber colored; 1 finger medium khaki head that receded slowly to a thin cap; OK lacing;

S: earthy, caramel;

T: raisins, caramel, earthy; slightly sweet; very mild bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish;

O: more complex than most ambers;

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Photo of slusk
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Pours a clear copper with a I finger off white head. Decent head retention.

S: Bready malt with a balanced floral hop aroma. tiny bit of citrus peel.

T: Malty, a bit nutty. The roasted grains come through well in the malt flavor. The hop flavor is just right with a nice grapefruit, melon and orange peel.

F: Medium light body with a little slickness to the mouthfeel. Finishes semi-dry.

O: Not bad at all. A nicely balanced brew for me with a nice roasted malt character that compliments the overall flavor and balances well with the floral hops. I'd definitely buy more.

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Photo of LennyOvies
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L- Deep, slightly dark amber body. Creamy beige head.
S- Malts and caramel, a very slight hoppy hint. Also could feel a smoked smell.
T- Toasted malts and caramel, ends with hops and strong bitterness.
F- Full, creamy, solid.
O- Expected more from an Amber/ESB mix, but it just didn't fulfill expectations. Still a good beer.

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Photo of JJOVa
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Hoppier than a true ESB, but mellower than a lot of other ambers (which are too often practically IPAs in disguise), this sort of falls in between styles. There's nothing that stands out and makes you take notice, but that's a good thing in my book--it's a very pleasant, easy-to-drink option among Ballast Point's other outstanding beers.

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Photo of Troy-Hawaii
3.49/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bought it again as part of a $10.99 make you own 6-pack from Foodland
Labeled as California Amber, previously called Calico Amber so I thought it was a different beer
Upgraded my taste rating from 3.25 to 3.5
Amber color
Caramel hops taste, still a little thin on taste than expected
Medium mouthfeel
Medium carbonation
Overall I now rate it as ok. Don't know why the name change, but it fooled me. Would drink more if price was closer to $7.99 a 6-pack. Otherwise not worth the premium price.

Was expecting more from this beer. Nice dark amber color. Taste a little more watery than I was expecting. Nothing exciting about it. Probably would not buy again.

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Photo of hophugger
3.34/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful amber-gold in color with decent head and light, spotty lacing. ESB inspired ale it says and it was just that. The bitterness was good, not too much and the hops and malt blended well together. Another good beer from Ballast Point !

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Photo of benheredunthat
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Not something I would put on the top shelf with my favorite ambers. This is a typical San Diego hopped-up brew designed to try and either brink us dark drinkers over to the IPA "dark side" or make IPA drinkers feel better about going with "a brown-skinned beer".

I am an avid amber, stout and porter drinker and this one is clean and crisp without any off notes. That's about where the glory ends for me. It's too hoppy for an AA and too thin to keep up with the big boys. Without a doubt if I have to choose a beer at BP, it's going to be Victory at Sea or Yellow Tail (get over it, that's the real name and everybody knows it).

Final score: bait bucket.

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Photo of moundbz
4.19/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

More brown than red color with nice glass staining head. The smell is great, slightly smokey, taste is smooth with some nice light hop undertones, the aftertaste is a little hoppy lasting. over all solid beer

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Photo of TH28
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. No code date. Appearance: Deep amber red and clear, with a khaki head. Aroma: caramel, toasty malt hits the nose, with some floral and herbal hop notes. Taste: Caramel and toffee maltiness dominate, with a crisp, balancing bitterness. Hints of floral hops, but maltiness dominates with some vinous qualities. Mouthfeel: Medium body with a sharp carbonation. Finish: Floral hop bitterness perfectly balances the rich caramel maltiness. Very dry. Overall: A really nice drinking English pale/American Amber hybrid.

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

A: Pours a deep copperish amber with one finger of creamy beige head. Head lingers for a bit before settling to a thin layer atop the brew. Lacing is prominent.

S: Toffee, caramel malts, slight citrus and dark fruit notes, also some floral hops.

T: Toasted malts, caramel, citrus, toffee, and a nice hop bitterness.

M: Light to medium bodied, moderately carbonated, wet and crisp finish. Drinks similar to an ESB.

O: A fantastic Amber. It's hard to find a better readily available amber/red ale. I highly recommend this to any fan of the style.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer has a very beautiful appearance because of the hue. The beer pour an off-white cream color head that takes a while to dissipate. The beer itself is a nice dark amber color that comes off as a slightly dark purple. It almost resembles a ripe plum.

The beer smell is nice and sweet. Strong toffee malt smell with a slight citrus hop note to it. Floral notes as well. The overall hop note is pretty good and mixes well with the malts.

The beer taste is also very good. Nice bitter hop taste offset by a toasted malt note that strongly resembles an ESB style ale. Also, slight mineral taste to it.

The mouthfeel is fantastic. Light carbonation on the tongue to lighten the beer a little bit. The beer seems to be more medium bodied than anything else but on the lighter side. Pretty refreshing feel but with a slightly dry finish.

Overall, I really like this beer and really love ESB styled beers, which is probably why I'm rating this one slightly higher than others. I think is beer is probably the closest I've had to an American ESB that actually resembled an ESB. Highly recommend.

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Photo of RyanK252
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours deep red-orange amber with a frothy tan head that settles to a nice layer and laces well.

S: Toffee and toasted malt, hints of dark fruit, floral, a little spice, and maybe a little light citrus.

T: Toasty malt, light citrus, lemon, floral, a bit spicy, hints of dark fruit, and some toffee sweetness.

M: On the lighter end of medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: Maybe nothing super special, but still a solid drinkable amber.

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Photo of Lard_City
4.43/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Color is nice dark Amber and the aroma is an OK mild maltiness but the flavor and feel a outstanding sweet malty toffee with hints of fruit and very mild carbonation. So far this is my favorite from Ballast Point.

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California Amber from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.83 out of 5 based on 1,418 ratings.
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