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California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
80
good
417 Reviews
California KölschCalifornia Kölsch
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States
ballastpoint.com

Style: Kölsch

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Yellowtail Pale Ale and Pale Ale The Original.

There's no wonder why our Pale Ale is so popular--it is skillfully crafted in the style of the Kolsch beers of Cologne, Germany. We've chosen German hops for aroma, and rounded out the recipe with a blend of American and German malts.

While it is very much like a pilsner, our Pale Ale is fermented at ale temperatures, giving it a subdued fruitiness--a perfect compliment to the crispness of the wheat and maltiness of the Munich malt. If you like a lighter brew but also like the complexity of craft beers, then our Pale Ale is for you.

23 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-26-2001

BEER STATS
Reviews:
417
Ratings:
1,316
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
24.58%
 
 
Wants:
48
Gots:
266
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 417 | Ratings: 1,316
Photo of bankboy66
3.16/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Looks and smells great with a decent head. The taste is ok but the feel is weird....there is a citrusy fizzy quality I'm not really liking. Once it goes down there is more citrus and grassy notes. If you want to try a proper kolsch try a Fruh.

 243 characters

Photo of dikebrewery
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark golden yellow. Nose is of fresh cut hay and light herbal tea. Taste of fresh malts, grass, herbal tea and a tiny bit of fresh lemon. Medium body crisp and clean finish. A refreshing beer.

 200 characters

Photo of mjurney
4.15/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance:
Dark gold color, slight haze. Medium carbonation. Small head.

Aroma:
Cut grass, grainy, slight herbal, crisp, clean.

Taste/Finish/Body:
Semi-sweet, grassy, grainy, hay, touch of toasted malts. Just a little fruity yeast. Hop bitterness is mild, mostly spicy-herbal. Finish is dry and crisp. Light-medium bodied, crisp, refreshing, highly drinkable.

Overall:
It's a very good Kolsch!

 403 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear golden color, forming just a small amount of white head. Aroma is bready with some citrusy hops. Reminds me of a good helles lager. Taste follows the nose with the same helles vibe, just a bit more bitter and hoppy. Body is really smooth. Very nice, easy to drink beer. Fits its description perfectly.

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Photo of Kubishark
3.59/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A nice golden, clear appearance with a bready smell combined with grass/hay. Tastes noticeably hoppier and more bitter than many other kolsches at first, but has that classic crackery, malty finish that I love about the style. Feels fairly light, if not a little heavier than other beers in the style. Overall it's very solid, but probably not the best I've had.

 362 characters

Photo of tekstr1der
4.06/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Easy-drinking. Not sure why I've avoided the style till now. Pours light golden with thin, lasting white top. Aroma is cracker, bread, and light hay/grass. Flavor is similarly malty with just a slightest grassy hop bitter at the end. Clean finish and extremely drinkable.

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Photo of BB1313
3.62/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours golden with a subtle haze and solid clarity; small white head that falls leaving solid retention and little lacing. The aromas have lots of caramel and fresh bread. Malts are there. The flavors seem to follow the nose. Lots of caramel notes along with some cracker. Lots of grains. Very solid malt backbone. Very subtle bitterness. Earthy with some grass notes. There's some subtle hints of citrus in the mix. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is nice. It's light with active carbonation. Very smooth and easy to drink.

This is a solid kölsch. It's crisp and refreshing. Enjoyable stuff.

 629 characters

Photo of 88caprice
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An orange-tinged golden color with minimal head.
A hay-like, grassy smell with a faint touch of skunk (not skunked, though).
Taste has a malty surprise that was not in the nose. Slight grapey with some fermented fruit qualities.
Body is medium light, sparkly.

 259 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From my lounge chair in my backyard, comes right to YOU, a total review of CALIFORNIA KOLSCH from BALLAST POINT Brewing Company!

It pours a pale piss color with 2 fingers of head and lace ringing 'round the glass lips. 90% transparent with a hint of haze blocking out the extra 10.

Aromas of crystal malt, banana peel, hop leaf, and stale straw.

Flavor starts off soft with malts and banana puree, then takes a sharp edge into hop land with bitter lemon rind notes and some licks of pine, followed by notes of tin and copper, then it ends with a bread bomb that's very welcome here. It fades off on crusts and fresh baked bread dough. It is refreshing.

Feel gets a four as it's pretty solid for a kolsch and refreshing. Not gonna go in real depth here.

Overall not a bad Kolsch, but could use some improvement where the lemon and metallic notes are concerned.

 868 characters

Photo of Bulabeers
3.86/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

L: Slightly hazy orange gold with a big white head with good retention
S: smells like the forage hay we feed our cattle. some grassy hops.
T: grassy hops and crackery malts
F: Crisp refreshing light
O: Good on a hot day. It's a good lunch time brew.

 251 characters

Photo of NickBrema
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: clear golden color with lively carbonation. Good solid head that faded after a few minutes.

S: bready and malty

T: light and with a hint of piney hops and citrus

M: smooth and creamy and heavier on the tongue than expected but very pleasant

O: very smooth and tasty pale ale that would be a great summertime thirst quencher

 330 characters

Photo of scootny
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A crisp and delicious pale ale. It's true to the heritage of a German kolsch while adding a bit of a American hop flourish. Clear and golden inn the glass with a comely white head. Atoms shows off the light pilsner malt and the addition of wheat. Hops are floral and well integrated. Crisp quenching feel with lightly creamy carbonation. A great got weather beer.

 363 characters

Photo of Apellonious
3.94/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle 4/28/16 poured into a pint glass.

A - Clear golden orange, with a one finger fluffy head that retains well.

S - Grass, crackers, bread, pale malts.

T - Follows the nose. Very crisp and clean, with a grassy/pine aftertaste.

M - Carbonation medium, feel is medium light, almost creamy at times.

O - Adding this to the summertime Kolsch mix.

 361 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.42/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Golden in color, ample clarity 1/2" white head. Aroma was grain, kolsch cleanliness yeast wise.

Taste brought more malt and hop substance than your average kolsch. Nice and dry, good in hot weather. A decent offering. Wheat very noticeable.

 245 characters

Photo of larryarms847
3.74/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours crystal clear and light golden yellow.

Light sweet maltiness, slightly earthy and spicy noble hops, and toast.

Biscuity, toast, earthy hop bitterness.

Light-bodied, medium-high carbonation, crisp, clean.

Overall, a very subtle beer but a nice crisp and clean refreshing brew.

 285 characters

Photo of BrokenEdge
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I had this back when it was titled a Pale Ale with the words "kolsch" buried underneath. The name change is perfect for this beer in several ways. 1) It really is more of a kolsch than an APA so I'm glad they put that in the forefront and 2) a boring name for a boring beer. This isn't bad, but just so average for it's price point.

Pours a pale yellow gold color, with a thin off white head, and faint hints of soapy lacing. Looks not unlike a lot of macro beers, except slightly more gold in color. Smell is weak but has some mild yeasty spiciness and lemon. Taste has more of the same, with some grassy notes, white fruits (apples, pears, etc), and biscuity maltiness. Faint noble hops, and generally tilting in favor of sweetness. Feels pretty light with high carbonation, but still mostly smooth going down. Crisp fruity finish. Overall, I think this beer is just not worth the cost (about $16 a 6 pack) and there are so many more great pilsner style beers that I'm not sure why anyone would spend so much on this one. Not a hit for me.

 1,042 characters

Photo of WoodButcher
3.42/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Ok, round two of my intro to Ballast Point. Poured from a bottle, a hazy blonde that's a bit darker than traditional Kolsch styles. Tight head that quickly dissipated. Nose was yeasty, mild spiciness. Taste was yeasty, hint of cloves, a bit of fruit/banana sweetness and slight malt, and a modest bitter late in the finish and the mild lactic taste characteristic of the style. Mouthfeel was nice with fine but moderate carbonation.

Overall this is a pleasant drinking beer, good for a session and hews close to the Kolsch style. Pro hone of the better American examples. Now, if they can do something about their stupidly high prices. This is a good beer, but there are others as good and for much less. I can't help but feel like Ballast Point's following is a bit cultish.

 778 characters

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.46/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the Pinon Pub at Whole Foods in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Served in a shaker glass.

Good golden-color and clarity but not much head. Smell was faint on everything, just light sweet malt notes and hints of bread and biscuit.

A bit more on the taste, grassy hops most notably. Very nondescript in a way that a non-craft drinker could enjoy.

Drinkability was pretty impressive. Drank very lightly. Easy to kill a pint and didn't have a filling effect.

 469 characters

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
3.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a mixed 12-pack of Ballast Point beers at my local Trig's Cellar 70, and this was one of them. The packaging states that this one is good for another four months. Poured right from the fridge into my Lowenbrau Willi Becher glass.

L: Pours a golden amber--crystal clear--with about a half-inch of eggshell head that persists for a good long while and leaves very little lacing on the glass. There is a flaky particulate present, along with the profuse visible carbonation.

S: Bright bread-like grain notes in the nose--pilsner malts are clearly present. There are also some nice fruit notes of citrus and subtle banana. A bit of grassy hop notes coming through, as well.

T: Sweet bready malts with a definite pilsner profile are foremost on the palate. There are subtle notes of banana and lemongrass playing around the edges. The middle has a good deal of sweetness, with just a bit of that lemon-citrus and grassy quality continuing. The close has more of the sweetbread malt, along with a bit more of that grassy hop flavor and something a bit more astringent, leaving a bit of bitter lingering on the palate.

F: This one is on the lighter side of medium-bodied, with some nice creaminess thanks to a solid level of carbonation. There's just a bit of a watery quality that comes through toward the end of the glass.

O: I've had only a handful of Kolsch-style ales before, so my review should probably be taken with a grain of salt. I will say that I enjoyed the malt bill on this one--it's sweet and easy-drinking. The hops aren't too assertive, but they supply a nice counterbalance to the malts. While this probably won't be a beer I go out of my way to find again, I did enjoy it.

 1,701 characters

Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer pours a clear gold color.

Overall: The aroma is a toasted malt smell with a hint of citrus. The taste has malt and citrus along with a buttered biscuits finish with a very slight hop bite. This is one refreshing beer recommended during the summer.

 270 characters

Photo of Gobearswalter34
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brilliant yellow, with a thin, frothy, white head.
Smells of lemon and grassy malt and how.
A very pleasant kolsch that has a great mix of malt and hop.
A very smooth presentation that would improve making the hop and malt a little more prominent.

 255 characters

Photo of NickTheGreat
4.17/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L (4.25) - A bit more of an orangey yellow, and has a nice white foam on top.
S (4) - Not a lot of aroma, but a little bit of hops are noticed
T (4.25) - I find this very well balanced between hop and malt. If you think about the malt, you notice that, but start considering the hops and they pop out. Very well balanced.
F (4) - Easy drinking beer, carb'ed about right.
O (4.25) - All in all, I liked this beer. I'm kinda hit or miss on some BP stuff, and this is much more "hit."

 484 characters

Photo of THSdrummer
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, golden-yellow with a medium-thin biege head. LIttle to no lacing left behind. The aroma features a tasty backdrop of lemon, citrus, and a balance of light hops and malts. Taste is a smooth transition between lemon and citrus, and sweet malts and hops. Very well balanced and subtle, and yet fun to drink. Mouth feel is good. Not too harsh in the carbonation, it's easy to drink, and is not watery. Overall, a good rendition of the Kolsch style of beer. It's easy to drink on a warm summer day spent grilling, tail gating, or to wet your palette after a long run or ride.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

 611 characters

Photo of Beejay
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Yellow body with a slight amount of haze, light tan head with a rocky top.

S: A bit of malt, as well as some very pilsner like aromas. Light fruitiness as well as a touch of a syrup smell.

T: Lightly malty, clean, with a touch of a floral bouquet. Finish has some light caramel, and perhaps a touch of orange.

M: Medium body, fairly high carbonation, and a touch of cling in the finish.

O: Overall pretty good though somewhat basic, nothing wrong with that. A good beer if you don't want to think about your beer.

 525 characters

Photo of Strike00
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

L: pours light amber, almost yellowish.
S: smells sweet and lager style yeast
T: Malt driven with a nice hop presence. an underlying sweetness that I actually like
F: pretty smooth with fairly high carbonation. Dry finish.

O: Not too bad. im not going to seek it out but an enjoyable, refreshing beer.

 305 characters

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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 1,316 ratings.
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