California Kölsch
Ballast Point Brewing Company

California KölschCalifornia Kölsch
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Ranked #368
Ranked #46,178
3.56 | pDev: 13.48%
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States
California KölschCalifornia Kölsch
Notes: 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
Reviews: 434 | Ratings: 1,397 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Sigmund
Sigmund from Norway

3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

355 ml bottle, from Fakta Hirtshals. BB date is hard to read, but is possibly Febr. 2014. Pale golden colour, slightly hazy. Low white head. Yeasty aroma, notes of slightly stale jam / marmalade. The flavour is moderately spicy and herbal with hints of citrus. Dry finish.

Dec 12, 2020
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REVZEB from Illinois

3.56/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rated as a kolsch, the style listed, but this is definitely a hybrid beer. I would agree with kolsch because of the body makeup and feel, but the pale hops are definitely felt through out. Feels trapped in between, hops don't stand out. Doesn't really pull off the combination well for me though, left wanting more

Jun 30, 2018
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EMV from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Clear light golden pour with 2 fingers of fluffy white head. Falls fast... solid ring of lacing.

S: Sweet grains and toasted malts. Light citrusy hops.

T/F: Closely follows the nose. Light sweet grains... mild fruit and citrus. Modest grape must. A bit of hop bitterness. Light bodied... clean and crisp. The finish is mildly sweet fruit.

O: An easy-drinking Kolsch with decent flavor. Nothing special but a well-made and flavorful beer.

Jun 19, 2018
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WickedBeer from Alabama

3.59/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

It’s drinkable for sure. Like yellowfin tuna it’s all around and tasty. Malt and wheat, overly fruity and sweet. I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it.

Jun 15, 2018
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cyclonece09 from Wisconsin

3.84/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours yellow orange with a tiny white head that dissipates quickly. Smells of sweet grain, slight fruitiness. Tastes of sweet grain with very slight citrus and slight smokiness. Beer is light bodied and very easy drinking, good carbonation, but a tad heavy. Overall, a very good beer.

May 23, 2018
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jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

3.99/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

clear golden color, white head. mild bready and grainy malt aroma. taste is mildly flavorful malt ,but very clean. easy drinking but enough flavor.

Feb 27, 2018
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vikinggary28 from California

3.91/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden colour with a white head. Smells like a pilsner with a hint of citrusy hops. Tastes very smooth, maybe to smooth. I can see myself polishing of one to many on a hot summer day. Great flavour and mouthfeel. Prost!

Nov 08, 2017
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mpyle from Maryland

3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Golden color (slightly dark for style?), good clarity. Pours a nice white head, creamy and with good retention.

Bit of a hoppy nose which surprised me. Almost smells more pilsner than kolsch. Where is the lemon and soft fruit notes?

Some malty sweetness up front and some spicy hop flavors, and generally quite clean. But like with aroma don't feel like it hits the style quite right. Maybe a CA Kolsch is totally different from the real thing?

Medium body, fairly high carbonation. Hits the mark here I think.

Very nice drinking beer, good for summer, just not really a Kolsch style beer.

Sep 09, 2017
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MinerBob from Oklahoma

3.77/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A very nice offering from Ballast Point. Beer pours a golden color with a small white head. No discernable smell that I can tell but a nice smooth clean taste. Only a 23 IBU rating so you know it's not harsh.

Jun 17, 2017
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HaoleBoy from California

3.84/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

-poured a clear golden orange with a moderate, creamy white head
-yeast and some hoppiness on the nose
-bready flavor with subtle fruits and spice
-crisp with a slightly sweet, pleasant finish
-enjoyed this on a hot NorCal day ... for which it is ideally suited

Jun 16, 2017
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Dinglehacker from Oklahoma

4.19/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into stange.

Appearance: Nice thick white head. Dull gold color.

Nose: Grainy, with slight creaminess.

Taste: Lots of smooth grain, with crisp hop on the finish.

Mouth: Smooth, but a bit full. A little dry on the finish.

If you're looking for a lighter German-style ale, a great place to start.

Jun 13, 2017
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Lorgeous from Minnesota

3.49/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dull gold. The scent of bread and yeast are what my nose catches. The taste is very refreshing with small amounts of citrus notes. Moderately carbonated and goes down smooth.

= An average Kolsh brew but it does the job. The citrus after taste really helped my rating.

May 04, 2017
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BackMarker from Maryland

4.18/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was a pleasant surprise. Poured a hazy yellow in the glass, with a nice light yellow foam. Mostly malt in the nose, with enough hops presence to provide a burst of freshness. Taste was very well balanced and wonderfully drinkable. Some Kolsch offerings tend to be bland or boring. This was quite the opposite. For the style, a very good choice. You could put a few of these away and enjoy every drop.

Mar 03, 2017
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mothmanscott from Georgia

3.61/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear deep straw producing 2+ fingers of frothy, white, moderately lasting head that leaves motes, sheets & streaks of lacing. Aroma is biscuit, honey, graham cracker, hints of lemon rind, grass, onion & a very faint sourness. Taste is biscuit, citrus (particularly lemon), grass & earthy floral hop notes, light pepper, finishing with a dry mineral hint backed by a slight hoppy bitterness that become the dominant characters of the lightly bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with medium-high carbonation but only a thin pepper bite, dry & lightly astringent in the aftertaste. I'm not sure but I think this brew represents the initial offering of Ballast Point which has also been called Yellowtail. The label on the bottle did not say Yellowtail but the fish on the label appeared to be a Yellowtail.

Jan 10, 2017
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CJNAPS from California

3.13/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not a huge fan of this style, but this one surprised me.

Most of the reviews on this are the same so I'll just add that it was a delicious beer one that I'll have again.
Really drinkable you could drink these all night.

Jan 02, 2017
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.68/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

somewhat of a hybrid of styles here between a true german kolsch and an american pale ale, a neat and subtle fusion. this is a little darker, slightly more copper hued and robust on the malt front than you might find in a traditional kolsch, but it has the right yeast and the right fermentation temperature, just a but more body and flavor from the malt, pretty cool evolution really. the flavor is quite a bit more hoppy than you would be likely to find in an import, this is where the american pale aspect comes in, notes of citrus and a substantial bittering component as well, mostly in the finish. the various elements, including the european flare, really mesh well together here, its not overdone, and seems unique without trying too hard to be. a little bit of an apple juice fruitiness to it before the finish, and a bit of body to go with it, but overall quite light and drinkable, even if it lacks the refreshment value of a more traditional kolsch type. i liked this pretty well, especially with spicy pork green chili, surprised it isnt rated more favorably here...

Dec 30, 2016
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BEERMILER12 from Maine

3.75/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a straw yellow color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a small cap

S: Lots of fruitiness up front along with some wheat notes and Munich maltiness that gives it a bit of a boost

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with a nice mix of the wheat and fruity notes with the backing of the Munich holding everything up. Grainy notes lead to the finish, which is a combination of grain and fruitiness

M: Light-medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A solid kölsch with a good bit of fruitiness and malt backbone. Very easy to drink with enough going on to keep you interested. Good to session with

Dec 26, 2016
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bankboy66 from New Jersey

3.26/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | 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.

Dec 04, 2016
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MFMB from Idaho

3.9/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Nov 26, 2016
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mjurney from Texas

4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

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

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.

It's a very good Kolsch!

Oct 02, 2016
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Ciocanelu from Romania

3.65/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Sep 29, 2016
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Kubishark from Maryland

3.59/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Sep 19, 2016
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tekstr1der from New Hampshire

4.06/5  rDev +14%
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.

Sep 19, 2016
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BB1313 from Ohio

3.62/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Aug 14, 2016
Photo of 88caprice
88caprice from Virginia

3.6/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

Aug 14, 2016
California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 1397 ratings