California Kölsch
Ballast Point Brewing Company

California KölschCalifornia Kölsch
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Style:
German Kölsch
Ranked #352
ABV:
5.2%
Score:
81
Ranked #43,395
Avg:
3.56 | pDev: 13.48%
Reviews:
433
Ratings:
1,391
From:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  57
Gots
  314
SCORE
81
Good
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
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Reviews: 433 | Ratings: 1,391
Reviews by breadwinner:
Photo of breadwinner
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm not sure I get the low scores either, other than frustrations over A) it's actually a kolsch-style ale, not a pale ale and/or B) it's not a big old hop bomb of a beer. Regardless, I thought this was clean and delicious and the description from the brewer incredibly apt -- "...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." The German hops natural spice and grassiness work well with that understated citrus fruit note from the ale yeast, but never cover up a clean malt base. Will be reaching for this one very often indeed this summer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Brolo75
4.15/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce can poured into a pint glass

A: Pale, golden straw color with a white head, lots of carbonation streaming off the bottom, slight lacing, a really good looking beer.

A: Straw, hay, malts, slight bitterness, slight fruit aroma, smells pretty good.

T: Hay, grain, malts, dry, slight bitterness, there is a hint of pears, finishes dry and malty, fairly complex for a pale ale.

M: Smooth mouthfeel, easy drinking, dry finish.

O: This is a quality beer, a little different than other pale ales I've tried but good, more grainy and malty than it is citrus and easy drinking, another great beer from Ballast Point and new beer I will definitely reach for.

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Photo of tigg924
4.14/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: clear, orange-yellow in color, minimal head, low carbonation

Smell: tropical fruits and toasted malt

Taste: tropical fruits, toasted malt, caramel, honey, and a bit of bread

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, light body, very sweet

Drinkability: I could have several of these. Nice, sweet, and a bit fruity for the style. A good warm day beer, I could have a six.

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Photo of vabeerguy
3.86/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a pilsner glass. Noticed immediately that a straight hard pour produced too much foam but it dissipated quickly. The first taste produced noticeable lacing. The color looks like it could be your average pilsner or kolsch. The name indicates it is a pale ale but it does not seem to fit into that category. That said, the beer is very tasty and refreshing. If you are looking for a hoppy or bitter beer (like an APA or IPA), than this would not be the one. If you are looking for a beer or two (or more) for a hot summer day, this would be a good selection.

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Photo of Duhast500
3.38/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Dogfish Head pint glass.

The color is a clear yellow/gold with a finger of foamy white head and some hints of a thin layer of lacing left on the glass.

The smell is malty at first with a crisp dough flavor. There is some fruit aroma here in the nose that is just a touch of white grape and tangerine. There also seems to be a slight grassy aroma here as well.

The taste is fruity with a slight orange rind flavor that is brief before leading into a green grape flavor. There is some nice sweetness that fills in the gaps here and there. Some slight Belgian malt flavor comes out towards the end that is tasty.

The feel of this beer is smooth with a nice drinkable feel that goes down easy and really works well with your palette and lets it’s silky body let it glide down. A great drinker and one that would great any time.

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Photo of ronniebruner
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Very earthy taste to this pale ale. Reminds me of a Sierra Nevada. A bit sweet on the tongue with just enough bite to make it above average in this category. The beer has a golden orange hue, minimal foam, lace and carbonation and a crisp, clean taste. Leaves the right amount of taste on the tongue and is not harsh like some other IPAs tend to be. A very worthy effort. Ballast Point is quickly becoming one of the best breweries on the west coast, but this is not their finest beer, even though I would rate as above average. I love this brewery and cannot wait to try their new beers!

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Photo of BlottoOtto
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Photo of ekalb31
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of Wer34truh
3.51/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a yellow fizzy color, featuring quite a bit of visible carbonation. The head is tiny, almost non-existent.

Smells predominantly of grains, but also some distinct malt-tones. Generally speaking, the smell is quite sweet with some fruits, primarily banana.

Taste is balanced, and quite subtle at that. Like the smell, moderate-to-low grains and malt dominate, with some distinct banana-sweetness being present in the aftertaste. Conventional and not very exciting, yet certainly enjoyable. Mouthfeel is very much in the German tradition, that being incredibly light and carbonation is kept at a medium.

Boring, forgettable, yet solid.

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Photo of ibbjamin
2.37/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Paid $3.69 for a bomber from BevMo in Willow Glen, CA. Poured into a pint glass with 2 pours.

A 1 finger off white head that disappears to nothing quickly. Medium carbonation. Transparent light yellow color. Lacing is almost non existent.

Mild aroma of hops with hints of toasty nutty malts.

A sweet dry malty taste with grassy hints.

Light body, watery finish, lightly carbonated.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.35/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle - from Total wine summerlin las vegas NV for 1.99$

Appearance - Clear yellow colour with an average size fizzy white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for maybe 2 minutes.

Smell - breads/grains, lemon

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and the taste is made up of breads/grains, lemon juice and zest, and some very light hops. It finishes with a bready/grainy aftertaste with some very subtle hop notes.

Overall - Although very drinkable and refreshing, this beer is quite boring. I expected a little bit more from this brewer. Maybe just a touch more in the citrus/hop department.

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Photo of Danmullens1
3.58/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of nearengine
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of tekstr1der
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.

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

Bottle courtesy of Fordest.
Gold pour, light white head, short lived. Smell is of some light malt and hops with a slight grassy alcohol smell. Taste is fairly crisp, refreshing, with a decent bite to it reminiscent of a pilsner. A bit dryer than most kolsches and light to medium carbonation. One of the better ones of the style that I have had.

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Photo of shand
4.35/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

I'm sure lots of people pick this up looking for an APA and are disappointed. I picked this up looking for a good Kolsch, I hope it doesn't let me down. It looks good, it's got the golden body, high carbonation, and white head that are indicative of the style. The aroma is nice and crisp, with bready malts, zesty hops, and some light citrus aspects. The taste is also fantastic, it's a nearly perfect Kolsch style. It's got nice crisp, noble hoppy sort of taste at first, that seamlessly crosses over to a wheat and bread finish. The mouthfeel is great, it's perfectly crisp. The drinkability is very good. It's a great Kolsch. A really great Kolsch. No idea why it took me so long to give this a try ... maybe finally figuring out how to read Ballast Point's date codes so I could get a fresh bottle was the kick I needed.

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Photo of DerwinWentworth
3.25/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of KolbMarley
3.5/5  rDev -1.7%

Photo of LADaveBN
3.87/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Kenai4
4/5  rDev +12.4%

Photo of JackieTH
3/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Meager yellowish ale pours smoothly kicking up a white foam cap. Sticky and leaves substantial lacing. Sweetish, bready, lemony and yeasty odor. Tastes of crackers, lightly sour- lemons, and yeasty. Mildly sweet. A bit of wet earth. Body is light. Definitely has kolsch elements, it's just not my style of pale ale.

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Photo of Melissaw1126
4.25/5  rDev +19.4%

Photo of toddysd
3.6/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of drtth
3.59/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a clear golden amber color with a 1" ivory head that recedes to a layer of light foam and a ring around the glass. Sipping leaves legs and small patches of lacing.

The aroma is mostly bready malt with some grassy character in the background.

The flavors are much as expected fro the nose there is the bready malt and the grassiness of the hops. There's also a bit of sweetness and fruitiness hanging around in the background.

The mouth feel is medium bodied and lightly prickly from the carbonation. The finish begins about 2/3 of the way through with the fading of the breadiness and sweetness. However, the hops seem more earthy than grassy and the bitterness seems just a bit off. There isn't quite the dryness at the end that's needed to invite the next sip.

According to the brewery this is a Kolsch inspired pale ale and it is possible to see some resemblances, however I prefer a "cleaner" crisper flavor profile where as this one seems to have just slightly missed the mark here and there. Given the other US brewed Kolsch style beers I've had, (and my memories of drinking Kolsch in Cologne) I'll probably be taking a pass on this one in the future.

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Photo of TylerJones62
3.88/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap last weekend in a bar down in San Diego. Now, being a fan of their IPA I figured their APA would be to my liking as well. So after complaining about this beer to a friend I was informed that it is in fact not an APA but rather a Kolsch. So while not being familiar with this style (i.e. nothing to compare it to) here's my review.

Didn't see the actual pour but as the pint arrived at my table it appeared to have all the characteristics of a APA. Nice thin white head which didn't stick around too long, brilliant pale amber/straw color. All the makings of a great pale ale. The smell is where it turned for me. After learning a little more about the style, I realize the abundance of yeast/bready qualities I normally dont find in pale ales was very present in this beer. At the time I thought it was strange but apparently thats how its supposed to be? Tasted much like the smell did.

So, take this review for what its worth. I would definitely like to try more beers of this style because it wasn't bad.

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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 1391 ratings