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California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
80
good
371 Reviews
California KölschCalifornia Kölsch
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: Kölsch

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

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:
371
Ratings:
1,035
Avg:
3.53
pDev:
24.36%
 
 
Wants:
36
Gots:
172
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 371 | Ratings: 1,035
Photo of Catracho5
4.15/5  rDev +17.6%
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 woodychandler
4.15/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At long last, nepotism rears its ugly head on The CANQuest (TM)! For those not in the know, I write for Ale Street News (and others) while my cousin, Colby Chandler, is the specialty brewer at Ballast Point B.C. It has been a closely-unguarded secret for some time and I have written about our relationship as well as making appearances with Colby at various venues and events. He knows of my affinity for CANned beer and especially craft CANs, so when they began CANning their beers, he knew precisely who to send some for a fair and balanced review.

From the CAN: "Handcrafted & CANned in San Diego, California"; "Dedicated to the Craft"; "The Beer That Launched Ballast Point"; "Our original Pale Ale is a rich golden brew, crafted with aromatic German hops and rounded out with a blend of American and Munich malts. While it's hopped like a lager, we ferment it like an ale to create a smooth, bright taste that has just a hint of fruit and spice. It's extremely drinkable, like a Kolsch should be. And complex, like a good craft beer demands."

The Crack revealed yet another brimful craft CAN and I was ready to see what was inside. An inverted Glug later, curtailed midway through as it threatened to overflow the sides of the glass, and I had a massive finger-and-a-half of French Vanilla-colored head with good retention in the face of today's humidity. Color was a deep, rich gold with NE-plus quality clarity, allowing me to see into the future.

I will be returning to the site of the creation of the term, "NE-quality clarity", which refers to one being able to read the Sunday comics through it, a level of clarity used by the brewer at Empyrean BC in Lincoln, NE to describe the kind of beer his patrons wanted in 2006 when I visited. I will be going back in late-February 2015 for a joint birthday celebration with Val MidWest who turns 21 y/o on Valentine's Day of that year while I will hit the big 5-Oh on the 25th. The party is planned for Yia Yia's and Old Chicago on Saturday, 28 Feb 2015 if anyone wants to join us.

While I was typing, the head fell, allowing me to lean in for a good whiff. The nose had a distinct biscuit malt/bready yeast quality, like freshly baked bread or biscuits. Yum! Mouthfeel was medium and the initial flavor was of mixed fruit, but followed with a subdued yeasty spiciness. It was like JuicyFruit gum, but with a bite. Finish was semi-sweet and highly refreshing on this hazy, humid day. Of the two so far (Longfin Lager) and this one, I am giving the majority of the cooler space to this, but neither really trip my trigger the way that the next two CAN.

The following is my original Bottle review dtd 12-31-2009

It arrived with a finger of bone-white head with good retention. Color was a bright golden-yellow with NE-quality clarity (although that is redundant when using the term "bright" to describe a beer). Nose had an interesting tang, a little sweet, as though the hops and yeast were fighting it out. Mouthfeel was medium with a sweetish, spicy black pepper taste on the tongue. Finish was dry, but not overly so.

 3,082 characters

Photo of BOSMECH
4.15/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

got this before making dinner and it was very good and smooth.
A lite to dark amber in color and the head was about 1 inch then weny away.
S has a malt smell and then a hint of hoops but mostly malt.
T very smooth with the malt going down.
O very nice beer to have with any kind of party or function and very smooth to drink.

 325 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.14/5  rDev +17.3%
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 timtim
4.12/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i have to agree with the previous reviewer's description. this one is very biscuity ,and the floral hops are a perefect accessory to the malt. hints of sweetness along with everything else make for a slightly unusual but quite refreshing and delicious beer. this is for sure not a dieseldorf, but very good in it's own right. another quality beer from a brewery that i wish would focus on their strengths and not what they think the masses want.

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Photo of LittleDon
4.11/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

An imperial pint at Monk's Kettle, San Francisco.

Well done, but boring. Golden color, clear, decent head retention. Grainy aroma, what you'd expect from the style. A bit of carbonation up front, but not too much. Slight bitterness in the middle, clean finish. Better balance than most of the Kolschs I've had and not quite as grainy. Medium to medium light body. It would make an excellect everyday summer drink, not special, but very drinkable.

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Photo of washburnkid
4.08/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked up a 6er of these at Berkeley Andronico's for a great price.

A: A finger of white, frothy head over hazy, semi-unfiltered dark yellow to light golden. Thin layer of head hangs around.
S: Sweet malts with honey, and a small bite of that pils grassy hop characteristic.
T: Grainy at first. Sweet honey comes through with the grassy hops to balance. I get the slightest hint of hops, and they really add something special to this beer. Small note of metallic.
M: Pretty crisp carbonation, and light-bodied like a lager.
D: Very refreshing! And at 4.60%ABV, this is one beer that you can literally get lost in all day. Seemingly perfect for the style.

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Photo of BrewerB
4.08/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured into an AJ Fruh stange. Light golden color with excellent clarity. Formed a 1-2 finger white head with superb retention. Visible carbonation streams up the body of the beer.

S - Moderate noble hops in the nose well balanced by a pilsner malt character. Slightly floral.

T - Moderately bitter, well-balanced brew. Pilsner graininess is off-set by a moderate floral/noble hop character. Bitterness is moderate. Finishing dry with a lingering grainy flavor. Touch of saltine crackers.

M - Medium bodied, moderately carbonated. Smooth.

D - This one goes down easy. Is it just the memories conjured up by my authentic Fruh glassware? Nah...this is actually a refreshing beer. Well balanced, nice pilsner character pairing with a floral hop profile. Not quite a world-class example but a damn fine beer none the less.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice golden color with a fairly-large white head. The nose has a lot of malt, especially for a beer being labeled as a kolsch. Along the same lines, this is pretty hoppy, so it seems like BP is right in describing this as a pale ale. Bready malt and some citrus hops come through in the nose and taste. Mouthfeel is very nice and refreshing, with more of the German lager-type carbonation atop this softer pale ale. Drinkability is good.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.05/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-golden yellow color, thick white head, bubbles flowing throughout the glass throughout, light lacing left on the glass

S-light bready smell, some yeast, hint of fruit, and light citrus

T-pale malt up front, citrus hops to balance, sweet fruit finish of white grapes

M-lots of carbonation, light body, crisp finish

D-pretty tasty and light, solid session beer

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.05/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle picked up in Asheville, NC

A - A yellow straw color, with nice lacing on the glass and 1 finger of head. It is clearly unfiltered as well with some sediment floating around in the glass

S - German malts are very prevalent. Not too much hop aroma

T - Fairly sweet, with a nice bitter aftertaste. Well balance

M - Medium bodied, well carbonated. It is very smooth.

O - An excellent, tasty, easy drinking light beer. Perfect for a hot summer day..

 465 characters

Photo of Offa
4.05/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a very nice, refreshing yet tasty beer.

Faintly hazy, pale golden amber, it has a medium off-white head steadily shrinking to a thin ring and wisps.

Aroma is grain, bread, citrus, grapefruit, hints of honey and pine, very nice.

The taste is light but zesty and intriguing, grain, crackers, citrus, 7-up, hints of grass and pine, light sweetness and balancing bitterness. It has great balance and is quenching.

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a wonderful clear golden color with a one finger white head. Aroma is sweet bready malt with some spicy noble hop character. Taste is lightly fruity, floral, spicy, grassy, all the noble hop characteristics. Mouthfeel is light, but spritzy on the palate with carbonation. Overall, a wonderful kolsch/pale ale hybrid that deserves respect and a spot in every true beer lovers graces. Doesn't have the huge hopping, barrel aged, adjunct pieces, but that is what makes it special.

 488 characters

Photo of geexploitation
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours perfectly clear, with a beautiful bright gold hue but no head to speak of. The nose is pretty mild -- just some clear, pale German style malts and a dusting of hops. On the palate, surprisingly rich, almost chewy malt content that nonetheless remains light. Both hops and carbonation provide a sharp and balancing counterpoint to the malt. Mouthfeel is just right for the style -- or at least the American version of the style, as it's a bit thicker and bigger than the original kolsches. Overall, though, this is quite nice. It's not a bold, incredibly complex beer, but it is drinkable and satisfying and doesn't sport any flaws. Well done.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.03/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from t0rin0, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a becker pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright gold color, with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of grain, light malts and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste very bready with flavors of grain, a mild malt sweetness, despite a substantial malt character, and a touch of fruit. There's a good hops presence for the style and it provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready, slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not filling at all, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is very good beer to pound for and entire evening.

 837 characters

Photo of rawfish
4.02/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours roughy into a snifter glass to net nearly 3 fingers of head over a brassy gold body. Below average retention leaving clumps of lacing on the glass.

Biscuit and cookie dough malt that isn't overly bready with some hay, lemon pith and white wine notes. Very uplifting, a touch of adjunct grain but you already tell this is a refreshing beer.

Light bready, almost cracker-like malt lays down a good foundation with a touch of corn and raw grain husk before a pleasant hop profile of dried grass, lemon zest and grain washes over the palate. Not much bitterness but cleanses well like a lager. Some fruity red berry notes in the finish.

A little bit of heft in the body and unremarkable carbonation until the end of the drink where it fizzes up like seltzer and really scrubs itself dry.

This beer has exceeded my expectations, a flavorful representation of style that could easily be over looked. Will return to this one, a crowd pleaser that does justice to both a craft drinker's palate as well as the masses.

 1,019 characters

Photo of snpub540
4.02/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear straw golden hue with a 2 finger white head. Leaves some lacing but not much. Endless bubbles floating up from the bottom but its not super fizzy.

Smell is great. Sort of grapey or vinous if you will. A nice bready malt aroma also lingers.

Taste is a mixture of the bready malts and a nice floral hop flavor. Clean and crisp, it is a real thirst quencher. Slight grape flavor in the there as well made this quite enjoyable.

Mouthfeel is slightly thin, but thats about my only gripe with this beer. Drinkability is great. it is a smooth and clean, flavorful beer that can be sessioned. Definately something I can get use to drinking more often.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +13.3%

Rich malty nose, mild herby hops. light fruit
Brilliant golden amber, 2" fluffy bone white foam cap, produces excellent lace.
Malty palate, graham cracker to biscuit, mild hop accent
medium body and carbonation

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Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear straw golden orange with a lot of rising bubbles. About two fingers of white head that slowly recede into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A crisp, bready, and fairly sweet German style aroma with citrus undertones. Upfront pale malts with hints of cereal grains, wheat, straw, biscuit, crackers, and yeast. Citrus fruit hints of orange, lemon zest, and pineapple. Earthy hop hints with a Noble presence. Slight hints of spice. A pretty decent Kolsch style aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma, a crisp, clean, bready, and fairly sweet Kolsch style taste with some citrus notes. Upfront pale malts with notes of wheat, cereal grains, straw, crackers, biscuit, and yeast. Juicy citrus fruit notes of orange, pineapple, and lemon zest. Earthy presence of European hops linger around. Subtle note of some kind of spice. Very grain forward. A pretty decent lager like taste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Crisp, clean, and very smooth.

Overall: A pretty decent take on the German Kolsch style. Has the crisp breadyness you expect.

 1,185 characters

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint. Bought from Abe's of Bethlehem... bottle was a little dusty however their turnover there is good.

A- Traditional golden yellow color with creamy white head.
S- Light fruity ale notes intermingled with almost a pilsner style malt profile.
T- Very nice balance. The pale ale on the label is misleading because there really aren't that many hops in this beer. Very subdued and mellow.... a nice chill beer!
M- Carb is OK. Flavors stick around near the back of my throat.
D- Good drinkability. I could see my non-crafty type beer folk really liking this too.

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Photo of charlzm
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 08/25/08.

Pours an exceptionally clear light golden color. A one finger white head dissipates rapidly, leaving behind only some sticky foam on the sides of the glass.

Grassy, honey notes mingle in the nose with a slight, mild spice I can't quite place.

Mouthfeel is a little thicker than I expected: nice. Flavor is fruity and lightly bitter at first, but very much bready malt (with light touches of nut and caramel) towards the end of the taste.

Not as easy drinking as one might think; the substantial malt profile more or less overwhelms the light hop character of grass, flowers and fruits and keeps this one from being a porch swing/lawnmower beer.

 667 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear golden color with a thin eggshell-colored head.

S: Honey and a slight hint of grassy hops. Very clean smelling.

T: Lots of honey malts with a grassy hop backbone. A slight breadiness towards the finish. A solid and very very drinkable pale ale.

 256 characters

Photo of beernut7
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This different pale ale has a sweet fruity aroma. There is a hint of ester in the flavor as well as a good sweet smooth malt presence. This brew is more reminiscent of a tasty golden ale. The only really noticeable hop presence is a bit of a bitterness in the finish.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear pale golden color with a marshmallow cap; decent retention and a touch of lace

Smell: Bready, with lemon floral tones

Taste: Opens with sweet malty elements that have a considerable lemon character; after the swallow, the contrasting flavors persist and are joined by a hint of wheat and a dollop of husky grain

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A little maltier than would be expected for the Kölsch style; when I reviewed this on tap I was overly critical as I thought it was a pale ale

 557 characters

Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yellowtail is, in fact, yellow (but a rather dulled shade of it at that). It is actually so dense that I had thought its natural haze was condensation built up on the glass, but no, that's just what happens when you use the right amount of malt in your brew. Its head is incomplete but does make the 5-inch or so trip round the whole circumference of the glass.

The aroma showcases a very assured, wholesome maltiness that is so thick as to be almost doughy. It smells like crackers or biscuits and is deliciously aromatic, even despite its paleness. With quality malts like this I don't even want hops or yeast to interfere and I'm quite happy they don't (although others might detect a subtle fermentation-driven fruitiness).

You don't need a million different flavours for a beer to be flavourful, sometimes you only really need one. This kölsch, like most golden beers in this alcohol range - and in particular the German-style ones - is not terribly complex, but it is extremely flavourful. Cracker-like, noticeably biscuity maltiness is all you taste, but it's really all you need. These malts are highly-attenuated and very rich in flavour yet incredibly simple and clean too.

I could have a beer like this every day with lunch and be a very happy man. (I'm not sure the bomber would fit in a lunch box but this is definitely the kind of thing you'd want alongside a big sandwich.) Despite being so approachable and easily quaffed, it is still a considerably hearty and flavourful beer so far as its maltiness is concerned. A beer like this makes me think that if I never saw another DIPA again I wouldn't miss them one bit.

There's not one beer style that Ballast Point does badly. In fact, I have yet to rate even one of their beers as 'just alright'; all of their brands are exceptional examples of their respective styles and Yellowtail is certainly no exception. I don't think any other brewery makes as many of my #1 favourites when it comes to examples of different styles.

 1,996 characters

California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 371 ratings.
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