California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

BA SCORE
81
good
422 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:
422
Ratings:
1,332
Avg:
3.55
pDev:
13.8%
 
 
Wants:
47
Gots:
278
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 422 | Ratings: 1,332
Photo of Foxman
3.45/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It pours an absolutely clear macro-esque golden yellow. A finger of white head sinks to sparse circlets of froth. Slips of lacing slide along the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, pale malt, with a light, sugary fruitiness, is joined by distant doughy yeast. Biscuit and a vague but spicy hope presence fade away soon.

Upon tasting, the malt is light in every way, with light grain, light fruit, and light sweetness. A crisp hop note dries things promptly and opens the way to a very low-key spiciness. Soft baked biscuit and bready yeast speak up toward the close. The finish moves from a crusty earth tone to a thin, dry bitterness that falls off clean. Notice how much I used the word "light?"

Light bodied (there's that word again), carbonation bests a fast-flowing body and gives it a little push, but not enough.

Yes, it's light of nature and character and sometimes that makes for a fine session beer, but in this case it makes for more of a boring beer. There's just not enough there to make it notable or especially desirable in any real way. It does drink easily enough, but there's not a lot of reward for the effort, as minimal as it may be. And the downside to a bomber is I just might doze off before I finish it.

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Photo of bsp77
3.44/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into tall glass.

Appearance: Slightly hazy yellow-gold with thin white head and not much lacing.

Smell: Wheat malt, citrus, apple and spicy, floral hops.

Taste: Malty mix of wheat, apple, lemon and orange. Some spicy counterbalance from the noble hops. Would have liked more Munich malt than Wheat, but still quite good.

Feel: Moderately high carbonation, creamy somewhat full body and semi-dry finish expected for a Kolsch.

Drinkability: Very refreshing and enjoyable Kolsch. Not quite as dry or spicy as I prefer, and too much wheat.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.44/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Original ratings on Sept. 8, 2011 of 3.50, 3.00, 2.50, 2.50 and 2.50 - 2.68 overall
New ratings on March 14, 2017 of 3.50, 3.75, 3.25, 3.25 and 3.50 - 3.44 overall

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza in La Mesa. Color was clear golden. Minimal head and minimal film on the sides. The lacing, however, stayed for awhile. Appeared to be heavy on the carbonation.

Smells were skunky malts and somewhat bitter. Grainy malts also were involved.

No improvement on the taste. Skunky malts lead the way. A tad bit bitter at the end.

Medium-to-high carbonation. Medium body.

A pretty big disappointment, considering how much I enjoy the Calico Ale.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big gold color with a relatively ample head.

Taste is maltier and hoppier than mosts kolschs I've come across. Damn good tasting on a hot day around the pool. Kinda dry, yet sweet nuances. The most restrained beer I've had from these guys, and yet a great representation of a style I've traditionally shyed (sic?) away from.

A little pricey for what you get.

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Photo of Beejay
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of Gusler
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer after splitting from the 22 ounce bottle pours a translucent and lustrous gold with the head large and bright white with a pleasing creamy texture, lace a fine silky curtain to cover the glass. Nose is dominated by the sweet malt, crisp and fresh, with the start nicely malted, lightly sweet and the top fair in its feel to the palate. Finish is equable in its acidity, the hops are pleasing but a bit mild, the aftertaste quite dry and a fine session beer it will make.

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Photo of beagle75
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Draft service into a chilled mug at Whole Foods in Tustin.

A: Clear, medium (slightly brassy) golden color with one finger of diminishing white foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Very mild, with sweet and tart apple detected most clearly. There is also a nebulous thread of honey and very pale grain, but it has to be searched for in order to be found.

T: Begins dry, with honeyed pilsner malt and crisp Golden Delicious apple. Acidity is initially muted, but becomes more apparent later. Malt becomes more husky in the middle, developing a faint citric quality that becomes tart for the style in the finish. Grassy bitterness and elevated sweetness also emerge at the end, but the palate is ultimately left tasting of honey, apple, and citric acid.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, wet and slightly sticky on the palate with snappy acidity, and with very low carbonation.

D/O: Possibly one of the most poorly-marketed beers currently bottled, this "pale ale" offers an experience that is nothing like all other similarly-labeled beers. If Ballast Point needed a synonym for kolsch, it seems like blond ale would have been a more apt selection. Compared to other kolsches, this beer is full-flavored but a little unrefined, coming across as heavy-handed. Early fruitiness has a definite inauthentic resonance to it, leaving behind a sense of artificial flavor. Hoppy bitterness in the finish is bold for the style, although one would never mistake this for IPA-level bitterness in quantity or quality. However, it is effortless to drink, serving as a superior form of refreshment and really holding up well when served too cold.

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Photo of vicsju1991
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass
A - yellowy amber colour, fairly opaque, small white heaad goes away quickly, medium carbonation
S - mostly malty,
T - crisp and refreshing, mild fruity notes at the end, but not too strongly flavoured
M - crisp, easy to drink, pretty average
O - good beer, but nothign special

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Photo of FLima
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Golden color with a thick head with good retention and leaving some laces.
Predominant aroma of papaya and bread.
Fruity flavor with a light spicy feeling. Hints of orange, apple and papaya with lemon drops light sourness, green pears, floral and herbal hops, wheat and pale malt and yeast. Dry aftertaste with a medium bitterness.
Light body with low carbonation.
I was expecting an American Pale Ale but this is actually a Kolsch with a distant APA background. Still faithful to style and well crafted.

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Photo of kbnooshay
3.43/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Poured nice golden orange colorr. Kinda of dirty and hazy. Head was at first fairy big but died down quickly. Aroma is kind of earthy and malty. In the taste department theres not enough hops to be a kolsch. This tastes mroe like a belgian pale to me. Really yeasty. Its decent, but i don't think its a kolsch.

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Photo of tone77
3.42/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to the creator of the canquest, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from a 12 oz. can. Has a light golden color with a 1 inch head. Smell is mild, some malts are present. Taste is crisp, malts, a touch of hops, a bit of wheat, pretty refreshing. Feels light in the mouth and overall is a pretty good summertime beer.

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Photo of WoodButcher
3.42/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.42/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of thomda11
3.42/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I think this is pretty well done for its style. I was taken a bit off guard at first, as I was not expecting a Klosch Style Ale, but rather something along the lines of a American Pale Ale (I failed to see the small print that denoted the beer as "Klosch Style"). Overall, I would say it is a pretty decent beer that can appeal to a wide audience. It would be a fantastic beer to drink by the pool on a hot day.

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Photo of LordofTime25
3.41/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a dark cloudy yellow with a thin white head.

Smells like sweet malts with honey and maybe some grassiness from the grains.

Tastes kind of grain at first, but then there is a sweetness I belive from honey. Then you get a slight bitterness.

Very crisp form carbonation and light.

A good brew worth a drink or two every now and then.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.41/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 16oz American pint at the Waikiki Yard House, dubbed 'Yellow Tail' on the menu.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, medium golden straw colour, with one finger of foamy and somewhat creamy ecru head, which leaves a solid wall of painted lace around the glass as it slowly slips away.

It smells weakly of bready, doughy malt, a bit of aged lemon juice, and mild leafy, grassy, and earthy hops. The taste is more bitter up front, sort of indeterminately - kind of leafy, kind of citrusy - with a still-strong pastry-esque maltiness providing a wholesome balance.

The carbonation is a bit peppy, the body a spare middleweight, and haltingly smooth. It finishes with more of the same - timidly bitter hops, and solid bready hops.

A decent pale ale, a bit of necessary moderation at the moment - for the rest of you - drink at will.

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Photo of bmwats
3.41/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a stange.

A: Golden hue. Heavy carbonation. Continually rising effervescence. Pours about a 2 finger, bubbly, white head. Craters unevenly, and slowly. Pretty nice, albeit sporadic, lacing. Head regenerates fully and effervescence renews with each pour.

S: A little Italian bread, fresh flora, and dish soap.

T: Slightly bitter bready malt flavor with some slight sweetness. Pecan shells and basil.

M: Light and crisp.

D: Easy drinkin'.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Nice appearance including a really strong head, and some persistent lacing. Nose is simple, but comes across as fresh...light planty malt. Light and crisp combo of light malt tones accentuated with a little sweetness and some bitterness. Overall, this is a good quaff.

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Photo of TH28
3.41/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. 11/15/15 bottle date. Appearance: Crystal clear light golden, with thick white head and nice lacing. Aroma: Grainy, cracker, subtle pear like fruitiness. Taste: Light, cracker like malt sweetness that turns to a strong spicy bitterness that lingers long after the swallow. Mouthfeel: Medium body with a light creaminess and moderate carbonation. Finish: Fairly dry on the finish with a strong spicy bitterness that lingers. Overall: Has the look and smell of a true Kolsch, but seems to have the bitterness level of an APA. Still a pleasant, easy drinking beer, but balance shifts more towards the hoppy side than any other Kolsch I’ve had.

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Photo of RonfromJersey
3.41/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pale yellow gold body, good clarity, topped by three fingers of loosely bubbly, sticky, level white foam with plenty of "snap, krackel, pop".

Mild fresh grass/hay aroma with a hint of bakery.

Mild sweet beginning runs down the center of the tongue. Tingly hop snap at the swallow. Semi dry finish.

Light tingly mouhfeel. Very refreshing drinkability.

Refresing with a nice afterglow. Not really memorable on the tongue though. Probably not a bomber type beer. Nice try, but maybe not their style.

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Photo of weazal
3.4/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Yellow hay color. Light head...I hate to say it, but kinda urine looking.

Smell: Light, sweet. Some alcohol at the end.

Taste: It tastes like it smells, but more intense and earthy. It has a dry nuttiness and hoppy flavor. Surprisingly clean and brisk with a little tang at the end.

Light, sizzly carbonation on the tongue. Quick and easy to drink.

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Photo of nvsblman
3.4/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pale yellow with about a half finger of white head. Grassy, earthy hop aroma with a light biscuity background. Well balanced hop/malt flavor. The grassiness plays well with the caramel malt. The medium mouthfeel and slightly dry finish makes this really refreshing and enjoyable.

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Photo of riversider76
3.39/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a honey gold with a thin white head. Good retention, and a nice lace. Aroma is of toasted grains, and malts. Nice, but very weak.Body is on the light side of medium, and quite carbonated.
Taste is of bready malts. Hops comes through in the finish. A nice brew.

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Photo of Soonami
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer is very misleading because I tried this on draft and did not know that this was a kolsch, but rather thought it was a APA like I would expect from Ballast Point that makes Big Eye and Sculpin. It's false advertising and you definitely do not get what you are expecting. There are some tell tale signs. The color is a golden pale clear color with finely knit white foam and lace. The flavor is very malty with a distinct grain tannin and sulphurs from the yeast. The finish is very dry and clean with little fruit flavor.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. My label is a bit different than the one pictured and says only Ballast Point Pale Ale, "the original", and lists a 5.20% abv instead of 5.00%. I think this is my second beer from Ballast Point.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a hazed lemon colored body with just under a finger of soapy white head that fizzles to a bubbly ring quickly. Some spotty sticky lacing.

S - Smell is of buttery diacetyl, bready malts, a bit of honeyed graham cracker, some soapiness, corn, and some musty yeast. Otherwise, the smell is pretty lame and boring.

T - Taste is of buttery caramel malts, corn, grains, herbal earthiness, crisp fruity yeast, grainy pilsner malts, and subdued indistinct fruitiness.

M - Feel is crisp and clean, light-bodied with good carbonation.

Overall, a fairly boring, uninspired beer. Poor duration of flavor, but light-bodied, refreshing, and drinkable. Inoffensive, but it doesn't really do anything for me. This would be a great stepping stone beer for those looking to get into craft beer, though.

Ballast Point Pale Ale ---3.5/5

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Photo of PDXHops
3.38/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a La Chouffe tulip. See-thru golden body with a modest fluffy white head and some drippy lacing.

Smells very mild, but pleasant- light grains, a little bready, a little fruity.

Tastes quite fruity and sweet right away, a little reminiscent of white grapes and pears. The fruitiness lasts for a couple of seconds, and then is chased away by crisp grains and a momentary, but substantial sting of grassy bitterness. Finishes a bit oily/sticky, with lingering pear notes.

Overall impression: An unexpectedly bold, but enjoyable take on the style.

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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.55 out of 5 based on 1,332 ratings.
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