Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 417 | Ratings: 1,316
Photo of DaveHS
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm a big fan of all the other Ballast Point stuff, so I'm expecting this to be pretty decent.

A-Pours a light amber with a quarter inch of eggshell white head. Leaves a bit of streaky lacing.

S-Grains, pale malts.

T-A little heavier than I'm used to from the kolsch style. The malt character is one-dimensionally sweet. Reminds me of malt liquor for a hot second. Then the sweetness is overtaken by flavors of earth and grassy hops. The finish is crisp.

M-Light bodied, but bigger than your average kolsch.

D-The kolsch style is pretty friendly in general, and this beer is no exception. However, it isn't one of the more successful American micro versions of the style.

 677 characters

Photo of utopiajane
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours cloudy lemon yellow with an orange tint. A hell of a head of foam that stayed forever to a cap and collar. Great lace. Nose is dank and yeasty up front with light bread. Hops are perfumey and floral, There is a light apple smell and sweet grain with grass. Taste is smooth. Light with the apple and cracker malt. The malt is just awesome in this. Hops are noble, floral and reserved. There’s a pleasant sweetness from the malt but nothing you could point at and name and say "honey" or "caramel;" and a little sour from the yeast. A faint touch of spice and straw. The finish was dry and had a nice bitter twang. Finished malty. This is actually a kolsch and tastes like a kolsch. I t derived it’s dryness form the malt more so than from alcohol or hop bitterness. It was a cereal dryness.

I like it. Its not loud, it’s not really fruity. It has a small pucker from the sweet apple and that’s where it gets it’s sweetness. The malt sweetness is understated and behind that. A good kolsch reminds you that malt is sweet in and of itself without caramel, toffee or sugar . The malt stayed dry and breaddy . Very impressive.

 1,138 characters

Photo of BARFLYB
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz single bottle into a regular kitchen glass. 1st time trying this.

A- Yellowtail has a yellow appearence with some white gold specs here and there. A semi aggressive pour popped up a inch of nicely layered white foam. Sadly no legs on the foam as it died quick leaving no lace. Some sediment.

S- not getting much hops in fact none, I am getting some toasted malts. A big scent of straws with some fruit hidden beneath. Not so bad.

T- Light toasted malts and some earthy grass plus straw. Pretty tame but this is a simple style. Some faint fruit on the aftertaste. No bitterness at all as hops are not a factor.

M- Light carb and a light body. Not much of an aftertaste except for some fruit. The malts are soothing going down making this enjoyable.

D- Sessionable and good for a go. Im not sold on the Kolsch style yet as i've only tried two in the style but this does not make me jump for more. A good summer beer and I could see myself taking a case to a party.

 972 characters

Photo of ZAP
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

If it's a Kolsch why not call it one instead of a pale ale. I expected a lot more from this in the way of hops but now reading what it is I understand. I'm still pissed though as I wanted a true APA from BP...As a Kolsch it is decent enough...some malt sweetness....relatively clean...some bready/cereal notes....light fruitiness (apples/pears)...decent for the style but still pissed this is not an APA..I'll rate for style though

 431 characters

Photo of patpbr
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Golden clear with a small white head
S - Malts and yeast
T - Much like the smell with some spice and hops showing up.
M - Medium body and just a little hop bite.
O - Not bad its easy to drink

 197 characters

Photo of chargerfanjess
3.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Pizza Port Carlsbad. Crystal clear clear clear yellow pale straw. Fair size head that left bunch of white lace. Very light hop nose and malt as well. First sip light corn flavor and grain. Very crisp finish and very full mouthfeel for this type of light brew. No aftertaste which was nice for this type. Good drinkable beer on and on

 347 characters

Photo of RyanK252
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours golden yellow with a frothy off white head that settles to a nice layer and laces well.

S: Floral, a little spice, light fruity notes, faint citrus, a little grainy, and a hint of sweetness.

T: Kinda fruity, floral notes, lemon zest, a touch of spice, and light crackery malt.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, pretty crisp and refreshing.

O: Slightly misleading label, but a very solid kolsch.

 469 characters

Photo of mzwolinski
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Advertised as a kolsch-style, one should expect this to be less a "west coast" pale than Ballast Point's other offering. The beer is a clear, very light copper in color, with a very thin head. Aroma is mild, wheaty and suffused with German hops. The flavor is surprisingly rich for such a crisp-feeling body, with a raw grainy malt and an earthy/herbal hop very dry finish. A refreshing yet substantial beer, and a nice entry in a style which, admittedly, I tend to find a bit uninspiring.

 489 characters

Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: clear full gold, decent white head.
S: bready, crackery malts and grassy, spicy noble hops,
T: saa, malts are lightly sweet and well-balanced by a smooth hop bitterness. Finish is crisp, clean, and dryish.
M: just over light bodied, frothy.
O: a fine kolsch, but as has probably been said 1000 times, why call it a pale ale? I forgot this was a kolsch and got it wanting an apa.

 381 characters

Photo of tillmac62
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

BOD 177/14. Pours a clear light amber (golden). Above average head volume, excellent lacing and retention. Light nose of fruity esters and yeast over a biscuit base with a hint of spice. Almost light medium body with a nice slick texture. Slightly below normal carbonation with just a touch of effervescence in the finish. The flavor profile is quite nice for a Kolsch. Above average intensity for the style, well balanced and fairly complex. It begins with a mix of light fruit (banana, pear) that flows into a somewhat crisp biscuit sweetness. The middle is a very mild hop bitterness that is herbal in nature that yields to a slight note of pepper like spice. The finish is a slow fade of herbal bitterness and biscuit that ends with a touch of dryness.

 764 characters

Photo of BeerAmbassador
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice two finger head with good lacing. Pale yellow color. Looks a bit like a domestic lager.

S: Bread-like aroma with some yeasty smells and a bit of citrusy fruitiness.

T: Very malty and buiscuit-like flavors with a nuttiness that I can't quite place. Finishes with a small amount of citrus and floral at the end.

M:Nice tight, bright carbonation. Although head has dissapaited.

D: Very Smooth and drinkable, something that I would drink for a thirst quencher when I wanted something a little more complex than your run of the mill macro.

Overall I really like this beer, it has a really pleasant nutty malt. And for an ale it is really smooth, bordering on a lager. This is my first of the style so I dont have anthing to compare it to but i really like it.

 789 characters

Photo of donniecuffs
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice hazy, carbonated, golden yellow with a good head. Floral, citrus, grassy, woody, and brown sugar were all evident in the nose; fairly impressive. The flavor was a little less so, but very good nonetheless, with all of the aforementioned flavors. The finish was a dry grassy-ness. Impressively complex from sip to sip, sometimes tasting like a weak barleywine. Mouthfeel had a nice carbonated balance. Definitely good for a session.

 445 characters

Photo of PA-hunter
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured 12oz can into glass. 5.2% abv

Appearance- Pours a cloudy light-,edium amber with a foamy white head that lasts.

Smell- Toasted grains, fresh toasted biscuit aroma.

Taste- A nut-like flavor hits the palate at first followed by a toasted malt similar to a cracker. The sweetness gives the slightest hint of citrus. Also has a buttery quality to it. Some hop bitterness plays into the finish with a lingering sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Medium in body, Lively carbonation and very smooth.

Overall- Outstanding due to the full flavor and smoothness. The maltiness and sweetness compliment each other very well. This beer should just be called Kolsch as Pale Ale is a bit deceptive due to the style. Nevertheless a high quality beer that should be tasted.

 758 characters

Photo of seaoflament
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this beer a few times already, from tap and bottles, just never gotten around to review it since it's so widely and easily available. I ended up with an extra bomber so I thought it was a good opportunity to sit down and write up a review.

Unfortunately I don't have a strange to pour this beer into so I opted for my mug. The color is a light apple juice color with great clarity and about an inch of white foam that retains for a few moments.

The beer opens up with a combination of yeasty esters, bread, a bit of sulfur, a slight mineral water quality, and light noble hop aromas. I'm really liking the cracker and bread-like aromas on the nose. Light fruits like pears, apples, and a hint of cherry. Almost has a slight toasted malt quality in the background. Notes of apple juice and some spicy hop aromas.

The taste is very similar to the aroma with some bread and cracker malt upfront followed by some yeasty and fruitiness in the middle, some mineral and slight sulfur near the end, and a nicely attenuated dry finish with some bubbly carbonation. A tad of alcohol flavor seems to be apparent in the finish but I'm not sure if it might be some other yeast fermentation by product that's creating a similar flavor. Hints of earthy hop bitterness in the finish, slightly floral tasting too.

Medium-high carbonation with a medium body on the palate. A clean and dry fiinish makes this one very drinkable. Enters smooth on the palate and finishes nice and crisp. Hmm, after a few sips I seems to get a little rough and grainy/bitter sensation on the palate, but doesn't happen on every sip. Nice beer actually, and an interesting take on the style.

 1,667 characters

Photo of paco1029384756
3.81/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours golden, perfectly clear, but seems a little low on carbonation
Scent of rich grain, freshly cut grass, and a hint off citrus; not much else is needed. Fresh grain, grassy hops, oats, and a hint of hemp in the finish. The body is a little low in carbonation as well. A clean and supremely drinkable beer.

 309 characters

Photo of Talisker
3.82/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice example of a non-American style from a West Coast brewery.

Poured from a 22oz bomber (BevMo SF area, $3.99). Basic clear yellow with an orange tint. Foamy head that dies down quickly - no lace. Crisp German hops flavor (no citrus) - nice to experience without the metallic lager aftertaste. Nice light bready malt complement. Finish is long, maybe lingers a little too long for such a crisp beer.

If you can find this fresh and like the style, it's worth a try. Very nicely integrated beer.

 502 characters

Photo of boston2bburg
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a stange, this beer exhibits a very light straw color with a touch of haze. The white foamy head has a respectable layer of retention with some clumping. Lemon and a bit of cake on the nose.

The mouthfeel strikes me as starchier than expected. Its rough, hop-forward flavor exhibits lemon tartness and pale German malt. The hops give character where the grains merely balance. Very spicy bitterness. This would be a very nice summer pounder but the lemon flavor is a little too one-dimensional.

 507 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at BevMo in late October for $3.99.

Beer poured golden with a nice long lasting white head. Nose is malty with a hint of light fruits. Taste has hints of the light fruits and is balanced nicely by a slight hint of hops. Mouthfeel is a bit heavier than normal for the style yet it is crisp and lively on the palate. Overall drinkability is good. This is another finely crafted beer by one of the lesser known San Diego breweries. Definitely worth a shot for a change of pace!

 494 characters

Photo of tonistruth
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- clear golden straw with an orange tint to it. 1" fluffy white head, retent is decent. Some lacing as well.

S- faint sweetness, hoppy aromas as well. Not much on the nose.

T- biscuity, maltly for sure. Strong pear flavors. Floral hop behind the scenes, come forward in the aftertaste.

M- silky smooth and light on the palate.

D- this is a good summer brew. Refreshing with good flavor. I'll reach for this when i need to cool down and unwind.

 456 characters

Photo of ANIMOUL
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bias-Alert: I typically like (nee LOVE) ALL San Diego brews.

That said, upfront, the beer is mis-labeled. When I think of a "Pale Ale" I tend to think of an "IPA Light"... but, as the words on the can warn, this is more of a kolsch style beer. That said, for the style, its damn good. A very refreshing and crushable beer... a great choice to enjoy after a long run or on a Sunday afternoon bbq. Tastes like a very well done Budweiser... which is a complement in my book.

 472 characters

Photo of RDB51
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Yellowtail is an excellent beer. It is a perfect selection for a fresh, on tap product, here close to the brewery. Its appearance is slightly darker than a golden color. (I am color blind so I guess there is a red or brown tint.) The fresh draft product is lightly carbonated and the head is firm but less than most beers. Yellowtail is a very popular beer in San Diego bars, so it does not rest in the tap lines long. It is very accessible to those who drink beer occasionally or who are deviating from their domestic lager rut. It seems slightly sweeter than other pale ales.

While I would normally select a IPA for one or two beers with a meal, when I order a pitcher of half priced brew, I normally select Yellowtail. This smooth, low carbonated product is a great pick for watching 2-3 hours of sports in a bar. (Go Blackhawks!)

 834 characters

Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

another lovely beer from the great land of san diego...first had this on the disc golf course at morley, next at delavegea course in santa cruz..brilliant both times, light and crisp with plenty of flavor...
light and hazy, slight sweetness in the aroma. drinks with a lovely chardonnay flavor, finishes very long and lightly. almost no hop aroma or flavor.
another delightful offering, best enjoyed during those beautiful summer months, outside, and from the bottle.

 467 characters

Photo of Brenden
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color is a medium yellow with a deeper amber hue to it. A frothy, thick pure white head starts at 2 fingers tall and eventually falls off to a sturdy foam that drops patchy lacing well down the glass.
It's not until I smell it until I decide to read the description, and it makes a lot more sense. There's a Saaz-like note of mildly sulfuric hops, verifying the brewery's claim; it is indeed like a pilsener in many ways. There's a touch of malty sweetness along with drier malts as well, and the aroma showcases a nice depth as well as proving that a gentler style can have a lot to it.
The flavor showcases those same dusty, earthy and grassy Saaz-like notes as the aroma, with a very gentle bitterness among the malty sweetness. The only thing detracting is that is goes strongly grainy.
The feel is lovely, crisp up front and continuing all the way in a flowing light but deep body with a nice, creamy smoothness that keeps me wanting another sip.
Another good one from Ballast Point.

 992 characters

Photo of MrKennedy
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber split with the guys from work and poured into a 7oz glass. Thanks to ADZA for the trade!

Pours a very clear, bright golden colour with a nice white fluffy head of foam that levels out just above film later on. Decent head retention and the clearness of this is quite impressive.

The smell is of bready malt, clean, consistent and inviting.

Taste is very malt driven, with just a shade of Euro style hop grassiness to break it up. Like the smell, the taste is consistent and pleasant. Just a little bit of honey comes through to sweeten it up a shade.

Mouthfeel is decent, good body for the style, just a touch cloying at the end, but otherwise ok.

Overall, a clean, decent, not earth shattering Kolsch that would be a decent go-to beer on a sunny, mild to warm day.

 777 characters

Photo of GbVDave
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an imperial pint. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a pale golden color with a small bright-white head. Major chill-haze at first that finally settles down to something approaching crystal-clear. Absolutely no lace.

S: Right out of the fridge it smelled crisp and bready. As it warmed notes of sweet malt, fruity yeast, and vegetables emerged.

T: See above. Pretty toasty/bready with creeping flavors of caramel, candy, apples, and some noble hops. Slightly soapy, but in a nice way.

M: Crisp and toasty with a nice fruity/sweet edge that adds depth.

D: Quite refreshing for when the temps get up there. Don't know if I'd buy it again, but I certainly wouldn't turn it down at a party/BBQ.

 738 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe