California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
81
good
376 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:
376
Ratings:
1,053
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
24.01%
 
 
Wants:
38
Gots:
179
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 376 | Ratings: 1,053
Photo of t420o
3.02/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- straw colored beer with a 1/2 finger white head that fizzles away quick leaving very little lacing

S- Slight bitter hop scent, toasted bread, grains, slight alcohol. Very similar to a pilsner.

T- bland! Grains, slight bitter hops, toasted bread. Everything is very light tasting and watered down tasting. Tastes like their is salt water in here. Very average

M- Slightly over carbonated. Good other than that

O- A decent Kolsch, but below average as a pale ale, which is how they labeled it and how I will grade it. Below average drinkability.

 550 characters

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

The color is orange. Less dark than my friend's Karl Strauss Amber and darker than the wheat beer I had later. White head with long lasting Belgian lace.

I thought it reminded me of Sierra Nevada Pale ale at first sniff and taste. Woodsy aroma. Cascade hops? Maybe not, because I liked it much more than SNPA. After the first hit of hop aroma, the taste becomes caramel and malt. In this respect, it's much like Fuller's London Pride Pale ale...

Very drinkable. This was an excellent session beer.

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Photo of levifunk
3.08/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

sample pour off of a 22oz bomber.

a - yellow with a white head.

s - bread yeast, grain.

t - some bitterness, which was surprising. and there was a sour/funk lightly on the finish.

m - light body. a bit creamy.

o - not the best beer, even for the style. very drinkable, but so are most pale ales.

 300 characters

Photo of maedhros09
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I didn't look at the label too closely before trying this one so I was expecting more of an American Pale Ale. That considered my first reaction was disappointment - the flavors seemed dulled and there was not the freshness that I expect from an APA. When I saw the Kolsch "subheading" it made a lot more sense. A good enjoyable brew, but not one that I expect to repurchase.

 375 characters

Photo of mhewes
3.13/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A : Pours a golden color with a decent white head

S : Malty with some grass hints

T : Grainy and yeasty with some hop bitterness.

M : Thin with some decent carbonation

D : For a kolsch, it just doesn't do it for me. It is not a crisp and refreshing as I would expect.

 272 characters

Photo of gregshead
3.62/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Light golden/yellow color, pours with finger of head. A very thin layer of foam remains.

S - Pine with citrus/lemon smell

T - Sugary malt mixed with a pine and lemon citrus hops. A hard to describe taste finishes it off. Reminds me of banana but not sure that is the best adjective to describe it.

M: Light thin feel with decent amount of carbonation.

D: Typical of BP brewing, they have brewed a tasty, unique ale. Maybe a little too unique to add into my regular rotation. Also not my first choice to give to a friend trying to enter into the hoppy world because of these unique qualities.

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Photo of YonderWanderer
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a pale yellow with two fingers of active foam that dissipates fairly quickly.

S: Some sweet malts, and a hint of grassy hops.

T: This follows the smell. The malt is dominant, with some biscuit and sweetness blending nicely. A nice grassy hops comes in and balances it out.

M: Smooth, thin, but that's how it should be.

D: This is a hell of a session brew. Very tasty, and I could see drinking this on a regular basis.

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Photo of vabeerguy
3.86/5  rDev +9%
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 ronniebruner
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
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!

 595 characters

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4/5  rDev +13%
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.

 585 characters

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz single purchased at Charleston Beer Exchange. Poured it into a Peroni glass since that is the closest I have to a Stange.

A: Pours an incredible clear and light gold color with a tiny bubble head that has better retention than I would expect. Likewise, the lacing is better than I expected.

S: Lemon zest and grassy notes seem to be the main parts of the aroma. It is a reserved aroma, but seemingly appropriate for the style.

T: The only real saving grace for this style for me is its refreshing quality. This one seems a bit dry for it to really be refreshing for me. The flavor consists of pale malt sweetness, lemon zest, and what must be some grassy hop variety. Those all make sense for the style and aroma of this one.

M: Thin body with quite a bit of aggressive carbonation in the mouth.

D: The extremely low ABV and simple flavors make this one a lawn mower type beer. However, I still wish it were more refreshing like the style typically seems to be.

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Photo of tony223366
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: First of all, huge fluffy white head with immediate lacing. The head looks just about perfect to be honest. The color is a nice golden straw. Tons of action from the carbonation but the clarity isn't great. There's a definite fogginess in the beer.

S: Smells great. It's got a nice crisp aroma. First thing I get is some moderate fruitiness. That's followed by tons of bready malts and just a touch of hops.

T: Taste is good, although it does fall a bit flat. The first thing I get is a touch of fruitiness with almost a slightly sour bite. That's followed by the huge bready malts. After that I get just a bit of crisp hop flavors. The finish is largely bready. Finish is extremely clean though.

M: Very tight, almost painful carbonation. Light body and smooth.

O: I really do enjoy the malt depth in this beer. It juggles rich breadiness and crisp flavors nicely. However in some ways it does fall a bit flat. Still a little above average though.

 956 characters

Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.03/5  rDev +13.8%
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 Gabriel_Vaughn
2.85/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A: golden straw, slightly hazy

S: tad fruity like dried fruit, sweet

T: fruit again, stale not to my liking

M: meh

O: I'd love to try their other pales but I'm no fan of this fellow

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Photo of BeerRun13
4.23/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a super clear golden copper color. Has a small white head that stays, as it is being fed by a constant flow of bubbles rising to the top. Good lacing.
Smells crisp and clean. Malty, biscuit aroma, and German hops?
Wonderful flavor. Nice balance between the malt and hops.
Light bodied. Good carbonation. Smooth AND CRISP FINISH.
What a good refreshing beert. Highly drinkable, and perfect for a hot Summer day.

 420 characters

Photo of cbros
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving tyoe- 12 ounce bottled poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a dark yellow/orange color with a small one finger head that quickly disipates. There is no cling to the glass on the way down. There is some carbonation activity shown in the beer after the pour. Overall a good looking beer.

S- I am smelling the malty sweetness right off the bat. I am alos picking up some hop presence in the smell as well as a little alcohol near the end.

T- I am tasting the malt sweetness at the beginning which is followed by the bitter notes from the hops. It finishes rather smoothly and evenly. Overall not a bad tasting Kolsch.

Picked this beer up as part of a mixed sixer. Can't really tell why it's called a Pale Ale on the bottle but I digress. This is a good tasting Kolsch and definately a welcome change to my usual fair. I see this beer as a summer time staple due to its lighter body and taste. Probably won't pick this one up again but I will certainly pick up other variations on this style from the different breweries.

 1,027 characters

Photo of klikger
3.52/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

6-8 oz pour into a standard pint glass

A - Very light yellow - macro-territory, here; decent head and lacing

S - Champagne, earthy barley

T - Grainy malts up front + a decently bitter finish = a balanced beer. Nothing exciting going on here, but it's well done for what it is.

M - Undercarbed for the style; light body

D - Very easy to drink, but with other options, why fill up on this?

This is a decently enjoyable beer, but the weakest Ballast Point offering which I've tried to date. It doesn't offend, but it doesn't call out, "Drink me again!", either.

 564 characters

Photo of ahq514
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into NB globe glass. When purchased, I was expecting it to be a pale ale as advertised, not a kolsch.

Pours a slightly hazy bright golden color. Fairly light, bright white head. Appears to have fairly light carbonation. Great lacing all around the glass.

Light grainy straw with a hint of citrus. Very subdued aroma.

Very clean and crisp while maintaining an ale like quality. Very close to aroma. Fairly bland overall, but has some light notes of grain and straw.

Fairly dry beer. Light body and lighter carbonation.

A decent kolsch overall, just fairly bland. I would consider it a good lawnmower beer, it was pretty refreshing.

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Photo of seanh99
4.33/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Server from 12 oz bottle into Sam Adams Glass
A: Golden/ Dark yellow, very clear, Off White head with medium bubbles. Head disipated fairly quickly
S: Floral, malty and a little fruitiness in the background, no real hop scent.
T: Delicious, a bit sweet, simple bit of malt and some esters from the yeast with the hop bitterness being,slight and very late.
M: Aquious, crisp. refreshing.
D: This is a great drinker, I would love to sit out on the patio or out by someones pool and drink these all afternoon.

The taste on this is hard for me to describe other than to say it tastes like "really good beer".

I had this for the first time at the ACBF and when out and spent the $12.50 for six. I drank them all this weekend. I will have more in my fridge tomorrow afternoon.
I think I like Kölsch

 797 characters

Photo of Ek0nomik
3.46/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured In: Snifter Glass
Attained through a trade.

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear light golden color with a finger of head. The head quickly vanishes, and as the beer calms down from the pour the effervescence is revealed, which looks quite low. No lacing is showing up on the side of my snifter.

Smell: Some hay like smelling malt in the background, with some herbalness as well. Slight fruit aroma, perhaps pear? Honestly, it seems rather similar to a pilsner except with a few fruity notes.

Taste: Same as the nose really. Some light malt sitting in the background that's slightly herbal, with a few fruit notes as well. Again, similar to a pilsner, but with a few fruit additions.

Mouthfeel: A thin bodied beer with a good crisp carbonation.

Drinkability: Sitting at only 4.6%, it's a beer that's easily drinkable. Although, the flavor and aroma is mediocre, so I'm not sure that it's something I want to pick up again.

 931 characters

Photo of beersarang
3.15/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale gold with a big bubbled head that didn't last long at all. Macro?!?

Faint aroma... not much to discern here.

Slight grainy malt flavor gives way to the tiniest of hop bitterness and flavor. Grassy if anything. Wimpy all the way.

Light bodied. Would be great on a hot day, but overall pretty bleh and plain.

 328 characters

Photo of flyers1980
3.62/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was very excited to finally try my first beer from Ballast Point. Poured into a Pilsener glass and noticed a light body, though a bit darker than an American version, most likely due to German malts. Definite fruitiness to the tone- not sure if I can pinpoint which fruit exactly but grape seems as close as any. Very crisp, breezy, and fresh upon taste- I'd call this a beach beer! Bring a cooler, watch the waves crash in and enjoy!

 434 characters

Photo of happy4hoppybeer
2.68/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Fizzy pale yellow, with thin foamy white head.

Aromas of bread/dough, very grainy, with some faint malt. Pretty boring nose.

Some sweetness, faint traces of malt, even fainter, if any hops. Very grainy, light-bodied. Usual high carbonation. Pretty bland and lifeless brew.

 274 characters

Photo of GarrisWH
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear golden color with a thin, white head that quickly drops down to nothingness. Leaves very light lacing behind.

S - Light citrus aromas as well as some spicy, fruity, yeast qualities.

T - Slightly tart, citrus flavors as well as an herbal character make up most of the flavor. Pale malts also come through as well as a bit of yeast. Finish is crisp and dry. No unpleasant off flavors, but lacking a bit in flavor intensity.

M - Light bodied with a pretty subdued carbonation. Very smooth going down.

D - A decent enough beer, albeit simple and light. I was somewhat expecting a pale ale when I bought the sixer, and was slightly disappointed to see I had bought a kolsch instead. Not bad, but nothing exciting here at all.

 742 characters

Photo of ThomasMetal75
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A- Hazy orange/copper appearance. Has a one finger of foamy head. Looks like a typical adjunct lager head. This has some carbination, but it's not real noticeable. Looks like a slightly paler version of a kolsh.

S- Malty sweetness. Fruity hop spice. There is also a lemony element here. Has a lager type graininess.

T- Follows nose. Malty sweetness. Fruity hop spice. Lemons. Lager type graininess.

M- Mild. Crisp, clean and refreshing. Finish starts out with sweet, but ends fairly dry. Easy drinking beer for sure. No complaints here. It just about drinks like a lager.

Overall this beer is very good. It's what got Ballast Point going. And I'm glad they stepped up their game in just about everything else they've done. It's an above average beer for sure, just not anything that blew my socks off. This would be excellent with seafood like mild whitefish, shrimp, or crab. I'd say try this if you are new to the craft beer scene or if you just want something that is light and extremely flavorful. You won't be disappointed.

 1,034 characters

California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 1,053 ratings.
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