California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
81
good
373 Reviews
BEER INFO

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

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:
373
Ratings:
1,048
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
24.29%
 
 
Wants:
37
Gots:
179
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 373 | Ratings: 1,048
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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of gabeerfan
4.18/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thought I would crack this open on the first hot day we've had this year.
Pours a slightly hazy gold color with a somewhat fizzy head that only leaves a very thin ring.
Very subtle aromas. Some lemon and orange juice, very light grassiness. It took several whiffs to even get that much.
Flavors are stronger than the aroma would let on. Lots of lemon juice, little bit of honey, saltine crackers, and grassy hops.
Light bodied. Nice carbonation.
Very drinkable. Light bodied, good flavors and a somewhat low ABV make this a great summertime beer.
Too bad this isn't available in GA yet, I would get this beer all throughout the summer. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of NickTheGreat
4.17/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L (4.25) - A bit more of an orangey yellow, and has a nice white foam on top.
S (4) - Not a lot of aroma, but a little bit of hops are noticed
T (4.25) - I find this very well balanced between hop and malt. If you think about the malt, you notice that, but start considering the hops and they pop out. Very well balanced.
F (4) - Easy drinking beer, carb'ed about right.
O (4.25) - All in all, I liked this beer. I'm kinda hit or miss on some BP stuff, and this is much more "hit."

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Photo of beerdown77
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours slightly cloudy golden with one finger of head. This beer is quite honestly, disappointing. It tastes like a tolerable golden lager at best. Although the beer is still “crafty” in its quality, the flavor is heavy on the bitter malt side of things. It kind of reminds me of a Dortmunder from Great Lakes…only thinner and not as good. Admittedly, I was expecting an APA, and didn’t realize that this was actually a Kolsch midway through my experience; I still didn’t love this beer.

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

As others have said and the label states this is not a pale ale but a kolsch.

Pours a medium gold with little head and little hops aroma. I don't pick up any hops or malt aroma. Taste is a bit soapy? Not much body or hops. Mouthfeel is a light-which is good for a Kolsch. Drinkability-I have to give this beer a good because it is drinkable and is one I could have after mowing the lawn (if I had a lawn)

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Photo of Chizoad
2.55/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Well maybe I came into this thinking I was getting a pale ale of the IPA variety. Sorely disappointed.

Pale yellow gold with nearly no head or lacing. Fruity-cardboard nose. Musty even.

Very similar flavor although maybe even a little worse than the nose. Some malts but the sweetness feels forced.

Decent mouthfeel but not great. Light but not crisp. Not one I'm going to ever have again.

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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.

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Photo of nvsblman
3.4/5  rDev -4%
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 ChrisPratz
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice light amber with a very slight haze to it. Pours to a fingers worth of foam that dissipates to a thin veil of lace that almost completely covers the top.

S: Aromas of grass/grain with some bready/doughy yeast and a hint malt.

T: Some sweetness and tart up front with that doughy biscuit taste and a bit of lemony citrus tart at end with a very mild bitterness that is almost non existent. Very light with a nice amount of flavors.

M: Average carbonation works well with the flavors. Left with a slightly dry taste in the mouth.

O: Very nice and flavorful brew with crisp and clean flavors. Def a nice beer to enjoy on a spring/summer weekend with friends. I'd def get a case of this for a gathering of friends.

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Photo of Pittsburgh
4.3/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up on a whim the other day, and I am glad I did.

Pours a nice golden brown, a bit darker than other pale ales I have had, has a bit more flavor as well. Seems a bit thicker than others, but still has the bitterness necessary.

Very smooth and clean with a hint of lemon/citrus, nice and easy drinking as well, goes down smooth, could be a perfect version of a summer beer for me, it probably does skew my review a bit that its 85 and humid and this is a post 6 hour test review, but I am really feeling this beer right now.

I may come back for a follow up later to make sure I am not overly high on this, but I like the flavor on this pale ale, I think it has a little more flavor than others I've had and I like what they've done with it.

I am definitely getting this again.

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Photo of mobud
2.62/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle into tulip.

A- Dark straw with no head and very light carbonation.

S- Wheat with light smell of cut grass.

T- Light wheat with a tang that I have trouble placing.

M- Insanely thin with almost no body and not all that refreshing.

D- I purchased this beer at a Von's close to my San Diego resort and was unable to find a freshness date or code to find if I was drinking old beer. Ballast Point has such a great rep that I hope it was old and not them. I will give this one another shot if I can get it in the future.

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Photo of TheLiterati
2.03/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a bright gold with reddish highlights and a smallish off white head. Smells of bread, malt, and a hint of hops.

Mouthfeel is watery and thin. Taste is slightly off as well, and is mostly weak. The bottle says it’s styled after “the crisp golden Kolsch ales of Cologne, Germany,” but I’m not so sure about that. Though I didn’t see a freshness date, I’m wondering if I might have gotten a bad bottle.

Has the potential to be a good beer, so maybe I’ll try another bottle at some point. However, if this is the norm for this beer, then I’ll have to pass.

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Photo of GuzzLah
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Well, I bought this thinking it would be a citrusy and medium hoppy APA since it says Pale Ale on the bottle and Ballast Point brewed it.

Come to find out, this is a Kolsch made with Euro hops. OK?

I suppose it tastes pretty good for a Kolsch, but I feel as if I have been duped.

False advertising!

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Photo of SDtastentune
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Yellow and fizzy, poured a head but is quickly dissipating.

S - Grains, bread, and a little malty smell.

T - Bread, malts, not to bitter, not much aftertaste other then malts.

M - Kinda fizzy over carbonation, but a pale ale needs that. Medium to light body.

D - Easy drinker for the not so brave, easy entry lever craft beer. I like more of an IPA true bitter beer or double stout, So this tastes like a light beer to me. Over all pretty balanced and good.

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

A tasty Kolsch from Ballast Point. Dark yellow gold with a foamy white head, with hints of yeast in the aroma. Smooth and medium bodied with a great light hop bitterness that adds a little spiciness to this easy drinkin' brew. 12 oz bottle from a sixpack purchased at the Mission Valley(San Diego) BevMo.

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Photo of PirateUlf73
4.68/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into my cylindrical Spaten glass.

A: Nice gold color, not too light and ever so slightly hazy. Still quite clear. Great white head with fantastic retention and lacing.

S: Light and crisp fruitiness within lovely malt and yeast aromas. Nice and clean smelling.

T: Clean and crisp on the taste as well. Nice malt backbone is made ever so slightly soft and tangy by a bit of wheat. Fruitiness is much more subdued than the nose might suggest. Just a hint of hop bitterness to balance things out.

M: Light and refreshing. Not too heavy and finishes nice and clean with a mildly sweet aftertaste.

D: VERY high. Great carbonation and balance. An optimal choice for a session brew.

This is fast becoming my "everyday" beer of choice. Its drinkability is quite excellent. Although the Kölsch has been thought of as more of a warm-weather brew, I could definitely enjoy this one year-round. It may not be as bold as other styles, but that's where its beauty lies. Worth trying, for sure.

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Photo of BrokenEdge
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I had this back when it was titled a Pale Ale with the words "kolsch" buried underneath. The name change is perfect for this beer in several ways. 1) It really is more of a kolsch than an APA so I'm glad they put that in the forefront and 2) a boring name for a boring beer. This isn't bad, but just so average for it's price point.

Pours a pale yellow gold color, with a thin off white head, and faint hints of soapy lacing. Looks not unlike a lot of macro beers, except slightly more gold in color. Smell is weak but has some mild yeasty spiciness and lemon. Taste has more of the same, with some grassy notes, white fruits (apples, pears, etc), and biscuity maltiness. Faint noble hops, and generally tilting in favor of sweetness. Feels pretty light with high carbonation, but still mostly smooth going down. Crisp fruity finish. Overall, I think this beer is just not worth the cost (about $16 a 6 pack) and there are so many more great pilsner style beers that I'm not sure why anyone would spend so much on this one. Not a hit for me.

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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.

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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 373 ratings.
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