California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

BA SCORE
80
good
421 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:
421
Ratings:
1,326
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
13.84%
 
 
Wants:
48
Gots:
273
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 421 | Ratings: 1,326
Photo of JMD
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy light copper, with auburn tints. Big frothy head that laces the glass.

S: Bread, cookie dough, some grass and yeast. Faint wiff of floral hops.

T: Very bready and doughy. Some carmel and lemon. Finishes with some hop bitterness.

M. Moderate carbonation. Very smooth and creamy. I find the texture of this beer to be its most appealing aspect.

D: I really like this beer. All the flavors are subdued, but they work very well together. This beer does down easy and is very refreshing.

 499 characters

Photo of Troy-Hawaii
2.4/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

There hardly is any taste to this. This was my first Ballast Point beer and I was disappointed. I was expecting a really good craft beer, but it's more like a cheap macrobrew. Not worth a premium price. Not worth tasting again. Would not recommend.

 253 characters

Photo of tr4nc3d
2.46/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

12Fl. OZ. bottle poured into my three floyds pint glass

Immediately as I was opening the beer I can see this one was going to foam out so I got ready. I open it and a little foam came out but not too much.

Pours a very pale yellow with a MONSTER white fluffy head. The head is very frothy and has great head retention and lacing. I cant get over the head man, you can scoop the shit out like ice cream.

Smell is kind of straw like with some funky-ness. Mild hops with the likes of lemon. Some acid like smell is coming in along with the funkyness that dominates. From the smell alone I do not look to forward to tasting it.

Well I guess the taste is not as bad as I smelled. Has a very mild hop taste, kind of herbal and earth like with some malt backbone coming in for only a short while and leaving kind of an acid like dry straw like finish.

Mouthfeel is thin with medium carbonation and an herbal finish to it. This is not bad but just not to my liking.

Overall I would not drink this again and the flavors put me off. I have not had another beer from this style so I will do that and compare and see if its the style I do not like.

 1,143 characters

Photo of stimulus
3.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear golden with a one finger white head.
S: Lightly bitter hops, but not much going on here.
T: Bitter german hops, and a little bit of malt to balance them out.
M: Very good carbonation, light body, crisp finish.
O: This is a good session beer; the type you can drink a six pack of in a night, and with the somewhat low alcohol content, I think I'll keep this in mind in the future.

 444 characters

Photo of ISmith87
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - golden/amber clear color with a thin head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

S - Nothing. Rice, wet cardboard, corn, light banana.

T - slight bitterness, rice, corn, light banana, wet cardboard, wheat, etc. c

M - light, aftertaste is basically nothing. Alc hidden.

O - yea it sucks, closer to Rolling Rock than it is to Dale's Pale Ale or any of the other greats.

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Photo of veinless
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mustard-yellow pour, with some soapy white head that dissipates quickly with moderate lacing.

Smell is of dough, as in bready yeast or something like that, malt character is pretty strong. Hops and fruit also there, though not nearly as much.

Very, very clean crisp feeling upon first sip, and a lot of funky malt too. Bitterness from hops hits at the back-end, along with some citrus, and a slight phenolic taste.

This beer is decently drinkable, but the carbonation is just a bit too high for my taste and holds it back. Body is very nice and light though, considering the more-than-expected malt character in this guy.

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

Deep gold with a vigorous 1 inch pale yellow head. Sweet grain maltiness with a very mild hop citrus notes. Dry malt up front and a mild, soft hop finish. Typical pale ale, IMO. Nothing too exciting, but still a great offering from a good San Diego brewery. Give it a try when you find it.

 289 characters

Photo of snpub540
4.02/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

 660 characters

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.

 505 characters

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 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 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 DabblinWiscCraft
3.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a mixed 12-pack of Ballast Point beers at my local Trig's Cellar 70, and this was one of them. The packaging states that this one is good for another four months. Poured right from the fridge into my Lowenbrau Willi Becher glass.

L: Pours a golden amber--crystal clear--with about a half-inch of eggshell head that persists for a good long while and leaves very little lacing on the glass. There is a flaky particulate present, along with the profuse visible carbonation.

S: Bright bread-like grain notes in the nose--pilsner malts are clearly present. There are also some nice fruit notes of citrus and subtle banana. A bit of grassy hop notes coming through, as well.

T: Sweet bready malts with a definite pilsner profile are foremost on the palate. There are subtle notes of banana and lemongrass playing around the edges. The middle has a good deal of sweetness, with just a bit of that lemon-citrus and grassy quality continuing. The close has more of the sweetbread malt, along with a bit more of that grassy hop flavor and something a bit more astringent, leaving a bit of bitter lingering on the palate.

F: This one is on the lighter side of medium-bodied, with some nice creaminess thanks to a solid level of carbonation. There's just a bit of a watery quality that comes through toward the end of the glass.

O: I've had only a handful of Kolsch-style ales before, so my review should probably be taken with a grain of salt. I will say that I enjoyed the malt bill on this one--it's sweet and easy-drinking. The hops aren't too assertive, but they supply a nice counterbalance to the malts. While this probably won't be a beer I go out of my way to find again, I did enjoy it.

 1,701 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.

 600 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 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.

 431 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.

 972 characters

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.

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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

California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 1,326 ratings.
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