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California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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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 wknight167
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apearance - Pours slightly darker than golden with a 2 finger white head that hangs around for a bit, and leaves some lacing behind.

Nose- Pale malt, a little citrus and a touch of bread.

Palate- Mostly sweet pale malt, but there is some spicy hops and some very light fruitiness.

Mouthfeel- Just north of light bodied and just south of medium carbonation.

Drinkability- Very easy drinking, but nothing to write home about.

 427 characters

Photo of kflorence
3.62/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Drank from the bottle. Poured, I would imagine it to be a golden yellow/amber in color, with a fair amount of head (judging by the carbonation levels).

S: Smelled of floral hops with a more subtle sweet malt blend in there. Also of note are citrus and grass.

T: Pretty balanced palate overall, though slightly hop-dominated initially, but with a definite malt backbone that lingers on the tongue. There is also citrus in there, mostly lemon, as well a grain/bread flavor and some honey.

M: I would say this is a medium-light beer. It's heavier than most light beers, but it's not as heavy as a typical Amber. I found the mouthfeel quite pleasant, as it had some substance to it. Probably a strong point of this beer.

D: The other strong point is definitely the drinkability. Nothing exciting here, but it's pretty well balanced and very sessionable. Wouldn't turn my back on this, but wouldn't seek it out either.

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Photo of farrago
3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Crests at about two fingers of cream white foam, loosely knit and swiftly to dissolve, does cover the surface well before finally gone, the lacing is slight and not that sticky. As yellow as pale orange in color, while lacking depth it holds enough light inside to create a moderate visual presence, close to zero bubbles to be seen. Biscuity, bready nose with orange peel and mineral water nuances, a touch of blanched almonds, has a sort of oily grassiness like the scents of mowing the lawn, there is a waft of toffee at times, the fruit has a pit and skin aspect to it, mostly peach, apricot and pear, lasts mostly due to aggressiveness than depth of scents. Medium-bodied, does a good job of covering the mouth cheek-to-cheek, especially when you factor in the puffed up carbonation. But it's mostly dull and lifeless on the palate with meager portions of peach, apricot, red apple, red cherry fruit and orange peel. The cocoa and caramel lack sweetness, same could be said for the grain bread and corn flavors. Even the hoppiness lacks real bite, you kinda keep waiting for something to go off but the fuse fizzles out. The kind of beer you'd expect to drink at the ballpark.

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Photo of AleWatcher
3.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

Pours a nice clear light gold color with 2 fingers of creamy head rising to the top of my pint glass. Retention and lacing are minimal.

Some fruity notes and a slight sweet malt that is faint. Finishes on a lemony citrus note with hints of grassiness.

Body is a little thick for the style. Good carbonation.

I could certainly have a couple of these. Nothing too crazy or mind-blowing going on here, but nothing unpleasant either.

I would prefer Summertime Chicago by goose

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Photo of tigg924
4.14/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: clear, orange-yellow in color, minimal head, low carbonation

Smell: tropical fruits and toasted malt

Taste: tropical fruits, toasted malt, caramel, honey, and a bit of bread

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, light body, very sweet

Drinkability: I could have several of these. Nice, sweet, and a bit fruity for the style. A good warm day beer, I could have a six.

 373 characters

Photo of bohemiandonut
2.2/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

From a bomb into a wine glass.

I wanted to like this beer,
Even though it is a Kolsch,
Pretending to be a Pale Ale,
That smells like fruity dishwater,
And tastes like moldy wine.
Because it almost has some shape,
Or trans-Atlantic shadow,
But it's really some sick prank,
To be drank in one sweet gulp,
Rather than a bleating horn
of disappointment.
Egh.

 357 characters

Photo of gatornation
3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a golden yellow color with a 1 finger head..smell was light of malt and grain and fruity hops.taste was the same faint in hops and malts with a grain and bread taste..really overall just an average brew across the board..not impressive..1 and done for this one 4 me

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Photo of kbnooshay
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

 310 characters

Photo of scottyshades
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy bright lemon color with a tiny white cap. Retention is OK, and the carbonation looks aggressive.

S: Wheaty and grainy malts, a vinous character, and a bunch of different citrus fruits; lemon, orange, grapefruit. Not too bad for a "Kolsch". Also some bready characters on top of a light hop schedule.

T: I really like this beer...Lots of honey right off the bat give this a sweeter side. The flavor is definitely malt-dominant, lending some wheaty and grainy aspects. Light grassy hops to follow. Bready as it warms. Really really light, but it manages to pack in some flavor.

MF/D: Carbonation was not as intense as I expected, which is a good thing. Feel is slightly rough still, but very enjoyable. Highly enjoyable; light body and feel, but very flavorful

Notes: Definitely a new session beer for me (I love finding new session beers), especially on a hot day in the sun.

 895 characters

Photo of andrenaline
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first time having a Kolsch beer, thanks to my buddy who hooked me up with this one!

A - A pale golden copper colour with a thin layer of head and no real lacing.

S - Grassy and bready malts are the strongest scent, with a bit of bitter hops on the finish.

T - The grassy and bready malts come through off the top, the finish has a light bitter hop flavour, much like the scent.

M - Very light and bubbly on the palette, perfect amount of carbonation and goes down very smooth.

D - A very delicious ale, I was expecting a little more in the hop department, but it was still very tasty and made for an enjoyable first experience for a Kolsch.

 657 characters

Photo of armock
3.03/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Poured a golden color with a white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of light hops and bready malt

T - Follows the smell light hops on bready malt

M - This beer has a light body with higher carbonation to it

D - I was a little disappointed with this one sure it wasn't bad but seeing the tap handle say pale ale I expected a good hoppy pale and I didn't get that this is a beer that I'd passover for something else

 427 characters

Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is a slightly hazy pale gold. Three fingers of foamy white head developed and dissipated slowly to leave a finger thick cap, which itself slowly dissipated to a nice spotted lacing that remained throughout the pint.

Smell: Starts off smelling like a sweet adjunct loaded with corn, but it improves as the pint warms. The adjunct aroma doesn't disappear, but there are caramel malts, lemon, and citrus hops.

Taste: Follows the smell. Corn adjunct, some light caramel malts, lemon, and a nice bite of citrus hops at the end to keep things interesting. It's like a weak British pale ale.

Drinkability: Maybe my taste buds are off tonight because I remember it tasting much better last night. It's a hybrid lager-ale, but it's trying to be more like a lager...a macro lager. It's sad, really.

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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.

 790 characters

Photo of branimal9
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle sampled at home - 5/30/2010.

Cloudy pale gold in color, with a thin and soapy white head. Aroma holds light hops and caramel. Flavor yields delicate honey & toffee maltiness with subtle floral hops. Light in body and super easy to drink. Quite solid overall.

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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.

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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 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 bump8628
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glowing, clear gold with a fluffy mat of stark white head.

Clean and grainy with a definite crusty bread character. Spicy hops hang out in the background and are gone with crisp lager-like finish.

Not much to it, which is kind of the point of a Kolsch. Well-done in all aspects. I just wish they wouldn't call it a pale ale.

 326 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Rec'd this bottle in a trade with the generous EliottJW. The last surviving beer from a recent box that was brimming with Cali goodness.

Pours a nice, clear yellow, although the second glass was clouded by the bottom-feeders. Smell is bare light hops & pale malts.

Yellowtail is mild, pleasant, 75 degrees with only high clouds in the forecast. Light spices, cool sweet malt, crushed saltines without the salt, bare minimum of hopping to give it a gummed bite. Nothing leaps out, but this is a brew that one could sip, sip, sip, sip & sip more while grilling or mowing or clipping or all of the above. Drinkability is an 800 pound gorilla. Crisp, clean, sharp, all those adjectives that describe a good, lower ABV brew apply here.

Very nice beer & an excellent example of a kolsch. Too many of this style have a watery aspect, or lack taste, or are just plain boring. This is good. I likes.

 896 characters

Photo of andyinsdca
1/5  rDev -71.8%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Based on the other reviews here, I must have gotten a bad bottle, but who knows? The beer was fizzy to the point of looking almost like soap bubbles. The taste was a strange fruity/sweet/sour taste that I did not expect from a pale ale that was very off-putting. I had a few sips and dumped this beer.

I am surprised at the quality of this beer (or this specific bottle) as I like other Ballast Point beers.

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Photo of billshmeinke
3.96/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So I didn't read the label before purchasing this one, and apparently it's a Kolsch not an American Pale Ale.

Golden with the tiniest hint of amber in color. Very clear, no effervescence, looks like there are some tiny particles suspended in the beer as well. Finger and a half white finger. that dies down to a layer of foam on top composed of tiny bubbles. Pretty decent lacing as well.

Smells of vague fruitiness (grape?), light pale malts, biscuit/bread scent, a floral and herbal hop aroma and a very light metallic scent too.

Tastes of a light grape fruitiness, sweet pale malts, some biscuit and toasted bread, and herbal/floral/dank hops. Pretty flavorful, and the very light metallic scent does not come through in the taste.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Silky smooth.

Drinkability is very solid. So this is the first Kolsch I have ever had, so I'm not sure if how I rated this beer is completely fair. I will revisit this beer/review after I have some other Kolsch's to compare it to. Even though I was expecting an American Pale Ale, I found this beer pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of letsgopens
2.97/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked up several selections from Ballast Point today at 3 Sons including this little fella. It pours a completely translucent, golden, wheat-color with sparse rising bubbles. The soapy pearl head recedes quickly and soon becomes almost non-existent. A slippery ring barely sticks to the glass.

Grainy golden malt up front with some spicy/floral hops that work their way in. A bit of buttered toast and subtle overall.

Much like the aroma would suggests; the flavor starts off with a firm, husky grain note accompanied by toasty malt and a buttery consistency. The malt gives way to some floral hop character. Finishes dry with just a hint of slick booziness which is surprising for the ABV/style.

Crisp, bright mouthfeel which is to be expected but then fades to a cloudy, almost musky, dryness. A decent representation of a style that is known for its drinkability so I would consider it fairly 'middle of the road' for this category.

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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 PittBeerGirl
2.18/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A- Transparent golden yellow that pours with a fizzy white head. Head fades pretty quickly but a thin collar remains. No lacing is left behind in the glass.

S- Nose is moderate but offers lots and lots of pale malt and some musty, earthy hops in the background.

T- Taste is very similar to the smell-but honestly this reminds me of MGD or something. Pale malt is the highlight of the flavor but the finish is an accent of hops (similar to the triple hopped miller)...its just not for me.

M- Light to medium body and fizzy carbonation.

D- I got through about half the glass than decided I didn't want it anymore-drain pour. What's really a shame about this for me is that it is my first disappointment from Ballast Point. I love Sculpin, Big Eye, Double Dorado, Victory at Sea...but this just isn't for me. I guess every brewery has to have their beer that appeals to BMC drinkers...and this is it...unfortunately its on the same tier instead of a step up-even though its supposed to be a completely different style.

 1,019 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
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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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 1,316 ratings.
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