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:
1,047
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
14.41%
 
 
Wants:
37
Gots:
178
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 373 | Ratings: 1,047
Photo of mikedepue
3.08/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint glass

A - Poured straw yellow with white head that left quickly.

S - Light crisp smell, nothing spectacular.

T - Tastes like it smells, way too light for my palat. Somewhat refreshing. Slight hoppyness but not nearly enough (just not a fan of the style).

M - Thin

D - Drinkable beer, but the only time I'd want to was a very hot summer day. Worth a try.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

About ½ way through the review I pulled up the site to get ready to post my review. I see this is listed as a Kolsch. This explains quite a bit. I like it, but thought it was

Light golden color with quite a bit of visible carbonation quickly escaping to the surface. The head is bright white and foamy. Rises to about 2 fingers and quickly fades to a thin cap. Just the slightest touch of lacing remains.

Aroma is slightly sweet and with some light cracker notes. Slightly grassy and also a touch yeast.

Lighter than I had imagined, but still pretty good. Balance is the order of the day here. Initial moment of sweetness is quickly balanced with some nice bitterness. Light bready and hay flavors. Ends with a little doughy note and some sweetness.

Fairly light body and bright mouth feel.

Very drinkable and a nice beer. This is an excellent gateway beer.

Nicely done!

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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 NicholasMiller
4.25/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I first had this beer at a pasta cafe on coronado in san diego and man was I in love. although it isn't the typical english style pale ale but a german kolsch style, I thought it was so good they could of called it a porter. everything about this beer is good to great. I drank so much of it this summer that my local bevmo started stocking it in the fridges there. I recommend this beer to everyone.

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Photo of Ezekiel81923
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another bottle I picked up at the Charleston Beer Exchange while on vacation. Tried this one the same night as the Calico, in a similar pint glass.

Appearance: Light amber/gold in color with some haziness to it. About a one finger head of foam that leaves ok lacing.

Smell: Yeast and malt with some fruitiness coming through from the hops, but not much. Kind of a let down in the aroma category but as long as it tastes good I won't mind.

Taste: Has some fruity and floral hop flavors to it, but the malt flavor is more pronounced.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with pretty even bitterness throughout the experience. Dry in the finish as well.

Drinkability: High thanks to the low ABV and light flavors. The malt and hops are pretty well balanced so it won't tire you out.

Decent, but for what its worth I haven't had too many Kolsch styles that have blown me away.

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Photo of SpdKilz
3.48/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tasted on tap while in San Diego on a quick Labor Day vacation. I will admit, I was a bit tipsy from drinking some wine over a great steak dinner beforehand but I went through the routine while trying this.

Appearance - When given to me by the waitress, there is about a half inch of head, and okay lacing. The color is a light amber color.

Smell - Honestly, week. I get made fun of yet again by my fiancée for smelling beer in a restaurant. You can smell floral tones with a bit of malt.

Taste - Again, fruity, floral, sweet. A bit of peach and a hop crispness.

Mouthfeel - Light/medium bodied. Decent carbonation - fitting for this drink.

Drinkability - It was an okay drink, but I don't think I will seek this out. Decent Drinkability but nothing special imo.

 769 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.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.92/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. Poured bright golden yellow with a very thin white head that left little lacing. Aromas were simple with some hints of biscuity malt and trace citric hop. Tastes were crisp with notes of biscuity malt (similar to other Ballast Point offerings), mildly fruity, with a slight grassy hop bitterness on the clean finish. Mouth-feel was thin to medium, but creamy and smooth with moderate carbonation. Well balanced and represents the style well.

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Photo of jdskinns
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this one in a trade. Not a huge Kolsch fan, but this one is good. Cloudy, yellow/gold body with a pillowy white head that sits around for a while. Smells like a lot of citrus and a little soapy smell at the end. Very drinkable, light beer with an earthy, bitter flavor.

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Photo of birchstick
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - golden in appearance with a massive, frothy head

S - smells of malts, a lot of citrus, and a bit of soap.

T - a bit of wheat, with a lot of citrus and some grassy hops. Very light and refreshing.

MF - goes down pretty smooth and full.

D - this is an easy drinking, delicious kolsch. One of the better ones I have had.

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Photo of hardy008
3/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear gold color with a white one finger head. Aroma is of lemon, hops, and bread. The taste is somewhat sweet, and matches the aroma. The mouthfeel is somewhat thin. The beer is crisp, refreshing, and easy to drink with decent carbonation. It is also somewhat generic. Nothing wrong with this beer, but nothing which stands out either.

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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.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.3/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a clear gold with a good-sized 2-finger head on top. Decent retention leaves some pretty lacing spots and rings. Smells of grassy hops, and buttery grains.

The mouth is crisp with a medium-high amount of carbonation. Flavor is of buttered biscuits finished with a sharp hop bite. This is one of the more refreshing beers I've had this summer. This will be a regular for barbecues and ballgames.

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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 OtherShoe2
4.27/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium clear yellow with a nice foamy head that left a little lace.

Good bready and light malt aromas, with a bit of yeast in the mix.

BIg surprise with the level of sweet malt and light fruit in this one (for a Kolsch). Nice, complex shift in flavors with each sip. Light bready flavor, then some bitter hop leaf, then some sweet maltiness and light fruit, turning to a dry end. What more could you ask?

Medium body, to medium-light. This was a bomber from around the grill, and it was perfect. Great drinkable summer beer. Went down extremely easy, and had no harsh edges. Great balance between the sweet and dry. WTF is wrong with me. I'vbe been staring at this beer on the shelves for abou a year before finally pulling the trigger and buying it yesterday. Well worth it. I will definitely explore other offerings from these guys. Buy this.

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Photo of sholland119
3.62/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a clear yellow gold with a generous amount of white head but no lacing.

S-A nice biscuit malt presence with some light hoppiness lingering in the background.

T-Sweet biscuit malt with light syrupy notes. The hop presence in the nose does not carry over.

M-Light bodied, medium cabornation.

D-This is a nicely drinkable summer beer.

HV

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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.

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Photo of charliedango
2.9/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Plenty has been said about this beer, however I'm wondering if age of the beer plays a factor. Considering I am based in the midwest, hundreds of miles away from a major metropolitan area, it would make sense that the Ballast Point brews we get here are older than what other cities and other states get.

With that said, I've gone through a six pack of bottles in which each bottle produced a head greater in volume than the content of liquid being poured into the glass. I don't know how that happens, but it's happened consistently here.

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Photo of NCSUdo
3.59/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

A: Deep golden under a medium white head. Good lace and retention.

S: Malty, exactly like a Kolsch should smell like. Earth like, bit of bread. Maybe a little bit of pine hop.

T: Again, the malt is the big player. Medium bitterness and a hint of citrus and grassy hop. Hint of grape that isn't out of place.

M/D: Light to medium bodied, soft carbonation. Good drinkability. Overall, a solid beer. Could use some bolstering in the aroma and taste department, but it's a pretty good Kolsch despite some missing elements.

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Photo of LordofTime25
3.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a dark cloudy yellow with a thin white head.

Smells like sweet malts with honey and maybe some grassiness from the grains.

Tastes kind of grain at first, but then there is a sweetness I belive from honey. Then you get a slight bitterness.

Very crisp form carbonation and light.

A good brew worth a drink or two every now and then.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of washburnkid
4.08/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked up a 6er of these at Berkeley Andronico's for a great price.

A: A finger of white, frothy head over hazy, semi-unfiltered dark yellow to light golden. Thin layer of head hangs around.
S: Sweet malts with honey, and a small bite of that pils grassy hop characteristic.
T: Grainy at first. Sweet honey comes through with the grassy hops to balance. I get the slightest hint of hops, and they really add something special to this beer. Small note of metallic.
M: Pretty crisp carbonation, and light-bodied like a lager.
D: Very refreshing! And at 4.60%ABV, this is one beer that you can literally get lost in all day. Seemingly perfect for the style.

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Photo of PintOHops
3.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance/Smell - Appears clear golden amber with almost a quarter inch of bubble bath like head and fair retention. Has little strings of champagne like carbonation, about lite Id say, and most of it dies down around 3/4 of consuming. Leaves no lacing either, Id say the appearance was lacking. Smells mostly of very sweet malts, and lite chocolate cake aromas, but there's some fruity tart grape, pair, and date notes. Overall very malty, with cake like aromas.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Tastes very similar to how it smells, lots of malty, chocolate cake like flavors flood the palate, and leaves little room for the lite pine, slightly dry hop bitterness on the finish. Some fruity date, and sweet molasses flavors come through as well, although very subtle. Overall malty domination! Mouthfeel is smooth, slightly silky, a little oily, and lite-medium bodied. Pretty average feel but on the desirable side.

Drinkability/Final thoughts - Well this beer really really reminded me of Fat Tire, with all it's chocolaty cake flavors and over the top malts. No that's not bad but, more like something you feel like once in a while. Not bad and pretty enjoyable, but for the money Id probably go with Fat Tire, my personal choice. Give it a try, it's still a decent beer with good flavors. Cheers!

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