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:
272
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 421 | Ratings: 1,326
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.

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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.

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

This refreshing Kolsch pours a light straw color, with a nice frothy white head that leaves healthy lacing. The nose give off some hints of yeast, light malty breadiness, and an even fainter hop aroma in the background. When you first sip this brew there is a nice sweet, but light maltiness that is followed by a near perfect hop balance. This very drinkable Kolsch finishes fairly dry, with a light abv of 4.60%.

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

Ballast Point's Yellowtail Pale Ale has a bright golden body with a very white head that is about a finger tall. The retention is ok and some scrappy lacing is left behind.

The aroma has some pale malts and some ale yeast fruitiness. Not a bad aroma, but it lacks any punch.

Yellowtail Pale Ale tastes OK, but I don't really notice much of a hop presence. A decent amount of pale malts are sweet and cracker-like. The ale yeast provides some nice fruitiness. I would like at least a little more hops. I know Kolsches aren't supposed to be hop bombs or anything, but they shouldn't taste like they are all malt either.

The body is probably a touch over medium for a kolsch, and the carbonation is middle of the road.

Drinkability, is pretty solid, which is something I will say for the kolsch style in general. Yellowtail Pale Ale is solid, but not great.

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

Shipped from South Bay drugs. Note: despite the name, this is a kolsch and not a pale ale. Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass. No dating info but South Bay always has fresh stock on this one. It was a cloudy golden yellow color with good carbonation. It had about a finger of fizzy white that dissipated into a thin collar. Slight sliding lace that doesn't stick.

The aroma is standard kolsch with German hops, vinous aroma, bready malt. Pilsener. Very crisp and clean. A bit spicy from the hops. The taste is very good as well. Probably the strongest tasting kolsch I've had. Most others seem light and maybe a little watery but this one has an acidic bite to it that I enjoyed. The vinious aspect shows even more in the taste. Very refreshing and would be great on a hot Texas day. Mouthfeel was medium with good carb and a crisp after-taste.

Overall, an excellent kolsch that I recommend. Stands out from the other kolschs and shows what the style can be. A couple 12oz'ers or on 22oz is enough at a sitting but could see this as a summer staple (if available here which it isn't). Roatation - not avail here in TX. Definite tap when out West and occasional shipped bottle.

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

The beer pours a pale gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a light pilsner malt scent along with moderate hop aroma and clean finish. The taste is decent as well. It's crisp and clean with a touch of hop bitterness and a solid pilsner malt composition. It's not a complex brew, but it's an easy drinker. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a low bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a great summertime brew; light and refreshing.

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Photo of ocelot2500
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden color with a frothy white head that leaves a decent amount of lacing on the glass.

Smells of bready, pale malts and some fruitiness.

Tastes of the bready malt upfront followed by a slight hop flavor. Wish there was more of that herbal hoppiness, but there is in fact very little. Finishes dry and a little sweet. Some fruit notes are brought out at the end by the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is medium light with a good amount of crisp carbonation.

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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.

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Photo of Bajasith
3.51/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have had plenty of pale ales and this is not a pale ale... Being that it cleary states its a Kolsch with a twist.

A: Very nice golden color and very clear with a nice two finger head that dissipated rather quickly.
S: Very earthy with biscuit tones and a slight hint of hops.
T: Very distinct flavor of sour bread washed down with mineral water... Almost nutty.
M: Not much going on here as for flavor intensity. Very light and a small kick of hopps at the end.
D: Could be a great summer beer if you dont want heavy flavor to get in the way of a sixer.

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Photo of weazal
3.4/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Yellow hay color. Light head...I hate to say it, but kinda urine looking.

Smell: Light, sweet. Some alcohol at the end.

Taste: It tastes like it smells, but more intense and earthy. It has a dry nuttiness and hoppy flavor. Surprisingly clean and brisk with a little tang at the end.

Light, sizzly carbonation on the tongue. Quick and easy to drink.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice golden color with a fairly-large white head. The nose has a lot of malt, especially for a beer being labeled as a kolsch. Along the same lines, this is pretty hoppy, so it seems like BP is right in describing this as a pale ale. Bready malt and some citrus hops come through in the nose and taste. Mouthfeel is very nice and refreshing, with more of the German lager-type carbonation atop this softer pale ale. Drinkability is good.

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

12 oz bottle, poured into a La Chouffe tulip. See-thru golden body with a modest fluffy white head and some drippy lacing.

Smells very mild, but pleasant- light grains, a little bready, a little fruity.

Tastes quite fruity and sweet right away, a little reminiscent of white grapes and pears. The fruitiness lasts for a couple of seconds, and then is chased away by crisp grains and a momentary, but substantial sting of grassy bitterness. Finishes a bit oily/sticky, with lingering pear notes.

Overall impression: An unexpectedly bold, but enjoyable take on the style.

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

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a clear golden colour with a firm white head, good retention, some creamy lace.

S: Classic Kolsch nose of white grape and ale fruit, bready malt.

T: The malt is nice and there is a good fruit/pear-like flavour to this brew. There is a fair amount of hops in this beer, a San Diego take for sure. Hops are very green and grassy, not exactly my style, and it's too hoppy for this kind of beer.

M: Light-bodied, kind of flabby at times with a crisp finish.

D: A solid Kolsch, but I really prefer the classic Koln-made stuff in this style. Not a beer where being overly hoppy is a virtue.

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

Poured a clean amber , nice lacing. Smell was dominated by malts and a touch of citrus. The mouthfeel and the taste were very smooth and easy on the palate. This is a very drinkable beer, something that I could see pounding on the beach in San Diego all day, but I think it suffers from being overshadowed by the guys at Stone. It doesn't stand out, but maybe that was the intentions, good beer though.

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Photo of GJ40
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12oz bottle purchased from Apex Beverage Co in Apex, NC. No noticeable best by date.

A - Light yellow with great clarity and a moderate white head that sticks around for a while. It leaves some decent lacing behind.

S - Some grassy hops with a touch of lemon and black pepper.

T - A light fruit flavor with clean and crisp finish. Toward the dry side but not dry.

M - Moderate consistency with a moderate to high carbonation.

D - This beer is enjoyable, refreshing and very easy to drink but not all that interesting.

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Photo of sbw138
3.17/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought a bottle at another great trip to Pub on Passyunk East. Poured a golden yellow, with a bright white, but thin head. Left a small tracing at the top, but very little the more I drank.

Bready, malty smell. Pretty much what you'd expect from a Kolsch.

Light bready, malty taste, nice crisp finish.

Not really my style of beer, but not bad for what it is.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.15/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At long last, nepotism rears its ugly head on The CANQuest (TM)! For those not in the know, I write for Ale Street News (and others) while my cousin, Colby Chandler, is the specialty brewer at Ballast Point B.C. It has been a closely-unguarded secret for some time and I have written about our relationship as well as making appearances with Colby at various venues and events. He knows of my affinity for CANned beer and especially craft CANs, so when they began CANning their beers, he knew precisely who to send some for a fair and balanced review.

From the CAN: "Handcrafted & CANned in San Diego, California"; "Dedicated to the Craft"; "The Beer That Launched Ballast Point"; "Our original Pale Ale is a rich golden brew, crafted with aromatic German hops and rounded out with a blend of American and Munich malts. While it's hopped like a lager, we ferment it like an ale to create a smooth, bright taste that has just a hint of fruit and spice. It's extremely drinkable, like a Kolsch should be. And complex, like a good craft beer demands."

The Crack revealed yet another brimful craft CAN and I was ready to see what was inside. An inverted Glug later, curtailed midway through as it threatened to overflow the sides of the glass, and I had a massive finger-and-a-half of French Vanilla-colored head with good retention in the face of today's humidity. Color was a deep, rich gold with NE-plus quality clarity, allowing me to see into the future.

I will be returning to the site of the creation of the term, "NE-quality clarity", which refers to one being able to read the Sunday comics through it, a level of clarity used by the brewer at Empyrean BC in Lincoln, NE to describe the kind of beer his patrons wanted in 2006 when I visited. I will be going back in late-February 2015 for a joint birthday celebration with Val MidWest who turns 21 y/o on Valentine's Day of that year while I will hit the big 5-Oh on the 25th. The party is planned for Yia Yia's and Old Chicago on Saturday, 28 Feb 2015 if anyone wants to join us.

While I was typing, the head fell, allowing me to lean in for a good whiff. The nose had a distinct biscuit malt/bready yeast quality, like freshly baked bread or biscuits. Yum! Mouthfeel was medium and the initial flavor was of mixed fruit, but followed with a subdued yeasty spiciness. It was like JuicyFruit gum, but with a bite. Finish was semi-sweet and highly refreshing on this hazy, humid day. Of the two so far (Longfin Lager) and this one, I am giving the majority of the cooler space to this, but neither really trip my trigger the way that the next two CAN.

The following is my original Bottle review dtd 12-31-2009

It arrived with a finger of bone-white head with good retention. Color was a bright golden-yellow with NE-quality clarity (although that is redundant when using the term "bright" to describe a beer). Nose had an interesting tang, a little sweet, as though the hops and yeast were fighting it out. Mouthfeel was medium with a sweetish, spicy black pepper taste on the tongue. Finish was dry, but not overly so.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.66/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into an alt glass.

Pours a very golden amber with a lot of carbonation, a nice tight little head with good retention. Nose is a bit wheaty/malty with a bit of hoppiness but it's similar to a marzen.

Mouthfeel is a little bit ligt/watery, but still good and easy drinking. Has a toastiness with some subtle wheat and nice earthiness to it. for a so-called pale ale, I'd like it to be a bit hoppier, but as a Kolsch it's just about where it should be.

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

Trying another Kolsch. I have a hard time reviewing these to style, as I'm not sure I've ever really had an excellent one. But I generally enjoy them regardless.

Appearance - A nice light golden/hay color. Very clear. Two inches of stark white head soap bubble quickly dissipate into a thin ring. Looks nice.

Smell - Lots of sweet grains in this one. Almost like an old, slightly moldy grain bin. Hint of biscuit. Almost like bread dough.

Taste - Follows the smell. Starts off with a little citrus bitterness, and a little dry. Then it mellows out for a moment before turning quite sweet and grainy. There's a dry sourness on the finish I'm not loving.

Mouthfeel - Nice and light. I'd love a hint more carbonation.

Drinkability - Oh, I could polish off a sixer without blinking. That said, it wouldn't really hold my interest either. I'd probably just take them straight from the bottle if I was in the mood to just have beers.

It's beer. Hooray beer. Nah, it's quite quaffable, but nothing special. Next.

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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 cpetrone84
4.05/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-golden yellow color, thick white head, bubbles flowing throughout the glass throughout, light lacing left on the glass

S-light bready smell, some yeast, hint of fruit, and light citrus

T-pale malt up front, citrus hops to balance, sweet fruit finish of white grapes

M-lots of carbonation, light body, crisp finish

D-pretty tasty and light, solid session beer

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