California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

BA SCORE
81
good
422 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:
422
Ratings:
1,335
Avg:
3.55
pDev:
13.8%
 
 
Wants:
47
Gots:
280
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 422 | Ratings: 1,335
Photo of Halcyondays
3.13/5  rDev -11.8%
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 +12.7%
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 +2.3%
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 -10.7%
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 +16.9%
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 +3.1%
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 -7.6%
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 -5.6%
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 +14.1%
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 -13.2%
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 +12.1%
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 -2.5%
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 +19.7%
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 +2.3%
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 -2%
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%
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 +10.4%
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 +12.7%
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 +3.7%
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 -15.5%
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%
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 +21.1%
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 -7.6%
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 +20.3%
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%
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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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.55 out of 5 based on 1,335 ratings.
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