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 pat61
4/5  rDev +13%

Rich malty nose, mild herby hops. light fruit
Brilliant golden amber, 2" fluffy bone white foam cap, produces excellent lace.
Malty palate, graham cracker to biscuit, mild hop accent
medium body and carbonation

 210 characters

Photo of seagullbeer
2.25/5  rDev -36.4%

I thought I was getting a pale ale and was pretty confused until I looked it up. Wanted to have some gentle hops today but for Kolsh it was okay. Pretty simple light malty flavor with some hints of apricot and sweetness. I should probably try it again when I want a Kolsh.

 273 characters

Photo of Immortale25
3.26/5  rDev -7.9%

Had on-tap at Bier Garden Asheville. Served in a pint glass.

A- Pours a medium amber color with a 1/4 inch off-white head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Very sweet aroma makes me think of honey.

T- Somewhat bland flavor has notes of bread and not much else. Probably the least hoppy pale ale I've ever had. Noticeable alcohol presence. Quite lame.

M- Pretty thin with medium carbonation and a lightish body.

O- They really missed the mark on this one. Might as well just be an amber for how weak it tastes. My least favorite Ballast Point beer by far.

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Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a clear, orange-yellow color with a small white head. The aroma is malt driven with some tropical fruit. The taste matches the aroma to a "T" with a sweet finish.

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Photo of Tom_the_bomb
2.98/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Overall, not bad. Although, having recently sampled PBR (pabst) in a can, no less, I actually find PBR to have more character - from aroma, character, lingering taste appeal - I think the PBR revival has something going - including an attractive price point. a 24 pack at $13 goes much further than 22 oz. at $5. i'll stick with sculpin if I'm looking for real character.

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Photo of humuloner22
3.49/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

As a pale ale as the label states on its label its not. But, as a Kolsch its not bad. I have had beers I liked better. It states that its fermented at ale levels but its more of a Kolsch. I read that others felt misled, but its on the label. As for most breweries who do fantastic hoppy beers this one falls short. More malt than anything else detected. Its crisp, but it also has the funk or whatever you call it that is typical of Kolsch beers. For the price I can get just as good Kolsch beers that are actually true Kolsch, so for me its a one and done, but I still love Ballast Point's hoppy IPA's. Sculpin is just about perfect and among my all time favorite beers.

 671 characters

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

Like everyone has said before me; THIS IS NOT A TRADITIONAL PALE ALE
This beer pours, tastes and smells like a pilsner, very similar to a miller light imo.
You could straight beer bong this shit.
I was also disappointed as many others here that the packaging does not represent the correct product. This is a great session beer or if youre eating a big meal but other than that there is no reason for me to buy this again. Very little to no hops. :(

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Photo of gfg0020
1/5  rDev -71.8%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I'm generally fair in my reviews. I'm also not generally lied to about what style of beer I'm purchasing. Putting "Pale Ale" in big print and "Kolsh" in tiny print is misleading. So as far as a pale ale goes this beer is terrible. I'm rating it as a pale ale because it says that's what it is on the bottle.

 307 characters

Photo of ANIMOUL
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bias-Alert: I typically like (nee LOVE) ALL San Diego brews.

That said, upfront, the beer is mis-labeled. When I think of a "Pale Ale" I tend to think of an "IPA Light"... but, as the words on the can warn, this is more of a kolsch style beer. That said, for the style, its damn good. A very refreshing and crushable beer... a great choice to enjoy after a long run or on a Sunday afternoon bbq. Tastes like a very well done Budweiser... which is a complement in my book.

 472 characters

Photo of thomda11
3.42/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I think this is pretty well done for its style. I was taken a bit off guard at first, as I was not expecting a Klosch Style Ale, but rather something along the lines of a American Pale Ale (I failed to see the small print that denoted the beer as "Klosch Style"). Overall, I would say it is a pretty decent beer that can appeal to a wide audience. It would be a fantastic beer to drink by the pool on a hot day.

 411 characters

Photo of atigerlife
3.57/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden with a fluffy white head with decent retention. Good carbonation rising.

Aroma is grainy. LIght malts. Not too much going on.

Taste has some light hops, light malts. A clean taste with some spices coming through at the end.

Mouthfeel is light bodied and cleansing.

Overall, a decent brew. Sessionable. Good beer to drink while watching a sporting event on TV, which is what I did.

 405 characters

Photo of MerkinMan
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Medium gold and very clear. Fluffy white head that has some staying power (settles in slowly).

S: Cracker-like grain presence with a touch of sulfur in the nose. Some earthy hop aroma (light). Dominant scents are grainy and sulfur. Just a touch of DMS, but not in a bad way. Very slightly buttery.

T: Starts with a cracker like grain flavor followed by balancing bitterness with a little bit of a banana flavor in the finish. Finishes otherwise pretty dry with lingering bitterness. Balance is a little toward hop bitterness without much hop flavor at all.

MF: Medium light bodied and well carbonated. No creaminess - somewhat prickly on the the tongue. No heat or astringency.

O: A good standard American pale ale with a small interesting twist which is the slightly fruity, but not very long facet of the finish. The label does say in small letters "Kolsch Style Ale", and I wonder if this was added to account for the fruitiness, or if this was intentional. I'd drink more of these, but might not seek it out.

 1,020 characters

Photo of beermemarge
2.84/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Poured from bottle to glass. Orange, yellow, brown in appearance. Small head that quickly dissipated. Decent carbonation. Strong malt nose, really enjoyable smell. Taste wasn't as balanced. Heavy malt flavor, apple, little bit of spice, really sweet. Very low bitterness with high amount sweetness made the beer off balanced. Medium mouth feel. Not bad but there are much better beers from this brewery.

 403 characters

Photo of RDB51
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Yellowtail is an excellent beer. It is a perfect selection for a fresh, on tap product, here close to the brewery. Its appearance is slightly darker than a golden color. (I am color blind so I guess there is a red or brown tint.) The fresh draft product is lightly carbonated and the head is firm but less than most beers. Yellowtail is a very popular beer in San Diego bars, so it does not rest in the tap lines long. It is very accessible to those who drink beer occasionally or who are deviating from their domestic lager rut. It seems slightly sweeter than other pale ales.

While I would normally select a IPA for one or two beers with a meal, when I order a pitcher of half priced brew, I normally select Yellowtail. This smooth, low carbonated product is a great pick for watching 2-3 hours of sports in a bar. (Go Blackhawks!)

 834 characters

Photo of T100Mark
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance - Great clarity. Nice golden color. Minimal head. Minimal stickage.

Smell - Smells like a Budweiser.

Taste - Thin malt backbone. Crisp, clean hop flavor.

Mouth - Thin. Crisp.

Overall - When is an ale not an ale? When it's a Ballast Point kolsch style ale. This beer taste like an adjunct American lager, only more so. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

 421 characters

Photo of devilben02
3.34/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours from the can with a slightly hazy, apple-juice-like yellow-orange color and a big, fluffy head. The aroma is musty yet clean, like a freshly scrubbed beach house. The flavor has a nice balance of herbal, slightly lemony hops over a bed of light, biscuity malts that provide a note of sweetness. The fine carbonation, medium resinous body and drying finish all act to weigh down the flavors rather than lift them up, though. Overall, however, this is a light and drinkable yet satisfying beer that I would gladly reach for again.

 534 characters

Photo of ThomasMetal75
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A- Hazy orange/copper appearance. Has a one finger of foamy head. Looks like a typical adjunct lager head. This has some carbination, but it's not real noticeable. Looks like a slightly paler version of a kolsh.

S- Malty sweetness. Fruity hop spice. There is also a lemony element here. Has a lager type graininess.

T- Follows nose. Malty sweetness. Fruity hop spice. Lemons. Lager type graininess.

M- Mild. Crisp, clean and refreshing. Finish starts out with sweet, but ends fairly dry. Easy drinking beer for sure. No complaints here. It just about drinks like a lager.

Overall this beer is very good. It's what got Ballast Point going. And I'm glad they stepped up their game in just about everything else they've done. It's an above average beer for sure, just not anything that blew my socks off. This would be excellent with seafood like mild whitefish, shrimp, or crab. I'd say try this if you are new to the craft beer scene or if you just want something that is light and extremely flavorful. You won't be disappointed.

 1,034 characters

Photo of TheMarkE
3.71/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Clear, light golden color with good head and lacing, noticeable carbonation.

Smell: Very subtle hints of bready malts and tropical fruit.

Taste: Bready malts, spice, banana.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and dry, with a slightly bitter hop finish.

The Verdict: Not bad. They call it a “Kolsch style ale.” Definitely more Kolsch than pale ale. Entirely drinkable, enjoyable even, but nothing like what I expect from a pale.

*Apparently this is the next generation of their Yellowtail Pale Ale.

 508 characters

Photo of Skendawg
3.59/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I haven't had this in about a month, but it has a special place in my heart so I thought I'd write a review.

A friend of mine works for the Ballast Point Brewing Company, so whenever I need a keg of beer for when I'm having friends over he supplies us with our pick from BPBC. I love the company and I think all their products are made with great care and the staff at the brewery are a delight.

This beer is a great choice. On tap this makes for an absolutely wonderful beer to have around a party. Not too heavy, but enough taste to start plenty of conversations about what a great beer everyone is enjoying.

A nice yellow head on the beer at first sight lets you know you are dealing with the real deal.

The aroma follow up leaves something to be desired, but then again it is a Pale Ale so not too much can be expected of it.

Great taste. Sweet to start but a mildly bitter end, which is just fine because it sets you up great for the next swig.

A nice tingle in the mouth and feels refreshing. I getting a sip of this in my mouth.

Overall, I've got to say I really do like this beer, and maybe I'm biased based upon the amount of fun I have had drinking this Pale Ale, but I would still recommend this to any of my friends for a warm summer evening.

 1,263 characters

Photo of FLima
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Golden color with a thick head with good retention and leaving some laces.
Predominant aroma of papaya and bread.
Fruity flavor with a light spicy feeling. Hints of orange, apple and papaya with lemon drops light sourness, green pears, floral and herbal hops, wheat and pale malt and yeast. Dry aftertaste with a medium bitterness.
Light body with low carbonation.
I was expecting an American Pale Ale but this is actually a Kolsch with a distant APA background. Still faithful to style and well crafted.

 504 characters

Photo of garymuchow
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Noted as "pale ale the original" on the bottle.
Soft mixed aroma of pale malt, light hops and some yeast. Yeasty qualities become stronger in time.
Huge white head caps a very clear golden body.
Again with yeast flavors first, then the paler malt (pretty clean with a slight sweetness) and mild bittering/very soft hop flavors and rather light dryness on the finish.
Nice refreshing quality and probably closest to a lawnmower beer than anything?
Goes down easily and pretty clean for an ale. Nothing offensive. Good for summer.
Received as part of xmas exchange.

 564 characters

Photo of JimiTheBastard
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A good Pale Ale

Great color... easy to drink... nothing offensive in anyway

In being critical... it lacks a defining character... it's a bit plane... but that is a common charateristic I find in most Pale Ales

It's a pleasant beer you just want to drink... without having to feel the need to taste and analyze every sip... it goes down smooth... easy to put down a six pack

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Photo of metter98
3.74/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is crystal clear golden yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high bright white head that quickly died down, leaving a patch of bubbles in the center and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderately strong aromas of biscuit and cracker malts are present in the nose along with some hints of white grapes.
T: The taste mostly follows the smell, except that there are stronger notes of grapes and a slight amount of bitterness.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and a little dry and chalky on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is easy to drink and is a good American representation of the German Kölsch style.

 708 characters

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

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. My label is a bit different than the one pictured and says only Ballast Point Pale Ale, "the original", and lists a 5.20% abv instead of 5.00%. I think this is my second beer from Ballast Point.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a hazed lemon colored body with just under a finger of soapy white head that fizzles to a bubbly ring quickly. Some spotty sticky lacing.

S - Smell is of buttery diacetyl, bready malts, a bit of honeyed graham cracker, some soapiness, corn, and some musty yeast. Otherwise, the smell is pretty lame and boring.

T - Taste is of buttery caramel malts, corn, grains, herbal earthiness, crisp fruity yeast, grainy pilsner malts, and subdued indistinct fruitiness.

M - Feel is crisp and clean, light-bodied with good carbonation.

Overall, a fairly boring, uninspired beer. Poor duration of flavor, but light-bodied, refreshing, and drinkable. Inoffensive, but it doesn't really do anything for me. This would be a great stepping stone beer for those looking to get into craft beer, though.

Ballast Point Pale Ale ---3.5/5

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Photo of Sacrifice
4.94/5  rDev +39.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

newer bottle design, 5.2% ABV. almost as good as their sculpin IPA, which is how i came to sample other ballast point beers. clear taste but nice for cold as well as warm weather.

ballast point is now my favorite san diego brewery - better than stone, even

 257 characters

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