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California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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377 Reviews
California KölschCalifornia Kölsch

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States

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

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Reviews: 377 | Ratings: 1,057
Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.03/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a wonderful clear golden color with a one finger white head. Aroma is sweet bready malt with some spicy noble hop character. Taste is lightly fruity, floral, spicy, grassy, all the noble hop characteristics. Mouthfeel is light, but spritzy on the palate with carbonation. Overall, a wonderful kolsch/pale ale hybrid that deserves respect and a spot in every true beer lovers graces. Doesn't have the huge hopping, barrel aged, adjunct pieces, but that is what makes it special.

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Photo of geexploitation
4.03/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours perfectly clear, with a beautiful bright gold hue but no head to speak of. The nose is pretty mild -- just some clear, pale German style malts and a dusting of hops. On the palate, surprisingly rich, almost chewy malt content that nonetheless remains light. Both hops and carbonation provide a sharp and balancing counterpoint to the malt. Mouthfeel is just right for the style -- or at least the American version of the style, as it's a bit thicker and bigger than the original kolsches. Overall, though, this is quite nice. It's not a bold, incredibly complex beer, but it is drinkable and satisfying and doesn't sport any flaws. Well done.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.03/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade from t0rin0, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a becker pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright gold color, with a large white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of grain, light malts and a little bit of hops.

T: The taste very bready with flavors of grain, a mild malt sweetness, despite a substantial malt character, and a touch of fruit. There's a good hops presence for the style and it provides a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready, slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, light-to-medium body, medium-to-high carbonation, finish is clean and dry.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not filling at all, mild kick, very good representation of style, this is very good beer to pound for and entire evening.

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Photo of rawfish
4.02/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours roughy into a snifter glass to net nearly 3 fingers of head over a brassy gold body. Below average retention leaving clumps of lacing on the glass.

Biscuit and cookie dough malt that isn't overly bready with some hay, lemon pith and white wine notes. Very uplifting, a touch of adjunct grain but you already tell this is a refreshing beer.

Light bready, almost cracker-like malt lays down a good foundation with a touch of corn and raw grain husk before a pleasant hop profile of dried grass, lemon zest and grain washes over the palate. Not much bitterness but cleanses well like a lager. Some fruity red berry notes in the finish.

A little bit of heft in the body and unremarkable carbonation until the end of the drink where it fizzes up like seltzer and really scrubs itself dry.

This beer has exceeded my expectations, a flavorful representation of style that could easily be over looked. Will return to this one, a crowd pleaser that does justice to both a craft drinker's palate as well as the masses.

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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 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

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Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear straw golden orange with a lot of rising bubbles. About two fingers of white head that slowly recede into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A crisp, bready, and fairly sweet German style aroma with citrus undertones. Upfront pale malts with hints of cereal grains, wheat, straw, biscuit, crackers, and yeast. Citrus fruit hints of orange, lemon zest, and pineapple. Earthy hop hints with a Noble presence. Slight hints of spice. A pretty decent Kolsch style aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma, a crisp, clean, bready, and fairly sweet Kolsch style taste with some citrus notes. Upfront pale malts with notes of wheat, cereal grains, straw, crackers, biscuit, and yeast. Juicy citrus fruit notes of orange, pineapple, and lemon zest. Earthy presence of European hops linger around. Subtle note of some kind of spice. Very grain forward. A pretty decent lager like taste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Crisp, clean, and very smooth.

Overall: A pretty decent take on the German Kolsch style. Has the crisp breadyness you expect.

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

12oz bottle poured into pint. Bought from Abe's of Bethlehem... bottle was a little dusty however their turnover there is good.

A- Traditional golden yellow color with creamy white head.
S- Light fruity ale notes intermingled with almost a pilsner style malt profile.
T- Very nice balance. The pale ale on the label is misleading because there really aren't that many hops in this beer. Very subdued and mellow.... a nice chill beer!
M- Carb is OK. Flavors stick around near the back of my throat.
D- Good drinkability. I could see my non-crafty type beer folk really liking this too.

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

Consumed 08/25/08.

Pours an exceptionally clear light golden color. A one finger white head dissipates rapidly, leaving behind only some sticky foam on the sides of the glass.

Grassy, honey notes mingle in the nose with a slight, mild spice I can't quite place.

Mouthfeel is a little thicker than I expected: nice. Flavor is fruity and lightly bitter at first, but very much bready malt (with light touches of nut and caramel) towards the end of the taste.

Not as easy drinking as one might think; the substantial malt profile more or less overwhelms the light hop character of grass, flowers and fruits and keeps this one from being a porch swing/lawnmower beer.

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

A: Clear golden color with a thin eggshell-colored head.

S: Honey and a slight hint of grassy hops. Very clean smelling.

T: Lots of honey malts with a grassy hop backbone. A slight breadiness towards the finish. A solid and very very drinkable pale ale.

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Photo of beernut7
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This different pale ale has a sweet fruity aroma. There is a hint of ester in the flavor as well as a good sweet smooth malt presence. This brew is more reminiscent of a tasty golden ale. The only really noticeable hop presence is a bit of a bitterness in the finish.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear pale golden color with a marshmallow cap; decent retention and a touch of lace

Smell: Bready, with lemon floral tones

Taste: Opens with sweet malty elements that have a considerable lemon character; after the swallow, the contrasting flavors persist and are joined by a hint of wheat and a dollop of husky grain

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A little maltier than would be expected for the Kölsch style; when I reviewed this on tap I was overly critical as I thought it was a pale ale

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

Yellowtail is, in fact, yellow (but a rather dulled shade of it at that). It is actually so dense that I had thought its natural haze was condensation built up on the glass, but no, that's just what happens when you use the right amount of malt in your brew. Its head is incomplete but does make the 5-inch or so trip round the whole circumference of the glass.

The aroma showcases a very assured, wholesome maltiness that is so thick as to be almost doughy. It smells like crackers or biscuits and is deliciously aromatic, even despite its paleness. With quality malts like this I don't even want hops or yeast to interfere and I'm quite happy they don't (although others might detect a subtle fermentation-driven fruitiness).

You don't need a million different flavours for a beer to be flavourful, sometimes you only really need one. This kölsch, like most golden beers in this alcohol range - and in particular the German-style ones - is not terribly complex, but it is extremely flavourful. Cracker-like, noticeably biscuity maltiness is all you taste, but it's really all you need. These malts are highly-attenuated and very rich in flavour yet incredibly simple and clean too.

I could have a beer like this every day with lunch and be a very happy man. (I'm not sure the bomber would fit in a lunch box but this is definitely the kind of thing you'd want alongside a big sandwich.) Despite being so approachable and easily quaffed, it is still a considerably hearty and flavourful beer so far as its maltiness is concerned. A beer like this makes me think that if I never saw another DIPA again I wouldn't miss them one bit.

There's not one beer style that Ballast Point does badly. In fact, I have yet to rate even one of their beers as 'just alright'; all of their brands are exceptional examples of their respective styles and Yellowtail is certainly no exception. I don't think any other brewery makes as many of my #1 favourites when it comes to examples of different styles.

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

Appearance: This beer pours a clear gold color.

Overall: The aroma is a toasted malt smell with a hint of citrus. The taste has malt and citrus along with a buttered biscuits finish with a very slight hop bite. This is one refreshing beer recommended during the summer.

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

This is a light golden colour with a fluffy head of all-white foam. The aromas are slightly fruity, with nice roasted malts, and slight citrus-y/floral hops in the aroma. The taste is super light and refreshing. You can really tell that this is a low alcohol brew that is crafted with the utmost care and passion. Truly 'artisinal'. The mouthfeel is pretty good, bordering on great and the drinkability is nice for this new age Kolsch as well. A good, solid, brew!

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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 yemenmocha
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a little hazy/translucent golden with average white head that has some decent retention. Nose is faint citrus, herbal, and light melon. Palate offers a nice herbal dry character, and somewhat "dirty" on the finish. Refreshing and rather easy drinking. Pairs well with french bread.

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

Review from notes on my recent trip to Arizona for vacation. Beer reviewed 4/16/2011.

A - Brown 12 oz yellowfin bottle without any noticeable dates. The beer pours a cloudy golden color with a brilliant white bubbly 1 finger head. Good retention and lacing throughout.

S - A nice blend of light citrus, a bit of floral hops, sweet malt, and wheat.

T - The beer starts with a sweet toasted malt base with a nice fruit presence. Apples and citrus though not too powerful. Very mild bitterness. Very clean and crisp throughout. Easy drinking beer for sure.

M - Light bodied and adequately carbonated.

O - A light refreshing beer for sure. I am glad to have had the opportunity to try it as Ballast Point beers aren't available locally for me. Not a whole lot of character but pleasing.

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 04-22-2011 15:14:35

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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 rousee
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Nice light translucent gold color. Smell and taste are very typical of a british pale ale yet this is described as a German Kolsch style on the label--strange..

It has a smell of malty cider and is quite woody. The taste is a dry full flavored caramel with some nuttiness- cedar-like finish. Extremely drinkable --a little too chalky in the mouthfeel.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Pizza Port, Carlsbad. Poured a clear, bright golden color with a large bubbly white head that slowly settled down to a thin, patchy skim. Mild carbonation seen when iggitated.
Smell was pretty mild but seriously sweet. Had a fruity, sort of apple-crisp note mixed in a light bready malt base aroma.
Taste was a nice blend of a yeasty maltiness and gently spicy fruitiness. No hints of hops until a light bitterness came out in the finish.
Feel was light, crisp and refreshing.
This is a very easy-drinking brew. I found Yellowtail Pale Ale (?) to be a delightful beer.

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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.

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

Presentation: Ballast Point Brewing Company, Yellowtail Pale Ale comes in a 22 fl.oz. Bomber with a very colorful label showing a yellowtail in a striking “sweeping down” pose. No strength or freshness date is indicated.

Appearance: Beautiful golden color with a yellow straw appearance. The head is a massive white pillow when first poured, but as the beer settles, then stands, it completely relaxes to a thin broken covering with some light lacing. Average carbonation when swirled.

Smell: A crisp refreshing nose with clean lines that include grain malts, fresh bread and biscuit aromas.

Taste: Malt introduction mixed with a little yeast that is well defined, crisp and clean. Hop bitterness rises in the middle which is very refreshing, and makes way for a decent tasty finish that has a slight spicy hop twang. A beer with an overall soft edge, yet it still has enough crisp tastes for the style.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a light ambience on the palate.

Drinkability: Easily imbibed, and the taste-buds offer little resistance to the clean golden refreshing lines of this cool Kölsch style Ale.

Overall: Labeled as a Pale Ale in the style of a Cologne Kölsch. It is certainly a decent effort, the malt aspect is crisp and light hops are refreshing. Not a bad effort at all.

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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 edchicma
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, rich yellow with minimal head. Smell is sweet, malty, inviting. taste is a rich blend of sweet malt on the front with a decent, slightly bitter hop finish. Mouthfeel is almost creamy, slighly chewy. Drinkability is enhanced by the creaminess and light hop finish.

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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 1,057 ratings.
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