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California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
81
good
378 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:
378
Ratings:
1,063
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
24.01%
 
 
Wants:
39
Gots:
187
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 378 | Ratings: 1,063
Photo of branimal9
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle sampled at home - 5/30/2010.

Cloudy pale gold in color, with a thin and soapy white head. Aroma holds light hops and caramel. Flavor yields delicate honey & toffee maltiness with subtle floral hops. Light in body and super easy to drink. Quite solid overall.

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Photo of scootny
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A crisp and delicious pale ale. It's true to the heritage of a German kolsch while adding a bit of a American hop flourish. Clear and golden inn the glass with a comely white head. Atoms shows off the light pilsner malt and the addition of wheat. Hops are floral and well integrated. Crisp quenching feel with lightly creamy carbonation. A great got weather beer.

 363 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a fizzy, somewhat cloudy, golden yellow color with a foamy, soapy, white, two-figer head. There were some rings of lace.

S - It smelled of citrus and was quite floral.

T - This was pretty sweet with a nice barley and grain taste. It also had some spicy hop presence.

M - It was sharp and very crisp. A light-bodied beer.

D - This is one of the best Kolsch-style ales that I've ever had. I liked the hop kick that it had.

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Photo of maximum12
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Rec'd this bottle in a trade with the generous EliottJW. The last surviving beer from a recent box that was brimming with Cali goodness.

Pours a nice, clear yellow, although the second glass was clouded by the bottom-feeders. Smell is bare light hops & pale malts.

Yellowtail is mild, pleasant, 75 degrees with only high clouds in the forecast. Light spices, cool sweet malt, crushed saltines without the salt, bare minimum of hopping to give it a gummed bite. Nothing leaps out, but this is a brew that one could sip, sip, sip, sip & sip more while grilling or mowing or clipping or all of the above. Drinkability is an 800 pound gorilla. Crisp, clean, sharp, all those adjectives that describe a good, lower ABV brew apply here.

Very nice beer & an excellent example of a kolsch. Too many of this style have a watery aspect, or lack taste, or are just plain boring. This is good. I likes.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-dark gold with a nice frothy and sticky white head

S-smooth creamy grass and crisp biscuity malts. strong aroma. smells quite decent.

T-comes in with a great flavor of crisp and grainy biscuits. its quite a strong and flavorful taste. it does have a small hint of adjunct lager to it, that isn't exactly a turn off, i think what i'm tasting is actually the european touch to it. that comes more so in the after-taste. almost zero bitterness.

M-creamy medium carbonation with a crisp finish

O-well if you get this because you want a good fresh American Pale Ale, then you'll find that you were fooled by the name. it definitely does taste very much like a kolsch. its definitely tasty for what it is. it goes down easy, but its really missing any quality that begs me to go out and buy more.

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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 Antg8989
3.91/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: Pours a pale gold with a one finger white head.
Aroma: Crackery malts, pepper.
Taste: Malts up front. Spicy hops.
Feel: Medium bodied, high carbonation.
Overall: Decent pale ale. Not great, not bad.

3.5, 3.75, 4, 4.5, 3.75

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.91/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

120z bottle poured into a Pilsner glass.

A: Pale, clear golden-yellow color. Three fingers of rocky white head cap the beer, and it doesn't budge an inch. Thick collars of lacing form on the glass. Perfect appearance for the style.

S: Floral hops, very slight herbal edge, ghost-like hint of light fruits (grape skin?). Malts are grainy with a touch of musty bread.

T: Hop tastes wash over the palate with a very mild bitterness. Floral, green and slightly oily. Subtle hint of herbal spice. Doughy malt tastes shift as the beer dries toward the finish and shift into grainy tastes and hints of cracked wheat. Light fruity notes. Dry finish of grain, bread, and a fading hop bitterness.

M: Light in body. Some firmness of malt texture. Creamy and somewhat full. Active, scrubbing carbonation.

O: This is a very good representation of a Kolsch. It should have broad appeal, owing to the care with which it was crafted and the nature of the style itself. I find it curious, however, that Ballast Point chose to call it a Pale Ale on the label. That's bound to cause confusion when someone purchases it expecting a hoppy American Pale Ale or something of that ilk.

 1,167 characters

Photo of jpro
3.91/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler from CBX... poured into an antique milk glass stein...

A: Honey gold with a puffy white head; nice retention leaves a few thick spots of lace.

S: Pilsner-esque malt / wheat aroma; light earthy and floral notes; a little metallic.

T: Lightly bready with a peppery dry hop bite on the end; biscuit; cracker; it has a nice little bite for a Kölsch.

M: Medium-light body; moderate carbonation; a touch viscous... more mouthfeel that I was expecting.

O: A nice little Kölsch; a bit more mouthfeel than average, but has a nice bite for the lower abv; a definite top choice for a summer beer.

*from notes 9.8.12

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Photo of dikebrewery
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark golden yellow. Nose is of fresh cut hay and light herbal tea. Taste of fresh malts, grass, herbal tea and a tiny bit of fresh lemon. Medium body crisp and clean finish. A refreshing beer.

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Photo of THSdrummer
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, golden-yellow with a medium-thin biege head. LIttle to no lacing left behind. The aroma features a tasty backdrop of lemon, citrus, and a balance of light hops and malts. Taste is a smooth transition between lemon and citrus, and sweet malts and hops. Very well balanced and subtle, and yet fun to drink. Mouth feel is good. Not too harsh in the carbonation, it's easy to drink, and is not watery. Overall, a good rendition of the Kolsch style of beer. It's easy to drink on a warm summer day spent grilling, tail gating, or to wet your palette after a long run or ride.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 5/30/2014. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy golden color with a 2 finger dense and rocky white head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of lemon, pear, apple, wheat, cracker, bread, herbal, straw, grass, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance of pale malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of lemon, pear, apple, wheat, cracker, bread, herbal, straw, grass, and yeast earthiness. Light earthy herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon, pear, apple, wheat, cracker, bread, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness and balance of pale malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. A fairly clean finish as well with no overly estery yeast notes present. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, fairly crisp, and lightly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with no warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice kolsch style. All around good balance and robustness of pale malt, earthy hops, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,377 characters

Photo of xnicknj
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A - Clear golden yellow with plenty of carbonation. A slight head quickly disperses into film, leaving light rings of lacing while drinking.

S - Grainy wheat and a touch of hops.

T - Begins with light wheat and toasted grain flavors, eventually unleashing the somewhat fruity middle. Juicy hops and a sweeter malt base combine for an interesting, yet tasty profile. Finishes with a slightly buttery, tingly, hoppy bite.

M - Lighter medium body and bubby, with lingering dryness.

D - Ultra smooth and easy going. A bomber disappears pretty quickly with this one.

Another quality beer from Ballast Point - what else would anyone expect at this point?

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Photo of maedhros09
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I didn't look at the label too closely before trying this one so I was expecting more of an American Pale Ale. That considered my first reaction was disappointment - the flavors seemed dulled and there was not the freshness that I expect from an APA. When I saw the Kolsch "subheading" it made a lot more sense. A good enjoyable brew, but not one that I expect to repurchase.

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Photo of Phelps
3.89/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the bottle during a Kölsch tasting. While the name says pale ale (in giant letters), the description on the bottle says Kölsch, so into my tasting glass it goes.

Pours a hazy dark gold with a one-finger head of pure fuzzy white that becomes a soapy top layer, leaving tiny bit of spotted lace.

Bready biscuits and spicy German hops in the nose, in equal parts and perfect balance. There’s none of the usual Kölsch fruityness, but it’s actually a great aroma.

Same story in the flavor. Bready just-baked biscuits, a bit of lime peel, lemon pledge and other spicy German hop notes. Almost no bitterness.

High, painful carbonation, with moderate fizz and a soft medium body.

I understand the name confusion now — Yellowtail sits in an odd realm between Kölsch and pale ale, hoppy and bready yet crisp and light. It’s definitely not the most traditional example of the style, but it’s the only one that kept me coming back.

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

Presentation: 22 oz brown bomber with a blurb about the beer on the side of the label, no freshness date.

Appearance: Very mild chill haze, big frothy white head that cakes to a great thick lace.

Smell: Light breadiness with hints of yeast and grain. Faint whiff of fruit and hops also.

Taste: Medium body, sweet pale malt flavour through and through with a even hop bitterness (slightly spicy) and mild leafy noble hop twang flavour. Sweet bread and yeast on the palate straight into the drying finish.

Notes: Decent go at the Kölsch style, quite palatable with an impressive malt character for such a light coloured brew. Nice addition of hops to make for a perfect balance.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear yellow/straw with a large white head that leaves good lacing. The smell is somewhat pungent with bread yeast and floral scents. The taste is light,crisp,and clean with bread yeast,hops,and floral flavors. The m/f is light with all the flavors mixing well. A nice light summer beer with alot of taste.

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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.

 1,187 characters

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

Another great beer from Ballist Point.

Murky,golden yellow body with a small head(I babied it).Nice carbonation.

Malty and fruity,from the yeast I suppose.

Sweet up front with some breadiness and that leads to nice german bitterness,its very crisp.

Mouthful is a bit attacking but I think it suite the style.So Im ok with that.

Great beer that Im glad I tried.I will buy it more often.Thanks for coming to Pa.

 414 characters

Photo of JimiO
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 TylerJones62
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap last weekend in a bar down in San Diego. Now, being a fan of their IPA I figured their APA would be to my liking as well. So after complaining about this beer to a friend I was informed that it is in fact not an APA but rather a Kolsch. So while not being familiar with this style (i.e. nothing to compare it to) here's my review.

Didn't see the actual pour but as the pint arrived at my table it appeared to have all the characteristics of a APA. Nice thin white head which didn't stick around too long, brilliant pale amber/straw color. All the makings of a great pale ale. The smell is where it turned for me. After learning a little more about the style, I realize the abundance of yeast/bready qualities I normally dont find in pale ales was very present in this beer. At the time I thought it was strange but apparently thats how its supposed to be? Tasted much like the smell did.

So, take this review for what its worth. I would definitely like to try more beers of this style because it wasn't bad.

 1,028 characters

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

Appearance: pours a dark golden yellow color with a 1" head that lingers a while. Some spotty lacing develops.

Smell: grass, hay, and some malt sweetness is detectable by the nose.

Taste: grainy malt base with grass, pears, and mild bitterness. Very simple kolsch style that is refreshing.

Mouthfeel: crisp from start to finish. Medium bodied beer. Clean aftertaste.

Drinkbaility: definite session beer here. I was surprised the label states pale ale but the liner notes explain this is a kolsch. Tasty and worth a try.

 523 characters

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

A clean and crisp brew that really hits the spot. The golden-hued body has a nice head and laces well. The nose is malty and bready with a good sense of grain. There is nice flavor from the malting and the feel is quite light and crisp, giving a very nice snappy finish. Easily drinkable in some volume.

 303 characters

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

Pours a clear gold with a white-ish head that wastes no time in falling. Flavor is a bit sweet and smooth. Noticeable grain attributes. But that sweet aftertaste sticks with you for quite some time. Feel has a biting carbonation. This is pretty easy to drink. I have to say this kölsch style is growing on me lately.

 317 characters

Photo of Tballz420
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew is a slightly hazy, straw gold color. Nice sized white head floats above. Light malt on the nose with a touch of hops. Mostly light malt on the taste, a nice kiss of floral hops. Very refreshing brew. Too bad they don't offer these in six packs around here, you could put down quite a few of these on a nice summer day.

 329 characters

California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 1,063 ratings.
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