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:
1,332
Avg:
3.55
pDev:
13.8%
 
 
Wants:
47
Gots:
278
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 422 | Ratings: 1,332
Photo of GilGarp
3.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served cold into a shaker pint glass.

Yellowtail pours a clear golden yellow color with thick white head. It settles fairly quickly and leaves spoty lace behind.

Aroma is mild and light with no real hop character.

Flavor is also very mild with pilsenser like attributes. Nothing too remarkable.

Mouthfeel is light In body and balanced.

Overall a disappointment. Calling this a pale ale is misleading. Yes it's an ale that is pale but it is not what one expects when ordering a pale ale.

 505 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Probably from 2014. Sampled on February 23, 2015.

The pour is mostly yellow, clear, and bubbling up to a decent white head that lingers some and then becomes a ring.

There is a nice grainy malt character in the air, which is how I imagine a Kolsch to be, along with a grassy, clean hop ester.

Medium body.

Quick drinking thanks to its pale malt-grassy hop balance. Refreshing.

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Photo of dd43
3.53/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

It's funny. I love what ballast point does, generally speaking. And this is a decent beer. But I feel like the recipe could use a couple of tweaks to make it pop more. The malt base is nice but I could use a little more of that noble hop aroma. It doesn't really need more bitterness, per se, I'm looking more for a pungency to the earthy/spicy/floral thing I want in a German style pale ale like this.

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Photo of maedhros09
3.9/5  rDev +9.9%
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 superspak
3.9/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.78/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

BOD 177/14. Pours a clear light amber (golden). Above average head volume, excellent lacing and retention. Light nose of fruity esters and yeast over a biscuit base with a hint of spice. Almost light medium body with a nice slick texture. Slightly below normal carbonation with just a touch of effervescence in the finish. The flavor profile is quite nice for a Kolsch. Above average intensity for the style, well balanced and fairly complex. It begins with a mix of light fruit (banana, pear) that flows into a somewhat crisp biscuit sweetness. The middle is a very mild hop bitterness that is herbal in nature that yields to a slight note of pepper like spice. The finish is a slow fade of herbal bitterness and biscuit that ends with a touch of dryness.

 764 characters

Photo of PA-hunter
3.8/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured 12oz can into glass. 5.2% abv

Appearance- Pours a cloudy light-,edium amber with a foamy white head that lasts.

Smell- Toasted grains, fresh toasted biscuit aroma.

Taste- A nut-like flavor hits the palate at first followed by a toasted malt similar to a cracker. The sweetness gives the slightest hint of citrus. Also has a buttery quality to it. Some hop bitterness plays into the finish with a lingering sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Medium in body, Lively carbonation and very smooth.

Overall- Outstanding due to the full flavor and smoothness. The maltiness and sweetness compliment each other very well. This beer should just be called Kolsch as Pale Ale is a bit deceptive due to the style. Nevertheless a high quality beer that should be tasted.

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

A - Golden clear with a small white head
S - Malts and yeast
T - Much like the smell with some spice and hops showing up.
M - Medium body and just a little hop bite.
O - Not bad its easy to drink

 197 characters

Photo of 3PuttPar
3/5  rDev -15.5%

This was a very disappointing beer. It has all the drawbacks of a light American beer, but lacking the crispness and carrying a higher price. Avoid this if you are looking for a pale ale. It is most similar to Kona Longboard or Olympia. Too much malty sweetness for my taste, without much complexity to balance it out. The lingering aftertaste is better than some of the other beers mentioned, with some hints of citrus fruit. This is my second go around with Yellowtail, figuring the last batch I had was a dud, but I am just as underwhelmed.

 548 characters

Photo of ronniebruner
3.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Very earthy taste to this pale ale. Reminds me of a Sierra Nevada. A bit sweet on the tongue with just enough bite to make it above average in this category. The beer has a golden orange hue, minimal foam, lace and carbonation and a crisp, clean taste. Leaves the right amount of taste on the tongue and is not harsh like some other IPAs tend to be. A very worthy effort. Ballast Point is quickly becoming one of the best breweries on the west coast, but this is not their finest beer, even though I would rate as above average. I love this brewery and cannot wait to try their new beers!

 595 characters

Photo of barczar
3.55/5  rDev 0%

Has that characteristic kolsch fruitiness in the aroma, along with bready, nutty malt. Flavor follows suit, with a backbone of nutty malt, asking with fruity yeast. Highly carbonated, so the toasted malt doesn't weigh it down. Very drinkable, but nothing outstanding. More malty than most examples of the style.

 311 characters

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +12.7%

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 -36.6%

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 -8.2%

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.

 693 characters

Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +26.8%
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.

 230 characters

Photo of Tom_the_bomb
2.98/5  rDev -16.1%
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.

 371 characters

Photo of humuloner22
3.49/5  rDev -1.7%
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 -15.5%
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. :(

 449 characters

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 +8.2%
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 -3.7%
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 +0.6%
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 +5.1%
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 -20%
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.

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Photo of RDB51
3.84/5  rDev +8.2%
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!)

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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.55 out of 5 based on 1,332 ratings.
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