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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 farrago
3.3/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Crests at about two fingers of cream white foam, loosely knit and swiftly to dissolve, does cover the surface well before finally gone, the lacing is slight and not that sticky. As yellow as pale orange in color, while lacking depth it holds enough light inside to create a moderate visual presence, close to zero bubbles to be seen. Biscuity, bready nose with orange peel and mineral water nuances, a touch of blanched almonds, has a sort of oily grassiness like the scents of mowing the lawn, there is a waft of toffee at times, the fruit has a pit and skin aspect to it, mostly peach, apricot and pear, lasts mostly due to aggressiveness than depth of scents. Medium-bodied, does a good job of covering the mouth cheek-to-cheek, especially when you factor in the puffed up carbonation. But it's mostly dull and lifeless on the palate with meager portions of peach, apricot, red apple, red cherry fruit and orange peel. The cocoa and caramel lack sweetness, same could be said for the grain bread and corn flavors. Even the hoppiness lacks real bite, you kinda keep waiting for something to go off but the fuse fizzles out. The kind of beer you'd expect to drink at the ballpark.

 1,181 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First things first the label is misleading, this should be labeled a Kolsch or a golden ale. When you see Yellowtail Pale Ale from San Diego, my Pavlov's dog in me starts to salivate. When I get home and pour a pale golden crystal clear beer with a bright white head forming thick, it's definitely not what I was expecting. Aroma has sweet biscuit malts slight honey sweetness with some herbal hops lingering a nice cereal grain presence with a mild metallic mineral water accent and hints of grassy/citric hops in the backend. Flavor is grainy light toasted malts bringing biscuit to minds with a touch of citrus/fruit esters very mild hops in the finish. Not even great German style brewing going on just pretty much a dissapointment as a whole. Mouthfeel light bodied easy going, easy drinking, care free crossover style golden ale. Drinkability, okay but I'm shocked at how light on flavor and color their labeled "pale ale" is. Crappy pale ale, okay kolsch.

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Photo of beerdown77
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours slightly cloudy golden with one finger of head. This beer is quite honestly, disappointing. It tastes like a tolerable golden lager at best. Although the beer is still “crafty” in its quality, the flavor is heavy on the bitter malt side of things. It kind of reminds me of a Dortmunder from Great Lakes…only thinner and not as good. Admittedly, I was expecting an APA, and didn’t realize that this was actually a Kolsch midway through my experience; I still didn’t love this beer.

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Photo of BaronRogue
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hazy golden straw with a slight head and basic retention.

Grassy, slightly skunky-bread nose. Can tell the European influence, but I'm guessing this bottle has been around awhile.

Tastes really decent, you can tell that quality ingredients went into the production, but nothing really jumps out at you. Just enough of everything to consider it a decent beer, kind of like a weak Hofbrau.

Plenty of carbonation, a pleasant mouthfeel overall, definite drinkability.

Not bad at all! Definitely keep in mind that this is a light brew, great if you're not looking to get overwhelmed with hops but still want decent flavors.

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Photo of ADZA
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a see through golden straw hue with decent carbonation that leaves behind a two finger head and lacing everywhere,the smell is very similar to a pilsner with hints of german noble grassy hops and honeysuckle,it has a light bodied well carbonated mouthfeel and has tastes of grassy german noble hops,light jarrah honey,pale malts and finished with a slight herbal hoppy bitterness that is almost reminiscent of a fine German pilsner and not a Kolsch and overall a dissapointment in my mind and could think of other drops from this brewery that id rather revisit than this cheers.

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Photo of DavidSeanNJ
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 22 oz. bomber. This is my first offering from Ballast Point. Overall, unimpressive but not that bad.

A- Light hazy straw color, very yellow and bright.

S- Very floral, earthy, and citrusy. Reminded me of a fresh garden with some lemon zest.

T- Taste was malty and toasty. Very faint hops. Very light bodied, not much going on here.

M- Crips and refreshing, but very light and easy.

D- This one was boring to me and was not fun to drink. Its an easy drinker and sessionable but nothing exciting.

 512 characters

Photo of GarrisWH
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
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 LunaChick
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm a bit confused by this one. It pours a nice golden color with a head that dissapates quickly. Smells very faint citrus, maybe some yeast but overall its all very muted. Taste lacks the hop presence of other beer this style--a very faint hint of citrus and a finish of yeast but again very muted. Reminded me much more of a pale ale than a kolsch. Even as a pale ale I would have found the flavors subdued. In the mouth its light-bodied and overall easy to drink.
Just to be sure I wasn't nuts I tried a sample of Kenzinger for comparison.
To me this particular brew by Ballast lacks the brightness and crisp taste of other kolsch brews. And if labled as a pale ale I still would think the overall flavor subdued. Not a bad beer by any stretch though. In fact this might be a good beer to start a macro-drinker into craft beer. Its not too agressively flavored that it would scare anyone off.

 897 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle - from Total wine summerlin las vegas NV for 1.99$

Appearance - Clear yellow colour with an average size fizzy white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for maybe 2 minutes.

Smell - breads/grains, lemon

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and the taste is made up of breads/grains, lemon juice and zest, and some very light hops. It finishes with a bready/grainy aftertaste with some very subtle hop notes.

Overall - Although very drinkable and refreshing, this beer is quite boring. I expected a little bit more from this brewer. Maybe just a touch more in the citrus/hop department.

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Photo of ronniebruner
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
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!

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A new beer in CO. Pours darker gold to straw yellow color with some good clarity. A fizzy white head that did stay for some time but did dissipate over time. Limited lacing as well.

The nose is limited overall and not very distinct as a German beer. Some minor grainy notes but more of a US Pale Ale aroma. Looking more that more earthy grainy husky note and not really there. Some yeasty character with a light phenolic smell. Some pear and non-discript fruity notes. Some sudsy notes but mostly clean.

The taste is more descript than the nose indications. The malt is limited though. A good sweetness but is limited on the German malt flavor. More of a US pale like taste with a hint of husky like flavors. The yeast is a bit more distinct with a light German feel. Some lager-esk flavors but some light phenols with a hint of plums and pears. The bitterness is light, would like a bit more balance, and next to no finishing hops but that is ok. Some sudsy notes in the finish.

The body is light and easy drinking. Some chalky notes linger in the mouthfeel though. The carbonation is a bit low as well, and could help if more with carbonic bite. Overall, a easy drinking beer but misses it's mark on being a Kolsch. Would like to see more of a German malt taste, but hey.

 1,276 characters

Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.37/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Straw and golden haze some thin head laces out to the sides.

Light malty nose. Citrus and wheat, light fruit.

A bite upfront that turns faintly fruity with a little light wheat.A sweet touch of some honey most likely from the wheat. Grassy bitter finish.

Light body. I was satisfied splitting a 22oz bottle with a friend.

 327 characters

Photo of Soonami
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer is very misleading because I tried this on draft and did not know that this was a kolsch, but rather thought it was a APA like I would expect from Ballast Point that makes Big Eye and Sculpin. It's false advertising and you definitely do not get what you are expecting. There are some tell tale signs. The color is a golden pale clear color with finely knit white foam and lace. The flavor is very malty with a distinct grain tannin and sulphurs from the yeast. The finish is very dry and clean with little fruit flavor.

 530 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 PDXHops
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, poured into a La Chouffe tulip. See-thru golden body with a modest fluffy white head and some drippy lacing.

Smells very mild, but pleasant- light grains, a little bready, a little fruity.

Tastes quite fruity and sweet right away, a little reminiscent of white grapes and pears. The fruitiness lasts for a couple of seconds, and then is chased away by crisp grains and a momentary, but substantial sting of grassy bitterness. Finishes a bit oily/sticky, with lingering pear notes.

Overall impression: An unexpectedly bold, but enjoyable take on the style.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is a slightly hazy pale gold. Three fingers of foamy white head developed and dissipated slowly to leave a finger thick cap, which itself slowly dissipated to a nice spotted lacing that remained throughout the pint.

Smell: Starts off smelling like a sweet adjunct loaded with corn, but it improves as the pint warms. The adjunct aroma doesn't disappear, but there are caramel malts, lemon, and citrus hops.

Taste: Follows the smell. Corn adjunct, some light caramel malts, lemon, and a nice bite of citrus hops at the end to keep things interesting. It's like a weak British pale ale.

Drinkability: Maybe my taste buds are off tonight because I remember it tasting much better last night. It's a hybrid lager-ale, but it's trying to be more like a lager...a macro lager. It's sad, really.

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Photo of kellog
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pale yellow, straw, some sediment present

A: fruity, apple juice, lemon, dandelion, slighty metallic/coin smell

T: mellow apple blends wih faint hop bitterness

M: Low carbonation, silkly

Average beer overall. Some off flavors were present, but I think it would probably be better fresh. Lots of variety at Total Wine, but hard to keep up on dates.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a nice looking golden color, kind of hazy. The head was a little fizzy but ended up sticking around for a little while. The smell of the beer was pretty nice, giving off some decent hop aromas and malts. The taste of the beer has a nice crisp bitterness that faded into a sweetness as is settled on the tongue. The mouthfeel was crisp and sharp, nicely done. Overall I pretty Solid pale ale.

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Photo of riversider76
3.39/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a honey gold with a thin white head. Good retention, and a nice lace. Aroma is of toasted grains, and malts. Nice, but very weak.Body is on the light side of medium, and quite carbonated.
Taste is of bready malts. Hops comes through in the finish. A nice brew.

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Photo of weazal
3.4/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Yellow hay color. Light head...I hate to say it, but kinda urine looking.

Smell: Light, sweet. Some alcohol at the end.

Taste: It tastes like it smells, but more intense and earthy. It has a dry nuttiness and hoppy flavor. Surprisingly clean and brisk with a little tang at the end.

Light, sizzly carbonation on the tongue. Quick and easy to drink.

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Photo of nvsblman
3.4/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pale yellow with about a half finger of white head. Grassy, earthy hop aroma with a light biscuity background. Well balanced hop/malt flavor. The grassiness plays well with the caramel malt. The medium mouthfeel and slightly dry finish makes this really refreshing and enjoyable.

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Photo of LordofTime25
3.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a dark cloudy yellow with a thin white head.

Smells like sweet malts with honey and maybe some grassiness from the grains.

Tastes kind of grain at first, but then there is a sweetness I belive from honey. Then you get a slight bitterness.

Very crisp form carbonation and light.

A good brew worth a drink or two every now and then.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 16oz American pint at the Waikiki Yard House, dubbed 'Yellow Tail' on the menu.

This beer pours a slightly hazy, medium golden straw colour, with one finger of foamy and somewhat creamy ecru head, which leaves a solid wall of painted lace around the glass as it slowly slips away.

It smells weakly of bready, doughy malt, a bit of aged lemon juice, and mild leafy, grassy, and earthy hops. The taste is more bitter up front, sort of indeterminately - kind of leafy, kind of citrusy - with a still-strong pastry-esque maltiness providing a wholesome balance.

The carbonation is a bit peppy, the body a spare middleweight, and haltingly smooth. It finishes with more of the same - timidly bitter hops, and solid bready hops.

A decent pale ale, a bit of necessary moderation at the moment - for the rest of you - drink at will.

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Photo of bmwats
3.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a stange.

A: Golden hue. Heavy carbonation. Continually rising effervescence. Pours about a 2 finger, bubbly, white head. Craters unevenly, and slowly. Pretty nice, albeit sporadic, lacing. Head regenerates fully and effervescence renews with each pour.

S: A little Italian bread, fresh flora, and dish soap.

T: Slightly bitter bready malt flavor with some slight sweetness. Pecan shells and basil.

M: Light and crisp.

D: Easy drinkin'.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Nice appearance including a really strong head, and some persistent lacing. Nose is simple, but comes across as fresh...light planty malt. Light and crisp combo of light malt tones accentuated with a little sweetness and some bitterness. Overall, this is a good quaff.

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Photo of TH28
3.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. 11/15/15 bottle date. Appearance: Crystal clear light golden, with thick white head and nice lacing. Aroma: Grainy, cracker, subtle pear like fruitiness. Taste: Light, cracker like malt sweetness that turns to a strong spicy bitterness that lingers long after the swallow. Mouthfeel: Medium body with a light creaminess and moderate carbonation. Finish: Fairly dry on the finish with a strong spicy bitterness that lingers. Overall: Has the look and smell of a true Kolsch, but seems to have the bitterness level of an APA. Still a pleasant, easy drinking beer, but balance shifts more towards the hoppy side than any other Kolsch I’ve had.

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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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