California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
81
good
373 Reviews
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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:
373
Ratings:
1,048
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
24.29%
 
 
Wants:
37
Gots:
179
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 373 | Ratings: 1,048
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliantly clear, light copper color and is topped by a two-finger thick, frothy, light tan colored head. This beer has a light, herbal, lemon-like hoppy aroma to it. As I dig around a bit deeper in the nose I get an interesting aroma of something like cinnamon.

The beer has a fairly light taste to it, in fact it is almost completely dry. The hops almost get it a tangy tartness though and there is a noticeable herbal hop character found throughout this beer. The flavor almost reminds me of those exotic, yet mellow, basils (e.g. cinnamon basil), but that is not quite it. A light lemon-like note is here as well as some spicy hop notes. This is not your typical American Pale Ale, but I really like its hop leanings. Light and quaffable as well and it makes for an easy drinking 22oz bottle.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer was served on tap at The Old Toad in Rochester, NY. It arrived in a Blue Point pint glass, glowing a golden straw coloring. It held a one finger head of white bubbles, showing moderate retention, and foamy, patterned lacing down the sides of the glass. No haze or sediment was noted, and carbonation appeared higher end. The aroma gave big mustiness, paler malts, light lemon, light plastics, warm nuttiness, wheat, orange flesh, clove, and grassy hops to cut. With warmth the hops came to a sweeter end, with barnyard funkiness, mineral, and freshly-cut-grass cleanliness. Our first impression was that the flavoring gave a nice blend of pale malts and citric sourness. As we sipped, sour wheat and pale malts, lemon flesh, citric rind, huge metallics, and the dryness of straw and all of its bitterness mixed for the start. The middle peaked with dirty copper, big adjuncty bite, lemon rind bitterness, hoppy grassiness, and chalky bitterness. The finish came with white flour, baker’s yeast, bright melted plastic warmth, continued grassy hop, and citric rind to the final puckering drop. The aftertaste breathed of massive coin, straw, barnyard yeastiness, chalk, grassy hops, mineral and mud, floury adjuncts, and light fusel air. The body was medium, and the carbonation high, with prickle across the hard palate. There was big foam on the swirl around the mouth, with an otherwise decent slurp, sip, and smack. Froth and cream were lesser. There was an initially wet coating that turned into a strong pucker and eventual dryness. The abv was fine, and the beer drank decently.

Overall, our favorite thing about this beer was its crisp freshness and robust flavoring for the style. Many beers in the style go too far with the drying flour bite and the adjuncts, with big puckering grassiness, and further drying elements of straw. While this guy teeters on the edge, it doesn’t go overboard in these aspects, making for a decently drinking, crisp beverage.

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Photo of PintOHops
3.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance/Smell - Appears clear golden amber with almost a quarter inch of bubble bath like head and fair retention. Has little strings of champagne like carbonation, about lite Id say, and most of it dies down around 3/4 of consuming. Leaves no lacing either, Id say the appearance was lacking. Smells mostly of very sweet malts, and lite chocolate cake aromas, but there's some fruity tart grape, pair, and date notes. Overall very malty, with cake like aromas.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Tastes very similar to how it smells, lots of malty, chocolate cake like flavors flood the palate, and leaves little room for the lite pine, slightly dry hop bitterness on the finish. Some fruity date, and sweet molasses flavors come through as well, although very subtle. Overall malty domination! Mouthfeel is smooth, slightly silky, a little oily, and lite-medium bodied. Pretty average feel but on the desirable side.

Drinkability/Final thoughts - Well this beer really really reminded me of Fat Tire, with all it's chocolaty cake flavors and over the top malts. No that's not bad but, more like something you feel like once in a while. Not bad and pretty enjoyable, but for the money Id probably go with Fat Tire, my personal choice. Give it a try, it's still a decent beer with good flavors. Cheers!

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Photo of stimulus
3.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear golden with a one finger white head.
S: Lightly bitter hops, but not much going on here.
T: Bitter german hops, and a little bit of malt to balance them out.
M: Very good carbonation, light body, crisp finish.
O: This is a good session beer; the type you can drink a six pack of in a night, and with the somewhat low alcohol content, I think I'll keep this in mind in the future.

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Photo of Blupoet03
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured clear and golden with a light lacy that did not stick around long.

Initial reaction was that this beer is very light and crisp - good in hot weather. The nose hinted at a light floral hopping, with just a bit of malt in the taste to work with the bitterness. It left a lingering, though not unpleasant, aftertaste.

Overall, it was a good beer. Take it along on your next fishing trip or BBQ.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle.

A- Pours a pale golden yellow color with a thin white head.

S- The aroma is hints of breadiness and grain with some hints of hops as well. Reminds me more of a Euro Pilsner than an APA.

T- The taste features some pale malt flavors with a slightly spicy hop bitterness in the dry finish. Very nice and refreshing.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied and prickly from the high amount of carbonation.

D- The drinkability is very high, this would make a wonderful session beer that I could consume in high quantities without getting bored.

Overall, this is a pretty solid brew that I enjoyed drinking. It is perfect to enjoy on a warm summer day. Recommended.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a make shift Stange, my old collins glass.

A nice simple pale lemon with green hues on the edges hints of dark buttery gold for the body. Some orange colors also A very large even foamy head of pin sized bubbles is produced which takes much time to receed but doesn't leave much lacing either.

Bouquet is subtle but nice if unexpected. Faint grain, very light and airy and dry smelling. A small toasty bread sense, some gas, even a hint of faint spritzy lemon.

Taste is strange... dry and powdery sensations of flour mostly. Powdery with some sweetness in the finish, missing bread action

Overall a real unique and nice nose, but taste doesn't deliver as much. This is not bad but I think I'd grab a different Kolsch if I could.

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Photo of ChrisPratz
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice light amber with a very slight haze to it. Pours to a fingers worth of foam that dissipates to a thin veil of lace that almost completely covers the top.

S: Aromas of grass/grain with some bready/doughy yeast and a hint malt.

T: Some sweetness and tart up front with that doughy biscuit taste and a bit of lemony citrus tart at end with a very mild bitterness that is almost non existent. Very light with a nice amount of flavors.

M: Average carbonation works well with the flavors. Left with a slightly dry taste in the mouth.

O: Very nice and flavorful brew with crisp and clean flavors. Def a nice beer to enjoy on a spring/summer weekend with friends. I'd def get a case of this for a gathering of friends.

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Photo of cbros
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Serving tyoe- 12 ounce bottled poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a dark yellow/orange color with a small one finger head that quickly disipates. There is no cling to the glass on the way down. There is some carbonation activity shown in the beer after the pour. Overall a good looking beer.

S- I am smelling the malty sweetness right off the bat. I am alos picking up some hop presence in the smell as well as a little alcohol near the end.

T- I am tasting the malt sweetness at the beginning which is followed by the bitter notes from the hops. It finishes rather smoothly and evenly. Overall not a bad tasting Kolsch.

Picked this beer up as part of a mixed sixer. Can't really tell why it's called a Pale Ale on the bottle but I digress. This is a good tasting Kolsch and definately a welcome change to my usual fair. I see this beer as a summer time staple due to its lighter body and taste. Probably won't pick this one up again but I will certainly pick up other variations on this style from the different breweries.

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Photo of Eriktheipaman
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a pale yellow with white head.

Not much on the nose besides a little overall "freshness" from the hops but couldn't pick up any specific flavors.

The taste is a slight bitter on the front as the malt washes through on the back.

Not a very complex beer but refreshing. Ive had it a few times but only when its my last choice. The other Ballast Point offerings are much better.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.71/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this in a trade with getkrunkhoe. Thanks Carlos!

It pours a pale light gold with a 2 finger head of foam.

The smell is light but I get some grassy hops and bready malt notes.

The taste is nice and bready and semi sweet up front with a good grassy hop bitterness mid palate and a balanced, very crisp finish. Good stuff and very easy to drink.

It has a light mouthfeel and the carbonation is medium. Btw, head retention is above average and there's some nice lacing. This would be a nice everyday beer for those who can get it locally.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.72/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From my lounge chair in my backyard, comes right to YOU, a total review of CALIFORNIA KOLSCH from BALLAST POINT Brewing Company!

It pours a pale piss color with 2 fingers of head and lace ringing 'round the glass lips. 90% transparent with a hint of haze blocking out the extra 10.

Aromas of crystal malt, banana peel, hop leaf, and stale straw.

Flavor starts off soft with malts and banana puree, then takes a sharp edge into hop land with bitter lemon rind notes and some licks of pine, followed by notes of tin and copper, then it ends with a bread bomb that's very welcome here. It fades off on crusts and fresh baked bread dough. It is refreshing.

Feel gets a four as it's pretty solid for a kolsch and refreshing. Not gonna go in real depth here.

Overall not a bad Kolsch, but could use some improvement where the lemon and metallic notes are concerned.

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Photo of MiScusi
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy golden straw color with no head, smell was pale malt. I was expecting it to be clear, but realized the cloudiness is from using some wheat. Taste was light bready malt and slight hops, that combine with a medium carbonation to give it a bit similar to a pilsner, although the body is a little heavier. It was still crisp and clean.

This was an good tasting Kolsch style beer.

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Photo of JMC_TM
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This refreshing Kolsch pours a light straw color, with a nice frothy white head that leaves healthy lacing. The nose give off some hints of yeast, light malty breadiness, and an even fainter hop aroma in the background. When you first sip this brew there is a nice sweet, but light maltiness that is followed by a near perfect hop balance. This very drinkable Kolsch finishes fairly dry, with a light abv of 4.60%.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Poured from a 12oz into a pint. Pours an orange/gold with a 1/2 inch head and some pretty decent lacing.
Smell: Very light. Slight sweetness and a bit grassy and citric. Not much going on.
Taste: Interesting. Pale malts, citrus hops and something else I can't quite figure, not unappealing at all. Still very light on the taste.
Mouth: A nice light-medium. Goes down easy.
Drink: Good summer brew. Not heavy, easy to session.
It's a solid beer but not very unique. I'm still pretty happy with Ballast Point so far (3rd offering I've had).

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Photo of JMD
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Cloudy light copper, with auburn tints. Big frothy head that laces the glass.

S: Bread, cookie dough, some grass and yeast. Faint wiff of floral hops.

T: Very bready and doughy. Some carmel and lemon. Finishes with some hop bitterness.

M. Moderate carbonation. Very smooth and creamy. I find the texture of this beer to be its most appealing aspect.

D: I really like this beer. All the flavors are subdued, but they work very well together. This beer does down easy and is very refreshing.

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Photo of SDtastentune
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Yellow and fizzy, poured a head but is quickly dissipating.

S - Grains, bread, and a little malty smell.

T - Bread, malts, not to bitter, not much aftertaste other then malts.

M - Kinda fizzy over carbonation, but a pale ale needs that. Medium to light body.

D - Easy drinker for the not so brave, easy entry lever craft beer. I like more of an IPA true bitter beer or double stout, So this tastes like a light beer to me. Over all pretty balanced and good.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.74/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours crystal clear and light golden yellow.

Light sweet maltiness, slightly earthy and spicy noble hops, and toast.

Biscuity, toast, earthy hop bitterness.

Light-bodied, medium-high carbonation, crisp, clean.

Overall, a very subtle beer but a nice crisp and clean refreshing brew.

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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.

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Photo of DaveHS
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm a big fan of all the other Ballast Point stuff, so I'm expecting this to be pretty decent.

A-Pours a light amber with a quarter inch of eggshell white head. Leaves a bit of streaky lacing.

S-Grains, pale malts.

T-A little heavier than I'm used to from the kolsch style. The malt character is one-dimensionally sweet. Reminds me of malt liquor for a hot second. Then the sweetness is overtaken by flavors of earth and grassy hops. The finish is crisp.

M-Light bodied, but bigger than your average kolsch.

D-The kolsch style is pretty friendly in general, and this beer is no exception. However, it isn't one of the more successful American micro versions of the style.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours cloudy lemon yellow with an orange tint. A hell of a head of foam that stayed forever to a cap and collar. Great lace. Nose is dank and yeasty up front with light bread. Hops are perfumey and floral, There is a light apple smell and sweet grain with grass. Taste is smooth. Light with the apple and cracker malt. The malt is just awesome in this. Hops are noble, floral and reserved. There’s a pleasant sweetness from the malt but nothing you could point at and name and say "honey" or "caramel;" and a little sour from the yeast. A faint touch of spice and straw. The finish was dry and had a nice bitter twang. Finished malty. This is actually a kolsch and tastes like a kolsch. I t derived it’s dryness form the malt more so than from alcohol or hop bitterness. It was a cereal dryness.

I like it. Its not loud, it’s not really fruity. It has a small pucker from the sweet apple and that’s where it gets it’s sweetness. The malt sweetness is understated and behind that. A good kolsch reminds you that malt is sweet in and of itself without caramel, toffee or sugar . The malt stayed dry and breaddy . Very impressive.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz single bottle into a regular kitchen glass. 1st time trying this.

A- Yellowtail has a yellow appearence with some white gold specs here and there. A semi aggressive pour popped up a inch of nicely layered white foam. Sadly no legs on the foam as it died quick leaving no lace. Some sediment.

S- not getting much hops in fact none, I am getting some toasted malts. A big scent of straws with some fruit hidden beneath. Not so bad.

T- Light toasted malts and some earthy grass plus straw. Pretty tame but this is a simple style. Some faint fruit on the aftertaste. No bitterness at all as hops are not a factor.

M- Light carb and a light body. Not much of an aftertaste except for some fruit. The malts are soothing going down making this enjoyable.

D- Sessionable and good for a go. Im not sold on the Kolsch style yet as i've only tried two in the style but this does not make me jump for more. A good summer beer and I could see myself taking a case to a party.

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Photo of ZAP
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

If it's a Kolsch why not call it one instead of a pale ale. I expected a lot more from this in the way of hops but now reading what it is I understand. I'm still pissed though as I wanted a true APA from BP...As a Kolsch it is decent enough...some malt sweetness....relatively clean...some bready/cereal notes....light fruitiness (apples/pears)...decent for the style but still pissed this is not an APA..I'll rate for style though

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Photo of patpbr
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%
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

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Photo of chargerfanjess
3.77/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Pizza Port Carlsbad. Crystal clear clear clear yellow pale straw. Fair size head that left bunch of white lace. Very light hop nose and malt as well. First sip light corn flavor and grain. Very crisp finish and very full mouthfeel for this type of light brew. No aftertaste which was nice for this type. Good drinkable beer on and on

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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 373 ratings.
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