California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

BA SCORE
81
good
1,335 Ratings
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:
1,335
Avg:
3.55
pDev:
13.8%
 
 
Wants:
47
Gots:
280
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 422 | Ratings: 1,335
Photo of albern
3.68/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not entirely sold on the Kolsch description of this beer if only because there is a bit less spiceness, a bit less fruitiness, and more earthy hops that make this a bit of a cross between a modest APA and a rather weakish IPA. The kolsch description is more of a stretch for me. The beer was a very refreshing, decently carbonated, slightly floral beer that went down smoothly. It was unexceptional, but I did like things more in the finish as the beer settled, and then some residual dryness and nuttiness emerged. I would go at this again just to see if my initial trepidation with the kolsch labeling holds true at at later date.

 636 characters

Photo of birchstick
3.68/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - golden in appearance with a massive, frothy head

S - smells of malts, a lot of citrus, and a bit of soap.

T - a bit of wheat, with a lot of citrus and some grassy hops. Very light and refreshing.

MF - goes down pretty smooth and full.

D - this is an easy drinking, delicious kolsch. One of the better ones I have had.

 327 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.68/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

 808 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.68/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

somewhat of a hybrid of styles here between a true german kolsch and an american pale ale, a neat and subtle fusion. this is a little darker, slightly more copper hued and robust on the malt front than you might find in a traditional kolsch, but it has the right yeast and the right fermentation temperature, just a but more body and flavor from the malt, pretty cool evolution really. the flavor is quite a bit more hoppy than you would be likely to find in an import, this is where the american pale aspect comes in, notes of citrus and a substantial bittering component as well, mostly in the finish. the various elements, including the european flare, really mesh well together here, its not overdone, and seems unique without trying too hard to be. a little bit of an apple juice fruitiness to it before the finish, and a bit of body to go with it, but overall quite light and drinkable, even if it lacks the refreshment value of a more traditional kolsch type. i liked this pretty well, especially with spicy pork green chili, surprised it isnt rated more favorably here...

 1,079 characters

Photo of T100Mark
3.68/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance - Great clarity. Nice golden color. Minimal head. Minimal stickage.

Smell - Smells like a Budweiser.

Taste - Thin malt backbone. Crisp, clean hop flavor.

Mouth - Thin. Crisp.

Overall - When is an ale not an ale? When it's a Ballast Point kolsch style ale. This beer taste like an adjunct American lager, only more so. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

 421 characters

Photo of TheBrewo
3.69/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

 1,977 characters

Photo of PintOHops
3.69/5  rDev +3.9%
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!

 1,336 characters

Photo of stimulus
3.69/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

 444 characters

Photo of Blupoet03
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

 402 characters

Photo of cjgator3
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

 671 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.

 411 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

 761 characters

Photo of ChrisPratz
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

 725 characters

Photo of cbros
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

 1,027 characters

Photo of Eriktheipaman
3.7/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

 386 characters

Photo of TheMarkE
3.71/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Clear, light golden color with good head and lacing, noticeable carbonation.

Smell: Very subtle hints of bready malts and tropical fruit.

Taste: Bready malts, spice, banana.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and dry, with a slightly bitter hop finish.

The Verdict: Not bad. They call it a “Kolsch style ale.” Definitely more Kolsch than pale ale. Entirely drinkable, enjoyable even, but nothing like what I expect from a pale.

*Apparently this is the next generation of their Yellowtail Pale Ale.

 508 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.71/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

 544 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.72/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

 868 characters

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
3.72/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a mixed 12-pack of Ballast Point beers at my local Trig's Cellar 70, and this was one of them. The packaging states that this one is good for another four months. Poured right from the fridge into my Lowenbrau Willi Becher glass.

L: Pours a golden amber--crystal clear--with about a half-inch of eggshell head that persists for a good long while and leaves very little lacing on the glass. There is a flaky particulate present, along with the profuse visible carbonation.

S: Bright bread-like grain notes in the nose--pilsner malts are clearly present. There are also some nice fruit notes of citrus and subtle banana. A bit of grassy hop notes coming through, as well.

T: Sweet bready malts with a definite pilsner profile are foremost on the palate. There are subtle notes of banana and lemongrass playing around the edges. The middle has a good deal of sweetness, with just a bit of that lemon-citrus and grassy quality continuing. The close has more of the sweetbread malt, along with a bit more of that grassy hop flavor and something a bit more astringent, leaving a bit of bitter lingering on the palate.

F: This one is on the lighter side of medium-bodied, with some nice creaminess thanks to a solid level of carbonation. There's just a bit of a watery quality that comes through toward the end of the glass.

O: I've had only a handful of Kolsch-style ales before, so my review should probably be taken with a grain of salt. I will say that I enjoyed the malt bill on this one--it's sweet and easy-drinking. The hops aren't too assertive, but they supply a nice counterbalance to the malts. While this probably won't be a beer I go out of my way to find again, I did enjoy it.

 1,701 characters

Photo of MiScusi
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

 394 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 JMC_TM
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
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%.

 414 characters

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
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).

 544 characters

Photo of JMD
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

 499 characters

Photo of SDtastentune
3.73/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

 465 characters

California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.55 out of 5 based on 1,335 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe