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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
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Reviews: 378 | Ratings: 1,063
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

 197 characters

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

 347 characters

Photo of mzwolinski
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Advertised as a kolsch-style, one should expect this to be less a "west coast" pale than Ballast Point's other offering. The beer is a clear, very light copper in color, with a very thin head. Aroma is mild, wheaty and suffused with German hops. The flavor is surprisingly rich for such a crisp-feeling body, with a raw grainy malt and an earthy/herbal hop very dry finish. A refreshing yet substantial beer, and a nice entry in a style which, admittedly, I tend to find a bit uninspiring.

 489 characters

Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: clear full gold, decent white head.
S: bready, crackery malts and grassy, spicy noble hops,
T: saa, malts are lightly sweet and well-balanced by a smooth hop bitterness. Finish is crisp, clean, and dryish.
M: just over light bodied, frothy.
O: a fine kolsch, but as has probably been said 1000 times, why call it a pale ale? I forgot this was a kolsch and got it wanting an apa.

 381 characters

Photo of BeerAmbassador
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice two finger head with good lacing. Pale yellow color. Looks a bit like a domestic lager.

S: Bread-like aroma with some yeasty smells and a bit of citrusy fruitiness.

T: Very malty and buiscuit-like flavors with a nuttiness that I can't quite place. Finishes with a small amount of citrus and floral at the end.

M:Nice tight, bright carbonation. Although head has dissapaited.

D: Very Smooth and drinkable, something that I would drink for a thirst quencher when I wanted something a little more complex than your run of the mill macro.

Overall I really like this beer, it has a really pleasant nutty malt. And for an ale it is really smooth, bordering on a lager. This is my first of the style so I dont have anthing to compare it to but i really like it.

 789 characters

Photo of donniecuffs
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice hazy, carbonated, golden yellow with a good head. Floral, citrus, grassy, woody, and brown sugar were all evident in the nose; fairly impressive. The flavor was a little less so, but very good nonetheless, with all of the aforementioned flavors. The finish was a dry grassy-ness. Impressively complex from sip to sip, sometimes tasting like a weak barleywine. Mouthfeel had a nice carbonated balance. Definitely good for a session.

 445 characters

Photo of seaoflament
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this beer a few times already, from tap and bottles, just never gotten around to review it since it's so widely and easily available. I ended up with an extra bomber so I thought it was a good opportunity to sit down and write up a review.

Unfortunately I don't have a strange to pour this beer into so I opted for my mug. The color is a light apple juice color with great clarity and about an inch of white foam that retains for a few moments.

The beer opens up with a combination of yeasty esters, bread, a bit of sulfur, a slight mineral water quality, and light noble hop aromas. I'm really liking the cracker and bread-like aromas on the nose. Light fruits like pears, apples, and a hint of cherry. Almost has a slight toasted malt quality in the background. Notes of apple juice and some spicy hop aromas.

The taste is very similar to the aroma with some bread and cracker malt upfront followed by some yeasty and fruitiness in the middle, some mineral and slight sulfur near the end, and a nicely attenuated dry finish with some bubbly carbonation. A tad of alcohol flavor seems to be apparent in the finish but I'm not sure if it might be some other yeast fermentation by product that's creating a similar flavor. Hints of earthy hop bitterness in the finish, slightly floral tasting too.

Medium-high carbonation with a medium body on the palate. A clean and dry fiinish makes this one very drinkable. Enters smooth on the palate and finishes nice and crisp. Hmm, after a few sips I seems to get a little rough and grainy/bitter sensation on the palate, but doesn't happen on every sip. Nice beer actually, and an interesting take on the style.

 1,667 characters

Photo of paco1029384756
3.81/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours golden, perfectly clear, but seems a little low on carbonation
Scent of rich grain, freshly cut grass, and a hint off citrus; not much else is needed. Fresh grain, grassy hops, oats, and a hint of hemp in the finish. The body is a little low in carbonation as well. A clean and supremely drinkable beer.

 309 characters

Photo of Talisker
3.82/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice example of a non-American style from a West Coast brewery.

Poured from a 22oz bomber (BevMo SF area, $3.99). Basic clear yellow with an orange tint. Foamy head that dies down quickly - no lace. Crisp German hops flavor (no citrus) - nice to experience without the metallic lager aftertaste. Nice light bready malt complement. Finish is long, maybe lingers a little too long for such a crisp beer.

If you can find this fresh and like the style, it's worth a try. Very nicely integrated beer.

 502 characters

Photo of boston2bburg
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a stange, this beer exhibits a very light straw color with a touch of haze. The white foamy head has a respectable layer of retention with some clumping. Lemon and a bit of cake on the nose.

The mouthfeel strikes me as starchier than expected. Its rough, hop-forward flavor exhibits lemon tartness and pale German malt. The hops give character where the grains merely balance. Very spicy bitterness. This would be a very nice summer pounder but the lemon flavor is a little too one-dimensional.

 507 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at BevMo in late October for $3.99.

Beer poured golden with a nice long lasting white head. Nose is malty with a hint of light fruits. Taste has hints of the light fruits and is balanced nicely by a slight hint of hops. Mouthfeel is a bit heavier than normal for the style yet it is crisp and lively on the palate. Overall drinkability is good. This is another finely crafted beer by one of the lesser known San Diego breweries. Definitely worth a shot for a change of pace!

 494 characters

Photo of tonistruth
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- clear golden straw with an orange tint to it. 1" fluffy white head, retent is decent. Some lacing as well.

S- faint sweetness, hoppy aromas as well. Not much on the nose.

T- biscuity, maltly for sure. Strong pear flavors. Floral hop behind the scenes, come forward in the aftertaste.

M- silky smooth and light on the palate.

D- this is a good summer brew. Refreshing with good flavor. I'll reach for this when i need to cool down and unwind.

 456 characters

Photo of ANIMOUL
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%
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 RDB51
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%
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!)

 834 characters

Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

another lovely beer from the great land of san diego...first had this on the disc golf course at morley, next at delavegea course in santa cruz..brilliant both times, light and crisp with plenty of flavor...
light and hazy, slight sweetness in the aroma. drinks with a lovely chardonnay flavor, finishes very long and lightly. almost no hop aroma or flavor.
another delightful offering, best enjoyed during those beautiful summer months, outside, and from the bottle.

 467 characters

Photo of Brenden
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The color is a medium yellow with a deeper amber hue to it. A frothy, thick pure white head starts at 2 fingers tall and eventually falls off to a sturdy foam that drops patchy lacing well down the glass.
It's not until I smell it until I decide to read the description, and it makes a lot more sense. There's a Saaz-like note of mildly sulfuric hops, verifying the brewery's claim; it is indeed like a pilsener in many ways. There's a touch of malty sweetness along with drier malts as well, and the aroma showcases a nice depth as well as proving that a gentler style can have a lot to it.
The flavor showcases those same dusty, earthy and grassy Saaz-like notes as the aroma, with a very gentle bitterness among the malty sweetness. The only thing detracting is that is goes strongly grainy.
The feel is lovely, crisp up front and continuing all the way in a flowing light but deep body with a nice, creamy smoothness that keeps me wanting another sip.
Another good one from Ballast Point.

 992 characters

Photo of MrKennedy
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber split with the guys from work and poured into a 7oz glass. Thanks to ADZA for the trade!

Pours a very clear, bright golden colour with a nice white fluffy head of foam that levels out just above film later on. Decent head retention and the clearness of this is quite impressive.

The smell is of bready malt, clean, consistent and inviting.

Taste is very malt driven, with just a shade of Euro style hop grassiness to break it up. Like the smell, the taste is consistent and pleasant. Just a little bit of honey comes through to sweeten it up a shade.

Mouthfeel is decent, good body for the style, just a touch cloying at the end, but otherwise ok.

Overall, a clean, decent, not earth shattering Kolsch that would be a decent go-to beer on a sunny, mild to warm day.

 777 characters

Photo of GbVDave
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an imperial pint. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a pale golden color with a small bright-white head. Major chill-haze at first that finally settles down to something approaching crystal-clear. Absolutely no lace.

S: Right out of the fridge it smelled crisp and bready. As it warmed notes of sweet malt, fruity yeast, and vegetables emerged.

T: See above. Pretty toasty/bready with creeping flavors of caramel, candy, apples, and some noble hops. Slightly soapy, but in a nice way.

M: Crisp and toasty with a nice fruity/sweet edge that adds depth.

D: Quite refreshing for when the temps get up there. Don't know if I'd buy it again, but I certainly wouldn't turn it down at a party/BBQ.

 738 characters

Photo of Imstillthegman
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Zorro and BIF 41 for this bomber.

Pours a clear golden color with a white two finger head that quickly recedes to a ring. Moderate lacing remains. Bubbles rise steadily to the top.

The aroma contains citrus fruits, light doughy bread and hints of cinnamon (or something close to it). Smells good, but it has a very light scent to it.

Crisp taste. Some spicy citrus, caramel, bread, and lighter floral qualities at the end. Nice balance between the sweet and spicy. More malt and yeast flavors than were noticed in the smell.

Medium body with crisp, refreshing carbonation. The ABV makes this very sessionable. Ballast Point hasn't let me down yet. Nothing absolutely outstanding, but every one very solid.

 727 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear yellow-gold color with a 1 inch white head that settles to a thin film. Broken rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is good but basic with malt and floral hop aromas. Taste is of sweet malt and some floral and herbal hop flavors. Mild bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good carbonation level with a crisp and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a solid beer from Ballast Point. Nothing too special but nice and easy to drink for what it is.

 492 characters

Photo of rowew
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle with a bright yellow label. Description of the beer (apparently a Kolsch, despite the name) on the label, no freshness dating.

Appearance: Golden color with some orange in it - thin head.

Smell: Very malty - toasted bread aroma. Also some fruity hops, but these are much more subtle.

Taste: Tastes a lot like it smells. Nice medium bodied with a fairly smooth mouthfeel. Taste is bready, with a nice amount of hops finishing it up. A bit of spice from the yeast plays well with the other flavors.

Overall impression: A nicely drinkable beer. I always like it when beers that were previously bombers only show up in six packs! This would be a great choice for any spring/summer activity.

 727 characters

Photo of oggg
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is orange. Less dark than my friend's Karl Strauss Amber and darker than the wheat beer I had later. White head with long lasting Belgian lace.

I thought it reminded me of Sierra Nevada Pale ale at first sniff and taste. Woodsy aroma. Cascade hops? Maybe not, because I liked it much more than SNPA. After the first hit of hop aroma, the taste becomes caramel and malt. In this respect, it's much like Fuller's London Pride Pale ale...

Very drinkable. This was an excellent session beer.

 505 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.86/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden brew with lots of carbonation.

Smell is sweet grain and a mild perfume smell.

Taste is sweet with lots of grain. There is a tartness to this gives it a different flavor. The hop bitterness is in balance with the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is good.

A super drinkable brew, very mild brew.

 314 characters

Photo of Bulabeers
3.86/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

L: Slightly hazy orange gold with a big white head with good retention
S: smells like the forage hay we feed our cattle. some grassy hops.
T: grassy hops and crackery malts
F: Crisp refreshing light
O: Good on a hot day. It's a good lunch time brew.

 251 characters

Photo of vabeerguy
3.86/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler into a pilsner glass. Noticed immediately that a straight hard pour produced too much foam but it dissipated quickly. The first taste produced noticeable lacing. The color looks like it could be your average pilsner or kolsch. The name indicates it is a pale ale but it does not seem to fit into that category. That said, the beer is very tasty and refreshing. If you are looking for a hoppy or bitter beer (like an APA or IPA), than this would not be the one. If you are looking for a beer or two (or more) for a hot summer day, this would be a good selection.

 590 characters

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