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:
1,047
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
14.41%
 
 
Wants:
37
Gots:
178
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 373 | Ratings: 1,047
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of uberabr
3.87/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 into a pint. I'm going to go ahead and review this one as a Kolsch and not a PA, otherwise we'de have some problems...

Minimal head even after a hard pour. The serious hop oil up top is probably the culprit. Lacing and carbonation are great, however.

Appearance is a light yellow amber, faint red and gold hues. Not getting much out of the nose...smells like a lager. Spicy malt and a hint of bitter.

Taste is deep and rich for such a light beer. The bitterness is subtle but complements the sweet malt very well, although there is a slight grassy effect. Lots of bread and butter, some sweet honey, oats and rye. The body is quite full and i'de rank the drinkability as solidly quaffable.

This is a great Western take on a traditional European style. It's really quite good. The name is confusing though, as this is definitely not your typical california Pale Ale, and the text on the label clearly calls it a golden Kolsch. Weird. I probably won't drink it again, but if you're into this style I'de highly recommend it.

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Photo of Jason
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22 oz brown bomber with a blurb about the beer on the side of the label, no freshness date.

Appearance: Very mild chill haze, big frothy white head that cakes to a great thick lace.

Smell: Light breadiness with hints of yeast and grain. Faint whiff of fruit and hops also.

Taste: Medium body, sweet pale malt flavour through and through with a even hop bitterness (slightly spicy) and mild leafy noble hop twang flavour. Sweet bread and yeast on the palate straight into the drying finish.

Notes: Decent go at the Kölsch style, quite palatable with an impressive malt character for such a light coloured brew. Nice addition of hops to make for a perfect balance.

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Photo of jmz62565
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear yellow/straw with a large white head that leaves good lacing. The smell is somewhat pungent with bread yeast and floral scents. The taste is light,crisp,and clean with bread yeast,hops,and floral flavors. The m/f is light with all the flavors mixing well. A nice light summer beer with alot of taste.

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Photo of TexIndy
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shipped from South Bay drugs. Note: despite the name, this is a kolsch and not a pale ale. Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass. No dating info but South Bay always has fresh stock on this one. It was a cloudy golden yellow color with good carbonation. It had about a finger of fizzy white that dissipated into a thin collar. Slight sliding lace that doesn't stick.

The aroma is standard kolsch with German hops, vinous aroma, bready malt. Pilsener. Very crisp and clean. A bit spicy from the hops. The taste is very good as well. Probably the strongest tasting kolsch I've had. Most others seem light and maybe a little watery but this one has an acidic bite to it that I enjoyed. The vinious aspect shows even more in the taste. Very refreshing and would be great on a hot Texas day. Mouthfeel was medium with good carb and a crisp after-taste.

Overall, an excellent kolsch that I recommend. Stands out from the other kolschs and shows what the style can be. A couple 12oz'ers or on 22oz is enough at a sitting but could see this as a summer staple (if available here which it isn't). Roatation - not avail here in TX. Definite tap when out West and occasional shipped bottle.

 1,187 characters

Photo of MmmIPA
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great beer from Ballist Point.

Murky,golden yellow body with a small head(I babied it).Nice carbonation.

Malty and fruity,from the yeast I suppose.

Sweet up front with some breadiness and that leads to nice german bitterness,its very crisp.

Mouthful is a bit attacking but I think it suite the style.So Im ok with that.

Great beer that Im glad I tried.I will buy it more often.Thanks for coming to Pa.

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Photo of JimiO
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A good Pale Ale

Great color... easy to drink... nothing offensive in anyway

In being critical... it lacks a defining character... it's a bit plane... but that is a common charateristic I find in most Pale Ales

It's a pleasant beer you just want to drink... without having to feel the need to taste and analyze every sip... it goes down smooth... easy to put down a six pack

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Photo of TylerJones62
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap last weekend in a bar down in San Diego. Now, being a fan of their IPA I figured their APA would be to my liking as well. So after complaining about this beer to a friend I was informed that it is in fact not an APA but rather a Kolsch. So while not being familiar with this style (i.e. nothing to compare it to) here's my review.

Didn't see the actual pour but as the pint arrived at my table it appeared to have all the characteristics of a APA. Nice thin white head which didn't stick around too long, brilliant pale amber/straw color. All the makings of a great pale ale. The smell is where it turned for me. After learning a little more about the style, I realize the abundance of yeast/bready qualities I normally dont find in pale ales was very present in this beer. At the time I thought it was strange but apparently thats how its supposed to be? Tasted much like the smell did.

So, take this review for what its worth. I would definitely like to try more beers of this style because it wasn't bad.

 1,028 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark golden yellow color with a 1" head that lingers a while. Some spotty lacing develops.

Smell: grass, hay, and some malt sweetness is detectable by the nose.

Taste: grainy malt base with grass, pears, and mild bitterness. Very simple kolsch style that is refreshing.

Mouthfeel: crisp from start to finish. Medium bodied beer. Clean aftertaste.

Drinkbaility: definite session beer here. I was surprised the label states pale ale but the liner notes explain this is a kolsch. Tasty and worth a try.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clean and crisp brew that really hits the spot. The golden-hued body has a nice head and laces well. The nose is malty and bready with a good sense of grain. There is nice flavor from the malting and the feel is quite light and crisp, giving a very nice snappy finish. Easily drinkable in some volume.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear gold with a white-ish head that wastes no time in falling. Flavor is a bit sweet and smooth. Noticeable grain attributes. But that sweet aftertaste sticks with you for quite some time. Feel has a biting carbonation. This is pretty easy to drink. I have to say this kölsch style is growing on me lately.

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Photo of Tballz420
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew is a slightly hazy, straw gold color. Nice sized white head floats above. Light malt on the nose with a touch of hops. Mostly light malt on the taste, a nice kiss of floral hops. Very refreshing brew. Too bad they don't offer these in six packs around here, you could put down quite a few of these on a nice summer day.

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Photo of bump8628
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glowing, clear gold with a fluffy mat of stark white head.

Clean and grainy with a definite crusty bread character. Spicy hops hang out in the background and are gone with crisp lager-like finish.

Not much to it, which is kind of the point of a Kolsch. Well-done in all aspects. I just wish they wouldn't call it a pale ale.

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Photo of vande
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - a nice clear, crisp looking golden pour with a thin layer of lacy head left atop

S - not your typical pale here.. some malty-bready-biscuity characteristics going on here... light, somewhat subdued hops intermingling with the rest

T - unique but tasty. Definitely German presence with the hops & malts used, yet crisp and clean like a pils.. bready-biscuit type flavor follows the nose...light grassy quality

M - clean, crisp, easy to drink

0 - different. Kolsch is not my style, but this was actually pretty good..

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Photo of Phelps
3.89/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from the bottle during a Kölsch tasting. While the name says pale ale (in giant letters), the description on the bottle says Kölsch, so into my tasting glass it goes.

Pours a hazy dark gold with a one-finger head of pure fuzzy white that becomes a soapy top layer, leaving tiny bit of spotted lace.

Bready biscuits and spicy German hops in the nose, in equal parts and perfect balance. There’s none of the usual Kölsch fruityness, but it’s actually a great aroma.

Same story in the flavor. Bready just-baked biscuits, a bit of lime peel, lemon pledge and other spicy German hop notes. Almost no bitterness.

High, painful carbonation, with moderate fizz and a soft medium body.

I understand the name confusion now — Yellowtail sits in an odd realm between Kölsch and pale ale, hoppy and bready yet crisp and light. It’s definitely not the most traditional example of the style, but it’s the only one that kept me coming back.

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Photo of THSdrummer
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, golden-yellow with a medium-thin biege head. LIttle to no lacing left behind. The aroma features a tasty backdrop of lemon, citrus, and a balance of light hops and malts. Taste is a smooth transition between lemon and citrus, and sweet malts and hops. Very well balanced and subtle, and yet fun to drink. Mouth feel is good. Not too harsh in the carbonation, it's easy to drink, and is not watery. Overall, a good rendition of the Kolsch style of beer. It's easy to drink on a warm summer day spent grilling, tail gating, or to wet your palette after a long run or ride.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
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 xnicknj
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A - Clear golden yellow with plenty of carbonation. A slight head quickly disperses into film, leaving light rings of lacing while drinking.

S - Grainy wheat and a touch of hops.

T - Begins with light wheat and toasted grain flavors, eventually unleashing the somewhat fruity middle. Juicy hops and a sweeter malt base combine for an interesting, yet tasty profile. Finishes with a slightly buttery, tingly, hoppy bite.

M - Lighter medium body and bubby, with lingering dryness.

D - Ultra smooth and easy going. A bomber disappears pretty quickly with this one.

Another quality beer from Ballast Point - what else would anyone expect at this point?

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