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 AdamBear
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-dark gold with a nice frothy and sticky white head

S-smooth creamy grass and crisp biscuity malts. strong aroma. smells quite decent.

T-comes in with a great flavor of crisp and grainy biscuits. its quite a strong and flavorful taste. it does have a small hint of adjunct lager to it, that isn't exactly a turn off, i think what i'm tasting is actually the european touch to it. that comes more so in the after-taste. almost zero bitterness.

M-creamy medium carbonation with a crisp finish

O-well if you get this because you want a good fresh American Pale Ale, then you'll find that you were fooled by the name. it definitely does taste very much like a kolsch. its definitely tasty for what it is. it goes down easy, but its really missing any quality that begs me to go out and buy more.

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Photo of Apellonious
3.94/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle 4/28/16 poured into a pint glass.

A - Clear golden orange, with a one finger fluffy head that retains well.

S - Grass, crackers, bread, pale malts.

T - Follows the nose. Very crisp and clean, with a grassy/pine aftertaste.

M - Carbonation medium, feel is medium light, almost creamy at times.

O - Adding this to the summertime Kolsch mix.

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Photo of Barleywhiner
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz., this beer is very clear with a light orange tint, there was a decent head that faded away after a minute or two, good amount of carbonation. The smell is very nice, a light citrus fruit that was unexpected. The taste/mouthfeel is somewhat watery, yet not bad. It is very light on the tongue, not really much malt flavor, and leaves a slightly tangy finish that fades about 15 seconds later to a earthy aftertaste. Overall this was a very smooth and well balanced beer, very drinkable.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into an Allagash flute on 3/29/12

The best by date is smudged but since Ballast Point just came to Ohio, I reckon it's fresh.

Lightly hazy, golden orange color with a one thumb cap of puffy foam. Head retention is thin but keeps a decent layer and lasts. Lace take a while to catch, but once it does it holds thick layers.

The aroma has an enjoyable showing of pithy citrus (orange rind and a touch of lemon) and weavings of grass and cracker. Clean and inviting. The taste is in a similar vein - spicy hop crackle tapers to a medium-range bitterness on the back end. Malts are clean a fairly neutral in light of the hops. Medium light feel. Carbonation is too high for my liking, but it does add to the zestiness of the hops. Finishes pretty clean; it was hoppy at first but as it warms it has lingerings of grain, which is a nice change of pace.

Great drinkability (aside from some of that carbonation, haha). This is one for the IPA light category. Give it a shot.

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Photo of germaniac
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A tasty Kolsch from Ballast Point. Dark yellow gold with a foamy white head, with hints of yeast in the aroma. Smooth and medium bodied with a great light hop bitterness that adds a little spiciness to this easy drinkin' brew. 12 oz bottle from a sixpack purchased at the Mission Valley(San Diego) BevMo.

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Photo of YonderWanderer
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a pale yellow with two fingers of active foam that dissipates fairly quickly.

S: Some sweet malts, and a hint of grassy hops.

T: This follows the smell. The malt is dominant, with some biscuit and sweetness blending nicely. A nice grassy hops comes in and balances it out.

M: Smooth, thin, but that's how it should be.

D: This is a hell of a session brew. Very tasty, and I could see drinking this on a regular basis.

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Photo of billshmeinke
3.96/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

So I didn't read the label before purchasing this one, and apparently it's a Kolsch not an American Pale Ale.

Golden with the tiniest hint of amber in color. Very clear, no effervescence, looks like there are some tiny particles suspended in the beer as well. Finger and a half white finger. that dies down to a layer of foam on top composed of tiny bubbles. Pretty decent lacing as well.

Smells of vague fruitiness (grape?), light pale malts, biscuit/bread scent, a floral and herbal hop aroma and a very light metallic scent too.

Tastes of a light grape fruitiness, sweet pale malts, some biscuit and toasted bread, and herbal/floral/dank hops. Pretty flavorful, and the very light metallic scent does not come through in the taste.

Medium bodied with low carbonation. Silky smooth.

Drinkability is very solid. So this is the first Kolsch I have ever had, so I'm not sure if how I rated this beer is completely fair. I will revisit this beer/review after I have some other Kolsch's to compare it to. Even though I was expecting an American Pale Ale, I found this beer pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of edchicma
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, rich yellow with minimal head. Smell is sweet, malty, inviting. taste is a rich blend of sweet malt on the front with a decent, slightly bitter hop finish. Mouthfeel is almost creamy, slighly chewy. Drinkability is enhanced by the creaminess and light hop finish.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted at the Orange Blossom Festival in Riverside, California. Served very cold on a cold, rainy day. Pours a golden yellow with minimal head. Aroma & flavor follow each other fairly well- there is a nice hops balanced with a light citrusy and buttery tones. A complete lack of sweetness. Drinkability is, well, let's put it this way- my notes say: "yes!!!".

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a weak looking hazy lemon yellow with a very little foam and no lace. The smell of citrus filled the nose with a nice aroma. The taste was of a grapefruit and light flavored hop's. Nice balance of bitterness that feel's like a citrus type of bitterness. I do think that this pale ale taste's better when it cold and not while it warms up!

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Photo of tai4ji2x
3.97/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. no date? (printing of "2202")

hazy golden straw. moderate head fades to wisps and ring. good lacing at first, but less further down the glass.

gentle noble hop aroma and faint peach skin fruitiness.

toast malt flavors mix that peach character. very grassy, faintly citrusy hop, with moderate bitterness. crisp finish with hint of esters.

smooth and drinkable with lively, crisp carbonation.

ok, not bad. the "pale ale" label is misleading however. anyway, seems some of my previous reviews for kolsch might need some updating. will have to re-try a fresh reissdorf for comparison.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Pizza Port, Carlsbad. Poured a clear, bright golden color with a large bubbly white head that slowly settled down to a thin, patchy skim. Mild carbonation seen when iggitated.
Smell was pretty mild but seriously sweet. Had a fruity, sort of apple-crisp note mixed in a light bready malt base aroma.
Taste was a nice blend of a yeasty maltiness and gently spicy fruitiness. No hints of hops until a light bitterness came out in the finish.
Feel was light, crisp and refreshing.
This is a very easy-drinking brew. I found Yellowtail Pale Ale (?) to be a delightful beer.

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Photo of scottyshades
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy bright lemon color with a tiny white cap. Retention is OK, and the carbonation looks aggressive.

S: Wheaty and grainy malts, a vinous character, and a bunch of different citrus fruits; lemon, orange, grapefruit. Not too bad for a "Kolsch". Also some bready characters on top of a light hop schedule.

T: I really like this beer...Lots of honey right off the bat give this a sweeter side. The flavor is definitely malt-dominant, lending some wheaty and grainy aspects. Light grassy hops to follow. Bready as it warms. Really really light, but it manages to pack in some flavor.

MF/D: Carbonation was not as intense as I expected, which is a good thing. Feel is slightly rough still, but very enjoyable. Highly enjoyable; light body and feel, but very flavorful

Notes: Definitely a new session beer for me (I love finding new session beers), especially on a hot day in the sun.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Ballast Point Brewing Company, Yellowtail Pale Ale comes in a 22 fl.oz. Bomber with a very colorful label showing a yellowtail in a striking “sweeping down” pose. No strength or freshness date is indicated.

Appearance: Beautiful golden color with a yellow straw appearance. The head is a massive white pillow when first poured, but as the beer settles, then stands, it completely relaxes to a thin broken covering with some light lacing. Average carbonation when swirled.

Smell: A crisp refreshing nose with clean lines that include grain malts, fresh bread and biscuit aromas.

Taste: Malt introduction mixed with a little yeast that is well defined, crisp and clean. Hop bitterness rises in the middle which is very refreshing, and makes way for a decent tasty finish that has a slight spicy hop twang. A beer with an overall soft edge, yet it still has enough crisp tastes for the style.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a light ambience on the palate.

Drinkability: Easily imbibed, and the taste-buds offer little resistance to the clean golden refreshing lines of this cool Kölsch style Ale.

Overall: Labeled as a Pale Ale in the style of a Cologne Kölsch. It is certainly a decent effort, the malt aspect is crisp and light hops are refreshing. Not a bad effort at all.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

About ½ way through the review I pulled up the site to get ready to post my review. I see this is listed as a Kolsch. This explains quite a bit. I like it, but thought it was

Light golden color with quite a bit of visible carbonation quickly escaping to the surface. The head is bright white and foamy. Rises to about 2 fingers and quickly fades to a thin cap. Just the slightest touch of lacing remains.

Aroma is slightly sweet and with some light cracker notes. Slightly grassy and also a touch yeast.

Lighter than I had imagined, but still pretty good. Balance is the order of the day here. Initial moment of sweetness is quickly balanced with some nice bitterness. Light bready and hay flavors. Ends with a little doughy note and some sweetness.

Fairly light body and bright mouth feel.

Very drinkable and a nice beer. This is an excellent gateway beer.

Nicely done!

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +13%

Rich malty nose, mild herby hops. light fruit
Brilliant golden amber, 2" fluffy bone white foam cap, produces excellent lace.
Malty palate, graham cracker to biscuit, mild hop accent
medium body and carbonation

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Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear straw golden orange with a lot of rising bubbles. About two fingers of white head that slowly recede into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A crisp, bready, and fairly sweet German style aroma with citrus undertones. Upfront pale malts with hints of cereal grains, wheat, straw, biscuit, crackers, and yeast. Citrus fruit hints of orange, lemon zest, and pineapple. Earthy hop hints with a Noble presence. Slight hints of spice. A pretty decent Kolsch style aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma, a crisp, clean, bready, and fairly sweet Kolsch style taste with some citrus notes. Upfront pale malts with notes of wheat, cereal grains, straw, crackers, biscuit, and yeast. Juicy citrus fruit notes of orange, pineapple, and lemon zest. Earthy presence of European hops linger around. Subtle note of some kind of spice. Very grain forward. A pretty decent lager like taste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Crisp, clean, and very smooth.

Overall: A pretty decent take on the German Kolsch style. Has the crisp breadyness you expect.

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Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into pint. Bought from Abe's of Bethlehem... bottle was a little dusty however their turnover there is good.

A- Traditional golden yellow color with creamy white head.
S- Light fruity ale notes intermingled with almost a pilsner style malt profile.
T- Very nice balance. The pale ale on the label is misleading because there really aren't that many hops in this beer. Very subdued and mellow.... a nice chill beer!
M- Carb is OK. Flavors stick around near the back of my throat.
D- Good drinkability. I could see my non-crafty type beer folk really liking this too.

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Photo of charlzm
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed 08/25/08.

Pours an exceptionally clear light golden color. A one finger white head dissipates rapidly, leaving behind only some sticky foam on the sides of the glass.

Grassy, honey notes mingle in the nose with a slight, mild spice I can't quite place.

Mouthfeel is a little thicker than I expected: nice. Flavor is fruity and lightly bitter at first, but very much bready malt (with light touches of nut and caramel) towards the end of the taste.

Not as easy drinking as one might think; the substantial malt profile more or less overwhelms the light hop character of grass, flowers and fruits and keeps this one from being a porch swing/lawnmower beer.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear golden color with a thin eggshell-colored head.

S: Honey and a slight hint of grassy hops. Very clean smelling.

T: Lots of honey malts with a grassy hop backbone. A slight breadiness towards the finish. A solid and very very drinkable pale ale.

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Photo of beernut7
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This different pale ale has a sweet fruity aroma. There is a hint of ester in the flavor as well as a good sweet smooth malt presence. This brew is more reminiscent of a tasty golden ale. The only really noticeable hop presence is a bit of a bitterness in the finish.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear pale golden color with a marshmallow cap; decent retention and a touch of lace

Smell: Bready, with lemon floral tones

Taste: Opens with sweet malty elements that have a considerable lemon character; after the swallow, the contrasting flavors persist and are joined by a hint of wheat and a dollop of husky grain

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A little maltier than would be expected for the Kölsch style; when I reviewed this on tap I was overly critical as I thought it was a pale ale

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Photo of biegaman
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yellowtail is, in fact, yellow (but a rather dulled shade of it at that). It is actually so dense that I had thought its natural haze was condensation built up on the glass, but no, that's just what happens when you use the right amount of malt in your brew. Its head is incomplete but does make the 5-inch or so trip round the whole circumference of the glass.

The aroma showcases a very assured, wholesome maltiness that is so thick as to be almost doughy. It smells like crackers or biscuits and is deliciously aromatic, even despite its paleness. With quality malts like this I don't even want hops or yeast to interfere and I'm quite happy they don't (although others might detect a subtle fermentation-driven fruitiness).

You don't need a million different flavours for a beer to be flavourful, sometimes you only really need one. This kölsch, like most golden beers in this alcohol range - and in particular the German-style ones - is not terribly complex, but it is extremely flavourful. Cracker-like, noticeably biscuity maltiness is all you taste, but it's really all you need. These malts are highly-attenuated and very rich in flavour yet incredibly simple and clean too.

I could have a beer like this every day with lunch and be a very happy man. (I'm not sure the bomber would fit in a lunch box but this is definitely the kind of thing you'd want alongside a big sandwich.) Despite being so approachable and easily quaffed, it is still a considerably hearty and flavourful beer so far as its maltiness is concerned. A beer like this makes me think that if I never saw another DIPA again I wouldn't miss them one bit.

There's not one beer style that Ballast Point does badly. In fact, I have yet to rate even one of their beers as 'just alright'; all of their brands are exceptional examples of their respective styles and Yellowtail is certainly no exception. I don't think any other brewery makes as many of my #1 favourites when it comes to examples of different styles.

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer pours a clear gold color.

Overall: The aroma is a toasted malt smell with a hint of citrus. The taste has malt and citrus along with a buttered biscuits finish with a very slight hop bite. This is one refreshing beer recommended during the summer.

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Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a light golden colour with a fluffy head of all-white foam. The aromas are slightly fruity, with nice roasted malts, and slight citrus-y/floral hops in the aroma. The taste is super light and refreshing. You can really tell that this is a low alcohol brew that is crafted with the utmost care and passion. Truly 'artisinal'. The mouthfeel is pretty good, bordering on great and the drinkability is nice for this new age Kolsch as well. A good, solid, brew!

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