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California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
80
good
417 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:
417
Ratings:
1,316
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
24.58%
 
 
Wants:
48
Gots:
266
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 417 | Ratings: 1,316
Photo of mhewes
3.13/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A : Pours a golden color with a decent white head

S : Malty with some grass hints

T : Grainy and yeasty with some hop bitterness.

M : Thin with some decent carbonation

D : For a kolsch, it just doesn't do it for me. It is not a crisp and refreshing as I would expect.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.15/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Man I knew as soon as I cracked the bottle it was old.

A - Pours a pure dead yellow with no head and mild ring lace, which seems to only cover half the glass. The sediment was low due to a slow pour but it was impossible to avoid.

S - Smells kind of grassy, kind of muddy, and kind of grainy. You get pretty much malt and grain and very muted hops (typical pilsner)

T - Wow it taste kind of belch. Like Grolsch Lager yet its an ale not a lager so age has turned it kind of sour. Second sip it taste like the carbonation wants to bring something to the field other than grain and grass but really thats all I am getting, bitter on bitter but not in a good way. Sad thing is only a few bubble of carbonation are visible.

M - Light and bitter like an ESB but it's an ale! Damn this beer is old!

D - Well apparently this company is notorious for not having dates on their beer along with getting this from a shop I knew had old beer was a lose/lose situation. It's weird since it's really not drain pour worthy yet not really exciting and full of flavor so I will pour it. Sad since even hella old the IPA still rocked my taste buds this beer is so/so at best new or old. Every beer is not a winner.

 1,202 characters

Photo of hopdog
3.15/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle acquired in trade with DarkElf (thanks!).

Poured a clear gold color with a smaller sized white head. Aromas of grass, citrus and some fruits (apples). Somewhat fruity tasting with light grass and wheat. Medium sweet with a very light hop bitterness finish. Watery body.

Notes from 6/3/05

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Photo of Bighuge
3.15/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dirty looking orange-amber color. It's got brown to it as well. Thus a dirty look. The head is ivory white and thin. Well retained though. And the lace left is nice. The aroma is quite thick and gritty for a kolsch. Very grainy. And dusty. (Like the grain room at the local homebrew shop.) Not that that's bad. Taste is average. It's quite grainy as well and not really quenching (as a kolsch should be). Dry finish. A bit of herbal and earthy hoppiness. Pretty average.

Thanks for yet another Ballast Point offering Mr. Bum.

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Photo of beersarang
3.15/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale gold with a big bubbled head that didn't last long at all. Macro?!?

Faint aroma... not much to discern here.

Slight grainy malt flavor gives way to the tiniest of hop bitterness and flavor. Grassy if anything. Wimpy all the way.

Light bodied. Would be great on a hot day, but overall pretty bleh and plain.

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Photo of bankboy66
3.16/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Looks and smells great with a decent head. The taste is ok but the feel is weird....there is a citrusy fizzy quality I'm not really liking. Once it goes down there is more citrus and grassy notes. If you want to try a proper kolsch try a Fruh.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.16/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Golden with amber hues. 2 finger thick head.

S: bready and malty. Not getting too much of the fruitiness.

T: Wheat, mild fruit notes that I really have to search for. More like the bready nature of a pilsner than a pale.

M: The wheat beer character makes this more refreshing than many pale ales. A little bitter on initial feel

Overall: The refreshing aspect is a huge plus but this just isn't the pale ale for me. I love Ballast Point but this is just not for me.

 472 characters

Photo of Lemke10
3.17/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This pours a clear, golden yellow color with a slight white head. The aroma is fairly grainy. The flavor is very grainy with an unusual bitter finish. I know they list this as a Kolsch style ale but they should really put that in bigger font as people looking for pale ales probably aren’t looking for this taste profile.

 323 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.17/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

On tap at Toscana Cafe. Pours clear golden with nearly no head. Aroma is light fruits like pears and white grapes, sweet pale malts, light grass and yeast. Flavor follows with some light hay, honey, sweet wheaty flavors, yeast lingering on the palate. Light bodied with medium high carbonation. Not great but plenty drinkable I guess.

 334 characters

Photo of sbw138
3.17/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought a bottle at another great trip to Pub on Passyunk East. Poured a golden yellow, with a bright white, but thin head. Left a small tracing at the top, but very little the more I drank.

Bready, malty smell. Pretty much what you'd expect from a Kolsch.

Light bready, malty taste, nice crisp finish.

Not really my style of beer, but not bad for what it is.

 361 characters

Photo of Wisconsinality
3.18/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to July2Nov for this one.

A- Pours a clear bright straw yellow and a fizzy finger worth of carbonation. Sticks around for a little while but doesn't leave much lacing.

S- Lots of crystal malts and a bit of fruitiness. There is not much of a hop presence to speak of. There is also a bready quality to it.

T- Pretty much spot on with the nose. Fruity and bready malts that is pretty balanced. Not much going on with this beer.

M- Light bodied with some nice crisp carbonation. This is a pretty quenching beer.

D- Crisp and refreshing but not much going on. A summer time beer for sure. Nothing bad but nothing to seek out.

 638 characters

Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.18/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Slightly hazy golden yellow with one-finger, white, creamy head that lasted a couple minutes and left a nice film. Okay lacing.

S: Caramel malt, citrus, and floral.

T: Moderate sweetness and moderate bitterness. Toasted malt and bread. Light citrus.

M: Light to medium bodied with fizzy carbonation.

O: The taste was mild and a bit of a let down. Average overall.

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Photo of DrunkenMaster
3.2/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Lahainas in Pacific Beach. Clear golden color with no almost no head. Tastes more like a pilsener than an pale. Light floral aroma with just a bit of citrus. I drank about 3 pitchers of this beer just sitting out on the patio at Lahainas on a beautiful night.

 269 characters

Photo of Floydster
3.21/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle purchased from Cooke's in El Segundo for about four dollars, split with my friend last night, poured into a pint glass

A-Golden yellow color, can see right through this bad boy, one inch foamy white head, did not stick around for long, not much retention or lacing

S-A bit skunky surprisingly, grassy accents, straw and hay, dry hoppiness, some slightly bready malt, all aromas are weak and barely distinguishable

T-This beer was incredibly light and it was hard not to drink really fast, started off with some faint hops, some malt in the middle but not a very noticeable amount, more hops in the finish, scary how easy this stuff went down, especially as it warmed, taste faded mostly by the end but still not bad, would have liked to have more of an aroma and flavor to make this beer stand out, although it never did taste bad, just not too complex

M-Crisp, slightly dry, and slick mouthfeel, thirst quenching, thin body, large amount of carbonation, taste did not last long

D-Could drink a lot of this stuff mainly because it is so light and the ABV is below five, of course there is no booze, would make a nice session, smooth and crisp at the same time

Surprisingly had never tasted this one until yesterday, not one of Ballast Point's best by any means but not bad for its style, might drink again, especially in the summer time, worth trying

 1,372 characters

Photo of orangemoustache
3.21/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Yellowtail pours a tarnished gold with a bubbly bleach white head that retains pretty well,but leaves very little lacing as it recedes to a paper thin covering. The nose seems a bit understated and one dimensional,grainy,with the slightest amount of floral hops. Not realizing that this was a Kolsch style PA I thought it was a bit underpowered in the hop department. Upon reading the label and realizing the style being attempted I find this to be quite nice and balanced. A touch of grainy lightly toasted malt is backed up by an equal balance of earthy,grassy hops. Subtle lemon and spice. A slightly slick mouthfeel followed by dry,prickly cabonation and a slightly bitter finish. Yellowtail Pale Ale was not what I expected,it is balanced and very drinkable.

 763 characters

Photo of Nugganooch
3.23/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Notes from 11/02/11 – wifey brought home a 6er!

*12oz to pint glass

A: Yellowtail Pale Ale pours a super clear golden straw colored hue. Bubbly with a thin egg-white fizzy head that dissipated out rather quick leaving minimal lace.

S: Smells real bready with a spicy hop note and some fruity ale yeast aromas.

T: Taste is very grainy and bready with a real Pilsner like quality to it. Moderate bitterness from European hops that add a real spicy element and there is a subtle tart yeasty finish. This maybe like the gold standard of a BMC gateway beer. Refreshing and well balanced but very standard.

M: Very light in body. Slight creamy texture. Super Dry with a crisp finish.

D: Very light and refreshing with a big European influence. German hops and malts give more of a Kolsch character than an American Pale Ale to me. Not bad and nice balanced but just not really what I go for these days. Again your go to for a BMC gateway brew I would think.

 962 characters

Photo of GPHarris
3.24/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

a - poured a one finger thick off-white head into an english pub glass. the body was an orange-golden color. not much lacing and sheeting here unfortunately.
s - citrus hops
t - citrus hops balanced by pilsner and bready malts.
m - moderate, a little on the thin side.
o - i had high hopes for this one and while it's a decent pale ale it fell short.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.25/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very interesting. Of course a kölsch is a pale ale, technically, but one marketed as a pale ale in America seems like something of a misnaming. Anyway, let's see how it is.

Pours a very pale yellow colour, with a filmy but fine-bubbled head of white foam, that leaves some abstract lacing. Looks very lagery, which is stylistically true for a kölsch at least. But thin, but decent enough.

Nose is slightly grainy, with a sharp German hop profile. Hint of molasses or raw processed sugar, along with something slightly phenolic. It reminds me a lot of a Munich Helles. Less fruity and clean than I expect for a kölsch, but not bad.

Taste is similar. Some graininess on the back, fronted by a light sweetness and a sugary, slightly nutty aftertaste. There's something all a bit insipid about it, however, and the characters don't mesh together particularly well. Mouthfeel light, which is expected, but it doesn't add anything to the beer, which really needs a lift.

Eh, drinkable enough, but really, there's something unappealing about it. It's not so far as to be offensive, but there's so little to it, I wonder why they bother.

I'll stick to Sculpin, thanks.

 1,168 characters

Photo of Tucquan
3.25/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this in Columbia, PA on 2010-12-03.

A - Hazy gold with a lot of floaters. Short fizzy head that quickly dissipated.

S - Mild lemon and yeast

T - Surpsingly,it is on the sour side followed by lemon drop sweetness, biscut and yeast. Mild bitterness. Finishes dry with little lingering aftertaste.

M - Light body and medium carbonation yield a thin feel.

D - This doesn't taste like a pale ale to me so the surprising flavor set me back a bit. The bottle is labeled as a pale ale but I'm not buying it. If you're into the sour taste and this style, it definitely can quench your thirst.

 593 characters

Photo of ehammond1
3.26/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On Tap

Brazen BBQ
San Diego, CA

Clear golden yellow with a thin white cap. Lots of lacing down the glass.

Simple and muted aroma--lots of bready malts, grain, and little else.

Flavor follows the aroma--very simple and plain. There's some mild bitterness, lots of bread and grain, and a touch of floral and citrus, but not much at all. Though nothing unpleasant, this beer lacks much hop character and is simple and boring.

Medium mouthfeel. Clean, dry, crisp, and refreshing.

I think Ballast Point do themselves a disservice by calling this a pale ale. This is a simple, bready ale, but there's a lot more flavor and character in Sierra Nevada and Stone Pale Ales.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.26/5  rDev -7.9%

Had on-tap at Bier Garden Asheville. Served in a pint glass.

A- Pours a medium amber color with a 1/4 inch off-white head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Very sweet aroma makes me think of honey.

T- Somewhat bland flavor has notes of bread and not much else. Probably the least hoppy pale ale I've ever had. Noticeable alcohol presence. Quite lame.

M- Pretty thin with medium carbonation and a lightish body.

O- They really missed the mark on this one. Might as well just be an amber for how weak it tastes. My least favorite Ballast Point beer by far.

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Photo of ISmith87
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - golden/amber clear color with a thin head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

S - Nothing. Rice, wet cardboard, corn, light banana.

T - slight bitterness, rice, corn, light banana, wet cardboard, wheat, etc. c

M - light, aftertaste is basically nothing. Alc hidden.

O - yea it sucks, closer to Rolling Rock than it is to Dale's Pale Ale or any of the other greats.

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Photo of BrokenEdge
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I had this back when it was titled a Pale Ale with the words "kolsch" buried underneath. The name change is perfect for this beer in several ways. 1) It really is more of a kolsch than an APA so I'm glad they put that in the forefront and 2) a boring name for a boring beer. This isn't bad, but just so average for it's price point.

Pours a pale yellow gold color, with a thin off white head, and faint hints of soapy lacing. Looks not unlike a lot of macro beers, except slightly more gold in color. Smell is weak but has some mild yeasty spiciness and lemon. Taste has more of the same, with some grassy notes, white fruits (apples, pears, etc), and biscuity maltiness. Faint noble hops, and generally tilting in favor of sweetness. Feels pretty light with high carbonation, but still mostly smooth going down. Crisp fruity finish. Overall, I think this beer is just not worth the cost (about $16 a 6 pack) and there are so many more great pilsner style beers that I'm not sure why anyone would spend so much on this one. Not a hit for me.

 1,042 characters

Photo of callmescraps
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Trying another Kolsch. I have a hard time reviewing these to style, as I'm not sure I've ever really had an excellent one. But I generally enjoy them regardless.

Appearance - A nice light golden/hay color. Very clear. Two inches of stark white head soap bubble quickly dissipate into a thin ring. Looks nice.

Smell - Lots of sweet grains in this one. Almost like an old, slightly moldy grain bin. Hint of biscuit. Almost like bread dough.

Taste - Follows the smell. Starts off with a little citrus bitterness, and a little dry. Then it mellows out for a moment before turning quite sweet and grainy. There's a dry sourness on the finish I'm not loving.

Mouthfeel - Nice and light. I'd love a hint more carbonation.

Drinkability - Oh, I could polish off a sixer without blinking. That said, it wouldn't really hold my interest either. I'd probably just take them straight from the bottle if I was in the mood to just have beers.

It's beer. Hooray beer. Nah, it's quite quaffable, but nothing special. Next.

 1,012 characters

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz single purchased at Charleston Beer Exchange. Poured it into a Peroni glass since that is the closest I have to a Stange.

A: Pours an incredible clear and light gold color with a tiny bubble head that has better retention than I would expect. Likewise, the lacing is better than I expected.

S: Lemon zest and grassy notes seem to be the main parts of the aroma. It is a reserved aroma, but seemingly appropriate for the style.

T: The only real saving grace for this style for me is its refreshing quality. This one seems a bit dry for it to really be refreshing for me. The flavor consists of pale malt sweetness, lemon zest, and what must be some grassy hop variety. Those all make sense for the style and aroma of this one.

M: Thin body with quite a bit of aggressive carbonation in the mouth.

D: The extremely low ABV and simple flavors make this one a lawn mower type beer. However, I still wish it were more refreshing like the style typically seems to be.

 972 characters

California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.54 out of 5 based on 1,316 ratings.
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