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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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 417 | Ratings: 1,316
Photo of Wer34truh
3.51/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a yellow fizzy color, featuring quite a bit of visible carbonation. The head is tiny, almost non-existent.

Smells predominantly of grains, but also some distinct malt-tones. Generally speaking, the smell is quite sweet with some fruits, primarily banana.

Taste is balanced, and quite subtle at that. Like the smell, moderate-to-low grains and malt dominate, with some distinct banana-sweetness being present in the aftertaste. Conventional and not very exciting, yet certainly enjoyable. Mouthfeel is very much in the German tradition, that being incredibly light and carbonation is kept at a medium.

Boring, forgettable, yet solid.

 644 characters

Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.03/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a wonderful clear golden color with a one finger white head. Aroma is sweet bready malt with some spicy noble hop character. Taste is lightly fruity, floral, spicy, grassy, all the noble hop characteristics. Mouthfeel is light, but spritzy on the palate with carbonation. Overall, a wonderful kolsch/pale ale hybrid that deserves respect and a spot in every true beer lovers graces. Doesn't have the huge hopping, barrel aged, adjunct pieces, but that is what makes it special.

 488 characters

Photo of TH28
3.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. 11/15/15 bottle date. Appearance: Crystal clear light golden, with thick white head and nice lacing. Aroma: Grainy, cracker, subtle pear like fruitiness. Taste: Light, cracker like malt sweetness that turns to a strong spicy bitterness that lingers long after the swallow. Mouthfeel: Medium body with a light creaminess and moderate carbonation. Finish: Fairly dry on the finish with a strong spicy bitterness that lingers. Overall: Has the look and smell of a true Kolsch, but seems to have the bitterness level of an APA. Still a pleasant, easy drinking beer, but balance shifts more towards the hoppy side than any other Kolsch I’ve had.

 656 characters

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.87/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a fluted pilsener glass.

The beer glistens with a crystal clear copper body with constant rising bubbles. The light cream colored head is thick, almost meringue-like, and basically never recedes. Random spots and patches of foam lacing remain. The aroma is grassy, and covered with citrus and faint peppery spice. The taste is much like the aroma, but a bready, semi-sweet malt component comes out a little more. The finish is citrus (lemon peel) and white pepper. The beer goes down clean and crisp.

Overall, this is really clean and easy to drink -- great for a summer weekend. I'm having it in the dead of winter and still appreciate it.

 655 characters

Photo of flyingpig
3.87/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

355ml Can from Brewdog DogHouse, Glasgow (£3.00):
This one was a very nice & crisp lager in the kölsch style with a smooth & drinkable palate that was also clean, crisp & easy to drink. Despite being slightly misled by the name of this one , I certainly wasn't left disappointed with some nice lager malts, subtle hops & a few touches of sweetness all combining well to make this an excellent beer.

 400 characters

Photo of Gabriel_Vaughn
2.85/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A: golden straw, slightly hazy

S: tad fruity like dried fruit, sweet

T: fruit again, stale not to my liking

M: meh

O: I'd love to try their other pales but I'm no fan of this fellow

 185 characters

Photo of Hahnin
4.5/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

BP is the friggin bomb. I love pretty much everything they do. This is a classic beer. It is solid, good drinkability, but nothing fancy or anything to keep you coming back.

 173 characters

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

I like it for what it is - very balanced pale ale. The smell isn't too impressive, but usually these types of beers aren't. The taste is pretty yeasty and bready, but it's very well-balanced and still has that Ballast Point crispness. This is a very drinkable beer and pretty refreshing overall.

 295 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

Photo of beergoot
3.74/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Gold colored body; gently rising carbonation; sticky, fluffy, white head; strings of lacing along the glass. Cracker and biscuit aroma. Toasted grain flavors; nice hop bitterness. Medium body; warm and soft on the palate.

A straight-forward kölsch-styled ale that hits the appearance, scent, and flavor of this classic German-styled beer. It has a crisp, clean taste, seems well-balanced, and is definitely an easy drinker. Very enjoyable...

 443 characters

Photo of Urk1127
2.05/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

-Hazy yellow
-Pretzel dough, salt, sweetness, grass, grains
-Odd doughy sugar sweetness, grassy
-Creamy, fizzy

-did not care for the weird sweetness, but i do like other Kolsch

 178 characters

Photo of Strat58cat
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Very good pale ale. It is light, balanced, refreshing and delicious. That's what I want in a pale ale.

It's a clear, golden color in the evening light of my house. Lots of head will come if you work at it by splashing it into the bottom of the glass, but it cannot retain for long. This beer does not lace at all in my glass Samuel Adams glass.

The smell is delicious and balanced. It's very reminiscent of a Boston Lager, but a little more subdued.

The taste is crisp, clean, refreshing, balanced. Again, the balance is along the lines of a Boston Lager although this is an ale. There is not as much going on, but this ale is light and very refreshing.

The feel is medium bodied. It's not at all thick. This ale was neither watery nor heavy.

Overall, a great, light, refreshing ale. My feeling is that lighter beers are the forte of Ballast Point. I do think their famous IPA is a misfire, but their original pale ale is an excellent choice for a very low-maintenance brew.

 990 characters

Photo of Antg8989
3.91/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: Pours a pale gold with a one finger white head.
Aroma: Crackery malts, pepper.
Taste: Malts up front. Spicy hops.
Feel: Medium bodied, high carbonation.
Overall: Decent pale ale. Not great, not bad.

3.5, 3.75, 4, 4.5, 3.75

 229 characters

Photo of Catracho5
4.15/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce can poured into a pint glass

A: Pale, golden straw color with a white head, lots of carbonation streaming off the bottom, slight lacing, a really good looking beer.

A: Straw, hay, malts, slight bitterness, slight fruit aroma, smells pretty good.

T: Hay, grain, malts, dry, slight bitterness, there is a hint of pears, finishes dry and malty, fairly complex for a pale ale.

M: Smooth mouthfeel, easy drinking, dry finish.

O: This is a quality beer, a little different than other pale ales I've tried but good, more grainy and malty than it is citrus and easy drinking, another great beer from Ballast Point and new beer I will definitely reach for.

 662 characters

Photo of irrevjim
3.56/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

look;nice 1" head that goes fast, thin lacing, pale golden with visible big bubbles
smell; bread, spicy, pepper, buttery rolls
taste;medium malt, a little hops, hint of banana, nicely balanced but not a lot going on
feel; a little bubbly, medium light, smooth finish despite bubbles
overall; i'd grab this on draft out of curiosity if it were available as i like pale ales, nothing special but nothing bad, a solid choice but from sierra nevada to obscurity there are some amazing pales out there

 496 characters

Photo of Troy-Hawaii
2.4/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

There hardly is any taste to this. This was my first Ballast Point beer and I was disappointed. I was expecting a really good craft beer, but it's more like a cheap macrobrew. Not worth a premium price. Not worth tasting again. Would not recommend.

 253 characters

Photo of Roguer
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Beautiful fluffy white head with excellent retention. Crystal clear golden brew.

Slightly sweet malty aroma. Bready with a touch of banana.

Very bready. Herbal and earthy. Not overly sweet.

Feel and flavor are too thick for a Koelsch. This is otherwise a very enjoyable pale ale.

 282 characters

Photo of drtth
3.59/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours out into a Duvel glass a clear golden amber color with a 1" ivory head that recedes to a layer of light foam and a ring around the glass. Sipping leaves legs and small patches of lacing.

The aroma is mostly bready malt with some grassy character in the background.

The flavors are much as expected fro the nose there is the bready malt and the grassiness of the hops. There's also a bit of sweetness and fruitiness hanging around in the background.

The mouth feel is medium bodied and lightly prickly from the carbonation. The finish begins about 2/3 of the way through with the fading of the breadiness and sweetness. However, the hops seem more earthy than grassy and the bitterness seems just a bit off. There isn't quite the dryness at the end that's needed to invite the next sip.

According to the brewery this is a Kolsch inspired pale ale and it is possible to see some resemblances, however I prefer a "cleaner" crisper flavor profile where as this one seems to have just slightly missed the mark here and there. Given the other US brewed Kolsch style beers I've had, (and my memories of drinking Kolsch in Cologne) I'll probably be taking a pass on this one in the future.

 1,206 characters

Photo of LennyOvies
3.49/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

L- Gold hazy body and a creamy head.
S- Fresh malt aroma with a citrus backbone.
T- Fresh malt within initial sip and then lemon gets mixed.
F- Fresh, light, a bit oily.
O- Fresh easy drink. Didn't really like the mouthfeel. Just good.

 235 characters

Photo of RyanK252
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours golden yellow with a frothy off white head that settles to a nice layer and laces well.

S: Floral, a little spice, light fruity notes, faint citrus, a little grainy, and a hint of sweetness.

T: Kinda fruity, floral notes, lemon zest, a touch of spice, and light crackery malt.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation, pretty crisp and refreshing.

O: Slightly misleading label, but a very solid kolsch.

 469 characters

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.57/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear yellow-straw body with ample carbonation. Impressive, big head comprised of fine bubbles, and some pockets of blanketing 3D lace. Where's the can art??

S: Pretty light. Some grain, light citrus rind.

T: Ditto. Lemon, light malt and husk, verging on something skunky/yeasty.

M: Light bodied. Goes down like water.

O: It's good for the style. No flaws, but the rubric for the style keeps it from being something more. Still a great easy drinking hot weather beer.

 475 characters

Photo of jweaver95
4.25/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I actually enjoyed this one. It's nothing like the pales out here in the Midwest, but it's good nonetheless. It almost tasted like a Pilsner mixed in with a few subtle hops to me. It was very smooth and refreshing and I'd definitely drink it again.

 248 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 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 milwaukee512
4.29/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pretty good for a Kolsch-style beer, but in my opinion this style of beer is just boring. Easily drinkable, with nice carbonation and a pleasant taste, but nothing that jumps out. I was expecting more from B.P., but I guess this is just how Kolsch beers are.

 260 characters

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