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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 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

Photo of 57md
3.52/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light yellowish copper in color. The nose is more yeasty than hoppy - I can tell right off that this is no APA.

This has the body and malt profile of an amber lager even though it is fermented like an ale. The brewer considers this beer to be in the Kolsch tradition but the body is far heavier than any Kolsch I've ever tasted.

If you don't mind jumbled up styles, then this is a fine beer to pair with almost any food.

 426 characters

Photo of Act25
3.49/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. can into a SA pint glass. Love this brewer.

A pours a clear gold with a finger of foamy white head and very little lacing.

S smell is malty first, w fruit aroma .. say white grape and citrus rind. grassy. Kolsch +.

T taste is fruity with a lemon rind first followed by white grapes. some Belgian malt yeasty in the finish.

F smooth with a drinkable silky body. Nice session beer.

 407 characters

Photo of rorykanderson
3.46/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

OK pale ale that's crisp with a citrus and light piney aroma. Lighter on hops than what's been coming out from Ballast Point recently but it has a decent malt, orange, lemon and peach profile. Certainly not a pale ale standout compared to other labels and it even falls quite short when compared to its in-house offering Grunion. Bit surprised coming from such an excellent brewery.

 382 characters

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

I'm not sure I get the low scores either, other than frustrations over A) it's actually a kolsch-style ale, not a pale ale and/or B) it's not a big old hop bomb of a beer. Regardless, I thought this was clean and delicious and the description from the brewer incredibly apt -- "...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." The German hops natural spice and grassiness work well with that understated citrus fruit note from the ale yeast, but never cover up a clean malt base. Will be reaching for this one very often indeed this summer.

 659 characters

Photo of mikeg67
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can. Pours deep golden with tall, long-lasting, fluffy white head and nice lacing. Aroma is of Noble hops, bready malt and hint of citrus. Body is medium and smooth. Herbal hops and pale malt nicely balanced on the palate. Finish is medium, soft, slightly bitter. I could drink this whole day.

 305 characters

Photo of Auraan
4.12/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clear golden body with a one finger, bubbly white head that receded slowly. Overall impression of appearance was of a good, classic Kolsch. Scents of apple and pear with light levels of sweet and grainy malt and a hint of floral and herbal Noble hops. Overall impression of aroma is of a light, fruity profile, fitting a Kolsch. Flavor begins with a light malt presence that is softly sweet and grainy and a soft fruitiness with notes of cherries in the background. Middle becomes lightly dry with medium bitterness and notes of grainy malt and medium notes of floral hops. Finish is lightly dry with a slight tangy flavor along with medium notes of floral hops and delicate soft malt and light fruity sweetness in the background. Aftertaste is grainy malt and floral hops at moderate levels. Overall impression of flavor is of a fine Kolsch, true to style and very well rounded. Mouthfeel is medium-light bodied with medium carbonation and a smooth, crisp character. Overall impression of mouthfeel is of a true to style Kolsch. Overall this is a fantastic Kolsch. It hits the style perfectly and is a crisp, refreshing beer. Well crafted and quite appealing.

 1,169 characters

Photo of stonefan55
2.58/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

My fault for not reading the label, As it states ''pale ale'' I thought It was a Pale Ale. either way not bad but also not a taste that a west coast pale ale should be. It is as the label says in tiny print, a kolsch style beer thats like a lager but brewed like an ale. I love Ballast Point for all of their other styles...
Looks more yellow in color than a pale ale, Smells a little skunky, tastes between a Heineken and fat tire, feels too lite with little alcohol on it, crisp and dry...

 492 characters

Photo of Duhast500
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Dogfish Head pint glass.

The color is a clear yellow/gold with a finger of foamy white head and some hints of a thin layer of lacing left on the glass.

The smell is malty at first with a crisp dough flavor. There is some fruit aroma here in the nose that is just a touch of white grape and tangerine. There also seems to be a slight grassy aroma here as well.

The taste is fruity with a slight orange rind flavor that is brief before leading into a green grape flavor. There is some nice sweetness that fills in the gaps here and there. Some slight Belgian malt flavor comes out towards the end that is tasty.

The feel of this beer is smooth with a nice drinkable feel that goes down easy and really works well with your palette and lets it’s silky body let it glide down. A great drinker and one that would great any time.

 863 characters

Photo of cbutova
3.47/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says Pale Ale: The Original but same artwork as Yellowtail so here goes nothing.

A- The tall 12oz bottle pours a mostly clear golden yellow brew into my tumbler glass. The head is white and creamy rising just over one finger with good retention. A large pillow and ring remain dropping a few large webs of lace but not much else.

S- Easy going but plenty of yeast character leading the way in the aroma. A fruity yeasty feel with notes of pear and apple opens up for a bready, biscuity pale malt hint. Noble hops hint in the background.

T- As with the nose most of what I get is from the yeast. The fruits are rather apparent with pale things like white grape, pear and slight apple coming to mind. Bready, biscuits, hint of grassy spicy hops and minerals.

MF- Very light overall thickness with a noticeable lack of texture. Feels a bit thin as the carbonation comes down in moderate amounts. Light herbal bitterness towards the finish.

Light yet flavorful with a host of yeast derived notes cascading onto the palate. My only knocks are the texture is a bit thin and the flavors seem to clash at times but besides that it does its job.

 1,148 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.46/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours two fingers of foamy head on a clear light golden body.
The aroma is mild honey and grain.
The taste is moderately bitter to start, then mellow malt to finish. Nice.
The texture is crisp and fizzy.
Nice and balanced.

 222 characters

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

12 oz bottle served cold into a shaker pint glass.

Yellowtail pours a clear golden yellow color with thick white head. It settles fairly quickly and leaves spoty lace behind.

Aroma is mild and light with no real hop character.

Flavor is also very mild with pilsenser like attributes. Nothing too remarkable.

Mouthfeel is light In body and balanced.

Overall a disappointment. Calling this a pale ale is misleading. Yes it's an ale that is pale but it is not what one expects when ordering a pale ale.

 505 characters

Photo of puboflyons
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Probably from 2014. Sampled on February 23, 2015.

The pour is mostly yellow, clear, and bubbling up to a decent white head that lingers some and then becomes a ring.

There is a nice grainy malt character in the air, which is how I imagine a Kolsch to be, along with a grassy, clean hop ester.

Medium body.

Quick drinking thanks to its pale malt-grassy hop balance. Refreshing.

 411 characters

Photo of dd43
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

It's funny. I love what ballast point does, generally speaking. And this is a decent beer. But I feel like the recipe could use a couple of tweaks to make it pop more. The malt base is nice but I could use a little more of that noble hop aroma. It doesn't really need more bitterness, per se, I'm looking more for a pungency to the earthy/spicy/floral thing I want in a German style pale ale like this.

 402 characters

Photo of maedhros09
3.9/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I didn't look at the label too closely before trying this one so I was expecting more of an American Pale Ale. That considered my first reaction was disappointment - the flavors seemed dulled and there was not the freshness that I expect from an APA. When I saw the Kolsch "subheading" it made a lot more sense. A good enjoyable brew, but not one that I expect to repurchase.

 375 characters

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.

 1,377 characters

Photo of tillmac62
3.78/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

BOD 177/14. Pours a clear light amber (golden). Above average head volume, excellent lacing and retention. Light nose of fruity esters and yeast over a biscuit base with a hint of spice. Almost light medium body with a nice slick texture. Slightly below normal carbonation with just a touch of effervescence in the finish. The flavor profile is quite nice for a Kolsch. Above average intensity for the style, well balanced and fairly complex. It begins with a mix of light fruit (banana, pear) that flows into a somewhat crisp biscuit sweetness. The middle is a very mild hop bitterness that is herbal in nature that yields to a slight note of pepper like spice. The finish is a slow fade of herbal bitterness and biscuit that ends with a touch of dryness.

 764 characters

Photo of PA-hunter
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured 12oz can into glass. 5.2% abv

Appearance- Pours a cloudy light-,edium amber with a foamy white head that lasts.

Smell- Toasted grains, fresh toasted biscuit aroma.

Taste- A nut-like flavor hits the palate at first followed by a toasted malt similar to a cracker. The sweetness gives the slightest hint of citrus. Also has a buttery quality to it. Some hop bitterness plays into the finish with a lingering sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Medium in body, Lively carbonation and very smooth.

Overall- Outstanding due to the full flavor and smoothness. The maltiness and sweetness compliment each other very well. This beer should just be called Kolsch as Pale Ale is a bit deceptive due to the style. Nevertheless a high quality beer that should be tasted.

 758 characters

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 3PuttPar
3/5  rDev -15.3%

This was a very disappointing beer. It has all the drawbacks of a light American beer, but lacking the crispness and carrying a higher price. Avoid this if you are looking for a pale ale. It is most similar to Kona Longboard or Olympia. Too much malty sweetness for my taste, without much complexity to balance it out. The lingering aftertaste is better than some of the other beers mentioned, with some hints of citrus fruit. This is my second go around with Yellowtail, figuring the last batch I had was a dud, but I am just as underwhelmed.

 548 characters

Photo of ronniebruner
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Very earthy taste to this pale ale. Reminds me of a Sierra Nevada. A bit sweet on the tongue with just enough bite to make it above average in this category. The beer has a golden orange hue, minimal foam, lace and carbonation and a crisp, clean taste. Leaves the right amount of taste on the tongue and is not harsh like some other IPAs tend to be. A very worthy effort. Ballast Point is quickly becoming one of the best breweries on the west coast, but this is not their finest beer, even though I would rate as above average. I love this brewery and cannot wait to try their new beers!

 595 characters

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