California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

BA SCORE
81
good
422 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:
422
Ratings:
1,335
Avg:
3.55
pDev:
13.8%
 
 
Wants:
47
Gots:
280
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 422 | Ratings: 1,335
Photo of tugdriver7
4.18/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was a pleasant surprise. Poured a hazy yellow in the glass, with a nice light yellow foam. Mostly malt in the nose, with enough hops presence to provide a burst of freshness. Taste was very well balanced and wonderfully drinkable. Some Kolsch offerings tend to be bland or boring. This was quite the opposite. For the style, a very good choice. You could put a few of these away and enjoy every drop.

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.61/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear deep straw producing 2+ fingers of frothy, white, moderately lasting head that leaves motes, sheets & streaks of lacing. Aroma is biscuit, honey, graham cracker, hints of lemon rind, grass, onion & a very faint sourness. Taste is biscuit, citrus (particularly lemon), grass & earthy floral hop notes, light pepper, finishing with a dry mineral hint backed by a slight hoppy bitterness that become the dominant characters of the lightly bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with medium-high carbonation but only a thin pepper bite, dry & lightly astringent in the aftertaste. I'm not sure but I think this brew represents the initial offering of Ballast Point which has also been called Yellowtail. The label on the bottle did not say Yellowtail but the fish on the label appeared to be a Yellowtail.

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Photo of CJNAPS
3.13/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not a huge fan of this style, but this one surprised me.

Most of the reviews on this are the same so I'll just add that it was a delicious beer one that I'll have again.
Really drinkable you could drink these all night.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.68/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

somewhat of a hybrid of styles here between a true german kolsch and an american pale ale, a neat and subtle fusion. this is a little darker, slightly more copper hued and robust on the malt front than you might find in a traditional kolsch, but it has the right yeast and the right fermentation temperature, just a but more body and flavor from the malt, pretty cool evolution really. the flavor is quite a bit more hoppy than you would be likely to find in an import, this is where the american pale aspect comes in, notes of citrus and a substantial bittering component as well, mostly in the finish. the various elements, including the european flare, really mesh well together here, its not overdone, and seems unique without trying too hard to be. a little bit of an apple juice fruitiness to it before the finish, and a bit of body to go with it, but overall quite light and drinkable, even if it lacks the refreshment value of a more traditional kolsch type. i liked this pretty well, especially with spicy pork green chili, surprised it isnt rated more favorably here...

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a straw yellow color with 2 fingers of head that fades down to a small cap

S: Lots of fruitiness up front along with some wheat notes and Munich maltiness that gives it a bit of a boost

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with a nice mix of the wheat and fruity notes with the backing of the Munich holding everything up. Grainy notes lead to the finish, which is a combination of grain and fruitiness

M: Light-medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A solid kölsch with a good bit of fruitiness and malt backbone. Very easy to drink with enough going on to keep you interested. Good to session with

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Photo of bankboy66
3.16/5  rDev -11%
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 MFMB
3.9/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark golden yellow. Nose is of fresh cut hay and light herbal tea. Taste of fresh malts, grass, herbal tea and a tiny bit of fresh lemon. Medium body crisp and clean finish. A refreshing beer.

 200 characters

Photo of mjurney
4.15/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance:
Dark gold color, slight haze. Medium carbonation. Small head.

Aroma:
Cut grass, grainy, slight herbal, crisp, clean.

Taste/Finish/Body:
Semi-sweet, grassy, grainy, hay, touch of toasted malts. Just a little fruity yeast. Hop bitterness is mild, mostly spicy-herbal. Finish is dry and crisp. Light-medium bodied, crisp, refreshing, highly drinkable.

Overall:
It's a very good Kolsch!

 403 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.65/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear golden color, forming just a small amount of white head. Aroma is bready with some citrusy hops. Reminds me of a good helles lager. Taste follows the nose with the same helles vibe, just a bit more bitter and hoppy. Body is really smooth. Very nice, easy to drink beer. Fits its description perfectly.

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Photo of Kubishark
3.59/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A nice golden, clear appearance with a bready smell combined with grass/hay. Tastes noticeably hoppier and more bitter than many other kolsches at first, but has that classic crackery, malty finish that I love about the style. Feels fairly light, if not a little heavier than other beers in the style. Overall it's very solid, but probably not the best I've had.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.06/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Easy-drinking. Not sure why I've avoided the style till now. Pours light golden with thin, lasting white top. Aroma is cracker, bread, and light hay/grass. Flavor is similarly malty with just a slightest grassy hop bitter at the end. Clean finish and extremely drinkable.

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Photo of BB1313
3.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours golden with a subtle haze and solid clarity; small white head that falls leaving solid retention and little lacing. The aromas have lots of caramel and fresh bread. Malts are there. The flavors seem to follow the nose. Lots of caramel notes along with some cracker. Lots of grains. Very solid malt backbone. Very subtle bitterness. Earthy with some grass notes. There's some subtle hints of citrus in the mix. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is nice. It's light with active carbonation. Very smooth and easy to drink.

This is a solid kölsch. It's crisp and refreshing. Enjoyable stuff.

 629 characters

Photo of 88caprice
3.6/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

An orange-tinged golden color with minimal head.
A hay-like, grassy smell with a faint touch of skunk (not skunked, though).
Taste has a malty surprise that was not in the nose. Slight grapey with some fermented fruit qualities.
Body is medium light, sparkly.

 259 characters

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.72/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From my lounge chair in my backyard, comes right to YOU, a total review of CALIFORNIA KOLSCH from BALLAST POINT Brewing Company!

It pours a pale piss color with 2 fingers of head and lace ringing 'round the glass lips. 90% transparent with a hint of haze blocking out the extra 10.

Aromas of crystal malt, banana peel, hop leaf, and stale straw.

Flavor starts off soft with malts and banana puree, then takes a sharp edge into hop land with bitter lemon rind notes and some licks of pine, followed by notes of tin and copper, then it ends with a bread bomb that's very welcome here. It fades off on crusts and fresh baked bread dough. It is refreshing.

Feel gets a four as it's pretty solid for a kolsch and refreshing. Not gonna go in real depth here.

Overall not a bad Kolsch, but could use some improvement where the lemon and metallic notes are concerned.

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Photo of Bulabeers
3.86/5  rDev +8.7%
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 NickBrema
3.45/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: clear golden color with lively carbonation. Good solid head that faded after a few minutes.

S: bready and malty

T: light and with a hint of piney hops and citrus

M: smooth and creamy and heavier on the tongue than expected but very pleasant

O: very smooth and tasty pale ale that would be a great summertime thirst quencher

 330 characters

Photo of scootny
3.93/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A crisp and delicious pale ale. It's true to the heritage of a German kolsch while adding a bit of a American hop flourish. Clear and golden inn the glass with a comely white head. Atoms shows off the light pilsner malt and the addition of wheat. Hops are floral and well integrated. Crisp quenching feel with lightly creamy carbonation. A great got weather beer.

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Photo of Apellonious
3.94/5  rDev +11%
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.

 361 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.42/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Golden in color, ample clarity 1/2" white head. Aroma was grain, kolsch cleanliness yeast wise.

Taste brought more malt and hop substance than your average kolsch. Nice and dry, good in hot weather. A decent offering. Wheat very noticeable.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.74/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours crystal clear and light golden yellow.

Light sweet maltiness, slightly earthy and spicy noble hops, and toast.

Biscuity, toast, earthy hop bitterness.

Light-bodied, medium-high carbonation, crisp, clean.

Overall, a very subtle beer but a nice crisp and clean refreshing brew.

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Photo of BrokenEdge
3.28/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

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Photo of WoodButcher
3.42/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Ok, round two of my intro to Ballast Point. Poured from a bottle, a hazy blonde that's a bit darker than traditional Kolsch styles. Tight head that quickly dissipated. Nose was yeasty, mild spiciness. Taste was yeasty, hint of cloves, a bit of fruit/banana sweetness and slight malt, and a modest bitter late in the finish and the mild lactic taste characteristic of the style. Mouthfeel was nice with fine but moderate carbonation.

Overall this is a pleasant drinking beer, good for a session and hews close to the Kolsch style. Pro hone of the better American examples. Now, if they can do something about their stupidly high prices. This is a good beer, but there are others as good and for much less. I can't help but feel like Ballast Point's following is a bit cultish.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.46/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the Pinon Pub at Whole Foods in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Served in a shaker glass.

Good golden-color and clarity but not much head. Smell was faint on everything, just light sweet malt notes and hints of bread and biscuit.

A bit more on the taste, grassy hops most notably. Very nondescript in a way that a non-craft drinker could enjoy.

Drinkability was pretty impressive. Drank very lightly. Easy to kill a pint and didn't have a filling effect.

 469 characters

Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
3.72/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a mixed 12-pack of Ballast Point beers at my local Trig's Cellar 70, and this was one of them. The packaging states that this one is good for another four months. Poured right from the fridge into my Lowenbrau Willi Becher glass.

L: Pours a golden amber--crystal clear--with about a half-inch of eggshell head that persists for a good long while and leaves very little lacing on the glass. There is a flaky particulate present, along with the profuse visible carbonation.

S: Bright bread-like grain notes in the nose--pilsner malts are clearly present. There are also some nice fruit notes of citrus and subtle banana. A bit of grassy hop notes coming through, as well.

T: Sweet bready malts with a definite pilsner profile are foremost on the palate. There are subtle notes of banana and lemongrass playing around the edges. The middle has a good deal of sweetness, with just a bit of that lemon-citrus and grassy quality continuing. The close has more of the sweetbread malt, along with a bit more of that grassy hop flavor and something a bit more astringent, leaving a bit of bitter lingering on the palate.

F: This one is on the lighter side of medium-bodied, with some nice creaminess thanks to a solid level of carbonation. There's just a bit of a watery quality that comes through toward the end of the glass.

O: I've had only a handful of Kolsch-style ales before, so my review should probably be taken with a grain of salt. I will say that I enjoyed the malt bill on this one--it's sweet and easy-drinking. The hops aren't too assertive, but they supply a nice counterbalance to the malts. While this probably won't be a beer I go out of my way to find again, I did enjoy it.

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Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4/5  rDev +12.7%
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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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.55 out of 5 based on 1,335 ratings.
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