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:
1,332
Avg:
3.55
pDev:
13.8%
 
 
Wants:
47
Gots:
278
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 422 | Ratings: 1,332
Photo of letsgopens
2.97/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Picked up several selections from Ballast Point today at 3 Sons including this little fella. It pours a completely translucent, golden, wheat-color with sparse rising bubbles. The soapy pearl head recedes quickly and soon becomes almost non-existent. A slippery ring barely sticks to the glass.

Grainy golden malt up front with some spicy/floral hops that work their way in. A bit of buttered toast and subtle overall.

Much like the aroma would suggests; the flavor starts off with a firm, husky grain note accompanied by toasty malt and a buttery consistency. The malt gives way to some floral hop character. Finishes dry with just a hint of slick booziness which is surprising for the ABV/style.

Crisp, bright mouthfeel which is to be expected but then fades to a cloudy, almost musky, dryness. A decent representation of a style that is known for its drinkability so I would consider it fairly 'middle of the road' for this category.

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Photo of stephendr
3.1/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle- color of honey yellow , with a decent frothy off white head - nose of citrus (orange) , sweat , slight hops , and malts – taste of grapefruit , dough , hops , and slight minty-ness - body is medium , dry chalky-ness, and with medium carbonation – aftertaste of stale hops , sweat , and salty

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Photo of DavidSeanNJ
3.35/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 22 oz. bomber. This is my first offering from Ballast Point. Overall, unimpressive but not that bad.

A- Light hazy straw color, very yellow and bright.

S- Very floral, earthy, and citrusy. Reminded me of a fresh garden with some lemon zest.

T- Taste was malty and toasty. Very faint hops. Very light bodied, not much going on here.

M- Crips and refreshing, but very light and easy.

D- This one was boring to me and was not fun to drink. Its an easy drinker and sessionable but nothing exciting.

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Photo of humuloner22
3.49/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

As a pale ale as the label states on its label its not. But, as a Kolsch its not bad. I have had beers I liked better. It states that its fermented at ale levels but its more of a Kolsch. I read that others felt misled, but its on the label. As for most breweries who do fantastic hoppy beers this one falls short. More malt than anything else detected. Its crisp, but it also has the funk or whatever you call it that is typical of Kolsch beers. For the price I can get just as good Kolsch beers that are actually true Kolsch, so for me its a one and done, but I still love Ballast Point's hoppy IPA's. Sculpin is just about perfect and among my all time favorite beers.

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Photo of PintOHops
3.69/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance/Smell - Appears clear golden amber with almost a quarter inch of bubble bath like head and fair retention. Has little strings of champagne like carbonation, about lite Id say, and most of it dies down around 3/4 of consuming. Leaves no lacing either, Id say the appearance was lacking. Smells mostly of very sweet malts, and lite chocolate cake aromas, but there's some fruity tart grape, pair, and date notes. Overall very malty, with cake like aromas.

Taste/Mouthfeel - Tastes very similar to how it smells, lots of malty, chocolate cake like flavors flood the palate, and leaves little room for the lite pine, slightly dry hop bitterness on the finish. Some fruity date, and sweet molasses flavors come through as well, although very subtle. Overall malty domination! Mouthfeel is smooth, slightly silky, a little oily, and lite-medium bodied. Pretty average feel but on the desirable side.

Drinkability/Final thoughts - Well this beer really really reminded me of Fat Tire, with all it's chocolaty cake flavors and over the top malts. No that's not bad but, more like something you feel like once in a while. Not bad and pretty enjoyable, but for the money Id probably go with Fat Tire, my personal choice. Give it a try, it's still a decent beer with good flavors. Cheers!

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.61/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very clear amber/yellow amber color. Puffy 1.5 finger white head.

S - Mostly bread malts and caramel. A tinge of spicyness and touch of hops.

T - A bright, spicy taste. A little bit of bitter hop kick before fading into some bready, caramel malt.

M - lots of carbonation, but still smooth.

Overall - A decent beer here. Not incredibly remarkable or anything, but a good representation of the style.

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Photo of Padron4KM
2.8/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, no freshness date.

clear golden with a frothy white head, lively carbonation.

minimal lacing.

Sweet and grainy malt aromas.

Lightly sweet, grainy with a light crisp bitter finish.

nothing memorable, just a middle of the road quaffer. I'd drink again if offerd, but wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of domtronzero
2.8/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Precursor: I am not very familiar with Kolsch-style ales, so I am tasting this beer compared to the typical pale ale styles found around San Diego county (i.e. Sierran Nevada Pale Ale, Stone Pale Ale, Paddle-Up Pale Ale by S.D. Brewing Co., etc.).

Pours a light golden copper color with a small, dense, tightly packed head. Head-retention is lacking, but some lacing is left on the glass. Aroma is very sweet with a subdued hop presence. Taste is different. Definitely not the typical pale ale. Actually, it's a Kolsch-style ale. Not very much like a common American pale ale. Very sweet and malty with a very grainy/toasted malt flavor. A slight grassy hoppiness is noted. Mouthfeel is smooth and crisp, and the carbonation helps it go down. Overall a less-than average beer, but maybe its because they call it a pale ale. It might be a pale-colored ale, but in San Diego, this beer would not pass as the standard pale ale style. A note to Ballast Point: please label your brews accordingly.

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Photo of BrewerB
4.08/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured into an AJ Fruh stange. Light golden color with excellent clarity. Formed a 1-2 finger white head with superb retention. Visible carbonation streams up the body of the beer.

S - Moderate noble hops in the nose well balanced by a pilsner malt character. Slightly floral.

T - Moderately bitter, well-balanced brew. Pilsner graininess is off-set by a moderate floral/noble hop character. Bitterness is moderate. Finishing dry with a lingering grainy flavor. Touch of saltine crackers.

M - Medium bodied, moderately carbonated. Smooth.

D - This one goes down easy. Is it just the memories conjured up by my authentic Fruh glassware? Nah...this is actually a refreshing beer. Well balanced, nice pilsner character pairing with a floral hop profile. Not quite a world-class example but a damn fine beer none the less.

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Photo of vabeerguy
3.86/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of ibbjamin
2.37/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Paid $3.69 for a bomber from BevMo in Willow Glen, CA. Poured into a pint glass with 2 pours.

A 1 finger off white head that disappears to nothing quickly. Medium carbonation. Transparent light yellow color. Lacing is almost non existent.

Mild aroma of hops with hints of toasty nutty malts.

A sweet dry malty taste with grassy hints.

Light body, watery finish, lightly carbonated.

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Photo of Wisconsinality
3.18/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

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Photo of callmescraps
3.28/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

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Photo of MmmIPA
3.88/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another great beer from Ballist Point.

Murky,golden yellow body with a small head(I babied it).Nice carbonation.

Malty and fruity,from the yeast I suppose.

Sweet up front with some breadiness and that leads to nice german bitterness,its very crisp.

Mouthful is a bit attacking but I think it suite the style.So Im ok with that.

Great beer that Im glad I tried.I will buy it more often.Thanks for coming to Pa.

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Photo of MrKennedy
3.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber split with the guys from work and poured into a 7oz glass. Thanks to ADZA for the trade!

Pours a very clear, bright golden colour with a nice white fluffy head of foam that levels out just above film later on. Decent head retention and the clearness of this is quite impressive.

The smell is of bready malt, clean, consistent and inviting.

Taste is very malt driven, with just a shade of Euro style hop grassiness to break it up. Like the smell, the taste is consistent and pleasant. Just a little bit of honey comes through to sweeten it up a shade.

Mouthfeel is decent, good body for the style, just a touch cloying at the end, but otherwise ok.

Overall, a clean, decent, not earth shattering Kolsch that would be a decent go-to beer on a sunny, mild to warm day.

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Photo of devilben02
3.34/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours from the can with a slightly hazy, apple-juice-like yellow-orange color and a big, fluffy head. The aroma is musty yet clean, like a freshly scrubbed beach house. The flavor has a nice balance of herbal, slightly lemony hops over a bed of light, biscuity malts that provide a note of sweetness. The fine carbonation, medium resinous body and drying finish all act to weigh down the flavors rather than lift them up, though. Overall, however, this is a light and drinkable yet satisfying beer that I would gladly reach for again.

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Photo of TH28
3.41/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of LennyOvies
3.49/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of DocJitsu
2.88/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy, pale golden color with a thick white head. Some loose lacing with the attenuation of the head. Earthy, pilsner-like aroma with little hop noted. Mild apricot flavor, but finishes like a chalky pilsner. Very poor example of the style, but not a horrible beer. That being said, I won't buy it again. I also don't understand the hubbub of the Sculpin IPA and how it manages to stay in the top 100 on BA's list. I've tasted better homebrew efforts.

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Photo of orangemoustache
3.21/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

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Photo of B967ierhunter177
2.68/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a clear, gold with 1/2 inch head that quickly fades. It does leave lace till the end. The aroma leads off with caramel followed by some banana and vanilla. It's flavor has notes of caramel, grapes, and a hoppy tang. Well balanced at first with a dry hop finish. The mouthfeel is medium however the dry hop tang lends itself to only drinking one at a time. Ballast Point Yellowtail Pale Ale is a good example of the style, recommended.

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Photo of Dmann
4.45/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had a yard of this at O'Hungry's in Old Town yesterday and was very impressed. It poured a nice medium yellow color with a small white head that left some lace down the glass. The smell was very refreshing with a crisp hop scent. The flavor was equally as smoothe and crisp with a slight hop kick that was more balanced towards the slighty spicy malt profile. This is a great session beer and just goes to show that you can make a very light and drinkable beer and still have a great flavor.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.84/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

another lovely beer from the great land of san diego...first had this on the disc golf course at morley, next at delavegea course in santa cruz..brilliant both times, light and crisp with plenty of flavor...
light and hazy, slight sweetness in the aroma. drinks with a lovely chardonnay flavor, finishes very long and lightly. almost no hop aroma or flavor.
another delightful offering, best enjoyed during those beautiful summer months, outside, and from the bottle.

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Photo of Troy-Hawaii
2.4/5  rDev -32.4%
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.

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Photo of PA-hunter
3.8/5  rDev +7%
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.

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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
3.55 out of 5 based on 1,332 ratings.
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