California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
81
good
373 Reviews
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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:
373
Ratings:
1,047
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
14.41%
 
 
Wants:
37
Gots:
177
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 373 | Ratings: 1,047
Photo of beerdown77
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This pours slightly cloudy golden with one finger of head. This beer is quite honestly, disappointing. It tastes like a tolerable golden lager at best. Although the beer is still “crafty” in its quality, the flavor is heavy on the bitter malt side of things. It kind of reminds me of a Dortmunder from Great Lakes…only thinner and not as good. Admittedly, I was expecting an APA, and didn’t realize that this was actually a Kolsch midway through my experience; I still didn’t love this beer.

 501 characters

Photo of bradybeer
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As others have said and the label states this is not a pale ale but a kolsch.

Pours a medium gold with little head and little hops aroma. I don't pick up any hops or malt aroma. Taste is a bit soapy? Not much body or hops. Mouthfeel is a light-which is good for a Kolsch. Drinkability-I have to give this beer a good because it is drinkable and is one I could have after mowing the lawn (if I had a lawn)

 407 characters

Photo of Chizoad
2.55/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Well maybe I came into this thinking I was getting a pale ale of the IPA variety. Sorely disappointed.

Pale yellow gold with nearly no head or lacing. Fruity-cardboard nose. Musty even.

Very similar flavor although maybe even a little worse than the nose. Some malts but the sweetness feels forced.

Decent mouthfeel but not great. Light but not crisp. Not one I'm going to ever have again.

 393 characters

Photo of Talisker
3.82/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice example of a non-American style from a West Coast brewery.

Poured from a 22oz bomber (BevMo SF area, $3.99). Basic clear yellow with an orange tint. Foamy head that dies down quickly - no lace. Crisp German hops flavor (no citrus) - nice to experience without the metallic lager aftertaste. Nice light bready malt complement. Finish is long, maybe lingers a little too long for such a crisp beer.

If you can find this fresh and like the style, it's worth a try. Very nicely integrated beer.

 502 characters

Photo of nvsblman
3.4/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pale yellow with about a half finger of white head. Grassy, earthy hop aroma with a light biscuity background. Well balanced hop/malt flavor. The grassiness plays well with the caramel malt. The medium mouthfeel and slightly dry finish makes this really refreshing and enjoyable.

 279 characters

Photo of ChrisPratz
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice light amber with a very slight haze to it. Pours to a fingers worth of foam that dissipates to a thin veil of lace that almost completely covers the top.

S: Aromas of grass/grain with some bready/doughy yeast and a hint malt.

T: Some sweetness and tart up front with that doughy biscuit taste and a bit of lemony citrus tart at end with a very mild bitterness that is almost non existent. Very light with a nice amount of flavors.

M: Average carbonation works well with the flavors. Left with a slightly dry taste in the mouth.

O: Very nice and flavorful brew with crisp and clean flavors. Def a nice beer to enjoy on a spring/summer weekend with friends. I'd def get a case of this for a gathering of friends.

 725 characters

Photo of Pittsburgh
4.3/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up on a whim the other day, and I am glad I did.

Pours a nice golden brown, a bit darker than other pale ales I have had, has a bit more flavor as well. Seems a bit thicker than others, but still has the bitterness necessary.

Very smooth and clean with a hint of lemon/citrus, nice and easy drinking as well, goes down smooth, could be a perfect version of a summer beer for me, it probably does skew my review a bit that its 85 and humid and this is a post 6 hour test review, but I am really feeling this beer right now.

I may come back for a follow up later to make sure I am not overly high on this, but I like the flavor on this pale ale, I think it has a little more flavor than others I've had and I like what they've done with it.

I am definitely getting this again.

 790 characters

Photo of mobud
2.62/5  rDev -26%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle into tulip.

A- Dark straw with no head and very light carbonation.

S- Wheat with light smell of cut grass.

T- Light wheat with a tang that I have trouble placing.

M- Insanely thin with almost no body and not all that refreshing.

D- I purchased this beer at a Von's close to my San Diego resort and was unable to find a freshness date or code to find if I was drinking old beer. Ballast Point has such a great rep that I hope it was old and not them. I will give this one another shot if I can get it in the future.

 526 characters

Photo of TheLiterati
2.03/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a bright gold with reddish highlights and a smallish off white head. Smells of bread, malt, and a hint of hops.

Mouthfeel is watery and thin. Taste is slightly off as well, and is mostly weak. The bottle says it’s styled after “the crisp golden Kolsch ales of Cologne, Germany,” but I’m not so sure about that. Though I didn’t see a freshness date, I’m wondering if I might have gotten a bad bottle.

Has the potential to be a good beer, so maybe I’ll try another bottle at some point. However, if this is the norm for this beer, then I’ll have to pass.

 572 characters

Photo of GuzzLah
3.63/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Well, I bought this thinking it would be a citrusy and medium hoppy APA since it says Pale Ale on the bottle and Ballast Point brewed it.

Come to find out, this is a Kolsch made with Euro hops. OK?

I suppose it tastes pretty good for a Kolsch, but I feel as if I have been duped.

False advertising!

 302 characters

Photo of SDtastentune
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Yellow and fizzy, poured a head but is quickly dissipating.

S - Grains, bread, and a little malty smell.

T - Bread, malts, not to bitter, not much aftertaste other then malts.

M - Kinda fizzy over carbonation, but a pale ale needs that. Medium to light body.

D - Easy drinker for the not so brave, easy entry lever craft beer. I like more of an IPA true bitter beer or double stout, So this tastes like a light beer to me. Over all pretty balanced and good.

 465 characters

Photo of germaniac
3.95/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A tasty Kolsch from Ballast Point. Dark yellow gold with a foamy white head, with hints of yeast in the aroma. Smooth and medium bodied with a great light hop bitterness that adds a little spiciness to this easy drinkin' brew. 12 oz bottle from a sixpack purchased at the Mission Valley(San Diego) BevMo.

 304 characters

Photo of PirateUlf73
4.68/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into my cylindrical Spaten glass.

A: Nice gold color, not too light and ever so slightly hazy. Still quite clear. Great white head with fantastic retention and lacing.

S: Light and crisp fruitiness within lovely malt and yeast aromas. Nice and clean smelling.

T: Clean and crisp on the taste as well. Nice malt backbone is made ever so slightly soft and tangy by a bit of wheat. Fruitiness is much more subdued than the nose might suggest. Just a hint of hop bitterness to balance things out.

M: Light and refreshing. Not too heavy and finishes nice and clean with a mildly sweet aftertaste.

D: VERY high. Great carbonation and balance. An optimal choice for a session brew.

This is fast becoming my "everyday" beer of choice. Its drinkability is quite excellent. Although the Kölsch has been thought of as more of a warm-weather brew, I could definitely enjoy this one year-round. It may not be as bold as other styles, but that's where its beauty lies. Worth trying, for sure.

 993 characters

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 BeerAmbassador
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice two finger head with good lacing. Pale yellow color. Looks a bit like a domestic lager.

S: Bread-like aroma with some yeasty smells and a bit of citrusy fruitiness.

T: Very malty and buiscuit-like flavors with a nuttiness that I can't quite place. Finishes with a small amount of citrus and floral at the end.

M:Nice tight, bright carbonation. Although head has dissapaited.

D: Very Smooth and drinkable, something that I would drink for a thirst quencher when I wanted something a little more complex than your run of the mill macro.

Overall I really like this beer, it has a really pleasant nutty malt. And for an ale it is really smooth, bordering on a lager. This is my first of the style so I dont have anthing to compare it to but i really like it.

 789 characters

Photo of Preismj
3.05/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a: copper/orange. Moderate white head fades away quickly with spotting around the glass. Hazy brew...lots of murk in here. Looks a bit more syrupy than anticipated.

s: sweetness and the small hint of wheat and belgian spice (clove or nutmeg...just a hint). hint of leather/grass in nose.

t: barley and wheat like presence of grain. Sweet malts, but mild sweetness. spices I cannot pinpoint...very mild flavor. grassy, earthy notes poke through and this beer finishes with a sweetness complemented with a bitter hop presence.

m: syrupy. Coats the mouth well. thick and decent carb.

o: not a bad beer, but nothing is shining through. I don't need to try this again after having once. Would not seek out. it is middle of the road, as average as you can get.

 758 characters

Photo of JMC_TM
3.73/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This refreshing Kolsch pours a light straw color, with a nice frothy white head that leaves healthy lacing. The nose give off some hints of yeast, light malty breadiness, and an even fainter hop aroma in the background. When you first sip this brew there is a nice sweet, but light maltiness that is followed by a near perfect hop balance. This very drinkable Kolsch finishes fairly dry, with a light abv of 4.60%.

 414 characters

Photo of wknight167
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apearance - Pours slightly darker than golden with a 2 finger white head that hangs around for a bit, and leaves some lacing behind.

Nose- Pale malt, a little citrus and a touch of bread.

Palate- Mostly sweet pale malt, but there is some spicy hops and some very light fruitiness.

Mouthfeel- Just north of light bodied and just south of medium carbonation.

Drinkability- Very easy drinking, but nothing to write home about.

 427 characters

Photo of Jon_Hendricks
4/5  rDev +13%
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.

 270 characters

Photo of bbb099
3.08/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a pint glass at Burgers & Brew (CA).

A - Clear, golden color with minute amount of white head. No lacing.

S - A little fruity and malty, not much. Possibly because of the food aroma all around.

T - Sweet pale malt, wheat and some citrus (lemon). Traces of hops, but overall the flavor was quite weak.

M - Medium bodied. Unusually high amount of carbonation.

D - Would have been decent if it wasn't so highly carbonated. The amount of carbonation was so much that it dulls the tongue and prevent you from drinking a large amount at once.

 552 characters

Photo of MichaelBigbone
4.43/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The store by me now has ballast point brews in cans.

This beer is one of the best pale ales I've ever had. I thought I just liked the sculpin, but after having them all can admit that ballast point is a world class American craft brewery. I love the classic beers, and quality.

Compare this to Blue Heron (Mendocino), Mirror Pond (deschutes) ...but still so unique and great malt but balanced. Actually probably not appropriate to try to compare .

 451 characters

Photo of 88caprice
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
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 NickRivers
3.54/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A&S - Pours a golden yellow with a finger of paper white head. Not too much coming through on the nose. A few grainy malts, along with a mild breadiness and a floral hop aroma.

T&M - Hits crisp and grainy, the middle of the mouth is sweet with the faintest banana flavor. Finishes dry and clean with a small amount of floral hop bitterness. A nice, refreshing light bodied beer.

O - Overall a great session brew from BP. Calico wasn't half bad, but Big Eye IPA is their best session brew. Its got tons of malt and hops without being overpowered and makes for a great introduction beer. Check out everything BP has to offer, you won't be disappointed. Cheers!

 660 characters

Photo of LordofTime25
3.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours to a dark cloudy yellow with a thin white head.

Smells like sweet malts with honey and maybe some grassiness from the grains.

Tastes kind of grain at first, but then there is a sweetness I belive from honey. Then you get a slight bitterness.

Very crisp form carbonation and light.

A good brew worth a drink or two every now and then.

 344 characters

Photo of Grabbin2nd
2.95/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From notes: 12/19/08 Ballast Point Yellowtail "Pale Ale" 22 oz. bomber into Pint glass.

First off, the label says Pale Ale, which it is clearly not. It actually is Kolsch style.

Appearance= vigorous pour into pint glass yields a very thin white head. Weak pale yellow color.

Smell= Weak, not much of anything.

Taste= Pale ale... Tastes almost Belgian or German, on the sweeter side, not hoppy side.

Mouthfeel= good mouthfeel

Drinkability= Average. Very underwhelmed by this beer. I've had many other pales with a ton more flavor. There again is the Kolsch thing...Would not drink again

 591 characters

California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 373 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe