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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 tobelerone
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

App: Very clear golden color with a good sized fluffy white head, good retention, fair lacing.

Smell: Slightly grassy hops and biscuity malt. Nothing too big, just a modestly bitter and malty aroma.

Taste: Lightly grainy and malty, with a more traditional-feeling European hop profile, bitter but balanced between the two elements. Grassy and floral, maybe a touch lemony. Malt isn’t particularly profound, again on the light side. Not a west coast super-hopped pale or an IPA in disguise at all. Very mild.

Mf: Light bodied with a short, dry finish, just a touch of lingering bitterness. Medium-high carbonation.

Overall: Easy drinking but somewhat bland, even for a kolsch, which is for me not the most exciting style to begin with. Lacking any particularly distinctive characteristics.

 795 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 HopHead84
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2/18/2011 

On tap at Ballast Point Old Grove.

A: Transparent straw golden with a big white head and good retention.

S: Light fruit notes, redolent of pear and orange, with wheat, grass, and a little sulfur. Low noble hop presence.

T: Lightly fruity, with notes of melon and orange. Grassy and slightly herbal with a decided wheat flavor. Smooth, mellow, clean and dry finish.

M: Upper light in body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth, soft, and sticky.

Overall: An enjoyable Kolsch that I have seriously neglected. I will definitely enjoy more of this when the weather warms up.

 597 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.25/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very interesting. Of course a kölsch is a pale ale, technically, but one marketed as a pale ale in America seems like something of a misnaming. Anyway, let's see how it is.

Pours a very pale yellow colour, with a filmy but fine-bubbled head of white foam, that leaves some abstract lacing. Looks very lagery, which is stylistically true for a kölsch at least. But thin, but decent enough.

Nose is slightly grainy, with a sharp German hop profile. Hint of molasses or raw processed sugar, along with something slightly phenolic. It reminds me a lot of a Munich Helles. Less fruity and clean than I expect for a kölsch, but not bad.

Taste is similar. Some graininess on the back, fronted by a light sweetness and a sugary, slightly nutty aftertaste. There's something all a bit insipid about it, however, and the characters don't mesh together particularly well. Mouthfeel light, which is expected, but it doesn't add anything to the beer, which really needs a lift.

Eh, drinkable enough, but really, there's something unappealing about it. It's not so far as to be offensive, but there's so little to it, I wonder why they bother.

I'll stick to Sculpin, thanks.

 1,168 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.54/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a clear, bright tangerine color with a billowy, dull white head that slowly settled to a creamy, bubbly layering that left a sticky and clumpy lacing behind. Visible carbonation was very strong and vibrant with rapidly rising bubbles rushing to the surface.

S: surprisingly light with freshly squeezed lemons and tangerines.

T: The initial flavor was fresh citrus/lime and tangerines. The palate was incredibily clean with light pale malts and a sharp citrus hopping that was well rounded and very smooth flavor wise. The finish was crisp with a short duration of bright wet citrus.

M: very light, slick with a surprisingly light carbonation presence on the tongue despite the strong visible nature. The beer finished clean with a moderate citrus bite left on the tongue.

D: An extremely clean, crisp drinking pale with a wet citrusy nature makes this a classic example and easy to drink and enjoy.

 915 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.03/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(Served in a bowtie glass)
Best by 09/21/2013
A- This beer pours a clear glowing yellow body with a thin white film of heat that breaks up after a few sips and a slow carbonation pushing toward the surface.

S- The green bitterness of Noble hops and some dry field corn notes is all that come through this lagered clean aroma.

T- The dry pale malt has some stronger field corn taste that leads to a soft Noble pungent bitter note that lingers with a slight almost sulfury dryness. The taste also has a lagered cleanness to it.

M- The light mouthfeel has a tight scrubbing fizz in the finish.

O- The clean beer has lots of qualities of an American adjunct lager with lots of field corn qualities and Noble hop hints. It was a bit of a let down.

 749 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.71/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I got this in a trade with getkrunkhoe. Thanks Carlos!

It pours a pale light gold with a 2 finger head of foam.

The smell is light but I get some grassy hops and bready malt notes.

The taste is nice and bready and semi sweet up front with a good grassy hop bitterness mid palate and a balanced, very crisp finish. Good stuff and very easy to drink.

It has a light mouthfeel and the carbonation is medium. Btw, head retention is above average and there's some nice lacing. This would be a nice everyday beer for those who can get it locally.

 544 characters

Photo of cjgator3
3.7/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle.

A- Pours a pale golden yellow color with a thin white head.

S- The aroma is hints of breadiness and grain with some hints of hops as well. Reminds me more of a Euro Pilsner than an APA.

T- The taste features some pale malt flavors with a slightly spicy hop bitterness in the dry finish. Very nice and refreshing.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied and prickly from the high amount of carbonation.

D- The drinkability is very high, this would make a wonderful session beer that I could consume in high quantities without getting bored.

Overall, this is a pretty solid brew that I enjoyed drinking. It is perfect to enjoy on a warm summer day. Recommended.

 671 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle - from Total wine summerlin las vegas NV for 1.99$

Appearance - Clear yellow colour with an average size fizzy white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for maybe 2 minutes.

Smell - breads/grains, lemon

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and the taste is made up of breads/grains, lemon juice and zest, and some very light hops. It finishes with a bready/grainy aftertaste with some very subtle hop notes.

Overall - Although very drinkable and refreshing, this beer is quite boring. I expected a little bit more from this brewer. Maybe just a touch more in the citrus/hop department.

 690 characters

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +13%

Rich malty nose, mild herby hops. light fruit
Brilliant golden amber, 2" fluffy bone white foam cap, produces excellent lace.
Malty palate, graham cracker to biscuit, mild hop accent
medium body and carbonation

 210 characters

Photo of barczar
3.55/5  rDev +0.3%

Has that characteristic kolsch fruitiness in the aroma, along with bready, nutty malt. Flavor follows suit, with a backbone of nutty malt, asking with fruity yeast. Highly carbonated, so the toasted malt doesn't weigh it down. Very drinkable, but nothing outstanding. More malty than most examples of the style.

 311 characters

Photo of Immortale25
3.26/5  rDev -7.9%

Had on-tap at Bier Garden Asheville. Served in a pint glass.

A- Pours a medium amber color with a 1/4 inch off-white head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Very sweet aroma makes me think of honey.

T- Somewhat bland flavor has notes of bread and not much else. Probably the least hoppy pale ale I've ever had. Noticeable alcohol presence. Quite lame.

M- Pretty thin with medium carbonation and a lightish body.

O- They really missed the mark on this one. Might as well just be an amber for how weak it tastes. My least favorite Ballast Point beer by far.

 693 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
3.15/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Man I knew as soon as I cracked the bottle it was old.

A - Pours a pure dead yellow with no head and mild ring lace, which seems to only cover half the glass. The sediment was low due to a slow pour but it was impossible to avoid.

S - Smells kind of grassy, kind of muddy, and kind of grainy. You get pretty much malt and grain and very muted hops (typical pilsner)

T - Wow it taste kind of belch. Like Grolsch Lager yet its an ale not a lager so age has turned it kind of sour. Second sip it taste like the carbonation wants to bring something to the field other than grain and grass but really thats all I am getting, bitter on bitter but not in a good way. Sad thing is only a few bubble of carbonation are visible.

M - Light and bitter like an ESB but it's an ale! Damn this beer is old!

D - Well apparently this company is notorious for not having dates on their beer along with getting this from a shop I knew had old beer was a lose/lose situation. It's weird since it's really not drain pour worthy yet not really exciting and full of flavor so I will pour it. Sad since even hella old the IPA still rocked my taste buds this beer is so/so at best new or old. Every beer is not a winner.

 1,202 characters

Photo of avalon07
3.58/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a kolsch glass. Had a pale yellow color and a hazy texture. There was a big, foamy, long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: Had a muted aroma of hops, light fruit, and some malt.

T: Tasted of light hops, fruit (a little citrus), and some bready malts. Not an unpleasant flavor in the least, but certainly underwhelming.

M: A generally well-carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Light-bodied.

O: This is not necessarily a bad beer, but definitely an unmemorable one. A good summer beer if you don't care what you're drinking.

 550 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.42/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

 245 characters

Photo of tigg924
4.14/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: clear, orange-yellow in color, minimal head, low carbonation

Smell: tropical fruits and toasted malt

Taste: tropical fruits, toasted malt, caramel, honey, and a bit of bread

Mouthfeel: high carbonation, light body, very sweet

Drinkability: I could have several of these. Nice, sweet, and a bit fruity for the style. A good warm day beer, I could have a six.

 373 characters

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

Clear, bright, pale gold with a white collar and thin skim of very fine bubbles coating the surface of the beer. Even with a meager head, there was still spotty lacing. Fruity aroma, oranges, grassy, citrus rind, cakey, but fairly mild overall. Moderate bitterness with a fruity sweetness, basically the same character as found in the aroma. Lingering citrus oil bitterness. Light bodied and dry with moderate carbonation, fairly crisp. Quite drinkable and nicely balanced with hops and bitterness just surpassing the sweetness. Solid overall.

 543 characters

Photo of Bighuge
3.15/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dirty looking orange-amber color. It's got brown to it as well. Thus a dirty look. The head is ivory white and thin. Well retained though. And the lace left is nice. The aroma is quite thick and gritty for a kolsch. Very grainy. And dusty. (Like the grain room at the local homebrew shop.) Not that that's bad. Taste is average. It's quite grainy as well and not really quenching (as a kolsch should be). Dry finish. A bit of herbal and earthy hoppiness. Pretty average.

Thanks for yet another Ballast Point offering Mr. Bum.

 528 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.56/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz poured into a pint glass.

A- Pale orange color with a tan/cream colored 1 finger sized head.

S- Wheat, very pilsner like.

T- Wheat, barley, citrus, fruity.

D- Nice carbonation, light and refreshing. Very easy drinking. This is a nice pale ale, but it is still a pale ale.

 281 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big gold color with a relatively ample head.

Taste is maltier and hoppier than mosts kolschs I've come across. Damn good tasting on a hot day around the pool. Kinda dry, yet sweet nuances. The most restrained beer I've had from these guys, and yet a great representation of a style I've traditionally shyed (sic?) away from.

A little pricey for what you get.

 362 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 barnzy78
3.92/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz. Poured bright golden yellow with a very thin white head that left little lacing. Aromas were simple with some hints of biscuity malt and trace citric hop. Tastes were crisp with notes of biscuity malt (similar to other Ballast Point offerings), mildly fruity, with a slight grassy hop bitterness on the clean finish. Mouth-feel was thin to medium, but creamy and smooth with moderate carbonation. Well balanced and represents the style well.

 447 characters

Photo of claspada
2.8/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The aromas are quite light. A little sweetness and breadiness with some earthy notes. Not much here.

Tastes are grainy and light bready malts up front with a decently flat finish. I think this is not quite fresh so this may be a biased review. Pretty simple overall tastes. Nothing exciting going on here, but it's well done for what it is. Undercarbonated for the style; light body.

Overall this is very easy to drink, but with other options, why fill up on this? This is a decently enjoyable beer, but the weakest Ballast Point offering which I've tried to date by far. It doesn't offend, but it doesn't wow in the slighest.

 629 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Rec'd this bottle in a trade with the generous EliottJW. The last surviving beer from a recent box that was brimming with Cali goodness.

Pours a nice, clear yellow, although the second glass was clouded by the bottom-feeders. Smell is bare light hops & pale malts.

Yellowtail is mild, pleasant, 75 degrees with only high clouds in the forecast. Light spices, cool sweet malt, crushed saltines without the salt, bare minimum of hopping to give it a gummed bite. Nothing leaps out, but this is a brew that one could sip, sip, sip, sip & sip more while grilling or mowing or clipping or all of the above. Drinkability is an 800 pound gorilla. Crisp, clean, sharp, all those adjectives that describe a good, lower ABV brew apply here.

Very nice beer & an excellent example of a kolsch. Too many of this style have a watery aspect, or lack taste, or are just plain boring. This is good. I likes.

 896 characters

Photo of Gusler
3.43/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer after splitting from the 22 ounce bottle pours a translucent and lustrous gold with the head large and bright white with a pleasing creamy texture, lace a fine silky curtain to cover the glass. Nose is dominated by the sweet malt, crisp and fresh, with the start nicely malted, lightly sweet and the top fair in its feel to the palate. Finish is equable in its acidity, the hops are pleasing but a bit mild, the aftertaste quite dry and a fine session beer it will make.

 479 characters

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