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California Kölsch | Ballast Point Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
81
good
371 Reviews
California KölschCalifornia Kölsch
BEER INFO

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

Style: Kölsch

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

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:
371
Ratings:
1,035
Avg:
3.54
pDev:
24.29%
 
 
Wants:
36
Gots:
172
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 371 | Ratings: 1,035
Photo of jera1350
3.56/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Carter for this one!

Pours a gold color with a crystal white head of foam that is thick and retains well.

Pretty one dimensional nose. Pale malt, grain with a light sweetness.

Light grainy sweetness with a moderately bitter hop presence. Pretty straightforward.

Light body, decent carbonation and a dry and bitter finish.

This is a well made beer, it's just a style that isn't known for a whole lot of character. I would say it's a nice representation of the style with a little west coast hop flair. It's just not a style that does a whole lot for me, so I wouldn't need this one again. Like I said though, it's still well made. Blame it on the style.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.59/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden color. Not much head here, a half finger white color that fades quick.

S: The malt profile has a strange biscuity aroma to it, almost like smoky meat. Not a good smoky meat, either. Some neutral malts and light noble hops hide behind this strange and even unpleasant note.

T: Very biscuity to start. This nature is honestly kind of intrusive. The finish sees a surge of mild noble hops and lemon esters, too bad the balance is out of whack. Not great overall, but better than the nose - that's for damn sure.

M: It feels a lot heavier than a kolsch should in my opinion. The hefty, creamy texture works in concert with the strong carbonation to make this one hard to drink.

O: I haven't been super impressed with Ballast Point so far, and this one is no exception. To me, this drinks like a cross between a kolsch and Fat Tire - and it doesn't really work. Maybe a fresh bottle/keg would be better? I wouldn't be averse to giving this a second chance.

Note this gets a 2.61 as a kolsch; if I reviewed it as an APA, the score would be even lower.

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Photo of andrenaline
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first time having a Kolsch beer, thanks to my buddy who hooked me up with this one!

A - A pale golden copper colour with a thin layer of head and no real lacing.

S - Grassy and bready malts are the strongest scent, with a bit of bitter hops on the finish.

T - The grassy and bready malts come through off the top, the finish has a light bitter hop flavour, much like the scent.

M - Very light and bubbly on the palette, perfect amount of carbonation and goes down very smooth.

D - A very delicious ale, I was expecting a little more in the hop department, but it was still very tasty and made for an enjoyable first experience for a Kolsch.

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

12oz bottle into snifter. Best by 01/19/13. Thanks for bringing these over, Matt.

A: Pours a very light shade of amber with a finger of frothy white head that faded into a soft film.
S: Big kolsh nose with notes of light malts and toasted grains.
T: Dry grains, creamy oatmeal taste, slightly sweet caramel, tons of wheat, and mellow fruity hops. Very creamy, complex (for the style) and smooth. The finish is full of pepper spices and the aftertaste is that of wheat and fruit.
M: Creamy mouthfeel from soft carbonation, medium-light body, drying and refreshing mouthfeel. Very smooth, light, and drinkable all-around. J
O: A pleasant surprise. I’d be disappointed if this was a true pale ale as the hops are too mellow and the wheat and grains are too prominent. However, if you’re looking for a very flavorful light beer give this one a try.

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Photo of morimech
2.82/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz. bomber $4.49

It is pale and it is an ale so I guess it is a pale ale. But if you are expecting a hoppy beer, you are going to be surprised. It pours a clear, light golden color with a one-fingered head that dissipates quickly. No head retention and no lacing.

The smell is bready and yeasty.

The taste is of malt with a little caramel on finish. No hop bitterness noted.

It doesn't finish clean and dry which is another thing I would expect. Leaves a bit of a greasy feeling in the mouth. This is just a mediocre beer regardless of style.

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Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a light golden colour with a fluffy head of all-white foam. The aromas are slightly fruity, with nice roasted malts, and slight citrus-y/floral hops in the aroma. The taste is super light and refreshing. You can really tell that this is a low alcohol brew that is crafted with the utmost care and passion. Truly 'artisinal'. The mouthfeel is pretty good, bordering on great and the drinkability is nice for this new age Kolsch as well. A good, solid, brew!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Ballast Point Brewing Company, Yellowtail Pale Ale comes in a 22 fl.oz. Bomber with a very colorful label showing a yellowtail in a striking “sweeping down” pose. No strength or freshness date is indicated.

Appearance: Beautiful golden color with a yellow straw appearance. The head is a massive white pillow when first poured, but as the beer settles, then stands, it completely relaxes to a thin broken covering with some light lacing. Average carbonation when swirled.

Smell: A crisp refreshing nose with clean lines that include grain malts, fresh bread and biscuit aromas.

Taste: Malt introduction mixed with a little yeast that is well defined, crisp and clean. Hop bitterness rises in the middle which is very refreshing, and makes way for a decent tasty finish that has a slight spicy hop twang. A beer with an overall soft edge, yet it still has enough crisp tastes for the style.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a light ambience on the palate.

Drinkability: Easily imbibed, and the taste-buds offer little resistance to the clean golden refreshing lines of this cool Kölsch style Ale.

Overall: Labeled as a Pale Ale in the style of a Cologne Kölsch. It is certainly a decent effort, the malt aspect is crisp and light hops are refreshing. Not a bad effort at all.

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Photo of birchstick
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - golden in appearance with a massive, frothy head

S - smells of malts, a lot of citrus, and a bit of soap.

T - a bit of wheat, with a lot of citrus and some grassy hops. Very light and refreshing.

MF - goes down pretty smooth and full.

D - this is an easy drinking, delicious kolsch. One of the better ones I have had.

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Photo of argock
3.13/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a clear pinot noir wine glass. Best by 02/15/13 stamped on front label. Purchased as a 6-pack at Trader Joes (Mission Beach, San Diego, CA) for $9.99.

A; Extraordinarily clear amber-copper with ample 1-2 fingers of off-white frothy head with decent retention and good lacing around the top of the glass.

S: Aromas are very crackery-bready malty with some spicy herbal hops and a very light citrus fruitiness

T: Tasted like an extremely tame APA with bready and somewhat grainy maltiness that was a little less rough on the second pour but still not as smooth as it could be, especially since, after looking at the 6-pack holder it's a Kolsch! Come on BP! As a kolsch, this is pretty average with too much graininess to really muster much support. The hops are also overly spicy and not smooth enough -- this is supposed to be a beer that reaches the top of the drinkability scale, but this beer isn't even close.

M: THere are many problems here. The carbonation is way too high and contributes to an astringent feel. THe spicy hops and graininess with a light body also equate to a overly sharp beer, almost peppery, exactly what a kolsch is not supposed to be.

O: Certainly not terrible but not all that great for the style. I downgraded them for not calling it what it is -- come on BP, in hops country, do it right.

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Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tall pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear straw golden orange with a lot of rising bubbles. About two fingers of white head that slowly recede into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A crisp, bready, and fairly sweet German style aroma with citrus undertones. Upfront pale malts with hints of cereal grains, wheat, straw, biscuit, crackers, and yeast. Citrus fruit hints of orange, lemon zest, and pineapple. Earthy hop hints with a Noble presence. Slight hints of spice. A pretty decent Kolsch style aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma, a crisp, clean, bready, and fairly sweet Kolsch style taste with some citrus notes. Upfront pale malts with notes of wheat, cereal grains, straw, crackers, biscuit, and yeast. Juicy citrus fruit notes of orange, pineapple, and lemon zest. Earthy presence of European hops linger around. Subtle note of some kind of spice. Very grain forward. A pretty decent lager like taste.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Crisp, clean, and very smooth.

Overall: A pretty decent take on the German Kolsch style. Has the crisp breadyness you expect.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.98/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

About ½ way through the review I pulled up the site to get ready to post my review. I see this is listed as a Kolsch. This explains quite a bit. I like it, but thought it was

Light golden color with quite a bit of visible carbonation quickly escaping to the surface. The head is bright white and foamy. Rises to about 2 fingers and quickly fades to a thin cap. Just the slightest touch of lacing remains.

Aroma is slightly sweet and with some light cracker notes. Slightly grassy and also a touch yeast.

Lighter than I had imagined, but still pretty good. Balance is the order of the day here. Initial moment of sweetness is quickly balanced with some nice bitterness. Light bready and hay flavors. Ends with a little doughy note and some sweetness.

Fairly light body and bright mouth feel.

Very drinkable and a nice beer. This is an excellent gateway beer.

Nicely done!

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Photo of rawfish
4.02/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours roughy into a snifter glass to net nearly 3 fingers of head over a brassy gold body. Below average retention leaving clumps of lacing on the glass.

Biscuit and cookie dough malt that isn't overly bready with some hay, lemon pith and white wine notes. Very uplifting, a touch of adjunct grain but you already tell this is a refreshing beer.

Light bready, almost cracker-like malt lays down a good foundation with a touch of corn and raw grain husk before a pleasant hop profile of dried grass, lemon zest and grain washes over the palate. Not much bitterness but cleanses well like a lager. Some fruity red berry notes in the finish.

A little bit of heft in the body and unremarkable carbonation until the end of the drink where it fizzes up like seltzer and really scrubs itself dry.

This beer has exceeded my expectations, a flavorful representation of style that could easily be over looked. Will return to this one, a crowd pleaser that does justice to both a craft drinker's palate as well as the masses.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear golden color with a thin eggshell-colored head.

S: Honey and a slight hint of grassy hops. Very clean smelling.

T: Lots of honey malts with a grassy hop backbone. A slight breadiness towards the finish. A solid and very very drinkable pale ale.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. My label is a bit different than the one pictured and says only Ballast Point Pale Ale, "the original", and lists a 5.20% abv instead of 5.00%. I think this is my second beer from Ballast Point.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a hazed lemon colored body with just under a finger of soapy white head that fizzles to a bubbly ring quickly. Some spotty sticky lacing.

S - Smell is of buttery diacetyl, bready malts, a bit of honeyed graham cracker, some soapiness, corn, and some musty yeast. Otherwise, the smell is pretty lame and boring.

T - Taste is of buttery caramel malts, corn, grains, herbal earthiness, crisp fruity yeast, grainy pilsner malts, and subdued indistinct fruitiness.

M - Feel is crisp and clean, light-bodied with good carbonation.

Overall, a fairly boring, uninspired beer. Poor duration of flavor, but light-bodied, refreshing, and drinkable. Inoffensive, but it doesn't really do anything for me. This would be a great stepping stone beer for those looking to get into craft beer, though.

Ballast Point Pale Ale ---3.5/5

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Photo of KYGunner
2.93/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

With a name like Yellow Tail Pale Ale, I was expecting a pale ale, not a pale yellow adjunct but that is exactly what this portrays. The body, the scent and even the taste is all adjunct despite the claim it's a Kolsch. I smell corn, I taste corn and the pale yellow body screams adjunct. As I finish it there's the metallic aftertaste that seems to always accompany an adjunct. Ballast Point is such a great brewery but this is easily their worst effort.

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Photo of prototypic
2.99/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hmph. I was fully expecting this to be an APA, but much to my surprise, it's a Kolsch. Who knew? Without further ado, it's pale gold and a little hazy. A foamy white head sits atop and stands about two fingers tall. It was surprisingly slow to dissipate and left a much more generous coat of lace than I expected. Nice looking beer.

The nose is weak and below average. Primarily, it's grainy and grassy. There's some light lemon and orange notes. Pale malts are noted and add a sweet scent to the mix. Past that, it's tough sledding. It doesn't smell overtly bad in any way, there's just not much here to work with. This could definitely use some attention.

Yellowtail is interesting beer, but not in a good way. A testament to a beer's average-ness occurs when the most notable thing about it is how dry it is. That's the case here. It's not all bad and is better here than on the nose. Still. Work needs to be done. It's very grainy and grassy throughout. Very light lemon and green grape flavors are present. It has a sweet, pale malt base that's not bad. A bitter surge of spicy hop flavor attacks toward the end. That's actually the high point for the flavor. Did I mention it was dry? It finishes extremely dry. Very average across the board.

The body is light, leaning medium. Carbonation is active and a little crisp. It's not quite smooth, but it's not bad. Drinkability is pretty average. I don't like the flavor very much and it's so damn dry. Ordinarily, a beer like this would be nice on a hot day, but I'm not sure I'd want something this dry.

Yellowtail Pale Ale is easily the most disappointing beer I've had from Ballast Point. First of all, the name is a little misleading (at least in my opinion). To be fair it says it's a Kolsch, but I wasn't holding the bottle when I ordered it over the interwebz. Small gripe. More substantively, the nose is very weak, it's way short on flavor, and is way too damn dry. I recognize that Kolsch is a tough style to pull off. But, this one's not really close to a good take on it. If crossed with the opportunity to pick up another bottle, I'd probably pass. I'd suggest you do the same.

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

Reviewed on 7/20/08. Bottle. Pours a light orange with a small head. Aroma of light wheat and Kolsch malts, some light fruits. Flavor starts off with a sharp, spicy initial bite followed by Kolsch malts, apple, pear, rhubarb, champagny notes. Very light, very tasty. Good beer, although as noted below, the name is quite misleading.
7/4/7/4/14 (3.6/5)

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Photo of ADZA
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a see through golden straw hue with decent carbonation that leaves behind a two finger head and lacing everywhere,the smell is very similar to a pilsner with hints of german noble grassy hops and honeysuckle,it has a light bodied well carbonated mouthfeel and has tastes of grassy german noble hops,light jarrah honey,pale malts and finished with a slight herbal hoppy bitterness that is almost reminiscent of a fine German pilsner and not a Kolsch and overall a dissapointment in my mind and could think of other drops from this brewery that id rather revisit than this cheers.

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

Bottle acquired in trade with DarkElf (thanks!).

Poured a clear gold color with a smaller sized white head. Aromas of grass, citrus and some fruits (apples). Somewhat fruity tasting with light grass and wheat. Medium sweet with a very light hop bitterness finish. Watery body.

Notes from 6/3/05

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Photo of garymuchow
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Noted as "pale ale the original" on the bottle.
Soft mixed aroma of pale malt, light hops and some yeast. Yeasty qualities become stronger in time.
Huge white head caps a very clear golden body.
Again with yeast flavors first, then the paler malt (pretty clean with a slight sweetness) and mild bittering/very soft hop flavors and rather light dryness on the finish.
Nice refreshing quality and probably closest to a lawnmower beer than anything?
Goes down easily and pretty clean for an ale. Nothing offensive. Good for summer.
Received as part of xmas exchange.

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

Had this in Columbia, PA on 2010-12-03.

A - Hazy gold with a lot of floaters. Short fizzy head that quickly dissipated.

S - Mild lemon and yeast

T - Surpsingly,it is on the sour side followed by lemon drop sweetness, biscut and yeast. Mild bitterness. Finishes dry with little lingering aftertaste.

M - Light body and medium carbonation yield a thin feel.

D - This doesn't taste like a pale ale to me so the surprising flavor set me back a bit. The bottle is labeled as a pale ale but I'm not buying it. If you're into the sour taste and this style, it definitely can quench your thirst.

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Photo of arizcards
3.83/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at BevMo in late October for $3.99.

Beer poured golden with a nice long lasting white head. Nose is malty with a hint of light fruits. Taste has hints of the light fruits and is balanced nicely by a slight hint of hops. Mouthfeel is a bit heavier than normal for the style yet it is crisp and lively on the palate. Overall drinkability is good. This is another finely crafted beer by one of the lesser known San Diego breweries. Definitely worth a shot for a change of pace!

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.46/5  rDev -2.3%
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.

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Photo of merlin48
3.93/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Twelve ounce bottle pours a clear goldenrod body that shows a lot of active carbonation. Immense vanilla head retains well and becomes pitted and rocky. Lots of scattered patchy lace.

Aroma is quite biscuity, accented by spicy and floral hops.

Light medium body is well carbonated.

Taste is well balanced, but governed by an earthy and spicy hop bitterness. Malt presence is very biscuity and has a hint of honey. Finishes clean and crisp.

One of the better American examples of the style and very sessionable.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
2.18/5  rDev -38.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A- Transparent golden yellow that pours with a fizzy white head. Head fades pretty quickly but a thin collar remains. No lacing is left behind in the glass.

S- Nose is moderate but offers lots and lots of pale malt and some musty, earthy hops in the background.

T- Taste is very similar to the smell-but honestly this reminds me of MGD or something. Pale malt is the highlight of the flavor but the finish is an accent of hops (similar to the triple hopped miller)...its just not for me.

M- Light to medium body and fizzy carbonation.

D- I got through about half the glass than decided I didn't want it anymore-drain pour. What's really a shame about this for me is that it is my first disappointment from Ballast Point. I love Sculpin, Big Eye, Double Dorado, Victory at Sea...but this just isn't for me. I guess every brewery has to have their beer that appeals to BMC drinkers...and this is it...unfortunately its on the same tier instead of a step up-even though its supposed to be a completely different style.

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California Kölsch from Ballast Point Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 371 ratings.
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