Ball Lightning
Catskill Brewery

Ball LightningBall Lightning
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Catskill Brewery
New York, United States
Pilsner - Bohemian / Czech
Ranked #48
Ranked #14,558
3.94 | pDev: 7.61%
Jun 18, 2022
Sep 01, 2014
Very Good
Ball LightningBall Lightning
Notes: Brewed with Saaz Hops.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
3.62 by DruC4 from Michigan on Jun 18, 2022
4 by bigred89 from Maryland on Apr 11, 2022
Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by GreesyFizeek from New York

On tap at Happy Valley in Beacon, NY.

This one pours a clear golden yellow color, with a small head and lots of lacing.

This smells like spicy hops, with a slightly sweet malt background.

This is pretty basic, but not bad by any means. The malt character is maybe just a little sweet, but I appreciate the crisp hop bite that this one has.

This is light bodied, with a very nice drinkability - the malt sweetness might be out of place, but it doesn't really detract too much from the enjoyability of taking this one down.

I definitely enjoyed this one, even despite the fact it wasn't quite right stylistically.

Mar 30, 2022
Photo of maddogruss
3.42/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25
by maddogruss from New Jersey

A: pours a golden body with a thick white head with nice retention and lacing.
S: sweet toffee notes with an earthy finish.
T: light bodied; sweet, honey, sweet malt notes.
M: light bodied; a little thin.
O: ok feel and taste combo; decent feel.

Mar 28, 2022
Photo of Gajo74
4.34/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by Gajo74 from New York

Pours a clear golden to copper color with visible carbonation. A large foam head retains well and yields lots of frothy lacing.
The nose opens with bright notes of citrusy hops, particularly grapefruit, orange and lemon. Nearly dank with notes of grass, chives and pine; almost IPL like. Aromas of bread, cracker, biscuit and honey round things off.
The taste opens with a very pleasant silky and grainy malt sweetness, featuring notes of cracker, honey and biscuit. Bright flavors of citrus, fruity and floral spices evoke notes of orange, lemon and peach. Earthy notes of grass, chives and pepper.
Light to medium bodied with sn appropriately crisp mouthfeel. The finish is dry with a touch of caramelized malt and peppery bitterness. The carbonation is moderate to lively.
Simply put, a pretty damn tasty Pilsner overall. Very balanced with beautiful malt and hops character. I would have again.

Dec 23, 2021
Photo of REVZEB
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by REVZEB from Illinois

Clear yellow body with a finger of white foam with speckled lacing all over the glass. Classic pilsner malts and yeast with lemon and grassy hops for the smell. Taste had more depth with added hints of grains, cereal, and bread, a kiss of pine in the finish as it warms. Feel is malty and medium bodied but a little flat for style. Still a highly drinkable pils that is classical in delivery

Aug 12, 2021
Photo of TheBigBoy
3.02/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by TheBigBoy from Pennsylvania

really did not get much here. Seemed virtually tasteless. Admittedly Czech pilsner are not my thing, so maybe that is why this one tasted "off" for me.

Aug 07, 2021
Photo of Greywulfken
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Greywulfken from New York

It's pretty damn on-point - outta the can (as opposed to the in-store sampling), it tasted a little sweeter, but not to any detriment - a nice pale malt lager, a little bit of grainy chew, honeyed sweetness on the grains and a mild citrus and pine and herb hop profile... Might be a bit too sweet for purists (?), but it is a highly drinkable lager with a good mix of heft and height (make of that what you will)... Great aftertaste of drying alcoholic grain...

Jun 05, 2021
Photo of stevoj
3.86/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
by stevoj from Idaho

16oz can from Halftime. Almost clear golden, small foamy head. Sweet, grainy aroma. Crisp, biscuity taste, snappy. This is really nice. Tasty, smooth.

Mar 09, 2021
Photo of mycousinvinny
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by mycousinvinny from New York

pours clear light gold color with a very nice frothy 1/2 inch head
smells honestly like beer with a hint of lemon or lime
tasted very crisp just right amount of bitterness and slight taste of lemon
nice lacing
very good beer from a local brewery

Dec 28, 2020
3.9 by SpaethJam from New York on Nov 21, 2020
3.69 by plaid75 from New York on Jul 28, 2020
Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.19/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by JerzDevl2000 from New Jersey

This was another can that I picked up at the new Greenpoint Brewery recently as I never had anything from Catskill before. Sure, the label was done up nicely but the liquid on the inside was a surprisingly good example of what a true Pilsner should look, taste, and feel like. Indeed, this was a honest, hard working beer!

Such a macro-lager look to this beer but boy, was it golden and bright! Really appealing, with a nice carbonation to it, as the head was subtly full and long-lasting. There was a thin layer of suds that lingered for the duration as only a small ring of lacing stuck about a quarter of the way down the side of my pint glass. Loads of grain and cereal in the nose with some lemon and a rustic, fruity feel underneath that. The taste was bright, balanced, and full with grass, malt, and more farmhouse as this was quite European in feel and not a cliche like so many other examples of this style. The carbonation was present, on-par, and enough to keep the spicy and peppery aftertaste in check.

Enough booze was present but it wasn't a deterrent as it gave this beer the legitimacy and heft that a good Pilsner needs. Very little bread and potato chip in this one as this was light enough to easily call for another. Dated 3/27 on the bottom of the can, this held up well over the last three and half months as it looked and tasted fresh. Really enjoyed this beer on this windy and slightly cool summer night, and I'd easily have another from Catskill in the future!

Jul 11, 2020
4.5 by ajdemma from New York on Jul 08, 2020
Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by metter98 from New York

A: The beer is slightly hazy yellow in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high white head that died down and left a narrow collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of bready and pilsner malts are present in the nose along with hints of grassy and spicy hops.
T: The taste follows the smell and is mostly dominated by flavors of pilsner malts along with hints of grassy hops, the latter of which mostly contributes a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and clean on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This pilsner has delicate aromas and flavors of hops but doesn't seem to be overly malty.

Serving type: can

Jun 15, 2020
3.91 by BubbleBobble from New York on May 26, 2020
Photo of SmashAdams
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by SmashAdams from New Jersey

I grabbed 3 different beers from the brewery and this surprised me as the clear favorite. A supremely drinkable pilsner. This style doesn't generally have standouts but this is one. The smell brings cereal, hay, light lemon, apple, and even some tropical fruits. Mouthfeel is excellent. The taste is crisp, clean, and has a unique almost rustic quality that really makes this enjoyable. Goes down easy. yb

Apr 24, 2020
3.52 by Jsalz21 from New Jersey on Aug 15, 2019
3.75 by fosters9 from New York on Nov 06, 2018
4 by paulish from New York on Oct 12, 2018
4.03 by Curt3 from New Jersey on Aug 16, 2018
Photo of cavedave
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by cavedave from New York

Big thanks to TongoRad for this delicious take on a Pilsener!

Pours a beautiful white gold with a finger of pure white foam that kicks back to skim and ring. It is crystal clarity that turns the pilsner glass to a jewel.

Med. strength aroma, crisp, grainy bread and light lemony sweet, with another layer of malt driven smell that resembles a heavy grained farm bread. As it warms I catch hints of new mown hay as glass nears nose, in a good way. Nice.

Mmm, medium/full flavor, different than expected. the complex and deep bready notes in aroma now are more of a light crisp grained flavor with a touch of sweet that blends well with a spicy hoppiness not present in aroma. Lemony notes do not overpower and end the sip with just a hint of pithy bitter and light, but cresting, spice to finish it dry.

Light on palate, a touch watery, perfect carb. for style, very refreshing light viscosity, and an excellent finish.

As with the CB pale ale I tried this is a delicious and different take on style. High recommendation, for a beer I could drink without stop until evolution re-creates trilobites as the planet's main life form, if not longer

Mar 18, 2018
Photo of Premo88
4.31/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by Premo88 from Texas

32 oz. crowler poured into tall mug
(filled on 2/17/18 at the brewery (?) then shipped down south by @TongoRad)

L: almost completely clear yellow-gold topped by big head of offwhite foam, over 2 inches tall because I had a bit of trouble with the first pour (whoops!); doesn't stick or lace, keeps almost no collar

S: lemon peel, cracker malt, cilantro, grass ... the hops pop but as it warms it gets very fruity and sweet, peach, apricot, and with a bit of bread malt

T: lemon peel and grassy hops with a sweet kick of bread malt; the bitterness is at that perfect pils level, plenty to bite but not so much that the malt can't have some say; as it warms and I get into the glass, I'd swear on occasion I get a slight sour milk aftertaste ... never encountered it, and it's so slight I wonder if my mind's not playing tricks on me; can get a bit buttery over the final 1/3 or 1/4 of the glass, but that just pulls the malt from cracker into bready flavors, so I dig it

F: hard to score because the crowler has a couple weeks on it, but overall it's still got plenty of carbonation and everything else is fine; a very soft second pour from the crowler left me with a bit more carbonation, and it's fantastic! light and fluffy but with that great prickly crispness I love in pilseners; my bet is the mouthfeel is perfect out of the vat

O: the kind of beer I'd buy often enough to keep some in the fridge at all times; its hop bite is just big enough to make it a great beer to have on hand when you want to close out a session with something you know you love; while the carbonation is just a hair flat, the overall effect of the beer is still what I'd call dry with more cracker than bread malt notes, making it exactly what I think of in a good Czech pilsener

Mar 01, 2018
Photo of utopiajane
4.26/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by utopiajane from New York

This beer pours like a perfect gold bar rendered into my glass. Bright and perfectly clear. A fat head of white foam adorns it sweetly and lasts well. The whole cone saaz hops are generously floral but not sharp. they are light billowy grasses with a fresh almost minty coolness. The malt is stalwart and tremendously breaddy. Just golden bread crust on a soft white bread. This is one of the cleanest pilsners I have ever observed. There is nary a hint of DMS on it. Most pilsners have some. No diacetyl, no acetaldehyde. The beer drinks so lightly. The bubbles tease you but don't bite they only prick you a little ans they burst softly in the finish. Those hops are as sensual on the palate as on the nose and they fill up the middle of the beer with sweet softness. Fine billowy grasses that are just sweetly herbal and fresh. A crisp German style bitterness finishes this one cleanly and without too much lollygagging to leave you with more bread than you thought! No fruity flavors at all. Just soft succulence form hops that cannot outlast the malt.

Feb 25, 2018
3.56 by CharlesK from Pennsylvania on Sep 12, 2017
3.25 by prisdefer from New York on Jul 18, 2017
Photo of TongoRad
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by TongoRad from New Jersey

Very well made German Pilsner- squeaky clean, pale, dry and bitter with a great bite to it. Aroma is mostly grassy or straw-like, with just the right amount of Pils malt in the background. Enjoyed a growler from the brewery, and never got tired of it for a second.

May 29, 2017
3.53 by Antc2382 from New Jersey on May 28, 2017
3.54 by dar482 from New York on May 09, 2017
3.75 by eddiefl from New York on Feb 24, 2017
4 by ConorGolden from New York on Oct 10, 2016
3.84 by spycow from Illinois on Sep 12, 2016
3.85 by AlvinLin from New York on May 21, 2016
4.24 by NorseKaiser from New York on Apr 17, 2016
4.16 by AlpacaAlpaca from New York on Apr 03, 2016
Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by orcrist_cleaver from New York

On tap at The Hop Beacon:

A: Honey straw character and magnifying glass clarity. Shame the head was minuscule, but I'm not denying I prefer the extra beer.

S: Very clean in presentation. Mostly graham cracker malts with only the slightest bit of cracked corn because I was looking for it. Distinct saaz herbals.

M: Great crispness despite perhaps lower than anticipated carbonation. Light bodied.

T: Grassy and semi sweet pils malt. Earthy hop flavor moreover herbal which is present but only to the extent that it dresses the sweet malt bill. Very spicy, bitter residue considering the sweet herbal presence prior.

Jan 10, 2016
Photo of drinkbeernoth2o
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by drinkbeernoth2o from Massachusetts

I usually expect little to nothing from pilsners. I can honestly say that this one is one of the best I've ever had. It gave me the traditional Pilsner taste while providing a desire to have another. Very easy to drink and very enjoyable.

Nov 10, 2015
3.85 by WillieThreebiers from Connecticut on Nov 01, 2015
4 by SonictheBeerhog from New York on Oct 27, 2015
4.02 by StoutBoi from New York on Oct 09, 2015
Ball Lightning from Catskill Brewery
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 48 ratings