Ballantine India Pale Ale
Pabst Brewing Company

Ballantine India Pale AleBallantine India Pale Ale
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IPA - American
Ranked #2,183
Ranked #12,951
3.92 | pDev: 12.76%
Pabst Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Ballantine India Pale AleBallantine India Pale Ale
Notes: 750ml bottles are limited release but 12oz and draft are year-round.

70 IBUs
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Reviews: 149 | Ratings: 690 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Next up. a short break. Not from Bottles (!), but from Tavour. I am taking a break from The CANQuest (tm) to run through some Bottles (gasp!). It needed to be done & this will pave the way for a massive return to CANs when I'm done.

From the Bottle: "America's Original IPA Since 1878"; "Purity[,] Body[,] Flavor"; "First introduced in America in the late 1800s, Ballantine IPA was a beer for connoisseurs. It has been credited as an inspirational influence for the present day craft beer revolution in America. Handcrafted by our master brewers, this delightfully hoppy brew resurrects its deep heritage and storied past to embody an IPA worthy of the Ballentine name. For well over a century, the interlocking Borromean Rings showcased on our label have come to signify Purity, Body, & Flavor, just like the delicious Ballentine IPA inside. We hope you enjoy it!"

I Pop!ped the cap on this gorgeous 750-ml Bottle, thinking that if they truly did discontinue it, that's a shame. I started a slow, gentle C-Line pour into the awaiting glass, holding back tears at the thought of its loss. It foamed up nicely to form two-plus fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, tawny head with very good retention, leaving lots of lacing as a memento. Color was Deep-Amber/Light-Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity. Nose had an earthy pungency, like a wet hop AIPA or one that utilizes English malts with PNW hops. I got a distinct pine woodiness along with a freshly-turned soil quality. Hmm. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not quite creamy, but definitely big for an AIPA. It had a pleasant earthy bitterness, again, more akin to a wet hopped AIPA. it really seemed to straddle the boundary between an EIPA & an AIPA. It was not as malty as the former tend to be but it was not as bitter as the latter can often be. I am not disputing their 70 IBUS, but I just was not getting that level of intensity. It actually finished quite dry & I found myself reaching for water after nearly each sip. It had a definite woody quality that lingered well past the swallow. Yum. YMMV.

I also want to take a moment to plug "Hops and Glory: One Man's Search for the Beer that Built the British Empire" by Dan Brown ( ). In it, he commingles history, nautical lore, humor & a present-day misadventure, all while expounding on the origin & evolution of IPAs.

Apr 11, 2020
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Sadsack from Massachusetts

4.19/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Abit syrupy but I liked it. Received this unfortunate news from Pabst:
Regrettably this product was discontinued for large scale brewing. Ballantine IPA is currently only brewed on rotation at our Pabst Milwaukee Brewery and only available locally at the tap house.

Jul 25, 2018
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance was a nice looking hazy bronzed yellow to orange color with a one finger white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute leaving some light lacing sticking and then sliding down into the beer. The smell had a decent arrangement of balanced citrus to piney hops intertwining with the caramel malts. The taste came across bittersweet citrus hops with the caramel malts here and there. There’s a light sweet caramel to bitter citrus aftertaste leading to a semi-wet finish. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium on the body with a fairly decent sessionability about it. The carbonation hits but isn’t overbearing. Decent harshness runs over my tongue. Overall, I say this was a pretty good AIPA that I would have again.

Jul 09, 2017
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mvanaskie13 from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a narrow pint glass: color is copper, head is very light tan, with fine to small bubbles, great lacing on the glass and a good lingering head top.

Smell is lemon and then lighter pine and earthy hops, moderate malt nose, hint of caramel.

Taste is more malt forward than the aroma: light toast, moderate caramel, sweeter than many ipas; hops then take over with floral/herbal notes, lighter pine, earth, and citrus.

Mouthfeel is a tad sharp from carbonation, then lingering sweetness and following bitter presence.

Overall a very solid IPA from Pabst - when will it be canned?

May 31, 2017
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Jugs_McGhee from Louisiana

3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of my respect for the quality to price ratio of the flagship Ballantine XXX, I had to seek this out, and Ballantine India Pale Ale and I finally crossed paths at a Key Foods in Harlem nary but more than 2 hours ago. It ran me $12.99 per sixer (12oz bottles, obviously), but hey, this is New York. Still, that's more than double the price per oz of Ballantine XXX...

7.20% ABV. "India Pale Ale." 70 IBUs.

APPEARANCE: Pours a good ~8cm worth of off-white foam. Has a nice consistency to it - soft, smooth, full, and even, billowing out of the top of my nonic nicely. Retention is impressive for the high ABV - ~10 minutes.

Body is a clear copper - very conventional to and typical of the IPA style as it has been classically known (before this recent unfiltered IPA bollocks). Obviously filtered, lacking any visible lees/yeast within.

In short, it's a classic appearance for an IPA and I'm eager to give the beer a go, though it's worth noting the body could offer more vibrance.

AROMA: Floral hops dominate, with some fruity esters from the ale yeast bouncing around in there too. I'd guess at Centennial and Chinook if pressed, but it's also resinous and faintly piney so I wouldn't rule out Amarillo or even Cascade. I don't find any onion, so Simcoe is out. There's no new world tropical nonsense here - just a classic floral hop emphasis.

Malt aromatics are a bit darker than I expected; it's not merely pale, but drifts into graham cracker and biscuit aromatics, betraying perhaps an English emphasis.

This aroma suggests what I imagine a 1980s IPA would have smelled like, which is I suppose true to Pabst's re-release imitation of this historical ale. True, the hop profile could be better (more fruity flavours, more resins, maybe less pine, and more overall pungency) and the malts could be toned down a bit, but overall it's pleasant and appealing.

Aromatic intensity is moderate.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Coating and medium-bodied, playing a bit into the almost candied sweet malt backbone. And it's a sweeter malt foundation than you'd expect in an IPA, bringing graham crackery malts, pale malts, caramalts, and maybe even a bit of amber malt into the fold, offering quite a few sugars for the hop bitterness to compete with...

...And compete the hops do. Classic floral hops, a blip of fruity flavour, some piney character, a little resinous flavour...this is shockingly diverse in terms of hop flavour and surprisingly pungent not only for a beer brewed by Pabst but also for a beer meant to emulate an IPA which has such an old recipe.

I could absolutely see a contemporary self-described "craft beer fan" as loving the shit out of this in a blind tasting, and I don't mean that's nice stuff, nevermind the brand or owner.

Okay, it's a biteen too sweet for me to call it truly well-balanced, but it's adequately complex even by contemporary standards and offers more hop variety than many locally brewed IPAs I've tried recently.

Texture is apt for the style: smooth, wet, adequately thick, not too hefty or heavy, well-carbonated. Not sticky, syrupy, or watery (as might rightly be feared in a Pabst-brewed beer). The mouthfeel doesn't accentuate specific flavours or elevate the beer as a whole, but it's well within style conventions and doesn't interfere with or disrupt the taste.

OVERALL: A shockingly competent IPA from Pabst, a company whose beers I generally despise but which happens to have gotten things right within the historical Ballantine brand. I do like this, but as tasty as it is I can't say I'd pay $13 per sixer again for it...that's on par with Sculpin if you know where to look in the city. I'm glad I got to try it once, and would advise others to do the same, not only to support these kinds of historical beer recreations but also because hey, it's pretty tasty stuff.

B- (3.33) / WORTHY

May 12, 2017
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Ferretferret from Wisconsin

4.64/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wow, so, I finally had the last one on my fridge, and I had forgotten how much I love this brew. A fantastic hop-forward brew that exemplifies east coast IPA's.

Apr 28, 2017
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- From the bottle, the beer poured a orange-amber color with a white head.

Smell - The nose had a grassy profile with some sweet hints.

Taste - Compared to the modern IPA, this seems rather mild. There is a light grassy bitterness with noted sweetness from the malt backbone. The profile fairly constant.

Mouthfeel- There is a reasonable amount of viscosity for the style. This is a far cry from hop-water.

Overall - Some call this a classic. Some classics don't age as well as others.

Apr 24, 2017
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tjwarren from Ohio

4.64/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Way too drinkable. Seductive orange pour. Floral citrus aroma. Taste is citrus fruit orange. Smooth easy drinking. You are almost disappointed in the bitterness and then after it is gone the bitterness hits you with very pleasantly drying the finish perfectly. Mouthfeel is lush. I really enjoyed this. It is not a copy cat IPA but something truly worthy. Bravo Pabst.

Apr 23, 2017
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Evilyak from Minnesota

3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

nice, orange color with lots of wet lacing.

nose and mouth are flowers and pine. citrus bite towards the end.

mouth is a little creamy and moderate carbonation.

what a nice, comfortable IPA. the kind of thing you can come back to time and again.

Dec 29, 2016
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beerthulhu from New Jersey

3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

-spiegealau ipa glass.

A: Dark orange, good clarity, with a soft, lesiure rise of effervesce. Milky beige head, 0.25 inches, nicely retaining, with a respectable amount of film coating on the vessel.

A: Soft dry orange peel, and pine fresh flowery hops. Average rate of strength, light apple peel and very soft onion grass notes.

T: Toasty malt, nice citrusy and herbaceous hops with some lemon-sage muskiness. Piney flowery hops, parsley, grapefruit grind that provides a nice bite with a very good level of strength on the swallow.

M: Crisp mouthful, nice malty depth, creamy fullness.

O: A nice bittering factor, musky lemon sage and herbaceous notes with a lingering bittering factor that stays with you. Pleasantly surprised with this one. very good.

Sep 30, 2016
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HiWire from Florida

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber with 1 finger head and decent lacing. Smells sweet, earthy, with a tingle of malt. Tastes of medium hoppiness and tea leaf. Finishes with a nice bitterness. Good mouthfeel. A little earthy for my pallette, but would drink multiple beers again.

Jun 15, 2016
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bound4er from Wisconsin

3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a can dated 12/8/15 so not too fresh. Pours to an amber appearance with a one finger white head. Smells of piney hops and semi-pungent plants / earth. Taste is more earth and pine. Finishes with an odd sweet note (can't describe it) from the malt along with more piney bitterness. Mouthfeel is what you'd expect for an IPA - low to medium body with good carbonation. Overall this is a pretty tasty beer that's refreshing and easy to drink and reminds somewhat of Summit Saga. Had my sample been fresher I may have been able to bump up my taste score.

Apr 26, 2016
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DabblinWiscCraft from Wisconsin

4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I saw this for the first time in my local Trig's Cellar 70. This one was packaged about six weeks ago. Poured right from the fridge into my Founders pint glass.

L: Pours a hazy deep copper amber with about an inch-and-a-half of off-white head that sticks around for a good while and leaves considerable, even lacing on the glass. Considerable visible carbonation present.

S: Floral is probably the most fitting word to describe the nose. There are pine, citrus, and grassy hop notes present, but this one really has a flowery quality to it. There are also more restrained bread and caramel malt notes coming through, as well. It smells like I imagine a Hops Yankee Candle a good way.

T: I'd like to echo another BA's comment that this one tastes memorable. Very unique, assertive flavor profile on this one. The opening brings cracker and more substantial toasted malt flavor. Right on its heels is the infusion of big floral and orange citrus hop notes. The middle brings a bit more earthiness and the sense of sweeter caramel malts. The back end brings the pine hop flavor forecast by the bouquet, along with more of the earthiness and sweeter caramel malt, which balances things out nicely.

F: This one falls pretty squarely into the medium-bodied category. It has a great level of carbonation that lends it some nice creaminess and helps to accentuate the great hop flavors. While it does supply some lingering bitter, it never feels syrupy.

O: I was a bit apprehensive about this one. Big breweries that try their hand at traditional craft brews don't exactly have a great track record. But Pabst has done a very nice job with this one. It's fairly rare these days that I come across a new IPA that I know I'll return to again. This one is that good--that unique. I don't know if the "bold" classification by other reviewers is the best adjective for it, but I do know that this one brings a lot of tasty hop and malt flavor. I definitely recommend giving it a shot.

Apr 18, 2016
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ericH9591 from New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Went into B2 in Red Bank this past Saturday and was surprised to see "Ballentine IPA, 7.2% LA Ca" on the draft menu. My buddy and I discovered Ballentine a long long time ago. Great flavor, hoppier than we were used to, and a little more kick. I am not sure those bottles then were the same ABV as this bottle is now, but I do have fond memories of it, so I ordered me up some. Disappointed not I was. I found that my initial taste caused my brain to tell my hand to keep the glass tilted, and then instructed my mouth and ale processing system to take a few gulps. Refreshing.

I had two and that was enough for afternoon recreation.

Mar 07, 2016
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cambabeer from New York

3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I agree with other's review of this as "bold." That being said, I actually didn't really enjoy it all that much, and I'm an IPA guy. I had heard about its return over the past couple of years, but never tried it until I picked up a can yesterday. Poured nicely, and looked good (nice while lacing, deep yellow gold color). The nose was nice as well, herbal and citrusy and hoppy. The taste, however, was not balanced. It felt like the beer was "trying too hard" if that makes sense, like it was "forced." Somehow the malted characteristics were too sweet and the alcohol too noticeable, all while the hops felt like they were nice in the nose but somewhat of a turn off in the taste. That being said, it wasn't like a drain pour or anything like that. Maybe I expected too much, but this just felt like someone's homebrew who's just on their third or fourth batch. If they were a buddy I'd say "wow man! That's really good." But in my heart, I'd be ready for something else.

Feb 21, 2016
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Preston from Florida

3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really fine IPA from... what?... Pabst???? Okay, so a macrobrewery really can create something that I would swear comes from a micro. It's not quite as good as Sierra Nevada's Torpedo, but the alcohol is masked better in this ale. Yum!

Dec 31, 2015
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Treyliff from West Virginia

3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz can poured into a can glass

A- pours a deep amber color with a two-finger creamy and frothy white head that seems to retain forever, leaving some thick nice lacing behind

S- resinous hop aroma with notes of orange peel, grass and floral notes. Countering sweet bready malt with a hint of caramel

T- fruity and resinous hop character up front with notes of citrus, red berries, grass and pine. Sweet caramel malt backbone flows underneath, while finishing with more fruity hop. Plenty of hop flavor on this one

M- medium body and carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into the finish

O- a lot more hoppy than I was expecting, given the story behind this beer. Well done and one that I would drink again

Dec 30, 2015
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KVNBGRY from Florida

4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Well done pabst! This is my first time trying this. Fresh green, citrusy, and subtle pine like hop aroma. Very bright and fresh. The taste and mouthfeel are a touch muddled, but still very drinkable. Complex for a macro Brewed IPA. The aftertaste is light grapefruit and sweet citrus peel. Honestly this seems like a very well made home brew.

Dec 27, 2015
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SteveGus from Indiana

3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured cloudy orange into a clear Coke glass. Bright smell of American hops. Sour hop flavor and solid bitterness, but rather too heavy and a bit too intense.

I've had some of the last old bottlings of Ballantine IPA. By my memory, they were much dryer and lighter in body than this is. This version is much closer to a typical American IPA, and isn't really what I expected.

Dec 19, 2015
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fx20736 from New York

4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought a 6 pack from Wegmans on 11/25/15. Served at fridge temp in a Duvel tulip.

Look: Peachy amber, offwhite head, ok lacing.

Smell: candied grapefruit, caramel

Taste: grapefruit rind bitterness moderated by caramel malt

Feel: medium

Overall: tasty, well balanced, well done

Nov 26, 2015
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into a Spiegelau IPA glass. Packaged Aug 26th 2015, that's the earliest I ever find this beer when it's normally 6 months old on the shelves.

Deep creamy three finger head, slightly yellow tinges with a creamy soft top and mousse like appearance. Body color is a hue of amber colors , fairly clear, deep orange even red in places, with lighter orange hues on the edges, and really nice fine carbonation. Sheets of ring lacing all while drinking.

Aroma is really nice and soft. Soft citrus orange notes, and good pekoe tea like aromas. Small sensing caramel just gives a faint touch of sweetness as well, and almost even comes out a little juicy.

Palate is really basic. Very light crackery malt, with exceptional dry toasty finish. Wonderful hop balance with no surprises. Juice tea and orange combination, with very light astringency filling the mid palate. Excellent pine like woody finish with real wonderful dryness to match on the hop angle. Mouthfeel almost hints to a light lager tendency strangely, but the flavors all pop.

Real neat IPA, very memorable as well.

Nov 21, 2015
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BWED from Colorado

3.86/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a Spiegelau

A- Copper, hazed. Rocky, two-finger head is off white and leaves great lacing.

S- Great hop combo, both earthy and citrusy. Sweet bread malt undertones.

T- Hop flavor isn't as intense as aroma suggests. Sweetness is there, bready. Well balanced.

M- Medium-full bodied. A little thicker than I like. Dry finish lingers.

O- Great, considering where this comes from. Feel is a little heavy but this is a solid IPA.

Nov 20, 2015
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AndrewMichael from Virginia

3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz can poured into a pint glass. Dark golden appearance with an aroma of both hops and malts. Claim to fame as America's original India Pale Ale, brewed by Ballantine, under PBR. A well balanced IPA.

Nov 14, 2015
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Gajo74 from New York

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle said manufactured 6/15/15. Might have been past it's prime, yet, I still enjoyed it.
Look- copper color, decent sudsy head and good lace retention
Smell- strong floral aroma at first. Then, biscuity malt and resiny hops.
Taste- hoppy and dry palate. Biscuity malt. Clean and simple. Very tasty.
Feel- medium bodied, smooth and easy to drink.
I would love to revisit and try a fresher version. Solid overall. A pleasant surprise.

Nov 07, 2015
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KensWorld from Florida

4.5/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Solid IPA! I've been having this on and off since it came out again and I have to say that this is one of the most consistent and solid IPA's out there today! The best part is that it's cheep. I even found it last month for buy-one-get-one free 6 pack for only $5. Sweet!

Nov 05, 2015
Ballantine India Pale Ale from Pabst Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 690 ratings