Ballantine XXX Ale | Pabst Brewing Company

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Ballantine XXX AleBallantine XXX Ale
313 Ratings
Ballantine XXX AleBallantine XXX Ale

Brewed by:
Pabst Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Blonde Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.85%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 07-02-2001

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 313 |  Reviews: 170
Reviews by Botulizard:
Photo of Botulizard
3.75/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

More User Reviews:
Photo of yankinoz
4.02/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm working from memory of my go-to beer, back when Ballantine brewed in Newark and this really was America's most popular ale. A point to emphasize about xxx is that to my tastes it was far better on tap than in bottles, a bigger difference than I have found in any other beer. Not only was bottled xxx often skunky, it always seemed slightly cooked and a bit thin in comparison. Once I tasted the draft, I rarely went back to the bottles.

From the tap it poured with a good head, although retention was below average. The aroma was floral and fairly strong, though less than from opening a bottle. Lacing? I was too young to care.

Malt came out in in the aroma, mouthfeel and a trace of sweetness, though it finished dry like a pilsner, all qualities less evident in the bottled beer. It was noticeably more bitter than any of the domestic lagers then available, but less than the German lagers then coming in. Overall, a beer that taught me what balance was.

I spent a year in England about then. Obviously the English bitters were different, but I can't say I liked the run of the mill ones better, only certain ones like Abott Ale and just about everything brewed in Yorkshire.

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Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
4.1/5  rDev +33.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I bought this at my local distributor, one day before Thanksgiving. I give thanks for you, oh Ballantine. Bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Brassy gold color with lots of carbonation coming to the surface. There is a thin white head, less than a finger's width, that quickly collapses into a thin froth on the surface of the beer. Minimal lacing.

Aroma: Gentle malty aroma, as well as a faint metallic smell of tin.

Taste: Not as watery as I was expecting. A smooth, almost hearty taste on the tongue. I can taste the malts, and the hops are there as well, though muted. Slightly bitter on the approach, and there is a definite sweetness on the back end. A slight metallic aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, dry, very clean feel on the tongue. Light, almost medium body with carbonation leaving a lasting impression on the tongue. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Overall: I find this ale to be satisfying overall. It has a sweetness to it that balances well with the malt and hops. It's light, but not overly so. It's slightly bitter, but not overly so. It's a well balanced brew, maybe just a little weak overall, but I like it. On a future edit, I will attempt an experiment by mixing the XXX 60/40 with some Ballantine IPA I have on hand. Another reviewer recommended this strategy as a way to make the ale taste closer to its original incarnation. Stay posted.

Edit: A friend stopped by for a couple beers and he cannot get a hold of Ballantine IPA where he lives (Norfolk, VA). Not only did I give him a bottle (which he loved), but I also mixed my own IPA to the Ballantine XXX: 40% IPA, 60% XXX. And man, oh man, what a good choice that was. I heartily recommend trying this strategy if you'd like to transport yourself into the past. You won't regret it.

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Photo of ProfessorValue
3.6/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I drank this in college (early 80s) but did not recall the flavor. Today, liking the full range of ales, I found and purchased this locally at Finger Lakes Beverage. Ballantine is one of my favorite beers. Sure, it does not have the "punch" of heartier ales, but that's not what this beer is. Instead, it's clean, very dry and light in body. Good for drinking several at a sitting. I always keep a case on hand when it's in stock. Highly recommend.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.8/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Made by Falstaff, Wilwaukee, WI but contract brewed at the Lion in Wilkes Barre, PA.

This was one of my favorite beers in art school because they sold it in cans at one of the dive bars I went to, and you could sneak a 6-pack in with you in your bag, and then drink all night with your friends after buying just one beer (which was like $2). But I liked it because it had more flavor to it than Budweiser or Miller or Coors Lite, and there wasn't much more available at the time (at least that I could afford). Surprisingly, it doesn't taste much different now.

It pours a very dark gold, that could actually be called amber, although we tend to think of "amber" beers as being darker. The thin white head drops fairly shortly and it leaves only a few splashes and spots of lace here and there about the glass.

The nose pleasant with a decent amount of grainy malt, some lightly floral but mostly non-descript hops, and a delicate whiff of lager yeast sulphur.

In the mouth it's medium-light bodied and crisp with a standard carbonation.

The flavor delivers a nice, distinctly grainy, gently straw-like maltiness. There's obviously some adjunct in use here, but it's far less than you find in most large-scale commercial beers. The hop flavors are well-entwined, but appear more distinct across the middle and into the finish. It's well-balanced with a firm bitterness that carries through into the finish along with some herbal and mildly leafy hops.

Overall it's a pretty nice beer. Much better than Yuengling, but it's really all about the brand, right?

 1,574 characters

Photo of adjunctjonez
3.92/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ballantine ale is primarily a NE / east coast regional brew. This 2012 version is owned by Pabst, sub brewed by miller. The overall impression is a much hoppier/maltier profile than your average adjunct. I would rate it as one of the best adjuncts available, right up there with Schlitz Gusto. I avoid the green bottles and buy it in tall boy cans to ensure no skunk flavors. Unclear why Pabst does not distro this nationwide as I think it would sell well.

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Photo of deansellers
2.89/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

I must admit I was disappointed mostly because I was expecting a Pale Ale. After thoroughly enjoying their IPA I was looking forward to this one. This is more of a lager than an ale, imo. A nice lager, as they go, but a pretty poor ale.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.82/5  rDev +24%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16oz can sucked right out of the can.

L - I've seen it before, it's clear and yellow.

S - grainy aroma.

T - there's something about this beer that makes me always enjoy it. It's mostly sweet and grainy but it does have a slight bitterness at the end.

F - medium bodied, it's crisp, clean and refreshing.

O - a beer I always enjoy anytime of the year.

 355 characters

Photo of oberon
2.31/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Hey its $.89 cents so I grabbed it and its America's largest selling ale....hmmm Iam guessing its not but hey who knows.It had a decent pour light gold with a 1/2 finger white head that was gone rather quickly but left a mass on top,light skunkiness from the damn green bottle and some toasted grain no trace of hops though to be found.The beer tastes mass produced somewhat cooked and vegetal-like goes down a little harsh made me wince a little going down.Eh wont get it again even if free but its an old brand glad I can say I tried it anyways.

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Photo of Todd
3.45/5  rDev +12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Half quart lime green can. No freshness date.

Appearance: Clear gold in colour with a finger thick foamy white head and lots of carbonation activity.

Smell: Musty citrus rind, light grain and metallic aromas.

Taste: Upfront this brew strikes the palate with a lot of rind-like flavours, mild salty bitterness and fizzy carbonation. Grain, musty and metallic flavours follow along with an underlining fusel alcohol taste and a touch of medicinal flavour. Malt sweetness is thin and almost balances the rest of the brew, adding only some body. Finishes with lingering metallic flavours and a touch of dryness.

Notes: "America's Largest Selling Ale" ... hmm, I kind of doubt that? However, I'll be damned if this is not one helluva good beverage! This is one of those old school beers that your grandaddy used to drink (ask him). It's extremely refreshing and so easy to drink that the 6pak of cans is gone before you know it.

I've found my new "have in the fridge at all times" summer brew.

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Photo of Jason
3.45/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very thing yet sticky white lace, clear pale yellowish golden hue. Faint flowery and citric aroma with hints of grain. Crispness gets lost a bit in the moderate body, citric rind flavour and ample bitterness shows that the hops are there and want to be noticed. Malt flavour is a little weak with some sweetness, some residual sweetness in the end with a lingering rind hop flavour clean the palate.

For $5.00 a six-pack of 16 oz cans this is not too bad. Come August when it is 99*F with 100% humidity this may be a beer I resort to.

 537 characters

Photo of Billolick
3/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Cavanaghty
3.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of far333
2.67/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Well I had to try it after reading that it's the last of the true American macro ales, and reading about its history. There is a rebus inside the bottle cap. I thought only Haffen-wrecker did that. Pours from the bottle a deep golden color, with a half-inch foamy white head. Aromas of pine and citrus, very fresh smelling. Carbonation hits the tongue pretty hard, but there's no flavor on the front of the tongue. Then that intense flavor rolls down the sides and back of the tongue. The best I can describe it is that it tastes like the smell of shoe polish. There is a distinct sulphur aftertaste, and a bitter flavor that sticks in the back of the throat and lingers. I had to pour out the last third of the glass. The reason that this was so many Dads' beers is because the poor guys had no other choice back then. Go out and buy your Dad a real beer, and take away his Ballantine.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
1.68/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Appears a light golden tone and forms a large white head leaves fine lacing behind on the fluted glass. Aroma is of some semi skunked herbal toned hops with a touch of fruitiness among light toasted grain and an adjunct mix of corn and rice that's evident. Taste is strong with a cloying sweetness adjunct ridee with evident alcohol presence and a very low bitterness touch of mineral character and her skunked hops. Mouthfeel is light bodied with fizzy carbonation. Drinkability some have a sentimental outlook on this brew not me...nothing classic about it.

 559 characters

Photo of acurtis
1/5  rDev -67.5%

Photo of dcbeers
2.82/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Photo of javier
3.7/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The can version is of course inferior but the bottled variety is great. a great beer to watch baseball to as it once was the official beer of Yankee Stadium. Pop the cap and look for the anagram under the lid.

 211 characters

Photo of oluap
3.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of dacrza1
2/5  rDev -35.1%

DATE REVIEWED: August 9, 2014... GLASSWARE: Baltika stange... OCCASION: Sharknado with Matt, Jer and Shan--a win!...APPEARANCE: cler golden yellow body; bubbles are consistent; crisp white head that spreads upward with cirrus wisps; smeary lacing... AROMA: funky tin malts--as expected from a 40 oz. bottle--and some banana at the end--mostly wet pennies... PALATE: thin at first; beefy ending; gassy and slick; easy drinking otherwise... TASTE: lemony wheat grass; biscuity and toasted malts reign supreme in this otherwise thin profile...OVERALL: intrigued by its history--and ODB’s proclivity for it, according to song--this 40 drinks easy and malty with a bit of refreshment to it--but it also is a bit thin and unimpressive in its refrigerated neighborhood, where OE 800 and Mickey’s reside...

 809 characters

Photo of squezey
2.5/5  rDev -18.8%

Photo of Doug22522
3.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of Ezone024
3.35/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ballantine is one of the best mass produced beers. Popular in it's hayday Ballantine is now in the nostalgia category with pbr and schaefer etc... but don't be fooled, This fine ale can win over some beer advocates hearts. i poured it out of the can, which i prefer over the bottle. It Tastes alot better out of the can. It's color is pale golden and it's smell is that of a german pale lager. a bit skunky with a bitter hop edge to it. It leaves a decent head but it's pretty irrelevant with this beer as it does not contribute to the smell or flavor really. It's really easy to drink. great summertime sessions beer (but keep it in the can). and easy to transport in a cooler. Do yourself a favor get in it in the can!. and pour some out for your four legged friend.

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Photo of VoxRationis
3.71/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Decanted from a 12 oz (355 ml) bottle into a conical pint glass; bottled September 25, 2017.
A: Pours a clear dark straw color with a one inch, white head, limited retention, but significant lacing down the length of the glass.
S: Aroma is grains, particularly corn, pepper, and grasses predominate.
T: Flavors mirror the aroma. The limited bitterness complements the sweetness of the corn.
M: Light to medium bodied with light carbonation.
O: Really a decent drinkable ale.

 475 characters

Photo of tempest
3.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had a bottle for $5.50 at Old Town Bar near Union Square. Surprisingly not bad. There is legitimate citrus hop flavor in this beer. I mean, not much, and it sort of blends into a dull white bread malt character, but it's there. Not very bitter, but an improvement on the cream ale and macro lager. If I came across a cheap case of this (certainly not another bar charging $5.50) I'd pick a case for a party.

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Ballantine XXX Ale from Pabst Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.08 out of 5 with 313 ratings