Ballantine XXX Ale
Pabst Brewing Company

Ballantine XXX AleBallantine XXX Ale
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
American Blonde Ale
Ranked #794
ABV:
4.85%
Score:
72
Ranked #48,238
Avg:
3.12 | pDev: 21.79%
Reviews:
176
Ratings:
328
From:
Pabst Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  28
Gots
  38
SCORE
72
Okay
Ballantine XXX AleBallantine XXX Ale
Notes:
View: Beers
Reviews: 176 | Ratings: 328 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by bobdrob:
Photo of bobdrob
bobdrob from Massachusetts

4.47/5  rDev +43.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A beer from my yout'? The local packy regularly stocked the XXX Pale, the IPA, and the lager. I didn't know at the time what an ale was,but it was pleasant enough & the price was always right. Had it at a wedding at a VFW this past august & was impressed. Now, as a nouveau hipster brew this could stand next to PBR as a cool slumming bev, only with flavor & character. A piney afternote surprised & convinced me. As good as Porkslap, Victory, or any other B+ pale.

Jan 03, 2015
More User Reviews:
Photo of yankinoz
yankinoz from Australia

4.02/5  rDev +28.8%
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.

Feb 12, 2013
Photo of ProfessorValue
ProfessorValue from New York

3.6/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

Jul 01, 2013
Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
Doctor_Bogenbroom from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +31.4%
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.

Nov 26, 2014
Photo of adjunctjonez
adjunctjonez from Maine

3.92/5  rDev +25.6%
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.

Jun 29, 2012
Photo of deansellers
deansellers from Maryland

2.89/5  rDev -7.4%
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.

Apr 29, 2015
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

3.8/5  rDev +21.8%
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?

Aug 27, 2006
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
JoeyBeerBelly from New York

3.82/5  rDev +22.4%
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.

Jan 11, 2012
Photo of Peyton5410
Peyton5410 from New Jersey

2.5/5  rDev -19.9%

Jan 20, 2013
Photo of LJWalker
LJWalker from Indiana

3.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Apr 19, 2014
Photo of TeachChefs
TeachChefs from Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -3.8%

Nov 09, 2013
Photo of barnesrocket
barnesrocket from New York

1.5/5  rDev -51.9%

Feb 18, 2012
Photo of milkbone_underwear
milkbone_underwear from Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev +20.2%

Feb 11, 2013
Photo of Segelstrom
Segelstrom from Pennsylvania

2.5/5  rDev -19.9%

Feb 02, 2013
Photo of Abe_Froman
Abe_Froman from Massachusetts

3.09/5  rDev -1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Oct 23, 2016
Photo of NYR_Rob
NYR_Rob from Pennsylvania

2.5/5  rDev -19.9%

Aug 24, 2014
Photo of warpedrevolution
warpedrevolution from Illinois

3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Jun 05, 2017
Photo of Cavanaghty
Cavanaghty from Maine

3.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Apr 29, 2012
Photo of rjp217
rjp217 from Massachusetts

3.02/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Jun 28, 2015
Photo of WillieThreebiers
WillieThreebiers from Connecticut

2.67/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Feb 21, 2017
Photo of mfgreene
mfgreene from Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Feb 27, 2017
Photo of Cbrazbox
Cbrazbox from Maryland

2.75/5  rDev -11.9%

Jun 02, 2012
Photo of KSather
KSather from Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev +20.2%

Sep 08, 2012
Photo of mwar
mwar from Kentucky

2.25/5  rDev -27.9%

Nov 26, 2012
Photo of Focusf111
Focusf111 from Vermont

3/5  rDev -3.8%

Mar 29, 2014
Ballantine XXX Ale from Pabst Brewing Company
Beer rating: 72 out of 100 with 328 ratings