Ballantine XXX Ale | Pabst Brewing Company

165 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 165 | Ratings: 304
Photo of adjunctjonez
3.92/5  rDev +26%
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.

 456 characters

Photo of Clydesdale
3.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a bright, medium golden color. The white head is tall, foamy, and frothy. Retention is solid, leaving a decent spackling of lace stuck to the glass.

S: Some grainy and crackery maltiness in the nose. A medium dose of floral and herbal hops is present. There are also significant sulfur and fruit notes from the yeast.

T: Grainy malts up front, with some light sweetness. A bit of corny flavor, as expected. Hop bitterness eventually builds into something fairly firm, with some herbal, floral, and lemon-soapy flavor. A bit of unclean lager yeast flavor pops up towards the finish to add character.

M: Medium mouthfeel, with average carbonation. A bit slicker on the tongue than most standard American throwback lagers. Still, a bit of a dry finish arrives as expected.

D: This is an interesting beer. I'd be shocked if this weren't actually a lager. I actually found this pretty similar to Yuengling's Lord Chesterfield, though this has a more European hop character. My curiosity got the best of when I picked this up, but at least it's drinkable.

 1,066 characters

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.82/5  rDev +22.8%
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 NiceTaps
2.45/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I hadn't had this for such along time so I thought I'd give it a try given the limited choices at an Atlantic City casino sports bar. The weekday special was $5.00 for a forty. Price and value went hand in hand.

A- very light, pale golden color. Fast fading head, no lacing.

S- almost aroma free, maybe a touch of sweet maltiness.

T- sweet and malty, no hop bitterness. Is there a mineral taste to that brew, ala Miller beers?

M- lots of carbonation and no texture.

I really wanted to like this, in the end I couldn't even enjoy it. yuk.

 542 characters

Photo of RheinSchaefer85
1.7/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I tried this once in the 40z form of course wasn't overly thrilled with it though. Its so so . I have heard though the Ballantine Lager was good though sad to say they don't make it anymore oh well. Over all if you want a Cheap Ale with some Nostalgia get a Ballantine .

 270 characters

Photo of Derranged
3.12/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First time trying this. Tall boy can poured into a pint glass.

A- Clear golden color with a thick white head that quickly disappears.

S- Slightly metallic, sweet malts, floral notes, hops, even a little green apple candy.

T- Mostly sweet malts, slightly hoppy and a bit metallic.

M- Thin and very carbonated.

O- Considering what this this, it really isn't bad. It does taste like a watered down pale ale. Not all that good, but I think it has more character than popular adjunct lagers.

 495 characters

Photo of CaptJackHarkness
3.8/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was my grandfather's favorite beer, and I can taste why.They did not have "craft" beer back in the day.
This poured a clear golden yellow with white foamy head. Scent was a touch skunky, so I let it rest a bit before drinking. Surprisingly good despite scent, bready malt, grassy hops a bit "tinny" though, but not bad.

 325 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.89/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle - $1.09 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, light golden-toned body with a half-inch head of white foam.

Smell: A full sniff of coarse skunkiness as soon as I twisted off the cap. Let's give that a moment to trail off. After that's had a moment to waft away, it's mainly grassy-scented hops ahead of the lightly malted barley.

Taste: Faintly sweetish, soft barley flavor. Grassy hops with a slight, slight hint of lemon. Modestly bitter. Finishes clean, crisp.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied. Medium-plus carbonation, though lively textured.

Overall: "It's got that golden flavor, true ale flavor." It's a bit sad such a famous beer has been tanked, it's quality diminished as the brand has been shuffled from brewery to brewery, eventually arriving at such a pitiful state. Ah well.

 831 characters

Photo of LAMAGS
1.5/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Has a thin sickly yellow pour with weak soapy head that fades instantly. The nose is similar to the armpit of a man who just completed his first bungee jump, skunky and disturbing. The flavor doesn’t disappoint, like many skunks were rounded up and then distilled by squeezing them in a coffee press, water grass and a hint of urine round out this beverage. Watery body with spotty carbonation, best drunk if your homeless, or aspire to be so in the near future.

 464 characters

Photo of schlimenhaumer
2.36/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 40oz bottle of the "America's Largest Selling Ale" into a pint glass at low altitude.

A: Pours a clear yellow color with a two- to three-finger stark white foamy head that sticks around longer than expected. Not much lacing here.

S: Stale malts with some metallic notes on the finish. Nothing to suggest any bitterness at all.

T: Bready malts all the way through. The metallic notes from the nose didn't come through too much. There's really nothing unpleasant about this one. Surprisingly okay.

M: Light- to medium-bodied with a little bit of carbonation. Appropriate for a 40.

D: At this point, the best 40 I've consumed to date.

 650 characters

Photo of BoozySmurf
3.12/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ran out of Chesterfield, and saw this at the local distributor. Always wanted to give it a try, but a tough call because its a bit pricier than the macros. What if I don't like it? What if she doesn't call me back? In the end I manned up and bought the case. It pours a straw gold, clear with some white head formation. Head dissipates and leaves behind some lacing, uneven distribution but its there. Smell is grassy, a bit of sugar too and some citrus. There's some sweetness and hops there, nice aroma. Taste is decent, macro-ish but a lot more hops are present. Now this is an APA, and it doesn't have the hop bill of SNPA or Sam Adams Boston Ale, but what am I judging this against. In a pinch I'll take Yuengling's Lord Chesterfield over this, but both are poseur craft beers with crisp carbonation, appreciable hop bitterness and easy drinkability.

 855 characters

Photo of PapillonJohn
3.54/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 7/17/2011 from a bottle. Born on date: May 09, 2011

Appearance: Pours a very deep, golden color. The best way I could describe it is cut, wet hay. Plenty of bubbly carbonation
working it's way to the top of the brew. Not too much of a head to speak of. I didn't really pour it that aggressively though since I was drinking it from a tulip glass and doubted that a large head would fit without exploding over and flooding my kitchen in sticky suds... What I did get was about a fingers worth of white, fluffy suds that floated on top like a boat in calm waters. Didn't stick around for all that long. Gone and lonely in about a minute flat.

Smell: Fairly sweet nose at first. After taking a few more whiffs I was getting a little bit of a light malt and some subdued hops in the background. I really wish that the hops scent was more brave than it is. I'm not too keen on the sweet scent that this brew gives off.

Taste: Here is where this $20 brew becomes not just a cheap beer, but a pretty well done, cheap beer. First glug reveals some pretty good hop bitterness right up front that follows into a light malt middle. After you get through the middle you get this odd medicinal taste that only sticks around for a short second. But, this medicinal sweetness is a bit off putting for me, not enough for me to dislike this brew, but I just can't get over that taste... I'm not even sure what it is. Corn? The beer starts off a bit sweet with some pretty good hops and finishes with a tad of hop bitterness. The beer contains far more hops than any of your standard macro lagers or "retro" beers. The only one that even comes close is Schlitz, but that's a tale for another time.

Mouthfeel: The beer is fairly watery, which is a bit of a downfall. I would have liked it to be a bit more sturdy but I won't complain all too much. Carbonation is really vamped up and a bit in your face. Not enough that it burns the back of your throat or esophagus out, but your tongue has a bit of a boxing match in store.

Over all, you know what this really makes me think? This is your grandfather's beer. This is what he use to drink back in the 50's and 60's, while smoking a hearty cigar. I would hardly consider this a good American Ale or Ale showing, but you know what for $20 I will
definitely start keeping this beer on rotation in my fridge. This has easily become my new, favorite, "cheap" beer.

 2,406 characters

Photo of Tone
3.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, straw color. 5/4 inch head of a white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of pale malt, strong grain, hint of sulfur, and a hint of citrus hops. Fits the style of an American Pale Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of pale malt, grain, and slight citrus hops. Overall, akin to a Light Lager with extra hop.

 376 characters

Photo of Ralphs66
3.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

There is a restaurant in Purdys NY called the Blazer Pub...some of the best burgers in the NY Tri-state area, and a regular stop for me. Well, recently they decided to go retro and are now offering, in cans, Schaefer, Ballantine, Rheingold and Schlitz....with PBR on tap. Whether you like these beers or not, the concept tickled my fancy and I decided to make my way through the list; revisiting some of the beers of my youth. None of them are great; in fact most of them are poor in comparison to the Captain Lawrence offerings that the Blazer also has on tap. But you know what? They were like an old friend, a blankie that I could hold at the bar and not feel self conscious about. Yes, I drank them all proudly and chances are, I will again.

 745 characters

Photo of tempest
3.25/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

 407 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.47/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz can into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light yellow color, with a short white head that fades slowly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains light caramelized malts, a good amount of hops and some citrus.

T: The taste starts out with a light malt sweetness followed by flavors of citrus and caramel. Then a decent hops presence comes in to provide some balance. The malt character is a bit on the thin side for the style. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not filling at all, mild kick, decent representation of style, for an inexpensive alternative this beer isn't a bad choice, but over all there are a lot of other beers in the style that are better.

 832 characters

Photo of crossovert
1.89/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Green 12 oz bottle.

Not much smell, some light hoppiness and grain. so much for the "dry hopping".

It doesn't really have a flavor, there is a light mop twang but not really.

The mouthfeel is pretty carbonated, it is easy to drink but not something you want to session really.

Basically it sucks.

 301 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.13/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up on a whim, it says on the label it is the best selling ale in America so it should be good right?
Pours a really pale golden color with a thinnish white head that spends almost no time atop my beer. Smells of straw, honey, corn, skunk hints of earthy hops. Taste is a little sweet with a grainy edge and a faint hop bite. Has a bit more fruity character than a macro lager but is otherwise very similar. Medium to thin body, sweet grainy mouthfeel, crisp carbonation. Easy drinker, but certainly nothing special. The best part of this beer is the puzzles under the caps.

 585 characters

Photo of Kinsman
3.15/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing this as an American Pale Ale may not do it justice so I'll review it for what it is.

Crisp and clear golden colored body and a white almost sticky head.

Aroma is noticeably grainy but still with some hoppy notes that are a bit flowery.

Taste is not at all appalling but still not all that flavorful. Grainy and bready malt body with some slight hoppy flower notes but really this is all a bit watered down and a bit metalic. Mouthfeel is crisp and full of carbonation. Overall not a bad macro beer at a good price point.

 533 characters

Photo of mmmbeer
4.34/5  rDev +39.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Green half-quart can with a batch code on the side and a freshness date on the bottom; dry-hopped with Cascade and brewed by Falstaff Brewing Co., not Pabst. Pours a light yellow/gold, with medium carbonation and an inch of frothy white head that doesn't really leave any lacing. Fairly aromatic, with light malts, citric orange zest and perhaps some pine. Very flavorful as well, with sweet corn, a minerally industrial twang and a dash of sulfur forming the base, topped with layers of citric, resiny, piney, almost woodsy hops that impart a mild, but noticeable bitterness. Very cleanly fermented, with just a hint of ethanol. Its body is crisp, tingly and dry, but a touch too heavy for mass consumption. This is a great light beer that has become a staple in my fridge. While it isn't really an APA (more of an American adjunct ale), I imagine this is very similar to what pre-Prohibition beers tasted like. Make sure not to drink this too cold, because light beers don't get any more flavorful than this; imagine having Cascade-flavored burps from a macrobrew. While I have not had this out of the bottle, I don't think I ever would because they use green glass. Regardless of whether or not you like light beers, if you find this in the can, buy it, I highly recommend it, if only to see that not all mass-produced beer is flavorless swill.

 1,347 characters

Photo of thebrood1987
3.72/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

It's actually not bad at all. The smell is of some hop and grain. The taste gives you a quick flash of subtle citrus hop right up front and ends with a dissolving hop grain taste. It smells and tastes like a semi watered down Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. That was my first impression on smelling and tasting this beer. Obviously the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has more solid tastier bitter hops and a way nicer malt taste but this really does this trick if you cant afford Sierra. Drinkablity is very nice not filling and lower alcohol content. This is definitely beats out Budweiser, Miller and Coors. This beer seemed like a beer bursting with taste right after I just drank a Miller Lite... but then I guess a lot of beers have more taste than that. But the big 3 all taste the same to me anyways. Probably the only thing I'll drink from Pabst because it has the most hop character out of any cheaper mass produced beer out there hands down. PUT THIS IN A BROWN BOTTLE!

 963 characters

Photo of homemalt
3.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Even during my college days in Washington D.C, this beer wasn't always easy to find. I was surprised to see in New Jersey over the thanksgiving Holiday. Big 40oz bottles hearkens images of shear degradation on my home town streets of Philadelphia but I my elderly Dad loved Balantine beer so I bought it. Falstaff Brewing was on the label of this bottle. Oh well, can't keep track.

I was a big fan of Balantine IPA in the early 70's, nicked name green death, (Not to be confused with the Rainer IPA nicknamed 'Green Death' made by Rainier Brewing in Settle Washington, a sweet IPA at 6.5% monsterous for its day).

Anyway enough remincising, I was surpised that this Balantine cream ale actually tasted better than I remember, which is rare indeed.. Very generous head slowly deflating into lasting lace and cream on the surface. The creamy look failed to tranlate into creamy testure or flavor. Instead, the beer is almost completely dry. I was surprised to find a refreshing hoppiness with genuine hop flavors. If this cream ale had a little more malt balance and complexity, it would have been too good to be true for a cheap beer loaded into a 40oz bottle.

Not sure what creates the mineral mettallic flavor so common in Commerical American beers. It is as if metallic is a stylistic component of low priced American coomerical beer. In the case of this Balantine cream ale, it was a welcome blast from the past.

Overal, I found no real downside to this beer. This beer ain't anything special but decent refreshing old school commercial American beer.

I split the 40 with my 82 year old Dad and enjoyed watching Vick demolish the Skins...just like the good ole days.

Neither of us have an Abbey Triple alcohol tolerance so we we're bright and cripper the next morning feeling no ill effects of fusal alcohol or high concentrations of phenolytic componds, nor heart burn reflux from too much tannic and lactic acid.

Load these big babies up in a big cooler and slap some chicken and ribs on the grill..

 2,024 characters

Photo of Mosstrooper
2.73/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle into Hard Rock Cafe branded pilsner glass.

Appearance: Straw color with a small white head that dissipates quickly and leaves behind spotty lace.

Smell: Sweet grain smells are the most dominant, with a hint of adjunct.

Taste: Sweet grain beginning, finishing with a macro-like beer taste with beefed-up hops.

Mouthfeel: Lighter body with sharp carbonation and a watery finish.

Drinkability: A very boring pale ale- this beer isn't terrible, but it's basically a less-watered down adjunct beer. If the big macro companies made ales, I can imagine this is about what it would taste like.

 614 characters

Photo of Reagan1984
3.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was at Regina Pizza and saw this item on their menu. Figured it was a great opportunity to try the beer and write down some review notes.

They provided a small pilsner glass and it was difficult to get any head to form larger than a thin film. The beer was a bright gold/straw color with a good amount of carbonation. No lacing at all.

Aroma was slightly sweet and mostly of course grain.

From the flavor I am guessing there is some corn used in making this beer. There wasn't the strong creamed corn flavor you get in some poor adjunct beers, but there was a sweetness that I attribute to some corn. (obviously, I could be wrong) Mostly a clean flavor also with a grainy quality to it.

Fairly crisp and refreshing, certainly not a deeply complex brew, but it's not supposed to be.

Not a bad beer at all.

 809 characters

Photo of dirkchivers
2.06/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This is an overly herbal brew, accentuated by the high carbonation level which makes my mouth burn. The overall taste, presentation, and mouthfeel speak to the stereotypical canned adjunct beer; there's soemthing a bit off, a bit unpleasant. I can appreciate the size v. cost aspect of this beer, but in as I am in RI, the 'gansett will not be replaced by this.

 361 characters

Ballantine XXX Ale from Pabst Brewing Company
3.11 out of 5 based on 304 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.