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Ballantine XXX Ale | Pabst Brewing Company

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164 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 164 | Ratings: 300
Photo of stakem
3.05/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ballantine XXX America's Largest Selling Ale with a 3 ring logo boasting purity, body and flavor. Date stamped on the bottom of the can is 7/26/10.

Poured from a green can into a pint glass it appears a light yellow color that is pretty clear except for the faint light colored particles floating around stuck in suspension. Initially poured with more than a finger of fizzy white big bubbly head that receeded to almost nothing pretty darn fast. Nose is a mixture of yeasty sulfur and stale hops minorly reminescent of grass and herbs. Taste is grainy upfront with a bunch of residual sweetness and a faint flavor of herbal hops that doesn't quite provide enough bitterness to balance out the sweetness. Medium to light feel is a bit heavier than I expected. Moderately high level of carbonation that rises through the body of the glass and fizzels away at the surface. Very faint grainy flavor is left in the mouth after each sip that is somewhat reminescent of corn with a touch of bitterness. There is a bit of a chlorine character about this brew and the alcohol starts to creep in on you.

This isn't a beer I would try again, in fact I think I gave myself a headache trying to smell and taste more than what this beer had to offer.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
3.68/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ballantine Ale has a thick, white head and a deep, golden, clear color, with high, bubbly carbonation. The aroma is rather neutral, but I think I could detect some fruity smell in there. The taste is very good: full-flavored with some sort of apple or fruit aspect. Mouth-feel is medium and this beer finishes crisp and satisfying. Overall, I really liked it both times I had it (2005 and 2010). Note: it is not available in Louisiana. I bought it two times on road trips to New York City. I'd recommend drinking this poured from a can rather than the green bottle, as that can allow for spoilage (light passing through green or clear bottles is a bad mix).


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Photo of emmasdad
3.65/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After landing in Philly, then driving out to Cape May, New Jersey, I was ready for a beer. Cape May, however, is not the mecca of beer that many cities are. I stopped in a "packy" and picked up a sixer of this one in the neon green cans. I walked out to the beach behind the hotel, and with a roast beef sandwich I picked up at the Wawa I enjoyed a couple. For a Pabst product, this one was nicely hopped, balanced and very enjoyable. Earth shattering, No, but if this one was sold in Denver, it would always be in my fridge.

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Photo of mtnbikerpa
3.32/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank from a 12 ounce bottle with freshness date of Jan 4,2010. I decided it would be okay to go ahead and drink this brew from the bottle. Claims on the bottle to be America's Largest Selling Ale, I have to wonder about this. Not much of a scent. Smooth flavor, sweet and somewhat herbal notes dominate the flavor profile. Mouthfeel is very smooth and pretty easy to drink. I could easily have a couple more of these.

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Photo of travduke
3.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Paired this with some egg rolls with hot mustard, worked out well.

Look: Pale golden body with lots of carbonation. 2 finger head, no lacing.

Smell: German malt, a little bitter, skunky? Sort of.

Taste: Just like the smell, but its not that bad. I enjoy it with the food I'm eating.

Mouth/Drink: Nice body. Its crisp and clean. Drinkability is nice.

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Photo of Naugled
3.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

served in an a lager glass, and poured from a 22oz green bottle.

A very slight skunkiness in the nose, that disappeared quickly. High carbonation and nicely formed head but not long lasting. Deep golden yellow color and head is snow white.

You can also pick up the sweetness in the nose, with no hops discernible.

Flavor is malt forward, with an adjunct flavor up front, my guess would be corn as rice doesn't have much flavor. Barely any hop flavor or aroma but the bitterness is there with the balance leaning toward the malt. No yeast character either, a very clean profile.

I was surprised at the mouth feel, it has quite a bit of body and fullness. I measured the OG to be 1.013.

A very drinkable old style beer.

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Photo of xrobevansx
3.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer (although an Ale) is what I call the "Poorman's Heineken", which isn't saying much about either beer.

That being said, Ballantine is BY FAR the best "nostalgia" beer out there. Better than PBR, Schlitz, Schaefer, etc.

And it's a damn bargain.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.03/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle marked SEPO2809-AO5100622. Twist off top with the classic "put the symbols together" game under the cap. Mine was #142 and I could not figure it out. It had a bumblebee on it.

The pour is the standard pale yellow with a burst of fizzy carbonation on top that diminishes to a thin ring. Ergh! You get that light struck-green bottle skunkiness in the aroma. But once you get around that there are some corny malts in there. The mouthfeel is of medium texture, a bit chewy and carbonated. The taste is the classic pilsener style of the past with adjuncts, breadiness, and a dash of dried hops and even something vaguely sweet. It goes down quickly. Ballantine's history fascinated more than the actual beer. Not for the craft drinker. More for the drinker-drinker.

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Photo of hmk22
2.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I like old-fashioned things so this brand appealed to my sense of nostalgia. I tried it in Maine several years ago and it does seem that it's changed in the past few years. It's hard to find in my parts but I smoked it out at a distributor in White Plains, NY. I agree with much of the other reviewer commentary...this is a decent beer but not worth going out of your way for...my nostalgia was not really rewarded. It has a bit of a rotgut, alcohol-fortified taste to it. I'm disappointed but can't really slam this beer...it does seem that the current offering may be treading on an earlier version's fame and quality, but it does have a distinctive taste. You might like it! It's worth a try, esp. if you can find the tall-boy cans (usually in the cooler) -- they seem to move faster than the 6-pack 12 oz. bottles which look like they gather a lot of dust at retail -- and it won't bust your beer (or microwave burrito) budget.

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Photo of LuskusDelph
3.76/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First of all, this is not the same Ballantine Ale that was a premium and well regarded American Ale 40+ years ago...the real Ballantine brewery closed in 1972 and the real Ballantine Ale formula (top fermented and well hopped in bitterness and aroma) only survived into the mid 80's ubder the supervision of Falstaff (which itself eventually closed).

This version of Ballantine Ale is sold by Pabst (and actually brewed under contract by Miller) but the only resemblance to the original is the classic label design. All similarity ends there. It only hints (broadly) at what this beer once was.

With that sad info out of the way, I will say that for the price this is still a decent beer and certainly not deserving of the beer-snob hate heaped on it. It has more character than most big brewery beers even as it has probably one fifth of the hop character of the original brew.

For the price, in times when money is tight, it's a great bargain. Those old enough to remember original Ballantine will agree that it would probably rate a solid A+ from most real beer lovers. The current version certainly falls short of that.

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Photo of Ezone024
3.35/5  rDev +8.1%
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 tone77
3.8/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a green 12 oz. bottle. Has a golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of grains, malts, some sweetness. Taste is a pleasant surprise, malts are abundant, however there is a nice hop balance. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall this is a very easy drinking beer and a great value for the price.

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Photo of zeff80
2.11/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - Poured out a clear, fizzy, golden-yellow color with a fizzy, bubbly, white, one-finger head. No lace at all.

S - It smelled of skunk and corn. Not pleasant.

T - It tasted of corn, grasses and faintly of caramel. Pretty bland and tasted nothing like an APA.

M - It was weak and thin. A light bodied ale.

D - Not a very good brew. I tried it hoping for a classic, but it fell short of that.

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Photo of albern
2.03/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I'll part company with the bros. on this one and just say that this is a pretty bad beer. It pours a pretty pale color with a small but decent white foamy head that does retain a bit. No lacing. The nose has a sharp mustiness to it and a slightly lagery aroma. The head isn't all that enticing. The taste is a bit oily but sharp and tart with some off soury notes, with some watery grains lurking underneath. There is a cooked veggie flavor to this beer and it isn't good. I've had enough and I can't think of too much to recommend this beer.

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Photo of projectflam86
3.03/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Pours light golden color with a thin white foam head that leaves some mild sticky lacing.

S- Faint citrus and grain nose. Some detectable malt sweetness and hop tang.

T- Citrus rind and grain flavor with a slight hop bitterness. Some malt sweetness is present with balance. Spice and floral flavors are noticeable, adding some depth.

M- Light and crisp with ok carbonation.

D- Not bad for the price (4.99$ 6pk bottles). Nothing special, but respectable none the less.

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Photo of rodney45
3.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Comes in half quarts, thats pretty neat. I paid one dollar and twenty five cents. I sort of like this, I didnt want to, but oddly enough I'm drinking this beer, and am happy about it. Smells pretty skunky though and grainy. The skunky but its also very well malted. Get a hint of aluminum, but not too much. The brewery has been around for a very long long time in the US, so it has to be good right? Well honestly its a whole lot better than anything coors or AB puts out. Very nice mouthfeel, and easy drinking... I guess a go to beer. I cant find anything about the abv on the internets.... go figure...

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Photo of matty
3.35/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gold colored beer with a fluffy white head that fades very quickly.Aroma and taste to me are both macro like and I think that's a good thing.I bought a 12 pack of 40's for 24.00 which seems to be a decent buy.It's crisp and refreshing a perfect summertime beer!!

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Photo of mikelf77
3.57/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Now my GrandFather used to work for this Brewery when it was based in Newark, NJ. So out of some sentimental reasons my father bought a sixer of this. I thought I'd try 4 or 5 of them. The old brewery had a huge beer bottle that said "Ballatine" on it. Ah the memories.
Tastes good. It almost tastes like a Corona if Corona was good. But this beer is much better. Now this is an ale but alot of people think it tastes a little like some lagers. The taste was good with a nice balance of sweetness which I can detect and some hops which I can detect even with my limited skills. I can detect some malted something but I am developing my skills so one day I will do a re-review.

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Photo of JoKo
4.12/5  rDev +32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this particular beer into my standard mug.

Appearance: Very golden in color, well carbonated and clear, formed a inch and a half white head. The appearance of this beer was quite peculiar for a pale ale, I'd say it's more of a blonde ale.

Smell: The smell of this one is citrus hoppy notes up front.

Taste: This beer has a very crisp, citrus like taste, the hops are up front in this one. As I take a sip of the beer, it goes from a sharp lightly hoppy citrus to a mild bitterness. The malts are light in this beer, but they are noticeable in the background.

Mouth feel: A very light bodied, crisp, highly drinkable ale.

Drinkability: I'm impressed. This is a definite go-to session beer. This one is definitely ideal for warm weather. I feel this could be one of those "gateway beers" when trying to convince friends that there is more to the world of beer than Bud and Coors light, also at a very affordable price.

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Photo of johlendorf
3.11/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I've drank gallons of this out of 16oz cans, but can only find bottles here.

A = Pale yellow, slightly greenish.

S = It's got that funky green beer smell. The cans are sweeter.

T = The skunkiness wasn't overwhelming and a nice sweetness comes through.

M = Light and refreshing.

D = I can drink this all day.

Old school favorite.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.7/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a plain pint glass.

A: Pours a very clear, golden yellow color with a thick, fizzy head of bubbles which dissipates quickly, leaving a light, soapy lace.

S: Smells fairly grainy, like corn and cereal with a bit of zesty lemon aroma.

T: Super crisp and clean toasted grain malt with a slightly sweet and drying citrus hop twang and a rapidly vanishing bittersweet aftertaste. Not very complex, more or less a guzzler.

M: Mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing with a little sticky twang and drying pucker.

D: This classic American brew is a great, cheap session beer. High drinkability, no frills, good, simple taste with clean flavors and a quality that makes it easy to drink en masse.

Grabbing a 6-pack of 16-oz. Ballantine's would make a great companion for say, a fishing outing or to throw in the cooler for a trip to the beach. It's got that certain old school novelty feel to it, but is actually a decent brew.

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Photo of skullx
3.66/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

was having nostalgia for this beer for some reason though i ve drank less then a case of this in my life . bought a 40 since they had no six packs let it sit a day . for some reason this beer has never smelled good but its the taste that counts right . poured it into my pint glass nice looking head but first yellow beer i drank in i dont know when . taste excellent . might have to stock up on this stuff im sure my 60 dollar a week beer bill will go down and still have a great tasting beer ale whatever

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Photo of nick76
2.16/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

The aroma is Soda water, yeast, corn, funk, and metal. The appearance is pale gold with a decent head. The flavor is like the aroma. The palate is watery. Overall it's not good. You can do much better than this but of course most of us are just getting a rating.

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Photo of Vendetta
1.36/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

Original Rating Date:
June 27, 2008

Had this one before, figure I'll drink it (or pour it, depends how this goes...) to remove it from the cellar. Instant skunkitude from the pour and first whiff. Damned green bottles... The taste isn't much better, there's really nothing there except for a watery, skunky taste. The rest of this is getting dumped, not worth it...

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"America's Largest Selling Ale" the lime green can told me. Why did I doubt this... out of the half quart of metal this beer was a pale gold color with a tremendous three finger head of cream foam. The retention was average and it left chunks of scattered albeit thin lacing. The aroma was slightly musty and dry, typical American macro lager, very grainy and very generic. The flavors were better, at first a flash of semi-sweet pale malt with a nice grainy center that faded into a bitter, leafy hop finish that was crisp and rather refreshing. The body was medium, the carbonation perfect and smooth and the mouthfeel very pleasant but a little oily. Much better than I was expecting and/or the aroma suggests.

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Ballantine XXX Ale from Pabst Brewing Company
3.1 out of 5 based on 300 ratings.
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