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Opal - Proprietor's Reserve - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Opal - Proprietor's ReserveOpal - Proprietor's Reserve

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

967 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 967
Reviews: 140
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 9.9%
Wants: 28
Gots: 131 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Samuel906 on 03-05-2014

Our interpretation of the rustic Wallonian Saison style is a harmonious blend of rustic grains, spicy yeast and unique sauvignon blanc tones. Inviting lemon grass and gooseberry meet peppery spice and fresh grain aromas. Spicy Belgian yeast create a complex yet dry and refreshing canvas with splashes of citrus and stone fruit with a bright tropical white wine finish. Hop bitterness is assertive yet harmonious rounding out slightly tart and refreshing.
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Ratings: 967 | Reviews: 140 | Display Reviews Only:
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4/5  rDev +1.5%

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4/5  rDev +1.5%

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4/5  rDev +1.5%

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4/5  rDev +1.5%

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3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

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4/5  rDev +1.5%

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4/5  rDev +1.5%

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3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

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3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Pours a light lemon like golden color with a dense 2 finger head that hangs around for about a minute. Solid lacing.

S- An inviting blend of Belgian yeast, tropical fruits, pepper, and lemon. Good potency as well.

T&M- Light and refreshing. A wave of musky, grain to start, a fruity mid taste, and finishes with a spot on peppery spice and cracker malt. Slight esters. Dry finish. Maybe not quite as much carbonation and zip in the finish as I would prefer, but that's being a little nitpicky. Flavorful and remarkably easy to drink. Not overly hoppy, not overly funky, but somewhere in that middle ground

O- No surprise that FW hit a HR with this one. There just simply isn't much they do wrong in my book.

Bottled 4/11/14
Consumed 5/9/14
$6.50 for 22 oz bottle

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3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

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3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

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3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of Kendo
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured from the 22 oz bottle into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is clear yellow with a 1-finger pillowy white head on top. Some splotches of lace.

S: Vinuous (grapes) with a touch of grassiness. Some stone fruits (apricot comes to mind, maybe under-ripe peaches) and yeast funkiness.

T: Modest crackery malt foundation. White wine-like, with white grapes, apricot, a touch of grass, a hint of tropical fruits (I swear I get some pineapple) and a lemony-bitter finish. Yeast reminds you that this is a Saison, but the overall impression is of more vibrancy than a standard Saison, as the color of the body and the snap of the dry-hopped, lemony finish really lightens this up quite a bit. Does not drink like a 7.5% ABV beer at all, though some alcohol warmth is felt in the belly right away.

M: Medium in heft, good creamy feel with active but fine carbonation. The mouthfeel is quite nice for what's going on with this beer.

O: An excellent American-style Saison (if there is such a thing; if not, then I'm creating a new style and Opal is the standard bearer).

Photo of TheMagnanimous
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of PHBoiler
3.28/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Was really excited to try this beer as I'm a big saison fan. The beer is absolutely bright yellow/golden with a pillowy white head. The scent doesn't really give me much other than some yeast esters. I get cracker and banana notes from this yeast. I'm not enjoying this. It's like a cleaner belgian/hefe rather than the saisons that I'm used to. I didn't get anything from the "dry hopping."

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4/5  rDev +1.5%

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3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

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3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

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4/5  rDev +1.5%

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4/5  rDev +1.5%

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3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of kojevergas
3.47/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Proprietor's Reserve Opal Dry Hopped Saison Farmhouse Ale.

Uninteresting label art. 7.5% ABV. 2014 vintage. Bottled: 03/07/14 15:02. Gold foil with a pull-tab covers the neck and cap - which is a black and gold branded pry-off cap with a classy ornate depiction of a lion. Reviewed as a saison. Expectations are average given the brewery, whose offerings rarely impress.

Served cold into a Stella Artois stem-tulip at low altitude. Purchased at a bottle shop in Austin, TX.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Three fingers wide. White in colour. Surprisingly thin for the style, lacking fullness and an even consistency. Leaves no lacing as it recedes, which happens fully within about 4 minutes - above average for the ABV. Complexion is mediocre.

BODY: Clear yellow/pale copper. I'm shocked at the clarity given this is meant to be a saison; was this filtered? It must've been. Average vibrance. Appears adequately carbonated.

Overall, this is an unconventional appearance for a saison, which makes me suspicious - none of the best saisons I've had have looked this filtered and clean. It's not a unique or special look for a saison, but I notice no egregious flaws.

AROMA: Lime zest, sea salt, lemongrass, clean barley, Belgian pale malts, hints of faint papaya, some crackery malts - maybe even a kiss of starchiness, subtly integrated floral hop character, honey malt, and some flowery nectar. Thankfully, white pepper has a notable presence; this is the main note I search for in a good saison. Let's hope it has a presence in the flavour too. Flaked wheat. Pilsner malts.

I'm not finding the white wine/sauvignon blanc notes mentioned on Firestone Walker's website. I don't really have any idea what in hell gooseberry tastes or smells like so I'm not sure if that's there, but I'm not finding any tartness and as far as fruit goes lime is definitely dominant. There's no overt alcohol noticeable, and any spicy yeast character is much more reticent than would be ideal...I'd prefer a more overt brettanomyces/funky character from the yeast.

A pleasant aroma of moderate strength.

TEXTURE: Has both a nice coarseness and a nice dryness to it - subtle enough to keep it refreshing but present enough to coax out a bit more depth of flavour. Carbonation is just a biteen high. It's got a clean presence on the palate and has an apt medium body. Not too thick nor too thin. Crisp and approachable. Well-executed overall; this texture complements the taste well.

It's not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, or hot, though there is a bit of noticeable alcohol warmth which is a bit surprising for its scant 7.5% ABV.

TASTE: The foundation is comprised primarily of pilsner malts, Belgian pale malts, honey malts, and flaked wheat.

The natural honeyed sweetness fits the flavour profile of a saison nicely and is to be commended. The floral hop character is subtly integrated and plays well against this malty backdrop. Some crackery malts, maybe some grains of paradise. Lime zest is more subtle here than anticipated, probably to its detriment. Not finding the papaya promised by the aroma. White pepper could be more prominent, if not dominant, and I find myself looking for more of a complementary yeast character - more spice, and especially more funkiness - would help fill out this flavour profile with a bit more of a noticeably Belgian character.

Ultimately for a saison it's a bit simple - but outside of style conventions this is still a more complex flavour profile than many beers have. Flavour duration and intensity is above average - which isn't necessarily a good thing in a saison. Overall, what really works here is the careful balance, but more subtlety, complexity, intricacy, and nuance is needed to really elevate this beer to a point where it can begin to compete with good Belgian examples of the style - not to mention world class offerings. I do like this beer, and it's growing on me more and more as it comes to temperature, but there's ample room for improvement.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I guess it just drinks like the base to a superior saison. Everything here is working and it's balanced, but some Fantome-esque elegant spicing or some Dupont-esque milky notes and brettanomyces yeast character would really set it off. I'll easily finish this bottle and this definitely surpassed my meagre expectations, but it's far from amongst the best beers in the style. The price point is a bit high for the quality as well. I'd actually probably get this again, which is more than I can say about many Firestone Walker beers. Worth a try, absolutely, but don't expect a great saison - or even a traditional one.

High B-

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4/5  rDev +1.5%

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4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Opal - Proprietor's Reserve from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 967 ratings.