Pale 31 - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Pale 31Pale 31

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BA SCORE
87
very good

502 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 502
Hads: 1,684
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 9.54%
Wants: 67
Gots: 173 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  4.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 08-23-2002

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 502 | Hads: 1,684
Photo of illidurit
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Surprisingly appropriate pour yields a full inch of head, barely cresting atop the pint glass. Amber-orange in color. Some nice lacing mars the glass.

Aroma is typical of west coast hoppy pale ales. Lots of citrus with a decent maltiness for balance.

Flavor is a pretty even duel between grapefruity hops and grainy malt. Pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel is exemplary, drinkability is high. (417 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear gold with abundant head and lace.

Smell: Floral hops, citrus, a hint of grain. Fresh and mild, doesn't jump out much, but it's very pleasant.

Taste & mouthfeel: This brew opens with a malt character of cereal and freshly baked bread, leading way to a perfect floral hop bite. Very mellow in the finish, with a hint of citrus remaining on the tongue.

Drinkability: This stuff goes down ridiculously easy; it's gone before you know it. The ideal session beer. (478 characters)

Photo of Pencible
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a clear gold with a little off-white head. It smelled like lemon and pine hops mixed with malt. It tasted like copper hops balanced evenly with malt. It was pretty thick and oily with a little carbonation, and had a very mild bitter aftertaste. Overall this was a good pale ale, but nothing too special. (315 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was the second of my Firestone selection that I had this evening. It was quite nice to have a decent amount of their regulars around fresh to try. I popped this one open and poured it into my pint glass. Very nice medium amber colored ale came forward, with a bit of a bright golden yellow touch to it. Very nice carbonation was evident from the very beginning with streams of bubbles coming through and rippling up toward the surface to reinforce the foam. A nice head had formed on this one as well now, with a three-inch high layer of fluffy white that really just settled down very nicely, leaving behind about three quarters of an inch that really just stayed put the entire time. Really quite nice looking, leaving a good amount of lace dripping down the sides of the glass as it went as well.

The aroma was very nicely hopped, classic west coast style pale ale all the way. Big aroma of floral citric hops coming off of this one now, not so much on the sweet side, as it was light and biting. A noticeable amount of grass like flavors now mixing in as well, really pushing the hops out in front, but as it warmed, some nice light grain notes began percolating up and mixing in well, giving a still light, but a bit more depth to it overall. The flavor followed along classically and was one of those west coast pales you could sit down and drink for about a week. Gorgeous carbonation profile here, really made it feel quite light and airy. The light floral hops really dominating this one, but never becoming harsh in anyway at all, really showing their lighter side. Nice touches of grapefruit and tangerine really pushing through, with a very noticeable light cereal grains coming through underneath. Very well balanced and very light with nothing really pushing forward and nothing really dominating. Perfect pale ale flavor hands down. If you wanted that light, refreshing pale, with the west coast hop zing, this one was for you.

Overall I thought this was excellent, really a very nicely down pale, with very little errors at all. Lots of nice flavors with a good balance between bready and cereal like malts and the light floral hops, very nicely balanced. I would have loved to have had a few more of these as well. Definitely, a high quality session ale and something that I do not think I would ever turn down. (2,335 characters)

Photo of JDV
3.1/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Light clear amber pour with a fading white head. Smell is very sweet hops. Fresh and vibrant at first, followed soon by a bit of metal. A bit thin overall and I get a flavor of tea in this one quite a bit, along with some light honey like malt. Good carbonation, and while not offensive, pretty average, and needs more of a strong malt backing to shine. Decent. (361 characters)

Photo of dill
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

consumed as draught beer served in a pint glass.

A: pale golden color with a thin, white head.

S: citrus aroma.

T: hoppy with malt flavors, a bit of strawberry on the tongue. finishes dry and clean.

M: crisp mouthfeel. not too much carbonation.

D: nice balance, easy to drink. (282 characters)

Photo of ojclark
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big piney hop aroma when first poured. Malt became apparent as hop aroma settled down. Clear golden/amber color with a frothy off-white head and minimal lacing. Very nicely balanced flavor. Malty, slight sweetness and caramel overtones nicely balanced by hop bitterness and a mellow hop flavor. Medium/light carbonation with a medium body and a fairly long finish. A good hybrid of British and American pale ale styles. (419 characters)

Photo of WesWes
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a light pale and bisquit malt scent along with mild hop aroma and a light oak barrel presence. The aroma is quite complex and highly enticing. The taste is decent. It has a thin pale and bisquit malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes bitter with a nice hoppy aftertaste. The barrel taste really covers up the simple, yet refreshing pale malt flavor. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine pale ale. It's got an interesting flavor palate, but I could kill a sixer of these easy. (656 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle, single, purchased from the Hi-Times Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa,

A: Pours a macro pale yellow, with a white head that's a tad on the thin side, but has good retention and leaves some nice beer lacing.

S: Light smell of hops and malt, some oak.

T: Very crisp hop bite attacks first with some citrus and tropical fruits, maybe a bit of tangerine. Toffee and sourdough bread come in as the malt backbone, with a very nice vanilla note to end the beer, a gem.

M: Crisp, light and smooth, good carbonation, very refreshing.

D: This is a really good pale, up there with Anchor and Alpha King, possibly the best made in CA. (635 characters)

Photo of marcpal
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Linkery, pint poured from tap

A: Pale golden color with two fingers of head. Clarity and carbonation both average.

S: West coast hop presence with plenty of floral aromas to it. Woodsiness was clearly present.

T: Pleasantly balanced with some maltiness right up front to match the hops. Not surprisingly lower in alcohol but borderline IPA flavors through the pint.

M: High carbonation but crisp and not oily.

D: Very drinkable beer, could session this one all night if only given the chance back home. Worth a try by all means. (543 characters)

Photo of drumrboy22
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle received from bradford. Poured into Sam Adams glass.

Gold color with a small, white head.

Aroma was heavy, citrus hops. Grapefruit is prominent and smells delicious. Light malt aroma present.

Taste is well balanced and not overly hoppy.

Tasty, session beer. Moderately bitter finish. Very enjoyable. (319 characters)

Photo of akorsak
4.45/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A 12 oz bottle courtesy of Zorro, my Secret Santa.

A: The pale ale is indeed pale, a soft light copper color. The ale is clear with only a stream of carbonation obscuring the view. A 1.5 finger head livened things up a bit, but it quickly receded.

S: The nose has a tangy aroma, full of citrus hops and stronger than I expected for an APA. A very enticing aroma with malty elements that balance out the hops.

T: A sip reveals a hop depth that really socks the tastebuds. Citrus flavor, strong grapefruit primarily, really grabs you up front. The hops are bitter but not intense, allowing a grainy toast flavor to mix with the grapefruit.

M: The hops make this beer. The citrus element that they add is flavorful and strong, a marked departure from most APAs.

D: The abv is perfect, as is the flavor. This is a solid APA, great taste and fantastic hop profile. (865 characters)

Photo of bradford
4.65/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My go-to beer on the Central Coast of California.
Very hoppy, a bit dry, perfectly balanced, a low abv to make it oh-so sessionable.
Looks good. Dark gold in color with lively carbonation
Smell of floral hops
Sensational taste with the use of the right amount of specialty malts and hops
Mouthfeel is great. Very dry but also quenching and crisp
Drinkability is about as good as it gets for the style. I can see why Men's Health rated this as the best beer in America.
Fantastic, and I live directly in the middle of the two breweries. Great stuff. I can't believe my first rating of this. (592 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.59/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Sessionable, serviceable, drinkable pale. Floral and citrus and malty aroma. Light colour with short-lasting foam. Tasty and citrus hops comcommitant with aggressive carbonation. Medium or less body. Slight better than average pale, average beer overall. (254 characters)

Photo of viperpiper522
4.65/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a deep golden color with a 1.5 finger head that dissapates to quickly to give this one a 5. Good sticky lacing shows the gaps between big sips.

S- Out of the glass rises fresh citrus, pine, a light biscuit. You can smell some nice malt in there as well.

T- Excellent. Multiple citrus hits the tongue. Grapefruit, and meyer lemon dominate. It fades into a light balance of malt sweetness with major biscuit undertones. There is some fresh baked cookie in there as well. It finishes with a walk hrough the pine forest.

M- Light carbonation, releases a lusious palate. Velvety and smooth. The finish is dry enough to leave the palate with some light pine. Great residual.

D- It was so good I wish I had two more. Great trade Brad. Thanks, I don't think I could ever get it that fresh on this coast. It makes me want to move to Cali. (842 characters)

Photo of Mryup
3.76/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Darker side of golden color spectrum with a significant white head.

S: Yes, it smells like a typical pale ale but WOW, I can really smell the oak.

T: Piney and citrusy hops are evident and the fact that this beer was oak barrel aged is apparent and adds to the beer well.

M: The hops are very apparent throughout. Medium-bodied and very well carbonated. Nice.

D: This may be personal preference but I don't find this beer exceptionally drinkable but seems great to have with the right meal. Not a "pounder".

An interesting beer. There are not many like it and that appeals to me. Something I would definitely have in my stock ready to go for the right meal. The site says Asian pan but it seems like it would go good with other things as well. (752 characters)

Photo of theopholis
3.42/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance- Pours an absolutely crystal clear amber. The head is quite impressive. A solid, white affair with some staying power. Also has a loose, but very sticky lacing.

Aroma- The 1st thing you notice very nice hop aroma, with pine and a hint of citrus. Some malt sweetness mixed in there. Very well balanced.

Taste- A bit overly bitter for the style. It doesn't taste bad, just not like a American pale ale. Overall good balance between malt sweetness and flavoring hops.

Mouthfeel- Crisp an light. The carbonation starts out strong, but finishes fairly low. Helps to push the hops to the forefront of the taste.

Drinkability- It's okay. Not great. Pretty much like all of Firestone's beers. (699 characters)

Photo of Floydster
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pint from Bad Dog Ale House in El Segundo

Pours a very golden color with a one half inch head white head

Voted best beer of California in something I recently read

Perfect beer for a hot summer day

Highly drinkable, good APA

All pale should taste this good, worth checking out, but I am sure most of you already have (321 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I am sampling this brew at cellar temp and poured into a snifter. The beer pours a bright clear gold color with bleached white 2 cm of fizzy head foaming up. The head fades rapidly to a thin surface layer.
Aroma is fresh floral hops and some light fruit, white grapes I think. First sip reveals a light body and slightly watery texture.
Flavor is grainy malt and husk with a bit of white grape and again floral hops coming through. An easy drinker not very complex but well crafted. The body was a little thin, but it is a pale ale. (535 characters)

Photo of SixpointJMH
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a fairly unassuming copper colour with a good sized frothy head that leaves a nice amount of residue on the glass after each sip.

The aroma is sweet with hints of caramel mixed with a floral and grassy hop aroma that has some hints of citrus to it as well. Perhaps a touch of spice as well.

The flavour is essentially more of the same. Sweetness is not as dominant here with everything meshing quote evenly instead. Juicy hops lead the way before mixing with a bit of caramel and moving a bit into the floral grassy notes picked up in the aroma. There seems to be a hint of bread flavouring here as well. Mouthfeel is crisp and fairly light bodied.

This is a hoppy Pale Ale, but it's not an IPA, which I was pleased to be the case. Too often a brewery will over hop it's standard Pale Ale and it just comes across as an IPA. This one does not and clearly holds it's ground in the Pale Ale category. It is an easy drinker for sure and is loaded with balanced flavour. This was a nice first sampling for me from the Firestone Walker folks. (1,052 characters)

Photo of BrewDrinkRepeat
3.64/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden hue, with an off-white head that dissipates quickly but leaves gentle lacing on the glass. Clarity is excellent, a very clear beer that shows well in the glass.

The aroma is subdued; a hint of Cascade or other "c" hops intermingled with a bit of slightly nutty caramel. Overall, a very mild nose, not as hoppy as many West Coast pale ales tend to be. I don't dislike it, but I kind of wish there was a bit more to smell, something more to entice me to drink.

This is a pretty well-balanced ale, with a gentle hop bitterness that gives way quickly to a nice slightly grainy flavor. As with the nose, a slight nutty caramel characteristic is detected, but not overpowering to the overall flavor of the base malt. A slight lingering sweetness on the finish. Medium carbonation, perhaps slightly more than I would prefer for a pale ale. Again, this beer might be a bit of a disappointment to those seeking a more typical West Coast-style pale ale as it is not aggressively hopped (bittering or flavor/aroma) but for those looking for a more balanced pale ale this might fit the bill.

A very nice example of a less-aggressive American pale ale, very drinkable and refreshing. Strikes me as a good warm-weather beer, and a nice accompaniment to a cold deli sandwich and potato chips after mowing the lawn or washing the car. This would also be a good "intro" beer for converting a BMC drinker to craft beer. (1,425 characters)

Photo of BeerTruth
4.51/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Zorro. Received this in the Summer Sipper BIF 2007.

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a clear light copper hue with a white fluffy one finger head that dies down quickly to a thin lacing. Stickiness is very spotty, here and there. Very mild sweet citrus hop odor with a wonderful caramel/toffee malt blend. One of the best smelling beers in general I've experienced, by far the best smelling Pale Ale. Such a unique yet pleasing beer to put your nose up to. Taste is amazing as well. Once again, mild on the hops but clearly there. Citrus hops on the tongue but then the delicious vanilla malt flavor takes combined with a peppery-spice flavor. Aftertaste is very smooth and pleasant, sweet toffee like flavor. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation. This could very possibly be a session ale at 4.6% abv. Get you hands on this if you can. (896 characters)

Photo of garymuchow
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hmmm, it's been awhile since I've had a pale ale. Hot, sticky summer day, this should do just fine.
Nice sunshiney fresh hops with touch of citrus and grass. Clean and fresh, Very nice.
Amber of gold. Clear. Semi-dense head that borders on frothy. Good looking.
Pretty hoppy bitey. I like it. Prominent dryness at finish, but it doesn't linger all that long. Malt is muted. No particular sweetness noted. Malt flavors increase as warms as does softness of the drink. The very soft flavors of the oak barrel are available, but I'd say only to those with the most sensitive of palates (it would have been hard for me to detect, unless I knew to search for them). They seem to appear at the end and mix with the dryness.
Carbonation is rather full and sharp and prickly. It intensifies the bitterness to a point of excess for my tastes. Otherwise feel is on, i.e. medium light. Does possess a ale type crispness which lends a thirst quenching quality (along with the citrus flavor and dryness).
This is a nice solid APA. Highly drinkable. Good for the summer. Subtle in the complexity.
Thanks for thinking of me my brother. (1,126 characters)

Photo of chadlebald
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a sort of dark golden (almost an amber hue to it). Solid initial head that tapered off quickly but leaves a nice 'cling' to the sides as its drank. Smell is very floral right out of the gate, but with a slight caramely sweetness.

Lots of hoppy flavor that if I were blind tasting it, would say it was an IPA. I think it does have a fair amount of malt balance, though. On the whole, it drinks 'dry'.

Feels full in the mouth, and hits the taste buds evenly at first before lingering more in the mid tongue.

I am far from being a hophead even though I seek out hoppy beers on occasion. This is one that I would seek out more often I think, since it's just at that point of not overdoing it. In other words, I could order more than one in a session, whereas with IPAs, I usually switch after just one.

"Two bottoms up" (833 characters)

Photo of budsboy
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Clear, light amber on the pour with a thin white head that shrinks back to a sticky film.

Big hop aroma, all pine and citrus. Thick, sugary malt smell underneath. Inviting. Mouth is watering now.

Nice hop flavor right off, malty and with a hint of diacetyl, then a lasting piney hop bitterness on a dry finish.

Light-medium bodied, clean and moderate carbonation. Maybe a wee thin.

I enjoyed it. At 4.6 ABV, this is an excellent session brew for the hop hungry. Sure it's hopped to the hilt. Some like it, some don't. If you like SNPA or Dogfish 60 Minute, I'm betting you'll like this. Just as full of hop flavor but a little less of a meal.

Thanks to Hustlemuscle for sharing. (693 characters)

Pale 31 from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 502 ratings.