Pale 31 - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Pale 31Pale 31

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BA SCORE
86
very good

1,662 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,662
Reviews: 511
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 69
Gots: 165 | FT: 0
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,662 | Reviews: 511
Photo of WesWes
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Beer Authority in New York, NY

A: Pours a crystal clear dark copper to amber in color with light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall white head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the entire surface of the beer and a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of biscuit and caramel malts, some light sweetness, with stronger notes of orange/tangerine/citrus, pineapple/tropical, and floral hops.

T: The beer starts out with some light sweetness and biscuit and caramel malts. There are moderate to strong flavors of hops - orange/tangerine/citrus and just a touch of pineapple/tropical. Light amounts of bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Very enjoyable with really good flavors and aromas. Easy to drink and sessionable. Well balanced between the sweetness of the malts and bitterness of the hops.

Photo of GClarkage
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

5/18/08- Purchased at Piazza's in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 12oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into a random pint glass.

Appearance- Light golden in color with a 3/4 inch head. Lightly frothy and holds at a slight rim. Light lacing remains.

Smell- Very hoppy with grapefruit rind nose and a touch of pine. A slight toasted malt is hidden, but barely peeks through.

Taste- This one could easily pass an an IPA. It's got a very large grapefruit hop bite and a bit of pine needle flavor as well. Malt is lightly sweet and caramel flavored. Malt comes through more as you get deep into the beer.

Mouthfeel- A tad overcarbonated. Crisp, sweet and bitter lasting aftertaste.

Drinkability- I really enjoyed this IPA...errr, pale ale. Definitely recommended.

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is a gold color and only has a wispy, pale draught head. This beer has an incredible, fresh, hop aroma. I get notes of apricots, some peach, and of course some of the typical citrus notes. The aroma is just quite striking, and I really like the mix of fruit character that the hops evoke here. The taste is pretty light and refreshing and has a light sweetness to it that really helps to accentuate the fruity flavors from the hops. The hop character is definitely dominated by a fresh fruity character that is most evocative of peaches and apricots. This is really quite nice.

Photo of Gavage
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange color with a 1" head. Some light lacing develops. The aroma is nice as floral hops and oranges are easily detectable. The flavor was nice as malt and floral hops were nicely balanced, but the malt came across as slightly sweeter than other pale ales. The citrus (orange tones) were quite strong.

The mouthfeel was smooth and it had a medium body. The finish was relatively short with bitterness and citrus lasting on the tongue. Nicely drinkable, but the sweetness may be a turnoff to some here.

Photo of woodychandler
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the bottle: "Passion for the Pale".

I was initially concerned when I popped the cap and foam began to slowly seep up through the neck, but it stopped shortly thereafter and allowed me to pour it into a glass. I ended up with a finger of French Vanilla-colored head with moderate retention. Color was a deep golden-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was very pine-like and my mouth began to water in anticipation. Mouthfeel was medium and the hops were immediate upon making contact with my tongue. Man, this was pretty intense for an APA, but I was not complaining, believe me! Finish was pleasantly dry and the malt even made an appearance. Lots of sticky lacing was in evidence as I finished the glass.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A bottle into a Dark Horse Pint Glass. This bottle is almost 3 months old and just came in to Philly, so im not sure if FS is up to snuff on shipping out fresh pale, i will review as is.

Firestone Pale Ale comes into the glass a whistling golden slight copperish color with a nice amount of white suds up top leaving nice streaks. Smell is very citrusy and biscuit malt forward, a nice breadiness comes up. Taste takes a backseat from the scent. Flavors include biscuits from the pale malt, light pine over citrus from the hops. Feel is light and refreshing though with spot on carb. Finishes clean as can be. I drank this very quick and I hope to god FS sends very fresh stuff by the time summer comes around.

Photo of Billolick
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, Brewed on 12/31/13.

Pours near clear, w/ bubbles continuing to rise. Off white head is moderate in size and leaves a typical film, collar and respectable thicker low sheeting and scattered lace upon a gentle swirl.

Nose is faintly of some piney hops/grapefruit.

Resin and more pine hops on the palate. Grapefruit comes to mind. Respectable and nicely crafted APA. As somebody else remarked this one does not blend the lines between APA and IPA. Aggressive? No. Highly sessionable? Yes.

Quite dry in the long and hoppy finish. Worth a try.

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep straw with a chill haze. Short lived soapy head.
Aroma is zesty, floral, lemony,herbal and very hoppy. In the taste, grapefruit, orange and nectarine fruityness are apparent from the dry hop/ale yeast combo. A bit of lemon candy and pine are in effect as well. Mellow bitterness on a pale, salt water toffee like malt notes. Medium bodied, well carbonated, semi crisp. Overall this is an interesting pale ale, I'd give it another go easily.

Photo of billab914
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Oberon pint glass. It poured a light amber/gold color with a thin but bubbly white head to it. The head settled after a minute or so but it left some pretty nice lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma shows a moderate citrus hoppiness to it with some lemon and grapefruit notes to it. Some pale and bready malts come through as well in the aroma.

The taste has a pretty nice balance of American hoppiness and pale malts. The hops add some of those grapefruit and lemon notes to them. The malts add a bready flavor and a balancing sweetness to it that really helps balance it out. A bit of bitterness comes in the finish as well.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, it was a nicely flavored and easy drinking beer. It wasn't overwhelming with flavors but I found it nicely balanced with some very nice but subtler flavors. A very nice APA overall.

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is a really nice, quaffable beer. Session? Yes. It's easy drinking with just the right amount of bite to demand notice, but not a tongue scraper. It looks delicious; off golden, clear pour with a huge white fluffy head. Spotty lacing.
Open aroma of floral and citrus with some light cracker underneath.
Flavors are light but powerful. Citrus zest blends well with the floral perfume-ness and the cracker brings it together nicely.
A bit light on the malt for a APA. This is almost like a light IPA. Very drinkable. Really liked this one.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Brea's Yard House, on to the beer:

This beer shines in the glass orange/gold with a froathy head on top, very good lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma is mild, a mix of citrus, hops, and fresh-cut pine. Refreshing....yum. By the way, that's the taste I'm talking about. Clean upfront with a mix of bread/citrus/hoppy/floral flavors, the balance being good. This is one beer I'll be coming back to for sure, and it's great on a warm day like today.

Photo of tempest
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ordered a bottle with my Brick's Ale Burger at the Brickskeller. The body is a clear straw yellow with a white head and lacing.

I know many hold this up as one of the great pale ales, and I'm inclined to agree when you consider the whole package. It holds nearly the same depth of hop flavor as Sierra Nevada, but with a lighter body it's much more drinkable. The malts have a light bready malt taste, that's matched first by piney, citrus hops, and then later a spicy, long-lasting aftertaste. How this beer drinks actually reminds me of a good English bitter, for the ability to hold complex flavors in a light and highly sessionable beer.

Photo of smakawhat
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of the cask into a nonic tumbler at Church Key as part of the official Firestone Walker DC Launch Party.

Looks with a soupy but creamy off white head sitting on a nice cloud gorgeous twenty four carat body. Almost pale amber. Super lacing on the drink while finishing. Looks so delicious.

Bouquet seems to be a real soft floral hop, with a soft malt body. Small hint of crisp, but no buttery sensation that you would want to get from a cask.

Taste is wet, but also a great white dense bread feeling with a hint of sweet clove spice. Texture is an orange juice quality and chewy palate coating.

Overall out of the cask it's a little different, but it's quite tasty and super sessionable as well. This almost feels like a mix somewhere between an on tap and cask Ale, sort of a middle ground between both worlds.

Photo of corby112
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a recent trade with EinWeizenbitte. Thanks again man!

Pours a clear dark golden yellowish orange color with golden yellow hues when held to a light source. Frothy 2 finger white head with decent retention, slowly fading into a lasting ring that leaves spots of soapy lacing behind.

Sweet citrusy hop aroma with nice butterscotch malty presence and earthy grassy notes. Interesting combination of sweet lemon peel/grapefruit citrus along with butterscotch like biscuity malt and earthy grassy straw notes.

Pretty hop forward for a pale ale with a prominent dry earthy pine presence that's complimented by a sweet citrus lemongrass/grapefruit character. The malt backbone is a lot stronger than I expected in a west coast beer but provides excellent balance. Hints of caramel, butterscotch and biscuit. More dry bitter earthy hops and citrus sweetness in the dry finish.

Photo of weeare138
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to beermaninpa for this one!
Appears a light gold with a half inch white head that fades to a light film in about a minute. Some bits of streaky lacing stick to the glass. Some streams of large bubles slowly rise to the top of the glass.
Smell is of crisp hops with an oak and vanilla aroma.
Taste is of creamy vanilla and mild hops that seem to blend into a nice, crisp finish.
Mouthfeel is crisp, smooth, sweet with a semi-dry finish that is slick on the tongue. This also has a mild, tingly linger on the front of the tongue.
Drinkability isn't half bad for a pale ale.

It's ok, dog.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA.

Pours a very clear, bright golden colour, with a fine body and a pleasantly thick white head that leaves complex lacing. I love the bright, yet light colour of it—it makes it look vibrant and inviting. Yeah.

Nose follows on with this vibe of brightness, with a really lovely crisp citric hoppy nose, layered with sweet-savoury pastry tones and a touch of apricot. It's fruity, but layered and complex. Ooh, yeah. It doesn't break the boundaries or make you question your assumptions about the style, but it's brimming with character and about as good as you can imagine an APA nose being. Awesome.

Taste is a lot lighter, as probably was to be expected, but it continues that nice apricot flavour while not spiking it with any bitterness. Also carried along is the slight pastry character, which is what gives its lightly sweet basis. The back drops out a lot, not giving the pleasant staccato bitterness which would cut it off and round it off nicely—instead, the sweetness sits around and fades away rather limply.

Still, this is a nice APA, and a cracker for such a rather ubiquitous brew, at least around these parts. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of Zorro
3.32/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear gold color.

Smells distinctly hoppy and fruity. There is a small amount of maltiness in there too.

Taste is malt and hops. The hops used are flavorful and not very harsh so it makes for a very hoppy, yet still not bitter brew. Not sweet at all it is a dry ale.

Mouthfeel is good.

Very drinkable.

Photo of HopHead84
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

5/13/2012

A: Yellow with good clarity and a finger of white foam.

S: Tangerine and grapefruit balanced by biscuit and bready malts. Lightly sweet with soft floral aromatics. Gives the impression of balance.

T: Upper low level of bitterness with a light and ephemeral malt sweetness. Biscuity and grainy with tangerine and orange flesh. Smooth crisp and dry finish.

M: Lower medium body with upper medium carbonation.

Overall: A highly drinkable balanced Pale Ale. Expertly brewed, but I prefer them a bit hoppier.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a light golden color with small head that dissapates. Nose of very subtle hops. Tastes is hoppy that's not too overpowering, keeps in balance overall. Some subtle floral and pine notes. Extremely drinkable and tasty, dangerously good! One great Pale! A perfect example of a West Coast Pale!

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)
Bottled on 12/17/12
A- This beer pours a crystal clear deep copper body with a slow carbonation that trails up to a sticky antique white head that fades to a thick ring.

S- The pale green hops have a papery but pungent aroma to them.

T- The hint of sweetness to the pale malt stays soft even though the pale malt flavor grows and some hints of toasted malt come though in the background. There is a full pale green papery hop flavor in the finish that has a mellow pungency in the dry finish.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a nice gentle fizz and no alcohol heat.

O- This beer has a nice fresh malt flavor that grows to over take the hop flavor. This beer is very sessionable and it would be nice to try this on cask to see if more nuances come out.

Photo of akorsak
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
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.

Photo of biegaman
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bright and sunny yellow-tinged scotch with sheer transparency. The colour is golden and gleaming and the clarity consummately clean. Its head, although sickly anemic, is resiliently sticky. Tight clinging bands of white lace appear hopelessly stuck to the glass. This visual certainly imparts the temperate, sunny climate of Paso Robles to my mind.

The aroma is about as existent as it is non-existent. The faint grapefruit-like pungency of the hops suggest this may not be intentional but the lack of aromatic malt suggests it is. I keep taking bigger and bigger whiffs to be sure but my nostrils are largely drawing blanks. The floral qualities of the English Fuggles are apparent but I don't note much to resemble any of the big American C's (Cascade, Centennial, Chinook).

Is it just me or does the "California Pale Ale" taste a touch better than regular old pale ale? Strong bready, biscuity, doughie, cookie and wafer-like malts and a sprinkling of green, zesty recently ripened hop flowers (there's the American influence!) make for a delicious beer in my opinion. The caramel outweighs the grapefruit but not by much, the beer really does taste fresh-hoped even nearly 6 months after the bottling!

This is barrel aged but the beer itself doesn't advertise it. Good. Why should it have to? Novelty and insatiability have become driving factors in a lot of America's (especially California's) microbreweries. Special releases and experimental, high gravity beers (often with the use of blending, wild yeasts or barrel aging) have become the focal point of many breweries and the products on which they're most often judged...

While Firestone is responsible for making what are arguably the best examples of such beers (Firestone 10, 11) it's good to know they put every bit the same craftsmanship and attention into their normal lineup of pale ales too. Between the Double Barrel, the Union Jack IPA and now the Pale 31, I would say with little hesitation that Firestone is responsible for some of the best simple but solid drinking ales on the entire continent. Thanks BuckeyeNation!

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.64/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a bright, crystal clear, golden coloring with a fluffy, light, bubbly, white head. Aromas of toasted grains, lemon, orange, cut grass, and evergreen. Light on the nose, but balanced. Flavors are grassy forward, with a slight buttered bread and toffee follow. Roasted, with some citrus blend coming through on the back of the tongue. The body is light and effervesced, but almost watery at points, too. The aftertaste is more of the roasted characteristics, with some tangy lemon and orange notes. Light, slightly dry, effervesced finish. Decent, and very drinkable.

Pale 31 from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 1,662 ratings.