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Pale 31 - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Pale 31Pale 31

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,438 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,438
Reviews: 478
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.2%
Wants: 66
Gots: 90 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 08-23-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,438 | Reviews: 478 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of philbe311
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A finger and a half of crisp fizzy white froth... Very nice lacing... Glowing pale amber color... Still with only the slightest amount of noticeable carbonation... If a beer can look clean and pure, this is the one...

S - Lemon... Floral notes... Mandarin orange... A surprisingly hoppy nose... Very nice aroma for a Pale Ale...

T - Vanilla wafer... Biscuit... Orange... Malt... The hops are present, but the intensity don't match the nose... A faint peppery finish...

M - Light and fluffy with biting carbonation on the tongue... Slightly dry with a muted hop aftertaste.... Crisp and refreshing... Sturdy...

D - A very sessionable Pale Ale... Terrific nose and above average in all other categories...

philbe311, Apr 08, 2009
Photo of biegaman
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
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!

biegaman, Mar 31, 2009
Photo of Metalmonk
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From California to Portland, OR (thanks Brian!) to Virginia, where it was finally opened and poured into my dependable pint glass. Color is slightly hazed washed-out copper, with a bountiful cloudy head that lessens fairly quickly to a thin soapy skim.

Clean aroma offers a quintessential pale ale smell--caramel malts and springy citrus-like hops mingling happily and with total balance. Nothing more and nothing less.

Flavor is citrusy hops that are controlled and accessible--some soapy lemon elements here--with spicy and caramel-like malts giving the backup and balance necessary for a solid pale ale. Pale 31 is so solid that it borders on generic--not really in a bad way, but more because it resembles a ton of other well-made pale ales out there with nothing to differentiate it from the masses. The flavor dies quickly, and not in a drying way. So the flavor is a little thin, and that's frustrating, especially considering there's not a lot to grab onto in the first place. Maybe a slightly higher dose of hops/malts would've done the trick? (And I don't mean anything drastic, as I appreciate a good, sensible APA. Who doesn't?)

The mouthfeel is almost thin itself, although there's a slight buttery slickness and plenty of carbonation to carry it along pleasantly enough.

Just a decent, solid pale ale, but not dissimilar to so, so, so many others out there in craft and brewpub world. Thanks to msubulldog25 for sending this bottle--a more reliable and downright cool trader you'll not find.

Metalmonk, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of Risser09
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter - Fridge temp - 2008

Appearance: Pours a clear golden yellow with a short-lived, 1/2", white head. Very little lacing and/or carbonation activity.

Smell: Floral and citrusy hop aroma is strong for a pale ale. Lemon, orange and an underlying pale malt. Fresh flowers.

Taste: Hop bitterness is nice, but fades for a cereal grain/malt flavor. Not very complex, but quite pleasing. I am a fan of the floral freshness.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light body with a decent share of IBUs. Smooth drinking and a lingering bitterness. Not much alcohol at all.

Drinkability: A decent pale ale, but it doesn't compare to some of the other great ones out there. I would drink it again.

Risser09, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of Cresant
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured this 22 oz. brown bottle into a Sierra Nevada glass. No date. The body was a clear pale amber. One finger + of creamy head which left splotchy lace.

Smell was sweet citrus. Caramel. Fresh grains. Nice.

Taste was fruity and mildly bitter. A tad piney with a bittering finish. Cracker-like. Well balanced and well crafted. Moderately dry. Very drinkable and flavorful.

Mouthfeel thinner than expected. Some slickness.

Cresant, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was a great extra that I received in a recent trade! 22 oz bottle.

A- Body is a nearly transparent golden yellow. Pours with an approximately 1 finger foamy white head and leaves some lacing behind in the glass.

S-Sweet pale malt collides with a semi-bright citrus and piny hop presence. Nose is on the hoppier side of APAs

T-Upfront is a minimal balance of seltzer flavor and some piny flavor with a substantial sweet pale malt backbone. There is a touch of piny and floral hops as well as a sudden quick burst of citrus flavor for the finish and a medium strength hop bitterness lingering. Though my description sounds very hoppy the flavors are all pretty subtle and the general balance of the beer comes through the most.

M-High tingly carbonation and light body that is still full and drinkable.

D- This is a decent-definitely above average APA that, to me, is pretty typical for the style. It really doesn't have anything unique and it is quite drinkable-but not my favorite APA. I'm all over the place with this style as it is and this example falls somewhere in the middle of the road.

PittBeerGirl, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Wasatch for this one in a trade. 12oz Bottle. Alcohol noted at 4.8%.

A: Pale orange, light gold in color, somewhat cloudy, dense rocky head about a quarter of an inch thick. Spotty lacing.

S: Not a whole lot going on, pretty strong malt flavorings, piney hops. Pretty standard, but smells tasty. Just not a lot going on.

T: Really a mild tasting beer, light graininess, very doughy malt character, slightly astringent pine/citrus bitterness at the end, really comes to life as it warms up a bit, malt is quite doughy, and hops are piney, quite balanced between the two though. Quite tasty!

M: A little over carbonated for my taste, really is quite prickly on the tongue, dry, and begs for another drink each and every time. Just a little to prickly for my taste.

D: Good session beer, very tasty, I'd love to have this one on tap. All around great beer, I'll have to find out where John got it so I can snag some more of it. Tasty beer!

pokesbeerdude, Mar 05, 2009
Photo of birdypowder
4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with an off-white head of mixed bubble size. Leaves just a little lacing.

Beautiful full hop aroma, delicious! Brillant yellow color, filtered star bright.

Medium to medium high carbonation.

Slight lingering bitterness with very little sweetness.

A delicious pale ale, one that is actually pale in color...not that it matters too much.

I could have 4 or 5 of these and be happy.

birdypowder, Feb 25, 2009
Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the Brickskeller in Washington DC.

Pours a clear light copper color with a one-finger off-white head. The head dissipates into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of citrus and floral hops with a decent malty undertone. Pretty pungent for an APA.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet malt flavors kick things off, followed shortly by citrus flavors. There's a mild bitterness at the end and the grapefruit flavors tend to stick around.

Mouthfeel is good. It's a bit on the light side, but it still goes down smoothly.

Drinkability is good. This is not a really flavorful beer but I could certainly have a lot of these.

Overall this is an APA that is actually an APA and doesn't try to do too much. Worth a shot.

glid02, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of tugdriver7
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Yes, an "exceptional" for drinkability. 31 is now my new favorite number and (ironically) ended-up being #731 on my all-time taste list (an expensive collection with nothing to show for it). In any case, this was good stuff. The photo on the bottle was "right on," as the beer poured gorgeous gold into the glass with a nice had that quickly dissipated and left very delicate lacing on the glass. Very subtle fruity, piney hops were evident in the smell and that carried into initial taste. Nice balance of sweetness (very light) and the aforementioned hops, with a moderate malty body, punctuated by delicate carbonation. Those are two words I'd use a lot with this beer: delicate and subtle. Nothing "in your face" about it. No alcohol taste at all, with a very slight dry bitterness at the end. I never put the glass down--and it tasted great right through to the warmer last few swallows. It's an excellent session beer you'd never grow tired of. Clearly a winner all the way around.

tugdriver7, Feb 05, 2009
Photo of htomsirveaux
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle tried 18 Sep 2008.

Medium yellow-white foamy head. Moderate carbonation. Clear golden caramel color. Aroma is quite floral and hoppy, somewhat soapy, lightly sugary. Starts dry with a medium hoppy bitterness. Finishes with a faint sweetness. Light body, almost watery.

Taste is good but overall light in flavor.

htomsirveaux, Jan 28, 2009
Photo of hopdog
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle.

Poured a medium and cloudy golden color with a smaller sized white head. Aromas of citrus, grainy, floral, and some breadiness. Tastes of ligther citrus, grainy and the same floralness. Thinner body.

Notes from and tasted on: 1/26/09.

hopdog, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of aforbes10
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a noticeably light brownish yellow with a big pillowy white head that looks great in the glass. Smells of nice lemony hops and mild clean malt. Flavor is nice and subdued. Clean, easy drinking and sweet with a nice hop bitterness thats just aggressive enough to remind me that I'm drinking a intentionally restrained beer. I love that this isn't an IPA labeled as a pale ale and that its actually true to style, not overly bitter or hopped up beyond belief. Very easy to drink and delicious and an exemplary example of what a "session" beer can be when made well. Incidentally, this is my second FW beer (im starting off with their easy-to-find ones) and i've been VERY impressed with both.

aforbes10, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of roadhouse
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip pint glass.

Appears a clear golden orange color with a one inch thick off-white head. It settles to a cap and leaves some moderate lacing on the side of the glass.

Aroma is of piney hops more than anything with some citrusy orange and lemon coming through as well. Malt backbone is there in the form of a mild caramel sweetness.

The taste starts out with a bit of sweet caramel malts then it gets bitter with flavors of pine, citrus, and a bit of a spiciness. Finish is a nice balance between the malt and hops, but the hops slightly taken an edge.

Mouthfeel is medium-light, a nice creaminess compliments the crisp feel on the tongue. Quite drinkable.

While this one won't go down as my favorite Pale Ale, I like it. I would still take a Sierra Nevada or something over it, but this one is a good choice if you prefer more of the piney/spicy flavors in your pale ale over the citrus.

roadhouse, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of ccrida
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bomber (stamped 10/1/09) poured into my Meantime snifter, Pale 31 is chill-hazed golden orange with a creamy off-white head that leaves scattered lace. Nice glow to it.

Smell light and clean, limes, oranges and apricots, a touch overripe and soured, nice.

Taste is pleasantly hoppy, more so then I expected for a pale, with really clean but satisfying fresh bread malt backbone that goes great with the fleeting citrus of the hops and esters before the dry, spicy finish. Not super complicated, but an exceptionally well made and tasty APA. Very impressive, I love the freshness (even though it's 3 months old) and sessionability.

Mouthfeel is light, crisp and dry, a sharpness to it, although served at fridge temp.

Drinkability is very high, this is a tasty but clean pale ale that's not to robust or strong but very satisfying, I can see really sucking down a bunch of this at a party. This immediately became my all time favorite APA, from a style that I granted don't normally much care for.

ccrida, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Medium orange color. Very clear. Snow white head with less-than-average retention.

3.0 S: Some citrus and some hop aroma, but mainly not much of anything.

3.5 T: Pretty good. Nice hop profile and great balance between hops and malts. Still, nothing spectacular. Citrus with a pleasant hop bitterness.

3.5 M: Smooth, a little undercarbonation. Medium body.

3.5 D: Good drinkability in that it's very smooth, but simply too boring.

DavoleBomb, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of beertunes
3.2/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured with less than an inch of head that very quickly dissipated. Left light but sturdy lacing. A dark yellow color. Clarity is very good. Pleasant floral hop aroma with citrus notes. Flavor followed aroma closely, with the citrus flavors leaving a sharp taste. Body is what was expected for the style. Nicely drinkable. I received this as a gift, if this was available locally I would put this in my regular rotation.

beertunes, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of armock
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to Wasatch and NitroGen for both send this out as an extra to me.

A - Poured a hazed golden color with a white head that leaves lacing

S - Theres a lot of nice citrus hops in the nose

T - For the most part it follows the nose but theres some maltiness that balances the hops out

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - I liked this beer quite a bit its easy to drink with a nice citrus hop flavor that I could easily session

armock, Dec 31, 2008
Photo of davexisxrabid
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew poured a clear amber color with a thin head. Adequage carbonation, not too much lacing.

There was an unmistakible sweet bubblegum aroma with a piney floral hop scent.

Taste was almost on par with the smell, bittersweet grapefruit flavor. Well balanced between the sweet malts and bittering hops.

Good mouthfeel; slight bitterness in the aftertaste which clings to the palate in a good way. Ale was not too thin but had a very light refreshing body.

Very drinkable brew. The only difficult decision on my part is whether I enjoy Firestone 31 or Double Barrel more!

davexisxrabid, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of xhcadamx
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Golden with a white sticky head. Nice lacing.

S - Nose is a suprise. Lots and lots of C Hops. If I hadnt read the label I would have thought it was an IPA.

T - Just like the smell. Nice sweet malt taste in between the C hops up front and the ending bitterness. Very well balanced.

M - Thin with a little hop oiliness that I can appreciate.

D - This a very drinkable APA. They were on sale for 5.99 a six pack and I am glad that I bought two.

xhcadamx, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of far333
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear light apricot colored with a bright white frothy head that settles down to a half innch head of thick foam and hangs out for a while.

Aroma of semi-sweet fruity malt and hoppy freshness. Good balance of malt and hops, understated citrus, ripe fruits.

Clean and crisp flavors that match the aroma well - more floral and citrus hops balanced out with fruit and honey malt. Very clean, refreshing, not trying to knock anyone down, just doing what a right-on pale ale is supposed to do.

Even and smooth mouthfeel, a bit dry and crisp.

Very drinkable, way tasty session ale. Thank you barleywinefiend.

far333, Dec 18, 2008
Photo of HalfFull
3.15/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden color with a half inch head. Very clear and not much in the bubbles department. As such, head settles quickly.

Smell has the same citrus sweetness of the Union Jack but without much hop presence. Malts and hops are in a similar balance, less of each yielding a lighter nose.

Taste follows with a bit of light malts on the tongue and a slightly bitter and lingering close. Decent feel and drink but has a bit of an artificial sense on the nose and close. That aside this is a fairly smooth light pale ale.

HalfFull, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of madtappers
4.68/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Probably the best of the Firestone Walker beers that are bottled.

I have tried both on tap and in the bottle, and prefer the the tap over the bottle.

Beer is very drinkable has a great hop smell without the hop after taste. This beer can easily been sesioned without getting overwhemled by hops. Must be the oak barrel fermentaion process that gives the beer the smooth drinkablity.

Would recomend this beer to both the beer snob and the beer novice!

madtappers, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of seanbhudson
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: Pours a slightly hazy gold color with a small white head that dissipates quickly. There is a small amount of lacing.
SMELL:
Pleasant aroma of orange, apricots and sweet dough. Also some pine.
TASTE:
Smooth slightly sweet with nice balance of citrusy hops. Finishes with a little grassy bitterness.
MOUTHFEEL
Medium body with slight syrupy texture. Moderate carbonation. Finishes a bit dry.
DRINKABILITY:
Very easy drinking beer. Not too sweet and not to bitter. Nothing exciting but a great session beer.
NOTES: BBCSD-E2

seanbhudson, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of jwc215
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Wasatch for including this in a trade!

Pours slightly hazed golden yellow with a white head that thins to a wide patch, leaving dots of lacing.

The smell is citric, floral, a touch of pine with grainy/caramelish backing.

The taste if of citrus/grapefruit with some floral and piney notes and an orangey, grainy, caramelish balance. It has a bitterish, dry finish. I might like the nose a tad more, but not enough to distinguish in the score.

It has a pretty chewy, medium body.

A relatively modest abv for an American Pale, yet with strength in aroma and taste and a sturdy body. A great choice for a "sessioner" for those who like their pale ales edging on the hoppier aroma side!

jwc215, Dec 05, 2008
Pale 31 from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 1,438 ratings.