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Pale 31 - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Pale 31Pale 31

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very good

1,569 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,569
Reviews: 496
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 68
Gots: 136 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,569 | Reviews: 496
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Standard amber light color in a pale ale. Aroma was pleasant, if muted though.

Taste, a non bitter pale. Ample hopping for style, nuanced sweetness with it. Good session ale. Light in the heft on the palate, mouthfeel doesn't thin out, but doesn't weigh you down (sounds like a macro jingle). a little cost prohibitive for something this simple ($8 a 6r).

Photo of PintOHops
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glass - Pint

A - Pretty clear pale gold color with a 2-finger head, slightly dense looking, and the retention is pretty good. Moderate Co2 can be seen, leaves a very nice lacing as well.

S - Very citrusy & inviting, it's got big grapefruit and orange fruits, along with a nice floral quality. I get an underlying malt sweetness, some toast, a touch of biscuit but soft. God the aroma is so inviting!

T - It's got wonderful grapefruit & orange fruit burst upfront, floral with a nice soft zip of rind as you begin to swallow the beer. It finishes with very little malt character, soft toast & cracker perhaps with subtle but balancing bitterness. Fresh grapefruit is dominant.

M - Soft to moderately carbonated, very smooth, medium bodied. Perfect!

D - God I don't think Ive had a better Pale Ale since I first tried Sierra Nevada Pale Ale! I loved everything about this beer, especially it's fresh, floral aroma, and it's fresh grapefruit flavor. I could quaff a sixer or more, I'll definitely buy this beer again, recommended. Cheers!

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

Poured this beer into a standard pint glass. It has a great golden color and it gave off about a 1-finger white head that looks to be semi-creamy with some large bubbles around the rim. Lacing is splashy.

The aroma is excellent, I'm not sure of the hops used but it's a very singular smell. Intensely floral with some pine and light tropical fruit. When swirled i get a very pungent hop aroma that i almost perceive as oily. Very subtle malt character comes through.

Taste is well-balanced bringing a nice floral bitterness up front followed immediately by citrus and bright fruit, like mango, pineapple. Bitterness is there throughout and finishes on the pallete along with a great dough-like maltyness that i did not expect. It rounds out very well leaving me wanting to sip again and again.

Mouthfeel is light-medium with medium carbonation. Very smooth and refreshing.

The hops seem to be a little more present than what i'm used to tasting and smelling in a pale ale but that's certainly nothing to complain about. This beer is very drinkable and goes down great. For what it is, it has great flavor! Definitely recommend.

Photo of WeisGuy
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

a - pours a bright golden color with a one inch white head, decent retention and lacing, pretty clear

s - bright orange citrus smell dominates the nose, lighter graininess from the malt in there as well, no hint of alcohol

t - much like the aroma, orange citrus hoppiness is the predominant flavor up front and flows through to the midpalate where it mixes with a moderate grainy malt flavor, finish is lighter citrus bitterness combined with stronger graininess and hints of caramel, once again, alcohol is not noticeable

m - medium to lighter bodied, higher side of carbonation, fairly dry finish, no alcohol warming

d - very drinkable and a great session beer, enough hops to keep it fresh and interesting while no being overwhelming to the palate, pretty much what I look for in the style

Very good APA overall. FW does a nice job with this and their private label APA, which I actually prefer to Pale 31. Great session beer to have around during the warmer months.

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

Consumed 6/5 poured in to a pint glass.

A: This beer pours a crystal clear copper color with a two finger of khaki color head. Head recedes to a film almost immediately. Minimal spotty lacing is left behind.

S: Nose is of citrus and floral hops, mild caramel malt presence. This is a very hop forward APA.

T: Taste starts with a nice citrus hops burst in the forefront. Grapefruit really sticks through here. Middle has a mild pale malt flavoring before a hint of caramel malts sweeten this beer. Finish takes the malt sweetness and counteracts with a nice floral hop bite.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, nice crisp body with a dry finish to it.

D: Goes down easily, not too filling, as I mentioned in the taste this is a very hop forward APA but well done in my opinion.

Photo of Bajasith
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a nice clear golden color with a copper hue as the light reflected through...
Mellow biscuit and floral scents as slightly roasted malts rise. Tatse is very smoothe and not overpowering in any way as the light citris hits the palate and the swwet caramel malts splash in the end.
Very much drinkable as the low abv helps this brew quench your thirst on a hot day.

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

Drank 6/1/10
Reviewed from notes
Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Bruery tulip

A - Pours a golden color with a slight haze. Had about a half inch of head with an aggressive pour. Light even lacing falls quickly.

S - Very hop heavy smell. Lots of citrus and pine smells that you generally get from hops. Slight undercurrent of sweetness from what I assume is the malt.

T - Taste similar to smell. There is a nice hop flavor all the way through but it is not overpowering. I can taste the pine and citrus along with a light sweetness.

M - Medium/Light bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Creamy feeling in the mouth and is a bit crisp.

D - A nice lighter IPA that doesn't destroy the taste buds. A fairly easy drinking beer. I'm not big on Pale Ales or IPAs but I enjoyed this beer quite a bit.

Photo of Chizoad
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Yet another attempt at liking a pale ale. Given that I don't really care for Pliny the Elder, you can take the review or leave it. Regardless, I will keep attempting to like hoppy beers...

Poured a clear gold into a pilsner glass, with quite the head that took some time to dissipate. Vigorous pour though. A solid finger remained throughout the rapid consumption process.

Clean smell, with some hoppy scents. Fairly typical for a simple pale ale in my experience.

Tasted clean with a very mild hoppiness on the finish. Didn't bother me at all. Also, I wasn't overly impressed, as it lacked any depth or complexity. Just a smooth clean pale ale.

Fairly light on the palate, and fairly drinkable, at least for me. I wouldn't mind having another of these right after the first, which is not something I typically say about pale ales.

Photo of sisuspeed
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. A nice foamy white head sits on top of a clear, light-orange body. Decent lacing left behind.

Slightly spicy hops mingle with sweet malts on the nose. Touch of peppery bitterness and faint bread notes.

Flavor consists of light malts, leaning towards the sweet side, but balanced with a bit of hop bitterness. Hops also add some faint pepper notes, which mix nicely with the subtle citrus flavors. Overall there isn't much flavor to the beer, but what is there is pleasant.

Mouthfeel leans towards the watery side with ample carbonation. The finish is dry and almost leaves no taste in your mouth except for some light bitterness. Clean finish.

Drinkability is pretty good for this pale ale. Low ABV and the flavor is light without much aftertaste. Refreshing in warm weather, but not overly exciting otherwise.

All in all this is a decent APA. It would be nice to see a little more flavor and maybe a bit more body. I know it can be done, even with beers under 5% ABV. Getting this fresh from the tap may increase the hop flavor, which would be a bonus for this beer. Worth trying, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get it.

Photo of rapidsequence
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with a cool shape.

Appearance: Luminous orange gold and perfectly clear. Frothy off-white head with average retention leaves a couple of little marshmallows floating, and lots of sticky lace.

Smell: Light floral and citrus hops nicely balanced with sweet malty aromas.

Taste: Pretty good hops flavor without much bitterness. Sweet and crackery flavored malt and a little caramel on the end.

Mouthfeel: Tingly carbonation. A little sticky hops resin on the tongue.

Drinkability: This is a really good beer. What a surprise. Flavorful, refreshing, poundable.

Photo of unHipHopHead
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice slightly copper mostly golden with a giant fluffy head. Serious lacing all the way down. Good head retention also.

S: Picked up some grass scents and light hop aroma.

T: Super light, refreshing, faint hop taste but really faint taste overall.

M: Feels very carbonated and really crisp. Great mouthfeel with no aftertaste.

D: Could probably drink this all day (and maybe get buzzed).

Overall this is a great alternative to the mass produced crap beers out there. I think it would be a good one to give a friend or relative that only drinks bud light or some similar nastiness.

Photo of 1759Girl
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance> Clear, dark yellow. Very lively. No head. No lacing to speak of.

Smell> Wet dog. Hops. Pretty good.

Taste> Crisp and refreshing. Much less intense than the avg. APA or CA Pale, but still good. Very smooth hang.

Mouf> Perfect. Best part of this beer.

Drinkability> Good.

Photo of colts9016
3.54/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass at 40 degrees.

Appearance: A thin white head that has no retention. The color of the beer is a medium gold color, with copper hues. The clarity of the beer is clear to brilliant. There is effervescence in the beer.

Nose: A descent bright floral aroma with hints of grapefruit, pine toasted malt and some biscuit characters.

Taste: A good amount of floral esters, grapefruit, and light pine. The malt is lightly toasted and cracker and biscuit notes.

Overall: The mouth feel is boring, carbonated, and slightly crisp. The body of the beer is light and the finish is medium light. I was hoping more from Firestone Walker but I get this boring interesting poor pale ale.

Photo of RedBrewer83
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aggressively poured into pint glass...

A: Pours a crystal clear straw yellow with a nice two finger creamy head that falls slowly in pockets leaving excellent webbed lacing.

S: Fresh floral grassy hops a little pale malt and some yeast profile as well. Very crisp.

T: Hops up front but not in a harsh way at all, very grassy and floral with some citrus layers as well. Definitely taste the pale malt and a very nice yeast profile mid-palate that really lingers. This tastes very fresh and very clean. Would be a great food beer.

M: Light body, crisp active carbonation, dry finish.

D: Perfect abv for the style and the clean crisp flavor and smooth carbonation make it perfectly drinkable! I guess the last bottle I had was old or lightstruck because this is a much better beer than I remember!

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 1/16/2010 (Bottle):

Pours a very clear, pale yellow color body, big white foamy head, big bubbles, lasting. Very hoppy aroma, citrus and dry. Some sweetness too. Bitter. Pale dry taste, drying citrus. Mostly clean aftertaste. Nice pale ale. Not complex, but good, almost sessionable.

Photo of bgildea
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Amber color, nice head but faded quickly. Darker than I expected for a pale ale.

S: Really nice hoppy aroma. Slight sweet afternotes.

T: Strong hoppy taste for a Pale Ale. Better than I expected though. Sweet aftertaste, nice balance of malt and hops.

M: Thin beer, but enjoyable. Not to much chew to it.

D: Very drinkable for a Pale Ale. The hoppyness is not overwhelming, so you can definitly drink a couple.

Overall: Better than I thought. The balance of hops was just right. The sweet aftertaste complimented the initial rush of hops. Good beer, I could drink a couple before the hops flavor would start getting to me.

Photo of JBogan
4.64/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I reviewed this beer a few years ago from the bottle. Normally I don't go back and re-review a beer, but recently I had this on tap at a small bar somewhat close to the brewery in central California, and felt the difference was significant enough to warrant another review.

Presented in a pint glass a light golden color with a beautiful and creamy two finger white head, which remained through the entire consumption of this beer and left excellent lacing. Very pleasing to look at.

The smell was fantastic. I've had this beer probably a hundred times or more before from the bottle, but somehow on tap this took on a new life. Oranges, floral notes, and much more of a hop presence than I have ever experienced than from the bottled version, this beer on tap had it all. A wonderful bouquet which ranked among the best smelling beers I've ever put my nose to.

The taste was nearly the equal of the aroma. Once again the citric hops were there, joined by a perfectly balanced caramel malt presence. A very well rounded beer.

The mouthfeel was what I would call good but not outstanding. Perhaps a bit thicker body would improve things, but that's nitpicking. It was nice and crisp and had a good smoothness and creaminess.

As I sat there drinking a few glasses of this beer from tap over the course of a few days I wondered if it was perhaps as good as it gets for a session beer. Perfectly balanced, a nice hop presence without being overly bitter, and extremely drinkable. Very good out of the bottle, fantastic when fresh from a local tap.

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

A - Pours a clear, pretty, light honey with .5 inch near white head. Head leaves to ring very fast. Nice lace.

S - Definitely a malt center, then a whiff of hops. Not overbearing, but its there.

T - Malt starts, hops finish, but there is something a little tinny in there towards the end to me.

M - Light body, good carb, fair balance except for the tinny thing.

D - Light ABV and not overbearing, easy session.

Photo of mrpunan
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

In my quest for truly hoppy session beers, I tried Pale 31 early on and wasn't impressed. But I have returned to it, and found it to be a most excellent sessioner.

a- crystal clear golden light amber. Considering the dry hopping, i wouldn't have been surprised to see haze, but it is clear as a bell, making it look a lot like you are drinking a BMC. Your non-beer-nerd buddies will leave you alone on game day when you are all drinking from clear plastic cups.

s- pretty faint, again considering dry hopping. But it does smell good, like a distant IPA. Plenty of fresh c-hops and more muted pale malts.

t- very bitter for 4.6% (or is it 4.8%? bottle and website differ) and very hoppy. Malts are barely perceptible but there. This is pretty much hop juice, and it gets a lot tastier on the 2nd bottle. I've noticed this with other low ABV high hop beers, no idea why. But with the low abv, 2 is usually called for. Once I got the flavor, with the fantastic aftertaste of citrus hop oil, I have been craving it. Got another 6 today.

m- reminds me of natural cider, very fine bubbles. leaves a coating of hop oil after it goes down, yum.

d- off the charts. a hop head's session delight.

one thing i noticed: this beer really needs to be fresh. maybe the lower abv doesn't do as much to keep the hop flavor fresh compared to 7% IPAs, but if you get can't get this on tap, look at the neck carefully and you'll see the bottled-on date. My latest 6 was bottled a month ago, but my prior one was 2.5 months before i drank it, and the younger beer is much hoppier.

Photo of kaseydad
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excited to try this after I was blown away by the IPA.

Pint glass pour and an apple juice-like ale is produced with a small bright white head. Citrus, hoppy and malty aroma. There is a bitterness in each sip and a malty backbone trying to break through. Sort of a battle between the hops and malt but neither winning.
The taste is somewhat strange. I think it may have to do with the malt used. Not sure. It is much smoother than quite a few Pale Ale's out there so that was a welcome change. At only 4.8% there is quite a bit of flavor, hops and malt packed into this.

Overall I was a little let down by this Pale Ale. Coming from the same brewery as their amazing IPA, I was hoping for something more but got a rather mellow Pale Ale. Still worthy of a try.

Photo of Padron4KM
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Jan 8, 2010
12 oz bottle, no freshness date.
Dark golden with a nice half inch head. Good retention and sticky lace.
Aroma is caramel malt with some earthy and piney hops.
Flavor is pine up font, with a caramel backbone, and a medium length earthy piney finish.
Low alcohol and balanced flavors make this an excellent choice for a session beer.

Photo of ocelot2500
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange golden with a small white head that leaves little lacing.

Smells of clean hops and mild malts.

Tastes of hops layered on top of mild malts with slight fruity esters. Hops are grassy with a citrus character. Malts have the pale character with a graininess. Fairly balanced.

Mouthfeel is a medium with a with a crisp finish.

Photo of pwoods
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ddot for the nice extra.

12oz. Stubby brown bottle poured into an imperial pint.

A: Pretty standard amber with perfect clarity. About 2 fingers worth of white head forms and holds for a bit. Decent lacing.

S: Decent hop aroma with a healthy dose of saaz. Crisp, clean cereal grains.

T/M: Bitterness level is a bit weak even for a PA. Decent citrus flavor with some grassy flavor notes and light spicy notes. Malts are crisp and clean with a nice sweetness line. Decent carbonation with a medium body.

D: Low ABV and drinks pretty easy. Nothing too stand out, though.

Photo of kpoole25
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a really good example of an American pale ale that goes for balance rather than power. Very drinkable. 12 oz bottle to glass. Dark yellow to orange color, soap suds head. Smell is pine and citrus hops. Taste is well balanced between malt and hops, not too bitter, finishes quite dry and refreshing.

Photo of microbrew52
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours bright yellow with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a light pale and malty 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.

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Pale 31 from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 1,569 ratings.