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Pale 31 - Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Pale 31Pale 31

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

504 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 504
Hads: 1,699
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 9.54%
Wants: 67
Gots: 182 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 504 | Hads: 1,699
Photo of rousee
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange apricot color with a hungry lush head of foam. Nice fluffy lace remains on sides of glass. Aroma of grapefruit and other sour fruitiness upfront with some musty cider-like quality in the background.

Taste is a nice citrus burst that with a good malt background. Hoppy but balanced -much more like a real APA versus an American version of British pale ale.

Very smooth and drinkable. One of the better APAs Ive had. It reminds me a little of Stoudt's APA but I think this one might even be a little better. (514 characters)

Photo of RBorsato
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bright golden color with a nice ivory head and good carbonation. Very nice citrus hop aroma at first; has a light malt aroma over time. Nice balanced flavor; more malt character than expected from aroma but definitely has a citrus hoppiness. Light bodied, refreshing, and easily drinkable with a light bitter finish.

A superb Pale Ale that is a very nice blend of both American and English styles.

Label states "fermented in American oak barrels" & 1996.

Per F.W website:
Malts: Premium Two-Row, Maris Otter Pale, Munich, Crystal
Hops: Bittering- Fuggle
Late Kettle- Cascade, Centennial, Chinook
Dry Hops- Cascade, Centennial, Chinook
38 IBU

2003 GABF: Silver Medal - APA ?

Per B.O.M. notes:
38 IBU
Malts: Canadian 2-row, Marris Otter Pale, Carapils, Munich, and Crystal
Hops: Fuggles, Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook (849 characters)

Photo of BeerRun13
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours as clear as beer can be. A small, bubbly, white head is fed from below by a continuous bubbling. Some lace is left behind.
Kind of a citrusy piney balance with a malt backbone in the nose.
A damnfine APA. Soooo Refreshing. A wonderful balance between citrusy hops and biscuity/toasty malt.
Light bodied and niceley carbonated. A smooth yet hoppy finish with a nice tingling sensation on the tounge.
This may be the ultimate in session beers. Probably one of the most drinkable beers I've ever had. (507 characters)

Photo of aforbes10
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
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. (696 characters)

Photo of CharlesRiver
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz stubby brown bottle, capped. Pours out a much lighter yellow than I expected for a Pale Ale. I would simply call it "yellow". Lovely large, fluffy white head that seems to keep growing.

Smell is hoppy and grainy. Classic American citrus hops are what come through most for me. I also pickup some lemony citrus notes. Taste is again on the lighter side and really adds to the drinkability. Solid grainy malt middle that leads to a perfect balance of hops and bitterness.

This is a very easy drinking beer that is on the dry side. This is a beer that you could really drink a few of as it's lighter in body but full of flavor. They call it a California Pale Ale but I would like to make it my House Pale Ale. (715 characters)

Photo of rapidsequence
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
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. (575 characters)

Photo of xhcadamx
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
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. (449 characters)

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Originally rated it 4.00 | 4.00 | 4.50 | 4.50 | 4.50 on Aug. 11, 2011.
Re-rated it to 4.25 | 4.75 | 4.25 | 3.75 | 4.25 on Dec. 28, 2013

Poured from a bottle into a pilsner glass. Had less than a ¼-inch of head. Color was a lighter orange/gold combination. Slight lacing left after pour. Very slight film throughout the glass.

Smelled plenty of strong flavors. First smell is citrus, mainly lemon and orange. Some pine in there, too. Smells crisp and fresh.

Tasted like a combination of citrus and pine needles. Followed with some grapefruit and orange peels. More hoppy than I thought it would be, but overall a pretty good balance.

Good mouthfeel. Refreshing throughout and never lost its taste. Crisp and refreshing. All the flavors work together well. Higher on the carbonation.

Have always loved this beer. Despite finally rating it, I hardly think it changed from my first sip a few years ago. Crisp, clean and refreshing. (933 characters)

Photo of slusk
4.31/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a clear gold with a moderate white head. Good lacing,

S: Hops are in the forefront with a pronounced floral aroma, along with some pineapple and a hint of grapefruit. Light maltiness.

T: Definitely a hop forward brew. There's a light sweetness on the palate before the hops kick in almost immediately with a nice balanced floral, piney flavor. A bit of pineapple lingers in the dry finish. Smells sweeter than it actually tastes.

M: Medium light bodied brew with medium carbonation. Smooth, almost slick mouthfeel.

O: I really like this brew. It's everything a pale should be. Nice hop flavor without the bitter bite of an IPA and a well attenuated malt underpinning. Finishes dry and leaves a pleasant balanced aftertaste. I've had both the Bottled and Tap versions, and I have to say I prefer the tap version with a wee bit less carbonation that really lets the flavors shine. However, both are excellent. Nicely done Mr. Brynildson. (953 characters)

Photo of merlin48
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle pours a chill hazed, honey amber body with an offwhite head that rises about one centimeter and stays there. Good patch lacing effect. Aroma is citrusy hops, with inviting esters of orange, tangerine, and grapefruit. Malty caramel is in the background, and there is a hint of vanilla from the oak barrel fermentation. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with crisp moderate carbonation. Taste features juicy citrusy hops, with orange and grapefruit lending a soft bitterness. Caramel and toffee notes serve up a pleasant malt balance. A hint of oaky vanilla adds a nice touch. The finish is clean, with a lingering grapefruit hops bitterness that is soft and mild. Very nicely balanced, and rather tasty. ABV is under 5%, so this one would make an exceptional session ale. (777 characters)

Photo of microbrew52
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
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. (571 characters)

Photo of kpoole25
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
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. (306 characters)

Photo of rfgetz
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. bright orangy yellow, full fluffy white head, good lacing

S. appetizing whiffs of sweet clover like hops and malt, slight lemon

T. excellent balance of floral hops and sweet malts, hints of lemon

M. light bodied, good carbonation, refreshing, semi dry

D. fantastic refreshing brew, perfect flavor profile (311 characters)

Photo of emmasdad
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Seeing this one on tap next to Union Jack and Double Jack, I didn't have a whole lot of interest in trying this one. After trying it, I was very pleasantly surprised. Poured a nice light golden color with a big white head. Great citrusy hoppy aromas lead nicely to a perfectly balanced palate. An excellent pale ale. (316 characters)

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Juicy citrus aroma.

Juicy from the firm semi-sweet foundation on. Juicy fruits gush through your teeth, leading to a tasty mild bitter bite at the swallow. Light citrus aftertaste tingles briefly.

Soft all purpose mouthfeel.

Superb drinkability.

A great example of west coast pale ale. (290 characters)

Photo of McStagger
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brewed on 6/20.

A: Pours a transparent yellow. Excellent clarity. Two fingers off white head with moderate dissipation and moderate retention. Fairly active carbonation.

S: Prevalent, without being overwhelming hop scent. Grapefruit, pine cone, bit of soapiness. Undertone of crisp breadiness in the malt. This isn't doughy, like many malts have a tendency to lean towards. Borderline cracker like.

T: Lean, light bodied entrance with a crisp, citrus like explosion of awesome citric hops and then a complete dryness. Borderline chalky/aspirin on the finish. Very small hint of fruitiness at the end to remind me this is an ale. I doubt I could tell tasting it blind.

M: Light bodied and crisp with a long, dry finish.

O: Truly a session beer for the hop inclined. Not even 5% alcohol and an ass kicking amount of flavor and balance. Goes good with fried chicken, too! (878 characters)

Photo of smcolw
4.29/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Modest start to the head. Leaves some streak and spotty lace.

Excellent hop aroma; half floral and half peppery.

Good malt start but it quickly devolved into a hop bomb. This borders on an IPA in terms of bitterness. Good body with a high carbonation level.

If you like bitter beers, this could be a new favorite. (316 characters)

Photo of apintofknowledge
4.29/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a golden, apple-juice color, slightly hazy with a 1/2" off-white head. The aroma was exceptional... I could smell it as soon as I opened the bottle, and it just got better when I poured it in my glass... aromas of pine and citrus, a wonderfully fresh and hoppy smell. The taste is relatively mellow and smooth... it may smell like a hop-bomb, but it's actually a very balanced beer... definitely a Pale Ale and not an IPA or a typically overly bitter West Coast Pale Ale (yes, a generalization, but often true in my opinion). While mellow, the taste is actually quite full and rich... it's initially mildly sweet with a grassy flavor, followed by a malty middle with hints of lemon peel. The finish lingers with a mild bitterness, earthy, woody and root-like flavors. A beer that's very drinkable, and can simply be enjoyed... but take some time to notice the subtle complexities of this well-crafted brew. (913 characters)

Photo of Bfarr
4.29/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark straw colored with thin white head with poor retention. Fruity sweet aroma. Delicate hops with nice sweet apple balance with a hint of pepper. Slight bitter linger with perhaps some pilsner aftertaste. Good carbonation that's not overdone and very smooth and drinkable with a light fuzziness.

This is a great drinking pale ale. Not too much hops but enought to keep a nice balance. Great mouthfeel and definitely a no brainer six pack purchase. (450 characters)

Photo of mrpunan
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
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. (1,565 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
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. (545 characters)

Photo of dickroop
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Scored a sixer of this west-coast stuff at State Line Liquor - had never heard of it before!

Its color could almost pass for Miller High Life - straw with not much head. The give-aways are that it's hazy, not see-thru and the lacing is promising. The smell is also promising - a little sweet, lots of phenolic hops with some citrus and floral notes, against a faintly earthy backdrop. Mmmm.

Taste does not disappoint. Malt sweetness is very muted, and bitterness appears at the back sides of the tongue right away, gentle but persuasive. There's a topnote of malt, faintly bready or biscuity, but the finish is dry and clean. Mmmm, again.

The mouthfeel is light, there's some chewiness, and some really nice zing that comes from ?? somewhere. Drinkability? This brew is Super-Sessionable! With a 4.8 ABV, this ale is for sustained enjoyment. What a treat. Highly recommended. (878 characters)

Photo of Dlish
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First off can't believe I have not reviewed this beer yet. Its pretty much go to 6pack and is a great session beer to get the night started. Being i've had a keg of this for my birthday I might be a bit bias.

A- nice golden color, its the American beer color you think of. Golden crisp, with a white head that thinly laces the edge.

S- Smells hops, and it being they use the three C's Cascade, Centenniall and chinook. Although the hops are very faint, to be fair this beer is cooler than normal. The malt profile is hint in the background.

T- The hops really come through in the taste. Nice herby balance, that is refreshing. The clean bitterness flows great into the light and sweet malt profile. This beer could almost be a pale/honey blond beer with how sweet but warm the malt profile is. This beer does not try to be in your face, (nor are most firestone beers) its perfection is in how clean and crisp it is, which is the American pale ale style.

M- Because of the sweet crisp style, it makes this beer incredibly easy to drink. That and its low alcohol content lets you polish off a 6 pack and not even worry about it.

D- I love this beer, I think I already made that clear. It might be a hometown pride, but personally I just think its because its that good. (1,275 characters)

Photo of Jackolope
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sometimes I'm surprised by beer and this is one of those times. I generally don't expect anything much from a pale ale that is available year round, but this beer impressed me. I originally bought this beer because it was on sale and I think firestone puts out some pretty good beers. The beer pours like any number of pale ales but the flavor is exceptional. This beer balances malt and hops in a way that really lets the hops shine through without being overpowering. Some people might find this beer too hoppy but this is where i find that this beer really separates itself from other pale ales. While maintaining similar bitterness characteristics to similar APA's this beer has exquisite subtle floral hop aromas and flavors that really make this beer enjoyable for every single sip. This is a beer you can sip in while working in the yard yet it still has bold flavor profiles that will satisfy your hop-foward palate. Do yourself a favor and pick this beer up when it's on sale or featured in a mixed 12-pack and you won't be disappointed. (1,047 characters)

Photo of blackie
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: The pour into my pint glass produces a .25" white head that soon recedes to a thin layer and a ring around the glass. The beer is a deep golden color with a small amount of yeast suspended throughout.

smell: The smell is up there with Alpha King, in my opinion. A great balance of beautiful, fresh, green, piney hops and caramel sweetness. Also some aromas of candied tropical fruits.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is on the high end of the medium range, and the body toward the light end of the medium range.

taste: Delicious. Definately hop balanced. The bitterness is moderate, and there's a flavor of steeped/boiled hop matter. The malt lends just about the right amount of sweetness, as well as some fruity notes. Finishes dryly.

drinkability: aromatic, tasty, and easy to drink

Received from Zorro in BCG BIF. Bottled on date of 10/11/05 is printed on the bottle. Underrated, I think. (914 characters)

Pale 31 from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 504 ratings.