Opal | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
89
very good
221 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
OpalOpal
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
firestonewalker.com

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bringing down the Farmhouse! Our interpretation of the rustic Wallonian Saison style is a harmonious blend of rustic grains, spicy yeast and unique sauvignon blanc tones. Inviting lemon grass and gooseberry meet peppery spice and fresh grain aromas. Spicy Belgian yeast create a complex yet dry and refreshing canvas with splashes of citrus and stone fruit with a bright tropical white wine finish. Hop bitterness is assertive yet harmonious rounding out slightly tart and refreshing.

Added by TheEremite on 06-29-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
221
Ratings:
1,449
Avg:
3.99
pDev:
9.52%
 
 
Wants:
55
Gots:
297
For Trade:
6
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 221 | Ratings: 1,449
Photo of Yby1acb
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

They put this in a bottle!! Shouts out to #craftylady24_7 for the hook up. She's on point. Haven't been brave enough to crack into the Ferel 1's.

Nice appearance clear orange-bright. First "dry-hopped saison" I've had; very interesting.
Subtle fruits and sweets all over.
Booziness seems to dissipate quickly.
Flavor definitely lingers a while. Hints of fruit/tropical and a bit sour/tart but easy to drink. Don't know about 14%. Bottle says 7.5% but still great.

For the moment, my new favorite beer period.

Great work once again FW/BW.

 546 characters

Photo of Jack_Malts
5/5  rDev +25.3%

This is one of my favorite beers, and I have yet to review it. A beautiful hazy golden color with a fluffy white head that leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. Aromas of farmhouse funk mixed with amplified hoppy juiciness. Light pineapple and golden apple come to mind on the nose and palate. Dry but lasting finish.

Again, this is in my top 5. No way it deserves an 89. This beer is world class. Definitely recommend.

 421 characters

Photo of Neorebel
4.78/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

With a shade of straw evoking the serene, Opal is not only a rare beauty for the eyes... A creamy, funky aroma begins the experience of the other senses, followed by a unique partnership of grains, a wine-like, white grape quality, and a crisp bitterness in the finish that is no doubt thanks to the dry-hopping. Clean and balanced, with just enough mystery overall. A rare treat I'm grateful to have enjoyed.

 409 characters

Photo of Jimmys
4.78/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

bottled 060614. bomber split into tulip.

A: couldn't be a paler shade of yellow. super light. bright white frothy head. good retention.

S: great spice and zest but even better fermentation characteristics. mild sulfur level. but really hoppy. earthy, bright citrus hops. smell European but also slightly citra-like. very inviting.

T: spicy, zest, slightly tart. a little bit of hop bitterness in the finish but it is fleeting. a little vinous as well. really getting some tasty white wine, green grape notes that I am thoroughly enjoying.

M: a step below champagne like carb but still manages to be smooth. medium bodied.

D: too drinkable IMO. really refreshing and tasty stuff. the perfect summer saison and another home run from FW.

 742 characters

Photo of crob3888
4.75/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a beautifully clear light golden yellow tone with a decent sized bubbly white head that leaves lacing through the session. Aromas and flavors are of fresh grain, funk, sauvignon blanc, pear, some oak character, a hint of citrus, and a white-pepper finish. Effervescent mouthfeel, super drinkable. An underrated saison.

 324 characters

Photo of drpimento
4.73/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Now here is where they took a traditional beer, kept the significant parts of it and improved on some others. An amazing combination of old and new. There are the old yeasty, slightly tart, pungent flavors and aromas that are upgraded with the hops that have not degraded in the least. Splendid! Incredibly drinkable. Wish I could get lots more.

 345 characters

Photo of DaverCS
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%

22oz bottle into Belgian glass.

Appears pale yellow with a soft orange hue.

Smell of lemons, hops, and yeast. More hop forward than a traditional saison.

Taste is excellent. It is a cross between an hoppy pale ale and a saision. Carbonation is above average as is normal with the style. Light mouthfeel. Immediate tastes give traditional Belgian flavors of spicy yeasty-lemony-ness. Then it hits at the end of the sip... an amazing livening burst of hop presence. Its not the traditional Belgian style hops, its more fruity and close to those American grapefruit flavors we all love. This makes the beer extremely sessionable even at 7.5% ABV. Its definitely livens up as it warms with a more hop-forward flavor. I highly recommend drinking this beer with a spicier meal!

This would be a great beer for the summer! Overall impression is that this is a well-balanced and interesting take on a classic. I would recommend it for just about anyone due to the great balance between hops, yeast, and spice. The only draw back is that it isn't as intense in flavor as it could be (or in comparison to others in the style). Additionally, I have only found it in the 750 mL bottle (I would like to see some 12 oz bottles) I would give this 93/100.

 1,244 characters

Photo of Budinetz
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a teku glass. Date on the label reads 5/2/14

Pours a beautiful pale straw color with a nice frothy, white head that dissipates within a minute of pouring.

Smells of tropical fruit, fresh cut grass, unripe green apple, white wine. Amazing nose on this one. Not sure of the yeast being used but I detect a bit of Brett or Brett-like characteristics. The tropical fruit aroma is amazing!

Tastes a bit sweet initially on the tongue, but finishes dry like a Sauvignon blanc. First initial sip is outstanding! It really tastes like a dry white wine! Again, the tropical fruit is very present, along with some green apple.

Feels quite prickly on the tongue due to the high carbonation. Very drinkable despite the 7.5% abv. Drinks more like a 4.8% beer. Awesome mouthfeel.

Overall one of the best saison style beers I have ever had. Great tropical fruit/pineapple notes combined with a great aroma and awesome drinkability make for a new favorite of mine. Would definitely seek this out again.


Cheers!

 1,037 characters

Photo of gr8ful
4.63/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

outstanding beer.
look: pours hazy straw color. decent head. no lace
smell...has that certain almost sour smell prevalent with saissons and farmhouse ales.
taste...this one has an almost sweet first impression, but settles into a sort of sour (not like a "sour" though). not hoppy but you can sense the hops somewhere in there. complex, i think is the word the "experts" use. this one is.
feel....almost like sparkling wine a first bit settled into a nice mellow "round" mouthfeel. can't figure out how to describe it any other way.
overall..fine, fine beer. whenever it shows up at Total Wine and Beer, I snatch up a few bottles.
poured from a big bottle into a sort of snifter glass.

this was a little too cold when i opened it..let it warm up a bit to really enjoy this complex ale.

 786 characters

Photo of Trombone69
4.63/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I had this a little while back. It immediately struck me with the sauvignon blanc flavors....which I LOVE. My beer drinking buddies were not familiar those flavors and were not as enthralled, although everybody loves a good saison.

A beauty.

 244 characters

Photo of space
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this was my first wheatwine so i have nothing to compare it to...but of all the firestone beers i have tried this would have to be my favorite. you will definitely noticed the strong presence of toffee in the smell and taste, very yummy stuff i definitely recommend this one. its pretty obvious why they used this stuff in the blending of beers to make the 12th.

 362 characters

Photo of chanokokoro
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Firestone Walker Proprietor's Reserve Series short stemmed tulip/snifter

Pours a hazy, shimmering light golden topped by a billowing two finger bright white head. Excellent retention, plenty of thin lacing. Wonderful nose full of floral notes, light lemon and mixed citrus, and earthy farmhouse yeast. Opens with some hay and herbal accents, light lemon, mixed citrus and floral notes. Transitions to mild pleasant yeasty general earthiness, more mixed herbal accents; finishes dry and mildly tart with mild citrus rind. Lively carbonation, light to light medium body. Wonderfully smooth and silky. An absolutely wonderfully balanced brew that is incredibly drinkable. A very worthy addition to the Proprietor's Reserve Series.

 763 characters

Photo of Jmc181
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I found this beer surprisingly outstanding! I love Firestone Walker IPAs, so I'm game to try everything they put out, and man I was glad to stumble across this one. It's tart and effervescent and completely refreshing. Very pale in the glass, with a tall head, it's a thirst-quenching delight!

 296 characters

Photo of TheEremite
4.54/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What a great beer. It pours a bit cloudy but that's about the only negative with this beer. I don't know if it was barrel aged or not but it has a big vanilla and caramel nose. It tastes of honey sweetness and it mantains a crispness uncommon in beers this large. It remindes me of an english barleywine but it finishes dry and extremely drinkable. I highly recommend this beer and sincerely hope firestone adds it to the seasonals lineup.

 439 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.54/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

what cant firestone walker do? this saison is proof to me that they can absolutely nail any style they chose to brew. definitely one of the more refreshing and easy drinking saisons on the market, and also the most impressive beer in the five to six dollar range i can remember ever drinking. super pale blonde yellow in color with some haze. almost a faint lime green tint to it in the right light, with a lasting but relaxed opaque white head. the nose is the dry hopping first. not sure the varietal or varietals here, but its something quite citrusy. hardly a lick of bitterness in it, but the hops are nevertheless extremely prominent. refreshing and zesty i would say. the saison yeast is faint, just farmy enough without crossing into the french saison wet animal realm, and maintaining a grassy summer vibe all the way through. malt is light, probably pilsener mixed in with the wheat here just based on its color and lightness of feel. carbonation is strong, and its necessary. the hops make the mouth water for more, and one would never ever know that this beer was over 7% abv, it drinks like 4% even. i hope this is available all the time, i could see my fridge full of basically nothing else all summer. this beer is pure genius. a must try this spring.

 1,266 characters

Photo of Floydster
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

6 ounce serving served in a huge wine glass for $7.50 at the Linkery in San Diego, I was told this was actually 14% ABV but that might vary by batch, reviewed from notes

A-Golden orange color with amber tint, big one inch creamy white head that lasted a long time, great retention, some lacing
S-Booze, cream, plums, cloves, bananas, blackberries, sweet malts, prunes, caramel, light citrus, wheat, toffee, oak, vanilla, cocoa, and numerous spices
T-Starts off with a big fruit character that is mostly dark, some caramel and toffee along with other sweet malty characteristics in the middle, finish is slightly boozy with some spice and more fruit, as it warms a little milk chocolate is present along with more variety of fruits, wheat causes some chewiness at times, this tastes very similar to a barleywine but with a much bigger fruit character, more grapes and berries and the wheat gives it some nice spice and a fuller mouthfeel, very enjoyable
M-Sweet, spicy, boozy, and fruity mouthfeel, medium to full bodied, nice level of carbonation that prevented this from being too thick, taste lingers a long time
D-Could have drank a few more servings of this size, alcohol is hidden pretty well for how strong it is, smooth and inviting, relatively light on the stomach, ABV is high though

I will start off by saying that I have never had a better wheat wine, hopefully we will see this beer as one of the major components in one of their anniversary blends in the future, stuff was flat out good and I wish I could have had more, cannot wait to drink again, highly recommended

 1,582 characters

Photo of Chiefy770
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

EYES
Pale gold body. Towering foamy white head. The head collapsed and left a island of bubbly foam in the middle. Good soapy lacing. Didn’t have to taste this one to know it was going to be well carbonated… bubbles circulated very well throughout.

NOSE
Big notes of citrus and pineapple juice. Sweeter fruity notes were also prominent… similar to sparkling grape juice. Notes of spice and yeast were also detected, yet fruit dominated this nose.

MOUTH
Mild citrus notes up front. Notes of pineapple made this taste somewhat tropical. Lemongrass. Spicy herbal notes in the yeast. Not much from the malts other than a light bready base. Finished dry. Tart notes of apple really kicked in. I hate to bring wine into this but there were definitely similarities between the finish of this brew and stronger Pinot Grigios. Moderate-high carbonation. Medium body.

OVERALL
First Saison for this young beer enthusiast. After drinking this brew I noticed it shared many characteristics with Tripel style beers. This was definitely a great introduction into the style!

 1,069 characters

Photo of ISmith87
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - 4.5 - Pale Gold/yellow color. Nice white head that sticks forever. leaves nice lacing on the glass.
S - 4.5 - white wine, citrus fruits, sour/tartness, lemon/lime, grapes, very fresh smelling.
T - 4.5 - follows the nose, citrus fruits, lemon lime almost like sprite, white grapes, white wine, a little bit of a tart/sour taste, bready malts in the background, some farm/barnyard type flavor but it' in the background. Really dry.
M - 4.5 - light - medium mouthfeel. alc completely covered. aftertaste is barnyard, bready, biscuity malt.
O - 4.5 - One of the best saisons I've had. Ranks up there with Prairie Artisan Prairie Ale as far as I'm concerned.

 660 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A: Bright sunshine yellow in color. Great clarity. Creamy, fine-bubbled head retains very well. Chunks of lacing stick here and there.

S: Floral and herbal hops are playful in nature. Rustic, musty yeast aromas. Soft white pepper. Lemongrass. Enticing grainy malt. Excellent.

T: Grainy flavors are soon enveloped by a wave of musty, rustic yeast. Tangy fruits: white grape, pear, hints of lemon. Very much like a sauv blanc. Vague phenol flavors. Oily and grassy hops assert themselves toward the back and ride into the finish with musty yeast and tangy fruit.

M: Light in body. Modestly silky and creamy. Lively, spritzy carbonation. Moderate hop oils. Slight vinous alcohol warmth.

O: Wow. This is a seriously awesome saison. One of the best I've had in a long time actually. Very complex with that somewhat intangible, seamless 'flow' that sets the best apart from the rest. As drinkable as it gets, and perfectly suited to the warmer weather. This is one that white wine drinkers should love as well. A must-try, put it on your short list next time you're at the bottle shop. A real departure from what Firestone Walker normally brews, but they hit the nail on the head.

 1,213 characters

Photo of Sanjaybh
4.46/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Not sure why BA has two entries for the same beer....oh well.... A highly under-rated saison IMHO. This is what I want from a saison. A perfect balance of earthy, funky, hoppy and dry. This is the type of beer I would always have on hand. Problem is, this one doesn't get sold and re-stocked with any frequency. The only bottles I can find on the shelves these days are one that are over 1 1/2 years old. And that is a sad shame.

 429 characters

Photo of ricke49
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Love the perfect earthy barnyard/fruity balance. Bottle I'm enjoying is 8 months old, or about 4 mos. past recommendation on label. Still fresh and tasty though. Firestone Walker has produced an enjoyable, interesting, and darn fun brew!

 239 characters

Photo of russpowell
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 04/11/14

Pours an effervescent gold with a 3 inches of pearl white head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Pears, slightly earthy; grassyness & sweet breadyness/pineapple

Follows the nose, lemons & grapefruit as well up front, slight lemongrass zip to it as well, faint doughy sweetness as well. A little bit of funk surfaces as this warms, grapefruit peel & grassiness, plus some dryness. Finishes grapefruitty, with lemongrass & dryness

MF: Medium bodied, lively carbonation; great balance

Great drinkability; not quite as good as Tank 7, but right on its heels

 583 characters

Photo of dasenebler
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10.25.14
Firestone Walker Opal
22oz, bottled 6.20.14

Hazy, straw yellow with a greenish tinge. Three-finger head is white, with excellent lacing. (4)

Aroma has notes of apricot, spice, Belgian funk, alcohol and acidity. Nice, but was expecting more from a dry-hopped Saison. (3.5)

Flavor is fantastic. Lots of tangy, fruity hop flavors pair with the earthy, phenolic elements of the yeast. There is also an interesting white wine character coming through. Lots of rustic wheat notes. The light acidity, restrained bitterness and dryness all work together to make a delicious and quenching Saison. ABV is very well hidden. Mouthfeel is dry and medium-thin, with effervescent carbonation. (5, 4.5)

This is a great Saison. As far as I’m concerned, Firestone Walker and Matt Brynildson can do no wrong. These are some baller beers coming out of Paso Robles. (4.5)

 865 characters

Photo of MarcWP
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into Barrelworks Teku.

Pours a brilliant light yellow with two finger white head that leaves nices frothy lacing as it subdues. Somewhat hazy.

Aroma is bountiful of hops and saison yeast. Soft citrus, pear, apple, star fruit, yellow nectarine, kumquat, yuzu, coriander, pepper, subtle earth, and Pilsner malt. Very nice nose and I like the approach from Firestone dry hopping this with the variants they used.

The palate brings a very rounded flavor profile between the malts, yeast esters, and dry hopping. From the nose I expected a hoppier presence in the taste. There definitely some hop bitterness but just enough to help balance out the other characteristics. Instead the hops play brilliantly off of the lemony, spicy, and floral yeast esters and sharp biscuity malts.

Mouthfeel is on the heavier side of light with a lively carbonation which helps the beer finish clean. Pretty dry throughout makes the beer super drinkable.

What can I say other than Firestone does it again. This beer isn't in your face, extravagant, or mind blowing. It's simply a greatly crafted brew with a brilliant interplay of hops to yeast strain flavor profiles. The malts support it all but it's that unique dry hopping an addition to the belgian yeast esters that make this beer special. An awesome summer drinker with an awesome price tag.

 1,340 characters

Photo of KVNBGRY
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ap - Really lively, gold, with a very slight haze. Loosely packed white head that leaves almost no lacing.

Ar - Lemongrass, spicy, grassy, floral hops. White grape must, like a white wine. It has an aroma for days!

T - The taste is very similar to the nose only with a sweet maltiness to balance everything out. This is really tasty!

M - Classic saison. Light, bubbly, crisp, with a slight peppery spice.

 411 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Opal from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.99 out of 5 based on 1,449 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.

    Subscribe