Lil' Opal | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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88
very good
53 Reviews
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Lil' OpalLil' Opal
BEER INFO

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

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
A low alcohol Belgian-style Saison session beer aged for 17 months in lightly-used medium-plus toasted American oak barrels.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-25-2008

BEER STATS
Reviews:
53
Ratings:
449
Avg:
3.98
pDev:
9.3%
 
 
Wants:
33
Gots:
75
For Trade:
7
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Reviews: 53 | Ratings: 449
Photo of Samuel906
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is a 375mL bottle that I happened to find at the Paso Robles brewery and tasting room. Found it totally by chance while I was in there looking for some Stickee Monkee. Poured into a Firestone Walker Pivo Pils pilsner stange. Pours a bright, transluscent golden yellow with a vibrant white, thick head with lots of retention. Vigorous effervescing makes it seem alive. Honestly one of the best looking beers I've seen in a glass; it is the definition of looking inviting. Smell is interesting and complex: you can definitely smell the funk and tartness right of the bat and some brettanomyces musk. Some lemon, grapes and oak too. Taste is light, tart, and crisp, citrus. Amazingly easy to drink. Feel is very refreshing, leaves a great after taste. Overall, I really, REALLY enjoyed this beer. It has lots of good flavors, supremely refreshing, and looks amazing! Only downside is it is a bit pricey. This really bares nothing in common with it's namesake, Opal, and I really wish they had decided to make this a year round, widely distributed release instead.

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Photo of bpasquini
4.49/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up the bottle at the Bretta Rose/Stickee Monkee release
Think they changed the recipe from when this was added
Bottle says 5.9% ABV, time spent in barrels 14 months, 75% aged in French Oak, and 25% aged in American oak
A: Pours a slightly hazy goldfish yellow color and leaves a small white bubbly head on an aggressive pour, nice nucleation occurring, pretty good look to this beer

S: The room immediately is filled with some light fruit, barnyard hay, some funk and a hint of tartness, as you delve deeper you find, some vinegar, lemon zest, white grapes, and vanilla from the french and american oak barrels, it smells really good!

T: Initial flavor is Brett and tartness, then followed by some lemon zest, white grapes, more wine characteristics, slight presence of hops, then finishes with some hop bitterness, more wine characteristics and vanilla, the barrels really come through at the end and it’s fantastic, a little Brett on the finish as well, the tartness is medium in the start and slowly fades until you hit the crisp finish, no real lingering at all, great flavor profile for a Saison, possibly one of my new favorite saison

M: Tart, crisp, light, and refreshing, this is going to be an excellent summer beer!

O: Great beer, especially for a saison, hope I can make it back to FW to pick up some more!

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a hazed gold color with prickly carb racing up the sides of the glass. Forms a 1/2 finger bone white head before settling down.

S: A great lactic tartness, almost yogurt-like, smooth oak notes, lemon and vanilla. Smells absolutely fantastic.

T: This never gets as tart as the smell promises, but I don't really think it needs to to taste fantastic. Has a kind of grinding tartness that never gets too sharp, lemon pith, a touch of oak, brett and some sour green grapes. Refreshingly crisp mouthfeel. A fantastic saison.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.56/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On Tap

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Hazy golden with a finger of creamy near-white head. Not great retention or stick, but this is a very low ABV beer. A pretty color. Looks inviting.

A cornucopia of bright, juicy fruit character: lots of peaches, apricots, and maybe even some mango. A tiny bit of wheat grain and mild grass with a bit of wood. Interesting, complementary, earthy and fruity yeast as well. This is a really wonderful beer.

A juicy, delicious, complex, but incredibly drinkable beer. Peach and apricot character combine nicely with mild funk and grass, a little bit of oak, and some citrus zest. Somewhat dry.

Thin to medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Fantastic creation. I really want to see this in bottles.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Taster glass. Blue Palms 4th Anniversary party.

A: Pours with a finger of cola-esque white head on golden straw-like body. Decent retention and good clarity.

S: Lots and lots of oak and barrel characteristics (spice), like a chardonnay, with floral and rose very prominent and banana and stone fruit there as well.

T: The taste is quite weak. Overly oaked and a bit thin, some fruity esters and harsh tannins. I'm not sure I would ID this as a tart beer if it weren't advertised that way.

M: Medium body, medium-light carbonation, and creamy mouthfeel.

O: So-so overall, like a poor man's Temptation. Smells good, but taste is lackluster.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap for Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a slightly murky honey orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, spice, and wood. Taste is much the same along with a distinct pickle juice flavor. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a great smell but the pickle juice flavor in this one is pretty weird.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap from notes

light golden amber quickly filled up the glass with tons of bubbling white foam. Crowning the top and hanging on for what seems like an eternity thick, coating lace is dropped all over the glass.

The aroma was thick with peppery spice, grassy notes, lots of herbal, earthy, and grainy hops. A touch of light peach or pear in here as well. Really just a nice well rounded aroma. Taste rolls through with loads of pepper, coriander, touches of grain. A gritty, earthy taste and feel to it as it was light in body but I felt as though I was chewing it. Light finish, light tartness, dry, very dry with a touch of a peppery spray

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours clean blonde color with a good white head and a ring or two of lacing on the way down. The nose carries some oak and light acidity plus a bit of white wine. Fairly strong sourness comes around along with a bit of funk. The flavor is fairly-funky and brings some white-wine acidity as well as a bit of lemon. Oak comes in as well. Mouthfeel is really nice with the acidity pairing well with a bit of a tannic presence. Really tasty and another solid experiment into the wild category from Firestone. I really hope this becomes a bigger program in the future.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Churchill's

A: The pour is a clear golden color with a finger's worth of white foam.

S: The nose is fairly fruity (tropical and stone fruits) and sweet with nice notes of citrus and a light hoppiness.

T: The flavor is similarly fruity with lemon, peaches, and apricot? Some wheat and a light breadiness give the beer some backbone and a touch of bitterness for balance.

M: The body is fairly light with a refreshing, crisp carbonation.

D: I've been looking forward to trying this beer for awhile and it was actually pretty nice. If only Firestone would actually make these beers available more often.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.46/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Rose & Crown's Firestone night.

A: Pours a hazy golden body that is capped by a finger of light beige head. Retention is short, with some nice sudsing down the sides as I drink.

S: Peach, apricots, hints of mango. Wheat, lemon rind, spice, and yeast.

T: Deliciously fruity, with orchard fruits like peach and apricot. Light hints of mango throughout. A wheaty mid-taste that is nicely complemented by lemon rind and undercurrents of yeast. A spicy finish (coriander?). Not very bitter, even slightly dry.

M: Very tasty and flavorful for something so low in ABV. I was very impressed.

D: This definitely changed my opinion re: Firestone's low-ABV beers. Now I'm beginning to feel like I haven't given them enough credit. This is a great beer. I really want to get six-packs of this.

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Photo of JamesP123
3/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from tap - into pint glass - at Pint Sized Bar in San Rafael.

A. Cloudy/Hazy yello color, didn;t watch the pour, but when it came to me it had almost zero head and no lacing.

S. Smelled a tangy wheat, with aa little funkyness, but not much. Didn't pick up any hop presense, just a little tang from the yeast and some herbal/spicy notes.

T. Definately some corriander coming through. Tastes like it smells, tangy wheat beer with a good amount of spices. Light bodied with a slightly dry finish.

M. Light mouthfeel with a medium amount of carbonation.

D. The tangyness was a little much for me, couldn't see myslef having a second of these, if there are other decent options. Overall a decent beer, nothing over the top, nothing stands out as bad.

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Photo of bulletrain76
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Draught at the brewery tasting room. Hazy gold with a creamy white head. Wheat malt and herbal spice aroma. Duusty, doughy yeast, wheat tanginess. Pretty dry and refreshing, a bit fruity with lightly biter herbal hops in the finish. Light bodied, but still plenty of body considering the abv. Snappy carbonation. The wheat character is hight, with just a bit of farmhouse yeast influence, but overall a good summer quaffer. I could definitely session this one.
rerate: At the brewery again. This year it seems to be smoother and fruitier with more spice as well. A very nice, very drinkable saison.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from tap at Firestone in Buellton.
Poured a somewhat cloudy, straw yellow. The server immediately dropped an orange into it and I was PO'd. Leave it alone. Nose was of light citrus and wheat. Really light on the wheat and the ABV was light which made it very drinkable. It was a little spicy but smooth all the way.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Stone World Bistro, on to the beer:

The ABV was listed around 4.2% on the menu, so I wasn't surprised to get a lighter tasting beer. It has a hazy yellow-orange glow to it with little head on top, an assortment of mixed fruits (predominantely peach and apricots) in the nose, and the taste....it was a little floral upfront, but it quiclky chnages to bits of citrus, yeast, and apricots. Slightly tart, I might add. Light in the mouth, but with some body and a sprinkle of carbonation. Very dry overall.

I had heard of this beer, but wasn't sure what I was getting. Quite interesting for a small beer. I found it to be a good mid-day beer and palate cleanser. Oddly, it reminded me of the Eisenbahn Pale Ale I had in Brazil back in January.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.37/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a generic tulip.

Pour is a golden amber with a magnolia head. Lacing seems good at first, but doesn't stick around. I detected a slight haze at first, but the beer actually has a surprising (atypical) clarity for the style.

Aroma is unusual. Many have pegged it as wheat, but I also detect hops, and an herbaceous savory character, almost like tarragon. There is a slight funk, but it reminds me of hops more than yeast. I wouldn't mistake this for a Belgian brew...

That said, there is no bitterness in the taste, just a continuation and emphasis of the flavors suggested by the nose. Finish is not particularly distinctive, but simply follows the lead of funky wheat smell on the palate.

Mouthfeel is relatively thin, though the carbonation is sufficient. ABV isn't too high (3-5%?). Quite drinkable, but not particularly exciting. A unique, if simplistic take on a farmhouse ale.

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Photo of mjl21
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Monk's Kettle. Poured into a 10 ounce tulip glass. Comes in at 4.3%.

A-Has a cloudy yellow color. When poured it has a nice one finger head. Looks good when initially presented. The head ends up fading very fast into a small ring.

S-Definite funk can be picked up rather quickly. Also pick up on a lot of wheat notes, very much like a wit beer. There is also some lemon hitting my nose.

T-The funk present in the nose is not nearly as noticeable. It reminds me of a wit that has been spiked with apricot and tangerines.

M-Lighter bodied. Quite smooth with a nice level of carbonation.

D-Not good, not bad. I appreciated how light it was, but towards the end I felt the graininess of the beer beginiing to dry out the back of mouth.

Not my favorite from FW, but still one I am glad I got to try.

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Photo of charlzm
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Consumed 03/27/09 at Blue Palms, Hollywood, CA.

Presented in a tulip glass, this beer is a cloudy lemon/golden. A one-finger white foamy head quickly dissipated into slightly sticky bits of lacing.

Aroma provides a bit of tart citric sourness and a little dash of funk.

Tastes a bit like a witbier due to the pronounced wheaty tang. There is some VERY mildly musty funk and a touch of citric sourness as in the nose. Not very sweet, which is nice. Also a bit powdery, closing in on floral.

Slightly dry.

Light and very easy to drink, this is not a beer to be feared. While not an awesome saison, it's certainly got potential to be a gateway beer for those who appreciate it.

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Photo of photomike
3.39/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A very good looking beer, this poured with a big pillowy pure white head into a bubble pint glass on tap at the Firestone Taproom in Paso Robles. A sign indicated 3.5% abv

Smell was really all wheat and honey to me...nothing like any saison I've ever had.

Taste followed suit. Lots of wheat flavor with some mild lemony, tangerine citrus notes. Very "wet" tasting...I wouldn't say watery, but its getting there. Not the best...kinda boring tasting, just generic sweet wheat...not a lot of depth here. Also, I'm not sure where all this immense spice talk is coming from. Maybe some mild nutmeggy type stuff going on here, but I really don't get much spice at all.

I have to agree that this tastes more like a wit or a weissbier than anything. Maybe like Blue Moon's tastier older brother.

The mouthfeel was rather smooth, clean ad refreshing, but I ended up with a bit of a cloying sensation after a while. Not a super sweet beer, but what sweetness there was really got to me.

This led to a rather low drinkability. 12 oz into my pint, I wasn't very interested in finishing it, but I was glad I tried it. This could be good very cold on a front lawn during summer, but not the best beer I've had. Would not buy again.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First some notes given to me by the brewer at Blue Palms tonight. This is made from the 2nd runnings of the Wheatwine they did. Its fermented with Saison Dupont yeast. 50% wheat and 50% of that is Torrified Wheat, which contributes to the body.

Pours a murky yellow color, not overly attractive but for a "saison" I guess its alright. Small head, not much retention or lacing. I don't expect a beer made with 50% wheat to be real clear although I was surprised at the lack of head retention.

Aroma was spicy and sweet. Upon closer inspection the wheat became noticeable but mostly the belgian goodness of the yeast was dominant.

Flavor was an interesting mix of saison, belgian pale, and wheatwine. Wheaty, spicy, very sweet and belgian, no hops, and minimal bitterness.

Full bodied, good CO2 (duh, on tap), highly drinkable. No idea on abv but my guess is 5.0%.

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Photo of Overlord
2.63/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Ugh.

Pours a pale yellow with a big white, soapy foam head. Smells like yeast and light citrus.

Taste ... too much spice. Some lemony/zesty citrus, some orange rind, and just way too much coriander/whatever for what otherwise would be a nice, drinkable, brew. For a backing this mild to have this much going on ... too much.

Thin mouthfeel. Wouldn't revisit.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at Spike's in SLO.

Appearance: Clear straw-colored beer with gentle stream of carbonation and white ring of head.

Smell: Coriander, orange peel, grainy malts and a little bit of citrus.

Taste: A little too much coriander for my liking. Thought this was a witbier actually. Orange peel and some spiciness with sour Belgian yeast and some sweet malts.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation and light body with a clean finish. Some chewiness as well.

Drinkability: Not my favorite from Firestone, but a nice change-up. Will drink again.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.29/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Toronado San Francisco. Poured a yellow/gold with no head but good carbonation. Smells slightly fruity like a wit with lemon, coriander, and apple. The taste is similar with nice clean, vibrant flavors of lemon, coriander, clove, and slightly sweet apple as well as some herbal flavors with a spicy finish. Very nice. The mouthfeel is crisp, clean, and smooth. Super refreshing, very tasty and a nice summer drink.

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Photo of Zorro
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Spikes in San Luis Obispo.

Slightly hazy orange colored beer with a decent head.

Smell is dead one for a Belgian wheat beer, lots of spicy phenols from Belgian witbier yeast. Also has scents of English style hops, earthy and leather with a hint of herbs.

Taste begins semi sweet with a big hit of spice to the tongue. Unexpected strong bitterness and herbal and woody. Something of a fusion beer this Belgian Witbier crossed with British Pale Ale. This is something like Gumball head with an English accent and a Belgian passport. The worst thing you could say is that 3F makes the American version with North Western Hops and calls it Gumball Head. Gets quite dry and herbal as you finish the glass.

Mouthfeel is good.

Easy drinking here. A natural summer session beer with low alcohol and an interesting flavor profile that is both Belgian witbier and English Pale Ale.

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Photo of ILikeGoodCider
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on-tap 08-24-08 at JJ Brewsky's in Camarillo, CA.

A - Poured a slighty cloudy dark straw color. White head with good lacing most of the way. Half Hefe/half Saison to me...

S - A pepper spice up-front. Some acidic fruit sneaking in there.

T - My girlfriend put it well: "Tastes a little boozey. A little buttershots, a little dark rum & a little Red Bull." Haha True.

M - Light but distinct carbonation. It plays well w/ the spice notes.

D - Quite drinkable. I'm digging Saisons lately...maybe its the lazy days of summer kicking in.

If you see this handle on the row, give it a full pint. Paired really well with a Seared Ahi Salad.

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Photo of m1ked
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stopped by the SD Toronado on a lazy sunday. Cubs White Sox game on. Not crowded at all....nice.

A- poured in a tulip. I didn't see a head on this thing at all. Couple of stray bubbles here & there. Translucent peachy orange.

S- Some yeasty banana coriander spiciness, white peppery.

T- More of the same but stronger on the palate. The yeasty spiciness is way more pronounced. Some lingering bitter spice.

M- Very light and crisp. The light but distinct carbonation plays well with the spice notes.

D- Saisons are my current crush. I don't know if it is the summer lover in me. This one is very tastey.

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Lil' Opal from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.98 out of 5 based on 449 ratings.
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