Pale 31 | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Pale 31Pale 31

Brewed by:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 08-23-2002

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Reviews: 548 | Ratings: 1,877
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Clear golden orange with tight, white cap. Decent lacing. Small head declines to sticky white ring.

Smell: Citrus (lemon), piney hops, and toasted bready malts (light). Maybe some nuts in there as well.

Taste: Lemon, pine, butter, toasted malts, nuts, and a clean, bitter finish. Great balance!

Mouthfeel: Nice mouth-coating, and very smooth. Medium carbonation. Crisp, dry finish.

Drinkability: I could drink these all day, any day. And with an ABV of only 4.6%, that's totally possible. We buy these puppies in 24-packs regularly.
"It's what we drink around here."

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Photo of seaoflament
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light amber color with about an inch of foam. The head is formed mostly of large bubbles in the center and smaller ones on the sides. Retention is ok, with some lacing.

Flowery, hints of citrus and earthy hops on the nose. A bit of lemon and subtle notes of tropical fruits like papaya, mango, and peach. As the beer warms up I can smell some of the malts; pale malts and crackers with a bit of caramel. There's some honey aroma once the beer warms up a bit.

Crackers upfront with light toast and some citrus bitterness in the finish. Some flowery hop flavor in the finish as well. More earthy and flowery than citrus with some dry cracker or biscuit flavor. Hints of orange marmalade after a couple of sips. The beer starts to taste a bit grainy mid-way.

Very good mouthfeel, moderate carbonation with a clean and semi-dry finish. Easy to drink.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.11/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle received from breity in a recent trade. Thanks!

Pours a cloudy gold with a billowy white head bursting forth. Excellent retention throughout the entire drink, leaving some spotty lacing on the glass edge. Smells of malty biscuits, honey-kissed breads, and slight floral finish.

Mouthfeel is crisp and clean. Flavor is of buttery bread, sweet candied malts, and finishes with just a touch of hoppy bitterness. With the low ABV and great flavor profile, this has got to be one of the most drinkable APAs I've ever had. I could drink these one after the other all summer long. Recommend.

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Photo of vacax
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Firestone Walker "Passion for the Pale" logo pint glass.

Pours a pale gold with a one-finger moderate dense head. Fair retention and lacing. Fragrant with earthy hops with apples and some citrus and a bit of caramel malts. Taste is primarily full of earthy hops with a bit of pine, moderately bitter with some caramel malt balance. Clear hop flavors in this pale ale, malt balanced without being too sweet or heavy. Medium body and a lively feeling medium carbonation makes for very nice swigging. I do like the hop flavors here and the good mouthfeel make drinking this one effortless.

Though not as common as the Double Barrel Ale, this is often a proper choice in an otherwise bleak grocery store environment. I snag a six pack of this one when I find it on sale. Recommended for an everyday pale.

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Photo of marcpal
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Linkery, pint poured from tap

A: Pale golden color with two fingers of head. Clarity and carbonation both average.

S: West coast hop presence with plenty of floral aromas to it. Woodsiness was clearly present.

T: Pleasantly balanced with some maltiness right up front to match the hops. Not surprisingly lower in alcohol but borderline IPA flavors through the pint.

M: High carbonation but crisp and not oily.

D: Very drinkable beer, could session this one all night if only given the chance back home. Worth a try by all means.

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Photo of WBMiller
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance = Bright gold. A quarter inch of white head, great lacing throughout.
Smell = Clean, lively. Subtle.
Taste = Balance of sweet and bitter.
Mouth-feel = Medium, dry.
Overall = Initially, the beer comes of somewhat light. It's character becomes more apparent as the it acclimates outside the bottle. A charming brew.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is a gold color and only has a wispy, pale draught head. This beer has an incredible, fresh, hop aroma. I get notes of apricots, some peach, and of course some of the typical citrus notes. The aroma is just quite striking, and I really like the mix of fruit character that the hops evoke here. The taste is pretty light and refreshing and has a light sweetness to it that really helps to accentuate the fruity flavors from the hops. The hop character is definitely dominated by a fresh fruity character that is most evocative of peaches and apricots. This is really quite nice.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at the khyber in philly

Pours a lightly hazed golden color with a one-finger froth of white head resting on top. Retains for a while, leaving patchy rings of lacing on the glass while drinking.

Nice punchy, tropical hops in the nose with pineapple and grapefruit. Soft sweetness twisted with toasted grain and biscuit. Very inviting.

Soft bitterness up front, mix of citrus and tropical flavors in the hop profile. Pineapple, citrus peel and mango with soft sweetness. Mild malt backbone with toasted grain and biscuit. Finishes juicy and bitter with another kiss of tropical hops.

Lighter medium body, well carbonated, refreshing and crisp on the palate. Really easy drinking, excellent hop profile - I easily took down 2 pints and could have enjoyed another without trouble. I need to remember to buy some of this for next summer, this would be perfect for backyard barbecues and sunny summer afternoons.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Wasatch. Thanks John!

It pours a clear yellow gold with a 2 finger head of foam.

The smell really has a nice citrus hop and fruity nose with a ample amount of malty sweetness. I'm impressed with the smell, for sure.

The taste has that nice citrus up front with the malt right behind it with both a light bready note and some sweetness. Nice tasting APA.

The mouthfeel just crosses over to medium and the carbonation is medium.

Drinkability? Good tasting and very easy drinking. This is a very enjoyable example of the style.

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Photo of axeman9182
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap in a pint glass, served at the Blind Tiger.

Firestone Walker Pale 31 pours a brilliantly clear goldenrod, darkening towards orange when the beer's less well lit. A light dusting of white foam caps the beer, but doesn't provide much opportunity for either head retention or lacing. The nose has a nice floral aroma, offset by some juicy grapefruit notes. It doesn't quite jump out if the glass as much as it could though. The flavor is fantastic, just about perfectly balanced for a pale ale. There's a solid foundation of caramel sweetness right up front. The bitterness that comes through is enough to let you know it's there, but definitely stays short of IPA level intensity. The hoppy close is that classic floral, citrus grapefruit flavor. If I had to nitpick, I would say that the finish could stand to be a little more intense/vibrant, but it's pretty close. The body is nice, a little bit solid while not becoming too heavy for a sub 5%ABV beer. The carbonation is definitely a touch muted though. Pale 31 is another reminder that I should consider myself lucky to have Firestone Walker readily available locally.

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Photo of falloutsnow
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Colorado, gifted by CE
01/10/12 stamped on bottle, not sure if this is bottled on date
Poured into a New Belgium globe glass

Firestone Walker's pale ale uses a solidly American-style pale ale recipe, while partaking of the Burton Union brewing system and one of its owner's penchants for the English pale ale to brew an interesting beer that is definitely an APA (abundant hops, cleanness of taste), with nods to the BPA (malt presence, balance, floral hops at times). With its fairly low ethanol content and more than satisfying taste, this could be an easy choice for a standard go-to APA.

Pours a 2cm head, white in color, which declines in a minute or two to a 0.3cm cap atop the body for a duration of the beer. Leaves modest lacing along sides of glass. Body is a dark golden orange color out of the light, orange-yellow when exposed to sun. Clear and clean looking, with abundant streams of carbonation.

Delicious aroma, mostly from hops, of pineapple, tangerine, assorted other light citrus, faint mango, and just a touch of malt sweetness. Generally all bright scents, and the collection is mouthwatering.

Taste opens with minute malt sweetness that's quickly gobbled up by hop bitterness. Mid-palate brings out the fruit flavors: tangerine, mango, lemon, ripe peach; a nuance of spicy black pepper; all while continuing with bitterness and slight malt sweetness in background. Begins to fade with a flash of bitterness, sudden surprise of floral hops, and a bit of fresh, light malt wort sweetness. Closes out with some residual bitterness and a grainy component. Aftertaste is of lingering bitterness, vegetal "green" component, and some grainy malt.

Fairly light in body, with carbonation high enough to make this foam up gently on the palate. The result is a pillowy mouthfeel, which suits the beer fairly well. Finish is semi-dry.

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Photo of largadeer
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear gold with abundant head and lace.

Smell: Floral hops, citrus, a hint of grain. Fresh and mild, doesn't jump out much, but it's very pleasant.

Taste & mouthfeel: This brew opens with a malt character of cereal and freshly baked bread, leading way to a perfect floral hop bite. Very mellow in the finish, with a hint of citrus remaining on the tongue.

Drinkability: This stuff goes down ridiculously easy; it's gone before you know it. The ideal session beer.

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Photo of Strat58cat
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

With Firestone Walker, less can be more. While their flagship Union Jack is overwrought imho, their Pale 31 is everything a pale ale should be. From brewery to brewery, it's a fuzzy line between what is a proper ale and what is an Indian Pale Ale (and what is a double IPA, but that's another story). Firestone brews an absolutely huge IPA called Union Jack that is over the top for me. Their 31 Pale, however, is a tremendously good ale. It could pass for a session IPA at some other breweries.

31 pale is amber with an orange tint, like many IPAs. It's notably dark for a pale ale. The head froths up beautifully white and billowy and retains. There is a lot of lacing to the bottom of the glass. High quality malt, here.

The aroma is fantastic. It's not all citrus and grapefruit, all pine, or overwhelming fruit. It is a balanced, inviting bouquet featuring some of each.

The taste is a delightful citrus, but not simply grapefruit. It's more of a balanced, tart, refreshing, citrus fruit salad. The malt balances the flavors from the hops with a rich malt backbone that suggests graham crackers to me, or another consumers own subjective grain-based treat. It's really just beer, but it seems like something more important.

The quality malt is in proportion to the aggressive hop profile. The feel is substantial, not watery. It's a rich experience to drink Pale 31.

Firestone Walker has a fantastic beer here. Whether they choose to call it pale ale or IPA, it is delicious and refreshing. Sometimes less is more.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Brea's Yard House, on to the beer:

This beer shines in the glass orange/gold with a froathy head on top, very good lacing sticking to the glass. The aroma is mild, a mix of citrus, hops, and fresh-cut pine. Refreshing....yum. By the way, that's the taste I'm talking about. Clean upfront with a mix of bread/citrus/hoppy/floral flavors, the balance being good. This is one beer I'll be coming back to for sure, and it's great on a warm day like today.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker.

Clear golden body with a finger head, and nice retention and lacing.

Smells of citrus (lemon, even a touch of grapefruit), dank, and earthy hops accompanied by a nice hearty bread quality in the nose.

Taste is all about cereal and bread up front followed by lightly acidic lemon and grapefruit notes. Some honey notes. There is also a nice light earthiness, as well as a resiny bitterness in the finish.

Hearty, medium body with a light acidity and wonderful clean, bitter, and citrusy finish.

A really nice pale ale. Just enough hoppiness with a clean and refreshing malty body.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a nonic pint glass.

Look: A clear light golden body with beautifully rising bubbles sits under a thick, foamy head. The head basically never recedes and leaves thick patches of lacing.

Aroma: Citrus zest, peppery crackers, clean spicy hops.

Taste: A soft, slightly bready malt bill lays the ground for white pepper and citrus zest to dance around on. In the finish light tropical fruit notes emerge.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied.

Overall: A nicely balanced APA with a nicely approachable ABV.

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Photo of di5co5teve
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden

Smell: Overwhelmingly of hops.

Taste: The beer is focused on the hops but it is also balanced. Not as much flavor and aroma as lets say SNPA but still adequate. The bitterness is there.

Mouthfeel: Light and refreshing. Perfect on a summer day.

Drinkability: reasonable ($6.99/six) and light enough to drink a full six pack on a summer afternoon on your porch.

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Photo of spointon
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a shaker pint glass. Thanks go out to dgb3 for sending this in a recent trade.

A= This ale poured a very clear golden color (filtered I would say) with a fairly low carbonation release and a 1/2" white head. The head dropped to zero very quickly and did not leave any lacing behind.

S= Though I found the aroma of this beer to be very subtle and clean, I did note some nice West coast grapefruit/pine hops and a honeylike malt sweetness in the background. Like I said though, very subdued.

T= Flavor is where this one started to shine for me. For an American pale ale weighing in under 5% abv, I thought it was very balanced and flavorful. The sweetness of the malt played perfectly against the citrusy hop profile. There was even a light floral character to the hops that added some complexity. Finished dry with a small but pleasant hop aftertaste.

MF= Light bodied with a medium carbonation. Just enough actually to give a bit of crispness on the tongue.

D= Overall, I found this to be a really well made and flavorful ale. Drinkability was extremely high...I could session this one all day and enjoy every minute of it!

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.14/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a nice golden color with two fingers of a foamy gold tinted white colored head. The head has a decent level of retention, slowly fading over time to leave a great level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell - The aroma is strongest of some nice hop smells being a mix of a grassy and herbal hop smell as well as some grapefruit hop aromas. Along with these smells is a nice bready malt smell as well as a decent level of tangerine sweetness, producing a rather nicely balanced pale ale smell overall.

Taste – The taste begins a quite bready flavor right up front with some notes of caramel and orange. Some hop of a grassy and lighter grapefruit nature are there from the start as well. The grapefruit hop continues to strengthen throughout the taste and is later joined by a nice level of an herbal hop flavor. While this change in hop potency and presence occurs, more citrus sweetness comes to the tongue in the form of a bit of tangerine. A lighter buttery biscuit flavors also come to the tongue more at the end of the taste, with the combination off hop, malt and sweet leaving a smooth and very satisfying flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – .For a brew of only 4.9 % abv. the body of the beer is on the average to above average side in terms of its thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is a bit on the higher side. Both are quite fantastic for the flavors of the beer, combining with the crisp tastes and making it very easy drinking.

Overall – While not a union or double jack in flavor potency, this modest brew packs tons of flavor into a mere 4.9 % abv. Really, this is a very balanced brew at a more modest abv, with a great flavor profile and a wonderful drinkability. Fantastic for the style!

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4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

$3 during happy hour, served in a pint glass
Sampled 28MAR13

[A] Served with a small head, less than a finger high, foamy and compact, and just off white in color. Well retained. The light orange colored body is crystal clear. A few strands of lace line the glass.

[S] Fresh hop character is average in intensity. Notes of orange flesh, pith and oils. Just a hint of grassiness adds complexity to the citrus-forward nose.

[T] Pulpy orange juice. With the help of a very effervescent mouthfeel, the flavor of Pale 31 is quite mimosa-like. Juicy, straightforward and delicious.

[M] The mouthfeel leans towards the aggressive side. Slightly overcarbed for my tastes. After a few swirls, the mouthfeel is spot on. Light body and super crisp on the finish.

[O] This is a damn good beer. And highly quaffable. I could order this again and again.

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Photo of hiku7
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very inviting clear gold with a moderate off-white head.

Aroma is grapefruit citrus and piney hops, but as it warms, some caramel malt comes through. Not a lot, but just enough to foreshadow substance.

The flavor is a moderate but crisp hop bitterness, plus some of the citrus that came through in the aroma. At the outset there is a slight caramel sweetness, but that gives way to a fairly dry finish. Seems very balanced despite the bold hopping. Medium body at most, moderately carbonated, and a dry finish.

Overall, a solid west coast pale ale with a fairly assertive hop presence but still an easy drinking pale ale feel.

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Photo of Viggo
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber of this at the brewery, drank it a few weeks later, so fresh!

Pours a clear amber/golden, thin white head forms, drops down to a ring and leave some pretty lacing. Smell is real nice, biscuits, caramel, jasmine, citrus, very flowery hopping, just the right balance, very fresh aroma. Taste is great as well, very caramelized, bready, wheat, jasmine, floral, some light fruitiness and a bit grapefruit, very nice balanced finish. Mouthfeel is medium to light bodied with medium carbonation. Pretty standard pale ale, but damned fresh and goes down right. Very flavourful for a sub 5% brew, I like!

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Photo of bjohnson
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darker than average golden color with a frothy one finger white head. Not much retention but a thin skim on top and a ring around the edges. Citrus fruit aroma with a nice hefty infusion of pine notes. Biscuity and toasted grain malt notes.

Citrus hop notes coupled with resiny pine flavors. Fruit notes are a bit more pronounced then the pine flavors. Toasted grains and biscuit flavors round out the malt profiles. Light with a slight slickness in the finish. Just an all around easy drinking pale ale. Good example of the style. Perfect for a session brew with an abv lower then 5.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I must admit before I get into the review I am becoming more a fan of well-balanced, well crafted brews. This to me is one of those beers - not to say it is for everyone, just an all around well made beer to me.
I picked this bottle up at Outlet Liquors in Rehoboth Beach DE, poured chilled in a mug.

A - A beautiful honey amber w/ 2 1/2 fingers of rocky glistening ecru w/ a very fine bead. The clarity is refulgent and the carbonation visibly rises toward the head.

S - A woody, earthy green hop aroma w/ subtle stone fruit essence. Hints of grapefruit and floral accents are present w/ mild malt in the back

M - A balance of fruity sweet and acidity w/ moderate carbonation and a spicy middle. The ale finishes more on the bitter side, but still retains a mild malt sweetness

T - A light citrus note leads to a light sweet malt w/ a gentle biscuit tinge. More lemony hops w/ mild orange similar to a meyer lemon. More spice from the hops as it opens up w/ a zesty sweet taste and the semi dry finish has moderate bitterness.

D - A great pale ale w/ plenty of hop flavor, citrus and still mostly balanced - perhaps one of the best I've had.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Sierra Nevada pint glass. Bottle date is 1/10/12.

A: Pours a crystal clear golden yellow color. Two fingers of bright fluffy head. Good carbonation. Sheets of lacing bits.

S: I get really light fruity hops. Over ripe peach. Mango. Citrus is also there. Also some light malts, caramel.

T: This is a very sessionsable beer. Nice hop bitterness but a light bitterness. I get those light fruity hops with a nice welcomed malt backing. It's a perfect light pale ale to drink any time of year.

M: Light bodied leading almost into medium.

O: This is an A pale ale for me. Not up there with Zombie Dust or Headwaters but very good.

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Pale 31 from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 548 ratings.
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