Pale 31 | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

very good
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Pale 31Pale 31

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

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: 556 | Ratings: 1,924
Photo of Hojaminbag
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer came as an extra in my recent trade with Wasatch. Thanks John.

A light, very translucent body that is copper in the center but golden around the edges. About one finger of off-white head that disappears almost immediately, but some how manages to leave some decent lacing on my glass.

Some sweet malt in the aroma with a good dose of citric, bittering, west coast style hops. However, overall I would say that the aroma is a little weak.

A blast of hop bitterness greets me during the beginning of my sip, while at the same time the hops express a distinct citric quality much like grapefruit. Next a bit of sweet, caramel-like malts pops up, but only for a second. The finish is pretty clean, just giving the slight hint of bitter hops. The aftertaste is all hops.

Mouthfeel is really oily with a medium body and fairly low carbonation; a good combination in my opinion.

I can understand why the bottle of this one says it is a "California Pale ale" instead of an APA; it is completely dominated by west coast style hops. Lots of bittering and citric hops. Good beer overall, but I like a little more balance in my APAs.

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Photo of oggg
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Six-pack from BevMo

This beer pours a golden orange hue with a soft pillowy white head. Slightly hazy in a good way. Hop aroma is floral, mildly citrusy. A touch of biscuit in the aroma too. On the tongue, moderate carbonation gives way to malty sweetness, then moderate bitterness (less than SNPA or Full Sail PA), hop goodness, and then biscuit and bread. Very clean. Medium bodied.

Overall: this is my new favorite session beer. Beautiful. Good for adventurous newbies, too.

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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 JamesP123
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a sexy Oakland Raiders Logo Beer Mug.

A. Light orange/Dark yellow, pouredf with one finger of head that quickle dissapates.

S. Smells good, picking up floral hops first immidiately follwoed by a malty sweetness.

T. A bit lighter than expected from the smell, very balanced. Not tasting a lot of floral hops but definately get some spicy bitterness in the aftertaste. Medium carbination races across the tounge with each sip.

M. Light mouthfeel, good amount of carbination running through the mouth.

D. Easy to find, good beer at a moderate price. Nothing blows me out of the water but an all together very good beer across the board. Could see myself bringing to a few BBQ's this summer.

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Photo of Haybeerman
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear yellow/gold color. Poured a 2 finger white foalmy head that slowly dissipated to a thick skim. Decanted continually. Laced in rings.

S: Grapefruit and citrus hop. A little pine and light sweet fruit. Sweet malts also prominent.

T: Citrus zest up front with the sweet roasted malt close behind. Bready malts in the middle yeild to a bitter finish to balance

M: Medium body. Medium carbonation. Bitter finish is fairly clean.

D: Looks good, smells good, tastes good. Very sessionable APA.

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Photo of mltobin
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought at State Line Liquors in Elkton, Maryland.

The appearance is a deep yellow tone with a thin head that quickly becomes a thin ring. The smell is light hops and faint spice. The taste is crisp and perfect for a pale ale, a little bit of that bite too. Mouthfeel is barley, some hops, very clean and well balanced. Drinkability is good on this beer, the first time that I have every drank a Firestone. It is a great pale ale.

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Photo of quasimoto
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a bright deep gold color with a white head that dissipated rather quickly. Piny citrus aromas of hops are the first major factor of this beer. the hops turn really muddy and bland from the aroma to the taste. They really turn into a middle of the road mild malt flavor and finish with nothing left over. The mouthfeel is light and pseudo dries out, but leaves a slight residual sweetness making me want another sip. I like this beer, great for the summer weather and an easy sessionable ale.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pale golden with a thin white head that leaves the thinnest layer of foam behind.

S - Light and crisp citrus, floral and lemony hop aroma.

T - Light graininess with vanilla wafer crackers and mildly hoppy citrus and lemon.

M - Light with near prickly carbonation and a grainy mouthtfeel with a touch of a dry finish.

D - A good session beer that is well balanced and maybe just a touch bland but a 6er would be nice on a hot summer day. It has a refreshing quality that a nice crisp pilsner would have.

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Photo of thain709
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - A bright golden yellow body...big pillowy white head...great lacing

S - Smells wonderful...crisp citrus hops...a faint malt presence

T - The hops are up front...pine and citrus (lemon mostly)...fades into a sweet malt profile...caramel and vanilla...the hops come back to leave a nice bitterness on the palate

M - Medium bodied...crisp

D - A wonderful APA leaning more towards the hoppy side...this is a dangerously drinkable beer

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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 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 Murchmac
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes dont say much, but I remember this beer being clear yellow, more like a pilsner than anything.

Sweet fresh hoppy smell.

Sweet hops taste with a thin toasty/bready light malt character.

Great session brew. I still want to know if firestone walker is the dude from the bachelor?

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Photo of Sean9689
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden color with very little white head that quickly leaves little or no lacing at all. Smell is very slight hoppy/citrus, which is pretty much what I am expecting. Taste is much of the same, very slight hoppy/citrus notes, very clean finish. Mouthfeel is light, crisp, and clean with a small amount of carbonation. A really good Pale Ale that is perfect during the hot summer months.

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Photo of mikereaser
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours a clear copper color with no foam to speak of

S - lemony citrus hops aroma, unexpected for me from this one

T - sweet malt and citrus hops leaving just a bit of a hop bite to it, nothing too over the top or outstanding

M/D - light bodied and nice carbonation. not bad for the style but nothing too outstanding. Just a nice APA.

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Photo of PatronWizard
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

**Please tolerate my 'Short Review Series' which come from sparsley populated notes.

Pours a clear gold with a decent head. Smell is, uh, good! Citrus hops; I'm happy with this. Taste is good clean crisp bitter hops. Very nice. Smooth brew. I like this one. Could easily sit back with a sixer and some Married with Children reruns.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours translucent light amber to orange, with thin white head. Nose is suggesting orange candy to me, with some ripe fresh orange juicy notes - both natural citrus and candied orange. Palate has a nice balance of malt with hops, but it is rather light bodied and weak in flavor. Finish is light as well. Decent drinkability but nothing to be excited about.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.57/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Firestone Walker is new to PA. Picked up a single bottle at The Beer Stop for $2. Poured into my shaker "pint" glass. Appears a clear golden yellow color with about half an inch of quickly fading off white foam. Smells lemon, tangerine, biscuits, and pine. Tastes of bitter orange peel, bready malts, maybe a touch of grapefruit pith. Slightly thin bodied with medium carbonation. Dry, bitter finish. Not too shabby for an APA.

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Photo of prototypic
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to EinWeizenbitte for this fine extra. Very thoughtful selection, Todd.

Pours a pale gold color with a slight orange tint. A very light amount of haze clouds it a little. A slightly off-white head caps it off. Retention was good and a sticky coat of lace clung to the glass. Not bad at all.

Pale 31 smells very well hopped. It features a diverse bill, whatever it may be. There's some citric notes of grapefruit and mango with light floral elements blended in. Smells earthy and a tad grainy. Pale malts and a healthy amount of caramel malts appear to be present. Smells like the caramel malts balance out the hop qualities to a degree. More on that in a few. All in all, it's pretty well done. I like it.

Pale 31's a nice APA. It's a little sweet up front. Pale malts seem to be the primary malt flavor. There's perhaps a little caramel, but it's less prominent here than on the nose. That's a good thing. Hops are flavorful and give it a nice bitter buzz. It's not quite as hoppy as I'd like, but it's not bad at all. It's not as balanced as I expected and I like that quality. Hops do their job pretty well and aren't completely balanced by the malts. The hops are mostly citric and have a nice grapefruit and orange flavor. They're a little grassy and earthy. Finishes sweet, bitter, and a little dry.

Pale 31 is light with relatively buzzy carbonation. It's not quite smooth, but it's not bad either. A little more body would improve it a little. Drinkability is good. I like the flavor and it's too easy to drink. There's a number of better APAs out there, but this one's far from a bad choice.

I haven't tried a bad Firestone Walker beer yet. This one's no exception. It's fairly straight forward and really doesn't have any special qualities that grab you, but it's a nice representation of the style. There are a number of better APAs, but Pale 31's probably second tier for the style. A little more body (and hops) would improve it, but I don't have any material criticism for it. It's pretty damn good as it is. Thanks, Todd.

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Photo of philbe311
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - A finger and a half of crisp fizzy white froth... Very nice lacing... Glowing pale amber color... Still with only the slightest amount of noticeable carbonation... If a beer can look clean and pure, this is the one...

S - Lemon... Floral notes... Mandarin orange... A surprisingly hoppy nose... Very nice aroma for a Pale Ale...

T - Vanilla wafer... Biscuit... Orange... Malt... The hops are present, but the intensity don't match the nose... A faint peppery finish...

M - Light and fluffy with biting carbonation on the tongue... Slightly dry with a muted hop aftertaste.... Crisp and refreshing... Sturdy...

D - A very sessionable Pale Ale... Terrific nose and above average in all other categories...

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Photo of biegaman
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bright and sunny yellow-tinged scotch with sheer transparency. The colour is golden and gleaming and the clarity consummately clean. Its head, although sickly anemic, is resiliently sticky. Tight clinging bands of white lace appear hopelessly stuck to the glass. This visual certainly imparts the temperate, sunny climate of Paso Robles to my mind.

The aroma is about as existent as it is non-existent. The faint grapefruit-like pungency of the hops suggest this may not be intentional but the lack of aromatic malt suggests it is. I keep taking bigger and bigger whiffs to be sure but my nostrils are largely drawing blanks. The floral qualities of the English Fuggles are apparent but I don't note much to resemble any of the big American C's (Cascade, Centennial, Chinook).

Is it just me or does the "California Pale Ale" taste a touch better than regular old pale ale? Strong bready, biscuity, doughie, cookie and wafer-like malts and a sprinkling of green, zesty recently ripened hop flowers (there's the American influence!) make for a delicious beer in my opinion. The caramel outweighs the grapefruit but not by much, the beer really does taste fresh-hoped even nearly 6 months after the bottling!

This is barrel aged but the beer itself doesn't advertise it. Good. Why should it have to? Novelty and insatiability have become driving factors in a lot of America's (especially California's) microbreweries. Special releases and experimental, high gravity beers (often with the use of blending, wild yeasts or barrel aging) have become the focal point of many breweries and the products on which they're most often judged...

While Firestone is responsible for making what are arguably the best examples of such beers (Firestone 10, 11) it's good to know they put every bit the same craftsmanship and attention into their normal lineup of pale ales too. Between the Double Barrel, the Union Jack IPA and now the Pale 31, I would say with little hesitation that Firestone is responsible for some of the best simple but solid drinking ales on the entire continent. Thanks BuckeyeNation!

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From California to Portland, OR (thanks Brian!) to Virginia, where it was finally opened and poured into my dependable pint glass. Color is slightly hazed washed-out copper, with a bountiful cloudy head that lessens fairly quickly to a thin soapy skim.

Clean aroma offers a quintessential pale ale smell--caramel malts and springy citrus-like hops mingling happily and with total balance. Nothing more and nothing less.

Flavor is citrusy hops that are controlled and accessible--some soapy lemon elements here--with spicy and caramel-like malts giving the backup and balance necessary for a solid pale ale. Pale 31 is so solid that it borders on generic--not really in a bad way, but more because it resembles a ton of other well-made pale ales out there with nothing to differentiate it from the masses. The flavor dies quickly, and not in a drying way. So the flavor is a little thin, and that's frustrating, especially considering there's not a lot to grab onto in the first place. Maybe a slightly higher dose of hops/malts would've done the trick? (And I don't mean anything drastic, as I appreciate a good, sensible APA. Who doesn't?)

The mouthfeel is almost thin itself, although there's a slight buttery slickness and plenty of carbonation to carry it along pleasantly enough.

Just a decent, solid pale ale, but not dissimilar to so, so, so many others out there in craft and brewpub world. Thanks to msubulldog25 for sending this bottle--a more reliable and downright cool trader you'll not find.

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Photo of Risser09
3.36/5  rDev -13%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter - Fridge temp - 2008

Appearance: Pours a clear golden yellow with a short-lived, 1/2", white head. Very little lacing and/or carbonation activity.

Smell: Floral and citrusy hop aroma is strong for a pale ale. Lemon, orange and an underlying pale malt. Fresh flowers.

Taste: Hop bitterness is nice, but fades for a cereal grain/malt flavor. Not very complex, but quite pleasing. I am a fan of the floral freshness.

Mouthfeel: Medium to light body with a decent share of IBUs. Smooth drinking and a lingering bitterness. Not much alcohol at all.

Drinkability: A decent pale ale, but it doesn't compare to some of the other great ones out there. I would drink it again.

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Photo of Cresant
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured this 22 oz. brown bottle into a Sierra Nevada glass. No date. The body was a clear pale amber. One finger + of creamy head which left splotchy lace.

Smell was sweet citrus. Caramel. Fresh grains. Nice.

Taste was fruity and mildly bitter. A tad piney with a bittering finish. Cracker-like. Well balanced and well crafted. Moderately dry. Very drinkable and flavorful.

Mouthfeel thinner than expected. Some slickness.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was a great extra that I received in a recent trade! 22 oz bottle.

A- Body is a nearly transparent golden yellow. Pours with an approximately 1 finger foamy white head and leaves some lacing behind in the glass.

S-Sweet pale malt collides with a semi-bright citrus and piny hop presence. Nose is on the hoppier side of APAs

T-Upfront is a minimal balance of seltzer flavor and some piny flavor with a substantial sweet pale malt backbone. There is a touch of piny and floral hops as well as a sudden quick burst of citrus flavor for the finish and a medium strength hop bitterness lingering. Though my description sounds very hoppy the flavors are all pretty subtle and the general balance of the beer comes through the most.

M-High tingly carbonation and light body that is still full and drinkable.

D- This is a decent-definitely above average APA that, to me, is pretty typical for the style. It really doesn't have anything unique and it is quite drinkable-but not my favorite APA. I'm all over the place with this style as it is and this example falls somewhere in the middle of the road.

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Photo of pokesbeerdude
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Wasatch for this one in a trade. 12oz Bottle. Alcohol noted at 4.8%.

A: Pale orange, light gold in color, somewhat cloudy, dense rocky head about a quarter of an inch thick. Spotty lacing.

S: Not a whole lot going on, pretty strong malt flavorings, piney hops. Pretty standard, but smells tasty. Just not a lot going on.

T: Really a mild tasting beer, light graininess, very doughy malt character, slightly astringent pine/citrus bitterness at the end, really comes to life as it warms up a bit, malt is quite doughy, and hops are piney, quite balanced between the two though. Quite tasty!

M: A little over carbonated for my taste, really is quite prickly on the tongue, dry, and begs for another drink each and every time. Just a little to prickly for my taste.

D: Good session beer, very tasty, I'd love to have this one on tap. All around great beer, I'll have to find out where John got it so I can snag some more of it. Tasty beer!

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Pale 31 from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,924 ratings.
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