Sour Opal
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Sour OpalSour Opal
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Wild Ale
Ranked #146
Ranked #1,137
4.29 | pDev: 7.46%
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
California, United States
Sour OpalSour Opal
Notes: We’ve patiently waited for two years to offer you this exquisite ale! Sour Opal retraces its roots to the lambic cellars of the town of Brussels and the Senne River valley, in Belgium. This American “Gueuze” represents a spectrum of flavors from a traditional barrel aged sour ale, complete with aromas of aged cheese and a distinct earthy mustiness that can only be found in a well cellared barrel aged sour. The complexity and balanced flavors of Sour Opal can be attributed first to the crisp assertive tannic acidity of the Viognier barrels. Oak-derived flavors and aromas mingle with guava, passion fruit, pineapple and tart cherry notes. This beer rounds out with a crisp clean and quenching acidity as well as a mild grape fruitiness that is intensified by a higher carbonation level.
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Reviews: 51 | Ratings: 317 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of StoutElk_92
StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.71/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Batch: No. 003 Bottled: 05/08/17

Pours golden amber orange with a creamy frothy white foam head. Smells like vanilla beans, coconut, toffee, toasty oak barrel, caramelized bready malt, lemon, apricot, dusty hay, straw, barnyard, mild nutty dry aged cheese, with floral earthy herbal grassy hops. Tastes lambic-esque with notes of lemon, tart apricot, cider, sweet vinegar, woody spice complexity, vanilla, coconut, toasty wine oak barrel, dusty hay, straw, toffee, caramelized bready crackery malts, ocean mist, with some floral earthy herbal grassy hops. Feels medium bodied, creamy slick with smooth moderate carbonation. Overall a really nice blended gueuze style ale.

Jun 29, 2020
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 5/8/17; drank 9/4/17 @ the Yarchives.

Cloudy orange appearance; champagne bubbles throughout.

A rough pour yielded a nice bright white head; a thick curtain of lace.

Tart lemon, honeyed wheat & faint dandelion notes in the nose.

Medium mouthfeel.

Tart lemon & honeyed wheat flavors up front; mildly dry dandelion notes on the finish.

A bold, flavorful American sour; above average & worthy of a quaff anytime.

Oct 03, 2019
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Hopheadjeffery from Illinois

4.21/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Batch 3 2017 vintage tasted in a Rastal Teku from a bottle on December 31, 2018. Notes of musty blankets, stinky aged cheese, oak, guava, passion fruit, pineapple and tart cherry notes. Feel is crisp, clean and a little acidic.

Feb 05, 2019
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ThickNStout from Georgia

4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375mL bottle from Hair Of The DoG Bottle Shop (Williamsburg, VA). 12.99. Bottled 5/8/17. Served in a Firestone Walker snifter. Enjoyed 7/28/18.

Pours a pale, faintly orange straw color with an initial rough and rocky two fingers of white head. The foam fades, leaving little retention.

A funky burst of old wood and overripe citrus greets the nose. There’s a tingly strong sour note that rides on top of wet hay, earth, lemon zest and some very faint hints of vanilla. Quite nice.

Flavors are a pleasant blend of sour orange, wet woodsy funk, white wine, apple skin, earthy overripe fruit, leather and old hay.

Dry, medium body with gentle carbonation. Lightly sour aftertaste of vinous fruit, lightly earthy grain and wet barrel.

I’ve known them for their tasty IPAs and barrel aged strong beers but this is a lovely wild ale from Firestone Walker. Pleasantly complex and highly drinkable.

Jan 01, 2019
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 5/08/17
Pours a mild dizzy head that fades quickly, a touch of lacing, mostly clear honey blond orange color

Nose super sour, tons of funk and bacteria souring, lots of oak too, a little buttery and toasted oak, a little vanilla oak, nice acidity with a little lemony, a touch of vanilla cake batter, nice generic lambic funk but not barnyard

Taste similar to the nose, plenty of souring funk and big oak, tons of oak, buttery oak, some vanilla and a little toasted oak note, big souring funk, bacteria acidity, acetic acid, lemony notes, mild barnyard funk but not much, tart and a bit flemmy late, vanilla cake batter, some dried apricot and fruit notes

Mouth is med to lighter bod, good carbonation, plenty of acidic souring funk and a bit flemmy

Overall not bad, really like the loads of oak and the nice vanilla cake batter, quite sour but not a ton of barnyard funk, pretty enjoyable

Dec 07, 2018
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DaveMaciolek21 from New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

With Belgian-style lambic gueuze as its inspiration, this is just a brilliantly blended wild ale. Not too tart, as the sweetness of vanilla flavor provides perfect balance.

Sep 19, 2018
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WesMantooth from Ohio

4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

May 2017 bottling.

It is a cloudy orange with a white foam that lasts forever.

Smells like acidic fruit. Peach pits, apple/pear peel, wood, and funky yeast.

Tastes like it smells. Very ripe Apricot/peach, some apple and green grapes, oak, and pretty tart with lingering mustiness and funk. Acidic, but smooth. Not biting.

The finish is a little too dry with a mouth full of cinnamon feel. Otherwise it is well carbonated and pretty easy drinking.

Very solid wild ale

Jun 23, 2018
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rudzud from Massachusetts

4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle of this at Julio's last year. Batch #005, May 2017 vintage.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip nice crystal clear golden hue with a thin quarter inch white blanket that faded to leave a thin creamy blanket and thick halo. Nice lacing.

S - Aromas of light tartness, green apple skins, grassy notes, hay, slightly metallic. The brett funk is rather soft and subtle.

T - Taste is quite tart, loads of green apple, lemons, sweet tarts, under ripe pineapple. Not much in the way for hops, the brett completely takes over here in a good way. Nice slight french oak flavour going on. As funky tart as this is the finish is soft and supple, no acidic harshness at all.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, finish is pleasant and not flemmy.

O - Overall this was a very tasty batch of Sour Opal. The brett is shining wonderfully right now. Wish I had more than just this single bottle!

Serving Type: Bottle

Jun 09, 2018
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Zythophile from District of Columbia

4.34/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle Date: 9/27/16
Palate Contaminants: none

The look isn't partiularly fizzy. Nice opaque, gold glow. It scatters light nicely.

Main scent is lightly funky apple cider. Traces of fresh cilantro. Wheaty malt in the background.

There's a little of that cider to start with, but that's just overpowered by a floral taste. It's like drinking apple blossoms. It doesn't strike me as overly sweet at first, but it builds. The wheat really increases with warmth. Citrus acidity is kind of unobtrusively hanging around. There's also a mineral quality that a lot of folks like in chardonnays (i.e., flint).

It's nice and heavy. Carbonation is fine, but prickly. Lots of sugar residue. Alliterative astringent apples are around afterwards.

Jun 03, 2018
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Vidblain from Minnesota

4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I picked up a Sour Opal when last I was in Chicago - for FoBAB, I believe - and it has been sitting on my little sour shelf area in the cellar ever since (what - six or seven months now?). Much as I never think of Firestone Walker's sours when I consider their line-up, they always seem to be quite solid.

Sour Opal pours a light orange, tangerine color. The nose is quite fruity - lots of apricot. That translates very nicely to the taste. It's almost tropical, sweet, and startlingly sour and tart - also, quite acidic. I made the error of drinking two FSW sours in one evening and had to run for my Tums pretty quickly.

Crisply carbonated and refreshing - for a shelfie, I'd happily drink this beer weekly. I am hopeful that it (and the other Firestone sours) will begin showing up in Minnesota now. Fingers crossed! Sour Opal is quite decent.

May 11, 2018
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connecticutpoet from Connecticut

4.24/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance – Deep yellow, slightly hazy body with a half finger head.

Aroma – Sour, funky, acidic, light stone fruit. Wow.

Taste – Sour, funky and acidic like the aroma. Very good.

Mouthfeel – Smooth and well carbonated.

Overall – This was a well-made beer and I would have it again, if it were less expensive.

Apr 10, 2018
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Damian from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Drank from a 12.7 fl.oz.[375ml] corked and caged bottle purchased at Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA
Batch: No.003
Bottled: 05/08/17
Served in a tulip

Gorgeous appearance. The crystal clear, light amber body was topped by a tight, fluffy, two-finger tall, cream colored crown. Outstanding retention. The head slowly dropped to a thick collar. Dense, craggily streaks of lacing stuck all along the glass.

The aroma was fantastic. Super funky and tart. Loads of oak and tannins. There was a intense crisp, dry, powdery yeastiness. Citrus notes were also apparent. Lemon came through strongest. Touch of pale malt sweetness.

The flavor profile was perhaps even more interesting and complex than the nose. Really crisp, tart and bright. Lemon notes dominated. Loads of oaky barrel. Good dose of musty funk and barnyard character. Bit of pale malt sweetness. More sourness and acidity on the back end and the finish. Hint of grassy hoppiness. Huge oaky tannins and big sweet-tart lemony notes lingered after the swallow.

Outstanding mouthfeel. Lighter bodied but super soft and smooth. The liquid contained a fine yet relatively intense carbonation that fluffed up beautifully on the palate.

I said it before and I will say it again: Firestone Walker have one of the best (if not the best) sour program this side of the Atlantic. Sour Opal is a truly spectacular beer that drinks like some of the best gueuzes in the world. This is an underrated gem that somehow flies under the radar.

Mar 29, 2018
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stortore from Illinois

4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

375 ml bottle into a flute glass. Bottled 5/18/17, had 12/3/17.

Pours a bright, clear, golden color, with a one and a half inch foamy head with good retention and a good amount of foamy lacing. Active carbonation. Smells tart, sour and funky. Aromas of oak, straw, white grapes, yeast, some apple and vanilla, light malt, light mint. The taste is tart, lightly sour, vanilla, oak, lemon, white grapes, funk, yeast, wine, light malt. Smooth, a solid lighter body, well carbonated.

Very enjoyable. Really good and well balanced flavors, but fairly straightforward overall. Certainly worth a purchase as a beer, it’s very good. But it does have a pretty high price point.

Mar 21, 2018
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rgk3 from Arizona

4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Straw-colored with thin white head that stuck around as it continued to effervesce, bubbles rising up for the longest time as it sat in the glass. Funky, earthy, and sweet smelling. Champagne-y mouthfeel was pleasant. Tart, sour, oaky, green apple and white grape flavors are wonderful. A very nice sour.

Mar 14, 2018
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TheBrewsky from California

4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is batch number 5. Bottles on 05/08/17. Poured into 20oz snifter glass.

Look: Pours dark amber in color, like a rust, burnt orange. No head formation, with minimal traces of lacing.

Smell: Earthy tones, with abundant of sour notes. Slight sweetness coming through, as well as malts. Also get whiffs of acidity, as you get when smelling wine. The oak barrel is pronounced, which adds to a fantastic oaky smell.

Taste: Follows the nose. More tart than sour. Fruity flavor that is tart, and earthy floral undertones. Acidic on the taste as well. Again, oak barrel is really pronounced.

Feel: medium bodied, with low carbonation. Really smooth drinking.

Overall: This is a good sour and one that is worthy of a try. I really enjoy the pronounced oak barrel, which is something I enjoy in certain wines. This is a must try for sour lovers. Cheers!

Mar 10, 2018
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ArrogantB from Colorado

4.06/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

375ml bottle $12.99. Bright orange color, good lacing, decent bit of head after it died down. Earthy, fruity, and an enticing brettanomyces aroma followed by a sugary sweetness. Mildly sour, super juicy wild ale. Extremely easy to drink, Firestone Walker makes quality wild ales.

Jan 27, 2018
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Beaver13 from Colorado

3.48/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12.7 oz bottle, batch 3 bottled 5/8/17. Pours clear straw gold with a smallish bubbly creamy white head that retains well and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is sweet funky malts with some acidic and tart fruits and a little bandaid.

The flavor is sweet tart and sour acidic fruit over a washed out Belgian base. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, a decent sour.

Jan 27, 2018
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Sammy from Canada

3.94/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

not too sour, until the end of the bottle. very well crafted.reserve bottle at Venice FW. shared with Rafael. Well made and well played for sour wild fans.

Jan 19, 2018
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.07/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark gold to light copper with a fingernail of dishwater white around the rim and covering the majority of the top. There's a considerable amount of carbonation bubbles erupting from within. The aroma is of sour and lactic acid along with refreshing and woodsy oak. I'm tasting a blend of restrained blend white vinegar lactic sourness, a touch of tart brettanomyces. Green apple and pear flavors lead the way with a touch of cherry in the back of the palate. The mouth is very bubbly, crisp, and reminiscent of champagne.

Jan 12, 2018
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

On the bottle reads "batch no. 003"; bottled "05/08/2017."
This was poured into a tall tulip.
The appearance was a semi-hazy bright peach color with a finger's worth of fairly quickly dieing head. Some stringy lace ran around the glass enthuisiastically with a little bit of messy film.
The aroma wove a really nice arrangement of sweet to sour Bretty to white grape and vinous meshing of cherished oaky wood to apricot and peach skin. Freshly cut grass bled in underneath.
The flavor was semi-sour with a brisk touch of the sweet freely flowing into the white grape and oakiness. Apricot and peach skin was there, but with a little bit of stickiness but was nice. Moderate aftertaste of the white grape.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a favorable sipping quality about it. Carbonation felt good, nothing distracting. ABV felt on par. Finish was semi-oaky, light vinous/white grape-like with some apricot.
Overall, absolutely wonderful American Wild ale that I would more than welcome again.

Dec 21, 2017
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Matthew. Thanks man, you are always such a generous host. Cheers.

Transparent, light orange, body with a small, off-white collar. Funky aroma. Brett, white grape. Really solid.

Dec 04, 2017
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JayQue from Virginia

4.24/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very good sour. Pours a clear deep gold color from a 375 ml corked and caged bottle. Medium size bubbly white head with average retention. Large patches of lacing on the flute glass. Aroma has yeast, more than a hint of oak and sour citrus. Taste has more of the same, sour citrus flavor with a yeastiness and some bitterness from the barrel. THe aroma and taste area both outstanding. The bitterness is just right. Mouthfeel is crisp and tart with a good but not off-putting level of bitterness. I enjoyed this one very much.

Nov 29, 2017
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IKR from California

4.14/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2017 Vintage
375 ml bottle

Appearance: Clear straw yellow color with a modest sized white head that slowly faded.

Smell: Moderate barnyard funk with some mild grassy/hay notes.

Taste: Mild barnyard funk, tart citrus notes along with some mild leather-like notes. More balanced towards the tart side rather than sour side on the sourness spectrum.

Mouth-feel: Light-bodied with a modest level of carbonation.

Overall: A good Barrel Works wild ale.

Nov 14, 2017
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Dewsby from Kentucky

4.46/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours a lovely, hazy honey color with a white, effervescent head.

S: The nose is very acidic and assertive. There is a huge amount of lactic funk, with a noticeable acetic nature. Citrus and lemongrass are also present.

T: The beer is aggressively tart, but the flavors blend well. There is quite a bit of lemon juice flavor amidst the bouquet of citrus and acid.

F: It is crisp with a medium carbonation.

O: This is a great wild sour. Opal is one of my favorite saisons, and this variation does it justice.

Oct 31, 2017
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HorseheadsHophead from New York

4.49/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy orange with a big creamy white head. Excellent retention and streaks of lacing.
Smells of sour peach, apricot, passion fruit, lemon warheads, barnyard funk, white oak, and vanilla.
Tastes of sour peach, apricot, passion fruit, lemon, cracker, honey, orange blossom, pineapple, coconut, white oak, and vanilla. Medium-plus Warhead-like sourness with medium-plus acidity, sour and puckering, but not quite like vinegar-like. Moderately funky upfront, but finishes rather cleanly with only a bit of lingering tart peach and lemon.
Medium mouthfeel, lots of prickly carbonation, smooth and soft on the palate.

This is an exceptional American barrel aged sour. Fantastic.

Oct 26, 2017
Sour Opal from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 317 ratings