Sour Opal | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

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Sour OpalSour Opal
BA SCORE
4.29/5
Outstanding
305 Ratings
Sour OpalSour Opal
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,247
Reviews:
49
Ratings:
305
pDev:
7.46%
 
 
Wants:
45
Gots:
46
Trade:
3
HISTOGRAM
 
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Ratings: 305 |  Reviews: 49
Photo of crob3888
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
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.

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Photo of Zekenyce
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ThickNStout
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.

 904 characters

Photo of Phineasco
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Budlum
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jlindros
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

 901 characters

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

Photo of mcrawford
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of NolaHopHead
4.51/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of jgunther71
4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of DaveMaciolek21
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.

 172 characters

Photo of Hellpop65
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ajdemma
4.04/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of ckeegan04
4.31/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Jamison85
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Piglet_rulz_da_yard
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of epyon396
4.08/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of WesMantooth
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

 476 characters

Photo of rudzud
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

 919 characters

Photo of Zythophile
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.

 736 characters

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

Photo of Vidblain
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.

 848 characters

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Sour Opal from Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.29 out of 5 with 305 ratings