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The Bruery Humulus XPA (2009)


Formerly brewed at The Bruery
Placentia, California USA
Style: Belgian Ale | Ratings: 33 | Special Seasonal | Alcohol: 4.3%
Itís an extra pale ale brewed with Brettanomyces, Centennial, Simcoe, and dry-hopped with Columbus hops. At 4.3% ABV, this is a great session beer for the hop heads. (from the Brueryís blog) It was about three weeks ago when we decided to start yeast propagation for Saison De Lente. Seeing that we usually always have a steady supply of our proprietary yeast strain, we needed to prop up some Brettanomyces. Usually doing a yeast prop, I would harvest the yeast and dump the ďbeerĒ that we used to prop it; this time, since it would be tying up a fermenter, I thought it would be fun to brew a 100% Brett - Extra Pale Ale. I kept the recipe fairly simple with Vienna as my base malt and a little C-15 and Kiln Amber for taste and color. I really enjoyed the hop profile of Humulus Lager ,so I thought I would keep it along the same lines, I lowered the IBU level to around 40 and used half the flavor and aroma hops that Humulus Lager used. Jay and I first brewed seven barrels and were very happy with the end result; we pitched the starter yeast and went home. The next morning I came in at 7am and checked the fermenter; it wasnít bubbling away. I climbed up the ladder and opened the man-way, I poked my head in and saw fermentation! At this time most brewers probably would have taken a gravity, pH and dissolved oxygen reading just to make sure it really was fermenting (it wasnít by the way.) After climbing back down the ladder I headed straight to the mill and started milling for the second part of the batch. The first brew tasted great but was a little too dark for me, so Jay and I left all the specialty malt out of this brew. About half way through the brew Patrick came up to me and mentioned something about not dry hopping this beer. You see when we dry hop our Humulus Series beers we lose a lot of the product due to the hops. I loved this idea because this beer didnít need any dry hops and it meant that we would have that much more of it to drink. I ran straight to the brew house where Jay was working away and eagerly told him to double the whirlpool addition hops (to make up for the lack of dry hops). Jayís face lit up with excitement! We knocked out the second brew into the fermenter and were delighted with the color and flavor of the dayís brew. Everything went so well over the two day brew; the color ended up being a little darker than I would have liked but I should have expected that when we went with Vienna as the base malt instead of two row. Over the next four days I walked into the brewery each day hoping to see the fermenter bubbling away, but nothing. How can this yeast starter batch that we brewed not ferment? Iím dead I thought, Iím really in deep sh**! After a few phone calls to Patrick to tell him the bad news we decided to pitch our house strain and forget about the yeast prop and 100% Brett E.P.A that wouldíve come from it. At the time we only had pitchable yeast from our 3-4 week old Saison Rue that was getting ready to be bottled the following Monday. We already harvested yeast from this batch twice before and the only yeast that was left was either stressed or dead, not ideal either way. We pitched the yeast hoping for the best and came in the next morning disappointed again. Luckily, we were brewing this day which meant we would have fresh viable yeast; after pitching yeast for the dayís brew we attached the yeast hose to the E.P.A tank and added fresh viable yeast. When we came in the next morning it was happily bubbling away, what a relief! After its week or so ferment, I pulled a sample from the tank and Travis and I tried it: low to medium body, nice mouth feel, extra dry and great hop aroma. It was still a little darker than what I was hoping for though. Travis and I both agreed that it didnít need much more, maybe a little bit of cold conditioning but hop wise we liked it where it was (what were we thinking, you can never have too many hops!) I told Travis to come up with a dry hopping schedule and he did: one pound of Columbus hops in a fifteen barrel batch. When he told me how much he added I started to laugh; I have never heard of someone using so little hops for a dry hop addition. After a week and a half of dry hopping and cold conditioning, we pulled another sample. It was delicious! That one pound of dry hops changed the flavor ever so slightly and in a good way. The beer ended up being a little darker than it should have been (reminds me of Sierra Nevada), 4.3% ABV, crazy dry (from the low mash temp we did when we thought it would be a 100% Brett beer) and with a great citrus hop presence that you can have pint after pint of. The Brett character mildly comes through for most people but I think it will grow with time, which hopefully we wonít find out because this beer needs to be consumed right now! Look for a cask of this sometime this month; we dry hopped it in the cask with the hops Kevin had growing outside of the home brew shop!

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Aroma is one of beer's most complex features. Aroma is propelled by lively CO2 and dampened by pillowy heads - especially nitrogen foam. Click on a term below to add it to your tasting notes.

Malt
caramel, bread, hay, cereal, chocolate, coffee, nuts, toast, roasty

Hops
resin, floral, grass, spruce, citrus, herbs

Yeast/Bacteria
dough, barnyard, cheese, basement aromas, leather, earthy, leaves

Other
alcohol, banana, bubblegum, butterscotch, clove, cooked vegetables, cough drop, ginger, licorice, raisin, rotten eggs, soy sauce, skunky, smoke, vanilla, woody
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