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The Bruery Humulus XPA (2009)

The Bruery Humulus XPA (2009)
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Formerly brewed at The Bruery
Style: Belgian Ale
Placentia, California USA


on tap


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RATINGS: 33   MEAN: 3.68/5.0   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 129   ABV: 4.3%
It’s 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 Bruery’s 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 “beer” 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 wasn’t 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 wasn’t 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 didn’t 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). Jay’s face lit up with excitement! We knocked out the second brew into the fermenter and were delighted with the color and flavor of the day’s 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? I’m dead I thought, I’m 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 would’ve 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 day’s 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 didn’t 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 won’t 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!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
PotjeBier (2749) - Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS - JAN 17, 2012
(From notes) Tap, sample @ The Bruery, end of 2009. Aroma is hop, hop, hop, very resiny. Flavor is, however, rather mild bitter. Light body. Finishes mild bitter. Not too harsh, nice thirst quencher (no brett detected).

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Alphadelic (2171) - Portland, Oregon, USA - MAY 18, 2011
Crisp clearorange witha thick, creamy head. The nosE is floral yet crispy with plenty cereal to balance it out. Rosey oiliness in the mouth with super dry holiness you can’t evade.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
hopscotch (10657) - Vero Beach, Florida, USA - MAY 5, 2011
Draft… Clear golden ale with a mid-sized, creamy, white head that leaves weeping lacework behind. Resiny, musky hops are the aromatic stars of the show. Medium-bodied with fizzy carbonation. The flavor tilts bitter, but not by much – earthy, musky, armpity. Finishes moderately bitter and dry with a kiss of toffee at the wee end. Very nice session brew.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
dchmela (3013) - Orlando, Florida, USA - APR 27, 2011
Draft at Redlight Redlight for Cigar City/Bruery event. Dark gold body with a thick off white head. Very hoppy floral and citrus aroma, really dominated by the hops. Smooth, dry and crisp malt, very clean with lots of citrus and pepper notes popping through. Little brett gets out, though, but overall a well made brew.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
juiceisloose (1318) - Windermere, Florida, USA - APR 17, 2011
Draft at Redlight Redlight for Cigar City/Bruery event. This one pours a mostly clear, dark golden colored body and topped by a small, bubbly head of off white foam that settles quickly while skinny lines of lace cling to the glass. The aroma is very hop forward showing notes of orange, grapefruit, peppery and floral hops with an underlying malt base of toasted bread and clean cereal grains. There is maybe just a touch of dryness from some yeast, but not much brett. The flavors follow suit and are again hop forward with the orange and peppery hops up front along with a touch of grass while the toasted bread and clean cereal malts add balance and some dryness. There is just a touch of yeast in there, but I don’t get much funk from the brett at all. Medium bodied with balanced carbonation that leads to a semi dry, clean, crisp finish. This is a tasty and well done belgian pale ale. Good stuff.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
HonusWagner (2127) - Florida, USA - APR 8, 2011
Solid beer. Good fresh American hops juxtaposed against mild funkiness from brett; grainy malt quality is crisp and clean. Really tasty, and easy to drink.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
TomDecapolis (4618) - Milton, Delaware, USA - MAR 16, 2011
Tap at Provisions. Pours a translucent golden orange with a medium creamy white head. Aroma of fresh American hops. Floral and very citrusy. Some malty sweet notes. Flavor of the same. Great hoppy session beer!

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
JohnnyJ (5419) - San Diego, California, USA - FEB 26, 2011
Draft at Bruery tasting. Clear amberish gold pour, with white head. Clean hops, citrus, and lightly maltly. Very easy to drink,.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - OCT 5, 2010
Growler at RBWG in March 2010. The pour yields a mostly clear, average golden body with a small, swirly, off-white head. Skinny, trace lines of lacing jut out from the body, clinging to the glass. Immediately, the dank nature of the heavy handed hops is apparent, showing notes of earthy grass, with brighter notes of orange peel and peppery flowers. Underlying malts are sweeter than expected based on the commercial description, showing notes of sweet toast and glazed cereal grain. Flavors seem dryer and more hop driven, again showing very dank and grassy, quite peppery in nature, with secondary notes of grapefruit and orange pith bitterness. Malts are again grainy, though less sweet, remaining largely neutral as they allow the hops to shine. Yeast character isn’t all that prominent. I certainly don’t get much brett out of it, if any at all. Light in body, with moderate carbonation and a semi-dry, crisp finish, the palate makes for easy sessioning. Good idea here, but the graininess is a little overbearing, and that is not resolved with the aggressive hopping.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
MeadMe (1611) - Fishhawk, Florida, USA - MAY 26, 2010
A: Pours a nice golden hue with amber tones showing through. The head is nice and tall.... white in color with some lace. S: Aromas of bready malt, light floral hops and an out of place mild tartness. T: Bready malt with hints of caramel sweetness. Grapefruit and mild grass. The brett is there but not in a big way. You pick up mild tones of tartness that make is seem as though it is unintentional. M: Medium in body, good carbonation.

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