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Humulus Lager - The Bruery

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Humulus Lager
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151 Reviews
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Reviews: 151
Hads: 977
Avg: 4.32
pDev: 23.38%
Wants: 185
Gots: 37 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Bruery visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Pilsner |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: vacax on 08-02-2009

India Pale Lager, but closer to Imperial Pilsner than IPA, according to the brewery.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 151 | Hads: 977
Photo of Thorpe429
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the brewery in August 2009.

Poured a dark golden with a nice wheat head and a decent amount of lacing as it went down. The smell and taste were both fantastic. Loads of citrus hops, mostly orange; also, a bit of some tropical fruits. The taste went along very similar lines, with the addition of a nice bitterness that nicely balanced out the citrus and tropical flavors. The mouthfeel was a bit light and exceptionally drinkable. Very delicious--hopefully they bottle this.

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Photo of nickd717
3.95/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tap at the '09 Bistro IPA Festival in Hayward, CA. India Pale Lager, eh?

This beer is a hazy straw color (not pale lager like) with a lasting white head.

Aroma is malt/grain and some citrusy hops. Smells very nice.

Flavor is pale malt and grain with grapefruit and pineapple. Nice and pleasant for an imperial pilsner of sorts, or an IPL, but not overwhelmingly awesome.

Light-medium body. Drinkability is very high. Pretty good overall, as I've come to expect from The Bruery.

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Photo of bulletrain76
3.68/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Draught at the Bistro IPA fest. Hazy blond with a lasting head. Resinous grapefruit peel aroma with some sweetness and flowers. Clean and dry with a bitter finish and low fruitiness. Medium bodied and smooth. Good stuff, but not a standout. The lager yeast is nice because it lets the hops come through very cleanly, though I think they could have finessed the bitterness a little more and given the aroma a little push.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very happy I got to try this one. Thanks again Mark for this opportunity. Going into this beer I have really high expectations. I have had a few of the distributed beers from the Bruery and have not really been impressed. That being said, I was told their on-tap brews are amazing...so here we go. Poured from a growler into a snifter.

A- Pours a dark golden, maize color. Produced two fingers width of white pillowy head. Some lacing left along the sides of the glass. Clarity was at 100%.

S- Absolutely ridiculous. The aroma just from pouring the beer out of the growler was so noticeable. I found the aroma in this beer to be quite interesting. On one hand there is a cornucopia of rich, citrus hops, revealing notes of oranges, lemons, and pineapples. On the other there is a clear, piney aroma with a bit of malt that attempts to balance it out. The result is an aroma of citrus candy with an after scent of pine and malt.

T- Much like the aroma...plenty of citrus hops countered by a piney attribute and slight bit of cracker/biscuit type malts. What I really liked about this beer was that the bitter piney hops, along with the malts, left a clean, crisp, bitter taste on the palate. Very refreshing and an interesting twist when you are expecting a straight forward citrus hop bomb.

M- Light bodied, with a decent amount of carbonation. Loved the slightly sticky residue this beer left on the palate.

D- Probably the most drinkable beer I have ever had, especially with a beer at this high of an abv. I can't believe how fast this one went down.

Overall, well...I stand corrected. The Bruery has produced something that has blown my mind. After this experience I will most definitely be seeking out some of their more limited offerings.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler consumed on 9/5/2009 and poured into a snifter. I've had this on tap a few times but I've never had the chance to take proper notes while I drink it. The beer is translucent and vibrant golden. It's crowned with a gigantic frothy white head, exhibiting excellent retention and leaving lots of lacing as it recedes.

The nose is remarkable out of the snifter and warmed to room temperature. Glass after glass, the aroma was the highlight of this beer. The nose is reminiscent of Sculpin, with notes of peach, orange, pineapple, grapefruit, and other tropical fruits. Resiny pine is present, and the malt is light and crackery, without a hint of sweetness.

There's a high level of clean bitterness in the taste. The succulent hops resound with pine resin and citrus. Pineapple, grapefruit, orange pith, lemon, and peach are all present. The cracker malt is faint and serves as a vehicle for the marvelous hops. The finish is dry, crisp, and bitter. The beer is light bodied with a nice upper medium level of carbonation and a crisp yet somewhat sticky mouthfeel. The hops are ripping the enamel off my tooth (I only have one).

Each time I try this beer (and this style, in general) I appreciate it more than the last. I really hope this is brewed again. Highly recommended.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.82/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Holy hell I scored a growler of this! I am just tickled to be able to type this review. There are some beers out there that just seem to allude, big thanks to my man for not letting this one become part of that lot. Served gold and shared amongst friends and family on 09/04/2009.

The pour was nice, I was looking for a bit more, but that would come later. Bright golden amber in color with a good bit of haze and cloudiness to it. Small head of white on top that needed to hang out a bit longer but faded back with only a touch of side glass lacing.

Holy hops batman. I did not think it would be so strong. Rich pine hops cut with tons of citrus, Huge notes of medicinal malts cutting it as well. Really big aroma here. Then I took a sip and melted, literally melted. This was what I have always wanted in this style. I have had soo many bad imperial pilseners, this was the shit to be blunt. Crisp, clean, rich hoppy goodness cut with huge bready malts and a light touch of grain. Simply amazing. Each sip better then the one before it. I was just beside myself with joy. Medium and well carbonation body let the silky smooth taste just absorb all the moisture of my mouth and leave a long dry finish akin to apricots and grapefruit. Holy hell this is good. Abv is well placed, letting me get a taste without being overbearing.

Overall everything I thought it would be and a bag of chips. This was sublime. One of the best beers I have had in the last year hands down and worth every effort to try and obtain. Wow..

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Photo of LittleDon
4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 10 oz tulip glass. Cloudy, with a thick, yet bubbly white head. Golden in color and possessing a medium amount of carbonation. Aroma and initial taste of Cascade hops. My guess is that the only thing lager about this is the yeast. Think IPA or IIPA. Medium mouthfeel and bitter finish with a hint of fruit. A great IPA, not sure about how good a lager.

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Photo of John_M
4.62/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Dyan for saving some of this from the growler he got the other day. Considering how absolutely delicious this beer is, I'm not sure I would have been nearly so gracious if I'd been in his shoes. :-)

The beer pours just a lovely hazy golden peach color with excellent head retention and lacing. The nose on this bad boy is incredible, giving off the sort of hoppy perfume I've only encountered previously in Pliny. I get a huge aroma of spicy citrus, coupled with wet tobacco, wet earth and sweet peach. Mama mia, this is one fine smelling beer. On the palate this is an exceptionally delicious and easy to drink beer. It has the mouthfeel of a spicey, but still very smooth and soft lager, but with the hoppy bitter punch of a West Coast IPA (think Sculpin). The beer actually starts off on the palate with some fruity sweetness, but then slowly, like a rising tidal wave, the hoppy bitterness comes on strong. The finish on this beer is nearly endless, with the alcohol very well integrated into the flavor profile.

Damn, but I wish this beer wasn't so rare. I could drink a lot of this beauty and can only wish that I someday get the chance.

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Photo of Overlord
4.57/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a mostly golden yellow with hints of orange in it. Paler than a normal IPA/DIPA, maybe cause of lager yeast, maybe not. Not sure. Big billowy white foam head.

Very good aroma. Tons of complex floral notes, and a bunch of citrus that ranges from lemon (pilsener influence?) to tangerine and white grapefruit.

The taste, once again, is across the spectrum. I typically found that IPA-style brews tend to come across is either more dry and bitter, or more fruit-y and citrus-y. The best run the gamut, and this does. Very good sweeter tangerine and grapefruit, mixed with an almost lemony, pungently bitter crisp citrus and hop bite. Interesting, and complex. Maybe the lager yeast is adding the crisp, somewhat earthy/lemony component? Not sure.

Finish is somewhat drying and astringent rather than lush, which is, again, different from what I see in the IPA family tree. Engrossingly drinkable, really good.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.94/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Immense thanks to womencantsail for trading this to me. Andrew was kind enough to ship it Express without my even asking for it, just so I'd get to drink this sooner.

A: In my Duvel tulip, this is a very hazy orange with a large, frothy off-white head that seems to stick around a while, leaving a little lace in its wake. For a beer this hoppy, the lace is a little less than I'd expect

S: Holy hops on the nose, batman! This is a true explosion of hops bright, citrus with orange, tangerine and a little bit of pine bitterness in the back. I'm not going to review this as an Imperial Pils, because it isn't one. It's a hoppy lager. Mild sweetness reminiscent of candied grapefruit. Pretty much a flawless expression of what hops are about. As it warms up, the pine character grows and is just immense

T: Holy fuck, this beer makes me laugh. Opening up with a firm bitterness with grapefruit and orange peel before being overwhelmed (in a good way) by a ton of hop flavor just beautifully express with a lot of pine needles and citrus - orange, sweet tangerines, a little grapefruit. There's just a little bit of malt character, and this just makes the citrus character taste candied. The finish is incredible as well, long lasting, with a smooth bitterness.

M: The resiny hop character makes this beer feel heavier than it is, and the soft carbonation just enhances it. Nothing is missed, though, as this beer showcases everything hops need to be - bitter, resiny, and flavorful. The finish is excellent, long lasting with a very smooth bitterness (I guess that'd be reserved bitterness). Just incredible.

D: Off the charts. I am looking forward to polishing off this growler tonight, and have a rollicking good time doing so. It is only into my 3rd pint that I feel like slowing down, and a little devil on my shoulder is telling me to save some for a friend tomorrow.

Notes: This is easily the best hoppy beer I've had since Younger. While Younger deserved a 6 for the way it felt on my palate, this beer earns it's 5, but otherwise, I can't think of a beer that better showcases what hops are about.
This beer also exemplifies the difference between East Coast and West Coast hoppy beers. The hop character of this beer is just epic, without whelming my palate, making this an absolute pleasure to drink.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tried at the Bistro IPA fest and at the Toronado anniversary party. Notes transcribed later from memory, typed up now.

A: Pours a hazy golden orange with pretty minimal head and short retention. There is a ring around the brew that leaves some streaks here and there.

S: The one at the IPA fest was definitely skunked, but the Toronado pour was very aromatic and impressive. Orange peel with hugely floral backing behind it, and not-insubstantial grassy note. There was something herbal in there (weed?) but I couldn't put my finger on it.

T: Has all the qualities of the nose and then some. A great hop profile, with the barest hint of some pale malt character swimming around underneath. Starts off with citrus and floral hops, but by the finish it becomes more grassy and herbal. A slight lingering bitterness.

M: Light-medium bodied, moderate carbonation, and very dry. I would never have pegged this for a pilsner, imperial or not, from these characteristics. It goes down very easily and is quite clean, although it does have some sticky resin to it.

D: This offering pleases the hophead in me. I demand more.

I know it has "lager" in the name, but I was still surprised when I found out this wasn't an IPA. A damn good beer.

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Photo of OlieIPA
4.48/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed a monster sized mug of this at Hollingshead on 8/20/09.

A: Initially poured pale yellow, but as all the liquid converged together...this IPL exhibited a filtered dark golden copper hue. A perfectly off white head also sat on top of this puppy for quite some time, and seemed to stay there forever...even though inner parts were about to give by the time I was half way through my glass.

S: Crisp and fresh! Lots of leafy and piney aromas that masked the malt character, but not to a degree that offset the overall balance of the beer.

T: Well balanced and refreshing! This brew surprisingly exhibited a sweet malt character that complimented the hop varieties. Delicious!

M:Lighter body..which made drinking the whole mug that much easier.

D: This was about the third time I've tried this beer...and boy, it really knocked my socks off this time. Very similar to some of the epic IPA's on the Top 100, with a slightly altered malt body. One of the better beers to come out this summer.

Overall: Really impressed! Even if it's considered a lager...a top 10 or 15 hophead beer for me. Cheers!

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Photo of paytoplay
3.98/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

toro sd draft. smells like wet juicy sweet hops, but when you drink it you get a dry hop whit kind of flavor. maybe the ultimate extreme west coast hoppy beer that is super dry. very unique and easy to drink. just was super complex. i've been away from hoppy brews lately. would LOVE to try this with several other comparable brews. i think it would stand out but for me it was fun to try and not sure i'd rush out for more. then again this was just 1 tulip one 1 afternoon.

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Photo of largadeer
4.84/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Draft at Toronado. Cloudy blond appearance, tons of hop haze on this one. Served with a finger of foam that retains well for a draft pour. The aroma is explosive and mind-blowing, loaded with pine, wildflowers, freshly cut grass, a touch of citrus and a bit of weed for good measure. Incredible. The taste, surprisingly, lives up to the aroma, with the slightest hint of malt supporting an enormous amount of dry hopping. Resiny, floral, fresh and crisp with a light body and the perfect amount of bitterness in the finish. Lager yeast is faintly noticeable but really, this is all about the hops. I really couldn't fault this beer in any area except for appearance, it's one of the most well-crafted lagers I've ever had and has a more complex hop character than 99% of the IPAs I've tried.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.51/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Toronado. Served in a pint glass. Ordered this one after hearing some hype about it. Somewhat scant notes on this one as it was pretty late in the day.

A - Pretty generic looking - small off-white head that dissipated pretty quick and left minimal lacing. Nice hazed golden-orange color.

S - WTF? Is this an India Pale Lager? Super aromatic hoppiness - fresh orange zest, mixed with perfume and floral notes. The malt character is incredibly subdued and I can't even pick up any hint this is a lager.

T - I'm not entirely sure how to evaluate this - there is a lack of strong bitterness in the aftertaste that would be a negative for an IPA or DIPA, but it's still appropriate for a pilsener. However, the lack of any real pilsener malt flavor is a problem in that line of thinking. The bottom line is that it's superbly hoppy, with tons of sweet fruit and floral flavors, well-hidden alcohol, light sweet malts and a very clean finish. Great stuff and quite unique.

M - Pretty generic - moderate carbonation, fairly smooth medium body. I think cask would really suit this brew.

D - Low bitterness, well-hidden ABV, great hoppy flavor - sounds like a winner to me. Glad I tried this one, even though I was initially not very interested.

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Photo of mrkrispy
4.54/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Toronado San Diego, in a snifter

Arrived a very hazy dark golden to pale. Fizzy head that quickly dissolved, leaving a little lace.

HUGE hoppy nose, grassy (think wet hop), it was shocking since I didn't know what to expect. Wonderful aroma, some citrus and faint pine far in the background. This aroma competes with the best of the IPAs.

Surprisingly full body, I expected it to be lighter. Decent carb. Excellent balance with the malt in the background a bit, slightly bready. Hop oils abound, lingering bitterness that builds on the next few tastes. Very very slight citrus flavor, lemon I guess.

This beer goes down great! It has an odd effect, seems like it nukes the tongue as the glass gets emptier. Not a bitterness, just a...blank. Is it finishing extremely clean? Strange.
No noticeable alcohol until I am 3/4 finished with the glass, it somehow snuck up to my gray matter.

Hopheads will want to seek this beer out, and I hope Bruery can bottle it soon. This is an emerging style (not really Pilsner) and the Humulus Lager could very well be the benchmark.

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Photo of MisterClean
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Bistro IPA Festival

A - Pours copper-gold with a 2 fingered white head. Dissipates slow and leaves beautiful lacing.

S - Honey, grass, light caramel and bittering hops.

T - Honey, grassy hops, and bittering hops.

M - Full-bodied, hop dominated and dry. No presence of alcohol.

D - Great beer overall.

Serving type: on-tap

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Photo of mjl21
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Toronado. Poured into a pint glass. No abv info given.

A-Pours a hazy orangish yellow with a nice almost white head that has some great retention. Leaves a decent amount of lace.

S-Just tons of fresh citrus hops. If I were given this I would think it was an IPA due to how citrusy it smells. There is lots of orange and grapefruit and some dankness.

T-It tastes a lot like it smells. Lots of grapefcruit upfront. The orange hits more in the middle and back of the mouth. It is quite crisp. My mouth was left with a pretty high level of grapefruit bitterness.

M-Lower end of the medium spectrum. Crisp and very refreshing.

D-A really great beer that goes down easily.

This stuff should be bottled immediately. It has the great hop profile of an IPA but has the smooth lager bill that makes it so drinkable.

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Photo of GJ40
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at the Toronado in San Diego.

A - Golden and hazy with and a small white head. Not much lacing.

S - A very unique hop aroma that included a burst of spearmint along with some floral and citrusy scents.

T - Floral and citrusy hop flavors with a crisp, dry finish. There's a little spearmint in the flavor as well but not as much as in the aroma. There's not much bitterness though there's a tinge in the finish.

M - Creamy with a nice low carbonation.

D - I'm really glad I happened across this unique and flavorful beer.

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Photo of DougE
4.42/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured great, tons of head and nice cloudy golden coloring and nice sediment.
Smelled extremely hoppy but must have been lots of finishing hops in the kettle because the bitterness was not as strong as I expected.
Mouthfeel was good but, a tAD hot with alcohol. I could feel it in my throat quite a bit.
The burp was amazingly floral!
I would drink this one again.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.59/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap the the source itself, on to the beer:

Bright hearthy orange appearance, with a head that holds well initially. If you're a hophead, you'll love the aroma. It is bursting with fresh, oily hops and a crackery dry malt. The taste, indeed, is hoppy delight, but again balanced out by dry crackery malt. It doesn't seem "lager like", but does it really matter? Goes down without a hitch...no overbearing hop bitterness in this one.

The Bruery demonstates with this beer than not only can they make outstanding tasting beers with oddball adjuncts like basil and yams, but they can also jam those hops into a strong lager. Think Sculpin IPA and you're all set.

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Photo of EliottJW
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a really great looking beer right from the pour. My pour was a touch vigorous as it was the first poured from the growler, but it looked awesome. pale yellow with some fine sediment swirling around. it also had a nice, thick and tight head that stuck around forever. the lacing was nice and thick and stayed put with every sip I took.

the nose in this beer is pretty ridiculous. TONS of crisp hops... really, really floral. reminds me of dupont foret minus the belgian yeast. I'm really expecting an extremely bitter beer from the smell of it.

ended up being not nearly as hoppy as I expected in that it's extremely well balanced. some of this beer's bready sweetness really helps to balance out the HUGE hops I was expecting.

This beer is perfectly carbonated, and while it's a bit heavier than I would have expected, it still drinks extremely smooth.

I would have scored it higher on drinkability, but I have to admit that my mouth is a bit confused. flavor and mouthfeel would have you believe that this beer is much higher in alcohol content than it actually is. I think even if it's at a sessionable abv, my mouth would call for a halt after 1 or 2.

really though, this is a great beer. I'd absolutely recommend it if you want something new.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.89/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Cloudy golden color with a nice fluffy white head, good carbonation.

S: A great combination of pine and grapefruit, a bit floral as well (seems to be the case with all Bruery beers, however).

T: An excellent crisp bitterness, like the nose, lots of pine and citrus are immediately present. Not much malt character, which is very well suited for this beer (I think, anyway).

M: Medium body, very plentiful carbonation as well.

D: For as hoppy and apparently high in ABV as this is, you could certainly drink a lot of this (which is why I got my growler filled with it).

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at The Bruery, 3 different wet hops - Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook,

A: Pours a light amber with a soft off-white head.

S: Fragant, floral notes of hops in all 3, light amber malt.

T: All 3 had clean toasted bread notes. The Cascade brought a very floral, herbal flavour, Asian spice and thyme. The Centennial brought a lot of pine and cedar bark. The Chinook was very grassy/hay-like.

M: Smooth, resiny, medium-bodied, no ethanol heat.

D: Nice to try 3 different casks of this, to taste each hop on its own, still want to try the regular on-tap version, haven't gotten to as of yet.

Edit 7/2/10 - Finally got to try the regular version. Nose is fragrant and is filled with pot and skunk (the animal, not the green bottle Euro lager smell), dank Summit hop heaven, loved it. Taste brings more pot, the Citra comes out and adds an interesting tangerine and lemon play. Really good flavours. Upping the smell score, everything else is staying the same as of now.

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Photo of juhl31
4.04/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

-not quite a golden yellow with some cloudiness. really scattered lacing

-smell is nice. smells like a DIPA. solid hops, some foot. crazy for a pils though

-not as much hops in the mouth which is good based on the style. a little soapy to me. good taste though

-little oily

-solid. if i had to make a list of pilsners to keep around, this would be one

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Humulus Lager from The Bruery
95 out of 100 based on 151 ratings.