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Humulus Lager | The Bruery

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Brewed by:
The Bruery
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Pilsner

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
India Pale Lager, but closer to Imperial Pilsner than IPA, according to the brewery.

Added by vacax on 08-02-2009

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Reviews: 157 | Ratings: 1,013
Photo of Klym
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a nice foamy head with a beautiful golden body. Tons of tamed but strong hops in the nose. The taste of this is about as good as a 'lager' can get. You get a nice malty lager background and the hops just come up so nicely in the front, showing off their might but never applying any painful force on your tastebuds. This beer is a work of art and an honor to drink.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Map Room served in a tulip.

A- pours gold with a 2" thick white head. Huge rings of lacing that coat the glass.

S-bread, honey, lemon, citrus rind

T- pale malts, light honey, bitter citrus, some sourdough.

M- medium body and carbonation. Very creamy feel.

O- excellent pilsner and I am not a fan of pils but would drink this.

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Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is no lager, it taste like a premier West Coast IPA. Shows was SoCal can do right, an IPA full of flavor without holding back. Would be an easy go to beer if available.

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Photo of beagle75
4.49/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft service into a shaker pint glass at Beachwood BBQ.

A: Clear, medium golden color with over one finger of white foam head. Moderate lacing remains on the glass.

S: Powerful juicy grapefruit citrus fills the nose. Additional floral and lesser tropical fruit notes round out the intensely hoppy scent.

T: Begins dry, with juicy grapefruit flesh and moderate citric acidity that matches the smell exactly. The middle sees a gradual tapering-off of the hop aromatics, with whiffs of lemon and melon developing then vanishing. Malt is never able to emerge and distinguish itself amongst the swirl of hop qualities. The finish is moderately bitter but very clean, with fairly intense grapefruit peel still representing the hops component.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, wet and acidic--but not uncomfortably so--on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: Unlike most of the amped-up American-brewed pilsners that come and go, The Bruery's Humulus Lager chooses to turn its back on the traditional noble cultivars of hops in favor of our own pungent kinds. The result is nothing short of amazing, with very focused citrusy hops on point from start to finish. It turns out that the pale lager base is a great vehicle for showcasing such qualities, which is what the enthusiasts of traditional, full-flavored pilsners have been telling the rest of the beer world all along.

As an aside, I had the opportunity to try Alpine's new imperial pilsner the last time I traveled to their pub, and while a good beer, it was not able to approach the seamless intensity of this beer. This beer smells and tastes like it was brewed by Alpine, such is the mastery over the hops demonstrated here.

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

On-tap at The Bruery during their 4th of July weekend festivities. Tasted on 7/2, review from notes.

a - pours a bright golden color with a one-inch white head, great retention and lacing, fairly hazy

s - mostly citrus in the aroma, lots of grapefruit and lemon, some biscuity grain and light pine notes as well

t - big grapefruit, orange and lemon blast up front with the midpalate having a bit of the biscuity malt coming in to balance out the hops a bit, some lingering hop and pine resin on the finish along with a light maltiness, very crisp and clean tasting, alcohol is very well hidden

m - medium-bodied with slightly higher carbonation, very crisp in the mouth, dry finish, not much alcohol warming

d - incredibly drinkable stuff for being 7.2%, refreshing and it doesn't wear on the palate, flavors are interesting enough and the malt backbone lends some depth to the hops

Very, very good stuff - probably my favorite beer from The Bruery. I was glad to get to try this fresh at the brewery after it was a standout for me at last year's Bistro IPA Festival. It would be great to see them bottle this stuff in the future.

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

Scored a growler a little early before heading over to Beachwood BBQ's sour fest, seriously, big thanks to the Bruery for hooking me up, they really cater to beer nerds like myself.

Anyways, yellow lager color, a little more dark gold than BMC stuff. Big hoppy aroma, just like you want it with something named humulus. Big dry hopping.

Taste, almost perfect, I think I like humulus session or xpa a little more, the yeast seems to just not be the same fit as an ale, but it could just be such a foreign concept to have a lager this well hopped. Have to have more to determine with greater certainty, either way, its still very good. Hides alcohol very well, a Bruery tradition. If you like the fruity yeast presence from lagers and are a hophead, this might be right up your alley.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Pony Bar UES. Served in a 8oz. pint glass. Reviewed from notes.

.5 finger foamy white head with moderate retention. Beer is a slightly cloudy goldenrod. Lacing is web-like with good stick. Real solid.

Nose is citrus, tree sap, grapefruit and other tropical fruit hop bitterness. Aromatic. Real appetizing.

Opens citrus, cane sugar, grapefruit, papaya, passion fruit. Very fruit forward with a big malt presence. More tree sap hop bitterness balanced with cane sugar in the middle. End is citrus with a sweet papaya and tropical fruit aftertaste. Probably the most complex and enjoyably hoppy pilsner I've ever come across.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation. Crisp and light in the mouth and goes down quenching. Real drinkable and the 7.2% is barely there. Finishes sticky with a dry aftertaste. Very nice.

Hands down the best pilsner I've ever had. The ABVs are hidden very well and the beer drinks like a balanced, tropical ipa. Definitely worth the praise.

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

392nd review on BA
draft to tall pint

App- This was a very hazy orange/yellow with a one finger head that was pretty quick to recede. A little scattered cling.

Smell- Okay, so I know what the Bruery said they would never do and this is pretty close to being the end all smelling beer of that style. This was hoppy, yeasty, citrusy all at the same time. Amazing smells on this one.

Taste- Taste follows the nose. I was blown away at the freshness levels and how crisp this was. Outrageously good. The hops are juicy and the citrus is bold and restrained all at the same time. I looked at GuruDel who I was there with and said, "This is good"

Mouth- It was medium bodied with a medium carb level but mostly it was wet, lush and just left a great citrus/hop after taste.

Drink- I could pound this all day long. It has great well balanced flavors. Juicy, crisp, strong, soft. I have a crush on a beer. Damn, though those were just myths.

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

On draft. 4 ounce pour in mini-snifter.
Appearance: Golden and clear with a thin cap of foam.
Smell: Citrus and mint. Very inviting.
Taste: So clean and dry. A very pleasant bitter aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Clean and crisp. Very refreshing.
Overall: Amazing beer. I could drink a pile of it. Perfect for the hot day that it was.

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

Pours a clear, bright golden color with a large, white head that hangs around for a bit. Scent is very hoppy for a beer that labels itself as a lager. Tons of citrus and pine. Taste is extremely piney... drinks a lot like an IPA (don't really have the palate to say what is an ale and what is a lager). There is a ton of fresh hop flavor...absolutely delicious. Nice and bitter! Mouthfeel is medium bodied and well carbonated. Drinkability is very high. Overall, this is my first encounter with this lager. Maybe after I have it a bunch of times, I will be able to distinguish why this is not a hoppy pale ale or an IPA. All I know is that it was yummy as shit.

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Photo of SirBentham
4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Gold, slightly hazey with a thick head.

S: Citrus, hops and yeast.

T: Slightly bitter with a lot of citrus and pine jumping out. Long and smooth aftertaster

M: Moderately carbonated. You notice the lager here a bit more than your standard IPA.

O: I'm now obsessed with IPL's. This gets the slight edge over Ballast Point's Fathom.
Highly recommended.

Edit - it's so important to drink this fresh. I just had one from another restaurant 6 weeks later, from the same batch and the difference was huge.

Edit #2 - The batch that was out in April was better than the current batch available now.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at The Sixgill

A: Pours a slightly hazy orange color with a 1/2 finger white head on top. While small, the foamy head had great retention and left nice rings of lace.

S: Not has hop forward as I expected, but very nice. Some light citrus with a bit of graham cracker malt underneath.

T: Nice and hoppy, with more citrus fruit, a bit of orange and grapefruit with faint bitterness. Some light sweet graham cracker malt with a bit of the lager yeast coming through as well.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Finally! Been wanting to try this beer for a long time and it was great.

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Photo of joecast
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Taster at the Bruery. Nice golden medium carbonation and a fomy white head.

Incredible hop aroma. Seriously fresh and floral. Draws you in tempting you to try a sip.

And that sip is well rewarded. Big hop presence is well checked by the clean malt.

I don't have a lot of experience with impy pils but this is a big, balanced, easily drinkable beer. Well made, big hops and malt. What else do you want?

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Photo of jvillefan
4.44/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this beer on tap at Pangaea Two Brews Cafe in Sacramento.

A: The beer is a light golden yellow with a three finger white head that lingers for a long time.

S: This is one of the most pleasantly fragrant beers I have ever had. The smell of hop, citrus, and pine hit you in the face before your first sip.

T: Despite being a pilsner, this beer has a similar taste to Pliny the Elder. There is stong but not overpowering hops with a touch of pine in the aftertaste.

M: The carbonation is not a lot but is perfect for this beer. This viscosity could be a little bit more but is. Still above average.

O: Unexpectedly great for a pilsner. I highly recommend this beer.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Yellow color, a little more rich than BMC and a way better head of a full inch. More dry hopping than almost any lager I can think of. And any that compete with it came out years later.

Really nice lager/pilsner body, even solid yeast contribution, along with lots of what seems like a relatively green, vegetal hop flavor and bitterness. Amazed the alcohol is over 7%. Solid growler option on this one, probably have got this more than any other from there. Real similar to Jack's Abby. Carbonation is higher than any other Bruery beer, apropros for style. Green stuff hops, pine, onion, veggies.

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Photo of Ineedabeerhere
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks for this growler Mike! Send me more!

Pours a slightly hazed pale golden color. Great white foam forming with incredible lacing for a nearly 2 week old growler. ANd to think I had been concerned about waiting this long to open it.

Tons of grassy, floral notes, just a great hoppy nose overall. Why is this listed as a double pilsner? There is really not much pils malt flavor here in the taste? I mean it's basically an IPA.... I couldn't have told you it was a lager if you asked me. The flavor is much of the same, crisp hoppiness, a little more citrus here complimenting the grassiness of the hops. I got some grapefruit throughout the finish. Firm bitterness throughout, but completely well executed without any astringency. I had no idea this was 7.2 while I was drinking it... an awesome beer. I hope the brewery continues to brew this I.P.L.

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

The Beers of California


On-tap at Father's Office in Culver City

A: Yellow golden with a moderate white head of foam

S: Floral, pine, big citrus zest, and tropical fruit. There is also some cracker maltiness and honey sweetness.

T: Nice hop complexity which follows the nose: spring flowers, pine needles, grapefruit peel, and tropical fruit. The malt is light, crackers, bread and honey which adds a layer of sweetness. Refreshing but flavorful with building bitterness and faint warming alcohol in the finish.

M: On the lighter side with strong oily linger and supporting carbonation. Some chewiness is also there

O: A wonderful lager with diverse hop notes which is both refreshing and flavorful making for an easy drinking and enjoyable brew. Would reach for this ahead of some of the solid West Coast IPA's out there.

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

A-dark yellow wit a sticky white head

S-wow! hops and grapefruit! so strong and beautiful!

T-comes in with a very bitter taste of lager-like grains. ends with a good taste of grapefruit and grains. great, but more subtle than the smell.

M-creamy low carbonation with a semi dry finish

O-one of the best lagers i have ever had, including all pilsners. this is just great. its something i want again...and again.

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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 woosterbill
4.41/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Hopcat in Lexington, served in a Pilsner glass.

A: Clear gold body under a finger of fine white head. Good retention and lots of clinging lace. Lovely looking lager.

S: Clean, bright, but slightly subdued aroma. Hops dominate, with grassy, herbal notes in front and faint grapefruit and pine in the background. Complex, delicate, and inviting.

T: Fruitier hops at first, with lemon-lime as well as grapefruit. Things quickly get dryer and more herbal, with some distant biscuit malt offsetting the clean, crisp lager yeast on the back end. Long, bitter, grassy aftertaste. Quite tasty.

M: Medium-light body, with lively carbonation at first becoming smoother with a swish. Nice.

O: I'm on a quest to try as many #1 rated beers by style as possible, and this paragon of the Imperial Pilsner had long eluded me. It's a pleasure to try it at last, and while I prefer some of Jack's Abby's offerings it's a great brew. Cheers!

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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 emerge077
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Draft serving in a tulip glass.

Bright saturated orange, bright clarity, lasting presence of creamy white foam on the surface. Fluffy couple fingers of foam that last for awhile. Lots of lace, looks more like an IPA.

Resiny pungent hop aroma, citrus sweetness, fresh and dank.

Very smooth and easy drinking, a fistful of citrus hits first, lots of grapefruit and resiny hop oils. Moderate bitterness that sticks in the teeth, lingering long into the aftertaste. Grapefruit flesh and pith dominate, this is a deceptive lager base, as it masquerades as a dank west coast IPA. Pretty nice stuff, hope we see more of it in Chicago.

"This lil motherfucker is tasty!" - Mr. Show

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Humulus Lager from The Bruery
4.32 out of 5 based on 1,013 ratings.
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