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XS Ale | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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XS AleXS Ale
Very Good
25 Ratings
XS AleXS Ale

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by watermelonman on 05-17-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 25 |  Reviews: 25
Reviews by mickeymac:
Photo of mickeymac
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the usual Lagunitas brown bomber, it pours amber with an off-white head that diminishes quickly, leaving just a trace of lace. The smell is malt sweetness with a fairly potent noseful of hops. At first, the taste had an annoying metallic quality that really detracted from the taste. However, it seemed to disappear about 1/3 of the way through the bottle, with a really nice malt backbone bouncing nicely off the hops. Sticking with this one was a good choice.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Nice, neutral brown in color with a good-sized head.

Smell – Toasted malts carry the day here at the nose. They have a hint of sugary sweetness to them as well. I can also pick up what seems like a small, bitter hop balance, but I’m not sure.

Taste – Yes, there’s definitely a bitter balance to this toasty malt delight. The sugars almost have that well-defined sweetness that you find in powdered sugar. Whatever it is, it isn’t over-the-top. The bitter endivish flavor keeps it in check, anyway.

Mouthfeel – Very lightly carbonated and medium-bodied, this one is very well-blended and balanced. There’s a slight alcohol sting that indicates a higher ABV than the 6.9% rating. Also, the bitterness seemed too competitive with the sweetness, otherwise this is a fine ale.

Drinkability – A moderate, measured strong ale from Lagunitas? You better believe it. This is very easy-going considering the style.

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Photo of watermelonman
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This poured to a relatively dark amber and brown color with a good head. It's leaving a nice lace behind as well.

The hops are pretty potent in there. The mouthfeel stays pretty light but the hop content comes out in this department as well. Drinkability is definitely negatively impacted by this as well.

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Photo of Gusler
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah you got to love those most excellent people at Lagunitas, who love to be a bit political incorrect or poke a bit of fun at the latest ID10T fad, my hat’s off to them.

The beer after separating from the 22 ounce brown bottle sets in the glass deep amber to copper color, the head is majestic in size, semi-creamy in texture and a toothsome light tan as it slowly evanesces, the lace forms a thick and clinging sheet upon the glass. Nose is sweet malt with a bit of hops, and also a bit of butterscotch, start is sweet and decently malted, the top is moderate in its feel. Finish is pungently acidic, the hops delightful in their spicy bite.

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Photo of Zorro
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear orange brown brew.

Smell is malt and spice and a flowers and citrus hop scent.

Taste is very full and flavorful. Solid malt hits your tastebuds first and then a grain backbone that melts into fruitiness and ends with a solid but not harsh hop finish.

Very full Mouthfeel.

Got to love the label "100% Fad Diet Free." Haven't found a Lagunitas brew I have not liked, and this one is no exception. This is a damn fine beer what makes it standout is how well all the different tastes and textures mix together.

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Photo of gbontrag
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color of unfiltered wildflower honey. Fleeced.
I taste brioche with orange zest. Sharp green tea. Cuervo gold. Love this! It isn't huge, isn't over-the-top, but it is deliciously full flavored. Very hoppy, but not bitter. Great mouthfeel; rich sweetness provides the stage for a troupe of green, hop-flavored tumblers. Don't hesitate to buy more then one of these, or to take a few bottles to your next potluck.

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Photo of Mark
4.36/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have not always enjoyed some of Lagunitas Brewing Co's seasonal or special edition brews, but this was another story. This baby poured a deep amber brown that had an unfiltered look. the head which was tan in color retained quite well and lacing was thick, sheeted, and in rings as well. A visual delight. Caramel malt aroma was followed by a taste profile that was very smooth,malty, and with piney hop notes. I liked this beer a lot and am a bit sad I didn't buy more of it when it was around. I kind of forgot about it in my fridge. Very nice beer.

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Photo of cncbofh
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured with an ivory white 1-inch head that quickly dissipated.
The color was a brownish peach and was unexpected... I was thinking something a little lighter.

Smell of cloves and peppercorn and fruity banana.

It has a perfect amount of hops that combine perfectly with pine and earthy flavors. It has a cloying fruity flavor that mellows everything out to perfection. I really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

OK latest beer from Lagunitas to appear at my local store. Comes in the usual 22 oz brown bomber "Non- Compliant" says so on the label..like this already!
Quite a nice looking dark amber almost browm coloured ale..good sized frothy off white head.
Very malty aroma, but with a slight spicy hop background.
The taste is manilly smooth semi-sweet maltiness..then near the end it breaks up and the bitterness shows through and continues well into the after taste..there is a slight alcohol warming in the belly ( seems more than 6.9%).
Very smooth on the palate then semi dry finish with great aftertaste.
Nice drinkable ale from Lagunitas they have yet to let me down.

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Photo of beerceller99
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle pours a reddish brown hue with a one finger head; decent lace. Big floral, perfumy hop smell. Taste is a mild butter scotch sweetness quickly followed by a nice tart grapefruity bitterness to finish. Medium bodied with a smooth mouthfeel.

A good pale ale.

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Photo of sinistersteve
4.16/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep dark amber in color. Thick head topped off the pour. Lace decorated the pint glass. The more I drank, the greater the glass was decorated.

Flavor was bold....powerful....delicious...outstanding....one-thumb up. (I'd raise the second, but I don't want to drop my beer).

Aroma is very inviting.

Excellent beverage from Lagunitas. This one is on my must-buy-again list.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.16/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 ounce ‘Bomber’ with a single high quality thick parchment paper type cream colored label proudly pronounces the contents with a very large label filling black ink ‘XS’ below the Lagunitas logo. Underneath it is listed as ‘Extra Special Ale’. Thankfully the folks at Lagunitas have not yet got into Lite Beers. For the top part of the label has the words “Non-Compliant” in a thin red rectangle, whilst at the bottom of the label it describes the beer as “Guaranteed Fad-Diet Free!” Like it!

Specifications neatly included (& very much appreciated) on the front label, these are; I.B.U. 44.62, O.G. 1.075, ALC. 6.9% ABV. It also proudly states that it is “Doggone Good!” The usual Lagunitas rambling diatribe monologue bedecks the right hand side of the label.

Appearance: Dark chestnut to amber body that has a massive tan colored deep creamy head which laces the glass walls exceptionally well. This looks fantastic in an Imperial straight sided handled Mug. The head wrestles the beer and a swirl unearths some hidden dissolved carbonation. It’s a drinking beer is this one and the look is that of a great ESB or Premium Yorkshire Bitter.

Nose: Hmmm, lots of toasty malts, the aroma is thick with malts of all kinds and a light roasted chestnut odor with some grain. It smells very inviting indeed.

Taste: Starts with a delicate sweet malt entrance that travels to the middle with ease but starts to loose the sweet aspect quickly in the first third as the bitterness (as opposed to hoppiness) starts to shine through. The ending is classic ‘Extra Special Ale’ bitterness, malty and dry with a tasty coating of the mouth. Once swallowed this has a very astringent malty finish. Very English in character, and light in the hop department, but exceptionally well-balanced for a malty Special Ale.

Mouthfeel: Solid, the malts add a lot of backbone to this beverage. Heavily biased towards malts, yet it has a bitterness that balances the profile.

Drinkability: I only got one of these, damn. The bottled was finished long before I got to this part of my Review. I’m going back to the store for more of this tomorrow. Dangerously drinkable for a 6.9% beer!!

Overall: Picked up yesterday at the local Wine Country in Long Beach for $2.99, and rather a bargain to boot I may add. I have had mixed success with the Lagunitas “specials” in the past, but this one is a winner for me. Fans of malty English Bitter Ales should pick up several of these up if you see them! Very Nice.

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Photo of beertaster13
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber brown with orange highlights, the head is off white and delicious, hop particles and yeast will float in the glass. The smell is strong of pine hops, a lsight citrus smell, a large contingent of spice to the aroma, hints of nutmeg and cinnamon, very good. Caramel and toffee chunks also linger. The taste is a strong sweet caramel and spice followed by a thunder of pine hops, very robust and full, a perfect cool day treat.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.2/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

When poured it was dark amber in color with hardly any foam at all. The smell was of mild hops and some, but very little of a citrus aroma. The flavor was kind of blah. It had a medium hoppy flavor with a very little citrus taste. The mildness mixed with a little sweetness was sort of well balanced, but, the flavor just didn't do anything for me. I can't put my finger on it, but, this ale just dosen't push any of my buttons. Sorry.

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

Appearance: Deep clear bourbon copper with a thick, creamy, relatively short-lived head. Fine, moderate carbonation.Thick lacing on glasswall.

Smell: Good; no more, no less. Booming citrus/pine resin hops over a backbone of toasted malt, with a bit of whisky alcohol.

Taste: Again, good. Strong West Coast hop flavor with orange rind, pine oil and a juicy orange citrus flavor over hints of caramel malt. Mouthfeel is medium-ish with crisp carbonation and coating hop oils. A bit spicy into the finish.

Drinkability: Good; it's a solid, nicely balanced and not too heavy or boozy. You could session this one, with a bit of self-control.

While I'm not entirely sure why this isn't an IPA, it's a good hoppy West Coast beer. It's not breaking any new ground, but not every beer has to be a stunner. Simple, solid session suds. Yeah.

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Photo of rkhaze
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper color with a medium foamy light beige head. Had great retention and left nice sticky lace.
Smells of citrusy hops, sweet malt and some fruit.
Pungent bittersweet flavor. Big grapefruit/floral hops upfront segue into the sweet malt, caramel, fruit and a hint of nuts. Finishes dry and bitter. It seemed way out of balance. The bitter and sweet flavors were strong, yet each part was doing its own thing.
Medium bodied with a creamy, slightly oily mouthfeel that was lightened a bit by the good carbonation. Excellent.
The lack of balance hurt the drinkibility for me.
This reminded me a bit of a lighter version of their Brown Shugga albeit a less integrated one.

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Photo of clvand0
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle. This pours an amber color with a tall head and decent retention and leaves a lot of lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma has a touch of honey and a caramel sweetness with a subdued hop presence. The flavor is very smooth and has a caramel sweetness. Small hop presence, very drinkable. Reasonably thick body.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lagunitas XS Ale was served from a 22 oz. bomber. In a pint glass, the beer was a clear reddish-amber hue, and was topped by a creamy sticky off-white head that left excellent lacing. The nose emitted a nice resinaceous hop bouquet that was accompanied by a crisp and firm citric maltiness. On the palate, a moderately bitter, lightly honey-sweet, citric peel malt base opens up with a pronounced limey bitterness that hung on to the zesty grapefruit finish. Assorted juicy citrus notes and some candy sweetness lingered. The body initially was pleasantly creamy and robust, but gained some chalky astringency towards the finish. XS was a solid and tasty hop-centric ale...but was fairly ordinary among its west coast peers.

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Photo of freed
4.16/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I ordered this one since it was listed as a seasonal tap. That was all that I knew about it from the beer list. It arrived after some delay, but was a gorgeous deep red beer with a very bright white cap of foam. The clarity was good, and the red was just stunning.

The aroma was a rather simple mix of floral hops and a kiss of malt sweetness, so I pressed on for a sip. The first sip was great and it progressed to terrific as it warmed. The malt flavors are very rich, mixing a milt malt sweetness with more substantial and complex malt additions, including mild chocolate flavors and even a husky chew. The hops created a very bright introduction and enough bitterness to make it a generous beer. It compliments my simple sandwich well, and leaves no residual sweetness like many ambers do.

I'm quite pleased with this, and was somewhat surprised to find that it was an amber, though the color shouted it.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.37/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An anti Atkins beer indeed, this brew is a bruiser with the potential to be Lagunitas's answer to Arrogant Bastard. The colour is caramel with a huge pillowy head to lay your fat crazing cells on and soak up the hops. Oh yeah, the hops are in the nose and most definetely in the taste. There is a malty backbone that is a signature of all Lagunitas beers but this a well made hop monster that demands your attention

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a pretty ambered brown color with 2 fingers of head that fall to coat the beer very well. The nose is interesting. Very sweet caramel, a hint of raisiney dark fruit, touched with honey sweetness, overlayed with a light coating of hop. Wow. The flavor is really nice caramel and honey sweetness. A hop finds its way in at the finish, just enough to let me know it is there. I dig this beer. The feel is fairly thick, amlost a touch syrupy, not creamy at all. The flavors balance very well and the sweetness. I like it.

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Photo of Crosling
3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dusty Gold. Toasted and caramel like malts in the nose along with a nice aromatic hop presense as well (grass, pine.) Equally balanced between malt (bread, cookies, caramel) and spicy hops (apricots, flowers). The finish is fairly sweet. Nonetheless, a tasty beer from Lagunitas.

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Photo of rkuhnel
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Dark orange with long lasting head. Like all the other offerings from Lagunitas I have tried, somehow the overall result is larger than the sum of the parts. I think it is due to good balance. Multiple flavors combine to make this an intriguing drink, and the last sip is as good as the first.
I tried another bottle (22 oz) and decided I like it even better than last time.

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.52/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This one really did it for me. Pure bliss. Starts with a slightly clouded dull amber color and a compact eggshell head. The aroma is abundant and initially malty and plum-like. But as the beer drew downwards, the smell shifted to that of crisp hops. What a strange oscillation. Was that the beer or me?

The taste was initially more bitter than I was anticipating. The malt profile is strong. It is well established, fruity and artful. But it is soon punched soundly by an icy fist of bitterness that compresses towards a sharp terminus. Lagunitas XS Ale balances like a seesaw on a battleship.

I really enjoyed this one. It has sustained head retention and a lot of character.

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Photo of Teke0611
1.24/5  rDev -68.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

To clarify the ratings, understand that this was a bottle that was a few years old. But, it was kept in a safe cellar after purchased.

A- It looked okay, but not much carbonation was really left. The bottom of the cap had a significant 'rust' buildup.
S- Just reaked of oxidation. Smelled like a bad beer. I had some hopes for this one, even after seeing the cap (I recently had a 9+ year old Hog Heaven - the 12oz size - with similar cap issues that was still good).
T- Drain pour. A buddy attempted to have another go at it, and spit it out. Super metallic.
M- Couldnt get much past the spit reaction
D- Definitely not. See above.

All that being said, I would like to try one that's a bit newer, but there are very few Lagunitas bombers that are sold in Colorado. Imperial Stout, anyone?? Bring it here!!

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XS Ale from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 25 ratings
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