XHOPS Pale Ale (Blue Label) | Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

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XHOPS Pale Ale (Blue Label)XHOPS Pale Ale (Blue Label)

Brewed by:
Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
Iowa, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Deep in the labs at Toppling Goliath, through the vaulted door, down the steps, and past the room labeled “Beware the Leopard” lies a series of experiments long forgotten. The Xhops series - a biological hybrid of many experimental hops. Each color a unique flavor of pale ale. Released throughout 2013 and 2014, this beer begs to make a return, but can you handle it?

Added by HawkeyeNation on 01-09-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 15 | Ratings: 93
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.01/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

one of the best emerging breweries in the country, and this series of beer is a great testament to that. blue is a unique pale ale, strange dried orange and cake-like hop complexion over a really solid ambery base beer with a touch of pleasant residual sugar, mild american yeast, and a well carbonated full bodied palate. its a real beauty, and just like its supposed to, the hops are at the forefront. unique desserty hop character, nothing ive ever had before. its fresh and resinous, but smells almost like mosaic with that tropical fruit element. i could see this used both as a late kettle and a dry hop when and if it ever becomes known and commercially available what the varietal is. more interesting and weird in a good way than some of the other xhops beers. a very cool project being done quite well. i hope we get more information on these before long! score this one if you can

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Photo of darthvohn
3.52/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Glass Used: Nonic pint

Appearance: A bit of a hazy honey orange with a thick creamy thumb thick head.

Smell: Light citrus & mild fruitiness with a backend of onion-garlic robustness.

Taste: Big garlic up front with a mid hop presence, ending with a hot onion finish. Not digging this one.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. The after taste is hot and heavy like when you crunch a fresh white onion.

Overall: My least favorite of the XHOPS. I didn't dig the big allium flavors on the nose and palate.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Clear orange body. Small white head. A little bit of surface wisping.

Smell - Kinda like simcoe. Grapefruit with that garlicky aroma. Not as intense as simcoe, though.

Taste - More orangey here, especially up front. A little bit grainy. Resiny in the back, but it's minimal. The dank-ish simcoe flavor is gone here.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Slight astringency in the back. Minimal bitterness.

Overall - I like this slightly better than Orange. Not an enormous difference, side by side I can make a distinction.

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Photo of cpolking
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours the color of a moist dried apricot, and a bit hazy. There is a short half-inch of off-white foam, this beer wasn’t real eager to get a big head on it.

The aroma is passion fruit, mingling and merging into spruce-like pine. Vinous notes of sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio spin off of it.

The taste makes the same progressions as the aromas, with the passion fruit, pine and white wine. When the pine and white wine merge, it is almost like the beer version of a very light Greek retsina. There is a bit of earthy, musky hop in the background, the only part of this reminiscent of the always loved pseudoSue. There is enough malt to hold up all of this hoppy goodness, but it is only the frame, it stays covered and lets the hops do their magic.

It is lightly carbonated, relatively, but still gives a tingle. The finish is lightly to moderately bitter, especially when taking into account how much hop flavor is happening.

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Photo of s_wit
3.96/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very hazy light orange color, half-full finger of head, decent lacing

S - Smell is grapefruit, citrus fruit-like... A little Citra-like but not as good.

T - Taste is grapefruit, citrus, flavor with a subtle, dry, earthy finish. Decently smooth and pleasant finish. I kind of like the harshness of the other ones more.

M - Mouthfeel is medium light, good carbonation, somewhat dry.

O - Reminds me of PsuedoSue a little, but a smoother finish. Not bad overall, my 2nd favorite XHops so far.

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Photo of mendvicdog
4.11/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

We did the blue, red, green, and yellow xhops side by side last Wednesday.

All these xhops have a similar light straw golden color.

Smells like a centennial simcoe mix. Dank and mild tropical fruit.

Smooth creamy mouthfeel.

Somewhat harsh cloying finish. The worst part. Really sticks with you. The taste does not live up to the smell sadly.

I did a little blending and really like this blended with the red.

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Photo of Stevedore
2.84/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bomber, generously given to me by bpfrush- otherwise I'd have missed out completely. Thanks Brian! Poured into a gold TG snifter today, 1/21/2014.

App- slightly hazy copper body, one finger white head, not much retention, good lacing.

Smell- A decent bit of a combination of grapefruit, mango, pineapple, tart fruit sweetness. A little bit of caramel but certainly showcases the hops here. Strangely there is a bit of rubber here.

Flavour- terrible. Not much hop flavour at all. Slight tart fruitiness followed by a resinous bitter that is pine-like (but not quite pine). A little caramel, bread.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, decent carbonation, nothing special. Bitterness quotient is very high here.

Overall: Whatever hop this is, ought to be used as more of a bittering hop rather than for actual flavour/aroma. Otherwise, a single hop pale ale showcasing this is well... just not good. Drainpouring this.

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Photo of maximum12
2.34/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pour is a fairly light but almost opaque orange; I can barely see the digits I'm waving behind it beyond their faint shadows. Carbonation is very low. Aroma comes out of the bottle at light speed with a cornucopia of tropical fruits: I can almost see a palm tree outside in the snowbanks. Swirling brings papaya, melon, pineapple. Whatever malts were used are buried & lost.

XHops Pale Ale (Blue Label) crashes & burns after the fine nose. The lovely St. Kitts breezes are overtaken by a shield-clash of pale maltiness, stale crackers, damp earth (really not fond of that component) & an unappealing pile of veggies from the compost pile. That last sticks around. Dry, dry, dry, for what it's worth.

Really looking forward to this one, but honestly? It's terrible. How a nose that appealing can morph into beer that tastes like Vegetables Gone Bad is something I completely did not see coming. Verdict: drain-pour.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.79/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this along side XHOPS yellow. As far as a comparison goes, both this and the yellow label looked a lot like PseudoSue. I think Toppling Goliath must have a very similar malt bill for many of their pale ales as a lot of them look the same.

Blue Label has a citrusy, piney smell with a taste that is very similar. I had a hard time deciding if the aftertaste was watery or smooth but either way, it was less bitter on the finish than yellow label. Not a bad brew but certainly not up to the level of PseudoSue or Sosus.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.43/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep golden orange color. Very clear, with thin white foam. All hops in the nose, with a fruity, citrus, pineapple-like dominance.

The taste has a burst of bright fruity hops and a nectary sweetness. It seems like the ABV might be kind of high on this, considering it's a pale ale. This hop variety is very lacking in any grassy or piney quality -it is all floral, citrus, tropical-like fruits. Decent bitterness in the finish but it doesn't linger too heavily. I am quite fond of this beer as the intensity is nice and more on the level of IPA, borderline DIPA. Mouthfeel is clean, not too thin, and carbonation is very appropriate.

I was very pleased to try this beer from Toppling Goliath. I'm surprised the ratings aren't higher, honestly. Perhaps even more uniqueness was expected from this experimental hop variety, but regardless it was damn tasty.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
2.35/5  rDev -36%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Pours a hazy peach, half finger of off white head

Smell is the least intense TG beer I have ever had, spicy hop, herbal, melons, garlic, tropical, really do not get a lot of malt but the hop I do get is a little weird

Taste is well just not good IMO, big dankness (which does not work in a beer of this strengh IMO), rotten tropical fruits and melons, strange aftertaste, (wife said it tasted like weird coconut), finishes with a flavor in the throat that I just can not get rid of, just taste like something is rotting

Mouthfeel is medium, average carbonation, not very dry, finishes with the odd flavor.

Did not like this hop, may not have reviewed the beer if it was not for the point of this experiment to get feedback.

Could see it working in Belgian styles, Saisons in particular, maybe in combination... But I still would prefer not as it just does not taste good to me. I hated drain pouring 18ozs of beer, but had no one to share with and just flat out hated the flavor.

Loved the other 3 Xhops but hated this one.

Do not get me wrong this is no knock on Toppling Goliath (other then that I hated that I had a bomber I had to dump) There beer is great! This hop.... Not so much.

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Photo of Ri0
4.21/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured 22oz bottle into snifter. This was bottled about a week ago.

A - Amber/orange with a slight haze and thin 1 finger white head. Thin ring and some spotty lacing.

S - This has a big papaya and melon scent with a bit of pineapple and floral hops. Hard to detect the malt in here.

T - Mostly papaya, melon, and pineapple. There are notes of floral hops and some bitterness on the finish. The malts are cracker, light and subdued. It starts with a nice tropical and melon sweetness that builds into a mild bitterness on the finish.

M - Same as all TG APAs. Excellent carbonation, light bodied, and smooth.

O - Another nice experimental hop used in this beer. I have one more to try (yellow) but think that all of the XHOPS have been delicious. Keep in mind these are single hopped with the same other ingredients.

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Photo of BottleCaps80
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head IPA glass.

Appearance: pours a dark orange to light amber in color. Minimal head, but what head is there is white and foamy. Nice stringy lacing gown the entire length of the glass.

Aroma: the aroma is more faint than other than the other XHops beers, but what I am picking up is very tropical - like pineapple/mango juice.

Taste: I get mango and melon notes, but like the aroma, this beer seems to be more subdued in taste compared to the other XHops. This one is certainly not as bitter and has a bit of sweetness to it not found in the others.

Mouthfeel: a very creamy, delicate and soft mouth on this one. Very well carbonated.

Overall: this beer was the most subtle of the 4 XHops I've had so far, but that isn't a and thing. This hop would blend well with other varieties, but may not be the best in the dry-hopping phase, due to muted aroma. Overall, Nice job as always, TG.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served in a snifter.

Thin and soapy white foam caps the sunny orange pulp body, it is a good looking beer.

The nose is faint. A sweet bready malt impression creeps out, with something vegetal, almost like leeks. Yeah, that is about it, a little dank.

The palate progresses with sweet citrus, picking up the onion-y and dank feel near the finish. The tropical fruit backs off with subsequential drinks: some papaya and tangerine flash before a peppery spice and dank bite take over. The finish has a medium amount of resin bitterness.
A cracker - like maltiness also comes out after a flavor shift, mostly in the finish.

This Xhops varietal had a crisp finish with a lasting bubbly tingliness on the tongue, creamy and slightly watery.

The Blue is not a brash and bold type of flavor hop, more subtle and nuanced, with a slightly tropical and very dank and herbal touch. Bitterness also decides to play it more low key, just enough to really let the drinker focus more on the delicate flavors. It is good, but how many out there are going to want a more nuanced than "in your face" TG brew?

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Photo of lunarbrew
3.89/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The blue label pours hazy orange with less head retention and a darker color than some of the others xhops offerings. Definitely compared with the yellow, which was certainly lighter.

The scent is pretty unique, but doesn't seem to last long after the pour. A lot of the intricate tones dissipate fast. This hop is earthy, piney, and a tad soapy. The smell is not void of fruits, but I can't distinguish one in particular. If any fruit comes to mind, I'd say pineapple. It's not a huge smell, and I notice the sweetness (malt) aspect of the beer, which tells me the hops are pretty reserved--either in quantity or quality.

I actually get a maltiness on the front end. This is not a big hop, but it certainly would contribute to the complexity of a beer. There is a fair amount of bitterness, especially on the backend. The character of the hop's flavor falls in line with the smell. I would say that the brightness of the hop comes out more in the flavor than smell. It has a unique quality to it (that "soapiness"), which would complement some styles nicely.

Mouthfeel is hindered a bit by the long-lasting resiny flavor on the backend. Overall, I'd say the beer is a tad undercarbonated. Usually Toppling nails MF, but this falls short for me.

Overall, this is one of the least impressive xhops. I like the hop, it's fun to drink, but I don't think I'd put it in a pale ale--especially in a single hop version. This could play nicely in a saison, or possibly as a dry hop element in some beers. I could also see this working in some English styles, like an ESB or barleywine. It'll be interesting to see how others perceive this.

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XHOPS Pale Ale (Blue Label) from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
3.67 out of 5 based on 93 ratings.
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