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

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XHOPS Pale Ale (Yellow Label)XHOPS Pale Ale (Yellow 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: 20 | Ratings: 104
Photo of kkleu357
3/5  rDev -23.1%

From notes on 1/16/14

Pours a cloudy orange with a small head. Light hoppy sour smell. Had an orange citrus flavor. Not much normal hop taste. Mostly citrusy. Its ok. Just drank pseudoSue so this one had a lot of pressure to measure up, but doesn't.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jeff for this one. Bomber into Tired Hands stemware. I've never come across a beer designated by the color of the label before...

Pours a 1 finger fine white head with moderate retention. Beer is a cloudy orange. Lacing is stringy and layered with good stick. Pretty average.

Nose is pine and resin hop presence with just the slightest citrus peel and grassiness. Aromatic. Solid.

Opens pine and a tree sap hop bitterness. Barky and grassy in the middle with a waxy hop bitterness at the finish. Some citrus flavor lingers in the back too. Decent.

Light bodied with ample carbonation. Prickly and lively in the mouth and goes down crisp and clean. Finishes semi-messy with a slightly lingering aftertaste. Very drinkable and refreshing.

Just slightly above average overall. There's nothing that really stands out about this beer. Very drinkable but the flavor, body, and aroma are forgettable for the most part.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

i like this one a little less than the orange, less unique hop here, more familiar to my palate, but still an extremely well made pale ale that flirts with the ipa line pretty unabashedly. paler in color, more yellow looking, than the orange, which makes me wonder if the x hops blue will have a blue tint? seriously. there is a ton of yeasty bits in this one, but they stay in suspension rather than settling out, and dont distract me much. the nose is like dried pineapples, not juicy and bright, but sort of muted and sweet. some bitterness towards the finish, but the takeaway here is a dried fruit complex offered up by this hop varietal. less dynamic than others, but useful probably more so in another style context. softness on the palate is welcomed, and abrasive bitterness never comes, although with the well carbonated finish comes a slight green tea earthiness than seems maybe a little out of place. frothy stuff on the tongue, enjoyable beer, but less memorable than the others. i hope we get some information about these hops before too long!

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Photo of darthvohn
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glass Used: Nonic Pint

Appearance: The head is a nice pearl color, with the consistency of a barely whipped egg white foam. A high sheen hits every angle you look from, like a meringue. The body is a bright hazy golden yellow. Copious amounts of lace is left in the wake of the head, which stuck around for five minutes or so. Enticing beer.

Smell: Floral hops hit your nose first, followed by some sweet chive undertones. I get a bit of tropical citrus with some biscuity malt. Good smelling pale ale.

Taste: Tropical fruit flavors tease in the beginning only to move out of the way for the floral hops. The sweet malt backbone supports the hoppy profile pretty well. The finish is resiny and almost graham crackery. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and carbonation. Refreshing.

Overall: A very enjoyable pale ale. Easy drinking, with a nice fruit and hop aroma and taste. Looking forward to trying the Blue, Red and Orange. Thanks again Pintofbrown for another great trade.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22 fl oz brown glass bottle with generally appealing (and verifiably yellow) label and unbranded pry-off pressure cap acquired from the extremely generous Duff27 (thanks again, man!) in a trade and served into a Pinthouse Pizza conical pint glass in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given this brewery's reputation, but this is my first beer from them. Reviewed as a pale ale because the description on the label clearly refers to it as such.

Served cold - straight from the fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a two finger wide head of nice white colour. Fluffy and creamy, with good thickness and a nice smooth soft complexion. Consistency is even-keeled. Head retention is good - about 6-7 minutes. Inconsistent yet even lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a murky quasitransparent translucent copper-gold of average vibrance. Clean; no floating yeast particles or sediment is visible. Appears adequately carbonated.

Looks pretty good for a pale ale, though admittedly it's pretty standard fare for the style. It's not unique or special, but it has my interest and I'm looking forward to the first sip. There are no egregious flaws visible here.

Sm: Has a powerful hop presence for a mere pale ale, featuring notes of herbal hops, resins, nectary character, floral character, oniony hops, light grapefruit, and some oily character. The pleasant hop profile works well alongside the pale malt base. I also get some biscuit malt. A hint of bubblegum. Luckily, the hop profile never quite veers into soapy territory, but it does skirt the edge a bit too close. I can see where other reviewers might pick up on ammonia (i.e. "cat piss"), but I don't find it per se. A kiss of graham cracker. Some mango. Evergreen/car freshener.

Overall, it's an interesting aroma for a pale ale. It doesn't seem ideal for my tastes in hops, but I'm impressed with just the power of the aromatics given this is "just" a pale ale. Some might find the oniony notes unappealing, but I like them.

A pleasant aroma of fairly high strength considering the style.

T: Hmm. The fruit character is not at all what I expected; instead of laying it on thick and biting (like many IPAs do with grapefruit), this beer has mellow notes of papaya, mango, and analogues/cousins thereof which I'm too inept to identify. It never veers into boozy pineapple character (which I'd hate), and has a lovely tropical vibe. Peach, melon, passionfruit, maybe banana? After having had some 3000 different beers to date, I can safely say I've never experienced a hop profile quite like this one, and this goes down as unique in my book. There're plenty of sticky hop resins and ample floral notes as well, plus some more mild hints of oily character, nectar, and honey. Juicy.

The malty base is supportive of the hops, letting them steal the limelight. Pale malts, a bit of caramalt, maybe some biscuit malt. I do get that graham cracker note here in the taste as well, which works for this profile. Bubblegum. It's a bit grassy, I guess. What it doesn't emphasize is citrus, and I'm surprised how well this fruity hop profile works without it.

A surprisingly unique flavour profile for a pale ale which supplies plenty of hop character yet still has a refreshing sweetness. This is a well-balanced brew with a cohesive build and plenty of nuance. An intricate, complex, and subtle pale ale. I'm really enjoying it. Above average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

Mf: Has a refreshing light presence on the palate, with an apt oily feel and a comforting medium body. Good thickness and weight. It's got power without being overbearing or biting, though it is a biteen overcarbonated. Could be softer. Smooth and wet. Crisp.

Not gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, or harsh.

Overall, this texture suits the taste well.

Dr: While it's unique - which is difficult to do - the flavour profile does have room for improvement, and this isn't amongst the best pale ales I've had. I love the experimentation with hops, and I've never had papaya/melon/whatever tropical fruit this is come through quite as well as it does here. The ABV is well hidden and I look forward to finishing this bottle, but I can see why this hasn't yet been brought to mainstream marketing as a distinct beer with a specific name. As a work in progress pale ale, I think it's a definite success, but don't count on this being world-class. Absolutely worth trying, and I consider myself lucky to have had the chance.

Thanks to Duff27 for the bottle!

This gets me extremely excited to try more Toppling Goliath beers.


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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.71/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

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

Smell - Very oniony. More than the last one, which I also thought was a bit oniony. Minimal cracker malt. Some light citrus.

Taste - Grapefruit. Some herbal notes. Kind of nondescript. Like a medley of hops. It does have a nice tropical fruit flavor going on, though. This one is significantly more bitter than the others.

Mouthfeel - Bitter. Medium body and carbonation.

Overall - I don't get the dramatically different ratings on these. It's another well made beer, even if this hop varietal isn't very exciting.

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Photo of cpolking
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy orange amber and apricot in color. There is over an inch of thick and foamy white to off-white head that leaves rings of light lacing down the glass.

The aroma is funky, musky hops, passion fruit, and some zesty citrus rind.

The taste has the same earthy, funky, muskiness; then a wave of tropical and melon fruit hits and surprises, I didn’t catch any of that in the aroma. There is a bitterness that starts subtle, but finishes intense. A bitter, astringent tingle is left on the tongue, like licking the sliced peel of a grapefruit. As the beer warms, the fruits start to come out in the aroma as well. This has intense flavors, but it drinks easily and enjoyable.

The carbonation is also subtle, but leaves a soft sting in the mouth, which contrasts nicely to the smooth, round feel of the beer.

If pseudoSue and Golden Nugget had an illegitimate love child spawned from a tryst in a hop field during a warm, fragrant night, it would be this beer.

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Photo of maximum12
3.05/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My second bottle of XHops, nice & fresh & stuff. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife.

Liquid comes out of hibernation as an off-orange liquid with a large teaspoons of flotsam & jetsam, busted up into tiny flack. After flogging my nose for not working, it seems like there just isn't much to inhale: bit of dank, little more citrus, eh.

XHops Yellow is like a liquid cracker, without the burnt rubber of Fat Tire. The hops, however, aren't as nice as the maltiness. Reminds me a lot of Simcoe, except with a harsh edge. Not that pleasing, nice, bitter harshness, but rub-yo-tongue-with-brillo harshness, with a note I've often seen described but never tasted. Yes, the dreaded cat piss in the basement carpet. It's faint, but, really, it's a taste that stands out. Decent bitterness, slightly off fruitiness, an almost wheaty aftertaste. Really sticks to the tongue, & I can feel my taste buds rising a bit off the surface. A half-bomber will be enough, thank you.

Hmmm. Much better than the blue, but I can't say I ever need to drink this again. Weird, & by turns good & unpleasant, the nicest thing I can say is that it's certainly unique. Decent enough.

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Photo of s_wit
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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, definitely some bitterness at the end and decently harsh.

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

O - Reminds me of PsuedoSue a lot, but a little drier, not as good of taste and smell. Not bad overall, my favorite XHops so far.

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Photo of mendvicdog
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

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

All these xhops have a similar light straw golden color.

Minimal smell. Grassy citra.

Smooth creamy mouthfeel.

Harshest taste of all of them. Grassy and earthy. Cloying aftertaste.

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

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Photo of Stevedore
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bomber, courtesy of bpfrush. Thanks Brian. Poured into a gold TG snifter today, 1/21/2014.

App- Slightly hazy copper-orange body, darker than Blue label, one finger white head without much retention, a little bit of lacing. Otherwise similar to Blue label.

Smell- reminds me of Simcoe. Faint catpiss, some mango, passion fruit, a little bit of pine. Some caramel and toffee malts, not much.

Flavour- A nice mix of caramel, toffee and passion fruit. Not much citrus. Mostly passion fruit. No catpiss.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, good carbonation, similar to Blue label. Not particularly bitter, no bozziness, quite drinkable. Aftertaste is primarily a slight piney bitterness that doesn't stick around for long.

Overall- Enjoyed this one more than Blue label. This hop would be a nice complementary hop to add a little bit of that simcoe character, but like Blue label, would not be a good choice for a single hop pale ale.

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Photo of jegross2
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Reviewing the XHOPS Pale Ale (Yellow Label) from the Toppling Goliath Brewing Company out of Decorah, Iowa.

Score: 92

January 2014 vintage bottle served in a stemmed Toppling Goliath chalice and enjoyed on 01/19/14. Big thanks to Matt for hooking me up with this tasty treat as part of a lost wager from the fantasy baseball season.

Appearance: Pours a translucent orange color with a finger-plus of cream colored head. Excellent lacing and retention. 4.5/5

Smell: Orange, grapefruit, peach and grassy hops. Hint of spice, and a little straw too. Really nice integration. 4.25/5

Taste: Bitter orange rind, melon, grapefruit, tangerine and peach. Juicy-sweet, particularly upfront, with a nice added bitterness from the grassy hops that does not have a big bite but lingers nicely. The malt character is very subtle and subdued, with faint straw notes coming through towards the finish. A hint of rosemary on the midpalate. Finishes with the grassy hops and a hint of straw. 4.25/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, low carbonation -- maybe slightly under-carbonated given its flavor profile. The mouthfeel is juicy juicy juicy. Has a nice soft bitterness, but no bitter bite. Quite pleasant. 3.75/5

Overall: This is no Pseudo Sue, but it is quite the refreshing pale ale. Although I would have liked a little more bitterness and carbonation, the flavors were well-integrated and the flavor profile is spot on for a juicy, hop-forward beer. I would absolutely drink this one again.

Cost: $10 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Cloudy dirty orange with a fluffy white head and strings of lace.

S - Stone fruits and grapefruit that transform into mango and bubblegum as it warms.

T - Very tropical, mango, papaya bubblegum graham cracker. Strange flavor similar to onion or garlic as it warms. Not off putting, just stands out in the tropical fruit.

M - Dry and creamy with a slightly slick hop resin.

D - 1st X-Hops beer and am impressed. Reminds me a little of Galaxy or Mosaic. Very interesting & unique hop. Would definitely like to see TG use this in production.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.59/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep gold with orange hues. Very hazy. Medium thick white foam settles leaving a spotty lace. The aroma has a pungent, fruity hop quality, with tropical and grapefruit notes.

I'm amazed at the array of fruit flavors in the taste. Initially I get pitty, stone fruit, and as it warms there are notes of coconut, banana, mango, and citrus. Perhaps some bubblegum sweetness as well. All the while the grassy twang finish slowly builds in bitterness after each sip. Lightly dry, this one doesn't seem as strong in alcohol as the Xhops Blue, though the hoppiness itself is much more intense. Mouthfeel is clean, light to medium body. Good, tingly carbonation.

My second from this series, I have officially drank the two lowest rated of the Xhops beers. Seriously? You mean they can get been better than this? Because this beer was awesome, and so was the Blue, but this had even more crazy hop intensity. Very unique. This is an outstanding hop variety that I hope to taste again soon. I'm asking myself is this San Diego? No, its Iowa.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had this side by side with XHOPS blue. As I said in my review of blue, both of these XHOPS beers look like PseudoSue but the taste isn't quite as good. Yellow had a bitter aftertaste that turned me off a bit. Otherwise the flavor was citrusy with even a little bit of lemon.

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Photo of Ri0
4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured 22oz bottle into snifter. Bottled just over a week ago.

A - Cloudy dirty orange with a full 2 finger off white head on an aggressive pour. Nice retention and lacing.

S - Tropical hops seem to dominate, but I pick up a unique pear like scent. Minor sweet cracker malt aroma.

T - Again with tropical hop notes and my nose did not fail me, I get some pear flavor which I find unique and tasty. Malts are light and have likeness to a cracker.

M - Clean, smooth and lighter body with awesome carbonation. The hops linger a bit.

O - I like this hop variety and find it the most unique of the XHOPS series.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
4.29/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy lemonish/orange, finger of white head

Smell is dank, spicy/pepper hops, tropical, citrus (grapefruit, lemon, orange peal) no real malt, smells fresh and amazing.

Taste is a little more subtle then the smell, but still great, bright citrus, melon notes, pepper spice, grapefruit peal, orange peal, bitter on the back end, light malt body

Mouthfeel is medium with good level of carbonation, dry on the finish, but still clean

Very good, glad this one was better then the blue. Tasty hop here!

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Photo of BottleCaps80
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

Appearance: pours a hazy, yet transparent light amber color with a pillowy, dirty blonde head that stands 2 fingers tall. Lacing clings to the glass from top to bottom. Great legs on this beer!

Aroma: Wow...the aroma jumps out of the glass at you. Some botanic, peppery notes are immediate, which then turns to something like a very acidic/tart fruit. I can almost taste this beer in my throat just from smelling it. Very unique aroma.

Taste: the taste is a bit more subdued than the aroma. I am picking up immediate over-ripe melon notes, like honeydew. This transitions into biscuity malt notes mid-palate and the finish is a very bitter orange/grapefruit rind. Like XHops Red, the bitterness lingers in the throat for a long time. I get a bit of minerality or something as well. Can't quite put my finger on it. Very unique taste here.

Mouthfeel: mouthfeel is creamy for an IPA with a bit of astringency. Very well carbonated and super smooth. Slick finish with a ever so slight presence of alcohol on the exhale.

Overall: another home run by TG here. This is probably my 2nd favorite of the XHops beers, just behind Red. This has unique qualities I don't think I've had in any other IPA. Would drink plenty of this if ever produced again. Great job, TG!

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served in a snifter.

Lemon cough drop colored body with amber touches, the Yellow Label built about a finger's width of bright white foam before slowly receding, some plastic-y sheet lace on the glass.

Aromas are subtle with intimations of peppercorns, grapefruit, garlic, and a more bready malt. The overall impression from this amalgamation is dank and subtly sweet.

A dank garlic-like flavor meshes well with a distinct pepperiness that was noticed in the bouquet. A cracker malt also peeks through near the finish with a resin bite that builds well after the drink has finished. It does have some residual bitterness, but not overly so. There is a juiciness buried here, hard to pick a specific tropical flavor to nail it down.

This varietal is is more dry than crisp, with a creamy carbonation and good medium heft.

Xhop Yellow Label is light on aroma, and on flavor. The dank and resin-y palate seems more suited to be used as hop for bittering as opposed to flavor. Although, if it were used for flavor purposes, it would add a nice dank touch and resin-y bite. The malt does show a little more due to the softness of this hop, a welcome touch honestly. The resin-y bitterness that builds in the finish is probably the best aspect of this beer.

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Photo of lunarbrew
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy light yellow with a tinge of orange. There's a nice fluffy off-white head. A good looking beer, like the others.

Smells of grapefruit flesh and tangerine. There is a little tart acidity in the background as well as some bitter citrus rind. A pretty complex and very potent brew. This beats out Green in Red for smell, imo. Yellow smells well-rounded and complex.

The flavor is very good, but not as clean as the scent. A lot of the bright fruity acidity found in the nose is missing. The flavor gets a lot of the rind flavor and in turn is quite bitter. A decent amount of resin after each sip. The flavor is primarily orange with some grapefruit. No element of the flavor is overly pronounced.

Moutherfeel is very very good. Perhaps the creamiest of the x hops, thus far. I really like it.

Overall this is great. I'd say this hop would be good for bittering as well as a phenomenal component to the smell. I would flavor with more distinct varieties like Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic, Centennial, etc... Awesome brew, TG!

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XHOPS Pale Ale (Yellow Label) from Toppling Goliath Brewing Company
3.9 out of 5 based on 104 ratings.
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