LUIGI D'AMELIO - birrificio Extraomnes

Luigi D'Amelio

A Company does not achieve the success it deserves in a short time, if it cannot rely on mature experience and a well-studied and meditated winning idea. This is demonstrated by ‘Extraomnes’, at Marnate, in the province of Varese, which started its activity in 2010, and with its ‘Zest’ already won the award as best beer to ‘Italia Beer Festival’ in Milan the following year. And it started 2013 by obtaining another acknowledgement, the one of ‘Mastro Birraio (Brewmaster) 2013’, awarded to Luigi D'Amelio. He is both mind and arm of this company, specialized in the production of highly fermented, not pasteurized beers (ale), which, although inspired by the Belgian tradition, are enriched by a touch of creativity that makes them a unique example of Made in Italy already appreciated in Switzerland, France, USA, Australia and...  Belgium, thus certifying its high quality level.

First Appreciator, then Manufacturer
But why D'Amelio, who in a couple of years will celebrate his first half century, has waited so long before deciding to brew beer? «Because since when I was a teen-ager I have been fascinated by beer, but at a cultural and tasting level. When in Italy the first Italian imported beers began to be proposed, especially ales and trappist beers of Northern Europe, I realized the substantial differences in comparison with the most widespread labels, which were available everywhere. Then I tried to learn more about, even travelling and tasting them in their production places».
So, D'Amelio became one of the most popular Italian tasters of beer. In order to probe it, up to its finest gustatory details, he initially attended courses for becoming a sommelier, and then arrived to keep himself courses concerning Ceres’ nectar. Indeed, even today he teaches in courses concerning beer organized by Slow Food.
D’Amelio passed from the status of appreciator of beer to the one of producer by meeting the owners of the Lombard roasting ‘Elmundo’, who sought the right person with whom they wanted to apply to beer the quality criteria they had tested for coffee. «We started with a small 30 litres plant, trying again and again. I can say that after tasting for years what others were doing, for me it was not difficult to recognize what was not right. Of course, I had and still have my own taste, which however meets the one expressed by the appreciators who in a beer look for a not banal drink, characterized by a complex and at the same time a pleasant taste, which can accompany an important course or be sipped during a conversation among friends».

“All out”

Therefore, these beers are not common, and for them D'Amelio chose without false modesty a name so little comparable with other ones: ‘Extraomnes’ (‘all out’). «This is a way for exorcising the fear of evaluation, after assessing myself, even severely, the products prepared by others’» shies away D’Amelio. The balance of this experience is successful. From the initial batches of 30 litres, the production passed to 1,000 litres, with suitable fermentation vats, for an annual production which reached 1,200 hectolitres, thanks to a growth rate of 20-30% per year.
The participation in brewing events and awards has allowed Extraomnes emerging and being considered by importers and distributors of Countries with a much higher vocation for brewing than Italy. This says a lot about the achieved level of quality. This happens also thanks to the production methods which allow, alongside with an adequate alcohol component typical of the valuable ‘ale’ beers, overcoming long distances, even if they are not subjected to pasteurization. On the other hand, a second, following fermentation in bottle, which increases its value, gives them the necessary stability. D’Amelio has brought about an increase in export of Extraomnes thanks to the choice of packaging his beers in Key Keg, the light, not returnable 30 litre drums which allow reducing the costs of transport.

The six wonderful ones... and not only
Extraomnes has been the first Italian brewery which chose as its only starting size the cl 33 bottle, whose label bears a Cirneco of Etna, the dog Luigi D’Amelio prefers, depicted in one of the most famous mosaics of Pompeii. Six beers are always available during the year:

birra_blondBlond: it is characterized by consistent foam and a straw yellow colour, with bright green tones. Its aroma is citrusy, with hints of grapefruit and bergamot. It is light -bodied, initially revealing malty notes, which later make room to a refreshing final, with a slightly bitter taste. It is ideal as aperitif, and well accompanies delicate courses, vegetable- and white meat-based. D’Amelio also recommends drinking it with seafood and raw fish. 4.4% alcohol.

birra_saisonSaison: its colour is bright gold and in the glass it is protected by a cap of fine and compact foam. Its scent immediately allows perceiving the spiciness of the yeast used, with notes of fresh pepper, elderberry, and lime. With the first sips it appears soft, and then stands for its freshness, which ends with balsamic notes, among which the one of liquorice root is perceived. It is excellent with spicy meats and sausages, and well combines with game-based courses. 6.9% alcohol.

birra_tripelTripel: at first sight, its distinguishing characteristics are its creamy foam and golden colour, followed by a set of malty aromas and a hint of peaches in syrup, balanced by its alcohol component. Its taste is dry, goes well with fat and succulent meats and ripe cheeses. 8.6% alcohol.

birra_bruinBruin: its cappuccino-coloured foam covers the drink, which into the glass takes a ‘monk’s frock’ look. Its scent reveals notes of roasted cocoa, bitter chocolate, and marron glacé. At first sight it seems sweet, and then explodes into a plurality of sensations which recall the power of a distillate. It is recommended for stews, braised meats, and savoury cheeses, but is also surprising for the excellent combination it allows with biscuits and plain chocolate. It is ideal as a beer for conversation. 8.0% alcohol.

birra_kerstKerst: it is characterized by exuberant and creamy foam, which surprises for its aromatic range within which at first perceptions of caramelized apples and then of Sicilian marzipan emerge. Its alcohol component is remarkable, balanced by a soft body and pronounced acidity. It can be sipped in the coldest evenings of the year. 12 % alcohol.

birra_zestZest: it presents white and compact foam, golden colour with greenish reflections. Its scent is powerful, with intense fragrance of white nectarine, gooseberry, and lychee, beside a delicate spiciness. It is light -bodied, with no residual sugar, has a dry, lashing, and prolonged finish. 5.3% alcohol.

Seasonally, Extraomnes also produces other specialties. Among these: Straff (golden, soft at first, then quite dry, with balanced bitter; alcohol 9.5%), Donker (an Imperial coffee stout, characterized by mahogany colour, aroma of liquorice and chocolate, full taste; alcohol 9.0%), Quadrupel (monk’s frock look with ruby reflections​​, vinous aroma with hints of dates and sweet spices, alcohol 12%), and Migdal Bavel (Tower of Babel, for the U.S. market, gold with copper reflections, nicely spiced, it reminds beeswax, frankincense, and lime; alcohol 6.7%).


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