Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Recipe and Tasting Notes: Citra IPA (ver. 2)

6.5% ABV / 90 IBU
2.5 gallon extract batch
brewed on June 22nd
age at tasting: 7 weeks

This is my goal when it comes to homebrewing right now: learn as much as possible, about a lot of things, by experimenting. I'm not particularly interested — right now — in brewing time-honored recipes of someone else's devising. I'd rather brew a dozen not quite perfect beers than a dozen good but uniform beers that I didn't have to think about.

Which is probably just elaborate self-justification for why I spent valuable brewing time and resources in making a second version of my citra IPA. In retrospect, it maybe wasn't the most worthwhile effort, since I didn't change the recipe all that much. I had extra citra hops, and after realizing how bitter I made my first version, I wanted to see how much of a difference an adjusted hops schedule would make with an otherwise unchanged recipe. I wanted to do a subtle, yet educational experiment. So, this is the result.

After a few initial, very early samplings, I had prematurely decided that this was destined to taste almost exactly like the first version. Maybe a bit more aromatic, with more concentrated floral hop notes, but still very similar. But now that I'm 'officially' drinking it, I'm surprised how different it is. Just pouring reveals that this beer somehow turned out darker, despite having an identical grain bill (by which I mean, steeping grains and DME.) Apparently just an extra ounce of hops can do that. I've noticed in other citra IPAs (specifically those from Kelso and Mikkeller) that citra imparts a smooth, rounded profile, though I assumed that was partly due to their choice of grains. I'm sure it was, but my ver. II citra IPA tastes a lot like those, just a bit lighter. So apparently citra doesn't often impart direct fruitness, but it does seem to contribute to an almost malty sweetness, even when the malts themselves are quite light. My first version was as light as could be, but you could almost mistake this beer for a balanced IPA. There's the signature flavor of citra, with a decent crisp mouthfeel and aroma of warm citrusy hops. Honestly, I really enjoy it. It's a very simple, straightforward beer, but I like it a lot more than some IPAs where the brewer goes to great lengths to be "balanced," and it ends up tasting like someone shit hops into an English brown ale. If I have a few complaints, it's that a bit of alcohol starts to show through the ultra-light malt profile, and somehow I managed to over-carbonate this batch a teensy bit. (No bottle bombs yet, though... hooray!)

Brewing Notes-
The only significant adjustments I made to this version from my first citra IPA was adding an extra ounce of hops and changing the hop schedule around to greatly reduce the bittering hops. Hilariously, I then (again!) realized that the IBUs were still coming out at pretty much the same level just because there were so many late addition hops — and again, this was a small batch that I wasn't topping off with any extra water. There are four ounces of hops here, counting the dry hops. For comparison, my first IPA had only 3 ounces of hops for a batch that was twice the size. I've decided that citra is a lot more interesting and complex as an aroma hop, and/or best used as a late-addition hop alongside a mix of other complimentary hops. Next time I brew a citra-based beer, I'll probably adjust this to a pale ale, knock the IBUs to around the 45 range, and focus on very-late addition hops with lots of dry hops.

Grains: 0.3 lb cara-pils / 0.25 lb pale wheat grain
Malts: 3 lb extra light DME / 8 oz table sugar
Hop Schedule:
0.4 oz centennial @60
0.4 oz centennial @20
0.5 oz citra @15
0.2 oz centennial @10
0.5 oz citra @5
0.5 oz citra @3
0.5 oz citra @0
1 oz amarillo dry hopped (7 days)
Yeast: Wyeast American Ale II

1 comment:

  1. Your beer was darker due to carmelizing your sugars due to increased Malliard reactions. No amount of hops will affect color. I've brewed plenty of 5G batches with 12oz in them that are SRM 7-8.


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