Sunday, June 13, 2010

Citra Pale Ale Tasting

I've really been enjoying my keg of Citra Pale Ale over the last few weeks, so I wanted to make sure to do a review before I kicked it.  I was aiming for a light, crisp pale-ale, something hoppy but still drinkable enough for 90 degree days.  It was also an opportunity to try out a hop I had never used before.

Citra Pale AleCitra Pale Ale

Appearance – Slightly hazy golden yellow, looks like summer to me. The head pours an inch or two thick (white and dense), but over a couple minutes it sinks to a wispy covering. Not sure if the low-protein corn adjunct contributed to the poor head retention.

Smell – For a single hop beer it has a very complex nose with loads of fruit (mango, orange, and apricot most prominently). There is a bit of pine, but it seems like Citra would be a good match for something like Simcoe that is more resiny.

Taste – Nice bright hop character, but not as dominant as it is in the nose. Moderate balancing bitterness, but not quite as prominent as I was aiming for (hop bursted beers often seem to have a milder bitterness than an IBU calculator would suggest). The finish has a nice toasty breakfast cereal note that I'll attribute to the Golden Naked Oats.

Mouthfeel – Moderate carbonation with a nice softness/creaminess that wouldn't be out of place in a stout. Very nice. 

Drinkability & Notes – The bitterness combined with the relatively dry body makes for a crisp refreshing beer. I've taken to blending this one with a splash of my Golding Medal Bitter, to add a bit more malt depth and better head retention, but on its own it is a really solid pale ale. I'll have to add some Citra to the mix the next time I brew an IPA or DIPA.


-- said...

I agree about the hop bursting, the 63 IBU (according to BeerSmith) hop bursted Amercian IPA I made a few months ago had huge aroma and flavor but certainly did not have the bitterness of other 60 IBU beers I've made.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I would have so much fun if I owned a spectrometer and could measure the actual IBUs of all my beers. It may be that the IBUs prdicted from late boil additions are too low, or it may just be that they taste "smoother" than IBUs from earlier additions. Same thing goes for hop varieties, 50 IBUs of Chinook really tastes more bitter to me than 50 IBUs of Magnum.

Aaron said...

I think it's all just more complicated than the calculators give you.. I think they've talked once or twice on a brewing podcast (Jamil Show? Not sure) about an event where they actually did measure the IBUs of some commercial beers, and the results were significantly lower than expected values - like 60 IBUs instead of 100 lower.

Of course, without going back and trying to find the actual podcast, who knows if my memory is worth anything.