Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Citra Calvados Tripel Tasting

A tulip of dry hopped funky tripel.I know I’ve said it before, but it is a tragedy that more breweries don’t dry hop their sour beers. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand the appeal of combining bright fruity or citrusy hop aromatics with the flavor of a tart pale or red beer. Brett is even a great oxygen scavenger, so hoppy beer fermented with it taste fresher longer than similar clean beers.

Although they haven’t been sour, I’ve really been impressed with the dry hopped Brett’d beers that Gabe Fletcher has been releasing from Anchorage Brewing. Most recently I was shocked by how fresh and hoppy a bottle of Galaxy (A white IPA brewed with Indian coriander, kumquats, black peppercorns, and Galaxy hops) was considering it was four months old.

The beer I’m drinking tonight is a variant of the sour tripel I brewed 18 months ago that was aged on Calvados soaked oak. I was underwhelmed by the flavor and acidity after aging, so in addition to bottling a gallon I kegged the rest with a healthy dose of Citra dry hops.

Citra Dry Hopped Sour Tripel

Appearance – The slightly hazy body has a deep golden hue. The bright white head deflates after a few minutes, but maintains a coarse covering until the beer is almost gone.

Smell – Huge citrusy hop nose. Complex tropical notes, mango especially. There is some overripe fruit that I could credit to the Brett, but this is a beer that really showcases Citra. As it warms a slight sour apple character emerges.

Taste – Even though I know what is coming, after the huge nose it is a shock to taste a beer that is so hoppy yet lacks any perception of bitterness. The sourness is light, but adds realism to the tropical fruit hoppiness carried through from the nose. Slight residual sweetness further accentuates the fruitiness. The malt is mellow, but occasionally provides a slight honey tone. As the beer warms the apple from the Calvados starts to come through in the finish.

Mouthfeel – Carbonation is medium as is the body. For a tripel it certainly could be livelier, I should probably turn up the CO2 pressure.

Drinkability & Notes – The dry hops took a couple weeks to mellow out to where they are bold, but not overpowering. I love having a hop aroma that isn’t harsh or grassy, but still blows me away. I’m really happy where this one has ended up. Hopefully the bottled version gains some funky complexity during a few months of bottle conditioning.

I'm sorry I don't have any more of the homegrown mango sour beer my friend Seth shared with me last week (long time readers may remember him from the Temptation clone we brewed three and a half years ago). Even though I'm not usually a mango fan, it was terrific on its own, and made a perfect blending partner for this batch. I need to get down to Florida to taste some of what he is brewing for Gravity Bar. It sounds like they have a bunch of interesting beers with local fruits for Berliner Bash on the Bay this weekend.


pgrebus said...

When you're kegging a sour, are you still worried about yeast contamination? Are you using a separate CO2 tank and connects? I saw from your Keezer post that you use a different sour-only tap.


quirkzoo said...

"it is a tragedy that more breweries don’t dry hop their sour beers"

Though not strictly a sour, have you had Crooked Stave's Wild Wild Brett Green? For me it is the perfect pairing of funky and hoppy. If you haven't had it yet, I think I can still find a bottle of it to send to you as a gift for all the knowledge I have gained from this website. If you are interested, look me up on Beer Advocate under this name.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I have a dual regulator, so the sours go on one, and the clean beers go on a manifold on the other. From what I understand, the valves all have backflow preventers, so cross-contamination shouldn’t be an issue.

Haven’t had WWB Green yet (only had Rouge), but after hearing him talk about the beer on the Sunday Session interview he gave a few weeks ago, it sounds excellent. Interesting that he doesn’t add any hops until flameout. Thanks for the offer!

Anonymous said...

Last year I brewed an, "Aged Pale Ale" with WY3522, and added the WL sour ale mix along with dregs from quite a few bottles of RR sours. A few months ago I added some Citra, EKG, and SG dry hops, and now I am finally drinking it. It is by far the best sour ale I have made so far. It has that classic bretty funk of the Russian River beers. I am already planning another batch. Here is my recipe,