It has been months in the making, but I finally got around to using a pound of leaf Citra hops that I bought back in March. There were a lot of firsts for me with this beer. First time brewing an IPA, first time using leaf hops, and first time using grain from my bulk purchase. Yes, I recently participated in my first group grain buy. I bought a 50lb sack of premium 2 row and a 55lb bag of Maris Otter. For this recipe, I was putting the 2 row to work.
The inspiration for this brew day comes from 3 Floyd’s Zombie Dust… A Citra only (at least the original recipe was) pale ale with a ton of Citra flavor and aroma, but not an overpowering bitterness.
To achieve this, I figured the bulk of my hop additions needed to be very late in the boil, and due to the fairly high alpha acid % of Citra (13.4% on the pound I had) I wanted to temper the early additions to make sure the IBUs weren’t over the top. I decided to go with 5 additions, and used First Wort Hopping to maximize the flavor I was getting from that early addition.
The grain bill for this beer was fairly straight forward: 11 lbs of 2 row, pound of Munich 10, half pound of Crystal 60, and a half pound of Melanoiden malt. The Melanoiden was new to me, but I had read in a few forums that the consensus out there is that FFF uses it in a number of their beers. It is supposed to impart a full malty flavor without greatly affecting the grain bill. The mash was fairly non-eventful, 152 degrees for 60 minutes. Got a stuck sparge a couple times, but all in all it went really well. I loved smelling those FWH Citras as I was pulling the first runnings.
It felt strange not adding any hops at the beginning of the boil, and actually made the first 45 minutes of the boil kinda boring. I kept myself busy sterilizing the fermenter and other tools, and treated myself to a New Belgium Ranger IPA. I had a bottle of Zombie Dust available, but I’m waiting to use it as a comparison when my version is ready to drink. Finally I was at 15 minutes left in the boil, and it was just non-stop hop addition time. By the last addition, it was getting pretty crowded in the kettle.
The smell at the end was incredible… Almost like fresh grapefruit juice. Straining the wort out was a lot more tricky with all of those leaf hops, but with a little help from my 7 yr old, I got a good solid 5 gallons in the fermenter at 1.062. I kept the yeast simple, and pitched two packets of rehydrated S-04, along with a healthy dose of oxygen. Fermentation was evident within 6 hours, and 18 hours later I switched out the airlock to a blow off tube.
Good thing I did, because that krausen got within a half inch of blowing off in my 6.5 gal carboy. But wow… The smell was amazing. From here I’m expecting fermentation to be done in 7-10 days. Then I am going to rack to a keg and dry hop with another 3oz of Citra for 7 days. I’ll be back once it’s ready to drink with some tasting notes! Cheers!