Brew Day: Citra Bomb IPA

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.

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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.

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the additions were .75oz FWH, 1oz at 15min, 1oz at 10min, 1.25oz at 5min, and 1.25 at 1 min.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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