Three Floyd’s doesn’t distribute out west, but with all the hype around Zombie Dust, I’ve wanted to try it for some time. I did get to sample their beers at GABF in 2011, but they didn’t have ZD at the booth. The beers I did try were fantastic, so I’m left to assume that the hype around Zombie Dust is merited. As such, I’ve had a ZD Clone on my to-brew list for awhile now. This isn’t a clone post though. There are a few ZD clone recipes floating around, and while I have my own inclinations, I’ve never tried the beer. The popular one on HBT looks damn, damn close, so don’t be surprised that this looks similar.
I’ve almost used up my 2011 hop crop, but I still have around a pound of 2011 Citra to use. With that in the back of my mind, and a yeast cake of WLP002 from my recent bitter, this seemed like as good of time as any to brew 10 gallons of an inspired-by-ZD IPA. As my plans often do, I changed my mind slightly. I bought 8oz of the new hot hop Mosaic, and I’m dying to see what It’s dry hop character is like. So the plan now is to brew something similar to Zombie Dust, with Citra as the flavor and aroma hops. I’ll split the batch into two fermenters, dry hop one heavily with Citra, and the other heavily with Mosaic. We’ll be able to drink the beers side-by-side, and get a good feel for how Mosaic works in a fruity IPA.
I should write a few notes on my recipe formulation. This recipe is mostly what I feel FFFs brews. I’m going to mash at 150*, possibly for a little longer than 60 minutes. 1.013-1.014 is my target FG, and that should get me there. I don’t think that FFFs uses Citra for bittering, but I’m pretty sure it’s used everywhere else. One fermenter will be all Citra, and the other gets equal dry hop additions of Mosaic. Please note that this wasn’t meant to be a spot-on clone, as I took some creative liberties (Hop extract, hopping schedule, etc)
Some brew days are just destined to be a mess, and unfortunately, this was one of them. I suppose I set my self up by brewing 10 gallons on a week night, but hindsight is 20/20. Anyway, it started off innocently enough. I grabbed a Ruthless Rye, put on some tunes and got to work.
While getting everything ready for this batch, I had to clean and sanitize a keg to then keg one batch so that I could harvest yeast for this batch. I also set aside extra yeast for a Union Jack clone that I’ll be brewing in around a week. Somewhere around this time, my first blunder happened: I forgot to add moy usual addition of Acid Malt (2%) to the grist. Then, I mashed in too warm (154*). Although, I was able to quickly bring the mash down to 150* by recirculating, and adding a couple ice cubes. Just doing too many things at once, I suppose…
Kristen wasn’t feeling well when she got home from work, so I had to throw dinner together while sparging and boiling. Between running back and forth between the kitchen and the back porch, I forgot to add whirlfloc to the kettle, which I didn’t realize until the batch was almost cooled. It finally hit me when I noticed the lack of cold break. Oh well. Despite the mishaps, this should still be a good beer, albeit a cloudy one. My hydrometer samples post boil are usually crystal clear, and as you can see in this photo, this is more than a little turbid. Anyway, I chilled to 64F, oxygenated both fermenters, and set them in the fridge at 64*.
1lb English Crystal
Mash @ 150*
13ml Hop Extract @ 60
5oz Citra @ 15
5oz Citra @ 0
Dry Hop 1
1.5oz Citra (FV2: Mosaic)
Dry Hop 2
1.5oz Citra (FV2: Mosaic)
WLP002 – English Ale Yeast – Repitched from Bitter
I added the first round of dry hops into the primary when the SG was around 1.018. I let those sit for 4 days before racking both beers to secondary, and adding the second round of dry hops. Those sat on the beer for another 4 days before I cold crashed, kegged, and fined both beers. Right out of the fermenters, it was already obvious the difference in aromas between the two beers. I still find it pretty amazing how the same wort can taste almost completely different with only a different dry hop.
Anyway, as I figured, this beer is very cloudy; literally the the haziest beer I’ve ever brewed. I’m a little disappointed, but I’m getting over that. As hard as it is to wrap my head around, I can’t taste the haze, so let’s talk about how it turned out:
If this is what Zombie Dust tastes like (and I assume I’m very close), I like it a lot. Huge nose of mango and lime. There could very well be some yeast-driven esters, but if so, they are lost in the mix. I find Citra can get sharp or catty when used too heavily, so I’m very surprised that it’s so smooth and clean in this beer. The flavor mostly all Citra. The malt character from the Munich and Melanodin is there, but not dominating. There’s a moderate bitterness that helps the beer finish crisp. The alcohol is completely cloaked. I understand why they call it a Pale Ale. Citra can lend a perceived sweetness, and it drinks really well. Great beer. I wish I had remembered Whirlfloc so I didn’t have to drink it with my eyes closed =p
Surprisingly, the more aromatic of two. Explosive oily hop aroma with a big berry note coming though. It smells like Citra and Simcoe made love in a blueberry patch. Perfect hop for a beer like this. The esters, hop aroma, and malt character all blend together fantastically. It was a little sharp (read:catty) at first, but that faded after 4-5 days. I’m getting a little more grungy character than the Citra had, but it’s welcome. I’d say this version tastes more like an IPA, since the perceived bitterness is higher. I find it funny how just a different dry hop can change perceived bitterness in the same wort. Anyway, also a fantastic beer. I’m going to bring this version to a lifting meet at East Valley Crossfit. I’ll just be sure serve it in opaque cups.
Overall, I’ve very happy with this split-dry-hop experiment. Neither beer tastes like a single hop IPA, as both have a big, complex hop aroma and flavor. I’ll definitely be brewing one (or both) of these again, although hopefully I remember the Irish Moss next time =)