Citra Blonde Ale 1.1

I desperately needed to get my taps fully filled before a new baby arrived (I was down to only two armed and operational faucets, and one of those was ready to give out at any moment!). I had a schwarzbier and an IPA spooling up within the next few weeks, but wanted to have a light and drinkable beer to replace my wheat ale once that keg kicked. Something with fast turn-around and tasty, interesting drinkability.

Time for another batch of my Citra blonde ale! This beer turned out excellent last time (nearly two years ago), and is worth another go.

Compared to my last batch, I made some very minor edits for my ingredient stockpile (different brands of malt, etc.). I also went with a single infusion, rather than multiple infusions to hit different temperature rests.

Citra Blonde Ale 1.1

  • 5 lbs. Château Pilsen malt (Castle Malting)
  • 5 lbs. 2-row pale malt (Rahr)
  • 0.75 lb. Munich II malt (Weyermann)
  • 0.5 lb. caramel malt 20L (Briess)
  • 1 Whirlfloc pellet, 10 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. Citra hop pellets (14.1% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. Citra hop pellets (14.1% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Citra hop pellets (14.1% alpha), 5 minute whirlpool
  • 1 package American ale dry yeast (US-05, Safale)

Target Parameters

  • Full volume infusion mash to hit target of 152°, 60 minutes, no sparge
  • 1.050 o.g., 1.011 f.g., 5.1% abv, 20 IBU, 5 SRM, 5 gallons into fermenter
  • Water adjusted to hit 83 ppm Ca, 5.4 ppm Mg, 5.6 ppm Na, 79.4 ppm SO4, 87 ppm Cl, 50.7 ppm HCO3

Procedure

  • For the mash water, I mixed 1.8 gallons of Claremont tap water with 6 gallons of RO water, in addition to 3 g gypsum, 1 g epsom salt, and 5 g calcium chloride. I also added 3.1 mL of 75% phosphoric acid, to adjust the calculated pH.
  • I heated the sparge water to 160°, added it to the mash tun, and added the grain when the water hit 156.6°.
  • After 60 minutes, I vorlaufed and then collected 6.25 gallons of runnings. These had a gravity of 1.047 (a bit higher than expected), so I added 0.25 gallons of RO water to bring the gravity down to 1.045 and increase the overall volume a bit.
  • I boiled for 60 minutes, adding ingredients per the schedule.
  • After flame-out and the whirlpool addition, I chilled to 80° and finished the rest of the chilling in my fermentation chamber. Once the wort hit 66°, I pitched the dry yeast directly.
  • I brewed this beer on 15 July 2017, and fermented at 66° for two weeks. Starting gravity was 1.052.
  • I kegged the beer on 29 July 2017. It had a final gravity of 1.008, which works out to 5.8% abv. Then, I force carbonated.

Tasting

  • The Basics
    • O.G. = 1.0542; f.g. = 1.008; 5.8% abv; 5 SRM; 20 estimated IBU
  • Appearance
    • Light gold and beautifully clear. The beer pours with a thick white head that settles to an even blanket.
  • Aroma
    • Lightly grainy and slightly sweet malty aroma; a hint of citrus behind that.
  • Flavor
    • Light, very slightly sweet and candy-like aspect, with gentle maltiness; there is a bit of orange citrus behind that. Very clean flavor, with a mild and smooth bitterness.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Moderate carbonation, light body, with a gentle and moderately dry finish.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • As always, this is a very nice beer! I slightly prefer Great Western 2-row as a base malt, but Rahr is also respectable. I target mash-in a touch higher if doing a single infusion mash, or else follow the multi-rest schedule, because the beer ended up a bit more attenuated than expected, but that’s a minor point. The late-hopped Citra comes across really nicely, and this is a winner. As an additional variant for next time, I might follow the original Gordon Strong recipe a bit more closely and mix some Galaxy hops in with the Citra.
  • Overall
    • 8.5/10
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