I have been homebrewing beer for a little over 10 months now, with 8 brews under my belt. But, next to my Christmas Ale, I think I’ve just brewed my favorite beer. It is the creation of Master Brewer Chris (I think that’s his name…) at Abruzzo’s in Kent, my local home brew supply store. They call it Citra Rye Pale Ale. I call it…wait for it…”Rye So Serious”. Great name, right? Humor me.
Anyway, this brew marked a significant step forward for me in the home brewing process. First off, this brew called for the largest amount of grain I’ve ever had to deal with. The first time I tried to brew it, within 5 minutes of putting the grain bag in the kettle, the grain bag burned to the bottom of my kettle and I lost the grains and had to dump the brew. Lesson learned: don’t let 5 lbs. of grains sit on the bottom of the kettle while it is getting up to the proper heat.
So, fast forward about 2 weeks. I’ve got a new sack ‘o’ grains and a better process in place. I get all the way through and the brew smells AWESOME. The reason it’s called “Citra” is because it uses a large amount of citra hops during the brewing process as well as for dry-hopping in the secondary. And that is the other “significant step” I was referring to: dry-hopping in the secondary.
I learned this past weekend that dry-hopping or adding hops to the end of the boil adds aroma to the brew, and this beer is no exception. The first thing you smell is an intense hoppy aroma. The color is a little dirty, and it has a bit of a bitter taste, and the hops invade your nostrils as you swallow, but leaves a clean aftertaste. It makes you want to drink one more sip, and another sip, and another. Makes me glad I bottled in my 22oz bottles!
The next brews I will be doing is a Raspberry Ale, a Guiness Clone (hopefully), and a return to two brews I made last year – my Dortmunder Export I made last fall (a favorite of many of my friends) and a Honey Lager (my first brew). I’ll also be starting my Christmas Ale sometime in July or August so that it’s ready by my birthday in November. Yum!