I brewed Duck Hook with Chuck back in late May (time goes by too fast). We did two batches of beer: one with Citra as the main hop and the other with Nelson Sauvin as the sparkling guest star. Everything has gone well with these two version. It has been a great experience to understand how these two hops can affect a beer.
I adore the hop, which easily leads to me stating that American IPAs are a great group of beers. I would say that IPAs are my go to style of beer. I have been brewing IPAs since the early days of my foray into home brewing. I am driven to make an IPA that is well balanced; too much unbalanced bitterness kills the beer. I think the Duck Hook series of beers is proving quickly that I have kept to my mantra.
The review will be for both beers: Citra and Nelson Sauvin
Look: Quite possibly the clearest beer I have ever presented. Golden in color and topped on the pour by a fluffy, white foam that has typical staying power for the style as well as beautiful lacing.
Aroma: This depends on the hop. The base beer is a touch of grain, caramel, and toast. Getting me “closer” to the perfect IPA base that I am seeking. Citra is tropical, mango, citrus, and just glorious. Nelson Sauvin bring blackberry to a new level. Strawberry (maybe raspberry) add a nice complexity.
Taste: More of the same form the nose. The base beer has enough back bone to hold up the flavor and bitterness of the hops; definitely not the corner stone of the beer. Citra version brings on the typical aspects of the hop, especially since I have some experience here. Blackberry and to a minor roll, strawberry create a unique flavor I have not experienced from a hop before.
Drinkability: Medium to light-medium body with medium carbonation that allows for a slight bitter bite.
Overall: The Citra beer really turns heads no matter where I bring. Nelson Sauvin lags a bit behind. The base beer has some good malt characteristics while I think the body might be a bit too thin for my liking.
How do the two differ? I think the Citra is much more noticeable and is possibly my favorite hop at the moment. Citra is great to drink as soon as bottle priming gave me enough carbonation to drink. Nelson Sauvin seemed to bring it strong after about 4 weeks or more on the bottle, with aromas and flavors intensify after that point. Citra stands on it own: citrus, mango, tropical, and, at times, a kattiness. I like Nelson but think that it would be a better compliment hop for me in the future.
Now I have to wrangle Chuck to get another dual batch day in August. HBC 342 and Rakau are next. Enjoy!
Useless Fact: Barbie’s measurements if she were life size: 39-23-33.