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Tasting – Nelsons Citra Pale Ale



The American(ish) Pale Ale I brewed with Maris Otter, a bit of pale crystal, Nelson Sauvin and Citra has been in the tab for a while now. This one turned out to be very drinkable but there’s still some room for improvement.

Appearance : Pale copper coloured  body with a nice fluffy head that stays for a while. Lots of lacing is left to the sides of the class as the level goes down. Using gelatin seemed to help with clarity compared to the ordinary bitter brewed a while back with Nottingham yeast. Still not crystal clear but better.

Smell : Peaches. Lots of them. Especially when the beer was fresh a strong peach smell was very evident. There is some hints of lychee and a berry-ish flavor from the Nelson Sauvin  that is hard to pin down exactly. Black currant is the closest I can name but it’s not exactly that.

Taste : There is some toasty maltiness upfront followed by some firm but not over the top bitterness. There is a certain quality I recognize from the Nelson PA but can’t really put a name to it. Some kind of herbal-berry flavour  that is hard to pin down (at least for me). Some tropical notes but nothing peach-like. Curious.

Mouthfeel : The body is rather dry and the carbonation is just about right for my tastes.

Notes : An enjoyable almost session strength beer. The hops seem to work well together and Maris Otter gives some toasty malt character. Still I’m starting to think that these lower strength beers with low to medium hop intensity could really benefit from a characteful yeast. When the hops are the star of the show like in an IPA it’s best that the yeast is neutral but here some yeast character would be complementary.

I should try to find a “house-yeast” that would be suitable for a range of small gravity beers. Perhaps the Wyeast 1318 that I now have fermenting will prove to be suitable or I could give the Fuller’s strain (Wyeast 1968) a second try. I liked it for its flavours, quick fermentation and solid flocculation but it did lead to a few patches gushing but now that I keg most of my beers that shouldn’t be a problem.

27/11/13 Edit: As the keg is emptying the aroma has changed – the beer now smells clearly of berries, black currant and gooseberry comes to mind. These smells are especially strong right after pouring. Perhaps I’ll do a re-brew with just Nelson Sauvin since I have 200 grams of 2012 harvest still left, it’s a characterful hop. It’s also interesting to note how the aromas changed in this beer – right after fermentation was completed the berry flavours were very evident, then the Citra dry-hopping took the front stage and now that the keg is emptying the Nelson Sauvin is coming to the forefront again.

From → Tastings

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