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Tasting – Citra Pale Ale

19/11/2014

citra_pale_ale

The Citra Pale Ale I brewed is already close to kicking so its high time I did a tasting of it. To change things a bit I decided to taste it alongside Oakham Ales “Citra”. I didn’t set out to brew a clone but I’ve noticed before that tasting beers side by side makes it easier to name the different aromas, somehow having a point of comparison sharpens the senses.

Appearance : The colour is surprisingly similar : the half full pint on the right is the homebrew and it’s just slightly darker than the commercial beer. The bottle states that it has barley and wheat and I would bet that Oakham’s also has some light caramel as a third malt. Mine has a full white head and the bottled version has very little, just like you would expect. Lots of lacing is left in the glass of the homebrew, Oakham’s leaves very little.

Smell : Right away it is clear that the homebrew is much more aromatic than the commercial beer : there’s a robust tropical thing going on with papaya and mango and some pine needle in the background. Oakham’s has a slight note of lychee and some citrus but it also has room for some malt notes. Perhaps I shouldn’t call the hop aroma slight, it’s fairly strong as bottled commercial pale ales go, but side-by-side with the homebrew it seems to pale by comparison. Pun intended.

Taste : When tasted the homebrew has a very strong “overripe” tropical fruit note and it is much more bitter with a crisp dry ending. Oakham’s is much softer and it is maltier with some biscuit and toffee notes. The bitterness is much more “rounded” in comparison.

Mouthfeel : Oakham’s has less carbonation and has a softer mouthfeel. The homebrew feels maybe a bit thinner, perhaps just because of the higher carbonation from kegging.

Notes/thoughts : Great beers both. Citra is certainly worth its reputation and it’s also a very robust hop. The homebrew feels closer to some aromatic commercial IPA’s than a Pale Ale (and to be honest, I used more hops in it than a lot of the recipes of IPA floating around in the internets). Oakham Ales Citra is a great beer in its own right and is much more balanced in the true sense of the word. I enjoy both but as a hop-head I prefer mine.

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