I brewed this beer to be an unbalanced hop fest with loads of dank/ green/ juicy layers over a very neutral malt base that would provide just enough body and sweetness to deliver something just this side of a hop soda. It worked!
The hops are great. Dark, moody, skunky, juicy, pithy… A pretty different direction from the pine and tropical fruit in Hella! Next time I think I’ll add a touch of Calypso or Amarillo to add some floral layers, but otherwise I love the heavy combo of CTZ/ Centennial/ Nelson.
Appearance: Yellow to gold, nice and clear ‘cept for some chill haze. Creamy white head that sticks like goo and drags it's way down the side of your glass as you sip. Thank you wheat malt.
Smell: Super smelly. Grapefruity citrus leads the charge with a backdrop of onion powder and some wet-stone like flint. Not earthy, not too fruity, with some white grape skin (the Nelson rumors are true), green, pleasantly heavy, crisply citrusy, maybe some Kiwi skin, and a hint of doughy malt. The yeast is very neutral.
Taste: Bright and spritzy with a heavy resiny bite. The doughy wheat malt carries the pithy hops nicely, although it could use a touch more sweetness. The onion notes from the CTZ hops come through more than in the nose, as do the weird grape and kiwi flavors. Bitterness is citric but balanced (somehow??!!- 80-100 IBUs should hit a bit harder in a beer of this gravity). All and all a very “green” and crisp Pale Ale.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied, bitter, clean, and dry with med carbonation. Pretty spot on for the style.
Overall: I highly recommend this hop combo—the Nelson is super interesting, the CTZ emphasize the “dark”/ heavy/ oniony mood, and the Centennial add some fruity punch to round it all out. Centennial is such an amazing blending hop! Not even in my list of favorites, but I can’t help but love what it does in the mix with others. The San Diego yeast flocked as promised, and I’d say is just about as “clean” but somehow not quite as “crisp” as Chico yeast… as in it isn’t fruity, but it doesn’t pop either. Next brew will be the same but subbing more C15 for the carapils, and I’ll most likely be using Calypso in place of Nelson next time because Nelson is so hard to find right now, and because I’d like to add some of the neat lemon blossom and pear skin layers that Calypso brings.