So the Stupid is as Stupid Does (a munich/citra SMaSH) is kegged and in the glass. Despite the fact that on brew day every thing that could have gone wrong, went wrong, the beer turned out OK. OK, but not great.
The beer started at 1.035 (instead of the expected 1.054) and finished at 1.005, for an alcohol content of 3.9%. I didn’t compensate for this low OG, and kept my hopping as planned, leading to a beer with 25IBUs (instead of 22), leading to a BU:GU of 0.71 (instead of the planned 0.40). Given this beer was built around a munich dunkel style, the bitterness was going to be high – more like a pilsner – but well within tolerable levels. A lot of hops went into flavour and aroma additions, providing a lot of citra character.
I had read that citra, when used as a bittering hop, can produce a rough bitterness. This is certainty the case, although in my opinion, the effect is magnified by the high BU:GU of this beer. The harsher bitterness aside, this is a pleasant beer.
Update: Since I’m bottling most of this for an exchange with others participating in the London HomeBrewers SMaSH, I made the label to the left to celebrate the ‘success’ of this brew…
Aroma: Citra has a citrusy aroma, and that aroma dominates this beer. Citrus fills the air from the beginning of the pour until the last sip. Near the end of the pint you can pick up some malt tones, but early-on the citra overwhelms the malty aromas.
Appearance: This beer is a darker copper or light brown in colour, and is very clear without any traces of chill haze. The beer pours with a bold white head that persists for most of the pint.
Flavour: The flavour is more complex that I was expecting, given this beers simple recipe – citra hops + munich malt. The sip starts with a strong citrus flavour, with a bit of sweetness provided by the munich malt. The beer has a notable bitterness that is not apparent at the beginning of the sip, but which reveals itself near the end of the sip. Unfortunately, this bitterness builds into a lasting astringency that persists as a long-lasting and unpleasant after taste.
Mouthfeel: As the low FG of this beer would suggest, the beer is quite thin in the mouth, without the normal maltiness expected of munich malt. Because of this I carb’d the beer a little higher, providing a nice balancing effervescence to go along with the light body. The astringency that ruins the flavour of this beer also does a number on the mouthfeel, leading to a dryness in the mouth that appears after the main flavour fades and the astringency begins to appear.
Overall: Considering everything that went wrong while brewing this beer, it came out tasting better than I expected. The front of the sip is quite nice, but it fades into an unpleasant, harsh, astringency. With some luck this harshness may fade a bit over time – but a lot of fading is needed to make remove this flaw.