Citra Pale Ale

The perfect pale ale recipe is elusive.

Most homebrewers brew this style early on in their careers, but spend years trying to master it. A great pale ale satisfies the hop heads but is balanced enough for the casual drinker. It’s one of my favorite beers, and one of those beers I always want to have on tap.

Like many recipes, you start the quest towards a homebrewed pale ale by using a commercial version for inspiration.

Do you want it to taste like Dale’s? How about Mirror Pond, or Sierra Nevada, or Alpha King? Maybe you want your pale ale to lean more towards the British side, with more balance from the malt.

I’ve always enjoyed the grapefruit-like citrus flavors from the cascade hops used in Sierra Nevada’s pale ale, as well as the tropical fruit flavors from the citra hops found in their Torpedo IPA.

With that in mind, I created this Citra Pale Ale, named for the citra bittering hop but brewed with both citra and cascade. I love the beer, and others do to. I will continue to make some tweaks to the recipe, but I’ve finally found my house pale ale.

The cascade and citra hops blend beautifully together. There is a bright, fresh hop flavor but no harsh bitterness. The malt profile is simple but provides a solid supporting act for the hops.

Here is the recipe for those interested in trying it. It will never be perfect, but to my palate it is really, really fucking good:

Citra Pale Ale Recipe

Batch size: 6 gallons
Original Gravity: 1.056
Final Gravity: 1.011
ABV: 5.9%
IBU: 35

Malt
11 lbs. 2-Row (90%)
.75 lbs Crystal 40L (6%)
.5 lbs CaraPils (4%)

Hops
Citra AA% = 12
Cascade AA% = 6

.5 oz Citra (60 min)
.5 oz Citra (15 min)
.5 oz Cascade (15 min)
.5 oz Citra (0 min)
.5 oz Cascade (0 min)
.5 oz Citra (dry hop)
1 oz Cascade (dry hop)

Yeast
WLP001 California Ale yeast with 2 liter yeast starter.

Extract Option:
Replace the 2-Row with 8.25 lbs light liquid malt extract. Add half of the extract in the beginning and half with 15 minutes left in the boil to preserve the lighter color of this beer.

Process
Mash at 154F. Cool to 66F and pitch yeast. Ferment at 68F until fermentation stops, then transfer to secondary and dry hop for 7 days. Carbonate to 2.2 volumes.

I would love to hear if anyone brews this recipe, along with any tweaks they made to the recipe. Enjoy!