In my pursuit of the perfect IPA there have been a small handful of recurring beers people tell me I have to try. 120 Minute IPA. Check. Maine Beer Company’s Lunch. Check. Hop Stoopid. Sierra Nevada Hoptimum. Hop Wallop. Green Flash. Check. Check. Check. Check.
But there’s one damned beer I haven’t been able to throw down my grocery hole.
That’s right. The name of Three Floyd’s Brewing Co.’s APA invokes the image of Zombies prancing around, spreading their warped version of fairy dust. Something out of A Midsummer’s Night-Mare.
By all accounts, this is the holy grail of citra hop beer. And the citra hop, my friends, is a beautiful hop. Think grapefruit and oranges and pineapple and mango. It makes beer crisp, refreshing, and enchanted.
Thus began my search for Zombie Dust.
I have been laughed out of a few beer stores in town for thinking that I’d be able to acquire a bottle of this Indiana-born brew. Apparently, I had the foolish audacity to think a bottle of Zombie Dust could make it to New England without being thrown down someone else’s grocery hole.
It was with in this light that I sheepishly asked if my local homebrew supply store had a bottle of the citra hop powerhouse.
The young attendant laughed. “No, man. Not a chance.”
Crestfallen, I replied, “Didn’t think so.”
“But,” he began, “I did come across a solid recipe to make your own batch of Zombie Dust.”
I was so filled with emotion, I almost cried. “Yes,” I managed, composing myself.
5 oz. in the boil and 3 oz. for dry hopping.
Here’s where fate decided it was going to allow me to make an extract clone of Zombie Dust. The homebrew store had exactly 8 oz. of citra hops left.
So I steeped my grains, boiled the wort, and added my 5 oz. of citra hops according to the hop schedule. My house smelled like citrusy bread.
Within hours of pitching my yeast, the fermentation began, emitting a citrusy aroma in the process.
After a week, I racked my beer into the secondary fermenter and added the 3 oz. of whole-cone citrus hops for dry hopping.
A week later, I bottled the beer.
Turns out Tom Petty was right, the waiting is the hardest part.
But then, the time was upon me. After the month of brewing and racking and waiting, the beer was ready.
And holy shit!
It’s the best homebrew I’ve ever made. Of course, when you throw 8 oz. of citra hops into anything, it will most likely turn out great.
Here’s the flavor breakdown of my Zombie Dust clone:
The aroma of the beer hits as soon as you pop the top. A citrusy panoply washes over your nose. When it finally touches your tongue, it’s love at first tropical taste. The front side of the flavor experience is clean, filled with pineapple and grapefruit. The malt is not overpowering, but it gives just the right amount of sweet and caramel to balance out the flavor. Finally, you’re left with the citrus burst at the back of the tongue, making you want more and more and more, ad infinitum.
There it is. The closest I’ve come to drinking Three Floyd’s Brewing Co.’s Zombie Dust is by making a batch in my kitchen. And damn, if the real thing is better than my facsimile, my tongue might explode in citrusy adoration.