Why is Citra so much more popular than CTZ/Summit/Apollo?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by samtallica, Dec 7, 2012.

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  1. samtallica

    samtallica Initiate (0) Jul 22, 2010 North Carolina

    Is it simply because it's harder to come by? Based on my brewing experiences, these 4 hops are pretty similar, yet for some reason Citra gets all the love and Summit gets tons of hate. I love all of them by the way. Dank, resinous IPAs are my favorite!

    Let the controversy begin!
  2. NiceFly

    NiceFly Aspirant (275) Dec 22, 2011 Tajikistan

    Because people are sheep.
  3. samtallica

    samtallica Initiate (0) Jul 22, 2010 North Carolina

    They definitely all give dank, garlic/onion notes (in addition to fruit/citrus) when used in large amounts late in the boil. Obviously they do have differences, but typically when people complain about Summit, they mention the garlic/onion notes, which Citra throws as well.
  4. MLucky

    MLucky Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2010 California

    There's no accounting for taste. People like what they like.

    Plus, there's a certain amount of trendiness in craft beer these days. Brewers are under a lot of pressure to try to make beers that will stand out in a crowded field, so it's understandable that there would be an emphasis on new varieties with easily identifiable flavor and aroma. But why is Citra so much more popular than, say, Galaxy? Don't ask me. I still like Centennial!
    inchrisin and NiceFly like this.
  5. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,335) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I don't get garlic/onion from Citra, but maybe I'm not using enough.
    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  6. samtallica

    samtallica Initiate (0) Jul 22, 2010 North Carolina

    4oz in the last 15 minutes should get you there.
  7. mountsnow1010

    mountsnow1010 Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2009 Vermont

    Galaxy seems much harder to get than Citra, at least in my experience.
  8. cmmcdonn

    cmmcdonn Initiate (0) Jun 21, 2009 Virginia

    After trying devil dancer last year, it will be an accident if I ever brew with summit.
    JasonR1975, Cracker666 and tectactoe like this.
  9. OldSock

    OldSock Defender (655) Apr 3, 2005 District of Columbia

    I recently brewed a beer that was heavy of the Cascade and Crystal with just an edge of Summit. I hadn’t been a big fan of the hop as a lead, but it plays a good supporting role making for a more dank/complex aroma profile.
  10. DrewBeechum

    DrewBeechum Meyvn (1,235) Mar 15, 2003 California
    Supporter Subscriber

    I suspect (and there's going to be an article about this sometime soon) that Citra is popular because it's the first of a new wave of hops to really gain traction. Think of it this way - most the of the hops that we've had available to us in the past exhibit major sensory notes of: spice, floral, herbal, grassy, citrus, pine.

    With things like Nelson Sauvin, Citra, Galaxy, etc we're starting to see a real push into fruit tones like wine grapes and mangos/melons. It's a new flavor note that people can play with. Simcoe is a bit of hybrid with it's strong citrus and sandalwood notes. The only older hop that jumps to my mind with a strong fruit tone is venerable old Cluster with it's blackberry aroma mixed with an unhealthy amount of cat pee and harsh bitterness. Anyone else think of some?

    Every time we see a new variety with a very clear tone, it becomes really popular. Remember when Amarillo first appeared on the scene with it's insanely bold grapefruit character that made the C hops feel a little less distinct? Or when the first low coho hops hit the market? Same sort of phenom. Eventually the excitement will drop down and the hops will become a part of our palette.

    I've played with a ton of Citra and have never once gotten garlic/green onion. I would imagine that's probably due to the age on the bine before harvesting for the batch you used. (Same thing is what can change Summit from a tangerine grove to an onion field and they seem to leave summit on longer to get more AA where with Citra they promote the flavor/aroma aspects.)
    barfdiggs and JCTetreault like this.
  11. samtallica

    samtallica Initiate (0) Jul 22, 2010 North Carolina

    I'm with you. I just ordered 2 pounds!
    BillyCannon likes this.
  12. DanimalFL

    DanimalFL Initiate (0) Mar 15, 2012 Florida

    Because it smells and tastes better...and im a sheep.
    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  13. JimmyTango

    JimmyTango Initiate (0) Aug 1, 2011 California

    I disagree.

    Citra is SO different than these others to my taste, even (especially!) in large/ late additions. Almost all tropical fruit and citrus with just a hint of that unique "cat pee" dankness.

    The others are much more green, "dank", resinous, oniony, and less fruity.
    IdrinkGas and OldSock like this.
  14. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    What he said.

    Additionally, from an experiential point of view, CTZ/Summit/Columbus can lend some funky notes when over used and can be pretty variable depending on their source farm, leading some homebrewers/brewers to use them once, have an unfavorable experience and never use them again. I've done a couple single hop brews each with Apollo, Summit or CTZ now (All from single sources), and have noticed that the amount of hop used really changes the profile, as I've had Apollo, for example, produce funky (e.g. toejam), herbal, dank, pot-like, oniony notes when used in excess (18 oz for 5.5 gallons of DIPA), where when used in only slight excess (8-9 oz for 5.5 gallons of IPA) or in moderation (4-5 oz for 5.5 gallons of IPA) its produced awesome tropical fruit, orange peel and minor dankness. Same thing for Summit and CTZ.

    I've had tried some really good and bad all Citra IPA/DIPA/APAs (commercial and Homebrewed), but have never really picked up the garlic/onion notes from Citra, although, it definitely can lend a super resinous, dank quality when used heavily late in the boil, usually in conjunction with the expected lychee, tropical fruit, and minor notes of cat whiz. That being said, give me Galaxy any day over Citra, its more passion fruit heavy, with way less cat piss and lychee, and a lot more resinous, dank.
  15. MMAJYK

    MMAJYK Defender (650) Jun 26, 2007 Georgia
    Industry Beer Trader

    Agreed. In my Citra IPA (been making this beer since 2009, before Citra was "cool") I use 4 oz from 20 mins to 0 mins, then dry hop with 4 oz. There's no onion/herbal/etc at all, just tropical fruitiness.
    bhalter8 likes this.
  16. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,975) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    One more person to state: no onion/dank for Citra.

    I brewed a solely hopped Citra IPA using a total of 3.5 ounces for late hoping (including dry hopping). That beer tasted of tropical fruits to my palate. Some friends noticed cat pee but I couldn’t taste that at all.

  17. MMAJYK

    MMAJYK Defender (650) Jun 26, 2007 Georgia
    Industry Beer Trader

    I must admit, I use Sorachi Ace for bittering my Citra IPA. That's the only other hop I use in it, though. I like its clean bittering qualities.
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,975) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It is always fascinating to me to read about other folk’s perceptions of hop flavor/aroma.

    So, I have already posted that to my palate, Citra = tropical fruits but I had some friends perceive cat pee as well.

    I have yet to taste a beer that is heavily hopped with Nelson Sauvin (e.g., Sixpoint Spice of Life – Nelson Sauvin, Iron Hill Nelson Sauvin IPA) that I enjoyed drinking. Those beers had weird & unpleasant flavors for my palate (is it the gooseberry thing?). I do enjoy Anchor Humming Ale which is hopped solely with Nelson Sauvin (but lightly hopped).

    I have only ‘tasted’ Cluster as a bittering hop (for my CAP beers). I have never used Cluster as a late hop and I am unaware of any commercial beers that utilize Cluster for late hopping. I personally do not perceive the Cluster as being “harsh” in my CAPs.

    I have homebrewed with Amarillo (and tasted Sixpoint Spice of Life – Amarillo) and that hop tastes like orange/tangerine to me. I have never personally perceived grapefruit with that hop.

  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,975) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I have seen folks (maybe including you?) that state you shouldn’t use Citra hops for bittering since it will (or might?) create weird flavors.

    I personally had no compunction using Citra as a bittering hop since I had the opportunity to drink Hill Farmstead Beers (Citra IPA and Citra DIPA) that were solely hopped with Citra and those Hill Farmstead beers were OUTSTANDING!

    My all Citra hopped IPA had no weird flavors from the Citra bittering addition. My beer turned out very, very good. I aspire to brew a beer as well as Shaun Hill.

  20. samtallica

    samtallica Initiate (0) Jul 22, 2010 North Carolina

    Maybe it's time to do another all Citra experiment. I definitely got dank onion/garlic notes on my last Citra DIPA. I also get it from Zombie Dust, which is also all Citra.
  21. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    Might be a palette thing as well, you may just be more sensitive to it than the rest of us. Love the Zombie Dust, and definitely get that dank, resinous quality in it (Plus the tropical fruit), but just not oniony to me.
  22. nathanjohnson

    nathanjohnson Initiate (0) Aug 5, 2007 Vermont

    It would not surprise me if the HF Citra did not use citra for bittering, but was bittered with hop extract, with kettle and dryhops being citra.
  23. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    Regarding CTZ - tried Mikeller single hopped Columbus earlier this week - super bitterness, maybe just a bit dank, but none of the awesome flavors that citra, amarillo, or centennial kick. Wasn't a huge fan.
  24. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,975) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Well, below is what is stated on the Hill Farmstead website. “ … bittered, flavored, and dry hopped exclusively with Citra hops” sounds pretty clear to me.


    “Citra Single Hop Pale Ale

    An American Pale ale bittered, flavored, and dry hopped exclusively with Citra hops from the American Pacific Northwest. 5.4% abv.

    Double Citra

    An American Imperial Pale Ale bittered, flavored, and dry hopped exclusively with Citra hops from the American Pacific Northwest. 8% abv.”
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,975) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    In the past I have never used Columbus in my homebrewing since the limited number of beers I drank that had Columbus for late hopping did not produce a flavor/aroma to my liking. I used a poor descriptor of “weird flavor” to describe those beers but perhaps dank is a better descriptor. The other aspect of “none of the awesome flavors that citra, amarillo, or centennial kick” is important as well. So, overall Columbus is not a favorite of mine for the combination of how it tastes (dank) and even more importantly how it doesn’t taste (no awesome flavors like Citra, et.al.).

    So, I brew an all Centennial hopped IPA twice a year. For my most recent batch (two months ago) I was not a conscientious reader and I ordered Centennial Type hops. I didn’t even recognize this until I dry hopped the beer. I thought to myself: what the hell is Centennial Type hops? I did some research on Northern Brewer (where I purchased the hops) and it turns out it is a blend of 70% Cascade and 30% Columbus. I started thinking : oh no, the dreaded Columbus hop!:slight_frown:

    As it turns out this blend made a very tasty IPA and believe it or not it is indeed very, very similar to my all Centennial hopped IPA. :slight_smile:

    So, it appears that Columbus in small quantities and combined with other hops can be a ‘good’ hop.

    mattbk likes this.
  26. tjensen3618

    tjensen3618 Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2008 California

    Citra's more popular because 2012 was the year of the commercially brewed Citra hopped beer. I liked how most of them tasted, so I brewed a few beers with Citra this year, they were damn good!

    If next year we get a bunch of Apollo hopped beers, and I like them, I'll definitely be giving that hop a go as well.
  27. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,276) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Drew covered a lot of what can happen.

    Sulfur compounds cause the onion/garlic. Late harvests can bring those up in amounts. If sulfur agents were used to combat molds/mildews in the field, the hops will have more of the compounds.

    Which farm or area a hops comes from will have influence on the flavor and aroma. The pros have a better handle on this than most of us.

    Citra has high citrus and high tropical fruit. That is why it is popular now. Galaxy has the passion fruit thing in high levels.

    I don't mind Cluster if fresh, others do not like it at all. I don't like Nelson Sauvin, the white wine taste it has is of a BAD white wine. I like Simcoe, the wife says it smells like cat pee.

    Mosaic - that is one that I really like. Sure that some will find something they don't like.
  28. Otis

    Otis Initiate (170) Oct 9, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Another citra fan here. Never got onion but definitely cat urine. I've only had 1 bottle of a single commercial single hop citra beer(zombie dust) but I sure love my citra apa recipe with 5 oz in the boil/late additions and 2 dry hopping per 5 gal
  29. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    In that respect, I find Columbus to be a very good hop for bittering - high alphas, not very rare, combines with other hop flavors well. But, as you said, wouldn't use any as aroma or late additions, probably no closer than 30 mins into the boil.
  30. BillyCannon

    BillyCannon Initiate (0) Mar 2, 2012 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    It's weird, I haven't used Citra alone in anything I've brewed, but I assumed that's what gave my last IPA a lemony somewhat cat piss flavor. Didn't like it very much and will probably steer clear of it unless someone convinces me otherwise.
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,975) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    It is indeed possible that Citra is not or you.

    I would suggest that you try a commercially brewed beer that is solely (or mostly) hopped with Citra and see whether you like that. An example would be Zombie Dust (if you can obtain that).

    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  32. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (688) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    "Mosaic - that is one that I really like. Sure that some will find something they don't like."

    Got a 1/2# in the freezer...what can I expect? Did you single hop? Progeny of Simcoe and Nugget I hear.
    GetMeAnIPA likes this.
  33. reverseapachemaster

    reverseapachemaster Aspirant (244) Sep 21, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    Not much of a citra fan -- don't love it or hate it -- but I don't see how Citra compares to CTZ or Summit.
  34. Patrick

    Patrick Initiate (0) Aug 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    Yeah, hasn't Shaun said (or someone quoted him saying) that he will split the bittering addition between extract and hops?
  35. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Moderator (1,229) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I have done that before and I get no onion or garlic what so ever. And I literally eat garlic in almost every meal.

    I also don't see Citra like any of those other hops.. Galaxy is something that I think is probably the closest in terms of overall flavor.

    I personally like Simcoe and Amarillo the most. They pair perfectly IMO. Sheep or not, you can't deny what taste good to you.
  36. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,276) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Had it in 2 beers at Bells, think they were single hop beers. It was in a single hop beer during Stan Heironymous's hop talk at the NHC, and was my favorite of the 4 single hop beers served. I used it last year as a sub for Simcoe in the PtE clone recipe. My wife would not say "cat pee" when she would smell it, and liked the taste.
  37. psnydez86

    psnydez86 Disciple (363) Jan 4, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    I recently did a Citra Smash IPA that my cat pissed in and I dry onioned it with 3lbs of fresh vidallia onion so maybe my opinion isn't the best. :wink:
    mathematizer and MickJ0nes like this.
  38. psnydez86

    psnydez86 Disciple (363) Jan 4, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    wow i hate cats
    Robyn likes this.
  39. psnydez86

    psnydez86 Disciple (363) Jan 4, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    In all a seriousness I recently had Troegs Scratch 78 which used 400 lbs of fresh whole cone citra hops and I didn't get any onion/garlic notes... It had a nice lemon and citrus zest aroma, and my first encounter with cat urine flavor, which worked incredibly well with the lemon citrus flavor. Cat pee is for me!!!!!!
  40. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (523) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    We have 4 cats in our house. I clean the litterboxes. My first whiff of Lawson's Double Sunshine beat out the litterbox room by an order of magnitude, from the other side of the room. But the beer tasted wonderful.

    Maybe I shouldn't be disposing of the cat litter so hastily...
    tronester and psnydez86 like this.
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