Monday, July 16, 2012

Clone Brews: Greenport Harbor & Flying Dog

Recently, I attended the release of two new clone brews that came out of the Brew Like a Pro series at Bitter & Esters. The event took place at the Rye House and, as with other releases, the clones were poured side-by-side with their commercial counterparts.

Greenport Harbor Citrus IPA is the 5th beer in their Project Hoppiness series. This beer is brewed with pale malt and caramalt and hopped with Centennial and Magnum. Whole citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and tangelos) are added to both the mash and the boil. The clone brew used Nugget and Zythos blend hops and 1 orange, 1/8 grapefruit, 1/4 lemon, and 1/4 lime; it was fermented with California V yeast from a Greenport Harbor yeast cake.

The commercial version had a solid bitterness throughout which came primarily from the citrus. The bitterness was very pleasant and had brewer Greg not told me that the hops only contribute around 20 IBUs, I would have assumed that most of the bitterness came from the hops since the citrus notes were not very fruity.

The clone brew was very different. Aside from pouring very hazy (the photo makes it even hazier than it really was), it had a very tart aroma that was faintly lactic and reminiscent of a witbier. The bitterness was very soft and it had a rather low malt profile which let the citrus character really shine through. If I were judging them blind, I never would have guessed that they were the same beer although the clone was still very tasty and refreshing in its own way. The color of the clone was much lighter and Greg thought that it could be because of greater caramelization of the wort during boil on the GPH system.

Greenport Harbor Citrus IPA and its clone

The second clone was a version of Flying Dog's Raging Bitch, an 8.3% Belgian-style IPA. The brewery version had a low aroma with a hint of hops but the hops were definitely present in the flavor. A huge jolt of citrus and pine hit the palate immediately (from Amarillo, Warrior, and Columbus hops), leaving a puckering astringency in the aftertaste. I found the Belgian character to be fairly subdued, overwhelmed by the hops.

The clone version came in at only 7.4% and, like the GPH clone, was lighter in color than the original. More malt character (from two-row pale and crystal 60L) was able to push through the hops which were much more balanced, making it, in my opinion, a much more rounded and drinkable beer. I still found the Belgian character, from the El Diablo yeast strain, to be fairly tame.

The Clone and the Bitch

Tim Stendahl, mastermind behind the BLAP series, shows us how to properly pour a beer

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