When Life Hands You Citra Hops, Make Zombie Dust

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.

I’ve even found myself holding the elusive and mysterious Heady Topper and Pliny the Elder.

But there’s one damned beer I haven’t been able to throw down my grocery hole.

Zombie Dust.

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.

ZombieDustCloneHe printed out the recipe and handed it over.  The recipe called for 8 oz. of citra hops.  8!  Did you hear me?  8!

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:

Zombie Dust CloneThe 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.


Join the Conversation


  1. Alright… You gotta give a break down on 3 Floyd’s Zombie Dust clone…

    What was the volume? How did you brew it? What did the grain bill look like? Did you do a mash? Brew in a bag? What temps? What was the hops schedule?

    Very interested to hear more about your experience…

    1. Ok, Zach, you swayed me. You can find the recipe I followed above. I stuck to it, though I didn’t do a 90 minute boil, I just did 60. I used pellet hops for the boil (5 oz.) and whole-cone hops for dry hopping (3 oz.). Now go make a delicious batch! Cheers!

    1. Thanks for the info on Zombie Dust. I’m bound to get a lot about this beer wrong, having never actually drank a beer brewed by Three Floyds. Yet. White Raja is the next on my list of brilliant Citra beers to track down. Cheers!

      1. I’ll get u some zombiedust, you pay $10 for a six pack and shipping. No one should be denied a sample of the dust. I drive about an hour to the brewery to get some of this stuff.

  2. This looks great, can you recall if the grains were ‘whole or crushed’? I’m going to give it a go.

  3. Just one extra thing…after the boil and then from pot into fermenter, did you strain everything, hops/grain etc?

    1. Grains are steeped in a muslin cloth or cheese cloth and removed before the hop boil. Any hop gunk/love left after the boil gets dumped right in the fermenter. You don’t want to lose any luscious hop resin!

  4. Just started this today and is in the fermenter. Had to convert the US gallons into UK litres! I used more water for the steep as 1.89L didnt seem enough. I did 60 mins also. To confirm Im not going mad, the hop additions count down to the large hop additions at the end…or at the -start- of the boil process?

  5. There has to be something wrong with the recipe. Our OG was 1.054. Looking at other extract recipes there should be more like 9lbs of LME / DME for similar 6%ABV beers. Love to hear from others.

  6. Good catch MrMABarber – we put together this clone awhile ago and clearly didn’t double check our calculations….just re-entered the recipe into Brewers Friend recipe calculator and it tops at 1.058…Looks like adding a pound of light DME will boost the OG to 1.064 and get you a 6.3% ABV – sorry for the oversight on this and thanks for bringing it up!!!! Cheers from Maine Brewing Supply!

    1. Thing is, the recipes Ive seen call for 6.6lbs or 6lbs DME, I wonder what more will impart on the flavour. Mine has turned out at 4.9%

  7. Hey Andrew…our guess is that most recipes (including ours) uses 6.6lbs LME or 6lbs DME because that’s the most common way those extracts are packaged. LME is in 3.3lb cans and DME is 3# bags. We try to use those denominations of extracts in our recipes to keep things simple and not have any leftover ingredients. However, as we’ve learned through this recipe, it’s sometimes not enough to get to the actual ABV of the target beer. As far as flavor, there probably won’t be a huge difference by adding an extra pound of extract, if anything I’d guess it’d bring more balance to the beer. There’s a ton of Citra in this recipe so boosting the malt backbone a little bit could dial it back to be more smooth…I myself have done this clone twice now (all-grain) and used enough grist to get around 6.5% abv. At that level, it makes for an incredible smooth, hoppy and delicious beer.

  8. Thanks for the update guys. After leaving this a few weeks and trying a couple it is a hop triumph. Really nice overall with a great hop bite at the end. Ill definitely brew this one again but increase the mash time (why was it 30 mins on the recipe?) to probably an hour in a larger pot with more water. Happy brewing!

    1. Hello there, no snags really but I would recommend increasing the ‘steep’ water to 1 gallon and insulate the pot very well for more than the 30 mins. The rest was followed to the book. I would perhaps increase the sparge also to 1 gallon. Its a lovely pint.

  9. How did it look moving from the carboy to bottle? We just bottled ours today and it looks a bit cloudier than we were expecting.

  10. Hi, sorry to be a noob but the recipe says only 2.5gal but the yeald should be 5gal? Also when do the hops go in? It’s says Citra 90 mins, does that mean you put the hops in and boil for 90 mins? Then put more hops in and wait 15mins etc.?

  11. The bigger the pot the better. Im from the UK so used a 12 litre stainless stockpot on the hob. If you can get a full 5 gallon one, great. If not go for at least 10 litres. At the end when its in the fermenter, simply fill to 5 gallons with water (or 19 litres). Yes it stays cloudy & hop schedule I used was as per the recipe. But start on the hour with the hops and count down – I didnt use 90 min, just 60.

  12. The time is from ‘the end of the boil’ also. So 15 min means 15 min before the ‘end’. Hope that makes sense.

  13. From reading all the reviews. Are you all adding the 1 lb of light DME to make 7 lbs dry malt extract? What about Liquid malt extract?

    Or do i just go with the image above?

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