Time to clone this thing!
I am looking to revisit an old "recipe" for Tröegs Nugget Nectar. The brothers were on the Sunday (Monday) Session a couple weeks ago, and this beer came up. I know they really limit distribution to the Mid-Atlantic, but I have had this beer direct from the brewery (where tours were being given by the Trogner bros themselves - pretty cool of them to do on a Saturday) and it is really fantastic. IMO, it is probably a top 5 offering in the Northeast.
I am aware there is a 2 year thread about a clone based on something in Zymurgy here...
...but the recipes people were working with do not come close to jiving with what the Bros talked about, or for that matter, how the ingredients break down on the Tröegs website. I know there are several ways to get to the same taste, so maybe the clone is pretty close, but I really want to get to a recipe that mirrors what Tröegs actually brews.
Here is the beer and a couple bits of "reliable" info:
When asked, they kind of skirted offering up a CYBI-style recipe breakdown, but one point they did discuss was that as unusual as it sounds, the base malt is 80% Vienna, and that the Vienna is an important player in color and backbone. They actually talked about the old Zymurgy article, and how close it was, but how close can it really be when the grain bill is off by that much? If you ask me, it kind of sounded like "don't bother us for a recipe, we will just point you toward something from Zymurgy that is 5 years old" - can't blame them for keeping this thing a little under the radar. However, as far off as the grain bill is, the boil varieties do kind-of match up from Zymurgy to the website, but Zymurgy makes no mention of a post boil (hopback) addition of nugget, and also goofs up the dry hop a bit.
With such a hop-forward beer, I would really think that those late additions are going to make or break the clone.
Going off of tasting the commercial example fresh, the interview, and their website, I am starting with a recipe along these lines.
Disclaimer - This is only a starting point!!! It is not (yet) a clone recipe for NN.
(Calculated for 7.5% ABV - mashed around 151/152)
1.5oz Nugget @ 60
.5oz Simcoe @ 30
.5oz CTZ @ 0
.5oz Warrier @ 0
.5oz Palisade @ 0
1.5 oz Simcoe @ 0
1.5 oz Nugget in 20 min hot whirlpool (or through hopback if you have one)
2 oz Nugget Dry Hop
1 oz Warrier Dry Hop
And a couple opening notes -
They say the beer is 93-ish IBU's , but I think that is really kind of a joke. They eluded to it a bit, but I think it is kind of poking fun at people printing IBU's on their bottles that are no where near actual lab measured IBU's. I've gotten into pissing matches about this before, so that is all I will say about it. Lets just call the beer quite bitter, and quite hoppy, so whatever IBU calculation you think will meet that criteria, go for it. I do not know how my pre-lim recipe calcs out, but I do know that 2 oz of high alpha boiled for more than 20 minutes, and 3-4 oz utilized at the end of the boil/post boil will give me a firmly bittered and very hoppy beer. In other words, don't worry if your magic IBU formula doesn't add up to 93 IBU's - their's probably doesn't either.
Also, I remember this beer being quite light in both body and color. I poured it last year next to a Hop Back Amber, Stone Levitation, Boulder's Hoptical Illusion, and my own batch of Evil Twin - the NN was far lighter than all the other beers (and it won the blind tasting if you were interested). Basically, if Evil Twin is ~ 18 SRM, NN was like 11 SRM. It is much more straw/gold than copper/amber. For that reason, I am even more confident about leaving out anything crystal or roasted.
I changed the grainbill quite dramatically from what the Zymurgy article suggested, but I really think that in light of what I heard, it makes a little more sense. I feel this way because a point was made that the beer is an unusual 80% Vienna, and the website lists the only other two grains as Munich and Pils - splitting them evenly is just a starting point. From there, comparitive color adjustments could probably shine some more light on the exact split. The first few boil additions are taken right from Zymurgy - I would be completely open to listening to arguments for changing them around. I figure that their (Zymurgy) guess on the hop arrangement is just as good as mine. However, a lot of the brewers who tried the clone said their beer was ok in bitterness, bu lacked a hop finish, so I did some work on the back end of the hop bill to get that finish (and to reflect the website), with a whirlpool and a bigger dry hop addition. I am sticking with the WLP001, because the Bros also said that would be perfect.
I am not usually a "what do you think of this recipe" kind of guy, but I do want to wipe the slate clean from the old clone recipe people were working from, and I would love some extra input to get there. If you read through the whole old thread, the general reports were; good beer, not NN. I want a dead ringer for NN.
So what do you think? I would love to hear the thoughts of anyone familar with the website, commercial offering, or who heard the interview. To be frank, I would rather leave the Zymurgy article in the rear view mirror, because IMO it was leading down the wrong path.
I want to start planning now to have it brewed and fresh for the NN release (which happens at the turn of the new year). It is never too early to start thinking about these things.