Brewing a Zombie Dust Clone: A Deep Dive into Crafting an Iconic American IPA

Zombie Dust by 3 Floyds Brewing is a cult favorite among craft beer enthusiasts, known for its robust hop flavor and beautiful balance.

This post will guide you through creating a 6-gallon batch of a Zombie Dust clone, focusing on the unique profile that makes this American IPA stand out.

Unpacking the Appeal of Zombie Dust

Zombie Dust is characterized by its single-hop focus on Citra, which delivers vibrant notes of citrus and tropical fruits. This beer stands as a testament to how well-executed simplicity can lead to a beer that’s anything but ordinary.

It’s not just about the intensity of hops; it’s about how those hop characteristics blend with the malt to create a harmonious and drinkable IPA.

Recipe Specifications and Ingredients

  • Batch Size: 6 gallons (into fermenter)
  • Boil Time: 60 minutes
  • Original Gravity: 1.058
  • Final Gravity: 1.015
  • ABV: 5.6%
  • IBUs: 65
  • SRM: 8
  • Efficiency: 70% (brew house)
  • 11 lb US – Pale 2-Row: The foundational malt provides a clean slate for the hops.
  • 1 lb Munich – Light 10L: Adds a touch of sweetness and malt complexity.
  • 0.50 lb German – CaraFoam: Enhances body and head retention.
  • 0.50 lb Caramel / Crystal 60L: Imparts a deeper amber color and subtle caramel notes.
  • 0.50 lb German – Melanoidin: Mimics kettle caramelization, enhancing malt richness.
  • Citra (7.75 oz total): Celebrated for its intense citrus and tropical flavors, used throughout the brewing process to layer flavors:
    • 1 oz First Wort: Smooth integration of bitterness.
    • 1 oz at 15 min, 1.25 oz at 10 min, 1.25 oz at 5 min, 1.25 oz at 1 min: Builds a complex hop profile.
    • 2 oz Dry Hop: Intensifies aroma without adding bitterness.
  • Fermentis – Safale – English Ale Yeast S-04: This yeast is chosen for its robust fermentation properties and slight ester production which complements the Citra hops beautifully.

Brewing Process

  1. Mashing: Heat 22 quarts of water to 155°F and mash the grains for 60 minutes to achieve full enzymatic conversion.
  2. Boiling: Adhere closely to the hop addition schedule to layer the desired hop characteristics properly.
  3. Fermentation: Cool the wort to about 68°F, pitch the yeast, and maintain a steady fermentation temperature to encourage clean fermentation.
  4. Dry Hopping: Add 2 oz of Citra hops after primary fermentation subsides, usually around seven days, to maximize the aromatic impact.

Tips for Nailing Your Clone 
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  • Water Chemistry: Modify your water to resemble the water profile of Munster, Indiana, where 3 Floyds is located. This typically means enhancing sulfate to chloride ratios to make the hops pop. (everything you need to know about water chemistry is here!)
  • Control Fermentation: Keep your fermentation temperatures on the lower end of the yeast’s range to prevent excessive fruitiness that might overpower the Citra hops. (Learn about controlling your fermentation temperature here!)
  • Hop Freshness: Freshness is crucial with a hop-forward beer like Zombie Dust. Ensure your hops are as fresh as possible for the best flavor and aroma.

Embracing the Craft

Brewing a Zombie Dust clone is not just about following a recipe—it’s about capturing the spirit of one of the most beloved American IPAs. This beer is a celebration of the Citra hop’s potential, a showcase of flavor that continues to inspire home brewers and professionals alike.

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