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Belt's Beer Garden: Twinsies!

This week, I try two near identical beers. Which one is better?

Mikkeller is a phantom brewery, like Evil Twin, which means they don't have their own brewery but use other breweries to create their beers. They are out of Copenhagen, Denmark and have been around for nearly a decade. Since they started they have created over 800 different beers - most of which are limited releases and not brewed for very long.

Recently I was perusing through my favorite liquor store when I came across two Mikkeller beers simply called Mosaic and Citra. Turns out they are basically clones of each other, when one difference: the hop used in making the beer. Mosaic is made with mosaic hops and Citra is made with citra hops. So for science (and curiosity) I wanted to try these together, back to back. to see which is better. I'm interested to see how the taste of Citra hops affects the beer as opposed to the Mosaic hops and what differences, if any, there are.

Each of the 330 mL bottles (11.2 ounces) cost me $5.99, so they definitely aren't cheap. But Mikkeller is known for its great quality and, around me at least, a lot of their beers are hard to find. So I can totally justify spending a little extra. First up, I'll try Mosaic before getting into its *almost* identical twin, Citra.

mosaic iipa

Mosaic IIPA pours a hazy, dark orange color with a decent amount of head. The aroma of tangerines, grapefruit, and other tropical fruits is pretty dominant but there is a pale malt smell hiding behind all the citrus. To me, it smelled amazing.

When I sipped it for the first time, I audibly went "whoa".

There was a sharp, tingly hop bite that was immediately followed by grapefruit and tangerine flavors. That "hop bite" correlates to the 78 IBU that this beer is labeled with. But don't worry! The citrus cuts down on the bitterness pretty well...for the most part. I say for the most part because, lingering on your tongue between sips, is that hoppy bitterness. But another sip will surely get rid of that (if you don't like it).

As I continued drinking other fruits, like mango and papaya, also made themselves known underneath the dominant grapefruit profile. There is also a certain syrupy sweetness that sticks to your mouth as you drink that reminds me of Ballast Point's Grapefruit Sculpin (which is also an amazing beer).

Mosaic IIPA has a medium body and some nice carbonation to it, as it fizzes on your tongue with every sip. After each taste, there is a certain dankness and toasted caramel malt finish that follows.

The 8.9% ABV that Mosaic holds become more apparent the further down you drink but, for the most part, the alcohol burn is hidden well.

At first, this was one of the smoother double IPAs I've had but as I drank, it did become harder to drink due to the alcohol coming out. Still, it's worth the buy. 8/10

8 beers

Citra IIPA, as I said earlier, is essentially the same beer but with citra hops instead of mosaic. It's so similar that both beers have the same ABV (8.9%) and IBU (78).

citra iipa

The Citra IIPA pours a much cloudier, but brighter orange color than its twin. On top of the beer, there is a nice amount of head, again very similar.

Aroma wise, however, it is more diluted than Mosaic. You get the grapefruit smell and there are some other citrus fruits lingering behind the grapefruit, but there isn't a hoppy twang to the odor, nor does it fill the air as much.

My first taste of Citra, made me raise my eyebrows. The taste, much like the aroma, was less hoppy and more fruit-forward. There wasn't any hop bite or bitterness really...maybe a small hint of the hops in the beginning but you really have to go looking for that hop bite to find it. All you get was grapefruit and orange flavors. It was delicious.

The aftertaste was delightful as well. It was like you just bit into an orange that will get you drunk...which, now that I'm thinking about it, sounds like the best fruit of all time.

Like its counterpart, Citra has a medium body and some carbonation to it (but a little less than Mosaic). The dankness that Mosaic had also wasn't as apparent here.

This was a fantastic beer. The 8.9% ABV remained hidden the entire time and the malts and hops worked incredibly well to create a super-smooth DIPA. If Mosaic was smooth, this was near perfect. 9/10

9 beers

Well science has confirmed it. Mikkeller makes some really good beers! However, Citra is better than Mosaic...but not by much. Both beers are worth the money and deserve your attention.