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Old 05-13-2010, 01:52 PM   #1
nootay
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Default learning the varieties of hops

So, i would like to really figure out what hops i enjoy. I figure the best way to do this would be to make small batches of a basic pale ale, and use only one type of hop and compare them all. Has anyone gone through the trouble of doing this? Anyone have a good base recipe and suggestions on this?

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Old 05-13-2010, 01:59 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by nootay View Post
So, i would like to really figure out what hops i enjoy. I figure the best way to do this would be to make small batches of a basic pale ale, and use only one type of hop and compare them all. Has anyone gone through the trouble of doing this? Anyone have a good base recipe and suggestions on this?
It sounds like you would be doing a SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop)

I just brewed a Belgium Brown Ale with Saaz as the only hop. Very delicious even green!

Read this: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/what-does-term-smash-mean-138096/

Basically, you could use a simple pale malt recipe and just try out different hops. How small of a batch is totally up to you. If you are looking for small fermenters go to a local bakery and ask them what they do with their empty icing buckets. I have several that are 3gal and couple that are 2gal. They seem to seal well (gasketted), but even if they don't you are still OK (research open fermentation for confidence)
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Old 05-13-2010, 02:17 PM   #3
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I have brewed several batches of the Midwest SN Pale Ale clone. It's great! I also think it's significantly better than the real deal. I have been using this recipe as my standard. Every time I make this batch, I change a single variable. For example, my most recent batch I used water filtered in a Britta filter as apposed to using bottled water (My tap water smells and tastes look pool water). The next batch I will experiment with finings.
After all of that I plan on focusing on the hops, using a single style of hops.

I really like the idea behind SMaSH.

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Old 05-13-2010, 02:25 PM   #4
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I like the idea of a doing the smash to get an idea of the taste profile of a specific hop you are interested in. I never seem to get around to doing smash's and there are so many hop varities that it would take a lot of smash's to hit them all.

From what I have found columbus, centennial, & cascade all have similar profiles.

Amarillo & Simcoe are pretty disctinct.

If you do the SMASH make sure to use a good amount of hops (I would 5 ounces or so) and load up the back end (20 mins and later) to really draw out the flavor.

If you do a 2-row smash and go light on the hops (basic 60 minute addition + a few quarter ounces throughout the rest of the boil) you will end up with something BMC'ish tasting and I don't think you will really accomplish what you set out to do which is taste the flavor that particular hop contributes.

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Old 05-13-2010, 02:26 PM   #5
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Every time I make this batch, I change a single variable
I do this as well and it is a great way to learn what different ingredients add to a beer. I have a basic pale ale recipe that I bitter with chinook and then use a single hop for flavoring and aroma, so far I have made this recipe using Amarillo only, cascade only and the latest batch has a combination of amarilo and cascade
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Old 05-13-2010, 02:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by yeast_infection View Post
I like the idea of a doing the smash to get an idea of the taste profile of a specific hop you are interested in. I never seem to get around to doing smash's and there are so many hop varities that it would take a lot of smash's to hit them all.

From what I have found columbus, centennial, & cascade all have similar profiles.

Amarillo & Simcoe are pretty disctinct.

If you do the SMASH make sure to use a good amount of hops (I would 5 ounces or so) and load up the back end (20 mins and later) to really draw out the flavor.

If you do a 2-row smash and go light on the hops (basic 60 minute addition + a few quarter ounces throughout the rest of the boil) you will end up with something BMC'ish tasting and I don't think you will really accomplish what you set out to do which is taste the flavor that particular hop contributes.
5 ounces for a five gallon batch, but if you're going to go with a larger number of small batches, 5 ounces would be painful. Do a search on a 2 row SmaSh recipe, scale it down to your batch size and give it a 15-20% increase in the hops. do one for every hop variety you want to test and it should give you a good idea of their flavors.

Since not every variety of hop goes well with a pale recipe, you might want to try and make some hop teas, and taste those, but i'm not real sure how that goes.
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Old 05-13-2010, 02:54 PM   #7
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so im just getting in to all grain brewing. I have a 50lb back of american 2 row, would this now be good to do this with? From what ive found most SMaSH recipes use a different malt.

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Old 05-13-2010, 03:06 PM   #8
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2-row is a great base to use for this. maltier base grains will balance out more of the hop flavor/aroma that you are trying to explore.

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Old 05-13-2010, 03:20 PM   #9
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yeah the 2-row will work great since you specified that you want to taste the hop flavor. It will be pretty neutral and the hops will shine.

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Old 05-13-2010, 04:30 PM   #10
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You could also do smaller "batches" with a large batch. Say take 5 gallons of wort, then instead of boiling it all at once, mix it up real well then seperate it out to smaller batches. You could boil a couple at one time on the stove if you wanted. Enough for a couple of bottles of each.

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