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Old 12-24-2009, 07:24 PM   #1
bigolbigbelly
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Default Questions on SMaSH brewing

Searched a lot of threads and did not find what I was looking for.
I want to start doing one to two SMaSH brews a month so I can get a better concept of how to formulate my own recipes. I've been brewing all-grain recipe kits and recipes I've found on the web since August of this year . Recently put together my first two recipes using BMW's Brew Builder. They came out OK but, I realized making your own recipe is like making dinner without knowing what any of the spices in the spice rack taste like.

Have a few questions for anyone who has done extensive SMaSH brewing:

1.- I am going to order everything through BMW and they have 11 base malts. http://www.brewmasterswarehouse.com/...nts/base-malts
after these eleven do you repeat the same base malts with a different hops?

2.- I've heard some specialty malts have enough enzymes to use as a base (I.E - Munich Malt). Is there a list online that might have which specialty malts can be used in SMaSH? or could you post what your have used?

3.- Do you only use hops that are dual purpose for bittering and flavor? If so how do you find out how the flavor and aroma hops taste? If so is there such a thing as a neutral hop that could be used for bittering?

4.- Do you still shoot for a recipe with a particular IBU or just add the same hop at 60min-30min-15mins-5mins-0mins and see how it comes out.

5.- Do you have to heavy hop? By this I mean, do you have to use a ton of hops each recipe to get the flavor? Could I get away with say 2oz for a five gallon recipe?

6.- After going through all of the base malts you can, did you next move to adding a single specialty malt with the base malt (I.E Carmel 10, next batch Carmel 20...etc.)?

7.- While brewing SMaSH recipes I wanted to start to understand how to get a really good hop/malt balance to my future recipes. Any tips or recomended reading on this subject?

8.- Am I understanding the idea of SMaSH ? To learn how each malt/hop tastes so you can formulate better/more complex recipes?

I know this is a lot of information I am looking for but I have learned so much from this site. It has become the first place I look for answers.

Thanks, Joe

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Old 12-24-2009, 07:42 PM   #2
Suthrncomfrt1884
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1. That's up to you. Smash brewing is 1 base malt and 1 hop....the decisions after that fact are up to you. If you're trying to learn about hop flavors, I suggest using a basic two-row malt for all of your recipes. Then, each new batch, add a different hop.

2. Anything listedf as a base malt will have plenty of enzymes to work for you. I've used munich as a base malt and it works fine. You've probably heard that munich has to be mashed...

3. Again, the hop choice it all up to you. I prefer to stick with lower AA hops that are used for flavoring. But some, such as Centenial and Nugget are also good in my opinion. No, there's no such thing as neutral hops...not that I know of.

4. You should be aiming for a beer with the specs of a pale ale. This isn't written anywhere, it's just what I've done. I usually do around 4% ABV and 30-50 IBUs...it's all personal preference. SMaSH really isn't a style of beer, so nothing is set in stone.

5. 2 oz of hops is plenty for a basic recipe. With just a base malt, you're not letting anything get in the way other than the one malt flavor.

6. Adding anything other than 1 grain and 1 hop would make the SMaSH null and void.

7. If you really want to get into designing your own recipes...I highly suggest picking up Designing Great Beers. It's a great book and I still use it every now and then. It may seem very advanced at first, but read through it for awhile and you'll be making beers to style in no time. It also has a lot of history on each style too, which is nice.

8. This isn't necessarilly the purpose of a SMaSH, but it's not a bad place to start. If you really want to know how each hop tastes, I suggest making a basic pale ale recipe. 8-10lbs of base malt, a little crystal malt, and one bittering hop addition. The bittering hop doesn't matter much as it doesn't add a whole lot to the flavor. You'll want to then split the batch into 5 or 6 - 1 gallon jugs and dry hop each with a different hop. This will give you the best flavor sample of the hops your using.

Hopefully that covers all of your questions...

You will eventually get an idea of what you like and what you don't. You'll also get to the point where you can pick certain malts out without seeing the recipe. Hops are a bit trickier. I'm still only able to pick out certain hop flavors...cascade, centennial, nugget, chinook, simcoe, amarillo, tetnanger (sp?), northern brewer, saaz, and maybe one or two more. These are about the only hops I use anyway...

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Old 12-24-2009, 07:45 PM   #3
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SMaSH is about simplicity and tasting each ingredient. You can add the hops when you want to determine whether it a American or English Pale ale. Or reduce some of your runnings and add them back in and add lots of hops for an IPA. Its about one hop and one malt, experiment...thats what makes it fun

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Old 12-24-2009, 07:48 PM   #4
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Shortcut method to learning hops is to start buying a bomber of many different craft brews. This helps narrow down the hops & styles you like.

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Old 12-24-2009, 11:39 PM   #5
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i 2nd the splitting up a pale ale and dry hopping with different varieties. good call.

i'd say even more so than hops, SMaSHes are great for figuring out the subtle differences of base malts from different maltsters. It took me about a year and a half of SMaSHes to dial in my munich helles recipe; i've had the same recipe taste once like stella, once like harp, once like BMC (actually BMC happened like 3 times) and now FINALLY it tastes authentic german, like weinstephaner.

As far as malt/hop balancing, i use a little chart that floats around on these threads. just do a seach for "bitterness chart" or something like that, it's weighs IBU's vs. original gravity and works wonderfully for me.

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