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Old 07-07-2014, 12:18 AM   #1
sashurlow
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Default Best recipe for comparing hops

So I just posted something about the easiest receip for lagers and then researched what it takes to make a lager. Lets try something else... I have not brewed beer before but have a very firm knowledge of brewing ciders. I'm looking for a basic recipe for a light ale that will let me tastes the differences between my four varieites of hops. Any tips for an easy recipe to taste test my hops?
Thanks,
Scott

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Old 07-07-2014, 12:26 AM   #2
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Smash (single malt & single hop) beer for each hop. Pick a base malt. 2 row being the most common.

Small batch into 1 gallon jugs as fermenters.

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Old 07-07-2014, 02:09 AM   #3
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Small batches as stated above. 2 row will give you some light ales, great for determining hop characteristics individually without much malt interference. I just tried using Thomas Fawcett and Sons Halcyon malt in a couple of blonde ales to test my own homegrown hops, and I'm enjoying it's buscuity/honey character. I'm still getting a good idea for the hops I'm using, but also getting some tasty malt character. If your interested in something more, Maris Otter malt is used a lot in smash for some extra character.

Use a clean ale yeast like S-05 or Wlp001 to get a good idea of how your hops bitter/taste/smell.

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Old 07-07-2014, 02:24 AM   #4
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Are you planning on all grain, partial mash, or extract?

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Old 07-07-2014, 02:31 AM   #5
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+1 on the SMaSH beers. If you're looking for something interesting, go with a little darker of a base malt, Maris Otter, Halcyon, Pale Ale malt, etc. I would even recommend Vienna. You could do Munich too, although Munich could be more malt character than what you're looking for. On the other end, Pils malt has a really great character too. More flavor than regular 2 row.

However, if you don't mind a beer that may be a little boring, 2 row will really showcase the hops since it doesn't really offer too much on its own. There just won't be much malt character at all. But if you really want to get to know the hops, that's the best way to do it.

If you're looking for an extract beer, just do a fairly low gravity comprised only of extra-light DME.

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Old 07-07-2014, 03:56 AM   #6
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I don't think the austerity of a single malt brew is necessary to split the batch across a handful of late hop additions (the mechanics of which always fascinate me as I've not attempted same) to compare hop characters. I'd do something at least a bit more complex, just because brewing should be more than just a science experiment And, frankly, even with much larger recipe differences, it doesn't take long to know any particular hop if you use it enough.

What I would recommend for anyone that interested in hop character is to submit a sample of their brewing water for analysis. The effect of water chemistry on hop "presence" can be quite profound...

Cheers!

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Old 07-07-2014, 09:53 AM   #7
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Thaymond... I am a total noob with beer. Can I do a SMASH with extract? This would also be my learning beer brews.
Thanks

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Old 07-07-2014, 10:30 AM   #8
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You could do some quick, 1 gallon batches with extract and steeping some crystal malt.

1 lb extra light dry extract
1 oz Crystal 40
Always use RO or distilled water with extract

Steep the crystal in water at about 150-155 for 30 min in a travel coffee mug.
boil a gallon of water on the stove with the extract.
Strain the steeped crystal into the pot and return to a boil.
Turn off heat and add 1/2 oz of your hops and let sit for half hour.

Chill, put in 1 gal carboy, shake it like crazy for 5 min.

Divide one pack of US-05 yeast four ways between your four batches.

------------

Or

Buy a 6 pack of Coors light bottles, pop the caps on 4, put 3 nuggets of each hop variety into one bottle each, recap, let sit at room temp for a few days, chill then taste.

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Old 07-07-2014, 10:31 AM   #9
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I believe I just answered my own questions... By definition it would have to be a single malt extract. For my standards, you bet it would work. It would be a SESH instead of a SMaSH.
This fall I forsee five one gallon batches. 4 of each hops varieties and one with all four.
My problem is that I use hops vines for a privacy screen over my screened in porch and look at my Centenials (and one little Mt Hood) DAILY.
Thanks all,
Scott

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