So I have been really curious/excited about trying out different English base malts ever since I tried some fabulous English style beers that I found out were brewed with Optic as the base malt.
I very often will experiment with different grains, but I've always had a hard time not tweaking more than one variable so I can never quantify the exact differences I'm getting.
Recently I had some time on my hands so I ordered 6 different base malts, enough for a one gallon batch each of each of the different base malts, and decided to do a true single variable SMaSH beer side by side assessment.
I decided to compare American 2-Row, Maris Otter, Golden Promise, Halcyon, Optic, and Pearl malts. From what I understand, everything but the 2-Row is a single variety of winter barley.
The recipe specifics were: 2lbs of base malt, 4g of Fuggles at 60 minutes, 4g of Fuggles at 30 minutes.
All the grains were mashed for 1 hour at 150F. In almost all of the cases 1.75 gallons of wort was collected and boiled for 60 minutes to achieve a final wort volume of 1 gallon. Wort was cooled using my copper wort chiller, then transferred to a 2 gallon bucket and 2g of Safale-S04 was pitched.
I brewed, chilled and pitched all 6 one gallon batches on the same day, then I let them ferment for 7 days at 68F. I just bottled them a couple of days ago.
From left to right:
American 2-Row OG: 1.058 FG: 1.010
Maris Otter OG: 1.061 FG: 1.013
Golden Promise OG: 1.061 FG: 1.012
Pearl OG: 1.064 FG: 1.010
Optic OG: 1.061 FG: 1.010
Halcyon OG: 1.065 FG: 1.012
Once they've bottle conditioned for a few more days I'll crack them open and post my tasting notes.
I will say that they all had significantly different aromas in the mash and the hydrometer samples I took (the liquid in the glass) were all very different as well. I'm looking forward to trying the individual beers.
Photos of the brew day and process can be found here: