SMaSH West Coast Pale Ale

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Sacred Knot Brewing

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Hey all.

Been a long time since I’ve posted on here. I’ve grown a lot over my first year as a home brewer but I also still have a lot to learn.

I work as a beerdender at a local brewery as a second job. I’ve been offered a position as a pilot batch brewer to supplement our tap list. The owner of said brewery is my best friends father (who has helped me a lot in my home brewing), and I’ve worked at this brewery since it has opened so I really don’t want to disappoint.

I plan on making a SMaSH West Coast style Pale ale for my inaugural brew. But I have not really done a SMaSH beer since switching to partial/full grain brewing. So my question is this:

Given the style I am going for, do I use something like Maris Otter to get some malty backbone or stick with 2-row to keep it very clean? I’m leaning towards Maris but I’m hesitating and just need some opinions. I plan on using Denali hops.

Thanks!
 
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When I "visualize" a "West Coast" pale ale, I think of piney/citrus (found in classic "C" hops), not tropical/stone fruit (like Denali).

That being said, if you offered the beer as a Denali SMaSH, I would likely enjoy it.
 

lablover

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I'd go Maris for a little more backbone and I'd use a classic American hop like Chinook, Centennial or Simcoe. I think I'd lean toward Chinook.
 

Bassman2003

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Do you want an American or British leaning beer? I think of American 2-row when I think classic west coast IPA. Clean with a little bit of breadiness. But MO is fine. West coast IPA has come to mean not the hazy stuff, so it probably does not matter what you use in the end for the style.
 
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Sacred Knot Brewing

Sacred Knot Brewing

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When I "visualize" a "West Coast" pale ale, I think of piney/citrus (found in classic "C" hops), not tropical/stone fruit (like Denali).

That being said, if you offered the beer as a Denali SMaSH, I would likely enjoy it.
I’ve never used Denali so I can’t say for sure but from what I’ve read it’s piney/citrus with pineapple, no?
 
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Sacred Knot Brewing

Sacred Knot Brewing

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Do you want an American or British leaning beer? I think of American 2-row when I think classic west coast IPA. Clean with a little bit of breadiness. But MO is fine. West coast IPA has come to mean not the hazy stuff, so it probably does not matter what you use in the end for the style.
I was leaning more American given I want to do west coast style, so 2 row it is?
 
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Denali ... what I’ve read it’s piney/citrus with pineapple,
That's similar to what I've read/experienced (I haven't brewed with Denali recently).

Denali is a relatively new hop (2010-ish?) hop. If I'm "in the mood" for a classic (early 2000-ish) "West Coast" Pale Ale, pineapple flavors would be unexpected. But, as I said earlier, if you offered the beer as a Denali SMaSH, I would likely enjoy it.
 

CA_Mouse

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I've liked using Great Western American Pale Malt. It's a 3L malt, so it gives a nice golden color, it also gives a little more of a backbone to the taste.

That said, I agree with those above that offering it as a Denali SMaSH would probably get better sales and reviews. A WC IPA is more Pine/Grapefruit/Resin and Pineapple might be a bit sweet on the pallet for some.
 

Stand

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I did a run of smash beers awhile ago, and hops were the hardest part. Only hop I have ever used that I really liked in a smash pale ale was Centennial. Cascade was good as well, but without a little caramel malt or an assist from another hop it didn't seem complete. I blame Sierra Nevada.

Nothing else I tried is even worth mentioning.
 
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Sacred Knot Brewing

Sacred Knot Brewing

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That's similar to what I've read/experienced (I haven't brewed with Denali recently).

Denali is a relatively new hop (2010-ish?) hop. If I'm "in the mood" for a classic (early 2000-ish) "West Coast" Pale Ale, pineapple flavors would be unexpected. But, as I said earlier, if you offered the beer as a Denali SMaSH, I would likely enjoy it.
I've liked using Great Western American Pale Malt. It's a 3L malt, so it gives a nice golden color, it also gives a little more of a backbone to the taste.

That said, I agree with those above that offering it as a Denali SMaSH would probably get better sales and reviews. A WC IPA is more Pine/Grapefruit/Resin and Pineapple might be a bit sweet on the pallet for some.
I see where you’re coming from. Thanks for the suggestions guys!
 

bwible

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I know the intention is a smash, but there’s nothing wrong with combining base malts. Some 2 row and some Maris Otter. A pale ale probably should also have a little light crystal.

I’ll second Centennial on the hops. I just did a blonde ale thats in my fermenter. I used Centennial and a little Citra. That combination smells fantastic.
 

Brooothru

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It kinda' depends on what your goal is for this inaugural SMaSH. Are you trying to go "fool-proof?" If so, stick with tried and true like simple base malt and a familiar, popular hop like Cascade (Sierra Nevada PA), Centennial (Bell's 2H), etc.

The trouble is, EVERYONE has done those, and you'll be judged not on how good you brewed but how well you succeeded in copying somebody else's success. If you are looking to make a name for yourself and, at the same time, bringing new customers into the brewery I'd recommend taking off in a new direction. But keep it simple. You don't want to get bogged down in a complex recipe with exotic ingredients and procedures. So a SMaSH is the perfect pallette to create upon.

Use a good quality domestic 2 row malt. Is it cheating to sprinkle in some crystal or maybe some Munich/Vienna? You decide, but you want to stay basic IMHO. Use a reliably performing yeast, clean like Chico, good attenuation and medium to high floc. Denali hops, or something similar, would help stand out from the crowd but Arctic Slush has already gone there. How about Trident hops from Hopsteiner, a newly released hop that brings a lot to the table and would definitely stand out from the crowd but would be simple to work with.

New hops can bring an edge to a new entrant in the competitive world of craft brewing. I did a dry hop addition two years ago in a Pre-Prohibition lager using YCH's Cluster Fugget hop blend that won Best of Show in a medium-large competition. Afterwards one of the final round judges (a professional brewer) told me that the consensus of the panel was that there was just something different about my entry that separated it from the crowd. Sometimes "simple and unique" is just what you need.
 

bwible

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But thats the thing - people think they are being creative and trying to stand out, but everybody is doing the same thing now. It’s all Mosaic and every New Zealand hop everywhere. Pineapple, tropical fruit and juicy fruit hops. Everybody everywhere is doing that. Its the old school, clear, west coast IPAs with old school piney hops that stand out now because they are the oddballs.
 
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Sacred Knot Brewing

Sacred Knot Brewing

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It kinda' depends on what your goal is for this inaugural SMaSH. Are you trying to go "fool-proof?" If so, stick with tried and true like simple base malt and a familiar, popular hop like Cascade (Sierra Nevada PA), Centennial (Bell's 2H), etc.

The trouble is, EVERYONE has done those, and you'll be judged not on how good you brewed but how well you succeeded in copying somebody else's success. If you are looking to make a name for yourself and, at the same time, bringing new customers into the brewery I'd recommend taking off in a new direction. But keep it simple. You don't want to get bogged down in a complex recipe with exotic ingredients and procedures. So a SMaSH is the perfect pallette to create upon.

Use a good quality domestic 2 row malt. Is it cheating to sprinkle in some crystal or maybe some Munich/Vienna? You decide, but you want to stay basic IMHO. Use a reliably performing yeast, clean like Chico, good attenuation and medium to high floc. Denali hops, or something similar, would help stand out from the crowd but Arctic Slush has already gone there. How about Trident hops from Hopsteiner, a newly released hop that brings a lot to the table and would definitely stand out from the crowd but would be simple to work with.

New hops can bring an edge to a new entrant in the competitive world of craft brewing. I did a dry hop addition two years ago in a Pre-Prohibition lager using YCH's Cluster Fugget hop blend that won Best of Show in a medium-large competition. Afterwards one of the final round judges (a professional brewer) told me that the consensus of the panel was that there was just something different about my entry that separated it from the crowd. Sometimes "simple and unique" is just what you need.
Trident hops may be something worth trying as well. I’m wanting to use Denali because my dog is named Denali and the way I got her is tied to my time working at the brewery. But like I said I will look into Trident hops for something as well, I’ve never heard of them.
 

Brooothru

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Here's a Spider Chart of the Trident hop, courtesy of BeerMaverick:


Screen Shot 2021-07-11 at 4.12.35 PM.png


I believe 2020 was the first crop for commercial sales. I picked up 8 ounces (had a hard time finding any) earlier this year from Hop Craft. Haven't used it yet, but I'm planning on brewing with it in a few weeks for a Fall competition. Haven't decided whether to go with a SMaSH (Blonde or APA) or 'showcase' it with some other more familiar but complimentary hops that won't muddle or hide the new hop (either an APA or IPA). At 13% AA it will be a strong bittering hop, but it's listed as dual purpose. It looks very similar to Denali except for "no pine" but more fruit, citrus and stone. Here's the descriptor:

"Trident™ was developed for those seeking a hop forward punch to the nose fruity, citrus, tropical, passion fruit blend to fit any beer style. Trident™ is a specialized blend with a much wider range of aroma and flavor characteristics than any single hop variety could generate on its own. Although, Trident™ is perfectly balanced as is, it can also be used with other unique Hopsteiner proprietary varieties to build an even more unique, and potent flavor profile."

I'm thinking I'll probably go with Nugget for a small bittering charge with maybe some Simcoe at :30 minutes for just a hint of dank, then load up on Trident for late hops and whirlpool to dominate in either an IPA or Pale Ale for the comp. If you try it, let me know how it comes out and we can compare notes.
 
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My favorite SMaSH to date has been MO and Azacca. I shoot for 70 IBU's with about 1/3-1/2 oz/gal dry hop. I keep repeating this one, it's that good.

On the other hand, don't SMaSH with Huell Melon. Just. Don't. Do. It.
 

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