Maris Otter Willamette SMaSH Pale Ale

With my new all-grain brewing setup, I’m ready to start making all-grain beer!

To start, I will be making very simple recipes with few ingredients, and dry yeast.  I need to perfect my process first, then get jiggy with the fancy recipes and exotic yeast later.   So with that in mind…  What better way to start off than with a SMaSH beer!

Remember a SMaSH beer is a single malt, single hops beer.  The four basic ingredients of beer include malted barley, hops, yeast and water.  It doesn’t get any simpler, but can certainly get far more complex.  The point of a SMaSH beer is to take a single grain and a single hops and make a great beer that showcases these simple ingredients.

Obviously I’m no expert on the exact properties of these specific ingredients, so who knows exactly how it will come out.  BUT – I do know that a SMaSH beer is as simple as it gets to make, and will help me get my process down without too many complex variables.

The SRM is slated to be 4.6, very light in color.   The Maris Otter grain should provide a nice solid malt base but remain pretty pale and clear.  Maris Otter also seems to be the most popular base grain, especially for SMaSH beers, so that’s why I chose it.

I’ve chosen willamette hops because these hops are readily available, moderate in AA%, and I have liked other beers I made using willamette.

US-05 is very clean, neutral, easy to use, and I’ve had good results with it before.  I will simply rehydrate it on brew day using 95F water, cool it to about 70F, and add it to the cooled wort once the temperatures are right.

I also plan to use Wyeast nutrient blend to ensure there’s plenty of healthy yeast available for fermentation.  It’s my first time using yeast nutrient.

For clarity, I plan to use some Irish moss powder.  In addition, I plan to use nylon hop bags to help keep the hop residue out of the finished beer.

Also a major consideration about the process here: This is my first time using BeerSmith II.  I have discussed in length setting the parameters for this program, but have discovered there’s no substitute for tweaking the program for your exact equipment and procedure.  Therefore the parameters are somewhat less than perfectly precise on this mash.  I will be taking notes and changing the necessary parameters in consideration for batch 2 of my all grain brewing with this system, and keep tweaking them till I have my system dialed in.

The program is calling for adding 7.5 quarts of 172.2F water onto my grain bed in order to equalize to 155F for the mash.  I will have some near boiling water handy and some chilled water handy in case I need to adjust the mash temp after equalization.

I am hoping for a very clean, crisp, refreshingly hoppy, not too bitter beer on this batch.  Here we go!

3.5 gallon batch.  Double batch sparge method, exact procedure below.


  • Maris otter, 6 lbs
  • 0.5 oz Willamette 60 minutes
  • 0.5 oz Willamette 10 minutes
  • 1 oz Willamette 5 minutes
  • 1 oz Willamette dry hop
  • US-05
  • Wyeast nutrient blend
  • Irish Moss Powder
  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. Add grains to mash tun
  4. bring 2.5 gallon spring water to 172 F
  5. Add 1.75 gallons of 172F spring water to mash turn on top of grains, then stir well
  6. continue to heat the remaining water to near boil
  7. measure temperature after temperature equalizes in mash
  8. adjust mash temperature using either heated mash water or cool spring water as needed to reach 155F
  9. mash for 1 hour minutes at 155F
  10. during mash, bring another 3 gallons of spring water to 172F
  11. during mash, stir about every 15 minutes or so, checking temperature and adjusting if needed
  12. at end of mash, begin draining wort into pitcher
  13. allow first runnings to drain into a pitcher until clear
  14. pour first runnings back on top of mash
  15. drain remaining wort into boil pot until mash tun is near empty
  16. add 1.5 gallons 172F water
  17. stir well
  18. drain first runnings of first batch sparge into pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  19. pour first runnings of first batch sparge back on top of mash
  20. drain wort into main boil pot until near empty
  21. add another 1.5 gallons 172F water to mash tun
  22. stir well
  23. drain first runnings of second batch sparge to pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  24. add first runnings back into mash tun
  25. drain wort into main boil pot
  26. add wort chiller to boil pot, filled with hot water
  27. bring main boil pot to a boil
  28. when boil is reached, add bittering hops, 0.5 oz willamette at 60 minutes
  29. at 30 minutes, add about 1/4 tsp Wyeast nutrient blend to a small amount of spring water and dissolve
  30. add nutrient blend at 15 minute mark
  31. add 1/8 tsp Irish moss powder at 15 minute mark
  32. add 0.5 oz willamette at 10 minutes
  33. add 1 oz willamette at 5 minutes
  34. at flameout, turn on water for wort chiller
  35. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, wine thief
  36. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during cooling
  37. ensure bucket, wine thief, thermometer, strainer, spoon are sanitized
  38. when wort gets to about 72F, add to fermentation bucket, pouring through sanitized strainer to catch any extra solids and to help aerate
  39. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  40. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon again
  41. ensure wort is 72F or a little less before pitching yeast
  42. ensure yeast is a little cooler than wort before pitching
  43. pitch yeast
  44. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  45. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  46. ferment in closet for 7-9 days at 67F ambient air temp.
  47. after 7-9 days, add dry hops, 1 oz willamette
  48. ferment a total of 14-16 days
  49. take FG sample and bottle (after a minimum of 14-16 days)
  50. use 3.5 oz corn sugar at bottling


  • OG 1.047
  • FG 1.011
  • IBU 39.2
  • ABV 4.6
  • SRM 4.6
  • Actual OG 1.045
  • Actual FG


  1. volume was a little low.  had to add about a quart and a half of water to get to the desired boil volume.  Need to decide how to adjust for that next time, taking into consideration the next brew will have a different grain volume/weight.  Hopefully beersmith gives me the answers there!
  2. wort seems to have come out good, it’s very sweet and tasty, not too cloudy
  3. added the 60 minute addition of hops before the boil got fully started (so it’s slightly FWH lol)
  4. mash bucket seems to have worked very well on first try
  5. Using my (somewhat iffy) thermometer, the temperatures set by beersmith II were pretty much spot on.  Although I need to get a better thermometer, I don’t think I need to adjust the temperature profiles for my next batch
  6. I think I’m going to bump the sparge volumes a little on the next batch to ensure proper boil volume.  I used 70% on beersmith, next time I’ll use 80 or 85%
  7. boiled the hops in the boil pot directly.  need to find out if you can boil inside those nylon paint bags used for dry hopping, or if they’ll melt/leave bad flavors.
  8. final volume was spot on for 3.5 gallons
  9. using a paint strainer is an AMAZING way to filter the beer before fermentation.  there’s like next to zero hop residue or any solid matter at all in my beer.  I used a paint bag and colander to strain the wort when it went into the fermenter bucket.  This got even more of the hops residue out of the beer.  What was draining out of the paint bag/colander strainer setup was very clear without any chunkies
  10. final gravity was nearly perfect!
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  • alcaponejunior  On September 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Added notes:

    I have been doing a 2-3 week schedule for most of my beers, usually only doing 2 weeks or so in the primary with no secondary. Haven’t had an issue so far, getting good results pretty consistently.

    This one I just dry-hopped today after eight days in primary. One ounce of willamette in a weighted, sanitized paint strainer bag.

    When I opened the bucket, there was still krausen and a yeasty smell. Obviously high krausen hasn’t been reached yet.

    Not sure why this is. Temps were good on pitching. Closet temp is consistently 68-69F. Yeast was rehydrated US-05, and I’ve never had an issue with this yeast or this technique.

    Anyway, I figure to test the gravity in a week. If it’s on point, I’ll bottle. If it’s a little high, I’ll add another ounce of dry hops and leave it another week.

  • dyqik  On September 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Hi Al,

    the extract kit I bought had a nylon (I think) hop bag that you boiled the hops in, so it should be fine. A brew shop will sell you the bags for that as well, so you could add one to your next order.

    However, a good hop bed when you drain through a false bottom on the kettle is a good way of filtering out more of the trub/cold break remains than a bag allows. I’ve not done that with my recent brew, but it worked well in my previous attempts back in the UK.

  • alcaponejunior  On September 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Yeah I was going to go ahead and still put the hops in the kettle directly, then double-filter them using the paint bags and a colander. I have used grain bags to boil hops but I am suspecting that with paint bag strainer technology, I might get better utilization and flavor by letting them free-float. And if they help filter the break, that’s even better! Thanks man!

  • alcaponejunior  On September 26, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Bottled 9-25. Beer tasted very malty without a lot of hops character. I think this one will be mostly a showcase of maris otter. We’ll see what happens when it comes time to drink them.

  • alcaponejunior  On October 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Well I’m taste-testing the first bottle now. It’s yellow-tan with a little bit of haze but mostly clear, good head and lacing. The aroma and taste are both showcases of maris otter malt. It’s malty, very malty. It’s also quite dry, in fact I’d say it’s almost “very” dry. Hops presence is low in the nose, but amply bitter in the taste. However, the hops presence is nothing like I expected (although I’m not quite sure what I expected). Maybe I’ve been drinking too many IPAs recently. Note to self: in future, use more willamette with a smash recipe. Overall it’s not a fantastic beer but it’s quite drinkable and that’s ok by me. I declare my first AG recipe to be a success, if not a SMaSHing success.

  • alcaponejunior  On October 7, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Having my second bottle now. It’s actually a pretty good beer. I am pleased. Time to brew my second batch of all grain beer,, English IPA! I have plenty of homebrew to drink while I’m brewing!

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