Category Archives: SMaSH

Simplicity

I’m on a simplicity kick.  Nothing for a total of ten beers (only successfully completed and drank beers) can be in any way complicated.  My reasons for this are a few in a row of very so-so beers that were also too complicated to be able to accurately trouble shoot without doubt.  So it’s KISS only from here to a while from now.

My lager came out good, that’s one.  It was merely golden promise plus cascade, and it’s damn tasty.

I’ve got a couple Munich SMaSH beers going too.  One’s a petite saison smash with munich and citra, one’s a regular old
US-05 munich/cascade smash beer.  Also got a super simple stout planned with 90% 2-row, 10% roasted barley, and Irish ale yeast, for a super simple dry Irish stout.

Also got a blonde ale that came out fantastic (again!)  Reasonably simple beers that I’ve done before successfully are IN as far as my simplicity kick goes. Elderberry wheat may be repeated shortly too.

When you realize that your simplest beers are usually your best, then you should consider going on a simplicity kick.  Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

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Munich-Citra Petite Saison Smash

Decided to try a new twist on an old recipe, new in a couple of ways.  Petite saison smash – but with 100% Munich malt.  Also in some ways similar to Citra-Bomb-From-Hell, but with less of a citra blast, and lower bitterness.

I added 10 grams of citra as the bittering addition.  Please, no whinin’ over using citra for bittering, that’s a debate I don’t particularly care when you’re talking ten friggin’ grams.  Then I dumped in the remainder of the pound of citra I bought a while ago, 72 grams, at flameout.  Should leave plenty of citra flavor, but not quite be so over the top as the citra bomb.

The wild card is my choice of Danstar Belle Saison yeast.  Haven’t tried this one yet, but chatter online seems positive.  Actually, I picked this one on a whim, asking the guy in my LHBS “got any good saison yeast?” at which point he pulled out a box from the fridge, started digging, and came up with this. Screw it, I’ll try anything once!

In addition, I’m using 62F as the fermentation temperature, same as with my first petite saison yeast.

So we’ll see how it comes out.  I suspect it will come out really good!

Quadro-Smash! (WTF Al?)

Edited to reflect reality!  And again to reflect reality again!

 

UPDATE: fucked it all up.  Forgot which bucket was which, put the dry hops 68g for this one into the Sam Adams summer ale clone.  This one was quite a bit on the bitter side, but has mellowed as it aged, and is at least drinkable. 

Now the other beer, the Sam Adams Summer Ale clone, it came out really nice!  All that dry hop aroma somehow didn’t mess with the rather delicate and subtle aromas and flavors of the lemon peel and grains of paradise.

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Well I never cared whether I mis-used words or butchered the English Language much, so I can name my beers whatever the heck I want!

Got the idea from a beeradvocate.com thread. Four base malts, equal portions, and four hops, equal portions, in a pale ale or IPA like beer with IBUs about 45-50.

3 lbs maris otter
3 lbs golden promise
3 lbs vienna
3 lbs munich

Hops will be a blend of Cascade, Citra, Willamette, and Bravo!  I gotta check the AA% for the exact numbers,, but the schedule wound up like this:

  • 40g bravo
    100g cascade
    80g willamette
    60g citra
    280g hops total
    28g at 60
    54g at 5
    140g at FO
    68g dry hop

Used Denny’s best yeast.  Wound up being far more of an IPA than I had previously planned.  Still – This one can’t help but be ginormously fantabulous!

KISS Amber extract ale

The name almost says it all.  The malt bill is quite simple:

  • 3 lbs Amber Extract

The hops bill is also very simple:

  • 0.5 oz cascade at 60
  • 2 oz cascade at FO

2 gallon batch. American ale II yeast used.

The primary purpose of this beer is to test straight amber extract and see what it’s like on its own.  This is part of my “not regurgitating standard advice when you haven’t actually tried it yourself” campaign.

I plan to keep brewing stuff with amber and dark and extra-dark extracts too, because I don’t believe that everything extract needs to be done with extra-light + steeping grains.  It’s ok to get some of your color from extracts. However, we’re going to see real soon just how much other than color this particular extract added to the beer.\

I suppose this is a smash beer too. Can’t have too many smashes!

I may dry hop it, we’ll see.

 

EDIT and update: well first test bottle popped. Great carbonation, great amber color (the amber extract straight up gives the perfect color for an amber ale). Oddly, a strangely wine-like flavor and aroma, not the cascade-bomb amber I expected. Not sure what’s up with it, but hey, it’s still tasty beer!  Definitely confused on the wine-like qualities tho. I’ll have to make another similar brew and see what happens.

My Top Six!

Well I’m always talking about my top five beers so far, and while that’s probably somewhat debatable, I decided to at least make an effort to qualify which beers those are, at least up till this point. But looking back, it’s impossible to narrow it down to five, so six it is!  I’ve been brewing for a few years now, so I’ve got a nice little list to choose from. Here’s what I’ve decided, as of Feb 2014, in no particular order:

Fresh hop pale ale

The Averagely Perfect American IPA

Pliny the Elder pseudo-clone

Classic American Creme Ale

Citra-Bomb from Hell SMaSH

The Juniper Pale Ale Project with MrOH

And what have I learned from these brews?  Well, one thing that really stands out is that simple recipes tend to be better. Two of these beers used only one base malt (citra bomb and fresh hop), and that base malt was golden promise. Maybe that’s two things learned.  However, Bravo-Munich SMaSH would certainly be the honorable mention for this list.

Classic American Creme Ale used only two ingredients, barley malt and corn, and that barley malt was six-row. That was by far my clearest beer ever, absolutely crystal clear, even at bottling, all the way to my filled glass. So much for the plethora of “six row sucks” cries of horror you’ll hear on the web if you admit to using six-row.

Crystal malt does not equal “bad” when it comes to IPAs. Both the APA IPA and Pliny the Elder (and my pseudo-clone of PtE, which is exactly based on Vinny’s recipe malt-wise) made the list, and the choices for that list included various hoppy beers that did not contain crystal malt. So much for that de-bunked theory.

Juniper can be an excellent addition to a beer (if you make good beer in the first place, that is). I wouldn’t over-do it tho.

BMC fans can be easily converted without making ridiculously light and flavorless beers. Classic American Creme Ale was rated “my best beer yet” by one particular BMC drinker that frequently samples my beers. And while it was quite good for the type of beer I envisioned (one without hugely strong flavor or aroma, but not a flavorless or totally bland beer, more of a refreshing, light, thirst-quenching beer with a nicely light corny, hoppy flavor).  However, the Citra Bomb From Hell disappeared awfully fast considering there were only a couple BMC fans and me drinking it.

BMC drinkers, once converted to homebrew drinkers, never go back. Remember that.

So here’s to the first edition of my top six list, and to many more like it. Cheers!

Pilsner and Willamette Petite Saison SMaSH

Lately I haven’t been brewing that much, but yesterday a buddy and me did a big double batch brewday.  We brewed two beers using Willamette hops, because I have a bag of Willamette leaf and I want to use it up to make space in the freezer.  So here’s the first beer we brewed:

12 lbs Belgian Pilsner Malt

approximately 6 oz Willamette hops.  1.5 oz measured FWH, the rest approximated and added over a steady stir for the last 5 minutes of the boil, with a 10 minute hop stand.

Now last time I did petite saison smash I used 3711, this time I used T-58.  The main reason for this was I had a pack of dry T-58 and didn’t feel like making a starter, and didn’t have any 3711 anyway, so the choice was easy.  I’ve used T-58 a number of times now in my small experimental batches, and I’ve liked it.  We’ll see how it performs on this batch.

Fermentation will be at 64F.  I didn’t dry hop the last petite saison, so I might try it on this one, but then again I might not.  We’ll see.

The other beer we brewed will be in another blog, with some pictures too!  That beer is test run #1 of a clone of Texas Big Beer’s Working Stiff Ale.  Much more on that to come!

Munich and Caramunich Sorta Smash

Decided to break from my relatively long streak of not using crystal malts (except in the stout) and try something I’ve been interested in for some time.  I’m going to make a beer with all Munich I and Munich II base malt, and all three kinds of Caramunich:

  • 7.75 lbs Munich I (10 SRM)
  • 4.25 lbs Munich II (20 SRM)
  • 0.25 lbs Caramunich III
  • 0.25 lbs Caramunich II
  • 0.5 lbs Caramunich I

Hops wise, I haven’t decided yet.  The grist is already bagged, so that won’t change. However, any suggestions on the hops bill will be considered!  I will edit / update when the hops bill has been finalized.  I am thinking something noble-ish, leaving a maltier, less IPA-ish final beer, but if the eureka moment presents itself, I will go with just about anything that is highly likely to kick ass!

Yeast wise I haven’t decided yet either.  Something that will highlight the Munich and caramunich, perhaps Irish ale yeast?  WLP029?  Again, suggestions welcome.

Changes to the Double-Smash Beer

Well I finally got around to actually brewing the Double-SMaSH, with Vienna/Munich, BUT – I forgot the cascade hops on brew day.  Since I have to drive a ways to get to where I brew, I wasn’t going back.  However, I had some hops there, so I just changed the hops schedule around completely.  So now it’s a double-TRIPLE-SMaSH.  Yes, I realize that’s one hell of a misnomer.  But hey, it’s my beer, and I can change it up if I want to!  Plus I was never that good at keeping to the strict interpretation of literary meanings or definitions of words.   I do what I want!!

Still 6 lbs each Vienna / Munich malts.

Here’s the new hops schedule:

0.25 each at 60 bravo/belma
0.25 each at 15 bravo/belma/centennial
0.25 each at 10 bravo/belma
0.5 centennial at 10
0.25 each at 5 bravo/belma
0.75 centennial at 5
1 oz each belma/bravo at FO
DH one ounce each belma/bravo

From past experience, it’ll at least make beer, and probably tasty beer.  Maybe it’ll be the new sensation, who knows?  But as long as it makes tasty beer, I’ll be happy.

Fresh Hops are in!!

Just picked up three bags of fresh hops, 8 oz each:

  • cascade
  • citra
  • simcoe

Gonna make a fresh hop pale ale today!  No idea what the IBUs will be, not even sure what the OG is going to be either.  I’m going to use 17 lbs of Golden Promise as the grist, so basically it’s a smash (one grain, fresh hops, a loose definition, lol).  OG should be about 1.060, but I’m making seven gallons, not my usual five, so not sure what the exact efficiency is going to be.

All the fresh hops will be added at flameout and hopstand.  A tiny bittering charge of pellet hops will be added at 60 minutes to ensure enough bitterness.

I’ll dry hop with something.  Probably cascade, but I’ll decide when the time comes.

Can’t wait to see how it comes out!!

Double SMaSH – Two Malts, Two Hops?

EDIT: This beer got changed, the hops schedule at least.  New version is here.

Got this idea from Beer Advocate Homebrew forum – making a SMaSH, but making it with TWO base balts and two types of hops.  Actually we were discussing smash beers, and I was noting some of my results. and the idea just kind of evolved, so I figured I’d try it.  Here’s the recipe I came up with:

Munich/Vienna+Belma/Cascade Double SMaSH

  • 6 lbs Munich malt
  • 6 lbs Vienna malt
  • 0.5 oz Belma at 60
  • 0.5 oz Cascade at 60
  • 0.5 oz Belma at 10
  • 0.5 oz Cascade at 10
  • 0.5 oz Belma at 5
  • 0.5 oz Cascade at 5
  • 1.5 oz Belma at FO
  • 1.5 oz Belma at FO
  • 1 oz Belma dry hop
  • 1 oz Cascade dry hop

Targets:

  • OG 1.046
  • IBU 48
  • SRM 9
  • ABV 6.2%

I’ve really liked making SMaSH beers.  Some have come out great, some have come out OK (but quite drinkable!), but they’re all interesting to make, and I learn a lot from each one about various types of malts and hops.  Between the results of my Munich/Bravo SMaSH and my Vienna/Cascade SMaSH, plus the results of the Belma IPA, I think this might make for a real tasty beer.  Only way to find out for sure is to brew it!

I also plan to try something with just Munich and Cara-Munich in the near future, just for the heck of  it!   I realized I haven’t been making anything with much (or any) crystal malt in it lately, and would like to try cara-munich, so perhaps I’ll give it a try.  I’ll search around a little for the appropriate amounts of cara-munich to use, then add that to some munich malt, add hops, yeast —-> Beer!

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