Single Malt and Single Hop, it’s nothing new but it’s new to me. I have read about SMaSH brewing in many forums and brewing blogs over the years. As I mentioned in my Munich Lager Recipe post for the Master of Lagers series, I am going to employ the SMaSH technique with that beer.
The point of SMaSH brewing is to plainly put one base-malt right out in front, naked if you will, and subject it to the brewer’s skill to showcase it’s nuances of structure and flavor. OK,that last part may oversell it a bit, or oversell my skills as a brewer. SMaSH brewing showcases the one malt and one hop. It’s a great way to first understand how a particular base malt tastes all on it’s own. Once you have a good feeling for the base malt of your liking, then you can really start to vary your hops.
While it’s not my focus for the Munich Lager, I think the real power of SMaSH brewing is exploring hops. You can quickly get a sense of all the aspects of a hop’s properties by using a standard 60, 30 and 0 min additions. It allows you to explore the hop’s flavor and aroma.
You can answer questions like:
- Is the bitterness harsh or smooth?
- What do the flavors appear to be?
- How does that all compare with the aroma from the late additions?
Although this method can give you a great perspective on hops, for my Munich Lager I want to really get a sense of what Munich malt tastes like. I normally only use it at a rate of 10-25% in most recipes so using it in a SMaSH format seems to make sense. I am pretty familiar with the properties of Hallertauer hops so I am not concerned about those getting in my way when trying to focus on that malt. However, I did leave out a late addition because I do want to be able to focus on the aroma of the Munich malt as well.
Time will tell how it turns out.