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.
I hope it’s a SMaSH hit.
Have you ever used extract with a SMaSH brew? Our next beer was going to be SMaSH, but we haven’t graduated to all-grain brewing yet, and the extracts available to us are all blends.
Brew on, indeed!
Extracts like Amber, Gold dark etc, should be avoided anyway as part of recipe making as an extract brewer. You can find pure pilsner extract. In general always look for the lightest extract you can get (light and extra light) these tend to be single malt. An email to the manufacturer of the brands available at your LHBS will likely help steer you in the right direction. They all generally want to treat homebrewers right.
Even if you can’t get a non blended extract you can still focus on the hop part. And if you are a dedicated extract brewer it might be fun to simply compare extra light to golden to amber extract all with the same hop. Something to be learned there for sure regardless of how strict you may or may not want to be with SMaSH brewing.
Using the all grain BIAB method is a great way to SMaSH and learn about how different variables affect the taste of your brew. An extract brewer could do small batches simply by using the BIAB method with their current equipment and some 1 gallon fermentors.