SMaSH Brewing

Beer, hops and grainAs homebrewers, we all occasionally fall into the same old trap where the recipes that we create start to become overly complex. The result is often a beer that can be muddled and mediocre. Don’t get me wrong, there are beers out there that lend themselves to more complex grain and hop bills, but some of the best beers are usually the most simplistic. Even the commercial breweries that we love so much, go out of their way to keep their recipes as simplistic as possible so that they do not have to carry as many ingredients.

About 5 years ago, a group of homebrewers started creating what they called SMaSH Beers; this is an acronym for Single Mash and Single Hop beers. As the name implies, these beers contain only one type of grain and one type of hop. This is not only a great way to keep cost down, but also has the added benefit of removing all of the clutter so you can really taste and learn the flavor profiles of each ingredient. When you make a beer that uses five different hop varieties, it becomes very difficult to pick out the flavors and benefits of each hop. By honing your pallet with SMaSH brews, you will begin to learn to identify the characteristics of the different grains and hops, ultimately improving your recipe formulations for other beers.

One of the questions that often comes up when discussing SMaSH beer, is whether or not they can be made when extract brewing. Most extracts are made using more than one malt, although there are some. Traditionally, extracts are a blend of base malt and some crystal malts. But do not be deterred, the idea here is to keep things as simple as possible and learn more about the ingredients. Even though the use of blended extract is not “technically” a single malt, the concept still remains the same and I would definitely call it a SMaSH beer.

Obviously, there are certain styles of beer that work better as SMaSH brews. The easiest being Pale Ales and IPA’s, but other great beers such as Pilsners, Vienna Lagers, Saisons, Munich Dunkels, Blondes and Kolsch can all be made using a single malt and single hop approach.
Below is a basic SMaSH recipe for both extract and all grain. You can switch out the hops and grain for anything that you would like.

Extract Recipe

8 lbs Maris Otter Liquid Malt Extract
.75 oz. El Dorado (60 min.)
.50 oz. El Dorado (30 min.)
.50 oz. El Dorado (0 min.)
1 oz. El Dorado (Dry Hop)
SafAle US-05

All Grain Recipe
10 lbs Maris Otter (Mash at 153°F)
.75 oz. El Dorado (60 min.)
.50 oz. El Dorado (30 min.)
.50 oz. El Dorado (0 min.)
1 oz. El Dorado (Dry Hop)
SafAle US-05

If you have any questions regarding SMaSH brewing, the staff at The Brew Hut are always happy to help.

Cheers!

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