Thinking of SMASH

SMASH or SMaSH? Regardless of the proper way to capitalize the acronym, it stands for single malt and single hop.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately but I’ve never tried it.  It’s really the perfect time for me to get into this style of brewing.  I’m a big fan of IPA (what homebrewer isn’t?) and this method/style of brewing will help me understand what each variety of hops and malt does.  Every hop variety has a corresponding description, and the same goes for base grains – but those were written by some Joe Schmo (I never tried to spell ‘Schmo’ before) that I don’t even know.  What it comes down to is what I think about them and whether or not I like them.  It’s like tasting a beer after reading the over-descriptive tasting notes of the brewer’s intentions.

So where do I start?  I really like Maris Otter malt.  I brewed a Lavender IPA with it, and besides the overdose of lavender, it was a nice beer.  Actually, I got the best night sleep after drinking one of those in the evening.  Another thing I have come to love is Centennial Hops.  They’re a nice dual-purpose hop (can be used for both bittering and flavor/aroma).  My Lavender IPA was basically Maris Otter and Centennial, so I don’t want to do the same exact thing, which is why I’m thinking about Simcoe hops.  Simcoe has become really popular lately and is also a dual purpose hop.  If I’m going for an IPA, I will more than likely stick to my standard hop schedule of an addition at 60, 20, 5, and dry.  I might even try some first-wort additions.

I would really like to hear your feedback.  This is new territory to me, and even though I want to use a single malt and a single hop, there are quite a few possibilities out there.  What is your favorite combination?  Leave some comments below – cheers!

2 thoughts on “Thinking of SMASH

  1. Really enjoyed the quick read. SMaSH is best done with a group of friends. If you each do a small batch and share bottles, you can really see what the difference of malts and hops do.

    I would suggest even just doing a ‘single hop swap.’ Maybe do a simple recipe of 10lbs 2row, 1lb crystal 40, and target an IBU of ~50 with a neutral yeast like S04 (5 gallon batch) and then share among yourselves. I found this beneficial for determining what hops worst best in bittering, aroma, flavor, etc.

    1. Hey Johnny Mo! Good tip about swapping with your friends – I like that idea. I’m still new to the homebrewing community with 2014 being my third year brewing. I’m a hop head and really want to understand what each type of hop does to an IPA so I thought the SMaSH method would do me some good for years to come. So far, I have Chinook and Centennial under my belt. I was thinking Simcoe could be next.

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