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!