Smash brewing styles

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by IPAdams, Jul 4, 2013.

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  1. IPAdams

    IPAdams Disciple (336) Jun 10, 2013 Illinois

    I want to do a smash brew but all the recipes and suggestions seem to center around IPA's and APA's. Are there any other styles that would work with a single malt? I had wanted to brew a Baltic porter but I don't think I could get the complexity with just one grain.
  2. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (346) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    Most, if not all light lagers, pilsners, amber lagers, also cream ale, blonde ale, Belgian pale ale, saisons, and Belgian blonde ales. Beyond the styles, pick any base malt or one of a few specialty malts, a hop you like, and a yeast you like and brew a beer.
  3. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Moderator (1,229) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    If he picks a specialty malt to go with it, it's not really a smash brew.

    If thats the case of adding more ingredients, then why not just brew whatever you want anyways and forgot the silly smash idea.
  4. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (346) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    Some websites do not lump grains like Munich or Vienna in with base malts. They categorize them as their own category or with specialty malts, but I think Munich or Vienna alone makes a fine smash beer. While specialty a malt like English brown malt, although I have never tried, could be too roasty toasty for a smash. That is what I was trying to point out.
    SFACRKnight likes this.
  5. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (346) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    While I'm sure Alcaponejr will add to this thread, he would be worth messaging or checking out his blog.
  6. IPAdams

    IPAdams Disciple (336) Jun 10, 2013 Illinois

    That's what I was thinking of doing, just picking out a nice mild specialty malt.
  7. MrOH

    MrOH Defender (672) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    Brown malt won't self-convert, though, so you can't make a smash beer with it regardless of the flavor.

    OP: the whole Idea of a SMaSH brew is to really get an understanding of a Single Malt and a Single Hop. While there are a ton of non-APA and IPA examples of a single malt and single hop beers, they will often be so light on hops that you don't really get anything from them (helles lager), have complex mash regiments that build up the malt character more than what you would get from an infusion mash that most homebrewers use (Czech and german pils), or have extremely flavorful yeasts that will blend in with malt and hop flavors, making it harder to perceive what's coming from where (many light-colored Belgians). The clean yeast, pronounced hops, and ease of brewing are why you see so many APA/IPA SMaSH brews.
    Duff27 likes this.
  8. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Initiate (0) May 21, 2010 Texas

    This, to a large extent. I've made two smashes so far where I should have used more hops than I did, and they were both quite drinkable, but lacked depth and complexity. Generally, make sure you use enough hops to wind up with a beer that's distinctly hoppy with your chosen hop, especially if you choose a somewhat non-exotic base malt, like 2-row or MO.

    I've made a saison smash, which was just 2-row and hops, with 3711 (fermented at 64F the whole way). Very tasty, but mostly dominated by the yeast (I didn't hop it very heavily, and probably won't next time either, as saisons are different beasts than APAs). So not especially smashy, but certainly technically a smash.

    Base malts like munich or vienna can make a very exciting smash. I'll brag about my munich/bravo smash till hell freezes over, and then I'll brew it once more just to spite the devil. 12 lbs munich, 0.5 oz bravo at 60, 3.5 oz at 5 or less (can't remember exactly off hand). Great beer!

    BTW I always go with 12 lbs malt/5 gallons beer for my smashes. This just kinda standardizes them for comparison, it's not technically necessary. However, I'm always looking at a beer of about the same ABV, which again, standardizes for comparison.

    If I had to make a suggestion...

    1. If you like munich, use 12 lbs of that, and hop it to 50 IBUs (tinseth, beersmith) with at least 3 oz of hops added at 5 minutes or less. If you use a low AA hop like fuggles or a noble hop, use at least 2oz more than you think you'll need, and add the whole extra 2 oz late (5 or less).

    2. If you want to use a more neutral grain like MO, basically do the same as above, but go with 35-40 IBUs. Again, make sure to use enough late hops so that you get a beer that's distinctly hoppy per your choice. If your hops are weak, again, use more than you think you need.

    3. If you have a really strong hop, like citra, use a hopping schedule in line with that hop's characteristics. I did a simcoe/maris otter smash, which came out great. 4 oz simcoe total, 3.5 of it late, and it was about perfectly hoppy, showing off the simcoe, but also balanced. You don't need to "use more than you think you'll need" if you're using a really strongly flavored hop.

    Now this is the most important thing... Make a decision, and go with it. Advice is great, up to a point. After that, you need to experiment and take a few chances. No great new sensation was discovered by following someone else's recipe, and some less than stellar beers undoubtedly preceded every new sensation. Even the less than stellar beers were plenty drinkable, so if you make a drinkable, but not stellar beer, and you learned about brewing, processes, ingredients etc in the process, you have still succeeded.

    It's highly unlikely you'll make a smash and say "curse that al, curse him I say! I should never have brewed a smash" when you're done. :rolling_eyes:
    Duff27, Boonedog and MrOH like this.
  9. MrOH

    MrOH Defender (672) Jul 5, 2010 Maryland

    This is great advice. I wish it would show up more often. It's the standard "well, at the very least, you'll have made beer" combined with some scientific formula type stuff, and a great affirmation and encouragement to continue learning about the hobby.
  10. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Aspirant (270) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    As long as it's not a drain's a successful homebrew.

    It may not have been
    The beer you really wanted.
    Dinkable...for now.

    - hOMebrEW HaiKU
  11. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Initiate (0) May 21, 2010 Texas

    gonna make a smash
    just one hop and just one grain
    plus some beer haikus :grinning:

    Now that's a motto you can brew by!
    brewsader and HerbMeowing like this.
  12. honkey

    honkey Aspirant (290) Aug 28, 2010 Arizona

    My barleywines are smash beers normally. 100% marris otter, Northern brewer, and Wyeast 1028. Boil 5 hours.
  13. IPAdams

    IPAdams Disciple (336) Jun 10, 2013 Illinois

    I was thinking of a barleywine too. Right now for my grain I'm looking at either Ashburne mild or Bonlander Munich and then probably Northdown for my hops.
  14. sarcastro

    sarcastro Disciple (335) Sep 20, 2006 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Dare to dream.
    HerbMeowing likes this.
  15. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,066) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Beer Trader

    Wow, motivational poster material out the ass here. :slight_smile:
    I've got an ocFAUXberfest I'm planning on brewing soon that's a smash.
    100% munich
    2.0 oz hersbrucker at 60
    2.0 oz hersbrucker added slowly for the last 5 til flameout.
    Hoping to hit 1.050 and about 30 ibu's if I remember correctly. The faux comes in with the yeast, just gonna use german ale yeast on this one so I can imbibe by fall.

    And to the op, we've all been there, to the point where it's time to jump in and experiment, and its hard. If you make a truly terrible beer that needs to be poured then youre out some money and a lot of time. But with great risk comes great reward my friend. My suggestion is to geek out on grains and traditional styles. Learn what grains lend which flavors, and find out if they can even convert. Once you have a grasp of what grains meet your standards pick a few and brew up a couple test batches. I love munich and can't wait to try it as a smash, I chose hersbrucker simply because munich and hers are quinessential octoberfest ingredients. I chose my yeast out of neccesity, I don't have lagering capabilities yet. It's that easy brother, but I did a bit of research into my ingredients first, crafted a recipe to fit my needs based on historical info of the ingredients and my own personal tastes.
  16. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,091) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Unless you toss some alpha amalayse in the mashtun with it :wink:. Still a single malt. Kinda like using Lactic Acid to adjust pH on an all Pils malt mash for a SmAsH Pilsner.
  17. IPAdams

    IPAdams Disciple (336) Jun 10, 2013 Illinois

    Yeah, I enjoy experimenting with different grains and styles. I don't find it as fun to brew something that I could just as easily go buy at the store. Has anyone used Bonlander Munich? I've seen some mixed reviews about it.
  18. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Initiate (0) May 21, 2010 Texas

    I'd like to know more about it, and perhaps try it. Never heard of that type of Munich, is it a base malt or specialty malt? Is it just a brand, like Briess?

    BTW, latest smash just drinking now, Vienna/Cascade.

    • 12 lbs Vienna malt
    • US-05 yeast
    • 1 oz cascade at 60
    • 1 oz cascade at 10
    • 1 oz cascade at 5
    • 2 oz cascade at FO
    • about 2.5 oz of cascade dry hop (the rest of the bag, whatever it weighs)
    Mashed at 153 for an hour.
    • OG 1.058
    • IBUs 38
    • SRM 6.4
    • ABV 6.2
    I would say that as a single use base malt, I prefer Munich over Vienna (more character). Also, this one is pretty darn tartly citrus (presumably from all that cascade). It's like lemon peels, orange peels, grapefruit peels mixed with those really yellow grapefruits (not the ruby-reds) and a shot of lemon juice. Truthfully, as much as I enjoy cascade, I think this would have been better had I replaced half of the 10, 5, 0 additions with an equivalent amount of willamette* (since that combo has come out so well for me in the past).

    Body and head wise, it's just fine. Now it may actually wind up being over-carbonated by the time it's done, because of how this one worked out. I couldn't brew for a month due to intense school schedule, so when we bottled we added a half pack of US-05, just to ensure there was enough live yeast. The first test bottle after a week was already WELL carbonated. It's pushing two weeks now, and they're ready, all well carbonated. Could get a little out of hand by five or six weeks (if they last that long). Note to self: when you boost yeast by adding yeast at bottling, half a pack might be too much. Anyone else have experience with this?
    Overall, it's not spectacular, but I made beer, and learned about Vienna malt and Cascade* hops, so it's a success anyway. :grinning:
    *note that willamette is a weaker/less intense/lower AA hop than cascade, so would require more of it to be "equivalent"

    **although I already knew that I liked cascade, I just don't think an all-cascade brew is optimal with a straight Vienna malt base. For an all-Vienna base, Willamette would make a good complimenting hop. For an all-Cascade hop schedule, a straight Vienna base malt could probably have used some lighter crystal malt to sweeten it up and add a little more non-fermentable sugars, and maybe even a touch of honey malt, which would be like putting sugar on your grapefruit in the morning (delicious!);

    (whatever happened to the formatting on this one, I have no idea. site acting oddly). :rolling_eyes:
  19. IPAdams

    IPAdams Disciple (336) Jun 10, 2013 Illinois

    It's a bash Munich by briess. 10L, its supposed to be a very smooth but pronounced maltiness. I bought 12 pounds of it and am brewing it with some perle hops.
  20. IPAdams

    IPAdams Disciple (336) Jun 10, 2013 Illinois

  21. OddNotion

    OddNotion Devotee (478) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Too much yeast will not result in overcarbonation, that sounds like a too much sugar issue.
  22. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Initiate (0) May 21, 2010 Texas

    Well my bro measured and boiled the sugar, so there's of course some amount of uncertainty. However, when I said "112 grams" I highly doubt that he severely missed the mark. Obviously it's not UNDER, but I doubt it's over either. Maybe they're just happy yeast and getting the job done faster than usual. Typically at this point they are "nearing optimal" but not quite there, carbonation wise. I had another one today and they're about perfect already, so there's some wonder as to whether they'll go past the perfect point.

    OR maybe I should just RDWHAHB*.

    *I'm super-great at giving out excellent advice, but not nearly as great at taking my own advice. :rolling_eyes:
  23. OddNotion

    OddNotion Devotee (478) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Other issues could be a lower volume of beer than estimated (sugar ratio too high), more residual CO2 in the beer prior to bottling, or as you stated - the yeast could just be working quicker than usual (are the bottles stored at a higher temp than usual?)
  24. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    This thread derailed a bit so...

    1) A barleywine. J.W. Lees Harvest Ale is literally 100% Low Color Marris Otter Malt, 100% East Kent Goldings Hops (to 150 IBU, theoretical), English Ale Yeast (WLP099, WY1968, WY1469, etc.). 4 Hour boil.

    2) Wee Heavy/Strong Scottish Ale. Golden Promise or English Pale Malt, Hop of your choice, Wyeast 1728. Caramelize first runnings by boiling down to syrup, add rest of mash runnings and boil for 90-180 minutes.

    3) Munich Dunkel. 100% German Munich Malt, Hop of your choice, German Lager Yeast. Do a triple or double decoction for melanoidin heaven.
  25. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    Ashburne Mild is boring as shit. I did a mild and smash barleywine with it and I really wish I used Marris Otter instead.
  26. IPAdams

    IPAdams Disciple (336) Jun 10, 2013 Illinois

    I ended up doing 12 pounds of bonlander Munich and then Perle hops. I may have to try the j.w lee barleywine next.
    barfdiggs likes this.
  27. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Initiate (0) May 21, 2010 Texas

    not lower volume (if anything it was a tad higher by half a gallon, or a little less).

    Storage temps haven't changed.

    More residual CO2 is of course a possibility. Not sure how tho, it was in primary for four weeks. If anything I would expect it to lose a little CO2, as the atmospheric amount must certainly be far lower than beer, and I know that bottling bucket doesn't have a perfectly air tight seal, because the airlock never bubbles with that one.

    Yeast working faster than normal - it would almost HAVE to be true, as I added half a pack of 05 at bottling, so it's got plenty of fresh, live yeast.

    They're drinking real good already. Just a touch over-carbed, hopefully it's not "way" overcarbed two weeks from now. Strange beer, kinda like a citrus beer mixed with lemon, grapefruit,and orange rinds, then mixed with lemon juice and the juice of a grapefruit (those yellow ones, not the ruby reds). Citrus BOMB. It's as flavorful as some commercial IPAs I've tried, although calculated IBU bitterness will be less than most IPAs.
  28. jae

    jae Initiate (191) Feb 21, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader


    Water chloride rich
    Pils 100%, OG 1.040
    Styrian (FWH & 10) to BU:GU 0.75:1
    3787 +/- B. lambicus at bottling
    AlCaponeJunior likes this.
  29. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,305) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    German Pilsner-
    Pils malt, Hallertau Mittlefruh, Tettnanger, Saaz, and Spalt are 4 variations you could brew to understand those noble hops.
    AlCaponeJunior and barfdiggs like this.
  30. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    Are your pilsners typically 100% pils and a single malt or a blend of pils malts?
  31. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,305) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Usually 100% pils from the same bag. I have done some blending of Weyermann's and Best. Would like to try a Durst and Best blend - if i ever find a bag of Durst again. For Bo-Pils I have used the Weyermann's floor malted bohemian pils with good results.

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