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Need SMaSH advice

Hi All, I want to do a 3 gal. SMaSH to get a flavor idea for another recipe I’m working on; a summer ale. I’ve read about single malt and hops but have no experience. I’m open to suggestions based on whatever malt. I have plenty on hand of: cascade, crystal, fuggles, perle, saaz, super galena and columbus. Also have a packet of Denny’s yeast, 1762 and us-04. I’m looking for mild but I want some character. The (secret) ingredients I intend to use for the summer ale will explode on a mild flavored beer which is what I’m looking for.
5# Vienna
.5 perle at 50 min
.5 perle at 5 min
.5 perle flame out

So what do you think I can expect. And if maybe possible make a comparison??
Thanks, Mike

Full-bodied, mildly hoppy blonde(ish) ale?

What you will make is a beer with a SG of 1.038, FG of 1.010 (ish), IBUs of 29, SRM of 7 and ABV of 3.6% with that recipe and that volume (3 gallons). A SMaSH is all about showcasing what you want to see in a beer whether it be the malt, the hops or both. Yeast plays a part as well but US05 won’t contribute much flavor especially when fermented low (like low 60s). It seems like a small beer but I can’t really put my finger on anything to compare it to. If it were made with lager yeast it might be close to a Festbier or Vienna and if you didn’t use Vienna but used Pale Ale malt or 2-row, it would be closer to a blonde ale/extra-pale ale.

Thanks Ken. I’m not set up to lager unfortunately. Maybe switch to 2row and increase the weight? It will ferment at low 70’s btw. My goal is to build a mild but flavorful platform. But I want it to have character. If you have ever SMaSH’ed what did you do out of curiousity?
Thanks, Mike

I think I 'SMaSH’ed once for a forum-group-brew kind of thing where we all made the same beer and then compared them. I did not pick the recipe so take it for what it’s worth. I think the idea could be a good one as long as you like the ingredients you’re using. I also think it could be tough making a SMaSH beer that has character because the idea of single malt and single hop might translate to “simple” beer. I like things clean and smooth so I might do something like a good pale ale malt (something that had a bit of depth to it) and then something like Mt. Hood, Liberty, Crystal, Magnum or a Noble hop. I might also look into a yeast that had character as well because even though it’s one malt/one hop, that doesn’t mean you’re limited in the yeast department. By using US05, you may be condemning your beer to a lack of character. Not that I don’t like US05 but I use it when I want a “clean” profile. If you wanted character, maybe an English yeast, a NW Ale yeast, an Alt or Kolsch yeast, etc. Lots of wiggle room here. Also, please divulged your “secret” ingredient. Chipotle? Brussel sprouts? Rutabega? :lol: Cheers.

Thanks again. My ingredients are not so off the wall but I want to infuse tomato and basil. Both are awesome as a cool appetizer on a hot day and if anyone out there has ever had a red eye or bloody beer… I’m leaning at making a tincture of vodka and dried tomato powder along with fresh basil. I haven’t figured out when these will be added. But over all I want a hint of both on a light alcohol brew that can be quaffed. Kicked up lawn mower if you will. Thoughts?

I know it’s been done before. But it’s new to me. Not for everyone.

I talked to an assistant brewer at a brew pub last night, and we got to talking about how I want to use my first all grain to get a feel for my tap water. He was telling me that when they first opened, they basically made a SMaSH beer to set a baseline for their water, which is something I’m interested in doing. Does this seem like good advice?

I won’t be infusing like you, Steppedonapoptop, and while I want this to be a baseline, I don’t want it to be bland or boring. The assistant brewer suggested 2-row and noble hops, FWIW. I think I’ll give it a go sometime in March, just need to get a sense of how much grain and hops I’ll need to produce a balanced beer. My water is fairly low in alkalinity, so hopefully I can get the pH low enough with just pale malts.

Based on what our friend Ken has posted, I think I will go 2row, and a little heavier than planned and I have Denny’s 1450 on hand and might pitch that. It’s intriguing to me to keep it simple if that makes any sense.

Yeah, same here. In a sense, little character would be good for my purposes, but then, I don’t want 5 gallons of beer that bores me.

For your purposes, it almost sounds like little character would actually be desirable, so the infusion flavors will really pop.

I hadn’t really thought about yeast, though. I guess that’s what gives Kolsch it’s unique flavor? I have some US05 that I harvested from a Chinook IPA fermentation…maybe I’ll use that in pursuit of a boring beer that exposes my water :wink: .

Basically, I’m thinking of this as my “Hello World!” all grain beer (for you programmers out there).

As far as the tomato & basil is concerned, I’m all for it and I have made a number of spiced/fruited/flavored beers as well. I now see why you might want to keep it on the mild side… you want to create a base for your flavoring to take center stage. If you want to add these flavors to the beer, my first advice would be to remove the later hop additions. You don’t want hops, tomato and basil all fighting for your tastebuds’ attention all at the same time. Whenever I make a ‘flavored’ beer whether it be vanilla, spice, fruit, coconut, etc., I only use hops at the beginning of the boil. It will allow your additional flavors to come across better. Just a thought. It’s also a good idea to stick with the US05 in this case for that same reason. When I make a beer like this, I walk a line that says… The drinker should never forget that they’re drinking beer… which is to say that it should be first and foremost beer. You should be able to taste grain, hops and the flavor you want to come across. If you go “too much beer”, the flavor gets lost and if you go “too much flavor”, you forget you’re drinking beer. This can be a tall order and a real balancing act. Good luck.

Great timing on your post! I was actually looking at NB’s Cream Ale AG. Maybe going after a low gravity beer that does have a little more character will benefit the special infusions. Their recipe calls for;
88% 2row
9% honey malt
3% biscuit
1 oz cluster but I would still use Perle
Clean, simple and with character.
I like your comment that the drinker must know he’s drinking beer. That is important to me in my own beer choices. The above wouldn’t over power my infusions.
Thank you for your valuable input.

And please go get a beef at Portillo’s for me. Man I’m jonesing for one.

My son just asked if we could go to Portillo’s tonight for dinner! I’m about 60 seconds away from one! Cheers and good luck with the beer.

Attention Steppedonapoptop: Just got back from Portillos where I had a lovely Italian Beef sandwich! Cheers!

I did a Vienna (about 10#s into a 5 gallon batch)/Hallertau SMASH (using wyeast 1056. It’s pretty good - a session weight, fruity, orange ale.

I hope your lips were on fire from the giardinare. Here’s an idea; Italian beef beer.

Sounds good. With the exception of the fruity, orange part, that’s the type of platform I want to achieve.

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