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SMASH recipe design

I’m an extract/ BIAB brewer. I have a 5 gallon kettle that I do all my batches in. I’ve never made a beer from a recipe that I didn’t buy as a kit. I would like to do some SMASH beers and use hops that I grew this past summer. I have Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook. Do you all have any recommendations on the best way to start designing recipes? I don’t even know where to begin. Thank you!

There are some really good books out there, but I think a great way to start is to take a recipe you like and start experimenting with it. Switch up the hops, switch up the mash temperature, boil time, gravity, etc. Each change will make a different beer, although some will have a bigger effect than others. But starting with a good baseline beer is a good way to know you’ll have something decent.

Also, a bitterness unit to gravity unit chart (BU/GU chart) and some simple brewing software to calculate starting gravity and IBUs are invaluable. Start with this chart, and pick a starting gravity. Then decide if you want a more bitter or malty beer (like an IPA versus a British bitter), and come up with the IBUs through your hopping schedule and brewing software to match that BU/GU ratio. More hop flavor means later hop additions, and cleaner bitter beers with just 60 and maybe 30 minute additions. Ok to keep it simple.

And smash beers don’t have to be simple. I really like this one barleywine recipe I make with a starting gravity of 1.120, all EKG hops, and a three hour boil. The final beer comes out a deep amber color, and an incredible amount of malt complexity from the long boil. But don’t be afraid to keep it simple, see what you get, and adjust it from there. Small changes almost guarantees that you’ll have something enjoyable in the end.

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Looking back on my first year, @porkchop is laying out some sage advice. The BU:GU ratio was a game changer for me when it comes to drinkabilty.

And it would be a good idea to check out an online recipe designer. I use Brewtoad, but there are many others. Recently I realized I had a lot of Munich malt and Centennial hops on hand. Decided to do a SMaSH with those and figured I would do it to a Pale Ale range. I could have pulled out my (many) books, but went on Brewtoad, plugged in what I had, and what style I wanted and voila, within 5 minutes figured out a recipe. By the way, I have over 75 recipes and Brewlogs on there under ‘JimRMaine’.

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Brewtoad and Brewgr here.

All good advice but using home grown is alot trickier since you don’t know the IBUs of your hops. Pale ales and IPA all use a pretty basic grain bill. When I make my harvest ale I use commercial hops for the bittering charge then double the amounts of homegrown additions

Thank you for the advice and links everyone. @brew_cat what is the basic grain bill that you speak of? I could do extract with specialty grains or I could just do a BIAB with all grain and supplement with extract if needed.

90% 2-row 10% Chrystal 40 60 or 80. Then just mix up your hop schedule to make different beers. It’s all about the hops

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Not to be picky, but if you are really doing a SMASH it would a single malt and a single hop.

Unless you read it as simple malt and simple hop recipe. Single malt will probably make a pretty uneventful beer.

Just bottled a 100% Golden Promise and 100% Cashmere Hop. I returned to my roots of 60min, 20min, 10min hop schedule (Voss yeast pitched at 95F). While I have some bottle conditioning to do, I have a nice pale malt toasty richness, a touch of malt sweetness and the Cashmere/Voss combo gives me a bit of citrus with a melony finish. Nearly crystal clear with no cold crash.

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I guess I was wrong. Not the first time

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SMASH is a fun way of focusing on the ingredients… which as you implied have to be good to begin with or you will have something with no [Jazz Hands]

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