April was a month of Smashed Peas for the WEHomebrew Club, as we all tried our hand at brewing a SMaSH beer, and not getting all poncy about naming mushys. A SMaSH beer is one that is made with only one hop and one malt, this allows you to really focus on the flavors of each ingredient.
By a quirk almost all the hops used started with a P (Until I ruined it) Pilgrim, Progress, Pacific Gem is definitely the name of a long lost John Wayne film.
So here’s the beers!
Alan’s Pacific gem pale
Alan’s Kviek pale was fruity and clean tasting, even though the hops were years out of date. He fermented it warm around 30C, which complemented the fruitiness of the hops well. This makes it a great choice for brewing SMaSH beers, as it can help to bring out the flavors of the hops and malts.
The Pacific Gem hops gave it a citrusy and tropical flavor.
The result was a delicious and refreshing beer that was perfect for a spring day.
Lee’s Golden ale / English Pale ale
Lee’s Golden ale used Maris Otter malt and gave a darker more amber/copper color than the pale ale malt used by Alan. This left the beer with fantastic foam and lacing and a beautiful flavor that was seasoned lovely by the Progress hop choice.
Progress is a hop variety that is known for its fruity and floral flavors. It is a great choice for brewing golden ales, as it can help to create a beer that is both flavorful and aromatic. The result was a delicious and well-balanced beer.
Ken’s Pilgrim hopped Vienna malt ale
Ken’s Pilgrim hopped Vienna malt ale had an issue with strong almond/marzipan flavors. He had issues with no fermentation starting and pitched three times before it took off. He also saw a weird thing happening with the break in the fermenter. Issues with hot and cold break going into the fermenter can cause Benzaldehyde to form in the beer, this could be what we tasted.
The amount of benzaldehyde that is formed in beer depends on a number of factors, including the type of yeast, the temperature of fermentation, and the pH of the wort. Higher temperatures and lower pH levels will lead to the formation of more benzaldehyde. The break is made up of proteins, carbohydrates, and other compounds. When the break is not removed from the fermenter, it can provide a food source for the yeast. This can lead to the production of more benzaldehyde.
As we said, all beers seem to improve with age, so best not to throw anything away, it will improve. The concept is definitely worth going for again – especially interested in the malt flavour here
My Belgian blonde
My Belgian blonde made with Pils and Styrian Golding gave a lemon/lime flavour to the beer leading to an almost fruity acidity. This example was bottle conditioned but I kegged some of the beer that was picking up strong farmyard flavours. The root cause was a dirty dip tube so we discussed ways to get the inside of thin pipes like this clean and sterile.
Styrian Golding is a hop variety that is known for its citrusy and herbal flavors. It is a great choice for brewing Belgian beers, as it can help to create a beer that is both flavorful and aromatic.
Our last SMaSH was a superb Kolsch made with pils and Hallertau mittelfruh hops. Pin bright, beautifully carbonated with long lasting tight foam. Really crisp and dry with a faint sulphur aroma. This was of commercial quality and was made with Tesco spring water to get the mineral content just right. We’d previously been talking about yeasts packing down and the difference between US05 and other yeasts. The Kolsch lallemand yeast formed a clods of sediment that were really visible after the pour in the last bit left behind.
Ken’s Citra Pale
Vindication as we retried a super Citra hopped pale again. Ken nailed this brew – while not a SMaSH (I think it had some caramalt in there to bulk up the base of the beer) it was a great showcase for the citra hops. The wonderful aromas of lemon, lime, grapefruit – well basically citrus fruits right? Excellent.
The SMaSH month showed how much complexity and variety can be found even when only using one hop one malt. It doesn’t have to be a complex blend of ingredients to make a fantastic beer.