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Oct 5, 2019
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These posts have been copied here from the full thread (link below) as a member posted this in it -
Just re-discovered this truly fantastic post - is there any way to get this one perma-linked in some way @Chippy_Tea ??

Northern_Brewer posted -

This ended up being rather longer than planned and some of the points have since been mentioned in replies after I started writing; I do get onto a recipe in the next post, but first :

no I am not missing the point, I would rather have a recipe and tweak to my taste than waste my time and resources, each to their own I suppose.

I think you rather are - in that SMASHes are so constrained that it's pretty hard to "waste time and resources" on a "bad" recipe for one. Assuming good basic brewing technique then there's almost no such thing as a "bad" recipe for a SMASH (unless you're doing something weird like throwing in 150 IBU of bittering), whereas personal taste varies much more. And in turn that forgiving-ness means they are actually an ideal place to get some confidence in writing your own recipes.

I actually look at things the opposite way to you - since so much of brewing is dependent on one's own taste, my limited brewing time is better used on side-by-side experiments to see what really works for me, rather than making big batches of something that may suit someone else's taste but not mine. As long as you're not doing anything too weird, the worst it will be is likely "OK" - but the good batches will help you towards something that is really great for your taste.

And it's not just taste that varies - people's motivation for brewing, their equipment and availability of ingredients can all affect a recipe. I have a house rule/quirk that all my recipes have to have EKG in them in some form even for "SMASH"es, so for "SMASHes" I tend to use EKG for bittering and then "smear" a 100g pack of hops over the late boil and cold side. Also I brew more than I drink, so I'm not bothered about stretching a pack of hops over as many litres as I can, so that 100g is typically going into 14 or 18 litres. I'm always experimenting and so almost always split into gallon buckets with different yeast, fermentation temperature, dry-hop regime etc. For more subtle, Old-World type hops I'll do 14 litres into 3 buckets, for brasher New-World-style hops I'll do 18 litres into 4 buckets - so there's another example of how the "recipe" depends on a variable.

Aside from the fact that I grew up on beers like Stones and Boddies (which was effectively a SMASH in 1901 and 1987, although in between they had various adjuncts) and so something SMASH-y is pretty much what I'd drink out of choice anyway, it does make inventory management very easy - sack of pale malt, an open packet of bittering hops in the freezer, and then buy yeast and 100g packs of hops as required.

Going back to the OP - it depends on what kind of beer you like, something intensely fruity like Nectaron will give you a very different SMASH to something as subtle as WGV. But to give a few ideas :
I'm an unashamed fan of Goldings - the queen of British hops works brilliantly in a SMASH with British pale malt and lots of commercial beers have been variations on that kind of theme, from historical IPAs to the 1980s golden ales like Summer Lightning (although SL isn't technically a SMASH).
And while I'm not the biggest fan of Fuggles, you might want to try it at daft hopping rates :
Fuggles in the recreation of a recipe from the 1800s. “The sheer volumes of hops that they used meant that the essential oils that carry the aromas couldn’t escape in steam during the boil, they recirculated back into the bulk of the wort and isomerised there” he explains. “Beers we’ve brewed like this have smelled as fresh 18 months later as they did when we first brewed them.” He goes on to explain that Fuggle is a great hop for understanding the impact of this effect. “When you use it in small quantities, like it has been done recently, it’s pretty average. But when you use a lot of it, you get wonderful mango/stone fruit aromas and flavours.” Steve tells me that the difference is so pronounced that the profile has confused many who have taken a sip. “Drinkers trying it without knowing the hops have guessed that it’s an NZ hop.”
Other obvious British hops are Challenger and First Gold, a less obvious one is Admiral which despite being sold as a bittering hop can give a nice orange-citrus note particularly to lighter more lagery beers.
I think Ahtanum is probably my favourite of the "west coast" grapefruity hops, and you can't go wrong with Centennial. Falconer's Flight is another good shout - I've never brewed with it but it's the basis of one of my favourite commercial beers.
If you like the modern-fruity stuff, you can't really go wrong with the likes of Citra and Mosaic or most of the New Zealand hops.

On the flip side, I personally think that while I like them, the blackcurranty English hops like Bramling Cross, Bullion and Jester don't particularly suit SMASHes, they work much better paired with eg Goldings. And some of the New World hops like Azacca are a bit one-dimensional and are much better supporting other hops rather than as the star of the show IMO. Sabro is another one that's better off in a blend, it's so intense it gets a bit overwhelming. Also the likes of Sorachi Ace and Nelson Sauvin are real love-or-hate hops.

Don't forget the other half of the SMASH though - in the UK we're lucky to have ready access to the best pale malts in the world, and you can't really got wrong with a SMASH based on Maris Otter, Golden Promise, Pearl etc. Also you can play with heritage malts like Chevallier and Hana (Crisp are malting small amounts of Hana which is an old Czech landrace which makes great lager), and different styles of malt, from extra pale/pilsner to Vienna and (at a pinch, it's a bit low in enzymes) Munich.

Hmm - hit the character limit for one post so will have to split, a recipe of sorts follows in the next post
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My basic SMASH-ish recipe looks something like this :

SMASHie (and Nicey)
The first thing to say is that this is not a true single-malt-and-single-hop (SMASH) beer, as I prefer to save the "SMASH" hop for late additions to maximise its flavour contribution and use a separate hop for bittering, usually EKG in my case for no other reason than I have a house rule to always use some EKG in my beers. I suggest you use a "proper" bittering hop like Admiral, or isomerised hop extract.

A SMASH is about as simple as a beer recipe gets, so it's a great place to start for people who want to learn how to design their own recipes. With that in mind I've tried to explain the calculations involved in recipe design, hopefully it's less "give a man a fish" and more "teach him how to fish". But it assumes you know the basics of brewing, I guess it's aimed at people who've done a few extract kits and want to get into doing their own recipes.

But for experienced brewers who just want a recipe, the TLDR is :

Water : preboiled, 1/3 Deflatine tablet, 1/2 Camden tablet, 100-150 calcium and chloride, 2:1 sulphate:chloride
Wort : Single base malt eg Otter pale @1.048
Bittering : 35 IBU either of SMASH hop, a separate bittering hop, or isomerised alpha extract
Hops : 100g pack in eg 20 litres, split 20/15/25/40 across 10 min/flameout/whirlpool/dry hop (2-3 days starting just above FG)
Yeast : something cleanish, I usually split into gallon buckets for yeast trials

Now back to the long version!

Although I'm not a low-oxygen purist, I do think the beer benefits from boiling the water beforehand (which gives me time to go and mow the lawn or some other task to get a few brownie points with the boss in return for taking over the kitchen!) and half a Camden tablet even though I don't have a big problem with chlorine. To stop boilover I also throw in a third of a Deflatine tablet (an anti-wind tablet widely available from supermarkets/pharmacies etc on the non-prescription pharmacy shelves) - it's just simet(h)icone, which is what's used in "proper" brewing anti-foam products like Fermcap-S.

My usual brewing water is pretty soft, not a million miles away from Tesco Ashbeck, and I like a generously mineralised 2:1 sulphate:chloride ratio but feel free to go more 1:1 if you like, as long as you have at least 100ppm calcium. As I say above, I normally aim for a final volume of 14 litres of wort if I'm using a less intense, Old World-style hop and 18 litres. But assuming you're doing a final volume of 20litres then adding 12g (~3tsp) gypsum and 6.5g (~1.5tsp) calcium chloride to Ashbeck gives you about 160ppm calcium, 120ppm chloride, 230ppm sulphate.

Even if you have hard tapwater and are using Ashbeck, RO etc, you can cut it with your tap water at a rate of about a quarter or third tapwater. Saves a quid, and more importantly it's less to carry/store! (and as an aside, mineral water seems to be one of the products most hit by the current trucking problems - presumably it's a low priority as it's low value, bulky and non-perishable)

Just for clarity, when I say "final volume", I'm talking about the final volume in the copper after the boil - I assume I will lose up to 2 litres due to trub on the transfer to the fermenter(s). I typically start with about final volume + 4 litres to allow for evaporation, if I find it's getting a bit low during the boil I'll make it up to about (final volume - 2 litres) during the boil, and then adjust with up to 2 litres of cold water at flameout - it helps cool it down a bit but it's still hot enough to kill off any bugs in the added water (not that there will be many). So perhaps I should say "whirlpool volume" My tapwater and Ashbeck are low enough in minerals that adding them untreated to replace evaporation will not make a significant difference to the final mineral content.

The other nice thing about SMASHes and soft water is that pH just about takes care of itself. With my tapwater I find myself adding just over 1ml of CRS (or lactic/phosphoric if you're USian) to hit my pH - 5.2 at mash temperature or 5.4 at room temperature. So if you don't have acid or a way to measure pH, don't sweat it if you're using soft tapwater or Ashbeck.

Once it's boiled I wait for it to cool down to just over mash temperature. Whilst I'm waiting I finalise my recipe and print out the brewsheet, get my brewing stuff out, and weigh ingredients. Then once it's about 71C I'm good to go - I take out a gallon bucket's worth of water for sparging, fix my BIAB bag to the copper and add my grain.

So to summarise for 20l final volume :

25 litres soft tapwater, Tesco Ashbeck etc (5 litres can be replaced with hard tapwater)
1/2 Camden tablet
1/3 Deflatine
12g gypsum
6.5g calcium chloride


Perhaps the most important concept in brewing is specific gravity (SG, or just "gravity"), a measure of the density of a liquid. Pure water has an SG of 1.000 at 39°F (3.9°C) and dissolving sugar into it increases the density, eg a 10% w/v solution of sucrose (white table sugar) has an SG of 1.038, so SG is a proxy for the amount of sugar. In particular we're interested in the original gravity (OG), the SG of the wort at the point at which yeast is pitched, and the final gravity (FG), the SG when fermentation is complete.

Most homebrewers use a hydrometer to measure gravity, you can also use a handheld refractometer which is more expensive but only needs a drop of liquid. These instruments are typically calibrated for 20°C and under-read at higher temperatures so unless you have a temperature-compensated refractometer you either need to always take readings at 20°C or use the Brewersfriend adjustment. Refractometer readings are also affected by the presence of alcohol, so you need to adjust for that too.

I aim for an original gravity (OG) of about 1.048 - if it's above 1.050 then dilute with more water, if low efficiency means you've ended up below 1.045 then add some pale DME. As a first approximation, in 20 litres at 70% efficiency you get 10 gravity points from 1kg of pale malt. So you need 4.8kg of malt in 20 litres for 1.048 OG.

Brewhouse efficiency is a measure of how much of the carbohydrate in the original grist ends up in the wort. High efficiency is very important for commercial brewers (who get >90% efficiency), as it means they get more wort from a given amount of inputs, and that means ££££. But at a homebrew scale we're talking a few pennies difference, having a consistent efficiency that allows good prediction of the final wort properties is more important than squeezing out every last % of efficiency (using techniques that can affect quality, you're suqeezing out more off-flavours than sugar). You can calculate the efficency of a brew using calculators such as Brewersfriend, but as a general guide Grainfather-type systems can achieve >80% efficiency, I get about 74% effiency using BIAB with some gentle sparging, your first BIAB brews may be as low as 55-60% so it's worth allowing for that with some extra grain. A fine grind definitely helps efficiency for BIAB.

So if the plan calls for 4.8kg of malt, for OG 1.048 assuming 70% efficiency, but you're worried that as a newbie you will only get 60% effiency, then you would need (70/60) * 4.8 = 5.6kg of malt to produce a wort of 1.048.

A key statistic for any yeast is its attenuation, which is the percentage of the total carbohydrates that it can convert to alcohol which in turn depends on which enzymes it has to break down complex carbohydrates. Lallemand Windsor has a limited enzyme "toolkit" and can only use 70% of the carbohydrates in a typical wort, whereas a saison yeast can smash up almost everything leading to attenuations of 95% or more. Yeast specifications quote attenuation based on a standard wort under standard conditions but it will vary depending on worts. You can calculated the attenuation for a particular brew using the OG and final gravity (FG), attenuation = 1- (OG-FG)/OG

An attenuation of 74% (a very typical, middling attenuation as it happens) is the magic point where the numbers fall out and 1.048 OG translates to 4.8% ABV. Knowing that, you can scale in proportion depending on the attenuation, so Windsor with 70% attenuation will give you 4.8 * (70/74) = 4.5%, whereas US-05 with an attenuation of 80% will give you 4.8 * (80/74) = 5.2%.

At low ABVs, the amount of alcohol scales with the OG and the amount of grain, so eg half the malt will give half the OG and half the alcohol (2.4kg malt -> 1.024 OG -> 2.4% ABV in this example) but that 1:1 relationship breaks down above about 1.060 as the yeast gets stressed and you need more yeast/aeration/mollycoddling. So I suggest you don't go above 6kg malt/1.060 OG/6% ABV until you know what you're doing, but otherwise scale the amount of grain to hit the OG/ABV you want.

(see following post #38 for rest of grist, bittering, hops and yeast sections, I've hit the character limit again)
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(see following post #38 for rest of grist, bittering, hops and yeast sections, I've hit the character limit again)

Given that this is aimed more at newbies I made some edits to clarify jargon like BU/GU, which have hit the character limit again so here's the rest of the grist, bittering, hops and yeast sections

Grist (continued)
I'll mash for a bit under an hour (or sometimes overnight) at about 66°C, then transfer the bag to an empty bucket, squeeze a bit (without going crazy), pour over about 3 litres of the sparge water, have another bit of a squeeze and pour what comes off into the main wort, then pour the remaining sparge water over it and have another pour/squeeze, then let it drip into the bucket until the start of the boil or so and tip in anything that's come out. If I remember I'll do a mashout of 10 minutes at 76-77°C which is meant to help with head retention but I've never done the side-by-side comparison.

Convert to pale dry malt extract (DME) by multiplying by 0.57, so extract brewers will use 2.75kg of light DME in 20 litres final volume (5.3 US gallons, 4.4 imperial gallons). Or 3kg in 21.8 litres if that's easier.

My default is pale floor-malted Maris Otter from Warminster or Fawcetts, but as above you can use Golden Promise, heritage varieties, extra pale, Vienna, whatever takes your fancy. So if you're aiming for an ABV of 4.8% or so (depending on your yeast) you want :

4.8kg (10.6lb) Warminster/Fawcetts Maris Otter pale OR 2.75kg (6lb) light DME


Bittering is measured in International Bittering Units (IBU) (or EBU in Europe which are virtually the same). But 25 IBU of bitterness might taste very bitter in a 2.5% table beer but hardly bitter at all in a 10% barleywine, it just gets "lost" in the malt and your brain doesn't perceive it the same way. The BU/GU ratio gives a much better idea of how you perceive bitterness. BU/GU is simply "bitterness units" divided by "gravity units" (the last digits of the OG, 48 in this case) Commercial beers can give you an idea of how BU/GU relates to your perception of bitterness eg (estimating based on 1:1 ABV:OG) - this is just looking at the bitterness, not the general flavour !!!

0.85-0.9 Lagunitas IPA, Yorkshire bests like Landlord, York Terrier
0.70-0.75 Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Southern bests like London Pride
0.65 Sam Adams, Greene King IPA
0.45 Beck's, Heineken, Fat Tire
0.25 Budweiser

Once you know what gravity units you want (derived from the OG in the previous section) and decide what BU/GU target is your taste, multiply them to find your target for total bittering. I like the taste of bitterness up at Yorkshire levels, so I want a BU/GU of 0.87. With an OG of 1.048, that means I want 0.87 * 48 = 42 IBU.

Especially if the SMASH hop is high in alpha acids, you can expect some bitterness contribution from the late additions. So it will vary depending on which SMASH hop you're using, but if I want 42 IBU in total then I typically want about 35 IBU from the 60-minute addition.

As I mention in the previous post, I deviate from a classic SMASH in bittering with EKG come what may. If you're using your SMASH hop to bitter, then the amount you need depends on the alpha acid content. If it's 10% alpha then 30g in 20 litres gives 37 IBU, which is near enough. If it's 15% alpha then you get the same bittering from 10/15 = two-thirds of the amount, ie 20g. If it's Saaz at 3.33% alpha, you will need :

30g * 10/3.33 = 30g * 3 = 90g for 37 IBU of bittering

Which is why nobody other than Czechs use Saaz for bittering, and why the development at Wye College in Kent of hop varieties specifically for bittering, was a huge advance for brewing.

But if your taste is for bitterness more like Greene King IPA, then you'll want a BU/GU of 0.65, so if OG = 1.048 then you'll want 0.65 * 48 = 31 IBU total for this beer and so you'll want about 25 IBU of bittering from the 60 minute addition, which will be 20g of a 10% alpha hop.

You can end up using quite a bit of your 100g packet for bittering, which is one reason I like to use separate bittering hops and keep the "SMASH" hop for flavour additions at the end. You can use a dedicated bittering hop like Admiral, or even isomerised hop extract - 10ml of the Ritchie extract should add about 35 IBU in 20 litres and has the advantage that it doesn't need boiling for 60 minutes, although boiling for 20-30 minutes is a still good idea to ensure no DMS. So :

35IBU of bittering at 60 minutes, or use alpha extract and boil for 30 minutes

Green hops

Diversion - this kind of recipe/thinking is well suited to green hop brews (or wet hops as the cousins call them). Although you can mess around with estimating IBUs of homegrown hops using hop teas, they're rather wasted as 60-minute additions as the big advantage of green hops is that they've not lost the volatile flavour compounds that normally evaporate during drying. So unless you have loads of homegrown hops, you're better off using commercial dried hops for bittering a green hop brew, and concentrate on using the homegrown crop as dry hops, then working backwards through the whirlpool and late boil if you have enough to spare. It can also work to use the cones that ripen early on brewday, and the ones that ripen later in a dry hop a week or two later.

But you need to use green hops ASAP - after 24 hours they're only good for the compost heap. The Kent brewers start the boil then go to the farm to pick up the green hops whilst the water is heating. That's fresh!

And green hops are mostly water, so you need about 7x the weight of green hops compared to dry hops. That's a lot of volume to absorb wort. And I would keep any dry hopping with green hops pretty short, to avoid picking up grassy flavours, 24-48h is enough.

This was probably what you were thinking of when it came to "recipe" but there's not too much to it IMO - just smear it out so that you're getting a bit of the character of the hops when boiled, dry-hopped, and at intermediate temperatures. As discussed above, using a bittering hop allows more to be used as flavour additions. It's convenient to use 100g (3.5oz) in total as that's the standard pack size in Europe, but don't sweat it - use 4oz or whatever is easiest. I will vary the schedule depending on the hop, but give or take 10g it look something like :

Protafloc (or Irish moss etc) at 10 minutes (before flameout) - optional, I usually don't bother but some malts give a more turbid wort

20g (0.7oz) of "SMASH hops" at 10 minutes before flameout
15g (0.5oz) at flameout
25g (0.9oz) whirlpool
- around 70-80C for 20 minutes
40g (1.4oz) dry hop - ideally going in a point or two above FG, but sometimes at pitching, sometimes after FG is reached.

Can be more important than the M and H bits of a SMASH - split a Chinook SMASH into three, ferment with US-05, T-58 and WB-06 and see how T-58 biotransforms the Chinook's grapefruit into lime, whereas WB-06 trashes hop flavour completely. Or to go really left-field, use Lallemand Philly Sour, a Lachancea species that will take the pH down to 3.6 (see this article for more).

But unless you're deliberately testing yeast, it makes sense to use a fairly clean yeast that gets out of the way of the malt and hops, especially for West Coast-style hops. So FermentisUS-05 or Lallemand BRY-97 are the obvious dry yeast, but Fermentis 34/70 fermented at ale temperatures also works. Dry yeast avoids the need to aerate the wort, but if you want to use liquid yeast then WLP090 San Diego is probably a better "Chico" than WLP001 or 1056, or go to the source and harvest from Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

WLP800 Pilsner (actually a clean ale yeast) and Wyeast 1450 Denny's Favourite are also decent shouts. If you want to take advantage of kveik's temperature tolerance, then I guess one of the clean kveiks like Omega Lutra, Bootleg Oslo or WHC Ubbe could work, although I don't have direct experience of them.

Personally I like the character that English yeasts bring. Lallemand Verdant is the pick of the dry options in that line. For liquid, WLP041 Pacific is an underrated yeast that isn't flashy but gives an easy drinkability to the beer; despite the name it is British in origin, allegedly from Gale's.

Harvesting from a bottle of St Austell Proper Job is another good option, and probably works out cheaper even allowing for a bit of DME to grow it up in - and you get "free" Proper Job!

Ferment according to the needs of the yeast, typically around 18-20C liquid temperature. I bottle once the gravity is stable - typically after 7-10 days but it depends on the yeast, priming to around 1.8 vol CO2, which needs about 4g/l table sugar if the beer is at room temperature. I rarely find I need to add gelatine to fine it, but a cold crash of 24-48 hours before bottling is usually a good idea.

Oh, and the most important piece of kit for any brewer is a pen and paper - obsess about recording what you do so that if something goes well or badly, you know what to do next time!
But assuming you're doing a final volume of 20litres then adding 12g (~3tsp) gypsum and 6.5g (~1.5tsp) calcium chloride to Ashbeck gives you about 160ppm calcium, 120ppm chloride, 230ppm sulphate.
When do you add this? From my experience Before the mash with ashbec that would give me a very low ph. That with an 23 litre mash and 5kg of pale.

great post by the way. Ive got a centennial smash, with warminester MO and wlp005 in a keg at the moment. First taste I thought a more neutral yeast would have been better. I do the same, bitter with magnum and use 100g of smash hop late on and dry hopping.
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One of the best beers I have brewed in the past couple of years was a St.-Bernardus tripel clone, with just pilsner malt, only Goldings and St.-Bernardus yeast. I had some Goldings that I could use up and added it spread over the last 15 minutes of the boil.

The Goldings were not real EKG, but sourced from Poperinge, cultivated by 't Hoppecruyt.
Said it before, it should be SMASHY. Many overlook how many great examples of classic styles from around the world can be achieved by making yeast an equal part of the equation.