Tuesday 2 November 2021

Beginner FAQ: What is a SMaSH beer?

SMaSH is an acronym for "Single Malt and Single Hop" - meaning a beer that is brewed using a single type of grain/malt, and a single hop. The actual style of beer is totally up to the brewer and can be just about any style ranging from a lager, to a pale ale, or even a saison.

Don't be fooled by the simplicity of this recipe style either - even though there's only a single malt type and single hop variety used, the results are often excellent which is why these types of recipes are so popular.

We created a Citra Smash recipe using Citra hops - you can check out the recipe here

Why make a Smash beer?

There are several reasons why a brewer would want to make a smash beer;

  • Creating a simple/base recipe to become familiar with new brewing equipment or techniques
  • Creating a simple/base recipe to become familiar with how particular hop and malt combinations work together - that can then be later refined with other malts and /or hops
  • Highlight/showcase the flavour of a particular malt/grain
  • Highlight/showcase the flavour of a particular hop

What malt should I use in my Smash beer?

You can use any base malt that you like such as base pale malt, marris otter, pilsner, vienna or munich. Specialty or adjunct malts that are not recommended to make up 100% of a grain bill should not be used - examples of these would be crystal malt, oats, or wheat.

What hop should I use in my Smash beer?

Hops are often categorised as bittering, flavour/aroma, or dual purpose. For this reason, if you are making a beer that only relies on bittering additions, such as a lager, then you would typically opt for a bittering only, or dual purpose hop. For other styles such as ales, you should use a dual purpose hop. These hops typically have high alpha acidity properties meaning they are good for bittering, but also provide other flavours when added later in the boil.

We've compiled an exhaustive list of different hop varieties, including their categorisation that you can view here

What yeast should I use in my Smash beer?

Smash beers are often used to highlight malt and/or hop flavours, so they would typically use neutral styles of yeast. These include just about any sort of lager yeast, and ale yeasts such as SafAle US05. However, there's no reason you can't use other yeasts if you want to - such as Saison yeasts, or other crafty varieties such as Verdant IPA that may complement the style of beer you're making.

Have you made a Smash beer before? Let us know what your favourite Smash malt/hop combo is in the comments below.

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