Jeff Longland

Relax, don't worry – have a home brew!

Zythos and Golden Promise SMaSH

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Zythos and Golden Promise SMaSHI first read about SMaSH beers on HomeBrewTalk and Northern Brewer forums.  I was intrigued by using a single malt (SM) and single hop (SH), but didn’t give it too much thought.  It was Drew Beechum’s session at the National Homebrewers Conference (NHC) that really got me thinking about SMaSH opportunities.  A few weeks ago, I planned to take my gear to Bob’s house for a brew day… but I didn’t know what to brew.  As I was packing up, I assessed what was at hand: Golden Promise malt, some Wyeast 1469, and a bunch of hops.  I quickly decided to attempt another ‘American bitter’.

Last winter, I tried to brew an English bitter with citrusy American hops, but the bitterness was too overpowering for the style.  Even in small amounts, I found that any Falconer’s Flight bittering addition was too much.  Having previously read about hop bursting, I thought this might be a good opportunity to forgo the bittering addition in lieu of a big hop addition late in the boil.  To keep some consistency with my earlier attempts, Zythos seemed a good choice (and thanks to Bob for contributing his 28g sample from NHC).  My hope was to emphasize the hop flavours and minimize bitterness – a golden pale ale with subtle American hop citrus and light bitterness.

In many ways, this recipe was an experiment: single malt, single hop, and a single hop addition.  But it was also the first time I used yeast nutrient and oxygen.  As the boil came to an end, Bob brought out an oxygen tank and oxygenation system.  After 60 minutes of boiling, wort doesn’t have much oxygen left in it..  Injecting 1-2 minutes of oxygen prior to pitching the yeast helps to create the right environment for yeast reproduction.  Anecdotally, this batch had the most vigorous fermentation that I’ve observed in two years of homebrewing.  And given the results…  I’ve already purchased my own oxygen tank, oxygenation system, and a vial of yeast nutrient.

If you want to learn more about SMaSH, Drew was interviewed in a recent BeerSmith podcast. He also has an article ‘Brewing on the Ones’ in the November/December 2012 issue of Zymurgy (subscription required, unfortunately)

Appearance –  Straw. 1/2″ of foamy white head, diminishing to a ring of fine bubbles around the outside of the glass.  Minimal lacing. Quite clear!

Aroma – Not a whole lot of aroma.  Light malts and a very subtle pine note.  Maybe a little orange?

Taste – Sweet malts from start to finish, with stone fruit yeast esters.  Surprisingly earthy.  Is Zythos known for being earthy?  Mild orange and lemon hops arrive mid-taste and bitterness is on the finish.  The finish is a bit sweet – almost like honey – it nicely balances out the bitterness.  The after taste is dry, slightly bitter, with lingering fruitiness.  Slight spiciness throughout.

Mouthfeel – Carbonated exactly how I like my bitters.  Every sip brings a light layer of bubbles to the surface.  Just enough carbonation to offset the sweetness of the beer.  Wyeast 1469 is frequently said to create a ‘chewy beer’ and with a final gravity of 1.014, this has a nice mouthfeel.

Drinkability/Notes – Very, very drinkable.  I like the sweetness from the Golden Promise and the fruity esters from the West Yorkshire yeast – they’re well complimented by the restrained use of Zythos.  I’d prefer if this was about 4.5% ABV, but I won’t complain about a bit of extra alcohol.  I’ve read that Golden Promise can add a sweetness and I think that’s what I’m getting from this beer.  A wee bit of crystal or rye could take a beer like this in a very different, very good direction.  I’m really happy that I tried this experiment, especially the single hop addition at 15m.  It’s my first attempt at an American bitter that actually works.  Might mash slightly less, perhaps at 156F?  Otherwise, quite good.  As far as flaws, it may be the best beer that I’ve brewed.  A pleasant American Pale Ale, but I’m calling it Zythos Bitter for now.

Zythos and Golden Promise SMaSH Recipe

Specifics
Wort Volume Before Boil: 5.50 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 4.50 US gals
Volume Transferred: 4.50 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 4.00 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 4.00 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.040 SG
Actual Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.046 SG
Expected OG: 1.046 SG
Actual OG: 1.053 SG
Expected FG: 1.014 SG
Actual FG: 1.014 SG
Expected Efficiency: 60.0%
Actual Efficiency: 69.5%
Expected ABV: 4.2%
Actual ABV: 5.2%
Expected IBU: 34
Expected Color: 5.2 SRM
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins

Fermentables
UK Golden Promise Malt 12.50 lb – 100 %

Hops
Zythos (11 % alpha) 56 g – 15 Min From End

Other Ingredients
Yeast: Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire
Mash started at 158F and dropped to 152F after 60 mins. (target was 154F)

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Written by jlongland

December 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Posted in Homebrew

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