Sunday, October 20, 2013

Batch #17 - Citra SMaSH IPA (All-grain)

For this batch I am going to try a technique I've been reading about called SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop).  It is the ultimate in simplicity and a good way to learn about the individual ingredients that make up the beer.  With only one type of malted barley and a single variety of hop being utilized I should be able to really taste what each adds to the beer.  This actually would have been a really good batch to start with when I moved to all-grain.  In any case, I think it will be an interesting brew and a good learning experience.

13 lbs. 2-Row Pale Malt
1 oz. Citra Hops (60 minutes)
1 oz. Citra Hops (15 minutes)
1 oz. Citra Hops (Dry Hopping)
1/2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient
1 Whirfloc tablet
1 tbsp 5.2 pH mash stabilizer
1 pkg. American Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1056)
9 gallons of drinking water
20 lbs. ice (for chilling wort)

  1. Optional - Prepare a yeast starter at least 24 hours in advance of brew day.
  2. Clean and sanitize all equipment that will come in contact with your beer.
  3. Prepare your strike water by heating about 16.25 quarts of water or 4 gallons (about 1.25 quarts of water per pound of grain) to a temperature of 162-170 degrees.  Aim for 169 degrees.
  4. Add about 4 quarts (1 gallon) of your strike water to the mash tun to heat it up and begin adding your crushed grains and the remaining strike water.  Stir thoroughly to avoid dry pockets (dough balls).
  5. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined check the temperature to ensure it is approximately 152-154 degrees.  If not, adjust by adding hot or cold water.
  6. Once your mash is at the proper temperature add 1 tablespoon of pH stabilizer, stir and close the mash tun and let steep for 60 minutes.
  7. Prepare your sparge water by heating 5 gallons of water to a temperature of 170 degrees.
  8. Optional - check for starch conversion by performing an iodine test by removing a small sample of wort from your mash tun and adding a drop or two of iodine.  If the iodine turns black or purple you starch conversion has not fully taken place and you need to mash a little longer.  If the iodine color remains unchanged conversion has completed.  Alternatively, you can simply taste the mixture.  If conversion has taken place the mixture will taste sweet.
  9. Perform vorlauf (recirculation) by slowly collecting the first runnings of your wort and adding them back to mash tun.  Take care to not let grain bed collapse by draining too quickly or dumping first runnings back in the mash tun with too much force.  Repeat this step 5 or more times until the runnings are free of grain debris and running relatively clear.
  10. Collect your first runnings into your brew pot by allowing all of the wort in your mash tun to slowly drain out.  Take your time and be careful to not let your grain bed collapse.
  11. After your mash tun has drained close the valve and add all of your sparge water to the tun and stir.  Do not worry about disturbing the grain bed as you are going to create a whole new grain bed for the second runnings.
  12. Repeat Step 9 above (vorlauf) and collect enough wort until you have about 6.5 to 7 gallons of beer.  The reason for this amount is that boil-off will account for approximately 1.5 gallons of liquid per hour.
  13. Return your brew kettle to burner and bring wort to a vigorous boil.
  14. As soon as the beer begins to boil add 1 oz. of Citra hops for bittering and boil for 60 minutes.
  15. With 15 minutes left in the boil add: Whirfloc tablet, 1 oz. of Citra hops & wort chiller to the boil to sterilize.
  16. During last 10 minutes of boil add 1/2 tsp. of yeast nutrient dissolved in small amount of warm water.
  17. Terminate boil and chill to fermentation temperature of approximately 70 degrees.
  18. Take a specific gravity reading and record.  Target SG is approximately 1.068.
  19. Estimated post-boil volume is 6 gallons.
  20. Transfer to fermentation carboy.  Strain if desired.
  21. Optional - add boiled water to achieve desired volume.
  22. Pitch yeast and aerate well using pure oxygen.
  23. Attach blow-off tube (or airlock) and ferment until complete according to hydrometer readings (at least 3 weeks).
  24. After 2 weeks of fermentation, add 1 oz. of Citra hops for the dry hopping process.  Let these hops age in the primary fermenter for 7-10 days.
  25. Optional - Cold crash beer for 1 week to further clarify.
  26. Keg.
  27. Optional (for bottling only) - Prepare priming sugar by boiling 2 cups of drinking water and add 4 oz. of priming sugar.  Be careful not to scorch (remove from heat).  Boil for 5 minutes and add to bottling bucket.  Add wort, stir gently for 1 minute and bottle.

Brew Day - November 1, 2013
Original Gravity - 1.062
Dry Hop Day - November 15, 2013 (18 days)
Cold Crash Day - Omitted
Kegging Day - December 3, 2013 (33 days in Primary)
Tasting Day - December 5, 2013 (Planned)
Original Gravity - 1.062
Final Gravity - 1.010
Alcohol by Volume (ABV) - 6.8%

  • Made a yeast starter for this batch.
  • My timer stopped about half way through so boil times had to be estimated.  I think I was within 5 minutes.
  • I ended up with about 7.5 gallons of wort in the boil so my OG was lower than anticipated.  1.062 actual compared to 1.068 estimated.
  • Didn't stir mash on second vorlauf.  Probably not a big deal.
  • Ugh!  Fermentation ended up going crazy and bubbled out of the top of the airlock.  I wish I had taken a picture but I was too concerned with cleaning up the mess and switching over to a blow-off tube.  Note to self... just use a blow-off tube every time.  I hope this batch didn't get infected.  I am guessing with so much fermentation left it will be OK.
  • Getting a "banana" smell coming from the airlock.  Not abnormal but I don't remember it being this strong.
  • Skipped cold crashing due to being out-of-town and refrigerator not being ready.
  • Dry hopped for 18 days - about a week longer than I wanted. 
The Verdict:
  • This one turned out pretty much as expected.  The simplicity allowed me to understand what the single malt and single hop contributed to the beer but it was somewhat bland.  I think I prefer the complexity of multiple grains and hops.
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