Recently, I obtained a sack of floor-malted Czech pilsner malt from Adelbert’s Brewery in Austin, TX. Having never used this malt before, I brewed up a small, three gallon test batch to get a better understanding of its malt character. Similarly, wanting to know more about the Wyeast California Lager yeast character and Hersbrucker hops, I decided the best way to understand all of these ingredients was to brew a SMaSH Blonde. For those new to brewing, SMaSH is a fun acronym for Single Malt and Single Hop. Being a warm-fermented “hybrid” lager strain, I starter the fermentation at 58F and finished a week later at 64F. From experience, this fermentation closely matched a traditional German lager yeast, even putting off sulfur midway high krausen. I’ll be kegging this one up soon and saving the yeast for a California Common beer to be brewed in early August.
Over the past weeks, I helped judge the Austin Zealot’s homebrew competition: The Inquisition. Unlike most homebrew competitions, this places home fermented beverages into 10 non-BJCP categories: Malty, Hoppy, Session, Strong, Dark, Yeasty, Lager, Spiced, Mead/Cider, and Open. Although not a BJCP event, most of the judges are BJCP-certified at some level. As I am training to become a BJCP judge in the near term, this was great experience. Often, I was in agreement over the judged beers, which was very pleasing as I was paired with seasoned vets. I’m hoping to take the BJCP exams by September 2015.
How was your week in brewing, and have you ever brewed a SMaSH beer before? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Cheers and happy brewing!