Brew #3 - A Simcoe SMaSH IPA
Updated: Dec 19, 2020
Another Saturday, another brew day, and given our continued novice status, another simple SMaSH IPA was on the cards. SMaSH stands for single malt and single hop, meaning a very beginner friendly homebrew recipe. We have made a Citra SMaSH IPA a couple of weeks ago so for this brew we decided to try swapping out the Citra hops for Simcoe.
Simcoe is a commonly used hop that is said to have citrus flavour with grapefruit and pine notes. It is a well-sought after hop found in many popular beers, including Brewdog's Dead Pony Club. Simcoe similar to Citra should make a great SMaSH IPA as it is dual purpose hop used for both bittering and flavouring. The plan was one small hop change, keep everything the same and see how different it is from our original Citra SMaSH IPA.
Method: All-grain BIAB
Batch size: 10 litres
Estimated OG: 1.066
Estimated FG: 1.018
Estimated ABV: 6.3%
Estimated IBU (Tinseth): 123
2.7 kg Maris Otter (Extra Pale)
15 g Simcoe pellets at 60 minutes (AA: 13.5%)
15 g Simcoe pellets at 30 minutes (AA: 13.5%)
15 g Simcoe pellets at 20 minutes (AA: 13.5%)
15 g Simcoe pellets at 10 minutes (AA: 13.5%)
30 g Simcoe pellets at dry hop (AA: 13.5%)
Pacific Ale (White Labs WLP041)
Mash for 60 minutes at 66°C. Boil for 90 minutes.
To match the bitterness of our Citra SMaSH IPA recipe, we will adjust the weight of Simcoe hops in the hop boil to account for the hop's lower alpha acid percentage, relative to Citra.
Last time we did our SMaSH IPA with Citra, we ended up with 8 litres of wort in the fermentor instead of the expected 10 litres. So to prevent this short fall we will add an extra 2 litres of water during the first 30 mins of the boil.
We accidentally ordered extra pale Maris Otter instead of the standard Maris Otter so there could be a mild difference in colour and maybe flavour.
Brew day - 02/05/20
Another brew day meant another brew day beer. Today's choice was Hobgoblin Ruby Beer, brewed by Wynchwood Brewery, based in Witney, Oxfordshire. I truly love this beer.
The plan was to mash the 2.7 kg Maris Otter at 66°C for 1 hour in 7 litres of water, before batch sparging in 8 litres of room temperature water. Our mash temperature was a tad high and stayed mostly at 68°C, which was less than ideal but brew day mostly went to plan.
We then boiled the wort for 90 mins and added 4 Simcoe hop pellet additions at 60 mins, 30 mins, 20 mins and 10 mins. On Brew #2 we came up short with 8 litres of wort instead of our intended 10, so we added an extra 2 litres of boiling water in the first 30 mins of this hop boil to avoid this. We then cooled the wort in the sink, poured it into the fermentation vessel and pitched the yeast.
Interestingly, at the end of brew day we ended up with 12 litres of wort, instead our expected 10 litres, which was a tad confusing. This meant we somehow had an extra 4 litres of wort compared to brew #2, even though we only added an extra 2 litres of water. So where did the other 2 litres come from?
Searching online, the most likely reason is the fact that we used hop pellets in this brew rather than the whole leaf hops we used in the last brew. Pellets are more compact and apparently absorbs less water. Another possible reason is that our boil off rate during the hop boil was lower than expected so less wort was lost to evaporation.
The excessive volume meant the wort was much more dilute than expected so we completely missed our OG of 1.066, and ended up with an OG of 1.054. So a much lower ABV beer in the range of 4.7-5.5%, instead of the intended 6.3% is expected.
Fermentation and dry hopping:
The wort spent 14 days in the fermentation vessel to convert it to beer. In the last 3 days in the vessel we dry hopped it with 30 g Simcoe pellets.
Bottling day - 16/05/20
Bottling day could not come soon enough and the beer looked great. The hydrometer reading showed our Simcoe SMaSH IPA had an FG of 1.012, and therefore an ABV of 5.5%. A much easier to handle ABV than our Citra SMaSH IPA which was a solid 6.8%. Bottling day went smoothly and we ended up with twenty 500 ml bottles. Each bottle was primed for carbonation with 1.5 carbonation drops.
Beer day - 30/05/20
After 2 weeks, the time had finally come to try the beer!
In general I was really impressed by this Simcoe SMaSH IPA. It was well carbonated with good head retention and had a light crisp colour, consistent with the use of extra pale Maris Otter malts. The beer had a lovely smell, with no homebrew whiff at all. The Simcoe SMaSH IPA shined brightly with fruity and floral flavours/aromas with a crazy bitter finish. I think it could have benefited overall from less bitterness and more hoppy flavours, which could be achieved by moving hops additions later in the boil. But overall a super tasty brew to be proud of and share with friends. I am looking forward to sipping some more!
IBU: 113.5 (Tinseth)
Colour: Pale amber
Clarity: Clear but not crystal clear
Smell: Smells like beer
Taste: Fruity and floral beer, with strong bitter finish
Carbonation: Good with a strong head
Perceived alcohol level: Light
Desirable: Yes! Almost sessionable, but the bitterness limits the ability to have many
Would I pay money for it?: Yes
Comparisons to Citra SMaSH IPA
This Simcoe SMaSH IPA was a better brew overall
Better clarity and crisp colour
No homebrew whiff unlike the Citra SMaSH IPA
Lower ABV which made it more drinkable
Resembles a beer that you would pay for