After buying 16 oz of centennial hops, I thought what better way to get acquainted with the nuances of the flavors and aromas than to brew a SMaSH: Single Malt and Single Hop. By only using 1 hop and 1 malt, you can learn a lot of the flavor profiles of each and surprisingly, most people report a good amount of complexity in the finished product.
I chose to use centennial as we both like that hop (it's featured prominently in many commercial beers like Bell's Two Hearted Ale and Great Divide's Hercules DIPA) and we have plenty to experiment with. For the malt I chose to go with Marris Otter (MO). MO is an English pale malt that is kilned to a slightly darker color than standard American 2-row. The darker color gives it a little more biscuity/toasty flavor than US 2-row and therefore will bring a little more to the table. I was shooting for a ~5.5% beer of the pale-ale persuasion seeing that I brewed a 7.2% beer previously.
It was a relatively smooth brew day, but this was the first time I've brewed at night. Normally, I get up at the crack of dawn and get 75-80% of the brewing done before anyone in the house wakes up. This time, I waited until just about bed time to mash in, and when the kids were down, was able to start the boil. I did a 60 min mash and a 60 min boil with a 10 min hop stand.
I'm hoping this one will be a lot better than the last pale ale I made, which is on the verge of being dumped because it's just not tasting right and no one wants to drink it. I am also starting to think that some of my issues making pale beers are not only from the carmelization from my aluminum kettle, but maybe because I am not using high temperature-rated tubing when I am draining my mash (with +160 degree wort). So maybe, some off flavors are being generated there that are otherwise covered up in darker beers.
I am going to try and sell my old empty bottles (gotta love Craig's List) and put that money towards the conversion of a 15.5 gal stainless steel keg into a brew kettle. Hopefully, that switch and using different tubing will solve the off flavors I'm getting in these beers. Otherwise, I'm going to have to turn to using different water (like Distilled water) and building back my salts/ions from there with the addition of some acid to make sure my pH is in range. We'll see.
Recipe (6 gallons):
12 lbs Marris Otter
Mash at 151 for 60 min
1 oz Centennial at 60 min
0.66 oz Centennial at 20 min
1.5 oz Centennial at 0 min
2 oz Centennial (Dry Hop)
Cold Crashed: 11/27