Brew #4: Balls Out SMaSH

The Story

The other half of Argy Spargy (my other half, ‘im indoors, the old ball n chain, etc) has been wanting to try a SMaSH for a while.

For the uninitiated, SMaSH stands for Single Malt and Single Hop, and it’s a great way to educate yourself on the flavours and qualities of your main ingredients. The idea being, you brew with single ingredients each time, so that you can learn what everything tastes like on its own. You can make hop teas to learn about their flavours, but that wouldn’t be much fun now would it?

Anyhoo, this particular weekend, our kitty Loki was unlucky enough to be having his testicles removed. With me being indisposed playing nursemaid to one very pissed off moggy, the other half had to do this brew solo. Single serving malt, single serving hop, single serving brewer (as Chuck Palahniuk might say).

The Lokester displaying his cojones, pre-snip.


And, so, in honour of our little buddy’s lost fur-baubles, we named this beer ‘Balls Out’.

If you want to attempt a SMaSH, it’s a good idea to choose a hop which isn’t too acidic, and is a good all-rounder. Brewer #1 chose Motueka, a New Zealand hop, which has a medium alpha-acid, and imparts lime and floral flavours and aromas.

Brewer #1 also invented a new sparge method to enable him to do it solo. This sounds fancy, but basically involved drilling holes in the bottom of a secondary bucket. Still, it did the trick – necessity being the mother of invention, and all that jazz.




The Recipe

Adapted for a one-gallon (UK) micro-batch

Mash – 75 mins

  • 2.5L Water @ 65 Degrees C
  • 1.1Kg Maris Otter Pale Malt


  • 4L Water @ 78 Degrees C

Boil – 60 mins


  • 8g Motueka* (at boil)
  • 9g Motueka* (after 45 mins)
  • 19g Motueka* (at flame out)

*Whole Leaf Hops

Yeast – 4g SafAle™ S04

After 14 days fermentation at 21-25 Degrees C, 24g white cane sugar added at bottling. Bottle condition for 2 weeks.

The Result

This brew is the beer equivalent of a crisp, white tee. Clean, refreshing, goes with anything.

It tastes really clean on the palate, with no discernible bitter aftertaste at all. It gave good head (fnar fnar), which was lovely and white and creamy, but not too dense, and had a lovely sparkling carbonation which wasn’t too gassy.

All in all, I’d say this SMaSH is a brilliant session beer. You could drink a shed load and not get sick of it. Or we could if we made bigger batches any way. Sigh.


Would we make it again?

Yes. Aside from it being a lovely, fresh, and frustratingly easy beer to drink, doing SMaSHes is an essential part of the education process. This variant in particular will be our go-to recipe when we need a fool-proof brew.


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