First BIAB- SMaSH Blonde hop suggestions

Discussion in 'Recipes for Feedback' started by SabreSteve, Sep 2, 2020.

  1. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    So I'm looking to do my first BIAB batch when my current batch comes out of the fermenter in about 2 weeks. Looking to keep it as simple as possible so I can work on nailing my process. So I settled on a SMaSH Blonde ale. I figure malt-wise 2-row will get me where I want to go. What I'm really unsure of is the hops. I understand with blondes there's a lot of flexibility there and I'm only just starting to become familiar with a couple varieties of hops. I guess what I'm looking for is something that will keep this a simple, balanced beer but at the same time add just a little distinctive flair or style. Wouldn't mind something a little floral or with a hint of spiciness. So I realize that if I ask 10 of you this I'm getting atleast 15 opinions but what would be your favorite hops to put in a blonde ale?
     
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  2. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    Willamette might be an interesting hop to try, but I really think any floral or citrus hop would work for a Blonde ale.

    Good luck.
     
  3. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    I've used willamette, cluster, cascade, and northern brewer. All have worked great with cascade probably being my favorite, and northern brewer a close second.
     
  4. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I can't offer any input, I haven't "brewed" a blonde as yet, and probably never will to be honest.
    I am interested to see how this recipe develops, and ultimately turns out though:)
     
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  5. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    #5 Blackmuse, Sep 2, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
    Whew - loaded question. So many options.
    I have to agree with @thunderwagn on this - both Cascade and NB are great choices for something simple, yet, distinctive (I too, would put Cascade 1st)

    I'd add that Phoenix hops are certainly "distinctive" - earthy/spicy/chocolate/molasses - I tend to use them in a beer darker than a blonde ale... But it could work..

    German Tradition is floral/spicy in a very "traditional" way...not really distinctive though.

    I also LOVE East Kent Golding and think it would go good here too but it is more earthy/sweet (too me) than floral/spicy.

    I think I gave three new choices myself - on top of agreeing with 2 others... lol Sorry.

    I'd take what folks here recommend, look up each and make a short list of what interests you most flavor-wise.
     
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  6. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    Think I'm leaning towards either Cascade or Northern Brewer. Phoenix intrigued me but they're not listed on my LHBS website so unless I put together big enough an order to get free shipping from one of the online outlets it's out. I was thinking US-05 but I've never used it, going off reputation. Any other suggestions?
     
  7. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    Not hindered by any knowledge ;) I would suggest Citra. Sounds like it gives a lemony touch which I think goes well with a blonde.
    I made a blonde (Belgian), but not a smash, and used Hallertau and Saaz.
    But I would take any hop, then for your next brew, use the same malt but a different hop. And keep us informed :)
     
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  8. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    I think you'll love your results with either of those hops. As for the yeast, while I have never used it, US-05 has a solid reputation and a lot of folks here can speak to it. It sounds like a solid choice.
     
  9. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    Citra interested me but I've seen mixed reviews on using it for bittering. Some say it's too harsh.
     
  10. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    As with anything else, you'll hear mixed opinions on just about everything. I like s-05 and use it often. It makes a fine beer and is a good yeast for something like a blonde. Like others have mentioned, if I ferment at low temps (63f) I can get some peach notes off it, but around 68-70 is just fine in my brewing.
     
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  11. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    So I think I'm going to go 2-row, Northerner Brewer and US-05. Thinking I'll never enough malt and yeast for 3 batches but only enough hops for 2. That way I can kind of work on consistency but leave myself room to change it up for my 3rd batch. Unless anyone else has any other thoughts
     
  12. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    US-05 is a good yeast, it has never failed me
     
  13. Sunfire96

    Sunfire96 Well-Known Member

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    Good luck with the upcoming brew! I've brewed two american blonde ales with a combo of centennial and cascade, which I enjoyed.

    If it were me, I'd take this as an opportunity to learn about the hop styles you'll end up using the most. If your next 5 beers after this one are going to be German lagers, then smash with a German noble. If you want to do English beers, do a batch with fuggles or EKG.

    As someone who mostly drinks american pales/IPAs, I've been exploring the "C" hops and other popular varieties in the style (like simcoe).

    Repeating a simple recipe is a great way to dial in your process, but also a good way to set up some hop comparisons. Don't forget to take notes! If you can't repeat it, then it's not good science :)
     
  14. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    I'm definitely thinking once I get it down this recipe can be my go-to for experimentation in the future. Pretty much why I bought grain and yeast for 3 batches and hops for 2
     
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  15. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you have a good plan!
     
  16. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    So I did it again!
    For my brown ale I accidently ordered twice as many hops as I intended but it worked out because the AAs on the package were way lower than what was in the original recipe so I was able to tweak it and include them all with a similar IBUs calculation as the original recipe.
    Well I just did it again! I intended on ordering hops for 2 batches and I got hops for 4. I think it's cause I'm used to buying 1oz packages from my LHBS but MoreBeer let me order in 2oz packages. So should I stick with my original plan and do 2 batches with Northern Brewer and then just keep the other package in the freezer or should I try to use them more quickly?
     
  17. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    As long as they're sealed they'll be fine in the freezer. It's always better to order a little heavy imo. Never know what might pop up, plus you can build up a little stock. Sealed hops can last a long time in the freezer.
     
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  18. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I keep a pretty decent amount of hops on hand, like 8+ lbs isn't excessive is it? :p
     
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  19. SabreSteve

    SabreSteve Well-Known Member

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    That might last me a couple years at my current rate...
     
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  20. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    You say that now!
    It is so much cheaper to buy it by the pound, doing so has more than paid for my vac sealer. That is what I am telling myself anyway.
     

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