SMaSH Brewing Explained (Single Malt and Single Hop)

SMaSH brewing is one of the latest buzzwords in the homebrewing community. But what does it mean exactly, and how is it used?

SMaSH brewing is brewing beer with only one type of hop and malt. It allows you to experiment with the taste of particular malts and hops, get to know those flavors, and be more effective in creating a specific flavor profile for your beers. 

Returning to the basics is a great way to learn, and SMaSH brewing is an excellent way to do that. This article discusses SMaSH brewing, what it is, how it works, and its benefits. I’m also sharing some recipes to experiment with that are suitable for beginners. 

SMaSH Brewing 101: What Is It, How It Works, Benefits, and More

SMaSH brewing is for beginners and experienced homebrewers; both can learn much from experimenting with hops and malts. 

What is SMaSH Brewing and How Does It Work?

SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) is a simple beer. It’s something all homebrewers can try, no matter your experience. It’s a great way to learn, especially for beginner home brewers. 

If you’re unfamiliar with home brewing, start with this article for beginners. It teaches you everything you need to know about home brewing if you’re unfamiliar with the concept.

SMaSH brewing allows a single hop and malt to dominate the flavor palate of the beer. It’s perfect for tasting and learning about the characteristics of specific hops and malts. 

The brewing process only requires one type of malt and one type of hop. 

Flavor Variations

Hops and malts can have very distinct flavors and aromas. They can make or break a beer. Figuring out which hops and malts to use to give a beer the taste you’re aiming for is a talent, one that requires practice. 

Experimenting with different hops and malts allows you to become familiar with the distinct flavors and find out which works best for you and your beers.  

To learn more about the different ingredients used in homebrewing and how they alter the beer taste, you should read this article

What are the Benefits of SMaSH Brewing?

SMaSH brewing has many advantages for all home brewers, not just for beginners. Making this simple beer will teach you a lot about the brewing process and the particular flavors of hops and malts.  

Experimentation With Flavors

SMaSH brewing allows you to experiment with different hops and malts without tasting a wide variety of them at once. 

It is a fantastic way to learn about the different flavors and what you can pair them with to make a tasty beer. Knowing the various malts and hops available is important to develop your flavors. 


If you’re new to home brewing, you might not be familiar with the different types of malts you can use to brew your beers. 

Here’s an overview of the different types:

Base malts:

  • Pale malt
  • Pilsner malt
  • Pale Ale malt
  • Vienna malt
  • Munich malt

Crystal and caramel malts:

  • Carapils, Carafoam, and Dextrin Malts
  • Light Caramel Malts
  • Medium Caramel/Crystal Malts
  • Dark Caramel/Crystal Malts
  • Very Dark Caramel/Crystal Malts

Kilned and toasted malts:

  • Biscuit malts
  • Brown malts

Roasted malts:

  • Chocolate malts
  • Coffee malts
  • Black or black patent malts

You can also read more about the different grains used in malting. I recommend the article for those who want detailed information about each type of malt mentioned above. 


Plenty of hop types can define the taste of beer; you can read about the different types of hop used in homebrewing. Learning about the types allows you to decide which hop to use in a recipe. It also teaches you what beer would taste like without hops.

Learning About the Brewing Process

The simplicity of ingredients in the SMaSH process allows you to focus more on the brewing process, including important factors like temperature and timing

It would be easier to figure out what went wrong if your beer tasted bad because there would be fewer factors to consider. You’ll learn how the brewing process can alter the taste and how to use that to your advantage. 

Making a Simple Beer

SMaSH brewing is all about simplicity. 

In this process, the different flavors are easier to identify and judge. Beers with different malts and hops are more challenging to alter when there’s a particular taste you don’t like. 

The brewing process itself is easy as well. It doesn’t require in-depth knowledge or brewing experience. 


Home brewing isn’t the cheapest hobby; the equipment for home brewing and ingredients can be pretty expensive. Additionally, you might have to throw a batch of beer out occasionally.

There’s always a possibility that something goes wrong during the brewing process, making your beer taste horrible. 

Beer brewing is less likely to go wrong with fewer ingredients and more attention to the process itself. On top of that, lesser ingredients mean a lesser cost. If you only need to buy one type of malt and hop, you’re saving yourself some money. 

I recommend you watch this YouTube video from our channel for more information about the cost of home brewing:

SMaSH Brew Recipes

If you’re interested in trying out some recipes now that you’ve learned about SMaSH brewing, I will list some interesting ones you might want to try.

Here are a few recipes with diverse flavor profiles so that you can experiment as you please. 

  • Serious Eats: Single-Malt, Single-Hop IPA (For Beginning Homebrewers) Recipe
  • Beer&Brewing: SMaSH Citra IPA Recipe (Gluten-reduced)
  • Adventures in Homebrewing: British Bitter SMaSH Beer Recipe, E.S.B. SMaSH Beer Recipe & English IPA SMaSH Beer Recipe

Final Thoughts

Home brewing isn’t always easy. You can use many ingredients that come in different variations, which makes it challenging to create the flavor you would enjoy.

However, you can get an idea of the taste of different malts and hops by using only one variation of both ingredients in a SMaSH brew. It is a fantastic way to get to know the flavors and aromas of each variation and build on that to make your recipes.

About HomeBrewAdvice

Hello, my name is Simon. Together with a group of writers I write about brewing beer and making wine. We all share a passion for the great things in life, such as making stuff from scratch.

The business of HomeBrewAdvice is to bring you great information, stories and product reviews from brewing at home, and making wine

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