#22P Vienna SMaSH

Eureka, another small batch post. Today’s recipe is all about a simple recipe and two different yeast strains. The whole idea behind this recipe was to get some experience with two dried yeasts: Fermentis Safale S04 vs Fermentis Safale US05. To get the most out of the yeasts, I went with a SMaSH recipe. SMaSH stands for single malt and single hop. So basically a recipe with just one kind of malt and one type of hops. This kind of recipe is very common to either test new base malts or new hop varieties. Or in my case to get the flavor characteristics of two different yeast strains. That’s it already for the introduction.

Recipe: Vienna SMaSH
Numbers: Volume [L] 5 (1.3 gal)
Original gravity 11.9°P
Terminal gravity N/A
Color Around 8 EBC
Grains: Vienna malt (8 EBC) 1 kg
Hops: Tettnanger (4.2% AA) 7 g and boil for 60 min
Tettnanger (4.2% AA) 5.5 g and boil for 30 min
Yeast: Fermentis S04 vs. US05
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 2.5 L (0.66 gal)
sparge: 4 L (1.06 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @66°C (151°F)
60 min @66°C (151°F)
10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 60 min
Fermentation: Primary 6 days @20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary N/A
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2 vol with sugar
Maturation time 3 weeks

02/13/2011: Smooth small batch brew day. Iodine test was negative after resting for one hour. Then sparged and boiled the wort with the two Tettnanger hops additions for 60 min. Cooled the wort down to 22°C (72°F) and split the wort into two fermentation buckets. Then added the calculated amount of yeast to the fermenters. US05 to one bucket and S04 to the other one.

02/19/2011: Bottled the beer after six days already with an addition of sugars to get to a carbonation level of approximately 2 vol of carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, I did not measure the terminal gravities… Then left the bottles carbonate for another week and stored the bottles in my refrigerator for three weeks.

03/18/2011: Tasting:


Aroma: Slight fruity character (apples) and hint of malty sweetness. No hop character.

Appearance: Yellow-gold colour, poor head retention. The two beers look quite similar.

Flavor: Could detect only some malty character (presumptive from the Vienna malt) and a slight bitterness. No typical yeast character detectable (fruit esters, phenolic etc.)

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, lively carbonation, short lasting malty aftertaste.

Overall Impression: First, the recipe is exactly what I was looking for: Not a lot of character… In my opinion a very, very boring beer. However, I was not looking for a mind-boggling beer here. The recipe did a very good job. It gave the yeast the opportunity to shine through. Second, how would I describe the character of this yeast in one word? Clean. Clean is a very good descriptive word for this yeast. The yeast ferments very clean and leaves the show to the malts and hops. Sure there was a subtle apple character in the aroma. However, I could not detect any apple character in the flavor. I therefore leave the apple character aside.


Aroma: Light hoppy character. No fruity character.

Appearance: Yellow-gold colour, poor head retention. The two beers look quite similar.

Flavor: Again some malty and bitter character. However, some hoppy character could be detected. And the intensity of the flavors was more pronounced in this beer relative to the one fermented with the US05 yeast.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, lively carbonation, medium lasting malty aftertaste. The aftertaste was more pronounced compared to the US05 one.

Overall Impression: Once again, the recipe was in the background. In this case, the malty character was more pronounced compared to the US05. There was even a hoppy character on the palate. I have to keep in mind the gravities here. It might be that the S04 beer finished at a higher terminal gravity than the US05 and therefore the higher terminal gravity might lead to a more pronounced malty character. However, if the S04 finished at a higher gravity than the US05 due to a lower attenuation, the strain still accentuates the malty character. Just by finishing at a higher gravity (less attenuative than the US05 strain). Fermentis describes both strains as medium attenuative.

The S04 yeast strain seems to accentuate the malty and hoppy character of a beer. And does not add any fruity character or any other like phenolic character. A rather clean yeast as well.

To summarize, the US05 seems to be a very clean fermenting yeast. On the other hand, the S04 strain seems to be less clean fermenting and accentuates the hop and malt character of a beer. I would choose the US05 strain for a typical US Pale Ale or an American IPA. The S04 strains seems to be appropriate for English Pale Ales, Mild, Bitter, ESB or English IPAs. If you are not sure what strain to choose, just split a batch and ferment the shares with different yeast strains to see the impact the yeast has on the beer. Cheers!

#9 Wiener Helles

Eureka, it is time for yet another recipe from the past. This time, one of my favorite recipes. I really like Vienna malt for the maltyness it contributes to a beer. And this character is most suitable in either Munich or Vienna style beers. Although “Helles” refers to bottom fermenting beers in general, this particular beer is fermented with a top fermenting yeast strain. In this case S04, a dry yeast. I know this is not a very suitable yeast strain for such a beer but the variety of yeast strains back then (2007) was quite limited and if a liquid yeast strain was available, it was very expensive. Luckily, this is very different these days (although still expensive). I can now purchase nearly every strain from Wyeast. White Labs strains are still not available around here…

Anyway, let’s go through the recipe. I added some Caramunich to give it some color and used some acidified malt to lower the residual alkalinity of my water. The Vienna malt backbone should lead to a very malty beer and the Carapils improves the head. Some information about the mash schedule. The first rest at 45°C is a protein rest to improve the head of the beer. Then followed by two different saccharification rests. Finished with a mash out at 78°C.

Recipe: Wiener Helles
Numbers: Volume [L] 25 (6.6 gal)
Original gravity 12.8°P
Terminal gravity 4.5°P
Color Around 13 EBC
ABV 4.5 %
Grains: Vienna malt (8 EBC) 5 kg
Carapils (4 EBC) 0.34 kg
Caramunich 1 (90 EBC) 0.34 kg
Acidified malt (5 EBC) 0.1 kg
Hops: Tettnanger (4.5% AA) 30 g and boil for 70 min
Tettnanger (4.5% AA) 8 g and boil for 1 min
Yeast: Saflager S04
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 25 L (6.6 gal), sparge: 17 L (4.5 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @45°C (113°F), 20 min @45°C (109°F), 30 min @61°C (142°F), 30 min @72°C (162°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 70 min
Fermentation: Primary 7 days @ 20°C (68°F) in plastic fermenter
Secondary None
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 2
Maturation time 3 weeks

Fig 1: Mash is resting

04/28/07: Brew day number nine. I had a 25 L lauter bucket and a 28 L kettle back then and this recipe filled the bucket and kettle up to the very top (Fig 1 and Fig 2). However, all went according to the protocol and no overflows and such happened. At the end, I collected 25 L of wort after the boil. I originally planed to get 20 L but hey, more beer is always appreciated.

Fig 2: Ready to lauter

Fig 3: Filling up the cooling bucket

05/05/07: Bottled the beer after a primary fermentation of seven days. Added cane sugar to get to a carbonation level of 2 vol. Then left the beer mature for nearly 4 weeks before I did a first tasting. Please remember, my tasting skills were very limited back then…

Aroma: Very malty aroma and some hop notes as well. Smells pretty awesome. Can’t remember if there were any ester notes from the English yeast strain (S04).

Appearance: The beer is clear and a appears in a very golden color. Pretty nice white head. Looks like a Vienna Helles should look like.

Flavor: Very rich malt backbone with some hop notes and a hint of bitterness. The balance is more on the malt side than bitterness. I could drink pints of this stuff…

Mouthfeel: Medium body, average carbonation and a malty finish. This makes it very easy to enjoy.

Overall Impression: Pretty solid beer. I just thought about to do another batch of this particular recipe sometimes. It seems to be really refreshing and easy enjoyable. Although, I would probably change the yeast and go with either a bottom fermenting or a clean top fermenting strain. Maybe Wyeast’s #2112 California Lager strain would work as an alternative. Please leave a comment below if someone gives this recipe a shot. I am very interested how the beers turn out… Stay tuned for further recipes!

#3 Vienna Single Malt

Eureka: The title makes you believe that I made a Vienna Whiskey. No my friends, this is just another beer recipe. My third batch was again an experimental batch like the second one. But instead of Munich malt, I used Vienna malt this time. The recipe was very similar to the second one. And I have some tasting notes… but no pictures…

Recipe: Vienna Single Malt
Numbers: Volume 15 L (4 gal)
Original gravity 15°P
Terminal gravity 6°P
Color Around 8 EBC
ABV 5 %
Grains: Vienna Malt (8 EBC) 3.0 kg
Hops: Tettnanger (4.4% AA) 20 g and boil for 70 min
Yeast: S-04
Water: Burgdorf Mash: 9 L (2.4 gal), lauter: 10 L (2.6 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: 5 steps Mash in @45°C (113°F), 20 min @ 43°C (109°F), 30 min @ 61°C (142°F), 30 min @ 72°C (162°F), 10 min @ 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Total 70 min
Fermentation: Primary 4 days @ 21°C (70°F) in a plastic bucket
Secondary In bottles
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) N/A
Maturation time 3 – 4 weeks

06/17/06: Brew day, nothing special happened. Fermentation started after two hours.

06/21/06: Bottled after four days! I wanted to try the method where you bottle just at the point where there is enough sugar left for bottle conditioning. This process is called “Grünschlauchen” in German.

01/17/07: I tasted the beer before but have no tasting notes. The beer was now approximately seven month old. The beer seemed to have a nice head, was clear and had a malty and bitter taste. So it was drinkable as it seemed. This is kind of proof to me that I could store my beers up to seven month without any problems. I guess this is pretty good considering that this was my third brew and I stored my beers at around 15°C (59°F).

I still like the flavor impact of Vienna malt. It gives the beer a very malty and rich body. Comparing the Vienna and the Munich malt, the Vienna malt seemed to give the beer a more subtle character than Munich malt. Whenever I want a more subtle malt character I tend to use Vienna, and if I want a more pronounced malt character (like in a Märzen), I would use Munich malt. At that time I just could get the Munich malt 1, today there are two additional Munich malts, 2 and 3 available at my supplier. The difference between all of those Munich malt is their color. I expect that the darker Munich malts tend to increase the malt character and body of the beer as well.

Stay tuned for further recipes. I know that my first batches were not that interesting. But I will not proceed posting my recipes in an ascending order of brewing. I’ll just pick one of them and sometimes in the future there will be all my recipes available.