Batch #15: SMaSH Ale Brewed with DI Water (An Experiment)

I brewed this beer for a purpose. No, not just to drink, but to use for an activity during a brewing water presentation I gave for my local homebrew club — the PUBGuild. The purpose of this activity was to demonstrate how the sulfate ion changes the way one perceives hop bitterness in a given beer.

At high concentrations, sulfate adds dryness and sharpness to the hop profile. By brewing a beer with distilled or de-ionized (DI) water to control the water profile, it is easy to observe how calcium sulfate (gypsum) impacts the hop perception of a beer by adding a gypsum solution to the finished beer.

#15 – DI SMaSH Ale

I’ll post the details on how to conduct this experiment at a later date, but for now, here’s the recipe! As you can tell by my lack of note-taking for this batch, I was more concerned with producing a simple hop-burst SMaSH ale than I was with the specifics.

SMaSH Ale Brewed with DI Water

Brew date: 6/22/14
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 1 gal

Fermentables (% of GUs contributed):

100% American 2-Row (4.0 lb)


0.5 oz. – Falconer’s Flight pellets (15 min)
0.5 oz. – Falconer’s Flight pellets (10 min)
0.5 oz. – Falconer’s Flight (5 min)


Pinch of Irish Moss




Mash at 154F for 60 minutes with DI water. Mash out, lauter, and batch sparge to collect about 1.5 gallons of wort. Boil for 60 minutes. Cool and pitch yeast and ferment at optimum temperature (68F) for two to four weeks. Decrease temperature to 42F to cold crash for one additional week. Bottle or keg condition, and enjoy while fresh.

Taste Notes

This is a sweet and hoppy beer, but not very bitter. The gypsum solution added in the experiment added a sharpness to the hop profile that was lacking without it. Generally enjoyable, but quite high in the ABV (probably around 8%). Goes down smooth, considering it has that much alcohol. Then again, I’m not 100% positive. I’ll just keep drinking from cup ‘B’…


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