Podcast Episode 237: Less is More for Surly’s Ben Smith, Pursuing Bigger Hop Flavor in Hazy IPA and Refined West Coast IPA

Minnesota’s Surly Brewing has long cultivated a bold, in-your face brand image, but Surly’s next chapter will be defined by achieving more with less, if head brewer Ben Smith has anything to say about it. From thiol-maximizing yeast in hazy IPAs—achieving bigger flavor with less hops—to refined and softer bitterness in new West Coast–style IPAs, every assumption about how things “should be done” is under consideration.

In this episode, Smith shares what they’ve learned from brewing a new thiol-focused beer with Other Half, and from using thiol-rich Phantasm powder and thiol-centric yeast from Omega Labs. However, it wouldn’t be a proper Surly episode without a discussion of West Coast–style IPA and the ways they’re tweaking and refining the classic approach to find new expression and connection.

In this episode, Smith discusses:

  • maximizing their three pillars of quality, consistency, and stability
  • achieving more hop flavor with less hops and thiolized yeast
  • thinking about bitterness in terms beyond IBU
  • hopping methods to achieve flavorful and efficient results
  • deconstructing and reconstructing West coast IPA
  • managing hop creep at a production scale

And more.

This episode is brought to you by:

G&D
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This episode brought to you by BSG and Rahr Malting Co., the home of fossil-free malt. Rahr’s headquarters in Shakopee, Minnesota is powered by renewable electricity. Malthouses and kilns are fed by an electrostatic boiler fueled by agricultural byproducts, much of which is waste from the malting process. By eliminating the use of natural gas, Rahr Malting Co. reduces CO2 emissions by 260,000 tons per year while filling 25% of the US brewing industry’s malt needs. Put the power of Rahr Malt in your beer at go.bsgcraft.com/Contact-Us

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From the rotatable pick-up tube on Rogue Brewing’s pilot brewhouse to the integrated hopbacks on Sierra Nevada’s twin prototyping brewhouses, Ss Brewtech has taken technology they invented working with world-renowned industry veterans and made them available to every craft brewer. To learn more about Ss Brewtech’s innovation list, head over to SsBrewtech.com

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