Smoked Ale

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Kwatt99, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. Kwatt99

    Kwatt99 Aficionado (155) Louisiana Mar 27, 2010

    I brewed my second homebrew yesterday. It was a smoked ale. I bought smoked grains from the local homebrew shop. In the grain bag they smelted extremely smokey but after he ran them through the mill all the smoke pretty much went away. I ended up taking the grains, putting them on wire mesh, soaking them in water for 5 minutes then smoking them in my smoker for app. 30 minutes. I'm hoping the smoke transfers over to the brew. Anyone ever experiment with a smoked ale?
  2. Pahn

    Pahn Champion (850) New York Dec 2, 2009 Beer Trader

    i've made a beer with briess cherrywood smoked malt, which i loved (was 12% cherrywood smoked malt, 72% 2-row, 4% flaked oats, 4% crystal 80, 4% carahell, 2% carafa special 3, hopped with northern brewer for bittering, willamette @40 and 5min for flavor/aroma).

    however, one of the posters on this board has posted about experimenting extensively with smoking his own malt... i think it's rocdoc1. maybe he'll have some input.
  3. herrburgess

    herrburgess Champion (935) South Carolina Nov 4, 2009 Beer Trader

    Trying to gauge the final smokiness of the brew based on the initial smokiness of the (un)crushed malt is probably a mistake. I have never found smoked malt (Weyermann, Briess, or home-smoked) to be particularly smoky before brewing. After a few weeks of lagering/secondary fermentation post-brewing, however, the smoke begins to emerge in the young beer and can really become very pronounced. If you want to properly smoke your own malt you really need to pay attention to a number of important factors: keeping the grain moist (but not wet) and turned frequently throughout the process to make sure it doesn't scorch; using wood that has been pre-soaked in order to prevent impurities from getting into the smoke; and keeping the fire clean and low temperature, so that the grain is smoking at around 120F. If you followed all of these guidelines you'll likely be OK, but I suspect you'll still have a hugely smoky beer. If not, you will likely get some very harsh phenols and/or impurities from the you'll have a hugely smoky beer.
  4. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Savant (460) New Mexico Jan 13, 2006

    I've smoked my own malt a couple of times now in 10 pound batches, but I have a big smoker that makes it easy to do. Using freshly smoked malt is easy-use less when it's fresh, more when it's old. But as herrburgess says the smoke level is very hard to determine until the beer gets a little age on it. I find that 3-4 months from brewing is the peak of the smoke flavor, before that it's mild, after that it starts to fade and taste stale.
    I did what you did on my first smoked beer-in the kettle I couldn't find any smoked flavor so the next day I mashed 3 more pounds, boiled it and added it to the fermenter to top it off. When I kegged it there was barely a hint of smoke, after 2 months of lagering it was good, a couple of months later we're talking bacon in a bottle(keg)
  5. I smoke my own malt all the time. Freshness is an issue with store bought smoked malt. You have the procedure just about down. Try different types of wood. You'll get different levels of smokiness from the types of wood. My favorites are oak for a strong smoke flavor/aroma and alder for something more mild. Just ordered up some orange tree wood, looking to see what type of flavors it imparts.
  6. ryane

    ryane Savant (390) Washington Nov 21, 2007

    orange tree, like the fruiting kind or osage orange?

    Also, Ive never heard of anyone using either for smoking, what type of aroma/flavors is it supposed to impart?
  7. Like the fruiting kind of tree. Medium smoke and fruity. Coffee tree is another one I'm going to try. Get all my wood from these guys, lots of variety (Olive, Apricot, Nectarine..etc).