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Smoked Malt Questions

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by jlpred55, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Savant (270) Iowa Jul 26, 2006

    Since I haven't used smoked malt in any appreciable quantities I wanted some feedback from those who have.

    1.) How strong is the Briess Cherrywood Smoked Malt, I've read differing opinions? Does it indeed have a sweet character to the finished beer?

    2.) Another use the Weyermann Oak Smoked Wheat Malt yet? I have access to it and was wondering if it is to be used in the same proportions as the regular Beech Smoked Malt. Weyermann gives guidance of up to 80% of the grist composition. Though I'm not opposed to using the Beech Smoked Barley either.

    What I am thinking is a Smoked Red Rye to pair with summer BBQ's. I want smoke flavor but I don't want it to be the only flavor. I'd like to have a balance toward the smoke but not feel like I am drinking a campfire in the bottle or the junk water that runs out of the bottom of the smoker.

    As far as recipe I'm looking for 1.060 starting gravity with a pound or two of rye malt, some aromatic and some roasted barley for color, the rest of the grist is dependent upon the smoked malt I use and the proportions of base.

    Any help or experience is appreciated.
  2. Smoked Malt can become old and less potent, just like yeast or hops.

    Youi need to gain experience with the smell of different smoked malts and judge if they are fresh or not.

    You did not give enough information on your recipe for me to give any advice (hint - batch size).
  3. pweis909

    pweis909 Advocate (695) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    I made a 3 gallon batch of a smoked schwarzbier with 1 lb of Briess Cherrywood. The remainder of the grist was Briess Munich extract. OG was probably about 1.050. I found this beer to be as smokey as I would want it. However, when I entered it in a smoked beer category in a competition, both judges claimed that smoke levels were only just perceptible. They commented that it might make a good intro beer for newbies of smoked beer. Smoke flavor fades some, I suppose, and the beer had been bottled for 2 months before the competition. However, I was still drinking some bottled examples around the time the competition was being judged, and I still felt that the beer was smokey enough for my own tastes. I did not find it sweet.
  4. “I still felt that the beer was smoky enough for my own tastes.” Well, that is the important part, right? I have entered a number of homebrew competitions and it seems that the judges tend to think: bigger is better!?!

    I personally am not a fan of very smoky beers (I recognize this is a subjective thing). I think that a hint of smoke adds some complexity but I find too much smoke to be unenjoyable.

    I recently told somebody a story of an experience I had at the GABF tasting Alaskan Smoked Porter. That beer has won 20 medals since 1988. I was anxious to try this award winning beer. I took one sip and I exclaimed “yuck”. I dumped the rest of the beer. I thought I was drinking a smoked sausage.

    Cheers!
  5. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Savant (270) Iowa Jul 26, 2006

    Of course I forgot that. 5.5 gal batch size
  6. For very fresh rauchmalt one pound could give you some smoked flavor. I would use 2 lbs fresh rauchmalt for a regulat tyoe smoked beer, and up to 4 if I wanted more smoke. For older malts you can go higher and not be that smokey.

    The amounts I use for a Rauchbier are higher than for a smoked porter.
  7. EdH

    EdH Aficionado (230) Utah Jul 27, 2005

    It's possible the judges tasted yours after sampling a few poorly-made smoke bombs. Just throwing that out there :)
  8. pweis909

    pweis909 Advocate (695) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    I wasn't trying to bash the judges or make excuses. I was trying to illustrate that how much smoke you can detect in a beer may be subject to personal sensitivities. I think it needs to be dialed in.
  9. EdH

    EdH Aficionado (230) Utah Jul 27, 2005

    Yeah, not trying to accuse you of any of that -- just saying it's possible that the judges' taste buds were "smoked out" before they got to your moderately smoked beer. These things happen...
  10. inchrisin

    inchrisin Savant (425) Indiana Sep 25, 2008

    I've made my own apple smoked malt It was 25% of the grist and it's really nice. It's probably stronger than the stuff you'll get on the shelves. So, 25-100% should be your answer for Weyermann's cherry. For beechwood, I'd think less. As said above, try a few kernels of smoked malt before you decide. You should also look at some recipes online for the brand of malt you are using.

    On a hipshot, I'd hover around 20-35% of your grist. I'm a non smoker :)
  11. I think that's exactly what happened. This category is a crapshoot. If yours gets judged first, you'll do much better than it would if it got judged fifteenth.
  12. I've done a smoked stout with the cherrywood smoked at 33% of my grist. I loved the flavor, it had a well rounded smokiness unlike peated malts. At that percentage it was quite noticeable, even in a stout. I'd say in the 20% range for your style.

    I haven't used the smoked wheat, but have used weyermann's traditional smoked malt and that is much tamer than the Briess. To me it also had a bit of a drier quality than Briess as well.
  13. Kwatt99

    Kwatt99 Aficionado (155) Louisiana Mar 27, 2010

    If you like smokey beers I recommend smoking the grains again if you have a smoker at home. This way you can use whatever wood you want. I just got done with a batch and it came out amazing.
  14. pweis909

    pweis909 Advocate (695) Wisconsin Aug 13, 2005

    Yeah. I don't know why I read that into your post. Maybe subliminally, I was bashing the judges!;)
  15. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Savant (270) Iowa Jul 26, 2006

    Thanks for the advice. I think I will chew some grains and decide on malt type and percentage at the time. Either way I'd rather undershoot the smoke than overshoot and sit on it during BBQ season. I'll post back with what I decide.
  16. Pahn

    Pahn Advocate (695) New York Dec 2, 2009

    i made this beer with 12% briess cherrywood smoked malt (OG 1.61, FG 1.016), and it seemed to be a hit with everyone who tried it. smoked malt was very prominent but the other ingredients still shined, in my opinion.

    hard to say if the cherrywood imparted sweetness, but i'm inclined to say no. i think the cherrywood just gives a milder, smoother smokiness (just as when used on meats). i'm pretty sensitive to sweetness when i want bitterness--which is most of the time; no sweet tooth here.
  17. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Savant (270) Iowa Jul 26, 2006

    Alright folks, quick follow up. I brewed this Smoked Red Rye after taking the advice above on usage % of Cherrywood Smoked Malt. Here was the final recipe and the results were actually quite outstanding. The beer is really nice with a pretty potent smoke aroma but a more balanced sweet smokey flavor with a nice malt backbone and a nice medium thick mouth. Everything is in really good balance. Goes great with smoked sausage or ribs. Thanks for the help again!

    OG 1.070
    FG 1.020
    IBU 35
    SRM 14

    68% Rahr Pale Ale Malt
    14% Cherrywood Smoked
    7% Rye Malt
    7% Aromatic Malt
    5% TF Dark Crystal
    sprinkle of Carafa III

    60min- .75oz Magnum

    Mash 158 for 30 minutes

    Prior slurry 1056. Fermented at 62.
  18. Glad to hear it turned out well. I'm thinking of doing something like this; I like the idea of smokey with rye.
    How'd the color turn out? Did you get a nice red hue (any pics)?
  19. I think they are smoking their own malt with alder...much stronger than Weyermanns for sure. I have to be in the right mood for that beer...craving a camping trip and visualizing sitting around a campfire sucking in carbon : )
  20. They smoke the malt with alder at a local Salmon smoking house when it is the off season for Salmon. I really like that beer, and have had it with some age on it. I think the alder makes it taste like smoked Salmon, not sausage or bacon.
  21. jlpred55

    jlpred55 Savant (270) Iowa Jul 26, 2006

    It indeed turned out a nice red hue. I do have a pic but I'm not sure how to upload it? I'd say the color was similar to a deep crimson. Not brown and not amber but more crimson, if that makes sense.

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