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General Category => Ingredients => Topic started by: gmac on October 17, 2011, 09:26:30 PM

Title: Home smoked malt
Post by: gmac on October 17, 2011, 09:26:30 PM
Yesterday I was cooking on my smoker and I took the opportunity to smoke some malt.  
I had about 4 lbs of Maris Otter left from a 55 lb sack and I smoked it for about 3 hours over apple chips at about 250 degrees.  I wet the malt first thinking I'd read somewhere that this would help the malt absorb the smoke.  I was hoping that the malt would colour more from the heat and approach something akin to brown malt but it must not have been hot enough.  The interior of the grain is still white so I think it stayed about the same SRM or close to it.

Today the malt is mellowing in a cardboard box but when I smell it, the smokiness is very subtle.  My intent was to make a smoked porter with this but I'm worried that the smoke flavour could be lost if I use a lot of chocolate and dark crystal malts.  I don't intend to use roasted barley.

What are your thoughts on this?  Is normal smoked malt fairly pungent or is it subtle?  Are there other styles you'd suggest I try instead?  I was wondering about a smoked pale ale instead.  I could do the porter and if it doesn't work, try to bump it up next time but I also want to make the most out of this first attempt.  I only have about 3-4 lbs so I was thinking 40% smoked malt, 60% pale malt, 12 oz chocolate malt, 8 oz C45 and 2 oz C120 for the porter.
Thanks
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: Tristan on October 17, 2011, 09:52:02 PM
I've smoked wheat malt on one occasion.  I smoked it for 4 hours in collanders at 140 degrees with white oak chips.  I also sprayed the malt down with distilled water and tried to stir it every 15 minutes.  The aroma wasn't super strong but noticeable.   I used 100% home smoked wheat malt for a Gratzer and it came out perfect.  The smoke flavor it there but it doesn't dominate; allowing the other flavors to be enjoyed.

I just bought some rauch malt from Northern Brewer and the smoke smell is subtle.  From what I've heard talking to other brewers that have made smoke beers; the fresher the smoked malt is the more intense quality it lends to the beer.

I'll be watching this thread with interest and hopefully brewers with more experience will chime in.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: corkybstewart on October 17, 2011, 09:55:10 PM
Wait a week or 2 before you judge it.  Smoke is strange, my first rauchbier had hardly any smoked flavor when I tasted the hydrometer sample, but months later it was much stronger.  The aroma will increase over time.  Mine was cold smoked with dry grain, for about an hour and the malt is plenty smoky now.
For my rauchbock I brewed this year I used 20% home smoked malt.  I think 40% in a porter will be good.  I'm off next weekend so it's time for me to try a smoked porter.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: jeffy on October 17, 2011, 10:11:31 PM
This is actually a pretty tough question to answer, because 1) everybody has a different perception of smoke intensity, 2) every system allows a different level of smoke penetration and 3) it is difficult to judge the smoke intensity of the final product with just the malt.  That said, the flavors of porter work very well with smoked malt.  This style can handle much more smoke flavor and aroma than, say, a lighter beer like smoked weizen. 
My smoker uses cold smoke and I have the malt fully enclosed with the smoke billowing through it for about 45 minutes to an hour.  I do moisten it with a distilled water spritzer, but I'm not sure how much difference that makes.  I do not think that it needs the suggested one week rest if using cold smoke, but find that it is probably a good idea to rest it if you had some heat with the smoking process.
The last three smoked porters I smoked the malt for (two of which were for a microbrewery) used 20% smoked malt and they have plenty of smoke for most people.
Let us know how it turns out.  Chipotle peppers work real good in a smoked porter too.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: tschmidlin on October 17, 2011, 10:21:05 PM
I'm planning to smoke some malt in the next couple of weeks for a darker beer I'll be making, so I'll let you know how it goes.  I've built a cold smoke chamber for the grain, so it's all ready to go.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: dannyjed on October 17, 2011, 10:49:49 PM
I say taste it.  You should be able to taste the smokiness.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: gmac on October 17, 2011, 10:52:58 PM
I say taste it.  You should be able to taste the smokiness.

I have.  And I've had others taste it too.  The smokiness is there but only as a slight subtle aftertaste once the malt sweetness subsides in your mouth.  I can't brew for a few days anyways so we'll let it sit and see how it develops.  Once I get more malt I may smoke another batch by itself and see what happens.  Maybe the beef ribs I was smoking sucked up all the goodness...
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: Tristan on October 18, 2011, 12:44:32 PM
I'm planning to smoke some malt in the next couple of weeks for a darker beer I'll be making, so I'll let you know how it goes.  I've built a cold smoke chamber for the grain, so it's all ready to go.

Tom, would you mind posting some pics/additional info?  Was the smoker difficult to build?
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: Jimmy K on October 18, 2011, 12:58:54 PM
I'm curious how you put your grain in the smoker. It seems that could effect the smoke absorption where a thick layer in a pan would absorb much less smoke than a very thin layer spread over a screen.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: gmac on October 18, 2011, 06:24:05 PM
I'm curious how you put your grain in the smoker. It seems that could effect the smoke absorption where a thick layer in a pan would absorb much less smoke than a very thin layer spread over a screen.

I agree but I went with what room I had.  I put it in an aluminum pan that I perforated the bottom of.  I do think that a thinner layer would have likely worked better and smoked better but I also had food in there so I didn't have room.  That is one of the reasons I stirred the grain (and I also re-wetted 1/2 way through the process to try to get more smoke to "stick" to the grain).

I'm thinking if cold smoke is better, it wouldn't take me much to add a piece of flexible dryer vent hose to the top of my Big Green Egg and vent the smoke into another chamber.  Like I said, I was hoping to get more browning so I wanted the heat.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: morticaixavier on October 18, 2011, 06:30:44 PM
I'm curious how you put your grain in the smoker. It seems that could effect the smoke absorption where a thick layer in a pan would absorb much less smoke than a very thin layer spread over a screen.

I agree but I went with what room I had.  I put it in an aluminum pan that I perforated the bottom of.  I do think that a thinner layer would have likely worked better and smoked better but I also had food in there so I didn't have room.  That is one of the reasons I stirred the grain (and I also re-wetted 1/2 way through the process to try to get more smoke to "stick" to the grain).

I'm thinking if cold smoke is better, it wouldn't take me much to add a piece of flexible dryer vent hose to the top of my Big Green Egg and vent the smoke into another chamber.  Like I said, I was hoping to get more browning so I wanted the heat.

not that you are likely to use the smoked malt as a base but at 250 and with water in the mix you are flirting with denaturing your enzymes. not a problem as long as you have enough other distatic malts in the grist to convert the smoked malt as well.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 18, 2011, 07:02:34 PM
not that you are likely to use the smoked malt as a base

The next beer to be brewed is a Graetzer using 100% smoked wheat malt, over oak.  Tried to keep the grain as cool as possible on my set up.  Will see how it works.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: tschmidlin on October 18, 2011, 07:02:55 PM
I'm planning to smoke some malt in the next couple of weeks for a darker beer I'll be making, so I'll let you know how it goes.  I've built a cold smoke chamber for the grain, so it's all ready to go.

Tom, would you mind posting some pics/additional info?  Was the smoker difficult to build?
I'll post some pics next week or two when I actually use it, but it was stupidly easy to "build".  I have a cold smoking unit  (http://www.macsbbq.co.uk/Order%20USA.html)that I bought for cheese and such (I see the price has gone up).

I have had good luck in the past with smoking cheese in an inverted cardboard box, so I wanted to stick with that, but the box I was using (an empty case of beer) was too small to get as much malt in as I wanted.  I'm going with a moving box from uhaul.

I built a screen to fit in the box with some clearance around the sides, and I'll just use some bricks to hold it up.  So, fire up the cold smoker, bricks in the corners to hold the screen, screen on the bricks, malt on the screen, cover it with a box.

My only concern is that the screen I built won't be big enough (16"x16") to hold as much malt as I want to smoke at once.  But it was super cheap to make, less than $5 for the frame and clips I think, I had all of the screen materials from replacing a couple of screens in my house this past summer.

It's just a fabric screen, nothing fancy, but since I'll be cold smoking I'm not concerned about that at all.  If this trial works and I want to smoke more at once in the future, I'll just get a bigger box and build a bigger screen.  Easy.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: corkybstewart on October 18, 2011, 08:13:14 PM
(http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo65/rocdoc1/jan2011002.jpg)

I used 2 aluminum pans with holes punched in the bottom and sides, each one holds 5 pounds.  This shows the smoker door open, with it shut it's much more intense.  I stirred the malt every 10 minutes or so for about an hour.

In this picture you can kind of see the firebox on the far left.  By building a small fire with just a little bit of wood I can cold smoke the malt.  By the time the smoke gets all the way from the firebox to the smoker it has completely cooled off-the malt smoked at about 5 degrees above ambient.
(http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo65/rocdoc1/december2010040.jpg)
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: morticaixavier on October 18, 2011, 10:03:54 PM
not that you are likely to use the smoked malt as a base

The next beer to be brewed is a Graetzer using 100% smoked wheat malt, over oak.  Tried to keep the grain as cool as possible on my set up.  Will see how it works.

I am still researching this subject but I toasted 10 pbs of malt in the oven at 230 for 2 hours and had no problems with conversion. I did not add water in any way though so that might change things up a bit. I know dark kilned malts are roasted at 300+ and that will denature the enzymes for sure, at least after a while. I have yet to find a resource that simply says 'at x degrees for t minutes you will/will not denature the enzymes'. for now I am reading a malting text from the 1880's and am only about 1/3 through. perhaps I will have better answers in a couple more days.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 18, 2011, 11:03:23 PM
not that you are likely to use the smoked malt as a base

The next beer to be brewed is a Graetzer using 100% smoked wheat malt, over oak.  Tried to keep the grain as cool as possible on my set up.  Will see how it works.

I am still researching this subject but I toasted 10 pbs of malt in the oven at 230 for 2 hours and had no problems with conversion. I did not add water in any way though so that might change things up a bit. I know dark kilned malts are roasted at 300+ and that will denature the enzymes for sure, at least after a while. I have yet to find a resource that simply says 'at x degrees for t minutes you will/will not denature the enzymes'. for now I am reading a malting text from the 1880's and am only about 1/3 through. perhaps I will have better answers in a couple more days.

Too be clear, I was able to keep the temps below 150F for all of the smoking batches (20 lbs total).  Often more like 120-130F.  Not cold but cool as such things might go on my stuff.  Will see how this converts in a couple of days.  I think it will be OK.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: morticaixavier on October 19, 2011, 03:56:39 PM
not that you are likely to use the smoked malt as a base

The next beer to be brewed is a Graetzer using 100% smoked wheat malt, over oak.  Tried to keep the grain as cool as possible on my set up.  Will see how it works.

I am still researching this subject but I toasted 10 pbs of malt in the oven at 230 for 2 hours and had no problems with conversion. I did not add water in any way though so that might change things up a bit. I know dark kilned malts are roasted at 300+ and that will denature the enzymes for sure, at least after a while. I have yet to find a resource that simply says 'at x degrees for t minutes you will/will not denature the enzymes'. for now I am reading a malting text from the 1880's and am only about 1/3 through. perhaps I will have better answers in a couple more days.

Too be clear, I was able to keep the temps below 150F for all of the smoking batches (20 lbs total).  Often more like 120-130F.  Not cold but cool as such things might go on my stuff.  Will see how this converts in a couple of days.  I think it will be OK.

yeah at 150 you will be fine.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: Jimmy K on October 19, 2011, 08:43:19 PM
I think a cold smoke box with multiple screens stacked vertically and a small circulating fan would work well - A convection smoker.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: jeffy on October 20, 2011, 12:23:07 AM
I think a cold smoke box with multiple screens stacked vertically and a small circulating fan would work well - A convection smoker.

You mean like the one in this thread?  http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2814.0
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: tschmidlin on October 20, 2011, 05:46:26 AM
I think a cold smoke box with multiple screens stacked vertically and a small circulating fan would work well - A convection smoker.

You mean like the one in this thread?  http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2814.0
I missed that the first time it went through, looks awesome Jeff. :)
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: Jimmy K on October 27, 2011, 01:14:07 PM
I think a cold smoke box with multiple screens stacked vertically and a small circulating fan would work well - A convection smoker.

You mean like the one in this thread?  http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2814.0

That's cool (smoke)!
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: gmac on October 27, 2011, 07:28:23 PM
I made my smoked porter on Sunday.  Not sure it's gonna work.  You could smell the smokiness in the malt in the box but it was very mild.  Quite nice actually.  I made the wort and tasted it but no smoke smell or taste was apparent.  Nothing smokey in the smell from the fermenter right now.  I'll give it 2 weeks and rack it to a keg and see how it is then (it's probably done already as I pitched a huge slurry from another batch and it exploded for 2 days and now nothing for airlock activity).
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: gmac on November 09, 2011, 04:38:07 AM
The beer is done and kegged and its actually pretty good. The smoke is nice and mild and not overpowering but clearly there. I'm really pleased with the result despite my initial misgivings. It's gotta clear a bit but I'm happily surprised with the level of smoke character. Next batch of ribs is gonna have a side of barley.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: tschmidlin on November 09, 2011, 04:54:01 AM
I've got 8 lbs that I smoked ready for brewing this weekend. :)  Glad yours turned out nice, I hope mine does as well.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: corkybstewart on November 09, 2011, 07:50:30 PM
I made my smoked porter on Sunday.  Not sure it's gonna work.  You could smell the smokiness in the malt in the box but it was very mild.  Quite nice actually.  I made the wort and tasted it but no smoke smell or taste was apparent.  Nothing smokey in the smell from the fermenter right now.  I'll give it 2 weeks and rack it to a keg and see how it is then (it's probably done already as I pitched a huge slurry from another batch and it exploded for 2 days and now nothing for airlock activity).

When I tasted the first hydrometer sample of my first rauchbier I couldn't find any smoke aspect at all so I did a quick mash with about 5 pounds of my home smoked malt and added 3/4 gallons of new wort to the fermenter(12 gallon).  When I kegged it a couple of weeks later there was a very slight smoke flavor, but by the time we served the keg 4 or 5 months later it was very, very smoky.  It may get stronger itself, or other flavors may fade leaving it predominant but it's done the same thing in all 6 of my rauchbiers since then.
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: jmcamerlengo on November 21, 2011, 07:56:49 PM
You can build a cold smoker with a couple of really cheap things.  I use this process to cold smoke salmon.  heres what you need.

A small handheld battery operated fan.
A coffee or candle heater or small electric heater of sorts
A very small pan that fits on the coffee heater
A Cardboard box
An Aluminum foil pan to hold the malt

Cut a vent hole in the cardboard that you can work out of and easily slide things in and out of, also a small hole to run the coffee heater electric cord out of.

Place the heater inside and fill the pan that goes on it with saw dust of your favorite wood(or very small wood chips).  If you're using chips make sure you soak them in liquid....beer is my preference, water is fine.  Soak for about 4 hours prior to using.

puncture several small holes in the bottom of the aluminum pan and fill it with your malt.

PLace the small handheld fan in there to circulate the smoke and keep it running.

plug the heater in and you're good to go.  The saw dust will burn relatively quickly but give you a really good amount of smoke.  You may need to refill your small pan every 45 minutes or so as they burn up to keep fresh smoke in there.


(if you wanna do salmon puncture a wooden dowel in there and tie the salmon to the dowel)  It works great for cold smoking!
Title: Re: Home smoked malt
Post by: majorvices on November 21, 2011, 08:20:24 PM
I built a cold smoker about 2 weeks ago. Basically I made 4 screened boxes and attached these via a duct to a smoker with a hole cut in the lid. I plan on using it in the next couple of weeks.

I have smoked small batches of malt in the past and only smoked it for 1/2 hour and got plenty of smokiness. Overwhelming almost.