Author Topic: Special B in a Rauchbier?  (Read 4253 times)

Offline nateo

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Special B in a Rauchbier?
« on: July 19, 2012, 10:11:51 AM »
I don't really know anything about Rauchbiers, so I'm looking for feedback. What I have on hand: German pils, Melanoidin malt, a bunch of beechwood-smoked malt, a bit of munich 10L, carafa II and special B.

I'm planning on using all the smoked and munich, but was thinking of adding some special B for color. Apparently Sam Adams' Bonfire uses Special B, but I can't find any other recipe that uses it, and I haven't drank Bonfire. I don't really care if what I brew is "to style" as long as it tastes good.

Thoughts?
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline dbarber

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2012, 11:56:17 AM »
Rauchbiers are similar to oktoberfest/marzens but with 20-100% beechwood smoked malt.  I think the sweetness woudn't be appropriate for this beer, I would darken it with carafa II as long as it's the carafa special.
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Offline Pi

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 12:03:08 PM »
Dont get too crazy with the smoked malt as it can be pretty strong like 7-10%. The Spec. B will add a sweet smokiness to the finish as well but might not be approptiate for style. probably a 2 step mash as you'll want to get good conversion on this one.
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Offline hoser

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2012, 12:17:48 PM »
Dont get too crazy with the smoked malt as it can be pretty strong like 7-10%. The Spec. B will add a sweet smokiness to the finish as well but might not be approptiate for style. probably a 2 step mash as you'll want to get good conversion on this one.


You can make a rauchbeer with 100% rauch malt.  The beechwood smoked malt is not as potent as home smoked malt, Briess cherrywood smoked malt, and peat malt. Nothing wrong with using Munich and Vienna for some complexity.  Nothing wrong with special B to make it more bock-like and some carafa for color. A touch of melanoidin certainly doesn't hurt, either.

If it were me, I would use 90-100% rauch malt, maybe 10% Munich, and an ounce or 2 of carafa for coloring to get it into my desired range.

Offline nateo

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2012, 12:36:36 PM »
I'm having a hard time thinking about the difference between an Maerzen and a Bock. Most of the commercial Maerzens I've had seem really similar to a Bock. Reading through the BJCP descriptions, it sounds like the real difference is strength, and that strong caramel flavors aren't good in a Maerzen.

I guess I was thinking that a Rauchbier would be more like a smoky Bock. But like I said, I've never had a commercial example so I'm not really sure what I'm looking for.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2012, 01:10:01 PM »
FWIW - Schlenkerla makes both a Maerzen and a Bock, and they've even done a dopplebock in limited release. If you're not doing this for a comp, you can go in any direction you want with this.

I have been unsuccessful in getting through a full bottle of any of them, so I can't really comment on how well they work. Outside of a light smokiness in a porter, I just can't seem to get into the smoked beer thing other than as a curiosity.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2012, 02:37:17 PM »
I love Rauchbier. It all depends on the intensity of the Rauchmalz as to how much you use. Some Rauchbiers in Bamberg are not over the top smokey, some are. It is up to you to decide on how you want your beer to turn out.

You could use Special B if that is what you have, I have used CaraMunich in the past. This is one that would use local ingrediants from Bamberg, so Weyermann CaraMunich II is a good choice.

This recipe did OK at the 2011 NHC.
http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/SmokeScreen
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2012, 06:38:13 AM »
Special B gives a raisiny flavor.  If that's what you want, go ahead and use it.  It's essentially a very dark crystal malt.  I use it a lot in amber and darker Belgian ales.

If you're looking for more plum and less raisin, try caramunich.

But I'd focus first on the malty base and the balance of the smoke.  These other malts are much smaller tweaks to the overall character.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2012, 11:15:01 AM »
I think I'll leave out the special B on this batch. I might pick up some caramunich, or I might just leave out the cara-types entirely.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2012, 11:40:48 PM »
For whatever it's worth, I prefer the sweetness in the Schlenkerla Ur-bock over the dryness of the Schlenkerla Marzen.  The Ur-bock is just delicious.  Oh, and I make a dopplebock with 100% rauch malt and some residual sweetness.  It's much paler than the Schlenkerla, but I like it.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline nateo

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2012, 04:14:12 PM »
Tom - It took me a while, but I finally found Schlenkerla's Urbock and Maerzen. I think I prefer the Urbock, as well.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2012, 10:54:09 PM »
Tom - It took me a while, but I finally found Schlenkerla's Urbock and Maerzen. I think I prefer the Urbock, as well.
Nice.  I really love the Ur-bock, fantastic stuff.  Damn, now I have to go see if I have one in the fridge . . .
Tom Schmidlin

Offline majorvices

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2012, 07:19:58 PM »
I don't know about the "go easy" comment on the smoked malt. It's up to your personal taste. I say you have to go at least 40-60% for a rauchbier. Personally, I recommend 100%.

As far as Special B goes. I would not use it in a rauchbier. Special B makes everything taste like a Belgian dubbel to me, except in the case of porters and such where the roast character blends the raisin like character of the special B. I would definitely advise not using Special B in a rauchbier if you are trying to espouse the traditional sense of the style.
Keith Y.
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2012, 08:15:39 PM »
My experience with smoked malt(home smoked or Weyermanns) is that it takes a while to develop the smoke flavor.  I have a rauchbier on tap that I kegged 14 months ago and it's at its peak flavor, but at 3 months it barely showed any smokiness at all.  I prefer to smoke my own malt and use about 30-40 percent fresh smoked malt, or 50--60% store bought or older home smoked malt.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline jeffy

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Re: Special B in a Rauchbier?
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2012, 04:15:35 AM »
My experience with smoked malt(home smoked or Weyermanns) is that it takes a while to develop the smoke flavor.  I have a rauchbier on tap that I kegged 14 months ago and it's at its peak flavor, but at 3 months it barely showed any smokiness at all.  I prefer to smoke my own malt and use about 30-40 percent fresh smoked malt, or 50--60% store bought or older home smoked malt.
Geoff Larsen of Alaska Brewing said in a conference talk last year that the smoke stays the same throughout the years and the other flavors change.  The malt flavor changes and the hop flavors decrease, which effects the smoke perception.  He was doing a presentation that had samples of some really old smoked porter.
Back to topic, I also wouldn't put Special B in a Traditional Rauchbier.
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