Author Topic: Best wood type for smoking grain?  (Read 1896 times)

Offline ynotbrusum

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Best wood type for smoking grain?
« on: June 15, 2013, 08:37:31 AM »
Thinking of trying it --- what wood works best and any tips on prep, usage, time, etc...?
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Best wood type for smoking grain?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2013, 09:15:04 AM »
Calling Jeff Gladish!
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Best wood type for smoking grain?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2013, 09:46:27 AM »
I think I heard my name.
I like to cold smoke the malt because it doesn't change its character too much.
In another thread I have some pictures of the cold smoking box I built.
http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2814.0
Fruit trees, like apple or cherry give some of the best flavors.  The smoke tends to be a little sweeter than some of the other hard woods.  The traditional wood for smoking Rauchmalt is beech, which is very clean.  I have found that citrus wood has a similar character to beech.  The last smoked beer I made used pecan wood and it went nicely in an APA.  The nut flavor comes through in the final product.  Alaskan Smoked Porter uses alder wood, which reminds a lot of people of salmon because that's its most common use.  I stay away from the real strong woods like mesquite because they tend to overwhelm the beer flavors.
You will have to experiment with percentages to get the flavor and aroma level you want.  It seems that everyone has his own threshold of what is acceptable, especially when sending smoked beers in to competitions.  I tend to go with higher percentages of smoked malt, but cold smoking does not give the same intensity as hot smoking.
Start with at least 20% of the malt bill in my opinion. 
I hope this helps.

Edited to put in the link
« Last Edit: June 15, 2013, 10:00:08 AM by jeffy »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Best wood type for smoking grain?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2013, 10:16:10 AM »
In addition, I did a Smoked Porter with grains smoked over crabapple, and it is too clean and one dimensional smoke. Pear is tasty. I have some mulberry that I have to use for either pork or malt (Or try both if enough wood is on hand). Oak is also good, used in Graetzer and Schlenkerlas eiche.

There are some smoking sites that give rough guidelines for woods to use. Nut and fruit trees are the usual suspects.
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Best wood type for smoking grain?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2013, 04:39:38 PM »
I made a cold smoker last year and haven't experimented with anything but apple wood bit if was wonderful. I swear I tasted apple. Way in the back.
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Offline hoser

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Re: Best wood type for smoking grain?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2013, 08:59:33 PM »
You can blend wood like you do grains.  I like a blend of apple and cherry for my home wood smoked malts.  I imagine there are countless other combinations.

Offline jeffy

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Re: Best wood type for smoking grain?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2013, 06:14:43 AM »
You can blend wood like you do grains.  I like a blend of apple and cherry for my home wood smoked malts.  I imagine there are countless other combinations.
A friend of mine used to win major competitions with a smoked beer that was a blend of 80% cherry and 20% hickory.
I made a batch with 100% smoked malt a couple years ago.  I mixed up fresh citrus-smoked malt, two year old pecan-smoked malt and a mix of even older cherry- and hickory-smoked malt.  The result was a bit overpowering for most people, but I liked it.  Time softens it.
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Best wood type for smoking grain?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2013, 12:48:52 PM »
I brewed 2 batches of smoked maibock a couple of years ago-one with pecan wood, the other with apple.  I had them both on tap at our Oktobefest and the overwhelming consensus was that the pecan beer was smoother.  Even my Coors light drinking buddies were drinking it.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Best wood type for smoking grain?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2013, 09:24:17 PM »
I like oak a lot but I smoked some munich over mesquite that is going into a saison later this summer.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing but I'm also a lawyer: The Kielich Law Firm

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Best wood type for smoking grain?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2013, 04:46:39 PM »
Thanks for the input - sounds like blending is a great way to go!
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Best wood type for smoking grain?
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2013, 05:55:20 AM »
I brewed 2 batches of smoked maibock a couple of years ago-one with pecan wood, the other with apple.  I had them both on tap at our Oktobefest and the overwhelming consensus was that the pecan beer was smoother.  Even my Coors light drinking buddies were drinking it.

Cool! I have 3 giant pecan trees on/around brewery property!
Keith Y.
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Best wood type for smoking grain?
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2013, 08:33:23 PM »
I brewed 2 batches of smoked maibock a couple of years ago-one with pecan wood, the other with apple.  I had them both on tap at our Oktobefest and the overwhelming consensus was that the pecan beer was smoother.  Even my Coors light drinking buddies were drinking it.

Cool! I have 3 giant pecan trees on/around brewery property!
My son just bought a house with 5 acres of pecan orchard.  At least half the trees are dead so I've been cutting pecan for firewood, smoking and grilling.  I had some hickory smoked sea salt in Maine last week, that's another thing my pecan wood will be good for.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline thebigbaker

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Re: Best wood type for smoking grain?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2013, 09:08:08 PM »

My son just bought a house with 5 acres of pecan orchard.  At least half the trees are dead so I've been cutting pecan for firewood, smoking and grilling.  I had some hickory smoked sea salt in Maine last week, that's another thing my pecan wood will be good for.
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What a gold mine you have there!  I love pecan wood for smoking pork and ribs!  Pecan w/ a little apple or peach wood is heaven!
Jeremy Baker

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