Author Topic: How Much Smoked Malt?  (Read 547 times)

Offline rodwha

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How Much Smoked Malt?
« on: April 05, 2018, 12:20:36 AM »
I have been exploring Scotch. My favorite so far is Laphroaig 10 Year, but there are a few others a little less smokey that I enjoy as well. However I’ve also tried Lagavulin 16 Year and found it reminiscent of bog water.

I have a friend who thought trying this grain in a beer sounded good and in common Josh fashion didn’t bother to ask questions or look for information. He used the whole pound in a ~5 gal batch and produced bog water himself.

So how much of this grain would I want to use to produce a very smokey flavor up front without going overboard?

Here’s a nice little chart I was given to help me explore Scotch. Laphroaig 10 is central at the top.



I have also wondered about soaked wood chips and how much that would require to both work in conjunction with the grains or as a stand alone option to give it that bit of character.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: How Much Smoked Malt?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2018, 01:32:44 AM »
1 ounce in 5 gallons is quite smoky.  2 ounces is very smoky.  More than that is absurd, tastes like friggin electrical fire and ashtray.  In the past I'd been known to sneak 0.25-0.50 oz in a Scottish ale to make its presence known without being obvious.  However, I know this is "wrong" and I don't do it anymore.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: How Much Smoked Malt?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2018, 02:07:39 AM »
If you are not entering a competition, give a small amount a try.  If you are entering a competition, stay away from any smoked malt for any style other than a smoked beer, such as Grodziskie or similar smoked beerlike a lightly smoked Helles or Alaskan Smoked Amber.  Just my 2 cents.....
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Offline Wilbur

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Re: How Much Smoked Malt?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2018, 05:19:29 AM »
What kind of smoked malt are you talking about? Peat smoked? I've used Briess Cherrywood and Weyermen Beechwood smoked malt. I think 1 lb of Briess cherrywood is a bit too much for me, and 2 lbs of the beechwood smoked malt is my limit. From my understanding, peat smoked malt is a lot stronger than either one of those.

Offline Bob357

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Re: How Much Smoked Malt?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2018, 06:05:15 AM »
The only beer I've used smoked malt in is dry stout. I found peat smoked to be very noticeable at a rate of 1 ounce per gallon. Cherry smoked at 3 times that amount in the same recipe has considerably less presence. Both were well received by everyone who tried them.

I think that beer style, the type of smoked malt and personal taste would all need to be considered. As you can see from other responses, personal taste is all over the board, so you may want to start out light and go from there.

You might even make up a tincture that you can add a drop at a time to a glass of beer until you find out how much you like. Once you've done that it's easy enough to figure how much of the tincture to add for the batch.

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Offline bjanat

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Re: How Much Smoked Malt?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2018, 08:14:53 AM »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: How Much Smoked Malt?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2018, 10:06:30 AM »
Peat smoked malt is high in phenolics. It is not traditionally used for beer. Beechwood smoked malt is used for the Rauchbier in Bamberg, Germany. It is said that Schlenkerla uses 100% smoked malt. Weyermann’s beechood smoked malt is said to be stronger when fresh. One of the quality aspects of smoked malt is how fresh it is, as the smoke dissipates with time.

The answer to your question is “it depends”. That includes your tolerance for smoked malt and the intensity of the malt. You have to decide, and brewing a series of beers can determine how much is too little and how much is too much, for you, as it is your beer.

Somewhere Gordon Strong said he judged a beer made with a very high % of peat smoked malt, maybe 100%. The other judges comment was that it smelled like an opened grave. That is probably too much.  ;)
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Offline majorvices

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Re: How Much Smoked Malt?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2018, 12:15:34 PM »
I really like Briess Cherry smoked malt and the Weyermann Beechwood smoked malt. I've used them both with great results. I've also smoked my own with excellent results.

Peat smopked malt, while great for scotch, is horrendous in a beer. Even a small amount, like 2 percent, gives me the impression of smoking on a 1966 Chevy tailpipe.

IME 15-30% smoked malt is a good starting point for any smoked beer. You want to be able to taste the beer under the smoke. Too much and all you get is smoke.

Offline rodwha

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Re: How Much Smoked Malt?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2018, 12:45:57 PM »
Sorry for not being more clear. I’m wanting to brew a beer that tastes like Scotch. Preferably Laphroaig, which literally tastes like licking a leather armchair. For some strange reason I like it. So peat smoked malt and either from MoreBeer or Austin Homebrew Supply.

Initially I had wondered if a 1/4 lb for a 5.25 gal batch would be good.

What of soaking wood cubes in Scotch? How much would it take to give it more than just a subtle hint? Figuring I’d try to replicate the color with minimal crystal and give it maybe 20 IBUs of just bittering with Mt Hood or some such so as to allow the Scotch flavor to be more upfront.

As an aside I’ve also thought it would be cool to smoke some 2-row with the wood combination I use for most of my pit smoking (~90% oak and either mesquite or hickory or even both) for BBQ. Figured it might be nice to drink a BBQ beer while smoking meat. I’m curious what people set the grains on. Seems something like a screen would be optimal allowing the smoke to cover the barley.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2018, 12:53:05 PM by rodwha »

Offline Todd H.

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Re: How Much Smoked Malt?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2018, 01:42:33 PM »
If you frequent the Homebrewing subreddit (on Reddit, obviously), there's a guy (u/Bretbeermann) who swears by a 100% peat malt lager.

Starting small and working your way up is probably safer.  But on the other hand, you like Laphroig, so maybe you'd like a higher percentage of peat in your beer?  (Laphroig tastes like a salty medicine cabinet to me, or at least in my memory it does.  I prefer Lagavulin, or Ardbeg, or Bruichladdich, or Kilchoman or any other Islay scotch).