Author Topic: Smoking Grains  (Read 397 times)

Offline rodwha

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Smoking Grains
« on: May 19, 2019, 02:30:59 AM »
I want to make a brown BBQ beer using my typical mostly oak with a bit of mesquite along with chipotles. How much grains would I want to smoke, for how long, and at what temperature? I want a nice pronounced smoky flavor.

At the moment it has 9.25 lbs of grains for a 5.25 gal batch.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2019, 01:23:03 PM »
Cold smoking works well for me, keep the grains below 100 F. If you spray the grains with water (avoid chlorinated tap water, use RO or distilled) the smoke will stick to the husks better.

How much? Oak and mesquite have stronger flavors. I'm tempted to say start at 1/4, but you want pronounced smoke, so use 1/2.

Let us know how this turns out.
Jeff Rankert
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Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Online jeffy

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2019, 02:29:45 PM »
Cold smoking works well for me, keep the grains below 100 F. If you spray the grains with water (avoid chlorinated tap water, use RO or distilled) the smoke will stick to the husks better.

How much? Oak and mesquite have stronger flavors. I'm tempted to say start at 1/4, but you want pronounced smoke, so use 1/2.

Let us know how this turns out.
^ This is good information.  I also smoke the grains cold and find that 25% of the grain bill works for me.  Use less if you have to smoke the malt over heat.
My normal contact time with the smoke is about 45 minutes, but it’s pretty arbitrary - that’s how long it takes to burn through one of those packages of wood chips.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline rodwha

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2019, 04:20:29 PM »
Excellent! Thanks fellas!

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2019, 08:51:49 PM »
I have smoked grain over just mesquite and it is a delicious but firmly present smoke flavor. Even at 20-25% of the grain bill it is a dominant flavor virtually on par with 100% beechwood smoked malt. Oak is considerably more mellow. I've made 100% oak smoked malt beers before and the smoke flavor is present but maybe less present than a 100% beechwood smoked malt beer.

25% is a good starting point to experiment, especially if you want to make a beer with some smoke flavor rather than a beer that is predominantly smoke flavor.
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Offline rodwha

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2019, 10:17:51 PM »
A few more questions:

I’m guessing people are using aluminum foil or a cookie sheet?

Does this need to rest a bit before use such as I’ve been told when toasting oatmeal?

When moistening the grains am I just giving a quick spritz or something more like when conditioning the grain prior to crushing it?

Since I am looking for a prominent smoky flavor I figured I’d try 1/3 of my grains for a starting point.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2019, 12:28:19 AM »
A few more questions:

I’m guessing people are using aluminum foil or a cookie sheet?

Does this need to rest a bit before use such as I’ve been told when toasting oatmeal?

When moistening the grains am I just giving a quick spritz or something more like when conditioning the grain prior to crushing it?

Since I am looking for a prominent smoky flavor I figured I’d try 1/3 of my grains for a starting point.

I use an AL screen, the smoke has to pass through the grains.

Resting the grains is my SOP.

More like malt conditioning. Run your hand through the grains, if some stick, you are good.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline rodwha

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2019, 01:15:43 AM »
AL screen? Clearly spread out single layer is optimal.

Resting for how long? And anything special to it? For instance with toasting the oats I was instructed to keep them in a brown paper bag rolled up for a few days.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2019, 03:05:11 AM »
AL screen? Clearly spread out single layer is optimal.

Resting for how long? And anything special to it? For instance with toasting the oats I was instructed to keep them in a brown paper bag rolled up for a few days.

Aluminum screen.

I do the same with a paper bag, maybe more than a few days.
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Offline rodwha

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2019, 03:23:58 AM »
Mind sharing a pic of your screen? Figuring I could get something at Home Depot or Lowes, and estimating what I’d need to handle my needs (9.25 lbs total but smoking 3 lbs). Seems that might take up most of my smoker’s surface.

Offline rodwha

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2019, 02:01:11 PM »
I am closer to go time and so I reread this thread. Looking at what I have the screen is too porous as are the two BBQ trays I have. Would using aluminum foil work well enough if maybe I stir the grains around maybe midway or twice and extend the smoking period? Also I have a hard time getting really low like 100*. Figuring I can likely get it to 125 or maybe a little warmer. The air damper is rusted midway.

If I were to keep it at 150* and use aluminum foil and looking for a fairly pronounced smoke with having an acrid bitterness and 1/3 of my grains moistened how long would you smoke them?

I’ll also be smoking 7 jalapeños while I’m cooking on the 4th and once that’s done I’ll worry about the grains. The jalapeños get roasted for over an hour typically. This will no doubt add to the smoky flavor. I’ll be adding them to the boil at 10-15 mins.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2019, 03:37:07 PM »
I've used a metal colander, wet the grains and gotten plenty smoke flavor in my smoker (as cool as possible) in about 15 minutes. The temp was definitely over 100 degrees (probably 140-150) but a little darkening didn't bother me for my needs.

Offline rodwha

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2019, 03:14:31 PM »
Smoked these jalapeños for 2 hrs at 225* while smoking some ribs. They’ve been sliced and placed into the freezer until brew day and will go into the boil at 10-15 mins:



A nice day so I smoked a bit myself:



After the meat was done I smoked 6.5 lbs of grains (~2/3). The first few were smoked for 30 mins at 175-200* and the grains were moistened much like when conditioning the malts. The last bit was smoked for 45 mins as the temps were closer to 150*. I didn’t bother turning the grains and you can see they’re smoked on foil lined trays. Afterwards they were placed in a paper bag and smell amazing!



This just may end up being my new favorite beer! My jalapeño blonde has been one of a few top choices. This is my 5.25 gal recipe:

6.5 lbs pale ale
1.5 lbs white wheat
1 lb C-60
.25 lb Midnight Wheat
.25 lb starter
.25 oz Warrior (15.9%) @ 60 min FWH
7 roasted jalapeños @ 10-15 mins
7 fresh jalapeños in 50/50 Everclear as extract for bottling day
US-05

1.054/1.010
5.7%
19 IBUs
21 SRM
80% efficiency

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2019, 03:28:45 PM »
Did you use a smoke wood or simply let the charcoal smoke the grain (or is it a stick burner — I see it’s an offset)?


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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Smoking Grains
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2019, 03:38:49 PM »
Mind sharing a pic of your screen? Figuring I could get something at Home Depot or Lowes, and estimating what I’d need to handle my needs (9.25 lbs total but smoking 3 lbs). Seems that might take up most of my smoker’s surface.

I missed your question. The Aluminum screen is window screen material you can get at any hardware or big box stores.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!