I love Schlenkerla Marzen and Urbock! I have brewed one succesful smoked beer but nothing like those. My first attempt was based on an amber ale and was flavored with maple and fenugreek (to boost the maple flavor) it was called smoke in the sugar house. It turned out quite nicely. Slightly smoky and certainly maple flavored. Was not something I would love to drink many pints of at once like I could with the Schlenkerla. I used Weyerman's rauch malt for that one.
Recently I decided to do a more straight up smoke beer. It sucks. It has that wicked band aid phenol and I do not think it is going away. I also did an ale with this one. Fermented cool with Scottish ale yeast. I used the Briess cherry smoked malt i had leftover from a (also sucky) smoked barleywine. At least it was pretty bad last I tasted it a year ago. I am still letting it sit to see if it improves.
I know the Briess malt is much more intense so I only used about 2.5 lbs. which was about 21% of the grist. I beleive that is in line with there recommendations and not over. Well, I am going to dump it ad try again.
This time I am using the Weyerman Rauch again. I want to use at least 50% Rauch, however I am nervous that I will get the same result. I would LOVE to use 100% as Schlenkerla allegedly does but I don't want another dumper. However, I do want a really smoky brew.
Here is what I plan. I will use 6 lbs. Rauch(53.3%), 3 lbs. Vienna(26.7), 1 lb. caraamber (8.9%) 1 lb. Melanodin (8.9%), and 4 oz. Carafa special dehusked (2.2%)
I am using Hallertuar hops and shooting for 19 IBU's
I will ferment with WLP 810 (cal common) at about 58F. Leave it for my usual 3 weeks. Then, perhaps lager it a bit... or not.
I am not attempting to clone Schlenkerla. I just mention it as the best example I have had of what I would like to brew. Any advice or encouragement that I will not be making another band aid brew?
Oh, and I am not using chlorinated water. It is spring water direct from the source. About medium hardness. I guess that is another difference between my first succesful brew and this last one. The water came from a different spring.