Author Topic: Smoked beer help please?  (Read 2229 times)

Offline enso

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Smoked beer help please?
« on: November 16, 2010, 11:39:04 AM »
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.
Dave Brush

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2010, 01:11:37 PM »
I regularly use 100% Wyermann rauch malt to make a dopplebock, 18 lbs per 5 gallon batch.  It is typically less smokey than the Schlenkerla beers, but they smoke their own malts.  I've won BOS with it, but I have also gotten comments from judges such as "suggest you use a higher percentage of rauch malt next time".  ::)

Don't be afraid to go 100%, but your recipe looks tasty as is.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline jeffy

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2010, 01:16:55 PM »
The problem with making a consistent smoked beer is the variability of the malt.  Wyerman gives a real nice flavor, but I can never tell how old it is just by smelling and tasting it.
I've had more phenolics from peat smoked malt, never had that with Briess cherry wood, but even using 50% Briess I still didn't have the smoke intensity I was looking for.
The best smoked beers I've judged and made have been made with home-smoked malt.  If you smoke the malt over heat, obviously use less and don't try to substitute the base malt with it.  If you cold smoke the malt you can use it as the base malt.  My current smoked beer is almost entirely home-smoked malt over citrus wood.  I have a post somewhere in the forum with pictures of the smoke box.
If it turns out to be too smokey, blend it back with another keg.
I think your recipe looks just fine btw

<edit> http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=2814.0
found the link for pictures of my smoker
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 01:36:24 PM by jeffy »
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2010, 01:44:51 PM »
I gota agree with Jeffy on the "smoke your own".  IMO it gives you the best control over the smoke. For example. I took a basic 5 gallon Porter recipe & smoked 1/2 the base malt (5 lbs.) with 1/2 lb. Alder Wood. I enjoy the smoke and 1/2 lb. is a little on the smoky side. A 1/4 lb. would be subtle, and some prefer it that way leaning towards the malt side.  The key is you determine the smokiness. Cheers!!!
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2010, 02:57:33 PM »
I made Rauch bier with 100% rauch malt from weirmann.
It had a nice smkiness to it.
I also have to say that both beers were not the same eventhou I used the same recipe.
I suspect that freshness if rauch malt had something to do with it.
Good luck. 
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Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2010, 03:08:09 PM »
Jeff is correct, you can never tell how fresh the Weyermann's is.  I have been smoking my own for about 3 or 4 years.  Found some beechwood on line to do the Bamberg style.  Other woods are also good to play around with.  Apple is as one would expect, and a favorite is Pear.  Alder makes for good smoked porter, as the folks in Alaska know.

If you want to read more on home smoking and smoked beers, this is good.
http://shop.beertown.org/brewers/product.asp?s_id=0&prod_name=Smoked+Beer+by+Geoff+Larson+and+Ray+Daniels&pf_id=3100_418&dept_id=3101
« Last Edit: November 17, 2010, 06:08:47 AM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline etbrew

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2010, 04:30:19 PM »
enso have you been looking at my notes?   :-\
 
 I plan to do a smoked beer this weekend and have had horrible results with previous batches.   One I home smoked with apple and it had the band aid aroma and the second was made with a German rauch malt but had very little smoke flavor.  I have 1 pound of the the briess cherry smoked malt and thought that might be enough based on the aroma which was really intense, but now I'm not so sure.  I guess I should try smoking my own again and doing some trial and error to get the amount of smokiness right.

I also love the Schlenkerla smoke beers but the inspiration for brewing this smoked beer is the Fumundo from Freetail Brewing Co. in San Antonio.  I was in San Antonio a couple weeks ago and I loved this beer. 

I'd love to hear how your batch turns out and what you end up using for a recipe.

Offline pyrite

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2010, 08:32:31 PM »
Schlenkerla Marzen is one of my favorite smoked beers. This particular beer has inspired a lot of my smoked beer recipes. I use WLP810 San Francisco Lager Yeast with a lot of my brews and would not suggest combining smoked malt with this yeast strain at those fermenting temperatures. If I can suggest anything it would be to swap the California common yeast for a cleaner, maltier lager yeast strain that would let the smoked aromatics/flavors to dominate.  I would also ferment at lager temperatures. Or you could go with that yeast strain but just ferment at lager temperatures.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 08:35:09 PM by pyrite »
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2010, 10:12:13 PM »
I'm a very seasoned veteran of rauchbier brewing.  I've brewed it once and I used 25% Weyermann malt and 25% home-smoked malt with apple wood.  Teh rest of the grain bill was Pils with maybe 5% carapils.  Your hops look good, I think I used only a bittering addition of Hallertau.  I brewed mine as a lager back in January and tapped the first keg in July.
Home smoking is easy if you have the equipment and patience.  It took me 2 hours to poke about 1000 holes in an aluminum roasting pan, and then I had to maintain a very smoky fire with almost no heat.
But the results were far better than I expected.  At our Oktoberfest it was the first keg finished, and we have very few friends that are not BMC drinkers but they loved the "burnt beer",.It was something none of them had ever experienced, not even my beer geek friends since the only smoked beer available here is Stone Smoked Porter
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline enso

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2010, 06:16:54 AM »
Thanks for the tips folks.

Curious, does the age of the malt have an effect on the phenols?  The Briess I used may have been old.  Could that bring out the band aid phenols?  Not sure how fresh the Rauch malt I have is either.  Not sure how high a turn over rate my LHBS would have on this particular malt.  I think I will certainly consider smoking my own in the future.  Sounds fun.

I guess I will give it a shot with this as it is already paid for, and then I will hope for the best.

Also curious why WLP 810 would not be recommended at 58F?  It is really the only lager yeast I use and keep in my ranch.  I am not really a lager brewer.  The closest I get is fermenting in the mid to high fifties with WLP810 and Wyeast 1728.

Thanks again.  The Smoked beers book is on my wishlist btw...
Dave Brush

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2010, 06:22:56 AM »
I am not sure about the phenols in the malt, but smoked beers go phenolic after a long period of time, >6 months. 

We have stayed at Spezial in Bamberg, and have toured the brewery.  Herr Merz, the owner/brewer says he does not like to ship to the US for a number of reasons.  The beer going phenolic was one reason.  Another reason is that he can sell everything he makes in the local market, where the beer is fresh.
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Offline ipaguy

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2010, 07:53:58 AM »
I recently use 1 lb. of the Briess cherrywood smoked malt in a 1.058 OG Gotlandsdricke.  No off flavors that I could detect.  Smoke flavor was quite subtle; you could taste it on one sip, but not the next.  Well balanced with the small amounts of juniper berries & crystal rye I used.  Turned out to be one of the best beers I've brewed.
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Offline Janis

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2010, 09:02:48 AM »
Hi Dave,

I'm with Jeffy regarding blending your beers rather than dumping them.  The heavy phenolics may be palatable when blended with a non-smoked beer.  Of course, your taste buds have the final say.  Good luck!

Cheers,
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2010, 10:15:41 AM »
I recently use 1 lb. of the Briess cherrywood smoked malt in a 1.058 OG Gotlandsdricke.  No off flavors that I could detect.  Smoke flavor was quite subtle; you could taste it on one sip, but not the next.  Well balanced with the small amounts of juniper berries & crystal rye I used.  Turned out to be one of the best beers I've brewed.
I had a beer last night made with 1 lb of the cherrywood smoked malt, and found it to be overly phenolic and bandaidy.  It got a bit better as you drank it, but it wasn't the smooth smoke I get from the beechwood smoked beers, or even the alder wood ones.

I am not sure about the phenols in the malt, but smoked beers go phenolic after a long period of time, >6 months. 
That's interesting to hear, because it has not been my experience.  I regularly age beers for >>6 months, and the 100% smoked dopplebock I made that got BOS was over a year old before it was even kegged.  And I age Alaskan Smoked Porter and it's delicious, not off in a phenolic way at all.  bouef
Tom Schmidlin

Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2010, 10:29:26 AM »
I recently use 1 lb. of the Briess cherrywood smoked malt in a 1.058 OG Gotlandsdricke.  No off flavors that I could detect.  Smoke flavor was quite subtle; you could taste it on one sip, but not the next.  Well balanced with the small amounts of juniper berries & crystal rye I used.  Turned out to be one of the best beers I've brewed.
I had a beer last night made with 1 lb of the cherrywood smoked malt, and found it to be overly phenolic and bandaidy.  It got a bit better as you drank it, but it wasn't the smooth smoke I get from the beechwood smoked beers, or even the alder wood ones.

I am not sure about the phenols in the malt, but smoked beers go phenolic after a long period of time, >6 months. 
That's interesting to hear, because it has not been my experience.  I regularly age beers for >>6 months, and the 100% smoked dopplebock I made that got BOS was over a year old before it was even kegged.  And I age Alaskan Smoked Porter and it's delicious, not off in a phenolic way at all.  bouef
I was thinking the same thing.  My rauchbier lagered for over 6 months in the kegs and there was no hint of phenols.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico