Author Topic: Smoked beer help please?  (Read 2227 times)

Offline jeffy

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2436
  • Tampa, Fl
    • View Profile
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2010, 10:52:13 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 did one of the vertical tastings of Alaskan Smoked Porter at GABF a couple years ago and didn't notice any phenols other than the pleasant smoke even in the really old samples.  The smoked beer I have at home now is probably older than 6 months and tastes pretty fresh to me.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4519
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2010, 11:12:03 AM »

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, you are correct about the Alaskan Smoked Porter, and I have had some excellent older examples.  My viewpoint was learned from Herr Merz at Spezial.  I have had older bottles of Rauchbiers in the US that have gone phenolic.  

Could the dark malts in a porter delay the smoke becoming overly phenolic?  Or temperature in shipping getting too high cause the Rauchbiers to go off?

I still have a corney of the Rauchbier I made last Feb./March, need to give that a try soon and see.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline hamiltont

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 972
  • Location: Somewhere in the Middle of Nebraska
    • View Profile
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2010, 11:48:03 AM »
My Alder Wood Smoked Porter is going on a year in the bottle & I think it's much smoother now than it ever was. A quote from the Alaskan Brewing Co. Website:

"Vertical Tastings of Vintage Alaskan Smoked Porter

A unique aspect to smoked beers that we have found at the Alaskan Brewing Company is that the smoke acts as a preservative even in beer. The smoke combined with the yeast left in the bottle allows the beers flavor and aroma to evolve over time. We have been known to hold vertical tastings with a variety of vintage years of Alaskan Smoked Porter. As it ages, the smoke becomes more of a subtle background note. Around the third and fourth years the beer's other flavors such as sherry, currant, raisin, and toffee-like nuances come forward. The fifth year sees the reemergence of the smoky character to the forefront."

Cheers!!!
If Homebrew & BBQ aren't the answer, then you're askin' the wrong questions... Cheers!!!

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2010, 12:21:12 PM »
Could the dark malts in a porter delay the smoke becoming overly phenolic?  Or temperature in shipping getting too high cause the Rauchbiers to go off?
It could be the dark malts preventing it or the high temps causing it, I don't know what chemical reaction gets you from a smokey phenol to a bandaidy one.  But my smoked beer is very light in color, and never gets bandaid flavors that I've experienced.  I've also had Spezial in the US and it seemed fresh enough and did not taste like bandaids.

Smoke is a preservative, that's been known a long time, which makes it seem less likely that the phenolic flavor Herr Merz found is from contamination.  But I've never found a beer to go from nicely smoky to bandaid, so that actually seems most likely to me.  :-\

Maybe someone has better ideas.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4519
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2010, 01:03:26 PM »
What I have experienced in older Rauchbiers in the US is a nasty smoke flavor, more like liquid smoke or creosote, which is produced from the wood phenols when burned.  Not the "clean" smoked flavor that you get in the pubs at Schlenkerla or Spezial.  Looking at "Smoked Beer", they talk about the phenols produced by burning the wood, Schlenkerla tests the smoked malt for this, Spezial goes by taste.  They talk about some woods like Hickory having more phenolic character, and the phenolic content of Peated malt (probably why I don't like it, nasty smoke to me).

Should have read that Bandaid was what he was talking about.  That is a chlorophenol, no?  How does Briess end up with that, chlorinated water in the process?

Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline gordonstrong

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1355
    • View Profile
    • BJCP
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2010, 01:21:12 PM »
My Alder Wood Smoked Porter is going on a year in the bottle & I think it's much smoother now than it ever was. A quote from the Alaskan Brewing Co. Website:

"Vertical Tastings of Vintage Alaskan Smoked Porter

A unique aspect to smoked beers that we have found at the Alaskan Brewing Company is that the smoke acts as a preservative even in beer. The smoke combined with the yeast left in the bottle allows the beers flavor and aroma to evolve over time. We have been known to hold vertical tastings with a variety of vintage years of Alaskan Smoked Porter. As it ages, the smoke becomes more of a subtle background note. Around the third and fourth years the beer's other flavors such as sherry, currant, raisin, and toffee-like nuances come forward. The fifth year sees the reemergence of the smoky character to the forefront."

Cheers!!!

Hmm.  I guess I'd like to see a normal-strength pale smoked beer subjected to the same treatment.  I don't know that you can say "I aged a strong, dark, smoked beer and it held up well" (so it's due to smoke) since you can say "I aged a strong, dark beer and it held up well".  Correlation doesn't imply causation; that's a common logical fallacy.
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2010, 02:13:21 PM »
What I have experienced in older Rauchbiers in the US is a nasty smoke flavor, more like liquid smoke or creosote, which is produced from the wood phenols when burned.  Not the "clean" smoked flavor that you get in the pubs at Schlenkerla or Spezial.  Looking at "Smoked Beer", they talk about the phenols produced by burning the wood, Schlenkerla tests the smoked malt for this, Spezial goes by taste.  They talk about some woods like Hickory having more phenolic character, and the phenolic content of Peated malt (probably why I don't like it, nasty smoke to me).

Should have read that Bandaid was what he was talking about.  That is a chlorophenol, no?  How does Briess end up with that, chlorinated water in the process?


I've gotten a nasty phenolic character in some smoked beers, but it seems to be age-independent, I think it is more linked to the brewers recipe - the type and quantity of the malt that they use.  That's been my experience anyway.  And they're right, some woods will have more tendency to give unpleasant phenols, that's why we typically don't smoke food with soft-woods like pine.

Bandaid can come from 4-ethyl phenol, no chloro required.  Chlorphenols will taste more like chloroseptic IME, although there could very well be chlorophenols that have bandaid flavor.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline hamiltont

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 972
  • Location: Somewhere in the Middle of Nebraska
    • View Profile
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2010, 02:34:52 PM »
My Alder Wood Smoked Porter is going on a year in the bottle & I think it's much smoother now than it ever was. A quote from the Alaskan Brewing Co. Website:

"Vertical Tastings of Vintage Alaskan Smoked Porter

A unique aspect to smoked beers that we have found at the Alaskan Brewing Company is that the smoke acts as a preservative even in beer. The smoke combined with the yeast left in the bottle allows the beers flavor and aroma to evolve over time. We have been known to hold vertical tastings with a variety of vintage years of Alaskan Smoked Porter. As it ages, the smoke becomes more of a subtle background note. Around the third and fourth years the beer's other flavors such as sherry, currant, raisin, and toffee-like nuances come forward. The fifth year sees the reemergence of the smoky character to the forefront."

Cheers!!!

Hmm.  I guess I'd like to see a normal-strength pale smoked beer subjected to the same treatment.  I don't know that you can say "I aged a strong, dark, smoked beer and it held up well" (so it's due to smoke) since you can say "I aged a strong, dark beer and it held up well".  Correlation doesn't imply causation; that's a common logical fallacy.
So you're saying it's just a bunch of marketing hype then???  :-\
If Homebrew & BBQ aren't the answer, then you're askin' the wrong questions... Cheers!!!

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4519
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2010, 04:48:44 PM »
So a question for the home malt smokers.  I have a small bag of Cherry shavings.  Should I smoke malt with that?

I also plan to use the small bag of Crabapple shavings to smoke some malt, just becasue.

Tom - thanks for the clarification on the bandaid coming from 4-ethyl phenol.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline jeffy

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2436
  • Tampa, Fl
    • View Profile
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2010, 05:24:04 PM »
So a question for the home malt smokers.  I have a small bag of Cherry shavings.  Should I smoke malt with that?

I also plan to use the small bag of Crabapple shavings to smoke some malt, just becasue.

Tom - thanks for the clarification on the bandaid coming from 4-ethyl phenol.
I'm not an expert on wood, but I think any hard wood (yes, I said "hard wood") would be fine.  Almost all fruit trees fall into that category.  I've been using citrus wood from my back yard and it is insanely hard to chop into small pieces for smoking.
One of the best smoked beers I had was an apple-wood smoked beer that Greg Noonan made and presented at a conference years ago.
So, yeah, go for it.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 4519
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2010, 05:35:02 PM »
So a question for the home malt smokers.  I have a small bag of Cherry shavings.  Should I smoke malt with that?

I also plan to use the small bag of Crabapple shavings to smoke some malt, just becasue.

Tom - thanks for the clarification on the bandaid coming from 4-ethyl phenol.
I'm not an expert on wood, but I think any hard wood (yes, I said "hard wood") would be fine.  Almost all fruit trees fall into that category.  I've been using citrus wood from my back yard and it is insanely hard to chop into small pieces for smoking.
One of the best smoked beers I had was an apple-wood smoked beer that Greg Noonan made and presented at a conference years ago.
So, yeah, go for it.
From what I have read, just about any fruit tree or nut tree wood will work.
Wondering whsome have poor experience with the Briess Cherry wood.  Maybe they let the smoke get too hot for a batch?
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline hamiltont

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 972
  • Location: Somewhere in the Middle of Nebraska
    • View Profile
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2010, 08:30:29 AM »
My Alder Wood Smoked Porter is going on a year in the bottle & I think it's much smoother now than it ever was. A quote from the Alaskan Brewing Co. Website:

"Vertical Tastings of Vintage Alaskan Smoked Porter

A unique aspect to smoked beers that we have found at the Alaskan Brewing Company is that the smoke acts as a preservative even in beer. The smoke combined with the yeast left in the bottle allows the beers flavor and aroma to evolve over time. We have been known to hold vertical tastings with a variety of vintage years of Alaskan Smoked Porter. As it ages, the smoke becomes more of a subtle background note. Around the third and fourth years the beer's other flavors such as sherry, currant, raisin, and toffee-like nuances come forward. The fifth year sees the reemergence of the smoky character to the forefront."

Cheers!!!

Hmm.  I guess I'd like to see a normal-strength pale smoked beer subjected to the same treatment.  I don't know that you can say "I aged a strong, dark, smoked beer and it held up well" (so it's due to smoke) since you can say "I aged a strong, dark beer and it held up well".  Correlation doesn't imply causation; that's a common logical fallacy.
So you're saying it's just a bunch of marketing hype then???  :-\
I have an acquaintance who brews a German Alt with smoked malt. It appears the smoked malt does not do much in the way of preserving the beer beyond the un-smoked Alt. Though neither of us are experiencing the "Band-Aid" effect even after a year. Cheers!!!
If Homebrew & BBQ aren't the answer, then you're askin' the wrong questions... Cheers!!!

Offline gordonstrong

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1355
    • View Profile
    • BJCP
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2010, 09:20:19 AM »
Hmm.  I guess I'd like to see a normal-strength pale smoked beer subjected to the same treatment.  I don't know that you can say "I aged a strong, dark, smoked beer and it held up well" (so it's due to smoke) since you can say "I aged a strong, dark beer and it held up well".  Correlation doesn't imply causation; that's a common logical fallacy.
So you're saying it's just a bunch of marketing hype then???  :-\

No.  I didn't prove anything either.  I just said their claim was unsubstantiated by their example.  It could be true.  It could not be true.  But one way to test it is to isolate the variable upon which their claim is based and check the effects.

It's like saying everyone who has ever eaten carrots more than 200 years ago has died, so carrots cause death.  You can have a premise that's absolutely true, but still draw a totally incorrect conclusion if the premise has nothing to do with the conclusion.

I suspect their claim is false, since the effects they see are known to be associated with other factors that are present.  I know Alaskan Smoked Porter is wonderful when aged, but I don't think it's due to the smoke.  You can point to any number of big, dark beers that age well.  Show me other smoked beers that age.  How is the Schlenkerla Weizen after a few years?
Gordon Strong • Beavercreek, Ohio • AHA Member since 1997 • Twitter: GordonStrong

Offline hamiltont

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 972
  • Location: Somewhere in the Middle of Nebraska
    • View Profile
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2010, 10:16:50 AM »
Hmm.  I guess I'd like to see a normal-strength pale smoked beer subjected to the same treatment.  I don't know that you can say "I aged a strong, dark, smoked beer and it held up well" (so it's due to smoke) since you can say "I aged a strong, dark beer and it held up well".  Correlation doesn't imply causation; that's a common logical fallacy.
So you're saying it's just a bunch of marketing hype then???  :-\

No.  I didn't prove anything either.  I just said their claim was unsubstantiated by their example.  It could be true.  It could not be true.  But one way to test it is to isolate the variable upon which their claim is based and check the effects.

It's like saying everyone who has ever eaten carrots more than 200 years ago has died, so carrots cause death.  You can have a premise that's absolutely true, but still draw a totally incorrect conclusion if the premise has nothing to do with the conclusion.

I suspect their claim is false, since the effects they see are known to be associated with other factors that are present.  I know Alaskan Smoked Porter is wonderful when aged, but I don't think it's due to the smoke.  You can point to any number of big, dark beers that age well.  Show me other smoked beers that age.  How is the Schlenkerla Weizen after a few years?
Agreed, and somewhat substantiated by my comment above ^^^ regarding an Alt.  Cheers!!!
If Homebrew & BBQ aren't the answer, then you're askin' the wrong questions... Cheers!!!

Offline corkybstewart

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1298
    • View Profile
Re: Smoked beer help please?
« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2010, 06:44:40 PM »
So a question for the home malt smokers.  I have a small bag of Cherry shavings.  Should I smoke malt with that?

I also plan to use the small bag of Crabapple shavings to smoke some malt, just becasue.

Tom - thanks for the clarification on the bandaid coming from 4-ethyl phenol.
Again I've just done one beer with home-smoked wood but it did turn out far better than I thought it would.  I used apple wood.  I have a Brinkman smoker grill with the firebox on the end.  I built a small fire of just apple chunks and kept it going for about 1.5 hours.  The heat never got more than about 10 degrees above ambient.  I've also got pruned branches from peach, apricot and pecan trees, I may try the peach/apricot next time.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico