Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Smoke aroma in mash for Rauchbier?

Working on a smoked Pilsener. Given how light a Pils is, I want just a hint of smoke. I was inspired by eating campfire-toasted toast to think that everything tastes better smoked.
I smoked my own malt (over birch), which is risky and unpredictable, and for fear of having ashtray rather than campfire I kept the smoked portion down to 5%.

Just out of curiosity, when you do smoked beers, do you usually smell it distinctly in the mash?

For me, if it’s there, it is subtle.

I brewed a Rauchbier with about 45% Weyermann Beechwood smoked malt, and the smoke was difficult to smell until the beer was fermented. The wort didn’t even really taste that smoky, but it’s there in the finished beer.

Thanks. I’m more than a little worried about this one… Thinking that it’ll be more of a harsh smoke than pleasant.

I smoke my own malt using in my Weber bullet (3 hrs, 3 big chunks of oak, ~175oF). The smoked malt constitutes a little more than 50% of my grain bill (6 lb smoked malt in a 11 lb grain bill). I can definitely smell the smoked malt during the mash and the boil. It smells quite good and the beer turns out fantastic every time.

I brew Rauchbier with 97% Weyermann Smoked Malt (Rauchmalt) and it is not that smokey at all. Rather enjoyable. I taste it shen I chew on some grain but never noticed the aroma in the mash.

I’ve had a Schlenkerla a number of times and really like it, so if this doesn’t work out I will just go for the Rauch malt, which is what I should have done in the first place. Oh well, not like I was ever going to stop doing things my own way anyway…

I had a lot of trouble getting good smoke from the birch without it being really too hot. (Doing it on the BBQ). We’ll see how it all pans out.

BTW, what can you do with 5 gallons of undrinkable pilsner. (Oh, I suppose I could make whiskey.)

Doh. Illegal.

[quote=“BeaverBrewer”]I had a lot of trouble getting good smoke from the birch without it being really too hot. (Doing it on the BBQ). We’ll see how it all pans out.
[/quote]
How are you smoking your malt?

I use a charcoal smoker (Weber bullet). I only light about 5 - 10 coals and place those on top of about 25-30 unlit pieces of charcoal piled/pushed up against the charcoal ring (using 2 bricks). I then place the oak chunks on top of the lit coals. I fill the water pan (that acts as a heat sink). Vents stay closed. With this set up I have no problem producing a lot of smoke while keeping the temps down. I have smoked malt for close to 6 hrs this way. For the grain, I poke a LOT of holes in two large disposable aluminum pans and line the pans with a metal screen (used to make/repair screen doors). Each pan holds 3 lbs of grain. Those grain-filled pans go into smoker. I mix/turn the grain over every hour or so.

Beer made with this grain comes out with a pronounced smoked bacon flavor, likely from my smoker. It turns out great every time and has won me some ribbons.

Jeff Fuller (babalu87) used to smoke his own and we traded some beers before he got sick from the mosquito and EEE. His malt was very much like what was described above. I bet Jeff wishes he was well enough to smoke some malt but unfortunately he is a long way from that day.

I used a mix of small and large chunks that were some scrap birch I had around. There was a bit of bark in there, which I think could lead to aggressive smoke (whoops). I soaked them then did a bit of a double boiler-like (but without the water) setup using two camping pots, one inside the other. I put 2 lbs of malt in the small pot and set it inside the bigger pot, on top of the chips. With the lid on the smoke accumulated, but I had to get the BBQ quite hot, so I was getting some toasting of the malt at the same time.

Next time I will try to find a way to get a foil packet of the wood more directly over the flames, go for smaller chunks, get them really smoking before adding the malt, and remove the bark. Going for oak or apple might also be a good idea.

[quote=“BeaverBrewer”]I used a mix of small and large chunks that were some scrap birch I had around. There was a bit of bark in there, which I think could lead to aggressive smoke (whoops). I soaked them then did a bit of a double boiler-like (but without the water) setup using two camping pots, one inside the other. I put 2 lbs of malt in the small pot and set it inside the bigger pot, on top of the chips. With the lid on the smoke accumulated, but I had to get the BBQ quite hot, so I was getting some toasting of the malt at the same time.

Next time I will try to find a way to get a foil packet of the wood more directly over the flames, go for smaller chunks, get them really smoking before adding the malt, and remove the bark. Going for oak or apple might also be a good idea.[/quote]
The challenge you face is getting the smoke wood hot enough to smolder without getting your grill (and its contents) super hot. It’s very tough with a gas grill and a lot easier with charcoal.

Good luck.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com