Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Smoked Beers

My first experience with smoked beer came when brewing my own. To this day, I consider that peat-smoked Scottish Ale one of my favorite home brews. It was very clean, and had an assertive, yet smooth smoke flavor and aroma. One bottle was set aside, and after a year's passing, it tasted even better.

I truly love the smoke flavor in beer...could really go on and on about it, but I wont. I'll just leave it at that.

My brother (in Seattle) was brewing extract based beers at the time (Spring 2006). We were going to brew the same beer (his steeped/extract; mine all-grain), and then make a trade. But at the same time, he wasn't brewing as often, and didn't have time to brew in unison. Oh well.

After brewing this one, I researched what commercial smoked beers were available in the stores. Among only a couple others was the finest example Schlenkerla. They are very good, and I think it is their Urbock I liked the most. If you enjoy smoked beers, and live in the Chicago area, I highly recommend a visit to the Map Room. They serve Schlenkerla smoked lagers on tap.

To learn more about them, I've read the book called Smoked Beers, by Ray Daniels and Geoffrey Larson. Also there's an excellent BYO article about tips with smoked beers by Scott Russel.

Ever since savoring my first smoked ale, I've been anticipating brewing more of them. Finally, the time has come. Up next is...Smoked Scottish 2. It will be bigger, fuller, darker and full of smoke.

A long awaited Rauchbier is finally in the works. It's brew day is planned for the beginning of January. It will be a tad bigger than the classic style, and may delve in the realm of a Bock. At around 56% RauchMalt, it will definitely be assertive, but hopefully smoother than silk.

1 comment:

Adam said...

There is one that I like from the now defunct Heavyweight Brewing of NJ. Cinderbock

Just the right amount of smoke and malt and alcohol and it becomes bigger than the sum of its parts. I have one bottle left in the basement for a special occasion. Perhaps a way to keep it living on would be to brew something like it. I fear I'd need more than one to compare and perfect a recipe though. Something to shoot for I guess.