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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Campfire Ghost Story Beer (critique please)
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:06 PM   #11
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Omit the rye malt entirely. I get what you are doing here, but you have a lot of other stuff going on, plus 4oz of rye malt won't do anything.

I don't have any experience with smoked malts, sorry.

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Old 09-28-2011, 09:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teucer View Post
So here's the current draft of the recipe. It's got a lot of ingredients, but they each have a specific purpose.

6# Maris Otter - because you need a good base malt
3/4# chocolate malt (UK) - for color, and for the rich roast and chocolate notes it clearly needs
3/4# caramel malt, 80L - just dark enough to fit the theme, without being all 120 which seemed a little much to me
1/2# biscuit malt - to give it that bready, graham-cracker undertone
1/4# cherrywood-smoked malt - a couple percent is an accent, rather than making a true smoke beer, but it definitely captures the campfire idea. I may up this to 1/2#.
1/4# rye malt - a friend suggested this one to give it that faintly off (in a tasty way) quality I think makes sense with the ghost story idea. It's not enough rye to taste like rye, but it'll give it the rye mouthfeel. I may omit this entirely.

Same hop schedule. No spices or peppers, and Wyeast 1275 for a dry finish. Thoughts?
--I'd skip the biscuit, since the MO base malt will do most of that work for you. Plus, I think you're a bit high on specialty grains in this recipe.
--I would also keep the smoked malt very restrained. I was thinking 2 ounces for a little je nais se quoi, but not enough so a fellow brewer asks you, "hey, did you use smoked malt?"
--Consider flaked rye instead of rye malt. You'll get the flavor contribution, build body, and increase head retention.

Have you considered Fuggles for your hops? That earthiness might be the loamy, earthy flavor you're looking for.

The more I think about it, the more I think you should modify Orfy's Mild Mannered Mild recipe with a bit of smoked malt added. It seems to hit on all cylinders for what you want.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:47 PM   #13
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Have you considered Fuggles for your hops? That earthiness might be the loamy, earthy flavor you're looking for.
I like the woody quality of the Northern Brewer, but the earthy Fuggles would also be a good fit. I've also thought about Pride of Ringwood if my local shop has them, though I know the variety only by reputation.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:39 PM   #14
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I'm glad that you took the chili out. If you've ever ordered an IPA with a spicy dinner at a restaurant you know what I mean. One thing that I've wanted to try is to add roasted bell peppers or anaheim peppers to a beer. (Roasted bell pepper = if you have a gas stove, put them directly on the burner -- no pan -- until the outside is slightly burnt so you can peel the skin off and it smells delicious). These peppers have good pepper flavors and would contribute a roasted flavor without the heat. That said, this is something that I've wanted to try -- I've never actually done it.

I'd suggest upping the smoke malt to 15 - 20% based on past experiences with Briess cherrywood malt. Actual campfires are very smoky, not just subtly smoky.

The only other ideas I have for campfire-related beers:
* I ate a lot of cobbler and pudgy pies when I was in Scouts, so if you add cherries or peaches to the secondary that could be a good touch. If you go this route, reducing the smokiness would likely be advisable.
* When backpacking, I like trail mix. If you think more in terms of a nut brown with raisins and chocolate (either from malt or cocoa powder). A beer like this would be tasty by itself, but with a touch of smoked malt it would likely be delicious.

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Old 09-29-2011, 03:54 AM   #15
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I'm glad that you took the chili out. If you've ever ordered an IPA with a spicy dinner at a restaurant you know what I mean. One thing that I've wanted to try is to add roasted bell peppers or anaheim peppers to a beer. (Roasted bell pepper = if you have a gas stove, put them directly on the burner -- no pan -- until the outside is slightly burnt so you can peel the skin off and it smells delicious). These peppers have good pepper flavors and would contribute a roasted flavor without the heat. That said, this is something that I've wanted to try -- I've never actually done it.
Yeah, that's not something to do for this beer, but it's an experiment I'd love to try. (I do my roasted red peppers on the grill. I peel them, puree them, and make risotto out of them.)

Quote:
I'd suggest upping the smoke malt to 15 - 20% based on past experiences with Briess cherrywood malt. Actual campfires are very smoky, not just subtly smoky.
Hm. I'm not trying to make something where people go "this tastes like smoke," because I want it to be friendly to non-beer-nerd drinkers and because even as an enthusiast I don't care for the smokiest beers I've ever had. But I also don't think I want to get subliminal, with nobody realizing there's any smoke in it at all.

How would you describe the level of smokiness with the cherrywood malt at different quantities, based on beers you've brewed? This will be my first time using smoked malt.

Quote:
The only other ideas I have for campfire-related beers:
* I ate a lot of cobbler and pudgy pies when I was in Scouts, so if you add cherries or peaches to the secondary that could be a good touch. If you go this route, reducing the smokiness would likely be advisable.
* When backpacking, I like trail mix. If you think more in terms of a nut brown with raisins and chocolate (either from malt or cocoa powder). A beer like this would be tasty by itself, but with a touch of smoked malt it would likely be delicious.
Darker crystal malts might also give me a nice raisiny touch. Maybe I should bump it up from the 80 I have specced now to 120.
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Old 09-29-2011, 04:56 AM   #16
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(I do my roasted red peppers on the grill. I peel them, puree them, and make risotto out of them.)
Doing it on the grill would be infinitely easier.

I've never thought of using roasted peppers for risotto. Thanks for the tip!

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Hm. I'm not trying to make something where people go "this tastes like smoke," because I want it to be friendly to non-beer-nerd drinkers and because even as an enthusiast I don't care for the smokiest beers I've ever had. But I also don't think I want to get subliminal, with nobody realizing there's any smoke in it at all.

How would you describe the level of smokiness with the cherrywood malt at different quantities, based on beers you've brewed? This will be my first time using smoked malt.
I don't want to give you the impression that I'm a master of smoked malts as I've only used it twice myself. Before that, the only smoked beers I had were Schlenkerla. To my taste, their beers are too smoky since the smoke completely overwhelms any other flavors. In addition, I can't get over how much the beers taste like meat based on aroma association.

As a result, I limited the smoked malt to 20% of my grain bill the first time I used it (in a smoked stout). You could tell there was smoke in it, but it wasn't overwhelming and I didn't get any sausage associations. My second smoked beer used 32% in a smoked pale ale, and that was even more smoky but it still wasn't overwhelming.

That said, smoke isn't for everyone and tends to induce "love it" or "hate it" responses with little middle ground.
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