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Old 07-26-2011, 07:51 PM   #1
Spoooky
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A local Seattle brewery (Big Al's) is having a pretty cool homebrewing centric event this weekend, that they're calling "Share the Wort!". Basically, they're going to whip up a big batch of wort for their Brougham Bitter, and distribute about 6 gallons of wort to a bunch of homebrewers. We're all encouraged to add our own hops, specialty grains, and yeast, to create some unique permutations of their beer. There will be some BBQing at the brewery, some future dates for sharing and comparing, and overall sounds like a pretty neat idea. My hat's off to Big Al and Company for thinking outside the box.

I was hoping some of you had a few recommendations! I haven't been given a very thorough description of the wort that we'll be given, but Big Al's website describes the following for the Brougham Bitter:

Malt: ESB, Victory, Crystal 120, Crystal 40, Wheat Malt, and Black Barley
Hops: Nugget, Fuggle, and EKG
Yeast: Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale
ABV: 5.5%
O.G.: 1.055
IBU: 25

Since I'll be adding my own hops and yeast, you can discount that part. The wort itself looks to be fairly middle-of-the-road, and could probably work for a number of different styles. I was thinking of trying my hand at a Rauchbier, which is something I haven't done before. (What better chance to muck around with a recipe, than when you're getting a bunch of cheap wort? ).

I don't have a ton of experience with the style, and I really want to smoked flavor to be nuanced, I'm not after in-your-face-bacon-smoke. Does anyone have some suggestions or tips for me?



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Old 07-26-2011, 08:38 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Spoooky View Post
A local Seattle brewery (Big Al's) is having a pretty cool homebrewing centric event this weekend, that they're calling "Share the Wort!". Basically, they're going to whip up a big batch of wort for their Brougham Bitter, and distribute about 6 gallons of wort to a bunch of homebrewers. We're all encouraged to add our own hops, specialty grains, and yeast, to create some unique permutations of their beer. There will be some BBQing at the brewery, some future dates for sharing and comparing, and overall sounds like a pretty neat idea. My hat's off to Big Al and Company for thinking outside the box.

I was hoping some of you had a few recommendations! I haven't been given a very thorough description of the wort that we'll be given, but Big Al's website describes the following for the Brougham Bitter:

Malt: ESB, Victory, Crystal 120, Crystal 40, Wheat Malt, and Black Barley
Hops: Nugget, Fuggle, and EKG
Yeast: Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale
ABV: 5.5%
O.G.: 1.055
IBU: 25

Since I'll be adding my own hops and yeast, you can discount that part. The wort itself looks to be fairly middle-of-the-road, and could probably work for a number of different styles. I was thinking of trying my hand at a Rauchbier, which is something I haven't done before. (What better chance to muck around with a recipe, than when you're getting a bunch of cheap wort? ).

I don't have a ton of experience with the style, and I really want to smoked flavor to be nuanced, I'm not after in-your-face-bacon-smoke. Does anyone have some suggestions or tips for me?

THe problem that I see with a rauchbier is that if you use rauchmalt, it's 2-row that's been processed/smoked but it still needs a mash to be used. That mean you'd have to add some volume to what they give just to get there.

Personally, I'd shoot more for a stout, porter, etc, or a scottish ale, or even an English strong ale.

Also, call me Captain Obvious, it's easier to add color than to remove it.

M_C


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Old 07-26-2011, 09:22 PM   #3
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I definitely appreciate the advice. I guess I was sort of hoping that I could just steep some smoked malts in a grain bag (extract brewing style) for a while at the right temperatures, and get some smoked flavor out of them. Having not used them before, I don't have a good way of knowing if the flavor isn't potent enough to come through. There's nothing saying that I need to take a full 5+ gallons of their wort, so I could certainly do a mini-mash and get some smoked malt wort to supplement what they give me.

I'm not married to the idea of the Rauchbier, but I've been wanting to experiment with smoked malts for a while now. I also suspect that Porters / Strong Ales / Bitters are what everyone else will be doing

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Old 07-27-2011, 02:09 AM   #4
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I made a few smoke brews over the years and started with 2# of smoke malt for I think what was about 10# of grain. Smoke flavor was there, not very pronounced. I then doubled it and it was too much for my tastes. For a 5 gallon batch, I would start at around 2# of smoke malt and go from there for the next batch. That will at least get you some noticeable, but not overpowering, smoke flavor.

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Old 07-27-2011, 03:44 AM   #5
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If you can mash at all mash about 4 pounds of rauchmalt in one gallon of water. Drain, and then sparge with just about 1/2 gallon of water. This should get you about a gallon of wort. Substitute this volume for the free stuff-give it a way or save it for starters. Be patient with the beer, my rauchbiers take a few months to really develop their smoke flavors.

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Old 07-27-2011, 06:38 PM   #6
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If you can mash at all mash about 4 pounds of rauchmalt in one gallon of water. Drain, and then sparge with just about 1/2 gallon of water. This should get you about a gallon of wort. Substitute this volume for the free stuff-give it a way or save it for starters. Be patient with the beer, my rauchbiers take a few months to really develop their smoke flavors.
Awesome recommendation, thanks.

I think I'd like to mash it at home, and bring it along with me. The logistics of this event are a little unwieldy, and I'd like to minimize the amount of hardware that I'd need to bring.

Can I just mash up about a gallon of wort, and refrigerate it overnight? Should I have infection concerns? Would I be better off mashing it that morning (eaaaarly, /groan) and bringing it with me in a cooler?

I've appreciated all the advice.


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