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Old 12-31-2008, 10:23 PM   #1
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Default So then what is peat smoked malt for, anyway?

I got a copy of brewing classic styles for Christmas, which I have read cover to cover by now of course. It has been tremendously helpful in explaining the do's and don'ts of brewing certain styles. I was reading about wee heavy (strong scotch ale) and Jamil and John make it very clear several times that peat smoked malt should NOT be included. I had always assumed that it should be, since I couldn't think of another use for it. Certainly not Rauchbier, right?

Found this thread http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/peat-smoked-malt-evil-2335/
but not very conclusive.

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Old 12-31-2008, 10:59 PM   #2
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Try brewing one with it (don't overdo it, of course), and one without. Decide which one you like most and keep making it.

It's ridiculous to say that it's not "traditional" to use a smoked malt in a Wee Heavy or any other Scottish Ale. This is the kind of drivel that gets passed around because one reputable person opines on the subject (which is fine to do), and then for some reason it gets spread around to the point that it becomes gospel, when at no time did it have any basis in hard fact.

Trying to nail down a precise definition of a style such as Wee Heavy, which is based on our assumptions and theories about the ingredients and procedures used by Scots of generations past to make a style that has existed for centuries and has never ceased evolving with the changing times, is like trying to nail Jello to a wall. While it is safe to assume that they did not intentionally include a small portion of peat smoked whiskey malt in their mash as many brewers do today, we we do know that limitations of their kilning technology for a good portion of the history of this style often made some smoke character unavoidable in the beer, and it's very plausible that with the fuel they used, it could have been quite peaty.

My advice to you is to throw the style guidelines out the window and brew what you will enjoy the most!

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Old 12-31-2008, 11:07 PM   #3
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Ive used it twice in wee heavys and traditional or not its great. 1/2lb in 16lbs grain bill caramelizing the first 2 gallons of wort.

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Old 12-31-2008, 11:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevmoron View Post
My advice to you is to throw the style guidelines out the window and brew what you will enjoy the most!
That's just not me. I enjoy brewing to style as best I can.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:11 AM   #5
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"The optional peaty, earthy and/or smoky character comes from the traditional yeast and from the local malt and water rather than using smoked malts."

bjcp

So absent the local malt and/or water, that malt will get you close. I also use it in some porters, the last one being an Alaskan Smoked Porter.

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Old 01-01-2009, 12:13 AM   #6
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I would say what peated malt is used for,,,but hooch threads are not allowed

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Old 01-01-2009, 12:34 AM   #7
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I've put it in British MILDS! My God does 1 oz go a long way LOL

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Old 01-01-2009, 12:41 AM   #8
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It is used by distilleries, for whisky, traditionally.

If you want to use it in beer and like it, more power to you. Obviously Jamil doesn't like it and he is correct that there is little historical basis for it's inclusion in beer.

According to George Fix (Principles of Brewing Science p 77) level three heterocyclics resulting from high levels of thermal loading in the boil can have a smoky flavor. I believe this, and not water or yeast are the source of smoky flavor in scottish and scotch ales since they are experience even using american ale yeast and disparate source of water, a fact Jamil mentions in Brewing Classic Styles.

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Old 01-01-2009, 01:20 AM   #9
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It goes mighty fine in this Stone Smoked Porter clone...

10.50 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 80.77 %

1.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 11.54 %

0.50 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 3.85 %

0.50 lb Peat Smoked Malt (2.8 SRM) Grain 3.85 %

1.5 oz Chinook [10.70 %] (60 min) Hops 42.5 IBU

.75 oz Mt. Hood [5.20 %] (10 min) Hops 10.5 IBU

1 Pkgs California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) Yeast-Ale

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Old 01-01-2009, 11:58 AM   #10
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Coastarine,

I'm in the camp that thinks peat-smoked malt is required in Scotch whiskey but inappropriate in Scottish ales. If you read Noonan's excellent Scotch Ale, part of the Classic Styles series, you'll find a very in-depth look at the real history of the style.

Thought processes like kevmoron's is all well and good, but like most quasi-historical "logic", it falls well short of the mark. Sure, it makes sense to think that fuel would be peat. That assumption would be wrong, because it's logic applied to a lack of in-depth knowledge, even though it's pretty good logic.

The real answer is a little harder and darker: coal. The Scottish ales that in the 19th and early 20th centuries defined the style didn't have peat anywhere near them. In fact, the historical record of peat in Scottish ale can be directly traced to America in the "microbrew revolution" - someone who knew just enough about history to be dangerous thought a little too hard. From thence it went back to Scotland's Scottish ales. After all, if the market wants peat in their ale, you'd be a damned fool to refuse it them.

All that aside, if you want peat in your Scottish ale, by all means add it. I've had smoky Scotch ales and enjoyed them immensely. All I ask is that you don't brew a smoked Scottish ale under the delusion that it's historically appropriate.

Happy New Year!

Bob

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