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Old 01-24-2011, 03:26 AM   #1
pfooti
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Default Need help with a scotch ale

I want to name this beer "Forum Troll Ale", because it seems that nothing can touch off a flame war quite like peat-smoked malt in a wee heavy. Let's assume that what I want is a smoky, oaky, heavy scotch ale and go from there. I'm not worried about brewing to style, except to the point where style makes sense. Here's what I did the first time:

Mash @ 154
20 lbs golden promise
4 oz roasted barley

Boil the first gallon of runnings down to 1 pint, add back to the wort

Collect enough runnings for a 2 hour boil, targeting 5.5 gal at about 1.090 or so (I have some efficiency problems at this size, hence the ton of grains).

60 and 30 minute additions, 1 oz each of EK Goldings

Ferment cold (sub-60) with Wyeast 1728.

This is pretty much a 5 gal version of Skotrat's Traquair House ale, and I'm pretty happy with it. My friend, who is a scotch ale connoisseur, prefers oaky smoky ales. So, what I want to do is take this base and bring in a few more flavors. I've been grilling him - he would like it to be noticeably smoky, as if you're sipping a good glass of Islay scotch (Lagavulin springs to mind). Mmmm.... Lagavulin.... wait, back on target.

Anyway, I'd like to add a combination of oak and peated malt to this recipe, and would love some advice. I'm thinking of going with oak cubes to get the oak flavor. I recently listened to the Firestone Walker CYBI podcast and have some rough ideas about this, but I've got some specific questions for anybody who has experience with brewing to this level of smokiness.

1) What form of oak should I use, cubes or chips? Assume I can't afford a barrel.
2) What toast level should I target?
3) What proportion of peated malt should I target?
4) How much oak, when should I add it, and when should I remove it?

Thanks!

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Old 01-24-2011, 12:33 PM   #2
mjohnson
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Since smoke and oak are both pretty strong flavors, perhaps you want to make your standard scottish, and then make a couple small batches of beer with peated malt and some with oak(I believe you can add it to the fermenter or in a secondary). Then blend the finished beer before carbonation and figure out the flavor profile you like. Invite your friend over and get him to help with the process. This way you could also bottle a variety of flavor levels and do a taste test.

Once you know the flavor profile you're shooting for, you can then start trying to add peated malt and oak to a single beer. I just think its easier to dial in if you have a target you're shooting for.

Just curious, how long does it take to reduce a gallon down to a pint. That must be pretty intense. I've got a Scottish in the fermenter now, although I used specialty grains instead of caramelizing the wort.

Cheers! Let us know how it turns out.

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