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Old 05-05-2008, 08:16 PM   #1
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Default Smoking Grain

I'm brewing an AG recipe this coming weekend that I'm calling Lumberjack's Breakfast. It's basically a smoked oatmeal stout with some biscuit malt and coffee added. Using maple wood to smoke because I just happened to see those chips at the store and though... that goes great with breakfast.

Basically trying to simulate some typical breakfast items, the smoke being bacon.

I'm looking for ideas on how much of the grain bill to smoke/how long in order to pick up a noticeable but not overpowering smoke flavor. (Without having the recipe in front of me, I think I have in the neighborhood of 11# of grain). I forgot to have the pale grain seperated, as I was planning on just smoking a portion of it.

Any recommendations from one of you who has made a smoked beer would be appreciated.

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Old 05-05-2008, 08:20 PM   #2
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I wonder if you could just add some liquid smoke?

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Old 05-05-2008, 09:23 PM   #3
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If you're smoking the entire grain bill, you can probably go a little bit light on the amount of time. Remember, the grain's going to get a little bit darker (you're basically kilning it). You want to keep the grain moist when it smoked (it'll help the flavor "stick"), but make sure it's dried out afterwards, and you want to let it sit around for a few days before brewing with it. I'd probably try ~20 minutes or so, keeping the temp pretty low.

Note, this is *not* from personal experience, just a boatload of reading I've done on the subject (still waiting to buy a "real" smoker).

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Old 05-05-2008, 09:28 PM   #4
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I'd only smoke, or rather use, about a .25lbs of whatever you smoke, otherwise it'll end up tasting like your drinking from an ashtray.

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Old 05-05-2008, 09:45 PM   #5
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Read this.

The first thing you need to smoke grains, is a smoker. I use this:



Make yourself a smoking basket out of some old screen material. Low and shallow and large enough to comfortably hold all 11# of grain. (Only kiln the lighter malts IMHO) Here is my setup:



First: Get your smoking fire up and going. When smoke is rolling at a steady and good flow, place the grains in the smoker. Use whole grains! Not crushed!

Second: Spray the grains with some water, a spray bottle works get for this. Just moisten you do do want wet grains.

Third: Turn the grains every ~5-7 minutes.

The article gives good ranges for times to smoke. My guidelines are based off that and will likely be different with each setup. I think the 15-24 minute smoking range is nice. The 20 minute mark will produce a good smoke flavor without overpowering a darker beer. Go lighter on the smoke for a lighter beer.

Good luck and happy smoking!


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Old 05-05-2008, 09:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srm775 View Post
I'd only smoke, or rather use, about a .25lbs of whatever you smoke, otherwise it'll end up tasting like your drinking from an ashtray.
I whole heartedly disagree. However, if you do not like smoked beers, this will be your reaction. If you don't like smoke beers don't even smoke .25#.

If you are producing a smoked beer, smoke all the light grains. Avoid smoking darker grains as they will not pickup as delicate and pleasant a smoke flavor and you may run a risk of producing astringent flavors.
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Old 05-05-2008, 10:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srm775 View Post
I'd only smoke, or rather use, about a .25lbs of whatever you smoke, otherwise it'll end up tasting like your drinking from an ashtray.

I've used 10 lbs of smoked base malt in a smoked porter and it was an awesome beer.

Do you have experience in this or are you assuming?


McKBrew...FWIW, I'd start with about 2-3 lbs of smoked malt, smoked for an hour or so. Bird is right, the grains will darken and toast slightly as well. I think that amount will give you what you are looking for.

I use 10 lbs of smoked malt in my porter and I actually want more smoke in it, but I'm weird like that.

Also, I cold smoke my malt--meaning the malt is nowhere near heat. That way it doesn't get kilned at all. I have a big box that holds the grain, and a dryer hoseis connected between the smoker and the box with the grain. The grain box never gets but 10 degrees hotter than outside ambient temp.

I think though, the toasted smoked malt (you can do this on a weber grill with indirect heat) would be really nice in the beer you are describing.
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Old 05-05-2008, 10:45 PM   #8
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I'll recommend again the Smoked Beers book in the Brewing Classic Styles series; there's a discussion of the cold vs. hot-smoke debate, with the conclusion seeming to be that one is not necessarily better than the other, but just that they impart different characteristics (and obviously, you've got to be more careful with hot smoking).

Damn, I need to buy my smoker... soon as Mother's Day is here and gone, I can go ahead and buy my Father's Day present early.

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Old 05-05-2008, 11:15 PM   #9
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You simply cannot recommend an amount of smoked grains to use in a smoked beer. It depends on a ridiculous amount of factors, possibly even more than most homebrew factors. How the grain is smoked, how long it has been since the grain was smoked, how it was stored, the recipe, the type of beer, the tastes of the person making it, how long you plan to age it before drinking, etc.

It is simply critical to do some trial and error with this, and ALWAYS taste the smoked malt before you make a batch. Start building up a reference for how a malt taste and what kind of strength it has with a given percentage in a given beer. It is tricky, but some can't get enough of smoked beers.

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Old 05-05-2008, 11:17 PM   #10
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I did some smoked grain like the photos above. I did 4.5 lbs for about a half hour and the smoke is very noticable.

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