Rauchbier - how have I gone this long without knowing about this stuff?
While looking for something different to try making for the holidays, I stumbled across Rauchbiers. I must admit, I had my doubts, and I wasn't 100% sold on any of the recipes I saw, so I created one that capitalized on a couple things - Maple sugar season in Eastern Ontario, and a friend who had recently cut down a cherry tree in his back yard. We smoked a couple pounds of malt over a very slow cherrywood fire, added some dark, unrefined maple syrup to the boil, and primed with the same syrup. By Xmas, it was tasty, and as of last night, it was absolutely delicious. It's 5.7%ABV. The smoke is subtle, but definitely there. There is also a nice rich maple note (not sweet though), and some distinct cherrywood to the finish. It's super smooth and easy to drink. A picture is below in case you were wondering what it looks like (photo doesn't do justice to the clarity). How the hell did I miss out on this for so many years?
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