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Old 09-28-2012, 04:33 PM   #3281
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So,

Seeing as there's going to be a pig smoking this weekend during a "brewing event", I was wondering what is involved with smoking some grain for a future brew. I assume you can't just put the grains in the smoker, as you don't want to deal with the heat. Do you need to rig up something for a cold smoker as shown in this picture from another thread on HBT on smoked IPA's ? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/smok...tml#post133532).

How long would you want to keep the grains on the smoke? Is this pan of malt just sitting on a black stand to keep it off the ground, or is there water under the pan too? How would you store the grain afterwards? I think I read in Mosher's book that you need to let them "air out" for a few weeks to get rid of the harshness of the smoke first? Anybody got much experience smoking grain?

Or is everyone's smoking experience here only with pigs and crack?
I've only used store-bought smoked grains (many of which are excellent), but from all reading I've done you want to cold-smoke and you should moisten the grain first to maximize the absorption. Oh, and the grain needs to sit a few days post-smoking. Ray Daniels' and Geoff Larson's book is an excellent resource.

But you probably know as much as I do; I haven't gotten around to setting up a cold-smoker yet.
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:41 PM   #3282
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Mort... I sat in on session on smoking grains at the NHC last year that was given by the guy from Alaskan (Alaskan Smoked Porter).

You def don't want to soak the grain but giving them a very light spray is not a bad idea. Indirect, cold smoke (like you saw in that picture) is what you want to do.

The only other advice, and you probably won't like it... Is to experiment. He was saying that there is no real "correct" answer on how long as it depends on the wood, the set up, your specific preferences, how much of the grain youre going to use in your recipe, etc.

I never heard anything about having to "air out" the grain post smoking.

My suggestion would be to do something like a 15 minute smoke on 5% of the grain bill ad see where that gets you. Once you try the final beer, you can adjust accordingly.

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Old 09-28-2012, 04:45 PM   #3283
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I never heard anything about having to "air out" the grain post smoking.
I have. It was in Daniels' book. Think there may be some undesirable pheonolics (sp?) that are fairly volatile and will dissipate if given a chance. Don't think you need to leave them out, though - but a couple days in a paper bag should work.

EDIT: Personally, 15 minutes of cold smoke (if it's really cold smoke, not 225° smoke like you're cooking ribs or something) doesn't seem like a lot.
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Old 09-28-2012, 04:52 PM   #3284
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I thought those phenolics were a function of direct hot smoking. One the points that was brought up was the problems with hot smoke... the real possibility of getting a lot of "volatile" acrid particulate on the grain. I would think the cold-smoke would fix that issue but I will certainly defer to the book.

On the timing... Again.. I'll certainly defer but when it comes to smoked beers, I think a smoked beer that isn't smoky enough is still absolutely drinkable... Too much smoke and I'm not sure that's the case.

Maybe try fifteen minutes, take the grain out and give it a smell? If it doesn't give you any real smoke aroma, give it another 15 minutes?

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Old 09-28-2012, 04:56 PM   #3285
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I do concur with the main advice... experiment! Worst-case, you end up with a ****ton of smoked beer.

I'll try to remember to bring the book out with me tomorrow.

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Old 09-28-2012, 05:00 PM   #3286
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Here's a question for those of you who use smokers. I've been wanting to buy myself a smoker, probably getting one of the smokers with a side fire box. Can you use those for smoking malt, or do they still run too hot? If I've got just a small fire in the side box, will the main chamber still be too hot for smoking malt? I know I can still run some of the dyer tubing to a cardboard box like in Mort's pic, but I'd like to minimize the "ghetto" element somewhat if I can.

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Old 09-28-2012, 05:02 PM   #3287
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Thanks for the input. I'll plan on having enough tins, etc. to be able to end up with a few different smoked levels of grain. Guess it's also going to depend on how heavy it is or isn't raining - of course maybe we'll just use one of the tents for the smoker, or I may be able to swing by Cape's and get that umbrella......

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Old 09-28-2012, 05:06 PM   #3288
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I think spreading the grain out evenly on a screen would be a dramatically better method

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Old 09-28-2012, 05:08 PM   #3289
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I've always envisioned making a wooden box with a whole bunch of window screens stacked up inside, pumping the cold smoke into the side. Project for this winter. Maybe a small computer fan to ensure good circulation. But surface area is key, you want the grain spread out as much as you can.

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Old 09-28-2012, 05:10 PM   #3290
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Here's a question for those of you who use smokers. I've been wanting to buy myself a smoker, probably getting one of the smokers with a side fire box. Can you use those for smoking malt, or do they still run too hot? If I've got just a small fire in the side box, will the main chamber still be too hot for smoking malt? I know I can still run some of the dyer tubing to a cardboard box like in Mort's pic, but I'd like to minimize the "ghetto" element somewhat if I can.
I can't give direct advice on that smoker. I was going to get one of those but them decided I would just get a nice one so I've never used one like that. I have one of the Masterbuilt digitals... and I can't lube up enough over that thing. Bird... Digital control from 100 to 275 degrees. I cold smoke bacon over night.. For like 16 hours. It's straight pimpin. It has a built in meat thermometer and a freakin remote. "Oh I wonder what my internal temp is out there in the smoker... Oh.. Hold on. Lemme check the remote".

Do it.

Trust me.
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