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Old 07-09-2009, 01:49 AM   #1
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Default Smoke & Fire

Hi all, I've been feeling creative with the thought of making my next batch up, so we're back again looking for some tips and insight into the newest concoction.

It seems looking around here that peppers are a popular bit of a brewing mystery. What I was contemplating is this. I start with a simple Irish Red, add some heat, a bit of smoke flavor, and enjoy. Of course that's not too helpful so far so the long version, here's the base kit I was planning to start with:

6 lb. Gold liquid malt extract
12 oz. Caramel 40°L
2 oz. Special B
2 oz. Roasted Barley
1 oz. Cascade
1 oz. Fuggle

Now what I'm looking at is a complete "theme" in having a dark red color, light smooth body, a bit of heat on the front end and a final smoke taste (think sitting by a bonfire for a few hours) at the end.

Some thoughts so far, for peppers I'm pondering cayenne rather than the (seemingly) more typical jalapeno given the somewhat more muted flavor but with a spice that seems like it can both hide and show itself at the same time. Having never used any sort of pepper in my beer though I wouldn't know how they blend in over all, so any suguestions on specific types or amounts would certainly help.

I'm guessing that some amount of Carapils would be needed because of the pepper's oils, but I'm not looking for real thick beer, any alternatives I might use, or an amount that would keep the head from going completely flat without overdoing it?

The last part is the hardest for me. The background smoke flavoring probably has a few options I figure. I've considered some heavily toasted oak chips/spirals but having never tried it would that give more of a wood/cask rather than the smoke background I'm trying for? Another option I'd guess at would be some heavily roasted grains steeped in, but then the color could get too dark, or are there some lighter ones to try that could give the same effect?

Blast that creative bug! It's causing my posts to go epic length! But hopefully those here (and I know there are plenty of you) who've worked with it for some time now can help me find the answers to create just that perfect pint.

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Old 07-09-2009, 01:52 AM   #2
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Use a small amount of rauchmalt (1/4 - 1/2 pound).

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Old 07-09-2009, 02:14 AM   #3
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From my pepper brewing experience you'll be beating your head against a wall to make a beer that has a sustained head. A small (2-4oz.)amount of peated malt or a greater amount of smoked malt, as Yuri said, will give some perception of smoke. Due to the feedback to the pepper beer recipe in my dropdown I plan on doing two batches this year and I may just add some smoke to one for fun.

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Old 07-09-2009, 11:23 AM   #4
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Seems what I thought the hardest question was actually the simplest. I hadn't heard of the rauchmalt before, but it'll have to keep some on hand. For future curiosity though, what heavy malts could work, if any? Any thoughts on the wood chips?

I'm not too terribly concerned about the head retention, but always best to check if there's a cure before the problem arises, or in this case falls flat.

Cuinrearview. so looking at your recipe I'm getting that a total of 3oz of mid-hot peppers gives a pretty good bite to the beer. To be honest though I'm not sure what you mean by "super chili" or at least I've never seen one labeled as such around here. How does the chili flavor blend in overall to the rest of the malt?

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Old 07-09-2009, 01:01 PM   #5
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What they label super chili here are the little red peppers that point up when they grow. They're really not very flavorful, just hot. I'm not super tolerant to heat and I wouldn't use anymore than three ounces of peppers total. The recipe was based on Dragonmead's Ring of Fire after a couple of e-mails exchanged with the Brewery.

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Old 07-10-2009, 12:45 AM   #6
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Interesting, don't think I've seen them myself. I consider myself pretty heat tolerant (not all over here in little scandinavia relegate their diet to casserole and lutefisk ) but I still want other people to be able to drink it, plus not having it overtake the rest of the beer sounds like a good notion too.

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