I was thinking of turning a California Common kit into a smoked Rauchbier-like CC. A) Will the hop character and bitterness be completely off-base with the smoke? B) Any suggestions on how to smoke the malt?
I was going to use an electric stovetop smoker and smoke 1.5 lBs of Cara 60 over hickory. For.. 2 hours? I guess I should wet the malt first (as well as soak the chips)?
Even the Germans use beechwood for roasting the malts. That's the way malt was roasted dry after germination in olden days. You can read up on it at germanbeerinstitute.com for a look at it & description.
I don't think I'd wet it or the chips. And I think 2 hours might be too much. You want a little smokey character,but not dominating.
You do want to soak both the grain and the wood prior to smoking. Wet wood smokes more than dry wood and wet grain will absorb smoke. Dry grain will just darken and get roasty. You can experiment with smoking with different woods but beechwood is the common wood for rauchmalt.
Smoke and hops generally do not go together because the bitterness from the smoke and the bitterness from the hops do not blend in a way that enhances either flavor. That said, I make a traditional smoked wheat beer (gratzer/grodziski) that is smoked over oak and hopped to 35 IBU. It's really good and the smoke and hops do blend well, but I think the smoke flavor from the oak is very different than the bacon-y smoke flavor from beechwood.
Thanks for the suggestions on smoking. After doing some more googling I found episodes on smoked beer at the Jamil Show and better brewing to be useful as to process. Apache, thanks for the recipe advice. Sounds like I'm going with a maltier style on this one.