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Specialty Smoked Beer

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Specialty Smoked Beer is a catch-all term for any smoke-flavored beer other than one of the few distinctly defined substyles of smoked beer, such as Rauchbier and Grodzisk. Often these beers are smoke-flavored versions of other traditional styles, such as Bock or Porter.

Contents

[edit] Adding Smoke to Beer

The most common sources of smoke flavor in beer is the use of smoked malts. The major traditional smoked malt available to homebrewers is Rauchmalz, which is ordinarily smoked over beechwood fires to give it a distinctive flavor.

Recently, some homebrewers have also begun to use peat-smoked malt in brewing. This malt, more traditionally used in making whisky, is not traditional in any beer style, including Scottish beer styles.

Some brewers also use liquid smoke extract to add a smoke flavor to their beers; however, this is not recommended as it can result in a more artificial smoke flavor.

[edit] Competition Styles

The BJCP defines only two styles of smoked beer; one category for a Märzen Rauchbier and one catch-all category for all other smoked beers. The GABF style guidelines recognize a number of types of Rauchbier as well as a catch-all category.

Both the BJCP and GABF guidelines also permit, but discourage, the use of small amounts of smoked malt in most Scottish beer styles.

[edit] BJCP Style Guidelines

[edit] Other Smoked Beer

22B. Other Smoked Beer Vital Statistics
BJCP Style Guideline Definition (2004)
IBUs: varies SRM: varies OG: varies FG: varies ABV: varies
Aroma: The aroma should be a pleasant balance between the expected aroma of the base beer (e.g., robust porter) and the smokiness imparted by the use of smoked malts. The intensity and character of the smoke and base beer style can vary, with either being prominent in the balance. Smokiness may vary from low to assertive; however, balance in the overall presentation is the key to well-made examples. The quality and secondary characteristics of the smoke are reflective of the source of the smoke (e.g., peat, alder, oak, beechwood). Sharp, phenolic, harsh, rubbery, or burnt smoke-derived aromatics are inappropriate.
Appearance: Variable. The appearance should reflect the base beer style, although the color of the beer is often a bit darker than the plain base style.
Flavor: The aroma should be a pleasant balance between the expected aroma of the base beer (e.g., robust porter) and the smokiness imparted by the use of smoked malts. The intensity and character of the smoke and base beer style can vary, with either being prominent in the balance. Smokiness may vary from low to assertive; however, balance in the overall presentation is the key to well-made examples. The quality and secondary characteristics of the smoke are reflective of the source of the smoke (e.g., peat, alder, oak, beechwood). Sharp, phenolic, harsh, rubbery, or burnt smoke-derived aromatics are inappropriate.
Mouthfeel: Varies with the base beer style. Significant astringent, phenolic smoke-derived harshness is inappropriate.
Overall Impression: The aroma should be a pleasant balance between the expected aroma of the base beer (e.g., robust porter) and the smokiness imparted by the use of smoked malts. The intensity and character of the smoke and base beer style can vary, with either being prominent in the balance. Smokiness may vary from low to assertive; however, balance in the overall presentation is the key to well-made examples. The quality and secondary characteristics of the smoke are reflective of the source of the smoke (e.g., peat, alder, oak, beechwood). Sharp, phenolic, harsh, rubbery, or burnt smoke-derived aromatics are inappropriate.
History: The process of using smoked malts more recently has been adapted by craft brewers to other styles, notably porter and strong Scotch ales. German brewers have traditionally used smoked malts in bock, doppelbock, weizen, dunkel, schwarzbier, helles, pilsner, and other specialty styles.
Comments: Any style of beer can be smoked; the goal is to reach a pleasant balance between the smoke character and the base beer style. IF THIS BEER IS BASED ON A CLASSIC STYLE (E.G., ROBUST PORTER) THEN THE SPECIFIC STYLE MUST BE SPECIFIED. CLASSIC STYLES DO NOT HAVE TO BE CITED (E.G., "PORTER" OR "BROWN ALE" IS ACCEPTABLE). THE TYPE OF WOOD OR OTHER SOURCE OF SMOKE MUST BE SPECIFIED IF A "VARIETAL" CHARACTER IS NOTICEABLE. Entries that have a classic style cited will be judged on how well that style is represented, and how well it is balanced with the smoke character. Entries with a specific type or types of smoke cited will be judged on how well that type of smoke is recognizable and marries with the base style. Specific classic styles or smoke types do not have to be specified. For example, "smoked porter" is as acceptable as "peat-smoked strong Scotch ale" or "cherry-wood smoked IPA". Judges should evaluate the beers mostly on the overall balance, and how well the smoke character enhances the base beer.
Ingredients: Different materials used to smoke malt result in unique flavor and aroma characteristics. Beechwood-, peat- or other hardwood (oak, maple, mesquite, alder, pecan, apple, cherry, other fruitwoods) smoked malts may be used. The various woods may remind one of certain smoked products due to their food association (e.g., hickory with ribs, maple with bacon or sausage, and alder with salmon). Evergreen wood should never be used since it adds a medicinal, piney flavor to the malt. Excessive peat-smoked malt is generally undesirable due to its sharp, piercing phenolics and dirt-like earthiness. The remaining ingredients vary with the base style. If smoked malts are combined with other unusual ingredients (fruits, vegetables, spices, honey, etc.) in noticeable quantities, the resulting beer should be entered in the specialty/experimental category.
Commercial Examples: Alaskan Smoked Porter, Spezial Rauchbier, Stone Smoked Porter, Schlenkerla Weizen Rauchbier, Schlenkerla Ur-Bock Rauchbier, Rogue Smoke, Arcadia London Porter, DeGroen's Rauchbock

[edit] GABF Style Listings

[edit] Other Smoke Flavored Beer (Lager or Ale)

19E. Other Smoke Flavored Beer (Lager or Ale)
GABF Style Listing (2007)
Any style of beer can be smoked; the goal is to reach a balance between the style's character and the smoky properties. The brewer should list the traditional or experimental style of the base beer as well as the wood type used as a smoke source (e.g. “alder smoked dry stout”). Beer entries not accompanied by this information may be at a disadvantage during judging.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): -
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): -
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): -
Bitterness (IBU): -
Color SRM (EBC): -