Specialty Smoked Beer 100% Peated Ale

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Alchemist42

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{head scratching} :)

Honestly, I would consider/suggest actually trying it as it first and then fixing it if you find a problem or issue. i.e. don't fix it if it isn't broken. :) You are proposing all these changes to something you have not even tasted. It's not that that I am attached to people not tweaking the recipe, but as a designer, I guess I have issues with someone making changes to something they've not tried, making assumptions as to how it is, and trying to 'improve' it based on guesses instead of 1st hand knowledge.

My first test batch went from 1.074 to 1.012. That is a lot of attenuation. Sure, it's not perfectly dry, but quite a bit. In some ways, I think your 50/50 is going to make it sweeter than if you just went 100%. So your response is to add sugar to dry out a recipe that was dry, but sweetened because you went 50/50.

Does that make sense or am I just coming across over protective of my recipe?

Have fun and good luck either way.
 

GordonT

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Wow, I missed these last posts. Great to hear someone tried brewing this. Way to go Gordon. Isn't it rather amazing just how 'not peaty' it is given what the base it? I toasted the 2 lbs in a wok on my stove top. Just until the color changed to just about what your wort color is.

Yeah, it is a lengthy mash. Did you do a starch test or just follow my lead? Mine was starch test based.

So, it's been a few weeks now. How is it coming? Bottled or kegged yet?

It is kegged. When it had conditioned for just a few days I tried it and it was very peaty, but I liked it. Left it for a week and it was less peaty, more background malt was coming out and I could tell that the backbone of it was a very nice basic beer.
I have since pulled it out of the fridge and plan to let it sit for a couple of months and then have at it again.
This is an interesting beer and I do enjoy it. Would I brew it again? Not right away but maybe for a specialty event in the future :)
 

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Alchemist - where in Oregon are you? I'm just getting into brewing beer - been doing mead for several years now - and am starting off with a Sierra Nevada Porter clone.

This sounds AMAZING. I am a scotch lover and think that once I graduate to all-grain brewing, I would love to try your recipe. I have several scotch enthusiast/beer drinking friends that would probably love a peaty ale.

Sounds amazing and thanks for the wonderful idea and for sharing!

Aaron

So, I've done several all-grain batches now, and I am planning on brewing this on my birthday in a few weeks. I'm looking forward to trying a decoction mash, and this is one I'll plan on bottling to enjoy over the next year.

Thanks for the recipe!
 

fastenova

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Brewing this tomorrow. I got a yeast starter on the stirplate vortexing away (that's a word, right?) and will toast the grain tomorrow morning. I was told to keep the grain moist during the process, but I'll look around on HBT for info on toasting grains in the oven. I'm REALLY looking forward to making this, I made a smoked IPA last Sat as well and it smelled great, can't imagine how awesome this one is going to smell in the kettle!

Cheers
Aaron
 
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Alchemist42

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Aaron, I can't speak of others keeping toasted grains wet, but I know I did not. YMMV and I suspect either would be fine. And actually, although I have no 1st hand knowledge of it, it does not make sense to me to keep something wet you are toasting. Can someone explain that? Toasting would get the grains to 300 F or so, but keeping them wet would only allow 212 F. Sort of like I can't see how wet bread could ever turn into 'toast'. It would just be hot wet bread.

Great luck with this. Would love to hear how it comes out and how you like it.

I'm starting to get a hankering to brew it again. Maybe for Oct 31.
 

fastenova

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Alright! Toasting these up dry in my propane BBQ in two glass Pyrex dishes now so I don't stink up the house. My back deck smells fantastic! I am looking forward to this. I'm following your recipe as close as I can, with the biggest variable being the level of toast on these guys. Did a 2L starter of WL028 and it's in the fridge now.

As far as keeping them wet, the guy at my LHBS was saying he's seen grains ignite before, and that is why he said that. He didn't imply that I should soak them, rather occasionally mist them with a spray bottle. I don't think it's necessary, to be honest, so we'll see how it comes out with no water, about 300 degrees.
 

fastenova

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Holy crap, finally got the boil going, just added my 60 min hops. Had a mini emergency at the house so the sacc rest was 2.5 hours instead of 1, and I had a seriously stuck spare. Took an extra hour to sort that out and I didn't get to vorlauf at all. I think the stuck spare was related to the super long mash...?

But, looks good, smells good, can't wait to finish this brew session and grab a cold one!
 

fastenova

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So any thoughts on whether this is going to be 'ruined' (not as tasty as it ought to be) at all by the super long mash? i.e. long mash = more fermentable wort = drier finished product. Alchemist, did you use rice hulls when you mashed this? I didn't think it would be an issue since there is no wheat or other 'sticky' fermentables like oats or something... But that may be different since the mash was like...3.5 hours in total, plus the time it took to get around the stuck sparge (30-45 min).
 

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I kicked off a tiny 3Litre batch with 1 kilo of medium peated distilling malt with safspirit malt whisky yeast 2 days ago. I can only handle these tiny batches of all grain at the moment but let's me try cool things like this. I put the malt in a grain bag in 5 litres 65ish degree celcius for 90 mins, then removed the grain and washed it with 1 litre of boiled water added about 10-15g of goldings and boiled for 90 mins. OG was 1.083 and it's bubbling away nicely. The foam cap is very fine compared to anything else I've brewed.
Also I only have a 3Litre fermenter so I ended up with too much to fit in there so put 500ml into another bottle and I'm going to dry hop it just for the sake of the test.
 
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Alchemist42

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Fastenove, I didn't use rice hulls on this, being 100% barley. Same thought you had. I think you mash and brew will be fine and by no means ruined. Maybe a little more attenuated but that would be about it. And actually, I'd have to check my notes, but I recall my mash was much longer than the standard 1 hour - more like 2, so you only went over a little. You mashed out at 170-175 F right? And did the protein rests, correct? Overall, I think you will be just fine.

Kiwirevo, Way to go. Whatever works. Quick, hopefully not insulting, question. You mashed crushed grains, not whole grains, right? Given that OG, I would say so. Oh, and yes, it is makes a beautiful dense cap.
 

kiwirevo

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Yup, crushed, my local has all the grains available and crushes on request. I'm also making a part extract part peated malt whisky this week that's why I used the whisky yeast.
 
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Alchemist42

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I have my own update on this year's batch(es). I brewed two after my first one, believe it or not, it was not peaty enough for me. I used Simpson peated malt. After determining something was up (too mild) I found via research that Simpson's is a low phenol (5-10 ppm phenol) peated malt. Why it was good in previous batches, I just don't know. Regardless, I then hunted down Baird's Heavy peated distilling malt at 35-45 ppm phenol.

The resulting brew was much more what I wanted.

Now here is something interesting I found. After kegging, the the subsequent FG measurement tasting, I gave a token rinse to my hydrometer cylinder and took a sip....the that strong, ashy flavor that so many people note was there, in spades. I hold that something about having SO MUCH peated malt in the brew changes it's character in such a way that it's actually more approachable and balanced.
 

kiwirevo

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I have my own update on this year's batch(es). I brewed two after my first one, believe it or not, it was not peaty enough for me. I used Simpson peated malt. After determining something was up (too mild) I found via research that Simpson's is a low phenol (5-10 ppm phenol) peated malt. Why it was good in previous batches, I just don't know. Regardless, I then hunted down Baird's Heavy peated distilling malt at 35-45 ppm phenol.

The resulting brew was much more what I wanted.

Now here is something interesting I found. After kegging, the the subsequent FG measurement tasting, I gave a token rinse to my hydrometer cylinder and took a sip....the that strong, ashy flavor that so many people note was there, in spades. I hold that something about having SO MUCH peated malt in the brew changes it's character in such a way that it's actually more approachable and balanced.

I'd agree with that, very much an acquired taste anyway but I brewed a partly smoked beer that was much more difficult to drink vs my 100% medium peated beer
 

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I was waiting to hear back on some of your updates. I feel I need to try this. I was always a little sceptical about the virulent reaction to smoked and peated malts considering they do provide it in 55lb sacks! I always suspected that simple taste bias was at play, and that most simply had not tasted it, and made assumptions. (maybe I am too for that matter, in assuming it will be good, haha). Also, I can understand your take on that with plenty of peated malt, you can then appreciate the nuance of it, rather than a smaller amount that will likely clash and overpower an unsuspecting brew.

Since I have not really ever had a smoked beer (I am being told that Stone's smoked porter doesn't count) I will make a 1 gallon batch of this. I wish I had scottish ale yeast on hand...
 

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We are diving in to the peaty depths. Just ordered the baird's and going to follow the original receipe. Will repost with our findings for future generations.
 

diodeart

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Brewed our peated ale last night. Used bairds and followed original instructions for toasting and mash. The house was full of smokey goodness, even the creature i mean swmbo liked it. She doesn't like anything. My brewing assistant the professor said it was a long complicated brew. I played pingpong and watched hockey so i thought it was really easy. I did check in with him saying things like "hows it going professor" and "attaboy professor". Will post in a month or so with results.
 

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I'm just curious on the multi-step mash. Aren't those usually used for under-modified malts? I believe that the smoked malt should be fully modified, so would a single infusion mash work? Maybe 148-150 for 90 min.

I only ask because I was recently thinking about brewing something just like this, but wouldn't have planned on doing anything over and above my single infusion with a batch sparge.
 

kiwirevo

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I'm just curious on the multi-step mash. Aren't those usually used for under-modified malts? I believe that the smoked malt should be fully modified, so would a single infusion mash work? Maybe 148-150 for 90 min.

I only ask because I was recently thinking about brewing something just like this, but wouldn't have planned on doing anything over and above my single infusion with a batch sparge.

I did single, works well, got one of my highest efficiencies that I ever got
 
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Alchemist42

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When I originally did this I could not find any data on peated malt, as to whether it was unmodified or not, so I figured better safe than sorry. And I really like decoction mashes.

And something about this peated malt, whether it the malt or the mash technique, I'm with Kiwirevo, this stuff gives me the highest efficiencies I've ever seen.
 

GordonT

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I brewed this quite some time ago, maybe a year or so if memory serves. We had the last pint this weekend and I have to say that this gets better with age although die hards may prefer the younger more robust version.

With age the great beer under the peat began to peek out more. Clean malt, a touch of hop (my addition), a good mouthfeel, all topped with a gentle peatiness. I'm thinking that I should make this again and simply store it away.

Thanks for the recipe and concept.
 

TAK

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I brewed this quite some time ago, maybe a year or so if memory serves. We had the last pint this weekend and I have to say that this gets better with age although die hards may prefer the younger more robust version.

With age the great beer under the peat began to peek out more. Clean malt, a touch of hop (my addition), a good mouthfeel, all topped with a gentle peatiness. I'm thinking that I should make this again and simply store it away.

Thanks for the recipe and concept.

I was thinking I might batch age this one. How does the hop character play? I'm a hop head, but I understand that they might compete with the peat. I was considering doing a single FWH addition.
 

TAK

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I toasted the 2 lbs in a wok on my stove top. Just until the color changed to just about what your wort color is.

Can you give some more details on this process? How hot.. medium/low? About how long did it take to get this color? I assume you stay on top of it, stirring continuously.
 

TAK

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I just cracked open a bottle of my small batch 100% peat smoked malt ale. Although the peat smoke is in your face at the nose, the palate is surprisingly and pleasantly clean. I made this batch because I hade 5 lbs of peat smoked malt and decided not to use it in the brew I purchased it for, but after tasting this, I'd make it again at full scale.
 

diodeart

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I brewed this in april of 2013 and just cracked another bottle open. Its fun to drag this beer out for beer lovers that have tried everything. Because there is nothing like this beer anywhere that I know of. At a year and a half it has mellowed a bit, the beautiful smokey goodness and sweetness is still there in full force. The smoke monster has been tamed a bit, but still has claws and fangs. I think the true potential of this beer will be revealed after 3-5 years.
 

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Haha. I took a bottle of a high percentage peat smoked beer to work last year and put it on the tasting panel. It was an 11%abv barley wine. It was rather oxidized at this point (three years) and the peat gave someone the impression of McD's bbq sauce, I think, was one comment. Makes me want to do it again but all peat malt like this recipe.
 

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Brew board I was on years ago had a member "Mr. Peat." Everything he brewed had peat. I've used a few ounces in a Scottish ale before, can't imagine 100% of the grain bill.
 

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Aside from all that, I'm near giddy to get this into my keg - Laphroiag's ale cousin


I saw this thread and started reading the posts in backwards order, from most recent back to the beginning. I love scotch, including really heavy peated scotches, and was just about to ask how this compares to something like, say, Laphroiag, on the peaty scale?

Low and behold, the first post. Does this actually compare (as far as peaty aroma / peaty flavor goes) to something like Laphroiag? I've only ever used a few ounces at most of peated malt in any of my HB's.


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TAK

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Holly dead thread, Batman.

FWIW, I ended up brewing this sometime in '13. Completely relate to some of the most recent posts.
After at least a year of age, the distinct smokey character is still there. It's fun to pull out a bottle every now and then. This thing naturally ages.
 

BrewinBromanite

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So does the aroma compare to opening up a bottle of Laphroiag or similarly peaty scotch?


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lulubrewer

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"So does the aroma compare to opening up a bottle of Laphroiag or similarly peaty scotch?
"
anyone?
 
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Alchemist42

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"So does the aroma compare to opening up a bottle of Laphroiag or similarly peaty scotch?
"
anyone?

It seems to depend on how high the ppm's are for the initial malt and how big you make the ale. One made at 6% with 20 ppm malt was surprisingly stronger in peat aroma than the 10% @ 50 ppm. What I think happens is the malt takes over in the larger ale and masks/blunts some of the peat impact.

That said, my last batch was 8% @ 50 ppm and is very peaty But like scotch? In of course some ways yes, but really, it's not too much. All distilled beverages IMO have a clarity of flavor due to concentration that ales just cannot come up to.

Sort of like the difference in a piece of cut fruit vs a pie baked of that same fruit. Undeniably of the fruit but softer with other round flavors.

So, Laphroig pie :)
 

TAK

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I'd say in my 100% peated malt SMaSH the aroma is distinctly like Laphroig or a similar scotch. Taste, now that's nowhere near as smokey.
 
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Alchemist42

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Glad to hear you are giving it a try. I am trying a variation. Brewing it on the grain. We will see how close it comes to it's inspiration name sake (after a bit of that pesky water is removed, if you follow :) )
 

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Good brew day! Also did some pulled pork, sausage, ribs, jalapeno cheese soup, and beans. So we ate well while we smelled the peat smoked malt all day!

All went smoothly after I revamped my brew rig the day before (although there were a few minor leaks). I missed my dough-in temp slightly (I hit 133F instead of 122F). So no biggie. I rested for 40 min and then increased temp to 142F. The decoctions went well, and I hit my temps there. I recirculated and collected crystal clear wort at 24 Brix (1.093 SG). Second runnings came out crystal clear too at 11.1 Brix (1.043 SG). Preboil gravity was 16.8 Brix (1.065 SG) which is about right where I wanted it to be. After a 90 min boil, I basically hit my OG of 1.075. Aerated and pitched a nice starter grown from Wyeast 1728. She's fermenting away nicely.

The day before, I toasted some peat malt (a bit at 350F for 1h15m and another bit for 2h30m). This got me some nice color (to the tune of about 15 SRM for the beer).

Now we wait...
 

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I kegged this yesterday. OG after brewing was 1.074 SG which fermented down to 1.012 SG for 8.1% ABV. Beautiful smoke and slight peat on the nose with pleasant malt and bread/biscuit undertones. Favor is initially malty and a little sweet (?) with strong smoke and peat, hints of bread and biscuit, and a finish that is smoky and peppery (somewhat like a nice Islay Scotch!).
 

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Old thread, but it convinced me to do it.

1lb wheat malt (I add this to all my beers)
14lb peated malt
2oz of roasted barley (for color)

5g batch
1.25oz magnum at the start of boil

2oz wood chips, heavy toast, two weeks

Kveik m12 yeast

1.086-1.009

10% abv

Tastes like Laphroaig at bottling. Drank half a pint out of carboy. Tastes green but I really enjoyed it.
 

MadLuke

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Old thread, but it convinced me to do it.

1lb wheat malt (I add this to all my beers)
14lb peated malt
2oz of roasted barley (for color)

5g batch
1.25oz magnum at the start of boil

2oz wood chips, heavy toast, two weeks

Kveik m12 yeast

1.086-1.009

10% abv

Tastes like Laphroaig at bottling. Drank half a pint out of carboy. Tastes green but I really enjoyed it.

For those who are not from New Zealand (everyone local knows... we know), try to get your hands on Rex Attitude by Yeastie Boys. 100% peated distillers malt. Every time I have it, I just giggle uncontrollably for a few minutes... its good/
 
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