How Much Peat Smoked Grain?

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rodwha

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I have been exploring Scotch. My favorite so far is Laphroaig 10 Year, but there are a few others a little less smokey that I enjoy as well. However I’ve also tried Lagavulin 16 Year and found it reminiscent of bog water.

I have a friend who thought trying this grain in a beer sounded good and in common Josh fashion didn’t bother to ask questions or look for information. He used the whole pound in a ~5 gal batch and produced bog water himself.

So how much of this grain would I want to use to produce a very smokey flavor up front without going overboard?

Here’s a nice little chart I was given to help me explore Scotch. Laphroaig 10 is central at the top.



I’ve also wondered about using a little of my Scotch to soak wood in. How much would it take to infuse that sort of flavor? And is it even worth doing with the cost of it?
 

kh54s10

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Peat smoked malt is a strong and very harsh smoke. Use it very sparingly. I used it along with Oak Smoked wheat malt in a brown ale. 1 pound of Oak Smoked wheat malt but only .1 pound of the Peat smoked. Did another and used .2 pounds. They could not have taken much more. I would say if you use any other smoked malt my limit would be .25 pound.

That is for beer. I don't know the affect distilling would have.
 
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I’d use just the peat smoked malt. I wondered about 1/4 lb being plenty or not or if half of what my friend used would be the threshold. Certainly don’t want bog water!
 

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Strange that you liked Laphroaig but not Lagavulin...definitely try Ardbeg sometime too if you haven't yet :)
Anyway, I make a smoked porter that has 4oz of peat smoked malt and I can honestly barely taste it, though it could be all the dark malts masking it somewhat. I would suggest starting there I suppose. Also I love all things smoked, so my threshold maybe different than the average Joe.
 
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Strange that you liked Laphroaig but not Lagavulin...definitely try Ardbeg sometime too if you haven't yet :)
Anyway, I make a smoked porter that has 4oz of peat smoked malt and I can honestly barely taste it, though it could be all the dark malts masking it somewhat. I would suggest starting there I suppose. Also I love all things smoked, so my threshold maybe different than the average Joe.
Thanks for the recommendation!
 

Northern_Brewer

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I have been exploring Scotch. My favorite so far is Laphroaig 10 Year, but there are a few others a little less smokey that I enjoy as well. However I’ve also tried Lagavulin 16 Year and found it reminiscent of bog water.

So how much of this grain would I want to use to produce a very smokey flavor up front without going overboard?
Usual suggestion for peat malt is 2-3% of the grain bill, maybe 5% if you like licking barbecues. But it's one of those things where you have to experiment, it obviously depends on the rest of the grain bill - but also be aware that smoked malts vary a lot (quite possibly because they stick around on supplier shelves for too long) and also there's a lot of variation from person to person on how they perceive these flavours. So experiment - but 2-3% is where I'd start.

It's also worth noting that a lot of the flavour of something like Lagavulin doesn't come from peat. I've had Lagavulin straight from the still and it's pretty much like vodka, most of the flavour comes from the barrel and the sea air.

So you might want to play with split batches and play with eg a Belgian yeast, or a clean/Belgian blend, alongside your usual yeast, see what effect some yeast phenolics have alongside the peat phenolics.
 
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Your post really struck me because I went down this same path. Smokey and peaty scotches are my favorite scotches so I thought I would try out some Peat Smoked Malt.

My first recipe used 1/2 pound (3% grain bill) and I got a light smokey and peaty flavor but I wanted more (everyone who tried it liked it). So when I redid the recipe I bumped it to 1 pound (6% grain bill). It now has a heavy smoke and Peat flavor to it, which I am enjoying, but it overpowers all of the other flavors in the beer. So I'm considering dropping it back to 3/4 pound to maybe see if I can get some flavors other than smokey Peat.

You mentioned your friend did 1 pound and it was too much so I'd say start with half a pound. Also don't forget to talk to your LHBS. When I initially formulated my recipe I took it to them and asked for advice (I've been brewing for just over one year now so I'm still a rookie).

That recipe had 2.1 pounds of peated malt. They told me it would be neigh undrinkable and to scale it back haha. One day I intend to brew that monster just to see what it's like.

A lot of people turn their noses up at beer that has any peat flavors in it. But that's the beauty of homebrewing. You don't have to make something other people like as long as you like it.
 
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rodwha

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Your post really struck me because I went down this same path. Smokey and peaty scotches are my favorite scotches so I thought I would try out some Peat Smoked Malt.

My first recipe used 1/2 pound (3% grain bill) and I got a light smokey and peaty flavor but I wanted more (everyone who tried it liked it). So when I redid the recipe I bumped it to 1 pound (6% grain bill). It now has a heavy smoke and Peat flavor to it, which I am enjoying, but it overpowers all of the other flavors in the beer. So I'm considering dropping it back to 3/4 pound to maybe see if I can get some flavors other than smokey Peat.

You mentioned your friend did 1 pound and it was too much so I'd say start with half a pound. Also don't forget to talk to your LHBS. When I initially formulated my recipe I took it to them and asked for advice (I've been brewing for just over one year now so I'm still a rookie).

That recipe had 2.1 pounds of peated malt. They told me it would be neigh undrinkable and to scale it back haha. One day I intend to brew that monster just to see what it's like.

A lot of people turn their noses up at beer that has any peat flavors in it. But that's the beauty of homebrewing. You don't have to make something other people like as long as you like it.
Mind sharing your recipe? Curious what you did and the ABV to go along with it. Figured I’d shoot for somewhere in the 6-7% range. But I also figured I’d keep the crystal malts moderate shooting for a dark amberish color much like a neat glass of Scotch along with no real hop flavor/aroma.
 
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Mind sharing your recipe? Curious what you did and the ABV to go along with it. Figured I’d shoot for somewhere in the 6-7% range. But I also figured I’d keep the crystal malts moderate shooting for a dark amberish color much like a neat glass of Scotch along with no real hop flavor/aroma.
Sure thing, I'll share the first one I brewed, it's a little friendlier if you're not huge on peat and/or smoke. This one definitely was dark, not amberish. So adjust accordingly but this was quite dark. I like dark and roasty though so I brew a lot of that style.

I'll post the beersmith values and then the values I actually got in parentheses, grain bill percentages also in parenthesis.

5.5 gallons
6.3 abv (5.9)
OG 1.061 (1.060)
FG 1.015 (1.016)
Approx 73.55 brewhouse efficiency
Mashed at 155 F

9# 2-row (57.6%)
1/2# Peat Smoked Malt (3.2%)
1 1/2# flaked oats (9.6%)
1 3/4# chocolate malt 350 srm (11.2%)
1 1/2# biscuit malt (9.6%)
11 oz roast barley 350 srm (4.4%)
11 oz roast barley 500 srm (4.4%)

.75 oz magnum 14.6 alpha 60 mins
.53 oz Northern Brewer 6.8 alpha 15 minutes (planned on this being 1 oz but due to poor planning all I had was .53 oz)

Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast

The picture shows the color of it in a 1 gallon clear jug I pulled off to experiment with.
IMG_4111.jpg
 

Schlenkerla

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I smoke my own malt and have yet to try peat. So far I've tried apple, cherry/apple blend, and maple. I have 10 lbs of Beechwood and 6 lbs of oak at the ready. The latter are for these two pending beers;

The beech will probably be 94% smoked Munich and 6% black malt. 1.050 OG Hopped at 40 IBU with hallertauer. ABV 5.5%. Which will be for a Bamberg Rauch Beer called Schlenkerla.

The oak is for a 100% smoked wheat/pilsner blend. OG of 1.030 with saaz hopped at 30 IBU. ABV 3.5%. Which will be for a Prussian Gratzer or if Polish it's Grodziskie.

Peat is not on my list of malts to try yet. I still have Alder, Pecan Hickory, and Mesquite to try before I attempt peat.

I've been making either rauchbier or smoked browns lately. All have been at 50% smoked malt. Also thought of leaving left over smoked malts for stouts and porter additions at a 10% of the grist.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Peat is not on my list of malts to try yet. I still have Alder, Pecan Hickory, and Mesquite to try before I attempt peat.

I've been making either rauchbier or smoked browns lately. All have been at 50% smoked malt. Also thought of leaving left over smoked malts for stouts and porter additions at a 10% of the grist.
Peat is a completely different kettle of fish to something like beechwood though, it's at least 10x "stronger" and you need to adjust the proportions accordingly. A 50% peat-smoked malt beer would be completely undrinkable.
 
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rodwha

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Sure thing, I'll share the first one I brewed, it's a little friendlier if you're not huge on peat and/or smoke. This one definitely was dark, not amberish. So adjust accordingly but this was quite dark. I like dark and roasty though so I brew a lot of that style.

I'll post the beersmith values and then the values I actually got in parentheses, grain bill percentages also in parenthesis.

5.5 gallons
6.3 abv (5.9)
OG 1.061 (1.060)
FG 1.015 (1.016)
Approx 73.55 brewhouse efficiency
Mashed at 155 F

9# 2-row (57.6%)
1/2# Peat Smoked Malt (3.2%)
1 1/2# flaked oats (9.6%)
1 3/4# chocolate malt 350 srm (11.2%)
1 1/2# biscuit malt (9.6%)
11 oz roast barley 350 srm (4.4%)
11 oz roast barley 500 srm (4.4%)

.75 oz magnum 14.6 alpha 60 mins
.53 oz Northern Brewer 6.8 alpha 15 minutes (planned on this being 1 oz but due to poor planning all I had was .53 oz)

Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast

The picture shows the color of it in a 1 gallon clear jug I pulled off to experiment with.
View attachment 565417
I love dark roasty beers as well. Actually I’ve liked quite the range of beer styles. I don’t like Belgians if they have that bubblegum yeast flavor or sours, and American lagers are just boring to me now, though I’ll buy a Coors if I’m at an event without craft choices.

I’m mostly going after an amber color to somewhat replicate the color of Scotch. I truly want it to be somewhat similar just at a more reasonable ABV.

Could you taste the hop flavor?

Ultimately I figured I’d use 2-row or pale ale malt with maybe 1/2 lb of crystal malt to get the color I want and just a touch of sweetness maybe. Not sure. And then maybe an ounce for bittering. US-05 for yeast. Not very sure. I did notice that MoreBeer carries an Irish ale malt. I know nothing about it though.
 
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I love dark roasty beers as well. Actually I’ve liked quite the range of beer styles. I don’t like Belgians if they have that bubblegum yeast flavor or sours, and American lagers are just boring to me now, though I’ll buy a Coors if I’m at an event without craft choices.

I’m mostly going after an amber color to somewhat replicate the color of Scotch. I truly want it to be somewhat similar just at a more reasonable ABV.

Could you taste the hop flavor?

Ultimately I figured I’d use 2-row or pale ale malt with maybe 1/2 lb of crystal malt to get the color I want and just a touch of sweetness maybe. Not sure. And then maybe an ounce for bittering. US-05 for yeast. Not very sure. I did notice that MoreBeer carries an Irish ale malt. I know nothing about it though.
To be honest I can't say. I don't think i did but I'm still new to this and my sense of taste and smell is less than stellar (a running joke between my wife and i). It would be fun to do a small batch with and without the Northern Brewer hops to see if it made a discernible difference.

Actually I'm in luck. I have a bottle of an oak cube Aged version of my first brew. I'll cool it down and crack it open and see what I can tell for difference is, to see if I can taste the hops. My second brew of this recipe used the full 1 oz of Northern Brewer hops vs .5ish oz. So I'll pour a glass of the second brew and crack the bottle of the original and compare and contrast and get back tomorrow evening with a report.
 
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rodwha

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To be honest I can't say. I don't think i did but I'm still new to this and my sense of taste and smell is less than stellar (a running joke between my wife and i). It would be fun to do a small batch with and without the Northern Brewer hops to see if it made a discernible difference.

Actually I'm in luck. I have a bottle of an oak cube Aged version of my first brew. I'll cool it down and crack it open and see what I can tell for difference is, to see if I can taste the hops. My second brew of this recipe used the full 1 oz of Northern Brewer hops vs .5ish oz. So I'll pour a glass of the second brew and crack the bottle of the original and compare and contrast and get back tomorrow evening with a report.
Awesome!

Quite frankly with a small portion up against the grain bill you used it’s likely to be underwhelming. I wondered about this in a more delicate grain bill.
 

kh54s10

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Both of mine had other smoked malts. 11% and 12% total. Oak Smoked wheat in those. For those the smoke flavor was a lot stronger and harsher than the couple of others I have done with even more smoked malt, but only one at at time. Cherrywood being my most often used. I have also used Mesquite.
 
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Awesome!

Quite frankly with a small portion up against the grain bill you used it’s likely to be underwhelming. I wondered about this in a more delicate grain bill.
Sorry it took so long, didn't have an (responsible) opportunity to try them side by side until last night.

As expected I really didn't get any hops out of either of them. Still tasty though.
 
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rodwha

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Sorry it took so long, didn't have an (responsible) opportunity to try them side by side until last night.

As expected I really didn't get any hops out of either of them. Still tasty though.
Kind of figured you wouldn’t but was curious regardless.
 

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I'd like to use peat on a low gravity brew. Maybe 1.030 og with a single malt of 2 row. I have 5 oz of peat malt. How much peat should i use?
 
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rodwha

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I'd like to use peat on a low gravity brew. Maybe 1.030 og with a single malt of 2 row. I have 5 oz of peat malt. How much peat should i use?
I’m going out on a limb here but would guess for a low gravity 5 gal batch half of what you have (2.5 oz) would likely be good for a moderate touch of peat. Of course I’ve yet to try this myself and only know from my friend’s experience that the whole pound is godawful!

What kind of flavor contribution are you looking for? I’m guessing you like peaty scotch. Such as what?

If you brew this I’d love to hear back on your experience.
 

Schlenkerla

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This is the usage suggestion from the authors of Smoke Beers.

Hopefully this helps.

This is a phenomenal book on Smoked Beers.

I second the thought of using too much peat. Using too much is a fast way to ruin a beer.

They mention the amounts of phenolic character in peat is measured in 5, 10, and 15 ppms.

As a perspective on ppm, I use Iodophor as a sanitizer at the rate of 25 ppm. Yeah to much peat is gawd aweful.


20180524_121951.jpeg
20180524_121548.jpeg
20180524_121717.jpeg
 
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rodwha

rodwha

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This is the usage suggestion from the authors of Smoke Beers.

Hopefully this helps.

This is a phenomenal book on Smoked Beers.

I second the thought of using too much peat. Using too much is a fast way to ruin a beer.

They mention the amounts of phenolic character in peat is measured in 5, 10, and 15 ppms.

As a perspective on ppm, I use Iodophor as a sanitizer at the rate of 25 ppm. Yeah to much peat is gawd aweful.


View attachment 571770View attachment 571771View attachment 571772
Very nice! Thanks for posting that!
 

Schlenkerla

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Very nice! Thanks for posting that!
Your welcome. I've been meaning to post this a while back.

I love smoke beers however peat is the last I want to try.

My next smoked grain will be from some shelled pistachios for a red ale. Then maybe some Hatch Chili flavored peanut shells, for a smoked molé mild ale. Unless I think of something more crazy.

Currently drinking an oak smoked pilsner/wheat pale ale. Tastes kinda hammy in the finish. LOL
 
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rodwha

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Your welcome. I've been meaning to post this a while back.

I love smoke beers however peat is the last I want to try.

My next smoked grain will be from some shelled pistachios for a red ale. Then maybe some Hatch Chili flavored peanut shells, for a smoked molé mild ale. Unless I think of something more crazy.

Currently drinking an oak smoked pilsner/wheat pale ale. Tastes kinda hammy in the finish. LOL
I must say those both sound extremely intriguing!
 

Schlenkerla

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I must say those both sound extremely intriguing!
[Off Topic]

You might find this an enjoyable to read. See the link below.

As for the red, I'm thinking Pistachio shells when smoked supposedly leave a pistachio taste on grain. The grist I envision is using a pale malt base, of that ~ 20% smoked pale malt, then use 10% 30L, 2.5% special roast, 2.5% biscuit and 2.5% chocolate malt. Figure that with a roasty pistachio taste.

Therefore my conclusion maybe spicy peanut shells might do the same thing. As for the molé, I'd mash with a smoked peanut grain, some cocoa powder in the mash and a handful of crushed spicy peanuts with Maris Otter, 60L, 120L and home roasted chocolate malt.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/index.php?threads/637254/
 

BobBailey

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I brew a Smoked Peat Dry Stout from time to time and find that 1 oz./gal. works well. Any more than that would be overwhelming in my opinion.
 
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rodwha

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I brew a Smoked Peat Dry Stout from time to time and find that 1 oz./gal. works well. Any more than that would be overwhelming in my opinion.
About what percentage is that of your grist? Figuring for nh homebrew above having a very low gravity it would potentially have a big impact whereas I figured mine would likely be at or a little above 1.050 and not nearly so much of an impact. And then I don’t know how pronounced he is aiming for whereas I want it forefront like a peaty Scotch, and keep wondering about using Laphroaig. But not being inexpensive I’m not sure I’d want to use an amount that makes a big enough impact (I’ve never done such a thing and assume it would require a lot).
 

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The shop I bought it from says to use .75 ounces for a 5 gallon low gravity beer. The stuff he has is really strong.
 
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The shop I bought it from says to use .75 ounces for a 5 gallon low gravity beer. The stuff he has is really strong.
Do you know what company made the grain?

I’d certainly like to hear how it turns out.
 

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I'm using peated malt for the first time today. I'm using 10 oz, which is 3.2% of the grains. It's a 19lb grain bill. I'm sparging right now. The mash has a definite smoke presence, but it's not overwhelming. Obviously I don't know how the beer is going to turn out, but I'm excited about it and since the mash smells so nice I have a good feeling about it.
 

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I have been exploring Scotch. My favorite so far is Laphroaig 10 Year, but there are a few others a little less smokey that I enjoy as well. However I’ve also tried Lagavulin 16 Year and found it reminiscent of bog water.
It's interesting that you like Laphroaig but not Lagavulin, with Laphroaig being widely considered as the most peaty. I love it, but others call it cough syrup.

If you get a chance try Talisker. It's not as peaty as Laphroaig by any means, but it does have a nicely balanced peat character.

If you want a Scotch that is not peaty but absolutely smooth and delicious, try The Glenlivet.

I’ve also wondered about using a little of my Scotch to soak wood in. ...
If you do that to good Scotch, please keep it to yourself. ;-)
 

Northern_Brewer

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I was trying to keep off the whisky recs, but since we're going there...

It's interesting that you like Laphroaig but not Lagavulin, with Laphroaig being widely considered as the most peaty. I love it, but others call it cough syrup.
They're completely different in style though, Laphroaig is possibly the lightest in style of all the Islays, whereas Lagavulin is a much more full-on experience, it's probably the most extreme of the widely-available Islays and is the one most commonly referred to as cough syrup here in the UK. Personally I like my dram to be a bit more substantial and find the ordinary Laphroaig a bit lightweight and characterless, one-dimensional even - but a lot of that is in the processing, I've had an unfiltered bottling that was incredible.

It sounds like the OP wants to do a tour round some of the other islands - my usual "cooking" drams are Talisker and Highland Park, and they would be a pretty good place to start, then explore some of the other Islays. This chart may be of assistance :

 

LittleRiver

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...It sounds like the OP wants to do a tour round some of the other islands...
A few years back a good friend got a book on whisky, and soon thereafter we took an extended virtual tour of Scotland by way of the liquor store, sampling the spirits from the different regions.
 
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rodwha

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It's interesting that you like Laphroaig but not Lagavulin, with Laphroaig being widely considered as the most peaty. I love it, but others call it cough syrup.

If you get a chance try Talisker. It's not as peaty as Laphroaig by any means, but it does have a nicely balanced peat character.

If you want a Scotch that is not peaty but absolutely smooth and delicious, try The Glenlivet.



If you do that to good Scotch, please keep it to yourself. ;-)
For whatever reason the “like” button doesn’t work for me usually. Thanks for the suggestions!

And I feel the same way about using my Scotch like that, but do wonder if it comes through enough to consider. I read of people soaking oak cubes but don’t have a clue as to how much is needed.
 
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rodwha

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I was trying to keep off the whisky recs, but since we're going there...



They're completely different in style though, Laphroaig is possibly the lightest in style of all the Islays, whereas Lagavulin is a much more full-on experience, it's probably the most extreme of the widely-available Islays and is the one most commonly referred to as cough syrup here in the UK. Personally I like my dram to be a bit more substantial and find the ordinary Laphroaig a bit lightweight and characterless, one-dimensional even - but a lot of that is in the processing, I've had an unfiltered bottling that was incredible.

It sounds like the OP wants to do a tour round some of the other islands - my usual "cooking" drams are Talisker and Highland Park, and they would be a pretty good place to start, then explore some of the other Islays. This chart may be of assistance :

Thanks for your recommendations as well.
 

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My smoked peat ale turned out fine. I used .75 oz and detected no flavor from the mash tun... used 5 lbs of 2 row for a 5 gallon batch. After it finished fermenting I could taste the peat. But if I didn’t know it was smoked I probably wouldn’t guess it. Though I am not experienced with all flavors of beer either. It was not too strong a flavor. The beer disappeared fast!
 
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Would you use more in a future batch or was it subtle and to your liking?
 

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I'm considering adding some peated malt to an Irish Red recipe that already has a pretty complicated malt bill (at least by my standards). This is an interesting conversation, as I'm not really sure how much to use. I was thinking 8oz in a 5 gallon batch, which is 3.5% of the grist, but I worry that may be too much.

Schlenkerla, your comments are interesting, but I think it's hard to make use of your experience without understanding how the malt you are smoking yourself compares to the off the shelf products the rest of us most likely use. I suspect if I used I used weyermann smoked malt at the ratios of your home-smoked malts, the beer would be undrinkable. I have a smoker out back, I'd be interested in what your malt smoking process is!
 
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