liquid smoke

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phishroy

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Hello.
Im new to this forum.
Just thought I would ask this before making any attempt.

I searched on here but couldn’t find any reference.
Found lots of info using wood chips etc’

Im considering adding some liquid smoke to a kit porter in order to give it more of a smoky nose.

My first question would be is it something that is done or has been done?
Has anyone have experience using liquid smoke in beers?
If so how much is a suggested amount.
I know the stuff is extremely strong.
 

LordHedgie

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Never used liquid smoke. Stay away from mesquite from what I've heard... Better yet, use smoked grains.

Mash or steep a little smoked malt, and you'll get a fine smoky flavor. Two easily obtainable malts are rauchmalt (traditional German smoke flavor) or cherrywood malt (sweeter flavor). For heavier beers (Scottish, porter, etc) I would generally go with rauchmalt. Lighter beers taste better with cherrywood in my experience.

The amount of malt to use depends on how flavorful and strong the original beer is, and how smoky you want it. If you're doing all grain and want a really super-smoky beer, go all rauch.... Two pounds of smoked grain will give a pronounced but not overpowering taste to a moderate ale; you can go up or down from there depending on how strongly flavored the beer is and how smoky you want it.
 

ChillyP

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no.....No.....NO.....HELLS NO. Stay away from Liquid smoke. Wrong in so many ways. Go with Ranch Malt (I know joke). Start slow with the smoked malts, till you become use to it's profile. Trust me. Say no to liquid smoke.
 

robertjohnson

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I've had great success with wright's liquid smoke and apparently so has charlie papazian. I had to lay it down to age for an extra month or so before the flavors worked into the beer right, and it's definitely one dimensional and tastes exactly the way it smells, but it hits the spot with some bbq. I used it at a rate of 1 tsp per 5 gallons for a smoked beer, so if you just wanted it the nose I'd start with a 1/4 tsp (or even less) and adjust to your own preferences.

Rauchmalt would be better, but if you can't find it or just want to try this, it will still turn out a good beer. It has no preservatives and it's basically just bongwater from a hickory wood fire. I honestly doubt that the people recommending against it are speaking from experience. If they are, I'd imagine it's because they are looking for a far more complex wood smoked beer than this can provide. But say you just wanted to add a touch of smokiness to your porter? Go for it.
 

OMJ

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I had a beer from a microbrewery once (forget the name) that must of had liquid smoke it cause it tasted like alcoholic liquid smoke. I think it was the worst beer I ever had. I would go with smoked malt more controlable
 

jcarson83

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I would go with some specialty grains too but I doubt you can go too wrong with less than a teaspoon per 5 gallon batch. I think I've had a commercial example of one that was just too smoky to be any other than some extract. It wasn't bad but not something you could drink more than one of.
 
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phishroy

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The kit that im using is a “festa brew” porter.
Its pre made and comes in a 23liter big bag, all I do to get it going is add the yeast.

Is it doable to add smoked malt to this kit?
If so, what would be a suggested amount and when should it be added?
Primary or secondary fermentation?
 

Revvy

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If you choose to use liquid smoke, be very careful, if I recall, all but one of them are made with other additives, including vinegar. I think there is only one brand that is completely, what's the word, "organic?" It's just distilled smoke, in a water solution.

I think Alton Brown showed on a good eats episode a few years back how to distill your own "natural" liquid smoke.

But Rauchmault is still a better bet.
 

Rhoobarb

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Use Rauchmalt if you can. However, Rauchmalt must be mashed. You won't get much form simply steeping it. If you can't mash, then try Wright's Liquid smoke only. I used it before many. many years ago and got decent results. Wright's is the only brand that does not use adjuncts. And go easy on it! Start with 1/2 tsp. per 5 gal. batch.
 

beerkrump

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Just my $0.02, give or take what the exchange rate is now a days, I wouldn't worry about monkeying with the recipe. You're making a beer from one of the simplest kits on the market. Work on perfecting your processes and sanitation. The simpler you can make things early in this hobby, the better your results will be. And, better results will lead to greater satisfaction and a greater likelihood that you'll stick with brewing for a long time.

On the other hand, if your hell bent on adding liquid smoke to your beer, do as Rhoobarb suggests. Use a high quality product and add small amount to your beer prior to bottling. Stir gently and taste after each addition.

Good Luck.
 

david_42

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Make your own. Get 4 ounces of peat-smoked malt and steep it in a pint of water. Add a bit at a time in the bottling bucket.
 

LordHedgie

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Use Rauchmalt if you can. However, Rauchmalt must be mashed. You won't get much form simply steeping it.
I helped another homebrewer steep rauchmalt once. Of course it didn't add any fermentables to the wort but it did impart smoke flavor. I would encourage anyone to mash anything that could be mashed and save steeping for unmalted grains, but it wasn't my brew.
 

Spawn2qc

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I drank a microbrewy who brew a smokey beer using liquid smoke. It's the only beer I didn't drink to the end in my life.
 

5flatKat

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I've had great success with wright's liquid smoke and apparently so has charlie papazian. I had to lay it down to age for an extra month or so before the flavors worked into the beer right, and it's definitely one dimensional and tastes exactly the way it smells, but it hits the spot with some bbq. I used it at a rate of 1 tsp per 5 gallons for a smoked beer, so if you just wanted it the nose I'd start with a 1/4 tsp (or even less) and adjust to your own preferences.

Rauchmalt would be better, but if you can't find it or just want to try this, it will still turn out a good beer. It has no preservatives and it's basically just bongwater from a hickory wood fire. I honestly doubt that the people recommending against it are speaking from experience. If they are, I'd imagine it's because they are looking for a far more complex wood smoked beer than this can provide. But say you just wanted to add a touch of smokiness to your porter? Go for it.
Thank you so much for being specific... Obviously liquid smoke may not be a first choice, but in my case I'm trying to rescue a batch with slightly off flavour by adding real maple syrup & just a touch of liquid smoke (which isn't some crazy chemical concoction btw)... So appreciate your experience, think I'll try 1/4 or maybe 3/8 tsp in my 5 gal batch... Trying to avoid having to pour the whole thing down the drain... it's not that bad, but it's also not good enough that people want to drain the keg quickly so I can refill it with something better soon... Fingers crossed!
 

jrgtr42

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Thank you so much for being specific... Obviously liquid smoke may not be a first choice, but in my case I'm trying to rescue a batch with slightly off flavour by adding real maple syrup & just a touch of liquid smoke (which isn't some crazy chemical concoction btw)... So appreciate your experience, think I'll try 1/4 or maybe 3/8 tsp in my 5 gal batch... Trying to avoid having to pour the whole thing down the drain... it's not that bad, but it's also not good enough that people want to drain the keg quickly so I can refill it with something better soon... Fingers crossed!
|What kind of off flavor do you have? Depending on what's going on, the smoke may not help, and may even hurt.
Is that batch kegged already or still in fermenter?
 
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Thank you so much for being specific... Obviously liquid smoke may not be a first choice, but in my case I'm trying to rescue a batch with slightly off flavour by adding real maple syrup & just a touch of liquid smoke (which isn't some crazy chemical concoction btw)... So appreciate your experience, think I'll try 1/4 or maybe 3/8 tsp in my 5 gal batch... Trying to avoid having to pour the whole thing down the drain... it's not that bad, but it's also not good enough that people want to drain the keg quickly so I can refill it with something better soon... Fingers crossed!
Good luck, but in my experience it's far better to dump a mediocre beer on the lawn and brew another immediately. Fudging with it, as you're suggesting, has little chance of improving that beer and will only prolong your misery.
 

Beermeister32

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Good luck, but in my experience it's far better to dump a mediocre beer on the lawn and brew another immediately. Fudging with it, as you're suggesting, has little chance of improving that beer and will only prolong your misery.
So true!!! Once early in my brewing hobby, I made a bad batch, fermented warm or something producing off flavors. Takes a while to figure things out... anyway, I figured no problem, I’ll just blend it with a good batch to mellow out the problems and have two batches of good beer.

WRONG! Flavor thresholds being what they are, after blending I ended up with TWO off tasting batches, the off flavors predominate even when blended with something good. I should have dumped the first batch.

A lot of brewers don’t like tossing batches. Some will tell you to see how they turn out. I was no different and ended up suffering through 10 gallons of mediocre beer!!!

So I totally agree, better to re-brew the batch and chalk that one up to experience!
 
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5flatKat

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|What kind of off flavor do you have? Depending on what's going on, the smoke may not help, and may even hurt.
Is that batch kegged already or still in fermenter?
I'm not sure how to describe it... We've got a 5 tap draft tower, 2 for beers, 1 for wine cooler/cider /seltzer, 1 for juice & 1 for water - works great, something for everyone... This time for some reason only the water carbonated properly... The new beer, wine cooler & orangina just didn't carbonate, we couldn't figure out what was going on, as the gas was getting into the keg, but the liquids weren't getting bubbly... After a week or two or fussing around, my husband read that shaking the kegs might help & voila - the next day everything was wonderfully bubbly... But all of them, beer, wine & juice all had a weird off flavour, I think from sitting so long not under pressure?? Kids drank the juice anyways, but the beer & wine were not moving... Yesterday I mixed fresh (strained) cherry, peach & ginger juice with the wine cooler - it's almost fabulous now, win! To the beer (brown ale) I added 3/8 tsp Wrights liquid smoke (I've never tried any other kind so thought they were all like that) & some maple syrup from our trees... Advice online on how much maple syrup to add ranged from 1 cup to 2 litres per 5 gal batch, so I did 2 cups thinking that'd be conservative but still detectable... Wish I'd tried 1 cup first, 2 is a little more sweet than I was going for, couldn't taste the smoke at all though, so added another 3/4 tsp smoke in with a couple oz whiskey... It's a success, mostly... If I did it again, I'd do it 1.5 cups maple syrup & 1.5 tsp liquid smoke, but we all like it better than before & it'll get drank now at least... For next time we'll be shaking all kegs right off the bat, as they all tasted good when kegged, but after sitting, not so much... Anyways - very much appreciate everyone's help on this forum - have read lots on here before now but never written anything myself - thanks everybody :)
 

5flatKat

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Good luck, but in my experience it's far better to dump a mediocre beer on the lawn and brew another immediately. Fudging with it, as you're suggesting, has little chance of improving that beer and will only prolong your misery.
I think you're probably right, but this time I got lucky... Brown ale now has a far more pleasant flavour: (bit too) sweet, very subtley smokey, with a slight whiskey bite - it's not perfect but it's working!
 

Beermeister32

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If you are adding a bunch of fruit juice and maple syrup to kegs, you could get a refermentation in the kegs. This will also produce CO2 which could over carb the kegs. Depends on the type of yeast (lager or ale) and the temperature the kegs are at, as the yeasts are active at different temps.
 
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5flatKat

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I'll have to look into that & do some reading up... To be clear I don't add any juice to beers only to the cooler, but yeah I can see how the extra maple syrup in the beer could go sideways on me... For this batch I used a kveik yeast, as we don't have air conditioning so temps can really vary in the summer months & kveiks can tolerate the inconsistency. I keep the kegs between 2.5° - 3.5°C
 

Reneauj62

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To me the liquid smoke has an almost chemical taste to it that is fine in small amounts and mixed with other ingredients like BBQ sauce. Not sure if the chemical tasting smoke would be a good effect in beer. For the cost of about a $1 or $2 you can get some Rauch malt/ Smoke Malt and get a mild pleasant smoky taste that is easy to drink. The other positive when using Rauch malt is you can have different flavors like Beechwood, Mesquite, and Cherrywood and others.
 

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