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Peated water?

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ceannt

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Has anybody had good results simulating peated water for Scottish ales? Peat smoked malt is a bit much, and not really appropriate. I do not have access to water that has flowed over a bog, so what I was thinking was more along the lines of "peat tea", steeping some peat moss, straining, and adding to the beginning of the boil. Any thoughts???
 

Edcculus

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I really don't think you are going for any peated taste in a Scottish Ale. A real Scottish Ale is very malty with caramel notes (from caramelization during the boil) with very little to no hop profile. I think its somewhat of an American misconception that they need to be smoky/peaty.

Not saying that would be a bad thing, but at that point you are not really making a Scottish Ale.
 

Revvy

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Steeping peat moss won't give you any smokiness whatsoever, since peated malt is smoky from the burning of peat moss...All you'll get from steeping peat moss is a wet mossy flavor...not, I think, what you're hoping to achieve...

It owuld be pretty nasty since Peat Moss is actually decayed Sphagnum Moss...ewww

http://www.brew365.com/malt_peated.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphagnum
 
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ceannt

ceannt

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I'm not after a "smoke" flavor at all, just an attempt to simulate the water. Many Scottish Ales and Single Malts are made from water that has a distinctive flavor from flowing over bogs, some single malts have no peat smoked barley at all, and yet have a subtle, complex peat taste just from the water.
From the style guidelines for a Scottish Heavy 70/-
"Ingredients:
Scottish or English pale base malt. Small amounts of roasted barley add color and flavor, and lend a dry, slightly roasty finish. English hops. Clean, relatively un-attenuative ale yeast. Some commercial brewers add small amounts of crystal, amber, or wheat malts, and adjuncts such as sugar. The optional peaty, earthy and/or smoky character comes from the traditional yeast and from the local malt and water rather than using smoked malts."

I prefer to mimic the water as best I can for every style I make, (Dublin is easy for me, it's dang near identical to my tap water), but there are no bogs around here!
 

raceskier

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"Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter. Peat forms in wetlands or peatlands, variously called bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests."

Mmmmm.......... pond scum ale!
 
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ceannt

ceannt

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I know raceskier, it sounds nasty, but almost all of the water used for brewing in Scotland has peat in it. Water is the single largest ingrediant in beer, and I believe the most neglected. I put a lot of effort, (well some say obsessive...) in researching and copying water, and if there is something distinctive about, or in, the local water in the place of origin of a specific style, I want it in mine.
 

pjj2ba

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I'd make some water up and taste that before proceding. Bad water = bad beer. I suspect a big part of what is extracted is tanins. I would think the tricky part would be getting the peat out of the water. I'd do several filtering steps. A crude step to get the big chunks out, and then again with a smaller strainer to get even smaller bits out, and then I'd run it through a particulate filter like those for home water systems. DO NOT use an activated charcoal filter. That would remove some of the stuff you've worked to get into the water. Keep us posted on your progress.

Another option might be to collect some stream water in the fall after the leaves fall. Most of the streams around here will take on a brownish tint from the decaying leaves.
 
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ceannt

ceannt

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Thanks pjj2ba, I will follow your advice and taste before brewing! I was even thinking of a coffee filter...
I don't think it will take very much, but those tanins, at least to me, are an important contributor to the complex flavor (from very simple ingrediants), along with of course the kettle carmelization and distinctive yeast strains...
 

FlyingHorse

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Maybe get some authentic peat(Irish; I couldn't find Scottish but didn't look real hard) to try your water treatment.

Might give you some more complex/authentic flavors than your run-of-the-mill bag from HD or Lowe's.

'course, it isn't cheap, either ;)
 
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ceannt

ceannt

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Wow, you are not kidding it isn't cheap! I just wish they sold it in smaller quantities, a quarter of a pond would probably be enough for years...
But, then again, I wonder what a Red Ale would be like with just a touch in it... and I could always do some peat and hickory smoked pulled pork.
 
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