Smoked sour?

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Well-Known Member
May 5, 2013
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So I've searched this forum for info on this idea, and even as a chef, it's hard for me to wrap my head around the pairing of sour and smoke in a beer. Generally the addition of smoke to food helps to ward off infection and I don't know if this would play the same with malt, thusly inhibiting souring.
My plan was to brew a smoked red ale, and pitch lacto.
Does anyone have experience with this and/or is this a terrible idea?

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There's at least one historical version I know off the top of my head. Lichtenhainer. Essentially Berliner Weisse brewed with smoked malt. I've never had one, nor do I know of any that are imported (if there are any German breweries of any size even still brewing it), although I believe Westbrook makes one.

I'd planned on trying to brew one eventually. Basically just taking my regular sour mashed Berliner Weisse, and substituting Rauchmalz for the Pilsner malt.
I did find the smoked Berliner recipe in the recipe database, but there wasn't much conclusive info on it.

In all honesty, I have done three batches on my half barrel system and don't know if I am ready to sour mash. Hence the later pitching of lacto.

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Smoked malts vary so much in intensity that it's hard to know how much to add. For my only Best In Show, I had 17% Weyermann Smoked Malt for my Berliner Weisse. If I was to replace it with Briess, I'd go for more like 5%.

Mine was balanced, not overwhelming smoke but not exactly having to think hard about what was different. I don't think that I'd try a darker or more complex sour than a Berliner/Gose/Geuze. I don't think that the smoke and the darker flavors would play as well together as the wheat-based ones.