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premington

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Does anyone here have experience smoking their grain before milling?

Over the holidays, I had an amazing small-batch stout that my nephew got me for Christmas. It was aged in a bourbon barrel and had a strong smoked flavor. I love smoky/peaty Scotch, so the flavor totally knocked me out! I loved it!

So I got thinking of my own beer. Right now I'm doing a different style, but I've been thinking, in time, of trying a beer from grain. But I wondered how it might come out if I took out, say... 1 lb. of grain and roasted it on a hickory smoker. I have a smoker that spews out ungodly amounts of smoke. My wife used it to dry some homemade sausage, not using hickory. Little did she realize, it totally picked up the hickory flavor, even when it wasn't smoking. I then wondered, how might this taste with beer? I'm concerned about imparting too much smoke flavor, so perhaps 1 lb. would be too much?

But I'm curious to hear if anyone here has experience smoking their grain. If so, how did it come out?

-Paul
 

Weezy

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Hickory smoke can give a tobacco like flavor. Has a great porter with hickory smoked malt from a jersey brewery and the beer was put on cherries or cherry juice. It was a Swisher Sweet in a bottle. I roughed out a recipe but haven't gotten to it.
 
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premington

premington

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Hickory smoke can give a tobacco like flavor. Has a great porter with hickory smoked malt from a jersey brewery and the beer was put on cherries or cherry juice. It was a Swisher Sweet in a bottle. I roughed out a recipe but haven't gotten to it.
Yeah, I was thinking about what effect the hickory would have, post-fermentation. I know the process of fermenting will impact the quality of flavor. It's an unknown to me with hickory. I love the hickory flavor, but will it work in beer?

Perhaps a different smoke would work better for beer (applewood, mesquite, beechwood, etc.). I guess learning from other's brews and through my own experimentation would give me an answer.

Doing a quick search on the net, I don't see a lot about this approach. I did find this fascinating post. This fellow cold smoked his grain using an interesting and unique approach.

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/106739/smokin-barley-in-a-cardboard-box

-Paul
 

krackin

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I like to use pecan or cherry when smoking malts for brown or amber ales.

Works well for lightly smoked blondes as well.
I bet pecan is great. It is my first choice for smoking bacon and BBQ. I have to order it. Maple may work if looking for mild smoke. I mix it with apple and hickory sometimes.
 

bucketnative

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According to Mosher in Mastering Homebrew recommends letting the smoked malt sit for a week or two after smoking in a brown paper bag to let any acrid notes dissipate.
 

NSMikeD

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I've been contemplating this. I use Briess Cherrywood Smoked Malt (up to 40% of the grain bill) for my smoked stout/porter. The smell of those grains during milling is heaven.

There is a micro breweries nearby, Sand City, that did smoked stout that knocked my socks off a year ago and I have been chasing that ever since.

If I had a cold smoker, I'd smoke my own in a heartbeat. I'm concerned I would mess up the malt chemistry with higher temperature smokes >180°. I upped the last brew to 40% of smoked grain on the recommendation of the Breiss fact sheet, can't wait for this to be ready to taste.
 

krackin

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That is what is recommended for home roast too isn't it?
 

NSMikeD

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I bet pecan is great. It is my first choice for smoking bacon and BBQ. I have to order it. Maple may work if looking for mild smoke. I mix it with apple and hickory sometimes.
I treat pecan, apple and cherry the same as they are light smoking wood - although cherry adds a beautiful mahogany color which I like for ribs. The other two for chicken or anything else that I want to limit the darkening. I add hickory to kick up the smoke flavor, especially for bigger cuts like pork butts and brisket.

I've never been able to discern the difference between apple and pecan. Maybe the underlining hardwood (Royal Oak or pellets) mutes any subtle difference of the fruit wood.
 

microbusbrewery

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I love smoked beers and I've smoked my own malt on a couple occasions. Cold smoking is probably the best route as you'll pick up the smoke character while leaving the rest of the malt's character relatively intact, but hot smoking works too. I have a couple large stainless mesh colanders that I've used. Occasionally mist the grain with a spray bottle and it will help the smoke stick. And give it a stir every once in a while so that it gets uniformly smoked. Letting it sit for a week to condition is a good idea too.

If you want to try out some commercial smoked malt first, I'd definitely steer clear of peat-smoked malt. Weyermann Rauchmalt is good. Briess' cherry and mesquite smoked malts are both really good too. Mesquite can be a little intense/harsh when smoking meat, but Briess actually smokes their Mesquite smoked malt over a blend that includes oak, so it's actually very smooth and quite nice IMO.

One key thing, you have to use dechlorinated water. That includes your brewing water, spray bottle, any water that makes it into the process. The reason is chlorine plus phenols from the smoke will combine to make chlorophenol resulting in a plastic or bandaid character that does not age out. The very first rauchbier I ever made was incredible (I must have gotten lucky). The second one had chlorophenols and was undrinkable. I put a bunch aside and left it to age for over a year and it was just as bad as it was the day I bottled it. RO, distilled, or water treated with Camden tablets are absolutely necessary for smoked beers. Camden is the simplest and cheapest route as RO and distilled will require adding brewing salts.
 
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