Trying Some Peated Malt

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AlexKay

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Love smoke of all kinds: I've brewed with beechwood, birch, oak, cherry, pecan, alder, apple, mesquite, and lavender. It's time to try peat. There are all kinds of warnings about a little going a long way, and peat being overpowering, but I have a pretty high taste threshold for the relevant phenols. So, for a 1.25-gallon batch:

1.75 lbs. English pale
0.5 lbs. Simpson's peated
0.125 lbs. chocolate rye
0.125 lbs. pale chocolate

2 g Magnum @ 60 min.
5 g Styrian Goldings @ 15 min.

Lallemand London Ale (@ 70 F)

Since there aren't really any classic styles that actually use peat-smoked malt, I'm just going for a generic old-world porter-like beer, with peat. Assuming I can handle (and enjoy) a whole lot of smoke, does this otherwise look balanced and tasty? Any additions, modifications, or deletions to suggest? Thanks!
 

Golddiggie

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I use peat smoked malt in one of my stout recipes. Just under 6% of the grist gives a good contribution. I suggest making your first batch with no more than 10% of the grist as peat smoked malt. Not 20%. With you doing a small batch, it would be easy to drink that one, and decide if you want more, or less. IMO, 20% could blow out everything else in the recipe.
 

kevin58

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Peat has a different characteristic than other smoked malts in my experience. Too much and it tastes like band aids. Start with a small amount and work up. Some suggest starting at just 3% of the grist others can handle somewhere between 5% and 10%. IMO at 20% you are walking in the realm of the undrinkable.
 

jrgtr42

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I used 1 lb in a 5-gallon batch several years ago. It was basically undrinkable. At the time it was supposed to be a smoked black IPA. By the time the peat had faded enough to be drinkable I just called it a smoked porter.
 
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AlexKay

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Let’s call it 0.2 lbs., for 9%. As was pointed out, it’s not a lot of beer to drink or dump. The following batch will then either have double or half the peat.

Other malts, hops, yeast seem appropriate?
 
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AlexKay

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So how did it go? Looking to design a smoked porter and with the advise above, I think I'll start at 3 or 4%.

Thanks,
It was somewhat unpleasant for the taste I took before kegging it — unpleasant enough that I’ve been using my keezer space for other things.

I suppose it’s possible that when I finally get around to tapping the keg, I’ll decide it’s wonderful. But probably not. Next smoked porter will use beechwood or cherry or oak or something else that actually tastes good.
 

Ayzala

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It was somewhat unpleasant for the taste I took before kegging it — unpleasant enough that I’ve been using my keezer space for other things.

I suppose it’s possible that when I finally get around to tapping the keg, I’ll decide it’s wonderful. But probably not. Next smoked porter will use beechwood or cherry or oak or something else that actually tastes good.
Thanks for that!

The wife and I really like the Laphroaig 10Y (which I know distilling takes out smoke flavor) and I was trying to make a porter to complement. So maybe I'll start with .5% of the grist.

I will continue to look for advice.

Thanks,
 

Protos

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Last week I tasted my first Peated Porter (actually my first ever peated drink at all, as I have never tasted any peated whiskies). Prior to brewing it, I had read a lot of others' brewing accounts and experiences on various forums. The wast majority suggested 2% of Peated Malt in the grist, and in no case more than 4%!
Well, being a pipe-smoker, a fan of smoked beers and knowing that 95% Rauchmalz was never enough to me in all my Rauchbiers, I went with 12% Simpsons Heavily Peated. Judging from the smell of the malt, I thought that would be a healthy and not an overwhelming dose. I hoped my Porter would smell like the malt smelled from the bag - like the Latakia Tobacco!

OK, the Porter is ready now. I'm really dissapointed. From all the peat, just a whiff of phenolic Gouache Paint flavour remained in the beer. No Latakia. Not even a proper smoke.

What I learned, was that I shouldn't have listened to those two-percent-wussies. Glad, at least, I haven't fully followed them in their microscopic dosages.
Next time (in autumn) when I brew a Peated Porter, I gonna use 80% Simpson's Heavy Peated in it.
And before that, in summer, I'm brewing a 75% Chateau Peated Saison. I expect the phenols from the peat and from the yeast would make a wonderful combination.

Which means, I think, the right dosage of the peat is all about personal preference. You never know how much of it you'll like before you try it.
 

Ayzala

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Last week I tasted my first Peated Porter (actually my first ever peated drink at all, as I have never tasted any peated whiskies). Prior to brewing it, I had read a lot of others' brewing accounts and experiences on various forums. The wast majority suggested 2% of Peated Malt in the grist, and in no case more than 4%!
Well, being a pipe-smoker, a fan of smoked beers and knowing that 95% Rauchmalz was never enough to me in all my Rauchbiers, I went with 12% Simpsons Heavily Peated. Judging from the smell of the malt, I thought that would be a healthy and not an overwhelming dose. I hoped my Porter would smell like the malt smelled from the bag - like the Latakia Tobacco!

OK, the Porter is ready now. I'm really dissapointed. From all the peat, just a whiff of phenolic Gouache Paint flavour remained in the beer. No Latakia. Not even a proper smoke.

What I learned, was that I shouldn't have listened to those two-percent-wussies. Glad, at least, I haven't fully followed them in their microscopic dosages.
Next time (in autumn) when I brew a Peated Porter, I gonna use 80% Simpson's Heavy Peated in it.
And before that, in summer, I'm brewing a 75% Chateau Peated Saison. I expect the phenols from the peat and from the yeast would make a wonderful combination.

Which means, I think, the right dosage of the peat is all about personal preference. You never know how much of it you'll like before you try it.
Good to know!

I love smoked anything! Cheese, Meats, Whisky, ect. but as the OP @AlexKay mentioned (also a smoke lover) 9% may have been too much. I appreciate personal preference, so I guess it's just trial and error until I find what I like.

Thank you!
 

Toxxyc

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Guys, keep in mind that you get different kinds of peated malt. You need to look at the malt's PPM rating for the peat phenols. Some are very lightly peated, so 10% won't be a lot of peat at all. Others are heavily peated malts, and 10% of the grist will make your beer taste like an ashtray.

EDIT: Every proper peated malt will have that PPM for the malt available at the LHBS. Look at the malts here, for example, scroll down a little bit:

 

Ayzala

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Guys, keep in mind that you get different kinds of peated malt. You need to look at the malt's PPM rating for the peat phenols. Some are very lightly peated, so 10% won't be a lot of peat at all. Others are heavily peated malts, and 10% of the grist will make your beer taste like an ashtray.

EDIT: Every proper peated malt will have that PPM for the malt available at the LHBS. Look at the malts here, for example, scroll down a little bit:

Good point! I'll add that tid bit to my research.

Thanks,
 

Protos

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That's true. Somewhere on those dozens of webboards I read throught, PPMs for different peated malts were listed.
If I remembered it correctly and if my memory serves me well, Simpsons Peated (from OP's recipe) is about 20 ppm, my Heavily Peated is circa 40 ppm, and Chateau Peated is like 5 ppm.

Also I'd share my experience, that the Peated Malt tastes remarkably different in beer from what it smells like in the bag. It was a revelation to me, when the Latakia Tobacco aroma of the grain turned into the Gouache Paint flavour in the wort. I'd prefer to capture more of that aroma rather than of that flavour.

---
Some fellow member of this board swears by a 100% Peated Beer recipe he made and posted in the Recipes section here (an on other forums as well). Many, as it seems, didn't take his experiment seriously, but I'm giving his recipe a thought now.
 
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Technically speaking, that seems like a legit option.
At that point, the pH of the boiling wort is not high enough to extract a lot of tannins. After all, that's what the Decoction technique is based on: you boil husked grain and it doesn't give an excess of tannins because the pH is low.
One would worry rather about exctracting of unconverted starch than tannins. But it doen't seem to be a major problem if the addition is small.
Nice food for thought!
 

Ayzala

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There are so many possibilities, I could do a very mini mash and add that at the end of the boil, or even make a tincture to add to the fermenter or keg. I'm going to try all these. Maybe one will lead to the next big thing!

Thanks,
 

Witherby

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As I've already mentioned, I LOVE Rauchbiers. I even enjoy a peaty scotch. But I distinctly remember the first time I had a beer with a very strong peat flavor. It was at a beer festival (actually the original Shelton Brothers "The Festival" in 2012--which was insane. Check out the list of head brewers in attendance) and after that beer--fortunately very late in the evening--I couldn't taste anything but peat. For days I couldn't taste anything but peat. Never again.
 

Ayzala

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As I've already mentioned, I LOVE Rauchbiers. I even enjoy a peaty scotch. But I distinctly remember the first time I had a beer with a very strong peat flavor. It was at a beer festival (actually the original Shelton Brothers "The Festival" in 2012--which was insane. Check out the list of head brewers in attendance) and after that beer--fortunately very late in the evening--I couldn't taste anything but peat. For days I couldn't taste anything but peat. Never again.
Thanks for your advice. I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment. I'm going to start small and go from there.

Thanks again.
 
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Protos

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-I couldn't taste anything but peat.
I may confirm. After the tasting, I could smell Gouache in my moustaches through the rest of the day. It even intermingled with my evening Pipe.
The smell wasn't unpleasant but it was lingering.
And it was GOUACHE damnit! Not Latakia as intended!
 

homebrudoc

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Well, if you don't like peated whisky, then adding peat smoked malt to a beer is dangerous. It is very easy to overpower a beer w/ peat smoke. I've only made a few beers with any peat at all. One was successful and it followed closely to what is in this link:


Yup, mine was nearly 100% peat smoked malt. I added a bit of crystal malt, making a barleywine. It's quite good. My wife hates when I open one. I've got 20 lbs of peat smoked malt waiting in the basement for an appropriate yeast cake.

The other beer that "worked" was a helles. A helles that I made 2 weeks after the above beer. No peat at all. I had not cleaned my mash cap well enough and the peat stuck around. When I first tapped the keg, I was offended, to say the least. Once I realized what had happened, it was actually a very good beer.

Peat malt is divisive, even for those who like scotch whisky. In my experience, it's all (100% malt bill) or none. I'll never add any to a beer that is not "100%" peat malt.
homebru doc
 

lumpher

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I've made many scottish beers with peated malt. If you love the taste, go with 4 oz for 5 gallons. I prefer 2 oz.
 

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I only made one beer, 5.5 gallons, with peated malt. Used 2 ounces and thought I'd dial it back to 1.5 if I made it again. Never did. But now my interest is piqued so who knows. Also I have no idea what the ppm was. I didn't even know that was a thing before reading this thread.
Cheers.
 

Protos

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Tasted my Peated Rye Saison (50% Château Peated Malt, 5 ppm phenols). Nothing. Absoutely no Peat flavour. Although, the Saison itself came out very good. Just no peat in it.
My next attempt will be a Peated Kveik:
- 88% Simpsons Heavily Peated 82 ppm
- 5% Simpsons Dark Crystal
- 5% Crisp Flaked Barley
- 2% Simpsons Brown Malt
1.070 OG, 7% ABV, 20 IBU from simgle charge of Fuggle, Lalbrew Voss Kveik.

Read somewhere that Peat Malt works best in fuller and sweeter beers. Which sounds consistent with the modern trend of the pseudo-"Scottish" peated beers, which are full and sweet and peated.

Will see how it turns out.
 

Protos

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^ The above experiment produced an awesome beer, which I'll definitely brew again when this batch is gone.
I posted the recipe in the thread that inspired me to delve into the reeky depths of peaty brewing.
I'm glad I dared :)

---
Also, I've recently bottled my another 50% peat malt Sasion. To my surprise, unlike in the M29 version (where the yeast or the alkiline water stripped the beer clean of any peat flavour) this BE-134, softened water, Saison retained a prominent peaty aroma. The final verdict on how favourably the peat combines with Saison will come after the beer is carbed and "formally" tasted.
 
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aceluby

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^ The above experiment produced an awesome beer, which I'll definitely brew again when this batch is gone.
I posted the recipe in the thread that inspired me to delve into the reeky depths of peaty brewing.
I'm glad I dared :)

---
Also, I've recently bottled my another 50% peat malt Sasion. To my surprise, unlike in the M29 version (where the yeast or the alkiline water stripped the beer clean of any peat flavour) this BE-134, softened water, Saison retained a prominent peaty aroma. The final verdict on how favourably the peat combines with Saison will come after the beer is carbed and "formally" tasted.
Definitely interested in how this turns out after its carbed up. I'll probably try a gallon first, but my favorite whiskies are the most heavily peated Islay whiskey, but haven't had it in a beer yet.
 
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