Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Smoked Brown Ale With Rye (3/24/13)

I like smoked beers quite a lot, but I've never brewed one before. My favorite commercial examples are Stone's Smoked Porter, Hill Farmstead's Holger Danske, and the classic Schlenkerla line of rauchbiers. The last two of these are both brewed with beech-smoked malt, which tends to be less intense than peat-, apple-, or alder-smoked malts.

For this beer, I wanted to emphasize the food-friendly nature of smoked beers. It is, therefore, moderate in alcohol and bitterness, and full-bodied with a bit of residual sweetness. The half pound of chocolate malt brings a bit of roast flavor (complementing roasted meats and vegetables) without overpowering the beer or the accompanying food. I also added some rye malt to the recipe, which plays well with the smoke and complements a wide variety of savory dishes.

Tasting Notes

Aroma: Soft, savory-sweet beech smoke. Peppery rye. Hint of roast.

Taste: Chocolatey/nutty, with a strong toffee sweetness from the crystal malt. Sweeter than I expected, but still good. Smoke flavor continues throughout, and the rye comes out in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, moderate carbonation.

Overall impression: I very much like the smoke/rye combination. Next time I think I'll cut back on the crystal malt a bit and substitute a de-bittered black malt for half the chocolate.


ABV: 5.8%
IBUs (Tinseth): 28
OG: 1.063
FG: 1.019

Mash adjustments: 5.5 grams Calcium Chloride
Sparge adjustments: 1 drop 88% lactic acid
Mash in: 156F
Mash length: 60 minutes
Efficiency: 74% (83% conversion efficiency)

Yeast: WLP007 (Dry English Ale)
Starter: 1.25 liters
Pitching temp: 66F
Max temp: 68F

Malts Mashed Amount % Max Pts.
2 row 2 15% 36.00
Smoked (Beech) 6 46% 37.00
Medium Crystal 1 8% 34.00
Chocolate 0.5 4% 28.00
Malted Rye 2.5 19% 29.00
Barley (flaked) 1 8% 32.00
Hops/Additions Amount Time AA%
Magnum 0.75 60 12.0%

This was my first brew with my new grain mill. The rye malt did not mill very well. I think next time I'll double-crush it.

4/16/13: #7 bottled to 2.2 vol. CO2 Quite smokey, complex flavors, but a bit sweet. The English crystal is very good (toffee/caramel flavors) but a little too intense. Next time I'll drop the crystal to half a pound.

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