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'Smoked' Beers


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22 replies to this topic

#1 Bill Poster

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 02:01 PM

I read about smoked beers (from germany, USA and Gottland) and wanted some feedback from the forum.
They are brewed using Peat Malts(smoked under the kiln using beechwood i think), usually a ratio of 30-40% of the total malt used.

#2 eje

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 02:17 PM

I don't have tasting notes or particular insight into rauchbier; but, I've had both the Alaskan Smoked Porter and Stone Brewing Smoked Porter and think they are both truly outstanding beers. I had a bit of an American stout and porter fest for a couple months last year and these two were my favorites of the many I tried.

You do have to be in the mood for a "meal in a bottle", especially with the Alaskan.

Edited by eje, 28 June 2006 - 02:17 PM.

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#3 mtigges

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 04:40 PM

I think peated malts are dried over a smoldering peat fire. It doesn't make sense to call a smoked malt peat malt if it's dried over a fire of some other fuel.

Schlenkera (and the other beers from Bamburg) are dried from smoldering hardwood. Could very well be beech, I'm not sure on that.

I've brewed with peated malt. I think I used 30% or so in the grist for a scottish wee heavy. I hated it. But I don't like peaty whiskeys either. And it's the same flavour.

I've had Alaskan Smoked Porter once, and I liked it. But I hate Schlenkera Aecht Rauchbier. Tastes like an ashtray. Last time I visited relatives in Germany, I bought 6 of them, I'm guessing the other 5 are still in their cellar.

Mark.

#4 KatieLoeb

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 05:10 PM

I just tried one of these the other day for the first time, at Monk's Cafe, a most excellent Belgian beer bar here in Philly. I can't remember the name of the brewery, but it was definitely a German rauchbier.

It tasted like chewing on the end of a burnt stick. Not exactly my cup of tea, or mug of suds either, but I can see how it's an interesting style unto itself.

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#5 Okbrewer

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 06:10 AM

Like many things, Rauchbiers are an acquired taste. But once you do acquire the taste, look out! I happen to like smoked beers. Try some with a bowl of chili! Schlenkerla is the premiere example of a German-style rauchbier. It is smoked with beechwood. Alaskan Smoked porter is an award winning domestic example that is smoked with alder wood, I believe. Other regional breweries have recently jumped on the smoked beer band wagon are making some nice beers. Here in OK, Coach's Brewpub in Norman recently made a smoked porter that was very good! Save the peat smoked malt for Scotch Ales or Scottish Strongs, or just plain Scotch!


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#6 TongoRad

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 07:52 AM

Katie- I don't think we ever forget our first :cool:

I love the Schlenkerlas now, but I still think they get better as the gravity increases. The three you will often see are the Weizen (5.2% abv), the Marzen (5.4% abv), and the magnificent Urbock (6.6% abv). My first was the Marzen, which is pretty hard core with the smoke, and I wasn't so crazy about it either. I was eventually brought into the fold with what you might describe as 'more balanced' beers (in the 90's we could get Rauchenfels Steinlager* here in the states), and have now come to appreciate smoked beers of all shapes and sizes.

Schlenkerla also makes a Helles Lagerbier that I have already gone on about.

For a subtle peat quality try the Belhaven Ale- it's even there in the nitro cans. The Sam Adams seasonal Scotch Ale has some peat as well- quite nice.

The Stone Smoked Porter is definitely made for session drinking, I don't find the smokiness overbearing in the least, and it is a quality brew. But the Alaskan is a work of art and worth seeking out.

*The Rauchenfels was made according to an old tradition from the times when the boiling vats were made of wood and couldn't be fired directly. Stones were heated in a fire to white hot temperatures and added to the wort in order to boil it.
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#7 Kent D

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 03:12 PM

Icch -- I ordered a Kaiserdom Rauchbier off a "world of beers" menu a few years ago, and it too every drop of intestinal fortitude to get the bottle down. (The fact that they were charging $7/bottle helped a little!) It just had an overwhelming taste of creosote (sp?), and was totally unpleasant.
I would consider trying another smoked brew if I had some assurance that it wouldn't taste like the last one I tried, but I'll probably not go out of my way to find another one.
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#8 Lisa1349

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 11:27 PM

I bought some back from Spain, made in Spain too. Tasted like a bottle of Liquid Smoke. It was great for cooking! I put it in some southern BBQ shrimp.
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#9 karlos

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 03:22 PM

Pretty old post to respond to but I just discovered Rauchbier and am smitten. As I've gotten older I've fallen out of love with beer but this has renewed my interest. Probably also due to the fact that I've caught the backyard smoking bug. I can't wait to see how these beers pair with my brisket and ribs once it warms up a bit here. Also good to know there are some American breweries doing some in this style, Schlenkerlas is hard to find around here outside of restaurants.

#10 TongoRad

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 03:52 PM

Talk about a blast from the past...

karlos- a beer that I have gotten into more recently (as in the past two or three years) is the Weyerbacher Fireside (from Easton PA), a spring seasonal. Hopefully you can get it in Rochester- it's an ale that clocks in around 7% abv, moderate on the smoke, with a whole host of other complexities but also dangerously quaffable. Affordable too- around $8 a four-pack.
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#11 Alcuin

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 04:22 PM

Pretty old post to respond to but I just discovered Rauchbier and am smitten. As I've gotten older I've fallen out of love with beer but this has renewed my interest. Probably also due to the fact that I've caught the backyard smoking bug. I can't wait to see how these beers pair with my brisket and ribs once it warms up a bit here. Also good to know there are some American breweries doing some in this style, Schlenkerlas is hard to find around here outside of restaurants.


Speaking of bbq and smoked beer, I had a smoked imperial porter with chipotle at the Great Taste of the Midwest last summer in the real ale tent that was really good. Can't quite remember the name of the brewer (I don't think I ever knew, it was toward the end of the day so my wits weren't completely about me). I still have the program, so I'll try to look it up. Something like that would make a neat pairing with bbq I think.
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#12 karlos

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 04:52 PM

Alcuin- if you could find the name of that beer I would be most appreciative. TongoRad- I'll have to see if that's available locally and try it, thanks.

#13 ScoopKW

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:42 PM

I'm thinking about making a Black IPA with some smoked malt.


I'd say the Alaskan Smoked Porter is the standard by which others are judged. Although a couple of the old Bamburg breweries still put out a good Rauchbier.
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#14 Jon Savage

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 10:10 PM

10-20% smoked malt is best in my experience with brewing. Anything more overwhelms the resulting beer. Ymmv.

Jon

 

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#15 Alcuin

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 06:31 AM

Alcuin- if you could find the name of that beer I would be most appreciative. TongoRad- I'll have to see if that's available locally and try it, thanks.


I've done some looking around and it was from Tyranena brewing company, called Benji's Smoked Imperial Porter. Unfortunately it seems it was a special edition they're not making right now. It looks like Stone puts out a similar beer though, so you might want to look for that.
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#16 Florida

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 08:35 AM

Stone does indeed make several variations of their smoked Porter including both a chipotle and a vanilla bean, though I don’t believe these were ever bottled. Mikkeller also makes a chipotle porter, though I am under the impression it does not have a very strong smoke flavor.

I recently had Terrapin’s Hoptaneous Combustion, their smoked DIPA. It was an interesting beer, but the interplay between the smoked malts and citrus/pine hops became a bit wearing on the palate after some time.

#17 karlos

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 06:05 PM

So many things to start looking for. I had always planned on brewing my own beer but then lost the urge. This may be just the thing to get me to try.

#18 ayanamidreamsequence

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 01:35 AM

I have tried Rogue Smoke Ale before, which I thought was quite nice:

http://www.rogue.com...s/smoke-ale.php

Worth looking into if you are in the US (though I found it in London a few years back).

#19 ajnicholls

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 04:39 AM

My local pub sells Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier. It is, without doubt, the worst beer I've ever tasted

#20 Florida

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:30 AM

Forgot about Captain Lawrence's Smoke from the Oak series, their smoked porter aged in a variety of different barrels.


edited for link

Edited by Florida, 14 February 2011 - 10:31 AM.


#21 OliverB

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 05:11 PM

I'm not a big fan of Schlenkerla, I grew up just 30 m in from Bamberg, but never got into it, too smoky. Like a dark beer infused with bacon. It gets better after the 2nd or 3rd bottle though, but so does Bud or probably dishwater with vodka too, :laugh:

For a while I was a fan of what I think was called Steinbier, sold in oldfashioned flip top bottles. Also smoky, but the taste comes from rocks that are heated in fire, then thrown into the mash to heat it up early on in the beer making process. Very ancient method and that small brewery somewhere in Franconia revived that process or used it all along, unfortunately I can't remember. I'll look for it in summer, when I'm back Germany.

If you ever get to go to Bamberg, which is very prettty, check out the Schlenkerla brew pub, where they pour it from wooden kegs and it seems to taste better if I can trust my memory. Fun old place anyway.
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#22 Florida

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 08:32 AM

Picked up a New Glarus Smoked Rye Ale while I was in Wisconsin last week. The smoke on this one is very pronounced and is in no way subtle, but the interesting part comes from the slight spiciness of the rye. Interesting beer, though working through a four pack of these will be a challenge.

#23 LindaK

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Posted 27 September 2014 - 06:54 AM

Yesterday I was introduced to this style beer, a "Smoke and Dagger" from local brewery Jack's Abby.

 

IMG_0478.JPG

 

The beer is a medium bodied brown ale, very smooth, and the smoked malt creeps up on you.  After half a bottle, I'd had enough.  That's not to say it wasn't good, it was.  Just that the smokiness was a little much for me.  The friend who brought it happily finished two of them, though.

 

I can see this almost as an aperitif, good to sip a small glass slowly.  And it would absolutely be great for cooking when you want some smoke flavor.