Saturday, February 14, 2009

No smoke without, erm...

I transferred Old Smoky to secondary during the week. A new name might be required though. No Smoky might be appropriate because I can't detect any smokiness in it, and this is disappointing because I have just come round to the way of smoke. On the plus side it is the best beer I have ever tasted out of the primary fermenter with a balanced roast character and satisfying fullness that can be put down to the large amounts of calcium chloride and the high mash temperature. Time will tell on the smoke front, but I am not hopeful.

Today I had some spare time so I racked off my latest ale for bottling. Usually I put 10 litres in a barrel and bottle the rest, however this time I plan to bottle all of it with the intention of bringing it to Cork for Ireland's first home brew expo. This will hopefully prove to be a great opportunity to put home brewing into the consciousness of the average Irish punter and perhaps make them realise that great beer can be brewed at home, in many cases this beer can prove far more flavourful and satisfying than the macro produced beer on offer in most Irish pubs.

As a just reward for my hard work today I settled down with a generous bottle of Stone Smoked Porter and a plate of various meats, olives and cheese provided by my thoughtful wife. The porter is wonderful; full in the rich American dark beer sense with satisfying malt complexity, balancing bitterness and perfect carbonation rendering the beer superbly drinkable. The colour is alluring, as is the rich foam that settles upon it and it has the same spiciness that the Stone Imperial Russian Stout develops upon a little warming. All in all a wonderful beer, but not a hint of smoke in it. Perhaps I'm searching for the wrong type of smokiness, like the kind found in Bamberg style smoked ale, if so, it's just not present. No matter, it is a thoroughly satisfying pint and makes me feel a little better about the lack of smoke in my own porter.

5 comments:

Adeptus said...

I put 20% rauchmalz into my Smoking Gun Stout, and I'm just about detecting it as a beechwood sweetness deep down. In my case I reckon the roasted grains are masking the smoke a little. In your case, maybe it just wasn't enough to fulfill your new-found smokey desires? :)

Wish I could be there for the session at the Well. It happens to be on my Birthday too, so maybe I can make a case for a trip to the auld sod.

Thom said...

I'm still quite sensitive to the smoke flavour and figured I'd pick it up if it was there.

Now that you mention the slight sweetness in your own beer I realise that this is the smoke contribution in the Stone Smoked Porter. There is an unusual sweetness that I couldn't pin down, thinking that the complex malt flavour accounted for it. It could well be the smoked malt, but this wasn't the type of smoked character I was anticipating.

rabbi lionheart said...

I'm oddly pleased to hear about your experimentation with smoke. Oddly, because I haven't jumped on the smoke train yet. The only smoked beer I've had was Schlenkerla, I think. I felt like I was drinkinga campfire. Lucky for me, it was the last beer of the session, so the taste didn't interfere with any other beers. Someday maybe, but right now, I'm cautious.

Thom said...

It seems to me that you need not worry about overpowering your beer with smoke character because even double the levels of smoked malt I used don't seem to produce that much effect.

I suppose I'll have to up it in the future and see how it works out.

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

You might find the smoke comes out as it ages. Other flavours may settle and the smoke will appear.