Brewing at my friend Dan's house is becoming a regular get-together every few months. We got together on 5-23 for our most recent brewday. (I'm obviously very behind on my posting here. . .) On past outings to our local Northern Brewer store in Milwaukee I've been tasting various grains that I wasn't familiar with. The Briess cherrywood smoked malt really stood out to me, and to my taste was definitely better than the normal beechwood smoked stuff. Tasting this grain inspired me to brew a smoked beer, although it took a few months to actually get around to it due to the large to-brew list I've had going lately!
When the weather is nice, as it was this time, we all brew out in the yard or on the deck. I tend to do my mash/sparge inside though due to ease of using the kitchen table. Apparently when I was doughing in the guys could smell the smokey aroma from this grist all the way outside and across Dan's relatively large yard! I have to admit, it did smell pretty damn good.
Cherrywood Smoked Porter
brewed on: 5/23/10
expected OG: 1.060
Expected IBUs: 37
mash temp: 154F
6.4 lbs American 2-row
4 lbs Munich malt
2 lbs Briess Cherrywood Smoked malt
12 oz Crystal 40L malt
11oz Chocolate malt
7 oz Debittered Black malt
.75 oz - Columbus @ 14.2% - 60 minutes
.75 oz - Willamette @ 4.9% - 15 minutes
Wyeast 1968 - London ESB Ale
With the nice weather the temperature in our house really jumped curing the first 12 hours after I pitched the yeast and this thing took off, but the ambient temp was in the mid-70F range. I quickly moved it down into the basement which is in the low 60s instead. This is supposedly on the really low end for this yeast which has been known to floc out very easily, and sometimes too soon, so I made sure to give the pail a good swirl 2-3 times a day for the first few days. I mashed pretty high, at 154F, and my Beer Alchemy software was predicting a FG of 1.020, but when I racked this beer to the secondary it was at 1.015.
6/13 - racked to secondary. OG 1.015. This beer tastes delicious! The smoke flavor is very subdued in the nose, but present. Nice thick mouthfeel without being too sweet. The smoke flavor is perfectly balanced with other elements of this beer. It starts off tasting smokey with tiny hints of dark fruit that I like in small amounts in some porters, but transitions through notes of roasted coffee, and chocolate. This might very well be the most complex flavor profile I've gotten in a non-sour yet. Like a good wine, the flavors roll over the tongue one by one for several seconds. I can't wait to get this bottled and hope the level of smoke stays present until it is conditioned.
This is a funny picture one of the guys took. He did an extract batch with a small bag of grain to steep. Afterward he hung it from a tree for some reason. It was maybe four inches wide. I'm actually standing 9 or 10 feet behind the bag and the camera is extremely close to it. It's a funny optical illusion though!
7/3 - Bottled w/ 2.5oz corn sugar