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Beer Style: Classic Rauchbier
Recipe Type: all-grain
Yield: 5 US gallons
I have had success doing a few backyard grain smoking adventures, using pale and pilsener malts. They seem to absorb more of the smoke character than specialty grains (ie crystal).
I have had excellent results brewing with fruit-wood smoked grains. Fruit woods such as Peach & Apple give the grains a very nice smoky flavor. IMHO, woods such as Hickory and Mesquite seem to give too much of a backyard barbecue flavor. There are other woods commonly used, including Beech Wood & Alder.
The grains used for smoking should be moist, which allows for more absorption of the smoke flavors. A quick immersion in cold water, or spraying them down with water from a bottle works. A grill could be used for smoking, but would have to allow enough room between the heat source and grains to prevent scorching the grains.
Here is my smoking method with a backyard smoker. The smoker is similar to a grill, but has a higher level for the smoking items and a tray in between the heat source and smoking item, that holds water. The water produces steam that keeps the grain moist throughout the smoking. I cut 1/2" pieces of wood from 2" diameter branches, then soak the wood for 20 minutes. The wood pieces ar then placed on top of hot charcoal, which produces smoke very quick. Then the grains are placed on a stainless steel screen on the smoker rack & smoked for about 1 hour.
(Low on hops for more smoke flavor character).
Single step Infusion Mash at 154 for 90 minutes.
Warning: This beer disappears very quickly when friends are around. For Extract batches, the smoked & specialty grains can be steeped up to 170 for 45 min.
This should produce a beer in the 1050's for starting gravity.
Source: Matthew Gregory