I’m a little bit late on brewing this beer, but better late than never I suppose. I’ve had fairly mixed results with this beer or far. I really like the 1st version but the second version wasn’t as good. Not bad, just a much tamer smoke component and the yeast strain I used (for the 1st time) did seem to let the malt shine through very well. This year I upped the gravity a bit and decided to go to my tried and true favorite, American Ale II. Also, I adjusted the mash schedule a little bit to dry the beer out just a little bit. If the grain bill looks a little funky, my LHBS ran out of my usual base malt and I also was cleaning out the grain bin. For the smoke malt, I used a mix of Cherrywood and Rauch which I’m thinking will yield something close to the 1st version of this beer.
Mash: 151 (15 min), 153 (45 min)
Boil: 60 min.
Mash pH: 5.4
26.9% NW Pale Ale Malt
26.9% Maris Otter
17.9% Cherrywood Smoked Malt
11.9% Rauch Malt
6.0% Chocolate Malt
3.0% Munich 10L
1.5% Extra Dark Crystal
.80 Galena (10%) 60 min.
1.00 oz Crystal (6%) 15 min.
1.00 oz Cascade (7.4%) 0 min.
Wyeast 1272 – American Ale II
Made 1.5l starter 2 days before brew day and decanted prior to pitching into 64 deg. wort. Allowed to free rise to 68 where the temp. is set for high fermentation. I wanted to get this one brewed with enough time to allow it to warm condition for a couple weeks before putting it on tap. Kegged on 2/23, sample was pretty smokey with a really strong aroma.
Tasting Notes – 4.16.15
Appearance: Dark black with a tan head.
Aroma: Sweet smoke up front with a little bit of coffee in there as well.
Taste: BBQ chip smokiness up front, get a little bacon in there as well. A bit of roasted character is next and finished with some smokiness lingering on the palate. Bitterness balances the pint, doesn’t drink too sweet or bitter.
Mouthfeel: Medium plus with medium carbonation.
Overall: I think this is the best version of this beer yet. There’s good mouthfeel and the base beer is a nice porter, with a little bit of caramel sweetness and roasted coffee notes. The smoke is definitely the main attraction of this beer, as it should be. There’s a nice mix of classic rauch malt (bacon) and the cherrywood adds the sweeter smoke and they do really go well together. I think the smoke component could even be increase but I’d be hesitant to change the base beer too much.