Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Smoke Sticke - A Cherry Smoked Malt Beer

Ive been both terribly busy with work and then horribly lazy when I get home. So I haven't really kept up with all the small things Ive been doing/brewing the past couple months, as little as it has been. I did manage to brew up a couple beers, make some more pickles, sauerkraut and review a few things so I'm planning (forcing) myself to get off but and get to work.

I brewed this beer quite awhile back now, so I'm not 100% sure of the influences or what I was thinking at the time. Last summer I had brewed up a Smoked Ale (peat smoked malt) and it would really hit the spot with a hamburger, ribs, etc... Basically anything grilled, the smoke flavor really accentuated the flavor of the meats and veges. So last fall when I started hearing about a relatively newish smoked malt from Briess I was very interested.

Many people strongly profess to not like peat malt. It seems to be one of the very polarizing malts. Sometimes though, I wonder how many have actually tried it vs just repeating someone else's bad experience. That thought has actually made me temper my vitriol for melanoidin and aromatic a bit. Ah but that's another post/rant. Anyway, the cherry malt was supposed to lend a very smooth, sweeter smoke flavor than the other two available (Bamberg, Peat). I thought what the heck lets give it a try. When it showed up all I could smell was an amazing smoke aroma, yet it hinted at sweetness; almost like baked beans. Unfortunately the bag of malt sat around for some months till I had time to brew with it (~5), and the smell greatly diminished. It did so much in fact that until I racked the beer into a keg to carb about 2-3wks ago I was worried it wouldn't be smokey at all. Boy was I wrong there!

Originally I had planned on a making a smoked doppelsticke. The idea had really interested me, and after tasting both the Madfermentationist's and the City Brewer's versions I was just about set on doing one myself. The only thing that I was hesitant about was the highish gravity, I really tend to not enjoy bigger beers. This was probably the reason it took as long as it did to finally brew the beer, but when I did I decided to cut back a bit and just brew up a Sticke. For those that don't know, a Sticke is a special version of a Dusseldorf Alt. Basically its just a bit bigger, nicely balanced and brewed once a year.

When it came time to build the recipe I used last year's Smoked Ale as a starting point. This time around because the cherry malt is supposed to lend a sweet character I skipped the crystal malt in the beer, and I probably could have last year as well. I also decided against using any dark grains in the beer, I really just wanted to see what the cherry malt would bring to the table. I did however want something a bit breadier and maltier than last year and to keep better in style with a sticke, I used dark munich as the base for the beer. Finally I threw a healthy portion (2oz) of a noble-type hop at the beer to finish it off.

Smoke(d) Sticke

Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
5.0Cherry Smoked Malt
5.0Dark Munich (Global - 12L)
Amt (oz)TypeTime
2.0Crystal (3.7%)60
Mash Schedule
170F1.65qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastSafale German Ale - K97
75% effIBU25
7gal BoilFG


Jeffrey Crane said...

How did this turn out? I am planning a similar beer with this cheery wood smoked malt. Do you think 5 lbs over powered the other beer flavors?

Ryan said...

Its currently sitting in the keg ~6mos since brew day, and the thing is soooooooo smokey and phenolic at this point that I cant even handle putting an oz or so into a stout without it totally overpowering the drink

So, YES i think that 5# totally overpowers everything else, I wouldn't recommend anyone using that much in fact Im planning on sitting on the keg thru the summer and tapping next fall, hopefully by then it will have mellowed

For light beer I would use 1# max, maybe 1.5 in a stout

Its too bad I was really looking forward to another smoked beer, I really enjoyed the peat smoked beer I did last year

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