Inspired by the famous Rauchbiers of Bamberg, we brewed this beer with 100% Smoked Malt, specially made by Thrall for a handful of CT brewers. (We are fortunate to be included.)
We also used a traditional “Decoction Mash” for this beer, where a portion of the grains were removed during the mash, heated / toasted in another vessel to add color and enhance the malty flavor, then returned back to the mash.
How’d they get smoke in there?
Spencer rigged up this smoker box using that particular brand of Yankee ingenuity that comes 5th(?) generation New England farming. Thrall’s have worked this land since 1646! Anyhow, this big box has perforated trays of green barley malt and they are pumping in smoke from a wood stove burning seasoned Maple wood (not pictured). The “green” (wet) status of the malt is very important here. Fully dry malt would not accept smoke flavor as readily. The wet malt is still in the process of respiring which - I’m told - draws in more of that smoky goodness.
Originally, malt wasn’t smoked intentionally. It was an inadvertent side-effect of the malt drying process – which happened over open fires. Additionally, all malt was considerably darker because the kernels toasted slightly due to the high heat of flames. We are hoping to experiment with this more traditional method of introducing smoke soon!