Don’t fear the smoke: This recipe leans heavily into cherrywood-smoked malt for a surprisingly smooth and balanced character with the power to convert the skeptics.
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With this recipe, I kept increasing the smoked malt percentage over the years—it’s at 97 percent now, hence the name. I could go to 100 percent, but I like the tweaks created by the melanoidin and chocolate malts. Tinker on your own—but don’t live in fear of all that smoked malt. Embrace it!
For much more about this style, see Smoking Is Cool: The Unique Allure of Rauchbier.
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
10.5 lb (4.8 kg) Briess Cherry Wood Smoked Malt
4 oz (113 g) melanoidin malt
2 oz (57 g) chocolate malt
0.6 oz (17 g) Nugget at 60 minutes [26 IBUs]
1 oz (28 g) Hallertauer Hersbrucker at flameout
Wyeast 2308 Munich Lager
Mill the grains and mash at 152°F (67°C) for 60 minutes. Recirculate until your runnings are clear, then run off into the kettle. Sparge and top up as necessary to get about 6 gallons (23 liters) of wort. Boil for 60 minutes, adding hops according to the schedule. After the boil, chill to about 50°F (10°C), aerate well, and pitch plenty of healthy yeast. Ferment at 50°F (10°C) for 3 days, then allow the temperature to rise gradually to 60°F (16°C) over the next 10 days. When fermentation is complete and gravity has stabilized, crash, package, and carbonate to about 2.25 volumes of CO2.
The percentage of smoked malt matters less than the smokiness of the malt in question, and Briess Cherry Wood Smoked is a treat. However, if you find it’s too smoky for your palate, don’t just cut it a little, cut it a lot—down to about 20 percent of the grist, replacing the balance with Maris Otter. There’s not a substantial difference in smoke intensity when you go from about a third of the grist up to near 100 percent—but at that 20 percent level, the intensity drops off. But if you’ve never done it, give it a whirl with the big load of smoked malt.