Sunday, August 5, 2012

Peated porter

I recently brewed an extract porter with specialty grains. While the bulk of the bill was just dumping my remaining grains (chocolate, black patent, American roasted barley, carared, special b) in to a light base extract I did add one new grain I had purchased. Peated malt (also called peat smoked malt) is a malted barley that has been dried with smoke from burning peat (a type of moss).

Peat malt is not traditional to any style of beer (as many style snobs will quickly point out) but is classically used in Scotch whiskey, particularly those from the isle of Islay. It is known to give a harsh smoked flavor as well as briny and medicinal characteristics. Smoke, clove and medicinal (some say band-aid like) flavors all come from various phenols and can be pleasant or ruinous depending on the type, amount and personal tastes.

In this beer I hope to have a noticeable but not unbearable amount of smoke and peatiness.  5 ounces is higher than some recommend but hopefully is not too much.  Depending on the results I will likely brew a future smoked porter (and other smoked beers) with other types of smoked malt (rauchmalt, cherrywood smoked, oak smoked wheat, etc...) in addition or in place of the peated.

8-04-12 Update
Bottled this up finally.  I broke my hydrometer before getting a reading so I don't know the FG.  The flat beer that I tasted was a bit sweet and mildly peaty.  I'm not sure how this one is going to come out, the flavor of the peat seemed mild but interesting and first, but built over time to a strange and unbearable taste that overwhelmed the rest of the flavor.  Hopefully this effect will be lessened with a little carbonation and time.

8-26-12 Update
Tried a bottle today, very low carbonation and head retention is the first thing I notice.  Very sweet and pretty peaty.  The peat was overbearing at first, then subsided, then built up again to the point of unbearable. I'm hoping with a few more months (or years) the flavors will meld better but right now it is pretty much just sweet and peaty in a bad way.

My dad drank some of these with the review "It's kind of weird by itself, but with barbecue it's really, really good." I'll have to try the combination but I could definitely see the sweet and smokey character of this being good with bbq or even good in a marinade or sauce.

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