Rob's Smoke & Wood III

>> Sunday, July 09, 2017

Another quick post today, because I haven't had the time to write lengthier posts lately. Today I'm brewing up the third version of Rob's Smoke & Wood, the Imperial Porter inspired by the Smoking Wood beers from The Bruery. Like last year, this is a 3-ish gallon recipe. The biggest change is I went with Munich II (9L) and the smoked malts consist of a 50/50 blend of Briess Cherry and Mesquite smoked malts. Previously, the smoked malt consisted of 50/50 blends of either Mesquite/Rauchmalt or Cherry/Rauchmalt. Both cherry and mesquite smoked malts are more intense than Rauchmalt, so hopefully this change doesn't throw things off too much. The previous two versions both won gold medals in competition, so I'll be crossing my fingers for this one.

4.80# Crisp Maris Otter
1.20# Weyermann Munich II
0.75# Crisp Brown Malt
0.75# Briess Cherry-wood Smoked Malt
0.75# Briess Mesquite Smoked Malt
0.75# Crisp Crystal 77L
0.45# Crisp Pale Chocolate (sparge)
3ml Hopshot (60 min)
8.4g EKG (10 min)
0.25 Whirlfloc
0.25t Yeast nutrient
1" per gallon HoneyComb Barrel Alternative (Secondary)

Mash at 154F for 60 minutes, 90 minute boil, ferment at 60F

Same water profile as last time, Beersmith London.

Brewing Notes
No major issues. The boil-off seemed a little higher than normal. As a result, my volume is a tad under 3 gallons and my OG is 21.6 (1.088). I tasted a small sample and I think the smoke level is still going to be ok, not overpowering.

Update 7/11/2017
I was seeing signs of fermentation yesterday morning and by last night there was a full inch of krausen. So things seem to be moving right along.

Update 7/20/2017
I decided to try aging this version on sassafras wood. This one has the potential to be quite different, so I'm hoping in meshes well and doesn't clash. Black Swan describes it as Vanilla, Sage/Spice, Root Beer, Mint. Smelling the sassafras, I'm getting a nutty toasty aroma. I'm hoping for more vanilla character than mint...only time will tell. As usual, I'mbeer steaming the HoneyComb Barrel Alternative to sanitize. I'll give it a few days before I start pulling daily samples to taste.

Update 7/24/2017
I talked with a buddy of mine at work that's really into whiskey about the sassafras wood. He'd experimented with leaves and said he got a lot of mint from it. Wood and leaves may be different, but it made me nervous so I added some oak cubes to this beer. I pulled a sample yesterday and it's a pretty good beer. Like previous versions, the smoke is there but not overpowering. The wood character is still very subtle.

Update 8/20/2017
So I kegged this up but hadn't tried it since carbing it. I dropped it off today as one of my entries for Beehive Brew-off, but didn't taste it carb'd until after I'd dropped it off. Unfortunately the sassafras is coming through big time after carbing. The taste isn't too bad, but the aroma combined with the smokey phenolics is just bad in my opinion. Lesson learned, I doubt I'll ever try to incorporate this into a beer again.