Smoked Imperial Porter - 2018 Experimental

>> Sunday, April 22, 2018

Today I'm brewing an experimental version of my smoked porter. The first version of this beer took a gold medal for smoked and wood-aged beers and the second version did as well. The third version on sassafras didn't fare quite as well and I personally hated the rootbeer-like character it got from the sassafras. So today I'm brewing the fourth version which will be a split batch.

The biggest difference with this version is I'm using hickory-smoked malt that I smoked myself for my base malt. After primary, I'm planning on splitting off 2.5 gallons which will receive 1 pound of Maple & Bacon Smoked Candi Syrup. The home-smoked malt was cold-smoked using my newly completed malt tumbler. I suspect this version will have a much stronger smoke character because of the larger proportion of smoked malt, and because hickory trends to yield stronger smoke flavors compared to some other smoking woods. I love a strong smoke flavored beer, so I think I'll enjoy it, but it might be a little too strong for some.

Here's the recipe as I'm brewing it:

10.5# Hickory-smoked California Select Malt
2.0# Avangard Munich
1.25# Crisp Brown Malt
1.25# Crisp Crystal 77L
0.75# Crisp Pale Chocolate Malt (225L)
28g Magnum (60 min)
14g EKG (10 min)
Imperial Yeast Flagship
0.5 Whirlfloc
0.5t Yeast nutrient

Split batch with 1# of Maple & Bacon Smoked Candi Syrup added to half the batch after primary fermentation subsides.

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

10 gallons distilled water using Beersmith's London water profile.

Brewing Notes
No issues. OG came in at 20.8/1.085.

Update 5/28/2018
I transferred this beer to two secondaries today. Half was racked onto the Maple Bacon Candi Syrup. I'll probably let this go about a week or two then add the wood for aging.

Update 7/2/2018
These variants went into kegs tonight. These have been sitting on hickory since 6/2/2018. Smoke on these is noticeable, but doesn't dominate. The maple-bacon variant is interesting. The maple character is subtle. The bacon component is a bit harder to identify. I'm interested to see how it changes as it carbs.

Update 8/5/2018
Both variants got bottled today. I'm really happy with the way both of these turned out. I don't know if I'd use the maple bacon syrup again. It's super subtle and I don't think it really adds much to this beer.