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I've never made a Rauchbier before. I have some pear wood that I've been curing for about 5 months now and would like to use. I've got an all-grain setup, but no smoker; I suppose I'll need to get one. I was thinking about an electric smoker because I've heard they are much more efficient than a charcoal smoker. Any dramatic differences?

As far as the process of smoking is concerned, would I just chip the wood, drop it in the smoker, and put the grain on a screen?

Is that the right process? How long should I smoke it for? Are there any tried and true guidelines? If I smoke it "to taste," should I try to get the smoke flavor greater/less/equal to the flavor I want the beer to taste like?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I made a smoked porter about two months ago, and it turned out great.

I used charcoal and applewood in my cylindrical smoker (they run about $40 at Lowe's). My LHBS advised that I should smoke the base malt before milling, but since I didn't have a mill I ended up milling first and then smoking.

I placed a few pounds at a time on the top rack of the smoker on a bed of cheesecloth, and every 10 minutes or so took a fork and stirred it up a bit to get an even smoke (I also sprayed it down with bourbon but that's personal preference..). Each batch of grain was in the smoker for about 30 - 45 minutes.

After that I mashed and brewed as normal. The beer turned out really well, but if I brew this beer in the future I'm definitely going to smoke the grain a little less; the smoke flavor dominates the beer (which may be good or bad depending on what you're going for).

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Did you taste the grain after it came out of the smoker? If so, did the smoke flavor of the grain match that of the final beer? –  chrislarson Nov 12 '10 at 20:07
    
I didn't taste the grain, no. –  Jeff L Nov 12 '10 at 20:20
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A quick way, though definitely not traditional (that would include boiling with hot rocks anyway) would be to simply add dark toast oak cubes or chips to the secondary. Now, this might be cheating but its quick and easy.

I made a smoked bourbon porter and used 2oz med toast oak cubes for about a week in the secondary. The resulting beer was quite smokey but it faded a bit after a while. If you used dark toast in a higher quantity I am sure you would get a nice smokey finished product.

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Are the oak cubes purely for flavour or do they impart a smokey aroma too? –  Mark McDonald Oct 28 '11 at 15:05
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