How would I go about smoking barley (no points awarded for answering "in a pipe")? My LHBS has a couple of smoked varieties, but not the exact type of smoke I want. I'd like a method that doesn't involve buying a ton of equipment, if possible.

  • In a hookah? :-D
    – Bill
    Dec 8 '10 at 19:16
  • 1
    I've never tried smoking grains, but could you put the barley in a coffee roaster and toss in some hickory?
    – Bill
    Dec 8 '10 at 19:17
  • Related question: homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/453/… Dec 9 '10 at 1:26
  • get some rolling papers and smoke away ;) no pipe necessary!
    – BozoJoe
    Dec 9 '10 at 17:51
  • wow, hardcore. Good on you. Jun 28 '11 at 18:54

I smoked my own base malt for a smoked porter I made a few months ago, and it turned out really well. I used this Brinkmann smoker (I smoke a lot of meat so I already had it handy) and simply placed about 2 pounds of malt at a time on a bed of cheesecloth on the top rack of the smoker. About every 10 minutes, I sprayed the malt down with bourbon to keep it moist (and add a bit of flavor), and turned the malt with a fork to get an even smoking.

I smoked each batch of malt for about 45 minutes. My LHBS recommended that I smoke the malt before milling, but since I didn't have a grain mill I had to mill it at the store and then smoked the grain after it was crushed. The smoke flavor in the beer ended up being very prominent, which I really enjoy, but is a bit too much for other people.

I recommend smoking before milling if you can, otherwise plan to smoke less of your base malt or smoke it for far less time.

If you don't want to invest in a smoker, you can easily fashion a makeshift smoker from a stainless steel trash can, as seen here (and search for "trash can smoker", there's plenty of tutorials online). The parts required are relatively cheap.

If you don't want to make a smoker, a slightly less effective method is to use a gas or charcoal grill with very low heat as a smoker, although I don't recommend this as you run the risk of roasting/burning your grain.

  • This sounds delicious, and a great excuse to get a smoker. Thanks!
    – PMV
    Dec 9 '10 at 15:55
  • Do you smoke your grains in the same smoker that you smoke your meats? No cross tastes?
    – BozoJoe
    Dec 9 '10 at 17:53
  • I've never had any problems with cross tastes. I clean the thing pretty thoroughly between uses.
    – Jeff L
    Dec 13 '10 at 22:33
  • So you buy malted grain and smoke it, not smoking unmalted grain? Oct 28 '11 at 14:57

There was an episode of Basic Brewing Video from April 12, 2009 that covered roasting grain:

James and Steve create their own specialty grains by roasting Maris Otter pale malt for different lengths of time.

Smoking and roasting may be different, but perhaps this will help you on your quest!

  • Why the downvote?
    – pkaeding
    Dec 9 '10 at 14:59
  • probably because it wasn't specifically smoking. I negated the downvote. Dec 9 '10 at 15:54

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