Smoked beer

Smoked beer

Smoked beer (German: "Rauchbier") is a type of beer with a distinctive smoke flavor, which can be imparted either by using malted barley dried over an open flame, or (less commonly) by placing a large, heated stone in the unfermented beer."Beer", by Michael Jackson, published 1998, pp.150-151] The "Rauchbiers" of Bamberg in Germany, Schlenkerla in particular, [ [ Schlenkerla Tavern & its Heller Brewery and Rauchbier (Smoke Beer), Bamberg ] ] [ [ German Beer Guide: Rauchbier ] ] are the best-known of the smoked beers.


Drying malt over an open flame may impart a smoky character to the malt. This character may carry over to beers brewed with the smoked malt. Prior to the modern era, drying malted barley in direct sunlight was used in addition to drying over flames. Even though kiln drying of malt, using indirect heat, did not enter into widespread usage until the industrial era, the method was known as early as the first century BCE. Also, there have been various methods over the years of preparing cereal grains for brewing, including making beer from bread, [ [ Beer in ancient times ] ] so smoked beer was not universal. However, it is known that beer made from malt dried over flame was common in England from the 16th to the 18th century. Fact|date=October 2007

Beginning in the 18th century, kiln drying of malt became progressively more common and, by the mid-19th century, had become the near-universal method for drying malted grain. Since the kiln method shunts the smoke away from the wet malt, a smoky flavour is not imparted to the grain, nor to the subsequent beer. As a result, smoke flavour in beer became less and less common, and eventually disappeared almost entirely from the brewing world.

Bamberg Rauchbier

Certain breweries, however, maintained the smoked beer tradition by continuing to use malt which had been dried over open flames. Two tavern-breweries in Bamberg, Germany in particular — Schlenkerla and Spezial — became almost the sole source of smoked beer production for nearly two centuries.Fact|date=February 2007 Both breweries are still in operation today, alongside seven other breweries in the same town. Both dry their malt over fires made from beechwood logs, and produce several varieties of "Rauchbier" ("smoke beer" in German).

moked beers outside of Germany

In Austria, the Upper Austrian brewery "Braucommune Freistadt" produces smoked beer.

In Italy, "Birrificio Lambrate" in Milan produces "Ghisa", a smoked beer with Bamberg's typical features.

In Japan, Honshū brewery "Moku Moku" produce a smoked ale, the brewery's name being a reference to the use of smoke screens by ninja warriors. The brewery is part of a cooperative that also smokes ham and makes sausages."Beer", by Michael Jackson, published 1998, pp.150-151]

Geoff Larson, founder and brewmaster of the Alaskan Brewing Company made a smoked beer, Alaskan Smoked Porter, in 1988 influenced by the "Rauchbiers" of Bamberg. The brewery was located directly across the street from a salmon smokery in Juneau, Alaska, so he made arrangements to have them smoke his malt with alder wood. Other American breweries, such as Rogue Ales and Stone Brewing Company, also produce smoked beers. In 2008 New Glarus brewry in Wisconsin produced "Smoke on the Porter", a beer produced partially with Bamburg-smoked malts and partially with malts smoked at a neighboring smokehouse as part of their "Unplugged" specialty beer series.

In Brazil, "Eisenbahn" produces a smoked beer called "Eisenbahn Rauchbier", using malts imported from Bamberg.

In Sweden, "Närke Kulturbryggeri" produces a smoked beer called "Anders Göranssons Bästa Rököl", and Nils Oscar Brewery produces Nils Oscar Rökporter, a smoked porter.

In Australia, "Redoak Boutique Beer Café" (est.2004) produces an award-winning World Beer Cup] [ [ European Beer Star Awards] ] smoked beer called "Redoak Rauch Bier" [ [ Redoak: Special Beers] ]


External links

* [ Brewery Schlenkerla] (English and German)
* [ Brewery Spezial] (German only)
* [] - everything you have to know about Bambergs brewing tradition (German, English)
* [ Braucommune Freistadt] (German only)
* [ Alaskan Brewing Company] (English only)
* [ Cervejaria Eisenbahn] (English and Portuguese)

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