Anyone ever try hickory in their beer?

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Anyone ever try hickory in their beer?

Postby GuardianBrew » Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:18 am

So I am preparing to brew a beer for my buddy who just shipped out to Iraq. The idea is to brew a big, strong smoked stout, and age it until he gets back early next year. I asked him what he wanted, and he said "make it as close to bacon as possible." The man is obsessed with bacon, and as a result, is nearly equally obsessed with smoked beers.

So I plan on using a healthy amount of rauch malt, but thought that it might be a cool touch to age it in a secondary on hickory chips. What is everyone's thoughts on using hickory? I've never seen nor heard of such a thing, and am not sure if there's a reason for that :) I would rather ask, than put in all this effort, wait a year, then find out I ruined it.
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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:29 am

I don't think many people have tried using hickory, as oak is the standard, but it shouldn't give you any problems.

It will probably give you that "meaty" smoked flavor that you're looking for. I would suggest making a batch of your regular smoked beer, and then splitting it into two seperate secondary fermentors. That way, if the hickory doesn't work out, at least you saved half the batch.

By the way... I've never tried hickory, but with oak chips, you really want to watch how long you leave them in contact with the beer. The flavor will get to be too much after a few weeks.
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RE: hickory in their beer?

Postby wottaguy » Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:28 am

Hey GuardianBrew,

Have you considered smoking a lb of malt in a smoker using Hickory wood?

I'm not so sure you would get that hickory flavor from introducing wood chips to the beer in the secondary. Just my thoughts mind you. But you can certainly give it a try!

I recently smoked up a pound of malt using Alder Wood hunks, and used it in an Alaskan Smoked Porter Clone. I just kegged it last Saturday and I did sneak a taste after measuring my FG, and it worked out very well. The beer is ageing now and I'll have to wait a bit before trying more.

If you do end up adding your hickory to the secondary, please let us know if it did give you the desired effect you were looking for, or any other thoughts you have about the finished beer.

Hope this helps!

(_)3

***Edited at 4:36PM 4/27/09**

After experimenting with adding different fruit flavors to my latest American wheat beer, it dawned on me to ask or even suggest that maybe you could add a nice thick slab of Virginia Smoked Ham to the end of the boil (trim the fat off) for the last 5 minutes or less.....maybe i'm over thinking this one! :D

I'm actually tempted to try this approach!

How about a pepperoni amber ale...... anyone??

Hey...it's what's for dinner tonight! That and fried dough.

:D

How about some liquid smoke to taste? Hickory or Mesquite?

(_)3
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Postby GuardianBrew » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:44 pm

Thanks guys! There are certainly a few ways I could go about it, I'll have to kick around some ideas for a week or so. I wish I had a smoker... Perhaps I could fashion one out of stuff I have laying around to just do a little stovetop smoking? I do think that toasting the hickory chips in the oven would bring out some of what I'm after too.
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RE: Smoking stuff...malts...etc...

Postby wottaguy » Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:35 pm

Say GuardianBrew,

If you have a state park close to you, they sometimes have fire pits or charcoal grills to use. Maybe you can go to the park with some charcoal briquettes, lighter fluid, and some hickory wood and start a fire. Soak the hickory for about 2 days before you go there, build the fire and make sure that the lighter fluid and charcoal briquettes are fully ignited and burning, then put the hickory on the fire. Wait until it is smoking real good. Put your grains in a aluminum deep dish pan (poke small holes thru the bottom to get the smoke thru, and place it on the grate. If you can, cover the top and trap the the smoke, and let it smoke for an hour or until it stops smokin. You might want to have a water bottle on hand too in case the wood goes to flames.

Just an idea here. Not sure what your living arrangements are. OR you can always purchase a lb or 2 of German rauchmalt. Not quite the same as hickory...but it will get the idea across.

I am gonna try the ham thing sometime! Just because...LOL!! ( i luv meat with my beer)

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Postby GuardianBrew » Mon Apr 27, 2009 9:23 pm

i do have a park with pits very nearby that I could try. Right now, rauch malt is what i'm going to be doing, but we'll see. I might try to smoke my own at some point with hickory
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