Today in the Kitchen - Smokestack Darkening
One of my best customers, inspired by Brew Dog's fantastic Paradox Smokehead suggested I develop a recipe for a strong stout oaked with whisky barrel chips. The Cooper Workshop helpfully provided some Bourbon barrel chips that had been used in the production of Speyside whisky. Their aroma, on opening the bag, was fantastic - deliciously rich and mildly smoky. I was immediately inspired to use them in a brew based on my Sheffield Stout Porter. But to achieve a result similar to the Smokehead Paradox I’d need to up both the smokiness and the strength of its formula.
My solution was to add smoked malt (supplied by Copper Kettle) and some dark Belgian Candi Sugar (from the Malt Miller) into the recipe. The smoked malt should accentuate the mild smokiness of the barrel chips, whilst the Candi Sugar will up the ABV and hopefully add a slight Bonfire Toffee edge to the finished beer. I used Chinook hops for bittering and Willamette hops to add a little peppery spice to the aroma and flavour.
I have just finished boiling the wort and it smells delicious - rich and smoky. Tomorrow, after it has cooled, I will pitch the yeast. Then after four or five days, when initial fermentation has slowed, I’ll steep a few hundred grams of the barrel chips in a few hundred ml of 70˚C whisky and once they have cooled add them to the fermenter. Suffice to say, I'm very excited about how this beer is going to turn out.
I’m pretty sure a version of this will be making an appearance in our next batch of new recipes – but if you’re desperate to try and you can’t wait please contact me and I will endeavour to put together a bespoke ingredient pack. The cost will be around £25.
And the name... well, I was listening to Muddy Waters as I was brewing this smoky beer but Smokestack Lightening seemed misleading for such a dark beer.