Smoked beer is a style synonymous with the German Rauchbier. This beer style has distinct smoke flavor imparted by malted barely, which is dried over an open flame. Prior to the modern era, drying malted barely over flames was how the process worked, which in turn added the smoky character to the beers. Since the kiln was invented to dry malt without any smoky flavors carrying over, beers have evolved. However, some still enjoyed the smoky character and continued with the traditional fire drying method.
Although the most popular and well known smoked beer makers remain in Germany with the original German smoked beer, Rauchbier, many other countries have tried their hand at this style, and due to their popularity have succeeded!
In Western Australia, the Feral Brewing Company makes a smoked Porter, and in South Australia, Gulf Brewery makes a smoke stack Rauchbier. The Dupont Brewery in Belgium produces a Saison with smoked malt. In Brazil, Eisenbaum produces a smoked beer using malts they import from Bamberg—the original location of Rauchbiers. A few smoked beers are produced in Canada, one in particular being a seasonal Smoktoberfest beer made by Half Pints Brewing Company. Chile produces a smoked Munich Dunkel, the Netherlands produces a German Style Rauchbier and smoked Porter, and Norway produces a smoked Juniper flavored beer. Italy produces two smoked stout beers, one of which is imperial, Lithuania produces a smoked beer, and the United Kingdom produces its own smoked Ale.
On top of all these countries, of course the United States has its own long list of smoked beers coming from all different states. Aside from all these new takes on the style from other countries it is still important to be familiar with the traditional Rauchbier, Bamberg smoked beer, and Märzan smoked beer, which you can learn more about under the Rauchbier beer style description.
Smoked beer has been used to make other unique creations and various smoked beer styles such as Smoked beer cheese dip, cold smoke beers, and dark smoked beers. Cold smoke beer is made using a process that smokes the beer at a temperature much lower than normal smoked beers.
Smoked beer usually has an ABV in the 4.5-7% range and can range in flavor from light hints of smoke to a dense campfire smoke presence. With all the new takes on the style and use of different ingredients the possibilities are endless and worth a try if you like a bit of a smokier flavor.
Enjoy this fantastic beer style by joining our monthly craft beer club! Cheers.