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  • Writer's pictureCalgary Brewery Tour Guy

Smoked beers in Calgary. What are they and where can you find them?- YYCTOURS

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

Smoked Beers: Style , History and where to find it in Calgary.

I glass of dark, smoked beer on Calgary beer tour

Smoked beers are a unique sub-category of beers that are brewed with smoked malts. In the 2021 BJCP (Beer Judging) guidelines, they are divided into Classic Smoked Beer and Specialty Smoked Beer categories.

Smoked beer malt is made by drying malt over an open fire, which infuses it with a smoky flavor. The smoky flavor can range from subtle to intense, depending on the type of malt used and the brewing process. There are several different styles of smoked beers, each with its own unique flavor profile. The most common styles are Rauchbier, Bamburg Smoked Beer, and smoked Porters and Stouts. Although not required, brewers have traditionally used smoked malts in Bock, Doppelbock, Weissbier, Munich Dunkel, Schwarzbier, Munich Helles and Pils. Other styles that do need smoke are Piwo Grodziskie and Lichtenhainer.

If you’re looking to add a smoked beer to your repertoire, they can sometimes be found at Calgary venues like the Establishment or Cabin. However, it can always be found on tap at Bow River Brewing where it is called Prairie Night Smokey Porter. All these breweries are Canadian craft beer award medal winners so you shouldn't be disappointed.

What is smoked beer?

Smoked beer is a type of beer made with smoked malt. This smoky flavor can vary depending on the type of malt used, the amount of smoke used, the malster who smokes it and the smoking process. Different materials can be used to smoke malt with each having its own flavor and aroma. Beechwood, or other hardwoods such as maple, mesquite, oak, alder, cherry, pecan, or apple smoked malts may be used. In specialty smoked beer, you often see the addition of fruits, spices and honey.

Rauchbiers, which originated in Germany, are lagers that are strongly flavored with smoked malt. They normally have a very bold and smoky flavor, and are known for their robustness. They typically range between 4.0% and 8.0% ABV and have a deep amber color.

Bamburg Smoked Beers, which originated in the Bamburg region of Germany, are ales made with smoked malt, generally with a more subtle smoky flavor than Rauchbiers. They generally have a more subtle smoky flavor than Rauchbiers, and can range from light golden to deep amber in color. They can range from 4.0% to 10.0% ABV and typically offer a milder smoky flavor.

a flight of different styles of smoked beer for a beer tour in Calgary

Smoked porters and stouts, which are popular in the United States and United Kingdom, are dark beers with a strong smoky flavor. They are dark beers with a strong smoky flavor and can range from 4.0% to 12.0% ABV. They are typically enjoyed with a roasted or barbecued meal, as the smoky flavor can enhance the flavor of the meal.

No matter what kind of beer you’re looking for, you’ll find something to satisfy your craving on YYCTOURS Calgary Brewery Tour . Smoked beers add a unique flavor and aroma to your favorite beer styles and can be enjoyed on their own or used to enhance the flavor of other beer styles. If you are looking for Smoked beers in Calgary, just contact us at YYCTOURS.

Why is smoked beer unique?

Smoked beer is unique because it uses malts that have been smoked over an open fire. This gives a distinctive smoky flavor and aroma to the beer. The malts are usually smoked using different types of woods and it can be very difficult to end up with the perfect amount of smokiness. This also gives the beer a unique smoky flavor that is impossible to replicate with any other beer.

The smoky flavor also brings out the bitter and sweet flavors of the beer that wouldn’t otherwise be evident. This makes smoked beers the perfect pairing to eat with heavily flavorsome food such as barbecued ribs, smoked sausages, or strong cheeses.

Smoked beers are popular in the craft beer industry and are becoming increasingly popular in microbreweries. This is due to their unique taste and versatility; they can be paired with a wide range of foods and styles of beer. They are also often enjoyed for their smoky aroma and flavor, which can be relaxing and soothing after a long day.

A pair of hands scooping malt out of a bag during an educational brewery tour.

Tips for brewing your own smoked beer

If you are considering brewing your own smoked beer, here are some tips to help ensure the beer turns out delicious and flavorful:

1. Select the right type of malts - In order to get the correct smoky flavor, you must use the right malts when brewing. You should use malts that have been smoked over an open flame using hickory, mesquite, or cherrywood.

2. Choose the right amount of smoke - Too much smoke can ruin the beer, so you need to be careful to ensure you get the right amount of smoke. This can depend on the type of malts you use and the amount of smoke flavor you want.

3. Use a partner smoker - If you are not experienced in smoking malts, it is a good idea to find a partner smoker who can help you learn about smoking malts so that you can control the quality and amount of smoke.

4. Experiment with other flavors - You can also experiment with adding other flavors to your smoked beer, such as chocolate, vanilla, or coffee. This will give the beer more complexity and flavors.

5. Proper storage - After you have brewed your beer, it is important to store it properly. The best way to store smoked beer is in dark-colored bottles at room temperature. This will help ensure the beer retains its smoky aroma and flavors.

Wrapping things up

Brewing smoky beers is no easy task, as there is a delicate balance between too much and too little smoke. However, with the right tips and tricks, it is possible to create some truly delicious and flavorful smoked beers.

Brewers should select the right type of malts, experiment with different flavors, remember to use the right amount of smoke, and store the beer properly. Additionally, it is always a good idea to find a partner smoker who can help you learn how to smoke malts correctly.

By following these tips, brewers can make sure their smoked beers turn out delicious and flavorful. Smoked beers can be a great addition to any beer enthusiast's repertoire and can add a unique and special flavor to any beer.

Be sure to follow YYCTOURS social media and blogs for more articles. You may also like Calgary Beer and Beer Flight of the Week - 33 Acres Brewing

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