Ah, bacon and chocolate. Two of the most delicious flavors on the planet.
And when you put them together? Boom boom boom! Flavor fireworks
Though you may not agree. In which case, this post isn’t for you. But for those who revel in bacon & chocolate harmony, read on…
How wonderful they are… sometimes. I guess what distinguishes my favorite smoked beer is one with dark chocolate, smoked flavors, and balanced with bacon notes.
It can’t be overdone, though. The over-the-top, acrid flavor of smoked beers can be a real turn off. Tastes like chewing on coals! Yuck.
So we are left with the question: With all the various smoked malts that are readily available from any homebrew store, isn’t it logical that they would provide flavors of different intensities?
Well, that question resulted in an absolutely killer porter recipe that I'm very proud of. Here the combination of smoked malt + dark malts from the porter have truly helped produce something quite wonderful.
“Cherry Plume” Smoked Bacon Porter Recipe
7lbs 2-row, or marris otter
3lbs cherrywood smoked malt
1lbs chocolate malt
8 oz Cara 40L
4 oz Munich malt 20L
2 oz black patent
2.5 oz UK Fuggles 60 min
.75 oz East Kent Goldings 1 min
.25 oz northern Brewer @ flameout
WLP013 (London ale)
- Dough in at 1.25-1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain to reach a mash temp of 154F.
- Let rest for 60 minutes or until conversion.
- Sparge and collect enough wort to end with with a total volume of 5-5.5 gallons of wort after 60 minute boil.
- Flameout and cool to 68, oxengenate and ferment at same temp.
- *Not required but good option* A hard lager at around 30F for a month smooths the beer out nicely, but it is ready to drink after fermentation completes
Bacon; just straight bacon and chocolate. There is some slight oak character that comes from London Ale yeast, but is a nice compliment. No fruity esters or diacetyl.
Dark as night with a small tanish- brown head.
It seriously tastes like chocolate-covered bacon. The smoke lingers into the finish but not in an offensive way. There is no hop flavor and very low bitterness, but it rounds out the body. There is just the slightest roast/ drying finish.
Medium body. Medium carbonation.
Great beer. It's just crazy to imagine how the smoked malt and yeast could mix together to create a flavor that one wouldn't think was possible unless without adding real bacon!
I have personally brewed this beer multiple times and have tweaked it ever so slightly. For those who are nervous about using 30% smoked malt, start lighter with just 20%. But for anyone really enjoys a smoked beer, I highly recommend going with the full 30%.
Have fun brewing and enjoy the next grain to glass.