Fire in the Castle Classic-Style Smoked Beer

The keyword today is balance. In whichever style you choose to smoke up, the smoke character should more or less equal in magnitude the strongest flavor in the profile and should complement and enhance the flavors present.

Josh Weikert Jan 2, 2019 - 3 min read

Fire in the Castle Classic-Style Smoked Beer Primary Image


Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.050
FG: 1.013
IBUs: 25
ABV: 4.8%


4 lb (1.8 kg) Maris Otter
4 lb (1.8 kg) Beechwood-Smoked Malt
1 lb (454 g) British Medium Crystal Malt (65L)
4.8 oz (136 g) British Pale Chocolate Malt


1 oz (28 g) East Kent Goldings [5% AA] at 60 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Fuggles [4% AA] at flame-out


Wyeast 1028 (London Ale) Yeast


Mill the grains and mix with 2.89 gallons (11 l) of 163°F (73°C) strike water to reach a mash temperature of 152°F (67°C). Hold this temperature for 60 minutes. Vorlauf until your runnings are clear, then run off into the kettle. Sparge the grains with 4.3 gallons (16.5 l) and top up as necessary to obtain 6 gallons (23 l) of wort. Boil for 60 minutes, following the hops schedule.

Chill the wort to slightly below fermentation temperature, about 63°F (17°C). Aerate the wort and pitch the yeast. Ferment at 65°F (18°C) until about halfway through primary fermentation, then allow the temperature to rise at will (or step it up by 1°F/0.5°C) per day for one week and then let free rise. Crash the beer to 35°F (2°C), then bottle or keg the beer and carbonate to about 2 volumes of CO2.

Tips for Success

Divide your base malt between the Maris and the Rauchmalt to ensure a healthy dose of smoke! I also increase the chocolate malt addition by a few ounces to help ensure a dry finish even in the presence of the Rauchmalt, which can add a sweet, oily flavor. You should end up with a definitively English-tasting smoked amber ale.