Monday, March 12, 2012

The Flame

Q: What smells better than a freshly-split log of aged oak?

A: That same oak burning and smoking.

I see now why men wake up at 3 in the morning to stoke their fires to smoke the day's pork. There's something strangely satisfying about smoking food. Just like fermentation, it's not something that can be done quickly, it takes time. It's an affront to the modern American hustle and bustle culture that wants everything done yesterday. And it can be oh so relaxing to sit outside on a beautiful day, smelling that sweet wood smoke and enjoying some nice, cold beers.

The impetus for this was reading about German smoked beers, and having a piece of piece of oak branch left over from the tree that crushed my mother's car last summer. I decided to use it to smoke four pounds of raw spelt, which I'm hoping to use in about a month for my first ale of the season. It smells pretty smoky right now, and I figure a month should be about right for it to mellow. I soaked the grains overnight before smoking them, and smoked them for a good five hours, and they're still not dry. I'm thinking a couple of days worth of drying should do the trick. The four pounds of spelt absorbed two pounds of water overnight, so I've got to rid of all that to get them back to the same moisture content and keep them from getting moldy. Let's hope the beer turns out alright.

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