Cats Meow 3
[Prev] [Next] [Contents] [ConvertUnits] [About CM3]

Mongrel Ale (Smoked)

Classification: smoked ale, rauchbier, extract

Source: Frank Tutzauer (, Issue #1017, 11/20/92

This beer was a big hit at my homebrew club. It is a beautiful amber, but has low head retention. The first taste sensation is a light sweetness at the front of the mouth; then a light bitterness, with a mild smokey finish at the back sides of the tongue. I personally think that it could use a little more smoke, but my wife thinks it's perfect. Also, I believe that the popularity of it at my homebrew club is partly due to the fact that the smoke is not overwhelming--most people just aren't used to heavily smoked foods. (But I am, which is why I think it can use more.) The consensus at the homebrew club was that if one did want to increase the smokiness, you should smoke more grains, rather than apply more smoke to the original 1 and 1/2 pound quantity.

About the name--I know that smoked beer is a German tradition, so I threw in some Munich and used German yeast. But, geez, I had all this English malt and extract laying around, hence "mongrel." Also, I decided to make an ale instead of a lager since it was the end of the summer and I hadn't yet gotten a refridgerator. Finally, I made a low gravity beer because I wanted to see how the smoke played out, and therefore didn't want a lot of other flavors, etc., to get in the way.



Using a water smoker, I smoked the crystal and pale malt at about 170F over hickory wood for 3-4 hours using heavy smoke. When finished, the malt smelled smokey, but didn't taste smokey, so I took half the crystal and gave it another 3-4 hours. This smelled REALLY smokey, but still didn't taste smokey.

On brew day, I cracked all grains and steeped them in 3 qts. of water for 45 minutes at 150-155F. I sparged with 1 (US) gallon of 170F water, recirculating twice (I wanted that smoke, and was willing to get a few more tannins). I added the runoff and extracts to the kettle, and topped up to 5 and 1/2 to 6 gallons of water. I boiled 65 minutes adding the hops and Irish Moss as shown. I calculated the IBUs to be about 30, but the finished product doesn't taste 30 IBUs worth of bitter (maybe my calculations were off; also my crude measuring instruments mean that those quantities on the hops are, er, approximate). Cooled with an immersion chiller and pitched the yeast from a starter.