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Thom Dunn is a Boston-based writer, musician, homebrewer, and new media artist. He enjoys Oxford commas, metaphysics, and romantic clichés (especially when they involve whiskey), and he firmly believes that Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" is the single greatest atrocity committed against mankind. He is a graduate of Clarion Writer's Workshop at UCSD ('13) & Emerson College ('08).

Smoked Kölsch Ale

Today's adventure in homebrewing: a smoked kölsch ale, made with genuine charred oak barrel pieces straight from the Jack Daniels distillery and soaked with whiskey for 5 years. The goal is to make it a light summer drinking beer, that's already been (deliciously) stained by the campfire around which you should probably be drinking it anyway, because we're coming up on prime latenight backyard campfire drinking season. I'll also be adding some liquid smoked oak essence at the end, to balance the flavor as needed (or as not needed, although probably needed). (For those of you unfamiliar with kölsch, it's kind of like a pilsner in color/hoppiness, except it's an ale, not a lager. Get it? Okay. Moving on)


    Ingredients:
  • 4oz.Carapils Malt
  • 6oz. Munich Malt
  • 2.5lbs. Light Malet Extract
  • 3lbs. Super Light Malt Extract
  • 1oz. Northern Brewer Hops (bittering, ~45 minutes)
  • 03.oz. Hallertaur Hops (flavor, ~30 minutes)
  • 03.oz. Perle Hops (flavor, ~30 minutes)
  • 0.2oz. Hallertaur Hops (finishing/aroma, ~15 minutes)
  • 0.2oz. Saaz Hops (finishing/aroma, ~15 minutes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Irish Moss
  • 1 small block of charred oak from a used Jack Daniels whiskey barrel
  • Wyeast #2565 Kölsch Ale Yeast
  • Smoked Oak Essence (as needed)

Special Instructions I procured my pieces of Jack Daniels barrel from the lovely people at Ryan & Wood Distillery, a fantastic mom-and-pop distillery in Gloucester, MA. They buy their barrels straight from Jack Daniels (who is only allowed to use each barrel once), and then age their own rum/rye in the barrels, and sell the bits for $2 a bag. Not a bad deal, and excellent for BBQing (might I add — smoking mangoes & peppers over charcoal and Jack Daniels barrel? DELICIOUS)

I added my barrel piece in with the grains and let it steep for the first 20 minutes. I added the same piece back in for the last 5 minutes of the boil, hoping to impart some of the smoked scents into the beer as well. I plan on adding some smoked oak essence as needed later on, but so far, we'll see how it goes!

OG: ~1.4