32A - Classic Style Smoked Beer
A well-balanced fusion of the malt and hops of the base beer style with a pleasant and agreeable smoke character.
Variable. The appearance should reflect the base beer style, although the color is often a bit darker than expected for the plain base style.
A pleasant balance between the expected aroma of the base beer and smoked malt. The smoke character ranges from low to assertive, and may show varietal wood smoke character (e.g., alder, oak, beechwood). The balance between the smoke and beer can vary – they do not need to be equal in intensity. However, the resulting mix should be appealing. Sharp, phenolic, harsh, rubbery, or burnt smoke-derived aromatics are inappropriate.
Similar to the aroma, with a balance between the base beer and low to assertive smoked malt. Varietal woods can produce different flavor profiles. The balance between smoke and beer can vary, but the resulting blend should be enjoyable. Smoke can add some additional dryness to the finish. Harsh, bitter, burnt, charred, rubbery, sulfury, medicinal, or phenolic smoke-derived flavors are inappropriate.
Varies with the base beer style. Significant astringent, phenolic, smoke-derived harshness is a fault.
Different materials used to smoke malt result in unique flavor and aroma characteristics. Beechwood, or other hardwood (e.g., oak, maple, mesquite, alder, pecan, apple, cherry, other fruitwoods) smoked malts may be used. These may be reminiscent of certain smoked foods (e.g., hickory with ribs, maple with bacon or sausage, and alder with salmon). Evergreen wood should never be used since it adds a medicinal, piney flavor to the malt. Noticeable peat-smoked malt is universally undesirable due to its sharp, piercing phenols and dirt-like earthiness. The remaining ingredients vary with the base style. If smoked malts are combined with other unusual ingredients (e.g., fruits, vegetables, spices, honey) in noticeable quantities, the resulting beer should be entered in the 32B Specialty Smoked Beer.
The process of using smoked malts has been adapted by craft brewers to many styles. German brewers have traditionally used smoked malts in Bock, Doppelbock, Weissbier, Munich Dunkel, Schwarzbier, Munich Helles, Pils, and other specialty styles.
Use this style for beers other than Bamberg-style Rauchbier (i.e., beechwood-smoked Märzen), which has its own style. Judges should evaluate these beers mostly on the overall balance, and how well the smoke character enhances the base beer.