Lagers take a bit more time to turn around that ales, but at a low gravity and with some chocolate rye and German Beechwood smoked malt my Smoked Dark Lager is drinking pretty well just 6 weeks after I brewed it. Turned out to be just what I was craving, moderate smoke, big bready malt, drinkable even in the summer heat, and great with grilled food.
Rauch Dunkel - Smoked Dark Lager
Smell – Bread crust, light smoke, and a touch of spicy hops. The depth of the breadiness is very nice. Clean fermentation character (no buttery diacetyl or fruity esters), I'm impressed with the performance of the W-34/70 strain.
Taste – Rich and malty with a pleasant sweet smoke in the finish. The smoke isn't potent enough to give it the hammy/sausage flavor of some of the more aggressive German rauchbiers (cough Aecht Schlenkerla cough). Leans towards the malty, but there is enough bitterness to leave me wanting another sip. Again I'm surprised just how clean this is for pitching dry lager yeast right out of the package (I'll have to try the strain in a subtler recipe).
Mouthfeel – Moderate-low carbonation plus a surprisingly full body for a 4.5% ABV beer.
Drinkability & Notes – The perfect dark beer for a summer day, low in alcohol, balanced, but with enough character to stand up to barbeque or burgers. I'll have to brew an ampled-up version of this for winter (smoked Baltic porter?).