Foggy Morning is an Australian Wild Ale made with 100% Stringy Bark smoked malt from Voyager Craft Malt, Barellan NSW. A first of its kind, Foggy Morning made use of Stu and Brad's inaugural batch of smoked malt from their newly installed smoke machine in March 2019. This is an ingredient and flavour profile we have been wanting to explore for some time but have been unable to because of the nonexistence of local options. Not wanting to play with beechwood smoked or other imported wood-smoked barleys, like all our beers, it was important to us that this product was uniquely Australian. I was also keen to work with freshly smoked malt instead of its oxidised imported counterparts. I pestered Stu about this smoked malt for months and was so happy to finally brew with it and even more excited about the result.
Without knowing what to call it, on the morning of 3 April, I arrived at Batch under a dense pre-dawn fog. As the sun rose, the beer came onto a rolling boil and the fog resisted to lift. The smoky-steam was billowing out of the building but captured under the blanket of fog... Head Brewer at Batch Andrew Meli came in that morning with the news he could smell the brew as soon as stepping onto the platform at Sydenham train station a few hundred metres away. A foggy beer born on a foggy morning, the name came easily.
In contrast to our normal operations of restraint, we looked to the icons of this style, the smoked beers from Bamburg Germany and decided to make this beer entirely with smoked malt instead of adding it in as a percentage of the grist. I was happy to let time in barrel and then bottle do the softening of these flavours. It was hopped to 30 IBU with Saaz hops and fermented with our house culture in stainless before ageing in barrel for 2 months. We packaged it on 20 June 2019 and allowed it to condition in bottle for 15 weeks before release. At packaging it was 2.6 P and 4.5% ABV.
The result is a truly campfire, morning ash experience. In contrast to the small goods/bacon aromas familiar with these styles, the Stringy Bark lends a much fresher smoked character. The aroma is reminiscent of waking up next to a burned down fire and catching a breeze of embers still alight deep in the ash, throwing on a jumper you were wearing the night before and taking a deep breath in. The palate continues the camping memories with our acidity cutting the bigger, thicker flavours from the smoke. It finishes nicely with a lasting, but not overpowering flavour. Please note that smoked beers tend to be polarising at the best of times, if smoked beer is not to your taste, I cannot imagine that one would find Foggy Morning appealing. To that end, we have made an expression of our landscape for those (like us) who find a place for these beers.
Artwork for the label was watercoloured by my wife Bernadette.