I don't know if the brining has an effect or not, but I've never brined a brisket. I'd be afraid of it starting to cure a bit.
Do you put the brisket on cold? The longer it's below 140 or so, the more chance for a smoke ring....
But smoke ring doesn't really matter... taste matters.
CBJ, some comps, a few awards, Certified Artisan Steak Taster.
XL Big Green Egg, Bubba Keg Convection Grill, Weber Kettle, Charbroil Infrared and mad livefire cooking skillz! :)