Smoke intensity is a matter of taste. Some like it mild, some like it strong. You did not say how you liked it; was it ok? too strong for you? That is something you have to discuss with your family.
As for the brisket, I use 4 to 6 ounces hickory. That might be too much for you but that is what I use; 6 ounces for a full packer.
As for the ash. Not sure I understand. Sometimes I will get a piece of charcoal back from a smoke out of the 2 to 4 chunks of wood I use. Other times, all ash. I just dump the remains, be it charcoal or ash in the trash the day after a smoke. No further cleaning needed.