Saturday Brew Day – Grodziskie

Grodziskie is an extinct smoked wheat beer from eastern Germany (where it’s called Graezer) and western Poland.  I’ve been trying various things for some time in an effort to get one that I consider both drinkable and to style.  It’s a very light beer and rather highly hopped:  4.0 ABV and 40 IBUs (BU/GU ratio is 1).  I’ve experimented with varying the amount of smoked malt, souring but finally got the clue from Ron Pattinson’s book on obsolete beer styles.  This Grodziskie is brewed according to his guidlines.  Here’s the recipe:

If I haven’t plugged Brewer’s Friend, let me do so now.  It’s a great site for creating and sharing beer recipes, the community of users is very knowledgeable and very polite – no arguments over sprinklin’ vs dunkin’ over there!  It has a great suite of tools for brewers of any level of expertise.  And it’s under development all the time so any problems that come up generally get fixed.  I recommend it, in fact, I’m a lifetime member!

They didn’t pay me for that, really.

Some other brews in progress:  The Vienna Lager is done and very nice.  Likewise, the Baltic Porter is lagering and also very nice.  I’m planning my next brew but don’t know when I’ll get it done – soon I hope.  It’s a Maerzen and that means March.  Aprilzen just doesn’t have the same ring.

Sensory Training

Last night I finished the Siebel Institute’s 12-flavor sensory training panel.  It was quite enlightening to actually taste those off-flavors people write about.  If you ever get a chance to complete the testing, do so.  It’s worth it.

For example, I now know exactly what lactic acid contamination tastes like – think soured milk.  Diacetyl is rancid butter.  I couldn’t smell or taste butyric contamination but, before I knew it was the flavor I was sampling, I began to feel ill, like I’d just thrown up.  And I also learned I’m one of the 50% of the population that can’t smell the Indole off-flavor, described by the other three guys at the table as horse crap.  My homebrew club was doing the tasting so, when I said, how will I ever know if this stuff is in my beer.  The guys said, don’t worry, if it were in there, we’d have told you.

It’s still a slow brewing time for me.  I’m teaching my six year old grandson to ski so that’s taking up my weekend time.  This coming weekend I’ll brew the Lubelski, a German/Polish smoked wheat ale.  Thanks to some references by Ron Pattinson, I know a couple of things:

– It wasn’t soured.  Given the times this beer was in existence, the Prussians knew how to brew beer.  It would likely have been clean.
– It was highly hopped for its gravity.  1.040 OG and 40 IBUs.  That’s a BU/GU ratio of 1, a hoppy beer.  The flavor hops are at 20 minutes so they won’t contribute a lot of aroma which is good – would interfere with the smoke flavor and taste vaguely poisonous.
– It’s 100% wheat (except for the bit of acidulated I put in for the mash pH).  Protein rest, anyone?

I’ve done this beer before and the Dry Dock has indicated they want to brew it.  I haven’t done this formulation.

It should be good.

Origin of Lager Yeast

For a long time it’s been known that lager yeast, Saccaromyces pastorianis, was a cross between ale yeast, saccaromyces cerevisiae, and something else.  It’s just no one knew what else.  Seems the problem is solved:

The other yeast is a cold-hardy South American strain that lives of all places in beech galls.  Apparently the wild yeast strain was brought back from South America to Europe, found a mate and a cross in a Bavarian cellar somewhere and the rest is history.  So all you wild yeast folks out there, keep at it.  Who knows when the next great thing in beer will happen by accident in a cellar somewhere.

Busily beering away today.  Not brewing.  It’s ski season, damn it, and my six year old grandson has turned out to be a major shredder of the mountain.  Friday was ski day, today was beer day.  Mostly catching up on older tasks like bottling my second attempt at lemongrass ginger wheat and my Vienna SMASH (Vienna Malt, Saaz Hops) and racking my Baltic Porter.  Thinking about the lineup, I need to do a couple of beers.  First will likely be a Grodziskie since Tim at the Dry Dock wants to brew the beer, then I need to use up some agave syrup I have in storage – agave blonde.  I’ll make one more attempt at the Lemongrass Ginger – maybe three gallons this time to see how it performs in a larger fermentor.

Also, I’m entering a lager and a schwarzbier in the Brew Hut’s annual competition.  Wish me luck (unless you, too are entering, in which case, good luck!).