August 16, 2015

Pivo Kielich Grodziski #2

Polish brewing history is mostly a nonexistent topic outside of a very small group of beer historians aside from grodziski, the oak-smoked wheat beer developed in Grodzisk, Poland. Grodziski (sometimes spelled grodziskie or the German gratzer) has been saved from the obscurity shared by many Polish and German styles crammed out by the more popular German styles known today. Grodziski survived through the Cold War in an industrialized fashion that turned the 100% oak smoked wheat beer into a part-wheat malt, part-rauchmalz beer. It nearly died in the mid-1990s only to be revived by the hard work of Polish homebrewers who have not only kept the style alive but turned it over to craft brewers who have spread the message of grodziski. My research does not entirely agree with those Polish homebrewers and I'm not sure the Cold War industrialized version of the style is the best style to have brought to the forefront but that is perhaps a discussion for another time.

I've brewed a grodziski in the past in a slightly bigger variant than most recipes seem to follow and although I was happy with that effort I wanted to try my hand at a smaller version to cap off the rest of summer with a lower ABV version and play around with a different hop profile. So this beer clocks in a little below 3% ABV and relies on those wheat proteins to keep the beer from getting too watery. For late hop additions I've opted to combine opal and celeia hops. I am hypothesizing that the earthy opal and floral celeia will come together like an aggressive noble hop. I'm not entirely sure how the lime flavor from celeia will play into the flavor profile.

Pivo Kielich Grodziski #2 Recipe

Batch size: 1 gallon
Est. ABV: 2.7%
Est. IBU: 34.5
Est. SRM: 2.4
Est. OG: 1.028
Est. FG: 1.007

The Grist

1 lb. Weyermann oak smoked wheat malt (2 SRM)

The Water

Water profile based on Bru'n Water Yellow Balanced profile with RO water
Mash volume: 42 oz.
Sparge volume: 1 gal.
Mash ph: 5.5

Mash Water Additions:

Epsom salt: 0.1g
Calcium chloride: 0.2g
Chalk: 0.1g
Lactic acid: 0.2 ml

Sparge Water Additions:

Epsom salt: 0.3g
Calcium chloride: 0.5g

The Mash

Single infusion 42 oz. at 167F for 153F rest for 75 minutes

Sparge with 1 gallon water at 180F

The Boil

60 minute boil

0.11 oz. Belma [12.10%] at 60 minutes 29.1 IBU
0.10 oz. Celeia [4.5%] at 15 minutes 5.4 IBU
0.10 oz. Celeia [4.5%] at whirlpool 0 IBU
0.17 oz. Opal [6.5%] at whirlpool 0 IBU

The Fermentation

Pitch 1g dry US-05 and ferment at 65F
Bottle to 3 volumes

Brewday & Fermentation Notes

Brewed 8/16/15
Preboil volume: 1.2 gal
Preboil gravity: 1.020
Mash efficiency: 65%
Postboil volume: 1 gal
Postboil gravity: 1.024
Efficiency: 64%
Bottled 8/26/15. FG 1.002.
August 7, 2015

Sanskrit Saison Tasting Notes

I brewed this beer at the very end of spring and have been slowly consuming it through the summer but I've been delayed in posting my tasting notes partially because I haven't had a chance to sit down and pour over my thoughts on the beer and partially because I wanted to see how it developed before locking in thoughts on it. As a recap, Sanskrit is a moderate ABV saison with a pils base plus unmalted white wheat, buckwheat, golden raisins, ginger and green cardamom. It was an experiment picking out ingredients at my local Indian grocery store. Well, let's see how it turned out.

Appearance: Pours an orange-ish color not quite a pale ale; much darker than a typical pilsner/wheat saison. It's cloudy, almost murky. Some of the cardamom seeds made their way into the bottles and a few small seeds hover under the surface. The surface is covered with a lasting white head. It pours frothy but descends into a thinner layer that lingers with a good amount of lacing.

Aroma: The aroma is a complex mix of floral, earthy, fruity and bready. The dominant aromas are citrus fruit with a distinct lemon presence and cardamom floralness. The golden raisins provide a sweet, fruity aroma. There is a earthy bread aroma underneath it all that is decidedly buckwheat. Hints of pepper, clove, oregano in the background.

Taste: The flavor is assertively cardamom with a big lemon-floral flavor. The buckwheat shows up next with its earthy flavor. The golden raisins have disappeared into a subtle white wine flavor while the ginger makes an appearance in the finish with a little of the fresh ginger heat. Some pepper appears in the aftertaste. The yeast is somewhere in here but it is repressed by the dominant cardamom flavor. Beyond the buckwheat the grain character is mostly lost. However, it is complex and unique.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly full. This beer is 12% unmalted wheat and 4% buckwheat so some body is expected but it is almost stout-like in body. Like hefeweizens with 50% wheat malt are desperate for this kind of body. It hangs on the tongue with a slightly oily finish. As the beer warms there is a numbing sensation that I believe is the fault of the cardamom. At cooler temperatures there is a subtle burn from the ginger.

Overall Impression: It's a really interesting beer. There's so much I like about the flavor combination but a few things I really dislike about the beer. I think the ingredient combination is excellent but with some tweaks. The glaring error is the amount of cardamom. This beer needs half as much cardamom. I really enjoy the buckwheat and plan to play with it in more beers in the future but it seems to add so much body to the beer that the wheat could be cut down or outright eliminated to get a drier mouthfeel. I would definitely rebrew it with those changes. I still have a gallon that has been hit with dregs from a bottle of Oud Beersel gueuze, LambickX kriek and some lactobacillus from a probiotic source so I'm interested to see how brett and friends manipulate all these flavor compounds.