#83 Grätzer/Grodziskie

Eureka, its time for another recipe publication. Not only am I fascinated about the new arising beer styles in the world but really like to look back as well. One of the rediscovered beer styles is a Polish wheat beer called Grätzer or Grodziskie named after the place where it was originally brewed. This beer style is made with oak smoked wheat malt and with a healthy dose of hops. The result is a clear, smoky and very refreshing beer. Because this beer style heavily depends on the malt and no such malt was easily available up to know, only the ones willing to smoke their own malt had the ingredients to make a real Grätzer. This all changed as soon as the German maltster Weyermann revived the oak smoked wheat malt which is now available again. With this, the most important ingredient for this kind of beer is yet again commercially available.

I came across this beer style a while ago and got really excited as I encountered Eichenrauchmalz (= oak smoked wheat malt) at my local homebrew store. I instantly ordered a small quantity of this particular malt to give this beer style a go. And below is my recipe.

Recipe: Grätzer
Numbers: Volume [L] 20 (5.3 gal)
Original gravity 7.8°P (1.030)
Terminal gravity 2.6°P (1.010)
Color Around 5 EBC
ABV 2.7% (v/v)
Grains: Smoked wheat malt (4 EBC) 3 kg (5.5 lbs)
Hops: Hallertauer (4.2% AA) 25 g and boiled for 60 min
Hallertauer (4.2% AA) 10 g and boiled for 30 min
Yeast: Wyeast 1 part WY1338 European Ale and 2 parts WY1007 German Ale
Water: Mash: 8 L (2.1 gal), sparge: 12 L (3.2 gal) @78°C (172°F)
Rest: Mash in @38°C (100°F), 30 min @38°C (100°F), 30 min @52°C (126°F), 10 min @66°C (151°F), 30 min @70°C (158°F), sparge at 78°C (172°F)
Boil: Boil for 60 min
Fermentation: Primary 8 days at 20°C (68°F)
Secondary 10 days at 20°C (68°F)
Maturation: Carbonation (CO2 vol) 3.6
Maturation time 2 weeks, cold

06/29/13: Brew day as normal. Mashed in as stated in the recipe, rested at the given temperatures and sparged as usual. I did not add any kind of rice hulls or barley to facilitate the lautering. The lautering went as smooth as ever. I am aware that a lot of people say that it is not possible to sparge a 100% wheat malt mash. Well, I kind of experienced different things in the past and don’t care about any other experiences. I use a perforated metal plate as a filter (see picture below) and this is maybe on of the best investments in my homebrewing career. Since then, the lautering is not a pain any more. However, I encounter difficulties with this plate when I sparge the soured Berliner Weisse mash. Then the mash gets very easily stuck because the entire mash is very mushy.


Fig 1:Mash kettle with perforated metal plate at bottom

After sparging and collecting the wort in my boiling kettle, I boiled the wort with the additions of the Hallertauer hops, cooled down the wort and pitched a yeast blend of two commercial yeasts (WY1008 German Ale and WY1338 European Ale). Before I cooled down the wort, I filled a 2 L growler with hot, boiled wort for the carbonation step later on. The reason for using two yeast strains is to get the WY1008 out of suspension (low flocculent) with a highly flocculent yeast strain (WY1338 in this example). This is very important because the beer has to be very clear in the end. Primary fermentation at 20°C (68°F).

07/07/13: Racked beer after 8 days to a secondary fermenter.

07/17/13: Bottled beer with addition of wort to a carbonation level of 3.6 vol of carbon dioxide. Added 2 L of unfermented wort to 18 L of green beer.

Now the most interesting part, what about the taste?

83_gratzerAroma: Smoke is dominant aroma with character of smoked bacon, bonfire. Thanks to Anna who describes this aroma in “one” word: “dried green beans”. Spot on in my opinion

Appearance: Yellow, clear, fluffy, white head with lots of bubbles rising to the top (see picture)

Flavor: Pretty much the same as in the aroma: bonfire, ash, some wood flavors as well. Nice level of bitterness and well integrated

Mouthfeel: Light body, average carbonation level, rather dry, light smoky finish. Very easy drinkable

Overall Impression: Very refreshing and surprisingly not too thin for the 2.7 vol alcohol. I am quite intrigued how this batch turned out. Even after three months in the bottles, the beer still has a very prominent smoky, ashy character. This experiment is yet another successful one.


5 thoughts on “#83 Grätzer/Grodziskie

  1. OMG Sam!!! Thank you for another awesome post and more important, for your take to brew that beer. Being Polish myself (homebrewer and craft beer lover, as well) – as you can suspect – that’s quite interesting endavour for me 🙂
    ‘Knowing’ you from this blog, I’m quite sure, that you did very deep research on this matter. Grodziskie as ‘forgotten & found again’ style has the tendency, to reappear here and there. Poland (it’s obvious), Netherlands and US (quite big issue during last BA styles guideline update).
    Anyway, I’ll let myself to link your entry to some polish homebrewing forum. Is it ok with you? 🙂 I hope that, you’ll receive some good feedback and questions.
    I don’t know, during your research, if you’ve encountered this: http://www.pspd.org.pl/uploads/grodziskie/grodziskie-redivivus-raport-1-eng.pdf
    It proves that your take on yeast strains was quite spot on :).
    Thanks again!

    • Hey, thanks for your kind lines and am glad you liked my post. Feel free to link any of my posts and I would be happy to get feedback.

      I actually did not know about the document you mentioned here. I used an article in BYO or Zymurgy (cannot remember which one) which was about Grätzer as a base and went from there through forums, papers, publications etc. Unfortunately, I cannot find the issue any more with the mentioned article. It has to be in my 3 m high pile of papers and journals… 🙂 I therefore can only speculate but I guess the yeast mixture of two different flocculent yeasts was mentioned there.

      Na zdrowie!

      • You’re welcome 🙂 If you’re interested even more to get, as they’re saying, ‘original’ yeast(s) strain(s). I was able to make a healthy starter from the Jopen version of a Gratzer, few months ago (very interesting story behind this version (s), as well).
        On top of this, the beer cleared ‘itself’ after few months of lagering (not even cold).
        Original Grodziskie was cleared with some sort of isinglass, afik.
        Try to find Jopen Gratzer or Grodziskie, and you can play even more 🙂
        Btw. are they available in Switzerland?

        • Never encountered any Jopen in any of the beer stores. I will see if I make another batch of Grätzer in the future and worry to get some of the original yeast. There are so many other “lost” beer styles I want to give a go.

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