- OG: 1.028
- IBU: 18-20
- SRM: 2.5
- ABV: 2.8%
Smoky, hoppy, 100 percent wheat, and a bantamweight level of alcohol—intrigued?
Grodziskie is an ale indigenous to, and named for, the Polish town of Grodzisk (Germanified to Grätz during its years in the Prussian empire, so you may also find this beer style referred to as Grätzer). It originated in the 16th century and became so internationally renowned that less than 200 years later, Grodzisk supported 53 breweries. Like its cousins Berliner weisse and Gose, Grodziskie essentially died out in the 20th century but has staged a comeback thanks to interest from craft and homebrewers in the US.
Grodziskie’s signature ingredient is malted wheat dried in wood-fired kilns, fueled by Poland’s primeval oak forests. This creates both a cumulus-like stand of foam and its low-key but not acrid smoky character. The region’s minerally, high-sulfate water elevates the impression of bitterness from a couple charges of Saaz-type hops, while a clean-fermenting ale yeast allows these impressions to transmit without interference from esters and phenols.
- 5.5 lbs. Weyermann Oak-Smoked Wheat Malt
- 8 oz. rice hulls or oat hulls (add directly to mash—do not mill)
- 1 oz. Polish Lublin or Czech Kazbek
- A clean German ale strain—Wyeast 1007, White Labs 029, or Safale K-97
Key Points for Key Pints
- Oak-smoked wheat: Weyermann is the maltster of record for an authentic Grodziskie. Their oak-smoked wheat malt has a mellow, warm and woodsy campfire quality that’s quite unlike the smoky-bacon-ham character of the beechwood-smoked Bamberg Rauchbiers with which you may be more familiar.
- Minerally water: The well water in Grodzisk is high in calcium, sulfate, and carbonate, which enhances the perception of bitterness and dryness in the beer. Depending on your brewing water, additions of gypsum and/or calcium carbonate might be beneficial.
- Clean-fermenting ale yeast: Phenolic and fruity weissbier strains are out of place here—opt instead for an Alt- or Kölsch-style yeast, or, in a pinch, a neutral American ale strain.
- Clarification: Per the BJCP guidelines, Grodziskie has “excellent clarity,” but with a grist of 100 percent wheat and a frequently non-flocculent strain, there's quite the potential for haze. Filtration, cold-crashing the fermentor (below 40°F is ideal) once fermentation is complete, and/or using some finings like gelatin or Biofine, can help us make a clear beer.
- High carbonation: Back in the day, Grodziskie was euphemistically called “Polish Champagne” (presumably by Prussians or residents of one of the many countries to which the ale was exported in its heyday…the records are mumbly) due in part to its pale color and clarity, but primarily its effervescence. When it comes time to carbonate, aim for 3 volumes of CO2 for a very sparkling presentation with big foam.
- Mill the wheat malt, then heat strike water to approximately 164°F
Mash & Sparge
- Mash rest: Add wheat malt to strike water, mix to 152–154°F, and rest for 60 minutes.
- Add the rice hulls once mash rest is complete. Collect and heat sparge water.
- Mashout: Heat it to 170°F for 5 minutes.
- Sparge and collect wort in boil kettle.
Boil (60 minutes)
- T-60: 0.75 oz. Lublin (or Kazbek)
- T-30: 0.25 oz. Lublin (or Kazbek)
- T-0: Cool the wort and transfer to a sanitized fermentor, aerate well, and pitch yeast.
Fermentation and Beyond
- Primary fermentation: 62–66°F for approximately 7–10 days.
- Secondary fermentation (optional, for aiding clarification): 40°F for 7–14 days
- Serving: footed Pilsner glass, plate of pierogies, Polish horseshoes.
More from Mashmaker
Excerpt from Mashmaker, by Michael Dawson, published by Gray Duck Media. Copyright © 2017 by Gray Duck Media. All rights reserved.
In this first-ever book from longtime homebrewer Michael Dawson, readers get the chance to brew through 64 of his favorite all-grain homebrew recipes. With a mixture of humor and expertise, Dawson, a 20-year beer industry veteran, takes a deep dive into grain selection, hopping techniques, and yeast handling, all to give readers critical insight into the steps that make up a successful beer. The book is slightly more advanced than Homebrewing 101—it’s for homebrewers that know the basics of the craft, and want to take their recipe development and brewing practices to the next level.