Grodziskie (Gratzer) Followup

It’s been a few weeks since I put the Grodziskie in the keg. When I kegged it, it had a solid smokey aroma, but not as overwhelming as some smoked beers I’ve had in the past – it certainly wasn’t “bacon in a bottle”.

Orlasky’s Farmhouse Grodziskie

Appearance – A very hazy beer, but that’s what I’d expect in a beer made with 100% wheat malt. It has a very thick, rocky head that lasts for a few minutes before receding, leaving behind a sticky lacing.

Aroma – A nice smokey aroma, reminiscent of the lingering scent of campfire on your clothing. No strong bacon smells, nothing that overwhelms. There’s a touch spice to the aroma, along with a light breadyness.

beer head
The head of my Grodziskie ale.

Taste – Upfront there’s a sharp bitterness. Not biting, nor overwhelming on the palette, but it leaned slightly towards to unpleasant. On the first sip or two everything takes a backseat to the bitterness, but that fades after a few more sips. The smoke comes out, at first only slightly perceivable over the bitterness, but as the bitterness fades the smoke comes on more strongly. It’s a pleasant smoke flavor that lingers on the tongue for awhile. The bread-like flavors of the wheat are fairly subtle and be tough to pick out underneath the more dominating flavors.

Mouth-feel – A fairly thick beer. Solid body, not at all thin and watery for a beer that finished out at 1.008.

Overall Impression – I like this beer, it’s one that gets better with each sip. At first I thought it might be difficult to finish a pint of it, but as I drank it, it became increasingly easier to drink. At only around 3.2% abv it was pretty easy to put down by the time I got half through the pint. The second pint was absolutely smooth sailing.

This beer, however, is not without its faults. As I said the initially bitterness comes on fairly strong. I’d cut down on the bitterness. Currently the beer sits around 40 IBU and I’d probably scale it back to the high 20’s. I have recently picked up some Lublin hops that I can use in place of the Saaz to go a little more authentic in that direction. I still like the late hop additions as they add an extra dimension to the beer so that the entire thing isn’t simply about the smoke. Speaking of the smoke I do feel I could go 100% oak smoked wheat malt on this one. The smoke flavor wasn’t so intense that it became distasteful – in fact it was one of the more pleasant smoked flavors I’ve had in a beer before. I also think instead of using the Wyeast 1056 that I’d move over to Wyeast 1007 (German ale). I’m not sure it will make that much of a difference, but I’d think it could be interesting to find out.

This is a beer style I definitely want to perfect. It’s a really interesting style, not like ones I’ve tasted before. It’s a great full flavored session ale, and having more of those is never a bad thing.