Smoked Beer

Bête Curieuse

My very first post for whatever you call this (a log of my brew-ramblings) was for a Belgian-style Witbier I brewed called Hermine. Hermine turned out pretty damn tasty, and the contribution by the Wyeast 3463 Forbidden Fruit was amazing. It will pretty much be the only yeast I use in witbiers from now on. A few weeks later, I posted about another wheat beer, called Grodziskie, a traditional Polish beer that used pretty much only Oak-Smoked Wheat. 

Now, you may be wondering, "who the hell cares?" It is relevant, I swear!

I decided that it might be fun and interesting to blend these two beers together, so to speak. A nice, smoked witbier. So, that's what I did. 

Again, chose the use the Forbidden Fruit yeast for this batch. I am really looking forward to seeing how the tart, slightly acidic character from the yeast plays with the light smoke from the Oak-Smoked Wheat. 
The Grist was simple, 90% and 10% Oats. Also, I decided to add a bit of Gypsum to the water for this beer, just to harden it up a bit to try and accentuate the dry character. My local water is very very very soft. Despite this, I typically avoid salt additions to alter the water chemistry. I am a minimalist at heart. But, I thought I would try it, just to see. 

After Salt additions, my water read as: 
Calcium: 54.15 ppm Sulfate: 109.38 ppm
Magnesium: 7.39 ppm Chloride: 57.40 ppm
Sodium: 49.17 ppm Bicarbonate: 52.50 ppm
PH: 7.40
Enough of this bullshit, let's see the damn recipe!


Recipe Specifications
Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.035 SG
Estimated Color: 2.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 16.0 IBUs

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
4 lbs 14.1 oz         Oak-Smoked Wheat (2.4 SRM)               Grain         1        60.9 %        
1 lbs 14.1 oz         Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM)               Grain         2        23.5 %        
12.0 oz               Oats, Flaked (Briess) (1.4 SRM)          Grain         3        9.4 %         
1.00 oz               Crystal [4.20 %] - First Wort 60.0 min   Hop           4        16.0 IBUs     
8.0 oz                Dextrose (Briess) (1.0 SRM)              Sugar         5        6.2 %         
1.1 pkg               Forbidden Fruit (Wyeast Labs #3463) [124 Yeast         6        -             

Mash Schedule: Witbier Mash 
Total Grain Weight: 8 lbs 0.2 oz
Name              Description                                Step Temperat Step Time     
Protein Rest      Add 9.04 qt of water at 134.2 F            126.0 F       30 min        
Sacchar           Add 9.00 qt of water at 173.5 F            148.0 F       45 min        
Mash Out          Decoct 6.37 qt of mash and boil it         168.0 F       15 min 

July 17, 2014: Brew day 

I undershot my estimated efficiency a bit, which is why I added 8oz of dextrose. The beer is projected to finish around 1.007, which is right where I like it to be. I know dextrose in a wit isn't traditional, but to hell with it. Pitched a 1.5L starter Wyeast 3463 at 65F. I will ramp up the temperature to 72F in 24 hours, and then to 75F 24 hours after that, and ride the 75F for the rest of fermentation. I am really liking this Oak-Smoked Wheat the more I use it. It has such a distinct smoke character to it. It's definitely present, but not so overpowering. I do not have anything crazy planned for this beer beyond Primary Fermentation, but who knows, maybe I'll rack a few gallons onto some Nectarines or something. 




I’ll admit it, I am a bit of a sucker for older, out of style, usually no longer brewed styles of beer. There is just something about hearing of a beer that was brewed in the 1600’s or whenever, and is no longer brewed anywhere, commercially, that makes me want to brew it. Especially if its a smoked beer.

One such style comes from the land of Poland. Grodziskie, as it is called,  was last brewed commercially in 1993, but had been a popular style throughout Poland for hundreds of years before this. I first heard of this particular style on the Beer Smith Podcast here . This beer was relatively small, not much more than 3.5 – 4.0% ABV, and  was made with 100% wheat, which was smoked with oak wood. It was light, dry, smokey, with a moderate hopping rate in proportion with its size. Pretty much all things up my alley. Grodziskie was originally named after a town in Western Poland, Grodzisk Wielkopolski, and has seen a bit of a resurgence amongst homebrewers.

During WWII, after the Germans had occupied Poland, they actually changed the name of  Grodzisk to Grätz, thus changing the name of the beer produced there to Grätzer. Eventually,Grätz was changed back to Grodzisk after the war, and all was right with the world once again.  Now, Grodziskie can go by either name, Grodziskie and/or Gratzer, but I don’t want to support any kind of force-able invasion for ultimate, world-wide power. Grodziskie it is.

For my Grodziskie recipe, I decided to use… you guessed it… Oak-Smoked Wheat. However, I decided to add some malted Spelt in there for a little something “extra”, while still sticking with a wheat-type malt. Spelt is an ancient ancestor of modern wheat. I used Saaz hops, which would have been traditional for the region. German Hallertau, Tettanger, or Polish Lublin hops would also work well if Saaz is not immediately available. For yeast, I had to get a little “interpretive” with things, as I have no way of getting my hands on some Polish Yeast. I decided to go with a Saison strain, which would help dry the beer out, and will hopefully leave some spicy/tart notes in there. This may or may not compliment the smokiness from the malt, we’ll see. Specifically, Wyeast 3711 French Saison.

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size (fermenter): 3.50 gal   
Estimated OG: 1.037 SG
Estimated Color: 3.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 25.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
4 lbs                 Oak-Smoked Wheat (2.0 SRM)               Grain         1        80.0 %        
1 lbs                 Spelt (3.0 SRM)                          Grain         2        20.0 %        
0.67 oz               Saaz [3.75 %] - First Wort 60.0 min      Hop           3        15.6 IBUs     
0.67 oz               Saaz [3.75 %] - Boil 20.0 min            Hop           4        8.6 IBUs      
0.67 oz               Saaz [3.75 %] - Boil 2.0 min             Hop           5        1.2 IBUs      
1.0 pkg               French Saison (Wyeast Labs #3711) [50.28 Yeast         6        -             

Mash Schedule: Double Infusion, Full Body
Total Grain Weight: 5 lbs
Name              Description                                Step Temperat Step Time     
Acid Rest         Add 5.50 qt of water at 104.6 F            100.0 F       15 min        
Protein Rest      Add 2.73 qt of water at 170.4 F            121.0 F       20 min        
Sacch I           Add 3.00 qt of water at 201.9 F            141.0 F       30 min        
Sacch II          Add 3.00 qt of water at 206.6 F            154.0 F       30 min

Created with BeerSmith 2 –

Brewed: March 15, 2014:

Original Gravity: 1.035
Brew day went suspiciously smooth, and relatively quick. Not sure what the hell happened.
The wort smelled very interesting with the smoke very noticeable, but not overpowering.

March 22, 2014:
Gravity down to 1.008.
Very pale yellow in color, moderate turbidity.
Taste of sample was pleasantly smooth. Having never tasted an oak-smoked beer before, not entirely sure what to be honing in on, but the smoke is light, not overpowering, and more on the back end. I was expecting a little more smokey character, but this is tasty nonetheless. Cannot wait to try this once it has been carbonated and bottle conditioned for a bit.

April 12, 2014: 

Gravity holding steady at 1.008

Bottled with 2.5 oz dextrose for 3.0 vol co2