The timeline here shows how much I have been neglecting the old Brewhouse Blog, but I have been busy elsewhere. As with every time I post after a long absence here, I again vow to be better about keeping up with the blog.
Long Island Craft Beer Week has come and gone. This year Blind Bat introduced a new experimental brew, Spring Folly, at the first annual BayFest held by our friends at Great South Bay Brewery. Reaction was positive, so this will join the lineup after I get Federal label approval. That’s been taking longer, lately, however.
The Third Annual Golden Tap Awards, a keystone event of Long Island Craft Beer Week was a fun evening, as folks in the local craft beer industry got to spend some quality time together. Blind Bat was fortunate to be awarded the Golden Tap Award for Long Island Beer of the Year 2013. I was honored just to be considered among my fellow brewers.
I brewed some Beached Blonde last weekend, which I haven’t brewed since 2010 (why? just not enough time in part-time mode to get to it all!). I should be brewing more Hellsmoke Porter over the upcoming holiday weekend.
The last few months have been spent in various stages of negotiation with different potential landlords for the new home of the brewery. As with many things, it has been taking longer than anticipated. I can’t promise news soon, but I hope to have something to announce soon(ish).
Thursday, May 17, 2012 Tomorrow night, Friday May 18th, The Cortland in Bay Shore will be featuring a number of Blind Bat beers on tap for their "I Wear My Sunglasses At Night with Blind Bat Brewing Co" event (7 PM - Midnight). The First 50 People Get Limited Edition Cortland Sunglasses. (I’ll be here, but will be wearing my own sunglasses)
Bobby and Ben held on to some Hellsmoke Porter and Belfry Brown to serve for this, but I’ll also be delivering a keg of my Long Island Pale Aleand a rare keg of the Spring 2012 Long Ireland + Blind Bat Saison. The majority of the collaboration was put into 750 ML bottles, only four slim kegs (“sixtels” - which are 1/6 of a barrel, or just over 5 gallons) .
If you some of the Saison from any of the four casks which were tapped for the SimulCask on Monday, you’ll find it to be different from the keg or bottle - much higher carbonation, and colder, of course. It’s almost a different beer via bottle or keg vs. cask.
Also on Friday night,Tap & Barrel in Smithtown will be holding a Small Craft Cask Festival. Casks are scheduled to be on from three of Long Island’s smaller breweries: Port Jeff, Spider Bite, and Blind Bat. Blind Bat will be supplying a firkin of Eye ChartAle, Cory will be representing.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011 Well, I obviously haven’t been keeping up with the old blog. Have been busy working on some new beer recipes, as well as being at the Northport Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. Still working the “regular” day job.
I won’t be at the Farmers’ Market this coming Saturday (August 13th). Instead, I’ll be bringing the following beers to the North Fork Craft Beer Festival:
Hell Gate Golden Ale
Honey & Basil Ale
Vlad the Inhaler
Will be returning to the Farmers’ Market the following Saturday (August 20th), and should be bringing 16.9 ounce bottles again along with 32 ounce growlers.
Been away from the old Brewhouse Blog for awhile, been keeping busy at the smoker and in the brewhouse getting ready for Long Island Craft Beer Week.
On Monday, May 23rd, James Beard Award winning Chef Keith Luce will be preparing a three-course dinner pairing with five of my beers:
- Honey-Basil Ale - Vlad the Inhaler - Hell Gate Golden Ale - Hellsmoke Porter - Long Island Potato Stout
All but one of the above beers will also be on tap for Long Island Craft Beer Week at The Cortland in Bay Shore on Friday May 20th. The Honey-Basil Ale will only available at the beer dinner at Luce & Hawkins in Jamesport on Monday May 23rd (7 PM). Part of my farm-and-garden series of beers using local, seasonal ingredients. In this case, the honey is from Huntington's High Meadow Farm. Honey-gold in color, approach-ably tea-like and dry. Starts with a sweep of nectar with floral undertones, and finishes with some Fuggle hop bitterness. The basil lends some astringency. A very sessional 3.8% ABV. Seating is limited, a few tickets are left (going, going...). This is the first of a series of local wine/beer dinners being created by Lenn Thompson. For more information and ticket information see Lenn’s New York Cork Report or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m working on getting Long Island Potato Stout into bottles and kegs to various locations.
Will be working on more batches of the Hellsmoke and Hell Gate as well as a few other things -- including getting a big (for me, 93 gallons vs 10) of Vlad the Inhaler out this Spring. It should be on rotation through the Summer.
Haven’t blogged in a while, here’s what’s been happening lately...
(1) A few words about my bottles I’m now force-carbonating before bottling most of my beers, rather than carbonating in the bottle. A few bottles got out that were not as carbonated as they should have been -- I’ll work on getting that right for any beers that need in-bottle carbonation. Apologies to anyone who purchased any that weren’t right, please do let me know.
Have switched from the old 22-ounce (“bomber”) bottles to 16-ounce bottles from Quebec. Well, at least I thought they were 16-ounce bottles when I bought them. Turns out they are 16.9 ounces -- but I’ve been filling them to 16-ounce levels, which is 3 inches from the top of the bottle. So if you got one and think it’s short, it’s really 16 ounces. I’m starting to fill the bottles to 16.9 ounces since it otherwise looks short.
(2) Smoking again Have been smoking malt a few mornings this week (before heading off to work at the “day job”). Will be smoking more today to have enough ready to brew another batch of Hellsmoke Porter.
(3) What’s heading out the door Hellsmoke Porter and Long Island Potato Stout in the above-mentioned 16-ounce bottles.
Will be getting more Long Island Potato Stout out soon, need to clean more kegs first.
A bit of the Hell Gate Golden Ale will be heading out this coming week, word on where and when will be posted on the Facebook page as well as here.
(4) What’s next Will be brewing up more of the mild-mannered ale for the Blue Point Cask Festival, depending on feedback it may become a Spring/Summer seasonal. Also for Summer, will be bringing back my old homebrew Harborfields HefeWeizen. And will also be smoking up lots of wheat this Spring and Summer for Vlad the Inhaler.
It's been incased in ice and snow too long, I'm digging out the smoker. Need to work out a smoking schedule for more Hellsmoke Porter and Vlad the Inhaler (my take on the near-extinct Polish Grodziskie style of oak-smoked wheat).
It's been a while since I last blogged, but this is just a quick update and an apology.
Hellsmoke Porter and Long Island Potato Stout are both out and about, check the "Where to Find" page for details. More places offering these beers will be added over the next few weeks.
A few folks reviewing the Hellsmoke Porter on RateBeer have unfortunately received bottles that gushed when they opened them. I apologize for this, these were the old 22-ounce bottles that I had put out a while back. These bottles apparently were shipped to them as part of beer trades (the reviewers are all outside my distribution area).
Again with apologies to anyone who receives or purchases a problematic bottle, please let me know via the contact form on this site. The new bottles are all 16-ounces rather than the old 22-ounce "bombers."
It's been a long time since I've written anything on the old Brewhouse Blog, as the learning curve with the new equipment has continued a bit longer than I anticipated. Fermenter and quality control issues have kept me from releasing anything just yet, although a bit has sneaked out for festivals and beer dinners.
There are kegs and bottles carbonating of Hellsmoke Porter now, with another three-barrel batch brewed and fermenting. I also brewed another small batch of Vlad the Inhaler (almost done fermenting, will be bottled up this week). Yesterday I brewed another test batch of the Long Island Potato Stout, working on perfecting that before I send it out the door.
The nature of a nano, particularly a part-time nano, is one where beer doesn't flow regularly in great quantities, but believe you me -- I am working hard on getting beer out. Quality before quantity.
Will you be in NYC today? I am unable to be there, but my friends at the Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts will be pouring my Hellsmoke Porter today at the Long Island City Beer Festival along side some excellent beer brewed by other members of the group.
That batch of Long Island Potato Stout turned out as dry as I had hoped, it will be conditioning and carbonating prior to getting it out in bottles. Word on when and where to follow. I'm looking forward to feedback on it.
The next brew in my experimental stout series will be a true Oyster Stout, using oysters from Long Island's east end. (The Potato Stout used organic potatoes from Sang Lee Farms in Peconic.) I finally got formula and label approval last week from the TTB on the oyster stout, but I'll probably brew it after my equipment takes a brief road trip to Brooklyn on the 18th. (More on that later.) So, it will be another batch of Weizenbock to be brewed this coming Sunday.
Hellsmoke Porter will be heading out in kegs, some bottles after that. Again, word on when and where to follow.
The next meeting of the Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts is tonight at the Black Forest Brew Haus, in Farmingdale from 7:30 to 9:00 PM. Come on down!
We had to cancel our vacation to California, but I've been getting some work done in the brewhouse this week. I brewed some of the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock a couple of days ago, and will be kegging up Hellsmoke Porter from earlier in the month this weekend.
Meanwhile, I've been working on a series of Stout experiments. Yesterday's was a batch of Long Island Potato Stout using local Long Island potatoes that are boiled, mashed, and then added to the mash of grains to add some dryness to what I anticipate to be a dry stout. The potatoes in this batch are the Yukon Gold variety, organically grown at Sang Lee Farms of Peconic.
Why organically-grown potatoes? Conventionally-grown potatoes rely heavily on the use of chemicals and pesticides -- not great for you or the environment. It is a challenge to grow potatoes organically, though, so they are not as inexpensive or as easy to find as conventional potatoes.
A view from the top of the fermenter of the foam produced by the yeast happily working away turning the wort into Hellsmoke Porter:
I've got some problems with my bottling mechanism (mechanics? physics? I'm working on it), but I'm hoping to fix it ASAP. There has also been some movement on the system upgrade (10 or 12-gallon batches to 3-barrel batches, aka 93 gallons). More on that as things develop.
After battling a bout of the flu that kept me away from my usual weekend brewery duties, finally got back into the brew house on Monday. Pulled out the old smoker and brewed two batches of Hellsmoke Porter, the yeast are now happily at work in the fermentation room. Gotta keep them yeast happy!
The 2007 and 2008 North Fork Craft Beer Festivals were blessed with perfect, sunny weather. While it looks like weather-wise, this Saturday might not be a completely sunny day, partly sunny with a high near 74 sounds pretty good. I'll be somewhere in the big tent pouring Hellsmoke Porter and Beached Blonde, will be giving my new kegs their maiden voyage.
My aim for the Beached Blonde is to offer something a little different for summertime, a Belgian-inspired blonde ale that's a bit lower in alcohol than a lot of the Belgians currently available. The TTB approved the formula/recipe and label for the Beached Blonde on July 17th:
If folks trying it at the festival tell me that they like it enough, I'll brew more.
I only made it through half a day when I went back to the day job on Tuesday, and ended up being out with that flu Wednesday and Thursday. Was back to work on Friday, and am back to the brewhouse this weekend. Today I'll finally be getting that Hefeweizen into conditioning vessels, and that Hellsmoke bottled up. Will then take care of a few more things in preparation for a brewday Sunday (more of the Harborfields Hefeweizen).
If you haven't yet done so, please do consider contacting your representatives in the NY Assembly and Senate about that NY-specific UPC label law. While it doesn't affect me as the Blind Bat Brewery (I only sell in NY State), it does concern me as far as the problems it will cause for other breweries who do distribute across state lines. (See Monday's blog post for more on this.)
I've been down with the flu since Friday (just the good-old-fashioned kind, not the swine flu), but it kept me from any brewing duties this weekend. Am crawling back to the day job today, after spending yesterday in bed. Am hoping to get things moving in the brewhouse this week (transferring hefeweizen from fermenters to conditioning vessels, bottling up hellsmoke) and be back to brewing on Saturday. Sorry about the delays.
Along with some other duties and commitments, I needed to get some cleaning done for a fermenter tonight, so was unable to attend the one-night "live" showing of Beer Wars. I'll be needing that fermenter for Saturday when I brew some of the Harborfields Hefeweizen. I'm hoping to catch a future screening of Beer Wars, but I'm certainly missing out on the communal experience tonight.
Before cleaning that fermenter (keeping ahead of the setting sun), I trimmed back some of the hops, leaving just the longest three bines growing out of each rhyzome. The Centennial, Chinook, and Fuggles are all coming back strong so far. The Hallertauer not much yet. No signs of the Willamette. I'm hoping it didn't get destroyed when we were putting up the greenhouse a few months back. (There might be some poetic injustice there.)
Will be bottling up some more of the Hellsmoke Porter (before heading off to the "regular job" tomorrow, if I get up early enough). I was planning on retiring the Hellsmoke Porter for the year now that warmer weather is approaching, but something happened when I drew a small sample tonight to check the carbonation level. My wife tastes some, and remarks on the hint of dark chocolate that she's noticed in previous batches. Recalling my affection for vanilla ice cream in a Guinness, she suggests I put some ice cream into the remaining sample. Damn, it's good. Summertime pints of Hellsmoke Floats are now dancing in my mind, so I might not retire this beer just yet.
Finally! I delivered some more Hellsmoke Porter on the way home from work last night to Big Z Beverage (http://www.bigzbeverage.com) on Jericho Turnpike. Tonight I'll be heading out to Bellport to deliver some to Dave's Bellport Cold Beer & Soda (http://bellportbeer.com/).
A sincere thank you to everyone for being patient. This part-time, one-man, 1/3-barrel nanobrewery hasn't been cranking out lots of beer, but I am exploring options that I can use in my existing space (and schedule) to increase my output six-fold.
This week I'm bottling up the Hellsmoke Porter that was brewed in February, and will be getting it out next week. Will be putting out word of where and when early next week.
Weekends are the only time I can get any good amount of work done, so I'll be working in the brewhouse this weekend and not getting to the '09 Spring Craft Beer Festival at Nassau Coliseum. There will be some great beer there, though, so please go and enjoy! (Be sure to stop by the Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts table.)
I'm in the midst of exploring various ways to increase the amount of beer I can brew in any given brew session, so stay tuned...
I'll be smoking and brewing up more Hellsmoke Porter today.
Yesterday, I accompanied Regina to a meeting in Riverhead of local organic farmers, as I'm interested in the possibilities of using local organic wheat (and possibly barley) as well as organic potatoes if my potato stout experiments pan out.
Brewed more Hellsmoke Porter today, after transferring the February 16th batch from the fermenter to corny kegs for conditioning. As with the February 15th batch, I upped the smoke a notch from what was released in December. A number of folks on Ratebeer seemed to be wanting more smoke, and as my homebrew version was smokier, I'm more than happy to oblige.
The majority of my friends who had the old homebrew version thought it too smokey (I liked it) so the so the next to be released will be somewhere between that old homebrew super-smokey and the December-release level of smoke.
One of the perils of part-time operations is that the job that pays the bills has been taking priority over the part-time startup. The "day job" keeps spilling into evenings and mornings, but I'm lucky to have it.
I had planned on getting the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock out before the end of this week, but it looks more like it will be out sometime next week -- as I'll be bottling and labeling on Sunday. If that goes well, I'll then be making deliveries next week -- so either watch this space or your email (if you are signed up for the email updates) for news on where and when. In the meantime, the Weizenbock has been carbonating and conditioning in "corny" kegs.
Saturday will be the better day for brewing this weekend, and so I'll be smoking and brewing more of the Hellsmoke then.
OK, so I didn't get much work done on Saturday (Valentine's Day). Did get some cleaning done on Sunday, and am about to take advantage of the balmy just-above-freezing Monday-off-from-work to smoke and brew more Hellsmoke Porter. I've had a pot of coffee, and am out the door to begin right after I post this.
Apologies to all about the still-pending Wheatley Hills Weizenbock -- it's still conditioning, but it will be out this month. Word of where and when will be posted here (and via the Blind Bat Brewery Email Updates).
We seem to be having a real Winter this year, and things are again "progressing" slower than I would like. A busted pipe reminded me that the equipment isn't too happy with the sub-freezing temperatures. (Unlike the fermentation room, my little brewhouse is unheated.) Couple that with the fact that this is a small-scale, part-time endeavor (brewing on weekends or days where I can play hooky from work), the beer isn't flowing out too rapidly at present. As warmer weekends approach, so will new batches of beer.
Meanwhile some Weizenbock should be out early February.
I'll be kicking the smoke up a notch with the next batch of Hellsmoke Porter. The earlier homebrew version was a lot smokier than what was available to folks in December's "First Flight", but I seemed to be the only one who was happy with the homebrew level of smoke. Perhaps I brought the smoke level down too much. A good number of RateBeer / BeerAdvocate reviewers indicated that they would like more smoke, so I'll try to find a happy balance between the old homebrew smoke and that of the December release. Not too much to overwhelm the senses, but a bit more smoke seems to be called for.
While the Hellsmoke Porter has been receiving decent reviews on RateBeer and BeerAdvocate, the two cows at the old Lewis-Oliver Dairy in Northport haven't been taking at all to the last batch of spent grains from the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock. So, at least for the mix of spent wheat and barley, it's off to the compost.
Was too wintery to brew the next batch of Hellsmoke Porter this weekend (not just for me, but more importantly, for the equipment as the brewery currently needs to be set up). Please check back for news on that.
I'm not sure how it got there, but I just got word from one of the folks signed up for my email updates that they came across (and purchased) some of the Hellsmoke Porter in New Beer Distributors in lower Manhattan.
Took a day off from the regular job to brew more Weizenbock, but it turned out to be a bit longer of a day (into night) than expected. So, we missed getting to last night's Friends of the Farm meeting in nearby Northport. I will be getting more spent grains to the cows later this week, though, "leftovers" from yesterday's brew session.
I've had some good feedback on the Hellsmoke Porter, and will be smoking and brewing up more soon. If you have had some, and haven't yet shared what you thought of it, please do -- either via the "Be the Judge" form on BlindBatBrewery.com, or on Beer Advocate or RateBeer (or all three). I truly appreciate honest criticism. (And thanks to those who have given feedback.)
Meanwhile, back in the Fermentation Room, the yeast is happily eating the sugars, creating alcohol and carbon dioxide to make the wort into Wheatley Hills Weizenbock.
I finally got the spent grains to the cows in nearby Northport (no one was a the old dairy when I went on Sunday). If you have kids and happen to be near Northport, some free family fun can be had at the old Lewis Oliver Farm in Northport. They've got two cows ("Sassy" and "Half-Pint"), as well as some chickens, ducks, geese, and a pig. For more information check out the Friends of the Farm blog at http://friendsofthefarm.wordpress.com/
The farm happens to be looking for volunteers. If you are free, they are having a meeting at the farm at 7:30 this coming Monday night (January 5, 2009).
Had some issues with a problematic pump that put a crimp in the plan to brew back-to-back batches, but I did get one batch of the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock brewed yesterday. Will be taking advantage of as many unseasonably-mild days as possible to keep busy in the brewhouse, which is heated only by the kettles when they are fired up.
In addition to more of the Weizenbock, I'll be brewing up more of the Hellsmoke Porter. Today, I'm hoping to bring the spent grains from yesterday's mash over to a couple of hungry cows I know of in nearby Northport. Our compost bins are full!
Well, that went quicker than I thought it would. Despite three deliveries to Big Z since Saturday the 13th, the first official batch of the Hellsmoke Porter is reportedly just about all gone (check with Mark or Rick at Big Z to be sure). I've had some good feedback on it, so I'll be brewing up more for January availability. I'm also working on getting it into more locations. This is a small-batch brewery to begin with, but my goal is to first see how folks like a specific beer before I go nuts and start brewing up lots of back-to-back batches.
The Hellsmoke Porter is now available in 22-ounce bottles at Big Z Beverage on Jericho Turnpike in Huntington. For directions and contact info, use the "Where to Find" page at http://BlindBatBrewery.com. I'm also working on getting some of the Hellsmoke out to Bellport Beer & Soda, word of when will follow.
If you try the Hellsmoke, or any of the other future beers, please let me know what you think via the "Be The Judge" form at BlindBatBrewery.com. The form is designed to keep feedback anonymous by default, but feel free to let me know who you are if you want.
The Hellsmoke Porter is a robust porter, roasty and a bit smokey thanks to the alder and applewood I used to smoke some of the grains before mashing. As with many traditional porters, the carbonation level is on the moderately-low end of the scale. It goes great with steak, burgers, and other barbecued or grilled meats.
December 5th is "Repeal Day" It's the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, which lasted almost 15 years (January 16th, 1919 --- December 5, 1933).
Part of the platform that Franklin Roosevelt ran on in 1932 was the repeal of Prohibition. For more about Prohibition and Repeal Day, visit http://www.repealday.org/
"I think that this would be a good time to have a beer." -President Franklin D. Roosevelt, December 5, 1933
Meanwhile, in 2008.... I've been bottling up that first official batch of Hellsmoke Porter, and am getting ready to roll 'em out the door at last. Also, my commercial kegs finally arrived yesterday, so tapped offerings are now possible. News of where and when coming soon.
That first official batch of Hellsmoke Porter is conditioning away in Corny kegs, awaiting bottling (and kegging, if my Sanke kegs arrive soon).
The folks at the New York State Brewers Association are getting behind a pending bill in the NY State Legislature to allow small brewers to sell beer at farmers' markets and fairs (in sealed containers for off-premise consumption). However, no action is likely until the new session convenes next year.
Watch this space for more. If you are inclined to participatory democracy, please write your NY State Assembly Member and NY State Senator to support the following bill: BILL NO. A07252 TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the alcoholic beverage control law, in relation to permitting certain brewers to sell beer at fairs and farmers` markets
PURPOSE : To promote micro breweries in New York State by authorizing micro breweries to sell beer at fairs and farmers` markets.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : This bill would amend section 51 of the alcoholic beverage control law to authorize licensed brewers with an annual production of less than 60,000 barrels to apply to the State Liquor Authority for a permit to serve bottled beer at the state fair, county fairs and not-for-profit farmers` markets. A representative of the brewer would be required to be present at the time of the sale.
JUSTIFICATION : This bill is intended to promote micro breweries in New York State by authorizing them to sell beer at fairs and farmers` markets in the same manner as wineries are currently authorized to sell wine at fairs and farmers` markets. It is estimated that this authorization could increase sales of these small businesses by five percent which will produce jobs and further economic development in New York.
It is important to note that, as is the case with wineries, micro breweries would be required to obtain a permit from the State Liquor Authority under the provisions of this bill in order to sell beer at fairs and farmers` markets, thereby ensuring that this authorization would be closely regulated. The number of the bill will be different in the NY State Senate, there it is S 2466.
ALSO: The number of the bill before both the Assembly and the Senate will possibly change in the new session. Watch this space for more as things progress...
Meanwhile, back at the nanobrewery.... I'm cleaning kegs to carbonate and condition the Hellsmoke Porter. Bottling to follow shortly. I'll be sending out word of where these bottles will be available soon. I would have taken care of all this over the last weekend, but there was a delay due to the greenhouse effect. Not the global greenhouse effect, but the preparations I'm undertaking for the greenhouse we're about to build in our back yard. Leveling out the area and preparing the foundation took up the weekend. So, I'm playing hooky from the day job today (after a late night of watching election returns), and playing a bit of catchup.
This week should see me kegging up the Bitter Wheat test batch experiment (A.K.A. "Grodziskie") as well as that first production batch of the Hellsmoke Porter. The Hellsmoke will be bottled up after some time carbonating and conditioning in the corny kegs. Commercial keg options are being explored this week, I should be finally pulling the trigger on a couple of "sixels" soon.
Next on Deck: Wheatley Hills Weizenbock
Once the big fermenter is clear of the Hellsmoke Porter, the next production batch will be the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock. I had planned to have two more large fermenters by now, so as to keep the production batches rolling along. I'll get those extra fermenters once money loosens up a bit.
A little Long Island history The Wheatley Hills Tavern used to be on Post Avenue in Westbury, and a few businesses (and a golf club) in the Westbury area still bear the name. The original Wheatley Hills is in England (I'm not sure if the good folk there would appreciate a German-style beer bearing their town's name). There is also Wheatley Heights in Suffolk County. "Westbury" and "Salisbury" on Long Island were also named for original places in England by English settlers here in the 1600s -- after they took over western Long Island from the Dutch, who in turn muscled out the original Lenape people.
A glimpse of Wheatley Road circa 1906 The Vanderbilt Cup Race was held from 1904 to 1910, and was a pretty big deal at the time. It was the first international automobile race held in the U.S., and Vanderbilt had the Long Island Motor Parkway built partially for the race itself.
The film below is from 102 years ago, and shows a hairpin turn at Wheatley Road in Old Westbury.
With last Saturday's back-to-back batches of Hellsmoke Porter fermenting away in my largest fermenter, this Saturday I brewed up a small experimental batch of a Polish / German style that appears to have otherwise become extinct - Grodziskie. Grodziskie, a smoked wheat ale, is considered to be the only beer style native to Poland, and it is named after the city where it was brewed.
When the city of Grodziskie was part of Germany, it (and the beer style) was renamed Grätzer. (My heritage is more Polish than German, so I prefer to refer to this as Grodziskie). This style is said to have been popular across much of Poland and northern Germany up to the period before the first World War.
Thought to have been born sometime in the 14th Century, the last known commercial example of this style was brewed in the 1990s, when the last brewery producing it closed.
Grodziskie is considered by some to be related to Weissbier, in that the majority of the grist is Wheat, but in the case of Grodziskie, about half of the grist mashed is first smoked over oak.
I smoked some of the wheat malt over medium-toast French oak chips. For this test batch, I used a German ale yeast, rather than a weizen yeast, and hopped with 30 IBUs of Saaz. This style is said to be bitter and of a relatively low ABV. I'm shooting for an ABV of 3.7%
While there was a surprise somewhat-unwanted guest in the brewhouse last Saturday, yesterday morning there was a most-welcomed guest: Rich Thatcher - President of the Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts, as well as the manager of Bellport Beer & Soda. Rich got to see just how small this nano-micro brewery is just before I started smoking up that wheat.
Two back-to-back batches of the Hellsmoke Porter are now in the hands of the yeast, which are happily fermenting away since late Saturday. It was a long day, with some brewing time lost when I discovered a leaky connection in the conical fermenter on Saturday morning while filling it one more time with sanitizer. Finally fixed it and got back to smoking some malt for the first batch's mash.
(Unlike meat, grains do not take hours to smoke. I prefer to smoke the grains the day of the brew, they can lose some of the smoke over time.)
Are black labs a good omen?
A little more time was lost when a neighbor's dog came running into the brewhouse. I've never seen the dog (a big, friendly black lab) before, she seemed to be drawn in by the malty aroma during the mashing of the first batch. My entreaties to "go home" were unheeded, her tail kept wagging while she continued sniffing around the brewery. Fortunately, she had a tag on with her address on it. I flamed off the kettles for a bit while I walked her up the road to her home.
The brew session did not seem to suffer, as it hit my target Original Gravity of 1.067.
Summer officially fades away soon, and while I've been away from the Brewhouse Blog, I've been keeping busy in the brewhouse itself test batching some Fall and Winter Seasonals. The August 30th batch of the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock will likely be kegged up soon.
Got that new smoker, and tested it out with a small batch of the Hellsmoke Porter, now fermenting away. Much better control of the smoke is possible with the new smoker than with my previous Flintstones method. While I personally liked previous incartnations of the Hellsmoke Porter, the feedback concensus was that it was oversmoked. I'll also be taking another crack at the smoked wit soon.
I'm also experimenting with a dry stout using a local ingredient, so watch this space. The TTB won't approve the label for this one until they give the OK on the formula, but I also won't release it unless it is worthy.
A belated update on a busy weekend, which saw me smoking some wheat over mesquite and then brewing up another test batch of the Old Walt Smoked Wit Beer. I oversmoked the last batch, and I have a new smoker on order which should give me better control over this aspect of both the Old Walt and the Hellsmoke Porter.
Tonight, I'll be kegging up the test batch of the Gersten-Weizen brewed on August 2nd.