Dear readers, please excuse the tardiness of this review – but I promise the wait was worth it.
Piwo Grodziskie is the result of my slightly inebriated self looking at historical beer recipes. Being Polish, the idea of an old beer recipe (we’re talking very old) from Poland was appealing. My buddy and I gave it a go, and I can’t express how delighted I am with it.
This thing smells like a small oak forest burned down two towns over. Light and inviting, this kind of smokiness distinguishes itself from what most drinkers think when they hear “smoked malt.” Where most smokey booze involves peat, this recipe is almost exclusively oak smoked wheat malt. Instead of smelling a campfire, this is closer to smoke-treating something in carpentry.
As I finish inhaling, following the smoke, its fragrance is something akin to dandelions and wildflowers – subtle, sweet, and short-lived.
For a beer with such a straightforward grain bill, I was immediately taken aback by its intricacies. The oak smoke is the most obvious unique characteristic of this beer, but surprisingly it packs so much flavor beyond just that. Using so little grain, interestingly, afforded the wheat malt to really open up and express itself. Its higher effervescence spreads the flavor across the entire palate and teases the tongue.
Oak smoke (obviously), honey, straw, and pollen are the flavors I was able to identify when carefully sipping. The creamy head sticks to my upper lip with each sip, spoiling me since each time I get to wipe it away and enjoy the beer even between sips.
Just like the aroma, the flavor doesn’t linger – demanding more. This mandate won’t ruin the night though, since its ~3.0% ABV requires numerous pints to break whatever the alcoholic version of drag and gravity are.
Golden with a slight haze. I’m pretty proud of how this looks. It’s almost exactly what I imagined it would look like. Not much else to say here!
I really enjoyed this beer. I fully intend on keeping this recipe on hand for the start of next summer. I don’t know that I’d change much about it, but perhaps substitute the red malt for another pound of oat smoked wheat malt to see what kind of difference that makes.
Much like the smoked marzen I enjoyed in Anchorage, you know what you’re getting into almost immediately. It’s reminiscent of my friend’s fireplace, and his penchant for buying large quantities of quality timber. Much to my delight, it is an aroma that pulls no punches and is very telling.
Much like other “smoked beers” and scotch, this is something to be drank slowly. If you drink it quickly, you’ll learn the primary complaint people have with my favorite liquor: it quickly overpowers itself. The mild body and lower ABV help curtail this, but the drinker must still be patient.
As I’ve said many times, I never know what to write here. The human olfactory system helps improve taste, and while there has been some research into sight, food, and photography, the jury is still out. It looks like beer?
Like scotch, this is something to be enjoyed slowly and sparsely. It’s not something you can get ripped on, nor would want to. When it comes down to it, this is a beer to taste- and I think that’s a good thing.