Brewhouse BlogIndependent. Brewer Owned. Brewing What We Like to Drink.

Fermenting, Kegging, Bottling...

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.



For more about these early 20th Century races, check out the excellent The Vanderbilt Cup Races site.

Bitter Wheat Experiment

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.
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