As 2012 draws to a close, Blind Bat is closing in on a new location. Nothing is set in stone, but it is looking more likely that the expanded full-time Blind Bat Brewery (vs the part-time nano version established in 2008) may well be in Farmingdale.
I’m also finalizing the new equipment, I have some customization in mind. More about that when the time comes.
Have been bottling up some Vlad the Inhaler while also tweaking a Sweet Potato Saison. Will send out word when either are available.
While the Huntington Indoor Winter Market still won’t allow beer, Regina has continued to incorporate some of my spent grains in her Country White Brewers’ Bread that she sells at that market on Sundays (bread baked that morning).
Regarding the Vlad the Inhaler, some googling around led me to a Polish Wikipedia page about the Grodziskie style, which happens to mention Blind Bat Brewery and Vlad the Inhaler. That made my week for sure!
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 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.
The recent test batch of Long Island Potato Stout yielded a valuable lesson -- peel the potatoes! A rather unfavorable quality came about in this batch, as opposed to the earlier one where I peeled the potatoes that were boiled and mashed before adding to the mash. So, it's a pain in the butt, but I'll be peeling the potatoes from now on. This is a dumped batch, but lesson learned.
I'll be interested to see if others agree with me that the Grodziskie (Vlad the Inhaler) that I'll be pouring this coming Thursday could use more smoke. Despite smoking all of the wheat over oak for two hours, I dont' think there is enough smoke character. It is present in the finish, and the beer seems sufficiently tart (as Grodziske is purported to have been), but I want more damn smoke.
And that Thursday pour will be at the Bellport Country Club during the Charity Beer & Wine Tasting and Food Pairing from 6:00 to 10:00 PM. See Dave's (Bellport Cold Beer & Soda) blog at http://blog.bellportbeer.com/ for details. All of the Long Island breweries will be there, it promises to be a terrific event for a number of good causes.
No brewing, bottling, or heavy lifting today. Laid up with a bad cold, so working on some paperwork and label design between naps and sips of tea. Here is the latest iteration of the label for my Grodziskie-inspired wheat-smoked-over-oak offering, "Vlad the Inhaler"
Still waiting on some components to finish setting up the new brewery, so smoked and brewed another test batch of Grodziskie on my ten-gallon system. (It's an old Polish-style oak-smoked wheat beer.)
Smoked the wheat over French oak for two hours, the mash was 100% wheat (all of it smoked). A good amount of Saaz hops, this promises to be smoky and bitter. The taste of the unfermented wort is pointing that way, it will be interesting to see what the Kolsh yeast makes of it.
Sunday Morning Update: Yeast at Work (Smells Great!)
Back in April of last year at the Craft Brewers Conference in Boston, Greg Koch of Stone Brewing included a video in his keynote speech that immediately went viral. The video, "I Am a Craft Brewer", included commercial craft brewers from around the USA talking about why they do what they do.
Not long afterwards, some enterprising home brewers put together a response, "I am a Home Brewer"
Now, some home brewers in Poland have offered up their response. (I'm of half-Polish heritage, so I've got some tribal pride here. I'm working on perfecting my version of the Polish smoked beer style, Grodziskie.)
ENJOY (CIESZYĆ SIĘ):
Thanks to Andrew DeWeerd of Clearwater, Florida for pointing me to this.
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.