Brewery: Live Oak Brewing Co
Style: Piwo Grodziskie – (Historical Beer 27)
Package: 12oz Can
Purchased: Whichcraft Mueller, July, 2018
Packaged Date: N/A
Consumed Date: 7/8/18
Details from the Brewer
Grodziskie resurrects the last indigenous Polish beer style to go extinct in the twentieth century. Production ceased in Grodzisk in 1991. It is brewed using only oak-smoked wheat malt and assertively hopped like a pilsner. Even with a low ABV, the wheat malt delivers a full-bodied beer. The original Polish ale yeast strain ferments cold, alongside our lager yeast throughout lagering. Please enjoy this truly rare beer.
Aroma – 10/12
Medium high smoke notes come out first. It’s more of a savory, cooked meat aroma than burnt or charred. This is joined by a more delicate doughy malt character at a medium low level. The smoke aroma is interesting, with a good complexity and some spiciness. It almost lends to a salty note. Some pear and apple esters blend into the smoke as well, but at a low-medium level.
Appearance – 3/3
Liquid pours a deep straw, mid gold color with good clarity, but a noticeable haze. A delicate pour produces a huge, rocky white head composed of large and medium bubbles. Retention is amazing with a thick persistent lacing.
Flavor – 18/20
A medium high smoke flavor jumps out first. It reminds me of a post oak burned Texas BBQ pit. It dominates the first half of the taste, but is joined by a doughy, bready and slightly sweet malt character. The fruity yeast esters are still present from the aroma, but at a slightly lower level. Towards the finish some earthiness comes out; it could be a smoke component, or maybe from hops. Towards the finish, a medium bitterness appears. This helps quickly punctuate the beer on the finish, with the smoke character briefly lingering.
Mouthfeel – 5/5
A high carbonation, complementing the wheat character and prickling the back of the throat. Medium-high body even after the carbonation has faded. It lends to almost a chewy nature on the finish. No astringency. Medium creaminess. No noticeable alcohol warmth.
Overall Impression – 9/10
What a great example of a Grodziskie. This beer really satisfies a craving for a smoked beer. This nails most of the guidelines for the style, but it is a bit heavy on the smoke character. It does mask some elements of the beer to me, or more blends with the hop and yeast character, covering them up to some degree. Smoke flavor/aroma perception seems to be incredibly polarizing, so it may just be perceived as lighter to others. Overall, this is just a minor balance tweak to a great beer.
Rating – 45/50
It’s always a bit strange judging a style like this where you don’t have hardly any commercial examples, and have never tried examples from the original source breweries/region. I usually will just write down what I’m perceiving, then compare to the BJCP guidelines. I was blown away and how well this paired up to the style guideline. I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant to try this when it first was released. I had the original batch and a few after that, and wasn’t impressed by the smoke character. It leaned a bit hammy? They’ve really dialed it in now, and it’s drinking great. I’m really looking forward to finding some foods to pair this with.