Grodziskie/Gratzer Water Profile

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WinterWarlock

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I'm getting ready to brew a Grodziskie (6 gallon batch) and I can't help but notice my residual alkalinity is coming in at -291, a value that doesn't seem desirable. I've added just enough salts to meet the minimum recommended ppm for calcium, etc. I've also added 6 ml of lactic acid to the drop the pH to 5.49. I understand wheat malt has a higher pH than barley, which is why I'm going a little heavy on the lactic acid. I'm not sure if the Weyermann Oak Smoked Wheat I'm using has a significantly different pH value than standard wheat malt, but for now I'll assume it's relatively close. Am I on the right track? Here's what I'm working with:
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Vale71

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Seems about right considering that you have a rather thin mash. The thinner the mash the higher the resulting mash PH which will in turn require larger additions to bring it down. If it's technically possible for you I'd mash in thicker and increase sparge water which will also result in higher efficiency.
If you have the original Weyermann 25kg sack you can download the COA for that malt lot and use actual mash PH instead of the stock value from the software.
 

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Sorry for necroposting, but I'm thinking over a similar problem, calculating the water for a Grätzer.
From historical sources of the post-WWII period, the mineral content of the original brewery well water is perfectly known: Ca 122, Mg 34, Na 39, SO 183, Cl 81, HCO 450 (so, the water profile OP used seems to be not too close to the Grodzisk water). Brun software predicts that a grist of 100% Weyermann's Eichenrauchweizenmalz in such a hard water will yield a mash pH well above 6.
No problems to add some acid, but historical records from the Brewery don't mention adding any Sauermalz. Just Oak Smoked Wheat, that's all. And they mashed thin.
So, now I'm thinking what to do. Need to lower the high mash pH, but can't add Acid malt (or, worse, Lactic Acid) as it's absent from the original recipe.
How did they fight that problem? Or they didn't?

That will be my third attempt on Grätzer. The previous two attempts, I didn't prepare my water at all and brewed with my tap water untreated (same Ca and HCO, while Mg, SO and Cl lower in half). I didn't like the beers I got: they were a sort of harsh. Probably, because of the high mash pH.
Hard to believe that adding more Mg and SO to the wort will curb the harshness...
 
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Silver_Is_Money

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Sorry for necroposting, but I'm thinking over a similar problem, calculating the water for a Grätzer.
From historical sources of the post-WWII period, the mineral content of the original brewery well water is perfectly known: Ca 122, Mg 34, Na 39, SO 183, Cl 81, HCO 450 (so, the water profile OP used seems to be not too close to the Grodzisk water). Brun software predicts that a grist of 100% Weyermann's Eichenrauchweizenmalz in such a hard water will yield a mash pH well above 6.
No problems to add some acid, but historical records from the Brewery don't mention adding any Sauermalz. Just Oak Smoked Wheat, that's all. And they mashed thin.
So, now I'm thinking what to do. Need to lower the high mash pH, but can't add Acid malt (or, worse, Lactic Acid) as it's absent from the original recipe.
How did they fight that problem? Or they didn't?

That will be my third attempt on Grätzer. The previous two attempts, I didn't prepare my water at all and brewed with my tap water untreated (same Ca and HCO, while Mg, SO and Cl lower in half). I didn't like the beers I got: they were a sort of harsh. Probably, because of the high mash pH.
Hard to believe that adding more Mg and SO to the wort will curb the harshness...

My guess is that the water was likely boiled, settled, and decanted. That would drive HCO3- down to ~80 ppm, and Alkalinity down to ~65 ppm. But it would also take the Ca++ ion down to ~22 ppm.
 
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My guess is that the water was likely boiled, settled, and decanted.
Yes. It seems there's no other way around rather than to assume they boiled their hard water. Although the historical sources keep silent about that.

I absolutely got the same harshness, and it went away (or at least was greatly reduced) when I brought Mg down to 5-10 ppm levels.
In my untreated water, I had Mg in 12-14 range, and the beer still tasted harsh... I'm frightened to raise Mg to the historically documented point of 34 ppm. Although they most probably boiled down HCO, they hardly bothered to lower their high Magnesium.
 

Silver_Is_Money

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During boiling:

Ca+2 + 2(HCO3-1) CaCO3 +H2O +CO2

Most of the CaCO3 (calcium carbonate) precipitates out as a virtually insoluble solid.
Solubility ~= 0.013 g/L @ 25 °C
Solubility ~= 0.0057 g/L (100 °C)
 
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I've learned that the researcher who recovered much of information we have on the historical Grätzer (water data including) is positively sure they didn't employ any boiling or acid water treatment 😲
What did they do then?
He says, they only did acid rest.
I guess, for such an alcalinity it should be some pretty lengthy rest.
He didn't elaborate on that in more details, unfortunately.

UPD
Well, I went to search further. Found Martin Brungard's suggestion to adjust the Grodzisk water with boiling. Great suggestion, and the resulting water is easy to brew light beers with, but the authencity of the practice of boiling is still waiting to find its corroboration in historical records, which the local research team seems to not have found yet. Then I compared two language versions of the founding work on the style revival, the Report of the Grodziskie Redivivus Project. And found that the English version is actually different from the Polish one. The Polish is a bit more detailed, but the main thing is that it suggests a longer Acid Rest time. Where the English version recommends "20 hl of thick mash at 38C (break 30 minutes)", the Polish one goes into more details: "20 hl gęstego zacieru w temp. 38C intensywnie mieszanego przez 35 minut, a następnie przerwa 30 minut", which essentially extends the Acid Rest from 30 to 65 minutes: first 35 minutes of intensive stirring, and only then a 30-minute rest.
It seems, they do actually brew with the local highly Alcaline water without boiling it first and instead just extending the Acid Rest time (so, the researcher was correct). Also they note that "wysoka alkaliczność resztkowa (240 ppm CaCO3) wody wymaga zakwaszania zacieru" that means "high residual alkalinity of water (240 ppm CaCO3) requires mash acidification" - no mention of that in the English version. That might mean that Sauermalz is also not out of question in an authentic Grätzer.

Given that smoked malt might impart a bit more acidity to the mash than unsmoked, it makes sense to try the prolonged and intensively stirred Acid Rest with the unboiled original Grodzisk water profile. Will try that soon, as brewing a Grätzer stands close in my line of beers to brew.

UPD
Brewed it, with the Grodzisk unboiled water profile, Sauermalz addition and a hour-long, well stirred Acid Rest. Came to conclusion, that Grätzer perfectly could (and almost certainly should) be brewed without pre-boiling water. Since the targeted pH range for the style is a bit higher than for most other beers (5.6-5.8, information from Polish brewing forums), I reached it easily even with such an alkaline water. The beer is fermenting now, will share tasting notes here when it's ready.
 
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Well, my Grätzer has been bottled.
It seems to be the best of all Grätzers I ever tried to brew.
No acrid tartness this time, which plagued my previous versions.
I think I've found the way to brew it the right way.
Will post final tasting results when it's carbed and ready.
 

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Well, my Grätzer has been bottled.
It seems to be the best of all Grätzers I ever tried to brew.
No acrid tartness this time, which plagued my previous versions.
I think I've found the way to brew it the right way.
Will post final tasting results when it's carbed and ready.

Cool stuff, thanks for digging into this and sharing your findings!
Is there anything else you did differently this time? I have a hard time picturing the difference between an acid rest and an adequate amount of acidulated malt or simply straight lactic acid.
 

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Besides water treatment, 1% Sauermalz addition and prolonged Acid rest, I fermented the beer with a different yeast this time: Lalbrew Köln instead of Fermentis K-97, which I used previoulsly. I use dry Kölsch-type yeasts extensively (actually, that's my favourite type of yeast) and have learned them well. My experience is that K-97 produces noticeably more acid than the other two (Lalbrew and M54). So, I decided to change K-97 for Lalbrew Köln this time, and wasn't disappointed. My current iteration of Grätzer came out definitely less tart than the previous K-97 versions.
 
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monkeymath

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Besides water treatment, 1% Sauermalz addition and prolonged Acid rest, I fermented the beer with a different yeast this time: Lalbrew Köln instead of Fermentis K-97, which I used previoulsly. I use dry Kölsch-type yeasts extensively (actually, that's my favourite type of yeast) and have learned them well. My experience is that K-97 produces noticeably more acid than the other two (Lalbrew and M54). So, I decided to change K-97 for Lalbrew Köln this time, and wasn't disappointed. My current iteration of Grätzer came out definitely less tart than the previous K-97 versions.

I've heard that K-97 can be tart; Lalbrew Köln seems like a good choice (haven't tried it myself yet). If you can get it where you live (you're Swedish, right?), then you could give Gozdawa Old German Altbier 7 a try. It gives a very clean expression of malt and hops.

I've only made a single grodziskie so far (but that number will increase in summer), so I can't really compare it to anything, but I think I'll stick with this yeast.
 

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I'm a Latvian expatriate, actually, with knowledge of Polish and [limited] Swedish (and several other not-so-widespread languages). I've read a lot of nice reviews on Gozdawa yeasts on Polish forums. Some say they are just repacks, though little ideas who might be the original manufacturer. I haven't had a chance to try Gozdawa range yet. As soon as I have, I'll definitely try them all. To me, the yeast is the most interesting part of the hobby, much more than, say, hops.
 

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only have brewed one grodziskie, used all the information in this Beersmith podcast, featuring Stan Hieronymus

 

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I don't always poke around in this forum, but very glad I did today! Getting ready to brew my first one of these this weekend, and have a couple of important changes to make to my water profile based on the discussion here. Also using special grodziskie yeast blend from bootleg biology.
 

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I had already done lot of research since I want to get the style right, but there's always more to know. One major change I am making compared to most recipes I've seen is the OG. Based on comments in "Radical Brewing" by Randy Mosher, the OG before they were taxed on malt usage (or something like that) was ~1.057. Since a local brewer I'm friends with gave me an entire sack of the oak-smoked wheat malt, I figured I would go little bigger, while still retaining authenticity.
 

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idź duży lub idź do domu

I had already done lot of research since I want to get the style right, but there's always more to know. One major change I am making compared to most recipes I've seen is the OG. Based on comments in "Radical Brewing" by Randy Mosher, the OG before they were taxed on malt usage (or something like that) was ~1.057. Since a local brewer I'm friends with gave me an entire sack of the oak-smoked wheat malt, I figured I would go little bigger, while still retaining authenticity.
 

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Grodziskie | Grog Blog
A solid recipe. I hopped my version following published brewery notes from Grodzisk which state three additions at 120 and 30 mins and hopback.
I calculated the weights they provided, and got results like 19 IBUs at 120 mins, 3 IBUs at 30 mins and 1/3 weight of the second addition at hopback. So I hopped my Gratzer following this schedule.

the OG before they were taxed on malt usage (or something like that) was ~1.057
As far as I understand Mosher, in that passage he seems to mean "the family of white beers that includes Berliner weisse and Belgian witbiers" rather than Grodziskie exclusively. The Redivivus Project does mention two sorts of Grodziskies of 14 Balling gravity, which is circa 1.056. Those two, however, were Special and Dark varieties that used barley malts in unknown proportions. The recipes for those two haven't been published (or just lost). It seems the stronger Gratzers were introduced very late, like in the 80s or 90s, when the ailing brewery was trying to retain what had left of its declining consumer base.

I believe the Redivivus document contains The Canonical Recipe for Grodziskie.
 

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Redivivus have created a great website! Besides the main English-translated document, they posted there several old technological instructions, straight from the factory archives of the 1970s and 80s. The documents are in Polish, in a blind type-writing, very hard to read. I managed to read them somehow though. What a treasure! Full factory manuals for beer brewing, malt production, lagering, etc. It seems the processes (hopping schedules in particular) slightly differed over the years.
Now that I finally mastered making a decent Grätzers (I think it's water that's changed everything to the better) I'll brew the style much more often. Would be nice to try their stronger "decadent" Special and Dark varieties, if they post the recipes sometime.

UPD
The brewery in Grodzisk town now produces several types of beer, including the original Piwo Grodziskie (and of course two IPAs, whaddyathink). No those "decadent" part-barley kinds of the 80s, but a very interesting Imperial version instead. I feel tempted to brew an Imperial Grodzisz, described by the brewery like this:

Brewed by an international team, in cooperation with Live Oak, craft brewers from Austin, Texas and great enthusiasts and propagators of Grodzisk beer in the US. This beer has a truly American impetus and a Polish spirit. It boasts double extract, stronger notes of oak smoke and bitterness exceeding the Grodzisk standards. To dry-hop the beer, we have used exclusively Polish, new-wave hop varieties supplied by PolishHops.

The "new-wave" Polish hop variety they mean is Zula.
 
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BrewMan13

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This is where I got the 1.057 OG from. I'm sticking with the higher OG since I have so much of the malt, but following the other recommendations in this thread. Cheers!
20220415_093458.jpg
20220415_093506.jpg
 
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Authentic 1884 Grätzer recipe?
Wow, a great bit of info!

I have the book but when I was reading it I wasn't much interested in Grätzers (I was a n00b back then) so didn't remember there's a recipe in there. Now I see it. Gonna brew the stronger Grodzisz, thanks for pointing out!
 
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Right now I'm brewing the Randy Mosher's recipe!
Decided to make it stronger, about 6.8 ABV. Rather a Kaiserliches [imperial] Grätzer, or else Grätzerbock.

Also I changed his hopping schedule (retaining the IBUs where he suggests), as I hardly believe the "hopburst" (1 oz @60', 2 oz @20', 3 oz @5') recommended in the book could have really been employed anywhere in Germany/Poland of the time, to me it just looks too modern, too crafty and too American. So I changed it to the original Grätzer hopping scheme from the Redivivus document: 80% of all hops @15' in the boil, 20% @30' before the end of the boil, and a tiniest addition at the hopback.

Need to warn everyone who, like me, decides to follow the inclusion of toasted wheat at 7% of the grist, as the book suggests. Instead of toasting the wheat myself, I went with Château Wheat Arôme (30°L). Now in the mash, it's totally overpowering the faint oak smoke notes. Will see how it behaves further down the road, but I already feel a bit regretful that I didn't cut it in half. So be careful, gents, don't overtoast your wheat and don't overuse roasty varieties of it. Because the oak smoke nose seems to be very fragile!
 
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I ended up not toasting the wheat, but added some non-smoked red wheat, which I saw recommended elsewhere. I don't have experience with toasting malt, and didn't want to mess anything up here. So my grist was 90% oak-smoked wheat and 10% red wheat. The yeast blend I'm using suggests fermenting it like a lager, so I just started my d-rest last night.
 

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Need to note, no Polish sources or discussions I've read suggest any non-smoked wheat additions, whether raw or toasted. As I understand now, diluting Eichenrauchweizenmalz with whatever is just counterproductive, given how faint and delicate oak smoke flavour is, even in comparison to beech smoke.
But hey, we're not brewery employees, we're artists in our own brewhouse! Why not to try something new.

Meanwhile, my Grätzerbock is happily fermenting, and the Arôme Wheat reeks not as offensive as it did in the mash and boil.
 

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Right now I'm brewing the Randy Mosher's recipe!
A follow-up.
I'm tasting my Grätzerbock. It came out at 6% ABV (OG 1.058 / FG 1.012 / IBU45) with Lalbrew Köln yeast. It's an excellent beer, one of the best I've brewed this spring. I like it more than the original authentic Grodziskie recipe I thoroughly replicated in February. It has plenty of smoky goodness. Toasted wheat, the flavour of which felt dangerously overbearing in the kettle, immensely subsided during the fermentation. Without the toasted wheat, the beer would taste just smoky, while the toasted wheat added some breadcrust breadiness which is a very welcomed nuance. Waterwise, I used the authentic Grodzisk Town water profile, cited above. All the problems that plagued my earlier Grätzers (excessive bitterness and acidity) are gone since I started to recreate the original water.

On forums, I read many times from those who had tasted the real Polish thing in the 80s that the Weyermann's Eichenrauchweizenmalz was notably less smoky than the original Polish Oak Smoked Wheat Malt, so however thoroughly you recreate a historical Grätzer using that malt, it won't equal the original beer in the smoky department - at least, at the historical gravity of ca. 1.030. Now I see that to get the same smokiness which apparently excited the drinkers of the original Grodziskie, you need to rise the gravity up to some non-authentic numbers. What essentialy Randy Mosher did in his non-historical and non-authentic recipe. Which - with the substitute German malt - produces a better beer, I must admit.

I'm happy I tried the Mosher's recipe. The beer doesn't have much Champagne-like characteristics (which Grodziskie is known for to have) but now it's got some real oak-smoked character, which is a very pleasant thing.
 

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I haven't tasted mine since I racked it to the keg. It has been lagering in the back of my kegerator waiting for an open tap line. The gravity sample was great though, so I've been itching to get into it!
 

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A follow-up.
I'm tasting my Grätzerbock. It came out at 6% ABV (OG 1.058 / FG 1.012 / IBU45) with Lalbrew Köln yeast. It's an excellent beer, one of the best I've brewed this spring. I like it more than the original authentic Grodziskie recipe I thoroughly replicated in February. It has plenty of smoky goodness. Toasted wheat, the flavour of which felt dangerously overbearing in the kettle, immensely subsided during the fermentation. Without the toasted wheat, the beer would taste just smoky, while the toasted wheat added some breadcrust breadiness which is a very welcomed nuance. Waterwise, I used the authentic Grodzisk Town water profile, cited above. All the problems that plagued my earlier Grätzers (excessive bitterness and acidity) are gone since I started to recreate the original water.

On forums, I read many times from those who had tasted the real Polish thing in the 80s that the Weyermann's Eichenrauchweizenmalz was notably less smoky than the original Polish Oak Smoked Wheat Malt, so however thoroughly you recreate a historical Grätzer using that malt, it won't equal the original beer in the smoky department - at least, at the historical gravity of ca. 1.030. Now I see that to get the same smokiness which apparently excited the drinkers of the original Grodziskie, you need to rise the gravity up to some non-authentic numbers. What essentialy Randy Mosher did in his non-historical and non-authentic recipe. Which - with the substitute German malt - produces a better beer, I must admit.

I'm happy I tried the Mosher's recipe. The beer doesn't have much Champagne-like characteristics (which Grodziskie is known for to have) but now it's got some real oak-smoked character, which is a very pleasant thing.

To me, making it stronger and smokier pushes it more towards the German Rauchbiers (like e.g. Schlenkerla). Grodziskie appealed to me because of its rather unintuitive (at least to me) marriage of a very light body with gentle smoke. Not that there was anything wrong with Schlenkerla, though.
 

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Yes, that's true: when you up the gravity you stray away from the style, which should be crisp, light, sparkling and very light-bodied.
From the other side, using the weakly smoked substitute malt you never reach the authentic smokiness. To me, Weyermann's Oak Smoked Wheat always lacked smokiness in my true-to-the-style light Grätzers. Which experienced people from Poland seemed to confirm.
The only way out of this controversy I can think of is learning how to smoke Wheat Malt myself to the desired degree. I see no other way to cram more smokiness into a beer while still retaining the low gravity and light body characteristic to the style.

I'd also share my notion that Weyermann's Oak Smoked Wheat packs noticeably more smoke than Weyermann's Beech Smoked Barley. At 93% of Smoked Wheat, my Grätzerbock came out noticeably more smoky than my last 95% Smoked Beech Rauchbeer brewed almost at the same time. That was a surprising discovery.
 
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