About This Course

This course includes 68+ minutes of video

Live Oak Brewing in Austin, Texas, is best known for their old-fashioned, highly drinkable, award-winning lagers and wheat beers. Many of those beers involve Old World ingredients, traditional decoction mashes, or significant portions of smoked malts. 

In this wide-ranging, opinionated, 68-minute conversation, founder Chip McElroy and head brewer Dusan Kwiatkowski detail the how and why of the recipes and processes behind their beers—in particular, they zoom in on their pre-Prohibition–style Pre-War Pils and remarkable Polish-style Grodziskie, brewed with 100 percent oak-smoked malt. 

Among other topics, they discuss: 

  • the benefits of decoction mashing 
  • adjuncts and cereal mashes for pale American lagers
  • working with corn grits, from mash to lauter to clarity
  • fully avoiding DMS in adjunct lagers
  • bitterness and hopping in various styles of pilsner
  • yeast pitch rates, fermentation, harvesting, and lagering
  • the particularities of certain Czech and German lager strains
  • the benefits of horizontal tanks for fermenting and lagering
  • combining spunding and forced CO2 to hit target carbonation
  • brewing “Polish champagnge,” aka grodziskie 
  • classic ingredients and step-infusion mash for grodzisikie
  • the challenges of lauering 100 percent smoked wheat malt
  • building great smoked beer based on classic styles
  • embracing smoke flavor
  • and more.

Course Curriculum

  • 01


    Show Content
    • Welcome, and About Live Oak

  • 02

    Brewing Pre-War Pils + Other Lagers

    Show Content
    • Brewing Pre-War Pils, from Grist to Glass

    • Brewing Pre-War Pils, from Grist to Glass (Part 2)

    • America’s Founding Lagers: The Pre-Prohibition Landscape

    • Cereal Mashup: Brewing with Unmalted Grains

    • Why Decoction Matters

  • 03

    Brewing + Enjoying Smoked Beers

    Show Content
    • Brewing Great Smoked Beers

    • Grodziskie: Smoky, Hoppy, Mysterious, and so Much Fun to Drink

    • Homebrewing your Best Grätzer (Grodziskie)

  • 04

    Conclusion, Recipes & Further Reading/Listening

    Show Content
    • Final Thoughts

    • Recipe: Live Oak Grodziskie

    • Recipe: Live Oak Schwarzer Rauch

    • Recipe: Draught Beer 1912 Pre-War Lager

    • CB&B Podcast Episode 174: Live Oak Turns Back the Clock with Historical Lagers and Smoked Beers

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