Prekmurska Gibanica, or the famously translated “Over Mura River Moving Cake”, is, hands-down, a favorite confection amongst Slovenians. Rich and elaborate, this 10-layer cake is loaded with apples, poppy seeds, cream, vanilla, rum, and walnuts. Originating from the eastern regions of Slovenia and now found in most shops and restaurants in its true and delicious form across the entire country, Gibanica is one beloved dessert. And rightfully so! This is our rendition of one of our favorite sweets, Prekmurska Gibanica, in the form of a Pastry Stout.
A Pastry Stout is one of the most labor-intensive beers to make – we start the brew day morning with more than eleven different types of fermentables, including several variations of light and dark barley, oats, and sugars. Two complete and consecutive mashes ensure that we are packing as much flavor and strength into the beer as possible before we move on to the boil, which is long and steady in order to caramelize the sugars in the wort, making a thick and sweet finished product, with enough Slovenian hops to cut through and create an earthy balance to the sweetness. After the boil is finished, we send it off to stainless steel tanks to ferment. The finishing gravity is still quite high which gives it its trademark characteristics: Heavy, opaque, and dessert-like. Cake in a glass.
After primary fermentation is complete it is time to transform the Pastry Stout into Gibanica Stout. Since we cannot simply throw cake into the beer, we must break down the cake into the ingredients that are agreeable with beer. For Gibanica, we use apple, poppy seed, lactose sugar, rum, vanilla, and walnuts, but we really focus on the apple and the walnuts for this brew. To achieve our desired apple characteristics, we add loads of fresh chopped apples along with cooked apple puree to give it the perfect flavor, depth, and mouthfeel, and a touch of concentrate, mostly for aroma. We then spend an entire day toasting fresh whole walnuts and poppy seeds in our fired oven, crushing them, soaking them in rum, and stirring it and the other ingredients all into one big cake slurry. This slurry is added to a sanitized empty tank, and the beer is transferred on top of it, allowing it to absorb the flavors and characteristics of Prekmurska Gibanica. After a few weeks of evolving, Gibanica Pastry Stout is ready to be packaged and enjoyed.
This is a rich, unique, and special beer designed to be shared with family, friends, and other craft beer connoisseurs, during special occasions. That special occasion could be simply that you have a bottle of Gibanica Pastry Stout. Na zdravje!