Monday, August 8, 2011

Welcome to the Parti

It had been a while since I had brewed any beer, a few months at least, and with Mrs Velkyal out of town starting her Masters degree, I took the opportunity to make a start on some beers for upcoming competitions.

Reading a recent edition of Brew Your Own magazine, there was was an article about Fuller's, along with some clone recipes which will be given a run out at some point. In the article, it was mentioned that Fuller's do a tehcnique called "parti-gyle", and so I decided that in order to maximise the efficiency of my tiny mash tun, I would give it bash.

I am sure you know what parti-gyling is, but just in case, basically you pull the strong first runnings to make one beer and then the weaker second and third runnings to make another. Obviously the first runnings are used to make something stronger, while the rest is for a more sessionable brew. Given my small set up I decided to do a single gallon from the first runnings, and a normal batch from the second and third.

In deciding what to brew I looked at my grain store (sounds so much grander than "box of bags of grain") and opted for a robust porter for the stronger beer, and a dark mild for the weaker. I also chose to make Briess Special Roast the main specialty grain, supplemented with Caramel 80 and Chocolate for colour and some more flavour. Initially my plan was to use Maris Otter for the base malt, but when I drove round to our local Fifth Season, they had Golden Promise as well so I plumped for that instead, purely because it is a Scottish barley. I was nervous though that the second and third runnings would produce a wort that would fall well short of the 1.030 target gravity of the session brew, and so I bought some dark Belgian candi sugar just in case.

Into my mash tun then on Saturday went the following:
  • 80% Golden Promise
  • 12% Special Roast
  • 4% Caramel 80
  • 4% Chocolate
For the hopping of the two brews, I have had a 2oz bag of Willamette leaf hops sitting around in the freezer since I won some bling at the Virginia Beer Blitz,so it was about time they got used. For yeast, my favourite dried Nottingham strain was lined up for the porter, while the mild would be fermented using Wyeast's 1338 European Ale, a warm fermenting strain from Germany.

The brewday went without a hitch, other than the expected short fall on the gravity I wanted for the mild, and so, in went the sugar. In trying to decide what to call the beers, as it was my good friend Reuben's birthday on Saturday (check out his blog), I thought it would be nice to name the stronger beer in his honour, and so Gray's Gylactic Porter was born. On the mild front, I went for Wee Willie's Mild, referring to a nursery rhyme from home, and the fact that I used a Scottish base malt.

The vitals for the beers are as follows:

Gray's Gylactic Porter
  • OG - 1.062
  • IBU - 47
  • ABV (projected) - 7.2%
Wee Wille's Mild
  • OG - 1.036
  • IBU - 23
  • ABV (projected) - 4%
If I did my calculations correctly, doing a parti-gyle in my little mash tun meant I ended up with an efficiency of about 78%, and most importantly will have more beer to drink than from a standard mash! I think this method will become something of a regular occurrence.


  1. I will live on in infamy... well at least until the last beer has been consumed.

  2. Aaagh.

    Sorry, but parti-gyling isn't using the first runnings for one beer and the later runnings for another. Not since the 18th century. Usually some of each of the runnings goes into every beer made from the mash.

    Talking of Fullers, they'll parti-gyle Golden Pride, ESB and London Pride all at once. But all three have a portion of both the worts. It's just the proportions that vary.

    This drives me nuts. I keep telling people they've misunderstood part-gyling, but no-one listens.

    It's important to use some of the strongest wort even in the weaker beer to stop in being too thin.

    Another important point about the way Fullers part-gyle is that the blending of the worts is done after the boil.

  3. Ron,

    Thanks for the information.

    Sorry for getting it all mixed up!

    Do you have a good resource for how to do it properly?

  4. I've posted a bit about it:

    This is an example of A Fuller's parti-gyle:

    John Keeling himself comments on this post, explaining the reasons for parti-gyling:

    This is one of Kristen's recipes with a parti-gyle:

    And some more examples:

    It's a topic about which much total bollocks has been written in American home-brewing publications.

  5. Thanks for those Ron! Will have a read and see if next time I can do it properly.


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