Showing posts with label parti-gyle brewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label parti-gyle brewing. Show all posts

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Date with Isabel

Saturday was hot, and it was hot too. I had a busy day lined up, moving my cellar from our flat to the new house and then picking up some friends for the 40 mile trip to the newest venture of the guys from Blue Mountain Brewery. Shifting all my beer was heavy work, and included moving 2 carboys of fermented beer which involved much car based contortion, but it all got there safely and set up with the minimum of fuss. We went to the house yesterday and I am immensely happy with the room I chose to be the new cellar as it was 64°F, that after a couple of days of 100° temperatures and the AC being set to 78°.

The highlight of the day though was to be a trip to the newly opened, as of yesterday, Blue Mountain Barrel House. I won the trip because they had some problems with naming their beers, basically the TTB thought "Chocolate Orange Bourbon Porter" was misleading in some way and Blue Mountain decided to run a competition on Facebook to have the beer named by their followers. A quick Google search later and I had discovered that Brazil is one of the leading producers of both cocoa and oranges. I knew, in the far reaches of my memory, that Brazil had once had a royal family, so after some digging on Wikipedia I came across the page of Isabel, Princess Imperial of Brazil, whose mother, Teresa Cristina of the Two Sicilies, was a member of the House of Bourbon. Thus Isabel was born.

As I said, it was hot on Saturday, something like 101° and in the aftermath of the derecho that swept through Virginia on Friday night I was half expecting the tour to be cancelled due to lack of power. As far as I know, large parts of the Commonwealth are still within electricity and thus air conditioning, and we have a week of high 90s temperature ahead of us. Thankfully the brewery was open, had power and was wonderfully cool inside. There were four of in our group, myself, local RateBeer guru Dan, Mark the photographer and my mate Ed, a local school teacher.

The tour was taken by Taylor, owner, brewer, odd job man and gentleman. We learnt that at the brewery they are doing parti-gyle brewing, blending runnings into two 15 barrel kettles to make 2 beers with every run. We saw stacks of whiskey barrels in various stages of preparation for receiving the beer that will sit and age in them. In the barrel cold room there is a wonderful smell of beer and whiskey which reminded me of many a public bar in hotels across the west coast of Scotland, I loved it. Having walked around the brewery, geeked out at the equipment, probed Taylor about his setup, learnt that they have a fascinating effluent treatment system (well, I thought it was fascinating) and discovered that it is possible to get relief from extreme heat by entering a boiler room, we took our places at the bar for a tasting.

Virginia has a law, which came into effect yesterday, allowing breweries to sell full pints in their tasting rooms, and at Blue Mountain Barrel House you can do just that, order full glasses of the beers they are producing there, including Local Species, a "Belgian-inspired, American-hopped, barrel-aged pale ale" which is delicious. You can also get, at the moment, über Pils, a strong pale lager with 40IBUs of noble hop delight. Taylor mentioned that the bottled stuff would benefit from a bit of aging, so in my fridge is my birthday beer, to sit until the middle of November.

When the time came to leave, Taylor told us that he was on his way from the main Blue Mountain Brewery and that if we went over he would let us try some of the latest über Pils current sitting in the lager tanks. He didn't need to offer twice, and we jumped in the car to head up winding Virginia roads to Afton. We sat at the bar had a pint and some pretzels and were then invited into the brewery part of the pub to try the lager. It was divine. Simply magnficent, and if I may allow myself a smug moment, as I breathed in the aroma of the beer, I asked Taylor if he had used my old friend Saaz in the hopping, and sure enough it was the aroma hop, an orange blossom and faint hay delight.

A fantastic afternoon and evening was had, and everyone got home safe and sound. I want to thank Taylor and the Blue Mountain guys for being so welcoming and I would encourage everyone who is in the area to swing by for a tour and tasting. If you can't get down to Colleen, but see the beer in the store, buy it and enjoy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Learning to Parti Properly

You may remember that a while back I did a little experiment, which I thought was parti-gyling but in fact turned out to be medieval style parti-gyling. I brewed two beers, one porter and one mild, from a single batch of grain, taking the first runnings for a small batch of porter and the second and third runnings for the mild.

While both beers turned out rather drinkable, it was brought to my attention that the process I had followed was a long rejected method. One thing I hope I never have a problem with is being told that I was wrong and then being corrected (how else does one learn?), so firstly I want to thank Ron Pattinson for putting me straight on parti-gyling and then putting up with my stupid questions so that I could get a clear picture of the process.

Having been a technical writer when I lived in Prague, I thought I would take the information from Ron and break the process into simple steps for people to understand so they can have a bash at parti-gyle for themselves, and hopefully I have understood this all properly.
  1. Mash the grist as you would do normally
  2. Drain the mash tun
  3. Re-mash the grist
  4. Drain again
  5. Sparge
  6. Boil the worts
  7. Blend to achieve desired gravities
  8. Ferment
  9. Bottle
  10. Drink
Ron mentioned to me that sometimes the grist would be mashed as many as 4 times in order to get as much extract out of the grain as possible. Given this corrected information, I will be doing another parti-gyle experiment at some point in the future, probably using a grist of 95% Pale Malt and 5% Dark Crystal, to make a strong pale ale and a pale mild. For a more thorough exploration of parti-gyling, see .

Just a quick aside, I think the greatest example of user documentation I have ever seen was in Prague, and I present this picture in evidence.

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.

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...