Life, the universe and Parti-Gyle brewing!

So, its been a while since I’ve posted anything. Life gets in the way of all the good stuff… But since I’m here again and I’ve been geeking out about something to do with brewing I figured I’d better share it with you all as its been a revelation for me!

So, Parti-Gyle brewing… I was sat reading this fine book and came across a section which talked about Parti-Gyle (from now on, I’m just going to say the PGM for Parti-Gyle Method…) brewing and was instantly hooked!!

Before I continue, I must first digress…

My father in law is a great bloke, and I love him to bits, but he likes his strong lagers, like Tennants Super type strong, so I made him as close a lager as I could using an imperial pilsner recipe which, even when it ended up at 11% it still tasted good. Now the bottom line is, this was an absolute mother f***er to make. Working out the mash volumes, sparge volumes to get me to where I wanted, hoping the efficiencies worked and I didnt end up at 60% with a shitty mash efficiency… it was a stressful brewday and I was thinking there had to be an easier way… Apparently there was… the PGM.

So the basic jist of the PGM is to get 2 or more batches of beer from a single grain bill… It was used by us English brewers to give a strong bitter, a normal bitter and a weaker table ale to get the most from the grain and to make beers for the land owners, the workers and the peasants… the 3 gyles were mixed and blended to give appropriate strengths and that was the way it was done…

Now information about this isnt very available, its an old method and one which isnt utilised much by breweries or homebrewers these days and I personally think it should be, and it will be by me, cos I think its outstanding!

So, if you imagine a grain bill which will give a 23L batch of beer with a pre boil SG of 1.080, then based on this table your first runnings are at 1.120 and your second runnings, your sparge essentially, are at 1.060 (roughly speaking). Now since most homebrewers run a roughly 1/3rd liquor volume in the mash and 2/3rds liquor in the sparge ratio, you would end up with roughly 11L of super strong wort, and 22L of not so strong, but still beerable wort.

Confused? So was I, and initially I thought, sack this… then the Father in Law asked for another batch of Trampagne… so this idea came back strong… Vienna Lager Grain Bill, to give a total batch preboil gravity around 1.080, first 11L gives a potential ABV of around 13.5% (1.120 SG to 1.018 FG) and a batch of a normal vienna lager with an ABV of around 6.6%. These values are “Ideal world” values and I’ve deliberately aimed high so that if it all comes crashing down and I end up with a crappy extraction, then I’m still in the range of a decent beer ABV…

Now, the real tough part of the PGM is the hopping. You kinda have to go with your gut and hope, but I’ve made this before so i know roughly where the hops should be, but theres no online recipe builder for this (that I know of) so I’m on a wing and a prayer for this one…

Anyways, there are a lot of resources which will give you bits of information which all add up to a fairly clear view of the methodology, if you read them all and make notes, then compress those notes into bullet points… basically I’m saying study it, and make revision notes… its what I did…

So, the PGM, a real step into the unknown for me, but one I shall be taking with excitement and hoping that it works…

There are also multiple different variations you can make to aid and shape the colour, flavour and style of the second runnings beer, but thats for another post…

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