I had read about partigyle brewing in BYO Magazine a few months back and had earmarked it for another day. I wasn't sure when I would have the time to test a new technique, let alone organize the process – especially with all the great brewing opportunities that the Brewminaries had setup! I came to a crossroads in my brew schedule; I was moving apartments, and didn't want to brew a lot of beer and then have to move it, and I had acquired a mini keg. The opportunity finally presented itself to try out partigyle brewing!
The general concept behind this brewing technique is taking advantage of first and second runnings, split in either 1:2 or 1:1 ratios (that's 1/3 & 2/3 volumes or half-half). When you mash an all-grain recipes for a 1:1 partigyle, your first runnings are usually around 2/3 of your total points of brew. In other words, if you have 15 lbs of base grain, at and average of 34 pts/gal and 70% efficiency, you would have 15x34*0.7 or 357 total points. Your first runnings will come out to be around 235 of those points in around 3 gallons (235 pts in 3 gallons is about 1.080 OG). The remaining points (122) would be in the second runnings (another 3 gallons), and would get an OG of 1.040. You then take these two separate worts to make two batches of beer form the same grain bill! To make life easier, check out this partigyle calculator.
The concept in theory makes a lot of sense, but in practice can be a little more challenging. For instance, the point calculations above assume the wort has been boiled and therefore concentrated. So estimating your preboil OG gets tricky. You essentially have to work backwards from the numbers above to get your dilution for preboil OG. Of course, if something happens with your efficiency and you end up with more (or less) points than expected you have to recalculate all those figures. For the sake of this post, and the ease of your brewday, let's just ignore that fact - I did!
I built a basic English ale recipe (download below) with a total point value of around 300 pts. I wanted to do a 1:2 patigyle to get a Barleywine and an English Pale. My efficiency was great; nearly 80%! However, my gravities of the split was a little funky. My first 3 gallons of wort was 1.075 preboil OG. This was a little higher than I expected and slightly lower volume. It would be boiled for 90 minutes and end with a very high OG. The other split was 5 gallons at 1.025, which was much lower than I had hoped. You can see how this gets muddled quickly!
I ended up blending the two worts an adding 1 gallon distilled water to get worts at the following preboil OG's:
- 4 gal at 1.050 boiled for 90 min, with 0.25 oz of molasses added, to get 2.5 gal of 1.084 wort - Barleywine.
- 5 gal of 1.035 boiled for 60 min, with 1 lbs dextrose added, to get a 1.054 wort - Pale Ale.
That plan worked out very well! I used Willamette hops I received from Brewmie David K as the bittering hops in both brews. My Pale Ale, while English in base, received an addition of El Dorado and Zythos hops for extra, fun hop character.
10 days into fermentation, I moved them to kegs for the moving day. At transfers both smelled amazing, and tasted delicious. The Barleywine was hot with alcohol, and the Pale was delightfully bitter with lots of fruit, citrus, and tropical notes on the nose. Overall, I think this process was a lot of fun and produced excellent beers!
These beers will be poured at Pourmania 2, with our sister club Pour Standards. It's their 2016 fundraising event, and it will be a blast! for $25 you get unlimited tastings of over 25 beers, meads and ciders. Get your tickets!
Download the Partigyle Recipe used in this post.