Sunday, August 31, 2014

Parti-gyle Party

August 21:
I have been curious about parti-gyle brewing for quite some time now. When I was doing single vessel BIAB, I simply lacked the capacity to do it.

In case you have no idea wtf parti-gyle is theres a link. But the TL;DR version is this: One grain bill for two beers. You mash once, take the first runnings for a "strong" beer and then do it again and take the second runnings for a "normal/weak" beer.

Well, my friend Dain said he wants to brew some beer. And not just some beer, he wants to do two batches in one day. He has helped me with several brews in the past, so he knows how long it takes, so this isn't an ignorantly enthusiastic "hey two batches is better than one" thing. He knows. Long day but cool let's do it. Also gives me an excuse to see how parti-gyle goes!

August 23:
After a bit of discussion and much thinking helped along by the Pari-gyle party thread I posted on 8/22, here is what we're doing: Start with 25lbs grain. Assuming 75% efficiency, that means we should get first runnings at 1.099. I'm going to mash for 6 gallons of wort, drain off 4 gallons and top up with tap water. That should get us a gravity of 1.060 pre-boil at 6.5 gallons and should boil off to 1.075 @ 5.2gals.

That leaves 2 gallons of 1.099 wort, right? Maybe. I'm getting conflicting information on this. My decision is to take frequent readings with my refractometer and see what happens, adjust as I go.

Things will happen! Beer will be made!

August 25:
I've decided on the grain bill.
  • 20lbs Pilsner
  • 5lbs Munich
  • 1lb C40
The C40 will be held back until the sparge. Just for the IPA. And for those saying "but an IPA shouldn't be done with Pilsner," all I can say is why not? I do what I want. Pils + Munich = delicious. To me, simple is better. So while I've seen a lot of Saison recipes using flaked wheat, etc, that would further push the grist beyond IPA territory instead of simply into "weird" IPA territory. Figure we'll call it an English IPA anyway since we don't plan to dry hop it, and with the use of Pils and Munich it'll be quite a bit more malty than an American IPA regardless.

August 30: 
Brew day has arrived! First step: To the LHBS!

Picked up 5lbs German Dark Munich, 1.25lbs C40 (overshot and was too lazy to fix it), and er... well, I got a 55lb sack of Belgian Pilsner because it's delicious and I'll use it anyway. Using 20lbs for this recipe, leaves me plenty to play with later. Also picked up some packets of US-04 and 4oz Saaz for the Saison. Already have the 6oz Galaxy for the IPA and the WLP565 for the Saison, so that's that.

Milling 25lbs by hand was a tad more than I wanted to do, but I don't have a corded drill. I'll fix that. Milling 15 isn't that big a deal, but 25 before strike temp is a challenge. Fortunately my friend Dain is here, so we took turns and wound up finishing up the milling about 5 minutes before the strike temp (165) was achieved.

We added the grain when the cooler got to about 1/3 full. I wasn't 100% confident I could mash 25lbs @ 1.5qt/lb. Turns out it isn't a problem, just a tight fit. I wanted the grain in there so if it was going to overflow I could just kill the flow and mash a little thicker. Not necessary in the end.

My friend Dain stirring up the mash. Tight fit, but it works! The dog is curious too. 

This mash weighs over 100lbs. Nine gallons of water comes in around 75lbs, plus 25lbs of grain is 100lbs plus cooler weight... yep.

Gravity of first runnings: 1.100, at least as near as I can tell with my refrac that was calibrated this morning.

We drained 3.5 gallons. Diluted with 3, got to 1.054 pre-boil. Gravity into the fermenter was at 1.065

Added 1.25lb C40, batch sparged with 4.5 gallons of water.

Drained remainder of first, and then second runnings, gravity at 1.052 pre-boil.

People told me I couldn't do it. Well, I done it. Could I do it again? Why not? Worked out according to plan this time! And by plan, I mean the inkling of a plan because I figured it should work close to this anyway. And it did.

Partigyle grain: 
20lbs Belgian Pilsner, 5lbs German Dark Munich
Added for IPA: 
1.25lb C40

Saison Hop Schedule:
Saaz 2oz @20, 10.
IBU: ~25
OG: 1.065 @ approx 5.4gals
Yeast: 1L Starter WLP565

IPA Hop Schedule:
Galaxy 2oz @15, 5 (Whirlfloc here too), 0.
IBU: ~65
OG: 1.058 @ approx 5.4gals
Yeast: S-04

Other Thoughts:
The bag that my friend Misty made really held up well. I didn't notice any straining of the fabric or stitching whatsoever. With 25lbs of grain, moving it around was simple enough with the handles and now that I've reached my mash limit I'm certainly going to be doing this again soon without any worries whatsoever. Shameless plug for her and this awesome bag.

Other than the bag being awesome. This method took us approximately 6.5hrs. Solo, I'm sure it'd be pushing 7.5. My daughter helped us a bit, but we also took frequent breaks as we made nachos and did some grilling while we were brewing. The 6.5hrs is a pretty damn good mark to hit for 10 gallons of awesome. I'm really tempted to pick up another 8-10gal kettle though, because then I could just boil them both at the same time and it'd only end up adding cleaning time rather than an additional boil + misc. other time.

I wish I had taken more pictures, but between drinking, playing with/entertaining Ayva, keeping the dog from eating the nachos, etc... well, picture taking was limited. Oh well.

My next partigyle brew will be a RIS and a Dry Stout. Will be a far more "traditional" partigyle in that I won't be banking some high gravity wort to spike the second runnings. It'll just be first runnings = one beer, second runnings = the second beer. Gonna have to wait a bit for that though, because I just don't have the bottle capacity to handle this kind of volume more than once every couple months!