A Parti-Gyle Brewing Session (Part 1)

Tomorrow (Friday) and over this weekend I will be trying out for the first time a historical English brewing method in which the same mash is used to produce multiple worts and produce different beers. In my case I will be producing two distinct beers from the same mash and running off the sweet wort into two different brew kettles. One beer will be an English Barley Wine – hopefully a Thomas Hardy clone at 12% – and the other will be a Norther English Nut Brown Ale at 4.5%.

Because a parti-gyle is difficult to do with my 50L Braumeister, I will be getting my 3V system out of mothballs and using that. Actually, it will be a 4V as I will be using two boil kettles for the two different beers. I have not used my 3V system for over 18 months, as I have used my BM exclusively over this period, so it will be an interesting experience.

In view of the amount of preparation needed, I started to set up the operation today. So just in case anyone might be interested I thought I would post some pictures of the setting up and preparation. I will then follow this up with more pictures of the actual brewing after it has occurred. This also gives me the opportunity to show some greater detail of my 3V-4V system itself and hopefully other Hop members will find it interesting.

First picture show the four vessels and the control panel I have built. It uses Blichmann pots: 1 x 75L HLT, 1 x 75L mash tun, 1 x 75 boil kettle and 1 x 100L boil kettle. For Clive’s benefit, the picture also shows my SSBrewtech 64L Brewmaster Chronical – fully assembled and cleaned ready for use.

This is how the hoses are connected for recirculating the mash and the water in the HLT:

Both boil kettles and the HLT are fitted with two stainless steel elements each. One 5500w and one 2400w. They are independently switchable, giving a range of power from 2400 to 7900 watts per pot.

That’s it for now. The brewing starts tomorrow and I will put up the brew pictures as quickly as I can afterwards in the “Brewdays” section.

Apologies for my absence

Well, what can I say? It’s been so long since I posted anything. The main reason has been the massive renovation work I have been doing on my Victorian House, which was built in 1890. This is about coming to a close, so I expect to be back brewing at the beginning of March. Having said that, I did manage to do one of my famed brewing walks on Wednesday 15 February. My brother wanted to sample some of the fine pubs in Worthing, Sussex, so we started at Hassocks and walked the South Downs Way to Bramber, where we followed the River Adur path to Shoreham-by-Sea. From there we caught the local train to Worthing. We had booked a room at the Travelodge, so we had all night to tour some great pubs. The finest pub in Worthing must be the Seldon Arms – great range of real ales, pleasant staff and friendly locals. Also managed to get in two micro-pubs – Anchored and the Brooksteed Ale House. I think the total was 14 pints in all over the day. The weather was shocking – heavy rain and mist – so no good views from the Downs, but it was a very pleasant day none-the-less.

A long walk – many miles and many beers!

On Saturday 7 May I walked the entire Medway Valley Path in Kent. I started at Tonbridge at 08:00 and ended up at Rochester at 20:30, some 28 miles later. It was a beautiful day and the countryside was really wonderful. There were some dry areas in terms of beer availability, but nonetheless I still managed to drink 12 pints of great beer along the way. The river path just before Maidstone was closed due to a railway subsidence, but this was not as tragic as I initially thought since the diversion away from the river Medway took me to a pub called the First and Last on the outskirts of Maidstone. I had three great pints here and some great chat with the locals. I got to Rochester with some aches and pains, but all in all a great day.

Beckenham Special Mild

Brewed 58L of a special mild over the Bank Holiday  weekend. It should ferment out at about 4.7%. This is generally weaker than I would normally make a brew, but I wanted something that I could sup a few  pints of during the summer months without falling over! I used some exotic malts such as Vienna malt and Victory malt, as well as an unusual sugar called Panela. This is raw brown cane sugar boiled down to a hard block and contains all the impurities as well – it tastes delicious!

Mosaic and Saison on tap!

Put my Mosaic Double IPA and my French Saison on tap tonight. What superb beers they are! (Excuse my modesty!) The Mosaic is really hoppy and so nice I think I might make this my house brew. The Saison is really unique. Not so hoppy, but really quite spicy with a background earthy taste. Just what you would imagine from a farmhouse brewer. Both these recipes were derived from the Gordon Strong book “Modern Homebrew Recipes” and I pay tribute to the man’s talent.

A Full Cellar!

I’ve had a massive brewing session before the weather starts to get too warm and my cellar bar is now very well stocked. The pictures show that I’ve not much space for more, although I want to brew two cornies of a special mild before spring is gone. Here you can see conditioning two cornies of Sorachi French Saison (6.7ABV), two cornies of Mosaic Double IPA (8.6%) and two cornies of Oatmeal Stout (6.2%ABV). On tap already are a special bitter (5.4%ABV) and an IPA (7.0%ABV). As well as kegging the aforementioned, each of the brews had 10L bottled in 500ml bottles. What you can’t see in the corner is 30L of Imperial Brown Stout (10.0%ABV), which needs another 6 months of aging before I bottle it. All were made on my 50L Braumeister over the last 4 weeks, which is a testament of how much quicker the BM is compared to my 3V system.


Including other bottled ales I now have about 300L of beer in stock, so I think I deserve a well earned rest throughout the coming months. Once the mild is done and dusted I think my next brewing session will not be until the winter now.

Nightmare Heathrow

Nothing to do with beer or brewing, but I just have to get this off my chest. Had to pick up my daughter and her two kids from Heathrow airport early this morning at 07:00. Years since I’ve been there. What a dirty, disgusting, and overcrowded place it is. The roads into it and the parking are a nightmare. How on earth can they consider adding an extra runway when it is such a chaotic madness? Any more increase in traffic there, both airline and cars accessing it, will only make it worse. This cannot be the way a modern airport is meant to run. I think I agree with Boris, we need to start again and create a purpose-built modern airport that can cope, instead of just muddling along and hoping it will all work out in the end. Heathrow is just too big, too nasty, and in the wrong place.

The Lanes micro pub, Dover

I did a lovely walk yesterday (Wednesday) from Sandwich to Dover along the Kent coast. 16 miles in all. Very easy two-thirds, but the last part was quite a killer with plenty of ups and downs along the White Cliffs. The weather was fine and sunny, although there was a distinct windy chill over the last 4 miles.

When I got to Dover I went into The Lanes micropub (15 Worthington St, Dover CT17 9AQ). I badly needed nourishment after what turned out to be a tough walk. It was just before the station. What a marvellous place! The beer was excellent and reasonably priced. The welcome I got from the owner Keith and his wife was tremendous, even though I had never seen them before. I can thoroughly recommend this place and I will certainly go out of my way to visit again.

A rival brewery?

The SWMBO and I went to visit a local brewery at Penge yesterday. It was called Southey Brewery

Tried a Wormcatcher IPA and a pale ale called Crack of Dawn. Both were served straight from a polypin. The beer was ok, if not a trifle cloudy, but nothing really marvellous. I have certainly tasted better, including my own beers. Unfortunately, no brewery  or ‘behind the scenes’ tours were offered, so I can’t comment on their brewing process.

“Bob” behind the bar and the few customers there were very affable and the hour passed away here was very enjoyable. Regrettably, Bob did not appear to have much knowledge of what was in the beers and was unable to answer simple brewing questions. Also bought some of their bottled beers. I will certainly go again and Bob asked me to bring him in some of my brews.

An 1850 recipe for Imperial Stout

I brewed an Imperial Brown Stout today. The recipe dates from 1850 and I believe it was brewed by the defunct Barclay Perkins brewery (1781 – 1955). The brewery was well known for its Imperial Stouts. Imperial brown stout was the precursor to the well-known Russian Imperial stouts, which continued to be brewed by Courage and later Scottish & Newcastle until 1993. The most interesting thing about these beers is the fact that nearly half of all black malt used is added directly to the copper. The hop bill for this was a monster – some 300g in all. It also used a strange sugar called Piloncillo, which is of Mexican origin. Piloncillo is made from pure, unrefined sugar that is pressed into a cone shape. It tastes very similar to brown sugar with a molasses flavor (even though it does not contain molasses) and you can use it for anything that calls for brown sugar. I think this particular sugar is used because it most resembles the old invert brewers sugars, which are very difficult to get hold of today. If all goes well, it should turn out at around 11% ABV!